This blog takes a look at episodes from the Young Justice animated series from a tabletop roleplaying game perspective, both in terms of game design and game play.
Obligatory Spoiler Warning: I will be discussing the events of the episode in the post. If, for some reason, you’re interested in the show and this blog and have not seen the show, go and do that first. The blog will make much more sense, and you won’t have your enjoyment of the show spoiled. You Have Been Warned.
It’s the Fourth of July, Independence Day, and the “sidekicks” of four members of the Justice League are about to get their inside look at the world’s greatest team of heroes, although it’s not what they expect. Robin, Speedy, Aqualad, and Kid Flash are to take their first step toward eventual League membership, and they’re all eager to do so.
Your innate magic comes from the motion of the ocean and the swaying of your hips, the forceful thrust, and the slow roll – in short, pelvic sorcery. Perhaps you were born with this potential, apparent even before you fully tapped its power, or you might come from a long line with this ability, one ensured to continue on and on (and on…).
When you choose this origin at 1st level you gain a potent roguish charm. By standing next to a creature and interacting for at least 30 seconds, you can attempt to charm that creature as if casting the charm person spell, without expending spell slots or spell points.
Come and Get Your Love
At 1st level, you add expeditious retreat and jump to your list of known spells. You can cast them without components, but they affect only you.
Starting at 6th level, you can cast Otto’s irresistible dance on a creature you can see that can see and interact with you, without expending spell points to do so. Once you have done this, you must complete a short rest before you can do so again.
Hooked on a Feeling
At 14th level, you cancharm any creature by interacting with it. The creature makes a Wisdom saving throw against your spell save DC and is charmed for one hour if it fails.
At 18th level, if you are exposed to and make a saving throw against an effect at the same time as any of your allies, both you and your allies have advantage on the saving throw and resistance to any damage caused by the effect.
One of the things I very much looked forward to at GenCon this year (after a year away in 2013) was the third-annual “Queer as a Three-Sided Die” seminar. It got started, as such things often do, to address a need that the initial panelists and I perceived — it is, in many ways, the seminar I wish I’d had during my early years at GenCon, when the notion that there were other “gaymers” was completely foreign (I didn’t meet any until around my sixth or seventh year of attending).
We looked to expand the panel this year, and did in an unexpected way. Matt Conn (founder of MidBoss and GaymerX) and Philip Jones (co-director of Gaming in Color) contacted me just days before the con to say they were attending and were interested in the seminar. They joined me and our other panelists from prior years:
The Know Direction podcast was also kind enough to create a video recording of the panel, so I’ll direct you there if you want to see and hear everything that was discussed. Topics ranged across the queer spectrum from the light-hearted and celebratory to quite serious and emotional, and Qd3 (as I abbreviate it) was by far the most well-attended seminar I experienced at GenCon.
We also had the benefit of “GAYMER” badge ribbons from Tabletop Gaymers again this year. Feel free to check out their consolidated reference links, and to register or donate to the covering the cost of the ribbons this year and for next year, as they were quite popular!
Members of the gaymer community are already talking about adding to the slate of offerings for next year’s GenCon—social events, seminars, gaming events, and so forth—and I’m already looking forward to the potential for next year’s panel. If you are interested in joining us as a panelist, or know someone you think would make an ideal panelist, please email me and let me know!
If you have ever considered the possibility of offering something queer-related or more inclusive at a convention (GenCon or any other)—do it! Like I said, these things get started because we see a need and look to fill it and, let me tell you, the need is there. I’m already looking forward to all the amazing things our community is going to do in the years to come.
Summertime means convention season, and I have the good fortune to be guesting at a couple of cons in the coming weeks…
I am again a guest this year at ConnectiCon in Hartford, CT, this weekend from July 11–13, where I’ll be running games and speaking at seminars. Here’s currently where you can expect to find me there:
Writer, Designer, Publisher, Creator (seminar), July 11, 2–3:30 PM
Icons Assemble! The Zodiac Quest (Icons Superpowered Roleplaying), July 11, 8–midnight
Gaymers Unite! (seminar), July 12, 8:30–11 AM
Super-Powered Showdown! (Mutants & Masterminds game), July 12, 3–7 PM
Somebody Else’s Sandbox: Creating for Licensed Properties (seminar), July 13, 10–11:30 AM
This year I also return to GenCon after a year away, and I am again on the Industry Insider guest track. Apart from the Green Ronin booth and the nearest Starbucks, places where you can find me include:
Return to the Castle of Gender Representation (seminar), Thursday, August 14, 3–4 PM
The State of Superheroes at Green Ronin Publishing (seminar), Friday, August 15, 10–11 AM
How to Run a Successful Tabletop RPG Kickstarter (seminar), Friday, August 15, 2-3 PM
Playing God (seminar), Friday, August 15, 4–5 PM
Cross-Media Chaos: Working With Media Properties (seminar), Saturday, August 16, 10–11 AM
What’s Up at Green Ronin Publishing? (seminar), Saturday, August 16, 1–2 PM
Superhero Summit (seminar), Saturday, August 16, 4–5 PM
Queer as a Three-Sided Die (seminar), Saturday, August 16, 6 PM
Should you plan to be at either convention, please do check out my various events, or just take the opportunity to say hello. I look forward to seeing many of you there!
I’ll be honest: I’m not a fan of the point-based hero creation option in Icons (p. 68 of the Assembled Edition). “Rolled-up” heroes is one of the reasons I wrote the game, and the point-buy option runs counter to that, plus I already designed a much more comprehensive point-buy system for superheroes (this lil’ RPG called Mutants & Masterminds). Still, it’s something playtesters all but demanded, both when the game was originally written, and when I put together the Assembled Edition so, it’s in there as an option.
Naturally, the most oft-asked question about the newly released Assembled Edition?About point-based hero creation … naturally. That being:
How many points do extras cost?
The Point-Based Hero Creation sidebar in Assembled Edition says: “Apply power extra and limits to powers normally.”
Since an extra substitutes for a rolled power, with the point-based approach, an extra instead increases the power’s cost per level by 1. In essence, the extra costs points equal to the power’s level.
Example: Creating Miss Tikal (Icons, p. 215) with the point-buy option, her Incredible Magic (level 7) costs 7 points. She has three instances of the Mastery extra (three powers she can call upon without a test or preparation). Each of those extras also costs 7 points, so her Magic costs a total of (7 + 7 + 7 + 7) or 28 points. With 24 points in abilities and two Expert specialties (2 points each), Miss Tikal is a 56-point character.
In place of the third benefit listed on p. 84 of Assembled Edition, a limit can reduce a power’s cost per level by 1 (to a minimum of 1 point per level). In essence, a limit can allow an extra to be added to the power “for free”. The increase to rolled level benefit doesn’t apply, since powers have no rolled levels in the point-based option.
This week’s preview of the forthcoming Icons: The Assembled Edition looks at the good guys, with the nine ready-made “iconic” sample heroes found in the game. You can still sign up to the email list to be notified as soon as the book becomes available for pre-order. Discussion of the Assembled Edition is ongoing over on RPG.net.