Sunday, January 4, 2015

Supervillains Combat

From Beauty and the Beast #2 (Feb. '85)
art by Perlin, DeMulder, and Scotese

The 'basic' game of Supervillains focuses on combat.  Included in the game is a 'strategic' map (55cm × 42cm) upon which combat is played out.  (See image below.)  The left side is represented in hexes while the right side is represented in squares; the interface between the two sides is a column of “square-hexes.”  These hexes, squares, and square-hexes could collectively be called 'spaces' and the rules do this – but only rarely.  When referring to these spaces the rules usually (and annoyingly) use the phrase “hexes, squares, and square-hexes.”  I'm going to use the term “spaces.”  No dimensions are given for these spaces but they would seem to accommodate the width of a city street.

For the 'basic' game, players are expected to use pre-generated characters – of which 37 are provided.  Character creation is not covered until the 'advanced' rules where the concepts of 'Strength' and 'Dexterity' are explained.

Strength is “a measure of the force which the arm and chest (but not leg) muscles of [the] character will be able to exert.”  It is rated from one to ten.  A Strength of 1 is described as “BELOW NORMAL HUMAN, LIFT 100 lbs.”  A Strength of 10 is described as “ULTRA-JOCK, (LIFT BOATS, ETC.) UP TO 50,000 lbs.”  A “normal human” has a Strength of 2.

Dexterity is “the overall physical coordination and the quickness of the character.”  It is rated from one to six.  A Dexterity of 1 is described as “BELOW NORMAL HUMAN” while a Dexterity of 6 means “FULL CONTROL OVER ALL BODY MUSCLES.”  A “normal human” has a Dexterity of 2.

(Strength is determined by rolling 1d10.  Dexterity is determined by rolling 1d6.  Perhaps the average of 2d6 – rounding down – would be a better way to calculate Dexterity.  In this way, supervillain Dexterity would tend to be above the level of “normal human,” but extreme values would be less frequent.  Strength could be determined the same way except that if doubles are rolled on the 2d6, an additional 1d6 would be added to the average – to a maximum Strength of 10.)

A character has a number of hit points equal to twice his or her Strength.  Damage can be either “kill” or “stun.”  If a character suffers an amount of kill damage that equals or exceeds his (or her) hit points, the character dies.  If a character suffers an amount of stun damage (or combination of kill and stun damage) that equals or exceeds his (or her) hit points, the character falls unconscious.

In Hand-to-Hand combat, “If a hit is scored, the damage will always be one point, regardless of the Strength of the attacker.”  This damage is 'stun' unless using a weapon; however, “Superbeing characters may make the attack either to kill or stun.”  So, a 'Superbeing' with a Strength less than that of a normal human can inflict kill damage even when unarmed.  I guess they fight dirty.

In the 'basic' rules, “The play of the game is organized into Game Turns.”  Just assume that a basic Game Turn does not represent a fixed amount of time, but allows each character to perform movement and an attack.  Later in the rule book, mention is made of something called a “combat phase” which lasts thirty seconds, but does not allow for movement.  How combat phases relate to anything in the game is beyond me.

Although combat occurs in the advanced game, the advanced rules define 'turn' in a different way:  “a turn will represent one day of actual time.”  Of course, by “actual time,” the rules mean time as it passes in the game.  The phrase “game day” would evidently be too confusing.

In a basic turn, character has a number of movement points equal to his or her Dexterity.  A character can move one space per movement point.  Different activities have various costs; for instance, entering a building through a window costs three movement points.  Characters with 'limited' flight can use a movement point to move upwards ten feet; “true flyers and leapers” can move upwards thirty feet per point.

In a given basic turn, initiative is determined by rolling 1d6.  The player with the “highest” result has the choice of going first.  Although initiative is determined for a player, certain equipment and abilities allow a character to “always” have initiative.

To determine whether or not an attack succeeds, the attacker and defender compare their respective combat strengths and refer to the Combat Results Table. If attacker and defender have equivalent combat strengths, the attacker must roll six or greater on 1d10 to hit the defender.  The Combat Results Table ranges from attacker/defender odds of 4+:1 (automatic success) to 1:4 (a roll of 10 is needed to succeed).  Combat strength for Hand-to-Hand combat equals Strength plus Dexterity plus applicable modifiers.  Combat strength for ranged combat is Dexterity plus applicable modifiers.

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