DC RPG: The Hero Points Podcast, Episode 4 – Justice League Sourcebook

For Siskoid, it’s the fourth episode of the Hero Points Podcast. For Shag, it’s also episode 10½ of the Justice League International: Bwah-Ha-Ha Podcast. For you see, the guys cover the Justice League Sourcebook from Mayfair Games’ DC Heroes RPG. Every member of the Justice League, whether of America, Detroit, International, America again, Europe, or Antarctica, plus many of their friends, enemies, HQs, gadgets and constitutional documents (you read that right). Get your credentials from Maxwell Lord’s office and don’t forget to bring your sense of humor… Plus, your feedback from, like, a year ago! It’s just like time travel!

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34 responses to “DC RPG: The Hero Points Podcast, Episode 4 – Justice League Sourcebook

  1. So glad you’re finally covering this. I was beginning to assume it would just end up being a backend segment on JLI or something.

    The cover is beautiful except for one thing–Gnort looks like a complete dumpster fire. Seriously.

  2. Still listening, but before I forget, Superman’s flashbacks to his Justice League adventures was detailed in Action Comics # 650, I believe. It did specifically mention Starbreaker and the Weapons Master, etc.

    And isn’t this the book that actually says something like “Superman is certainly the greatest man who ever lived”, or something to that effect? I love the big guy, and it’s hard to argue in the DCU, but wow, what a bold statement!

    More later.

    Chris

  3. Oh my God, did I actually type “20 sided dice”? As soon as you read that, I thought ‘Uh oh”. My bad. Of course Shag just realized the Extremists were very thinly veiled Marvel analogs, so we’re even.

    Great show fellas. I think I actually DID get this for Christmas the year it came out. I think my Mom got it for me, picked up from one of our big city comic shop trips. Even though I never could get the gaming going, I still loved the book as a League reference book. Mayfair’s print and layout limitations date it a bit, but it’s still fun to browse through.

    I tend to think that’s Wally on the cover. He and Barry had the exact same costume at this point. It wasn’t until a bit later that Wally got the white eyes and metallic suit with the “V” lightning belt. Of course, there are dead Leaguers on the cover, like Vibe and Steel, but since Flash is with the JLE, I’m thinking Wally.

    By the time you guys get around to reading this, Rob will have launched 15 more podcasts, so you’ll have lots of promos to run in the next episode! And Ryan and I will be covering “Knightfall”.

    Chris

  4. I picked up this Sourcebook back in the summer of 1991 at a Waldenbooks.

    A moment of silence please for Waldenbooks.

    I have played very few role playing games in my life so I didn’t get a whole lot out of it on that level but like The Superman Sourcebook that I picked up a few years earlier this book was full of the kind of info that I craved at the time. I devoured this book and continue to love it to this day. This is where I started learning more about the Justice League and it also led me to start picking up the titles for a few months. This was around the time of Breakdowns and I was enjoying the story until the newsstands around the area started to not carry both of the Justice League books as regularly and since I didn’t have a regular comic store to go to I was still in that mode of believing that if a book wasn’t on the spinner rack it ceased to exist.

    Such is life.

    The three things I remember most about that first reading experience were:

    1. The Superman section. I was hip deep in my ongoing obsession with the Man of Steel and while I knew about the events that were written about in his entry it was kind of cool to see them related in this form.

    2. The fact that it had the League’s Constitution written out along with the membership certificate. I thought that was unbelievably cool.

    3. That image on the Dr. Destiny entry. Freaked me the eff out when I was 15.

    This was a lot of fun. I hope that next year you’ll cover either the two Batman sourcebooks or the two Superman sourcebooks.

    But I’m biased.

  5. HO-LEE-CRAP! SHAGG!

    We went on and on about Gypsy rubbing up against Hawkwoman’s wing on the cover and never realized – as American Hawkman just indicated on my blog – that the hawks are NOT otherwise in this book!

    :O

  6. Thank you for the great episode, guys! I never did much gaming apart from some D&D and a bit of the Marvel game but I still found it very interesting. (I was usually in charge of the games. I would always throw out all the rules to make sure I got to tell the story I was making up.) This week hasn’t been great and it was so nice to listen to two guys chat about role playing games for 2 hours. You made me run over to Ebay and pick up JLA #50-52/ JLE #26-29. (Right up to Break Downs. Did that trade get cancelled?)

