Friday, November 29, 2013

Savage Worlds Dice Probabilities - Mike Holcomb

"I often hear from people that the dice mechanic of Savage Worlds is "broken". When I ask them to explain what they mean by this, they usually point out that you are more likely to Ace (roll the highest number) on a die with fewer sides. Somehow, this then implies that a skill or attribute of d4 is inherently better than a d6, and a d6 is inherently better than a d8, and so forth."

4 out of 5

What Scared H. P. Lovecraft - Charles Stross

But what exactly was it that fuelled his deep sense of paranoia and dread at the scale of the cosmos, and made his work so memorable?
I have a hypothesis.

4 out of 5

Storyteller System Flaws - Stelio

The bugs in botch probability.

4.5 out of 5

Storyteller System Flaws - Stelio Stelio

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Kapow! - Joshua Macy

Kapow! Breakdown

172 Pages - Free at


In the introduction, definitely wearing his four-colour heart on his sleeve, the designer.

Chapter 1 - Steps to Creating a Superhero

Scope - From 1. Normal, to 12. Cosmic.  An approximation of the power level of the game.  Also Tone - from Grim, to Camp.

Quick Start Hero - pick an entry from the sample list closest to your idea and modify.  Decide if a power is Automatic or Active.  There are a few different templates.  Standard, Powerhouse, Minimal Jack-Of-all-Trades.

Power names and descriptions are free-form.  Every character gets 3 Boosts to differentiate with.  You can take Disadvantages on powers to boost them.  Add Complications and background detail.  There are Advantages as well like Ultra-Flexible and Area Effect.

Chapter 2

Concept - make one up.

Chapter 3

So to take the Standard Template to convert my first Super Squadron character Nightblack. A darkness generator that wears all black and has a big red sword and shuriken with some enhanced abilities like fighting and Agility.

Main Power: 8 (d8, d8) - call this Fighting
4 others powers at: 6 (d6, d6) - Darkness Generation, Strength, Agility, Endurance.  Spend the three boosts on Tough, Will and Actions.

Tough: 3
Will: 3
Stamina: 2
Actions: 3

Chapter 4

Boosts, Advantages, Disadvantages.

In Kapow! powers are scaled to Scope.  Nightblack was a standard four-colour type hero.  It gives examples that 8 Telekineses could lift a car at Street scope but a Blue Whale at National scope.  So the narrative fictio matters.

Minor Powers are the fourth type are Regular, Movement and Utility.  Characters can have any number they like of these.  So explicitly could definite Nightblack as having the ability to see in the dark at 4: and also Running at 4:.

There are rules for Assets, Companions, Gear, Vehicles, Bases, etc. and for making up your own add-ons to these and to powers.  Also Perks, Contacts, Reputation and Favours.

Chapter 5


You must take one Big one and two Small ones.  So if Nightblack is tackling Doctor Technology's hidden US bases, he is then Out Of His Area to go along with Aging Vigilante and Alone.

Chapter 6

Origin and Background

Skills and abilities from this are at the Default Power Level of 4.  In Nightblack's case, Asian Weapons and Academics.

Drive - let's say Justice.

Appearance - dresses in skintight black spandex with small red goggles.

Add a Battle Cry.  Only mentally, in Vietnamese for a darkness wielding martial artist, really.

Chapter 7

Examples characters.

Part II

Playing a Superhero

Chapter 8

Quick Summary of the mechanics.  The dice rolling, roll the two dice that your power is rated at: 8 is (d8, d8), 7 is (d8, d6) etc. and you use the higher result.

Then a list of various combat manoeuvres and options - even the Sudden Death challenge one roll takes it - highest side wins.

Chapter 9

Defining Powers.  With examples and levels.

Chapter 10

Using Powers.  They have to make comics sense. The Default Skill substitution roll if you have nothing relevant.  Contested and Uncontested Actions with difficult numbers.  What happens when you are Damaged and Hindered (reduced effectiveness).  And Out as in taken out in an appropriate manner, physically or mentally.  There are simple timing rules in recovering from this...or preventing an opponent from doing so.  Tired, Overkill, Disabled.

Minion and Mob rules!

Chapter 11

Tropes, Battle Cry, Combining Powers, Pulling Punches.  Failure Is Not An Option, Overdrive, Power Play - for those times when you really call on the reserves, Sheer Determination, Sudden Death, Wild Shot.

Chapter 12

Rounds and Turns

Chapter 13

Special Situations

Like Crossing Scopes and Crossovers with Guest Stars.

Chapter 14


These are abstract.  Normal = large room, Agent, Street, Cosmic etc.  Like Scopes.  Movement, chases and senses.

Chapter 15

Investigation, Gumshoe.  With a note: don't overuse it and make a skill system.

