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How Superhero games are different. - Page 3
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  Click here to go to the first special guest post in this thread.   Thread: How Superhero games are different.

  1. #31
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    Interesting, I was going to mention the Super Crusader rpg, which I find pretty neat, and my favorite price, free, as I am in another forum and people are wanting me to run a superhero RPG. I played Champions once or twice but never ran any super game besides a tryout of DC Heroes which I didn't think was a very good system.

    I think Superhero games ARE indeed the ultimate powergamer fantasy come true. They let you munchkin all you want, BY the rules. God mode, go Dragonball Z, be Superman, whatever. That's what they're for. They're so unrealistically far beyond "cinematic" and high fantasy that the LIGHT from those lower levels of awesomeness will take 100 years to reach superhero gaming. But I myself have to have a balance - I don't think I could game Supers very long without some down-to-earth stuff, even if it was just back to movie action hero level, or all the way back down to Warhammer or Call of Cthulhu. I have to have some perspective to make the super powers remain special and amazing.

    As far as Super Crusader the poster here, it's kind of interesting. I've seen BASHMAN all over the net promoting his game BASH, which I resented, but I have to admit, the game looks like something I'd really like and I'm right at the edge of buying it - if I had any more money income per month, it wouldn't even be a question for me, but I'm on an extremely tight budget. Kinda the same with Supes here - I haven't ever seen him anywhere except old posts on RPGNET but I've actually looked at his game, and while there are things I don't like about it, overall, it's simple yet has enough detail to be modifiable to something pretty open-ended, without being super complicated - it suffers like most superhero games, with Endurance Tracking Syndrome, which I hate and won't do.
    Abstruse Decapod

    "Why aren't i just be able to write adventures that don't require crap like an Amish rpg?" -myself

  2. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by magic-rhyme View Post
    Last Crusader,

    why do so many of your posts come across as thinly veiled advertisements and nothing more?
    Most of my gaming friends left the state years ago. The one who's left, lives quite some distance away. I have a wife who doesn't game, and two children who aren't ready for gaming. For the last few years, my only gaming activity has been working on Super Crusaders. It's, like, all I have to talk about; other than the Good old days. And sadly when I talk about other games I inevitably fall into complaining about the system. Which is a big part of why I started trying to make my own game in the first place.

    I got banned from RPG Life as a spammer because I talked too much about my own game. Honestly I was just trying to drum up some interest get some people playing. It was still free back then.

    I don't post much here anymore because It's become clear to me that there are not a lot of people on this site that are interested in superheroes anyway, and the few who even seem to take notice have a terribly distorted view of what superheroes are about. I mean just look at the Post above this one: Superheroes are NOT about ultimate power trip fantasies. That's what SuperVILLAINS are about ! Superheroes are usually less powerful than the villains, or hopelessly outnumbered and win through greater virtues, like courage, determination, self sacrifice, team work, wisdom, just plain common sense or humility (they aren't too proud to ask for or accept help from normal people, or to take instructions from normal people) A lot of Superheroes have few or no powers at all, but they have a sense of purpose that tells them they have to do whats right, they believe in justice and they care about the innocent. With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility, The Greater good for the greater number of people. Might for right, not might is right.

    I know superheroes have changed a lot in recent years, and I admited in a post above that Thats why I don't even read comics any more. I'm currently working on a second edition of my game. Should be out in a few months. When It's finnished I'm probably going to start dedicating my time to making my own comic books in the old tradition. and making cartoons to post on You Tube.

    I'm probably done with actually playing RPGs until my kids get old enough to play with me.
    Last edited by LAST CRUSADER; 05-15-2010 at 09:41 AM.

  3. #33
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    I don't post much here anymore because It's become clear to me that there are not a lot of people on this site that are interested in superheroes anyway,
    I haven't seen a ton of interest in superheroes on any of the sites I've been on. I'm on a Mormon discussion forum that has a pbp section, of all things, and I offered to run a couple different kinds of games but the only thing anyone showed interest in was someone suggested a superhero game, which I'd never run, so I began looking around for free games and found a few. One was SC, another was 4 Colors or something along those lines, which are somewhat similar though I like more parts of SC overall.

    and the few who even seem to take notice have a terribly distorted view of what superheroes are about. I mean just look at the Post above this one: Superheroes are NOT about ultimate power trip fantasies. That's what SuperVILLAINS are about !
    I disagree. I'm no avid comic enthusiast but I HAVE read them, and watched cartoons and such as I grew up, and played games and watched my cousins as they did the same.

