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  • Powers vs. RP

    I saw a thread somewhere, maybe Big Purp (RPG.net, for the noobs), where it was said supers RPGs aren't, or shouldn't be, about Powers.

    Led me to think (always a bad thing).

    In regard to comics, are superhero adventures really about the protags' exercise of power (eye beams, fighting, super-senses, ect.) or are they Soap Operas where powers are just minutiae? If so, why is action such a heavy trigger for gamers in these games? Is the 'story' (big word) the true game and powers fluff?

    I've read a few of the longer campaigns on the forum and story is huge: character & setting development & all. The Meta-morphic nature of the Crinoverse. Tattoedman's ongoing game is very tight story-wise, as well. The analysis made me pause.

    Where are the strong points of your personal games: combat or non-combat activities? I only ask because I considered a game of heavy PC-NPC interaction that worked 'story' outside of powers (as best as possible) for my next opus. Just to see if players could shoulder the 'narrative weight' I can produce. I never really considered a supers RPG drawing the kind of players that would embrace heavy-RP, but, we'll see.

    What are your experiences as GMs & players? How important are all those precious powers? Could you weather a game without them, outside of combat? Big question: Does the limited usage of your powers add or diminish from the overall supers experience? Key: are there crucial points in the game where not using powers and falling on RP would be delicious, opposed to 'that typical combat scenario'?

    Your welcomed to lie to me, as long as it's provocative.

    And thanks.
    [URL="http://roninarmy.com/threads/1243-My-Dream-House"]My Dream House[/URL]

  • #2
    Re: Powers vs. RP

    I think powers are a critical part of each character and have an impact on story, etc. In comics, stories like the Dark Phoenix Saga center around both the character's powers and how those powers impact the character.

    I don't think the game needs to center entirely on those powers, of course. I think character personality, motivation, agendas, etc. are more critical than powers, but if the powers are dispensable, what makes superhero games different from other genres?

    I think that sometimes people have a tendency to establish a dichotomy between roleplaying and combat. Especially when dealing with players who seem to be more interested in having a minimaxed combat monster in preference to focusing on the character as a person, and that's a fair criticism. But I also think that character design is a way for players to signal what they want to do, so someone who focuses on combat wants to have opportunities to fight stuff, and that's not necessarily a bad thing.

    I think a game that is all combat would be pretty boring, though.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Powers vs. RP

      Originally posted by dream View Post
      In regard to comics, are superhero adventures really about the protags' exercise of power (eye beams, fighting, super-senses, ect.) or are they Soap Operas where powers are just minutiae? If so, why is action such a heavy trigger for gamers in these games? Is the 'story' (big word) the true game and powers fluff?
      Good question & there is an answer, there are two answers, ones the short answer & the other its a little involved.

      The short answer to your question of "In regard to comics, are superhero adventures really about the protags' exercise of power (eye beams, fighting, super-senses, ect.) or are they Soap Operas where powers are just minutiae" is; yes, also no.

      I know, that's as clear as mud, but bear with me for the slightly longer answer

      Okay so 10 years ago when M&M first came out, I got super psyched.... I could finally run a supers RPG that didn't involve playing for 3 hours just to get through a single combat round, like champions.

      *wavy flashback & reverb echo on "champions, champions, champions"*

      I decided I was going to run a soap opera style game of grudges & secrets & story twists.... Needless to say it crashed and burned in less sessions than I want to admit to. An why did it crash and burn? Because there was no substance to it: By trying to focus on the soap opera side of things from the start I failed to provide anything of depth & the combat fell flat because no one cared.

      What I learnt over time was simply that story isn't either, its both. Both the application of powers & the soap opera aspects are both vital aspects, two sides of the same coin that is story (regardless of medium, either RPG or comic). Its like asking "I'm writing a sentence, which letters are important the consonants or the vowels." They are both vitally important, without them you barely have coherent words, let alone a coherent sentence.

      So in that regard the answer to your question is yes: Superhero adventures really about the protags' exercise of powers, while at the same time being exactly a Soap Opera where powers are just minutiae. Which explains why so many comics are done so badly, because its a delicate balancing act between these two competing aspects.

      Its like that old philosophical adage: In every man there are two identical dogs (one good, one bad), fighting over an object, the question is only which dog will win. The answer is that neither can win, they must both pull in their opposite direction & so a precarious balance is maintained.
      “The very powerful and the very stupid have one thing in common. Instead of altering their views to fit the facts, they alter the facts to fit their views...which can be very uncomfortable if you happen to be one of the facts that needs altering.”

