April 14

Top 10 RPG list – number 10

To kick things off number 10 on my list is a BASH Ultimate Edition the super RPG.

I’ve always had a thing for super-powered gaming, I guess this stems from my love of the comics.  My first super game was Marvel Superheroes basic set, a bright yellow box containing a few books, dice and maps.  From there I picked up one or two more other games but found myself desiring something else.

BASH is one of those happy accidental purchases which I seem to have made a few of in my time; as I thought I was originally buying a different game and was happily surprised with what I actually bought.

BASH was going to be the game to introduce a new player to the group and I wanted something that enabled everybody to be heroes and do good deeds while protecting the innocent.  It would also allow us to evaluate the new player before we could resume the regular Pendragon campaign.

I also wanted a simple game with flexible character creation options and BASH gave me all of them, requiring nothing more than a pair of six sided dice and using multiplication to do all the super stuff.  In practice the game does work rather well plus the book has a table reminiscent of the old Marvel table which I thought was a nice touch.

There are other point based systems on the market but since this was going to be an introductory game I eschewed them all in favour of this one.  Like most systems you pick a set point level and you can exceed the points you spend but your character tends to attract bad stuff.

There are supplemental power books with one or two new powers to be found within and the rest of the book is filled with powers based upon existing ones in the main book; as well as organising them into various categories like attack and utility powers.

BASH has some good advice on different eras of play and I had no trouble with the Golden Age, the characters were going to be part of a task force operating in the City Of London during the 1960s.

After some discussion we ironed out the kinks for certain advantages and the players certainly came up with some interesting concepts including; a water elemental from an alternate dimension,  an immortal Scotsman, a ghost who could posses the wheelchair bound host and someone in a suit of power armour.

I don’t normally discuss behind the scenes stuff about adventures but in this case I shall since it was such a wonderful idea I feel it has to be told.  I have no fear of my players using the information as I will not be returning to my unfinished creation because the sad news is that but three weeks into the adventure the new player suddenly died and I was unable to contemplate continuing it.

The idea was borrowed from an old episode of Doctor Who, something that was written as a period piece in the 1960s and concerned the Post Office tower, a slightly sentient supercomputer who could control minds and it was all under the control of the then postmaster general.  I had fun writing or rather adapting it to the group and I was able to use the stock resources provided by the main book to flesh things out.

Honourable mentions.

Mutants and Masterminds was probably the best OGL version of a supers game I ever ran across, it was flexible and you could certainly create the characters that you wanted but it got a bit fiddly in places and I found the odd point here and there which I couldn’t easily spend.  The system did away with hit points and had you make damage saves instead.  I have only experienced the first edition and I understand some changes were made in later versions but I never had the desire to purchase them.

Golden Heroes.  The second supers game I ever bought as Games Workshop had it all on sale and I was intrigued by it.  The first game I encountered that had everyone roll for their powers randomly and you had to rationalise them, any that couldn’t be explained had to be discarded.  This did have the wonderful rationale from one of the players that the CIA had messed with his DNA.   Until I found BASH this would have to be my favourite supers game as it was simple, elegant and had you rolling a detailed PC up in half an hour or so.  I understand the game lives on as Squadron UK.

 


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Posted April 14, 2014 by GeneralTangent in category "RPG

About the Author

I've been gaming on and off since about 1989 and during that period have played with numerous game systems. I'm fluent in a few, have a basic understanding of quite a few more and can get by in others. Somewhere along the way I found time to be a playtester, contribute to an unpublished game supplement and be associated with another gaming magazine written by far more talented people than I. This lead to one infamous article being written in which I followed the letter of the adventure and torched the parties river barge. I'm also listed on http://rpggeek.com as a game designer.

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