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Author Topic: Superhero RPGs - Looking For Mid-Crunch Recommendations  (Read 689 times)

ChaosCowboy

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Superhero RPGs - Looking For Mid-Crunch Recommendations
« on: June 21, 2022, 05:25:04 PM »
Hello folks! New user but some-length lurker on this forum. Given rpg.net is literal cancer and Reddit is a lost cause I've been looking for some tolerable communities especially given the veritable rainbow of virtue signalling during this particularly egregious month.

Ironically despite that statement I am looking for some system suggestions for probably the gayest of rpg concepts: the superhero. Looking for something at Mid-Crunch. Sick to fucking death with dnd and it's ilk I'm looking to play something different with enough meat on its mechanical bone to make character customization fun without requiring an Excel spreadsheet or overpriced character creation software to manage. And with light enough mechanics to allow for emergent storytelling and fun off the cuff scenarios so I don't have to prep all week between sessions and can handle my players bring super and not even bothering with rails but I'm also wanting to avoid the pretentious super rules lite stuff especially anything that rotates GM's or doesn't even really have a gm.

Systems I enjoy that aren't dnd are Genesys, which I wish had its own proper superhero supplement cause the third party DMS guild like content isn't wowing me and the discord community has be banned cause the guy in charge is a leftist zealot.

MM3 has obscene character creation but I kinda like the concept and it does have official DC support - my favorite superheroes - but it seems too dnd like and the official discord's rules stopped me from going further with the levels of 'we punch wrongthinkers' cringe.

Savage worlds is something im looking at but I'm not sold on its ability to be run without a battlemap which is soemthing I wanna avoid and I hate the distances being measured in fucking inches like this is Warhammer. Pro is it has foundry VTT support which I own. Negative is I'm still not sure I 'get' the system.

Palladium games and any of those other obscenely overcomplicate messes from the 90s are a no go.

Supers! Revised looks interesting. So does Sentinels rpg. Not sure on crunch levels but with superheroes I'm of the opinion a robust character creation system is key. Which is why powered by the apocalypse of those other gnaff gamebook crap systems are off the table. Too new age for me anyway.

Anyway anyone got any suggestions or thoughts? Vtt support on foundry or roll20 if only a working sheet is a big big plus as I only play online these days. Preference for games that can handle a variety of superhero types rather than forcing a particular story gimmick on you. Willing to m play games from literal commies as long as the game isn't weaponized cringe itself.

moonsweeper

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Re: Superhero RPGs - Looking For Mid-Crunch Recommendations
« Reply #1 on: June 21, 2022, 06:15:00 PM »
While I'm not a big Savage Worlds fan, I have been a player in a few campaigns.   The most recent being a 6 month run of Necessary Evil, which is a supers style game.  We had no problems at all playing without a battlemat and the system seemed to work well for supers.

If you need specifics, tenbones is the local SW expert and proselytizer.
« Last Edit: June 21, 2022, 06:22:53 PM by moonsweeper »
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APN

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Re: Superhero RPGs - Looking For Mid-Crunch Recommendations
« Reply #2 on: June 21, 2022, 06:23:46 PM »
Codename Spandex is free and a clone of the Golden Heroes RPG. Firmly based in street to mid level level you won't find much in the way of Justice League level stuff but depends what you're looking for.

If you want something a bit more modern there's Destined which is by the Mythras guys. D100 based.

Agree what you say about Mutants and Masterminds. Bought every version of the game and my mind shuts down with character creation. Game plays ok.


oggsmash

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Re: Superhero RPGs - Looking For Mid-Crunch Recommendations
« Reply #3 on: June 21, 2022, 06:26:36 PM »
  Never did a superhero game with Savage worlds, but I have run Rifts a few times (Cyber knight, Full conversion cyborg, Ley line walker, power armor soldier, and Thundarr the Barbarian in party of characters) and that is honestly more or less super heros.  No need for a battlemap, and it can handle most situations no problem (at least every situation we ran across). 

ronwisegamgee

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Re: Superhero RPGs - Looking For Mid-Crunch Recommendations
« Reply #4 on: June 21, 2022, 07:01:21 PM »
ChaosCowboy, how willing are you to take a system that you like as a foundation or that could serve your purposes and tweak it so that it matches your vision of what you want in a supers RPG?

