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Risus Supers NOV FEBMar 3 2003 20042005 3 captures 22 Nov 03 - 3 Feb 04 Close Help RISUS SUPERS By Phillip Foster.

CREDIT WHERE IT'S DUE Of course, that would be Risus, the Anything RPG by S. John Ross. Risus really IS the anything RPG, because it is so simple and flexible you can do just about anything with it. I decided to adapt it to superheroics, and this is the result. CHARACTER CREATION! Superheroes (and supervillains) are defined by Clichs. Clichs are a shorthand which describe what a hero knows how to do - they represent both skills and superpowers. Heroes are defined by three Clichs: their snazzy Powers or hero abilities, their professional Career from their 'secret ID', and one other, Heroism. Some heroes are defined by more, but that is rare (see Advanced Option VIII - Secondary Clichs). Clichs are defined in terms of the size and number of dice that you roll whenever your skills or abilities are challenged. Die size is more or less the base power level of the hero or villain; the number of dice sort of represents the amount of skill and experience and determines the number of dice to roll. Die size is taken from the following chart: Die SizeMeaningCostExamples d6NormalFreeNormal humans; thugs d8Superior1Highly-trained and skilled humans - agents, Robin d10Exceptional2 Heroes at the limits of human perfection - Batman, Captain America d12Superhuman3Moderately powerful heroes - Spiderman, most of the X-Men d20Mythical4Incredibly powerful heroes - Wonder Woman, Flash, Thor d30Cosmic5Heroes with godlike power - Superman, Green Lantern, Silver Surfer The number of dice can be found on the following chart: # DiceMeaningCost 1Putz1 2Intermediate2 3Professional3 4Advanced4 5Expert5 6Mastery6 Heroes are created by naming and describing them, listing their Clichs and assigning die size and number of dice to each, and creating his Hook and Tale (see below). When designing your hero, you have 15 points with which to work with. The first thing you do is list all three Clichs, and assign a die size and number of dice to them. Die size and number of dice costs are given on the charts above. When listing a Clich, list the number of dice followed by a 'd' (for 'dice', of course) then the die size, like this: Superspeed (4d20).

If the GM wishes to have a higher-powered campaign, he can allow more starting points. He should also use more points to create so-called 'Master Villains', that is, world-conquering baddies that are powerful enough to take on a whole team of superheroes single-handedly. POWER The Power Clich is the snazzy superpowers, abilities, or equipment that a hero uses to fight crime and do good deeds - his main bag, baby. Power is usually the main Clich that heroes use when they are superheroing. Power can have any of the 5 die sizes and any number of dice from 1 - 4 to start. To help your GM, make a list of the 'Stunts' or specific things you can do with the Power. (If you don't, the GM will have your hero attacked by a Giant Prehistoric Monster (6d30)). CAREER The Career Clich is the hero's professional career or skills that he uses in everyday life, in his 'secret ID' if you will (if he even has a secret ID). Career can only have a die size up to Exceptional unless the GM says so (an exception would be your super-scientists and the like). Career can have any number of dice up to 4 to start out with, and it defaults to 1d6 for free. (Free! Yes, I said FREE!! How many other games give you free stuff to start with?). Again, it would be helpful to list the specific things your Career lets you do. POWER OR CAREER? The main difference between Power and Career is that Power covers the abilities that the hero uses most often or mainly in his hero identity, and Career is the more 'mundane' professional skills he has. Anyone can have a Career, but only superheroes have a Power. This is not to say that a hero cannot use his Career to help his heroic exploits; rather, the Career is usually used less often or secondary. Superman battles Bizarro and prevent natural disasters using his incredible Powers, but he uses his Career as a reporter to help him find out Bizarro's whereabouts or alert him to the hurricane approaching Florida. HEROISM Heroism is a special Clich that represents your do-gooder's valor, strength of will, determination, and all that sort of jazz. It also represents fate, karma, and what have you. Heroism is used to boost Clichs, it lets your good guy keep fighting even when he has been defeated, and it can pull his fat out of the fire when nothing else will (see below for more details). Heroism can have any die size, though you Batman types had better have a REAL good excuse to have anything above Superhuman. Heroism can have any number of dice up to 4 to start out with (you saw that one coming, didn't you?), and it defaults to 1d6 for free. (Another freebie! What a game!) By the way, villains get it too, but it's called 'Villainy' in their case. As far as different Power and Career, the GM determines which Clichs are permitted - all of them should be appropriate for a comic book superhero. SOME SAMPLE SUPERHEROIC POWER AND CAREER CLICHS (AND WHAT THEY'RE GOOD FOR) Astronaut (Piloting spaceships, operating in zero-gee, survival in harsh environments) Detective (Looking for clues, analyzing evidence, deduction, outwitting your foes) Elasticity (Stretching, fitting in small spaces, being rubbery, molding your body into funny shapes) Flame Control (Flame blasts, controlling fire, heat updrafts, surrounding yourself with sheets of flame to melt bullets and stuff) Gadgeteer (Assembling and repairing gadgets from spare parts) Hotshot Pilot (Flying / piloting anything, resisting high-gee maneuvers, looking

