Sunday, November 23, 2008

Run Away! (RPing in non-RPG games, and other fun from yesterday)

Gwen and Andy invited us (and many others) over for gaming yestay, and we had a ton of fun. I came in distant second in a 4-player game of Settlers. I was inundated by siege engines and betrayed by victorious traitors in Shadows. 4 games of "Time's Up!" was enough to melt my brain (Idi Amin, Joseph Stalin, Yuri Andropov, Margaret Thatcher and Janet Reno walk into a bar - now differentiate between them via charades and sound effects). I died a lot at werewolf, but I also did a really good job in my first ever time as Seer, and was on the winning side in all but 2 of the 5 or 6 villages. It was like a one-day mini-GwenCon.

About the new Merlin's Company expansion for Shadows Over Camelot:
Somehow, our 8-player game ended up with 2 traitors, which stunned us all when they won. They may be part of what lead to my feeling the expansion made things much harder than normal. The travel cards trounced us, and that flighty Merlin abandoned the Excaliber quest just when we needed him most. Even without the 12th Seige Engine, we could have lost by black swords.

It was also hard parsing all the new character powers simultaneous to the new rules. Some (including mine) went underused. If I buy the expansion, and I probably will, I'll want to play 3 or 4 times with the old characters and the new rules before adding the new characters in. Or perhaps vice-versa.

One thing I didn't like about the new expansion: The Python quotes. If you're an Arthurian purist, this could ruffle your feathers.
To me, the best games of Shadows are when people play in-character, it's not only fun, it helps make the mystery and bluffing elements of the game work better. I'm really uncertain whether the Monty Python and the Holy Grail references on the new Travel cards would help or hinder that. Will it enhance the fun, or make it harder to stay in character? There was so much new to learn, that we didn't get much in-character anyway, so it had no real impact. Long-term, though, I expect it's a mistake to have gone there. Time will tell.

About Werewolf: We used flavorful non-secret roles this time (in addition to the normal secret teams/roles), such as the Village Idiot, the Butcher, the Serving Wench, The Blacksmith (and his Apprentice), etc. These were just for flavor, to add RolePlaying to the game of mystery and mob-rule. Doing so favors the werewolves (because it becomes much harder for the Sherriff to keep the village on task), but man does it ever breathe new life into the game. On the drive home, Sarah agreed it was the most fun we've ever had playing Werewolf, and that's saying something.

2d4 Answers

About a month ago, I posted about d4s. In that post, I mentioned two questions I intended to ask Andy Collins next time I saw him*. Last night, he answered my questions for me. What follows is a very rough-paraphrase of his answers, please don't take these as word-for-word quotes. None of this is official, either, it's just stuff he said as a friend and fellow gamer, not in any Wizards capacity.

My two questions were:
  1. What's with the 2d4 weapons in 4th Ed? There's 4 mundane weapons that roll two dice in 4th Ed, and they have precious little in common. Greatclub, Falchion, Glaive, and Spiked Chain all roll 2d4. Heavy Flail and Maul do 2d6. Everything else has a flat damage probability, but those 6 weapons have a curve. It's been bugging me, no doubt because I hate d4s.

  2. Does Wizards own this patent? If so, why not make that style of d4?

Apparently, the 2d4 weapons are an artifact from an earlier draft, and now devoid of the meaning they once had. At one point in development, all 2-handed weapons rolled 2 dice for damage (and all one-handed weapons rolled one die). That was a fairly fun and flavorful idea, but the many 2d8 weapons at the top of the scale proved broken in playtesting. So, everything had to be scaled back. The 2d8s probably became 2d6s or 1d12s, which meant the existing 2d6s became 1d10s and 1d12s. The 2d4s at the bottom of the two-handed scale were largely left untouched. Roughly. The phrase "I think" was inserted generously into his answer, and this was far from priviledged information or a prepared interview. Purely off the top of his head.

I share it because I think it illustrates a point about game development. The 2d4s made perfect sense in the original context, but now that the "2 hands = 2 dice" concept had been abandoned, they stand out as just a touch odd. The next time I'm ranting about some game mechanic I don't like, I'd do well to look for the greater context that might facilitate understanding of how and why that mechanic came to be.

As to the other question, well, it took some effort to explain which version of d4 I was talking about. Not a regular platonic solid that rolls so poorly, nor the d6 with pyramids on two ends that only rolls one way, nor the four-sided curved surface football-shaped one that also only rolls one direction, nor the d8 numbered twice which could lead to accidental rolls of the wrong die... Eventually, we were both talking of the correct top-reading isoceles d4 shape. Apparently they'd been used for Magic Items in Dragon Dice, which was news to me.