You mentioned that you enjoyed Genesys, but it doesn't have its own supers supplement.  Are you knowledgeable enough with the system so that you can take another system's super supplement, like the Superpowered Companion for Savage Worlds, and implement its contents in a way that fits Genesys?

With M&M3e being too D&D-like, are you referring to its combat system, the character traits that it shares with D&D, or something else entirely?

With Savage Worlds, there are optional rules out there that replace combat maps with more abstract zones, so it doesn't take that much work to tweak that stuff.

Last but not least, Supers! is a viable alternative that you've mentioned.  The concept of competence dice being somewhat of an equalizer when it comes to Justice League or Avengers-type teams is pretty neat.

Just keep in mind the following:
- Superpowers are either exaggerated capabilities of what human beings can already do (being a matter of scale) or are simply various types of miracles (which widen what characters can do within the narrative).
- Character balance is largely bullshit and a time-sink, especially if you're running something solely for your own group.  This is just from personal experience of running Mutants & Masterminds for many years.

weirdguy564

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Re: Superhero RPGs - Looking For Mid-Crunch Recommendations
« Reply #5 on: June 21, 2022, 07:07:06 PM »
Trying to figure out what people consider light or medium crunch rules is always a crap shoot.

This is a tough one.  I own a few, but either they’re complex like Palladium Heroes Unlimited, or too simple like Tiny D6 Supers.   

Savage Worlds is not a game I want to play, but not for it being battle map dependent.  I think it would be fine without a map.  I don’t like it because I don’t like the attribute/ability system. 

Right now I would play Tiny D6 Supers, but I actually like rules lite RPGs for their ease of play and how fast I can teach my mostly non-gamer players (wife and son) how to play. 
« Last Edit: June 21, 2022, 07:10:50 PM by weirdguy564 »
Saying D&D is the best RPG is like saying Bud Lite is the best beer.  I don’t associate “popular” with “good”.

weirdguy564

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Re: Superhero RPGs - Looking For Mid-Crunch Recommendations
« Reply #6 on: June 21, 2022, 07:41:49 PM »
One oddball that doesn’t get mentioned a lot is a variant of the old West End Games D6 set of rules called Mythic D6. 

It’s a super hero game, despite the name that implies mysticism, or the stated goal as a generic set of rules for any setting.  Even the artwork reinforces the super hero concept with lots of people in colorful suits with masks jumping off rooftops. 

It was also an attempt to simplify the dice rolling of D6 games by counting successes instead of adding up a bucket of dice you just rolled.  All dice rolling a 1-3 are removed/not counted.  All dice rolled as 4-6 are counted.  So 5D6 rolled with a result of 1, 2, 1, 4, & 3 is one success from that 4. 

However, the rest of the game gets more complexity than other games in the D6 family. 

Overall I think it could work well.

https://www.drivethrurpg.com/m/product/243769

Unfortunately, it’s not free like other D6 games.  But, there is a QuickStart set of free rules on the company’s download page.  It mainly teaches dice mechanics and a solo adventure to run. 

https://kheperapublishing.com/2018/07/02/mythic-d6-downloads/amp/
« Last Edit: June 21, 2022, 07:59:48 PM by weirdguy564 »
Saying D&D is the best RPG is like saying Bud Lite is the best beer.  I don’t associate “popular” with “good”.

ChaosCowboy

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Re: Superhero RPGs - Looking For Mid-Crunch Recommendations
« Reply #7 on: June 21, 2022, 08:06:25 PM »
ChaosCowboy, how willing are you to take a system that you like as a foundation or that could serve your purposes and tweak it so that it matches your vision of what you want in a supers RPG?

You mentioned that you enjoyed Genesys, but it doesn't have its own supers supplement.  Are you knowledgeable enough with the system so that you can take another system's super supplement, like the Superpowered Companion for Savage Worlds, and implement its contents in a way that fits Genesys?

With M&M3e being too D&D-like, are you referring to its combat system, the character traits that it shares with D&D, or something else entirely?

With Savage Worlds, there are optional rules out there that replace combat maps with more abstract zones, so it doesn't take that much work to tweak that stuff.

Last but not least, Supers! is a viable alternative that you've mentioned.  The concept of competence dice being somewhat of an equalizer when it comes to Justice League or Avengers-type teams is pretty neat.