cool, picking up ladies (or gents)) Insect Powers (Wall crawling, superior strength and agility, leaping, danger sense) Light Control (Firing laser beams, creating holograms, blinding people, turning invisible to sight) Magician (Sleight of hand, magic tricks, charming people, escaping from ropes and safes and stuff) Matter Transmutation (Transforming inorganic stuff into other stuff (like oxygen to plutonium, ouch!)) Mental Powers (Telepathy, mental scanning, mind control, moving stuff with your mind) Powered Armor (Flight, enhanced strength and protection, resistance to harsh environments, repulsor beams) Power Ring (Making whatever green plasma thingies you can think of) Reporter (Writing stories, interviewing people, investigation and research, getting the scoop) Scientist (Knowing everything about science-related stuff) Sorcerer Supreme (Being wise and mysterious, casting spells, occult knowledge, saying things like 'By the Hoary Hosts of Hoggoth!') Super Soldier (Leadership, combat and tactics, throwing your shield, being an icon of Freedom and Justice) Superhuman Strength (Hitting people, leaping great distances, being bulletproof, throwing stuff into orbit) Superspeed (Running really really fast across water, being hard to hit, performing tasks faster, creating whirlwinds by running around in circles really really fast) These are just examples to get you started - players should feel free to make up their own Power and Career Clichs (subject to GM approval). In particular, Note that the GM will require the "fine tuning" of any Clich that he considers too broad. THE GAME SYSTEM Whenever anybody wants to do something, and nobody is actively trying to stop him, AND the GM doesn't think that success would be automatic, the player rolls dice. If the total rolled beats (equals or exceeds) the Target Number the GM sets, success! If not, failure! Target Numbers (TN for short) follow this scale: TNDifficultyDescription 10EasyMost superheroes could do this blindfolded with their cape tied behind their backs 15ChallengingLifting a manhole cover; disabling a home security system; escaping from ropes; solving a math problem 20FormidableLifting a normal human; leaping a 20-foot ditch; cracking a safe; solving the NY Times crossword; escaping from handcuffs; solving a complex math problem 25HeroicLifting a motorcycle or trash dumpster; punching through reinforced walls and doors; hitting a bulls-eye at 200 yards in a rainstorm; solving the NY Times crossword with a pen 30SuperhumanLifting a car or bulldozer; punching through concrete or brick; fathoming futuristic technology; leaping a few hundred yards; escaping from chains and handcuffs inside a safe underwater; memorizing a dictionary 45IncredibleLifting a tank or bus or semi; stopping a tornado or hurricane; punching through reinforce concrete or steel; memorizing the Encyclopedia Britannica; breaking into Fort Knox

65MythicalLifting a locomotive or the space shuttle; altering global weather patterns; shattering diamonds; leaping for several miles; curing cancer; inventing a new form of mathematics 85InconceivableLifting a skyscraper or oil tanker; solving the Mid-east Peace Crisis; discovering the Unified Field Theory; destroying a city or state 100CosmicMoving the Moon out of orbit; stopping a galactic war with a few words and a smile; beating cosmic entities like Death; altering reality with but a thought The Difficulties and Descriptions are subjective, and anybody can try anything, within reasonable limits. When setting a Target Number, the GM should keep in mind the rough capabilities and die size of a hero's Power or Career, and how important the action is to the comic story itself. Always try to challenge your heroes at least a few times. The GM should even feel free to alter the TNs to make actions easier or more difficult as he sees fit. Notes on Target Numbers Those of you who are familiar with Risus will note the difference between the TNs here and those presented in the basic rules. That is for several reasons: The lowest TN is 10 and not 5 because it would be extremely unlikely that a superhero will use anything less than a d10 die type, and not less than 3-4 of those. The TN of 25 was added to replace TN 30 for 'throwing a motorcycle' because the average hero will be at 4d12, and throwing a motorcycle should succeed more than half the time (average on 4 12-sided dice is 26). TN 50 and 70 were lowered slightly because the lower TNs are (very loosely) based around what a hero with 4 dice in the various die types could be expected to roll on average. PROPER TOOLS Every hero is assumed to be equipped with the Tools of His Trade for his Career Clich (at least the portable ones). As far as Power, this depends on whether or not the source of the Power is some sort of equipment or gadget. Gadgeteers have their toolkits and spare parts, Sorcerer Supremes have their spell books, amulets, and whatnot, Reporters have their press passes and notebooks/PDAs. If, through the course of an adventure, a character LOSES any of these vital totems, his Clich operates on half the normal number of dice, or at -1 to the die size (or not at all, if the GM rules that the equipment was REQUIRED) until they are replaced. If the hero's Power is defined as a gadget, it would not function at all, especially if he got it at a reduced cost (see Advanced Option V - Variable Cost of Clichs). Superheroes do not get bonus-dice gear that is found or bought (unless they start out with it - see Advanced Option IX - Bonus Die). For some odd reason in the comics, heroes never seem to use the Ultimate Nullifiers, Super Freeze Rayguns, or other assorted doodads they pick up from defeated villains - they either put them in their trophy room, or the authorities confiscate them as evidence. They also never seem to buy special gear either - you never see Spiderman go down to Radio Shack and buy a police scanner. Agents and thugs can get bonus-dice gear for carrying special weapons or equipment. THE COMBAT SYSTEM "Combat" in this game is defined as any contest in which opponents jockey for position, utilize attacks, bring defenses to bear, and try to wear down their foes to achieve victory. Either literally or metaphorically! Some examples of combat include: ASTRAL/PSYCHIC DUELS: Mystics/psionics looking bored or asleep, but trying to rip one another's egos apart in the Otherworld.

