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Super RP

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Super RP

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby RogueMinstrel on Tue Nov 15, 2011 9:11 pm

How do you feel about original "superhero" based RPs? What I mean by this is RPs that center around otherwise ordinary people who have extraordinary powers and how they interact with the world and vice-verse. How would you feel about participating in such a RP? How would you feel about reading one? What sort of elements would you look for in such a RP? What sort of time frame?

I understand the question is pretty vague but feel free to pose your own questions and answers as well and feel free to be as detailed as you want. In fact, it's encouraged. :)

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Re: Super RP

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Kestrel on Wed Nov 16, 2011 8:03 am

Superhero is a pretty broad concept. I'm not uncomfortable with the idea at all, played one or two games based on it, but tend to avoid the hero-part of everything and go for villains, anti-heroes, mercenaries or tag-a-long roles myself. I can go with heroes like batman, the Question, Gambit, Wolverine, etc. but I'm not a fan of characters like Superman and most goodie-two-shoes-moral-example-for-young-America types. So a requirement for me, in the first place, is the ability to play characters who are not totally focused on protecting all that is good by methods that are always morally just. Can I be a part of this roleplay without being driven by the desire for justice?

Time frame is an interesting one, but honestly entirely depends on how the GM uses the setting to enhance the world. You could have a really boring modern day superhero game or a very interesting sci-fi superhero game. It's all dependent on the way the setting is used. I'm not a fan of canon-RP's, if that's what you're asking time-frame wise. Much as I love certain characters, I don't want to see your friendly neighbourhood spiderman popping up in an RP I'm playing.
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Re: Super RP

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Alphadean on Sun Dec 04, 2011 11:33 am

Are you talking about a game more in the vien of Heroes or Alphas or would you like to go a little more fanciful like X-Men.

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Re: Super RP

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby ViceVersus on Mon Dec 05, 2011 5:00 am

Funny that you should mention Heroes, as that show pertains to what I'm gonna talk about. xD

I love superhero stuff. I really do. There's nothing more fun than having powers, and running around and doing stuff. However, you might lose your audience (and, in turn, your players!) fairly quickly if you're not grounding yourself. What I mean by that is this. How do you truly regulate a world where everyone is "super"? It's that age-old quip; if everyone is super, then no one is super.

Heroes suffered from that problem. It started off as an intensely awesome show, because we could relate to the characters departing from their normal lives, the ordinary world that we all shared with them. But then by the second or third season they had god-like characters running around, basically able to do anything just because they could.

If you take the above model, that's what I'm afraid of now whenever I hear or see a superhero or fantasy roleplay happening. What are the rules of the world that I'm engaging in? What's to stop the rest of us from having powers to negate each other? Obviously we will be regulated by the GMs word itself, and restrictions on god-modding, but if one is attempting to make relatable, enjoyable characters, then having everyone above the same level of reality starts to feel a bit strained.

However, I understand that some folks don't mind that dynamic, and that's fine! When I heard the Heroes example, it just definitely made me think. If everyone's in that "special world", then it sort of loses its "specialness", don't you think?

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Re: Super RP

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby RogueMinstrel on Tue Feb 07, 2012 2:02 am

ViceVersus wrote:Funny that you should mention Heroes, as that show pertains to what I'm gonna talk about. xD

I love superhero stuff. I really do. There's nothing more fun than having powers, and running around and doing stuff. However, you might lose your audience (and, in turn, your players!) fairly quickly if you're not grounding yourself. What I mean by that is this. How do you truly regulate a world where everyone is "super"? It's that age-old quip; if everyone is super, then no one is super.

Heroes suffered from that problem. It started off as an intensely awesome show, because we could relate to the characters departing from their normal lives, the ordinary world that we all shared with them. But then by the second or third season they had god-like characters running around, basically able to do anything just because they could.

If you take the above model, that's what I'm afraid of now whenever I hear or see a superhero or fantasy roleplay happening. What are the rules of the world that I'm engaging in? What's to stop the rest of us from having powers to negate each other? Obviously we will be regulated by the GMs word itself, and restrictions on god-modding, but if one is attempting to make relatable, enjoyable characters, then having everyone above the same level of reality starts to feel a bit strained.

However, I understand that some folks don't mind that dynamic, and that's fine! When I heard the Heroes example, it just definitely made me think. If everyone's in that "special world", then it sort of loses its "specialness", don't you think?

-VV


I have to agree with you there, Vice. I am not much of a fan of the overly dynamic and even when dealing with Fantasy and super powers I still like to remain at least in contact with the grounds of reality. I also feel that the Heroes series suffered from the sort of dynamic. I was really in to it through-out the first season but then it completely lost my interest.

I think is is also why I usually fall out of most Anime series halfway through as they just become too over-the-top (prime examples for me being Yu Yu Hakusho which I felt lost appeal after DT and DBZ which dipped off for me somewhere between Frieza and Cell). Naturally that is a whole other category.

