Author Topic: Super Hero RL - Design Fail?  (Read 33080 times)


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Super Hero RL - Design Fail?
« on: September 20, 2013, 03:04:13 AM »
EDIT: How about I just turn this into an open source table top RPG...?

<YES, I RAMBLE...I think it's worth it?>

Still completely failing at designing a Super Hero RL game of 'Rogue' level complexity. So not too complex.

Anyone got any pointers on a system that might achieve this?

So far i've been going with a super simple stat + power system.

  -Hits: Number of hits you can take before being KO'd
  -Attack: Dice to roll to hit.
  -Defense: Hits to ignore each turn.
  -Move: Actions per 'round' of 12 clicks.
  -Energy: How fast your abilities reset.
Passive Slots (Always on)
Active Slots (Take an action)

Game flow would not be a dungeon dive, but you can't really do an open world type of things so easily...Maybe I could have an overworld of a large city, with various bad guy lairs. Thugs come out at night, commit different crimes and such. You can go back to your hideout to heal overnight, but then the low level baddies will respawn and the high level villians might move their lair.

I don't know what I'd do for leveling really, I might not do it at all, but you really do want to have some character progression. Perhaps every time you beat a boss villian you can choose a stat to increase. It won't be a gear grinder, that's not really what Superhero games are about. They are more about beating bad guys, going on missions.

I do want to have a 'score' system that tracks the number of villians your hero has taken out. After taking out 9 (or 3, or 5, I dunno) you can then face your Arch Nemesis who shows up at your hideout to do battle with you. Also at some point the police will take notice and you'll have to avoid them.

I'd like for the Villians to be somewhat randomized, we'll see how that goes.

One major weakness is the powers. Everyone wants the unique and awesome powers in a superhero game. But that's very tough to do, so you'd have to make the powers generic. Ranged Attack power could be fire ball, ice blast, magic missile, gun, bow,'s hard to hold onto the flavor.

Take Cyclops for instance. His one power will be a rank 5 optic blast. A single target ranged attack. Then he'll have a passive (x-man suit) that adds defense. Maybe a hand to hand passive that ups his bump attack. A high 'energy' score so he can blast away frequently. His origin will be 'mutant', with maybe some flavor text.

Then take Punisher as a second example. He has a lower rank blast (guns), and maybe a blast + area (grenade) ability. Then the same passive defense suit and bump attack bonus (knife). His origin would be 'hardware' with some flavor text.

Taking those two characters as examples I worry that it would be too washed out. Too samey.

I guess there's really only one way to find out. Prototype.

Other Thoughts: Don't get me started on MOVEMENT powers. If you cannot wall crawl and/or fly it's not really a super hero game...that's sorta tough to do though...hmm...I guess wall crawl and fly could be a sort of + move and 'stealth status effect' as well as 'ignore obstacle status effect'...

-Speaking of stealth. Double damage on unaware enemies, of course...guard dogs (1 hit, aggressive behavior, Powers of ALERT/ALARM and DETECT STEALTH)...:-)

-I can have several preset archetypes and also a build your own, where you can choose the generic powers and name them yourself for flavor? For example you could make the same 'cyclops' type character with Power Glove Blast (Blast +5), Passive Power Glove Block (Defense +3) and Power Glove Slap (Bump +2). Plus, I dunno, Steroid User (+3 Hits, -50% testicles)

-And of course other character but blasters must be possible, like Brawlers (wolverine), brawler/gadgeteers (batman) and Mega-Heroes (SUPERMAN!).

-Maybe you have so many 'power points' to build your character, and that corresponds with the difficulty of the you can make a Superman type character but the game will make super villians too...? Or you can play a simple cop with vest (+1 def) and pistol (blast 1) and baton/mace (Bump +1).

-World spanning creatures will probably be too much, like those that eat worlds and stuff. But alien invasions through worm holes should be not a problem, alien grunt = (3 hits, aggressive behavior, blast +2 'lazer gun')

-also your popularity should come into play, it will affect how people treat you, and when the cops finally turn on you. Also there should be some draw backs...okay now I'm going too far...



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Re: Super Hero RL - Design Fail?
« Reply #1 on: September 20, 2013, 03:20:14 AM »
Yes. Definitely need 'popularity' as a stat that can increase and decrease.

Mutants will get a minus to popularity, but an extra hero point.

The (+ popularity) can be themed as Good Looks, Tight Spandex, etc...

