- Hardcover: 352 pages
- Publisher: Impressions Advertising & Marketing (March 1, 2002)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0971064202
- ISBN-13: 978-0971064201
- Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 8.5 x 11.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 9 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,149,540 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Godlike: Superhero Roleplaying in a World on Fire, 1936-1946 Hardcover – March 1, 2002
|New from||Used from|
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Customers who bought this item also bought
What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?
GODLIKE ultimately succeeds because it successfully and believably integrates superheroes into the war.... Our Pick: 'A'. -- Ken Newquist, Science Fiction Weekly (SciFi.com), March 11, 2002
Godlike ultimately succeeds because it successfully and believably integrates superheroes into the war.... Our Pick: 'A'. -- Ken Newquist, Science Fiction Weekly, March 11, 2002
Not only an excellent World War II RPG, but an excellent superhero game as well. -- Matthew Pook, Pyramid, March 8, 2002
The world is richly super [yet] delightfully bleak and war-torn.... Look, up in the sky -- and take cover. -- Kenneth Hite, Out of the Box, February 24, 2002
From the Author
GODLIKE is the result of a question I've been asking myself since I read my first comic book:
What would a world with super-humans REALLY be like?
The more I imagined it, the more I came to believe it wouldn't be that different from our own world. The four-color world where super-humans walk supreme seems rather foolish to me, as does the world where they are hunted as freaks. The truth would probably be somewhere in the middle of these two extremes. Super-humans would be admired and feared, but their impact would not be so great as to change the world altogether. They would simply be another development in history, like some type of beneficial disease. Eventually they'd become commonplace, just like the things that made an initially drastic impact on the world and then faded into the public consciousness, like the car, the television, or the personal computer. Sometimes they would make world history, but they would never control world history....
GODLIKE is the beginning of the answer to that question.
Browse award-winning titles. See more
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
This book introduces Detwiller's take on superheroics, which is basically that life is nasty, brutish, and short in wartime. The uber-legendary Talents amongst the cast of Allied and Axis NPCs top out at 150 building points--PCs generally will start with 25. This means that they'll have one pretty cool power, but with major limitations. Maybe you can lift a jeep, but you're as vulnerable to a round through the head as anyone else. Or perhaps you DO have the power of invulnerability to weapons fire--but only if you see it coming, which does you little good when a sniper's got a scope on you. Or you stumble into poison gas. Also, there are certain Talents (so-called Zeds) who suppress everyone's abilities just by walking into range. Even if that weren't a factor, when Talents battle each other, they tend to interfere with each other's powers and make them more difficult to use, so random bystanders can pick them off with a few carefully placed shots.
This is in keeping with Detwiller's overall intent--a consideration of why, if superheroes existed, they didn't just end WWII in four days on their own. In the Godlike world, the Talents are seldom powerful enough to have a chance to make really significant impacts. And there are literally tens of thousands of superpowered individuals, so whenever one of them might start wreaking havoc somewhere, a half-dozen opponents will quickly show up to stop him or her. Overall, the life expectancy of the average battlefront Talent is not good at all.
The game uses an interesting dice pool mechanic based solely on 10-siders. (Vaguely reminiscent of the d6 approach of West End's Star Wars RPG for you old-schoolers.) The higher your attribute or skill, the more dice you can sling. You want to get matches to succeed--the higher the pair (or trio, or quad...), the more awesome your success. Often, you only need a single match of any kind to succeed, but in other cases you have to get at least, say, a pair of sixes. So, a matching pair is critical, but as important is getting as many of a kind as possible, because that determines how fast you perform your action. So, if you roll five d10 and come up with a pair of 9s, you succeeded really well...but you didn't go as fast as the guy who rolled three 3s. This becomes important in combat situations because the faster guy can mess with the slower guy's roll. Depending upon your character build, you may also have paid building points at the outset to ensure that for a given skill or power you will ALWAYS have a pair of 10s in your pool, or you can always deploy a wild die to expand a matching pair into a triplet so you go faster.
