Sentinels of the Multiverse has been one of my favorite tabletop games for a long time. So imagine my delight when I got my hands on a copy of the new Sentinel Comics RPG system before it’s released!
Since Sentinels of the Multiverse came out I was always eagerly looking forward to the next expansion and imagine my delight when I got to play Sentinel Tactics at Comic-Con a few years back. There’s also a well established digital version of the card game and the turn-based strategy video game, Sentinels of Freedom, was successfully funded on Kickstarter. The universe in which the game takes place is great and each of the HUGE cast of characters are well designed and have fantastic backstories. If you don’t know the Sentinels universe, I obviously highly recommend it.
The games all have a comic book style in terms of art and mechanics. This is something the publisher, Greater Than Games, has been very clear that they want to maintain that style. So it’s no surprise that their upcoming RPG system follows in kind. The game drops on July 17th, but I was lucky enough to get my hands on an early copy and after spending some time with it, I love the direction they’ve taken it. We’re going to go over this in two parts. So today, let’s answer some question you might have about basic game mechanics.
Who Do I Play As?
In Sentinel Comics: The Roleplaying Game you play as one of the heroes of the Freedom Five. The starter kit comes with 6 heroes to choose from:
- Legacy: The All-American mighty flying leader of the Freedom Five!
- Bunker: The huge power suit that changes modes and wields the riot cannon!
- Wraith: The urban rogue who uses throwing knives, stealth & gadgets to fight crime!
- Tachyon: The super-speed scientist who thinks even faster than she sprints!
- Absolute Zero: The frozen man who is kept alive by his power suit and the control of cold!
- Unity: The former intern of the team who build robot friends with her mind!
Yeah, I know it’s the Freedom Five and there’s 6 heroes. Unity joined later. There’s a whole story to it. I’m not gonna get into it right now.
The kit also gives rules and guidelines for creating your own character. And with how the system functions, it’s dead simple to make your own hero.
How Do I Do A Thing?
Any action a player wants to take falls into one of several broad categories of basic action:
- Attack: Trying to hurt someone by dealing damage
- Overcome: Getting past an obstacle
- Boost: Assist or empowering yourself or an ally
- Hinder: Making things more difficult for an opponent
- Defend: Preventing damage to yourself or another
- Recover: Getting Health back
Not everything will require an action but if there’s any a chance of failure or chance of varying degrees of success the player will have to take one of these actions.
How Do I Determine Success of That Action?
Good question! This is where Sentinel Comics: RPG really stands out as being unique. They system uses a dice pool of always exactly three dice. Which type of dice you roll and which dice you use to determine the outcome are all based on several factors.
For any action, The player describes what they want to do and how they want to go about it. Then they choose a Power and a Quality and then determines their Status.
For example, Legacy is under heavy gunfire and wants to approach a gunman and tie off the barrel of the gun, Bugs Bunny style.
Once the scene is set, the player chooses their Power and Quality which best fit the situation. In this case, the Strength power certainly describes what Legacy is trying to do and his Imposing quality will also certainly come into play as the gunman realizes how boned he is.
Lastly, Legacy determines his Status. The Status is how well the hero responds to the pressures of being a hero as tensions mount and the situations becomes more dire. This is determined by Legacy’s current Health or by the scene itself. As tensions ramp up, the environment itself imposes its own status as well. The player uses whichever status is currently further along, starting at Green and moving through Yellow and to Red. If a bomb is about to explode destroying the whole city, it doesn’t matter that you feel fine, things are still in a bad spot. Let’s say for example, Legacy’s Status is Green.
Rolling the Dice Pool
For this action, Legacy’s Dice Pool will be d10 from Strength, d8 from Imposing and d6 From his Status. The player rolls the dice and gets 9, 2 and 4.
The Overcome action (and all other basic actions) use the Mid die as their Effect Die. So, take the die with the result not the highest and not the lowest and use that to determine the outcome. Each action has different methods of determining success, but Overcome has a handy chart.
In this case, Legacy succeeded, but with a Minor Twist. This can be anything the GM and players decide, but in this case we could say the gunman gets a shot off and Legacy takes him Min die amount of damage. Legacy marks it down on his character sheet and continues with the round.
This is just a broad overview of the game system as a whole. There are so many other things to get into and extra tidbits players can add onto their actions. There is a lot to this game system for how streamlined it is. I love how much power is put into the player’s hands. The players are legendary heroes and the Sentinels Comics: RPG absolutely lets players feel like heroes.
I love the story telling potential and the over-the-top comic narrative driven style of this system. It doesn’t get bogged down with rules and reference tables and all of that. The whole Gameplay Guide is only 20 pages.
Next time we’ll take a look at a character sheet and break it down into its components as well as going over how a typical game session might play out.
If you have any questions, let me know in the comments and I will be sure to get them answered as best I can!