I was tossing around a Supers-inspired DW hack the other day and I have to say, finding good, constant archetypes was hard.
So far I’ve got the following semi-fleshed out, but I’d love input and advice and what-not. Thanks DW’ers!
Think Superman, Wonder Woman, Martian Manhunter, etc.
Batman, Robin, countless others.
Flash, Jay Garrick, Quicksilver, etc.
Green Arrow, Arsenal, Hawkeye, etc.
Now, all of the above listed likely won’t make the cut, and there are countless other archetypes like The Ocean Lord (Aquaman, Namor, Mera) that are kind of specific but options none the less.
I was thinking that instead of races, characters would have origins (like Alien, Outsider, Scientist, Orphan, etc) that would give their specific playbook a unique ability. (Think The Stranger and Laser Eyes, for example.)
As far as balancing it goes… I have no idea.
I’m considering just taking the big 4 iconic classes (Fighter/Paladin, Cleric, Thief, and Mage) and using those as a base for these archetypes. No reason to re-invent the wheel if you don’t have to, right?
Thoughts, ideas? Comments, complaints?
30 thoughts on “I was tossing around a Supers-inspired DW hack the other day and I have to say, finding good, constant archetypes…”
But you have to reinvent the wheel because the feel of a comic/comicmovie is totally different then the feel of a fantasy dungeon adventure!
And you need at least The Brick in there. Thing, Hulk, Hawkman, Vandal Savage (wow, it took me a while to come up with a DC Brick type character…)
I agree in part. I think Adventures on Dungeon Planet, for example, used the same chassis but with tweaks made it feel completely different. Swords & Sorcery has a quite different feel than Swords & Planet, for example.
Ideally I want to replicate that same ideology. Use the chassis, but use flavor to make it feel completely different.
Good call. I had forgotten about the bruiser character. I had it called The Brute in my notes, but completely forgot about it.
As it stands, I feel that one could use the playbooks from Inverse World as a stand-in for some superheroes. The Lantern and The Mechanic both scream super-heroics to me. (Green Lantern/Sinestro and Iron-Man, respectively)
Yep. You could use the dancer too, (Hawkgirl?)
Potentially even Wonder Woman. Or any flier-type really.
Some other classes/archetypes you might want to look into: Energy Projector (Cyclops), Martial Artist (Daredevil), Mystic Master (Dr Strange) also a Gadgeteer class might be a good idea.
Daredevil is a classic Vigilante i’d say
Energy Projector is right though. Works great for a Lantern too.
Martial Artist is a good one. That could envelope the whole Batman-family quite easily.
Well there is so much cross pollenization in some super heros. Is Iron Man an Energy Projector because of his beams or a Gadgeteer because it’s a suit? Same with Batman. Martial Artist? Vigalante? Gadgeteer? Did he take moves from all three?
Just wanted to give you more ideas.
Yeah, there is a ton of it. That is part of the reason I’ve had such a hard time trying to nail down 4 (minimum) solid archetypes.
I would just not make it so universal. Your classes should be ‘Batman’, ‘The Superman’, ‘Spiderman’, ‘Hulk’, ‘The Flash’ to start with, even if that’s too copyright intensive for publication.
Make powers for the particular heroes and there are so many comics with interpretation that you can have subclasses, for example, as bat man you could be ‘The Dark Knight’ or ‘Campy 60’s Batman’, for example. Moves obtained later during play should be both mechanical and tell something about the character, so no simple + to damage rolls. For example ‘Vengeful Crusader’ should give you plus to damage when attacking a villain who has escaped you before.
That’s the thing about dungeonworld. It’s more specific than universal toolkits.
for me it’s impossible to put the superheroes into archetypes and classes. Although they have similar powers are too different from each other.
Hulk and the thing have super strength, ok, but they are also very different.
The Hulk’s strength is based on anger. Not the same for the Thing’s strength.
Hulk can become a public danger. The Thing no.
And we speak only about super strength.
