Sunday, January 29, 2017

The superhero campaign gets going

I've been talking for a while about starting a superhero game now that the previous "home game" of D&D had wrapped up last year.  For a while I had been planning on running Champions, mostly because I thought it would be fun to run a game that meant so much to me as a college student and might promote long-term play.

But as it turns out (to the surprise of few) Champions was difficult to teach and difficult to make NPC's.  Between the holidays and a bunch of stuff at home nothing was happening and the game seemed to be stalling out.  But then I found Bash, a fairly simple supers RPG that was easy to teach and easy for me to make villains, etc.  Two weeks ago I ran a test session of Bash, using 1940's WW2 characters.

It was a big hit, and suddenly the WW2 session, the PC's the players had been trying to build for Champions, Bash, and the book The League of Regrettable Heroes all jelled together into what appears to be the first session of a campaign.

The League of Regrettable Heroes is an encyclopedia of weird, sad, or just short-running superheroes from the Golden Age to the present.  Many of the Golden Age characters are in public domain and are delightfully bizarre, and Pat Parker (War Nurse) appeared in the first session.  In the first modern session, I took another unusual Golden Age figure, "Stardust the Super Wizard."

In the session Stardust was an alien who claimed to be looking for a new home, and offered to use his great power to protect and serve humanity (proving his worth by defeating a major villain).

Meanwhile, a confluence of events brought together the following PC's:

  • Dynamo, formerly "Kid Dynamo," a child sidekick of the WW2-era hero American Wonder, and still one of strongest people on the planet at 82
  • the descendant of Haute Couture, another WW2 superhero who wears a magical shadowy garb
  • Cosmo, a third WW2 hero and robot
  • Kaos, a heroic sorceress
  • Grendel, a were-minotaur
  • The Lioness, a martial artist and hunter of the arcane
  • Blackhawk, a man/hawk hybrid
  • Haka, a Pacific islander who has magical tattoos (and an annoying talking cat named Toby)
  • Pol, an alien gadgeteer
  • and Volt, a hacker who can turn his body into electricity
Pol had come to Earth from his own planet, which had been Stardust's previous home.  He told them Stardust had inflicted his own extreme form of justice as a hero on Pol's planet until finally wiping out most of the populace in an act of moral outrage.

A few days later a B-list group of villains called Deathstrike held the campaign city for ransom by taking over an experimental power plant.  The heroes realized they needed to defuse the situation quickly before Stardust arrived, but failed and Stardust nearly killed one of the villains.  The heroes rescued the hapless villain and drove of Stardust, but in the process made a powerful and unstable enemy.

As I mentioned earlier, Stardust is a character from the Golden Age created by Fletcher Hanks, who is well known for his bizarre creations and striking artistic style.  Stardust would mete out his own extreme vengeance in the comic books, so I thought he'd made a great anti-hero in the campaign.

An actual page from the original comic
I'm thinking that adding actual but little-down comic book characters, especially from the public domain of the Golden Age might be a lot of fun.


  1. It's been cool to read about someone's BASH game - I have it and like it enough but ICONS has kind of filled our "easy super rpg" space here. Keep it coming!

    Champions probably demands a character builder these days, at least if you're going to be running the game. They have one for sale on their site for 5th & 6th edition, or at least they did the last time I looked.

    1. They do have a proprietary character builder, and I thought about it, except I thought to myself, "Do I want to spend $25 on a software program for an RPG I may not run more than half a dozen times?" I'm in a chicken/egg situation where I don't know how the game will go over until I run it, but I can't run it until the group puts in all this work.

    2. I understand that! I think you have to try and run it a time or two and see if they're interested enough to make it a regular thing, like you just did.