Superpowered! a review and character sheet

In a previous post on the Cepheus Engine, it was pointed out that one of the weak spots of the Cepheus Engine was its lack of detailed superpowers rules. Stellagama Games has come along with Superpowered! in an attempt to fill that gap.

Note that Superpowered! uses the Quantum Engine as its base. It’s a simplified version of the Cepheus Engine that replaces stats with a short list of skills, and the career character creation with a point buy system.

It’s an 102-page book, color cover, B&W interior with stock art.

Character Creation

Players have 7 skills – Combat, Knowledge, Physical, Social, Stealth, Superpower, and Technology. To start, players are given 5 points to assign to these skills.

Players also roll 2D+12 for Endurance, and 4D+24 for Lifeblood. Endurance and Lifeblood together work as hit points in Quantum Engine games. When you take damage, you lose Endurance first, then Lifeblood for more serious injuries. The Endurance & Lifeblood rolls are much higher here than other Quantum Engine games, presumably due to the pulpier nature of the supers genre.

The heart of Superpowered! is the list of Powers & Abilities. Each character gets a Power, which is the source of their super abilities. There’s a list of 36 possible Powers including Alien, Fire, Magnetism, etc. Players can roll on a D66 table or just choose their Power.

Once the Power has been chosen, the player can then choose 3 Abilities. An Ability is the actual power used to affect the world around them. The book lists 6 sample abilities for each power, along with a list of Common Abilities, that can be used with any power.

There’s also a list of Weaknesses. If a player chooses a weakness, they get one extra Ability.

Many of the Powers/Ability combinations were clearly intended to mimic certain existing comic book characters. i.e. Alien is obviously Superman inspired, Magnetic is clearly Magneto.

The rules recommend mixing abilities from different powers, and making up new abilities of your own. It would have been nice to have a complete list of abilities in alphabetical order, instead of being broken down by Power.

Rules

The basic rules are the same as most Quantum/Cepheus games. Roll 2D6, add your skill and try to equal or exceed a difficulty number, usually 6+ or 8+.

Here’s the big changes from other Quantum Engine systems (mostly combat):

  • Superpowered characters can recover all Endurance after one round of inaction.
  • Supers don’t die after losing all their Lifeblood, they get a Severe Wound. If they lose double their Lifeblood, they’ll get a Mortal Wound, and be out of action for D6 hours. Death only happens by Referee fiat.
  • Knockback – After a character is hit, they will be knocked back 1m for every point of damage that exceeds their Endurance.

Supplemental Material

There’s no official setting, or adventures provided.

There’s a list of stats for creatures. They’re fine, but very much seem like they’ve been taken directly from a fantasy game (Ghouls and Grey Oozes). It seems to be the same list of creatures that was found in the original Quantum Engine SRD.

The equipment, weapon, and vehicle lists are also fairly basic, and will be quite familiar if you’ve seen other Cepeheus/Quantum RPGs.

There’s a list of a few sample heroes and villains, six of each.

Conclusion

Basically, I think it’s pretty good. The list of powers and abilities, which is the most important part of any supers game, is quite well done. The small changes to the base Quantum system give it a nice pulpy feel.

Even if you weren’t running a full supers game, you could easily pull out the powers & abilities rules to spice up another game. For example, if you were running a 1930s pulp-hero style game, you could easily grab some of the weaker abilities to use, or use the abilities to create alien creatures in a sci-fi setting. It’s a lovely little toolbox for other Cepheus games.

Some minor nitpicks:

  • There’s not a lot of campaign support. It’s assumed you already are familiar with superhero tropes, and know how to run a campaign. A sample setting and adventure, even if brief, would’ve been nice.
  • There’s no mechanical support for some common superhero tropes. Secret Identities are mentioned, but there’s no mechanics underlying them. Secret bases and lairs aren’t even mentioned.
  • As noted above, a lot of the equipment, vehicle, and creature lists are taken directly from other Quantum products without being customized for a supers setting.

Character Sheet

There’s no official character sheet as of yet, so I’ve created one. It’s two pages long, and fillable. You can import an image by clicking in the blank area to the left of the stats. Both A4 and US Letter version have been provided. I’ve added this to my rickety, disorganized list of custom character sheets.

One thought on “Superpowered! a review and character sheet

  1. it brings to mind Villains and Vigilantes… I agree its missing some tropes etc… no Martial arts for one. but I come to it from being a longtime Champions player, and I co-wrote the Traveller Hero crossover rules set

    Liked by 1 person

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