Continuing upon the previous explorations of V&V House rules with more “Simple Statements” Sometimes with ‘simple’ things the basic presentation can be easy to say but difficult to explain and follow. Illuminating the need for discipline to execute properly. This middle section for the Expansion of House Rules portions covers more Simple Statements for building a character with Superpowers. To see the first part check out Part I and will be followed up by part III.
Fourth Simple Statement: Build an Iconic Character. Any of the characters in a campaign should be structured with an eye to building toward an Iconic character rather than taking each power and attempting to construct an iconic ability out of each power. The player should consider prioritizing their character’s power selections and see how they can work together to help make the character at least interesting if not memorable/iconic. Failing that then the player should approach the GM about some sort of trade concept reducing or removing some of their powers or other abilities to improve other powers or abilities in order to al least build originality into the character design. For example if a character has a Pet and telepathy the character could sell off some of the options with the telepathy making it singular for the creature then gaining more ability in some other areas, possibly a more powerful pet than usually allowed perhaps on a less than frequent basis.
A useful tool in the building an iconic character is trying to make a character stand out in play as well as when conceived, written or developed. This can be done by making a modification to the play of certain or even all of the mechanical facets of any or all powers possessed by the character. Judiciously done this tactic can create a character that not only appears different and unique on paper but one which games differently at the gaming table even among characters with an identical power set. Which is another part of being Iconic as well as having fun in a campaign is that all of the characters should be made and kept different. With the Wildcard concept any character could emulate any other character easily without regard to the differing power sources or consideration of enabling other characters to shine. Thus a great strength of the system can become a powerful weakness, the players and Gm should strive to keep characters varied using the concepts and tools not only suggested When a character is built whether randomly or through any other means the Characters should not only cover different areas of specialization or power but in order to better shine in the spotlight there should be an effort to have them operate mechanically different as well as having thematic differences. Some people give names to the various archetypical concepts such as ‘Bricks/ubermen’ ‘Gadgeteers/Techno masters’ ‘Spell caster /sorcerers /witches /wizards’, ‘Speedsters’, ‘Energy Blasters’ However all of these are really very optional and truly depends upon how much difference is needed and how much the GM and Players want to handle concepts like this during and around the game.
Fifth Simple Statement: The players may choose to sacrifice some power/utility in a single power in order to make another power more powerful. Care should be used that the player/character combination is aiming for a sacrifice/reward for concept, not just power. In the comics there can be characters with overlapping powers or concepts that have differences in not only how they apply the power but what they can and can’t do as well as will and won’t with essentially the same power. In the game mechanics there are a few examples of a character being able to sacrifice or align other abilities to expand a single power. Note the character instead of taking a mish mash of powers the character chooses a single power and then sacrifices other powers to gain a wider result, much like the illusions power in the main book describes. The character may become the master of a singular power or he may wildly diversify but this allows a decisive choice.
Sixth Simple Statement: Though this might seem like an echo of the second simple statement there are differences in the Utility and Growth of many of the powers as written: Although generally most powers are set within certain parameters of utility, reading through the powers presented in the original version of the game some were static while others are level growth powers. A character with power blast may have the best odds of dealing the most damage at first level, Magnetism at higher levels may be able to do more while exceptional strength or weight may enable a character with such relatively superior stats much higher damage ability throughout her entire career yet have the ability to only slightly improve after much effort are all examples of which are found inside comic books and game systems.
In some campaigns depending upon the powers chosen, the intended length of the campaign, and the levels/experience ultimately available the variable utility effects of the powers can result in more or less powerful characters in comparison to others at different points in the campaign. The Gm should be cognizant of this possible difference in the characters development because all the characters potentially are not the same and ones that previously did not create power issues may indeed become unmanageable without much hard work. Even without level expanding powers, to a certain extent character growth does depend upon the characters choices for training, invention and character development that combined can determine later character utility or contain unintended consequences.
Seventh Simple Statement: Here is what, after considerable investigation, is a development of some “elemental” categories for a power classification definition: Attack, Defense, Movement and Senses. A superhero with one or two may not be able to contribute in every scenario with their powers, a character with all four is a well rounded super being; a superhero with multiple options for each power is possibly too well rounded for some campaigns so GM input and possible limits is necessary. But any of the four ‘elements’ can have superpowers directly or indirectly related to them. Most superpowers have 1_3 of these categories directly related to their concept and appearance in media. For a truly broad minded player, all four can easily be derived from the simplest of powers by the application of a little imagination and permission from the GM. Admittedly this decision is a double-edged sword, while any character can get out of hand easily, the relative power levels can be adjusted and the players who roll poorly through no fault of their own aren’t penalized in the arena of perceived power for having poor rolls.
The Artwork continues to be the hand drawn counters for my own V&V campaign (messy I know, but still my own ugly beloved children). Also these comments mostly refer to V&V 2nd edition, inspired by little tidbits from investigating various Jeff Dee and Jack Herman resources crossbred with some Hero System inspired concepts. The result is of course just some house rules and commentary and is not intended to do harm.