Thursday, March 21, 2024

Amazing Heroes RPG Review

The next “non-combat” RPG that I want to talk about is Amazing Heroes. Amazing Heroes is a superhero genre RPG. It might seem crazy to review a superhero game when talking about alternatives to combat laden RPG’s. The superhero genre, superhero movies, and superhero comics are bursting to the brim with slug-fests. How is Amazing Heroes different?

Amazing Heroes has superhero battles, sure, but these are abstracted as action sequences. They are not laid out as tactical war-game style battles. The characters in Amazing Heroes don’t have hit-points or an armor value. Character creation doesn’t involve loads of tables and complex math. In fact, Amazing Heroes might just be the superhero RPG that I’ve been waiting for.

Amazing Heroes is a: choose your own trait, create your own game, kind of game. It is very much in the same vein as Five By Five in that regard. (I’m loath to admit it, but Amazing Heroes just might be the RPG that Five By Five wants to be.)


DEFINING TRAITS is the first step in character creation. Players define four traits. They are Body, Personality, Occupation, and Superpower. Each of these traits should be defined in just a word or two. These all fall into the “make up whatever you want” category, but there are plenty of examples.

BODY might be something like: brawny, graceful, gorgeous, tall, athletic, wiry, etc. 

PERSONALITY might be something like: brainy, bold, charming, brooding, bubbly, energetic, curious, etc. 

OCCUPATION is what the character did or does when not in costume, and will help define a skill set as well as possible contacts for the character. This might be something like: college professor, student, computer hacker, rock star, police detective, investigative reporter, Navy SEAL, landscape architect, bartender, Krav Maga instructor, doctor, lawyer, pastry chef, secret agent, etc.

SUPERPOWER is just that and can be anything, although it’s suggested that you clearly define what it does. The example character has: Armored Suit as a superpower, with a note that it provides “protection.”

ASSIGN DICE is the next step. Once your four traits are defined, you assign dice to them. Newly created heroes get: a d6, another d6, a d8, and a d10 to assign to their traits. Amazing Supers uses a basic “roll high” resolution mechanism, so the higher value dice are better.

SPEND XP is the final step. Players get 2 XP to customize their characters. Math in Amazing Heroes is kept super light in order to keep the game accessible to younger players. Two XP will allow you to improve any trait by one die size, get you a new superpower or occupation with a D6 value, or give you a contact (more on contacts in a bit.) One XP will get you a new descriptor to add to your Body or Personality, allow you to add a secondary power at D6, or allow you to improve a secondary power by a die size.


Secondary powers are specialties connected to an established power and must always have a die size that is lower than the power they are based on. 

Here’s one example from the book, “A hero with super strength learns to create a shockwave by clapping their hands. Their shockwave power is a child of their super strength power.” 

Making secondary powers cheaper in XP encourages thematic character builds without adding a lot of extra rules or complexity. Like everything that Amazing Heroes does, clean, easy, straightforward.


Contacts are people in the world that can be called upon to provide resources and assistance. But, players need to be careful not to abuse their contacts. Players keep track of how many times a contact is used. When they call on a contact in subsequent scenes, they must roll a d6. If the roll is lower than the number of times the character has asked this contact for help, then the contact does help, but this help carries with it some kind of complication. The player can then not call on the contact again until this complication is resolved. (Resolving the complication resets the usage counter back to zero.)


Does just one superpower seem too limiting? Personally, I like the clean simplicity here. Players can be at the table and playing the game quickly. Amazing Heroes is set up to tell the story of a superhero from their meager beginnings. And remember, you have a few XP to play with. 

Think about the Iron Man movie. When Tony first built the armor, it was nothing but a bunch of iron plating welded together. Look back at our example superpower, the armored suit. Spend two XP to add an arm mounted missile launcher, and you have Tony in the original Iron Man armor, escaping his captors.

That’s what a beginning hero in Amazing Heroes is meant to be, but there are suggestions later in the rules for creating more advanced characters, if that’s what you want. Even then, you aren’t looking at the stifling point buy of other supers games. Amazing Heroes will give you a fully evolved superhero for only 10 XP.


Actions are resolved in broad strokes. The rules state that, in general, dice should be rolled once per conflict. There are no rules for combat, but defeating villains is considered a major challenge that will require more than one successful action to complete.

Action difficulties are: easy, normal, and hard. The target number for these difficulties is: 3+ for easy, 4+ for normal, and 5+ for hard. Roll that number or higher on your die to succeed. If you are rolling an attribute test (Body or Personality) and your descriptor applies, add +1 to your roll. That’s it. No need to get more granular than that. As a GM, I often struggle with assigning difficulty numbers, but I think that I can handle this.


Villains have difficulties based on their level. A success against their difficulty in whatever approach your hero is using to defeat them will bring you one step closer to victory. Level 1 villains need a 3+ on any roll to score a success against them. Level 2 villains need a 4+ on any roll to score a success against them, and level 3 villains need a 5+ on any roll to score a success against them.

It takes a number of successes equal to the villain’s level, multiplied by the number of heroes, to defeat a villain. So in a game with four heroes it takes eight successes to defeat a level two villain. The exception here is “mooks.” Mooks are weak enemies that are usually (but not always) easy difficulty and only need a single success to defeat.

The focus here is on the narrative, not the tactical, and all action resolution is handled the same way. There is no initiative, no combat rounds, and no hit-points or armor class. If a hero is “hurt” they may receive a “condition.” Conditions are descriptors that should impact the way the player plays their character. A condition might make some actions more difficult, but shouldn’t stick around for too long. This is a superhero game after all.


Amazing Heroes includes loads of GM advice for handling all kinds of situations, setting difficulties, and running and pacing the game. Finally, there’s an entire section dedicated to Storm City, the game’s default setting including various districts and factions within the city and loads of adventure hooks. This is followed by example villains and heroes in Storm City, and two example adventures.


I am absolutely in love with Amazing Heroes. The next time I run a superhero RPG, Amazing Heroes will be the game that finds its way to my table. If you are interested, you can find Amazing Heroes HERE. (This is not an affiliate link. If you buy Amazing Heroes, I receive nothing. I recommend the game because I love it for all the reasons detailed in this review.)

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