A few years after I ran Necessary Evil, there was an article floating around the Internet highlighting the worst comic heroes and villains of all time. Now nearly every character mentioned in this article was very likely a short lived or barely used concept, which got me thinking. What if I could run a game wherein the literal worst Supers (Heroes or Villains) could take on a threat that is well beyond their means?
Still with me? Great! To get this idea off the ground will require both mechanics and inspiration. The first is the easiest part:
I suggest using Mutants and Masterminds to run this game. The general suggestion is to keep to PL 3 or 4 as the baseline, with 15 free points of drawbacks (power modifiers: flaws), or PL 5 with 30 free points in drawbacks (power modifiers: flaws). The idea is to make the power level as low as possible while still being a supers game. This is going to be tough, even punishing, but not impossible.
Now for the fun part! The real challenge will be to make a Super with semi-useful power(s) while balancing some sort of drawback. If you are still interested in running this game I challenge you to take one of the suggestions from the Inspiration list below and to create a team! You don’t have to make these exact Supers verbatim, but bonus points if you can legitimately get someone to play Eye-Scream… he needs his day in the sun.
Inspiration (Marvel Universe)
- Eye-Scream – Guy who can turn into any flavor of ice cream.
- Ulysses Archer – A head injury allowed him to receive CB signals. Magnets hurt him.
- Egghead – He’s smart and has egg shaped head
- Throg – A man turned frog who is like a mini Thor who can only speak to other animals and fights rats.
- New Men – Human-Animal things who can fight
- White Rabbit – A average rich lady with no powers and rides a giant robot shaped like a rabbit.
- Frogman – Guy in a Frog suit allowing him to jump up to 6 stories. Has trouble navigating and depending.
- Cypher – Speaks all the languages… with a crippling internet addiction.
Inspiration (DC Comics)
- Condiment King – Basically a guy with an industrial super soaker that shoots ketchup and mustard
- Sportsmaster – Good at all the sports… all of them! Useful when the fate of the universe hinges on a game of Jai Alai!
- Kite-Man – Has a big kite to fly around.
- Arm-Fall-Off-Boy – Can tear off his own arm to smack people with! F**k yeah!
- The Reb Bee – An animal trainer with his own trained bumblebee that he throws at people. Yes, just one.
- Dr Spectro – His costume make people feel negative emotions, not just because it’s ugly
- Proty – Just your run of the mill amorphous blob that has tepid (at best) telepathic abilities
- Matter Eater Lad – Can eat anything… ANYTHING! Frequent winner of steak eating competitions, no doubt.
Sh**t Team, Assemble!!!
So now begs the question, how the hell did this rag-tag groups of rejects get into this situation? And more importantly, what do they do now? As it turns out, we have plenty of ideas to work from!
Task Force X/Suicide Squad – The team is forced into working together, possibly with their very lives hanging in the balance if they don’t cooperate.
The Grandmaster – Basically, some sort of powerful cosmic entity forces the PC to become pawns in a galactic tourney or game of chance.
The Initiative – Taking a queue for Marvel, your team could be made up of minor heroes or reformed villains that are now forced to work in the very remote rural regions of America. Think Idaho, North Dakota or Wyoming.
Picked Last – And if those don’t work for you, simply make it so that you are the only ones left to do the job. Even the D-listers are on assignment.
Whichever you chose or make up, remember that help is not coming! It’s do or die!
We have our cast, and the reason why they are together… now they need a threat! What are the goal of the PCs and threat, respectively? Regardless of what you choose, it should be obvious from the get go. A clear defined path from A to B is a must. Again, we have ideas:
Steal the Thing – If the group has to acquire something, it has to be big, dangerous or important (hopefully all three). Think like stealing a powerful item (Infinity stones), a giant space ship (like a Star Destroyer Equivalent), etc.
Stop the Thing – Again, think: Big, Dangerous or Important! I’m talking about stopping a secret extraterrestrial invasion (Pod People?), WMD or equivalent! This need to be something that only they know about and have the opportunity to stop.
Kill the Thing – Simple enough concept, but difficult in execution. They don’t have to take on Thanos, but it would be funny if they did! Don’t tell me the image of Arm-Fall-Off-Boy hitting Thanos doesn’t make you laugh.
Outsmart or Outwit the Thing – Going back to Grandmaster idea above, perhaps the team has to outwit a cosmic entity, or play in it’s game. Perhaps the team could even take on an Old One? There is certainly room for underpowered supers to take on Cuthulu.
What happens if they win?
Interesting question! So lets say they accomplish the goal, whatever it may be. In a sense, you need to return things to the status quo. If they win at the cosmic game, perhaps the entity will just unceremoniously return them to Earth. Even still, if they stop something on Earth, perhaps it’s done in a way where they were the only witnesses. Deniability is king here.
Overall, make sure to follow three main rules: Rule of Fun, Rule of Cool & Rule of Funny. Also, remember that this game is meant to be a challenge, and for many players, they will be a one trick pony. If you can handle all of that, an amazing game awaits! Have fun, and let us know if you tried this out!