Andy's recollection was that the very acute angles resulted in a die that had very little plastic (or, more importantly, weight). As a result, they don't actually roll as well as you'd hope. In order to make ones with the right heft to roll better, you'd have to make them larger than the other dice, and then the size would make them awkward. Again, with a lot of "I think" and "if I recall correctly" punctuating the very informal discussion. Off the top of his head, he didn't know (or didn't comment on) the legal status of the patent that was filed by TSR.

*sigh* I guess I'll just have to suck up my hatred of traditional d4s, 'cause they ain't likely to be replaced anytime soon. Ultimately, why go to the trouble (and expense) of using a new/abnormal die mold if it's not going to dramatically improve the die-rolling experience? I don't want to put words in Andy's mouth - he didn't actually say those sentences, it was just the impression I walked away from the conversation with. The statements above were a very rough-paraphrase of his answers, please don't take them as word-for-word quotes. Again, none of this is official, it's just stuff he said as a friend and fellow gamer, not in any Wizards capacity. I certainly never thought to ask "can I quote you on that?"

But man would I ever love to see d4's culled from the herd.

*: Andy is a friend of mine, but the friendship is not so tight that I can just randomly call him up out of the blue and ask about dice mechanics in D&D. Maybe he'd be okay with it, he does love gaming afterall, but I'd feel like I was taking advantage of him and/or our friendship.
I also could have asked Gwen Kestral, his wife. My rapport with her is at least as strong, but I'm not sure at what point in 4th Ed development she left Wizards. The 2d4 weapons decision might have been after her departure. I'd hate for anyone to wrongly conclude that I went to Andy for gender-discriminatory reasons.
Part of it was the timing issue, and part of it was that I've actually connected more with Gwen, and wanted an excuse to just "chew the fat" with Andy. I wanted the question to come up organically. That didn't happen, but I was at his house for what I expect to be the last time until January, so I just decided to risk rudeness and ask about (his) work rather than wait another month and a half (or more) for the answers. The resulting conversation was fun and enlightening.
Besides, Andy and I were both sitting around dead duing werewolf, repeatedly, so I had my chance(s) to ask.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The big undead-off

Warning: I don't usually "work blue" on this blog, but this post has some adult content. It's pretty minor, but I didn't want to shock anyone.

In the 3 different RPGs I've played in the last 7 days, all of which were great fun, I have one particular scene that I'm proud of.

It was a Risus game, and I was playing a Vampire. The main villain was a Liche/ Necromancer. We had this big battle at the end, where I guess I shamefully stole the spotlight, but everyone got a kick out of it. We were out-undeading each other, not so much fighting as having an undead-off. (The other PCs were trailing behind and either fighting minions or just watching the show.)

Our actions back and forth involved all sorts of tropes from various films: gliding weightlessly, vamping menacingly, raising the dead, having our shadows wrestle while we just locked eyes, etc, all the while with massive velvet cloaks unfurling behind us and blowing in the wind. Since it was Risus,we didn't have to make real attacks. "Damage" isn't neccesarily flesh and blood, it can be anything demoralizing or penalizing.

It came 'round to my action in the back-and-forth, and I realized this could be the killing blow. So I pulled out all the stops:
"For my final act of contempt, to show how vastly superior my undead mojo is to his, I turn my back on him dismissively. On cue, my three vampiric brides, previously unmentioned, slink forth from shadows that concealed them and proceed to fellate me. Take that!"
I got applause not only from my table, but also from the NaNoWriMo group that was sharing the cafe with us.

Unfortunately, I completely blew my roll - nothing but a handfull of "1's" on the dice. The GM laughed and said:
"What you described happens, but your taste in women leaves much to be desired. Three pathetic, scraggly-haired, disease-ridden, ugly hobgoblin vampires attend you and your member."

That was probably the best laugh of the year, even better than "Can I roll to make Sarah Palin rub my belly?"

Not technically Space 1889

Since the theme of the Emerald City Game Fest was Steampunk, both games I played in were set in 1889.

