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irondude
2015-10-26, 10:16 AM
Hello everyone. I'm intending to run an Agents of Shield RPG, I have the story, the concept, everything...

... except the game system. Modern d20 seems like a strong choice, but I'm wondering if you've got any recommendations.

The idea is that the players are agents of shield; superheroes and supervillains might appear, but most of them will be larger than like and in such situations the players might play a support role (but maybe they'll be able to handle a low level villain on their own)

Any game system you may recommend would be appreciated :)

TheTeaMustFlow
2015-10-26, 10:58 AM
20 Modern or Spycraft would both be pretty suitable.

FATE, as always, works, and I think might be good to get the feel of the Marvel Universe. You could also use rules from Atomic Robo or Dresden Files for powers and SCIENCE.

mikeejimbo
2015-10-26, 11:12 AM
Isn't Mutants and Masterminds practically made for this? Or does it not handle mundanes well?

TheTeaMustFlow
2015-10-26, 11:44 AM
Isn't Mutants and Masterminds practically made for this? Or does it not handle mundanes well?

I'd call it a little too power-focused, yeah. But more to the point, it's a system designed for playing the superheroes, powered or mundane, whereas here the pcs are the guys cleaning up after the superheroes. M&M can do Batman quite well, but it has problems doing Jim Gordon.

Mark Hall
2015-10-26, 12:50 PM
Savage Worlds would handle it pretty well... a secret agent game that tosses in superheroes would be right up its alley, including the ability for Weird Scientists to briefly mimic superpowers.

themaque
2015-10-26, 09:46 PM
Savage Worlds would handle it pretty well... a secret agent game that tosses in superheroes would be right up its alley, including the ability for Weird Scientists to briefly mimic superpowers.

I would agree with him on Savage Worlds. People who focus on powers would be awesome and people who are more mundane could still have awesome skill sets and not be left behind.

Raimun
2015-10-27, 01:06 AM
I would also suggest either Savage Worlds or Mutants and Masterminds.

Savage Worlds is obviously suited for the type of action Agents of SHIELD has. The basic setting is flexible and suited for Badass Normal heroes. There is also the Superpowers Companion-book, so you could make the superheroes with those rules. Obviously, Arcane Backgrounds of the basic setting would be unavailable.

I'm pretty convinced any kind of fictional character can be built with Mutants & Masterminds 2nd edition (given the right amount of points), so of course you can build mundane agents of SHIELD with the system. Superpowers are built into the basic rules, so the superheroes are easy to build. If you are using Marvel-setting, you could even look up the statlines people have written for Marvel-superheroes online. Obviously the agents should be made with less than the standard 150 points and with lower Power Level than the standard 10. Of course, you wouldn't allow Powers for the agents.

themaque
2015-10-27, 01:13 AM
Of course, you wouldn't allow Powers for the agents.

WELL, if you are season 2 this is arguable and season 3 straight up has super powered agents. okay, AGENT but we have been promised/teased more.

Raimun
2015-10-27, 11:40 PM
WELL, if you are season 2 this is arguable and season 3 straight up has super powered agents. okay, AGENT but we have been promised/teased more.

Oh, okay. I've only watched an episode or two of the first season.

Necroticplague
2015-10-28, 08:29 AM
Personally, I think GURPS would do well. Build some more skill-based characters, maybe restrict some of the more exotic Advantages.

Thisguy_
2015-10-28, 08:32 AM
Agreed on GURPS. You're playing "normal" people, right? Give 'em maybe 125 character points to start with and lock 'em out of all of the Supernatural stuff. Except maybe Weirdness Magnet.

Talyn
2015-10-28, 05:34 PM
I cannot in good conscience agree with those recommending GURPS. Seriously, GURPS does not do a good job handling the degrees of power difference you'd want in an Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. game.

Savage Worlds, on the other hand, is great, as long as you don't mind a pulpy and heroic feel. If you want it to be more grim and gritty, you might have some luck using World of Darkness (and specifically, Hunter: the Vigil). Maybe drop the Morality rules so that routine action-style violence doesn't send your characters screaming over into neurotic messes after a session or two, and use the rules for statting monsters for your super-human and super-science allies and foes.