Chapter 16

Experience.  Generally one XP per session.  Getting taken Out or capture gives extra.  Spending it, Patrol, Training.

Chapter 17

The Environment

Vehicle scope, Buildings, More Stuff to Break. Hazards and Obstacles.

Part III - Page 109

Gamemastering Superheroes.

Chapter 18

Advice on types of game, campaign, etc.

Chapter 19


Motives, Modus Operandi, Types along with the two former.  Complications and casting.

Chapter 20

Adventures, types of Scheme.  Lairs.

Adventure Preparation.

PART IV - Page 148



Otherwise known as Yay! :)

Suggest that it is a guideline, not a complete procedure.  This is the gamemaster section.

Trying it out :-

Theme - 1d10 = 3 Elemental
  Elemental Theme - 1d20 = 17 Magnetism

So the bad person here might just be a Magnetic Elemental.

Appendix B - Page 159

Tables of different levels of Scope and what they approximate to for weight and speed.

Appendix C - Page 165

Options summary for manoeuvres.

Appendix D - Page 166

How to be a good player.

Then an index to finish.

Overall this is a very solid point buy creation game with reasonably straightforward mechanics and would seem to be somewhere between BASH and Cortex in that sense.  A few power levels, referenced as dice with very free form power choice, design and definition like the latter.

The game makes consistent sense and reinforces the design decisions with the general advice favouring a standard four-colour type hero game, but with other possibilities.  This is the Primary Rule that actually exists in game.  Be superhero-like.  The title obviously suggests it, too.

Having played a couple of times, it is quite suited to bringing a new player in.  What can your hero do?  What are they best at?  Ok, that is an 8, the others are at 6, we will work out the abilities and some minor powers as we go.  Done in a minute or two.

The Power Level chart could use reiteration of listing earlier, I think, before Page 67:

Again, the base mechanic being roll 2, keep 1, the highest.


PL Dice
2  d1
3  d4
4  d4, d4
5  d6, d4
6  d6, d6
7  d8, d6
8  d8, d8
9  d10, d8
10  d10, d10
11  d12, d10
12  d12, d12
13  d8+5, d13
14  d8+5, d8+5
15  d10+5, d8+5,
16  d10+5, d10+5,
17  d12+5, d10+5

Definitely a lot better than I thought it would be.  The advice for Gamemasters section is longer than Villains & Vigilantes and Super Squadron, at least in page count.

Abstract ranges and measurement means a fiction-weighted rules light game that holds together very nicely and would suit lots of people. 

4 out of 5

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Gamer's Handbook of the Marvel Universe 1 Abomination thru Dreadnought - Scott Bennie

Definitely more bad people in this one.
Aguila, Alpha Primitives, American Eagle, Ancient One, Andromeda, Ant-Man, Arabian Knight, Archangel, Asgardians [Frey, Frigga, Heimdall, Hermod, Hoder, Idunn, Sigyn, Tyr, Vidar, Volla, ], Aurora, -- Absorbing Man, Air-Walker, Angar the Screamer, Ani-Men [Ape-Man, Bird-Man, Cat-Man, Dragonfly, Frog-Man, ], Annihilus, Apocalypse [Pestilence, War, Famine, Death, ], Aquarian, Arcade [Miss Locke, Mr Chambers,], Ares, Ariel, Arkon, Armadillo, Arnim Zola, Astronomer, Attuma, Avalanche,
Balder, Battlestar, Beast, Beta Flight [Goblyn, Manikin, Purple Girl, ], Binary, Black Bolt, Black Crow, Black Knight, Black Panther, Black Widow, Boom Boom, Box, Brother Voodoo, --- Baron Blood, Baron Mordo, Baron Strucker, Baron Zemo [I, II, ], Basilisk, Batrock [Machete, Porcupine, Living Lasers, Swordsman, Whirlwind, Zaran,], Beetle, Belasco, Beyonder, Black Cat, Black King, Black Queen, Black Talon, Blacklash, Blackout, Blastaar, Blizzard, Blob, Boomerang, Brothers Grimm,
Cannonball, Captain America [Super Patriot, Captain America II, Captain America III, Captain America IV, ], Captain Britain, Captain Mar-Vell, Captain Marvel, Captain Universe, Sean Cassidy, Champions of Xandar [Nova Prime, Protector, Comet, Crimebuster, Powerhouse], Chance, Clea, Cloak, Rusty Collins, Colossus, Cyclops, Cypher, --- Caliban, Captain Ultra, Black Tom Cassidy, Celestials [Arishem, Eson, Gammenon, Hargen, Jemiah, Nezar, One Above All, Oneg, Tefral, Ziran, ], Champion, Changeling, Chief Examiner, Chthon, Circus of Crime [Blackwing, Bruto Clown, Fire-Eater, Great Gambonnos, Human Cannonball, Live Wire, Princes Python, Rajah, Teena the Fat Lady, ], Collector, Constrictor, Contemplator, Controller, Corruptor, Count Nefaria, Crimson Dynamo,
Dagger, Dakimh the Enchanted, Daredevil, Darkstar, Deathlok, Devil-Dinosaur [Moon Boy, ], Doc Samson, Doctor Druid, Doctor Strange, Drax,
--- D'Spayre, Darkoth, Death, Death-Stalker, Death-Throws [Ringleader, Oddball, Bombshell, Tenpin, Knicknack, ], Deathbird, Destiny, Destiny I, Deviants [Cro, Reject, Karkas, Ghaur,], Diablo [Air, Water, Earth, Fire, Trans-Mutant,], Doctor Demonicus, Doctor Doom [Doctor Doom II, Doomsmen, Guardian Robots, Guardbots, ], Doctor Octopus, Doctor Pym [Ant-Man, Giant-Man, Goliath, Yellowjacket, ], Doctor Sun, Dormammu, Dracula, Dragon Man, Dreadknight, Dreadnought,
0.79 Character Density