    Superheroes are usually less powerful than the villains, or hopelessly outnumbered and win through greater virtues, like courage, determination, self sacrifice, team work, wisdom, just plain common sense or humility (they aren't too proud to ask for or accept help from normal people, or to take instructions from normal people) A lot of Superheroes have few or no powers at all, but they have a sense of purpose that tells them they have to do whats right, they believe in justice and they care about the innocent. With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility, The Greater good for the greater number of people. Might for right, not might is right.
    Last Crusader, I think you're really just missing the point when people characterize superhero games as power fantasy gaming. No one disputes the directly above quote. This is a GIVEN for ANY heroic gaming, be it sword and sorcery fantasy roleplaying, Lovecraftian horror, action movie or whatever else - this theme is identical and not unique to superheroes, therefore people do not base their opinion of what "superhero gaming is about" on this, because they consider this to be the point of gaming to begin with and superhero games do not corner the market share on these ideas.

    This leaves the difference between D&D, Call of Cthulhu or Feng Shui and superhero games being superpowers, the ability to run faster than the speed of light, shoot lasers out of your eyes, etc. This IS what sets superhero games apart from other games - the ability to do things far and above any other genre of gaming - there are rules for flying into outer space with no vehicle or traveling through time from your own internal ability.

    I'll give you that in comics, the lines between hero and villain are more defined in most cases, and the morals and ethics are much more exaggerated and blatant, black and white, or four color if you prefer that terminology, more molodramatic "DO NOT FEAR, GOOD CITIZEN, THE ARMADILLO ENFORCER WILL RESCUE YOU FROM THIS NEFARIOUS DO-BADDER!" Two dimensional and simple, and while I like that too, and obviously comic fans do too to one extent or another (and obviously superhero game makers), it is still only amplified shades of the same dynamics you find in any good scenario of any kind of gaming (obvious non-heroic stuff notwithstanding).

    I know superheroes have changed a lot in recent years, and I admited in a post above that Thats why I don't even read comics any more.
    I haven't read comics in quite a while either, maybe because of that same reason, but my "in a while" is probably a lot longer than yours, though I did and still occasionally watch a cartoon or at least a movie based on a cartoon, though some suck. I am not a "professional" game designer like LC here or the other people I've seen, but I participate in some discussions and work on my own games and systems and create supplemental material for different systems I like, but never got all that much into superheroes, but I don't think that means I missed out on the whole morality idea, on the idea of great power and great responsibility - that's because these themes are present in any other kind of gaming, which I can state from the (maybe not quite) "peer" position of game authorship angle.


    I have about the same problem as LC, gaming wise - I have a couple of cousins and a friend I luckily am able to game with every so often, but nothing regular like I used to be able to do, and I love RPGs, and it's hard to find anywhere to talk about gaming, even online. Most communities are cliquey, immature, or hopelessly mainstream and all about D20 or something else I find distasteful - I find the odd gem of discussion on the chat here on this site, but a lot of it I have to wait out, as it involves the other stuff I mention.

    Even on the Mormom forums I'm playing on, which just started up an official site superhero RPG pbp, the two user run, plus the main official fantasy rpg there are all D&D 3.5 rules, which I'm not a fan of, but the GM's are keeping most of the bulk of the rules to themselves and under control so it's not quite so bad, but I still prefer Wushu or simpler systems for forum gaming.

    Why not just look for some online gaming communities or start a game yourself on some places, Last Crusader, or even your own forums? I started my own forums on my site and have a few family and friends I think I can get to try out a game or two, if I can get myself to get everything set up.
    Last edited by jpatterson; 05-15-2010 at 04:59 PM.
    Abstruse Decapod

    "Why aren't i just be able to write adventures that don't require crap like an Amish rpg?" -myself

  4. #34
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    I've never tried online gaming. Came close once, but dropped out before the game started over differences with the GM.
    I'm honestly not comfortable with the idea. I've been in a few chat rooms and I always find it difficult to keep up with what's being said. I read slowly and type even more slowly. Plus the thought of playing with total strangers gives me the same sort of feeling as a job interview.
    I'll probably get around to it eventually but not any time soon.

    As for what you said about the things I love in the Superhero genre being common to all heroic fantasy: That's certainly true in literature, but not in gaming. My experience has been that, whenever I step outside the superhero genre, the so called heroes are almost always driven more by greed than justice. Swords and sorcery adventures are usually quests for treasure. The fact that the monsters are evil is just a convenience that makes it OK to kill them, and take the treasure. In a superhero game, characters start out having thier powers, and they aren't likely to gain much more, but in most other genres power, money and experience are the prime motivators. This is reflected in how the games are both written and played.

