Sunday, April 27, 2014

Taking it to the next level!

Bit more of a rules and theory post tonight; for a while I've been considering the idea of introducing a mechanic into my games of SuperSystem to enable characters to "Power Up" during a game. Heroes and villains alike provide more than a few examples of a mid-battle power-up, some obvious ones are; 

Goku turns "Super Saiyan" battling Frieza. 
Lex Luthor drinks an elixir to assume Kryptonian powers. 
Tony Stark activates "Iron Man 6".
Bane injects Venom to bolster his strength. 

Heroclix and Malifaux both feature a "Level Up" mechanic, I don't know much about Malifaux, but the 10th Anniversary Heroclix sets had some neat ideas. Each character that could power up had two separate Clix in the vein of Marvel Girl and Dark Phoenix, Weapon X and The Wolverine, Grey Hulk and Worldbreaker, and so on. The "weaker" character and be swapped out for the "stronger" when specific conditions are met, which differ with each character. In a game like Heroclix, I am inclined to call this just another tactic to be used to win games, or cheat expensive characters onto the table, however, for something like SuperSystem, it could be a bit of fun. 

For those familiar with my Narrative Campaign (, because I am modifying the [SS3] rules drastically, creating characters that "Level Up" is reasonably straightforward. I've already attempted drafts of the above Goku and All-Star Lex Luthor characters that I'm waiting to playtest. (For those curious, Goku can transform at will, but Lex must be losing to play his trump card.) 

The SuperSystem "Alternate Form" power looks like a tempting option, especially when one is considering an actual transformation (Super Saiyan, Hulk, etc.), but my reading of the power, coupled with how Scott P has written about it makes me believe that it represents staying on par more so than getting bigger and stronger. To put it in SS3 terms, what I'm thinking of is having the opportunity for an 85BP hero to become a 100BP character during the course of the average game. Not every character, perhaps as many and one per team of five, and certainly not in every game, but in a campaign, it could spice things up a bit. 

I have a few ideas on how something like this could work, I'd like to hear what other players think: 

1. Item-Based 
The [disappointing] Super Smash Brothers Brawl introduced the Smash Ball, an item which can turn any character into an unstoppable killing machine for a brief period. Whilst this makes the game awful to play, the idea of an item allowing such a power-up isn't necessarily terrible. In comic turns, something like a Cosmic Cube, an Infinity Gem or even a Super Soldier Serum could give a character an advantage immediately. The primary problem I see with this option is that it gives movement-based characters too much of an advantage. 

Three seconds before someone throws a controller through the screen.
2. Boxcars 
An idea that may be a little more fair, what if a hero can roll themselves bigger and better? It may have to be different for each hero, but say, for example, a goal-only roll (no 1s, 2s or 3s) could cause a level-up.The idea behind this option is that a Hero is doing so well, that they become essentially unstoppable. The problem with this option is that more than one of my regular opponents roll terribly, so they would see this as unfair. 

Green Lantern Batman. Because Batman wasn't scary enough. 
3. Last Legs
The final option I came up with was a hero being able to get stronger when only on a few Hits. Something along the lines of a hero putting everything they have into a last punch. Balance wise, it seems to be the best option, as players have to play cagey to get the right amount of damage or just roll with it if it happens. 
 You fool! You only made the Punisher mad! 

So those are my thoughts, keen to hear what other people think.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Laying the foundations

Not much of an update this week, I've been working on more road tiles for my city table: 

I'll need another 22 plain, 10 Straight Sections of Roads and 2 crossroads to double my table to a 6'x8'. Now I just need enough fair weather to get more spraying done.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Alternate Supers: The Z Fighters

I'm a bit of a fan of Akira Toriyama's Dragonball Universe/Anime/Manga, despite, and in some cases, because of, the flaws and over-the-top feel of the stories. What I think turns many people off the franchise is both the serial nature (it needs to suck you in to the next episode) and also a misunderstanding of just how "Pulpy" it is intended to be. 
There is also a problem that the programme evolves over time; Dragonball is an adventure story, rife with mysticism, super-science and magic. DBZ is a Superhero show, plain and simple, with "Earth's Mightiest Heroes" battling Aliens and Robots. DBGT is, primarily a space adventure, with some epic-level hero action at the end. 
Although I'm not a huge fan of Superhero teams that all share the same origin (Fantastic 4 being the exception), I keep coming back to the idea of the Martial Arts Super Team and just how much variation that can be worked into that concept. 

The DBZ Saga that I keep coming back to is the Garlic Jr Saga, probably one of the least favoured by the fanbase, but one of my personal picks. The Saga is short, at only 9 episodes and features primarily the "B-team", as Goku and Vegeta are absent. An ancient evil, Garlic Jr, has harnessed the power of an evil moon that returns every thousand years to break out of a pocket universe where he was imprisoned. Garlic Jr and his henchmen (the Spice Boys) overthrow the Guardian of the planet and turn the entire population evil with a magical mist, leaving only 5 warriors to fight back. 

Now, I still think that's a pretty cool setup, not impossible to see happening in some Silver Age Dr Strange or even (with some names tweaked) in Hellboy. But in a show where everyone screams and hurls balls of light, just how different can this fateful five really be? 