Dial S For Superhumans - Chad Underkoffler

Characters from a contest

Black Cat, --- Biomechanic, 
Captain Security, Challenger --- Commander Cyclops,
Decibelle, --- Dark Ghost, 
Edgewise, Eye Robot,
Glider, Goblynn, --- Gerbil, 
Kid Caffeine,
Mystic Blue, --- Mantra,
 --- Nemesis
Ochre, Omnis, --- Overseer,
Private Eye (Light) --- Private Eye (Dark)
 --- Red Rodrii,
 Sun Daughter, --- The Sight, Silver Jolt,
 Will O' the Wisp

This is free :-

0.00 Character Cost
0.81 Character Density

Concrete Jungle - Jeff Grubb

Another [thing=43636][/thing] accessory, this supplement is similar.  It lists the protagonists and antagonists of Marvel New York at the time form the Kingpin and Gladiator to the Porcupine.  Also includes supporting cast like the other similar books, so Foggy Nelson, Mary Jane Watson, etc.  Plenty of miscreat in this exceptional value Basic Game supplement.

Anaconda, Arnim Zola,
Black Widow, Becky Blake, --- Baron Zemo, Black Cat, Beetle, Black Mamba, Bullseye,
Cloak, --- Cobra, Crimson Dynamo,
Dagger, Daredevil, --- Death Adder, Doctor Octopus,
 --- Elektra,
 --- Fly,
 --- Gladiator, Green Goblin,
 --- Hobgoblin, Hydro-Man,
 --- Iron Fist,
J. Jonah Jameson, --- Jester,
 --- Kingpin, Kraven,
 --- Lizard,
Moon Knight, Misty Knight, --- Madame Masque, Mister Fear, Mister Hyde, Molten Man, Moonstone, Morbius, Mysterio,
Nomad, Franklin "Foggy" Nelson --- Nitro,
Paladin, Powerman, May Parker, --- Porcupine, Professor Power, Punisher,
Joseph "Robbie" Robertson, Bernadette Rosenthal, --- Red Skull,
Spider-Man, Stick, --- Sandman, Scarecrow, Scorpion, Sidewinder, Shocker, Swarm,
 --- Taskmaster, Titanium Man,
Union Jack, Ben Urich, --- Unicorn,
Mary Jane Watson, Colleen Wing, White Tiger --- Will O' the Wisp,

Could have multi-columned some more Morts in this 36 pages here though.  However:

1.78 Character Density

4.5 out of 5

Children of the Atom - Kim Eastland

The [thing=45410][/thing] version of Project Wideawake, Children of the Atom called itself the official guidebook to mutants.  That means the good and the bad.  And there is a lot of bad in this one.

