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10 Best Superhero Tabletop RPGs

Tabletop RPGs aren’t just limited to your classic sci-fi and fantasy settings — there’s a whole host of interesting genres just waiting to launch your next campaign, including ones that let you live out your comic book fantasies. While you may not have heard of superhero RPGs, there are a lot of them out there. Each helps you and your friends craft a story driven by the pursuit of justice, even across multiverses. In today’s article, we’re going over the best superhero tabletop RPGs!

We’ve got suggestions for every type of player, whether you’re totally new to TTRPGs or have been playing for decades. Fight against dastardly villains, save the damsel in distress, and (of course) keep your secret identity under wraps with our picks for the best superhero TTRPGs.

What Qualifies as a Superhero RPG?

First off, let’s cover some basics. Most tabletop games involve some level of powers or supernatural abilities, but that doesn’t mean every TTRPG counts as a superhero game. Here are a few tenets of the genre:

Good vs. Evil: Each story in a superhero RPG is naturally focused on heroism and the precarious balance between good and evil. There isn’t some mysterious, hidden Big Bad Evil Guy — instead, there’s (usually) an explicit villain putting innocent lives in peril. While morality may have some shades of gray, the best superhero RPGs don’t let players stay on the fence; there is no “neutral” alignment.

Superhero Mechanics: These RPGs will have rules built to enhance common aspects of superheroism. This can be a variety of things depending on the RPG, but will usually surround establishing super powers, creating alter egos, tracking notoriety among normal humans, and defining archnemeses.

To be fair, nearly any roleplaying game could theoretically be about superheroes with enough creativity and homebrew. There are also a fair few RPGs that have special rules for superhero campaigns. If superheroes aren’t the main focus, though, they probably didn’t make our list. 

10 Best Superhero TTRPGs, Ranked in No Particular Order

The great thing about tabletop games is that each session is going to be different. A number of factors could enhance or detract from your experience, and that’s okay. The most important thing is that you have a good time exploring a new story with friends. Whichever game you find the most fun will depend on your personal taste, but each game we cover will definitely offer an exciting and unique experience.

In general, we suggest a group size of 3–5 players with 2–4 hour sessions. That should give everyone plenty of time to understand the story and mechanics without overwhelming the Game Master. Most of these systems can be modified for your preferred group size and session length.

Without further delay, enjoy our list of the 10 best superhero RPGs!

1/10

Masks: A New Generation (Best Overall)

  • Publisher: Magpie Games
  • System: PBtA (Powered By the Apocalypse)
  • Buy It: Amazon

In Masks: A New Generation, players will create teenage superheroes and work together to create a story. Character playbooks are based on classic comic book superhero archetypes to help guide the character creation process. There’s also a lot of influence from shows like Teen Titans and Young Justice, which really helps make the world feel fleshed out.

Masks is widely regarded as one of the best modern tabletop roleplaying games to come out in recent years. The narrative-driven nature of the game means your possibilities are endless. Each session is going to be different and incredibly influenced by improvisation as characters figure out their way through super-powered puberty.

One of the unique aspects of Masks is that it doesn’t have an HP system. Characters instead are afflicted with conditions that have real impacts on their character and the game. It’s a really good game for people without much RPG experience, though having an experienced GM definitely helps.

Grab your friends and get together for the adventure of a teenage lifetime while navigating the perils of villainy and finding a date to homecoming!

2/10

City of Mist (Best for Detectives)

  • Publisher: Son of Oak Game Studio / Modiphius Entertainment
  • System: PBtA
  • Buy It: DriveThru RPG

While Masks may have been about tapping into the youthful innocence of teenagers, the next RPG on our list explores another side to superpowers. City of Mist is a noir-style game focused on the seedy underbelly of a corrupted world. If you don’t know what that means, think 1940s gangster clichés and you’ll be on the right track. 

The basic premise of the game is sort of like making everyone Shazam. Heroes are made by combining a bland civilian personality with a famed heroic identity that kind of acts like a class. What makes City of Mist different is that players don’t just get superpowers — they get legends.

Players create their own “Rifts” — aka, player characters who explore mysteries and attempt to clean up their corrupted city. Rifts may receive their powers from traditional mythological figures like the Monkey King, or even fairy tales like Little Red Riding Hood. 

City of Mist also introduces players to a convenient plot armor device known as the Mist, which conceals the more bizarre and supernatural aspects of the world from the everyday people in the city. It’s very Percy Jackson in that way. 

This is definitely one of the best superhero RPGs out there and feels truly unique compared to the other more traditional comic book world settings. It also really taps into players’ problem solving abilities and detective skills. Anyone looking for a challenge without getting bogged down by rules will want to try out City of Mist. 

3/10

Sentinel Comics (Most Like a Comic Book)

  • Publisher: Greater Than Games, LLC
  • System: GYRO (Green, Yellow, Red, Orange)
  • Buy It: Amazon

The next spot on our list of the best superhero RPGs has a much different vibe from our last. In the Sentinel Comics RPG, players will be able to truly immerse themselves in the world of a comic book. It has the most traditional comic book feel to it and encourages players to play already established characters. 

