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Superhero System Recommendation - For Tired Players + Streamlined Character Sheets + Great Encounters + Interesting Advancement/Development

StanTheMan

Registered User
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First, I'd suggest GURPS, because I've run it for supers several times and since the main work is front loaded, it's pretty easy to run once you've got things statted up. Plenty of things for your simulationists to tweak, there's tactical combat (if you want it) and in general, everything you need is on the sheet so not much page flipping. In fact, because GURPS is a solid baseline, once you know the rules, you can improvise rather easily.

Also, there are LOTS of sourcebooks to help. When I did my last supers campaign, I used the two core books plus GURPS Powers. Whenever I had a "villain of the week," I'd go through the Powers lists, find something already done up (like, hmm, I need an ice villain, hey, here's a list of writeups for ice power blocks). Since characters stats are independent of such (like, any skill or HP ratings I could just make up as I wished) the game was easy to run, really. Except I hate 1-second turns, but still, a breeze to run (I actually only wrote up ONE villain in the whole game, the main bad guy, and that was only because I wanted to drop hints about his flaws early in the game so when they confronted him, they could use what they'd discovered about him personally against him; otherwise, I did what I said above).

I could also recommend Mythic D6 Revised and Expanded. I rather like it, though still slowly reading through it as my group is starting a new mini-campaign in Blades. I THINK it's checks a lot of your boxes, though I'm not sure how tactical combat is. Otherwise, stats are easy but the Powers have plenty to tweak and play with. It also has the info you need on the sheet, so, your other player would be able to play without needing to really refer to anything. I think.
 

Chikahiro

Neo•Geo Fanboy
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Shattercrack Shattercrack - there’s some play by post tricks you can do like use averages for damage or dice apps, prep the speed chart early (there’s a program too but I don’t know if it’s any good or not), etc. That said, I don’t disagree.
 

simonpaulburley

Registered User
Validated User
I’m not here to self-promote (honest) and I’ve been lurking on this thread awaiting the “killer” suggestion - especially as everyone and his dog is churning out SHRPGs in the wake of the success of the MCU.

But haven’t seen it yet.

So I humbly put forward one of my own: Squadron U.K.,

So the idea is to have a game with a strong action focus, but also interesting villains and complications and allow for different encounters, including death traps.

The issue is that the group has a mix of player types.

Some are great at improv roleplay, but don’t want to reference anything outside of their character sheet. One player was playing a wizard in D&D but never knew what their spells were or how many they had left to cast for the day as all of that information wasn’t on their sheet and they weren’t sure where to find it in the book. They were ‘managed’ by the other players, but I would like it if they could manage their own character without assistance, even if the sheet has powers like “Superstrength – Roll XYZ”.

Other players love crunch – gadgets, tactics, equipment and building interesting characters in a system. They might get bored if the game play is too simple. I would call these ‘simulationist’ players. They have not enjoyed playing FATE before.

They also like getting XP regularly and buying upgrades/new papers or just leveling up in a class-based system.

As a GM, I want really streamlined NPCs rather than creating them from scratch. It would also be good if I could improvise NPCs on the spot. For example, if it’s a Level 4 or whatever monster, it will have +4 to hit and do 7d6 damage and I can randomly assign powers to like ‘laser blast’ or whatever. I also want something that supports creating interesting encounters. My favourite system to run for ages was D&D4:
everything was on the character sheet for players
there were interesting encounters you could build around the tactical map
you could improv monsters/death traps/challenges on the spot. It would be good if the system has a solid mathematical core so I could make a simple encounter-building spreadsheet to streamline adventure generation, or converting other supers adventures.
I don’t mind if the system is ‘front loaded’ for character building, as long as it is streamlined and interesting in play, maybe with different status effects or combat manoeuvres.

I’ve tried M&M3 but didn’t like how I had to build each NPC separately, and it felt a bit flat during game player. Players felt their characters were static without much opportunity for advancement and some of the power builds got very fiddly. I also haven’t enjoyed playing Savage Worlds.

Any suggestions? We can play almost anything, it just has to be the 'right' sort of thing.
 

simonpaulburley

Registered User
Validated User
I’m not here to self-promote (honest) and I’ve been lurking on this thread awaiting the “killer” suggestion - especially as everyone and his dog is churning out SHRPGs in the wake of the success of the MCU.

But haven’t seen it yet.

So I humbly put forward one of my own:

https://www.rpgnow.com/product/107240/Squadron-UK-Basic

Squadron U.K. (or, possibly, its predecessor Golden Heroes).

“So the idea is to have a game with a strong action focus, but also interesting villains and complications and allow for different encounters, including death traps.”

