superhero

Champions Lite Playtesting

February 18, 2020 - 2 min read

I put together enough of a playtest document that people could create characters and go to town. Google Doc is here:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/12c2XkZLeCnBy3zMAMvYg9Qkr20yHhKjtTFVwP5Sok08/edit?usp=sharing

The Playtesters super-hero team consisted of:

  • The Draped Crusader, a fashionista with fabric control
  • The Honorable Swan, an actual swan who was a terrifying berserker
  • Polymath, like Captain America but using sacred geometry

They fought against the three villains in the doc: Hannibal Lectric, the shocking genius, Handmaid, the robot inventor, and Jacques Rabbit, the half-rabbit high-kicking mercenary.

Combat got through two Pages of Panels, leaving Polymath on the ground and the Swan badly beat up, but with Jacques defeated and Handmaid fleeing. Everyone was low on END, but the Swan pulled out a massive final attack to defeat Hannibal Lectric and win the day.

System Comments

The players gave me the following comments:

  • Character creation is easy, fun, and flexible. It’s nice that you can define the scope of your traits and complications (e.g. “must be up by 7 in the morning”, “power of the swan”).
  • Complications are a nice way of boosting your effectiveness. Scene complication are a fun and interesting idea.
  • END is a little wonky - it’s easy to spend a lot, and hard to crawl out of that pit once you’ve done so. Reaction Shots are good, but maybe not enough? It’s also a little difficult to keep track of END expenditures.
  • Damage can be spiky. It’d be good if we can level that out a bit.
  • The Page-and-Panel initiative took a little bit to get used to, but made sense after that.
  • The GM needs to be stricter about who declares their Panel placement.
  • Establishing Shots are a good idea.
  • Reaction Shots can be fun, but potentially hard to come up with depending on PC.
  • More people might make the initiative system difficult, or bog it down with actions.

I think based on this, the next draft needs to do the following:

  • Retain the basics of character creation.
  • Rework how END functions, or how powers are activated. I don’t have any specific ideas here.
  • Apply a level cap to power uses. This should ease the damage spikes, keep people from over-spending END, and otherwise smooth things out.
  • Consider reducing the number of free Panels for initiative, depending on how many players there are, e.g. 1 plus 6 divided by number of PCs, rounding off. This would give 2 panels for 5-6 players, 3 panels for 3-4 players, 4 for 2 players, and so on.

One thing I can consider doing:

  • Dial the overall scope of numbers down, e.g. 2d6 for success/failure, and reduce levels by two-thirds or so. This might work as well (or better) than a level cap, but it remains to be seen.

Overall, everyone said they had fun, and that they’d play again if given a chance. So we’ll see what happens!

superherogame-design-diary