New Superhero Game Looking for Staff/Feedback



  • @Wizz said in New Superhero Game Looking for Staff/Feedback:

    @Runescryer said in New Superhero Game Looking for Staff/Feedback:

    For the most part, I 100% agree with you. However, you do have exceptions in the form of characters like The Punisher, Red Hood, even Green Arrow sometimes. My solution is to have 3 hero 'classifications': Superhero, Vigilante, & Anti-Hero

    So you're going for a more "modern age" comic feel, rather than four color?
    What'll the setting be? Real or fictional city?

    Or is it too early to start batting this stuff around?

    Two fictional cities, ala Metropolis & Gotham, but by way of the West Coast. New Avalon is going to be the Four Color heroic home city; across the bay is going to be San Macario, where the street-level vigilantes fight crime and corruption.


  • Admin

    @Runescryer I guess what I was saying was that the usual problem with PvP is that it seems to default to 'we fight to the death', and that upsets people because they stand to lose their PC.

    If that's taken out of the equation it's easier. Sure, Robin just beat the crap out of me but hey... Blackgate can't hold me! So whatever, I got beaten up by a kid in shorts.



  • @Arkandel said in New Superhero Game Looking for Staff/Feedback:

    @Runescryer I guess what I was saying was that the usual problem with PvP is that it seems to default to 'we fight to the death', and that upsets people because they stand to lose their PC.

    If that's taken out of the equation it's easier. Sure, Robin just beat the crap out of me but hey... Blackgate can't hold me! So whatever, I got beaten up by a kid in shorts.

    Fair point. I pretty much avoid PK games, so I'm not as well versed in the psychology of PvP.

    Just for my two cents, outside of Hero vs. Villain fights or the occasional heel turn, for most of the Supers games I've played on, sparring is less about PvP and more about 'So, what are we going to scene today?' Danger Room scenes are more about socializing in a venue that's different than the usual.

    That's one of the reasons why I'm wanting to create a stable of simple, stock villains that can be dropped into scenes and emitted without Staff approval; to add a new variable instead of players asking each other 'So, what are we going to do today? Stop another bank robbery or sit around the common room of the HQ and chat?' There's now the option of 'Hey, want to scene? Cool. Let me grab 'Wrecking Ball' and we can team up to stop his latest rampage. Sound good?'



  • @Runescryer
    I headwizzed an OC comic book MU running M&M 3e for a little over three years (Project Prometheus). By the end of our run, some of us were still quite happy with 3e, while others absolutely wished to chuck the whole fucking thing into the ocean. 3e honestly feels like it's meant for a particular TYPE of comic book style of play. It's all explosions and zero tension, unlike the far more interesting (IMO) 2e, which at least gives a GM room to challenge his players. Unlike 3e, the PCs can lose in 2e.

    Your chief problem tends to be the Hero Point/Villain Point system, which creates an asymmetric environment where one side gets a large number of 'do-overs' and general invitation to step outside of the rules as needed. If it's done correctly, heroes will generate HPs throughout the combat because they should be nailing their complications. They spend them as desired and get to do all sorts of heroic things. Villain Points are supposed to be the GM's response to HPs, but they just don't work very well because spending a VP against a PC gives that character a HP as a consolation.

    It sounds good on paper. In practice, it's obnoxious and terrible for any sense of tension.

    • Hero attacks villain and misses. Hero spends a HP for a reroll with advantage. Almost certainly hits.

    • Hero attacks villain and misses. Hero spends a HP for a reroll with advantage. Almost certainly hits. GM spends a VP to mitigate the damage, and awards the hero an HP. Hero... spends an HP and attacks again.

    • Villain attacks hero and misses. GM spends a VP for a reroll with advantage, immediately awarding player with an HP. Villain hits, hero immediately spends an HP to mitigate the damage (gosh. Who could've seen that coming?)

    • GM decides he wants to create an area attack where there wasn't one before. GM is an idiot. This one action means every PC in the blast earns a HP. For fuck's sake. No. Stop it.

    It rapidly becomes apparent that either the GM has to accept that villain points are just for show, or the GM has to be very, very careful about when he or she spends a point.

    It's even stacked from the beginning. In any given game, there are a lot more HPs on the table than VPs. I forget the formula, but most PCs will have 2-3 HP and the GM will probably have something like 4-5 VP. In a 4 PC game, that's 12 HP and 5 VP at the start. This wouldn't be so bad (the heroes should usually win, so what's the harm of helping them out?) if it weren't for the reflexive nature of spending a VP and that the heroes are going to get more. It can easily get out of hand.

    At the very least, you really should regress to the 2e HP system. I haven't even touched on the fact that due to this absurdly asymmetrical reroll mechanic, all the luck powers ONLY WORK PROPERLY with heroes (and are utterly broken as fuck).

