HeroQuest and Supers – Part 3

This is the final part of a series of posts (part 1, part 2) on using the HeroQuest RPG to run a superhero game.

Example Characters

For these characters, I’m using the character write-ups on Marvel.com and the Marvel Universe Wiki.

Spider-Man

Here is Spider-Man’s 100-word write-up, taken from his entry on Marvel.com and edited slightly to fit into the 100 words:

Bitten by a radioactive spider, high school student Peter Parker gained the speed, strength and powers of a spider. Taught that with great power comes great responsibility, Spidey vowed to use his powers to help people. Peter can cling to most surfaces, has superhuman strength and is 15 times more agile than a regular human. His acrobatic leaps and web-slinging enables him to travel rapidly from place to place. His spider-sense provides an early warning detection system, enabling him the ability to evade most any injury. Peter is an accomplished scientist, inventor and photographer who lives with his Aunt May.

I’ve underlined the abilities in the above paragraph so you can see where they came from. Here is Spider-Man’s list of abilities:

Origin:
Bitten by a radioactive spider
With great power comes great responsibility
Vowed to use his powers to help people

Powers:
Speed, strength and powers of a spider
Cling to most surfaces
Superhuman strength
15 times more agile than a regular human
Acrobatic leaps
Web-slinging
Travel rapidly from place to place
Spider-sense
Evade most any injury

Regular Life:
High school student
Scientist, inventor and photographer
Aunt May

Note that some people might break out scientist, inventor and photographer into three separate abilities, I’ve chosen to leave them into one overall skill-set ability here. Both are valid options.

Of course, this description leaves out his constant wisecracking, which has often been used to save his life as he drives a villain into to blind rage, forcing them to make mistakes.

If I was going to use the List Method of character generation, I would take a different approach. Here is how I might define Spider-Man using this method:

Spider-Powers [keyword]

  • Proportionate strength of a spider
  • Superhuman agility
  • Web-slinging

Secret Identity [keyword]

  • Aunt May
  • High school student
  • Scientist, inventor and photographer
  • Continuous wisecracking banter

With great power comes great responsibility

Note that both Spider-Powers and Secret Identity are keywords, and he has one separate ability that doesn’t really fall under either keyword, With great power comes great responsibility.

You can see how the List Method compresses a bunch of abilities under the keywords. For example, I didn’t call out his Spider-sense or his Wall-crawling abilities, as the keyword covers that and they don’t really need to be broken out unless the player wants to raise them above the keyword.

In this kind of game, I would probably rule that the keywords cannot be raised on their own—only the breakouts can be raised. This allows the player to better focus their game-version of the Spider-Man character on the specific things he or she is finds most interesting.

Thor

This is a bit harder to boil down to only 100 words, but I’m going to give it a try. Again, the write-up below comes directly from Thor’s entry on Marvel.com, edited to get it down to 100 words.

As the Norse God of thunder and lightning, Thor wields the enchanted hammer Mjolnir. He’s quite smart and compassionate, and also self-assured—he would never stop fighting for a worthwhile cause. As the son of Odin and Gaea, Thor’s strength, endurance and resistance to injury are greater than the majority of his superhuman race. He is extremely long-lived, immune to conventional disease and highly resistant to injury. His flesh and bones are several times denser than a human’s. Thor is trained in the arts of war, being a superbly skilled warrior, highly proficient in hand-to-hand combat, swordsmanship and hammer throwing.

Here is Thor’s list of abilities:

Origin:
Norse God of thunder and lightning
Son of Odin and Gaea
Superhuman race

Powers:
Enchanted hammer Mjolnir
Strength, endurance and resistance to injury
Extremely long-lived
Immune to conventional disease
Highly resistant to injury
Flesh and bones are several times denser than a human’s

The Man Himself:
Quite smart
Compassionate
Self-assured
Never stop fighting for a worthwhile cause
Trained in the arts of war
Superbly skilled warrior
Hand-to-hand combat
Swordsmanship
Hammer throwing

Once I listed his abilities, I see that there are some redundancies. For example, his resistance to injury is listed under two abilities, and his combat skills have a lot of overlap. If this was a player designing a character, I might encourage him or her to adjust the description to get rid of the repetitive bits and perhaps add something about being in the Avengers, or his relationship to the Warriors Three, or something else like that.

I’m going to skip the List Method here, as it will be similar to what I did with Spider-Man above, compressing some of the abilities under keywords. But the gist of the character will be the same.