The second of those games was actually in the setting of "Space 1889", the seminal Steampunk RPG. It did not, however, use Space 1889's mechanics, which, I'm told are a little clunky for a one-shot. Instead, he used a system called "Science vs Savagery". At first, I thought it was homebrewed, but half way through I realized it was derived from some of Ed Texiera's "2 Hour Wargames". In other words, it was a rules-light skirmish miniatures system, shoehorned into being an RPG. That said, it was a brilliant move by the GM (whose name escapes me, sorry), as it made for fast combat and simple character sheets.

Brief complaints: PCs were a little fragile, and we got knocked out fairly often. The "taking fire" reaction chart favored the target a bit too much. We kept getting charged by the winged monkees we tried to shoot - I would have been happier with them (and us) ducking for cover more often.

On the other hand, since his plot hinged on us barely escaping alive, and having to sneak and fight our way back, it worked out okay. He threw overwhelming force at us in the first fight, and faded to black once we'd all been KO'd. We woke up "left for dead" in the desert, with our airship moored to the badguys castle. Survive the desert, find the back entrance to the mesa, disrupt the villains plans to unite feuding factions of barbarians to overthrow Brittain, steal our airship back, sabotage or steal Blavatsky's invisible airship, and escape. All in a days work.

He also did a great job with his NPCs. Specifically, Professor Blavatsky! (which needs the exclamation mark to catch the character) will be with me for a while. I'm chuckling as I write that. Superb, very memorable.

I must say, I really took to the Space 1889 setting. Thomas Edison built a steam-powered airship and flew to mars, and the various colonial powers followed. Mars has some antigravity trees ("liftwood"), and there's apparently atmosphere in space, so you can literally sail from planet to planet. Liftwood airships are fun, adding the 3rd dimension to old-school naval battles is neat.

Like 7th Sea, it does a good job of blending familiar history with the mystery of supernatural/unexpected. The three martian cultures seem flavorful. As presented in the one-shot, the Canal Martians were roughly analogous to colonial India, the Hill Martians had Zulu and Native American influences, and the High Martians were Flying Monkees. Now, I suppose that could be interpreted as racism, but I'm confident it's not intended as such. I think the point is really to give you a hook on which to hang your concept of the various Martian types, so instead of being random anonymous aliens, they have a cultural niche. You get a starting point, but no smart-alec history buff (or armchair anthropologist) will be able to tell the GM how to run his game. That's my take on it, anyway. (It may also be that the Martians were grossly oversimplified for the sake of a 4-hour time block, I don't know.)

I ended up playing a largely forgettable character, which I now regret. I'd played a flamboyant noble dandy earlier in the day, and so wanted to try something else. I knew I was going to be a Native American warrior in the game I thought I'd be playing this week (going to a free movie instead, it turns out), so I passed on the opportunity to play a Hill Martian scout. I ended up as an airship crewman with a dodgy past, and I never really found the character. I had lots of fun, but I don't feel I contributed much to other peoples fun (unlike the InSpectres game, where I was on fire), which is regretable. I tend to over analyze and self-depricate, so I probably wasn't as dissapointing as I imagined. Still, I could do better, and did so earlier in the day.

InSpectres 1889

Each year Emerald City Game Festhas a theme. You get extra raffle tickets for running a game that fitthat theme, and I think there might be other incentives that I'm justnot remembering. This year it was "Steampunk". About a third to a halfof the games in the program were in-theme, as were both of the games I played in.

The first one I played in was Saint George's Arms. It was an InSpectres game, run by Sophie Lagace.I'd played InSpectres recently, with mixed results. That game had fallen flat, but that was largely the players fault, and seemed like the sort of thing we'd not have trouble with on our second outing, so I was tentatively excited to give it another go. We'd gamed with Sophie before, 3 or 4 times before she moved to California. It was pretty cool that she and Edmund drove back up here for the free con they'd helped create, and we were glad to see them.

Standard InSpectres is basically Ghostbusters. This was Ghostbusters in 1889, so we could do some steampunk. We ended up with minimal steampunkishness, but had a blast anyway. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was found dead in his home, with possible occult causes, and so the Queen's own ghostbusters were called in to investigate. Sophie did a good job of creating an opening situation that was easy to grok (some sort of pixies or faeries had killed him) and riff off of. We lampooned the era, the spoiled gentry, the notion that England was the pinnacle of civilization and everyone else "savages". Lots of good tongue-in-cheekiness, and some zulu pixies.