INTERROGATION: Pumping thugs for information through threats and intimidation. MENTAL ATTACKS: Psionicists trying to take over your mind, read your thoughts or emotions, or mad scientists using their Mind-Switching Device on you. FOOT RACES: Super-speedsters competing to see who is the Fastest Man Alive. DOGFIGHTS: People in airplanes or spaceships flying around and trying to blow each other out of the sky. COURTROOM ANTICS: Superguy in his secret identity as a lawyer trying to convict the supervillains he has caught (notoriously difficult, given that supervillains usually get away scot free - DoomMaster probably has the best shysters on retainer, anyway). ACTUAL PHYSICAL COMBAT: Idiots in spandex throwing punches, lightning bolts, energy beams, and cars and buses on busy city streets to settle their disagreements. The GM decides when a combat has begun. At that point, go around the table in rounds, and let each combatant make an attack in turn. What constitutes an "attack" depends on the sort of combat, but it should ALWAYS be role-played (if dialogue is involved) or described in entertaining detail (if it's physical and/or dangerous and/or normally requires contraceptives). Attacks require rolls against character Clichs. Heroes and Villains usually use one of their Power Clich, but they may be using their Career Clich as well. An attack must be directed at a foe. Both parties in the attack (attacker and defender) roll against their chosen Clich. Low roll loses. Specifically, the low roller loses one of his Clich dice for the remainder of the fight - he's been weakened, worn down, or otherwise pushed one step towards defeat. In future rounds, he'll be rolling lower numbers. Eventually, one side will be left standing, and another will be left without dice. At this point, the winners usually decide the fate of the losers. A mental attack means the hero winds up mind-controlled (or not). When interrogating a thug, the thug spills his guts on the master villain's hideout (or else clams up - "I ain't tellin' youse lousy heroes nothin'!"). In Courtroom Antics, the loser gets sentenced by the judge, or fails to prosecute. Note that in comic book combat, losers are NEVER killed, just captured and left for the authorities, or trussed up and dumped in a deathtrap. Even death is notoriously non-permanent in comic books. You needn't use the same Clich every round, if Advanced Option VIII (Secondary Clichs) is being used. Heroes can feel free to switch between Clichs if the GM says it's OK - Insectman can use his Insect Agility one round, and his Web Shooters the next. However, anytime a character has a Clich worn down to zero dice in combat, he has lost, even if he has other appropriate Clichs left to play with. Dice lost in combat are regained when the combat ends, at a "healing" rate determined by the GM. If the combat was in vehicles (space fighters, mecha, super vehicles) then the vehicles themselves are likely damaged, too, and must be repaired. INAPPROPRIATE CLICHS This rule works differently from the standard Risus rules, basically because heroes usually only have two main Clichs (Power and Career). In comic books, heroes usually have little trouble coming up with inventive and clever ways to solve challenges using their abilities. The GM should let the players use their Clichs normally, even in situations where it does not directly apply to the problem, PROVIDED THE PLAYER ROLE-PLAYS OR DESCRIBES IT IN AN APPROPRIATE OR ENTERTAINING MATTER. For situations where the Clich would not apply AT ALL, the player can use it at -1 die providing he role-plays / describes it in the same way. If the player does not do this, the GM can feel free to penalize him an extra die for it. However, you can still use the standard Risus rule for Inappropriate Clichs.

Here is a recap: Inappropriate Clichs may be used to make attacks, PROVIDED THE PLAYER ROLE-PLAYS OR DESCRIBES IT IN A REALLY, REALLY, REALLY ENTERTAINING MANNER. Furthermore, the "attack" must be plausible within the context of the combat, and the genre and tone for the type of superhero game the GM is running. All combat rules apply normally, with one exception: If an inappropriate Clich wins a combat round versus an appropriate one, the "appropriate" player loses THREE dice, rather than one, from his Clich! The "inappropriate" player takes no such risk, and loses only the normal one die if he loses the round. TEAMING UP Two or more characters may decide to form a TEAM in combat. For the duration of the team (usually the entire combat), they fight as a single unit, and are attacked as a single foe. There are two kinds of teams: Player-Character teams and NPC teams ("Grunt Squads.") Grunt-Squads: This is just special effects. When you want the heroes to be attacked by a horde of 100 undead minions inside the hideout of the Necromancer, but don't feel like keeping track of 100 little sets of undead dice, just declare that theyre a team, fighting using a single Clich of whatever die size and number of dice you feel appropriate (but feel free to give 'em more than 6 dice if you want!). Mechanically, the Undead Horde is the same as any other single foe - except it may have more dice! Grunt-Squads stick together as a team until theyre defeated, at which point many survivors will scatter (though at least one will always remain to suffer whatever fate the victor decides). Player-Character Teams: When PCs (or PCs and their NPC allies) form a team, the "Team Leader" is defined by the highest-ranking Clich in the team (the one with the most number of dice; a title that must be designated if there is a tie). Everybody rolls dice, but the Team Leaders dice all count. Team Members may contribute their single highest die-roll above six, or their sixes, their choice. Team members who roll nothing above five dont contribute anything to the Team Leaders total for that roll. Clichs joined in a team need not be identical, but they all must be equally appropriate or inappropriate. Whenever a team loses a round of combat, a single team-members dice is reduced by one (or three!) as per the normal combat rules. Any team member may "step forward" and voluntarily take this personal "damage" to his dice. If this happens, the noble volunteer is reduced by twice the normal amount (either two dice or six!), and the team leader gets to roll twice as many dice on his next attack, a temporary boost as the team avenges their heroic comrade. If no volunteer steps forward, then each member must roll against the Clich they're using as part of the team: Low-roll takes the (undoubled) hit, and there is no "vengeance" bonus. Disbanding: A team may voluntarily disband at any time between die-rolls. This reduces the Clich each team-member was using in the team by one, instantly (not a permanent reduction - treat it just like "damage" taken from losing a round of combat). Disbanded team-members may freely form new teams, provided the disbanding "damage" doesn't take them out of the fight. Individuals may also "drop out" of a team, but this reduces them to zero dice immediately as they scamper for the rear. Their fates rest on the mercy of whoever wins the fight! Lost Leader: If the team leader ever leaves the team for any reason (either by dropping out or by having his personal dice reduced to zero), every member of the team immediately takes one die of "damage" as if the team had disbanded (since, without a leader, theyve done exactly that). They may immediately opt to reform as a new team (with a new leader) however, and if the old leader was removed by volunteering for personal damage, the new team leader gets the double-roll vengeance bonus to avenge his predecessor!

