The Superverse is a campaign and adventure sourcebook for SUPERS! Revised, ICONS, BASH!, HERO System, and Supergame.
The Superverse is a campaign sourcebook designed for use with SUPERS! Revised – a rules-lite superhero role-playing game published by Hazard Studios. ICONS, BASH!, HERO System and Supergame editions of The Superverse are under development. The ICONS and BASH! editions will be completed by January 2019; the HERO System edition will be available by August 2019. Supergame was added to this KS late; its rules are lite, so it's possible that it will be ready by January 2019, but give us until March 2019, just to be sure.
Included in The Superverse are:
REVISED STATS for the characters originally appearing in The Freedom Ring and The Iron Gauntlet
NEW HEROES, VILLAINS, AND ORGANIZATIONS
FOUR INTERCONNECTED ADVENTURES designed to introduce player characters to the Superverse while keeping them at the center of the action
THE CITY OF DEL REY where most of the action in the aforementioned adventures unfolds
A TIMELINE of the Superverse from the Big Bang to the present
- A MASS COMBAT SYSTEM and other new rules for SUPERS! Revised (not included in the ICONS, BASH!, and HERO System editions)
LOTS OF ART by artist Joe Singleton
- AND MORE!
ART PRINT ADD-ONS
Some backers have asked about art prints. We are therefore offering the following as 12" x 18" Print-On-Demand poster packs via RPGNow.com. (You also receive PDFs of the images when you make the purchase.)
$10 - Heroes of The Superverse: This pack includes 8 posters featuring Freedom Star, Itsy-Bitsy, Maiden America, Thunderbird, Min-Max, American Eagle, American Dreamer, and American Legion - all of them rendered by Superverse artist extraordinaire, Joe Singleton.
- $10 - Villains of The Superverse: This pack includes X posters featuring the Grey Ghoul, Iron Maiden, Skana, Mammoth, Violet Revolution, the Sire, Manite, Shadowstrike, Shriek, Firefight, and Malephon - - all of them rendered by Superverse artist extraordinaire, Joe Singleton.
- $10 - Maps and Cover of The Superverse: This pack includes 12 posters featuring maps of the City of Del Rey (player version), the City of Del Rey (GM version), the Argyle Museum, Stellar Labs (exterior), Stellar Labs (interior), the ACME Steel Factory, the Del Rey County Jail, The Pier, Fort Wayne, and the Desert Landing Site - all by Superverse cartographer extraordinaire Ade Smith. This pack also includes The Superverse cover in two forms - one with all the dress (logos, etc.) and one without. The cover, of course, is another example of Joe Singleton's spectacular work.
The Superverse has its origins in my initial encounter with SUPERS! back in 2010. In trying to figure out if this was the gaming system for me, I did what I do when I get curious about any superhero RPG - I use it to make versions of all of my favorite characters from Marvel and DC. This allows me to see if a system can truly handle the genre. SUPERS! didn't disappoint! Indeed, this character creation process, along with a play-test battle featuring some of Earth's Mightiest Heroes against a certain raging green behemoth, made SUPERS! my go-to system for superhero gaming (even though I enjoy many others).
That being said, my practice of using game systems to model comic book characters as accurately as possible always results in a certain amount of point-bloat (or dice-bloat, in the case of SUPERS!), so I moved on to stage two of my play-test, which creating original characters that felt like comicdom's most iconic superheroes but were built with standard SUPERS! starting Creation Pools. With this in mind, I created a group of original characters meant to be an homage (or a love letter) to the Avengers. Freedom Star was my Captain America, Itsy-Bitsy my Wasp, Maiden America my Iron Man, Min-Max my Giant-Man/Ant-Man, and Thunderbird my Thor. I self-published these characters as The Freedom Ring, a character book for the first edition of SUPERS!.
It was through writing the character bios for The Freedom Ring that The Superverse began to emerge. Superhero stories inspired supervillain stories, which led me to write and publish The Iron Gauntlet, my second character book for SUPERS! first edition. With the notable exception of the Grey Ghoul (an homage to the Red Skull), the villainous members of the Iron Gauntlet were more my entirely my own. Each Iron Gauntleteer was envisioned as an Freedom Ringer's arch-nemesis. The intertwined nature of these hero and villain stories created new layers for all the characters involved, and that started to generate all sorts of ideas for a broader universe. New heroes, new villains, supporting cast members, organizations, mythologies, and a cosmic history stretching all the way back to the Big Bang and beyond started to take form in a burst of creative energy - and then it all screeched to a halt when SUPERS! creator Simon Washbourne sold the game to Hazard Studios.
As it turns out, Hazard Studios' purchase of SUPERS! was a very good thing for me for at least two reasons. First, Hazard Studios hired me and Rus Boyd (who'd served as artist on both The Freedom Ring and The Iron Gauntlet) to write SUPERS! Revised. Doing so allowed me to develop some game developer chops and yielded a product that was generally well-received by the fan base (thank goodness!). Second, writing SUPERS! Revised put the breaks on my plans for the Superverse. (Then life happened, which is why it took me about four years to restart the project's engine!) Why is this a good thing? Because it allowed me to think about what I really wanted for the project.
