Vigilante City character creation/advancement questions



I’m beginning to prepare for an upcoming VC campaign and would love some input from folks more familiar with the system. I’ve run 4 sessions of a homebrew high fantasy setting so the fundamentals are solid enough, it’s more about VC specifically. I feel like I say this every time I ask an ICRPG rules question but I know an ethos of the book is finding solutions for your own table. I still find value in reading some wisdom so I can come to the best answer for my crew.

  1. Do you include a type as part of character creation? The rules don’t include it in the overview of character building but do highlight that it’s like any other ICRPG character. The standalone VC book has types with some basic upgrades that aren’t specifically powers but that content seems missing in ME.

  2. If there aren’t types, how do milestone and advancement feel over multiple sessions. Loot and gadgets definitely track for some hero concepts but not all. I know VC specifies that additional SP max can be awarded and ability score improvements are always an option but there’s not a clear growth track specific to being a super. What kind of rewards have you granted/received?

I can see this all working fine, powers make a solid analog to types and the properties add great flavor. Lots of superhero stories aren’t centered around developing new powers suddenly or getting more HP. I just want to make sure I feel solid so I can facilitate well for my players.



Of the games of VC that I have run I never used types, nor did I follow type upgrades or milestones. To me VC starts the characters at a more advanced level so there is no need for advancement aside from getting new loot stuffs. You do have mastery for the powers that can make the powers cheaper to use by reducing the SP cost.

Another thing too, in my games I do allow players to choose a life form if that fits their character better. However, stat bonuses and abilities are not used, it’s more a flavor thing. I feel that with a 12 point build and the choice of powers and properties, the characters already start powerful and equipped enough without adding life form stats.


Follow up question: Do you assign any effort bonuses at Character Creation?


That’s helpful! Thank you for the input.


I don’t give out extra effort bonuses because they are given 12 points to spend on all the stats, including effort. Here’s my character build setup:

1) Build Stats: Allocate 12 Points to Stats and EFFORT (Max value: +4)
2) Powers: Roll 4 powers and choose 3
3) Optional: Choose a Mastery for 1 Power, Roll for Weakness/Effect
4) Properties: Roll 3 properties
5) Origin Story: Roll or Choose
6) Mission: Roll or Choose
7) Starting Loot - Micro Comms, Team Suit
8) Starting Equipment - Choose 3 from Starting Equipment List
9) Name your character (both normal name and hero name)
10) Write a Brief Snapshot: Personality, Looks, Notable Features or Quirks, etc.

I really like players rolling for their powers, it can provide some really interesting combinations and cuts back on some analysis paralysis and potential meta shenanigans.

I also note for my players that if Killshot or Martial Arts are acquired as powers that the SP 3 levels for these will not be completely effective on boss villains. As a behind the screen note I will often run bosses with chunks, especially if these powers are present.


Thanks! In my prep I rolled some heroes and really liked the interesting results. I was thinking choose 1 roll 2 but I’m not settled on that ratio. I like the Chunk tip too. I had the vision in my head of a kill shot just offing a major villain.

Edit: I’m also planning on doing powers first just to help things gel a bit better


Yeah, rolling for powers is fun! I can certainly see having fewer powers being cool too, maybe roll 3 pick 2 could even be good. Powers first makes sense to me.


I think I wasn’t clear. I didn’t mean letting players only have 2 powers. I was suggesting they can pick the one power they really want and then roll for their remaining 2 for a total of 3. I could see a total of 1 or 2 powers making for a cool lower tier/ grittier kind of feel though.


Ah! That makes sense, I like that! I agree that 1-2 powers would feel grittier. Perhaps something to try sometime would be starting the players with 1 power and adding the 2nd and 3rd as milestones.


In my prep I skimmed through the standalone VC book and the Umber Valley supplement. Umber Valley has a system where 1 power has access to all 3 sp tiers, 1 power has access to the sp 1 and sp 2 abilities, and the 3rd power only has access to the sp 1 cost ability. Access to the other moves within the powers are earned as milestones. The rationale is to add a sense of progression. I don’t think I’ll do that this go around but it’s a cool twist.


That is a nice way to organize the powers, I can see that working out well for progression over a longer story arc. thanks for sharing that!


Of course! Thank you for all of your input on powers and character building. Do you have any other advice for someone new to VC and running supers games in general? Do you use any house rules for SP, VP, or mobs? Thanks again for all the insight!


Certainly happy to help and good to see you starting this up!

My first bit of advice for anyone new to VC is to relax and not sweat the insanity that is about to happen. Embrace the narrative and focus on dramatic events throughout the session, allow it to feel like a super hero movie…the heroes always win in the end right? This may feel different if you are used to more traditional games but just remember that it will work out great!

Make your mooks just 1 HP wimps, give them guns and put lots of them out…they are strong in numbers! Combine those with low level villains or the big bad and you have some challenge for your heroes! STUN will be apparent when a bunch of mooks are shooting at once! Don’t forget to spread them out! Have them spawn at regular intervals.

I make low level villains have 1-2 HEARTS and a couple powers. Keep them moving and use them to lead the heroes into new spaces/screens.

Make the bosses tough as nails! Lots of HEARTS, multiple actions, and no role abilities. There are a lot of good examples in the book.

Don’t forget to throw in innocent bystanders who need saving in the midst of battle, this will force players to make some tough choices!

Have fun!


This is really cool advice! It actually reminded me of another question. The book recommends making mooks 1 hp that deal 1 sp damage. It also recommends combining them together into groups to simplify the flow of combat. How do you handle the maths with merging mooks?

My plan is to make 1 heart groups, the actual number of combatants would be based on their skills. 25 zombies could be 1 heart or 4 mercenary underlings, etc. I’d probably just assign a flat stun of 1, 2, or 3 and lower it as the group got smaller. Any thoughts on how that could work in theory? Thanks again for taking the time.


Here’s a breakdown of the mooks I run:

Stat: Usually 0 but sometimes weaker, like -3 (if there are many)
EFFORT (damage): Standard: Basic/Weapon/Gun
STUN: 1 per attack as stated in the book (wether an attack hits or not it does 1 SP)

I almost never run combined groups, though I have used a number of variations over the years. The main reason for this is that I run VTT almost exclusively and large groups of tokens are annoying to deal with. I also find that combining individuals into one token for ease of use within the game space to be too abstract, everyone only sees a single enemy regardless. I would rather run a fewer number of enemies that have a bump in stats than a whole mass of weak individuals that are fiddly to deal with or are represented by a single token anyways. Here are a couple groups that I have run though:

Half-HEART Group (5 individuals): 5 HP, Static 5 Damage, Attack as a unit, 1 SP effect
When the group gets hit the HP and static damage goes down by 1.

Full HEART Group: (10 individuals): 10 HP: Damage is based on EFFORT type: 1 roll for the whole group, 1 SP effect
When the group is reduced to 5 or less (equal to HP) all EFFORT becomes BASIC, SP stays the same

Stats can vary between -3 and 0 on both of these. If you want the group to be stronger just up the stat to a +3 or so.

I’m sure there are a lot of variations for groups out there that may do a better job mechanically, that’s just what I have run with. I do think your idea would work just fine if it feels right for you, there really is no wrong way to go! It’s about experimenting and finding what clicks for you and your players.