“As a GM, I want really streamlined NPCs rather than creating them from scratch. It would also be good if I could improvise NPCs on the spot. For example, if it’s a Level 4 or whatever monster, it will have +4 to hit and do 7d6 damage and I can randomly assign powers to like ‘laser blast’ or whatever. I also want something that supports creating interesting encounters”

This is the nub of your problem. You want interesting encounters but don’t want to have to “build” them.

SqUK has a semi-random generation system that will fuel your imagination. Creating characters inc. NPCs is fun - bordering on addictive. Their backgrounds virtually write themselves and the game world grows organically from there.

“great at improv roleplay, but don’t want to reference anything outside of their character sheet.”

Once made everything about a character fits on the sheet.



“gadgets, tactics, equipment and building interesting characters in a system. “

All superpowers come with a range of levels and are customisable with gimmicks.

“They also like getting XP regularly and buying upgrades/new papers or just leveling up in a class-based system.” Montage panels which allow upgrade of powers or developing social skills or as a detective or developing combination effects for their unique suite of abilities.

Download the cheap basic pdf. That should tell you if the game suits your needs
 

rickjthree

Social Justice Sidekick
Validated User
While I am a fan of Champions, it is undeniably slow. Even when everyone in our group had the system down and even internalized things like how to count Body quickly, you still can't fit a lot of combat into a session, (so none of the satisfaction of beating up an army of Chitauri / Parademons). And it's really tied to a tactical battlemap, so those massive scenes in Avengers or the CW shows during the annual crossover where heroes are zooming all over the place doesn't work.

If making NPCs quickly is an issue, HeroLab with M&M makes it pretty quick, and it does address the issue of having everything on a player's character sheet. (There are options for just how much to put on a sheet - everything from a compact statblock to a multi-page "this explains everything" version.)

If I had to run a supers game tomorrow, I'd run M&M. I'm waiting to see if Cortex Prime or Sentinel Comics is the killer app, but if I had to do it today, I'd get the main rulebook for me, the Basic Hero's Handbook for the players, and raid the Roninarrmy.com "Roll Call" forum for any villain I might want. Just file the serial numbers off of some DC or Marvel villain. Take Captain Boomerang, change him from trick boomerangs to trick Frisbees and make him from Greece instead of Australia, and who's to know that "Doctor Discus" isn't an original creation of yours?
 
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Von Ether

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Validated User
My suggestion would be the Cypher system. As a GM, every baseline monster breaks down to one of two main numbers for their stats.

The Cypher System Rulebook has rules for supers, power shifts, and a sidebar about how those rules change your adventure design.

MCG even has a published adventure for Supers. https://www.montecookgames.com/store/product/dread-expectations/

Players on the other hand, are given options and resource management decisions and math.

As for particular cons:
The system handles X-Men supers well, but not so much on making an exact duplicate of an X-Man (seeing as making copy cat supers is a popular player pastime.)

The game expects players to use XP slowly and not advance at every opportunity. But there are optional rules to ensure that will be the case.

But yes, the true name of the supers RPG you want is "Holy Grail."
 
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T. Canoehead

IT Mercenary
Validated User
The Valiant Universe RPG might hit most of what you want. It's not really a tactical game, but it's easy enough to create characters and powers, everything is on one sheet, and creating NPCs is as easy as creating PCs, plus enough sample characters to reskin as you need. There's also a number of free quickstart books to give you the flavour of the mechanics. It's also easy enough to drop the Valiant characters for your own.

(All links are to DriveThruRPG.)
 

Stacie.Winters1

Active member
Banned
Validated User
I think Cypher System is the only system that can hit all your boxes. It even has a supers setting that is pretty cool.

Any point buy game like M&M or Hero is not going to work. Heroes Unlimited would be better than those based on your requirements. Deeds Not Words even better... But those are cumbersome and a bit dense to work through.

Supers Red is good.

The best point based creation system for this is Bash Ultimate Edition.

If Savage Worlds was an option it would fit.

Yet Cypher System is the only one I can see legitimately ticking all the boxes.
 

Random Task

Substandard Henchman
Validated User
Why is FASERIP / TSR Marvel not a good option? Rules lighter compared to Champions, but still has knobs and buttons to twiddle for simulationist types....
 

Strange Visitor

Grumpy Grognard
Validated User
Why is FASERIP / TSR Marvel not a good option? Rules lighter compared to Champions, but still has knobs and buttons to twiddle for simulationist types....
The game that's designed for semi-random character generation (and that has serious balance problems if you take a build approach in the case of several powers), and has a set up that actively retards advancement if you're actually using Karma for things is not likely to be too satisfactory for someone who wants to play with the controls, because it does its best to keep your hands away from them.
 
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