Just keep in mind the following:
- Superpowers are either exaggerated capabilities of what human beings can already do (being a matter of scale) or are simply various types of miracles (which widen what characters can do within the narrative).
- Character balance is largely bullshit and a time-sink, especially if you're running something solely for your own group.  This is just from personal experience of running Mutants & Masterminds for many years.

I am not wholly convinced Genesys is ideal for superhero play, at least not anything Justice League level. It can do street level quite wonderfully, and I have purchased a Genesys Forge supplement but I'm not sure about how well it would work.

Savage Worlds is a system I've been meaning to learn but when I boot up the foundry system and see all the complicated macros and options present in just a roll I wonder how complicated the system is to actually run.

MM3 is too dnd like at first glance as it was built off the d20 srd engine, was it not? I don't know but I kind of want to get away from that blighted die. Not an intellectual reason, more an emotional one. Sick and tired of dnd and its trappings.

Trying to figure out what people consider light or medium crunch rules is always a crap shoot.

This is a tough one.  I own a few, but either they’re complex like Palladium Heroes Unlimited, or too simple like Tiny D6 Supers.   

Savage Worlds is not a game I want to play, but not for it being battle map dependent.  I think it would be fine without a map.  I don’t like it because I don’t like the attribute/ability system. 

Right now I would play Tiny D6 Supers, but I actually like rules lite RPGs for their ease of play and how fast I can teach my mostly non-gamer players (wife and son) how to play.

Well Heavy crunch would be something like Pathfinder 1st Edition. Light crunch would be all those powered by the apocalypse gnaff, and generally the rpgs made by and for drama art students. REALLY heavy crunch would be something like Gurps. Mid crunch for me is a game that does have an element of system mastery, where one's options in character creation and in a scene have mechanical weight to them and there is ideally some 'fun' construction in character creation but not where one is looking up fifteen different rules every round, spending 2 hours making an introduction character, or with fifteen different mechanics all with their own subsystems. Genesys is a good mid-tier crunch for me. Savage Worlds looks like mid-tier crunch at first glance but there seems a lot of fiddly subsystems I'm iffy about.

Definitely running games for people who know rpgs and like rpgs but not looking for the typical rpgsite grognards nor the pretentious arthouse sjws who play the tabletop rpg equivalent to the walking sim.

One oddball that doesn’t get mentioned a lot is a variant of the old West End Games D6 set of rules called Mythic D6. 

It’s a super hero game, despite the name that implies mysticism, or the stated goal as a generic set of rules for any setting.  Even the artwork reinforces the super hero concept with lots of people in colorful suits with masks jumping off rooftops. 

It was also an attempt to simplify the dice rolling of D6 games by counting successes instead of adding up a bucket of dice you just rolled.  All dice rolling a 1-3 are removed/not counted.  All dice rolled as 4-6 are counted.  So 5D6 rolled with a result of 1, 2, 1, 4, & 3 is one success from that 4. 

However, the rest of the game gets more complexity than other games in the D6 family. 

Overall I think it could work well.

https://www.drivethrurpg.com/m/product/243769

Unfortunately, it’s not free like other D6 games.  But, there is a QuickStart set of free rules on the company’s download page.  It mainly teaches dice mechanics and a solo adventure to run. 

https://kheperapublishing.com/2018/07/02/mythic-d6-downloads/amp/

I wasn't impressed with West End Games' Starwars, but then it might be a generational thing. I grew up in the era of d20 and know I don't want to go back there. I haven't been impressed with any old-school rpg system I've ever looked into. Outdated oldschool game design and it shows. Just my humble opinion.

Guess I'm just wondering if there's a midcrunch superhero system with semi decent support that is lurking out there somewhere.

Also Mythic d6's Art and settings seem to have an aversion to white people and a predilection to social justice.
« Last Edit: June 21, 2022, 08:09:31 PM by ChaosCowboy »

Shawn Driscoll

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Re: Superhero RPGs - Looking For Mid-Crunch Recommendations
« Reply #8 on: June 21, 2022, 08:59:19 PM »
Hello folks! New user but some-length lurker on this forum. Given rpg.net is literal cancer and Reddit is a lost cause I've been looking for some tolerable communities especially given the veritable rainbow of virtue signalling during this particularly egregious month.

Ironically despite that statement I am looking for some system suggestions for probably the gayest of rpg concepts: the superhero.

Well DC and Marvel are all gay now. The M-She-U is Marvel now. I would try to find a game system that isn't tied to either of those two brands. Maybe Champions or Villains and Vigilantes.