InSpectres GMs get to sit back a lot, providing minimal structure and letting the players chew the scenery. Sophie did a good job of this, nudging us to new scenes when the plot slowed, calling for die rolls when needed, etc. Her administrative skills were showcased well. That sounds like a backhanded compliment, but I mean it sincerely. If the InSpectres GM assumes all the work will be done for them, the game can bog down in a morass of meaningless meandering subscenes or zip to premature conclusion due to a string of good rolls that should never have advanced the plot. For a game that is so player-driven, it actually takes a good GM to keep it rolling, and Sophie was definitely up to the task.

I played a flamboyant bit of puffery named Reginald Carter Fizzlebottom, Esquire, 58th in line to the throne. He was a talented athlete, a royal scholar, a foppish dandy, and a womanizing rake. Very fun. I'm a little worried that I've given Sophie a poor impression of me, though, as my two most recent characters in games she was present for included this windbag womanizer and a vampire with a host of undead brides. Oh, well...

As is the case with InSpectres, things can get a bit whacky. Our pixies ended up being zulu-pygmy-pixies. They had glowing teeth that left glowing bite marks. They had tiny blowguns with poison darts, but you had to get hit by several of the tiny darts to get an effective dose. Taking photos of them stole their souls. Killing them by traditional means would actually make them regenerate into bigger, nastier bodies. The sounds that we thought were zulu drums instead turned out to be dozens of pixies beating eachother to death to inspire their own metamorphosis into combat-form-super-pixies.

I'm now sold on InSpectres. I ordered a copy from my friendly local game story (Gary's Games), which should show up in a week or two. I'm even more excited for the third session of the game, since we have yet to really make use of the Reality TV narrative structure the game assumes, or the campaign rules, and I think both will boost the game to a higher level. As with Wushu, InSpectres is a game that needs a good group to make it fly, but if you've got good players it's an awesome little pick-up game. Check it out.

Emerald City Game Fest rocks!

Last Saturday, I went to the Emerald City Game Fest. It's a free, one-day gaming convention. It was lots of fun. I wish it were longer, however. I'm pretty sure they only had the space (the Northgate Community Center) for 9 hours, including 8 of gaming and an hour of set up / break down, so things were a bit rushed. Still, for a free event, it was pretty awesome.

ECGF had board games, miniatures games, RPGs - the whole gamut. The only aspects of gaming they noticably lacked were computer games and hardcore CCGs. There were a couple of vendor tables, but due to the tight timing, I didn't get to visit them. If they'd scheduled an hour-long lunch break between events, I think the gamers and vendors would be serviced better. I'll mention it next time I see the group (I know 5 of the organizers of the event, and game with 3 of them nearly every week), since it may help make their sponsors happy.

Those minor complaints about time aside, I got far more than my money's worth out of the free con. I played in two RPGs, about which I'll post more in a couple minutes. I also won two prizes in the free raffle drawings. One drawing was for a pick from the table of swag - which included a Cyberpunk 2020 book we didn't already own (Corp Book 3). The other drawing was for two tickets to a sneak preview of The Transporter 3, which we'll be seeing tonight.

Other minor swag included neat grenade stickers for some upcoming Punisher sequel (too bad they're bigger than blank white cards) and flyers for gamestores and cons I'd never heard of. This town has more cons and gaming opportunities than any other city I've ever lived in.

The big table of swag had a copy of the book I wrote part of, so I signed it for them. I felt famous again, but just for 15 seconds this time. :)

What's this gray line doing here?

There's this weird vertical line running in the midst of my words on this blog. It wasn't there when I was using my old computer. Since my hard drive fried I've been using an old machine with a really old browser.

When I first noticed the line, I thought it was just that this ancient platform was misinterpreting the HTML. No big deal, I thought, since it misinterprets everything - can't figure out frames or div or java or anything involving video. This machine can barely handle posting to this blog, so I doubt it'll go well if I use it to fiddle with bloggers layout editor.

Besides, with my novel-writing (I'm at 47,010 words, btw), I haven't had much time for this place. Out of sight, out of mind.

But yesterday, I happened to need to reference something I knew I had linked to here. Sarah's computer was running, but she wasn't teleworking at that moment, so I grabbed it for a sec. I get here, and see the ugly gray line running down my text column. I haven't edited the layout here in a good 6 months. Has it been there the whole time, and my mac laptop just didn't display it? If so, I apologize. Next chance I get to steal Sarah's computer for an hour so I can hunt for the offending code, I will.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Feast and Fest

Nearly every week, I go to the Wayward Coffeehouse on Thursday Nights and play in the Emerald City Game Feast. It's a group that plays one-shots and short-shots, trying out lots of different systems. In the past 4 months we've done Risus, Wushu, InSpectres, Og, several varieties of Savage Worlds, some weird homebrewed Cthulhu/DeltaGreen variant called the B3 System, and recently made characters to use for Godlike next week. The experience varies a great deal from week to week, but I'm really glad to have joined the group.

