Powers do not make a hero

Here is guest post from my friend Mike, one of the best superhero GMs I have ever had

Powers do not make a hero; this is the most basic difference between a super powered game and a super Hero game. I play and Gm super hero games not powered games (one of the reasons I was never much of a fan of Aberrant and Trinity or Rifts ) so my first question to a player is not what are your powers but why are you a hero? / What is your motivation? Are you in it for the fame? Or because you can? To make the world a better place? Etc. Then what do you fear? Is it letting people down? The dark? Etc. What is your character interested in? Hobbies job etc. Who relies on your character when (s)he is not wearing a mask? When (s)he is? Who will miss them if the left? Who are you? What do you want? (Throwing those in to see who is paying attention) Finally what powers do you have? The same thing goes to team building most of the Hero team advice talk in the realm of powers make sure you have: the Brick, the fighter, the flyer and a utility player. But I believe that all super hero teams (and I think gaming groups in general) needs a blend of head, heart, hands and feet.

Head the character (and hopefully player) who _plans_ or at least thinks through options before leaping in the Character who at least tries to hold off TPK’s (Mr. Fantastic/Cyclops/Leonardo normally they are team leaders

Heart the character (and hopefully player) who feels this can be as well the one who hold’s the team together (Jean Grey, Invisible Girl, and Michalanglo) all fit in this niche can be the team leader in a pinch but normally second in command

Hands, by this I mean talents or skills not powers the ability to survive in the world without tights and a cape even though his looks are against him Donatello is in this category because of his skills Nightcrawler and his acrobatics Cypher and computers

Feet someone who gets the characters moving and doing something while this is normal for all games it is especially true for Super heroes where Mercenary and monster killer/treasure hunters are not normal Rapheal falls in this category as did Kitty Pryde and many of the younger characters on older teams the ones who leap before they look.

What happens without this well it can make for an interesting game session but not much in long term playability for example I once had a game where a character infiltrated a super villain team. The next session instead of turning them in he helped them destroy the city which effectively ended the game (did not let players infiltrate bad guys for a very long time after that) the main reason that he did it? No reason to be a hero he was just a guy with powers. And for teams well JLI was a fun read but….

Published in: on April 14, 2010 at 7:57 am  Leave a Comment  

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