      -Doctor Who

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Powers vs. RP

        For me it comes down to trying to find a balance between story & powers.

        People playing in a super hero game want to "use" their character's eye beams, fighting, super-senses and whatnot powers because they like the idea of playing that kind of character, but without a decent story the players are going to get bored outside of the fighting which is where the powers come in. Because lets face it - the story is what the GM uses to keep his game going in-between fights while the players want to destroy the bad guys.


        At least that's my take on it.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Powers vs. RP

          Yep, gotta chime in with the classic answer of all lawyers everywhere: "Maybe."

          I've played campaigns (both supers and other genres) that were all action, all the time. I've played campaigns (both supers and not) that were all drama, soap operas, and diplomacy...

          Some of the best were the all-action.
          Some of the worst were the all-action.
          Some of the best were the all-drama.
          Some of the worst were the all-drama.
          Some of the best were the balanced.
          Some of the worst were the balanced.

          To paraphrase something Roger Ebert once said, it isn't what the campaign is about: it is how the campaign is about it. If you create a campaign about door-kicking, hack-n-slashing then make it the best gorram hack-n-slash game ever. If you make a high-concept, introspective personal drama campaign, make it the best you possibly can.

          Just as my DVD shelf has room for L'Avventura by Antonioni and The Avengers by Whedon, by gaming life has room for campaigns of all flavors.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Powers vs. RP

            I'd argue that in traditional superhero comics its usually a mix of both, but there are superhero settings that slid in one direction or another. Some only use the superheroes private life as flavoring on his adventuring/crimefighting life; others, his powers and actions are just the things that frame the impact they have on his personal life. I think I'd maintain the middle is more common than either, but that the latter is at least marginally the less common of the two in comics. It gets a little more complicated in other media (as Smallville demonstrated).

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Powers vs. RP

              In my experience, for MnM powers aren't always offensive and can play a role in a soap opera type game. My longest lasting games were a mixture of both with drama occurring in combat even. In a PbP scenario it is more difficult to have the drama, but with the right players it can work out.

              What are your experiences as GMs & players? How important are all those precious powers? Could you weather a game without them, outside of combat? Big question: Does the limited usage of your powers add or diminish from the overall supers experience? Key: are there crucial points in the game where not using powers and falling on RP would be delicious, opposed to 'that typical combat scenario'?
              My longest lasting games were a mixture of both with drama occurring in combat even. In a PbP scenario it is more difficult to have the drama, but with the right players it can work out and an action scene here or there can liven up the game a bit once it starts dragging. For me as a player, using powers makes it more fun, but not if powers are the main thing. With a good story and other involved players, I could see myself playing a game with minimal or no powers. To echo the others who already posted, a great story can make up for no powers and a really fun use of powers can make up for an okay story. In addition to this, if you want to run a game with heavy interaction and heavy RP over power use I would suggest being more careful with picking your players(if you want to run it PbP) or come to an understanding with your gaming group as they need to all buy in completely with the idea. One of my games almost died because I made some poor choices with casting.
              [url=http://roninarmy.com/threads/46-mrdents-menagerie-of-characters]My characters past and present[/url]

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Powers vs. RP

                I personally think its kinda silly to think that Powers = Combat. While often they are, it isn't alway true.

                I mean, look at Heroes and just how many times they actually had /real/ combat. Granted, it did pretty much go to poo really quick. But still, very little combat in the series.
                Triskavanski's Graveyard of Characters

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Powers vs. RP

                  Originally posted by Triskavanski View Post
                  I personally think its kinda silly to think that Powers = Combat. While often they are, it isn't alway true.

                  I mean, look at Heroes and just how many times they actually had /real/ combat. Granted, it did pretty much go to poo really quick. But still, very little combat in the series.
                  It is silly, but it's also fairly common.

                  I remember a conversation many years ago in which someone claimed that Shadowrun characters were nothing but their gear and that it was literally impossible to do anything but have lots of fights. This was a surprise to me because I had spent a lot of time playing Shadowrun in terms of the RP side of things alongside the combat side of things, and of course the equipment and cyberware doesn't just have a use in combat.

