Sunday, February 12, 2017

The RPG Character Library: Uberbeans!

Uberbeans is a rules-light, funny, superhero game made by my friend Josh McGaw. I had a hand it it as well for, as Josh once said, "Geoff took all of the papers and cocktail napkins I had written on, turned the Joshinese into English, and put it in rulebook format."

I even get name dropped in the FAQ at the front of the book. Like so:

So, where did the name Uberbeans come from? The name came from a close friend, Geoff Bottone (of Geoffquest Games). While I can't tell you the particulars of that night until after the trial, let's just say that it was just something funny he said after a rhino chased the strippers out of the auto parts store while we hung from a chandelier. It still cracks me up to this day.
Was that before or after the Muppet flogging at the pee-wee golf pro shop? Hmm. I'm not really sure. It's still kinda fuzzy.
Who was that woman you were with? And why were you in a gorilla costume? Hey, that's it, buddy! You were warned! This interview is over!

The actual game is somewhat less silly, but Josh's love of comic books shines through on every page. Though the system is rather simple, it allows you to make a surprisingly large variety of superheros (and villains), with all the powers and tropes that one can find in many a graphic novel.

I started off without a character concept, but the character I wound up with is actually pretty solid and would probably be a lot of fun to play. Here's a quick overview of the character creation rules and the decisions I made along the way:

This is a one or two-word description of the character's worldview and personality. You could be a Boy Scout (like Superman), a Vigilante (like Batman), or a Loner (like...Wolverine, maybe?). I decided to go against my usual inclinations and pick Dirtbag. According to the rules, "Okay, so you're not the friendliest kid on the block, but that's just the way life is. Tough if the rest of society is too busy being polite. You do the things that have to be done, morals be damned."

My character has six attributes (Balance, Balls, Beauty, Body, Brains, and Karma). I start out with one point in each and get 9 points to spend however I like. The game uses a roll-under mechanic with a single d6, which means that, if I want to do something, I have to roll under my attribute to succeed. Attributes have a maximum of 5, but certain Uberpowers will allow me to give them pluses (written like Body: 4+). What this means is that I get to roll one die, plus one die for every + next to the attribute, and take the best of the results.

Attributes also give me modifiers to other things, including my secondary attributes (Hit Points, Stun Points, Recovery, Karma Pool, Initiative, Move, Action Pool, Dodge, Base Damage, Spot, and First Impression).

As is typical with point-buy systems, I made a character with balanced stats to start with, tweaking them once the concept gelled in my mind.

Josh writes, "once I thought that I could create a skill list so complete that even the creators of Rolemaster would be awestruck. However, I have a life."

He has instead decided to go with a short list of general skills. These skills can be given a focus, if you would like, but I don't know that it's necessary. So I could have Athletics 2 or have Athletics (Bocce Ball) 2. I also get the skill Well, Duh!!! at Rank 2.

Well, Duh!!!: Everyday skills that just don't matter to me, such as driving to the supermarket, taking a high school exam, or cooking macaroni and cheese. You may read, write, type, perform first aid, and drive a car, among other trivial things. This cannot be made a specialty.

I wound up leaving the skills for last, because I didn't know what sort of character I was going to make yet. Other than that he was a Dirtbag with balanced stats.

Uber Skills
These are self-taught abilities for heroes and are based off of one of my attributes. I get one to start with. After a lot of thought, I picked Shoot Guns Just Like Bruce Willis, which is based off of my Balance.

I'm a Dirtbag who likes to shoot guns? Maybe I'm a mercenary. Hmm. Interesting!

This is where it gets fun. I get 5 Uber points to spend on Uberpowers. Some of them are single-purchase, while others are rank-purchase. I was flipping through this section, not sure what to pick, until I spotted the Aqua Man power. "Haha, Aquaman. So lame, right?'m going to be Aquaman. This'll be great."

After some more flipping back and forth, I picked some powers that gave my character the ability to move and survive underwater, generate a mucous-like slime that covered him like armor, and made his skin (or the slime, probably) toxic, causing damage if he was touched.

It was then that I knew what my character's super name was. I christened him, "The Hagfish."

I rounded out my character with some basic weapons and armor. Here's how those things work in Uberbeans.

Armor has variable amounts of Stop and Soak. If you get hit, subtract Stop from the damage. If there's any left over, subtract Soak from the remainder. Stop can be used for every attack, but Soak can only be used until it's gone. Any other damage that gets through Stop and Soak hurts me. My armor regains Soak points when I repair it.

Weapons do a set amount of damage on a hit, which can be modified by skills and Uberpowers. Most weapons also have a special damage type. For example, my pistols do Bleed 2 on a Breach. What that means is that if one of my attacks hits and does damage to my opponent, I get to roll another d6. If I roll 2 or less, my opponent starts to Bleed, losing one hit point per combat turn until they get first aid.

There are some more rules about armor, damage, and vehicles, but none of those things are particularly relevant to my character. So, that being said, here's my character!

Paul Navino “The Hagfish”

Concept: Dirtbag,Ex-Special Forces Mutant, Contract Killer for Hire

Karma Pool
1d6+1 (+3)
1/+1 (0)
Action Pool
1 (+3) (+4)
1 (+1)
Base Damage
2 Stun
Hit Points
Stun Points
First Impression

Skills and Stuff (17 Skill Points)
Well, Duh: 2
Shoot Pistols: 5 (+2 Damage, +2 Initiative)
Athletics: 3
Pilot: 3
Military: 3
Survival: 3

Uber Skills (1 Point)
Shoot Guns Just Like Bruce Willis (Balance): This skill, inspired by The Man, allows you to use a pistol in each hand without the off-hand penalty and only half the shooting penalties for that situation.

Uberpowers (5 Points)
Armor (1): Generate hideously slimy mucous. +1 Stop, +3 Soak (total with suit: Stop 4, Soak 8)
Aqua Man (1): +5 Initiative, +1 Dodge, +1 Action Pool, Swim 45 MPH, Double Movement (water only)
Amphibious (1): Swim to depths of 250’. +1 Action Pool, +1 Initiative. Remain underwater for 1 hour without air.
Toxic (2): Anyone touching me must make a Body roll or suffer Biohazard 1.

Energy-Dispersing Spandex Suit: Normal, Stop 3, Soak 5, -1 damage from all attacks, -1 Beauty
Dual Pistols: Damage 3 (5), Contact N/A, Breach Bleed 2, Ammo Bullets

No comments:

Post a Comment