4C System Breakdown Review

4C System Breakdown Review – Phil Reed

Public Domain, Free from Multiple places in multiple formats

e.g. there are character sheets, Master Tables etc., look for those too


4C SYSTEM – Page 1

A toolkit rather than a complete game system. Notes for gamers and publishers, emphasising the public domain aspect.

Hall of Heroes – Page 2

The Really Cool People that donated several years ago so that Phil could take the time to write this. Notes on Dice and Advanced breakouts.

Contents – Page 3 – Table of

Text is public domain, not the artwork.


Character Origin – Robot, Alien, Skilled Human, Changed Human, Mutant, Technologically Enhanced – with Advanced Options that modify Traits.

Let’s create an example while going through:

Roll 54 = Superhuman.

Traits – Page 5

Primary – Melee, Coordination, Brawn, Fortitude, Intellect, Awareness, Willpower. MCBFIAW = FASERIP
Secondary – Damage, Fortune, Lifestyle, Repute = Health, Karma, Resources, Popularity

9 Rolls = 80, 25, 22, 39, 56, 41, 63, 33, 56 and 54

M: Incredible (40)
C: Good (10)
B: Good (10)
F: Good (10)
I: Excellent (20)
A: Remarkable (30)
W: Good (10)

D: 70
F: 60
L: Excellent (20)
R: 18

Rank Values – Page 7

Giving several examples…e.g. Extraordinary, Remarkable, Super for 30-39.
Points out that Advanced game uses 18 different ranks counting 0 compared with 12 for the Basic.

Skills – Page 7 – Number of and their use.

Roll 78 = 3 Skills

Contacts – Advanced option to replace a Skill with a Contact

Powers – Page 8 – Number of

Roll 32 = 3 Powers

Power Types – Page 9 – Includes Description

There are Basic and Advanced Power Selection Tables

Using the Basic Table

3 Rolls = 69, 67, 11

Shapeshift, Regeneration and Claws


Details how to use the Master Table and the results for various colours.
Black = Failed, Red = Minor Success, Blue = Success, Yellow = Major Success.
Then the Advanced Table and Row Steps for when you get bonuses and penalties to actions.

Altering the Dice – Spending Fortune – 25 points moves the result one colour for one roll.

Combat turns and Initiative which is optional…the side’s highest Awareness is a bonus to the roll. Melee attack description.

Movement – Page 21

Governed by Coordination rank – Advanced options on Page 22 with Swimming and Exhaustion.

Combat Tables – Page 23

What the colours mean for Melee, Slashing, Ranged, Rushing, Wrestlng, Dodging Attacks.

Multiple Attacks – Page 25

For Melee attacks – get a Yellow and affect everyone as if a Red was rolled. That is a Minor Success on everybody needs a Major Success roll.

Damage – Page 25

Explains damage and the additions from small and large weapons of +5 and +10.
Pulling punches – you can reduce damage or the result. e.g. aiming for someone’s leg with a gun so you won’t kill them by accident.

Advanced Combat – Page 26

Block, Evade, Catching and Waiting

Material Substances – Page 27

How hard it is to break things and Combat results from the above.


A toolkit, so no lengthy digressions. Advice on using the table, character Health/Vitality, Fortunes/Karma and Lifestyle/Resources and how they are gained and lost. Tables and modifiers for Repute/Popularity interactions and modifiers.

Vehicles – Page 30

Handling, Durability and Combat. e.g. what happens if a character with Body Armour runs into your vehicle? Also a very short sample list.

Character Advancement – Page 32

A slightly out-of-genre thing for superheroes, it notes. The spending of Fortune to increase Traits, Powers and Skills. Even gain a new power at random with 1000 points if something happened in game to warrant it.

Master Table – Page 34 – A one page colour version to print.

Genre Suitability: Any. Street level is perhaps the weakest point for FASERIP games and would need the most tweaking. Colourful heroics are fine.
Artwork: Very basic minimal black and white.