Champions RPG (I’ve always liked) uses these Archetypes, which I borrowed from: Brick, Energy Projector, Gadgeteer, Martial Artist, Mentalist (Prof X), Metamorph (Plastic Man, Were-Anything, Mr Fantastic), Mystic, Patriot, Powered Armor, Speedster and Weapon Master (Green Arrow arguably Dare Devil)
You could have Archetypes and Motivations. Motivations could be things like Vigilante or Patriot might fit better here or Sense of Justice, For Money or Fame. Get XP when you use your Archetype in creative ways to persue Motivations?
Instead of archetypal classes, what if you had move sets and then you build your class from the grab bag? That way you could just pull moves from vigilante, martial artist, and gadgeteer to make a Batman.
This would require a slightly different chassis than DW, but I don’t think that’s bad.
I would also start with the basic moves, not playbooks
As per Kirby Bridges, I too suggest going moves as the centerpiece rather than playbooks. And if you aren’t in the mood to make a ton of Basic Moves from scratch, you could stick to the World of Dungeons model – it has a moves a la carte system.
I had considered doing a sort of “point-buy” system where you buy HD size, damage size, powers, etc. Depending on power level, the more points it costs to buy it. Players start with finite points and they level they gain more to either improve (like buying up HD or damage) or gain new powers (something akin to discovering your potential.)
It’s quite a task, but after reading everyone’s comments, I find myself in agreement that it is the moves not the playbooks that are key here.
I’ll toss it around a bit this weekend and see if I can make something work. If I can, I’ll post my findings here!
Everyone, thanks so much for the help! This community has been super (no pun intended) helpful every time I’ve come to it. Thanks again, y’all!
The system of DW and AW is not good for playing superheroes, cause the class system is too restrictive. On the other hand, a shopping list of superpowers is something that I would avoid.
Sorcerer Blob do you know Marvel Heroic Roleplaying?
Is perfect for play story of superheroes in general, not only marvel heroes. Is a very good game based on the Cortex Plus system.
Sticking to playbooks is not a bad thing! Because moves say something very fictionally specific about not only what the character does, but how they do it going grab-bag style could end in very schizophrenic results.
You could create base multiclass rules that allow multiclassing any time you level up, but have caveats to ensure consistency or niche protection.
This certainly sounds more like its own beast rather than a DW module. Definitely start with making your own choices for stats that evoke the ideas of the comics – stats more like apocalypse world’s that perhaps describe how they act as opposed to DW’s more literal representations.
A lot of these are questions I’m asking myself as I work on some *world games of my own.
Adrian Thoen IMO playbooks are sufficient but not necessary to avoid a scattershot move set. There’s nothing in WoDu that says you can’t create a move that has another move as a prerequisite. You can use this to cluster moves and create a semblance of theme grouping.
Cyborg? (could be wrapped into Mechanic, though) or maybe Modified? (Swamp-Thing, Deathlok)
Or maybe the playbooks are built on their Origin rather than their theme? Though that also seems counter-intuitive.
Jonathan Reiter prerequisites could work for theming too.
An important thing to look at for core concepts and even the basic moves is what do heroes do in hero team comics, instead of just focusing on their powers. There’s the leader, the detective, the conscience, the muscle, the face/ambassador, the money/resources, the genius etc.
It’s as much about how their personalities and beliefs interact as it is about how they overcome problems and punch bad guys in the face.
That’s one of the strong points about the *world system, it’s social play moves are built in exactly the same way and carry just as much weight as (Sometimes more than) the Action moves.
I’ve been thinking about doing a Marvel heroes hack as well – but what I’m doing is doing a playbook for each character – one for each of my players for whichever hero they want to play. It’ll be a lot more work of course but what I love about playing certain heroes is each of their complexities.
Looking at Marvel Heroic Roleplaying – I’m planning on developing specific moves for each character based on some of the awesome milestones and SFX. Milestones can still work great for XP moves just like in MHR, and then some SFX and character-specific moves and hopefully it’ll bring on the Marvocalypse!
more from you Kyle Simons ?
Yep, that’d be me. Keep in mind I have no idea what I’m talking about having played neither game so any help/advice would be much appreciated (though probably should start another thread since I don’t want to high-jack this one).
you can use the classics, Mutant, Alien, Genius…Mechanic? When those guys are high tech etc…is not so appropriate
MSH has character subtypes, Champions has suggestions, Mutants & Masterminds similarly…
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