HEROISM Remember that Clich that all heroes (and villains) get called Heroism (Villainy)? Here is how to use it. Note that Heroism 'burned' does not heal normally, but returns over time (usually at the beginning of the next issue). Heroic Effort: You can 'burn' one die of Heroism and add +1 die to a Clich at any time (the die added is the same as the die size of Heroism). This die is always the first die to be lost if the Clich must be reduced. This die is lost after one round of combat regardless. Pushing To The Limit: By 'burning' TWO dice of Heroism, you can boost a Clich by 1 die size for one round of a combat. If you only have two dice of Heroism left, you can still do this, but your hero IMMEDIATELY fall unconscious at the end of that round from the effort and is out of the combat. You can't do this if you only have 1 die left. Last Chance: Once an issue, if your hero fails a task that he ABSOLUTELY POSITIVELY must succeed at, like defusing the Doomsday Device, he can make one last roll using his current Heroism (total Heroism minus any 'burned' dice) to try and succeed. The GM may decide to raise the Target Number by one step from what it was the first time. Second Wind: If the hero is totally defeated from his Clich dropping to zero, he can try to make one last effort to keep going. Roll his current Heroism (total minus any 'burned') against an appropriate Target Number (the GM should pick this, but it should ALWAYS be pretty high) - if it succeeds, he can regain 1/2 the dice in the Clich that was reduced (round up). If the hero switches to another Clich, then it is also reduced to 1/2 for the remainder of this combat. Deus Ex Machina: Comic Books are full of incredible coincidences and lucky breaks for heroes and villains alike. Perhaps the hero's main weapon is jammed in a firefight, and he just happens to find another weapon laying around. Or, the heroes have been stranded in medieval France by a time-traveling villain, and one of them just happens to recall the semester of French he took in college. If the hero is totally stumped by a problem, is in a no-win situation, or misses a clue, the GM can let him roll using his current Heroism to get by. The Target Number should be based on how important the missed item is or how hopeless the situation is. Usually the player must come up with a solution or way out, and the Target Number can be higher depending on how outlandish the suggestion is. Heroes and villains could even escape certain death like this, only to return later. By the way, this is how all supervillains are able to get away at the end of the story, despite the best efforts of the heroes to capture them. CONFLICTS THAT AREN'T COMBAT Many conflicts that arise in the game cannot be defined as "combat"; they're over too quickly, defined by a single action. A classic pistol-duel isn't combat - the two duelists simply turn and fire, and then it's all over. Two characters diving to grab the same gun from the floor isn't combat. A conflict is not a combat if there's no "wearing down of the foe" and no jockeying for position. Such "single-action conflicts" are settled with a single roll against appropriate Clichs (or inappropriate Clichs, with good role-playing). High roll wins. WHEN SOMEBODY CAN'T PARTICIPATE Since heroes usually only have two Clichs to work with (Power and Career), the standard Risus rule does not really apply (see Inappropriate Clichs for more information). However, you can use the standard Risus rule if you wish. Here is a recap: It will often occur that characters will find themselves involved in a Combat or quicker conflict where they simply have no applicable Clichs, even by stretching the imagination. Or maybe ONE character will have an appropriate

Clich, while the others feel left out. In situations like this, give everybody two free dice to play with (d6), for the duration of the conflict. This INCLUDES characters who already HAVE appropriate Clichs. This "temporary promotion" applies only in opposed conflicts, not in challenges based on Target Numbers. A WORD OR TWO ABOUT SCALE No standard time or distance scale is provided for Risus Supers; it really depends on what kind of action is happening. However, the GM should try to stay consistent within a single conflict. In a physical fight, each round represents a few seconds. Trying to interrogate a thug might have rounds of minutes or hours (the hero is trying to wear down the thug and make him knuckle under; the thug is trying to resist). In a long-term conflict like legal proceedings, each round might represent an entire Day (Day one: Prosecution's opening arguments. Day two: Defense presents its opening arguments, and so on, until there is a victor). CHARACTER ADVANCEMENT At the end of each adventure, each player should roll against every Clich that was used significantly during the game (using their current number of dice). If the dice land showing only even numbers, this indicates an increase by one die for that Clich. Thus, advancement slows down as you go. No Clich may go higher than 6 dice, although if Pushing is allowed (see below), they can be Pushed past 6. You can roll for Heroism only if it was used in at least one of the ways described under 'Heroism'. Anytime you do something really, really, really spectacularly entertaining that wows the whole table, the GM may rule that you may roll instantly (in the middle of the game!) for possible improvement, in addition to the roll at the end of the adventure. You cannot do this for Heroism. Instead of adding one die to a Power Clich, you can choose instead to add a 'stunt' to the Clich (something extra that your superpowers let you do that you could not do before). You could also do this with a Career Clich if the GM allows it. Adding New Clichs: There may come a time when a character has grown and matured enough to justify adding a secondary Power or Career Clich to his character sheet (see Advanced Option VIII - Secondary Clichs). If the player and GM agree this is the case, and agree on what the new Clich is, the player rolls for Character Advancement as usual, but any of the new dice earned may be put toward the new Clich instead of the ones that earned them. This can also be applied to "in-game" improvements, if the situation warrants it! This is also how you would go about adding a new Signature Move (see Advanced Option VII - Signature Moves). Raising a Clich's Die Size: Heroes should not normally be allowed to permanently raise a Clich's die size. However, if the new die size is not really superhuman (such as a hero raising his Career Clich from d8 to d10), it can be allowed. There are instances in comics where powerful heroes have gotten more powerful over time, but such a thing is rare. The die size goes up by 1 once the Clich has reached 6 dice, but it drops by 1 die - thus, if the character rolls all evens on his Physicist (6d6), he goes to Physicist (5d8). Next time he improves, he goes up to Physicist (6d8), and so on. One suggestion is to drop the number of dice to 1/2 the current total of the Clich (round up) when the die size is raised if the new die size is d12 or above. So, if