Iron Man

This one is a bit different, as Tony Stark himself is a human being with no superpowers of his own (even though he is a genius). All his super abilities come from the armor that he invented and wears.

Captured by terrorists, billionaire industrialist Tony Stark created an advanced suit of armor to save his life. With a new outlook on life, and accompanied by his assistant Pepper Potts, Tony uses his money and intelligence to make the world a safer, better place. Tony has a genius level intellect that allows him to invent sophisticated devices. He also possesses a keen business mind. The armor includes many rays, bolts, missiles and projectiles, sonic generators, magnetic field generators, a laser torch built into the finger of Tony’s gauntlet, and the armor’s surface can generate an electric charge to dispel attackers.

I had to go to the Marvel Universe Wiki to get additional information on Tony’s armor, and it was a struggle to keep this one down to 100 words. In the end, I compressed all the various weapons (repulsor rays, pulse bolts, mini-missiles, explosive shell projectiles) into “rays, bolts, missiles and projectiles” as we don’t need a high level of granularity for what amounts to the same overall effect (doing damage). The specific details of which attack Tony is using at any given time can remain part of the player’s and GM’s narrative.

I kept his sonic generators and his magnetic field generators as separate abilities, as I can see some creative uses of these different abilities in various situations, so I felt it was worth it to give them their own abilities. Other players and GMs might combine those to get a few more words to use for another ability.

Here are Tony’s abilities.

Origin:
Captured by terrorists
Billionaire industrialist

Special Equipment:
Advanced suit of armor
Rays, bolts, missiles, and projectiles
Sonic generators
Magnetic field generators
Laser torch
Electric charge to dispel attackers

Tony Stark:
New outlook on life
Assistant Pepper Potts
Make the world a safer, better place
Genius level intellect
Invent sophisticated devices
Keen business mind

Character Summary

All three of these characters are playable as written, and as a GM I would find it pretty easy to run a game with players selecting any or all of these.

However, as I mentioned previously, it’s important for all the players to be on the same page regarding the narrative specifics of these powers. For example, Spider-Man has Superhuman strength as an ability, and Thor has Strength, endurance and resistance to injury as an ability. But Thor’s strength far exceeds Spider-Man’s, though their actual ability ratings may not be very far apart in the game.

So the players need to have a few notes that define the range of these abilities and what they mean. This doesn’t have to be comprehensive, especially if the players are all familiar with the heroes (and villains) that show up in the game. This is where something like the Marvel Universe Wiki is very useful. The players can jot down some key definitions on the back of the character sheet so that it is handy if the question comes up in a game.

For example, the player of Spider-Man may want to note that his superhuman strength can lift up to 10 tons optimally (up to 25 tons max) and that he can use his web swing-lines to travel anywhere from 40 MPH to 110 MPH (depending on which source you reference), and Thor’s player should note that Thor can lift in excess of 100 tons.

Villains

But what about the villains? Well, one of the great things about HQ2 is that villains don’t need full stat blocks like heroes. Instead, the Resistance is used when the villain opposes the hero.

Note: I’ve been running games for a very long time, so don’t generally use the entirely optional Pass/Fail Cycle to determine the Resistance, because I don’t really need it. I know that some people are offended by the very existence of the Pass/Fail Cycle, but since it’s an optional tool that is explicitly noted as only being used when the GM isn’t sure what the Resistance should be and “…can envision equally entertaining story branches from either result…” it means that it can be safely ignored if you don’t like it.

Villains often also have powers they can bring to bear on the heroes, and more importantly, they have weaknesses the heroes can exploit. Luckily, HQ2 already contains a perfect tool for GMs to manage this, in how it suggests you describe fantastic creatures (HQ Core Rules, page 105).

For your villain, the GM can note Significant Abilities (those abilities that describe key elements of the villain) and Exceptional Abilities (special abilities that the villain can bring to bear to increase the Resistance). I would also add a third category and suggest the GM also notes Weaknesses (those elements of the villain which, if the heroes engage the villain on that axis, would lower the Resistance).

Here are some examples to show what I mean:

Dr. Doom

Here is Doom’s write-up from Marvel.com for both his Powers and his Abilities:

Powers: Doom can exchange minds with others. He possesses some mystical abilities, such as casting bolts of eldritch energy and invoking mystical entities (principalities) for additional support.

Abilities: Doom is a genius in physics, robotics, cybernetics, genetics, weapons technology, bio-chemistry, and time travel. He is also self-taught in the mystic arts. Doom is a natural leader, a brilliant strategist, and a sly deceiver.

