Champions: New Millennium
R. Talsorian Games, Inc., 1997
What you get/need
Champions: New Millennium $25.00
Concept - 5
Good versus evil - comic book style! Enter a universe where a tight-wearing superhero can disguise himself simply by wearing a suit and glasses. C:NM takes place in the near future within the Champions universe, originally designed by Hero Games. The founding team has been destroyed and now new breeds of heroes seek to take the place of the fallen. Rife with super-human powers, technological and chemical ultra-geniuses, madmen attempting to take over the world, and people in tight clothing!
C:NM is one of R. Talsorian's first games to use the new Fuzion system, a metasystem that allows not only to play the same way in a number of different genres or settings, but also combine elements of many different genres into one setting. The new system is quite similar to the previous system with changes only to the better. One of the largest changes is an instant adjustment "dial", so that the GM may set their own personal preferences for their game without having to do a lot of calculating and manipulating throughout the game (as it's already done for them). More on this within the review.
Character Creation - 5
As with all good R. Talsorian games, Champions: New Millennium has a "Lifepath" to help shape the character's younger years. Also added in this game is an "Origin Path" to help define where the character received their powers, and where those powers come from (what powers the powers). The GM sets the "Campaign Style dials" to determine points that are available for characteristics, options, powers, as well as the effects the characters have on society (or how often they'll be called to defend their actions). Points are then spent on characteristics, skills and powers (normally on a one-for-one level). One of the more interesting features of the Fuzion system is the "Everyman Skills". Characters get starting skills (at average levels) free of charge, simply because they're things that the majority of the people know how to do. Powers are also handled quite well. Rather than having a huge list of powers (like fireball, lightning bolt, etc.) the powers list is made up of the base ability, the players define what special effects the powers do. For example, both fireball and lightning bolt are a "Ranged Killing Attack", and might do the same amount of damage, but they have different effects (because one is fire and one is electrical energy). This allows for optimal creativity on the part of the player. And of course if you need any more points (or have any points left) you can always assign disadvantages or advantages to the character.
Playability - 5
Fuzion has a fairly simple system of resolving conflicts (or "Taking Action" as they would have it). The character's skill and corresponding characteristic (or AV) plus a d10 roll must be greater or equal to the Difficulty Value (DV) plus either 10 or a d10 roll. While this would probably be too simple in a realistic setting, it works perfectly for a comic-book super-hero style game. And although combat can (and normally does) get detailed, the system is simple enough that combat won't be prolonged by quick look-ups back to the book.
Writing - 5
The first half of the book is simply an introduction to the world of Champions: New Millennium, and even if the campaign may not be set in that universe can be an interesting read, and I am glad that the authors decided not to intersperse the story with the system. As it is, the book is quite well organized. The system portion of the book is easy to understand the first time through, and offers the right number of examples to insure that the reader understands the material. And while there is no index, the table of contents can point the reader to where they want to be. Possibly the best feature of the book, however is the continuing storyline (in comic form) that not only introduces the world, but also gives examples of how the system works within play. As far as super-hero systems go, this is possibly the best book I've seen.
Highs - Utilizes the new Fuzion system. Allows for lots of creativity in super-power creation. Has "plug-in" support for martial arts and Mekton Zeta.
Lows - No index.
Final Call - Definitely the one of the best (if not the best) super-hero systems out there. I predict a return to supers games as word of the game grows.