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SS#1 The Experiment - Draft - Discuss!

edited March 1 in Simple Superheroes
We've just released the 2nd draft of Simple Superheroes #1: The Experiment.

The goal is to release the deliver the final PDF and print product in Q2 2021. The current draft is a little longer than I had planned, at 42 pages, with some white space between sections. Those white spaces will be filled with black and white interior art, which is currently in progress. The layout may be tweaked, and cross-referencing is not yet in place (though a solid hyperlinked Table of Contents is). The text should be entirely playable.

Your feedback on that and your questions would be most appreciated.

1. What works?
2. What isn't clear?
3. What would make it easier to actually run?
4. What would make it easier to grok initially?
5. Other comments and feedback?

Kickstarter backers who subscribed to Issue 1-4 have a link they can use to get a copy on this kickstarter update.

People who purchased the Simple Superheroes Subscriber (#1-4) should now have this in their downloads section on the Compose Dream Games Marketplace. You can get access to it by buying it there too.

Entreating me very nicely with promises of joining in on the feedback and discussion here may result in me passing along a complimentary copy of this "unfinished" version. But only for the next few weeks. Reach out by email, PM etc.

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Comments

  • Hello,

    I liked it. It's fun.

    The following is my feedback, take what you will.

    1. What works?
    - I liked the advice on how to pull the characters into the game. I think that's critical to have player buy-in.
    - The characters are interesting and well written.
    - I like the layout and how it's based on events but said events can happen in any order.
    - The world feels very thought out, definitely a cool superhero place one could get lost in.

    2. What isn't clear?
    - I'd like a few more ideas on how to link the characters around Professor Newton. Make him part of the family. Maybe the characters should be related to or adopted by Newton? They should be the Newton Family!
    - Clarify more on the Construct and what its done to the world and the specifics of its creation. Maybe it's known as a natural disaster that no one can control?
    - Clarify the state of the world. Is there still a centralized government, or are resources so stretched that Federalism isn't really a thing anymore. Also, has the standard of living gone down? Is this more of a dystopia, and is super science trying to fix it.

    3. What would make it easier to actually run?
    - It's pretty good, I can't think of much to improve it.
    - Maybe work it in so that it's harder to catch Gravitor, I'm afraid if she's caught too early, the game will be too short.
    - Lower the investigation checks, a simple success should give the players a direction to go IMO. Even a failed roll should move things along somehow, aka add complications they have to deal with. You don't want a situation where a fail investigation leaves the players twiddling their thumbs.

    4. What would make it easier to grok initially?
    - Pre-gens should be handy. Maybe the Newtown Family! :D

    I just like that idea.

    5. Other comments and feedback?
    - It's Tricky that so much time is spent on Timelost and his powers.
    -- On one hand, it seems too artificially difficult to stop him, but if you succeed the bad guys are severely underpowered.
    -- It also just feels odd that the PCs save his life and he turns on them for a crush. It's a lot of work for an odd twist.

    - I think it'd be really cool if a hero with healing powers heals Jeb, that gets the Comerants 100% on their side.

    - Maybe add a Task Force Alpha asshole super who gets in the characters' business. It doesn't mean that all of Task Force Alpha is that way, but every group has a heel. This may prove to be a good rivalry, or add further complications if Gravitor or Timelost are stopped early.

    - I think CL4W should start a social media blitz against Dr. Newton right away. Slagging him in forums. Planting suspicious evidence on Newton's servers. Heck even slagging the PCs if they're close and dear to him.
    - Make the press the enemy right away.

    I hope this advice helps.

    Good work either way.

