I was re-reading Villains & Vigilantes again today, specifically the power section when I came upon this particular section I had completely forgotten (give me a break - I've only ever read the book once, and have not yet had a chance to play it!):
When all powers and weaknesses [each player rolls one random "weakness" in addition to 3-8 (1D6+2) super powers] are determined, the player must select one of the powers to discard. It is better to drop a power which will leave you with a remaining set which are interesting and go well together, rather than simply getting rid of some ability which doesn't look very powerful.Each character also has the option of dropping the weakness he received if he feels that it would hinder him too severely. However, to do so he must drop a second power as described above.
I know I was talking about my dislike of randomness in super power games yesterday, specifically with regard to Marvel, but V&V does a great job of making the random power generation coherent with these two rules. Discarding one power (especially when you only have a handful, many of which are open to radical interpretation) really gives you the ability to "tighten up" an otherwise incoherent bunch of abilities. And the "weakness" rule is good as well...if players don't want the weakness they don't have to have it. And the price they pay to drop it (abandon an additional power) simply allows them to tighten the character concept further. It's a win-win all the way around.
I was already considering adding weaknesses to my game...they are just such a trope of the comic book superhero. The kryptonite achilles heel, Daredevil's blindness, Tony Stark's drinking, Spiderman's numerous imperiled family members/love interests (as well as always being broke as a joke)...it seems like most every hero has something that makes him or her flawed (I'm not sure what Green Arrow's weakness is...that he's a libertarian? that he's an easy target for police trying to crack down on vigilantes due to his lack of "real" superpowers?).
However, I had been considering having the weakness as optional...a means of perhaps gaining an extra superpower. Now...well, I have to admit, I like V&V's take on it. Perhaps a list of minor weaknesses (mandatory) versus major weaknesses (optional)? I'll have to think about it.
I never did like the weaknesses in Marvel Superheroes RPG (I refer to the limitations found in the Ultimate Powers Book). As with many aspects of Marvel, I found this particular system lacked granularity...plus, I just didn't find it very fun.
Yesterday, I spent quite a bit of my day working on the Superhero game. Finished my sidekick rules which are, quite frankly, totally awesome. Also fleshed out most of combat and XP/advancement (some people might be disappointed to hear that - at this time - combat is going to be a variation of my attack-less variant combat system for B/X).
I also put together a list of as many general super powers as I could think of off the top of my head. I got 103, which according to the good Doctor is probably "three too many." He doesn't think there should be more than 100 (which interestingly, appears to be the exact number present in Matthew's random charts over at Wheel of Samsara).
And he may be onto something. V&V only has 70 powers in its rule book (NOT counting "weaknesses") while Mutants & Masterminds only lists 93 (not counting Feats and extras), Heroes Unlimited has 90 random super powers (not counting spells, psionics, bionics, etc.), Aberrant has 65 (plus 9 "mega-attributes"), and Guardians has only 97 total. Advanced Marvel Superheroes does have 120 powers, but the original, basic Marvel Superheroes only has 60 including some of my favorites to be left out of the Advanced edition (Unique Weapon, Unique Vehicle, Intelligent Weapon, and Sidekick).
So even though I was considering compiling a single comprehensive list of powers including EVERYTHING from EVERY supers RPG I've got, I think instead that I'll do what I can to cut down the list to something a bit more manageable.
On the other hand, B/X D&D does have more than 100 spells in it (though admittedly spread over two rule books). I think that if I could get the power descriptions down to pithy, B/X-like blurbs, I might be able to get a few more than 100 into the game. But as I said, it's something I'll have to think about.
Right now, France and Uruguay just started their match. Later Gators!