DC RPG: The Hero Points Podcast, Episode 1!

It's pretty exciting! I'm joining the Fire and Water family of podcasts and collaborating with the inestimable Irredeemable Shag to talk DC Comics role-playing on an occasional basis (let's call it a quarterly for now). The inaugural episode of the HERO POINTS podcast tackles the very first role-playing game set in the DC Universe - Mayfair's DC Heroes RPG, 1st edition! Future episodes will examine various products from DCH, West End's DCU and Green Ronin's DC Adv.

Be sure to check out DC RPG: THE HERO POINTS PODCAST on iTunes as part of THE FIRE AND WATER PODCAST feed! Alternatively, you can download the podcast by right-clicking here, choosing "Save Target/Link As", and selecting a location on your computer to save the file.

(We apologize in advance for some distortion on my end of things for a short bit around the middle of the 'cast. Shag blames his software and I blame my equipment, but regardless, we'll work hard to fix it for future Hero Points episodes.)

Important websites
The Fire and Water Tumblr for images from this box set.
Shag can always be found at Firestorm Fan where he pays tribute to Firestorm every day.
Writeups.org can be found here.
And this is my own DCH write-up site circa 2001.

As promised on the show, here's the Daily Planet page that started me on my journey to recreate, then having failed, find the DC Heroes RPG.
Please, share your memories of the game in the comments (or on superhero role-playing in general), and we'll make sure to give you a mention in our listener feedback when the second episode rolls around.

Let's roll!


American Hawkman said...

I actually discovered the Mayfair version after it had been discontinued, but have been using it for years since. We've had PCs that were secretly Manhunters, taken on Darkseid on Apokalips, and had some epic scale adventures. The Mayfair version had its problems... it was NOT easy to build a sorcerer... but I loved it.

Siskoid said...

Yeah, magic is a pain, unless the character's bag of tricks is fairly limited (we had a Haitian sorceress in our very first campaign, played by a non-gamer, and she went on for years, thanks to very specific "spells" rather than wish fulfillment "Sorcery").

My avatar NPC was replaced by a Manhunter too.

American Hawkman said...

I actually got a chance to run the Phantom Stranger as a PC in another GM' s campaign to help him out. There's something inherently fun about that.

Siskoid said...

Oh wow, that is NOT an obvious character to play. I would have played up the disco medallion, myself.

idiotbrigade said...

I absolutely love playing a GL that has only been seen in a single panel of some splash page.

Considering the sheer lunacy of some GLs, the fact that this one, affectionately named Br'k, is at times the most effective and emotive characters, despite being deaf/mute/mindless. Its fun, combined with the Russian Roulette-like system of rotating characters.

The DCHeroes / Dr.Who system gestalt works wonders so-far. Hooray!


Siskoid said...

Oh Furn... Trolling my games with his character concepts since 2010.

And now trolling Shag as well.

Bob Buethe said...

I first got into role-playing games with Villains & Vigilantes -- an early superhero RPG with a great character generation system, but draggy combat. When DC Heroes came out, we converted all of our PCs to the Mayfair rules, and had a great time with it. As both the GM and the only serious DC fan in the group, I enjoyed sneaking in minor DC villains and heroes that the players didn't recognize.

Bob Buethe said...

Something that made me laugh in the first edition rules: The essay on the history of the DC universe had a minor typo. Instead of saying that Metamorpho got his powers from "the Orb of Ra in Egypt," it said "the Orb of Rain Egypt." A minor slip -- but in the game's lengthy list of legal notices, it said that "Rain Egypt" is a trademark of DC Comics. I guess the lawyers didn't recognize the mistake.

American Hawkman said...

My group doesn't have half the DC knowledge that I do either... so they totally didn't expect, say, Zebra-Man. That ended with the villain hijacking a train and using his repulsion power to take it off-road... one of the best action sequences I've ever run in any system. Good times. I also did a one-off villain campaign with the players getting hired onto a new Fearsome Five by Doctor Light before Identity Crisis hit. There's a lot of fun in watching your players scheme on how to hold off the JLA for three hours... and even more fun in using their characters as Light's supporting team the next time he popped up in the main campaign.