Doctor Doom’s weakness has always been his arrogance. He truly believes he is better than every other living person, and he refuses to accept that any failures of his plans are due to mistakes made by him.

Now the above is actually fine when it comes to running Doom in a game, but if I was going to boil those down to elements that I could use in a “stat block” (as much as such a thing exists in HQ2), I would probably list it like this:

Doctor Doom

Significant Abilities: physics, robotics, cybernetics, genetics, weapons technology, bio-chemistry, time travel, the mystic arts, natural leader, sly deceiver, doombot army

Exceptional Abilities: Brilliant strategist, switch real self with doombot double

Weaknesses: Arrogance and pride

So if the heroes are going up against Doom, the Resistance would generally be Moderate on the Resistance Class Table (or whatever Resistance the GM feels is right for the situation) for anything that was opposed by Doom’s Significant Abilities. The Resistance would be High if they were trying to work against his strategic planning ability, which is one of his Exceptional Abilities. And the Resistance would be Low if they came at him through his arrogance or pride.

Thanos

I’ve always liked Thanos as a villain. Here is his write-up from Marvel.com:

Powers: Thanos possesses the superhuman physiology of all Eternals, granting him superhuman strength, endurance, reflexes, and agility. His skin in nearly invulnerable, particularly against heat, cold, electricity, radiation, toxins, aging, and disease, and he can survive indefinitely without food or water even before his “curse” from Death left him immortal, unable to die. His mind is also invulnerable to most forms of psychic attack, and can project a psionic blast of energy as well as blasts of plasma/cosmic energy from his eyes and hands.

Abilities: Master strategist, adept in sciences far beyond Earth technology, some mystical knowledge.

Thanos has a couple of weaknesses. First is the fact that Thanos, despite having actually successfully conquered the universe more than once, ultimately leaves an opening for his own defeat. According to Adam Warlock:

“A man always seeking ultimate power and losing it as soon as he attains it! Why? Because deep in his soul he knows he is not worthy of it. Three times you have triumphed over incredible odds to gain the ends you desire…and three times you have subconsciously supplied the means to your own defeat.”

Another weakness is Thanos’ obsession and love for Death. And a third is his emotional state, as described on Marvel.com, “…a melancholy, brooding individual…”

Here is how I would list Thanos for HQ2:

Thanos

Significant Abilities: superhuman strength, endurance, reflexes, and agility; nearly invulnerable skin, survive indefinitely without food or water; invulnerable to psychic attack; psionic blast; plasma/cosmic energy blast; mystical knowledge; highly advanced technology

Exceptional Abilities: Immortal and unable to die; master strategist

Weaknesses: Melancholy; obsession with Death; provides means to his own defeat

Magneto

Magneto is either a hero or a villain, depending on when in the Marvel Universe the game is set. For this example, I’m going to use him as a villain.

Magneto’s description in the Marvel Universe Wiki is pretty wordy, so I’m not going to copy it all here. Instead, I’m just going to stat him up as I would for a game.

Magneto

Significant Abilities: Master strategist; expert on genetic manipulation; engineering genius; immune to mental attacks and manipulation (helmet); control of electromagnetic spectrum energies; driven by mutant cause

Exceptional Abilities: Control over magnetism

Weaknesses: Honor to his enemies; protective of mutants

Note that I put his protectiveness over mutants as a weakness rather than as an ability. This is just a GM choice based on the fact that heroes might use this against him if they were trying to stop one of his villainous schemes.

Conclusion

Hopefully, this gives a HeroQuest GM some ideas on how to run a superhero game using the HQ2 rules. It’s actually easier than it might seem at first, and the narrative strength of HQ allows a great deal of flexibility, which is a core part of any comic book superhero story.

Thanks for reading, and happy gaming!


Note: All Marvel characters and the distinctive likeness(es) thereof are Trademarks & Copyright © 1941–2018 Marvel Characters, Inc. The reference to these characters or the Marvel Universe is not a challenge to these Trademarks and Copyright.

HeroQuest and Supers – Part 2

Last week, I talked a bit about using the excellent HeroQuest RPG for superhero games. This week, I’m going to talk a bit about how to define characters.

Superhero Characters

Once again, I want to remind everyone that ability ratings in HQ do not represent how “powerful” or “skilled” a person is with that ability, but instead represent how well the person uses that ability to accomplish their goals.