                  But for some people it's a strict dichotomy, and the fact that it's also a false dichotomy is not important to them.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Powers vs. RP

                    My own view, much like mrdent12, is that what sorts of stories one tells depends greatly on the group you have at hand. Some mesh harmoniously, and the stories almost tell themselves, while others barely maintain civility and the stories are a major struggle just to get through the first chapter. I've mostly been blessed with the latter, but as that group is no more as various people move around the globe, following the work, it's become much more of a mixed bag of late. Mostly, I run solo stuff with my wife on an almost nightly basis, where very little combat occurs, and the Powers are treated more as an aspect of the characters nature, rather than something to really focus on. A few of the people I've met of late seem quite the opposite, where the Powers are everything, and the actual character is little more than a pile of stats with some caraciture of personality tossed in when they need to interact with the environment. Obviously, that doesn't mix so well with heavy RP types, and conflict is inevitable, with things often ending poorly.

                    That being said, some of those seemingly stat-obsessed types can come around, and turn that pile of crunch into a surprising amount of fluffy stuff. I had one fellow with a teleporter type, who was mostly a sarcastic prick at first, meet a cute doctor NPC, and in an attempt to impress the lady, started to sift through medical texts to have more to talk about. The next thing I knew he was asking if he could use his Teleport effect to array into a healing effect by teleporting another person and filtering out the harmful bacteria and virii and the like with an expertise: medicine check, kinda like a transporter bio-filter from Star Trek. Of course I had to say 'sure!', and was more than a little surprised to see his character start to evolve and mature into the team healer. So I guess that's the long way of saying that to some, Powers define their characters, and others see it as Powers serving to refine their characters, and others barely think about their Powers at all.

                    Ultimately though, I tend to view Supers RPGs as being about striving to be a better (not perfect) person, regardless of having Powers or not. Othes will have different takes of course, but that's mine and it works for me.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Powers vs. RP

                      Originally posted by ResplendentFire View Post
                      I remember a conversation many years ago in which someone claimed that Shadowrun characters were nothing but their gear and that it was literally impossible to do anything but have lots of fights. This was a surprise to me because I had spent a lot of time playing Shadowrun in terms of the RP side of things alongside the combat side of things, and of course the equipment and cyberware doesn't just have a use in combat.
                      I've been playing Shadowrun since it's initial release waaay back when. My old college gaming group's longest lasting campaign was run under SR3, two and a half years of weekly gaming (with a few breaks here and there). Easily over 100 game sessions... My character only fired his weapons three times. Once to signal our rendezvous boat to pick us up (radio was busted), once to prove to a prospective Mr. Johnson that my aim was as good as advertised, and once to take out a target. That was my only shot fired in combat...

                      ...and I was the party's sniper, so it's not like I was playing a non-combatant decker or an unarmed physical adept.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Powers vs. RP

                        Originally posted by Batgirl III View Post
                        I've been playing Shadowrun since it's initial release waaay back when. My old college gaming group's longest lasting campaign was run under SR3, two and a half years of weekly gaming (with a few breaks here and there). Easily over 100 game sessions... My character only fired his weapons three times. Once to signal our rendezvous boat to pick us up (radio was busted), once to prove to a prospective Mr. Johnson that my aim was as good as advertised, and once to take out a target. That was my only shot fired in combat...

                        ...and I was the party's sniper, so it's not like I was playing a non-combatant decker or an unarmed physical adept.
                        Yeah, this is what I hear from people who play SR, and is closer to my experiences.

                        So weird that someone would try to sacrifice Shadowrun on the altar of powers vs. roleplay. I mean, Shadowrun does put a lot of rules into cyberware, bioware, and weapons. The writers also spend a lot of time on social aspects and emphasizing importance of stuff like care and feeding of contacts.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Powers vs. RP

                          Originally posted by ResplendentFire View Post
                          I think powers are a critical part of each character and have an impact on story, etc. In comics, stories like the Dark Phoenix Saga center around both the character's powers and how those powers impact the character.

                          I don't think the game needs to center entirely on those powers, of course. I think character personality, motivation, agendas, etc. are more critical than powers, but if the powers are dispensable, what makes superhero games different from other genres?
                          Powers? "Twilight" was vampires, but the trad monster stuff was almost a handwave. It was about a forbidden romance, kind of like every superhero romance, right?

                          "I can't love you ........ it's too dangerous - for both of us."

