Game the Game: Powers High Playtest Session 2

ebeed27865860f095e21fdbcb6a52b61--high-school-girls-punk-disney-princessesI have some pretty solid ideas what I want Powers High to be.

It will be not just a set of rules, but a setting, because the mechanics and rules are integral to one another.

I am not sure folks who desire Superhero RPGs will dig it. It will likely not be at all what they are looking for in terms of crunch.

Because, one of my design goals is to have the high school element be more significant than the superpowers.

Because I think this kind of transparency can be fun, here are some of things I am working on with the game:

  • It is an idealized vision of high school, but not G-rated. Heroes and Villains go to school together, and learn to use their powers.
  • Learning to use powers is done in The Arena, where they can be used without any actual harm coming to the students.
  • Each session is roughly 3 weeks long, 12 sessions in a school year. Each session will have multiple “tests” that will be mapped to the different tropes of high school. In the last session, characters participated in Homecoming and the Homecoming Dance. There was a very unlikely king and queen, which made it even more memorable (the roll of the dice!).
  • Some of the tests are known beforehand, just as in school (mid-term exams are coming up, a big party off-campus, etc), others are generated by the players as things they want to do and are dreading.
  • The game is mostly about relationships, and how we, as high school students, are not necessarily attracted to what outsiders might think we should be attracted to, both as friends and as crushes.
  • Characters have to be careful in their relationships, but because of the fickle nature of high school, sometimes being careful or callous doesn’t matter.
  • Every die roll has several different outcomes: on the first level, it is pass or fail. Second level  it is Pass with an acceptable grade, Pass with Needs Improvement, and on a deeper level every roll gets a grade. Characters record their grades.
  • Rumors are a big part of the game, as they were in high school. Rumors can occur about anything from prowess on the sports field, to sucking up to teachers, to dating. There will be a mechanic to help GMs determine how and why rumors come to be.
  • We ran two combat simulations, and so far there is a clean, simple way for characters to help one another, and combat was quick and flavorful.
  • On-the-fly, I had one character make a morale check, it worked well, and will be part of the game, when characters flake out, or choke under pressure.

Z0004093Who knows what will become of the game, but we are all having a blast playing it and trying out rules. It’s really more the equivalent of a board game like Mystery Date (I have never played MD, I am just indicating it is not at all about punching, it’s about relationships and High School drama).

 

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