Monday, January 11, 2010
That's Just Super - The Players and Hooks
So what makes a player choose to play in one genre instead of any other? It all starts with what they find interesting when they're not role-playing. Personally, if given the chance to learn by someone who knows the rules, I would be willing to play in any genre or any game system out there. There's nothing I wouldn't give a shot at least once. That being said, I do have preferences. I'm not big into sports by any means, so I won't gravitate towards a game system specifically designed to emulate the ups and downs of a season of professional football. I know that there are players that are much pickier than I am out there about what they'll play.
What kind of players prefer supers games? To be honest, I don't have the biggest amount of experience in the Supers genre. That being said, I'd like to play a game of it, so I can speak at least from my own perspective. At this point I know of at least one other guy in the group who doesn't like the idea of a supers game, so I can also speak from the conversations I've had with him. In general I have a strong desire to play as an honorable character. D&D can provide this, but most supers games require this. Sure you can play as a gritty anti-hero with his own agenda, but the supers genre conjures images of Superman and Spider-man. These guys have been on TV in cartoons for ages. Yeah, you get Batman too, and yes, he is a gritty dude, but the cause is noble and he follows a strict ethical standard.
Maybe players who aren't attracted to the supers genre aren't interesting in playing these superhero stereotypes? I think more importantly people who don't like supers didn't grow up and refuse still to this day to pick up a comic book and read the thing! My friend, who loves WWII history refuses to read the trades for the new Captain America series written by Ed Brubaker. I've handed him my copies by he refuses. This is the same guy who loves video games, crappy movies, and kicking ass as a cheesy Ranger in D&D, but no, for some reason he draws the lines at reading comic books.
On my side of things, I appreciate the kinds of stories a group could create in the vein of modern comics. The idea of a modern day superhero campaign along the lines of The Authority just sounds epic to me. At the same time, playing a spider-man street-level game also has its advantages. You can tell any kind of story using a supers campaign just like you could with a D&D game. The real advantage to me is group cohesion. Superheroic characters tend to have very focused powers and be good at the one or two things they do. Beyond that they need back-up or support. The supers genre encourages team work and creative solutions by mixing and matching power combinations between characters. In fact this could be a great hook as an introductory plot to bring the characters together.
Next time we'll look at the other half of the equation - why would a GM want to run a supers game and what kind of action he or she can hope to bring to it!