Supers! is a new rules-lite superhero role-playing game from the pen (or keyboard) of Simon Washbourne the creator of the much esteemed Barbarians of Lemuria. The book comes in at about 70 pages and contains more or less everything you need to run a superhero campaign. This game is not based on the BoL engine though, it is a dice-pool type game.
The first half of the book consists of character creation rules. A character consists of three types of stats - Resistances, Aptitudes, and Powers. Each of these are rated in terms of six-sided dice. This is the only type of dice that are used in the game.
There are four Resistances - Composure, Fortitude, Reaction, and Will. These are traits that are used to resist attacks and where damage is applied if the character is injured. If one of a character's resistances is reduced to 0 then the character is knocked out of the battle. Each resistance starts a 1D and the player has five dice to distribute among them. The starting maximum for a resistance is 3D. This is also the normal human maximum. Resistances can be increased later in the character creation process if the character has superpowers. A normal character given as an example in the book has a resistance higher than 3 but it is not spelled out explicitly in the text that this is appropriate. A forum discussion in response to a question of mine on this point seems to indicate that the answer isn't clear. The responses included input from Mr. Washbourne himself.
Next a player distributes 3D amongst the character's aptitudes. Aptitudes are broadly defined skill sets. For example, two of the aptitudes are fighting and shooting. Each aptitude starts at 1D. The starting cap for an aptitude is 3D, although these can be raised later beyond 3D. But if you do this you must pick a specialization for the aptitude. So, if you added an extra die to your 3D fighting you would have to pick something like swords or martial arts. When using a sword you would roll four dice and choose the best three as your result. The highest you can roll is 18. There is one exception to this which I will mention later.
When finished with aptitudes, powers are selected. 12D are distributed amongst the powers with an upper limit of 5D. This can be raised higher if a complication is taken with the power. A complication is a limitation to the power. For example, if a character has the super strength power and decides that the power is fueled by sunlight and thus doesn't work at night or in darkness. There is a large but by no means exhaustive list of powers for a player to choose from. The list covers all of the expected powers and players are encouraged to create their own.
Any dice not allocated during character creation are placed in the character's competency pool. Any dice in this pool may be used once per adventure to boost a roll. Say the superhero is worried about that heat blast coming his way. He can add a die to his defensive roll to hopefully beat the attack roll. These can be added to aptitude rolls also. This is the one case when aptitude roll results can exceed 18.
The remainder of the book contains the rules of play, guidelines for NPCs, disasters, a brief guide to Supercity, the default setting, and several example characters.
The task and combat resolution system is simple. Unopposed tasks must equal or exceed a target number. For opposed tasks, including combat, the characters compare the roll of their dice pools and highest roll wins. In combat use choose a power, aptitude or a resistance for attack or defence. You can only use each once per round (with the exception of armor.)
Supers! does not pretend to be a the be-all end-all of superhero games. Mr. Washbourne stated in one forum or another (I'm sorry I can't remember which right now) that he created Supers! to entertain himself and his gaming group. Even with some ambiguity in the rules, Supers! seems like it will be a fun game to play. It is rules-lite, flexible and seems easy to play. Just like I like them. My son has created a character already and we hope to give the game a go soon.
Here is a standard build character I created using the rules:
Composure 2D Fortitude 2D
All the Rest 1D
Power Suit (All powers built into suit)
Energy Control - Laser 4D
Super Strength 4D
Super Senses (2D)
Radar Sense 2D
Ultra Hearing 2D
Companion - Legionary
I haven't created his sidekick Legionary yet but I will post him when I do.