For example, Captain America has low levels of enhanced human strength as part of his super-soldier modifications. Iron Man has superhuman strength that allows him to lift weights that Captain America couldn’t budge. However, both characters might have the same rating in super-strength, because it represents their ability to use their individual strength ratings to effect change in their environment and accomplish their goals.

The key to determining if Captain America or Iron Man can lift a particular weight doesn’t lie in the ability ratings, but in the definition of those abilities themselves. It’s well established that Captain America can lift (at the highest end) about 2 tons (or 4,000 lbs.), and Iron Man can lift 80+ tons (or 160,000 lbs.). So if Captain America tries to pick up an M1 Abrams battle tank (about 68 tons), the GM shouldn’t even call for a roll. It’s an impossible task, as defined by the character itself (not the character’s rating). If Iron Man wants to lift it, he can.

But where the rating matters is inside the adventure when everyone is at the table. But it’s important for the GM to frame a contest so that it gives the player a chance to come up with a potential solution to a problem.

For example, the GM says that a building is collapsing, and a bunch of innocent bystanders are going to be crushed. Captain America is not strong enough to hold up the entire building, of course. However, the player narrates that Cap uses his shield and his enhanced strength to deflect the falling debris away from the huddled bystanders, preventing any injury to them and creating a pocket in the falling building where the debris supports itself and lets them escape getting crushed.

The stakes for this are: If the player succeeds, none of the bystanders get injured and can be easily rescued once the building settles. If the player fails, one or more of the bystanders get injured or even killed.

Note that, since we’re playing a comic book game, having Captain America’s survival depend on the results of a single roll are not really appropriate. The GM decides that it’s more interesting to determine if Cap can save the innocent bystanders or not, than whether he personally survives or not. The player is playing Captain America—of course he survives. But the guilt over his inability to save the innocents is something that might be interesting to play out if he fails.

In this case, the player rolls Cap’s Super-Strength ability rating, augmented by his rating in his Captain America’s Shield ability.

Differing Power Levels

Of course, many comic book hero teams combine superheroes of varying levels of power. The Avengers, for example, have had both Black Widow and Thor on the same team. The character ratings are likely to be in the same range, but their actual descriptions of what they can do may vary widely.

This is not a problem specific to HeroQuest, by the way. Most published superhero games have the same issue. Mutants & Masterminds pretty much ignores it, assuming all characters will be created with the same Power Level. The now out-of-print Marvel Heroic Roleplaying used a more narrative system that ultimately is similar to how a HeroQuest GM will need to address it.

In games that use a system that attempts to simulate real-world physics, these things are more easily defined. A villain who is tough enough to ignore small arms fire might have an Armor rating higher than the damage rating of the most powerful handgun. All the GM has to do it compare numbers and see which one is higher.

In a more narrative system, it is vital that all the players at the table are on the same page. If the Abomination can shrug off bullets, then the pistol-wielding hero won’t be able to narrate using his guns to take him down. But this also frees up the player to come up with the kinds of crazy stuff that you actually see in comic books. Can the hero shoot something else that may cause some kind of chain reaction that will affect the Abomination, like shooting a fuel tank and causing a huge explosion?

Because the Resistance is not based on real-world physics, it becomes a negotiation between the GM and the player as to what the character may accomplish. This means the GM has to be flexible and accept comic book logic when the player comes up with a solution to a problem.

This also means that the GM needs to keep in mind the power level differences when presenting challenges to the team of superheroes. If the GM tells the players that the alien invasion is being carried out by robots who are immune to any weapons less powerful than a round from a battle tank, and one of the characters is playing a hero on the power level of Daredevil or the Punisher, then that hero is going to struggle to find a way to affect the situation.

The GM can, of course, always present innocent bystanders to rescue and similar situations. But this will get stale after a few times—every player wants to be able to hammer on a villain sometimes. So it’s important for the GM to ensure—if there are heroes of varying levels of power on the team—that villains, or villain teams, come in varying power levels as well.

It won’t need to be all the time, of course. Occasionally having a single villain that only the most powerful of heroes can battle is okay as long as there are other important things for the lower-powered heroes to do. Note that I put emphasis on important—crowd control is an okay option if used very rarely, but the GM should ensure that other elements get used much more often. Options include a doomsday device that needs to be deactivated, the closing of a portal to another dimension, facing down hordes of minions that threaten to overrun a vulnerable group or location, capturing the person who summoned the big villain, stealing something important while the big villain is distracted by the battle, etc.

What is important is that the player needs to feel that he or she is contributing to the success of the team, even if playing a hero that is not as super-powered as some of the others.

