Friday night I went out and went game shopping.
I picked up Nobilis for the Bastard's birthday, and for myself, I got A Game of Powers, which is a Nobilis LARP book, and Silver Age Sentinels, a super-hero RPG.
I snagged A Game of Powers not because I want to LARP, but because there are some simplified Nobilis rules in it, which I might adopt for running Nobilis at conventions.
I snagged Silver Age Sentinels because I think we've all been finding Aberrant a bit too dice-intensive, and I at least found the power system a bit limiting. SAS has more in common with Champions (HERO system), which is apparently the old standard for superhero games.
I'm cautiously optimistic about SAS so far. There are only three stats, body, mind and soul. For combat, you calculate an attack value to base all your attacks on, and a defnse value to defend with. Both values are calculated based on all three stats. As for dice, all rolls are done with 2d10, usually against some set difficulty number.
Combat seems reasonably straight-forward. SAS has what I think is a very comic-book way of dealing with hit points; when you hit zero hp, you're unconscious or out of it. But you don't die until you've reached your negative value in HP. This makes it very hard to kill people, and extremely hard to kill people by accident. This, I think solves one of the big problems I tend to have with superhero games; most fights don't tend to end until one opponent is down for the count. This doesn't happen until he/she is dead. So every time you have a conclusive fight (without people running away, etc), someone dies.
What I really like about SAS is its power system; most of your points will get spent on "attributes", which covers powers, as well as things like henchmen and wealth, etc. Even in a medium powered game, you've got enough points to take as many powers as you're likely to want; powers are fairly cheap, and they're very, very customizable; two people's teleport powers, for example, may be as wildly varied as Nightcrawler's vs Magik's vs Gateway's. They also frequently have things like "if you're using real-world physics, the power affects things this way; if you use comic book physics, it works like this", so one can adjust things as desired.
The combat also has some pretty staright forward rules for knockdown, so when two big bruisers duke it out on the street, they get flung around through stop signs and cars.
There are rules for "flaws" that give you more points to play with, but the nature of the flaws seems fairly balanced, and the idea is pretty solidly a part of the superhero genre.
I'm pretty sure I could make any of the characters from Wild Cards, or X-men using SAS' system. One of my complaints about Aberrant is that, like all the other White Wolf games, you start as a low level wimp, as far as the campaign world goes, and you have to slowly drag yourself up to the power level of being a "real" hero; and then there's always going to be NPCs that are bigger and badder than you are, so that you're always kept in line. WW seems to really, really, really like this pattern, since it shows up in every one of thier games.
The "Silver Age" in SAS refers to a specific time period in comics. It ends around the time Alan Moore's Watchmen and Frank Miller's Dark Knight Returns, when, all of a sudden, everyone in comic was a dark, brooding, gritty anti-hero, and the body count started to rise. I like those kinds of comics, but I think for gaming, it doesn't work quite as well.
So, sometime this summer, I'm going to want to give this system a try. I'll even GM it. Anyone interested? I think what I'll end up doing is just picking a day, and then whoever shows up, will play. If a different set of people show up for the second session, I'll create some story explanation for it.