Custom Rule Systems

After spending decades of my life enjoying role playing games, I've grown to love several distinct systems, particularly those that allow you to take on the persona of a hero and run with it. While I've played the heck out of these systems, however, I've found a bevy of things that I thought could be just a little bit better, here and there. Thus, I've gone and customized these game systems appropriately.

While these customizations may not work for everyone, I believe that sharing these various game modifications is the right thing to do. This because a) some people might think, like I do, that they improve the games in question, or b) if they don't think like I do, these notions might give folks an idea here or there they didn't have before. Even if b) is the only result of my work, then everything was totally worth it.

While this effort started with my custom changes to the Marvel Super Heroes Role Playing Game, which I have dubbed the Universal Heroes System, it has grown to include a couple other games as well, such as the Marvel Super Heroes Adventure Game (whose customizations I have dubbed Saga System 13), and the retro-clone 4C System (of which I am producing enhancements under the Edition 13 banner).

Below you can find my many and various works for the game systems I currently support here at the 13. The only thing you should need to play them (the Saga stuff aside, that is) is of course two ten sided dice, in order to produce percentile results. Failing that, I have produced a digital pair of ten sided dice, which you can use to roll up results here.

Pieces of the Puzzle

Introduction: before one jumps headlong into the following gaming texts, it couldn't hurt to read these general introductions to each system. They are intended to explain what the game in question is, what you can do with it, and why I felt the need to modify it so. A 'bare bones' basics description of role playing games in general is also included, in the event that you've never had the pleasure of playing one before.

Universal Heroes | 4C System: Edition 13 | Saga System 13

Essential Capabilities: the heart of any game, ability scores (or traits) describe the most basic, essential capabilities of every character. They quantify things such as how strong or smart a character happens to be, and so on, and are metrics by which every character can be described on equal footing. No matter what powers or talents they may have, a character always has ability scores.

Universal Heroes | 4C System: Edition 13 | Saga System 13

Metrics and Actions: expanding on the basics, it is important to note just how a character's traits, not to mention their incredible super powers, measure up to others. This portion of the game's rules does just that, and then goes on to explain how players can use these metrics to accomplish just about any action they desire during play - regardless of how difficult that action may happen to be.

Universal Heroes | 4C System: Edition 13 | Saga System 13

Space and Movement: movement is the most basic of actions, but how does one handle moving around? Getting from one place to another seems simple at first, but then you mix various super powers into the deal and it gets all wonky. Here's some basic notions on movement and movement difficulties, from movement powers to clutter and the various issues it may cause.

Universal Heroes | 4C System: Edition 13 | Saga System 13

Time and Combat: one of the most important aspects of any game is the time scale of the standard turn. This determines when everything can occur relative to everything else, in a solid and consistent manner. The turn structure manages everything from movement to character actions, and is the very core of how combat flows in every role playing game - not just those presented here!

Universal Heroes | 4C System: Edition 13 | Saga System 13

Advanced Battle Concepts: while most conventional combat has been covered in great detail already, there are a lot of things that simply don't qualify as conventional when you get down to it. Super powers, specialized tactics, and even the weather can act to modify how ordinary combat plays out - and Advanced Battle Concepts will show you exactly how.

Universal Heroes | 4C System: Edition 13

Living and Dying: a coda of sorts to the many and various combat rules described previously, Living and Dying is all about the consequences of battle. The loss of Health and the expenditure of experience (both in play and for advancement) is detailed here, as is a variety of optional uses for these vital metrics, if they are to be adopted for use in one's game.

Universal Heroes | 4C System: Edition 13

Character Generation: with a (hopefully) solid understanding of all else, what you need next is a character to play the game with! Character generation explains all the options available to a player, and if it doesn't shuffle him or her off to another, specialized page dedicated to one origin or another, it details how to build adventurers without ascendant powers.

Universal Heroes | 4C System: Edition 13

the Textbook Character Treatise: individuals described as textbook characters do not gain their powers via advanced equipment, learned skill-equivalents like spells, or even the dubious power of faith. No, textbook characters are one with their powers, either physically or mentally. Explicitly super-human, the Treatise explains how this makes them unique compared to others.