The book includes plenty of stuff on how to create your character with attributes, skills, and powers (plus flaw if you need to cheapen the cost of desired builds), a list of equipment, weapons, and vehicles (but not in nerdy detail where the author feels compelled to expound on the virtues of the German Tiger II tank versus the Soviet T-34), background details on how the various combatants treated and deployed their Talents, and a huge section that goes through the entire war to list major battles and developments and the roles played by assorted Talents. Scattered throughout this last are sidebars about prominent Talents--when they manifested, what side they're on, what their powers are, what kind of background they have, and what they did in the war and, if they survived, in civilian life afterwards. (Ten of these NPCs are fully statted out toward the end of the book.) Memorable Talents are the Immortal, who is, well, immortal, to the point where his body reconstitutes itself even if completely destroyed; Lord Yama, apparently also immortal and evidently some kind of minor Indian god with the Word of Command who ends up founding his own nation of Assam; "Super-Man", who became ultra-powerful but vehemently anti-war, and who ended up with a lobotomy for his troubles; Aesgir, who could break nearly anything, was nearly invulnerable, and who could ferry entire groups of people through the pocket dimension of Valhalla (essentially a walking-speed teleport); and of course the out-of-control and completely mad Baba Yaga, who manifested through vile Soviet experiments on their own citizenry and who turned into a large hut on pincered tentacle-legs with enough strength to casually toss tanks around.
Detwiller brings an interesting authorial voice to this work, especially in his introduction, which is unusually frank for the industry. This particular work may not be to the taste of everyone, especially those who want their PCs to start out with powers at least in the Iron Man range, but for those who have been yearning to mix WWII squad-level combat with low-level gritty superpowered heroics, this'll be just the thing.
There is no broken system here in Godlike. The rules are not very complex compared to what I've seen from d20. There are no classes that force you to move in lock-step within some arbitrary 'level'. You build a character with a certain number of points. On the second page of the character creation chapter there is a summary called "How To Make A Character". The first thing it tells you is "Talk to your GM (gamemaster)". If you want/need more points to create the character you want then follow the instructions. The worst thing he or she will probably say is 'no'.
The art direction, layout and typesetting for this book works for me. It all goes to reinforce the feeling that the war this book deals with is serious business without flogging you with angst or despair.
The d10 dice pool mechanics provide for a bell curve, explained on the second page of the game mechanics chapter. Even the hypertext d20 System Resource Document recommends using three d6 if you want a bell curve in a d20 game.
The gaming community need this game ported to d20 like a fish needs a bicycle. There are many d20 sourcebooks out there for running supers and there are many d20 sourcebooks out there for running WW2 adventures. Godlike blends both genres in a superb fashion. The ORE engine is not d20. I can't tell anyone it's better, for the same reason I can't tell anyone raspberry is better than strawberry. I can tell anyone reading this review that if you want a fun gaming experience that doesn't collide with the rules that are supposed to help bring the experience to fruition that you owe it to yourself to go to the website at arcdream dot com and download the Godlike quick play rules and the tutorial. Then consider buying this book. I doubt very much you'll regret the purchase. Thank you for your time.
If you want to play 4-color All-Star Squadron type WWII capes and cowls, that option is there but the default setting for the game is a gritty and brutal world where the players don't wear costumes to show their powered status out of fear of enemy snipers taking them out.
The game probably owes more to George R.R. Martin's Wild Cards or Saving Private Ryan than standard super-hero comic books.
The book is self-contained and while supplements will be coming out, none are necessary to break the book out and play a successful campaign. Furthermore, in an alternate history game, a supplement is only a library (or an Amazon.com) away.
The system makes combat fast and brutal. Their O.R.E. (One Roll Engine) gives damage, hit location, and initiative in one easy to-hit roll. The character creation is also quite simple, a nice change from past super-hero systems with mind-numbing number crunching.
All in all I can't recommend this book enough, it is a great role-playing game.