Superguy rolls all evens on his Super Strength (4d12), and the GM says it is OK for him to go up a die size, he goes to Super Strength (2d20). If Superguy was already at 6d12, he goes to 3d20 (once you have reached 6 dice, there is no way to go but up a die size). This will tend to muddy the distinctions in the die sizes if it happens a lot, but that's OK (the die size names are just a suggestion anyway). ADVANCED OPTIONS ADVANCED OPTION: HOOKS and TALES Unlike Risus, heroes AUTOMATICALLY have a Hook and a Tale. The extra points are factored into what you get to start with. A Hook must be a superheroic weakness or flaw, like Obsessed With Bringing Criminals to Justice, Vulnerable to Kryptonite, a Dark Secret from your past, Unlucky, or just Bad Personal Life. If you want to and the GM allows it, you can take one (and ONLY one) extra Hook to get an extra point to help create your hero. Hooks should be severe enough to be a real problem for a hero, and interesting enough for the GM to use it for story ideas and plot hooks (thus the name, 'Hook'). A Tale, also known as an Origin, is also required. You should detail the origin of your hero's powers or abilities, and why he decided to become a superhero. It should also give a few details about his motives and personality, his quirks, and all that stuff. ADVANCED OPTION II: PUMPING CLICHS (PUSHING) In an emergency, any character may pump his Clichs. This is also called Pushing. If Flaming Guy with his Flame Control (3d12) comes face to face with a Giant Prehistoric Lizard (5d20), it might be necessary. When a Clich is Pushed, it receives a temporary boost in dice. This boost lasts for a single round of combat, or a single significant roll otherwise. However, after that round or roll is resolved, the hero loses a number of dice equal to the number he gave himself in the Push. This is treated like "injury" sustained in combat, and must "heal" in the same fashion. If the Clich is reduced to zero dice by a Push, it has "burned out" and cannot be used at all until it is "healed". Example: Flaming Guy has come face to face with a Giant Prehistoric Lizard. He must stop it before Lower Manhattan is stomped into rubble. Flaming Guy doesn't feel he has a real good chance against such a powerful foe, so he opts for Pushing his Clich. He decides to Push his Flame Control (3d12) by 2 to Flame Control (5d12). Now he will roll 5 dice against the monster. Whether Flaming Guy wins or loses the round, he will lose 2 dice from his Flame Control Clich, in addition to any dice lost for being defeated. Note that you can never Push more than double the number of dice in your Clich. Pushed Clichs are legal in any situation except single-action conflicts (unless the GM says so, dammit!). Heroism CANNOT be Pushed. ADVANCED OPTION III: DOUBLE-PUMPS (DOUBLE-PUSHES) If this option is used, characters may be created with Double-Push Clichs. These Clichs, when Pushed, give you TWO dice in the Pushed roll for every die you'll lose at the end of it. Thus, Flaming Guy with Flame Control (5d12) could be Flame Control (11d12) for a single combat round, at a cost of three dice. This option is appropriate for any Clichs based on superpowers that could logically be boosted like this (like Nova Flame, or if the hero gets really strong if he gets really angry). They're also appropriate for any other Clichs the GM approves them for. Double-Push Clichs cost twice as many starting points to buy (figure the cost