Of course, players are welcome to create their own characters, but there are also a number of characters with premade stats and backstories available in the greater Sentinel Comics world. This makes for a lot of media where you can interact with your campaign’s world setting even outside of sessions. Card games, comic books, even a mobile game are available for hours of additional content. Even if the players themselves don’t take advantage of the greater world, it’s always there for GMs to inspire new plot lines or NPCs.

The Sentinel Comics RPG has a little bit of everything for both old-school and new fans alike. For players wanting a true comic-book superhero RPG experience, it’s hard to beat the Sentinel Universe. This RPG system finds a truly inspired balance between whacky and diabolical, which is sure to make every session unforgettable. 

4/10

Savage Worlds: Super Powers Companion (Best for Quickstart Campaigns)

  • Publisher: Pinnacle Entertainment Group
  • System: Generic Rule Set
  • Buy It: Amazon

Savage Worlds has an incredibly broad world setting, which also makes it one of the most friendly to homemade campaigns. While the original Savage Worlds is more steampunk than superhero, the Super Powers Companion introduced a whole new setting that was literally made for super antics. 

While players are still able to create their own characters, Savage Worlds also highly encourages you to adapt your favorite established heroes for the game. Whether that be Batman, Invincible, or Thor, there will be a way to build them into your game and make them your own.

Regardless of where your character inspiration comes from, Savage Worlds’ character creation system and rule set are fairly simple to grasp. The Super Powers Companion also contains tons of rules and tips for universe ending events like you would see in comic books to really give you an authentic superhero experience. 

Each combat experience could leave the fate of the world balanced on a razor’s edge. Face off against villains attacking you with massive fire power while also watching out for Items of Power that can literally rewrite history! Talk about the mother of all retcons.

Thanks to the easy-to-grasp mechanics and light setting detail, Savage Worlds allows for almost anyone to hit the ground running from the very first session. 

5/10

Icons Superpowered Roleplaying (Lightest Mechanics)

  • Publisher: Steven Kenson/ Ad Infinitum Adventures
  • System: Icons
  • Buy It: DriveThru RPG

If you’ve got some friends who have never roleplayed before, try introducing them to Icons. This system is incredibly simple and has tons of options for randomizing character creation, which takes a lot of the intimidating work out of getting a game up and running. 

Icons uses its own system, which can take some getting used to. Luckily, there are similarities between it and other RPG systems, which makes things a little more familiar to experienced players.

In general, most rolls are based on adding together two dice values for a range of -5 to +5. Positive totals count as successes, while 0 and below are failures. Game Masters won’t be doing much rolling themselves in this game, which really puts power into the players’ hands.

Overall, Icons is a pretty laid-back game with fairly low stakes. A lot can happen due to the randomness of super power distribution, which most people will either love or hate. It means the balance for powers and character abilities is kind of crazy, but to us, that just makes things more fun! 

While we do recommend Icons as one of the best superhero RPGs, we don’t recommend it for the rules lawyers out there. Icons is pretty fast and loose with their rules and a lot of it is left up to the GM, which can make it frustrating for players used to more strategy in their games. 

6/10

SUPERS! Revised Edition (Best for New Players)

SUPERS! is one of the best games out there for people who have little to no experience with tabletop games. A lot of the RPGs on our list are good for new players, but this one really is the best. SUPERS! is very rules-lite, which means less information to overwhelm those unfamiliar with roleplaying games. It still has enough for veteran players to really bite into and have fun with, though! 

Like Masks, this is a game where you build off of traditional character archetypes. Once you have a vague idea for your character, you can help fill in the finer details with some official character creation. After choosing your class, you get to go through “Aptitudes,” which work kind of like Skills in Dungeons & Dragons. 

Aside from the simple character creation, NPCs also help to set apart SUPERS!. The existence of “Mooks” make it easy on the GM to enhance the game with low-stakes enemies who exist just to be obstacles for the heroes. No complex stat blocks to keep track of either, since all Mooks have the same base stats. These stats can then combine to make things more difficult with higher numbers of enemies.

Players wanting to have a good time without needing to be familiar with TTRPG systems will definitely want to try out SUPERS! Revised Edition. There is a ton of freedom and it really relies on comic book tropes to build its world setting. It’s very friendly to anyone who’s seen a superhero movie or picked up a comic book. 

7/10

Worlds in Peril (Most Powerful Characters)

  • Publisher: Samjoko Publishing
  • System: PBtA
  • Buy It: DriveThru RPG

While a bit similar to some of the other games we’ve covered, Worlds in Peril is still one you don’t want to miss. In other superhero RPGs, even if you have a specific character concept in mind, you’ll need to do some tweaking to fit it into the game system. That’s not the case with Worlds in Peril. 

This game allows you to give your character whatever superpower you want. It can be as broad as teleporting or as specific as being able to summon poison dart frogs on Wednesdays. That’s a lot more control than you get in any other RPG to date.

Another standout element of Worlds in Peril is that the leveling system is intricately tied to your character’s motivations and goals. Without progressing that way, increasing your power becomes much more difficult (though not impossible). 

