The Flash is the most powerful superhero in the DC Universe, hands down.
I know, sure, the writers do stuff where they have Superman and The Flash run races for charity and those races always end in a tie but that’s because, for some reason, the Superman writers had better friendships with editorial than the Flash writers did and, thus, Superman was always allowed to either tie the Flash or, worse, slow it down enough so that there was a tie at the finish line halfway around the world a quarter second later.
This is BS. The Flash is faster than Superman and this pretty much makes The Flash the most powerful superhero. This is why they have to make Barry Allen kinda smart but not *REALLY* *REALLY* smart. If Barry Allen were *REALLY* *REALLY* smart, he’d be in charge of everything. By making Barry Allen dumber than his opponents, they give the stories some narrative tension. Barry Allen being dumber than his opponents is The Flash’s kryptonite.
Which, when you take The Flash’s powers and put them in a RPG, results in speedsters being seriously overpowered. We saw what happened last week with the Hero system. So how do you deal with speedsters?
Well, one thing you can do is switch systems that makes a lot of different assumptions about Time.
We haven’t played with this new system yet (first session happens tonight) so I can’t review whether the game system and superheroes works like chocolate and peanut butter or whether it works like peanut butter and pepper bacon.
I *CAN*, however, talk about how it does speedsters.
In Wearing the Cape, speedsters aren’t fast the way that we understand them. They are, instead, capable of entering into “hypertime”. So they flip this switch and everything turns into a frozen world and everyone else turns into statues. So far so good… but the twist is that they cannot interact with anything in this frozen world. They can walk around, see stuff from all sides, but they can’t *MOVE* it. So no more 5 attacks before someone else gets one. No more throwing a bowling ball at .1 c. No more even moving the bowling ball so it’s two feet over the bad guy’s head. This also means that if a door is shut, then you can’t get past it. It’s an impenetrable wall. (If you want to get through a door, it must be ajar… and ajar enough.)
When you enter hypertime, it’s like pressing pause. If you want to interact, you have to enter back into regular time. Oh, also, if you’re in a room that is on fire or something, hypertime doesn’t protect you from taking heat damage. It just freezes the flames in place without having an impact on how hot those flames are.
Which seems a pretty elegant solution to the speedster thing. You can have a Flash who isn’t the most powerful superhero. Or, more to the point of RPG gaming, a Reverse Flash who isn’t an undefeatable villain. Or, even if not undefeatable, one who isn’t boring to fight against.
So… what are you playing?
(Picture is HG Wells playing a war game from Illustrated London News (25 January 1913[/efn_note]