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DC Heroes was a superhero-themed Role Playing Game by Mayfair Games, using DC Comics' roster of characters, places and events, first published in 1985 to coincide with DC's Massive Multiplayer Crossover Crisis on Infinite Earths campaign. The Second Edition, published in 1989, refined and revamped much of the underlying game mechanics, which remains mostly unchanged to this day; later editions focused mostly upon roster changes and minor rules modifications.
The next important change came when Mayfair sold the rights to the game to upstart company Pulsar Games sometime in The Nineties, which continued publishing the game under the title Blood of Heroes. However, since Pulsar did not also acquire the licensing rights to the DC Universe, Blood of Heroes retained the existing game engine but featured original characters placed within their own superhero world. As it was a product of the Nineties, it should come as little surprise that Blood of Heroes' setting was Darker and Edgier. Finally, Blood of Heroes: Special Edition is the latest revamp of the game, published in 2000; among other tweaks, it includes rules for making sidekicks and villains into Player Characters.
The game's central conceit, aside from the superhero trappings (similar to the earlier game Champions) is that it eschews the classic Class and Level System in favor of a Point Build System (again, similar to Champions) which hinges on the fact that everything -- character abilities, powers, skills and even real-world measurements like distance and weight -- is measured in Attribute Points, or APs. Since APs are entirely interchangeable, it's easy to gauge a Character's abilities by looking at the numbers; for instance, a Character with a Strength rating of 10 can lift up to 10 APs of weight; with a speed of 4, can travel 4 APs of distance in one combat phase, and so on.
Further, the APs are exponential in nature (hence the name of the underlying engine, Mayfair Exponential Gaming System), meaning that each additional AP doubles the value of the preceding. That is to say, 2 APs is twice as much as 1; but also, 3 is twice as much as 2, 4 is twice as much as 3, 57 is twice as much as 56, etc. This logarithmic scale was devised to provide less-powerful characters a fighting chance against more-powerful ones.
Pulsar Games was sold in late 2003 and publishing of the game in any form has ceased; however, the new owners continued to promise new material as late as 2007, citing merely the need to iron out ownership issues (it appears that the original license with DC Comics was poorly worded, making it sound as though DC would continue to own any material published not only with its own characters but also with the game engine, in perpetuity). The game and company have been in permanent hiatus since 2009, with no further word on future projects.
This Tabletop Game features these tropes:
- Acrofatic/Waif Fu: Implicit; there are absolutely no rules stating that a character's appearance (i.e. physical bearing) has to have any logical connection to his/her abilities, so it is quite easy to create an obese character with a very high agility score or a wafer-thin character who could bench-press Andre the Giant.
- Attack Reflector: The "Deflect/Reflect" Power
- Captain Ersatz: Anarchy Man for Batman in the Blood of Heroes version. Also, his semi-antagonistic relationship with a patriotic colleague might recall Batman's feuds with another pseudo-patriotic super.
- Changing Clothes Is a Free Action: The "Insta-Change" Advantage. Subverted somewhat, as the costume change does actually cost the Player a Combat Action; but without it, the Player must spend an entire Combat Phase changing clothes (costing three Actions).
- Character Alignment: Replaced by a system of "Motivations" which serve largely the same purpose: Upholding the Good, Seeking Justice, Responsibility of Power, Thrill of Adventure and Unwanted Power for Heroes. On the Villains' side, we have Mercenary, Nihilist, Power Lust, Psychopath and Thrill Seeker. There are also anti-heroic versions of all these which blur the good/evil lines a bit.
- Class and Level System: Avoided entirely. Upgrading your character is simply a matter of buying more points for his/her abilities.
- Dark Age of Supernames: The Blood of Heroes version was all over this one. Demise, Dehumanizer, Darkling, Anarchy Man, Anthrax... (To be fair, a lot of these are villains.)
- Darker and Edgier: Blood of Heroes falls into this in its attempts to include the look and feel of the Golden Age, Silver Age and Dark Age of comic books in one package. But mostly the Dark Age.
- Defensive Adaptation
- Development Hell: Future editions don't look terribly likely at the moment.
- Devolution Device: The Mutation power in the Mayfair Games version.
- Emotion Eater: It's an actual Power.
- Jet Pack: Has one that can fly at 100 m.p.h.
- Kryptonite Factor: The "Vulnerability" Drawback. Can range from Unobtanium to Weaksauce Weakness.
- Luck Manipulation Mechanic: The "Luck" and "Ultra Luck" Advantages (and the inverse "Unluck" Disadvanatge), as well as the more direct "Probability Control" Power.
- My Significance Sense Is Tingling: The cosmic "Awareness" Power.
- New Powers as the Plot Demands: "Omni-Power" allows a Character, for a fee, to duplicate any other existing Power, just this once. There's also "Omni-Scholar" (you seem to know everything) and "Omni-Connection" (you seem to know everyone).
- Nineties Anti-Hero: Starting with the Blood of Heroes version, there are specific rules for playing an Anti-Hero as a Player Character...
- No Ontological Inertia: Most Powers' effects will vanish if the caster dies or is incapacitated. Justified by the fact that Powers operate on basically the same principle as spell-casting in other RPGs.
- Point Build System: Taken to its logical extreme; there are no Levels and no Classes. Everything is Points. Everything.
- Robot Maid: The Clyde in the Mayfair Games editions, a maintenance robot with mediocre housekeeping abilities.
- Standard Superhero Setting: The DC Universe in the Mayfair Games editions.
- Stock Super Powers: Most everything on that page is represented in the game. And if it isn't, there are rules for adding it.
- Talking Is a Free Action: Partial; short conversations, combat quips and the like are freely allowed, but if the talking goes on long enough it can cost the Player a combat Action.
- Truce Zone: In the Manchester district of Gotham City, the Manchester Viaduct race track was neutral ground for the street gangs of the district.
- True Sight: Another stock power.
- ↑ in theory, at least