It is our FATE to put on the cape and cowl.

My first RPG was the Advanced Marvel Super-Hero FASERIP RPG but I don’t particularly look back on it with any nostalgia that would get me to play it again.  I later played a bunch of Champions, not sure which edition but the one with the George Perez cover.  I have fond memories of bouncing Grond off of buildings using that book’s rules but know that it isn’t what I want right now.

I’ve been thinking about super hero RPG’s, inspired by a talk I had with Michael Miller and Gerald at Dexcon (Michael had run some Marvel Super-Heroes in which he said he found evidence of proto-circles and proto-resources ala BW) along with some tweets Rob D. started this morning (1, 2, 3, 4, 5).

And there is this tweet I posted yesterday:

Is convinced that the secrets to creating the FATE-based supers RPG of his dreams is hidden somewhere in the Dresden Files RPG.

And this e-mail I found from the ole Friday group about a possible super-hero game:

If we do play a super-hero game, I’d like to make a super-hero city together and then a group of some kind, in the vein of the Fantastic Four or the Batman family, a group that is linked through bonds of blood and theme.  In a perfect world, different people would GM different issues of a particular comic book.

So, Pete would GM Detective Stories, and each of his games would start with a super-hero crime for us to solve.

Storn would GM, Occult Stories, delving into the occult underbelly of a city.

I’d GM, Detective Clan, in which the city’s family of detective vigilantes deal with their foes and keep the city safe.

(I picked the 3 people as example GM’s because I have been GMed by them before).

If there was a night where it was just me and Christine, maybe she would GM and I would play my character in his own comic book.


The neat thing about comics and gaming, to me, is that the characters, world’s logic, etc. really need not be entirely level.  Different issues have different creative teams, so we can play it loose and have some fun with it.

There’s something there, about the wink & nod that we are “playing a comic book” along with the motifs, rhythms, literary laws and such of a comic book world.  I feel like the game to be made is in FATE, hacking at Spirit of the Century and the Dresden Files RPG until it takes the shape I want.  There’s something there.

I am going to look over Icons, DFRPG and re-read SotC and maybe even re-visit FASERIP and Champions.  Then we’ll take a running start until our molecules are vibrating at just the right frequency and see if we can’t hit this thing.

Greyhound, speedster with billy clubs by Storn A. Cook

16 thoughts on “It is our FATE to put on the cape and cowl.

  1. Oh please keep us informed. I’m very much feeling the stars are (almost) right for that FATE supers game I’ve always wanted. BTW, have you seen the “Strands of FATE” development posts ( and I think somewhere else)?

  2. I’ve been playing ICONS since the pdf pre-order was out. It’s really a great fusion of FATE and FASERIP. To my mind it only lacks a mapped combat option. But I have a quick hack that I want to try out soon.

    • Me too.

      I want to do some reading, hack together some ideas and then find the time to give it some play.

      We’ll see.

  3. This sounds interesting.

    For some time my group has been running a home-brew supers game that was drifted considerably from Polaris’ Key Phrase conflict mechanics. One of the key conceits that we agreed upon was that ‘wink & and nod’ you refereed to, similar to the approach that one takes for your tv show in PTA. From the get go, we established that we would be using Kurt Busik’s Astro City as our main inspiration. Specifically, the idea that these would be ‘stories about people, that happen to feature super-heroics’.

    Additionally, we decided to follow an anthology format, in that each session would be a self-contained story/issue in a larger collection that would feature specific heroes villains and setting elements. We wanted to focus on the most memorable stories told about our imagined imprint, a collection of greatest hits if you would.

    Of course there were other conventions that we stole from various games: similarly to In a Wicked Age, a key aspect would be that each story would have to a character or setting element from a previous issue/session. Also, in between sessions we would email back and forth little sentence or two blurbs about a character idea or setting element we had thought off that slowly built into a Lexicon-style encyclopedia of material we could draft into the game at will. This was particularly useful in light of the fact that we distributed GM authority in a way somewhat similar to Polaris.

    Another great supers game with a tremendous amount of insight into the genre is Jared’s Darkpages. I’m not sure if the ashcan pdf is still available, but I’m sure he could hook you up with a copy.

      • Thanks, Judd.

        I should have a Google Doc somewhere where I noted it all down. I’ll see if I can clean it up for public consumption.

        As far as Darkpages, I thought it had a lot of great ideas, even though the 3-panel narration/resolution didn’t work for me. However, I think the way Jared set up the accumulation of Pain and the option to shunt that to your character’s bonds is great. That and how the character transforms to a new incarnation when they reach their Pain limit.

        The rules for the Concepts and Archetypes were insightful as well as the Imprint creation. I think I’ll definitely be taking some of those ideas into account if and when I eventually revise my supers hack.

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