Monday, February 19, 2018

Alt★Hero RPG update

The design for the Alt★Hero RPG is proceeding well. Unlike most superhero RPGs being designed today, it takes a simulative rather than narrative approach. It is a spiritual descendant of Mayfair Game's DC Heroes RPG and TSR's Marvel Heroes RPG. The game mechanics, which I am calling the "Supermetric system", are based on logarithmic mathematics. Each point on the Supermetric scale represents a doubling in real-world measurements. This approach will be  familiar to anyone familiar with DC Heroes. Unlike Mayfair's system, however, the Supermetric system is fully logarithmic. For instance, in DC Heroes a character with a BODY 6 would be felled with six 1 point-hits, two 3-point hits, or one 6-point hits, even though one 6-point hit was worth eight 3-point hits or sixty-four 1 point-hits. Alt★Hero uses some very clever behind-the-scenes math that enables us to carry logarithmic design to its logical progression while keeping the game fast and fun. In playtesting so far, we've found the combat to be very flavorful with collateral damage, environmental interaction, and more.

At this point, the core mechanics are complete and playable so the next step is to begin to develop the character generation system and the full index of powers. One thing I am still assessing is whether to make the character generation randomized (like Marvel Heroes or Golden Heroes), point-based (like Champions or DC Heroes), or hybridized (like Heroes Unlimited). Because superhero combat tends to be so intransitive (that is, it's like scissors-paper-rock rather than high-roll-wins), I have always been skeptical of point-based systems' claims that they can achieve balance. How do you "balance" worldwide teleportation and the ability to lift a 747? On the other hand, for gamers who enjoy such things, building the uber-powerful character within the limits of points is a lot of fun. I'd love to hear what the Alt★Hero RPG community has a preference for!

Fight On,