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Superworld and the new BRP


FunGuyFromYuggoth

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Question to those with knowledge of Superworld and how it stacks up to the new BRP. QUOTE]

The mechanics for Superworld were a little clunky.

In my opinion, the new BRP mechanics are much better for running a superhero game. There are a lot of super powers detailed in both the Superworld PDF and the SW Companion PDF but again, a lot of these don't flow that well when compared to how the BRP superpowers are now written. Superworld also doesn't have a campaign world setting, just a few adventures.

I must confess though that I never ran a campaign using the old Superworld, always meant too but never got around to it. One of the reasons I wrote up the City of Heroes Quickplay Pack in the downloads section was that Superworld didn't really translate easily, without some work, into the new BRP ruleset and that BRP is a superior system. That and also the fact that Paragon City is a great setting for a superhero world.

Superworld is fine as a background reference document and to give you ideas on a superhero campaign. But other than that, the new BRP superhero powers are much better IMHO.

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Would the greater number of powers from Superworld be translateable to BRP now? The super power section seems a bit thin.

For example, I'd like to see some physical powers (Claws) that use the Superworld build system rather than mutations... as how would you compare two characters built in the two different systems?

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Would the greater number of powers from Superworld be translateable to BRP now? The super power section seems a bit thin.

It would be fairly easy to translate the Superworld powers to the new BRP format (though the Superworld format is clunky as I said before). I planned to do just that when I drafted the CoH Quickplay pack but there are a lot of powers in both Superworld and the SW Companion, and no doubt I would probably infringe copyright somehow by doing that.

To be truthful, not all the powers appeared to be that useful for gameplay. I haven't GM'ed a game of Superworld though so it's just my opinion only ;).

Chaosium hint at the end of the Powers chapter that there will be expansions to the BRP powers section in later supplements, so I would say that a lot of the Superworld powers will eventually get a look in then.

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I have to disagree with the other poster; I think if you're actually planning to use the powers for a supers game, Superworld would be a useful additiion, and should be able to replace the extent powers system totally without any real distruption; Jason made some decisions based on (I expect) the fact that powers would be used in a lot of non-supers games that I don't think served the genre as well as the powers system from Superworld. In any case, it certainly supplies a lot of useful tools for conversion to the extent system otherwise not covered, and a far more complete Disadvantage system.

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Thanks to everyone for responding for/against/somewhere in between. :) The general consensus seems that it's worth getting, but that there are some differences, but the larger number of powers may be worth looking into.

Does anybody know if a supers expansion monograph is in the works? I'd volunteer, but I have never played or GM'ed Superworld. :ohwell:

Roll D100 and let the percentiles sort them out.

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<snip>

I'd volunteer, but I have never played or GM'ed Superworld. :ohwell:

I don't know anyone who has...

I'd almost be willing to bet that no one has (not even sure about the playtesters).

I bought it, but it didn't seem like it would work any better than Villains & Vigilantes or Marvel SuperHeroes, both of which I played too many years ago to think about.

DC Heroes and Champions are the only ones that I've played more than once. It seems that you can have a game that allows you to play normals, or a game that allows you to play supers, but not both.

HERO system (4th ed - I know nothing about 5th) can almost do it. It's close enough that you can make it work.

I, too have been wondering what I would get if I purchased the Superworld game for sale on the Chaosium site...

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I GMed Superworld a long, long time ago at a University far, far away.

It didn't hang together particularly well, to tell the truth. Champions worked far better than Superworld. Bad Medicine for Doctor Drugs was bad medicine for anyone who played it, as well.

I don't think that BRP games work well in a SuperHero setting, just because you have trouble determining how to resist effects. If all you mental zaps are POW vs POW then someone with a very high POW wipes the board. On the other hand, someone with Furious Rage should be able to ignore mind control under certain circumstances, but there is no mechanic for it in Superworld.

I like BRP-style games and have played them for years, but I do not think that SuperHero gaming suits the BRP grittiness. SOmething like HeroQuest suits it a lot better.