Gohan - The Chosen One 

Gohan may just be Jesus. The kid has shown potential in previous sagas, but in Garlic Jr Saga (GJS) he is literally the only person that can defeat the bad guy; his spirit being anathema to Garlic Jr's. I get the feeling that DBZ was more intended to be about Gohan than Goku, as Goku is often absent and the programme takes a definite turn in tone after the Cell Games Saga (in which Gohan surpasses his father to become the new champion of Earth). That said, I enjoy the Great Sayiaman stuff for its goofy charm. In GJS, Gohan is forced to step into his father's shoes and become a hero, with the fate of the world on his shoulders. In this adventure, Gohan is being groomed to be a great hero and it pays off down the track with Cell and the Androids. 

Piccolo - The Redeemed

It is made abundantly clear in GJS that Piccolo and Kami are two halves of the same soul; when one is hurt, the other suffers and when one is weakening, the other falters. The question becomes apparent then, what happens when the evil half (Piccolo) starts to fight for what's good and right? For longtime fans, it's also good to see Piccolo break out some of his old moves, stretching his arms and increasing in size. There's even one of fiction's finest fake-outs, with Piccolo pretending to be overtaken by the evil Blackwater Mist (to the point of beating Gohan to a pulp) just to get close enough to Garlic Jr to set Kami and Popo free. Be it an attempt at redemption or perhaps self-flagellation, Piccolo puts his life on the line constantly in GJS, pushing Gohan to take the lead. 

Krillin - The Friend 

Krillin is often seen as the "weak sister" of the Z Fighters, which is a shame really. No one seems to remember that he was instrumental in defeating Vegeta, or kept the Ginu Force at bay for weeks. In GJS, he's just a lonely guy trying to make some time with a hot girl, and the Earth is in peril. Again? I feel like we just did this last week. Despite being in over his head, Krillin is always there, giving it his all, trying to be like Goku but just never measuring up. I'm particularly fond of Krillin's matching suit and hat in GJS, which just gets wrecked in the fight, reminds me of Luke Cage or Matt Murdock, going in swinging even if the costume isn't at hand. 

Kami - The Angry God 

Kami never quite gets back the prestige he had in Dragonball; when everyone was in awe of him and only Piccolo Jr had a chance of defeating him. For a figure that represents absolute authority, in GJS, Kami is willing to break every rule he's spent his life enforcing in order to save the planet. Not having the raw power of Gohan, Piccolo or Krillin, Kami puts his very existence on the line to break the Curse of the Blackwater Mist, even challenging his predecessors to interfere when they would remain silent and let the world crumble to evil. 

Mr Popo - The... what the fuck is Popo anyway? 

Seriously, what is this guy, aside from possibly racist? We know from Dragonball that he can fight a little, though is more reliant on his speed, moving so fast that he can't be seen. In GJS, Popo demonstrates an encyclopaedic knowledge of magical artifacts, uses a magic carpet to fly and can cast some rudimentary spells. Popo seems to be immortal, an eternal indentured servant to the Guardians of Earth who is so dedicated to Kami, he willing goes along with his suicidal plan to save the planet. Another character who never gets explored enough, Popo is mysterious and clever in GJS, helping in ways that don't involve direct fighting. 

Maybe not a traditional hero team, the Z Fighters run through a fair few incarnations and members, there's plenty of variety to be had. Trunks, Tien, Pan and Dende are all worth checking out as well if you get curious. 

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Getting Started in Supers - Part 1

SuperSystem 4th Edition is on its way! The Kickstarter is live ( and a mere $6USD will get you the rulebook. Pretty cool huh? 
To celebrate, I thought I'd take a look at just how easy it is to get a team together for this fantastic game. To that end, I pulled out 5 miniatures from my collection (almost at random) that I purchased for games other than Supersystem and I'm throwing together some quick fluff for them to be a team. 
Turns out that it's a villain team, not sure what that says about my minis collection... 

Introducing: Crocomanagator, Kaptain Killa, Hug-Bot, Splashback and The Baron. 

Kaptain Killa (Classic 40K Ork Freebooter): A vicious alien pirate from a distant galaxy, KK was shipwrecked on Earth when a team of nosy "Superheroes" prevented him from stealing the Millennium Dome. To exact his revenge on humanity, KK gathered other criminals to aid him in his campaign to destroy every monument and landmark on the face of the planet.

Splashback (D&D Water Elemental): Few people realise that, sometimes, water just goes bad. Not merely stagnant, but occasionally, downright evil. Splashback evaporated into a bad cloud and shortly thereafter started its rain of terror. Despite its hatred of all "solids", Splashback is forced to work with them, because it needs an occasional topping up with a hose. 

The Baron (Eureka Pirate): Born on the Bayou, this former Accountant turned to crime the day he discovered that he could keep the money he stole if he ran a church. A Google search on Voodoo later, the Baron was born. The Baron has no powers to speak of, but is excellent with money, especially hiding it from the Government. 

Hug-Bot (Horrorclix Carnage Bot): Hug-Bot was designed only to love. Programmed by a lonely scientist, Hug-Bot was intended to provide companionship for geeks who couldn't talk to women. Fortunately for Hug-Bot, there was a flaw in its program and it started a killing rampage. Nothing makes Hug-Bot happier than killing, so it got a job as hired muscle for Supervillains; nothing's better than getting paid to do what you love. 

Crocomanagator (Hordes Gatorman): Crocomanagator was hired by The Baron to be his personal bodyguard and dependent (for tax reasons). He is relied upon to do most of the actual crime, which suits him fine. No one is too sure where Crocomanagator came from, but his Facebook profile lists "Twin Peaks" as his hometown and "Sicily, Alaska" as his place of birth. Guess he likes TV. 

There you go, Villain Team origins from random minis in 30mins. Hopefully this may tempt a couple more people into Supersystem. Although I'm pretty sure most of my followers play it already.