Necroticplague
2015-10-28, 06:15 PM
I cannot in good conscience agree with those recommending GURPS. Seriously, GURPS does not do a good job handling the degrees of power difference you'd want in an Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. game.

What do you mean, degree of power difference?

Raimun
2015-10-28, 08:08 PM
I wouldn't recommend GURPS because Marvel-universe is a lot more cinematic than GURPS is.

SHIELD-agents who have "a protagonist status" have totally a Wild Die and three Bennies. Hence, Savage Worlds. :smallsmile:

Pluto!
2015-10-30, 07:32 AM
I would never suggest d20 modern for anything, and GURPS isn't really good support for what the game's about.

I'd suggest Smallville or any other version of the new Cortex rules. They're less about action and meticulously statting tactical positions than Modern is, and more about characters working together to solve various problems based on their own in-fiction drama, though the rules still more or less stand up to a fight or two between Supers and muggles, with a couple rules considerations (as GM, focusing NPC fire means that ****'s going to get real for someone real fast).

Florian
2015-10-30, 07:57 AM
I'd second Fate Core/Atomic Robo as this should be all about the story, interpersonal drama and character development.
Systems like D20 Modern or Gurps simply get bogged down in combat and thats not what I would want for playing agents.

qube
2015-10-30, 08:36 AM
World of darkness (specifically Hunter: The Vigil ): core samples inlcude


Task Force: VALKYRIE ("The Men in Black") Founded after the "real" death of Abraham Lincoln, using high-tech weaponry to protect the public and keep them from knowing things they do not want to know.
...
The Talbot Group - American organization founded as a counseling service that aims to rehabilitate werewolves and other supernatural beings to humanity.
Division Six - Extra-governmental group devoted to eliminating mages and other magic users.
Keepers of the Source - A group of protectors who safeguard places of power and protect forbidden knowledge.

MadGrady
2015-10-30, 10:17 AM
I second using either Savage Worlds or Fate. Both are mechanically "light" (Fate more so) and allow you to have super powers without getting too out of control. This is obviously an opinion and should be taken as such lol :smallbiggrin:

irondude
2015-11-02, 11:04 AM
I reeeeeeeealy appreciate this feedback. I've experimented on many of those games, and many are strong candidates

d20 Modern was already a suggestion of one of my players. I'm not sure about this one, I don't think superheroes/villains would interact well here (what str value would you give to the hulk? 60? How come people can dodge him?)

GURPS is something I haven't touched in a loooooong while. I'll check it out, I remember it as really cumbersome, but I'll give it a try

nWoD I love the oWoD, and I don't like the new one. The corebook of the nWoD is excelent for mortals, but again, it scales bad for superheroes.

M&M Now this is a system I know I *don't* want. It seems custom made for this, but it's actually rather square (I can't have a computer because I didn't pay the points?).

Savage Worlds seems to have the most votes. I'll give it a read. I skimmed into it once and the different die for each stat didn't appeal to me, but I'll give it a serious read.


My idea is to make an Agents of Shield game, in which the players start off as lvl 1 agents, and as the game progresses they MIGHT get powers to start playing with the middle boys (perhaps stark will lend one a prototype armor meant for mass production, or someone will get into the terrigen mists mojo)

Of course I'm not leaving out stuff that isn't in the cinematic universe - you may even start as a low powered mutant, but if so, you might face forceful recruitment by the likes of the Mutant Liberation Front, to say nothing of harassment form the outside (purifiers) as well as the inside (your own superiors at shield - it's against shield policy, but some might still hold mutant hatred)

Superheroes/villains ARE meant to make appearances, what would be the point if they don't? If the players are creative and/or lucky, they might even get a low powered villain by themselves (shocker, whiplash). A hero might get to help them on certain missions situations; some characarters would even be built using the system for PC and optimized for very high levels (Black Widow, Taskmaster, Hawkeye, even Wolverine)

BTW, I haven't even heard of the rest of the proposals before (spycraft sounds like it has the correct vibe), it's good to have options... I'll check them out

Segev
2015-11-02, 11:24 AM
I'd recommend M&M 3e or Spycraft d20, as they cover the superheroes and the spy tropes, respectively.

