<+Aldo> Okay, so I’m Aldo J. Regalado. I’ve been table-top role-playing since 1981 or so and recently turned towards writing for the industry.
<+Aldo> Specifically, I’m the co-author of Supers! Revised, a rules-lite table-top superhero RPG published by Hazard Studios.
<+Aldo> I’m currently working on The Superverse.
<+Aldo> The Superverse is a superhero campaign sourcebook for Supers! Revised as well as 4 other systems, including …
<+Aldo> Icons, Champions, Supergame, and BASH!
<+Aldo> Should I go on to describe what’s in The Superverse?
<~Dan> Sure, if you like! Just please give us a (done) when you’re ready for questions. 🙂
<+Aldo> Okeedoke. 🙂
<+Aldo> So, it includes about 20 character write-ups for NPC heroes and villains, four interlinked adventures designed to introduce PCs to the universe,
<+Aldo> the fictional setting of Del Rey where the adventures are set, a timeline of the setting that stretches back to the Big Bang,
<+Aldo> and some new rules for SUPERS! Revised.
<+Aldo> The other systems don’t get new rules, because it’s not my place to provide them for those games.
<~Dan> Thanks, Aldo! The floor is open to questions!
<~Dan> (Welcome to #randomworlds, James!)
<~Dan> (Howdy, JamesGillen!)
<+Aldo> Hello, James.
<~Dan> Aldo: How do you manage to include stats for so many different games?
<+Aldo> Well, I’m producing 5 different editions of the sourcebook. The stats aren’t all in one book.
<+Aldo> The different system stats, that is.
<~Dan> Ah, I see. I didn’t know that.
<~Dan> How difficult was it to convert between them?
<+Aldo> Not too hard! I’m a superhero gaming nut. Always have been. Consequently, I’ve played all of the systems that I’m writing for pretty extensively. It’s time consuming for some of them (like Champions), but it isn’t difficult.
<+Aldo> I’ve got conversion notes that let me do it pretty quickly.
<+Aldo> Icons and Supergame are the exceptions. I had to learn those, but it was a blast doing so.
<~Dan> That’s good!
<~Dan> What makes the Superverse special? Why would I want to make it the setting for my superhero game?
<+Aldo> One of the fun things about the KS is that if we hit the final stretch goal each version of the book will have a unique cover. The ICONS version, for instance, will have art by Dan Houser (who does all the Icons books). The HERO System verison will have an homage to the famous 4th edition book. Now to your question of what makes The Superverse special …
<+Aldo> I’m not sure! In some ways, it’s a retro project. In a sense, I’ve been trying to create the campaign world that I’d most want to play in.
<+Aldo> Most of the stuff out there these days is either too campy or cartoony for me or too dark and gritty.
<+Aldo> I wanted a setting that had the awe, fun and wonder of the comics that I grew up reading in the late 70s and 80s.
<+Aldo> But those comics were also pretty serious and hard hitting at times, without crossing over into grimdark.
<+Aldo> Think the Teen Titans by Wolfman and Perez.
<~Dan> So that would be… Bronze Age?
<+Aldo> Yes, Bronze Age stuff. Some neo-Silver Age stuff has a similar sensibility.
<+Aldo> Another thing that I was aiming for was to not over-determine the universe.
<~Dan> (Howdy, Silverlion!)
<~Dan> Can you say a bit about that?
<+Aldo> Many of the settings out there fill every nook and cranny of their worlds with NPC superheroes and long detailed histories. They leave very little room for the PCs.
<+Aldo> I certainly have some veteran superheroes that are hanging around, but at the point that the campaign starts they are certainly not the settings main superheroes. Some are missing, some are retired, many of them are in a state of personal crisis.
<+Aldo> I’ve tried to write the adventures in a way that gives the players agency to decide what happens with many of the NPC heroes.
<~Dan> Is this an anything-goes sort of supers setting in terms of origins? (Gods, aliens, robots, time-travelers, mutants, etc.?)
<+Aldo> The Freedom Ring, for example, is the main NPC superhero team in the book. Whether or not the team even forms will be determined by the actions that the heroes take in the various adventures.
