Saturday, March 7, 2015

Super-Hero Saturday: What's up, buddy?

I've volunteered to talk about running Super-Hero campaigns at a local gaming meet. Doing some brainstorming for my lecture, I realized that one of the issues for gaming locally is having a big enough group -- getting a party with enough roles covered is normally a troubling issue, especially for fantasy RPGs.

The funny thing is, the genre of super-heroes has a solution: a huge number of comic titles have a single protagonist! And there've been enough 'dynamic duos', 'terrific trios', and 'fantastic foursomes' to justify a very scaleable type of ongoing campaign.

In fact, I was just thinking about the two-hero campaign; here are some of my random thoughts about it:

Batman & Robin

  • You could go the Batman & Robin route, wherein the two players really always play the same two heroes, each one slowly growing in skills and complementing each other as the adventures and campaign moves forward.
  • Then again, there've been a number of Robins, and even a number of Batmen. We've had the classic Bruce Wayne / Dick Grayson, the short-lived Bruce Wayne / Jason Todd, the more extended Bruce Wayne / Tim Drake, and the surprisingly fun Dick Grayson / Damian Wayne. So perhaps, there is some wiggle room in this kind of campaign to change it up a bit.
  • Because they're so strongly tied to one another, there's a sort of strong connectedness in origins that can, however, make the variety of backstories very similar -- in this case, a world of highly-trained martial artists, mystical assassins, and themed street crime villains.

Heroes for Hire

  • With Luke Cage & Daniel Rand, however, you get a potentially more varied mix of character histories, and therefore more potential variety for friends and foes from their pasts, and different genres.
  • One character gets both the mystical background and the high-tech megacorp villains, while the other can get both low-level criminals and some Avenger-class trouble.


  •  With the Brave & the Bold, and Marvel Team-Ups, you can get even more variety. With perhaps one character always the same (perhaps by a player who is pretty happy with his character build) and another character always changing (perhaps by a player who enjoys creating various character builds).
  • Examples include Batman + Guest Star, and Spider-man + Guest Star, and Superman + Guest Star, and The Thing and Guest Star. A format with a respectable tradition behind it.

Trivial Digressions

In Marvel Heroic Roleplaying, the heroes in the main rulebook who are exceptional (d10) at being "buddies" are:
  • Armor
  • Iron Fist
  • Luke Cage
  • Spider-Man
  • Shadowcat
  • Thing 
 Also, there's an interesting listing of crime-fighting duos at

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That's my side of things. Let me know what you think, my friend.

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