    I tried Running Heroic swords and sorcery adventures, where The players all started out as noblemen, who were supposed to be fighting for justice. It was set in King Arthur's Britain. After several years of struggling with it I gave up. The players simply weren't interested in chivalry. Some of them were plotting to gain more land and power but as always in AD&D the prime motivators were magic and experience points.

    For some reason, playing in a modern setting and putting on tights changes the players and makes most of them try to be heroes.
    Last edited by LAST CRUSADER; 05-15-2010 at 11:23 PM. Reason: grammer

  5. #35
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    Interesting observations. I suppose in the way you present it this way, I can concede your point as a generalization of experiential play. But the IDEA is the same - characters in fantasy games are SUPPOSED to be heroic and get experience points and whatever for doing good deeds and wanting to do good things, but yes, the "level up" idea, including treasure, is typical of the traditional step system for gaming, but that is also pretty old-school and not all games and groups play like that, though you certainly couldn't it tell it by a lot of online games nowdays.

    I don't think there's anything WRONG with amassing money and status and such for characters, and some characters, if that IS the idea the player came up with for that character, SHOULD focus on that, maybe at the expense of helping the downtrodden, but yes, I personally like heroic characters that do good for the sake of good and I play those kinds mostly. Mine tend to be "rough justice" types in modern and fantasy games, where people get a virtuous opportunity and offer of help and such, but if they are uncooperative, I generally give no quarter, though I play a few bleeding heart types. Even my barbarian pit fighters (I prefer Warhammer as its XP system is based on goal achievement and not monster killing specifically) are "good people".

    I feel that's the point of playing games, heroic games anyway, cooperative games. I don't want to play miscreants, most times, I don't want to play pure selfish egomaniacs, I don't want to scheme against the rest of the party or conflict with everybody or be in direct opposition to the GM himself.

    Well, what do you think about bringing the superhero flavor to non-super games? How would you accomplish it, do you think? If it isn't superheroes, what is it, the costumes, that makes the difference? How can you instill that intense level of genuine heroism in character idea for players, that games typically lack in significant quantity? Or is it better to just stick with superhero overall. Can you use a superhero system to play non-superhero settings?
    Abstruse Decapod

    "Why aren't i just be able to write adventures that don't require crap like an Amish rpg?" -myself

  6. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by jpatterson View Post
    Well, what do you think about bringing the superhero flavor to non-super games? How would you accomplish it, do you think? If it isn't superheroes, what is it, the costumes, that makes the difference? How can you instill that intense level of genuine heroism in character idea for players, that games typically lack in significant quantity? Or is it better to just stick with superhero overall. Can you use a superhero system to play non-superhero settings?

    Everyhing that I truely love about Superheroes Should also be true of a Game set in Arthur's Britain. I also once attempted a game set in a mythical China where the Emporer was based on Arthur and The players used various styles of kung fu.
    In the first case however I suspect that I was up against the players lack of interest in chivalry and the problems built into the AD&D system. In the second case one of the players moved away before the game got very far and he was like a key link holding the whole group together. That was actually the last time I tried to run a game.

    I've mentioned in this thread that a well made superhero game should be able to handle any genre because characters from other genres often show up in Superhero worlds. A superhero game is the only place where no one would think it strange to encounter a psionic mutant teamed up with a god from Asgard, a robot from the future, a wizard from Hoboken and a cave man. all fighting to stop Dracula, from summoning Cthulhu.
    Everything has to work, so to play a different genre all you really have to do limit yourself.

    ---------- Post added at 04:12 PM ---------- Previous post was at 04:06 PM ----------

    oh yeah since my last few posts have clearly not been ads for my game i thought I'd put this in for a laugh

  7. #37
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    I've noticed this as I've gone through all the free PDFs I have found over the years. The Superhero games are the closest analogs to the universal systems. They both tend to be point build or close, with some sort of at least primitive "build your own" system for spells, powers, abilities or such. GURPS and HERO melt into Champions and all the other free universal systems with build-it-yourself mechanics all share that style of super-hero open-endedness and it's really just the GM's adjudication of what is "too much" when creating powers that sets a limit, that divides fantasy from super.

    From this, I'd just about say ALL game systems are superhero systems, with more limited scope, and this is most clear in the lowest powered, grittiest games, and moving up from there to cinematic. You don't start at the smallest framework and work your way out, you'd have no way to know what practical or common limits there would be for "most games" - you'd start at the most likely outside edge and work your way in, to downsize from cosmic power to simply being very agile or something more terrestrial.