0 0ut of 10 Price (lower is cheaper per page)
1 out of 10 Length (lower is shorter)
3 out of 10 Complexity (lower is easier)
6 out of 10 Playability
5 out of 10 Artwork

6.5 out of 10 Overall

A free public domain gaming toolkit is an excellent thing for the community to have available. So bonus points there. Even more so when it is from one of my favourite games. For such a short game it covers the basics in old school fashion. None of the lengthier playing the game or gamemaster sections exist.

A very simple descriptive percentile dice Universal Table mechanic with great freedom of action that can easily be taught to people as an introduction. The table enhances superheroic flavour in its nomenclature. An admirable thing. The game plays quickly. There’s a nice free character sheet available that actually has the table on the Character Sheet as well.

One day soon hopefully I can do a fleshed out version and have 4CSERIP and FATERIP mirroring each other. Genre rules a la DC Heroes is something I have in mind.

There is of course all the http://classicmarvelforever.com for all the old gaming material.

4CS is simpler than MSH so it is definitely in the lower complexity range while offering some tactical type options for those that like that sort of thing. Games in this moderate range appeal to me most as far as ratings bias goes. Plus I was a backer.

Super Squadron Rules Updates

From this online magazine and from Joe Italiano himself :-

I will go through in detail later, these are generally older ones. Although he says he is working on a second edition!

RPG Review – Super Squadron Rules Updates

Includes an Enhanced Charisma table.

Karma Awards

Personality Taglines, Catchphrases or Battle Cries

This is an old school game, but the predecessor of FASERIP and also some other older games had some interesting ideas as far as Fortune and Subplots go. New school games like to have characters with direct story tie-ins as part of character creation, such as Aspects in FATE games or Hooks in 12 Degrees games to name a couple.

Consider the use of these in FASERIP to add to the flavour and fun. Superheroes have always gone by flamboyant subtitles to start with, whether Orphan Child of Cryptworld, Speediest Woman Alive, Sunshine Sleuth. You can use those directly, as well as any Subplot style ideas or as Fate style Troubles or handicaps, disadvantages, quirks or whatever else other game systems might consider naming them.

You can just have one, being the main subtitle or moniker of the hero, from Atlantean Princess, to Woman of Tomorrow or Strongest Robot There Is.

You could handle this a couple of ways. Allow the hero to invoke this particular line a small number of times per session to gain +1 RS to their results. Or you could give them a Fortune award to bank if they forgo the automatic +1 CS and roll anyway. Perhaps 40 at low level hero games and 30 for standard mutant level, 20 at defenders of the planet level and 10 for Cosmic level.

The flipside to this is the hero’s tagline getting them into trouble, or taking them away from where they need to be. Shadowy Secret Agents may be out all night tailing a suspect, missing dinner with their mum, walking the dog and training the staff, getting them penalised. Still true to their own particular idiosyncratic heroic nature, however. If the player does it themselves, award them. You can however suggest it to them, dangling the Karma points like carrots to get them into both nogoodnik conflict and subplot trouble.

Fun and games

Gaming tables, whether physical or virtual should be entertaining for a FASERIP game. You should definitely award Fortune for being entertained, for funny jokes, amusing stuff, etc. If it is completely character appropriate and roleplaying, then double it.

Good roleplaying should also get some Karma awards.

Then have the aliens invade to let them spend some.


The rules suggest awards based on the threat level faced. However, not all threats are equal. One giant robot or radioactive lizard stomping your city with their Amazing ability is not as bad as three, from the character’s point of view. Consider adding to this awards based on the power levels of the opposition, if significant. VanDemon taking out 27 Wallaby bikie gang hoodlums is no big deal in that sense. If he fights 5 mutant ninja crocodile women it certainly is. The same applies to the Justice Squadron stopping a megalomaniac supervillain. If he has six superpowered flunkies they have to deal with as well, that is harder and worth more Fortune.

General Advice

Don’t be stingy and the players will be happy to call on their Karma when they need it, as heroes will. If you skimp they won’t want to use any for playing and possibly try and save it all for advancement. If you are playing where lots of Fortune is flowing the games should be more fun anyway, more problems, more desperate ations.