Angel, Avalanche, El Aguila, Aurora, --- Ariel, Annalee, Ape, Apocalypse, Arcade, Amphibus, Acanti, Astra,
Banshee, Beast, Binary, --- Black Bishop, Black King, Black Queen [Selene], Black Rook, Blob, Beautiful Dreamer, Burner, Black Tom, Barbarus, Brainchild, Brood,
Changeling, Colossus, Cyclops, Rusty Collins, Cannonball, Cypher, Lila Cheney, Dr Valerie Cooper, Peter Corbeau, Corsair, Ch'Od --- Catseye, Chance, Callisto, Caliban, Joseph "Licorice" Calhoun, Mr Chambers,
Dazzler, --- Destiny, Devil Dinosaur, Darkstar, Diamond Lil, Deathbird,
 --- Empath, Erg, Willie Evans Jr, Equilibrius, Earthquake, Electron,
Firestar, Forge, Sharon Friedlander, --- Alexander Flynn, Frenzy, Flashback, Fenris [Andrea/Andreas Strucker], Fang,
Peter Henry Gyrich, --- Gremlin, Gypsy Moth, Gaza, Gladiators, Gladiator,
Havok, Stevie Hunter, Hepzibah, --- Healer, Cameron Hodge, Hobgoblin, Hussar,
Iceman, --- Imperial Guard, Impulse,
 --- Jetstream, Juggernaut,
Lockheed, Lilandra, --- Lorelei, Leech, Link, Lifter, Legion, Miss Locke, Lady Deathstrike, Living Monolith, Lupo,
Magneto, Mimic, Marvel Girl, Arthur Maddicks, Magik, Magma, Mirage, Moira MacTaggert, --- Mastermind, Mystique, Madrox, Moon Boy, Masque, Mandrill, Mesmero, Magus, Morlocks, Magic, Manta, Mentor, Midget,
Nightcrawler, Northstar, --- Michael Nowlan, Nekra, Nuklo, Nightshade, Nimrod
Phoenix [original], Phoenix [current], Polaris, Professor X, --- Pyro, Piper [Morlock, Plague, Poltergeist, Peeper, Proteus, Piper [Savage Land],
Rogue, Judith Rassendyll, Raza, --- Roulette,
Shadowcat, Storm, Sunfire, Skids, Sunspot, Scarlet Witch, Amanda Sefton, Sikorsky, --- Spider-Woman, Spiral, Siryn, Sunder, Slither, Shocker, Sabertooth, Silver Samurai, Sauron, Smasher, Starbolt, Sidri, Sentinels [Mark I-VI, X, Alpha, Omega,],
Thunderbird (original), Tattletale, --- Tessa, Tarot, Thunderbird [current], Toad, Time Bomb, Tar Baby, Timeshadow, Taskmaster, Larry Trask, Tempest, Titan,
 --- Unus, Ursa Major,
 --- Vanisher, Vanguard, Viper [and agents,],
Mariko Yashida,
Wolverine, Warlock, Wolfsbane, Waldo --- White Bishop, White King, White Queen, Whirlwind, Warstar,

Compare 100 pages of this to 200+ of Champions Worldwide.  Great value character density thanks to the triple column format and simple but descriptive game stats of MSH.  Best value monster manual style supplement I ever came across that wasn't a GHOTMU.

It wasn't just my imagination over the years how good a deal this one was :-

1.84 Character Density [Otherwise know as The Leader]

5 out of 5

Avengers Assembled - Bruce Nesmith

Another for the [thing=43636][/thing]
This is a sourcebook detailing the Avengers and their enemies, of which many are listed like Kang, Attuma, Graviton etc.
Heroes --- Villains
Ant-Man --- Absorbing Man, Arsenal, Attuma,
Beast, Black Knight, Black Panther, Black Widow,
Captain America, Captain Marvel, --- Collector, Captain Mar-Vell,
Giant Man, Goliath, Goliath II, --- Graviton, Grey Gargoyle, Grim Reaper,
Hawkeye, Hercules, Hulk,
Iron Man,
--- Kang, Klaw,
--- Living Laser, Loki,
Mantis, Moondragon, Ms. Marvel, --- Mad Thinker, Mandarin, Mandroid armor,
--- Ringmaster, Ronan the Accuser,
Scarlet Witch, She-Hulk, Starfox, Swordsman, --- Super-Adaptoid, Supreme Intelligence,
Thor, Tigra --- Taskmaster,
--- Ultron,
Wasp, Wonder Man --- Whirlwind,
Yellow Jacket,
1.36 Character Density
4.5 out of 5

