Green Ronin, the company responsible for a whole slew of quality role-playing games and supplements, chief among them the True20 OGL-based system, the Freeport series of campaign supplements, the superhero game Mutants & Masterminds and the Dragon Age fantasy role-playing game, have now acquired the license to make a superhero role-playing game based on the DC Comics intellectual property. The first book of the series, the core rules, titled DC Adventures Hero’s Handbook was released a few days ago. And boy, let me tell you this has me exited to no end.
I’ve always been a huge fan of the superhero genre. I’ve been collecting and reading both Marvel and DC ever since I was a wee tyke back in the early eighties. My first loves were Batman and Superman, soon to be followed by the X-Men, The Incredible Hulk, The Amazing Spider-Man, The Legion of Super-Heroes, The Justice League of America, and many, many others. When I started role-playing in my teens, it was only natural I’d run into some of the early superhero role-playing games as well. Marvel FASERIP was the first one, but was soon replaced my Villains & Vigilantes, which seemed to my adolescent sensibilities a much better game. I didn’t, however, get much gaming done with either of these, as the gaming groups I was involved with at that time were much more interested in Runequest, Rolemaster, or which ever fantasy RPG seemed most in vogue at the moment.
After this, superhero role-playing for me fell a bit on the wayside, only to return in force with White Wolf’s Aberrant!, a game that had a brilliant setting, but proved in the end very lacking system-wise. The setting was, however, strong enough to carry three whole campaigns of gritty, Alan Moore -style “realistic” super-heroics. I also took to the habit of buying most of the new superhero RPG’s that came out, and so ended up owning copies of Mutants & Masterminds (which I never played, as it seemed way too D&D 3.0 to me), Savage Worlds’ Necessary Evil (which we considered for a campaign, but discarded in favor of yet another stab at Aberrant!), and some others. I never bought into Champions for some reason. Most likely that one was discarded as just too damn rules-heavy for my group’s gaming needs.
So, getting back to the topic at hand. Green Ronin’s DC Adventures seems to be (judging by a review and some preview material) a variant of the Mutants & Masterminds game, albeit with some add-ons and tweaks borrowed from some of Green Ronin’s other games. Green Ronin really seems to be coming into its own, now that they’ve managed to distance themselves somewhat from the ominous shadow of D&D 3.5. Dragon Age was a great, rules-light variant (one could always say a simulacrum) of older versions of D&D. True20 had some nice innovations, which streamlined the rather clunky 3.5 mechanics somewhat. Etc.
As I haven’t yet gotten my grubby mitts on the DC Adventures game, it is too early to tell if this will be The Superhero RPG for me, but I certainly have my hopes up. Now, if I could only find the players, who are as much into silver age super-heroics as I am… Come on, who could pass up on the opportunity to team up with Batman!