Conclusion

In HQ, superhero characters don’t really differ much from their mundane (or fantasy-based) counterparts. But, as always, it’s important for everyone at the table to be on the same page.

Unfortunately, I’m out of time and I didn’t get a chance to demonstrate some character write-ups. So I’m going to revisit this topic again next week and give some example characters as well as examples of a few villains.

HeroQuest and Supers – Part 1

For my last post of 2017, I wanted to return to talking about roleplaying games, since those have been my most popular posts throughout the year.

My series on using HeroQuest for various types of games have been well-received, and so this week I’m going to talk about an always popular genre—superheroes.

There are a lot of superhero games out there, ranging from the heavily detailed and crunchy Champions to the much lighter Icons, and everywhere in between. But aside from the amount of rules and minutia that a game system includes, one of the most important decisions about a game is based on what it emulates.

World vs. Comics

Some games attempt to emulate a real world, with the addition of superpowers. Champions is a good example of this, as is Mutants & Masterminds. While the rules often include a few nods to comic book logic or common superhero comic tropes (e.g. M&M’s hero points and minion rules), the game rules are based on the idea that the world of the game setting is a real place and that superheroes are real people.

Other games take a different approach and attempt to emulate comic books themselves. The most popular example was the Marvel Heroic Roleplaying game, which is sadly no longer being produced. MHR didn’t worry about real-world physics and how reality actually works. Instead, it attempted to emulate how a story in a comic books works. The characters inhabited a comic book universe, not a real universe that included superpowers.

This can dramatically affect how the game plays and the player expectations regarding how their heroes should act.

The HeroQuest Approach

HeroQuest is, primarily, a narrative game. It isn’t focused on simulating real-world physics. It’s about the story that is created at the table by the GM and the players, regardless of how grounded or out-there the setting is intended to be.

To this end, HeroQuest is similar to the Marvel Heroic Roleplaying game, in that it is best used to emulate comic book stories. While an enterprising GM could certainly use HQ to play a campaign that focuses on how superpowers interact with the real world, that isn’t really playing to its strengths.

Where HQ shines is in playing out the types of stories found in actual comic books.

What are Superpowers?

Superpowers are discussed starting on page 99 of the HQ2 core rules, but it is mostly a series of suggestions and options for playing superhero games. It leaves it in the hands of the GM to create the power framework for the players.

For this example, I’m going to use the published (not cinematic) Marvel Universe, as seen in the long-running Marvel comics that most people know and love. These include The Avengers, Spider-Man, the various X-Men titles, the Fantastic Four, Daredevil, etc.

Now Marvel has used many types of origins for their heroes over the decades since they began publishing comics. From magic, to super-science experiments, to aliens (from other planets, other dimensions, or other times), to mutants, to advanced technology, and others. Sometimes they’ve combined two or more of these for a particular hero (e.g. Wolverine).

This opens up the Framework so wide that there’s barely a reason to write it down. You could just as easily tell your players “any kind of superhero that you’ve seen in Marvel could be the basis for your own hero, from any origin.” The only key element you should establish is the basic “power level” of the game.

Power Levels

There are many ways to define the various power-levels of a superhero game, and this is just one suggestion.

Street-Level: These games are focused on heroes who tend to live in one location (e.g. New York City) and who have abilities at or near the top of human potential. Daredevil and the Punisher are good examples of street-level heroes. Enemies are commonly normal criminals or those with low levels of power themselves, and their plans are usually focused on the local scene and almost never have global impacts.

X-Men Level: I’m mostly talking about the X-Men from the 80’s and 90’s here, where individual mutants tended to have a single major power (e.g. teleportation, eye beams, or feathered wings) and they needed to work as a team to take down powerful villains. While they sometimes travelled to cosmic locations, it was more of a backdrop than a scale of power.

Avengers Level: This is a level where the heroes tend to have multiple powers, and they can wield some epic abilities. Iron Man, Captain America, Thor and Hulk all sit here. Individually, they are more than a match for any street-level villain, and could probably handle many X-Men level villains fairly easily as well. They do tend to encounter cosmic entities—though they can still be handily defeated by them if they take them on directly—but most of their focus is on global threats.

Cosmic Level: This level jumps quite a bit in power. Silver Surfer and similar heroes operate on this scale of power. Threats are huge and immensely powerful. No single hero from any of the lower scales could operate here without a team to back him or her up.

