Superheroes at GenCon 2011

100 tiny characters
Small superheroes

After looking at fantasy, steampunk, and modern supernatural games at this year’s GenCon, here’s my take on some superhero announcements from the role-playing convention.

The aforementioned Margaret Weiss Productions, which is publishing the Dragon Brigade RPG, will be making the next iteration of a Marvel Comics game using its Cortex system. The new Marvel game will focus on post-“Civil War” continuity rather than the vague “present” of many comic books and RPGs.

TSR’s Marvel Superheroes, which used the “FASERIP” rules, was similar to the more recent Icons, even though that loosely FATE-based, rules-light game uses art similar to the animated DC universe. Speaking of superheroes, I’m still waiting on Heroes & Villains Vol. 1 for DC Adventures.

I have yet to play the third edition of Mutants & Masterminds (also used in DC Adventures) or Icons. But several people in the Boston-area gaming groups have been asking about superhero scenarios, so it’s only a matter of time before I get back to my “Societe de Justice Internationale” setting, if only for one-shots. As previously noted, the steampunk Kerberos Club is also FATE-based, but I’ve also seen a mention of another superhero game based on that system.

In related miniatures game news, WizKids, whose HeroClix for Dungeons & Dragons, DC, and Marvel have been popular, announced more sets for those lines, as well as Lord of the Rings, Pathfinder, and Star Trek figures. As with the forthcoming Lego minifigs for DC and Marvel, I’m sure that some of them will eventually grace my desk or basement tables.

Speaking of metahuman vigilantes, Kim A.G., Steve M.R., and Thomas K.Y. finally wound down their participation in the City of Heroes MMO, a few years after David I.S., Dexter V.H., and I left the “Dimensional Corps Online” supergroup to try other games. It’s the end of an era, and I miss the camaraderie of our team at its best. Jim J.D’B. recently started another Smallville play-by-post game.

Last month, Jason E.R. ran a fun one-shot of the Darkpages noir superhero game. I haven’t had time to write up my notes from his scenario, which involved a Ghostbusters-style haunted hotel, warring angels and demons, time travel, and of course, Nazis! Jason has also graciously offered to run scenarios including the alternate-history “Expeditio Africana” using Fvlminata 3e, “The Tenth Ray of Mars” using Savage Worlds or FATE, and “The New Shadow” using Pathfinder or The One Ring. Time is always in shorter supply than ideas!

Coming soon: Science fiction at GenCon and returning to “Vortex!”

2 thoughts on “Superheroes at GenCon 2011

  1. I’ve played Chaosium’s SuperWorld and Palladium’s Heroes Unlimited for years. I could never go back, so I’m wondering which superhero game to try next…


  2. As I recently noted on’s message boards, it depends on what kind of game you’re looking for. How much rules crunch? Four-color or noir? Retro, fantasy, modern, anime, or futuristic setting?

    In addition to the systems I mentioned in my blog post, I’ve also played Heroes Unlimited, Champions, and other superhero games. And, i addition to M&M3e/DCA, Icons, and FATE Kerberos Club, I recommend looking at free and rules-light games. As another poster noted on EnWorld, Basic Action Super Heroes (BASH) Ultimate Edition, which I recommended, isn’t free, but I think it’s a fairly complete game in one book.


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