Karma Spending Generosity

Considering allowing post-roll Karma use, rather than pre-roll and spend 10

Right, so mechanically

Need to get a 50, spend Karma

Old way – Expected Value of Karma Spend = 17.8
New way – Expected Value of Karma Spend = 12.25

So an average of 5.55 Karma better off in that situation.

Sounds pretty reasonable, to me.

Or use Karma half a dozen times a session in that case, 30 better off in the long run, give or take.

This was based on considering DC Heroes genre rules..which varied what you could do with Hero Points and how many you could spend.

The above would be for your classic four colour situation.

Avengers Assembled!

Another for the MH-0: Marvel Super Heroes Role-Playing Game

This is a sourcebook detailing the Avengers and their enemies, of which many are listed like Kang, Attuma, Graviton etc.

Heroes — Villains

Ant-Man — Absorbing Man, Arsenal, Attuma,
Beast, Black Knight, Black Panther, Black Widow,
Captain America, Captain Marvel, — Collector, Captain Mar-Vell,
Giant Man, Goliath, Goliath II, — Graviton, Grey Gargoyle, Grim Reaper,
Hawkeye, Hercules, Hulk,
Iron Man,
— Kang, Klaw,
— Living Laser, Loki,
Mantis, Moondragon, Ms. Marvel, — Mad Thinker, Mandarin, Mandroid armor,
— Ringmaster, Ronan the Accuser,
Scarlet Witch, She-Hulk, Starfox, Swordsman, — Super-Adaptoid, Supreme Intelligence,
Thor, Tigra — Taskmaster,
— Ultron,
Wasp, Wonder Man — Whirlwind,
Yellow Jacket,

1.36 Character Density

The Uncanny X-Men Campaign Set

This campaign guide includes a 100 page Roster book that is quite similar to and pretty much an update of the X-Men book.

Classic Marvel Uncanny X-Men Campaign Set download

The Campaign Set has multiple books..so the Roster book could be devoted to just that..and it is designed to pack in the characters…multiple columns, entries split over pages if necessary. Could have used smaller type and headings to fit more in perhaps.

However, there are way over 300 characters here. Pretty much anyone you could want up to that time, including early and late career versions of the original X-Men, Magneto etc.

Aguila, Angel, Archangel, Vance Astro, Ariel, Auric,
— Adversary, Alpha, Alchemy, Ape, Annalee, Apocalypse, Animator, Arcade, Arclight, Avalanche,

Bandera, Banshee, Beast [Original, Transformed, Pestilence,], Binary, Bird Boy, Boom-Boom,
— Beautiful Dreamer, Belasco, Berzerker, Big Top, Black Bishop, Black King, Black Rook, Black Queen, Blob, Blow-Hard, Blockbuster, Brood Mutants [Harry Palmer, Blindside, Brickbat, Dive Bomber, Temptress, Lockup, Spitball, Whiphand], Burner, Bushwhacker,

Cable, Cannonball, Captain Britain [First, Interim, Current, ], Lila Cheney, Cloak, Rusty Collins, Colossus,
— Caliban [Morlocks, Apocalypse,], Callisto, Black Tom Cassidy, Catseye, Chance, Lourdes Chantel, Concussion, Crazy Gang [Jester, Executioner, Knave, Red Queen, Tweedledope,], Crimson, Crimson Commando, Crucible, Cybelle, Cyclops [Original, Current,], Cypher,

Dagger, Lorna Dane, Darkstar, Dazzler [Original, Current], Laura Dean, Devil Dinosaur,
— Deathbird, Destiny, Diamond Lil, Doppelganger, Dragoness,

— Eel, Erg, William Evans, Empath,

Firestar, Flashback,
— Famine, Fenris [Andreas, Andrea,], Amahl Farouk, Forearm, Frenzy,

Gambit, Father Alexi Garnoff, Gateway, Goblyn, Gomi [Bill, Don,], Gossamyr, Peter Henry Gyrich,
— Garrokk, Gremlin [Droog,], Gypsy Moth,