Avengers Coast to Coast - Edward G. Sollers

An expanded Avengers heroes and villains book for the Marvel Super Heroes Advanced Set with more characters and information.
Heroes --- Villains
Ant-Man I, Ant-Man II, --- Absorbing Man, Ares, Armadillo, Arnim Zola, Attuma,
Beast, Black Knight, Black Panther, Black Widow, Byron Justinian Gamble, --- Baron Zemo I, Baron Zemo II, Black Knight [Nathan Garrett], Blackout, Black Talon, Bob Cat,
Captain Marvel, Captain Ultra, --- Collector, Controller,
Drax the Destroyer, --- Deathurge,
Edwin Jarvis, --- Egghead, Enchantress, Enclave [Carlo Zota, Maris Morlak, Wladyslav Shinski, Him,], Executioner,
Falcon, Firebird, --- Fixer,
Guardsman, Giant-Man I, Goliath I, Goliath II, Ghost Rider [Hamilton Slade], --- Goliath, Grandmaster, Graviton, Grey Gargoyle, Grim Reaper,
Hellcat, Hulk, Henry Pym,
Iron Man [Tony Stark, James Rhoades: Mark II, III, IV armours, --- Immortus,
Ka-Zar, --- Kang, Korvac,
--- Lava Men, Living Laser,
Mantis, Moondragon, Ms. Marvel, Mentor, Ms. Marvel, --- Mad Thinker, Maelstrom [and Gronk, Helio, Phobius,], Man-Ape, Master Pandemonium, Melter, Mister Hyde, Modred the Mystic, Moonstone, Metallus,
Namorita, --- Nebula [Gunthar of Rigel, Kehl of Tauran, Levan of Sark, Skunge the Laxidazian Troll,], Nekra,
Rick Jones, Red Wolf, --- Radioactive Man, Rama-Tut, Ronan the Accuser,
Quicksilver, Quasar,
Stingray, Scarlet Witch, Starfox, Swordsman, Shooting Star --- Sentry [Kree], Scarlet Centurion, Shocker, Scourge, Screaming Mimi, Space Phantom, Squadron Sinister [Doctor Spectrum, Hyperion, Nighthawk, Speed Demon], Stankowicz, Spinner, Fabian, Super Skrull, Supreme Intelligence, Spinner, Shadow,
Thor [update], Texas Twister --- Taskmaster, Tiger Shark, Thanos, Titania,
--- Ultron-5, Ultron-6, Ultron-8, Ultron-12,
Yellowjacket, Yellowjacket II,
Whirlwind, The Wrecking Crew [Wrecker, Thunderball, Bulldozer, Piledriver,],
So a good deal as you can see...also has an adventure and The Avengers charter at the start among other things...hence some out of order grouping them to save space in smaller print where the [...] lists boost the bad guy numbers
I believe they leave out people like Captain America as they were in the Judges book...which maybe should get added..and the Thor is an update and Iron Man has various armour versions
1.31 Character Density

Monday, November 25, 2013

Skirmishes 1 - Kristine Kathryn Rusch

"Hell, the only other functional Fleet ship in this entire universe for all he knew"

4 out of 5

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Marvel Super Heroes 20 year campaign highlights - Chris Tamm

"Marvel Super Heroes - A 20 year campaign.

I started superhero gaming in 84 with champions. It was fun and making characters seemed fun but there were some bugs. Tried superworld too. The thing that puts me off both these great games is points. Gurps too but gurps classic world books were easy to add to other games. Point games break when you cant keep the villains weapon even if you could buy one off the shelf. Aussie game Super Squadron in early 80s had a few fans too - a bit of a Villains and Vigilantes rip with less rules. Id still like all the V&V villains books."


5 out of 5

Superhero Metroplexual: We Built this City on 250 Points - Lowell Francis

Superhero Metroplexual: We Built this City on 250 Points

In my discussion of superhero cities, I left out a few interesting locations without individual sourcebooks. You can see my awesome list here- Superhero Cities. I went back find some I'd missed. Kerberos Club for example, has an amazing section on London in the setting. It nicely conveys tone and offers playable possibilities. It shows a Victorian-era London dramatically impacted by the relatively recent emergence of supers, magick and other high weirdness. I could easily see running a London-centered campaign based on this. Mutant City Blues, on the other hand, offers some historical background on the setting, and then sixteen pages of material for the urban locale of your choice. I like that- the corporations, people and places suggested there offer a concrete connection to the premise of the game. They reinforce the ideas and allow players and GMs access to those stories. But they’re also written broadly enough to fit into whichever city you opt to use. Finally, I was a little surprised when I went back to look at the Smallville rpg. I’d assumed that they would have significant material on Smallville or Metropolis, but the sketchy material only takes up a couple of pages. I wonder if the Smallville High School Yearbook has more stuff. 

5 out of 5

Cities of Steel: Superhero Urban Sourcebooks - Lowell Francis

Cities of Steel: Superhero Urban Sourcebooks

"So I've put together a list of superhero rpg cities with individually published treatments. I focused on dedicated sourcebooks over cities presented in a corebook or as part of a supplement (in most cases). I started with an easy fifteen. 