The (- popularity) can be themed as Underpants on the Outside, Blue Skin, etc...


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Re: Super Hero RL - Design Fail?
« Reply #2 on: September 20, 2013, 03:29:07 AM »
Wolverine might be boring under this system. Unless you make the claws a complex skill.
Passive: Regeneration (energy + to HP each turn)
Passive: Metal Skeleton (+HP)
Active: Claws (+5 bump attack, -5 popularity) - So he catches way more police heat when his claws are out....

Depending on how I handle the 'energy' stat the claws will not be able to stay out long, and regeneration might take energy...I dunno. You could make the regen an active skill that uses energy...


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Re: Super Hero RL - Design Fail?
« Reply #3 on: September 20, 2013, 03:33:29 AM »
The Hulk would be fun:
Active: Hulk Out (Buff Stats +10) Drawback (popularity - 10)
Active: Hulk Smash (Area Attack + 5) Drawback (dependent on being Hulked Out)

I'd have to figure out how to make an ability dependent on the activation of another ability...


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Re: Super Hero RL - Design Fail?
« Reply #4 on: September 20, 2013, 03:37:03 AM »
And while I'm at it...
WORF!  -origin- Alien/Hardware
-Passive: Battleth (+3 bump attack)
-Active: Phaser (+3 ranged attack)
-Active: Hypo Spray (+10 heal) Drawback (single use)
-Passive: Boney Head (resist stun) Drawback (popularity - 3)


Feel free to post your own, I'll get ideas on how to actually make the system...


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Re: Super Hero RL - Design Fail?
« Reply #5 on: September 20, 2013, 03:46:20 AM »
I figure a low ENERGY character who has a huge power, like a rank 10 blast or something, would be drained and not be able to use their powers again for a bit...

But how would one model that? Realm of the Mad God has an energy bar that fills quickly depending on the stats, and when you use your special power it pretty much drains all the way down.

I can do it that way, a Rank 1 power lowers ENERGY by 10%, a Rank 10 is the highest and takes all your energy. It refills fast by resting? It also refills each turn by the amount of your 'energy' stat.

So the energy stat would be a recharge stat. And you'd have two status bars. Hits/Total Hits and Energy(0-100%).


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Re: Super Hero RL - Design Fail?
« Reply #6 on: September 20, 2013, 03:52:44 AM »
...I continue to spam my own thread...

There has to be some sort of throwing mechanic. If you don't have that then characters with high strength are less interesting, as our telekinetics.

For example Jean Grey can move things with her mind. Say she has Telekinesis (Ranged Move/Push, Rank 3). She can move an item in sight 3 squares, and whack it into baddies too. So the objects on the field need to be given a weight. 1-10. Jean can move an item up to rank 3, she can move it 3 squares, and it does damage to whoever it hits depending on its weight (or maybe depending on Jean's rank, I'd have to test that).

The Hulk can have the power Toss (Throw, Rank 10). So he can toss the largest object in the game, like a bus, 10 squares. Provided he is adjacent to said object.


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Re: Super Hero RL - Design Fail?
« Reply #7 on: September 20, 2013, 03:56:35 AM »
...and my self spam continues.... :P

-Okay, now here's a TOUGH thing to implement. So I'll just have to steal from Brogue. Yep!

We'll call the generic ability to be CHARM or ALLY. Not sure how it will scale by power rank or energy usage, but essentially it will create minions that run around helping you. Basically flipping the AI from 'target player' to 'target closest bad guy'...could be a mess.

You cannot have Professor X without this power though...

Once you figure out how to do the 'charm' thing you can easily implement...

SIDEKICKS!  Batman needs a Robin, am I right? You know it! Programming wise this would just be a permanent minion. Like the dog in Nethack.


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Re: Super Hero RL - Design Fail?
« Reply #8 on: September 20, 2013, 04:09:08 AM » this point Shock Frost is getting jealous...

What about Kitty Pride? We'll model her as high energy with a good movement power, movement powers ignore terrain, basically.

What about Mystique? High energy + Stealth Toggle with some + defense and bump abilities.

Magneto? That's where we have a problem unless we give every movable object in the game a 'metal' or not stat. In the city pretty much everything can have metal so we can just model him as a high rank Telekinesis with a flight/movement power. But what if we have a 'forest' zone outside of town? We'd give him Telekinesis with drawback Metal Only.

Night Crawler? Teleport shouldn't be too hard to implement, most roguelikes have it. 

