4e Supers


4e for Supers. Given that this is me, it was only a matter of time. These are mostly unstructured notes. Also shouldn’t be a surprise.

Basic assumptions: 1) Keep it as close to 4e’s established ruleset and structure as possible. Mainly so that you can still use the Character Builder. 2) Setting neutral, although we’ll want to be able to replicate things like Marvel or DC, 3) No system gets Flash or Green Lantern right so holding them up as “imposible to make in this system” is a non-starter.

Power Sources: These may need a little changing to match with the genre. Martial, Arcane and Psi are okay. Divine is problematic (but works in some contexts, like the Spectre maybe?). Reskin Divine as “Sci/Tech.” Primal becomes…tempted to say Mutant, but that starts to really define our world setting. There’s a lot of shape-changing going on in Primal, and elemental energies, and spirit companions. Yeah, Primal is tough to remap. Come back to this later. It’s just flavor anyway. Does it really *have to be* mapped? What’s really important are…

Classes: Keep them as is. Something will match what you want for your character. Easiest way is to think role first and then which of the 4 or 5 options best fits your concept.

  • Blasters are going to be Strikers primarily, probably Sorcerers (I’d say Warlocks but I have no idea what to do with the Pacts or the curse or Shadow Walking or hey lady!) or maybe Rangers (the modern incarnation of Green Arrow, although Silver Age would be a Wizard). Hand to hand folks would be Rogues (Batman. He picks up Robins to help provide CA) or Monks (Iron Fist, Black Canary). Hulk and Wolverine are definitely Barbarians.  I want to say Iron Man is an Avenger
  • Defenders are tougher – lots of folks seem to fit as Fighters (Captain America, The Thing, Cliff Steele) but very few as Paladins (can’t think of examples. Superman maybe?), Wardens (Swamp Thing?) or Swordmages (Big Barda?).
  • Controllers are probably spread out more due to the lack of the Martial option.  Shape changers like Beast Boy or Chameleon Boy report directly to Druid. Cyborg feels like an Invoker, debuffing with sonic blasts and such.  A lot of your  elemental or energy powered folks who are not primarily blasty (Cosmic Boy, Iceman) are Wizards.
  • Leaders are a little weird as there isn’t a lot of healing in the comics genre and inspirational folks (Cyclops, Captain America, Wonder Woman) seem to me to be primarily another class and multiclassing it in. I really don’t know what to do about Shamans. Warlords, okay, Wonder Woman could very well be a Warlord. Bards? Clerics?  There’s a reason I left this category for last.

Races: Remap these to archetypes or origins, but maybe some aren’t allowed. Dwarves and Goliaths are varying forms of Bricks, Halflings are Nimble Tricksters, Shifters and Changelings are different types of shape shifters, Devas are alien type things (maybe with a hivemind). Warforged and Genasi are obvious. Ali suggests elves as mad scientist types. I’m thinking Dragonborn and Eladrin may be off the table because their racial powers are a bit much. I don’t think there needs to be a hard and fast mapping here – a character concept may lend itself to one of the races as a “background options” package.

Skills: Replace Religion with Sci/Tech. Replace Dungeoneering with…okay, I got nothing. COncentration maybe, he says looking at the Mutants & Masterminds skill list. That comes in handy in comics, sure.

Mechanics: Now the elephant in the room – equipment. Because really other than supers whose core schtick is wearing a suit of armor, very few supers wear armor. And certainly not leather, hide, or scale. So armor class is going to be tricky. As is Weapon Proficiency bonus. That extra +2 or +3 makes a difference. But honestly, if only a handful of folks wear armor, does it balance out? Does it give an unfair advantahe to those who do wear armor or ise a weapon? Allow Weapon Focus/Expertise on specific damage types maybe? Bears more thinking.

Travel Powers: This had me stuck for a litle bit. Travel powers are vital to the genre. Everybody has one of some sort or other, and almost all of them are usable in combat. Ali came up with the simple solution – Give everybody an extra At Will that is a travel power. Flight (movement -1 airborne), Jumping or Swinging (Move +1, airborne, must end move on ground), Phasing (1/2 move through solid barriers), Teleport (like Fey Step, but at-will), Superspeed (2x move on ground), Swimming (yeah, right) etc. You get 1 power at Heroic, another at Paragon, a third at Epic and you can take the same one more than once to stack or something.

It’s not elegant and some of the powers may feel a bit wonky. I have no idea if some character concepts would work at all or if 4e has too much fantasy “flavor” in its powers.  I’ll no doubt think about it some more, than get bored and give up completely at some point.


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7 Responses to “4e Supers”

  1. Moth Says:

    “Divine is problematic”

    Any way to tweak it with Thor as the inspiration?

  2. foxtown Says:

    “I want to say Iron Man is an Avenger”


  3. Bryant Says:

    Item mechanics: DMG2 has you covered, srsly. There are rules for going itemless, which may be what you want.

  4. More 4e Supers « Claw/Claw/Peck Says:

    […] More 4e Supers By Christopher Tatro More thoughts going back to this post. […]

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