Faster than a speeding bullet .. yes, it's another issue of RPG Review as we rapidly play catch-up with our published and actual dates of release. Sticking to a voluntary 64 page journal is not always easy apparently - OK, so we've been plagued from the start with getting issues out on time, but we're in full swing now, and will power along to get Issue 31 out in the near future.
This issue has a special dedication to superheroes. As I've said in a previous review (DC Heroes) the genre is not entirely my kettle of fish on a personal level, although when I think back on it I have played and run an awful lot of superhero RPG sessions, at least one setting and story having made it into RPG Review in the past (see RPG Reviews issues 4 and 5), although that was in a sense a demigod level fantasy campaign, which I suppose is a type of supers.
It was quite recently that fellow RPG Review Coooperative committee member and sometimes editor of this journal informed me about what was particularly enticing about superhero RPGs, and that's when the penny dropped. It is the sheer scope and scale of characters and situations that the characters find themselves in that the game system must be sufficiently robust in design. Of course he said in less and in better words than I did, but you get the gist. Genre aficiando aside a working superhero game is the ultimate in game system design.
Thus in this issue of RPG Review we start with an interview with none other than Steve Kenson, the designer of what has been the most popular superhero RPG of the 21st century, Mutants and Masterminds. Following this is a set of reviews by yours truly; specifically Superhero 2044, Villians and Vigilantes, Marvel Super Heroes, Champions/Hero System, Godsend Agenda, and Mutants and Masterminds. It is a set of reviews that is historical, covers the three most popular superhero RPG systems (at least according to the RPG.net straw poll of 2011; https://forum.rpg.net/showthread.php?572608-greatest-superhero-rpg-ever-...), and some diverse approaches in design.
Following this is a short story by Michael Keegan, an absolute cracker. We occasionally have stories in RPG Review when it strongly suits the topic of the issue, and this one certainly fits that category. This is followed by a short example organisation piece by Alex Davis for Villains and Vigilantes, which has a couple of clever puns included. After that there is two articles by Karl Brown for a Mutants and Masterminds campaign, United We Stand, where the narrative tension should be fairly evident in the title.
Australia was also home of a superhero game and supplements which attracted some attention in its day, Super Squadron. We have a short piece from its author, Joe Italiano who tells us he's is working on a second edition - after some thirty years from the first! Also from an Australian perspective and from the RPG Review Cooperative itself is the designer's notes for Verge by Nic Moll, which has a couple of unique features worth looking at.
Way back in the early 1990s there was an RPG club in Perth, the Murdoch Alternative Reality Society, and they were rather fond of superhero games, or at least they especially were in 1992. Long hidden away in that club's annual are two NPCs which became the stuff of legend - Dr. Destroyer, who turned many Champions assumptions around, and Captain Carrot, a Marvel SH character with a notorious cuteness attack. We thank Colin Clark and Belinda Lee respectively for allows these characters of legend a new life.
Wrapping up the issue is our non-TTRPG reviews, starting off with Andrew Pam's review of the Freedom Force superhero computer RPGs. Andrew, I believe, will be taking up a more regular writing role with RPG Review on computer games and this is a very welcome first piece. Finally we have long-standing and ever vigilant Andrew Moshos, telling us what material is currently the silver screen in the superhero genre; specifically Batman v Superman and X-Men Apocalypse.
Taking a very different tack the next issue of RPG Review will be dedicated to the "Old School Revolution", where budding designers around the world have taken an approach that is both nostalgic and investigative of RPGs that were simpler and more direct than many of the more expressive newer games. There is also something coming out very soon which was long considered an item of humour. So gentle reader, if you have an old school review, scenario, or NPC, or design that you wish to publish, do let us know and let us know quickly because we intend to get it out very quickly.
Until then.. Everyone, be a hero!
Lev Lafayette, firstname.lastname@example.org