<~Dan> With the PCs as potential members, I assume?
<+Aldo> Yes, it is, but I have a campaigning section that encourages GMs to have conversations with their players about whether or not they want the anything goes approach and to tweak if necessary.
* ~Dan nods
<+Aldo> Yes, the players could join the Freedom Ring, but they could just as easily join rival factions. For example …
<+Aldo> The heroes could be super-powered officers in the Del Rey Police Department’s Super Crimes Unit. This might put them at odds with several of the Freedom Ringers (who sometimes take extreme methods to fight for justice). They can also be members of Vanguard America, the U.S. Government sponsored superhero team. That would definitely put them at odds with
<+Aldo> the Freedom Ring.
<+Aldo> They can, of course, be an independent superhero team and have to manage all of these various factions.
<+Aldo> And then the villains are in the mix as well.
<+Aldo> One of the things I’m trying to do is turn this into a sandbox setting. I’m hoping that once the KS is done I can go back and add that level of detail through random encounter tables and the like.
<+Aldo> But I can’t really claim that I’m there yet.
<~Dan> That’s a solid goal, though!
<+Aldo> I would love, for example, to have little side quests emerge from the NPC’s backgrounds and linked to a random encounter table. So, a hero on patrol could encounter Shriek trying to steal an artifact that would restore her humanity, and that would set off a mini-adventure that could have unforeseen consequences.
* ~Dan nods
<+Aldo> I don’t think I’m too far from it. I just need to be able to sit with the characters I’ve written and think. Running a KS doesn’t lend itself to such quiet time.
<~Dan> I’d imagine not. 🙂
<+Aldo> One of the things I’m really excited about is the mass combat rules that I wrote for the Supers! Revised version of the supplement!
<~Dan> Does the Superverse have a particular power scale in mind?
<~Dan> Oh, nice, re: mass combat! That’s unusual for a supers game.
<+Aldo> Well, the last adventure has the potential to end in a major military engagement with a villainous army fighting a heroic army. The heroes, of course, are in the mix.
* ~Dan nods
<+Aldo> The way the encounter is set up, time is of the essence. The outcome depends on how quickly the heroes can neutralize the military threat.
<+Aldo> I’ve got it set up so that very powerful/tough heroes could fight the whole army at once, but lower power types can maneuver to take out smaller units within the larger force and still contribute to the overall weakening of the army.
<+Aldo> It needs more play-testing, but I think it works pretty well so far.
<~Dan> I guess that in part answers my power scale question!
<+Aldo> As far as power level is concerned – I recommend that starting characters be 20D (in Supers! terms), which puts them at kind of an X-Men level.
<+Aldo> It’s fine to scale higher or lower, though.
<~Dan> Besides mass combat, what other Supers! rules have you added?
<+Aldo> I tweaked Super Strength (to increase lift capacities) and I tweaked the Limited Power Limitation (to make it less generous). I’m also including optional rules provided by some fans that have been kind enough to share. One is a Greater Summon Boost (provided by Gerry Saracco), and the other …
<+Aldo> is Super-Occultism (provided by Andrew Kar). These are optional rules, BTW, not changes to the official rules.
* ~Dan nods
<~Dan> You mentioned the setting’s history going back to the Big Bang. Can you say a bit about the setting’s cosmology?
<+Aldo> Yes. First, let me say that these statements will include some spoilers …
<~Dan> **SPOILER ALERT!!**
<+Aldo> Second, let me say that the cosmology is sketchy on purpose. I’ve only included elements that pertain to the characters that I’ve created and the adventures that they are featured in. I’ve left many things vague on purpose, because I want GM’s to come in and twist the ideas to meet their own needs.
<+Aldo> So, the Big Bang. The big cosmic bad guys in this are the Shaytan. They are a race of powerful beings that existed in the previous universe. Their universe collapsed and then erupted into The Superverse, but …
<+Aldo> the Shaytan (or remnants of them) survived in a dark dimension. The existence of The Superverse causes them to experience excruciating pain.
