A Deck Full of Heroes

Some superhero roleplaying games have random character generation, and I can see the appeal. Random choice of elements can provide inspiration for interesting concepts you wouldn't have thought of otherwise. In my experience, though, the problem with randomly generating a superhero character is that there's a chance you'll wind up with a frail incompetent whose only superpower is that they can connect USB plugs correctly on the first try every time.

Given that I'm designing a superhero game packaged as a deck of cards, though, it seems only natural that you should draw your character from the deck at random. I'm planning to provide three character generation systems: a totally random system where you just draw your cards out of the deck; a drafting system where you divide up the deck among the players and pass it around, keeping the cards you like; and a non-random system where you just spread out the deck on the table and everyone takes turns picking the cards they want.

In preparation for getting a test version of Soar up on Roll20, I drew two characters out of the deck at random. The first was a good example of the "I wouldn't have deliberately built this but it's kind of cool" character:

A spread of game cards suggesting a superhero with magical battle armor.

It's an odd mix, but my idea is that this superhero is part of a secret society of vampire hunters in a little fictional Eastern European country that's ruled by vampires. This hero has a cool suit of magical medieval-style vampire-battling armor, and has a supernatural sense for when vampires are nearby. However, the society is keeping secrets from our hero, and it may be that the leaders of the secret society have daibolical ulterior motives.

The second character I drew was a perfect superhero stereotype:

A spread of game chards suggesting a superheroic, stealthy investigator with an arsenal of tricks and weapons.

This is definitely your stalker-of-the-night, hunter-of-criminals character, with a touch of precognition and with some romantic drama in the background.

I'd planned for the drafting system to be the default for this game, but these two characters worked well enough that I'm thinking of presenting the random-draw system as the default, and leaving the drafting and free-choice systems for players who insist on more control.

I'm hoping to test this in play within the next couple of weeks, and the lessons learned from that test should give me a big step forward. Stay tuned.

Previous Post Next Post