1. Hazard IPSP / ISIS Official Map 7 
I may be stretching the definition pretty far, but this was- I believe the first city/setting/location sourcebook for a superhero rpg. Superhero 2044 may have been an unplayable game, but I think it speaks for my enthusiasm that I remember playing it with some joy (until V&V 1e came along). I picked this supplement out when it came out and remember there being a kind of high tech island city of some kind. My memory's fuzzy on that- but it was the only supplement produced for the game so I had to have it and use it. I recall trying to combine that with the urban patrol rules given in the main book. "

5 out of 5

Why Buy Settings? More Thoughts on Supers - Lowell Francis

Why Buy Settings? More Thoughts on Supers

So Wednesday saw the publication of Flashpoint: Project Superman #3, finishing out the series I wrote. Gene and Art did an amazing job under a tight deadline. It looks great. The pages in a few places fell exactly as I hoped- pages 2 & 3 we set up will parallel panel design and they ended up being facing pages. I love the effect of that especially because you have a really strong set of visual and narrative contrasts working there as well. I enjoyed doing this book, which was a challenge. We were among the last of the tie-in series to wrap up. Next week the last book of the Flashpoint spine series comes out. That will finish out this event and lead into the new relaunched 52 DC books. The keys to why that relaunch happens are in the Flashpoint books, but the event itself stands as a whole.

4.5 out of 5

Inventory: Supers RPG Settings - Lowell Francis


Inventory: Supers RPG Settings

I really enjoy superhero games- after fantasy, they’re probably my second favorite to run. Over the years I’ve seen a lot of games systems come and go. Personally, I’ve settled on Mutants and Masterminds 2e as my go to system- but among our group there’s still a strong contingent holding out for Champions. I’ve been interested in the ways supers as a concept gets applied to gaming. Certainly the earliest games had some interesting tensions between the desire to be able to emulate existing comics and the desire to write their own stories. If you look at the covers and art to some of those books you can see a number of palette-swapped versions of classic characters."

4.5 out of 5

The Superhero Genre in RPGs - Play On Target

"Welcome to the 20th episode of the Play On Target podcast (PLOT for short). This episode features a discussion about the Superhero Genre in RPGs.  Which Superhero RPG is best for new players and GMs? Which game is more crunchy? Which is more rules-lite? Which allows you to make your own special super hero? Which allows you to play your favorite comic book hero? Is the Superhero Genre immune to advances in technology (in terms of story)? What does a Superhero Genre game bring to the table that other games don’t bring? How easy is it to get into Superhero genre RPGs if a player isn’t familiar with the tropes of the Supers Universes? We ask all these questions and many more! We hope you enjoy listening to the discussion. Did we get anything wrong? Let us know in the comments or start a discussion on RPG Geek."

4.5 out of 5

History of Superhero RPGs Part Four: 1993-1996 - Lowell Francis

History of Superhero RPGs (Part Four: 1993-1996)

When my friend Art Lyon returned from the service, he ran a couple of homebrew superhero campaigns for us. We had a great time playing, but the system was legitimately bonkers- in the most awesome way. He reminded me recently that he had tables for all the factors: speed, weight, time, etc. The time one went from a Planck Unit at the bottom to the age of the universe. The system he came up with had the kind of detail and system dithering he dug at that moment in his life. Now, Art said, not so much. Sometimes we don’t know exactly what we want from games. My friend Gene objects to the number of different and distinct status effects in Mutants & Masterminds: too many. At the same time he wants to retool the strength table because the math’s incorrect and cuts corners in abstraction. (Note: it is entirely possible that I’m misstating his objections here). 

5 out of 5

History of Superhero RPGs Part Three: 1986-1992 - Lowell Francis

History of Superhero RPGs (Part Three: 1986-1992)

I stuck with core books when assembled my other RPG histories. But with supers- near and dear to my heart- I couldn’t stop there. Secondary sourcebooks and setting materials define these game lines for me. Villains & Vigilantes wouldn’t be the same without Death Duel with the Destroyers. DC Heroes needs the Hardware Handbook to offer another valiant attempt at a workable gadgets system. The various supplements shift Aberrant from just odd to over-the-top crazy. My Play on Target co-host Brian Cooksey cites Marvel’s Ultimate Powers Book as crucial- a resource for any supers game. I feel the same way about Villainy Amok for Champions 5e. Early Champions, on the other hand, lives in my memory for the first two Enemies books, Monster Manuals of the superhero game. They offered weird characters who popped repeatedly over the decades in many GMs’ campaigns. The list below includes a couple of game-changer supplements, including one of the best for any supers game. 

5 out of 5

History of Superhero RPGs Part Two: 1983-1985 - Lowell Francis

History of Superhero RPGs (Part Two: 1983-1985)

In '84 I walked several blocks to yet another hole-in-the-wall comic book store. It lasted less than a year. At the time I only bought big titles I followed- X-Men, The Defenders, and anything by Frank Miller. I had spare money so I went through the 25-cent bargain bin and found a couple dozen issues each of oddball books- Arion Lord of Atlantis and Swamp Thing. At home read through those haphazardly until I hit the last couple of issues of Swamp Thing…the ones with a new writer named Alan Moore. It sounds clichéd, but those books changed what I got out of comics. I’d enjoyed the solid superhero storytelling of Miller, Claremont, and Wolfman before that, but this offered something new. Gene Ha, who would later go on to work with Moore, agreed. I lent him "The Anatomy Lesson" and he went absolutely nuts. It was all he could talk about in Honors Biology for the next several days. But the rest of my gaming group went meh. They had other books they loved. "

5 out of 5

The Reboot Supers Campaign: Worth It? - Lowell Francis


The Reboot Supers Campaign: Worth It?

