Wednesday, July 7, 2021

Why I Like Stalwart Age

I know... it's my game, and I wrote it, so of COURSE I like it. That's kind of obvious.

But there are things that are baked in that are not necessarily intentional, but are cool side effects of the design philosophy I've employed. You can play the game 'out of the box' as is, or you can toolkit the whole thing and start tinkering. Someone over the Supers RPG forum on FB was asking about building custom powers for his character, and we ended up going through about four different ways he could solve the power set for his character. The game allows any of those pathways to work, and to customize the gift that best fits his character concept. Instead of having clear lines between gifts, there is significant bleed between some gifts so that two characters with different powers could do similar things; and two characters with similar powers could have them present in fundamentally different ways.

But the other benefit is that powers (and even origins) have various levels of complexity. In D+D, if you want to keep things simple, you play a fighter; if you want to have some complexity, play a Drow magic/user thief, and you'll have all sorts of fiddly things to play with. In many ways, Stalwart Age is that concept on adrenaline. Cyclops and the Thing are simple. You shoot stuff with your eye beams or you are big and tough and strong. Those are easy to conceive of, and easy to play. At the far end, you can have the Scarlet Witch, with myriad ways to apply her powers. I also like how 'comic-booky' this ends up being. I was reading through some old FF comics (from Byrne's run, of course) and in the letters column someone pointed out that Sue was more powerful now than she was before; the editor replied that she always had those powers, it was just that she (and JB by extension) were finding new ways to apply them. In comics, the powers of supers change depending on who is doing the writing; the powers as applied in the game change depending on how the player is interpreting them. How I use sonic energy control and how you use it might be different; we read the same small block of text and get different ideas about how this might work and the types of things we might do with it. This is actually not a weakness of the game; it is a strength because it better emulates the source material, and our shared experiences in spending time in that source material. 

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