|Image Source Wayne's Books|
I love super hero role playing games. There was a time, before the digital explosion, that I could claim that I owned every super hero rpg that had been published. They run the gamut from highly complex games like Champions to abstract and indie games like With Great Power. You might think that my love of these games stems from the fact that I'm a HUGE comic book geek, and that's true, but I also love them for another reason. It's a reason that also answers today's #RPGaDay question.
Day 22 -- Which RPGs are the Easiest for You to Run?
Super hero role playing games are the easiest of any role playing game for me to run for a wide variety of reasons. First and foremost among these reasons is that they are the most accessible games for people to play. "Accessible," you say, "but aren't Champions and Mutants and Masterminds tremendously complex when it comes to character creation?" Yes, they can be mechanically complex, but all superhero games are more accessible than fantasy role playing games because they have more shared qualities.
When I run a fantasy role playing game set in a fantasy world, there is always a learning curve regarding the nature of the setting. If I play in an Eberron campaign I need to know certain things about the setting that are completely different than if I'm in Dark Sun, Oerth, Mystara, Westeros, or a million other worlds. But it most superhero campaigns, all I need to say is "you will be playing a superhero team based in Los Angeles" and everyone is in a similar imaginary landscape. While I need to worry that the "magic system" of a fantasy setting fits the setting, comic books don't care about such things. Doctor Fate's cosmic scale mysticism stands side by side with John Constantine's arcane rituals, Amethyst's crystal magic, and Arion's Atlantean magic.
The stories also fall into place. How do the characters get together as a team? I'll just borrow the classic get the team together through misunderstanding and melee that made me fall in love with Marvel's The Champions or the first issue of The Avengers. This misunderstanding melee meetup provides a perfect opportunity to teach the players the rules of the game, build personalities, and introduce villains who will be used throughout the campaign.
One of the absolute best super hero games is TSR's Marvel Superheroes Adventure Game. It's simple card-driven system and game balance allow for every player in a combat to matter. Captain America is always an important contributor, and unlike in the new Defenders TV series, so is Iron Fist. The character sheets are easy to read. And my favorite part? The cards have enough information on them that by drawing about 5 from the deck, you can come up with an adventure on the fly with location, motivation, and villain determined at a quick glance.