Now, many hero teams (or even individual heroes) cross over the scales. The Avengers, for example, has both Hawkeye and Thor on the same team. And Thor himself could also be considered on the cosmic scale of power (depending on whether he is operating in the Avengers title or if he is in his own book). So these are more guidelines than hard rules.

One of HQ’s strengths, though, is that it is actually fairly easy to have a team like the Avengers, where heroes like Hawkeye and Black Widow are able to contribute alongside heroes like Iron Man and Thor. Because, as has been noted before, ability ratings are not about absolute power. They reflect how good the hero is at using the ability to affect the world and solve problems.

Free-Form or Detailed?

One element that could cause issues at the table is in the definition of the powers and what they can do. It is important to note some basic details of a hero so that everyone is on the same page regarding what is a reasonable use of their abilities, what is a stretch, and what is simply not possible.

In a regular game, this is easier. If you’re running a cold war espionage campaign, you don’t have to note down that regular people are not bulletproof, because that would be ridiculous. But in a superhero campaign, many heroes are too tough to be harmed by small arms fire (e.g. Luke Cage).

So each hero should have a basic description of the kinds of things they can do normally, and perhaps where the hard limits to their abilities sit. In comic books, limits are often flexible. Can Captain America pick up a motorcycle? Sure. Can he flip a car? Maybe, if he really needs to do it to save someone’s life. Can he pick up a bus? Not a chance.

For example, here is a possible description of Cyclops from the X-Men that illustrates what I mean:

Cyclops

Cyclops is a normal human being in most respects, though he is very physically fit and has had martial arts training.

His eye blasts can kill normal beings (and throw them backwards), can hurt beings stronger than peak humans (and knock them down), and can rarely do damage to beings of great strength (and can only slow down their advance). They can burn through any material known on earth, except for adamantium, which they cannot affect at all. His eye beams can reach targets about a football field away from his position.

This descriptions gives the GM and players a good idea of how Cyclops’ eye beams will interact with beings and surroundings that the character will encounter in the game. If the GM throws a Hulk-like creature at the group, the player knows that he might be able to slow the creature’s advance, but will face a very high Resistance if he simply tries to blast it to inflict damage.

Resistances

One of the most common mistakes made by a GM with HQ is to use Resistances to reflect how difficult things might be in the real world. So the smooth glass of a skyscraper would automatically be harder to climb than a brick wall, for example. But this doesn’t reflect the fact that abilities are not rated on a scale that has anything to do with the real world, but on how they are used to solve problems.

And this comes down to how the GM is framing the contests.

If Black Widow is scaling the outside of a skyscraper, it’s because she’s trying to get somewhere and the normal way of getting there (i.e. the elevator inside the building) is unavailable to her as an option. Perhaps she could fight her way in, but the entire building would be on alert and the person she’s trying to catch would get away in the helicopter that is on the roof. Or perhaps she wants to hack into a secure computer terminal and download information without anyone in the building ever realizing she’s there.

So, the climb up the side of the building is not the conflict. One can assume that Black Widow will always manage to climb up the side of a building, because it’s what happens afterward that is interesting and worth playing through.

It can be difficult sometimes for a GM to remember this, but it becomes vital when running a superhero game. This is because heroes will face all kinds of powerful obstacles, and it will seem obvious that a super-strong adversary should automatically result in a high Resistance if it comes down to a fight.

But this is where it becomes valuable to note down some details about the things the heroes might face in an adventure.

For example, suppose the heroes are trying to fight off an invasion by aliens who want to destroy New York City. It would be worth it to outline a couple of adversaries the heroes might engage.

Alien Invader

Significant Abilities: Energy Blaster, Agile Dodge

Exceptional Abilities: Infrared Tracking

Note: The energy blasters used by the aliens are about as powerful as a typical round from an assault rifle. The infrared tracking ability allows them to see heat signatures through any barriers (except anything that generates cold) up to about 100 yards away.

In the adventure, you would determine the Resistance as you normally would (using the Base Resistance for the characters—modified by any lingering bonuses or penalties—or the Resistance as determined by the Pass/Fail Cycle, if you are using that optional method). If the characters were engaged in a shooting battle with some aliens, you would the normal Resistance. If they were trying to hide in order to set up an ambush, you would use the next higher Resistance, because the characters would be pitting themselves against the aliens’ exceptional ability to track them via heat signatures.

Conclusion

HQ is ideal for superhero campaigns that are based on how stories play out in the comic books. Next week, I will talk a bit more about using HQ for superhero games, including some examples of play and some character write-ups.