I started this thread originally not because I was planning on starting a role play based on super powers but because it is something that I would love to be a part of and would not even mind playing some sort of co-GM role as I happen to think I have a few good ideas myself. I'm just not really sure how to start something like that (especially finding someone who would be as equally dedicated as me) and would need a lot of guidance as I've never played any sort of GM role before.

Thanks everyone for your comments! :)

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Re: Super RP

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby RogueMinstrel on Tue Feb 07, 2012 2:04 am

Kestrel wrote:Superhero is a pretty broad concept. I'm not uncomfortable with the idea at all, played one or two games based on it, but tend to avoid the hero-part of everything and go for villains, anti-heroes, mercenaries or tag-a-long roles myself. I can go with heroes like batman, the Question, Gambit, Wolverine, etc. but I'm not a fan of characters like Superman and most goodie-two-shoes-moral-example-for-young-America types. So a requirement for me, in the first place, is the ability to play characters who are not totally focused on protecting all that is good by methods that are always morally just. Can I be a part of this roleplay without being driven by the desire for justice?

Time frame is an interesting one, but honestly entirely depends on how the GM uses the setting to enhance the world. You could have a really boring modern day superhero game or a very interesting sci-fi superhero game. It's all dependent on the way the setting is used. I'm not a fan of canon-RP's, if that's what you're asking time-frame wise. Much as I love certain characters, I don't want to see your friendly neighbourhood spiderman popping up in an RP I'm playing.



I guess I should have chose my wording more carefully. Naturally I would hope that people would also choose to play outside of the super hero role. I guess what I was really going for is how interested people would be in a role play based around super powers rather than strictly heroes.

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Re: Super RP

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Shi-chan on Wed Feb 08, 2012 12:54 pm

The main problem I've had with the few superhero rps I've been in, is that the power becomes defining for the character. And then their supersad past. It gets all "power-power-angst-angst-whatdidyousayaboutmydeadwife?!" very fast. And usually these rps attract the kind of players who are only in it for the fight, only there to kick something's ass, which can only be interesting for so long, especially because you only have a power to relate to!

Also, there seems to be a constant lack of bad guys. And if there is a bad guy, he has no motivation for doing what he's doing, which means that the heroes lose everything they stand for. Any superhero is only as good as his arch-nemesis, and when the arch nemesis is just an empty bucket, so is the hero.

I think, that in order to make a superhero rp work, you have to have a formidable villain. One who poses an actual threat.

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Re: Super RP

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby ViceVersus on Wed Feb 08, 2012 1:01 pm

Having powers coupled with personal flaws is interesting, as well. Imagine if someone gifted with super speed gets motion sickness, very fast. Or someone with the power of flight is afraid of heights?

I agree with Shi-Chan, the more that the power becomes a companion to who the character is rather than everything about them .. that's where you get some really interesting facets of character interaction.

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Re: Super RP

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby LawOfTheLand on Wed Feb 08, 2012 4:57 pm

VV also brings up an interesting point. Despite having super powers, many of the well-developed superheroes still had to try to lead a normal life in order to deflect suspicion about their true identity. Superman created the alter ego of Clark Kent in order to avoid using his powers for personal gain. Bruce Wayne came up with Batman after losing his parents to knives in a dark alley. Peter Parker still had to lead a normal life after becoming Spider-Man in order to try to protect those he loved, and even then he had a penchant for making enemies in the process, such as when Norman Osborne, the Green Goblin, died during a fight with him, causing Harry Osborne to believe that Spiderman outright killed his father and thus created the Hobgoblin to try to take his revenge.

There's also the argument that human bodies simply aren't built to withstand the sorts of things superheroes might attempt. On top of the example of the motion-sick speedster, you could also have a Hulk-like character who not only has to seek out the big and tall section of men's clothing stores, but also has to conduct his daily interactions with more care than normal, becoming a sort of gentle giant and even then occasionally breaking things or knocking people over because the world wasn't built to take someone as big and strong as him.

I'm not opposed to standard tropes being used in these sorts of stories. I just want players and GMs alike to go to the effort of justifying why things are that way instead of just saying "you have this, that and the other thing, go crazy." If the power has always been a part of the character, how does that power set him apart from normal folk, and how does he attempt to bridge that gap? If he only recently acquired or discovered this power, how is he dealing with this new reality?

However, it must be pointed out that it's very difficult to opt for playing a Joe Schmoe or the villain when you know it's going to be nigh impossible to keep up with what the heroes are doing. There is the occasional "hero's best friend" who's a tech whiz and manages to throw together a suit that enables him to tag along and occasionally help out, or they might just need someone to watch their back and even the odds in a fight, as Robin did for Batman.
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Re: Super RP

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Kurokiku on Thu Feb 16, 2012 2:36 pm

As someone who co-GMed what I would consider to be a fairly successful "superhero" roleplay, I'd say that this all starts with the character skeleton and creation process. We used a major powers/minor powers system, wherein everyone was allowed at most one of each. Major powers all had to have negative repercussions (like the telepath who was developing multiple-personality disorder or the electrokinetic who would occasionally knock herself out cold with backed-up power surges). Minor powers were just that: minor and not likely to be winning battles.