<~Dan> (Howdy, Ximni!)
<+Aldo> They Shaytan, therefore, hate The Superverse and are bent on destroying it.
<~Dan> I see.
<+Aldo> There are several Shaytan that make an appearance in the history and the Shaytan Malephon makes an appearance in the last of four adventures included in The Superverse.
<+Aldo> The Shaytan Kymeron was in communication with an occult organization during World War II. Eventually, they became the criminal agency CHIMERA.
<+Aldo> They unwittingly serve the Shaytan.
<~Dan> Are there any other big cosmic players detailed?
<+Aldo> The Grey Ghoul is a Nazi that was merged with a ghoul, who in this universe are a servitor race to a Shaytan that had a presence on Earth during prehistoric times.
<+Aldo> But it’s broad strokes.
<+Aldo> I try not to define anything beyond that.
<+Aldo> Cosmologically speaking, that is.
<+FASA_Andrew_1879> Leaving room for the players to build their own immediate history
<+Aldo> That’s right, Andrew, and for GMs to decide for themselves what exactly the Shaytan are and how they fit into their own cosmologies.
<~Dan> You mentioned Del Ray — I assume that’s the fictional city central to the setting?
<+Aldo> I do the same with the Thunderbirds and Unktehila from Native American mythology.
<+Aldo> Both are present in the universe, but I don’t go out of my way to define exactly how they function in the grand scheme of things.
<+Aldo> I just worry about how they influence the motivations of the few NPCs that they are associated with.
<+Aldo> A GM could make the Thunderbirds magical beings, or manifestations of the Earth’s consciousness, or alien beings, or whatever.
* ~Dan nods
<~Dan> (wb, Ximni1!)
<+Aldo> BTW, I’m wild about our artist! Joe Singleton is doing 99% of the art on this book and he captures the sensibility I’m looking for perfectly.
<~Dan> That’s important!
<+Aldo> Yes! Here is a link to the cover, if folks are interested: (Link: https://tgidragonflystudios.files.wordpress.com/2018/12/SuperveseCover4-rev1.png?w=1480)https://tgidragonflystudios.files.wordpress.com/2018/12/SuperveseCover4-rev1.png?w=1480
<~Dan> Is that skull guy a Shaytan?
<~Dan> And cool cover!
<+Aldo> Yep. That’s Malephon.
<+Aldo> Yeah, I love what he did with it! It’s a tribute to Crisis on Infinite Earths #3, but it’s also all Superverse! 🙂
<~Dan> Nice. 🙂
<+Aldo> Oh, and here’s the black and white sketch for the Champions cover (if we make it to our last stretch goal): (Link: https://tgidragonflystudios.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/champscoverinks.png?w=1480)https://tgidragonflystudios.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/champscoverinks.png?w=1480
<+Aldo> It’s an homage to the Champions 4th Edition cover that so many of us have fond memories of (The Big Blue Book).
<~Dan> You know, it doesn’t appear that we ever did a Q&A for Supers!… Would you be interested in turning to that system for a bit, or is there more that you’d like to cover regarding the Superverse?
<+Aldo> That’s also Malephon facing off against Freedom Star with Maiden America and Itsy-Bitsy on the ground behind them.
<+Aldo> Oh, I’m happy to talk about SUPERS!
<+Aldo> What would you like to know?
<~Dan> Well, let’s see… Do you have a character sheet for the game that we can see?
<+Aldo> Give me a second …
<~Dan> (Welcome to #randomworlds, Nat!)
<+Aldo> Okay, I’m back. Here you go: (Link: https://tgidragonflystudios.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/mammoth-sheet-02.png)https://tgidragonflystudios.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/mammoth-sheet-02.png
<~Dan> (wb, FASA_Andrew_1879!)
<+Aldo> This is a write-up from The Superverse.
* ~Dan nods
<+Aldo> I can try to upload an official character sheet if you prefer.
<+Aldo> But you’ll have to tell me how to do that. Right now I’m linking stuff I have posted elsewhere.
