I’ve had the new Villians & Vigilantes 3.0 game, the Mighty Protectors, for about a week now. I have not played it yet, but I’m tossing around campaign ideas. Here are a few first impressions.
- I got the soft cover book. It’s nice. Well put together, good illustrations, as one would expect from Jeff Dee and Jack Herman.
- Random character generation and point-buy system. The old V&V editions were random generation. This resulted in some pretty crazy characters, and it could be a challenge to make the stuff you rolled make any sense or fit into a coherent character. I was always amazed that the characters published in the material, which seemed to be randomly created, were all really cool. I think it is just testimony to the game designers’ creativity. Now, at 53, I kind of appreciate that about the original game. I’d say this point-buy system is workable, but the random part is really cool and fun. The writers sort of say “do what you want”, which is nice. It’s a nice balance.
- Speaking of balance, the point system is really useful to creating characters that are appropriate for the balance of the game. Starting point values are given for low, standard, and high powered games. There’s also a table that set maximum characteristic and ability values based on the total point level of the characters. For example, a “standard” campaign starts with 150 point characters. Based on that 150 points, there is a maximum value a power can have. Because of the mechanics of powers, it would be a lot harder to create a power-gaming abomination like you might in Champions. So the point system looks very effective for maintaining game balance.
- Initially I thought this game didn’t really cover skills. It doesn’t have anything called “skills”, but there is a Knowledge ability that can be assigned to specific kinds of knowledge or tasks. Science knowledge, acrobatic tasks, etc. It isn’t as well developed as some systems, but after looking it over I don’t consider it a massive problem.
- Martial arts. If you want to simulate detailed martials arts, this is not the game for you. It is all covered under the ability “Natural Weapondry.” Looking at this, some of the other abilities, and the various modifiers you can apply to abilities, I think you could design some different martial arts techniques. But the system doesn’t do it for you. Would be interesting to see what I can come up with.
- If you ever played or read through older editions of V&V, you will recognize the imprint of Jeff Dee and Jack Herman. The book contains lots of background info on their game universe. It is very cool. What I’m not seeing is a lot of character examples. That would be nice. You could easily take some of the characters from previous editions and convert them, but I’d like to see some supplements with characters for this system. All the characters from previous editions were incredibly cool. I’d like to see some new ones!
- I found this site, which converts a lot of Marvel characters to this game system. There are a few things I think the guy got slightly wrong, but overall he did a great job writing up these characters. Check it out.
I’m sure I’ll introduce my group to this game at some point. Honestly, I could always just use Champions, but there are some aspects of this game that I’m really interested in using. I have been brainstorming a darker game world to use, but the rest of my campaigns tend to be kind of dark and/or serious, so something a bit more lighthearted might be fun. Not sure what direction I want to go. I would be really easy to drop the PCs into the Dee/Herman universe though, and there’s nothing wrong with that.