Superworld is a superhero-themed role-playing game published by Chaosium in 1983. Written by Basic Role-Playing and RuneQuest author Steve Perrin, Superworld began as one third of the Worlds of Wonder product, which also included a generic fantasy setting, "Magic World", and a generic science fiction setting, "Future World", all using the same core Basic Role-Playing rules. Only Superworld became a game in its own right.
Superworld is based on the traditional Chaosium Basic Role-Playing system, here augmented by super-powers.
Seven characteristics (Strength, Constitution, Size, Intelligence, Power, Dexterity, Appearance) are rolled with dice (2D6+6, rather the 3d6 used for many other Basic Role-Playing games.) The sum of these characteristics gives a total of Hero Points used to buy super powers.
The super powers system follows the Champions model of powers that are described by their effects. For example, one does not buy "Laser Vision", but the effect "Energy Blast", and specifies that it is a laser emitted by the hero's eyes. Each effect can be modified by Advantages (less energy expenditure, for example) or Disadvantages (reduced number of uses, for example) which increase or reduce the cost of a power.
Hero Points can also be used to buy skills, or increase characteristics, for a super-strong character, for example. It is possible to get more Hero Points for character creation by choosing Disabilities for the character, such as Public Identity, Vulnerability to a Substance, Psychological Problems, etc. More Hero Points would be awarded for experience at the end of a game session.
The system functions in the same way as the other Basic Role-Playing games, by rolling percentile dice against skills. Lower rolls than needed can cause increased effect from Specials (equivalent to Impales in RuneQuest), or Criticals, and high rolls can cause critical failures (Fumbles). Combat rules have many options and take into account three types of energy for damage: Kinetic, Electric, and Radiation.
The game box contains three rules booklets, a booklet of character sheets, one of tables for the Gamemaster, a page of cardboard figure silhouettes to be cut out, and a set 6, 8, and 20-sided dice. 1984 printings also contains a 4 page errata booklet.
- The "Superheroes Book" (32 pages) contains character creation rules, the game system itself, and two character sheets with a male and female standing silhouette.
- The "Superpowers Book" (40 pages) describes the Powers available to the characters, Advantages and Disadvantages that can be applied to them, and Disabilities that can affect the character. The interior covers have two more character sheets, this time with silhouettes of a male and female in flight.
- The "Gamemasters Book" (40 pages) advises the GM on various aspects of a campaign, the legal system, animals, and the creation of organizations adapted to a superhero universe, with three specific examples: FIRE for Free Investigatory Research Enterprise, FORCE for Federal Organization for the Registration and Certification of Exotics, and the Omega Institute. The "Gamemasters Book" also includes two scenarios: "Deadly Devices of Doctor Dread", which pits a team of heroes against the Dr. Dread of the title and his subordinates, and "The Haunting", which describes a mysterious and ancient volume desired by a mystical super-villain.
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