No Dice Supers!
Ok, the Holy Grail of roleplaying. This is an attempt at a superhero rpg that actually works, and is not a shopping list of powers to choose from. I am attempting to create a superhero game that is fast and exciting as the turn of a comic page!
Ok, so the basics.To begin each character has several different powers, which represent a range of abilities in one. So a character may have Elemental Manipulation as a power, or The power cosmic. Within that, they may acquire individual stunts, such as rock blast, or cosmic flight. Each power has a value from 1 to 5, which is added to card draws using that power (usual no dice rules)- the bigger the effect you want, the higher the draw total needs to be. If you have a power stunt, then add 1 more to the draw. Now since this is a superhero game, the range of abilities can be vast - It would not, say, be possible for a regular human to win at an arm wrestling contest against a certain green-skinned giant, just due to a lucky draw. So I introduce the concept of Power Classes:
Class X: This is reserved for cosmic beings and gods
Class A: This is reserved for the champions of earth
Class B: This is reserved for most city-based supers
Class C: This is reserved for low-powered masked men
Class D: This is reserved for regular human beings
When attempting anything opposed an opponent, the superhero makes a draw, with a difficulty equal to the opposing characters defensive powers or stunts, if any, plus 5. If your opponent has a lower class in their defensive power, you gain +5 to your draw for each class difference. If your opponent is one or more classes greater than you, your difficulty is increased by 5 for each difference. Class X powers, however, are an entirely different level of ability - Class X powers will always succeed at tests made against weaker foes. The result is usually pretty messy.
The Scarlet Tarantula, the 4 armed supervillain, is attempting to strike a swat team member. Scarlet Tarantula has the power Giant Mutated Spider 3, with the stunt Arachnid Kick. The poor swat guy has some training (Swat training 4) so the difficulty to strike the officer is 9, but since the officer is 2 classes lower, Scarlet Tarantula adds 14 to his draw - for a grand total of 21! The Swat member flies across the street and falls crumpled in an unconscious heap.
When attempting a draw based on a difficulty, rather than an opposing character, the host should determine a target number from 5 to 10 (5 for a typical draw) - the number that must be beaten for a successful draw attempt.
Class X: Something only a god or cosmic being could do (lift a planet)
Class A: Something only a powerful super could do (lift an aircraft carrier)
Class B: Something only a superhero could do (lift a bus)
Class C: Something just beyond human possibility (lift a motorbike)
Class D: Something a regular could human could do (lift a heavy tv)
For each power class you exceed the difficulty class, add 5 to your draw. For each difficulty class above your power class, add 5 to the difficulty. As for opposed draws (see above), you cannot attempt a Class X task without having a Class X power
Captain Meteor is attempting to stop an out of control freight train from crashing off a bridge. The host sees this as a Class B difficulty, and still being a challenge to most superheroes, rates its difficulty as 9. Fortunately, Captain Meteor, an established hero, has Class A Superhuman Strength 2, so he adds 7 to his draw. Feeling reasonably confident he can manage drawing a 3 or more, Captain Meteor flies to the front of the speeding train and braces himself for the impact…
It is important that you must have some reasonable power to deal with a situation. In the above example, a typical human could never stop a train by force, even if they had Weightlifting 5. However, if they were able to stop it using Train Engineer 5, the Host would allow an attempt. This would require a difficulty of 19, so essentially, the unlucky train driver has to draw a Queen to save the day. Good luck with that…
When deciding on a campaign, you should determine the default class for each power, C for a masked avenger pulp game, B for a standard street level supers game, A for a worlds finest type campaign, or X for a truly cosmic level game.