Friday, April 3, 2009

Friday Discussion: What's Your Favorite Supers/Superhero RPG?

Another Friday is upon us! And, as with every Friday here at RPG Blog 2, it is time for a little gaming discussion. Nothing too heated (usually), nothing profound—just a bunch of gamers talking shop.

This week’s topic is in regards to a genre not enjoyed by everyone, but a very prolific genre nonetheless.:

What is your favorite Supers or Superhero RPG? What do you like about it in particular (or in general)?

I’ve been amazed at how diverse the answers have been on a lot of these questions—it doesn’t seem like any two responses are alike! It really reinforces the fact that this is a diverse hobby in terms of tastes. Have a great weekend, and game on!

33 comments:

Brian said...

Hands down, Mutants & Masterminds (2nd edition) is my choice. I find the system to be extremely flexible and able to support many different levels of play: from agents and spies all the way up to world-shaking "Omega" class superheroes.

The main book and 90% of the supplements are very well written and edited, and the art is wonderful and evocative of the genre.

My only complaint is that it can take a lot of time to build a balanced opponent for even standard-level (PL 10) heroes.

Joseph said...

I haven't played a Superheroes RPG in many years, but I have plenty of fond memories of the Marvel Superheroes game that TSR put out. It coincided with my own interest in comics (which proved to be somewhat short lived, but that's all to the better as far as my wallet is concerned), and the whole Secret Wars thing, etc. As I recall, it had that terrific universal table for determining who could do what, which was innovative at the time. Other games like Champions always felt a little fiddly in comparison.

Stephen said...

Marvel Super Heroes (TSR, 1984 and 1986).

Still my favourite rules-light system, with the Universal Table and naming of attributes (Typical, Amazing etc) seeming revolutionary to my then-young mind.

The 'reboots' that came after (SAGA System and Marvel's own take) never took hold like the first system. I owe Jeff Grubb & Co. a lot for that game.

I've played almost every other superhero RPG, although I will admit to ignoring M&M because (and correct me if I'm wrong) it'd require me to buy D&D rulebooks. Which I really don't want to.

chemlak said...

Mutants & Masterminds wins this, for me (not that I'll stop buying others, naturally).

It's flexible, doesn't require a calculator, and it's pretty darn easy to understand.

And no, Stephen, you don't have to buy D&D to have the rules - the core rulebook covers everything.

mthomas768 said...

I put myself squarely in the 'none' category. I was never a comic book reader, so the appeal of supers was kind of lost on me...

Stuart said...

I've always liked the MSH / FASERIP system. I wanted something a bit more tactical though, and after talking to a bunch of people I've decided to give Savage Worlds a try for that (thinking about either Necessary Evil or Dawn of Legends to go with it).

Dane of War said...

TSR's Marvel Super Heroes. I've seen it criticized very heavily as being "boring", "underwhelming", and "blasé" - and I highly disagree, countering with the notion that the critics were possibly too young to be enjoying it in the first place, therefore souring their memories.

Although simplistic by today's standards, I feel that MSH is the yardstick to which all superhero games should be measured.

I enjoy M&M a great deal today, and play it often - but I think that the amazing "fun factor" and high quality content that existed with MSH simply isn't there, and that's a shame.

Ryan said...

I have fond memories of playing Champions 4th edition in middle/high school, if only for the enormous fistfuls of dice that Energy Blast users would roll.

I do have a shiny new copy of Mutants & Masterminds 2nd and it looks great so far, but I haven't had the chance to try it out yet.

Has anyone tried Necessary Evil? I love Savage Worlds, and I'd be curious to hear about how it handles superpowers.

Barking Alien said...

Mutants & Masterminds (2nd Edition) is by far the best Superhero RPG I've ever run and I've run and played in a lot of Supers campaigns over the years. I started with Villains & Vigilantes in '83 but I think I've tried them all. M&M has pulled me away from my previous favorite, Champions, which believe me was no easy task.

AD
Barking Alien

Mad Brew said...

I am a huge fan of Mutants & Masterminds, but recently I have been reading HERO System, which looks like it might be fun. I'm also interested in 4c.

@Stephen: Hell no, you don't need the D&D books! You should try M&M.

Stuart said...

I had liked the looks of M&M but I wanted something for use with minis... so SW looked like a better choice for me. :)

DNAphil said...

I enjoyed Mutants & Masterminds very much. It was easy to run, and the Save mechanic made for some great back and forth Supers fights.

I would have to say that my other favorite was DC Heroes. I was not really a fan of the DC comics, but the mechanics were quite interesting, and were able to easily cover Batman and Superman in the same system.

clash bowley said...

Hearts and Souls by Tim Kirk/Silverlion. It's the first supers game that made me want to play it. It doesn't get lost in endless recursive tinkering with powers, which drives me up a wall. The use of soliloquy to reduce stress is brilliant, and perfectly suiting the genre. The drive mechanism gets to the heart of why are you a hero. Or villain, for that matter.

-clash

Steve said...

I thought the Marvel Universe RPG had a clever token-based resource management system.

Oddly, I found the 50-page quickstart insert published in Inquest Magazine to be more interesting than the full game.

HinterWelt said...