Initially, The Superverse was going to describe its setting in hyper-detail. It was going to populate multiple cities with scores of heroes and villains. It was going to name as many businesses, institutions, and organizations as possible. Such hyper detail, I thought, would make the universe feel alive and provide a sandbox for gaming groups to play in. Then I thought about my own experience. I love reading that type of setting, but I never actually play in them. I mine them for inspiration, but I don't find them particularly functional. They always seem too crowded for my own gaming group. It's almost as if all the stories (or at least the ones most vital to the setting) have already been told. I decided that I didn't want that for the Superverse.
Rather than create new material for the sake of creating new material, I decided to write a book of adventures that would pit player character superheroes against the villains I presented in The Iron Gauntlet. The Freedom Ringers would appear, but only in supporting roles and/or, potentially, as antagonists. The detail I'd already incorporated into my previous publications would serve as background information to support judges in running these adventures, but I vowed not to create any new material unless it did the same. In short, The Superverse endeavors to provide judges with everything that they need to run these adventures with confidence, but aims to leave plenty of blank spaces for players to fill with their own creations and thus make the Superverse their own. If I designed this sourcebook correctly, player characters who run through its adventures will have met most (if not all) of the characters presented in The Superverse while emerging as the setting's most important players.
The inspirations for The Superverse are myriad and probably impossible to list in any comprehensive way. Here are a few sources that come to mind:
- Marvel and DC Comics - especially those written from the 1960s through the late 1980s. I've been told that the superhero games I run tend to feel like Marv Wolfman and George Pérez's run on The New Teen Titans. I don't know if that's accurate, but I'll take it!
Champions The Superhero Role Playing Game - I played this grand-old-game for over 20 years. Although I've moved on to rules-lite games for a number of reasons, Champions is (and always will be) in my gamer DNA. At some level, I think SUPERS! became my game of choice because it lets me roll a handful of d6's (although not as many as Champions does). Also, The Champions Universe (as developed over the course of 1st - 3rd edition and compiled for 4th Edition) is probably the most direct inspiration for The Superverse as far as RPG supplements are concerned. Many thanks to George McDonald, Steve Peterson, Monte Cook, Steven Long, and everybody else who developed this game over the years!
Mutants and Masterminds - I played Mutants and Masterminds for almost 10 years after I stopped playing Champions. Steve Kenson inspired me with his style, and Green Ronin showed me that superhero RPG's could (and should) embrace the colorful aesthetics of the comics that inspired them.
BASH! UE and SUPERS! - Chris Rutkowski's wonderful BASH! UE showed me that rules-lite games could support superhero gaming as well as their rules-heavy counterparts. Simon Washbourne created the rules-lite game that jibed most with me in SUPERS!.
- Rus Boyd, Joe Singleton, and Walt Robillard - I've been fortunate to work with artists who get (and enhance) my sensibilities. Rus worked on The Freedom Ring and The Iron Gauntlet. He designed the original costumes for all of the characters appearing in those books and perfectly captured the Silver Age sensibility that I was aiming for at the time. I was sad to learn that Rus was unavailable to contribute art for The Superverse. Fortunately, Joe Singleton was available! I've admired Joe's work ever since I saw what he did for SUPERS! Revised, so I was thrilled when he agreed to work on this project. His art has brought The Superverse alive in new ways, and he's perfectly captured the Modern / Neo-Silver Age aesthetic that I wanted for this updated version of the setting. Finally, Walt Robillard has inspired and supported me every step of the way. His sometime saying "too easy" has deflated the more intimidating aspects of pursuing a project like this one and has encouraged me to give it a shot. In short, I wouldn't be doing this without his mentorship. (Thanks fellas!)
The Guys's Ink: Saving the best for last, The Guys' Ink is the company created by my brothers and sisters in gaming. Some of us have been tabletop gaming together since 1980 or so, and we are fortunate to remain fast friends through the present. Thanks to all of you for your inspiration, support, and friendship. A special thanks to Mike Lundstrom, who created Violet Revolution and provided direct feedback on several aspects of the Superverse.
Risks and challenges
I have approval from Hazard Studios to proceed with the project. The manuscript for The Superverse is complete. Layout is also almost complete. About $1,400 worth of art has already been commissioned and completed. In short, this is far advanced and doesn't present any major obstacles to completion.
What's left to do?
1) Completion of the remaining art (but Joe turns work around fast),
2) Completion of maps (which will be done by Ade Smith), and
3) Changes that may come up due to feedback from Kickstarter contributors.
Joe and Ade have already guaranteed that they can finish this work by December. My stated completion date is January, but we might make Christmas!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)