Yesterday I started a Thought Experiment in supers games, looking at what changes a character goes through when converted from one system to another. This is meant to test the validity of most supers games claims that you can use the system to build “any” character or run “any” kind of game. The character in question – Dr. Zachary Zevon, the Indestructible Man - started in Villains and Vigilantes. Now let’s see how he looks in Silver Age Sentinels, the supers version of the Tri-Stat system.
A quick recap: Dr. Z is the Reed Richards analogue in a Fantastic Four style game. His natural abilities include a massive intellect and scientific skill, a powerful presence & sense-of-self, and an ability to analyze his opponents’ fighting style and the scientific basis for their powers. His superhuman ability is an invisible, highly versatile force field. He is renowned as the smartest man on Mars and is a millionaire with access to advanced technology and the Liberty Lair, his team’s base.
Having seen how the character can map over with a minimal loss of fidelity, how would it work in play?
Having run SAS at this power level before, I think it would work pretty well. Dr. Z would be more potent in SAS, but not overwhelmingly so. He would be much more able to ignore or eliminate lesser opposition, since there would be no chance of them penetrating his field the way there is in V&V, but he could still be overwhelmed by masses of opponents. The problem would be an opponent who is meant to be a threat but who can’t reach that 100 point damage threshold – Dr. Z could almost certainly ignore any attempt to do direct damage, turning what was on a paper a credible villain into a minor nuisance or someone whose main threat would be collateral damage on others, which could get dark quickly. Those who can penetrate the 100 point threshold will be major threats, but Dr. Z can likely take 1-3 such hits before being taken out – assuming the GM isn’t using SAS’s busted critical hit system. (But that’s a rant for another time.) He can also deliver more damage in SAS than in V&V, though that can be hard to capture given the differences in how the systems handle damage.
Depending on the GM, his Dynamic Powers would require more rulebook references than this Force Fields in V&V, but not so much as to be a serious drag on play. On the plus side, the existence of actual mechanics for his force fields versatility puts more control in my hands as a player in case there’s some trust issue with the GM. I generally don’t play with GMs with whom I have trust issues, but everyone might not be as lucky.
Tomorrow I’ll go easy on myself and map him into the old Marvel Super Heroes rules, and then tackle the nightmare that is DC Heroes.