I agree that the villain has to be just as interesting and compelling as the hero, if not more so. In this particular instance, the "boss" villain was in fact a GM character, and half of the players were her underlings. No gratuitous beating of mook armies means less opportunities for outright godmodding and ridiculous antics.

Besides things like that, it is in most cases beholden to the writers and game masters to make the experience of the kind they want. If you were to create an RP about superheroes, I'd say just be direct about whether or not you want it to be more combat or character-based, or a mix. If people have that sort of information up-front, they'll know whether or not they want to join.

I think the genre as a whole has an interesting potential for exploring human psychology, myself. What do people do when confronted with things that should be impossible? How would they handle being given capacities that exceed those of their friends and family? Would they rise to the occasion, crack under the pressure, or something in between?

Of course, if you'd rather just go Silver Age and be shiny and fight for justice, that's fun sometimes, too.
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Re: Super RP

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby RogueMinstrel on Thu Feb 16, 2012 10:11 pm

Kurokiku wrote:As someone who co-GMed what I would consider to be a fairly successful "superhero" roleplay, I'd say that this all starts with the character skeleton and creation process. We used a major powers/minor powers system, wherein everyone was allowed at most one of each. Major powers all had to have negative repercussions (like the telepath who was developing multiple-personality disorder or the electrokinetic who would occasionally knock herself out cold with backed-up power surges). Minor powers were just that: minor and not likely to be winning battles.

I agree that the villain has to be just as interesting and compelling as the hero, if not more so. In this particular instance, the "boss" villain was in fact a GM character, and half of the players were her underlings. No gratuitous beating of mook armies means less opportunities for outright godmodding and ridiculous antics.

Besides things like that, it is in most cases beholden to the writers and game masters to make the experience of the kind they want. If you were to create an RP about superheroes, I'd say just be direct about whether or not you want it to be more combat or character-based, or a mix. If people have that sort of information up-front, they'll know whether or not they want to join.

I think the genre as a whole has an interesting potential for exploring human psychology, myself. What do people do when confronted with things that should be impossible? How would they handle being given capacities that exceed those of their friends and family? Would they rise to the occasion, crack under the pressure, or something in between?

Of course, if you'd rather just go Silver Age and be shiny and fight for justice, that's fun sometimes, too.


!o.o! Thanks for the awesome comment! I really like your major/minor power system and making a drawback for the major power be a necessity is a great idea. And your idea of the potential of the genre was spot-on! xD

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Re: Super RP

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Eyeris on Wed Mar 07, 2012 7:42 am

ViceVersus wrote:Having powers coupled with personal flaws is interesting, as well. Imagine if someone gifted with super speed gets motion sickness, very fast. Or someone with the power of flight is afraid of heights?

I agree with Shi-Chan, the more that the power becomes a companion to who the character is rather than everything about them .. that's where you get some really interesting facets of character interaction.


This makes me laugh. It also reminds me of an old friend, he had this character who was a gifted water-mage and aqua-phobic. He would cast a spell or summon a water-spirit to defend against an enemy then run away screaming. It was hilarious.

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Re: Super RP

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby TheFinalOne on Wed Mar 07, 2012 8:23 am

Someone once said : "A hero is merely a plot device. It is the Villians, the victims and the companions that make a good story".
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Re: Super RP

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby RogueMinstrel on Wed Mar 07, 2012 6:52 pm

TheFinalOne wrote:Someone once said : "A hero is merely a plot device. It is the Villians, the victims and the companions that make a good story".



I s'pose this is true to a point but I would only think it is if the hero is already pretty shallow. A hero (whether in terms of your protagonist or an actual super hero) can be an excellent driving point. Especially an anti-hero or a tragic hero (such as Wolverine or Odysseus). But I definitely see your point. I once read somewhere that a villain (or any antagonist for that matter) is the true driving force of any good story. The villain is quite literally the hero's main motivation for even existing. You could have the most in-depth hero of all but without a good villain to motivate him on his journey then it could be all for naught. The hero cannot be a hero without a good villain. What would Spider-Man be without the Green Goblin or Odysseus without Poseidon playing the villain role?

So, I have to agree with you that a villain does make the story worth reading but if you look at the hero as merely a plot device then that could create a shallow hero and I think that could actually ruin the story. What makes me want to read a story about a super hero more than even the villain is caring about that hero and the empathy I feel for his current predicament. A side kick (or companion) I believe is more of a plot device than the hero (and can sometimes be used as a sort of deus ex machina).

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