Three years after the cancellation of the Young Justice animated series, creator Greg Weisman announced that a new season was being developed on Twitter. This was great news for all fans of the series, whether they followed it during its run on Cartoon Network or discovered it later on Netflix.
The only downside is that the time from announcement to development to a product that can be marathoned over a long weekend can often be measured in years. Luckily, gamers looking to get their fix of teen drama, generational struggle and superhero drama have an excellent game that covers all those themes.
Masks: A New Generation was kickstarted last year by Magpie Games. The game uses the Powered By The Apocalypse engine to pull together a teen superhero game like few others. The game is set in Halcyon City which has has for generations of superheroes prowling its streets.
Golden Generation heroes and villains were the first on the scene decades ago while they may be revered, can also tend to be a little old fashioned. The Silver Generation brought on people with larger powers and bigger effects on the world and the universe, which often puts them out of touch with the regular citizens of the city. Bronze Generation masks saw a darkening of ideals and have identities more like codenames. Players are part of the most recent generation so new that it hasn’t been defined with a name. (For those fans who see parallels between the generations in the game and the general classification of comics era, this was intentional.)
Most superhero games focus on what they players have for abilities. Much like may RPGs put class emphasis on how the characters handle things in a fight—fighters hit things, wizards cast spells—the focus in most superhero RPGs is on the powers. While the playbooks in Masks do link to powers, they focus on the role the character has in their super team. Does someone want to play The Outsider dealing with learning about humanity in the same way a teenager learns to be an adult? Or perhaps The Legacy, who has the weight of expectations on their shoulders because they share the same powers as superheroic parents? Nearly every character from Young Justice can be represented by one of these playbooks and the book even calls out which ones are the best fits.
These identities aren’t set, however. Character labels shift as characters learn more about themselves, try different things and decide who they want to be when they grow up. For example, a character asking someone to the prom might roll their Mundane label. If they succeed, their Mundane might go up and their Danger might go down, because they aren’t expecting a superhero fight at the dance. If they fail, their Mundane might go down and their Freak might go up, because they might blame their superhero responsibilities for not getting a date.
Other characters also have influence over these labels, including adults. Adults can attempt to change these labels by talking to the teens and the teens can either accept the change or run the risk of accepting a condition to defy the adult regardless if they are well meaning or not. Conditions are emotional damage states that are only removed once the character does something to last out. Angry characters need to hurt someone or break something. Insecure characters need to do something dumb without telling the rest of the team. Healing up often means causing drama, which the genre thrives on.
Source books are on the way detailing more about the city and offering suggestion settings over the next few months. By the time Young Justice comes back, Masks players might have told just as worthy of a story on their own.
Image credit Magpie Games
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