— Hardcase and the Harriers [Hardcase, Axe, Blindside, Lifeline, Longbow, Piston, Ranger, Shotgun, Timebomb, Warhawk,], Harpoon, Healer, Cameron Hodge,

Iceman [Original, Current,], Iron Curtain,
— Infectia,

— Jade Dragon, Jetstream, Juggernaut,

— Kamikaze, Krakoa,

Leech, Lilandra, Rebecca Littlehale, Longshot, Lockheed [Nazi-Earth,],
— Lady Deathstrike, Legion, Lifter, Living Monolith [II, III, IV,], Carlos Lobo, Lucifer,

Artie Maddicks, Jamie Madrox, Moira Mactaggart, Magik, Magma, Marvel Girl [Original, Pre-Phoenix, Current,], Meggan, Mentac, Mirage [Original, Current,], Moon Boy,
— M-Squad, Magneto [Original, Current, Robot,], Magus, Malice, Mandrill, Masque, Master Mold [Servitors, Conscience,], Mastermind, Mentallo, Mesmero, Meteorite, Mimic, Mist Mistress, Mister Sinister, Mojo [Major Domo, Minor Domo,], Mole, Monitor, Mystique,

Namorita, Nightcrawler,
— Nanny, N’astirh, Nekra, Noise, Nuklo,

— Occult, Orphan-Maker,

Persuasion, Phoenix [Jean Grey, Dark, Rachel Summers,], Polaris, Professor X, Psylocke [Original, Current,]
— Paralyzer, Persuader, Pestilence, Peeper, Plasma, Pipeline, Piper, Prism, Poltergeist, Proteus, Madlyne Pryor [Original, Goblyn Queen, Demons,], Punchout, Pyro,

— Quill,

Rictor, Rogue, Roma,
— Jennifer Amelia Ransome, Reaper, Reavers [Cole, Macon, Bonebreaker, Prettyboy, Skullbuster,], Riptide, Roulette,

Scarlet Witch, Amanda Sefton, Shadowcat, Siberian Tiger, Silver, Siryn, Skids, Starjammers [Corsair, Ch’od, Hepzibah, Sikorsky, Raza, Waldo,], Storm, Nathan Christopher Summers, Sunfire, Sunspot,
— Sabretooth, Sauron, Savage Land Mutates [Amphibius, Barbarus, Brainchild, Equilibrius, Gaza, Lupo, Lorelei, Piper, Whiteout, Worm, ], Scaleface, Scalphunter, Scrambler, Shatter-Box [Galen, Joey,], Sharkskin, Shocker, Sister Salvation, Silver Samurai, Slither, Speed Freak, Spiral, Spyder, Stealth, Stinger, Stonewall, Stryfe, Strobe, Sub-Mariner, Sunder, Sumo, Super Sabre, S’ym [Servants,],

Tattletale, Thunderbird [I, II,], Toro,
— Tar Baby, Tarot, Technet [Bodybag, China Doll, Ferro2, Gatecrasher, Numbers, Joyboy, Ringtoss, Thug, Waxworks, Yap,], Tempo, Tessa, Think Tank, Thumbelina, Thunderiders [Marauder, Cowboy, Honcho, R. U. Reddy, Wrench, Georgianna, Wolf,], Ticktock, Timeshadow, Toad, Tommy, Tower, Lawrence Trask, Troll Associates [Phay, Phee, Phy, Plough, Phumm,],

— Undertow, Ursa Major, Unus,

— Vanguard, Vanisher, Vertigo,

Warlock, Whiz Kid, Wild Child, Wolfsbane, Wolverine,
— War, Warhawk, Warwolves [Bowser, Ducks, Scarper, Popsie, Jacko, Unknown,], Whirlwind, White King, White Queen, Widget, Wildside, Wings, Wipeout,

X-Babies [Colossus, Havok, Dazzler, Longshot, Psylocke, Rogue, Storm, Wolverine,],

— Zaladane, Zero,

3.84 Character Density

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