Champions II (1982)

I tackled Champions back in May of last year — it’s the first really great super hero RPG and a lot of its appeal comes from how customizable everything is. That goes for your hero in general, but also the specific ways their power works. You define everything by spending points to buy features or taking disadvantages to get a discount on the point cost. The core box has a ton of options, but once something like that gets into the wild, the first thing you need? A ton more. Just look at GURPS.

Champions II (1982) is the first big expansion of the game and it kind of goes in all directions at once. In 1982, its still kind of the Wild West, so there aren’t really many standard practices for folks to follow, and that goes double for small independent companies like Hero Games. A lot of RPG material in the early 80s has this exact madcap potpourri feel to it.

Within are new powers, new disadvantages, additions to the combat system, encounter charts, lots of record sheets of various purposes. A lot of the articles are advicey — how do you handle dependent NPCs in a campaign? — or triage existing rules — teleportation introduces all sorts of headaches, go figure! Most of all, you have rules for the creation of specialize vehicles and secret hideouts. This is the stuff that justifies the purchase price, to the point that it is almost weird that they weren’t included in the box set.

A lot of silly Mark Williams art puts a ribbon on the whole thing. I love that poor schlub in the brown shirt on the cover just walking in on a super hero melee.

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