Currently I am running a Super Hero RPG using the TSR Marvel FASERIP system in a setting of my own creation. TSR released the Marvel FASERIP system (for the attributes Fighting, Agility, Strength, Endurance, Reason, Intuition, & Psyche) in 1984. They updated the game with an advanced version in 1986 that refined some of the rules, and included one of the best power lists found anywhere in any form!
Fans still keep this great RPG going with updated rules and community created content on this awesome site http://www.classicmarvelforever.com/.
The game lets you assume any Marvel character with complete stats for role playing and battling. But the real treasure in this game is the character creation, which we will get to later. I am currently using the game system to run a game of my own creation called the Awakening campaign.
The Awakening campaign I am running is an interesting experiment as there are currently 12 players with characters from different factions. In the story, people around New York are awakening super powers that fade after a certain amount of time. I envisioned something like the TV series Heroes in a sandbox world where the players, solo or in various organizations, have their own agendas.
I chose New York to base it on because all of the material and maps that came with the map were for New York since many of the Marvel heroes reside there. Some of the factions now use the Avengers and Fantastic Four buildings. But the similarity ends there. In the world we are playing in no one has powers, that anyone knows about anyway, but every few days a few random people wake up some powers. These are a mix of important public figures, corporate executives, innocent civilians, criminals, scientists, you name it; each with their own way of handling their awakening: stay hidden and neutral, or use it for good or evil.
Each player created their characters, quite often in secret, using the Ultimate Powers Book supplement. I believe this book to be one of the greatest character creation / powers book in existence, and I specifically collect them! I think this excerpt from the introduction puts it the best as to what it strives for, and in my opinion, succeeds:
“Welcome to the Ultimate Powers Book. What you hold in your hands is a distillation of months of rather peculiar research. The idea was to create an encyclopedic listing of the all the known super powers ever to appear in any comic book, science fiction or fantasy literature, film, or role-playing game.
Once these were identified and catalogues, the next phase was to fill in as many holes as I could imagine. What super powers should exist but have not yet been used? I think I found most of the holes; you can discover some of these as the more bizarre listings in the Ultimate Powers Book.
The final phase was adapting all this work to a form that you, the player, can use.”
~ David E. Martin
Needless to say, the character creation in this game was the most fun of any game I have played. Even before the release of the Ultimate Powers Book, my brother and I would often just sit there generating characters for hours and sometimes battling them. Many of these characters I adapted to be NPCs in the awakening campaign. Some of them fit so perfectly into the story it was uncanny.
While I guided the players through making their characters I started to figure out their origin would work them into the story and possibly an already existing faction if it made sense (due to their powers or talents, or if they wanted to play with a particular play group). Often we would do their origin episode on the spot and they would check to see how much they freaked out, and get to discover and play with their powers for a bit.
It wasn’t many games in when one faction had done some nice detective work and made some good rolls that led them to discovering one of the other, more nefarious factions. I had to pause the game right there and it took 3 weeks to get everyone together for the epic encounter! I let the players decide how they wanted to act so it was interesting to see what went down. Check back soon for the story in episodes along with tips on how to run a similar campaign for yourself.