    Then you'll find all sorts of other weird and wonderful idio(syncra)cies in the combat feats. I forget the names of the combat feat and can't be assed to look for a book or pdf, but there's some feat that allows you to make an additional attack if you drop a minion. This has been with M&M since the beginning. The difference is that in 2e, it had a melee requirement. In 3e, they don't care how you do it. Melee, ranged, area, it's all the same.

    In practice, this means the last place on earth any villain ever wants to stand is ANYWHERE NEAR HIS MINIONS. Seriously. Stay the fuck away from me, man. You drop an area burst right on that villain and hit like 10 minions, too. Villain makes a damage save along with 10 minions. Let's say he loses 3 minions. OK... so, that feat says you get to do it again! Now the villain and his 7 minions make another round of damage saves. Drop 3 more minions, right? You see where this is going. Not only is this stupid as hell, but the entire thing is completely asymmetrical.

    In 3 years of GMing 3rd ed, I don't believe I ever had a team of PCs lose a combat. It never even came close. The only way I could challenge players was by facing them with unfair PL/PP totals, and that's just bullshit. We errata'd a bunch of things, but I feel we should've gone way the fuck overboard.

    3e looks good, but it's not really much better than traits. That said, it's actually a great system if you want to go with some sort of edgy 'if you lose, you are dead' setup. It looks scary to the players, but they can't possibly lose. 2e is a gem and I highly recommend you look it over. I'd use that over 3e. Just my two cents.


  • Politics

    @Runescryer

    @Lithium said in New Superhero Game Looking for Staff/Feedback:

    And that's just one way in which the PL system gets skewed. There are several Feats that all break the PL system.

    If this is a noted issue, why not remove the problematic Feats altogether? Seems like a simple, desirable fix.

    @Runescryer said in New Superhero Game Looking for Staff/Feedback:

    Fair point. I pretty much avoid PK games, so I'm not as well versed in the psychology of PvP.

    PvP psychology is pretty simple. It is employed in one of two situations: (1) e-peen dickwaving desire; and (2) legitimate IC conflict resolution between PCs of contrasting, severe beliefs. It's hard to separate the two, so I tend to learn towards Motivation (1).

    If you're worried about PKs, though, simply make a rule: no one will ever die permanently. Taken out of action for a bit? Sure. But dead? Only if the player wants to have the PC die.


  • Admin

    @Ganymede Even consensual deaths might be unwanted if this is a DC/Marvel game and it could deprive the game from interesting characters.

    You might not want the Riddler permanently croaked to the Huntress because a random player picked him up for a week then decided it would be fun to have him offed.



  • In truth, no-one ever really dies in comics. Not any of the main characters, at least.

    There are, however, plenty of times when accidental deaths of minor or plot characters have occurred.

    Two incidents from Iron Man

    First, Iron Man was greeting a foreign ambassador who was a fan and with whom Tony Stark was trying to cut a deal with to build factories in the ambassador's country. Justin Hammer used a remote control device to activate Iron Man's repulsors and kill the ambassador in front of the public reception.

    Second, durring the first Armor Wars storyline, Tony had to infiltrate into the USSR to deactivate the Stark Tech that was being used in the Titanium Man armor. So, he used a stealth armor that had a limited repulsor capability; three shots only. After using up all three shots in the fight, Iron Man was grabbed by Titanium Man from behind. Tony tried flying upwards in hopes that his suit would better withstand the trip into the upper atmosphere, only to have his jets directly heating the feet of the Titanium Man armor to the point of ignition for titanium, which burns until it's completely consumed. The operator of the Titanium Man armor was killed.

    Also, let's not forget the assorted street criminals who have crossed paths with The Punisher.

    So, I'm trying to construct things so that Accidental Deaths of minor NPC's can be triggered, but Permanent Deaths of characters doesn't really happen.


  • Admin

    You aren't actually writing a comic book; you're running a game. The narrative is similar but the goal is not.

    The way I'd do it is consider two factors; one, does killing this character improve the game? The other is, does not killing this character hurt the game?

    The first case refers to dramatic effects; oh-no, you killed Robin! Now your Gothamite heroes are fucking pissed off, and the players know this villain is out for blood and nobody is safe. So you traded a cool character for a plot hook, which isn't necessarily a bad deal.

    The second case refers to maintaining some suspense; sure, you could prevent the Kingpin from being shot in the head by Punisher who has him dead to rights, but you invent some far fetched reason that it doesn't happen ('Ohno! Frank's rifle jammed!'). Now your players know you're never gonna kill a villain, which could affect how they play.



  • @Arkandel It's running a game, yes. But it's running a game with well-defined and expected tropes in the genre to cater to. Possibly expected moreso than any other game genre.