Dr. Strange? fuck you....:-(

The Flash - Move score of 10 or 12. Bullet speed basically. TONS of actions each turn. Tons of defense too, he's so hard to hit!

Swamp Thing - Plant control...hmmm...we can give objects an 'organic' tag and give him CHARM with drawback Organic Only.

Nuclear Man - Passive: BUFF!, Drawback: Outside only. Day only.

Black Panther - Stealth, drawback: Night only.

Lex Luthor? Some sort of high popularity score and massive charm ability or something. Or you could do the lex luthor with the kryptonite suit with tons of defense and a solid ranged blast.

Iron Man - Movement/Flight, Blast, Passive: Defense+. With a high popularity stat.

Thor - Flight, Tons of HP, HUGE bump attack (hammer) and nice area blast (lightening)...

I could do this all night...


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Re: Super Hero RL - Design Fail?
« Reply #9 on: September 20, 2013, 04:21:18 AM »
-Origin: Cyborg, Human Experiment
-Active: Gun (blast, rank 3)
-Passive: Body Armor (defense + 3)
-Passive: Police Man (popularity +5) [Popularity is not just how street people act, but mostly how the cops, government and military react]

Drawbacks and Traits
-Metal [i can see later this being important]
-Computerized [for later additions of computer scrambling abilities, like kitty pride, magneto and doctor doom]

Edward Cullen
-Origin: Fantastic Creature (vampire)
-Passive: BUFF (all stats +)
-Passive: Beautiful (popularity +) drawback: night or underground only.
-Active: Drain (take and gain HP, rank 8) drawback: Horrifying [popularity negative, not sure how to implement]


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Re: Super Hero RL - Design Fail?
« Reply #10 on: September 20, 2013, 08:31:21 AM »
There is a tabletop RPG called 'HERO System' that contains ridiculously involved rules for power creation.

As an RL I assume you want pretty quick character generation. Something I thought of for a game I may write is you take the name, hash it, and use that as a seed to procedurally generate a super hero (complete with powers that have generated effects and flavour text).

The same game idea had the following for advancement - when you 'die' (or trigger it manually) you get a second wind: a permanent power buff, full heal and a little extra back story explained/generated; but you only have 2-3 of these. You're then seeing how much fame/popularity you can get before dying 3 times.


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Re: Super Hero RL - Design Fail?
« Reply #11 on: September 20, 2013, 08:49:10 AM »
The thing about superheroes is that they don't really have stats with any meaning in normal situations - if they score a hit on anyone that isn't themself superpowered, that person *will* suffer effects anywhere between disabled for a minute or so to instant death (via unconsciousness). The ones that aren't completely invulnerable will have some combination of regeneration, high "hit points", and evasion/shielding. All that tells you is how many bullets or punches you'd have to send in their direction to have a 90% chance of getting a hit, and how many bullets and punches it takes before they give up. Which never happens.

It's all about the abilities, especially in fights between more than one super. Think about the last superhero comic or movie you saw with two supers fighting. Most likely they started off throwing boring normal attacks at each other and having absolutely no effect. Alternatively, one of them might have tried a Worf barrage and watched their enemy dodge every attack, or one of them might have connected with the first hit and put the other on the defensive for the rest of the fight.

That part of the fight doesn't really matter, all it does is establish a power dynamic in the reader's or viewer's head.

The thing that wins superhero fights isn't attrition, but abilities - taking advantage of a weakness, combining a power with someone else's power or an environmental hazard, exposing the enemy to their own attack, etc. etc.

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Re: Super Hero RL - Design Fail?
« Reply #13 on: September 20, 2013, 07:19:21 PM »
You would of course have to include Rogue!  Actually, her ability-absorbing powers could be quite interesting - bump enemies to gain their powers temporarily.  Could lead to some cool tactical gameplay if you're facing a bunch of enemies of different types and need to plan out how to use their abilities against each other.


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Re: Super Hero RL - Design Fail?
« Reply #14 on: September 21, 2013, 02:52:07 AM »
There is a tabletop RPG called 'HERO System' that contains ridiculously involved rules for power creation.

As an RL I assume you want pretty quick character generation.

Yeah man, the HERO system is way too much. Also I'm tailoring it to an RL Hero is way over board, I've also looked at pretty much all of the major Super Hero RPG systems. The one I think is the most applicable making a SuperHeroRL though is the DiabloIII system.