Jeff R. said...

Owned it and a few of the supplements (Ambush Bug, the first Watchmen, and some of the Legion stuff), but it didn't get much play; supers play was usually Champions and if not that, GURPS.

Pout said...

"I was so used to playing fantasy or superheroes that it was all about punching or shooting. Playing Dr.Who became quite challenging." -Shag

Oh man, I so went through that as well! So many Dr.Who adventures left me totally puzzled as to how to go forward and fix the problems posed by the GM...EVEN THOUGH our superhero/fantasy stuff wasn,t even THAT focused on fighting.

But back to the question of DC Heroes experiences:

I was in one of Siskoid's groups (The Crusaders - http://siskoid.com/RPG/Crusaders/index.html). I remember realy loving DC Heroes for the diversity chargen offered, the schedule flexibility a game of Supers offers and most of all: the power stunts. I absolutely loved trying to figure out new and exciting ways to push my character's powers to new uses.

It was also our first time delving into mini-session subplots which forced us to flesh out our character's individual story lines. It made us into better character writers.

Siskoid said...

Jeff: I played a lot of GURPS, but never got to GURPS Supers, though I was very interested in doing the sort of realistic low-powered superhero gaming GURPS seemed to promote. (Indeed, my very first GURPS book was GURPS Wild Cards for Supers). How was it?

Bebert said...

I miss all of that, if i remember correctly, i played Blue Devil once...but way overshadowed by Red Tornado ;)

Siskoid said...

B-Bert is the player who "knows who he is" (yes, I just outed him).

yeah, you played Blue Devil and Mark Doiron was Red Tornemo. Whenever a player would return to town (or in Bert's case, the group went to THEIR town) and not have a continuing character in the campaign, I would hand them a DC character. That's how Reddy, Blue Devil and Plastic Man wound up in the "Crusaders".

Jeff R. said...

It seemed to work out well enough. The game was in the 90's, and so 90's flavored, with the PCs as government sponsored superpeople (this being the only alternative to outlaw, of course).

This was 3rd edition, and in that version going heavy into actual superpowers tended to be less efficient than using other systems, at least at the point levels of this game. (My character was mostly using the cyberpunk books; another was using magic as I recall, and there may have been a Psionic as well. Superworlds in GURPS tend to be 'anything goes' for character generation) The 4th edition rules make it easier to actually use powers, I think.

Siskoid said...

When 4th came out, I adopted a lot of tweaks from its GURPS Lite into my 3e games, but never went further. The nuts and bolts driven 4e, while efficient and truly "generic" wasn't half as much fun as tracking down all manner of sourcebooks, the experience 3e gave me.

Bob Buethe said...

My group was mostly into GURPS for several campaigns... except for superheroes. The GURPS system is so weighted toward realism that a whole bunch of optional rules had to be included in GURPS Supers to simulate the extremely-powerful-but-rarely-lethal superpowers of the comics. With all of the rule modifications, it barely seemed like the same game. I decided it was easier to use DC Heroes for superhero gaming and GURPS for everything else.
(Just FYI, we'd also played V&V, AD&D, The Fantasy Trip, Call of Cthulhu, Star Trek, Star Wars, Bushido, Paranoia, and James Bond 007.)

Siskoid said...

You named a couple of my favorites in there, i.e. Paranoia and JB007 (such gorgeous adventure boxes!).

De said...

I received the 1st edition box set for Christmas in 1986 and brought it with me on the annual Christmas vacation to Georgia. Shortly after arriving at our destination, I began pouring through the Read This First booklet and acquainted myself with the action tables by having Aquaman fight Brainiac.

He lost... badly.

Siskoid said...

He may have been over-matched. Next time, try to short-circuit underwater.


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