Ok, so this post wasn’t as short as I had planned, so I included an extra goody! A superhero painting by painter extraordinaire – Jason Rainville. Cosmos is a high-flying member of the Defense League, our first, official augment team!
As I ended up going into more detail, I’ve broken this up into 2 posts. Tomorrow, I’ll post Part 2.
Cosmothea differs from traditional superhero games in a number of ways. In the long run, it’ll be up to you to decide which is better or at least more to your taste.
In traditional superhero RPG’s, for example, races tend to be an afterthought, and careers are pretty much non-existent – you are a hero, and that’s your job. Setting is also an afterthought and rules are a bit slim for gear and vehicles. If you want to play a magic-using superhero like Dr. Strange, the Scarlet Witch, Shaman, Zatanna or Captain Marvel, you are usually stuck with a very flimsy magic system, void of any personality. Superhero games focus on providing you with lots of power options for making a wide variety of point buy superheroes, a fairly fast combat system and the rest is a bare framework to help hold it all together, with a good dose of colorful villains and enthusiasm.
Now, lest I sound too negative, what these games tend to do rather well, is capture that rules-lite, easy-going feel of comic book heroes, with a strong combat emphasis. Because the games don’t get deep into the nitty gritty, they let you cast a pretty wide net on what sort of character you want to play, without fussing much over details, though figuring out how to stat the character effectively, even a fairly simple character, can be quite challenging. This is usually because there are so many ways of making a character in games like Mutants & Masterminds, that it can get confusing and there are a lot of tricks to using your points wisely.
While the GM can bring in more depth, and focus more on social and roleplaying elements, that’s not something a traditional superhero RPG tends to go into much detail on. If you want a four-color comic book superhero game that’s rules-lite, chances are, many of you will be satisfied with Mutants & Masterminds. There are many other options, however, and those of you looking for more meat and personality, might want to spread out and try other games like Cosmothea.
When you make a superhero for Cosmothea (we call ‘em augments), you do it the same way you would create any other sort of character for the game, with 1 exception: An augment is a character with the Augment template, which opens additional options for character development, such as the Power Scale and Gadget System.
In Cosmothea, augments usually start off at 1st level as a brand new superhero, and then grow in power over time through the storyline and adventures. Low-power superheroes can be a ton of fun and are often over-looked in traditional superhero games. It’s also easier on the GM, especially newer GM’s, and enables the players to enjoy a much wider variety of adventures. We find that players that start off this way tend to end up with more well-rounded, interesting characters, appreciating the power they’ve acquired. Of course, you can start off much more powerful if you like. And don’t get me wrong, we enjoy playing a high-powered game now and then as well. For that, you can use the Power Scale.
As said, I’ll give your eyes a rest and post Part 2 tomorrow, where I’ll give some examples of how the game takes advantage of being more than a superhero game and offers a lot of interesting options.