For use with DC Heroes RPG
Dedicated to my Wife, the Pretty Rabbit
Once, I wrote my own 400-page Fourth edition of DC Heroes. I liked that Fourth edition, but every time I looked at it I thought, “This is trying too hard!” So a couple of years ago, that became my guiding mantra and I set about editing, expanding, and revising my rules and write ups, keeping only what I felt was absolutely vital, trying to change as little as possible. I proceeded from the idea that the game did not need to be fixed, only updated. It is from that mammoth tome that I have gathered and edited the information on this blog.
My goal was to introduce new character traits that would work with the existing ones and allow play in modern comic universes. I added traits that reflected the DC Universe of my favorite era: the late 1990’s and early 2000’s. In this era, comics thankfully abandoned the grim and dark that had been their obsession since Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns and Alan Moore’s Watchmen (and has since become their new obsession) and returned to the glorious fun and wild action of titles like Grant Morrison’s JLA, Mark Waid’s Kingdom Come, and Alex Ross’ Justice (thus, almost nothing following Identity Crisis and certainly absolutely nothing from the New 52 will be found in this work- sorry). I also added traits that allowed for play in the Marvel and Wildstorm Universes. I added traits for different genres, like action, martial arts, horror, science fiction, anime, and fantasy. I greatly expanded the equipment, weapons, vehicle, and computer lists. I added a full bestiary, catalog of NPCs, and write ups for the JLA, JSA, Titans, Avengers, Fantastic Four, X-Men, and their villains that I loved best.
All the while I added as few rules as I could get away with, clarified rules that seemed confusing, and changed only what I felt was unavoidable. The major alterations are:
Artist skill- altered to be an advantage similar to Scholar because it seemed more appropriate given the enormous variety of art forms that exist and the general uselessness of the skill in the first place;
Claws- altered to allow the character’s Strength to play a role in edged attacks because it makes more sense, especially given edged weapons;
Stretching- altered to reflect the fact that in the comics it does far more than was described in the power’s original description;
Armor gadgets- altered to use defensive powers like Skin Armor (for suits of armor) and Force Shield (for shields) in an attempt to create consistency and better simulate realism, because an italicized BODY defended against all attacks, which just seems silly; and
Weapon gadgets- altered to make them all lethal, use attack powers for consistency, and rely on the user’s attack skill for AV.
I added a lot of detailed discussions of gadgets, always the game's weakest link, and a few optional rules that I thought could be used to add to the game, but were a bit too complex to make hard rules.
It was my ultimate intent that these rules and additions would function like a DC Heroes 3.5 and that all existing Second and Third edition write-ups would remain 95% compatible with the update. I did not want to invalidate any of the brilliant game design of Misters Gorden, Winninger, and Nystul. I did not feel I needed to.
I hope that I managed to do the game some justice and to update it intelligently. I still believe that it is the finest game ever designed and the most enjoyable waste of time ever published.
Again, to use Exponential Heroes you will need a copy of DC Heroes. Second or Third edition (or Blood of Heroes). I also highly recommend the Magic sourcebook, The World At War sourcebook, and The Atlas to the DC Universe.