Tuesday, May 5, 2020

On Superhero Worlds

On a suggestion, I found a pdf of the original version of Aaron Allston's Strike Force and skimmed through it - and I didn't love it, at least not in terms of what I want to do. I thought that the practical discussions around running supers gaming were good, but other than that it's mostly a roster of characters. I suppose that what I keep reacting to is that many supers gaming supplements are 'here are my/our cool characters' rather than 'here is where your cool characters live'.

It is one of the key problems with gaming in Marvel's or DC's worlds - it is awesome to be where Batman is and to fight some of Batman's enemies, but when Batman keeps showing up, he kind of takes the spotlight from you. I have addressed that by having all the great heroes be also kind of dead. Ermugurd, there were all these incredible heroes who did tremendous things, but now there's a bit of a void and we hope you'll step up, because they didn't take any of their villains with them when they died.

And, the fact that they're dead almost makes me want to avoid creating stats for them. How powerful was the Emissary? How much could Magni lift? What was Eldritch able to do? They assume a more mythical status if I don't tell you how powerful they were - because of that, you are always just a little bit in their shadow. And it's always just a shadow.

I'm interested in the stories of before and after those heroes lived. I'm actually not all that interested in telling stories about the greatest heroes at the height of their powers defeating overwhelming threats.

And again, my focus is on creating a living gaming environment, not a fixed world that has already had the coolest stuff happen.


  1. Agreed. No one really needs your heroes if Superman is around or The Avengers can show up in response to trouble.

    I prefer to create a campaign world, taking bits and pieces from various super hero RPGs to build it. That lets the PCs shine brighter.

  2. Yep. The way that I handled it in The Superverse was to have the few "iconic" superheroes that I present in the setting compromised in some way and in need of the player character's help. They're also set-up to become potential foils for the player characters, or to die over the course of the mini-campaign presented in the supplement, thus passing the torch to the PCs. Again, I'm not 100& certain that I avoided all the pitfalls of the more fully determined gaming universes out there, but I gave it a shot.