I listen to a whole lot of podcasts and one that appears regularly on my iPod is This Modern Death. It’s a podcast “about Modern Horror and Dark Future role-playing games.” In their latest episode, Shaun, Kristin and that other guy discuss media properties in role-playing games. They talk a great deal about some recent entries into the market, such as the Serenity and Battlestar Galactica rpgs.
The hosts regard these games as failures since the systems utilized do not capture the spirit of the setting.
Which got me to thinking…
The system that totally nailed the feel of its setting was the DC Heroes Role-Playing Game (you were wondering what this had to do with comics, right?). From 1985 to 1993, the now-defunct Mayfair Games published DC Heroes. It was a system that fully integrated massively powerful characters such as Superman and less powerful guys like Batman in the same game world. Truly, it allowed players to duplicate the experience of the DC Universe around the table.
The system, the Mayfair Exponential Game System (or MEGS), utilized a logarithmic scale to measure the characters’ skills, attributes and powers. It was an easy system to learn, yet it beautifully expressed the action and feel of the setting.
The game came out right after Crisis on the Infinite Earths. It captured a lot of that Man of Steel re-work in the game as well as other post-Crisis changes.
I am still using the system for my supers games.
While DC Heroes is no longer in print, it is widely available on eBay.