as usual, then double it). Use hard [square] brackets to indicate them. Double-Push clichs must be purchased at character creation. Heroism CANNOT be defined as Double-Push. ADVANCED OPTION IV: FUNKY DICE This option is already factored into the die size system as described above. If you have lots of extra money to spend, or you are just plain nuts, then there are many strange types of dice for sale (even stranger than the usual polyhedrons, that is). There are 5-siders, 7-siders, 16-siders, and 24-siders available (the d16 and d24 are particularly pricey). Look at The Game Station ( online for one source. You should expand the die size chart to accommodate these new dice types; the d16 and d24 are especially good to fill in the die size gaps (what to call the new die sizes? Well, for d16, try Incredible; for d24, try Godlike). You will also have to adjust the number of starting points for character creation. ADVANCED OPTION V: VARIABLE COST OF CLICHS Usually, the GM should not worry too much about balancing Power and Career Clichs (especially Power) against each other cost-wise, and just assume they all cost 1 point to increase the number of dice. However, you can let players add or subtract points to the cost of a Clich to help maintain 'play balance' (which is kind of an oxymoron in superhero games when you think about it). Some Power Clichs allow heroes to do lots of different things, especially so-called 'Wizard' Powers like Green Lantern's power ring. The GM can rule that such a Power costs +1 or +2 extra points above its base cost to represent its increased usefulness. This occasionally applies to Career as well, but this should be rare. Conversely, some Powers have things that limit its usefulness somehow. Such a Clich could cost -1 or -2 points from the base cost (the cost should never drop below 1 point, however). Such a limitation should be something that affects the Clich's usefulness A GREAT DEAL and should not be something that is really just a part of the Clich's definition. A good example of a Limit is a Clich built as a gadget, or a Power that the hero has no control over. In exceptional instances, the GM can allow lowering the cost of a Career or even Heroism (this should be EXTREMELY rare). Modifications to the cost of a Clich should be applied BEFORE the cost is halved (see Advanced Option VIII - Secondary Clichs) or doubled (for Advanced Option III - Double-Push Clichs). ADVANCED OPTION VI: MOTIVATION Why do some people feel compelled to put on skintight costumes and fight crime just because they get superpowers? The answer is Motivation. With this option, you can define a Motivation for your hero - why he became a superhero, and why he continues to fight the good fight. The advantage is that, once an issue, you can add 1 die to your Power or Career Clich if you are doing something that fits your Motivation. Motivation does not cost points, but it should be a well-defined philosophy that the hero believes in passionately. Here are some possible Motivations: Protect the Innocent, Explore the Unknown, Bring Criminals to Justice, Promote Enlightenment. The hero's Motivation can be related to one of his Hooks (very Freudian, no?). Supervillains can have Motivations as well - Greed, World Domination, Outwit Heroes, Spread Chaos, and the like. ADVANCED OPTION VII: SIGNATURE MOVES The truly special heroes always seem to have an unusual ability they only use every once in a while that could not easily be represented by a Clich (mostly because it succeeds automatically). We will call this a Signature Move - for 3 points your hero can have one of his very own! A Signature Move can only be used once per adventure ('issue'). What exactly is allowed as a Signature Move

is entirely up to the GM and the creativity of the players - here are some examples from the comics: Captain America: Teamwork and Inspiration - Cap can add +2 to all teammates' Clich rolls for 1 combat. Cap can be the Team Leader in Teaming Up, even if he does not have the highest-ranking Clich. Once in the combat, someone can volunteer to take the damage for the vengeance bonus, but the hit is not doubled (see Teaming Up). If Cap goes down, everyone no longer gets the +2, but gets to add +1 die for one round afterwards. Spider-Man: Taunt - Spidey can choose one foe and talk smack to him; the foe becomes enraged and attacks Spidey at -1 die size for the rest of the combat. Hulk: "The strongest one there is!" - The Hulk can automatically match the die size and exceed the number of dice by +1 of one opponent if the opponent's Clich involves raw strength. The Thing: "It's Clobberin' Time!" - The Thing can use his famous battle cry and will reduce a Grunt Squad's Clich by TWO dice for each round of combat he wins. Batman: Outwit - Batman can analyze a foe's tactics and weaknesses and raise his main Clich to within one die size of the foe. Mr. Fantastic: Just The Right Gadget - Mr. Fantastic can go back to FF HQ and retrieve a gadget he just happened to be developing that will be most effective against the FF's current world-threatening menace. ADVANCED OPTION VIII: SECONDARY CLICHS Almost always, heroes and villains can be defined by one Power Clich and one Career Clich. However, there are some exceptions - Spiderman has Spider Powers, but he also has Web Shooters. Using this options, players can purchase a second Power or Career Clich for their hero at 1/2 normal cost (calculate the cost based on die size and number of dice, apply any cost modifiers, then divide by 2, rounding down). Secondary Power and Career Clichs MUST be at least one die size lower than the primary Power and Career Clichs (except in unusual instances), and the CANNOT be purchased as Double-Push without the GM's express permission. ADVANCED OPTION IX: BONUS DIE Sometimes a hero will have a special ability or piece of equipment that seems to be separate from his main Power Clich, but gives him an advantage. An example is Captain America's shield - Cap is an incredible tactician and combatant without it, but his near-indestructible adamantium shield gives him extra protection (he can also use it as a weapon). To reflect this, heroes are allowed to buy a bonus die that can be added to their main Power Clich. The cost is the same as the die size of a normal Clich die plus one (you can't get a d6 bonus die for free, lunkhead!). The bonus die is always the first die lost when a Clich is damaged. A bonus die should not be subject to cost modifiers without the GM's permission. Note that it is also possible to define a bonus die as a plus to a Clich for a cost of +1 per 1 point. The GM should not allow any such plusses above +3 (or even +2) - remember, this is 3 points the hero ABSOLUTELY knows he can count on getting no matter what the roll. Fate is a harsh mistress, and she should not be thwarted so easily. ADVANCED OPTION X: OPTIONAL DAMAGE TO CLICHS Normally, a Clich loses one dice when the hero loses a round in a combat. With this option, the Clich drops by 1 die size instead. When the die size drops to Normal (d6), the Clich begins to lose dice normally. Example: Flaming Guy (Flame Powers 4d12) is fighting a Giant Prehistoric Lizard (5d20). If Flaming Guy loses a round of combat, his Flame Power Clich drops 1

