Masks: A New Generation

From 1d4chan
Masks promo art.jpg
Rule System Powered by the Apocalypse
Authors Brendan Conway
First Publication 2016

It's a superhero RPG about young superheroes. Think something like Young Justice, or Teen Titans before Cartoon Network made it chibi. Teens with more power than they can safely have fuck up, and have grown-ups telling them they're fuckups. Sure you can say "fuck you, old man!" but don't expect it to have much of an effect.

Originally crowdfunded back in 2015, the Kickstarter campaign reached enough funding to show the release of three expansion books: The Halcyon City Herald Collection, Secrets of A.E.G.I.S., and Unbound. The first two of which contain in-universe writings from a prominent newspaper and a secret government agency respectively, while the latter contains a series of entire campaigns or "playsets".


It's Powered By the Apocalypse, so you've got playbooks, and dice are 2d6+stat (7-9 partial success, 10 or more full success). Each playbook has slightly different mechanics, but they all have unique two "team moves" for celebrating with teams or exposing a weakness to a teammate, and a "moment of truth" when the junior hero wins the day like a real superhero. No there's no sex moves in this one, perv.

Character attributes are called "labels," and they represent how your character feels about themselves. To wit, someone with a high "Danger" really believes they're a menace.

  • Danger - used when confronting threats
  • Freak - used when exerting your super-powers
  • Saviour - used when acting like a hero
  • Superior - used when being smarter than the opposition
  • Mundane - used when expressing empathy or sympathy

The "strings" or links between characters are called "influence," and shows that your teenage superhero character cares what the other person thinks of them. While you have influence over someone you get a +1 to your rolls targeting that person (to provoke and to defend), and you can burn influence to move one point of their stats to another stat. What you have to watch out for is every grown-up, even people you've never met before, automatically has influence over your character, and they can use it to move a point between labels without burning it, telling you what to think about yourself. When it happens you can choose to roll dice to see if you defy them, and as you level up you can buy the self-assuredness to "lock" a label in-place.

No hitpoints, just five tags called "conditions" that each give a -2 to rolls for the basic moves like attack, defend, comfort, use powers. If you are told to take on another condition and you're already full, you narrate how you're taken-out or flee the scenario. Heroes don't die, unless the players agree it's appropriate for the story.

The playbooks are:

  • the Beacon - Kate "Hawkeye" Bishop, has gadgets and crazy skills instead of powers, wants to prove they belong here. Wants to have an adventure
  • the Bull - Molly from Runaways, Amadeus Cho verison of Hulk, super-strong super-tough, causes messes, unrestrained romantic
  • the Delinquent - Rose Slade, not much of a hero if you keep flipping off authority and thinking like a criminal.
  • the Doomed - Raven, you have power but at a price, and the clock is ticking down
  • the Janus - Spiderman (Peter or Miles), you keep your true self secret because something needs protecting
  • the Legacy - Kid Flash, Deku from BnHA, you have predecessors you can rely on, and they have high expectations
  • the Nova - any of the X-men Phoenixes, Wiccan from Young Avengers, power overwhelming that you can't always control or even aim.
  • the Outsider - Starfire, Miss Martian, alien culture shock and misunderstandings all up and down
  • the Protege - Robin, or any sidekick really, you've been carefully molded into the shape of a superhero, but what do you really want?
  • the Transformed - Cyborg, Nightcrawler, you will never look normal, there will always be that half-second of hesitation when they see you

A number of other playbooks were introduced in the supplements.

The Halcyon City Herald Collection introduced:

  • the Innocent - Blue Beetle (Jaime Reyes), Iron Lad from Young Avengers, the younger counterpart of a modern-day villain who's showed up in the present day
  • the Joined - The Wonder Twins, the "second half" of a heroic duo who can't go without their other half
  • the Newborn - Vision, a hero who's just come into existence and is only just starting to comprehend the world around them
  • the Reformed - Hawkeye (Clint Barton), a former villain who now wants to redeem themselves
  • the Star - Booster Gold, a hero who is also a celebrity with a demanding fanbase

Secrets of A.E.G.I.S. introduced:

  • the Brain - Reed Richards, a genius who accidentally created a terrible danger
  • the Soldier - Captain America (to the extent where a lot of the playbook's moves are lifted quotes from Captain America), a hero acting within the rules and authority of a larger organization

Unbound introduced:

  • the Harbinger - Bishop, a time traveller that came from the future to stop a catastrophic event, but with little idea of how to do so
  • the Nomad - Star-Lord, a hero who's travelled the universe and came back to Earth to settle down
  • the Scion - Gamora, the child of an existing villain trying to do everything they can to prove they're different


In addition to the three playbooks mentioned above, the Unbound supplement gives a number of campaign settings to drop the players into.

  • Iron Red Soldiers: Aliens convinced of a great disaster about to occur with Earth as the epicentre decide to take over in a desperate bid to find the source of the disaster. It's up to the heroes and a number of resistance factions to kick them out before they get really desperate.
  • The Spiderweb: The players suddenly find themselves in a parallel world where other superheroes never existed and the city has been divided up by the rule of numerous crime lords.
  • Phoenix Academy: Everyday high-school life, but for budding superheroes. Pretty much Sky High, if the titular school had been destroyed before by the being now serving as its headmaster.
  • The Apocalypse Sonata: World-hopping adventure to find the scattered notes of a musical composition with the power to unmake reality before ersatz-Thanos does.
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