  • Politics

    @Arkandel said in New Superhero Game Looking for Staff/Feedback:

    You might not want the Riddler permanently croaked to the Huntress because a random player picked him up for a week then decided it would be fun to have him offed.

    Well, this isn't a DC/Marvel game; it's a game of OCs, last time I checked.

    Even so, let's say Edward Nygma dies. If someone wants to bring the Riddler back, he or she can simply be someone else. It shouldn't be a huge deal to anyone who isn't a tremendous asshole about canon.

    As you know, there are several Robins. Dick Grayson became Nightwing. Jason Todd died, and then was resurrected as the Red Hood. And so on.



  • The mantle of an identity can pass on, just as an identity, or literally as a set of powers, or someone else subjected to the same motivating or empowering (super powered) force.

    Ghost villains.



  • @Misadventure

    Identities can also 'switch sides' when passed on. Like the criminal Black Knight passing on his legacy to his nephew, who becomes a hero. Or, Spoiler becoming a hero to stop her father, Cluemaster.

    We are looking to have 'Legacy' characters, where the players define the various Legacies to carry on. Sort of a 'first come, first served' basis, but there's no real quota on how many Legacies can be created. We are going to cap at 1 Legacy character per player, though. But, the player that first creates and defines the Legacy gets control over who can join in that particular Legacy.


  • Politics

    I'm not really familiar with M&M, but I'm looking forward to this, actually.


  • Coder

    @Ganymede I agree that the offending bits should be removed.

    @Runescryer doesn't believe in addressing a known problem until it becomes a problem for him in the hopes it never becomes a problem.

    Go figure.


  • Politics

    @Lithium said in New Superhero Game Looking for Staff/Feedback:

    @Runescryer doesn't believe in addressing a known problem until it becomes a problem for him in the hopes it never becomes a problem.

    I actually read one of his comments as actually offering a solution; I think he said "you can have this feat, but you're still capped at PL*2 over all in any category," or something like that. Which, I guess, is okay, but it seems just a lot easier to pull out feat entirely.


  • Admin

    @Ganymede said in New Superhero Game Looking for Staff/Feedback:

    Well, this isn't a DC/Marvel game; it's a game of OCs, last time I checked.

    Fair enough in that case.

    As you know, there are several Robins. Dick Grayson became Nightwing. Jason Todd died, and then was resurrected as the Red Hood. And so on.

    Absolutely. And I would prefer to play with one of them than Roger Smith, the OC Robin that guy just rolled yesterday. If I played on a canonical universe I'd want the history that comes with legacy characters and years worth of background in stories.



  • @Lithium Believe it or not, I am reading and evaluating all the feedback that this thread is generating. As we're still planning this out and setting things up, nothing is totally written in stone yet until we open the doors. It could very well be that certain Advantages will be pulled when everything is said and done. While I've staffed before, I've never been the one calling the shots and ultimately responsible for a game before, so I've going through all this and constantly evaluating pros and cons of the various discussion points regarding the rules.



  • @Runescryer

    You aren't actually writing a comic book; you're running a game. The narrative is similar but the goal is not.

    Man, ain't that the truth.

    I've staffed OC comic book games (all running the M&M ruleset) for probably something like 10 years. There's a pretty reliable pattern to how the 'tropes' thing has played out in my personal experience. I expect your NPCs to adhere to the proper tropes, while the PCs are... well, players ultimately want their characters to succeed. In the absence of source material to function as an appeal to authority, PCs are somewhat free to do whatever is most efficient for them.

    Note this goes beyond killing characters. That's a worst case scenario and is easily dealt with: Remind them of the specific style of comic book you're going for, lay out some ground-rules, be stern but fair with individuals who will inevitably attempt to be special by behaving as if they exist under a different set of comic book sensibilities.

    But no. Your real problem is likely to be more along the lines of players not wanting to do the illogical stuff that make comic books worlds function as intended. There's no real way to combat this without taking control away from players (a terrible idea). The best you can do is make certain that you are absolutely, 100 percent crystal clear what TYPE of comic book world you are doing. That means you cannot rely on era titles (especially not four color, which appears to mean something different to everyone who hears it). Your setting and feel is absolutely vital. Communicate it clearly and consistently, or you're going to have dead villains, lawsuits, and so on. Voltron WILL fire his ultimate weapon first. ;)

    God forbid you allow villainous PCs. Comic books simply do not work unless the villain is shackled by tropes.

    Just something to be aware of. Might not happen to you, but it was an issue for me. I had to be very meticulous on my last game to prevent it from causing issues.


  • Pitcrew

    @n0q said in New Superhero Game Looking for Staff/Feedback:

    (especially not four color, which appears to mean something different to everyone who hears it).

    I hope I'm not the only one that has absolutely no idea what it means.


  • Admin


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