I really don't have one. I have played Hearts & Souls, Champions, Heroes Unlimited, MSH, and my own Supers Inc and I have found, after this journey, I fundamentally do not like the genre. Each of those games have their strengths but the problem I have always had is the writer fiat that jacks with the smooth play of a good setting. If i had to pick one for the "comics" genre I would probably go with MSH.

Fred Hicks (Evil Hat Productions) said...

MSH was great for its time, and good even when nostalgia drives me back there. But it's not my favorite.

Favorite would have to be Silver Age Sentinels Tri-Stat version -- the system had all the kinds of configurable crunch I might want up front in character creation, but ran smooth like butter once the action started.

Zachary The First said...

No Truth & Justice love? Am I alone on that one?

(Also dig FASERIP, which was my supers bread & butter back in the day).

Ruminator said...

I've played GURPS Supers, Marvel Superheroes, DC Heroes, Champion, Marvel Adventures Roleplaying (the SAGA one), and the Marvel Universe Roleplaying Game (the one Marvel put out).

Out of these, I like the last two the best (SAGA and Marvel's own).

clash said...

Zachary said: "No Truth & Justice love? Am I alone on that one?"

Not at all. You asked for our favorites. T&J is my second ranking supers game. I just prefer H&S, though I could see others preferring T&J easily. Like H&S, it tries to model comics themselves, though in different ways than H&S. You should also note that Chad cites H&S as an influence on T&J, even though T&J was released earlier than H&S - Tim had H&S in playtest for a very long time. They are coming from the same direction, which is why I like both of them.

-clash

greywulf said...

I love 'em all! Give me anything from Golden Heroes to the original Marvel RPG through to DC Heroes, V&V and HERO/Champions and I'm a happy bunny.

But top of the tree has to Mutants & Masterminds. By a mile.

Rich Spainhour said...

My hands down favorite Supers RPG is the sadly now OOP juggernaut Silver Age Sentinels (Tri-Stat version, natch). Just a sweet, sweet pile of point-buy crunchy character creation followed by simple, smooth-as-silk gameplay. Loved that game, and still do.

If I were to confine myself to currently in-print games (if a PDF-only game can be labeled "in-print"), my current fave is MT Desing's Resolute (http://www.splinteredrealm.com/Resolute.htm).

Gleichman said...

HERO System of course. Nothing else is even worth looking at.

Scott said...

Sigh...no love for Hideouts & Hoodlums...

Anonymous said...

As many others, played alot from V&V, etc...
I always return to MSH (TSR), again and again. It was a very adaptable system for me; easy to convert other system characters to it (esp. DC), and universal enough for players to create their own characterizations of established comic heroes.

Ciao,
Grendelwulf

MJ Harnish said...

I really like Truth & Justice for its simplicity and the fact that it actually gets to the heart of what being a super-hero is rather than just being a super-powered combat simulator.

I also am rather impartial to the MSH hack I've made using the FATE system (Marvelous FATE) - I like it much better than the original MSH game and yet it uses all the same stats so we can use almost any published character or even make our own.

Blotz said...

Champions. It was the second rpg I ever played or bought. I just started new Champions game this week for the first time in about 10 years. There's just so much you can do with it.

Lon said...

I love Truth & Justice and Marvel Saga equally for ease of play and low prep time.

John Fiala said...

This is a hard one to answer.

A long-time favorite of mine would have to be Hero's Champions system, because it's a lot of fun. But that said, I'm also fond of the DC Hero's system for it's table-based resolution and loose structure, and on the third hand there's Silver Age Sentinels which I got to do a lot of playtesting on and even wrote a short book for. :)

Mike said...

Favorite? Honestly, it's a tie.

The original Marvel Super Heroes (FASERIP) was fantastic - I still love it. It's just very simple, much like the other TSR boxed sets of the day. I liked Villains & Vigilantes as well, but the FASERIP system was much better than V&V's often convoluted rules.

I've come to like Mutants & Masterminds a lot as well, although it's very crunchy and detailed in comparison to those two. Not a bad thing ... just very different from MSH & V&V. A lot more prep time is needed by both the GM and the players for a M&M game

I used to played Heroes Unlimited a lot back in the day. Like most Palladium games, though, the more sourcebooks you use, the more of an unbalanced mess it turns into. I think you can have a great HU game; it just requires a lot of house ruling, and a careful eye by both players and GM at chargen to make sure everything looks balanced.

Scott said...

Champions, hands down. Any game that still feels fresh after you've played it for 25 years is doing something right. It has its downsides, but HERO is the most flexible and easy-to-use universal system I've played yet, and mixing other genres does not break it.

I also enjoyed the 80s Marvel Super Heroes. It was more restrictive than HERO, but it was also simpler for a new gamer to pick up and play, and as far as I remember, its rules worked out pretty well in play.

Mutants & Masterminds is at the top of my reading list now, and I also want to hunt down Truth & Justice. I don't often run supers games, but for some reason I love reading the systems, more so than almost any other genre.

rainswept said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Zachary The First said...

@rainswept: I don't, but now I'm looking! :)

rainswept said...

someone, possibly nearby, recently linked to a fantasy rpg project based on Marvel Classic ... but I can't remember where it was. Does anyone know what I'm refering to? Zachary The First said... @rainswept: I don't, but now I'm looking! :)

Found it.