Tabletop RPG Podcast and Roleplaying Resources

Choosing the Right Supers Rules for Gaslight Heroes

I’m gearing up to resurrect my Gaslight Heroes campaign setting and I’m thinking through which system will be the best fit for my game group while running games virtually. Here is the criteria I’m considering.

  • Product is in-print and purchasable in a print edition
  • Rules light (vs. crunchier systems like Champions or Mutants & Masterminds)
  • Supports theater-of-the-mind combat
  • Has an extensive inventory of characters with stat blocks (at least 100 or more)
  • Supports fast combat. For most combats:
    • Players get to roll dice at least once every 10 minutes
    • Combat encounters are over in 45 minutes or less (with larger 1.5 hour combats taking place no more than once in every 6 sessions)

I’ve been thinking of the ideal Superheroes RPG that would make me happy as a GM and also potentially support the above criteria, my options are:

  • Cortex: Cortex Prime, Smallville, or Marvel Heroic (This is my go-to game that I will run first to see if it will work as well as I hope)
  • Powered by the Apocalypse Games: Masks (Jeff will run a couple of games with this system) or Worlds in Peril
  • Icons Assembled (see my thread on combat time)

Other runners up I might also consider:

  • Tiny Supers (can’t find a robust character database, not a widely used game)
  • Bash! (see http://www.bashrpg.com/)
  • Wild Talents (looks too crunchy)

4 Comments

  1. John Stephens

    You might consider the Venture City campaign book for FATE. Its superhero rules could be adapted for any setting, and FATE is great at cinematic, quickly-resolved combat. The only drawback is that there is not a large catalog of NPCs out there.

    • Stan Shinn

      Great point! I actually ran a short Venture City campaign a few years back; great system but I’m looking for something a bit better supported and faster for combat. 🙂

  2. Bob Loftin

    I ran Champions exclusively for many years in my teens and early 20s. I have recently (a couple of years ago) procured Jeff Dee’s The Mighty Protectors: Villians & Vigilantes 3.0. Both are great, but I just don’t have any desire to delve into super technical combat anymore. None. GURPS when used in the GURPS Lite way might be OK, actually, but I find Supers to be the only genre that GURPS is bad for – it just requires too much monkeying around to get to the right power level.

    FYI – the Jeff Dee game is fantastic! Really well-designed. It’s just that I’ve watched some of their videos, and the combat is just more than I want to do anymore. I’ll stick with Traveller.

  3. Stan Shinn

    I totally agree about the ‘super technical combat’ issue — I want something fast and light which is why at the moment Icons Assembled is at the top of my list to try out (Venture City (Fate) would be my second choice, and then Cortex (once they have their digital app to speed up building your dice pool). 🙂

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