                          I think character can trump the importance of powers - I mean in a way that makes players forget they have them, until they realize the distance their powers places between them and their relationships(?)

                          Originally posted by ResplendentFire View Post
                          I think that sometimes people have a tendency to establish a dichotomy between roleplaying and combat. Especially when dealing with players who seem to be more interested in having a minimaxed combat monster in preference to focusing on the character as a person, and that's a fair criticism. But I also think that character design is a way for players to signal what they want to do, so someone who focuses on combat wants to have opportunities to fight stuff, and that's not necessarily a bad thing.

                          I think a game that is all combat would be pretty boring, though.
                          Agreed, a thousandfold. Thanks, RF.


                          Originally posted by saint_matthew View Post
                          Good question & there is an answer, there are two answers, ones the short answer & the other its a little involved.

                          The short answer to your question of "In regard to comics, are superhero adventures really about the protags' exercise of power (eye beams, fighting, super-senses, ect.) or are they Soap Operas where powers are just minutiae" is; yes, also no.

                          I know, that's as clear as mud, but bear with me for the slightly longer answer

                          Okay so 10 years ago when M&M first came out, I got super psyched.... I could finally run a supers RPG that didn't involve playing for 3 hours just to get through a single combat round, like champions.

                          *wavy flashback & reverb echo on "champions, champions, champions"*
                          *Standing on rooftop, golden-sunset painting my cape whipping in the early-evening air high above the city ....."Champions, Champions, Champions" .... yeah*

                          Originally posted by saint_matthew View Post
                          I decided I was going to run a soap opera style game of grudges & secrets & story twists.... Needless to say it crashed and burned in less sessions than I want to admit to. An why did it crash and burn? Because there was no substance to it: By trying to focus on the soap opera side of things from the start I failed to provide anything of depth & the combat fell flat because no one cared.

                          What I learnt over time was simply that story isn't either, its both. Both the application of powers & the soap opera aspects are both vital aspects, two sides of the same coin that is story (regardless of medium, either RPG or comic). Its like asking "I'm writing a sentence, which letters are important the consonants or the vowels." They are both vitally important, without them you barely have coherent words, let alone a coherent sentence.

                          So in that regard the answer to your question is yes: Superhero adventures really about the protags' exercise of powers, while at the same time being exactly a Soap Opera where powers are just minutiae. Which explains why so many comics are done so badly, because its a delicate balancing act between these two competing aspects.

                          Its like that old philosophical adage: In every man there are two identical dogs (one good, one bad), fighting over an object, the question is only which dog will win. The answer is that neither can win, they must both pull in their opposite direction & so a precarious balance is maintained.
                          Balance. That word is the Omnipsychic-cry of RPGs across the Gamerverse. Some love it, some hate it, but everyone has an opinion. I agreed that you need to give a full supply of both, leaning more or less in the direction of what your individual players want, without going insane in the process.

                          St. M, you are always l.a.s.e.r.-precision, thanks.


                          Originally posted by Tattooedman View Post
                          For me it comes down to trying to find a balance between story & powers.

                          People playing in a super hero game want to "use" their character's eye beams, fighting, super-senses and whatnot powers because they like the idea of playing that kind of character, but without a decent story the players are going to get bored outside of the fighting which is where the powers come in. Because lets face it - the story is what the GM uses to keep his game going in-between fights while the players want to destroy the bad guys.


                          At least that's my take on it.
                          Really? That almost makes anything non-combat/power seem .... auxillary(?) to power-use. But, I've read your games and your ability to tangle powers, character, and encounters is remarkable. I grew just reading!

                          After decades of combat-heaviness, I'm embracing characters, not that players will provide them, but, I'm looking towards what players can learn about their PCs, versus how many power points they need for that next AE.

                          Thanks for taking the time from your games, TM. Very appreciated!


                          Originally posted by Batgirl III View Post
                          Yep, gotta chime in with the classic answer of all lawyers everywhere: "Maybe."
                          Noooooooooo! "The Matt Murdock" open!

                          Originally posted by Batgirl III View Post
                          I've played campaigns (both supers and other genres) that were all action, all the time. I've played campaigns (both supers and not) that were all drama, soap operas, and diplomacy...

                          Some of the best were the all-action.
                          Some of the worst were the all-action.
                          Some of the best were the all-drama.
                          Some of the worst were the all-drama.
                          Some of the best were the balanced.
                          Some of the worst were the balanced.