    But this only goes back to the idea that (super)heroism is inherent in all games because they're all essentially the same, besides scope of power (and responsibility) - so why do they play different? Is it the dice and resolution and advance mechanic itself? Possibly partly but I don't think that really determines this. Is it the closeness of the setting? People like fantasy but don't identify with it, setting-wise, as well as with superhero games because superhero games are more like the "now", so they have a more vested interest in protecting their own world? Simple empathy? Do people amass money and power and such in any modern games? Cyberpunk, Twilight 2000, action games? If not, that would be ironic, the era and setting that we all know is MOST infamous for materialism isn't reflected as being motivated by amassing wealth in gaming?

    I think you, as a player or GM for your friend(s), LC, should reconsider forum gaming, using your system or another. I'm not a super (pardon the pun) experienced GM, but I've run a few games using a lite sytem a few times and they've always gone over very well - a few times it's been all strangers to me, at least people I'd never met (but knew most online for 6 mos. + and it was their own forums). I tried running a more realistic game and it didn't go that well, but the modern cinematic ones went extremely well, and the fantasy one WAS going well until a number of IRL things happened to the players that crashed it. But those kinds of things happen and nothing can be done about that, you learn to accept that - you still got to run/play more than you otherwise would have. I'd urge you to try to get hold of your friends and invite people you might "sort of" know, or they might know online, and get a game together, you might be pleasantly surprised.

    I've been given the chance to play a few realtime games from this site, using virtual tabletops and even the chat here and while they went more or less ok, they're not my thing - forum play-by-posts work well for me and my needs and my players, people can post when able, everybody can usually post within a day or two to keep things moving, everybody has their chance to think things out and write clearly, you can use dice servers or trust each other with rolls or let the GM roll, etc. In my opinion, forum RPGs are the next best thing to tabletopping, with virtual tabletop being in between ONLY if you have the same amount of time available as you would for tabletopping but everyone is too far away to get together - nobody I know has the time to have regular scheduled games, which is why we don't tabletop much to begin with, and why i can't do realtime online tabletop.
    Abstruse Decapod

    "Why aren't i just be able to write adventures that don't require crap like an Amish rpg?" -myself

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    Interesting insite: all heroic fantasies being superhero to some degree or other. I don't completely agree but I can see your point. The thing is: we've been talking about them in terms that really don't adress the unique conventions of the Superhero Genre except for vague references to modern settings and costumes. Earlier in this thread some of the things that really set Superheros apart were discussed in greater depth but even there, we barely scratched the surface.

    As for me giving online gaming a try: I will, just not yet.
    In a few more months when I finish and release the 2nd edition of Super Crusaders, I'm going to put it out free for a while and try starting a game using it. I'll probably try it here. if I can figure out how to open a private chatroom. I'd love to use gametable but I've never figured out how to use it online. I've only used it at home in place of miniatures and dice. Check out my website if you want to see the pogs and underlays I made for it (with a superhero theme of course)
    I'm not really tech savy . I seem to have a special instinct when it comes to using most 2-d graphics aplications so I can create whatever I want. (except for 3-d stuff) I just can't always get it to other people. I just figured out You Tube a few weeks ago. (did you like my video ?)
    I tried starting a facebook group about my game
    http://www.facebook.com/?ref=home#!/...18237118204825
    but it's a bit premature. I'm not really going to give it much attention either until second edition comes out.

    ---------- Post added at 09:31 PM ---------- Previous post was at 08:53 PM ----------

    Sorry I had to end my last post rather abruptly because I was called away by RL.
    Anyway, one thing I wanted to comment on was your observation about Materialism. I think most of us realize that we live in a very materialistic age and we know that there is something wrong with that. When people play heroes in a modern setting materialism is one of the things they want thier hero to be free of, because he's a hero. Villains in modern settings are very materialistic.

    I suspect that when we envision ourselves in a setting far removed from our own world escapism creeps in and we begin to act out darker fantasies that we know would never be aceptable close to home. I've never seen one low magic, Swords and sorcery game where less than half the players were thieves. You could say they were all inspired by the grey mauser but I think it's more likely that they just want a chance to be a little bad. If I try to introduce a paladin into such a setting I get mocked and so does the morality I want to stand for. I've never been accused of being judgemental in real life nearly so often as when playing a paladin.

    Your right that we just don't identify with the characters to the same extent we do those in a more familiar setting, but also the problem has to do with the conventions of the genre. A superhero is supposed to be good, but most other settings don't have a moral possision at all, and clearly offer neutral and evil characters as options that are supposed to broaden our role playing experience.

    Thats fine if that's what you want to play, but it's clearly one of the things that set superheroes appart, and it's one of the reasons I love superheroes, while My ability to get into other genres is rather limited.
    Last edited by LAST CRUSADER; 05-16-2010 at 11:00 PM.

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