DC Heroes is a role-playing game published by Mayfair Games set in the DC Universe. Players take on the role of super-heroes from the DC Universe or of their own creation.

System[edit | edit source]

DC Heroes uses the original Mayfair Exponential Game System. Characters have nine Attributes, divided into two axes. The first axis defines Attributes as being Physical, Mental, or Mystical. The second axis divides them into Action, Effect, and Resistance Attributes.

Physical Attributes:

  • Dexterity (Action): Quick reflexes, like the Green Arrow.
  • Strength (Effect): Muscle and power, like Superman.
  • Body (Resistance): Toughness. Superman has a high toughness.

Mental Attributes:

  • Intelligence (Action): Governs perception and many skill uses.
  • Will (Effect): Force of will and ability to maintain concentration. The Green Lantern has a high Will.
  • Mind (Resistance): Mental resilience, sanity, and memory.

Mystical Attributes:

  • Influence (Action): Charm and the ability to manipulate mystical forces.
  • Aura (Effect): Force of personality and mystical power.
  • Spirit (Resistance): Spiritual resolve.

A normal human has 2 APs (Attribute Points) in each Attribute. Each AP doubles the previous value, so someone with a Strength of 4 is four times as strong as someone with a Strength of 2. To perform an action, an Action Attribute is rolled against another Action Attribute (which serves as the Opposing Value for the test). Two ten-sided dice are rolled. If the total equals or exceeds a target number on a chart, the Effect Value is compared to the Resistance Value. For instance, Dexterity is used against Dexterity to hit, and if you hit, Strength is compared to Body to determine how much damage you cause.

Rolling doubles allows you to roll again, but double 1's causes an automatic failure. Characters also have Hero Points which can be used to aid rolls or reduce damage. Especially good rolls can result in Column Shifts, which reduce the relative Resistance, allowing for more spectacular results.

All actions, from combat to persuasion to detective work, use the same system. Further, everything is measured in APs. 10 APs is a mile of distance. 6 APs is over a ton of weight. This allows measures to be quickly converted, and many comparisons can be done on the fly.

Characters also have Skills and Powers. Later editions added Advantages and Drawbacks. Characters might also have Limitations on their powers. Each character also has a Alignment that describes how and why they perform heroic actions (or villainous ones in the case of the bad guys).

Editions[edit | edit source]

DC Heroes First Edition[edit | edit source]

DC Heroes was an early super-hero role-playing game. It featured point-based character creation as an option, but focused on published DC characters. It was published at the same time as the Crisis on Infinite Earths, so pre- and post-Crisis versions of various characters appear.

This version of the game had only Attributes, Skills, Powers, Limitations, and Vulnerabilities. All Powers had the same cost per AP. Its gadgetry system was relatively primitive, a problem that would take several successive versions to fix.

The original boxed set contained a rulebook, a Powers and Skills supplement, an introductory booklet, an adventure book, a pair of dice, a GM screen with the Action Table, an Action Wheel (that could be used in lieu of the action table), and numerous cards summarizing the traits of various characters from Superman to the Penguin.

DC Heroes Second Edition[edit | edit source]

Batman Role-Playing Game[edit | edit source]

The Batman Role-Playing Game was essentially a stripped down version of the original DC Heroes game, but with two important innovations. First, it contained Advantages and Drawbacks, which helped better define characters who were close in power as well as adding more options. It also incorporated improved, but by no means perfect, gadgetry rules adapted from first and second edition supplements.

Apart from stats for various Batman villains and allies, the book was essentially a marketing tie-in that previewed the third edition of DC Heroes.

DC Heroes Third Edition[edit | edit source]

The third edition introduced Factor Costs, allowing Attributes, Skills, and Powers to be priced with more relative precision. It also incorporated Advantages and Drawbacks and boasted a robust gadgetry-building system. Third edition is generally considered the apex of the game's design, and served as the basis for The Blood of Heroes RPG.

See also[edit | edit source]

External Links[edit | edit source]

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