                          To paraphrase something Roger Ebert once said, it isn't what the campaign is about: it is how the campaign is about it. If you create a campaign about door-kicking, hack-n-slashing then make it the best gorram hack-n-slash game ever. If you make a high-concept, introspective personal drama campaign, make it the best you possibly can.

                          Just as my DVD shelf has room for L'Avventura by Antonioni and The Avengers by Whedon, by gaming life has room for campaigns of all flavors.
                          Whedon? You're so eclectic. His films drive me crazy - throw-popcorn-crazy.

                          Thanks for chiming, Batgirl. I always aim for 'best', but it's never an easy target.


                          Originally posted by Darkdreamer View Post
                          I'd argue that in traditional superhero comics its usually a mix of both, but there are superhero settings that slid in one direction or another. Some only use the superheroes private life as flavoring on his adventuring/crimefighting life; others, his powers and actions are just the things that frame the impact they have on his personal life. I think I'd maintain the middle is more common than either, but that the latter is at least marginally the less common of the two in comics. It gets a little more complicated in other media (as Smallville demonstrated).
                          I thought "Watchmen" was more characters with dabs of powers, while the usual DC Crisis events were heavy-powers with intermittent dabs of character. This might be the most insightful of the responses yet: "... powers & actions are just the things that frame the impact they have on his personal life."

                          I like that one.

                          How powers reverberate through the hero's life, like a series of water ripples, continually striking the shore of his/her environments, outside of their control - unless he/she quits using them. I'll be thinking about that for days! Thanks, Darkdreamer


                          Originally posted by mrdent12 View Post
                          In my experience, for MnM powers aren't always offensive and can play a role in a soap opera type game. My longest lasting games were a mixture of both with drama occurring in combat even. In a PbP scenario it is more difficult to have the drama, but with the right players it can work out.
                          Truth @ in a PbP. One needs that right gathering of RPG talent.

                          Originally posted by mrdent12 View Post
                          My longest lasting games were a mixture of both with drama occurring in combat even. In a PbP scenario it is more difficult to have the drama, but with the right players it can work out and an action scene here or there can liven up the game a bit once it starts dragging. For me as a player, using powers makes it more fun, but not if powers are the main thing. With a good story and other involved players, I could see myself playing a game with minimal or no powers. To echo the others who already posted, a great story can make up for no powers and a really fun use of powers can make up for an okay story. In addition to this, if you want to run a game with heavy interaction and heavy RP over power use I would suggest being more careful with picking your players(if you want to run it PbP) or come to an understanding with your gaming group as they need to all buy in completely with the idea. One of my games almost died because I made some poor choices with casting.
                          That initial understanding of "What is this?" is crucial, indeed. Everyone must be on board and cognizant of the game's direction. Having that ideal, or at least willing, group, on- or offline, is perhaps the foundation of a satisfying campaign. For everyone.

                          Thanks, MrD!


                          Originally posted by Triskavanski View Post
                          I personally think its kinda silly to think that Powers = Combat. While often they are, it isn't alway true.

                          I mean, look at Heroes and just how many times they actually had /real/ combat. Granted, it did pretty much go to poo really quick. But still, very little combat in the series.
                          I've tried to envision DCA JLA, just an episode or two, with no powers.

                          I could see the dialogue, since the characters are so rich, but that's not why people watch it. It's the powers & Watchtower & villain battles. It's the glitz? "Law & Order, (insert comic-book city)"?

                          The concept of a combat-less game would be ridiculously-attractive, but hardly feasible, sadly. Powers have so many other uses, even ones traditionally combat-oriented (didn't Logan open beer cans with his claws on occasion?)

                          Thank you, Trisk!


                          Originally posted by Stigger View Post
                          My own view, much like mrdent12, is that what sorts of stories one tells depends greatly on the group you have at hand. Some mesh harmoniously, and the stories almost tell themselves, while others barely maintain civility and the stories are a major struggle just to get through the first chapter. I've mostly been blessed with the latter, but as that group is no more as various people move around the globe, following the work, it's become much more of a mixed bag of late. Mostly, I run solo stuff with my wife on an almost nightly basis, where very little combat occurs, and the Powers are treated more as an aspect of the characters nature, rather than something to really focus on. A few of the people I've met of late seem quite the opposite, where the Powers are everything, and the actual character is little more than a pile of stats with some caraciture of personality tossed in when they need to interact with the environment. Obviously, that doesn't mix so well with heavy RP types, and conflict is inevitable, with things often ending poorly.
                          Yep: ran an offline Pathfinder group a few months ago & the battles between the RP-types & Munchkin-type were epic-ugly. I can still hear my sighs echoing across the room

