Superteam Handbook

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Darrin Kelley
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Re: Superteam Handbook

Post by Darrin Kelley » Thu Oct 10, 2019 12:37 am

I don't think my criticism is at all unfair.

I buy pretty much every Mutants & Masterminds book without fail. I like the line enough to throw my money at it.

Bladewind: I'm sure you would have wanted a book that was much more focused on subverting aspects of the superhero genre to do new things. That would give a far more detailed look at doing those aspects you said you like. Heck! I want that book too!

But what we got I don't think served either topic well. And that's a shame. Because I have higher expectations for the line. Because of its excellent history of quality products.

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Scots Dragon
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Re: Superteam Handbook

Post by Scots Dragon » Thu Oct 10, 2019 1:02 am

I personally really liked the book, and I didn't think any of the teams really counted as subversions of the concept at all.

Instead they struck me merely as popular variations. Some of them might have started as subversions, insofar as you can even subvert the superhero genre at all outside of dark reimaginings given the everything-goes nature, but you can't really call them that now since they've become popular enough over time to count as their own influential part of the genre. Which is how genres work; they evolve and grow over time.

Expecting everything to remain the same is how a genre dies out.
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Bladewind
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Re: Superteam Handbook

Post by Bladewind » Thu Oct 10, 2019 1:13 am

Darrin Kelley wrote:
Thu Oct 10, 2019 12:37 am
I don't think my criticism is at all unfair.

I buy pretty much every Mutants & Masterminds book without fail. I like the line enough to throw my money at it.

Bladewind: I'm sure you would have wanted a book that was much more focused on subverting aspects of the superhero genre to do new things. That would give a far more detailed look at doing those aspects you said you like. Heck! I want that book too!

But what we got I don't think served either topic well. And that's a shame. Because I have higher expectations for the line. Because of its excellent history of quality products.
I don't think it was unfair. Like I said, I get your point, I just don't fully share it.

And yes, you're probably right about a book that sets out to turn things on their collective ears... :P
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Building to be comics "accurate" is different than building to run a PC or building something to challenge a group.
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greycrusader
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Re: Superteam Handbook

Post by greycrusader » Thu Oct 10, 2019 2:41 am

Darrin Kelley wrote:
Thu Oct 10, 2019 12:37 am
I don't think my criticism is at all unfair.

I buy pretty much every Mutants & Masterminds book without fail. I like the line enough to throw my money at it.

Bladewind: I'm sure you would have wanted a book that was much more focused on subverting aspects of the superhero genre to do new things. That would give a far more detailed look at doing those aspects you said you like. Heck! I want that book too!

But what we got I don't think served either topic well. And that's a shame. Because I have higher expectations for the line. Because of its excellent history of quality products.
I'm genuinely sorry if you feel you didn't get as much as hoped from the book; as one of the authors,I certainly always want genre fans to feel satisfied with my work. Darrin Kelly, if I understand correctly, you wanted more examples/in-depth examinations of more straightforward superhero teams, such as the Avengers or JLA (America or the world's greatest champions, banded together to stand against overwhelming threats), the Teen Titans (young legacy heroes or (ex) sidekicks, striking out on their own), the Fantastic Four (an extended family), or X-Men/original Doom Patrol (social pariahs/outcasts who nonetheless use their special abilities for good purposes). Is that correct?

While I'm not privy to the editorial decisions made prior to the project, I imagine the choice was made to focus on other variations because the Freedom City/Earth-Prime setting already has devoted a good bit of text on analogues of the above teams-The Freedom League, the Next-Gen, the Atom Family, and (to a lesser extent) the Emerald City Sentinels.

In terms of conventionally heroic groups represented in the book, you make a fair point-there is UNIQUE (an international team, similar to the JLI or Global Guardians), Magna-Fore (obviously ersatz Power Rangers, though Battle of the Planets and Voltron were likely influences as well),and the Ferroburg Four (clearly inspired by the Netflix Defenders, but a decent "street-level hero" representation even if one is unfamiliar).

Project Freedom/The Freelancers is basically my version of the latter-day Marvel Thunderbolts, with a nod to Suicide Squad, the Outliers (the Vertigo version of Doom Patrol, or the Umbrella Academy), The Uptarts are analogous to The Exiles (not the alternate worlds version) and the Runaways, the Shadow Knights are counterparts to the TMNT (which IS a mash-up of heroes as outcasts AND as extended family), and Red Group which...is a really cool treatment, IMHO, but rather odd, as its less Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. or even Mission Impossible than a take on the cult television showLeverage, though operating in a superhero universe. Obviously, these mostly represent more "modern" takes on superhero teams, though in some cases they date back as far as the late 1980s/early 1990s.

I'm guessing you felt unsatisfied much of the handbook was given over to these types, yes? Though I'm not certain these are genre subversions, precisely, but I understand your meaning. If the project had gone in a different direction it certainly could have looked at ersatzes of the Bronze Age Defenders (a "non-team" of powerful loners who get called together as needed), The Outsiders (a more proactive version of heroism), the Challengers of the Unknown (non-powered, highly skilled humans investigating weird phenomena), and Power Pack (kid heroes). Totally worthy as a project, I agree, but perhaps it was felt these tropes have been seen/explored in superhero rpgs fairly often in the past.

I'm glad the sections on rules mechanics and discussion of team dynamics proved useful to you, and I will note the team rosters which you didn't care for could certainly be tweaked to better suit your tastes (the PF members could certainly instead be "graduates", who stayed together as "The Convictions" to prove themselves true heroes, the Outliers could be run as more psychologically functional individuals with greater agency, dropping the Norn as their mentor/chessmaster); or the "adversaries/rivals" option could be invoked, turning them into opponents for your player's heroes.

