Tuesday, June 8, 2010

O Heroes Limited!

It’s often not a bad idea to put something down for awhile and pick it up again later. Certainly the intervening time and experience gives one perspective.

I found what might be called a “derivative work” that re-vamped the XP system of Heroes Unlimited, streamlining it, making it more useful/efficient, and even giving it meta-game aspects similar to Marvel’s “karma” system. Unfortunately dear readers, I will not be posting it here just yet, as it is always possible I might incorporate it into my own supers RPG and “derivative” + “for profit” = “Palladium lawsuit” at least half the time.

Besides, why should I work to make HU playable when I really would prefer you play MY game.
; )

Ahhh...it’s that kind of back-biting that will (in part) totally do in the RPG industry one of these days. Do I want that? No. Is there room enough to share? Mmmmm…yeah, probably. Will there be sharing? Not necessarily…and for a bunch of many and varied reasons.

[honestly, I’m not trying to be cryptic or anything…I just don’t want to go into yet another long and rambling diatribe]

So looking back at my derivative work, and factoring it and its effectiveness into my earlier spreadsheet, does it improve my score for Heroes Unlimited?

Yeah, it sure does.

Get rid of the skill system (or cut it down significantly) and the game gets up to the passing range (72% or higher). Organize the rules, knock out alignment completely and add some basic personality mechanics that actually affect effectiveness…hell, maybe streamline combat to something closer to B/X…and HU can reach a solid “B” grade (86.4%). At least as far as MY taste goes.

Chargen is still too slow for my taste (the price you pay for both granularity AND coherence of power types) but maybe, MAYBE it could be re-tooled. ‘Course, by that time, I might as well be writing my own game, right?

Mmm…it sure would be tough to fit it into 64 pages.

Ah, who am I kidding? When it comes right down to it, I know what I want to see and I know EXACTLY why I prefer to spend my hours tweaking existing systems over writing up my own game…writing super powers is damn hard. YOU try it…list all the powers you can think of. Then cross-reference ‘em with all the powers in other RPGs to find ones you may have missed. Then let it sit for a couple days-weeks and wander the comic book store a couple-three times, come back and see if there aren’t MORE you missed. THEN try to put rules to all of ‘em that balance ‘em and make ‘em coherent with regard to your game system.

Damn. That is a daunting task.

But maybe I could do it…and fit it all into 64 pages. I’d need to streamline a bunch of stuff, including combat. Probably have to cut out the artwork (which is fine, as I’d have nearly as easy a time getting art as for my last game…and that wasn’t easy!). Yeah, maybe I could get it put together….

At least I already have the advancement system.
; )


  1. Not sure what you mean by streamlining combat, but the defender getting to roll against the attack is one of the areas Palladium kicks D&D's slipshod ass...so what does streamlining mean?

  2. @ Matt:

    Hmm: "slipshod" or "streamlined" (as in "simplified")? At the time I was writing this, I was thinking there was just a few too many steps to the whole combat procedure/system in HU...the multiple attacks, various ways of spending those attacks (full melee bursts and power punches, versus throws and kicks and headbutts, etc.), strike, parry/dodge/auto-parry, pull punch, roll with punch, AR comparison, etc. It's not that it's unworkable (I played a lot of HU and Rifts back in the day), it's that it's got a ridiculous number of parts for a game about comic book-style superheroes. Even in a melee heavy comic (like, say, the Immortal Iron Fist) combats don't take more than a handful of panels to complete...I'd prefer a system that more effectively models the genre. But that's just me.
    ; )