That said, I will give honorable mention to BESM, because it's a very flexible points-based game system. Even for "mundane" characters, the skill suites and the attributes like Divine Relationship (really just a re-roll mechanic that represents a certain amount of luck or karmic favor), Aura of Inspiration (for that rousing speech and bard-like charisma), and Combat Techniques can go a long way towards helping to customize characters. Even low levels of certain other attributes are useful.

And gadgets are just superpowers in another form; slap on "Item" as a flaw and build the gadgets using the powers you think they should do.

BESM is one of the better "effect-based" systems out there. M&M 3e is really the only competitor; I have to say M&M 3e handles flaws and restrictions better, but BESM 3e is overall a bit more flexible.

Pluto!
2015-11-02, 11:26 AM
Spycraft 2.0's like d20 Modern with an actual reason for existing. It does cool stuff for action/spy movie-styled games.

Not sure how well it would handle supers.

Segev
2015-11-02, 11:30 AM
Spycraft 2.0's like d20 Modern with an actual reason for existing. It does cool stuff for action/spy movie-styled games.

Not sure how well it would handle supers.

Thinking a little bit more on it...

If you took M&M 3e's core adaptations to the d20 system, then incorporated the subsystems and class options from Spycraft, you could probably make a pretty good Agents of SHIELD game. The clunkiness would be that you're combining a class-based system with a very loosely level-based system; you'd have to have a "super" class that you could basically take at any level they don't pick up a Spycraft class. "Super" levels give them the 15 CP that come with a level. (Or is it 10? I don't recall off the top of my head.)

The two should at least be somewhat compatible. It would just require some care and choosing one of them (I recommend M&M 3e) to use the majority of the system modifications from. Spycraft's major contributions are, I think, in the subsystems to handle things like chases, interrogations, and requisitions.

Florian
2015-11-02, 12:00 PM
@irondude:

Ok, let me explain why I think that Fate is a fitting system for the kinds of stories that are involved in Agents of Shield.
That system is very much in the narrative camp and is concerned more about developing the acting and emerging stories than focusing on the power level of abilities or individual actions.

You define a character by what you think is important to that character and the stuff you actually want to see being important in the developing story, not in terms describing the abilities of that character. As the story evolves and story goals/milestones are reached, you're even free to swap out those things for new stuff you think will be more important to what is relevant at the time.

That stuff is ranked in relation to the story as a whole, not in comparison to the other stuff availlable.
So, for example, one charakter may have a very powerful mutant power, the other may have a 9mm Beretta. There's a world of difference, right? No, not here. That doesn't mean they are the same, it just means that they are worth what the player has invested in them and that is relevant.

That's the key to having high-powered mutants or even Thor in the same story as well as your regular mundane agents without being a problem to the game.

irondude
2015-11-02, 12:49 PM
FATE seems interesting - it looks like the system in which hawkeye and thor can stand together. Savage Worlds, Spycraft and BESM are in my to look into list then.

Florian
2015-11-02, 01:55 PM
FATE seems interesting - it looks like the system in which hawkeye and thor can stand together.

I'm a bit bored right now, so I try my hands at a rough setting conversion to showcase how that is done.
Note that I said earlier that this system focuses on the story, not on an acrion-by-action comparison. (Meaning that you don't roll for every arrow Hawkeye shoots, but for well his overall performance in a given conflict is)

Setting rules:
Everything too high-powered or too high-tech is modelled as an extra with appropriate refresh costs.
Besides the ususal physical and mental stress tracks, there're also allegiance and powers stress tracks. Plain old humans don't use the powers stress track and are imune to stress there.
Every character and every major npc has a free allegiance-based aspect.
Skills go up to +5. This is a high-powered story.

Skills:
There are Custom Skills in use, overwriting Core assumptions.
Possible skills are:
Mundane Combat, Mystical Combat, World Savvy, Know the Rules, Gouvernment, Well Equipped, High-Ranking Connections, Military Actions, Spy Knowledge, Mutant Powers ...

Stunts/Aspects:
As Core, but please do stick to the source material.

Extras:
"Asgardian God", "Ironman Suit", "Helicarrier Incoming!", "Full Hydra Compliance", "You just made me angry", "Well, I love Tahiti", "The best training Shield can offer" ....