Sunday, May 30, 2010

Character Building in Resolute Supers 2E

One of the design goals for Resolute Supers 2E was to make characters, and character building, more creative and dynamic. 1E suffered in part because a few abilities outstripped others in terms of their overall value. Once that was cleaned up, a whole new world opened up for supers. The test I kept applying to abilities was 1) Would I ever want this ability for a super I was playing and 2) Would I ever ALWAYS choose this ability? If the answer was no for the first and/or yes for the second, it was time to re-work the ability. “Balance” was never a goal- too much effort to balance abilities leads to sterilization of the system. It’s a game of superheroes! As long as abilities ended up in what I felt was a reasonable range of relative balance, it stayed in. I know the some abilities can be pushed to make your super inherently more powerful than other abilities, but none of these is so far in any direction as to break the game or make the ability untenable. Abilities like disintegration or time travel have simply been left out, since these (by their nature) are game killers. The only reason you purchase time travel is to get an automatic do over for anything that goes wrong, not because you have a cool vision for a hero who travels through time (okay, you might, but I’d wager it’s at least 90% in favor of the first option).

Creating a more uniform approach to abilities also helped to solve some of the funky abilities from 1E. For instance, the previous edition had specific rules for growth and shrinking. In 2E, these are part of shape change; you build a second set of character stats based on the form you are changing to, the total level set by your ability rating. Now, with growth +5, you have 50 character points to play with to build your ‘giant form’. You are probably going to give this form better armor, might and stamina, and you are probably going to drop your accuracy and evade. In fact, you may decide that this form gives you elongation +1 as well. Hey, whatever. You get to build it in the way that seems most reasonable to you. You have specific guidelines so you know the parameters of what you can do, but you have no limit on how it works.