Friday, July 31, 2015

KantCon 2015 review and The Ultimate Hero

This will be a pretty short review, since I only made one afternoon session for this year's KantCon, a locally organized gaming convention in Kansas City.

One thing I like about KantCon is that you get a chance to meet some local gaming designers and some little-known games like the year I met the guys from Silver Gryphon Games and bought Ingenium and Aether.  This year I managed to get a spot at a table where two guys from Paragon Notion were running a demo of their game, The Ultimate Hero.

By the games' own description it "combines aspects of comic book heroes and science fiction."  On the comic book side it has mutations, psionics, and even magic.  On the science fiction side you have space travel, power armor, and cybernetics.  The PC's work for an organization called DOSHI (Department of Super Human Investigations), a para-military agency dedicated to policing superhuman threats.

The rules are pretty straightforward, generally a contested 2d6 roll modified by attribute and skill bonuses with damage handled by again rolling 2d6 and comparing the total on a chart to the damage step of the attack.  For example, rolling a 6 for a DS 2 weapon gets you 3 points of damage, while rolling an 11 would get you 6.  Rolling a 12 means you get a value plus an additional roll for more damage.

I don't want to get too into the review of the game given I've only played one playtest and skimmed the rulebook, but I will say this.  The game is fun.  It has that combination of gonzo sci-fi and genuine fondness for the game on the part of the game's creators that reminds me a lot of Rifts.  If you want to play a half-demon in power armor, or a vampire with cybernetics, or a bug-eyed alien with psionic abilities, you can do that.  While it isn't rules heavy per se, there is a lot in the way of crunch in the form of a gazillion powers, equipment options, and even extensive rules for vehicles.  I suspect that out there is some rules lawyer that could quickly ruin this game with optimal options for PC creation, but let's not even think about that guy and just enjoy the game for what it is.

I will say one critical thing: the game needs a new name.  It's too similar to the sourcebooks put out by HERO games (makers of Champions, Fantasy Hero, etc.) and I noticed a couple of people on DriveThruRPG being confused about that.  Plus the name doesn't really capture the feel of the game--it's too generic.  But that's a really small qualm, and it the creators like the name, they should go with it.  The whole game has that "we're doing what we like" feel anyways.


  1. This intrigues me as a big Legion of Superheroes fan, but I don't see why I can't just do this with Champions, or Mutants & Masterminds.

    Still, and all, as a huge Supers RPG fan, I will definitely check it out.

    1. It's free, so you can't go wrong.

      I feel like you could say, "but I could do Champions or M&M (or MHR)" to just about any superhero RPG, actually, and not be wrong. It might even be better in some ways. I sort of wish there were more just "supers settings" out there rather than have people try to reinvent certain wheels by coming up with rules, like they did with Necessary Evil or Rotted Capes or Silver Age Sentinels (although that last one I hear is pretty good).