                          Originally posted by Stigger View Post
                          That being said, some of those seemingly stat-obsessed types can come around, and turn that pile of crunch into a surprising amount of fluffy stuff. I had one fellow with a teleporter type, who was mostly a sarcastic prick at first, meet a cute doctor NPC, and in an attempt to impress the lady, started to sift through medical texts to have more to talk about. The next thing I knew he was asking if he could use his Teleport effect to array into a healing effect by teleporting another person and filtering out the harmful bacteria and virii and the like with an expertise: medicine check, kinda like a transporter bio-filter from Star Trek. Of course I had to say 'sure!', and was more than a little surprised to see his character start to evolve and mature into the team healer. So I guess that's the long way of saying that to some, Powers define their characters, and others see it as Powers serving to refine their characters, and others barely think about their Powers at all.

                          Ultimately though, I tend to view Supers RPGs as being about striving to be a better (not perfect) person, regardless of having Powers or not. Othes will have different takes of course, but that's mine and it works for me.
                          See, that's the kind of response I'm looking for. Players who dig-into the RP. You had an excellent player there & your encouragement just fed a great story in progress. It's subtle and yet so powerful to see that kind of RP unfold.

                          Thanks, Stigger ....... and did you intro the cute doc looking for that kind of reaction? Or was it just chance?


                          Originally posted by Batgirl III View Post
                          I've been playing Shadowrun since it's initial release waaay back when. My old college gaming group's longest lasting campaign was run under SR3, two and a half years of weekly gaming (with a few breaks here and there). Easily over 100 game sessions... My character only fired his weapons three times. Once to signal our rendezvous boat to pick us up (radio was busted), once to prove to a prospective Mr. Johnson that my aim was as good as advertised, and once to take out a target. That was my only shot fired in combat...

                          ...and I was the party's sniper, so it's not like I was playing a non-combatant decker or an unarmed physical adept.
                          I don't believe you. Shadowrun? That looks like the confession of some small-town sheriff. Your GM must be very .......... accommodating. Seems like SR is "TPK City", especially with all the suicidal plans PCs come up with.

                          The response here was way more than expected. Many thanks again to everyone who offered advice, despite the fact that no one leaned left or right exclusively. Balance; The green grass of radiant adventures. I'll address this again, maybe from a Power-Level perspective, where the balancing act has to tip somewhat.
                          [URL="http://roninarmy.com/threads/1243-My-Dream-House"]My Dream House[/URL]

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Powers vs. RP

                            I don't believe you. Shadowrun? That looks like the confession of some small-town sheriff. Your GM must be very .......... accommodating. Seems like SR is "TPK City", especially with all the suicidal plans PCs come up with.
                            That particular group had a very specific approach to Shadowrunning, we were aiming for Ocean's Eleven and trying to avoid The Expendables. We ended up somewhere around Dirty Dozen.

                            "Be polite. Professional. Have a plan to frag every slotter you meet, chummer."

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Powers vs. RP

                              Almost every game I play in or run has a "powers element" whether it is in my Atlantis Unleashed Universe, Wyndgate, or my new Nighthaven setting. But that being said, the VAST majority of the gaming is roleplaying out the story. The powers are the tools the characters use, but are not the be-all of the game. MOST of our sessions are PC interactions with either NPCs or each other in the form of roleplaying conversations investigating situations, or playing politics. My players want to build a story with all of us contributing. I would say that is the same for most superhero roleplaying games. If it was solely about the powers, they'd be playing Heroclicks or some other miniatures game. But superhero roleplaying games are primarily about telling a good adventure story. And yes, they can turn into soap operas. Believe me! They can turn into soap operas! But in the end, it's a soap opera of a genre the players WANT. When you think about it, there are a lot of television genres that are simply soap operas in disguise: Dark Shadows (started as a soap opera), Smallville, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (*shudder*) Arrow, and I suspect the same will be true of Flash. The thing about them is that the good ones are SOAP OPERAS WITH POWERS!
                              Creator of the Wyndgate, Atlantis Unleashed, and Nighthaven Universes

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