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Sixes (and lethality)

I'm enjoying reading through the PDF for the first time and am very keen to get a game going as soon as I can.
Now, I like to run games that are perhaps a little more lethal than Superheroes Unleashed is designed for.
I like peril. My player group responds well to the idea that their characters could get seriously injured or worse if they screw up.
it adds to the overall drama and makes them use their brains.

A thug rolling a 2 dice attack is going to have to spend 3 rounds shooting to really threaten a character with 6 lifepoints.
I see two ways that I can adjust this. One is to give my player characters fewer lifepoints, which I'm tempted to do anyway. I like the way your values scale to 5, and rating all relative values on a scale from 1 to 5 and then giving the heroes 6 health struck me as curious.
Nonetheless, you've obviously playtested this a lot and it works. I might have more of a think about this.

The other option I see is making basic successes on a roll of 6 count for two successes. This has a knock on effect of adding a sort of critical success mechanic to the game, too, which I like. But in terms of overall lethality it certainly steps things up a notch.
The Hitman listed in the common foes section has Accuracy 3 - guns [O]. Against a thug for whom you have rolled six lifepoints, the professional killer would need to roll three successes two rounds in a row. If 6s count for two successes that big beefy thug *could* just crumple in one well placed shot. Perhaps I'm over analysing things a little. And of course for a good dramatic scene the hitman wouldn't even need to roll. He'd line up the sights and Boom. Headshot. All the same I wondered if you'd considered a critical style effect in earlier playtests and decided the game didn't need them.

Obviously I bow to your wisdom here. You've been developing this game for a few years it looks like, and doubtless have a good idea of what works and what doesn't. I'm still tempted to make things a little more dangerous for my group's characters though. They like it bloody : )

Just to add, I love the game.
I really love the freeform-meets-framework feel of it. I love the modular nature of it. I really *Really* can't wait to run something.


  • Been giving this more thought. I want to stay true to the rules as written, so will probably set aside the double success idea til I've some experience running the game. Still think I might lower the life and strain pools a little.
    Should I use hard tech for thug guns ?
    If I give the Hitman in the above example a hard tech Barret 50 it wouldn't seem unreasonable to give him 2 extra dice
    on his attack with a limitation of only being accurate if he's braced, and slow to reload. That would at least make him more lethal.

    Any thoughts ?

  • Yes your +2 for the hard tech barrett is a reasonable ruling.

    Lets talk your hitman vs an average person a little more.

    You suggest that an average person might have 6 Lifepoints. This is true, they might. But an average Joe has 3.5 Lifepoints based on the "roll 1d6 for a ordinary humans" rule. (Its your world of course and its easy to decide that average Joe only has 2 LP as a rule, or whatever you deem appropriate.) Lets assume 3 for simplicity.

    So your Hitman needs to 3 successes to drop him to zero, and at least 4 to cause him to start bleeding out, so how does he get there?

    a) Target is unaware so Joe doesn't get a defensive roll. Hitman only needs basic successes.

    b) Lets break down some possible Talents for Hitman:


    1. Accuracy 3 - guns [O]
    2. Brains 2 - study the target [F]
    3. Senses 2 - great aim [O] -- may be Hard-tech [H] from chosen weapon
    4. Strainpoints: 2 (for arguements sake he is in the 20% who can spend strainpoints)
    So what does Hitman do? He studies his Target to find the perfect oppurtunity, he aims carefully and he fires.
    He pools aim+guns+study the target (2 + 3 + 2 -2= 5) for 5 dice. The GM may rule that he has an especially good weapon picked out for this that gives him another bonus die (6). He can then spend a strainpoint to add in one more bonus die (strainpoints only add 1 die when spent on a pool action instead of the normal 2) for a total of 7 dice.
    With 7 dice it is extremely likely that Hitman will get the 4 successes he needs to cause average Joe to be uncounscious and bleeding out. 

    As for the idea of lowering your Supers starting Lifepoints and Strainpoints . . . the game actually plays pretty fast and "lethal." it is not that unusual for a hero to be hit for 4 or 5 Lifepoints of damage in a single attack by a powerful meta-human opponent.



  • Again, thanks for the reply. You have clarified a bunch of things for me, and giving me more ideas.
    This game you have created is a thing of beauty.

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