||[Mar. 27th, 2012|11:49 am]
I have been focussing on Marvel Heroic RPG for the last few weeks and its been fun. Its one of the first times I have actually found myself running Supers in a way that is enjoyable, despite being interested in Supers RPGing for a long time.
This interest has overflowed into me checking out DC Adventures RPG by Green Ronin, driven by the more traditional and complex Mutants and Masterminds, albeit a Third Edition. I have a lot of love for M&M in the past with 1e and 2e, even though it has become generally unpopular in the circles I move in. I agree with the main criticisms too. M&M does little to foster the feel of a comic book, even if it manages to provide a system to model the effects in them.
Mutants and Masterminds Third Edition is an improvement of what has come before. It still has some complexity but its straightforward, unburdened by D20isms and for its style of play is probably the best option in the market. I still find the rules structure to be one of the most logical and transparent in the industry and this works well.
I am interested in comparing DCA with MHR in play. Someone said that DCA is a supers RPG whilst MHR is a comic book RPG. I am not sure I quite understand the meaning of the distinction but I do grok the overall difference. DCA models your super PC and allows you to tell whatever story you want. MHR embeds the PC into a comic book narrative (though to be honest its still not heavy handed in comparison with many RPGs).
With MHR, I feel I can read a good comic book and run it as written with little effort. However, many of my favourite comic books don't really read like comic books, so I wonder whether this be noticeable in play. I am not convinced that the likes of Invinicble, Runaways, Rising Stars, Watchmen, DV8, Planetary and Authority would be well suited for MHR.
Anyway, I ran MHR for Kapiti College a few weekends ago, being Breakout for the New Avengers. I went in fully aware that the slightly high threshold in MHR would provide an obstacle. The system is intentionally noisy and this is both a benefit and detriment. In actual play, I found that the more sophisiticated RPGers took to it pretty quickly. I even had one of the most cautious players say she liked MHR as despite the focus on action, it constantly brought in all the other elements of the characters and allowed the narrative to ride high.
However, MHR did little for the less sophisticated RPGers. They didn't really get what the system was doing so I was left doing a lot of the system grunt work for them. This isn't uncommon with the age of the players, so MHR wasn't poorly suited per se, it was more just obviously under-utilised.
FWIW by sophisticated I don't intend to say that one type of player is better than the other. Its more the ability to be aware of and use multiple aspects of an RPG.
Anyway, I have decided to try out DCA with them at the next meeting, being Rigged Results for the Teen Titans (my favourite superhero group!). This is partially driven by the fact that the "sophisticated" players are being moved out of the group and I suspect that I will end up more of the later type.
I am interested to see how they respond to what is a more complex RPG overall, but where the complexity is backend and can be hidden away by me as a GM. In previous experiences, the hardest part of this style is that the players struggle to play their PCs in a way that matches a comic book feel. M&M gives me a simple Hero Point/Complication system but little else. I suspect that I will be able to import most of that feel simply through my GMing.
Depending on how it goes, I may be keen to explore more DCA as well as MHR. I have always wanted to have a crack at a Green Lantern or Legion of Superheroes game, given I like the DC outer space setting stuff more than the Marvel equivalent (though I like Marvel's cosmic stuff more).