Universal Heroes | 4C System: Edition 13

Technical Reference: artificial by necessity, the products of the Technical Reference are the result of an application of scientific knowledge. It details characters whose powers are derived from technology, whether they wield it separately from themselves, have it integrated into their very bodies, or are actually the technology themselves!

Universal Heroes | 4C System: Edition 13

The Book of Magic: The Book is a guide to creating characters for use in these games who are well-versed in the use of magic. A sorcerer is a character who has studied long and hard, combining researches into otherwise lost knowledge with the tutelage of another in order to manifest magical abilities. The Book, then, details thirteen different means of achieving this incredible goal.

Universal Heroes | 4C System: Edition 13

The Manual of the Psi: the Manual defines the notion behind psionics in these games. Characters who use psionics, defined as psi-active individuals, can acquire their abilities through any number of methods, though most do so through intense meditation and introspection. The Manual showcases how psis are different from other ascendant beings, and the benefits of this path of power.

Universal Heroes | 4C System: Edition 13

The Deionomicon: the products of a life force augmented by the power of faith, deities come in many forms. Furthermore, their actions can cause the creation of many different forms of ascendant beings, whether immortal themselves or simply wielding trinkets powered by the devotion of others. These entities, and many more, are the subject of the Deionomicon.

Universal Heroes | 4C System: Edition 13

The Combination Characters Cookbook: (the Combination Characters Cookbook document will go here)

Exobiology 101: (the Exobiology 101 document will go here)

Powers: here one can find a comprehensive roster of every power currently available in the game systems supported here. Whether they exist as a mutant ability, a magical spell, a psionic talent, or even some sort of deific legacy, all the ascendant abilities that heroes, villains, and everyone in between can use in the game are spelled out in great detail!

Universal Heroes | 4C System: Edition 13 | Saga System 13

Power Customization: while these games try to account for every possible ability a player may want to try out, the truth is that even one hundred game developers could never achieve this astounding feat. Thus, room is left for players to customize their ascendant abilities, either by limiting them for more power or by enhancing them for more versatility.

Universal Heroes | 4C System: Edition 13

Quirks: the quirks system is a tool with which a player may customize and individualize a character somewhat, adding minor beneficial traits or deleterious hindrances as they see fit. Quirks can be used solely for that purpose, or can be added to a character in order to either justify additional powers, talents or contacts - or perhaps the reverse, if the player desires.

Universal Heroes | 4C System: Edition 13

Talents: talents (or skills) are representative of knowledge a character possesses. One does not need aberrant genes or alien ancestors or psi exposure in order to learn a talent - anyone can do so given the appropriate opportunity and time to study. There are many different kinds of talents, all of which have a practical benefit for every character - either in or out of combat.

Universal Heroes | 4C System: Edition 13 | Saga System 13

Contacts: contacts are people that a character knows well. A character's contacts are a good way to determine or expand on his or her origin, as they represent people that not are not only aware of them but are willing to help him or her as they go adventuring. Questions such as why the character knows these contacts and how their relationships work only help to develop their story more.

Universal Heroes | 4C System: Edition 13 | Saga System 13

Accessories:

Text File Archive: though the ultimate plan is to produce a slick .pdf file for each rule system I am writing or rewriting, complete with competent artwork, the need does exist for a simpler presentation of the material provided above. As such, I'm offering a text file archive of these rules for your gaming convenience, particularly if you'd like to more easily rearrange them your own way.

Universal Heroes | 4C System: Edition 13 | Saga System 13

(various other accessories go here)

Last, but not Least:

For reference: the material herein is not at all complete. It's 'living writing', as it were, which is still something I have to bend my head around. It's highly subject to change; if you wish to comment as I create, feel free - I will either justify what I'm doing rationally or go with suggestions and give credit. Most of it's really in my head already, but regardless.

* Well, once they're all done, at any rate. The sections without links are, for example, not remotely ready for public consumption.

- Denny Hill 2, also claiming the name Firebomb (firebomb@technohol.com).

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