die size to Flame Power (4d10). If more than one die would be lost using the normal combat rules (as from a Push, Double Push, or Inappropriate Clich, for instance), lose die size first, then dice. If Flaming Guy were to Push his Flame Power, it would go to 4d8 (loss of 2 die sizes). If he were to Push it again, it would drop to 3d6 (die size first, then die). It is even possible to give the player the option of either losing a die or a die size. When more than one die should be lost using the normal rules, the player can split between losing die sizes and losing dice. So, for instance, if Flaming Guy Pushes his Flame Powers (4d12), he can choose to go to 2d12 (losing 2 dice as usual), 4d8 (losing 2 die sizes), or 3d10 (losing 1 die size and 1 die). ADVANCED OPTION XI: POWER STUNTS In the comics, heroes sometimes find new applications ('stunts') for their existing powers (like using force fields to fly). If you wish to use your Power Clich to do something totally new, totally different, that you have never tried before, roll your Power Clich against a Target Number the GM gives you (it should be hard!). If you make it, you have earned that 'stunt' and you can use it from now on without making an extra roll, or having to earn it through Character Advancement. EXAMPLE CHARACTERS Here are some sample heroes to help you out. Note that I tried to use all of the Advanced Options pertaining to character creation (Hooks and Tales, Double-Pushes, Variable Cost of Clichs, Motivation, Signature Moves, Secondary Clichs, and Bonus Die). The cost of each item is given in [] after the description (including any modifiers; Hooks that give additional points are shown as [+1]). The total cost of each hero is 15 points (any that go over 15 base cost are 15 total cost from extra Hooks). All characters are actual superheroes that were played in or created for various superheroic campaigns that I was part of. REDFORCE PowerRed Light Control (4d12) [7+1=8] His control over the red and near-infrared light allows Redforce many stunts (+1 cost): Flight, force field, force walls, moving objects, simple shapes (cubes, spheres, domes, etc) and images, energy blast, IR Vision, light up an area CareerPhysics (4d10) [5] Heroism3d8 [3] MotivationProtect The Innocent Signature MoveNone HooksUnsure of self and worries about failure Claustrophobia [+1] OriginEric Lawrence was a physicist doing research on the properties of 'solid light' involving a nuclear-powered red laser. One day the laser misfired, striking the nuclear power source as it did, and Eric was bathed in nuclear radiation and hit by the laser. He was burned beyond recognition and buried, but he was not dead - he had somehow absorbed the power of the red laser and gained astounding new powers. He regenerated and burst out of the grave a few days later, deciding to use his newfound powers to protect the innocent as the mighty hero Redforce. The accident gave Redforce the ability to control the red light portion of the EM spectrum, and he can use it in a semi-solid form to fly, manipulate objects, create simple shapes or insubstantial images (totally red in color), restrain foes, and protect himself and others from damage (semi-solid light is tough yet pliable), as well as fire a laser-like

burst of energy, see in the dark, and light up and area. BUGMAN PowerInsect Powers (4d12) [7] Superhuman strength and agility, clinging, heightened smell, leaping, radio hearing Dumb Luck (2d10) [(4-2)/2=1] Every once in a while Bugman can find the solution to a particular problem troubling him, or get out of a sticky situation, through sheer serendipity (similar to Heroism's Deux Ex Machina, but he cannot consciously control it [-2 to cost]; the GM must tell him when he can use it). CareerParty Animal (3d8) [3] Find the best parties, bars, nightclubs, and hotspots, pick up the ladies, drink people under the table Heroism3d10 [4] MotivationSeek Adventure Signature MoveNone HooksUnusual Looks (insectlike looks and green skin) OriginYears ago, a poor and destitute woman went into a health clinic to receive prenatal care for her twins. Unfortunately, the 'health clinic' was actually the experimental lab of the evil geneticist Dr. Dexter Marion. Dr. Marion performed genetic experiments on the unborn twins, grafting their DNA with that of insects. The mother died in childbirth, and the twins appeared to be stillborn. Disgusted with his failure, Dr. Marion abandoned them in a dumpster behind the lab. Found by a kindly homeless man who was not bothered by their appearance, Martin Bradley and his brother Thomas (as they came to be called) had a more or less normal life, though Martin began to exhibit incredible powers as a result of the insect DNA, and his appearance was very insectlike. When he reached adulthood, Martin decided to seek fun and adventure and fight crime as the bombastic Bugman. SENSOR PowerHeightened Senses (2d20) [6] Incredible sense of smell, taste, and hearing, hypersensitive touch, spatial awareness, detect emotions Ancient Buddhist Training (4d10) [6/2=3] Martial Arts, Escape Artist, Meditation (resist mental domination), Death Trance (with a little preparation, Sensor can slow his metabolism, heartrate, and breathing to the point where he appears dead. He requires much less food, water, and air at this point, and can stay in the trance for hours) CareerMechanic (3d8) [3] Heroism3d8 [3] MotivationPromote Enlightenment Signature MoveNone HooksBlindness OriginSensor was an auto mechanic and surf bum in southern California. He was not making much money, and he had a drug habit, so he decided to go steal a little something. He broke into a medical lab and tried to steal some 'stuff'. The 'stuff' turned out to be an experimental drug that heightened human senses. He went home and tried the drug - it made him permanently blind, but it heightened his other senses to unbelievable levels. He wandered around in a daze for a while until a chance encounter