ChaosCowboy

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Re: Superhero RPGs - Looking For Mid-Crunch Recommendations
« Reply #9 on: June 21, 2022, 09:11:18 PM »
You're not wrong, sure, but the last DC RPG I know of is the MM3 rebrand which was well before DC went full gay. I've never given a shit about Marvel so wouldn't use their system unless it was really, really good and I'd just run it with DC or non-specific superheroes.

I recall Champions being a bit too complicated for my taste, at least when I made a character. Granted if I learned Mutants and Masterminds character creation system (and have since forgotten it), I'm sure I could learn it.

Villains and Vigilantes I've never played but I'll take a look.


Wisithir

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Re: Superhero RPGs - Looking For Mid-Crunch Recommendations
« Reply #10 on: June 21, 2022, 09:22:56 PM »
Savage worlds is something im looking at but I'm not sold on its ability to be run without a battlemap which is soemthing I wanna avoid and I hate the distances being measured in fucking inches like this is Warhammer. Pro is it has foundry VTT support which I own. Negative is I'm still not sure I 'get' the system.

I have always played Savage Worlds without a grid. Effectively it only matters if you are adjacent, in weapons range, and can you get adjacent or in weapons range in one move. Measuring is grid units make more sense than measuring in feet and converting back to grid squares when playing on a battlemat. Otherwise, it is easier to double a given number of board inches to get in game  yards than to divide in game feet by 5 to get grid squares in D&D. Just double the range to get yards, and write it down in yards.

Savage Worlds is a system I've been meaning to learn but when I boot up the foundry system and see all the complicated macros and options present in just a roll I wonder how complicated the system is to actually run.
Simple concepts can be difficult to express programmatically. Dice explode when rolling the maximum value. PCs roll the dice rating of the relevant attribute and a d6 "PC" dice that also explodes then choose the higher of the two. Default DC is 4, very easy would be DC2 or +2 vs DC4, DC9 or -2 vs DC4 for very hard. Each point in a skill bumps the die up one size, increase cost double if above governing attribute score.

ChaosCowboy

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Re: Superhero RPGs - Looking For Mid-Crunch Recommendations
« Reply #11 on: June 21, 2022, 09:24:56 PM »
Does savage worlds have a one-shot superhero game, jumpstart, or what have you? It's fine if it's deluxe instead of SWADE, there's easy enough conversion docs even for the superhero aspects.

Tait Ransom

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Re: Superhero RPGs - Looking For Mid-Crunch Recommendations
« Reply #12 on: June 21, 2022, 10:11:45 PM »
You may want to check out the Cypher System.  The main rulebook had information on using the system for superheroes.  They just released Claim The Sky, a sourcebook that goes further into supers and how to run different genres and had a lot of good resources.

The game itself has a flexible system that allows for lots of varied character and power types.  I’ve used it for street level supers and had a lot of fun with it.

ChaosCowboy

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Re: Superhero RPGs - Looking For Mid-Crunch Recommendations
« Reply #13 on: June 21, 2022, 10:46:28 PM »
How meta and pretentious is Cypher?

weirdguy564

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Re: Superhero RPGs - Looking For Mid-Crunch Recommendations
« Reply #14 on: June 21, 2022, 11:41:42 PM »
How meta and pretentious is Cypher?

The Cypher system is a generic set of rules meant to be used for all settings.  It has a free PDF to download that shows select pages from the core rulebook. 

https://www.montecookgames.com/store/product/cypher-system-rulebook-free-preview-2/

It is a D20 based game.  It has some rules for generating all Target Numbers.  Armor doesn’t make you harder to hit, but absorbs damage.   It also has a sourcebook just for Super Heroes called Claim the Sky.  It too has a free PDF sample.

https://www.montecookgames.com/store/product/claim-the-sky-free-preview/

Some swear by the system, but it’s not my choice. 

There is also BESM.  It’s an Anime themed game that can do Supers using 2D6 for the main dice rolls.  Powers are built from lists of good and bad traits.  It has a free set of rules PDF. 

http://dyskami.ca/downloads/dys_besm_primer_v1.pdf

There is also a d20 version that is more like Dungeons and Dragons
« Last Edit: June 21, 2022, 11:43:57 PM by weirdguy564 »
Saying D&D is the best RPG is like saying Bud Lite is the best beer.  I don’t associate “popular” with “good”.