Adventures

8-12 encounters


Adventures are the heart of a Super-Fantasy game. Together the heroes and GM create the adventure by setting scenes and determining the actions of the heroes and the world. The best adventures are the ones that showcase the strengths and weaknesses of the heroes while allowing them to complement each other and work together to win the day.

Each character brings something to the table. It might be an unstoppable face-laser or the ability to bench-press a Sherman tank. It might be tech-savviness or a knack for talking people into doing stupid things. In the rules of the game, what makes a character unique are his ability scores, his skill and tool proficiencies, his powers, his racial traits and class features, and his equipment.

Outside of the mechanics of the game, there are roles that are common for characters to fill within the team, like the field-leader, the tech, the smooth-talker, or the clown.

Like other stories, an adventure has a beginning, a middle, and an end. Each adventure is broken up into "issues" or sessions (assuming a four-hour gaming session). Multiple adventures undertaken by primarily the same group of heroes are called a "title", similar to the way a comic book series is laid out.

An adventure takes place in a setting, whether it’s a grim and gritty city, an intelligent alien mother-ship, or a giant labyrinth on the Astral Plane. It involves a rich cast of characters—both the heroes and others, played by the GM. These nonplayer characters (NPCs) include friends, family, staff, law enforcement, politicians, alien invaders, other heroes, monsters, and of course villains.

As their adventures continue, the heroes are faced with enemies and challenges and discover new information. They must rely on their might and wit to deal with threats. Sometimes this is handled through combat. Other times they can rely on their words and reason. They might need to employ some brilliant idea or a bit of recently unearthed ancient knowledge. Typical challenges include combat, ability tests, skill and tool proficiency checks, social challenges, problem-solving, getting around an obstacle (e,g: security, locks), and finding something.

Outside of the adventure, the heroes make choices about work, school, family, and sometimes even what they're having for dinner tonight.

Most adventures take several issues to complete, but a short one might only take one. Comics give us a few stable models, from "one-shots" to "twelve-issue arcs", but these aren't your only options. A one-shot adventure might only present a few challenges. But a twelve-issue arc can involve dozens of page-busting fights, improbable-to-escape death-traps, and rich, character developing conversations over the real-world weeks or months of the arc.

Usually, the end of a story arc means that the heroes return to their normal lives to rest and make excuses to family and coworkers about where they were during the giant robot attack on the city.

The Pillars of Superheroic Adventure


A player can try anything with his character. Some things will automatically fail, some will automatically succeed, and some will require a dice roll. But there are three broad categories that these actions fall into: social interaction, exploration, and combat.

Social interaction happens when the heroes want to talk with someone—even another player character. He might ask his friend at the precinct about the contents of a suspect's pockets. He might try to convince the mind-slaved minions of Mind-Mage that he's one of them or foolishly agree to an interview with the spunky reporter who's dating his slacker brother. He could demand the villain release his hostages or face the swift boot-heel of justice. He might even ask his quirky neurologist girlfriend to marry him.

Exploration is the act of exploring the world and observing and manipulating objects within that world. Exploration relies on the players describing what the heroes will do and the GM describing the environment and how it responds. This might be broad, like "You spend the next three weeks training at NASA" or "It takes about twenty minutes to get downtown." On a tighter scale, one of the characters might want to sneak out of the top-secret facility one Saturday night or stop at the sporting goods store for ammo. Wandering an alien planet, patrolling the rooftops by night, hacking into a computer network, jogging around the neighborhood, and searching an unconscious foe are all forms of exploration.

Combat typically involves character on character violence. They might use energy blasts, guns, swords, or judo to defeat their foes. Combat very rarely leads to death in superheroic adventures. But some characters, particularly villains and monsters, do kill. Combat can also end in the capture or escape of one side or the other.

Combat requires that all characters involved take turns. On his turn, the hero can attack his enemy, scan their minds for the identity of their boss, keep tabs on his teammates, swing across the battlefield, shield innocent bystanders, shoulder an oncoming train, or argue with the villain about the morality of his plan.

Wonder often sets superheroic adventure apart for other types of adventure stories. Time-travel, aliens, and psionic realms are

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