with a Buddhist monk set him on a path that eventually led to Tibet. He learned ancient secrets of the monks in a hidden monastery while studying their philosophy. He eventually returned to the US and decided to use his abilities and Zen teachings to promote enlightenment and help out whenever he can. Sensor's natural senses of taste, smell, and hearing have been increased to superhuman levels. He also possesses 'hypersensitive touch' - he can read newspaper by feeling the ink, detect microscopic flaws and variations in a surface, and identify a machine by vibration even through a wall, among other things. By listening to someone's heartbeat and voice inflections, he can usually tell someone's general emotional state and such things as whether they are lying. He can use his keen sense of hearing to orient himself to his surroundings. THE GLOVE PowerGadget Pool (3d20) [7+2-2=7] The Glove can repair any existing device, or create almost any gadget he can conceive of (+2 to cost), given enough time and spare parts, and by making a Super Gadgeteer roll against a given Target Number based on how incredible the gadget is (-1 to cost). The Target Number should be raised if he is in a hurry. He can create multiple gadgets, but must reducing the die size by 1 for each: One at 3d20, two at 3d12, three at 3d10, etc. (-1 to cost). Super Gadgeteer (2d20) [6/2=3] The Glove can fathom any new technology he encounters at an astounding rate, no matter how alien or bizarre. CareerGang Leader (3d8) [3] Heroism3d8 [3] MotivationUnderstand All Technology Signature MoveNone HooksDark Secret: former criminal Hunted by US Army and old gang members [+1] OriginJonathan Edwards was the leader of a street gang, and one day they decided to break into a warehouse for a 'big score'. The warehouse turned out to be a top-secret military lab, and Jonathan stumbled onto some canisters of strange gas. The gas was designed to increase a person's intelligence to superhuman levels, but Jonathan did not tell the rest of the gang this - he wanted to use it to become a smarter criminal and cement his leadership, maybe move on to better things. The gang got cornered by some soldiers guarding the place, and a firefight ensued. Many of his gang was captured or killed, but Jonathan was able to get away with one of the canisters. He inhaled the gas, and suddenly his head was filled with concepts he could never have understood before. He also realized that being a criminal was illogical, because criminals eventually get caught. The logical thing to do was to use his new intelligence to create incredible gadgets to fight crime and help people. His first act was to turn in the remaining members of his gang to the authorities. He took the name The Glove from his signature as the gang leader. Unfortunately for Jonathan, the Army knows who stole their gas from surveillance tapes, and they are looking for him for questioning. His gang is also looking for him, not taking too kindly to his betrayal (and they have hired some help...)

PARAGON PowerSuper Strength and Toughness; Incredible Bravery (3d20) [7] CareerMarine Sergeant (2d6) [1] Heroism3d12 [5] MotivationIcon of Freedom Signature MoveAwe [3] By striking a dramatic pose and uttering lines like "When will you criminals realize you can't put a dent in Justice?", Paragon causes all normal people, thugs and agents (Grunt Squads), and minor villains to hesitate (do nothing but stand in awe and/or fear) for at least 1 round. Major Villains are allowed a Clich roll to avoid this. HooksDuty to government Hunted by America's Enemies [+1] OriginWilliam 'Moonpie' Clemens was a lowly grunt in the Marines. He was clumsy and not real good at shooting, but his moxie, courage, and honesty impressed his superior officers. He was eventually promoted to sergeant, and one day he was asked to volunteer for the Army's new Super Soldier program. He gladly accepted, and underwent experiments which gave him super strength and toughness. The leaders of the project saw a PR opportunity, and dubbed him 'Paragon'. They molded him to become an icon of American ideals, and he was 'discharged' from the Marines and put on permanent duty as a protector of the American way of life. GEN-STORM PowerEnergy Absorption [2d20] [(6-1)*2=10] Gen-Storm can absorb almost any type of energy attack and redirect it at a foe as a burst of energy. S/he must be aware of the attack to do this (-1 to cost). Multiple Personalities (3d10) [5/2=2] Resist mental control, recall memories and abilities of composite personalities CareerVarious (Many skills of multiple personalities) (3d6) [2+1=3] Heroism2d6 [1] MotivationMental Stability Signature MoveNone HooksVERY complicated personal life Bouts of schizophrenia [+1] OriginGen-Storm is an amalgam of the personalities and memories of at least 6 people, male and female. They were all at a nuclear test site for various reasons when an accident somehow merged their essences into one body. The atomic energy gave Gen-Storm the ability to absorb any sort of energy directed at hir and redirect it. S/he retains most of the memories and skills of all the individuals, as well as their dreams, hopes, and desires (this gives Gen-Storm resistance to mental domination and some other minor odd mental abilities, but it also causes occasional bouts of schizophrenic behavior). Needless to say, Gen-Storm is a very complex entity, what with all those personalities in hir head. S/he still tries to maintain hir old relationships as best as s/he can. Gen-Storm is a rookie superhero and very inexperienced with hir powers, but has the potential to become extremely powerful. ALTAIRA PowerStar Powers (3d12) [6]

Density Increase, Flight, FTL Travel, Life Support Bravery and Compassion (3d10) [5/2=2] CareerLawyer (3d8) [3] Heroism3d10 [4] MotivationUphold The Law Signature MoveNone HooksFollows the law to the letter - read villains their rights, no unlawful searches and seizures, etc. (This does not tend to endear her to more 'gung-ho' heroes). OriginSerena Ellis was a secretary and a paralegal at a small law office, eventually hoping to become a lawyer. One day she was driving through the country when she saw a meteor strike the ground. Curious, she investigated - the meteorite was a small fragment of a white dwarf star which served as part of the drive unit of an interstellar craft. Serena was exposed to the radiation and somehow granted the power to increase her density like the white dwarf star, as well as the ability to survive in space and travel at faster-than-light speeds. Serena decided to use these powers to fight injustice in a new way as Altaira. Altaira recently gained her powers, and is becoming more proficient in their use. What Serena lacks in power she more than makes up for in bravery, courage and compassion. Serena recently received her law degree and plans to open her own legal practice specializing in legal matters involving superbeings.