A follow-up today to my post on superhero RPG ideas from DC’s relaunch yesterday. Eisner-award winning artist and illustrator for Flashpoint Project Superman* Gene Ha added a comment to my post yesterday. He brought up a couple of interesting ideas. I’ve been thinking about setting generally, and superhero settings in particular- which is a post I want to come back to. But Gene’s forced my hand, so I thought I could probably get a 1000 words out of a response. I’ll also point to a post on this topic from Dice Monkey."

5 out of 5

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Random Wizard Interview - Graeme Davis

"RW: I was recently in correspondence with Philip Gallagher. I asked him a similar question as the following and thought it would be interesting to get your perspective on the same question. You created the Warhammer Fantasy Roleplaying game (with Richard Halliwell, Rick Priestley, Jim Bambra, and Philip Gallagher) which took the European market by storm. And then, to top it all off, you helped write the Enemy Within campaign which many consider the greatest fantasy adventure ever created for any roleplaying game system. At the time, did it seem as though the work office at Games Workshop was exploding with creativity? Can you relate a little bit to the readers what the process for creating the Enemy Within material? Was being at Games Workshop a fun place to work?

GD: The GW design studio was a very creative environment when I joined the company, and it was a great place to work. We all had wacky/childish senses of humor, as you can see from the in-jokes and silly stories on the backs of minis boxes and elsewhere, and we were always coming up with ridiculous ideas to see what we could get away with. We had a regular weekly playtest evening when the company provided pizza and people brought in the latest games they had designed, as well as evaluating games submitted by fans. It was a lot of fun."

4 out of 5

Friday, November 15, 2013

FATE: Apotheosis Drive X : Neon Genesis Cybertron

FATE: Apotheosis Drive X - Neon Genesis Cybertron

The Angel threat has been defeated in a surreal apotheostic haze.  Or so we thought. An independent astronomy station saw it first.  A much, much bigger threat.  Titan Angels.

Draft 1.1  April 22, 2013 - Blue Tyson


The near Evangelion future.  The humans have fought off the Angel threat.  Or so they thought.  Pragmatic reality intrudes on psychedelic reverie.  A not-quite finished project is scrambled into action to try and stop the threat.  The only defense that can possibly work is a MegaTitan and this weapon can only be piloted by a Titan. Three senior Titan pilots draw lots to fly the prototype and Ayanami wins.

A cataclysmic conflict leads to a victory of a sort after a 17 second confrontation.  Along with the loss of North Korea (which no-one ever noticed in anime anyway) and most of the MegaTitan.  A recovery team finds what is left of the pilot inside the scrap, in a coma, short a couple of limbs. At the same time, some sort of backlash effect leaves the other two pilots curled into foetal balls, gibbering about horrors from beyond space and time.  Nothing can bring them out of it, and only an abundance of stuffed penguins seems to calm their ravings.

With their only hope of operating MegaTitans about as competent for combat as fluffy pet rabbits the military and civilian heads agree that the time has come.  The authorisation of the reactivation of a secret Antarctic base.

Roll out: Stasis Project Cybertron.  

Containing the only known beings capable of piloting a MegaTitan unaided.

Optimus Prime.



Test the MegaTitans
Build a new MegaTitan Green
Don't get shafted by Megatron
Mediate Autobot-Decepticon Conflict
Finish hybrid crewed MegaTitan Pink
Politics and spy games
Restore The Korea Zone
Rumours ask: Is there a God Machine?
Deal with tougher Titan Angels



Note, statistics are given for Autobots and Deceptions on Transformers scale.

Optimus Prime

Autobots, Roll Out!
We Must Live Together With the Humans
Freedom Is the Right of All Sentient Beings

F: Incredible +4  
A: Excellent +2
S: Amazing +5
E: Monstrous +6
R: Excellent +2
I: Excellent +2
P: Excellent +2

Resources  Excellent (+2)
Popularity  Remarkable (+3)

Other Skills

Incredible (+4) Blaster, Courage, Leadership, Warfare
Remarkable (+3) Body Armour
Excellent (+2) Speed: Truck Form, Drive
Good (+1) Engineering


Decepticons, transform and rise up!
I'm In Charge!
I Deserve to Rule All Cybertron
Primes!  We hates them, precious

F: Incredible +4  
A: Excellent +2
S: Incredible +4
E: Amazing +5
R: Excellent +2
I: Excellent +2
P: Good +1