This weekend is the Emerald City Game Fest. Note the lack of an "a". It's a once-yearly free gaming convention, affiliated with the Feast group. It's pretty laid back compared to most Cons, so despite it being tomorrow, I don't know what I'll be playing in. There's card, board, miniatures, and role-playing events on the schedule. I'll probably be playing RPGs, since I wrapped up my scion game, I'm now RPG-deprived. (A single one-shot every week isn't enough! I need to GM again soon. Need my fix, man. In fact, I'm going to haul with my Og stuff, just in case I have trouble fitting in the existing games and need to GM. It's unlikely that'll be neccesary, though, as the site shows me there's around 40 events on the schedule. Still a good scout is always prepared - or something.)

Simple Systems Are The Best

Last night, I played Risus.
  • Of the rules-light RPGs I've played lately, Wushu is still my favorite. Wushu, however, is very much a "Hippy Game" - it's got an unconventional structure, that takes some getting used to. It's very easy for a new player (or GM) to miss the point of Wushu and fail to make it deliver to it's full potential. If I was GMing for a new group of random players I'd never gamed with, I'd run Risus over Wushu. Both have about the same potential for abuse by a player who defines excessively-broad attributes, but Wushu adds to that the potential to fall flat if the players are timid, since the GM does less in Wushu than in most RPGs, and the players have all the power.

That said, Risus, too, is not without it's problems. At it's core, Risus is a game with a terribly broken fundamental flaw. Yet despite that glaring problem, both times I've played it, I've really enjoyed Risus. The rest of the rules are so simple, that both GMs were able to compensate for the flaw and keep it from mattering. There were no ripple effects to account for when you altered one of the games handful of rules / paradigms.

The primary mechanic (and source of the flaw) is that each player has a small number of attributes/skills (known as "Cliches") numbered from 1 to 4. Whenever you take an action, you roll d6s equal to your relavent cliche and add them together. Where this breaks down is how it relates to damage. Each point of damage (you get one each time you're hit, or each time you fail a roll) reduces one of your Cliches by one die. As you can imagine, this leads to a quick and nasty spiral of death. I get one bad roll and mydie pool drops by one. Which makes it more likely I'll have another badroll. One unlucky roll means you're going to lose the entire fight,unless your foe rolls even worse (despite now being a die up on you) twice. Once you hit zero dice in any Cliche, you're incapacitated.

The two GMs I've played under have both managed to entirely sidestep this fatal flaw.
  1. Honestly,I don't recall how Jeremy dodged it, probably because the game he ran was 2 to 3 years ago. If forced to guess, I'd say it was via a house-rule that changed how damage worked. I remember him discussing the flaw before the game started, so he was aware of it, and probably had a work-around.

  2. Last night, Malachi got around it by providing healing potions at various points during the game. This felt pretty forced, he was obviously pulling our fat out of the fryer. Not that we complained. Still, it didn't feel balanced or natural, and therefore eroded his verisimilitude.

  3. Solving it via the age-old tradition of fudging the dice is unlikely to work. There's 99% transparency on the monster stats. Die pool equals one stat minus damage, so if you see the GMs roll just once (not even the result, just the number of dice rolled) you can conclude the monster's strength, hit points, and capabilities. Therefore, it's fairly hard for a GM to fudge things without the players noticing he'd just thrown them a bone.

The secret to why I've enjoyed Risus is that it's so incredibly freeform. The system lends itself to light-hearted goofiness, and both one-shots started out ostensibly serious but quickly developed unique quirkiness. This can be directly attributed to the Cliche system.
Cliches can be:
  • traditional ("Ranger" or "Smart"),

  • over the top ("Blood-Sucking Vampiric Fiend"),

  • damn-near useless ("Philosophy Major"),

  • a wee bit odd ("I know I've got one of those around here"),

  • or truly bizarre ("Oh, dear God no, don't tell me I'm actually a Unicorn").

Description is just that - flavor text only. Yes, "Hollywood Vampire" allows forsome cinematic effects that are harder to justify from "PhilosophyMajor", but mechanically it's no better. Nothing really stops you from doing damage with "Philosophy Major" as long as you think quick and describe how your actions make the enemy doubt themselves. One or two bad die rolls while turning into a Bat, and your vampire stops being so fanciful and cinematic.

