Robot 6

Get grim ‘n’ gritty with a homemade ‘Street Level’ superhero RPG

Shadowland art by Billy Tan

Shadowland art by Billy Tan

With Kick-Ass in theaters and Marvel’s Daredevil-driven Shadowland event on the horizon, it’s a good time to be a street-level vigilante hero. Now you can be one in the privacy of your own home, thanks to blogger Jon Hasting’s DIY RPG Street Level.

Hastings says he drew inspiration for designing his homemade game in large part from the ’70s & ’80s Marvel characters who will be throwing down in Shadowland — Moon Knight, Luke Cage, Daredevil, Punisher, Ghost Rider, Iron Fist and so on — as well as indie takes on the concept from Mike Baron’s Badger to Mark Millar & John Romita Jr.’s Kick-Ass. Now, what I don’t know about role-playing games could almost fit into the Grand Canyon, but it looks to me like Hastings captured the spirit of what makes these characters fun: The skills your character can develop include “finding shit out,” “taking a beating,” “doing violence,” “telling people what’s what,” and “keeping your shit together” (for those interested in doing a Daredevil: Born Again-style campaign, I guess), while the amount of “Heat” you’ve drawn to yourself from either traditional law enforcement or the criminal underworld is a major factor in your success or failure. Actual superpowers are optional; if you want your character to be able to light his fists on fire thanks to some experimental drug/martial-arts mojo, that’s fine, but it’s also fine to just have him roll out of bed, put on a jumpsuit, and beat up some muggers.

Hastings is concerned that he may have overdesigned the game, but he needs to have it playtested to be sure. Why not give it a spin yourself?



Meh. He doesn’t list the type of dice needed (6-sided, 10-sided, 20-sided, etc.)

Since he lists that anything over 10 is, basically, a phenomenal success, I’d guess he’s using either 6-sided or perhaps even 4-sided. (Since you only roll a max of three dice and add up the totals, 10 would be a good “phenomenal” score for three 4-sided dice.)

I did notice the same problem, though.

Yeah – I’m talking about what your mom would recognize as “dice” – six-siders.

Also, at this point, all the game mastering procedures/advice is in my head (which is a much bigger barrier to actually playin gthe damn thing), but I’ll be posting more about that after some playtesting this weekend (or you can drop me a line at forager23 at gmail if you’re interested in RPG wonkery).

Sean – Thanks for the link! I have a soft spot for these kinds of comics. I still remember the Spider-Man “Gang War” story arc fondly.

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