Without a doubt, the authors were well versed in superhero role-playing games popular at the time. They liked some aspects of those games and incorporated them into Enforcers. Some aspects they didn't like and they attempted to design Enforcers in avoidance of these aspects (not necessarily successfully). The rulebook has no Introduction, but an equivalent section called “Concepts Behind Enforcers” provides insight as to what the authors thought was wrong with these games.
We designed Enforcers with the intent of avoiding the pitfalls most of the super hero systems that have gone before us suffer from. The following is a short list of some of these.Admittedly, each individual “pitfall” was applicable to one or more systems, but no contemporaneous superhero games (let alone “most”) were afflicted with all of these flaws. While “Concepts Behind Enforcers” indicates justifiable criticisms of other games, the back cover lists the selling points of Enforcers.
- Randomly generated, underpowered player characters that never get any better.
- Complicated character creation schemes that are time-consuming and require a Ph.D. in math to understand.
- Ability scores represented by words like Fantastic, Amazing, Incredible, Humongous (or is it Hughmongoose?)
- Systems that force you to run someone else's creation.
- Combat that moves too slowly and is too complex.
- Creation point character generation in minutes.
- Fast and easy combat system.
- A complete magic system.
- Create your own super-powers.
- All alignments of characters allowed.
- LOTUS® compatible spread sheet program for online character sheets
- Step-by-step procedures provided for new players.
While all of the calculations involved in this system are simple, there are quite a few of them involved with initial character setup. You can use this system without a calculator, but it will slow down the action quite a bit if you do.In addition, character creation requires use of what are admittedly “mystic and arcane formulas.” All this would seem to put the lie to the notion of Enforcers being the “easiest” system. Why would the authors put forth such a preposterous claim? I can only speculate.
Below is the stat block from the Enforcers character sheet.
To be fair, Enforcers offers charts for some of the calculations.
The basic statistics for Enforcers characters are Weight, Strength, Constitution, Agility / Dexterity, Intelligence, Comeliness, and Media Rating. All are determined randomly, although the score for Weight can be determined “through an agreement between the player and the GM...” Nonetheless, we are informed, “the GM should go to great lengths to avoid the ‘overweight superhero syndrome.’ ” (In Enforcers, Weight is used in determining Hit Points and affects the calculation of other statistics, much like in Villains and Vigilantes.)
Other than random determination of basic statistics, Enforcers characters are generated by allocating creation points. The rules inform us, “Fifteen creation points is a good amount to use if you want a low-powered campaign that grows slowly; twenty-five creation points will result in a more moderate rate of growth; and 35 CPs will result in a high-powered campaign that grows quickly right from the start.” However, the first published module, The Knights of Beverly Hills, is intended for characters having forty creation points.
Creation points may be used to purchase powers and increase basic statistics (other than Weight and Media Rating). Superhero role-playing games typically offer a selection of generic powers which can be modified by various enhancements and limitations. In games like Champions and Superworld, these modifiers are presented as fractions by which the purchase cost of a power is multiplied. Enforcers eschews this mechanic; each power has a set cost. If a character's power is less effective than how it is described in the rulebook, the character receives points in the form of a weakness; if it is more effective, there is an additional cost “set by the GM...” With one noteworthy exception, variations in cost are represented in whole numbers. Only in this respect is Enforcers character generation 'easier' than that of other Superhero role-playing games; a distinction which is hardly worthwhile given the flaws evident in the game.
Energy Cost / Use = (DAM# × 3 × BCTH) / 1000
What about claims of “Creation point character creation in minutes” and “Step-by-step procedures provided for new players”? Well, it's all relative. The age of the universe can be measured in minutes. Any “Step-by-step procedures” doubtless make perfect sense to the author but may not easily be comprehensible to anyone else. Preparatory to creating a character, Enforcers encourages players to consider various “points” like personality, objectives, and motivation. This is commendable. The rules then go on to explain creation points and basic statistics. So far, so good. The next section is “Optional Statistics, Superpowers, and their Effects.” This is where the problems begin. Actually, the section describes the basic mechanics of Enforcers combat; there's nothing wrong with this, but the section title is misleading. There are no optional statistics presented and the information about superpowers is entirely peripheral. The next two sections are “Super Power Descriptions” and “Weakness Descriptions.” Only then are we treated to “Calculated Statistics and their Effects,” a section which explains Hit Points, Energy Points, and other concepts which ought to have been addressed much earlier. Also, Enforcers commits the unforgivable sin of not providing a sample character. Enforcers 'borrowed' several concepts from Villains and Vigilantes. One concept it did not copy was the inclusion of sample characters in its advertisements. That was clever marketing; you didn't even have to purchase Villains and Vigilantes in order to see a sample character.
There's one other thing I would like to mention before concluding this post. The first page of text in Enforcers – even before the Table of Contents – has the title “Missed-Information.” In other books, this would be “Errata” and and it would appear at the end because it's unfortunate. About this page the author tells us:
We are using this opportunity to correct some mistakes that occurred when the book was originally printed. As it was not feasible to correct all of the errors in the text, some of these corrections are given below.Not feasible? As indicated in the last post, nearly twenty pages had to be removed from this edition. They could remove those pages, but it was “not feasible” to implement some corrections. Even worse, three out of four corrections indicate the wrong page with which they should be associated. “Dr. Jay Christensen” is listed as the book's editor; one wonders in which field of study this person earned his or her doctorate.