Superheroes and Villains from Role-Playing Games

Role-playing games started up in the early 1970's, with the first recognised such game being TSR's Dungeons and Dragons*. With the growing popularity of the concept, new genre's beyond the initial fantasy setting were soon being embraced - science fiction, both outer space (Traveller, Space Opera, Star Frontiers) and post apocalyptic (Gamma World, Aftermath); horror (Call of Cthulhu); and inevitably, superheroes.

I was, and am, a big fan of superhero RPG's (no surprise there - I'm a big fan of superheroes, period, or I wouldn't be doing this site), but initially I didn't intend to include any characters specifically created for those games on this site. Two things have finally changed my mind. One is the inevitable cross-over that has occurred as time has past - not only have several games been launched around existing superhero titles, often adding new characters to those mythologies in the process**, but the reverse is true - role-playing characters have made the move into the medium that inspired them***, and in some cases been very successful there for a while. Two is that I've come to realise that at least some of the colourful characters provided by those games deserve commemoration as much as several of the comic characters the site is covering.

There's already a section for British created RPG characters, as the site started as an attempt to profile British characters. Now I'm simply planning to start covering the rest of the games. A few provisos, before I start getting people e-mailing me. While I intend to eventually profile every RPG superhero character I can find, I will not include gaming stats nor will I email same to anyone. The makers of these games make their livings selling product with those stats in them, and I'm a fan of those games, thus having zero intention of taking their business away from them - even if the game is now out of print and the company defunct, I don't intend to remove the incentive to seek out and purchase a copy. In fact, I'd prefer to think that by giving comic fans who aren't into gaming a taste of what they've been missing, I might encourage the opposite. For similar reasons I also don't intend to cover characters in the same depth as the game supplements that introduced them - as a rule of thumb if the supplement is older or out of print, I will give a more detailed profile than if it is relatively recent, and any characters from a supplement less than a couple of years old probably won't get a mention at all.

As a small side note, since the term "superhero" is a joint copyright between Marvel and DC, most of these games have come up with their own terms for super-powered individuals.

On to the games (those in italics are ones I don't own a copy of - i.e. don't hold your breath for profiles from that one, the ones in bold are the ones which I know to be still actively releasing supplements):

Aberrant (and Trinity) - from White Wolf, the people who brought you Vampire: The Masquerade. Characters are termed Novas.

Brave New World - from Pinnacle. Heroes in a Dystopian version of America. Characters are known as Deltas.

Champions - one of the most successful and durable of the superhero games, published by Hero Games

DC Heroes - published by Mayfair Games. There are a few original characters Mayfair created for the game, so I'll cover those here.

DC Universe - published by West End Games, who bought the licence after Mayfair had it.

Enforcers - from Twenty-First Century Games. Set in 2046, after superheroes began to appear in 1999.

F.R.E.E.Lancers - from TSR. A futuristic supplement for the Top Secret S.I. game introducing superhero agents to their espionage game.

Godlike - from Hobgoblynn Press, set during WWII, with characters being parahuman Talents

Golden Heroes - published by Games Workshop in the U.K.

Guardians - by Starchilde

GURPS Supers - from Steve Jackson Games

Heroes and Hellions - from Travell Games, a small-press RPG

Heroes and Heroines - from Excel Marketing. Notable for licensing Image, Malibu and Continuity characters.

Heroes Forever - Guild of Blades. Set in a world where superheroes have carved up the globe between them.

Heroes Unlimited - from Palladium Games

Heroic Conquest - from Renaissance Ink

Heroic Do-Gooders and Dastardly Deed-Doers  - a self-published RPG from Mathew Van Dinter

Heroic Visions - by New Vision Comics

Living Legends - from Unigames

Marvel Superheroes RPG - published by TSR

Marvel Universe - from Legendgames

Mutants and Masterminds - from Green Ronin, another relative newcomer

Sailor Moon  - from Guardians of Order

Silver Age Sentinels - by Guardians of Order, one of the newer games to appear, but already proving to be a favourite

Superbabes-  the Femforce RPG, released by Tri-City Games

Supergame - from DAG Productions

Superhero 2044 - the very first superhero RPG

Super-Sentinels - from Judge's Guild

Super Squadron - from Adventure Simulations, an Australian superhero RPG

Supervillains - from Task Force Games

Superworld - published by Chaosium

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles - from Palladium Games

TORG - by West End Games. Strictly speaking only the Nile Empire section of the game.

Underworld - by Mayfair Games. Post-apocalyptic heroes inspired by Martial Law.

Vigilance: Absolute Power -  from Mystic Eye

Villains and Vigilantes - published by Fantasy Games Unlimited

Wild Talents - published by Arc Dream

* TSR previously standing for Tactical Studies Rules, but now just being three letters, in the same way DC Comics originally stood for Detective Comic Comics

** A TMNT game, a Justice Machine game supplement, a DNAgents game supplement, two different versions of a Marvel comics game, two different versions of a DC comics game, a Hellboy game, a Wild Cards supplement, a Femforce game, two Judge Dredd games, a Slaine game, a James Bond game, a Cadillacs and Dinosaurs game, a Buffy game, a Sailor Moon game, an Usagi Yojimbo game, a Tank Girl game, an upcoming Authority game and Nocturnals game, and more besides

*** The Wild Cards books had their start as a Superworld game; the Elementals' enemies The Destroyers originally came from a Villains and Vigilantes module created by Bill Willingham; for that matter there was a Villains and Vigilantes comic from Eclipse based on the characters given in the first ever V&V module; and the Guardians, often seen on the covers of early copies of the Champions RPG, as well as being name-checked inside, had first a mini-series, then an entire comic company, set up around them.

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