Simon Phipp - Caldmore Chameleon - Wallowing in my elitism since 1982. Many Systems, One Family. Just a fanboy. 

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I played in a campaign where the GM switched to Superworld for a while, or at least tried to. Of all the supers system I played back in the day it was the one that lasted the least time; it simply wasn't enjoyable for us.

We had started with me running V&V which was quirky and fun. My friend was inspired to run Champions which was ok but in the end was crunchier than we really wanted. He tried out Superworld once and we recoiled. I meanwhile had gone from V&V to champions to DC Heroes and stuck with DC Heroes ever after. My friend eventually settled on it too.

I don't really know what contemporary supers games are like. I could imagine running BRP Supers in a Watchmen like universe where, basically, the supers are just guys in suits. With the exception of Big Blue who is basically a NPC plot device anyway.

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I drew a similar "---" response when I posted a similar inquiry on another web site. I would have probably tried playing it had my FLGS carried it, but others at the time were GM'ing V&V, Champions, and Marvel, so other well supported games were on-hand.

However, George R.R. Martin did manage to make some money off a Superworld campaign he ran :thumb:, which became the Wild Cards comic book series. Then again, the guy managed to make money off an RPG, so he's probably a mutant... :D

Wild Cards - The Guide to George R.R. Martin's Wild Cards Series

Edited by FunGuyFromYuggoth

Roll D100 and let the percentiles sort them out.

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I don't know anyone who has...

I'd almost be willing to bet that no one has (not even sure about the playtesters).

I played and ran a lot of it back in the day. Both the Super-World set from Worlds of Wonder and the boxed game. Probably a couple of dozen sessions, and I've used the rules for one-shots a handful of times over the last couple of decades.

It worked well enough, though as you can imagine, it played best when dealing with more "street-level" superheroics than the heavy-hitters.

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I don't know anyone who has...

I'd almost be willing to bet that no one has (not even sure about the playtesters).

I ran two, rather extended campaigns with Superworld and thought, honestly, that it worked fine. It suffered mostly from two issues:

1. The design virtually forced characters to stay within a relatively low powered range; you could do a credible Spider-Man or early to mid-X-Men, but anything much above that was problematic;

2. It was very hard to create really flexible characters; in practice each power was bought entirely separately, so multiple attack powers or movement powers were pricey for their benefit.

That said, it was probably generally better suited to a semi-realistic super game than your typical comic book fare, but that's pretty much true of almost all games that are done with BRP; its not a system that to do really good support for high heroic/cinematic play well; you can hammer it a bit here and there, but there are too many basic elements of the system that don't favor it.

I'd be tempted to try and put together a new Superworld, as I thought it did some things particularly well, and with some of the mechanics available I could probably iron out some rough spots, but I'm not particularly convinced the work-to-benefit would be there; you'd have to find BRP fans who wanted to run a supers game with it specifically, rather than using the Hero System, Mutants and Masterminds or, if they wanted something grittier and more realistic, Wild Talents or the newer GURPS Supers.

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I could imagine running BRP Supers in a Watchmen like universe where, basically, the supers are just guys in suits. With the exception of Big Blue who is basically a NPC plot device anyway.

Ironically, one of the best games I ran using the rules was at a convention where I did a Watchmen game called "A Cure for Cancer."

It was a pretty grim game, set in the summer if 1969, with the players taking on the roles of the "Watchmen" - with the Silk Specter 2 character getting to handle Dr. Manhattan.

It was loosely inspired by the novel Bug Jack Barron, and featured a plot with a massive medical conspiracy involving harvesting the organs of illegal immigrants to provide wealthy patients with clean bills of health. The corruption was deep, connected to the govt. and some improper use of Manhattan-inspired technology.

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It worked well enough, though as you can imagine, it played best when dealing with more "street-level" superheroics than the heavy-hitters.

