Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Super Hero Fun RPG Review

I love Super Heroes. I love comics, and I love Super Hero RPG's. I have even written a few myself. That said, when I stumble across a Super Hero RPG that I haven't read yet, I almost always give it a look. While writing my previous post on Free RPG's, I took a few minutes to visit each of the sites that I talked about and it was at "The Compendium of Free Role Playing Games" that I found (third from the top of the list) "Super Hero Fun."

Wow! Just … wow! Read Super Hero Fun. At only 6 pages it might be quicker to do that, then to read my review. (But, I hope that you read my review anyway.) The first thing you will see when you open the Super-Hero-Fun-complete-rules PDF is the character sheet. The sheet includes notes about character creation, character advancement, and some example difficulty numbers for tasks. It is used effectively as part of the rules. And, if you are an experienced gamer like myself after looking over the character sheet you will already begin to have a pretty good idea of how to play.

The next 2 pages are Powers/Special Abilities. Rules-lite supers RPG's tend to "hand wave" super powers, leaving it to the players to define powers and their effects. By and large, I am good with this. It's how Five by Five works. It's how the very excellent Supercrew by Tobias Rades├Ąter works. But, I recognize that many players would like to have a list of powers and abilities to choose from. I am sure that more than one would be player has looked over games like the Supercrew and given them a pass because a powers list was not included.

Super Hero Fun has a powers list. And it looks to be a well balanced, well thought out selection of powers designed to serve the rules-lite nature of the game. The flavor of the text reiterates the "fun" aspect of the game's name and helps to establish the proper attitude for approaching its content with power names like: Blasty, Bulky, and Psychiky. 

The list might not allow for every conceivable super hero concept in the universe, but it will handle most of them … and in only 2 pages! The next 2 pages are standard Abilities. This includes things like, Climb, Jump, Run, Drive, Science/Tech, Entertain … again, in only 2 pages.

The last page is the rules. How to do stuff. The game is a variation of the d6 system that originated with Star Wars: The Roleplaying Game by Greg Costikyan back in 1987. It's a good system for this kind of thing. Everything is defined by number of dice. It's clean and easy and fast. And throwing handfuls of dice can be fun!

Standard Abilities improve a die at a time. Powers cost 2 dice to buy. A few powers do damage to the character while they are being used as a sort of “exhaustion” mechanic, but damage heals quickly. You can even take power limitations to reduce a power's cost from 2 dice to 1. Everything looks to be polished and well reasoned and I am anxious to try this at my gaming table.

Super Hero Fun is well laid out with Powers and Abilities designed to be printed 2 sided each on a single sheet of paper. The character sheet + rules can go on a third piece of paper making the whole package very tidy and easy to navigate.

The only accreditation on the game is "© 2010 Super Fun Games – No rights reserved. Use however you want." A cursory Google search produces tons of results for computer games but no clues as to the origin of this gem. If you like Super Hero RPG's and are looking for the ultimate rules-lite super hero solution, you just might find what you are looking for in “Super Hero Fun.” I know I'm going to try it out soon.


Jeff Moore

Edit: The author of Super Hero Fun, Jerry Seltzer emailed me after this review and has even changed the copyright notice in the Super Hero Fun PDF to make it easier for players to contact him. If you like Super Hero Fun be sure to reach out to Jerry and let him know!

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