    AND you mentioned the Borad! Always keep a spare You hidden away in case the 6th Doctor causes you to age quickly and die.

    Thanks again, guys. See you in 2018! Happy Fourth of July. Hope you have a great summer. Happy Halloween! Merry Christmas!

  7. Hurray … the annual DC RPG podcast. Should I remind you again that I played as Wildfire? It has been a year.

    Anyways, I love listening to these because it truly brings me back to a simpler time in my life. Hearing the talk of columns, skills, advantages, and gadgets all brings me back to pre-med classes, Ramen noodles, and a more laid back life.

    But one thing that resonates from this podcast (and others from the network) is that Siskoid is clearly champing at the bit to do an episode focusing on Red Tornado’s love life. Let’s face it, Kathy Sutton might be designated a ‘buddy’ but really it should have been labeled ‘buddy with benefits’. How can this not have been covered on The Lonely Hearts given Siskoid’s clear interest in the topic!!

    Seriously though, loved hearing this and the discussions! Hope we get one in 6 months!

  8. It was such a delightful surprise to see this pop up in the FWP feed that I stopped listening to 90’s Comics Retrial (sorry, Nathaniel) so that I could immediately devour this episode. While I had purchased the 2nd edition box set, I unfortunately stopped buying sourcebooks and modules because I could never find anyone nearby interested in playing.

    Shag noted the quarterly newsletter that Mayfair mailed out. I never saw those, but I did see the full-page ads Mayfair would put into Dragon magazine. I’m surprised you didn’t mention these since you featured the blank-slate Firestorm ad on your blog a few years ago: http://firestormfan.com/2013/09/12/rpg-dragon/

    Fantastic episode as always, gentlemen.

    1. It probably depended on when exactly someone bought that 2nd-ed. box, but at least SOME had a newsletter included (mine was the Day of the Supermen one that got a lot of the powers wrong, and I think Waverider and Monarch were maybe included? I’m at work, no way to check). Mayfair used to do that, because I’ve also got a Cosmic Encounter newsletter of theirs. Anyone ever get a different issue in their DCHRPG boxed set?

  9. I suppose Firestorm already got quite a lot of paper “real estate” in the book, but was disappointed to learn that the “blank slate” era was completely ignored while Dr. Fate got THREE listings… I guess that’s also at least in part due to the fact that the female Fate (easily the most obscure of the three incarnations featured) had a current book on the shelves, of course.

    1. Hi Mark! Thanks for the comment. Another Dr Fate was featured so heavily is because all three versions of Dr Fate had appeared in important roles in the JLI book within the past few years. Original Dr Fate was a founding member of the JLI through issue #7. The new Dr Fate (Eric & Linda fused) was featured heavily in issue #10. Then the female Dr Fate (just Linda) was featured throughout the Teasdale Imperative storyline of the JLI. So it makes sense they included all three.

      Whereas the Blank Slate version of Firestorm was featured in just one panel (if I recall) of JLA #24. Heck, I don’t think the Elemental version appeared at all in the JLI. So we’re lucky to have gotten the real estate that we did.

      If you want Blank Slate RPG attention, here you go!
      http://firestormfan.com/2013/09/12/rpg-dragon/

  10. Irish embassy calling and….wait a second, this isn’t the Bwa-ha-ha page?!? Oh wait, it’s the 10.5 episode!

    Excellent show Siskoid and Shagg – have never gotten involved in role-playing games but going through the source book was a lot of fun.

    Shagg, you were wondering about Dr. Light (the good one) involvement with the Japanese Embassy – that came about in the Justiice League America Annual 3 when the JLA/JLE teams were touring the embassies – De. Light appeared there as she was examining the comatose Rising Sun, who was there after the events in JLE 2.

    Re Doctor Destiny, I guess they used the art from Sandman in the Sourcebook as both J’onn and Mr. Miracle was involved in one issue in the first arc when Dream was looking for information about the good doctor.

    Cool show and look forward to the next episode in…….hmm, how long is it between episodes? :)

  11. I’m surprised they didn’t try to stat out the power Martian Manhunter used to stop Despero.

    Also (and I guess I could have missed it, was a long podcast), but did you guys (and thus the sourcebook) not mention Lobo at all? Pretty strange for someone who was almost a member for a while (given the informality of membership in that era, at least. He was on a mission monitor board thing for Oberon at one point at least.) Also, due to that informality, it’s probably impossible to say if the next member to join would be General Glory or Blue Jay/Silver Sorceress.