<~Dan> That’s okay. I can work with this. 🙂
<~Dan> What are the core elements that make up a character? Are there fixed attributes?
<+Aldo> Okay, I’ll take one box at a time.
<~Dan> (And I’m going to step away for just a sec here. Please continue!)
<+Aldo> Resistances: These are essentially your hit points. You can roll them to resist attacks, and you are incapacitated once any one of them is reduced to zero.
<+Aldo> The thing is that the game is very free flowing in how you defend and how you apply damage.
<+Aldo> For example, if Thunderbird throws a car at Mammoth, Mammoth can defend with any attribute that he can make a narrative case for.
<+Aldo> He might, for example, defend with his natural toughness and roll Fortitude to avoid the damage. If he rolls high enough, the car breaks around him and he’s unharmed.
<+Aldo> He could, however, also defend with his Super Strength and catch the car.
<+Aldo> A person with Super Brain could calculate the trajectory of the car and simply side-step it.
<+Aldo> If you don’t roll well enough to avoid the attack, you take damage in dice (depending on how much you failed the roll by).
<+Aldo> But you can apply that damage to any resistance that you can make a narrative case for.
<~Dan> (back, sorry)
<+Aldo> You might get punched and fly back 10 feet but take composure damage (because you’re embarrassed that you got knocked off your feet) rather than fortitude damage.
<+Aldo> Let me pause there. Do you have any questions?
<~Dan> Is there any reason why you wouldn’t resist with your highest Resistance?
<+Aldo> Ah! Because you can only use an Attribute to resist once per round. Also, your resistances go down as you take damage. If Mammoth is fighting Thunderbird one-on-one, he’ll probably use his Fortitude to defend every time until it starts to get lower than some of his other Attributes or until Thunderbird attacks in a way that doesn’t justify that defense.
<+Aldo> If Mammoth is fighting three foes, however, he’s got to get tactical about what he uses to defend.
<~Dan> I see… And what is the basic die rolling mechanic?
<+Aldo> You’ll notice that everything is rated in D6. So you roll that many D6 and you try to beat a target number. If it’s an opposed roll (like an attack) the defense roll sets the target number. You do 1D of damage if you match the defense roll, and +1D per six points that you succeed above that.
<~Dan> And these are additive rolls rather than success-counting?
<+Aldo> Yes, that’s correct.
<+Aldo> And remember, you CAN use Resistances to Defend, but you can also use Aptitudes or Powers.
<~Dan> How are non-super attributes rated? Like, the strength of someone without Super Strength, for example.
<+Aldo> So, if Spider-Man is fighting the Sinister Six he can use his Swinging 4D to dodge the Green Goblin’s pumpkin bomb, his Danger Sense 4D to duck as the Lizard pounces, his Wall Crawling 4D to run up the wall and avoid the Rhino, etc.
<+Aldo> So, non-super stuff is done through Aptitudes. These maximum that you can roll on them is an 18. You can have more the 3D in an Aptitude, but you only keep the three highest dice. PC’s get all the Aptitudes at 1D and can increase them from the base with Creation Dice.
<+Aldo> A character with Athletics 1D can lift 200 lbs. and it doubles for every 1D above that.
<+Aldo> You can tweak this too with Trade Offs. Itsy-Bitsy, for instance, has Athletics 2D (More Agile 3D Than Strong 1D).
<~Dan> So does Super Strength add to Athletics?
<+Aldo> Well, Super Strength 1D = 1 Ton (and it doubles from there – or triples, if you use my optional rule). You’d take the weight from your Athletics and add it to the weight that you can lift with Super Strength. So a character with Athletics 1D and Super Strength 1D would be able to lift 2,200 lbs.
<~Dan> I see… How do those two things affect melee damage?
<+Aldo> So, In SUPERS! you attack with the Attribute that you are using to Attack. Have a Super Strength 5D? You roll 5D to punch someone with Super Strength. There is no “damage bonus” – the damage is determined by how well they defend with whatever they are defending with.
<+Aldo> The damage is calculated based on the difference between the rolls.