Resources  Excellent (+2)
Popularity  -Remarkable (-3)

Other Skills

Amazing (+5) Blaster
Remarkable (+3) Body Armour, Leadership, Warfare
Good (+1) Engineering, Speed


Hot Car
The Least Likely Can Be the Most Dangerous
Must Prove Myself

F: Excellent +2  
A: Incredible +4
S: Remarkable +3
E: Remarkable +3
R: Good +1
I: Remarkable +3
P: Excellent +2

Resources  Good (+1)
Popularity  Remarkable (+3)

Other Skills

Amazing (+5) Drive
Remarkable (+3) Speed: Car Form, Sonic Blaster
Excellent (+2) Body Armour
Good (+1) Engineering  


Autobot Muscle
Hi-tech circuitry is no replacement for guts
Protecting is What I Do

F: Remarkable +3  
A: Excellent +2
S: Amazing +5
E: Amazing +5
R: Typical +0
I: Good +1
P: Good +1

Resources  Good (+1)
Popularity  Good (+1)

Other Skills

Amazing (+5) Body Armour, Shield
Remarkable (+3) Blaster
Excellent (+2) Speed: Truck Form  


Stylish Autobot
Right Hand Autobot
Pop Culture is cool

F: Remarkable +3  
A: Excellent +2
S: Remarkable +3
E: Remarkable +3
R: Typical +0
I: Good +1
P: Good +1

Resources  Good (+1)
Popularity  Excellent (+2)

Other Skills

Incredible (+4)  Communications
Remarkable (+3) Blaster, Speed: Car Form
Excellent (+2)  Body Armour, Contacts, Arts [Popular Culture]


Civilian Head

Secretive Bureaucrat

F: Typical +0  
A: Typical +0
S: Typical +0
E: Good +1
R: Excellent +2
I: Excellent +2
P: Excellent +2

Resources  Incredible (+4)
Popularity  Good (+1)

Other Skills

Incredible (+4)  Administration, Politics

Military Head

Aging military genius

F: Excellent +2  
A: Good +1
S: Excellent +2
E: Good +1
R: Good +1
I: Excellent +2
P: Excellent +2

Resources  Incredible (+4)
Popularity  Excellent (+2)

Other Skills

Incredible (+4)  Leadership, Politics, Warfare

MegaTitan (Green/Orange generation)

F: Monstrous +6  
A: Incredible +4
S: Monstrous +6
E: Monstrous +6

Other Skills

Monstrous (+6) Blaster
Amazing (+5) Body Armour
Incredible (+4) Speed

Titan Angel

F: Unearthly +7  
A: Amazing +5
S: Unearthly +7
E: Unearthly +7

Other Skills

Unearthly (+7) Blaster
Monstrous (+6) Body Armour
Amazing (+5) Speed


The Titan Angels will keep coming.  Probably getting worse. The third MegaTitan is to be a hybrid that requires one of the other Autobots [or Decepticons if that is how you fly] to pilot it, along with a team of humans.  Eventually the Project wants them to be human only for obvious reasons.  Any humans trying to operate the Green or Orange MegaTitans will be brainfried after a few minutes.  As in out of Fate Points.

So player characters could be Autobots etc. or the team of humans working on the new MegaTitan - pilots, scientists, engineers, etc.  It will require a crew of several to fly it.  One robot, several small people.

Are the rumours about the God Machine true?  Is there another level of Titan?  How big is it?  How does it work?  Joining?  A three level Matrioshka?  Other?


There are three :-

MegaTitan/Titan Angel


Being a big Marvel Super Heroes fan from way back, this is how I like to think:

Value    Adjective

+13 Cosmic 5 (Class 5000)
+12 Cosmic 3 (Class 3000)
+11 Cosmic 1 (Class 1000)
+10 Legendary Z (Shift Z)
+9  Legendary Y (Shift Y)
+8    Legendary X (Shift X)
+7    Unearthly (Epic)
+6    Monstrous (Fantastic)
+5    Amazing (Superb)
+4    Incredible (Great)
+3    Remarkable (Good)
+2    Excellent (Fair)
+1    Good (Average)
+0    Typical (Mediocre)
-1    Poor
-2    Feeble (Terrible)
-3    Awful 0 (Shift 0)
-4    Abysmal

FASERIP - basic human attributes

Physique is split compared to Core, into a Strength component and an Endurance component, the latter of which should be used for the Stress track.  Reason is native intelligence.

Fighting (Fight)
Agility (Athletics)
Intuition (Notice)
Psyche (Will)


Popularity is a measure of charisma, reputation and public influence. If you like, bad people can have a negative popularity ladder equivalent.  Supervillains, mass murderers, ruthless thugs in The Ball, etc.



Neon Geneis Evangelion : Wikipedia -