That said, there's a definite advantage to having just a couple of broadly-defined Cliches, and rating them as highly as you can. Standard character creation involves spending 10 dice, and you can't take anything above a 4. Three stats at 4/4/2 respectively seems pretty darned optimal, though I could see a case for a 4/3/3 build if you didn't have two Cliches you felt were likely to cover everything you'd want the character to do. That said, PCs with just three defining characteristics/concepts tend to besomewhat flat.

One or two of the 6 PCs last night were built differently than those two models, and it was noticable. The player with 3/3/2/2 had trouble being useful - she could do a lot of very different things, but none of them very well. Further, a 3-Cliche PC could fail 7 rolls and still be on their feet (though reduced to one very vulnerable die in everything), where as the 4-Cliche PC is in that dire strait after just 6 failed rolls. Luckily it was a one-shot, since being the unintended sidekick would suck heavily after the second or third session.

I'd recommend Risus for one-shots and short-shots, especially if you don't mind the game getting a little goofy. However, you'll need to be prepared to handle the out-of-control PC-death-spiral, and you'll want to keep an eye open for PCs that are spread too thin at character creation. Still, Risus is free, so you expect it to be a little rough around the edges.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Godlike isn't.

Tonight we made characters for the Godlike RPG. The concept is "Superheroes in WWII", which sounded kinda cool. Mechanics use the One Roll Engine (or One RollSystem?)... I was not impressed with that system at all.

  • Attributes are too restrictive. You get 6 attributes, each of which is rated from 1-5. They all start as 1s, then you split 6 extra points. So, you could have all 2s. If you want above average in anything, it means below averagein something else. Human maximum is a 5, but to get human max inanything requires human minimum in 3 other attributes - half of allendeavors.

  • Skills are limited by Attributes. You can't have a higherskill rating than the attribute it's linked to. So, for thoseattributes you have at 1, you can't get more than the lst level ofskill. There's lots of things for which you'll only roll 1 or 2 dice.

  • Success is measured in pairs. If you're rolling 1 die (lowest attribute, and noskill) you always fail. I can live with that, but it's not ideal. Ifyou've got the skill, you can succeed, but if your rolling just twodice, your chance of success is 10%. Backing up slightly, the PC with a5 in some stat, has no better than a 10% chance of success in half ofeverything he might be called upon to do. Yuck. And trust me, the 7 or8 dice he'll be rolling in his area of expertise isn't going make upfor that.

  • You get 20 levels of skills. 4 dice (2 levels of skill ona human average attribute) grants roughly a 50% success rate. 50% on 10skills out of 30+. Don't expect to succeed much. I rolled 4 and 5 dicerepeatedly in our opening scene, and never succeeded at anything.

  • There's a "Commando package" of skills you can get if you're character's been through training. It gives you 1 die in 19 skills, so it nearly doubles the skills any non-commando character has. Yet, since they're just 1 die, you'll probably still fail a lot. The package gives you a broad base of incompetence.

  • Most of those Commando skills aren't on the skill list. Since you can make up your own skills to augment the list of 30 or 40 basic skills, at first this seems like it's not a problem. The issues crop up when trying to figure out what Attributes the skills are based on, since that effects your die pool and limits how many dice you put into it. Is Knife-Fighting a Body or Coordination skill? Is Mortar based on Coordination or Brains? How about Demolitions? The book offered no help there.

  • The power system is very flexible, and definitely the selling point of the game. However, a single very basic "classic" superhero power can easily run more than 20 of your 25 points. Even then, many tricks are unattainable - the example of how the "Immunity" power functions would require having 64 points invested in the power, and even if you spent 256% of the starting character's power budget, you'd still be vulnerable to rifle shots. For freakin' superheroes?

  • Seems like making a character who isn't an extremely narrow one-trick-pony would be impossible. If your one trick isn't offensive, don't expect to ever hit a villain with your mundane stats and skills. If your trick is offensive, you'll probably score lethal headshots with every use. For anything more than a one-shot, that's pretty undesirable.

This system seems stupidly broken. A typical "mundane mortal" rarely ever succeeds at anything. We're not talking about abnormally difficult tasks - the minimal threshold for success is one pair. It's hard to sustain disbelief when grenades are duds 90% of the time.

It's called "Godlike" but your characters will feel anything but.