    _ Chris
  • Thanks for the feedback Chris. You've given me some things to thing about. Some specific responses:
    1. What works? - I liked the advice on how to pull the characters into the game. I think that's critical to have player buy-in.
    Where you specifically thinking of the Connection Web here?
    2. What isn't clear? - I'd like a few more ideas on how to link the characters around Professor Newton. Make him part of the family. Maybe the characters should be related to or adopted by Newton? They should be the Newton Family! - Clarify more on the Construct and what its done to the world and the specifics of its creation. Maybe it's known as a natural disaster that no one can control? - Clarify the state of the world. Is there still a centralized government, or are resources so stretched that Federalism isn't really a thing anymore. Also, has the standard of living gone down? Is this more of a dystopia, and is super science trying to fix it.
    Probably worth mentioning that the Construct is currently confined in Blackthorne Correctional Facility. Yes, it's worth more of a calling out a few more details -- including the write up for it in SS#0 sooner. World - interesting. Standard of living - atrophied or stalled a little anyway. I think you got this right, it is at least slightly dystopia and super-tech is working to mitigate this. I don't see it as full-on dystopian.
    3. What would make it easier to actually run? - It's pretty good, I can't think of much to improve it. - Maybe work it in so that it's harder to catch Gravitor, I'm afraid if she's caught too early, the game will be too short. - Lower the investigation checks, a simple success should give the players a direction to go IMO. Even a failed roll should move things along somehow, aka add complications they have to deal with. You don't want a situation where a fail investigation leaves the players twiddling their thumbs.
    Catching Gravitor -- she is pretty tough to catch in Event 6 Confronting Gravitor. It may just require calling out that the fight will move so far that only heroes with high mobility talents will be able to catch up. Anyone who isn't directly in the chase will probably arrive after she leaves.
    4. What would make it easier to grok initially? - Pre-gens should be handy. Maybe the Newtown Family! :D
    Noted :wink:
    5. Other comments and feedback? - It's Tricky that so much time is spent on Timelost and his powers. -- On one hand, it seems too artificially difficult to stop him, but if you succeed the bad guys are severely underpowered. -- It also just feels odd that the PCs save his life and he turns on them for a crush. It's a lot of work for an odd twist.
    This is an important point that deserves some discussion. First I would say that 4 major villains is a lot. For a final fight you could have Timelost, Gravitor, KRL-2000 and Mirror. There's some flex there built in, if you don't have Timelost, have KRL-2000 and vice versa. In my experience . . . the PCs don't have to help Timelost at all. Yes there is a whole event on it, but it may not happen. On the "artificially difficult to stop him" - well yes. But I think this is a bit to taste. It often becomes narration/jump when I have run this at the table. We jump to when something interesting happens i.e. the experiment goes wrong, his "plan" succeeds.
    - I think it'd be really cool if a hero with healing powers heals Jeb, that gets the Comerants 100% on their side. - Maybe add a Task Force Alpha asshole super who gets in the characters' business. It doesn't mean that all of Task Force Alpha is that way, but every group has a heel. This may prove to be a good rivalry, or add further complications if Gravitor or Timelost are stopped early. - I think CL4W should start a social media blitz against Dr. Newton right away. Slagging him in forums. Planting suspicious evidence on Newton's servers. Heck even slagging the PCs if they're close and dear to him. - Make the press the enemy right away. I hope this advice helps. Good work either way. _ Chris
    All good suggestions thanks!
  • Hi Chris, I'm looking to run Simple Superhero's for the first time with a group of guys who are experienced with DnD and Pathfinder, but not really any other system. Do you think Issue 1 is a good place for me to start? I've played Simple Superhero's before (not Issue 1), but am unsure of any prep I should do as a GM. Were you playing or Gming this module? Anything a first time GM in this system should look out for? I want them to experience as much of the module as possible, but it seems by design that I won't necessarily get to do that. Thanks, and let me know your thoughts! -Curtis
  • @CurtisM Issue 1 is similar to how I run my own games. I think it'd be useful as a first-time Simple Superheroes module. My advice.... See what kind of characters your players want to play. Read through the entire module, and then tie it into these characters. Let the players do their things, and have the NPCs in the game react accordingly. I think a key part would be to tie them to Prof Newton. He shouldn't be a stranger. If the players feel he's part of their own backstory/family they'll want to protect him. There's a good handful of characters for the PCs to interact with. When in doubt, throw the bots in. Also, one thing I really, really, like about Simple Superheroes, is if you need to add new NPCs on the fly, it's really easy to do so. So if your group goes off into a tangent you can draw new characters up accordingly. Also, be flexible in allowing your players to do what they'd like to do. One of the huge differences between this game and D20 is that it's structured but has plenty of room to make good rulings on the fly. Play to this strength. Finally, if you don't get to use everything in this module in one sitting, you can throw in the parts you didn't use in other adventures. - CHris
  • What works? - I really like the relation map. It provides so many facets to advance the plot and add spice to game. I think it would be interesting the reward the play for interesting uses of relations. - I love the world. Provides just enough ideas that the GM can tailor the campaign settings to his creative tastes. What is unclear? - The topography of the world is unclear without a map / markers. "Transportation" type powers (teleporting, super-speed, phasing) can be arbitrarily used without this defined. - In certain plot arcs, the use a "mind map" or "flow chart" may help GM organize the possible paths through the story. What would make it easier to run? - Maps would be very helpful. - More suggestions on how to handle campaign breaking powers (teleporting, super-speed, phasing, mind reading) Overall comments? - Great first issue. The pros greatly outweigh the cons. Even for a not GM, I think I can take this book and set-up a campaign.
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