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RPG Moments of Awesome 4: Champions

13 Jun, 2020


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George MacDonald and Steve Peterson’s 1981 Champions is Hero Games’ superhero rpg. I think I first encountered it with the second edition, which means I missed the heady days when one could put a multipower into an elemental control. I assure you that makes sense. I played Champions avidly across third, fourth, and fifth editions, ultimately moving on once its increasing complexity exceeded my capacity to keep the rules straight.

The aspect of Champions that endeared it to me wasn’t the moral certainty it offered that every possible problem can be solved with the right application of skin-tight garish clothes, bare fists, and laser vision, although that is comforting. Champions was the first system I encountered where character generation was fully points based, entirely under the player’s control. The only thing between player and a perfect character was flawless comprehension of the rules and an ability to convince the game master that the clearly abusive interpretation of the mechanics one proposed was reasonable. Although I am in no sense a control freak, I loath being in any was dependent on factors that are imponderable, unpredictable. random, and/or outside my command. The ability to craft characters precisely offered Champions and the Hero Games rules derived from it played into my preferences.