<~Dan> So what benefit does Mammoth get from his Super Weaponry at 4D, then, if he would attack with Super Strength at 7D?
<+Aldo> Keeping in mind that Aptitudes cap at a result of 18 and Powers don’t.
<+Aldo> Well, you’re assuming he didn’t defend with his Super Strength 7D. If he didn’t, he can always defend with his Super Weaponry 4D (which are his tusks).
<+Aldo> Remember, he could be fighting a team of 4 or 5 heroes.
<~Dan> Ah, I see. He can only use an attribute one way each round?
<+Aldo> Yes, that’s correct! If you use it to defend, you can’t use it to attack and vise versa.
<~Dan> Okay, I follow you now.
<+Aldo> My players love this game. It’s fast, it’s fun, and it allows them to tell stories without the system getting in the way.
* ~Dan nods
<~Dan> Are powers selected “cafeteria style”?
<+Aldo> Other rules-lite systems do that too, of course, but they grok this one best. Maybe it’s because I forced them to play Champions for 20 years, so they got used to rolling lots of D6. (BTW, I still LOVE Champions, but I can’t run it with my current group.)
<+Aldo> It’s a point buy system, with almost everything costing the dice in the Attribute.
<~Dan> And the Complications reduce the cost?
<+Aldo> The rulebook includes a random character generator that works surprisingly well, but point buy is the default.
<+Aldo> Yes. Complications reduce the cost by 1D (to a minimum of 1D) and Boosts raise the cost by 1D.
<+Aldo> I normally give 20D to starting characters with a Competency Pool of 5D. Competency dice are like Hero Points in other systems.
* ~Dan nods
<~Dan> Can this system handle clumsy-but-powerful or accurate-but-weak attacks?
<+Aldo> You can build those with Trade-Offs. Super Strength 5D (More Damaging 7D Than Accurate 3D)
<~Dan> So how would you roll that?
<+Aldo> In this case, you’d roll 3D. If you meet the target number, you’d roll 4D more for purposes of determining how much damage you did.
<~Dan> Ah! Is that an official option?
<+Aldo> You know, I just realized that it’s not! I guess I’ll add that to the optional rules section! 🙂 It is, however, implied in the RAW. There is a maneuver that works that way.
<+Aldo> It just seemed natural to do it when you asked the question.
<+Aldo> But it’s not spelled out.
<~Dan> Cool. For me, that’s a borderline deal-breaker, to be honest. I’m big on being able to make huge, clumsy combatants like dinosaurs and the like. 🙂
<~Dan> But your solution is a good one!
<+Aldo> Well, the mechanic is there to use if you want it! 🙂
<~Dan> In the time remaining, is there anything we haven’t covered that you’d like to bring up?
<+Aldo> Wow, I think I’m good! Let me say this about SUPERS! The game was originally created by Simon Washbourne of Barbarians of Lemuria fame. He deserves the credit for the core mechanics. When Hazard Studio bought the game, they brought Rus Boyd and me onboard to do the revision. We added and expanded some stuff, but I always want to acknowledge Simon.
<~Dan> Simon’s a cool dude. 🙂
<+Aldo> As far as The Superverse is concerned, I’m really pleased that it’s funded. Hopefully folks will have fun with this product, which is a love letter to Bronze Age comics as well as to all of the gaming supplements that I enjoyed in the 1980s.
<~Dan> Quick note: As always, gratuities are welcome at (Link: https://gmshoe.wordpress.com/the-gmshoes-tip-jar/)https://gmshoe.wordpress.com/the-gmshoes-tip-jar/ , if anyone is so inclined. 🙂
<~Dan> Thanks very much for joining us, Aldo!
<+Aldo> I stand on the shoulders of giants and its simultaneously humbling and thrilling.
<+Aldo> Thanks for having me, Dan! It’s been a pleasure!
<~Dan> Please come by any time you like! You’re always welcome. 🙂
<~Dan> And if you’ll give me just a minute here, I’ll get the log posted and get you the link. 🙂
<+Aldo> I’ll pop in whenever I can! Thank you! 🙂