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Story Games Seattle Message Board What We Played › What, No Costumes? (Superhuman)

What, No Costumes? (Superhuman)

Jamie F.
user 12636925
Bellevue, WA
Post #: 114
I've played *Just Heroes* a few times and it hasn't been delivering that R-Rated Superhero action I've been looking for (Mooore's Watchmen / Swamp Thing, Bendis's Powers / Alias, Morrison's Doom Patrol, etc) so I made this new hack that's closer to straight up Apocalypse World and playtested it tonight.

Good news! It delivered freakish R-rated action and was quite fun!

Bad news! There weren't any superheroes in it, really.

Good news! I have a bunch of Powers and Curses on cards and everybody draws two of each and that inspired some really interesting characters: a hermaphroditic Jekyll-and-Hyde hitwoman/man - Cloe takes the contract, records it, and then injects herself to become Eddy, her savage brutal killer self. A shapeshifter who took the place of a human woman but doesn't remember what she actually is. Someone who can control minds, dreaming of dictatorship one day but currently passing as a janitor at UW. And a kaiju-like eco-friendly hive-mind alien who was gradually evolving... it's what they call in the comics business 'a freakshow team' ... like Doom Patrol ... and I'm pretty okay with that, though I might prefer something more iconic and Justice League like. By randomly assigning powers like this we got into play really quickly.

Bad news: everyone then all proceeded to advance their own unheroic agendas. So I could seed a more cohesive group..."You're all part of a supergroup" or "So here's this unifying menace"...and I could also begin with a leading question like "Why do you fight crime" or "What makes you a hero?"

Good news: it's basically Apocalypse World so it played really well. I think my key changes there were a Flashback move and a basic Sex move. The Flashback seemed like it just needed a tweak to work: remind everyone that they're driving towards a Flashback question, by writing it down and putting it in the middle of the table. And the Sex move ended the game with the shapechanger and the alien conceiving the child that would destroy humanity (no doubt that was what the shapechanger's dark destiny was all along) so no complaints there.

So I think it's a keeper - it has a bunch of tweaks I want to make and then I'd play it again.
Dani L.
user 87036972
Seattle, WA
Post #: 32
I agree, it's a keeper. The system has some good things going for it. It was a fun experience and overall I felt it went pretty smoothly. Character creation was quick and fun. I don't think anything more is required now that I've thought about it more, actually, although I'd make sure every Power and Curse has a question that will create ties between characters. (If there are only three PCs, the answer to the other question could be used to help seed the world with NPCs maybe and if there were five PCs there might be a few characters that didn't have a connection at the beginning of the game but in my experience with AW and its hacks you can still work with that. Speaking of Trust, I'm not sure if it's applicable to NPCs too.) It was neat letting the character take shape AFTER Powers and Curses had been allocated. I'm bummed I didn't ask if I could look at the others!

Mechanics and Moves I thought were pretty solid overall, though I think some tweaking to clarify or expand on things would be useful. Also Trust! There was a way characters could lose Trust with each other but how do they gain it? Speaking of Trust, I think that working it to be more like Strings would allow these relationships to impact the fiction more. Help/Hinder should definitely stay. And coming up with a group template at the beginning of the session might be good. (Superheroes policing other superheroes? Members of the same team? Old allies called back to the field of battle? Maybe they're all threatened by the same menace, like you suggested?)

The story was fun too! I agree the Flashback scene you allude to went on longer than it needed to but it did lay the groundwork for the relationship between Enigma and Panzer. Everyone did a great job of contributing and helping each other out. I really liked Cloe/Eddie and Panzer's lack of understanding about the world. Favorite moments include the scene between Dalawa and Eddie and conversations between Enigma and Panzer. Jury's still out on whether she'd be the best or worst mother ever, assuming she survived the birth. If this had been a pilot episode, I'd tune in to see how the story continued and look forward to seeing how this develops.

Thanks to Jamie for MCing, and to Jerome, Chris, and the other two (forgive me for forgetting their names!) for contributing to an interesting experience.

- Dani, aka Enigma

PS. Not sure what the stance on GMed games is when it comes to playtest night...
Ben R.
thatsabigrobot
Group Organizer
Seattle, WA
Post #: 430
PS. Not sure what the stance on GMed games is when it comes to playtest night...
They're supposed to be games we would play at a normal meetup (if they were ready). So yes, they should be GMless and no prep and one-shot and so on.
Dani L.
user 87036972
Seattle, WA
Post #: 33
Good to know, thanks Ben!

Anyway, I had a good time with this. Seems like everyone else did too and I hope I get a chance to see and maybe somehow try future iterations.
Jerome
user 8261819
Seattle, WA
Post #: 16
I think this is a really interesting design ambition by Jamie. It seemed to me like he's attempting not just to create a game in a specific genre but with a specific tone as well. I'm excited to see how the next iteration encourages players to move toward the gritty 'real-life' aesthetic that Jamie wants to see.

I agree that the characters in our story lacked classic 'heroic' motives, though I'm not sure why that is, exactly. Perhaps part of the issue was that we were the biggest/baddest kids on the block, which kinda opens up bullying and abuse of power as motives. I could see an external, unifying threat as being the answer (save the world or die), though that also seems a little limiting from a narrative perspective. Maybe including motives in the character creation process could be a useful for guiding roleplay as well.

In any event, its a great start, and I look forward to playing the next iteration!
Jamie F.
user 12636925
Bellevue, WA
Post #: 117
PS. Not sure what the stance on GMed games is when it comes to playtest night...
They're supposed to be games we would play at a normal meetup (if they were ready). So yes, they should be GMless and no prep and one-shot and so on.
Whoops, sorry! If I had known I would have facilitated it GM-less. :)

I've typed up the latest draft - should be playable if you know how to play Apocalypse World or Monsterhearts - I'm going to add a section on how to play without a GM - https://docs.google.c...­

And it has a name now: Superhuman.

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