17 September 2019

Super Duper Heroics

I ran a superhero* one-shot using the Super: Brains & Brawn one-page ruleset. The rules are quite solid for a short, free-form game, and offer a simple resolution for nearly any power you could think of. Unfortunately, they also allow the players to choose their own powers, which can lead to many flying bricks or other stock superpowers.

I wanted to try something different. The players could still choose between three powers or two powers and a sidekick, but then we went over to the Superpower Wiki, which has a

that can be used to give any aspiring cape a nice random power loadout. Of course, some deliberation is needed how to interpret or limit some powers, and stuff like Omnipotence or Author Authority should be rerolled outright, but generally it worked out well.

Case in point, Paper Princess rolled three powers:

High-tech Alien Exoskeleton: The power to own a high-tech extraterrestrial armour.
Paper Bullet Projection: The power to fire bullets of paper.
Illusion Manipulation: The power to create illusions.

She was a university student who happened upon a misplaced, mysterious book in the library. When she attempted to open the book, it exploded into a storm of loose papers that encased her in an armour of paper. She quickly learned that the armour transforms back into a book when doffed, gives her a little bit of strength and protection, and that she can shoot the surprisingly sharp sheets as blades or form various distractions by shaping the paper into objects and barriers.

She went on to become a hero, except that her decisions in the course of play were ultimately informed more by her huge student debt than by heroism.

Of course, not everyone ended up so consistent. Another player decided for the sidekick option and rolled Black Lips:

Shadow-metal Breath: The ability to release metal and shadow from one's mouth.
Indexing: The power to encode and preserve any and all sources or information, history, data, etc.

He was a teenage emo with perfect memory and pretty scary breath weapon. His mother forced him to take on Little Bugger, his younger brother, as a sidekick.

Awesome City child protective services failed hard here, as L.B. (not to be confused with B.L.) ended up as every rpg companion inevitably will, that is he was constantly sent to dangerous situations to "scout them out". Miraculously, he survived, unlike Black Lips.

From Astro City.
All in all, everyone seemed to have fun playing with an unorthodox powerset, and you could use randomized powers to inspire a build even in much more rules-heavy game. So, who would your villain or vigilante be?

*) More like professed superheros, really.


  1. The real superpower here is the ability to read a full page of comic sans without dying. That Random Power button is a hot tip though!

  2. Well I rolled Elemental Breath, Water Wave Emission and Toxikinetic Polearm Construction (?) so I give you The Purifier, who will cleanse the underbelly of the city with fire (breath) and water. And can extract toxins from living creatures and form them into weapons to use against their agressors...