Things (Comic Book) People Do

Reading through some forums about multiple supers games produces some similar results, even with radically different rules elements.  One thing that I’ve noticed is that in any game that allows for any kind of flexibility or narrative variance in what “actually” happens, people will begin to discuss the where the line between “cheesy” and “abusing the rules” begins and where “setting tropes” leave off.

What can you parry with?  What can you throw at someone?  How much can you use the excuse that “it’s magic?”

My personal preference tends to be to let things slide unless it’s painfully obvious that the player in question isn’t really just being over the top, but is just handwaving something in order to get some kind of perceived advantage.

Can it be silly to have a character use a reflective belt buckle to deflect a laser back at a bad guy and blind/injure him?  Sure, it could sound really over the top.  Some people may hate over the top action like that.  But the real question is, is it something that has happened in comics before?


If it’s something I can recall seeing in comics more than once, it’s probably something that isn’t going to ruffle my feathers too much when I’m running a game.

I do realize that everyone at the table has to have fun, and that sometimes too much of something can really shift the tone of a game and change the “feel” of the game.  I mean, nobody wants to be Ryan Reynolds in a serious, grim, dark Blade event, right?

On the other hand, if someone does something really over the top, but still totally super heroic, once or twice a session, does that really ruing the game for everyone?  Is it just a matter of people liking different aspect of comics than you do?

Like most things in gaming, it’s a balance.  If it happens all of the time or really, really throws someone off their game, and isn’t something the “offending” player really has to do to enjoy themselves, sure, have some talks, make some adjustments.  But I’d urge everyone at the table to remember that one person’s cheese is another person’s cool, and unless the game degenerates into a fully on session of over the top silly oneupmanship, forge ahead and save the world.


  • Good stuff, man. I know I'm guilty of this sometimes – as GM I get totally thrown off my game when someone wants to do something that I personally wouldn't do. I need to learn to chill and allow them to enjoy the game the way they want to. Unless that is ruining everyone else's fun. For example, ran Breakout in MHR a while back. Player of Iron Man took my hints at forming the avengers, but decided to call the new team something different. The Justice Friends. How do you reconcile something like that, where you just can't imagine it actually happening in the game fiction?


  • I think it's going go vary from group to group and person to person. In that case, I'd do three things off the top of my head.1. I'd have Jan (Wasp) call up Tony and sniffle about how he doesn't like that name that she came up with for the team all those years ago.2. I'd have Rhodey call him up and point out that this name is even dumber that Force Works.3. I'd have some organization call him up and let him know that the Justice Friends has already been trademarked and that if he continues to use the name in public, there will be legal action taken.So he gets to use the name, for a bit, in character, and (in character) you get to let him know that the name stinks . . . ;)In the end, even if you go to him and say, \”I don't think this name sets the tone I'm hoping to set with the game,\” you still let him play with his choice in character for a while.


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