Every comic-book superhero's origin is extremely important to their character concept. However, this is one aspect of the superhero genre that we feel has never been addressed satisfactorily in any version of V&V.
In Original V&V, players rolled for a random Origin Type - and each Origin Type had its own random table of abilities. There were several problems with this. Firstly, we kept running into examples of characters from the comics who had abilities that were not available on the tables we'd created. Second, many players have personal preferences regarding the types of characters they're interested in playing. And finally, it was all too possible to roll up a set of abilities that produced an inefficient character.
We attempted to improve this in Revised V&V and 2.1, by re-arranging the abilities by 'origin type related' groups, rather than specifically by origin, and allowing players to roll on whichever table(s) they wanted. This made sure that all the origin type and ability combinations seen in comics were possible, and it put the choice of Origin Type more directly into the player's hands. If the player didn't want to play a 'magical' superhero, then all he had to do is avoid the Magic/Psionics or Magic/Psionic Items tables. Unfortunately, the Revised / 2.1 approach leaves players who don't have a preference with no guidance - and it fails to address the 'inefficient character' problem.
So. The approach taken in 3.0 is as follows:
1) Restore random origin types, but as an option. Players can roll for an origin type randomly, or pick one, or even leave the question of origin entirely open until after they've rolled for their abilities.
2) Re-organize the ability list into three tables: Offense, Defense, and Utility. As implied, the abilities on the Offense table are those which have a significant offensive capability, Defense table abilities provide a significant defenses, and Utility abilities are those which are not primarily combat related. Abilities that have multiple functions, such as Ice Powers, appear on multiple tables.
3) In order to help ensure efficient characters, players are strongly advised (but not forced) to roll for two of their six random abilities on the Offense table, two on Defense, and two on the Utility table.
4) Origin Type, whether rolled randomly or chosen by the player, now comes into play during the character customization phase of character creation. Origin Types provide guidance as to whether each randomly-selected ability is a Power, a Device, a Mystical Item, a Mental Ability, or a Skill. Those factors - the difference between a Power and a Device, for example - are now handled as modifiers which can be applied to almost any ability. So, whether your character's Armor is a Power, a Device, a Mystical Item, a Mental Ability, or a Skill is now entirely up to you - guided by your character's Origin Type, and by common sense.
© 2011 Monkey House Games