Sunday, July 22, 2018

Alt★Hero RPG playtest

The Alt-Hero RPG had its second playtest. The core mechanics are working smoothly. The logarithmic system is as elegant as I'd hoped and it is working well when conjoined with mechanics that can take advantage of it, such as making multiple attacks, attacking in teams, and so on.

All sorts of wonderful emergent properties became evident in this playtest. For instance, combat against large groups of enemies can be easily resolved by using the logarithmic scaling. One attacker with Agility 3 and a pistol is not scary. 16 attackers with pistols (+4 multi-attacker modifier) is Agility 7 and suddenly a threat.  We also learned that Teleport 15 is sufficient to move an enemy into near-orbit above the Earth; the quick use of the logarithmic math (Time = Distance - Speed) let us determine how many rounds the heroes had to finish off the rest of the combat before he fell to earth.

In this playtest we introduced a set of "legwork" mechanics that can be used for crime scene investigation, forensic study of evidence, interviewing crime victims, and other Detective Comics type game play. The legwork mechanics assign"clues" a logarithmic score based on their obscurity; investigators then find clues based on their Acuity stat added to the time (in logarithmic score) spent doing legwork. For instance, if "bullet casing made of strange alloy used only by Dr. Dread" has an Obscurity of 20, it will take The Brick (Acuity 4) a long time to find the clue - 20-4 = 16 units of time, or about two-and-a-half days. If Dr. Quantum (Acuity 12) is on the job, however, he will find the clue in (20 - 12) 8 units of time, or about 15 minutes.

To use the legwork mechanics in play, the Mastermind (GM) should structure multiple different locations with information, along with some sort of time pressure from either the villain's plans or natural events or both. In yesterday's session, for instance, the heroes knew that a powerful superhuman was about to manifest his powers for the first time, and it was a race against time to get the information needed to stop him.

It's still very much a work-in-progress but the framework of a great game is being put into place.



  1. I appreciate the update. This is beginning to sound really great. Can't wait to try this system with my two youngest children (14 yr old girl, 13 yr old boy).

  2. Devstream was great. Hope it continues. I really enjoyed the game dev online class. (the one that came with brainstorm).