Did you receive any feedback from the playtesters for the supers section of the new BRP rules? I'd be curious to hear from them directly too, if they're here, but perhaps you could share that with us?

Roll D100 and let the percentiles sort them out.

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Did you receive any feedback from the playtesters for the supers section of the new BRP rules? I'd be curious to hear from them directly too, if they're here, but perhaps you could share that with us?

Much of the feedback was in the "this power is too expensive" or "this power needs to provide greater range/flexibility/etc." for the power expenditure.

Most of the use in the playtest, as near as I could ascertain, was from people who were using the powers to do other stuff, like create vampires, demons, etc. I did my own local shakeout on powers, but must confess I would have liked to have had more of the playtesters trying to run actual supers games using the power set.

Oh well... perhaps another edition will see more focus along that line. As it is, I had to fight to keep powers in the book at all - I had some pressure from Chaosium to cut powers entirely and make it a separate book.

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I think Jason and Nightshade covered it pretty well. BRP works best with lower-level supers, and when the GM wants a more gritty campaign.

I ran Superworld from the WOW book, the designer notes article from Different Worlds #23, and the usual house-rules (are ANY BRP games played without some?) in a campaign that ran for over two years.

Did a 4-5 adventure campaign set in the 1930s I called Pulpworld, with even lower level heroes.

I own a near perfect condition Superworld boxset, thanks to the mimimal use it has seen. At $11 for a PDF version, I'd say you could mine some ideas, along with the Powers list, to make it worth buying.

For the record, I started with a V&V campaign, then Marvel Superheroes, then onto WOW. Never really played any Champions, and I own but only played Mutants and Masterminds once at DragonCon. I own several other super games, such as Silver Age Sentinels and Godsend Agenda (D6 version) but my "comfort zone" with the BRP system makes running Superworld too easy to devote the time and energy to learning new gaming systems (I've grown lazy in my old age).

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For the record, I started with a V&V campaign, then Marvel Superheroes, then onto WOW. Never really played any Champions, and I own but only played Mutants and Masterminds once at DragonCon. I own several other super games, such as Silver Age Sentinels and Godsend Agenda (D6 version) but my "comfort zone" with the BRP system makes running Superworld too easy to devote the time and energy to learning new gaming systems (I've grown lazy in my old age).

Thanks for the insights Jason. Just as an FYI, I have "Wild Talents," but never ran it. My players would recoil from the otherwise well-received D20 M&M, so I never looked into it. The HERO system was so rules heavy when I ran an old Champions campaign, I never wanted to buy another HERO system game again. GURPS has some nice insights, but I never took a shine to the system.

Like ORtrail, I'd like to learn as few rules as possible and genuinely want to use BRP. I think I'll tinker with it a little in play and see if there is something I can do with it. Thanks everyone for your input. Anybody who comes into the conversation after this, please feel free to use the thread to continue the discussion. :) I'm sure people with active supers campaigns have something to say about this!

Edited by FunGuyFromYuggoth

Roll D100 and let the percentiles sort them out.

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As an aside, there were two features of Superworld that limited its utility for higher powered supers (besides the flexibility issue; while its not a given that higher powered supers are also more versatile, it wasn't uncommon either):

1. Capping. Superworld had two limitations built in to prevent someone from dumping all their points in one or two powers (which has usually been problematic in pretty much any supers build system); attributes were limited to a certain amount of super attribute constrained by the base Attribute, or in the case of Strength and Size, the sum of the total super attributes between the two (note that all Super-Attributes yielded the same; you could double your Dex , Con or App, quadruple the Strength/Size total, but only increase your Int or Power by about a third again); most offensive powers were limited to POW/2.

2. Linearity. In the end, linear progression isn't an altogether good idea for a supers game, and most powers were pretty linear in improvement (because of how the Strength/lift table worked, it was a partial exception).

You could discard or replace the first part of this to address some of the issues at that end, but the linearity was going to be rather more an issue, and not subject to a quick fix.

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