Sorry to be go on a bit: you're certainly entitled to your viewpoint, and perhaps the Super-Team Handbook can be of use still in your campaign. I appreciate the feedback, regardless. All my best.

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Bladewind
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Re: Superteam Handbook

Post by Bladewind » Thu Oct 10, 2019 2:56 am

Now that I think of it, a few pages or a small section detailing tweaks to existing teams: The Sentinels, The Freedom League with the new rules would have been a nice touch...

Since the latter of those two aren't really built to PL/ PP limits, a Template and maybe quick summary of Team Resources in the style of the other teams is easy. A little more difficult for the Sentinels inasmuch as keeping them in the PL 10/150 framework...
Thorpocalypse wrote:
Sun Oct 07, 2018 6:01 pm
Building to be comics "accurate" is different than building to run a PC or building something to challenge a group.
Bladewind's 3ed M&M Builds
The Merge Setting document

Darrin Kelley
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Re: Superteam Handbook

Post by Darrin Kelley » Thu Oct 10, 2019 6:28 am

I'm actually in the basic beginning steps of campaign prep. And my Mutants & Masterminds books are all getting exercise in the process.

I have a campaign world already designed that I need to adapt to game mechanics. And that is going to be a long slog.

It's been quite a few years since I was last in the GM's saddle. But I'm confident enough to finally take the plunge again.

greycrusader
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Re: Superteam Handbook

Post by greycrusader » Fri Nov 08, 2019 3:22 am

One minor disappointment I had with the final published work is that I didn't get to coordinate very closely with the artist who rendered my Project Freedom heroes, unlike the characters I did for Rogues Gallery (or even the earlier 2e adventure book, All-In)); while the illustrations are obviously quite well-rendered, only a few elements of my designs were used. I certainly cannot fault the artist from making his own creative choices regarding the characters interpretations, but I thought perhaps a few of you might be interested in my original conceptions for their appearances.

9th Airborne: Fairly similar, but I pictured the armor's torso, gauntlets, and boots as khaki green (recalling his army background), with the arms and legs of the power-suit being a burnished gold. Also, I imagined Cain Rocha as a slim featured Hispanic man with a skull shaved to stubble, rather than a square jawed guy with a wedge of dark hair.

Fortress America: WAY different-my version is younger looking, with a wild, thick mane of silver-blonde hair (due to him being part Far-Sider); as befits the name, his costume was red (torso), white (belt, gloves, and boots), and blue (lower body), with a half-face mask and a chest symbol resembling a silver-white circle (representing the Far-Sider moon/Luna symbol) with alternating red-and-blue stripes.

Hexorcist:: I just figured Hexorcist should resemble his original depiction in the old-school Lockdown supplement; a skinny, oddly contorted figure draped in leather armor and cloth wrappings, except the original costume would be tattered and worn, exposing scarred, tattooed (with occult symbols) flesh.

Stormstress: Pretty much the closest, but I had updated her look a bit, with a black body-stocking adorned with an asymmetric lightning-pattern, and pale purple boots and gloves. I also conceived of this version of Stormstress as a bit older and slightly more hardened-looking, reflecting years in and out of prison.

Queen of Hearts: I think the artist used the actress Udo Azuba (who plays the formidable Crazy Eyes in the Netflix series Orange is the New Black) as a model for QofH: I imagined her more like the WWE wrestler/plus-size model Nia Jax. In my mind's eye, she wore a gold-tinted mask, and was clad in a half-red, half-black bodysuit, with red gloves, black boots, a gold belt, and a literal "queen of hearts" playing card design on her left bosom.


Been brushing up on my own art skills lately, so perhaps when I have a little more time on my hands I'll actually draw up my versions.

All my best!
Last edited by greycrusader on Fri Nov 08, 2019 4:10 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Bladewind
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Re: Superteam Handbook

Post by Bladewind » Fri Nov 08, 2019 3:39 am

Nice. Thanks for sharing those (mental) images !
Thorpocalypse wrote:
Sun Oct 07, 2018 6:01 pm
Building to be comics "accurate" is different than building to run a PC or building something to challenge a group.
Bladewind's 3ed M&M Builds
The Merge Setting document

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drkrash
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Re: Superteam Handbook

Post by drkrash » Mon Dec 30, 2019 1:59 am

I'm lttp on this, but I just got it for Christmas. I like the Green Ronin books for their production quality and I always like new ideas. I was looking forward to the teams in the book and I, like Darrin, didn't expect them to necessarily be outliers of the Prime-Earth setting. As such, the "traditional" teams were understood to already have been represented in other books (which I also own). I, however, would have liked some more standard Avengers analogs. I'd buy a book full of Avengers analogs. But that's fine; the characters will still be a good read (I hope) and I'll probably get some ideas to use.

I came here to express my disappointment for the opening essay on teams in comic book history. Steve Kenson has written some very good essays on comic book history in other M&M books, but this one read like an undergraduate essay from someone who only had passing familiarity with comics before the 90s (sincere apologies if the author of the essay is here, but I actually am a college professor and it really did read like a student essay to me).

Much more time should have been spent on the 40s, 60s, and 70s and less on how contemporary comics have better representation, which is not really strongly relevant to an essay about the history of *teams* in comic books. I just thought it could have been a lot more on point.
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