Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Brave and the Bold: Super Teams in Heroes of Industry

[One of the things I really enjoy about Truth & Justice is the ease of stating up things.  Not just villains--although Kirby knows that's a sine qua non for me these days--but inanimate objects and even abstract entities. That's the jumping off point for my rules on creating and running Super-Teams in Heroes of Industry.]

What’s better than one super-hero? Why, a team of super-heroes, of course. The team-up has been a staple of supers stories almost since the beginning of the genre. In game terms, a Super Team is an entity much like a Vehicle: it has one basic Quality (“Super-Team”) and can have as many other Qualities as desired.

To create a Super Team, two or more heroes must have the Super-Team as a Quality (“Member of the Super-Team”). Adding up all the ranks in that Quality gives the Team it’s rank in “Super-Team” (a maximum of Monstrous +6). So if, four heroes decide to team-up and each has the Quality “Member of the Super-Team” at Good +1 rank, their group begins with “Incredible +4 Super-Team”. The hero’s rank in the “Member of the Super-Team” Quality indicates his relative standing and authority. If all the heroes have the same rank, this a group of equals; if one hero has a substantively higher rank, then he may be the Chairman or a more informal “back-bone” of the group.

In addition, the Super-Team gets a like number of Quality Ranks to be assigned as desired. These new Qualities will often include the “Headquarters” and “Vehicle” Qualities, but may also have Qualities related to popularity, legal status, or even inter-group dynamics. Any such Qualities belonging to the group can be used by any member, but remember that these are not personal Qualities and can’t be the used to take Grief. These additional Quality ranks are assigned by the player on a one-for-one basis, so that if one hero has the “Member” Quality at Excellent +2, he gets to assign 2 ranks.

In play, any member of the group may call for a downshift in a team Quality. Each downshift gives that member 1 Hero Point to use immediately. This is the principle use of the Super Team: it provides a Hero Point reservoir that can be tapped by any member of the team. A member of the group is limited to drawing on these Hero Points by his own investment in the Team: no hero can draw more Hero Points from the Super-Team than his own rank in the “Member of the Super-Team” Quality. This limit is per adventure, although the GM may change this to per scene if he desires.

As with any other Quality, the Super-Team's can be used as complications. Resultant Hero Points are not assigned to any individual member of the group, but are attached to the Super-Team, to be drawn on by the members as desired.

As always, no Super-Team Quality can be downshifted below Average +0. The down-shifted Qualities will be restored at the end of the adventure as usual, but any Quality downshifted all the way to Average +0 will generate a Good +1 rank Trouble based upon that Quality.

Example: The players of Gilgamesh the Mighty; Force, the Man of Action; the Space Messiah, Logos the Lost; and the mentalist and crusader, Empower, all desire to create a Super-Team. However, they envision a loose alliance of independent heroes who may spend as much time squabbling among themselves as stopping crime. They see their group as so informal as to have no official headquarters, but rather tend to meet at the mansion of Empower when they get together. They aren’t much liked by the local law enforcement and are virtually unknown to the public. They decide that the informal name of the group will be “the Strangers”.

With that in mind, Gilgamesh, Force, and Logos all take the Quality “Good +1 Member of the Strangers”. Empower, however, takes the Quality at Remarkable +3; she sees herself as the one who holds this motley assembly together and the only one who really believes in the group. The three Good +1 ranks plus the one Remarkable +3 ranks =6 ranks. So the Strangers are created with the Quality “Monstrous +6 Super-Team”. This is a powerful assemblage of heroes, even if they can’t decide what to watch on TV any given night.

Because they have 6 ranks in the basic Quality, they also have 6 ranks to spread around in other Qualities. The players, being far more agreeable than their characters, decide how to assign the ranks. They give themselves an “Excellent +2 Mansion” (even if it does actually belong to Empower, she lets anybody who wants to crash there), “Good +1 Medic” (turns out that Empower’s loyal butler was a Green Beret medic), “Good +1 Quarrelsome Non-Group” (which will be a source of complications and general fun), and “Excellent +2 Assemblage of Outsiders” (nobody is actually sure how to use that yet, but it seems an essential part of the nature of the Strangers.)

And so the Sensational Strangers  are born!

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