Superhero role-playing gamesEdit

Villains and Vigilantes (1979) was an early superhero role-playing game. It used very similar game mechanics to D&D and other games of the time.

Champions (1981) was an early example of a point-based role-playing game. By default, it assumed a universe created by the players, perhaps modeled after their own Champions Universe. It used similar characteristics to other RPGs of the time, but made use of many predictable formulae for calculating secondary traits. With the Fourth Edition, Champions became the genre book for the Hero System. After a detour into becoming a Fuzion game with Champions:The New Millenium, Champions returned to the Hero System in its Fifth Edition, with both a Champions genre book and a Champions Universe setting guide.

By the late 1980s, superheroes had handily established themselves as the perrennial second most popular role-playing genre, after fantasy.

Marvel UniverseEdit

Marvel Super Heroes (1984), published by TSR, featured characters from the Marvel Universe, such as Spider-Man, Captain America, and the X-Men. It featured the now iconic FASERIP system, using the traits Fighting, Agility, Strength, Endurance, Reason, Intuition, and Psyche. Each attribute had a rating from Freeble to Unearthly, with Typical occupying the middle ground. Although descriptive, these ratings were pseudo-numbers, each corresponding to a particular value. It had limited rules for rolling or simulating original characters. Characters had traits like Karma and Popularity that reflected their superheroic success.

The Marvel Super Heroes Advanced Set (1986) added some additional rules, ranks, and powers, and allowed attribute levels to have a specific numeric value within a range. For instance, it was possible for two characters with Good Strength to have slightly different damages. It also featured more robust character advancement rules, rules for gadgetry and base-building, and additional options for creating original characters. Apart from some traits characters could have unique to this set, it had a high degree of backwards compatibility.

The two games had a line of character guides, exhaustive in scope and detail, definitive for their time of publication. These guides were and remain popular with both fans of the game and comic book readers.

The Marvel Super Heroes Adventure Game, also published by TSR, is an unrelated, later game based on the Saga System. It used cards as part of its resolution system.

The Marvel Universe Roleplaying Game (2003) is a diceless system that rates traits in "stones." Despite some intriguing designs, the game faltered. Unlike other Marvel games, it originated with an in-house design team.

DC UniverseEdit

DC Heroes (1985), by Mayfair Games was a point-based game based on the characters of the DC Universe, such as Superman and Wonder Woman. Like Marvel Super Heroes, it primarily assumed you would be using published DC characters, but had a fairly robust system for defining characters both original and converted. The game is notable for being published at the same as Crisis on Infinite Earths. Thus, it has stats for characters such as the Harbinger and Anti-Monitor, as well as pre-Crisis versions of many characters. Later supplements feature post-Crisis versions of the characters.

It underwent incremental revisions in 1989 and 1993. The game system was later used by The Blood of Heroes role-playing game, set in a different universe.

The DC Universe Roleplaying Game (1999) was published by West End Games, using a variant of their D6 System, called the Legend System. It never achieved the same recognition as the prior DC Heroes game and after several sourcebooks, ended when West End Games lost the license.

See alsoEdit

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