Tuesday, December 17, 2013

4C System Breakdown Review - Phil Reed

4C System Breakdown Review - Phil Reed

Public Domain, Free from Multiple places in multiple formats

e.g. there are character sheets, Master Tables etc., look for those too

http://rpg.drivethrustuff.com/product/50837/Four-Color-System-%28Core-Rules%29
https://archive.org/details/4cSystemSuperheroRoleplayinglibreEdition

4C SYSTEM - Page 1

A toolkit rather than a complete game system.  Notes for gamers and publishers, emphasising the public domain aspect.

Hall of Heroes - Page 2

The Really Cool People that donated several years ago so that Phil could take the time to write this.  Notes on Dice and Advanced breakouts.

Contents - Page 3 - Table of

Text is public domain, not the artwork.


CHARACTERS - Page 4

Character Origin - Robot, Alien, Skilled Human, Changed Human, Mutant, Technologically Enhanced - with Advanced Options that modify Traits.

Let's create an example while going through:

Roll 54 = Superhuman.

Traits - Page 5

Primary - Melee, Coordination, Brawn, Fortitude, Intellect, Awareness, Willpower.  MCBFIAW = FASERIP
Secondary - Damage, Fortune, Lifestyle, Repute = Health, Karma, Resources, Popularity

9 Rolls = 80, 25, 22, 39, 56, 41, 63, 33, 56 and 54

M: Incredible (40) 
C: Good (10)
B: Good (10)
F: Good (10)
I: Excellent (20)
A: Remarkable (30)
W: Good (10)

D: 70
F: 60
L: Excellent (20)
R: 18


Rank Values - Page 7

Giving several examples...e.g. Extraordinary, Remarkable, Super for 30-39.
Points out that Advanced game uses 18 different ranks counting 0 compared with 12 for the Basic.

Skills - Page 7 - Number of and their use.

Roll 78 = 3 Skills

Contacts - Advanced option to replace a Skill with a Contact

Powers - Page 8 - Number of

Roll 32 = 3 Powers

Power Types - Page 9 - Includes Description

There are Basic and Advanced Power Selection Tables

Using the Basic Table

3 Rolls = 69, 67, 11

Shapeshift, Regeneration and Claws


PLAYING THE GAME - Page 20

Details how to use the Master Table and the results for various colours.
Black = Failed, Red = Minor Success, Blue = Success, Yellow = Major Success.
Then the Advanced Table and Row Steps for when you get bonuses and penalties to actions.

Altering the Dice - Spending Fortune - 25 points moves the result one colour for one roll.

Combat turns and Initiative which is optional...the side's highest Awareness is a bonus to the roll.  Melee attack description.

Movement - Page 21

Governed by Coordination rank - Advanced options on Page 22 with Swimming and Exhaustion.

Combat Tables - Page 23

What the colours mean for Melee, Slashing, Ranged, Rushing, Wrestlng, Dodging Attacks.

Multiple Attacks - Page 25

For Melee attacks - get a Yellow and affect everyone as if a Red was rolled. That is a Minor Success on everybody needs a Major Success roll.

Damage - Page 25

Explains damage and the additions from small and large weapons of +5 and +10.
Pulling punches - you can reduce damage or the result. e.g. aiming for someone's leg with a gun so you won't kill them by accident.

Advanced Combat - Page 26

Block, Evade, Catching and Waiting

Material Substances - Page 27

How hard it is to break things and Combat results from the above.


GAMEMASTERING - Page 29

A toolkit, so no lengthy digressions. Advice on using the table, character Health/Vitality, Fortunes/Karma and Lifestyle/Resources and how they are gained and lost.  Tables and modifiers for Repute/Popularity interactions and modifiers.

Vehicles - Page 30

Handling, Durability and Combat. e.g. what happens if a character with Body Armour runs into your vehicle?  Also a very short sample list.

Character Advancement - Page 32

A slightly out-of-genre thing for superheroes, it notes.  The spending of Fortune to increase Traits, Powers and Skills.  Even gain a new power at random with 1000 points if something happened in game to warrant it.

Master Table - Page 34 - A one page colour version to print.


Genre Suitability: Any.  Street level is perhaps the weakest point for FASERIP games and would need the most tweaking.  Colourful heroics are fine.
Artwork: Very basic minimal black and white.


0 0ut of 10 Price (lower is cheaper per page)
1 out of 10 Length (lower is shorter)
3 out of 10 Complexity (lower is easier)
6 out of 10 Playability
5 out of 10 Artwork

6.5 out of 10 Overall


A free public domain gaming toolkit is an excellent thing for the community to have available. So bonus points there. Even more so when it is from one of my favourite games.  For such a short game it covers the basics in old school fashion. None of the lengthier playing the game or gamemaster sections exist.

A very simple descriptive percentile dice Universal Table mechanic with great freedom of action that can easily be taught to people as an introduction.  The table enhances superheroic flavour in its nomenclature.  An admirable thing.  The game plays quickly. There's a nice free character sheet available that actually has the table on the Character Sheet as well.

One day soon hopefully I can do a fleshed out version and have 4CSERIP and FATERIP mirroring each other.  Genre rules a la DC Heroes is something I have in mind.

There is of course all the http://classicmarvelforever.com for all the old gaming material.

4CS is simpler than MSH so it is definitely in the lower complexity range while offering some tactical type options for those that like that sort of thing.  Games in this moderate range appeal to me most as far as ratings bias goes. Plus I was a backer.

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