On Tuesday 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, and now exists in Silver Age Sentinels, HERO and, as of Today,
With another high fidelity map over, how will this play? I suspect very well. The powers work nicely, the system encourages creativity and there’s little to no concern with real world weapon damage benchmarks to make me worry about the force field strength. Zach still can’t do a lot of damage, but MSH isn’t constructed around combat the way that HERO was (with its rigorous application of attacks against defense) so it’s not as much of an issue. The character was always meant as a versatile high defense, low offence scientist, and that’s what we’ve got. Cambias made a comment off line yesterday that some systems exert their own gravitational pull, trying to mold character design into certain specific shapes. I suspect that MHS does that as much as HERO does, but that Zach already fits into some of MSH’s standard molds so it feels right.
Inventing was a potential problem in HERO and there’s a neat comparison here. MSH provides very clear guidelines for inventions, so Dr. Z will be able to automatically do certain things but have a poor chance for wild and wacky breakthroughs. V&V lacks any sort of system on this, while SAS and HERO both fall back on point cost for things. In Marvel building a dimensional portal is damn hard and written up as such, while in SAS Dimension Hop is a cheap power but the GM could apply a -10 penalty to Zach’s roll to build a dimension hop device. Or a -1. Or a +5. Whatever he wants. Dimensional Travel is a more expensive power in HERO, but the issue is still the same, and with a 50 point Gadget Pool Zach could easily afford to build one, and the difficulty of the roll is capped at -5 (1/10 the points in the Gadget Pool), with bonuses for extra time – the GM can’t even move to hose him with a high die penalty! Those 50 points are mine and I’ll spend them how I see fit! In any event, it’s interesting to see where the trust issues lie in the games and that MSH, for all its high trust, removes Inventing power from both the GM and the Player and puts it in the system.