Justice League – ASSEMBLE!
I don’t usually run Superhero games. It’s never really been my preferred genre.
But I do sometimes get the urge to run comic book villains, and no other genre does it quite as well. The problem is, I’ve never really been able to find a system that does IT for me. There’s lot of games out there that I’ve taken a look at that are interesting, but I’ve so far seen nothing that has made me say “I need to get that on the table!” The closest I’ve been able to come to this feeling is the GODLIKE/Wild Talents games written by Greg Stolze. This performs admirably and I have a blast every time I run it (as do my players), but the fact that it’s so frelling lethal makes it hard for characters to feel sufficiently… well, super.*
So, I was paging through some rulebooks the other night as I often do for inspiration on some completely unrelated stuff. I wound up in the Dragon Age Set 1 Players Handbook from Green Ronin Pubishing. I don’t know why, but my mind suddenly made the connection, and a lightbulb went off in my head.
“These character backgrounds are practically begging to be used as superhero origins!”
From there, it continued to snowball. As I looked at the book, a number of things immediately jumped to my mind making me believe that this is the perfect system for superhero roleplaying.
-The three class system of Warrior, Mage, and Rogue can be retrofitted to work with the Bruiser, Blaster, and Acrobat hero archetypes.
-Talents as they are written give a natural progression to abilities that scale. Superpowers could easily fit into these existing molds with few problems (the biggest being on making them general enough without making them too general and filling most of a sixty page book).
-Stunts. Well, do I really have to say anything about stunts? I have heard more good things about the stunt system (and witnessed it firsthand I should add) than anything else about this game.
-The game’s fast, not overly lethal, but tough enough that players aren’t not going to be challenged. The small number of rules allows for fast, fun play and really emphasizes the ‘rule of cool’ which is necessary to a game like this.
So, for the past few days I’ve been slowly picking away at this, and I think I’ve made some serious progress. I’ve got a couple of ideas jotted down for some origins, some talents ready to be filled in with crunch and meat, and I’m looking forward to rolling out a ‘first pass’ document sometime soon** and doing some playtesting on it to refine it. I’ve come across a few stumbling blocks, but nothing that’s been insurmountable yet. And if I’ve made it this far, it doesn’t look like I’ll run into any too bad. I’ll keep you updated, Gamer Nation.
*Note that this is by no means a shot at they system. The game is brilliant, and the lethality of it really reflects well on the kind of game it’s designed to simulate. GODLIKE, for those of you who don’t know is supposed to tell the story of normal men and women who have suddenly developed larger than life powers in the middle of World War II. These powers grant them the ability to do things a normal soldier couldn’t do and survive longer than a normal soldier could hope to. However, as is the nature of war, even the supers have a very short life expectancy when the bullets start flying. To date, I’ve run about a half a dozen GODLIKE one shots. I’ve never not killed a player.
** Sometime within the next few months. Don’t be expecting it next week.