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Supervillain House Rule


I just thought I would pitch this out there as something that has worked well in my games and hopefully might help others, or possibly be included in the new version.

So I typically have to run games for large groups, five to seven being the norm, and that presents certain advantages and challenges as a DM. The primary challenge is creating villains that are interesting and just strong enough to be a threat without being too easy or too hard for the group to handle.

Now while I love the Supers! rule about power use for attacking/defending/no more than once per round/etc for players and general villains, it can be difficult to come up with a major villain who is a tough fight and follows this rule while still seeming thematically appropriate. When a villain has 6 different 4D powers, it can be a pain to come up with reasons for all of them, it is a lot more to remember as a GM, it makes coming up with villains on the fly more difficult, and villains start seeming "samey".

So I was considering some options to alleviate the issue I was having. Sure giving every villain a high Armor and some attack that is an Area Attack works for a while, but not in the long run of a campaign. Not to mention all of the iconic villains in comics tend to do one or two things, while it is the heroes who are diversified and adaptable (e.g. Magneto, Master of Magnetism, pretty much only uses his control of Magnetism and nothing else, and he is a wonderfully evocative villain).

So here is the solution I came up with. Armor and Mental Shield both allow multiple uses per round, but basically "decay" with use. So I decided that major villains would just have the trait Supervillainy.

Supervillainy - this character may use any power, aptitude, or defense multiple times per round. Each use of the power, aptitude, or defense after the first reduces the number of dice by one. Powers and aptitudes used in this way can be used to attack and defend in the same round.

I feel like it allows you to create simple villains on the fly, such as elemental types, who really only rely on one or two powers to do most of the heavy lifting. Any thoughts?

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My watch stopped on clobberin time.
9/9/2012, 3:23 pm Link to this post Email Jive Professor   PM Jive Professor Blog
 
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Re: Supervillain House Rule


Interesting!

You seem to be trying to solve the same problem that DarkPaladin has dealt with using his Counter Attack rules.

I haven't run into this myself, yet, but I'm going to have to take a second look, as enough people see it as a problem.

IF we go with it, I'm wondering if the "Supervillainy" trait you are describing should be an option for any character. It can be a boost.

You can, for instance, think of Armor as a "general" power purchased with the Complication: Defense Only and the Boost: Multiple Use. It's cost, therefore, would stay the same, but it's ability to be used multiple times (while degrading) would become portable.

This Multiple Use Boost, then, could be applied to any power, by both villains and heroes.

Magneto could have Magnetic Control 5D (Boost: Multiple Use), but Scarlet Witch could also have Probability Control 5D (Boost: Multiple Use).

What do you think?

My only concern would be that this would make players less creative, as they could rely more on a single power than before, but the fact that "Multiple Use" (or whatever you'd call it) degrades makes this less of an issue.

All the best,

Dragonfly


9/9/2012, 5:08 pm Link to this post Email TGIDragonfly   PM TGIDragonfly Blog
 
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Re: Supervillain House Rule


The thought crossed my mind for letting players use it too, but I really like how Supers! forces characters to diversify and not min/max.

Perhaps instead of a character trait they had all the time, you could buy it with narrative points for one fight or something? Similar to how Marvel Heroic Roleplaying lets you use XP to unlock narrative rewards rather than truly advancing your character.

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Re: Supervillain House Rule


Yeah it sounds like something I would use with the caveat that it is only for SUPERS!villains.

As was said SUPERS! is known for it's push to get players to run their SUPER dynamically.

Cool idea!

Regards,
Walt

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Re: Supervillain House Rule


I was thinking about this as a boost for character powers, but I feared that it would encourage players to create characters that were one trick ponies.

Professor, take a look at the Counterattack rules I posted in the fighting rules thread. It has worked very well in our group to address the very problem you are describing.
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Re: Supervillain House Rule


quote:

Darkpaladin67 wrote:

I was thinking about this as a boost for character powers, but I feared that it would encourage players to create characters that were one trick ponies.

Professor, take a look at the Counterattack rules I posted in the fighting rules thread. It has worked very well in our group to address the very problem you are describing.



I will have a look at the Counterattack rules.

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Re: Supervillain House Rule


When creating a Magneto type character, I would give him several powers. Armor to represent his personal forcefield, Energy Control - Magnetism, Telekinesis, Flight, etc. Maybe some area affects as well. All the powers would have the same source of power but due to the various ways he uses it, they are actually represented by different powers.

quote:

Jive Professor wrote:

Not to mention all of the iconic villains in comics tend to do one or two things, while it is the heroes who are diversified and adaptable (e.g. Magneto, Master of Magnetism, pretty much only uses his control of Magnetism and nothing else, and he is a wonderfully evocative villians.



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Re: Supervillain House Rule


I completely agree, and I feel like a character like Magneto (or whatever a given campaign's equivalent may be) should be statted up ahead of time.

However, that kind of prep simply cannot occur for every villain, at least not in my experience. More than any other genre of roleplaying, Superhero games stretch my ability to improvise to their limit (and I tend to be an off-the-cuff sort of GM anyway) simply because the players have an incredibly diverse set of abilities. Not only do they have an eclectic set of combat powers, they often have the ability to travel at high speeds, in various vehicles, across time/space, into other dimensions, etc. This sort of rapid change of scenery can leave a DM flat-footed if you need to stat up a tough baddie but are crunched on time.

Your Counter-attack rule and my Supervillainy trait are both trying to solve the same mechanical issue - how does a single villain take on an entire team without feeling like he has a ridiculous rainbow of powers that will make every major villain seem samey and lack the proper thematics?

I think both rules tackle the issue, albeit in slightly different ways, though I feel like neither should be accessible to players. The sheer brilliance of "any power can attack or defend, but never more than once per round"... it just breeds player creativity like no other system I have seen. I really don't want to tinker with that core element. Though I feel like for important scenes players might be able to access it, but maybe they fall unconscious afterwards, can only do it once per campaign, only if someone they cherish is threatened, etc.

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9/11/2012, 1:19 am Link to this post Email Jive Professor   PM Jive Professor Blog
 
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Re: Supervillain House Rule


Crazy thought;

What if all powers could be used more than once a round (or with a repeater boost) but like armour and mind shield they lost a die... But here's the kicker: you regain one die lost per round.

Captain Triumph has Energy Control 5d (with the repeater boost). In one round he uses it to attack AND defend 2 incoming blasts, which means it ends the round at 3d. At the end of the NEXT round he regains 1d and then the round after is back to full power!

In comic book terms this would be like him pushing himself to his limits.

Just a thought.

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9/11/2012, 1:30 am Link to this post Email AndrewCollas   PM AndrewCollas Blog
 
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Re: Supervillain House Rule


That looks cool!

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