There are some confusing elements of the game, like the Bond system, but the limitless options for superpowers makes it well worth it. Worlds in Peril is a very freeform superhero RPG that rewards creativity and character depth. So if either of those things are your jam, we highly suggest it!

8/10

BASH! Ultimate Edition (Most Streamlined)

  • Publisher: Basic Action Games
  • System: BASH!
  • Buy It: DriveThru RPG

Basic Action Super Heroes! has a set of simple rules that allow for most players to jump right in without spending hours pouring over a rulebook. That doesn’t mean the game is totally devoid of strategy, though. The point buy system for character creation means you have a limited amount of resources to pour into stats and abilities. 

The simplicity balanced with strategy gives BASH! a very nice mid-ground between user friendliness and crunchy, rules-laden gameplay. GMs also get to choose the relative power level of their players, with different rules for four different levels. 

Depending on how your group feels, that could mean playing as your average masked vigilante or something much stronger. That being said, there are constraints on the power levels in BASH!. Power kind of plateaus at a certain point and doesn’t really allow for characters as strong as some other RPGs allow. 

Still, the rules of BASH! do their best to accommodate any kind of player no matter their experience level, which we can appreciate. 

9/10

Prowlers & Paragons Ultimate Edition (Best for Dice Goblins)

  • Publisher: Mobius Worlds Publishing
  • System: Prowlers and Paragons
  • Buy It: DriveThru RPG

If a game could be specifically designed to create the Justice League without canonically infringing on any copyrighted material, it would probably be Prowlers & Paragons. 

As far as power potential and world building, Prowlers & Paragons is very similar to most of our list. It’s built largely off of the players’ idea of a superhero comic book/movie. Character creation can go by pretty quickly if you have some idea of what you’re doing. Be aware that it does get a bit more technical than some of the other RPGs we’ve covered, which isn’t a bad thing!

What really sets apart Prowlers & Paragons is its unique system. You’re going to end up rolling a lot of dice. When rolling to attempt to do something, be it using your powers or defending yourself in combat, you’re going to roll a number of dice equal to the total of relevant modifiers. The more powerful you get, the higher your modifiers will be. This means more and more dice rolling as you progress. It wouldn’t be unrealistic for one move to require rolling a couple dozen dice eventually! 

Prowlers & Paragons also has a very influential morality mechanic, which keeps the question of “What is right?” the focus of most sessions. Which is, of course, an essential part of any good superhero story.

10/10

Mutants & Masterminds (Best for Crunchy Players)

  • Publisher: Green Ronin Publishing
  • System: Original Gaming License (OGL)/ d20 System
  • Buy It: Amazon

A lot of the superhero RPGs we’ve talked about have been pretty light on the rules and mechanics. In our experience, rules are more of a suggestion, anyway! But for those of you who enjoy complex strategy, Mutants & Masterminds is definitely the tabletop for you.

The first thing you’ll find when beginning a new M&M campaign is that character creation is a very involved process. There’s no way to slapdash together a Batman clone in this game. If you’re unfamiliar with the rules, it will likely take a while to understand how everything works. There are a lot of metaphorical moving parts with M&M, but that also means there are insanely intricate loopholes waiting to be exploited.

While the first part of the game is a very structured process, the world building is actually left up to the GM. There is no set world to play in, which does allow for some creativity that might have been missed in character creation. Luckily, there are also supplemental materials that can fill in any gaps the GM doesn’t feel like elaborating about the world. 

All that is to say, Mutants & Masterminds is very much what you make of it. Once you get past the steep learning curve, it can very well be one of the best tabletops you’ve ever played. Especially for players looking to game the system.

Join the High Ground!

That’s our list of the best superhero tabletop RPGs! Have you played any of these before? Let us know in the comments below what your favorites are! If tabletop games aren’t your speed, we also have a roundup of the best board games here. For more RPG recommendations, be sure to subscribe to our email list.

Until next time, happy gaming!

 

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Give feedback on the article, share additional tips & tricks, talk strategy with other members, and make your opinions known. High Ground Gaming is a place for all voices, and we'd love to hear yours!

Saltheart RPG LLC

Try BURN 2d6 SUPERS.

Joseph Mucchiello

How Champions isn’t included in a best of, especially when there’s a category for “most powerful characters” or “best for dice goblins” or “best for crunchy players”. Not even an honorable mention for being one of the first RPGs.

Dave Robinson

Ignoring Champions is like making a list of major comics publishers and leaving off DC or Marvel.

David

My personal favorite is Tiny Supers by Alan Bahr.

James

I can’t wait to try some of these out. City of Mists sounds awesome.

Anthony Davies

Golden Heroes!

Jobe

Sadly, the best supers RPG is out of print and in legal limbo, MEGS (Mayfair Exponential Game System) which was the basis for the DC Heroes RPG and the Blood of Heroes RPG.
There is a retroclone of MEGS in the works though and looks promising.

Jay Murphy

Second on MEGS. Currently using it for a long-running supers game. Been very enjoyable for myself cause in the past Supers has been a slog to run for myself.

It looks like a lot of fun!


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