Despite the lack of recent posts, I've spent a lot of time mentally composing posts in my head (not that this is particularly useful to my readers...). Most of these have been on the subject of comic books, superheroes, and superhero RPGs. I really need to sit down and do a week or so of posts on the subject but, well, time is limited these days due to the kids.
Not really the baby, mind you. Having a second child is, in many ways, less a challenge than the first time around. My wife and I know what to expect and how to handle it. I'm more useful than I was before and the whole thing is a lot less stressful...plus I've gotten used to sleeping less than five hours a night over the last three years (a combination of 1st baby, beagles, time zone shifts, early morning jobs, and night owl wife). Yes, I spend a lot of time in "grump mode" but I can survive and function. No, Sofia's actually a bit of a snap at the moment. The real time constraint on my time is the attention I need to lavish on my first born (in addition to household chores). The refrain of "Papa, you play with me" is near constant in my waking hours.
Which isn't a terrible thing, by the way (soon enough it will be "Papa, leave me alone" I'm sure)...but it does use up any time I might have for writing. That's just the fact, friends.
On the other hand, my play with D has been a source of inspiration. One of the reasons my brain is stuck in superhero mode lately is my sharing in my son's obsession with super types. We dress up as, and pretend to be, superheroes, we play with superhero action figures (Fisher-Price has a great toy line for toddlers), we color superhero coloring books, and we read superhero comic books...when we can find ones that are child friendly (Batman '66 is good in this regard and has pretty cool/interesting stories, too).
In fact, it is due to my son that I have a newly acquired appreciation for DC comics and its characters. I stopped being interested in most of the DC universe (Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, etc.) sometime between the ages of eight and ten with a couple notable exceptions (Green Arrow: The Longbow Hunters and the Wally West Flash of the 1990s). I just wasn't much interested in those classic Justice League types, tuning out about the same time Richard Prior starred opposite Christopher Reeves in Superman III. I watched Keaton's first Batman movie mainly because of Tim Burton (and the Prince soundtrack), and failed to catch the rest of the franchise, only picking it up again with the more recent Nolan trilogy. No, for almost all my comic book and movie franchise viewing pleasure, I've been saying "Make mine Marvel" since roughly 1984.
But now? I think I'd pick up an old school Barbara Gordon Batgirl comic over anything X-Men or mutant-esque at the moment. Scratch that: I'm absolutely certain I'd pony up the dough for the former over the latter. Part of this is that Diego loves Batgirl and has very little idea who Wolverine is (he's colored a picture or two)...but I truly mean that's only part of it.
Even Aquaman is pretty damn cool (and my son's second favorite superhero after Batman), and I don't mean the pony-tailed, one-handed warlord version. For what it's worth, my favorite depiction is probably the big-ego (if good-hearted) Aquaman found in the animation Batman: The Brave and the Bold, but Diego and I have (since Paraguay) logged a lot of time viewing old episodes of the 1960s Aquaman on YouTube, complete with "Aqua-Lad" and Tusky, their trusty (somewhat bungling) walrus mascot. Black Manta vies for top position in Favorite Villains of All Time, though he's got stiff competition with Gorilla Grodd.
[a super-intelligent, huge-ass gorilla with mind control powers? What's not to like?]
|Good with a filet knife.|
[though I believe he considers Gorilla Grodd to be the scariest]
And goons. A bad guy's entourage of goons is a big part of their prestige in my household.
ANYway, having immersed myself in DC supers for the last couple months, it was probably inevitable that I would pick up a copy of Green Ronin's DC Adventures Hero's Handbook, AKA Mutants & Masterminds 3rd edition. I've had the chance the peruse it over the last three days or so ad I'm still having a hard time making sense of it. I mean...ugh. Maybe I'm just getting stupider in my old age, but I got lost right around when they started talking about conditions (even before constructing "power effects"). It seems like the game is part M&M, part "Champions Lite," and part Magic the Gathering (you know, the recent versions of the game where you need to know a bunch of specific jargon for card effects that have been created over eight or ten releases?). My guess is that game play would become relatively easy with practice (as one becomes used to the particular conditions and effects and how they interact) and that character construction (a better term than "character generation" for a process like this) is an art form in and of itself...one that can lend itself to abuse and one I don't have much interest in mastering at the moment.
BUT...for a rules crunchy supers game, IF I wanted to play such a thing, it would appear that DC Adventures is the book one would want to have. Much more than HERO System (i.e. Champions) or GURPS Supers or that old Mayfair Games DC Heroes with its logarithmic craziness, it captures much of the "soft reality" of superhero comics/programs that is missing from other meaty systems.
I just don't think I want to play a game that's quite so crunchy. Let me see if my mind changes over the next couple days/weeks as I continue to digest the meatier bits, but right now the game is more interesting for the lovely artwork and concise information on the DC Universe (in-book character write-ups also include both Black Manta and Gorilla Grodd, though it leaves out both Riddler and the Penguin to my chagrin).
As an aside: I consider Heroes Unlimited and the original Marvel Superheroes RPG to fall into the category of "rules light" RPGs, in terms of both gameplay and chargen. A rulebook doesn't have to be a 30 page indie-publication to be "light." Just so folks understand what I mean when I say DC Adventures is anything but light.