    1. You’re right. No Lobo. He does appear in the 2996 Legion sourcebook, which is another favorite, among other places.

      Since Jay and the Sorceress DO get stats in the book as the Heroes of Angor, General Glory would be the character we narrowly missed getting the stats for. His dog too.

  12. Hello. My name is Brian, and I’m an RPG-addict. Wow! It feels good to finely admit that fact.

    Back in the day, I too used to frequent my local Waldenbooks, where I would buy up all manner of RPGs. I hardly ever played the games, but I’d spend hours creating characters and reading the lore. When it came to superheroes, I owned TSR’s Marvel game, because those were the comics I was reading at the time. Fortunately, my best friend owned the Mayfair game, and I’d spend hours pouring over his books. I can’t recall if he had the Justice League Sourcebook, but it still brings back fond memories hearing you talk about the game.

    Finally, I wouldn’t worry yourselves about the timing of the episodes. I consider them to be all the more valuable for their rarity.

    1. I have over 100 games/settings in my library, mostly from the late 80s-early to mid 90s, and large collections for the game I really did play/love. I found ways to use them in other games because it is humanly impossible to run all those games within my life time. So I’m right there with you, addiction-wise.

  13. On this episode we discussed how the JLI were given preferential treatment in this book, and speculated how prominent the JLI would be featured in future RPG sourcebooks. Well, I looked in the “JLA” RPG sourcebook from West End Games from 10 years later. This was after Morrison has turned the JLA into a hit for DC. Believe it or not, the JLI stats don’t even appear in the book!! They get mentioned in the history, but no stats included! Ouch!

  14. Listened to the latest episode, and was even awake for most of it. I didn’t take any notes or read anyone else’s comments, so please skip over any redundancies.

    1) I personally like the cover quite a bit, and am glad Maguire supplied several more covers to Mayfair besides. It’s not as detailed or as “acted” as we might expect, but it’s still pretty and makes me happy. Rubinstein is an inker I admire, but not the best fit over Maguire. I don’t mind the G’nort, but that Phantom Stranger is an amateur hour last minute doodle.

    2) Did Shag and/or Siskoid scan/photocopy their Sourcebook back before color was an affordable option? My copy abuses its one color, blue, on almost every page. I suspect that might have been the excuse they needed to use the Aquaman camo suit. It’s too bad the Aquaman series Maguire did the covers for hadn’t started yet.

    3) Apologies to Ryan Daly that they used the in-house art from the Black Canary character stat trading card over basically any other art anyone had produced up to this point.

    4) As much as I wish JLGL had done any of the Martian Manhunter style guide images, I can’t complain about the quality of Ed Hannigan’s work. Superstrength is one of J’Onn’s least unique powers, and I have no problem with him being out-muscled by Power Girl or any other Kryptonians/Daxamites/etc. If he wasn’t one of the weaker examples of A-class strength, he wouldn’t get his ass kicked in every third JLA adventure to establish a threat another Leaguer has to overcome.

    5) The Atom should have a higher scientist rating than Batman and a much better martial artist rating than Green Arrow, who wouldn’t have survived ten minutes of Morlaidh. Dude was a barbarian warlord who fired his whole body like an arrow through other people’s bodies! When Batman uses an eraser as a trampoline and ricochets from one crook to the next, he can get the higher acrobat rating.

    6) Red Tornado has a lot going for him that amounts to nothing once you factor in that he’s Red Tornado. He has (High) connection to Kathy Sutton and a skill of 9 in Marital Aid.

    7) I wish Captain Atom’s stats had been better reflected in the comics, so that his being an upper echelon metahuman wouldn’t have seemed like mostly lip service. Yes, becoming Monarch would have been better than always almost becoming Monarch forevermore. However, I frankly have an easier time seeing Firestorm having a heel turn over Nathaniel Adam. No one in the Firestorm Matrix pre-Jason Rusch was resolutely stable in the face of adversity, where Captain Atom had already suffered a lot of serious traumas without it altering his relatively sunny outlook. Yes, he was a compromised individual, but he was always fighting against authoritarianism and the duplicity he was forced into. Firestorm was built on conflict and instability, and at their first major crucible, they cracked in a truly frightening way.

    8) I’m cool with Wonder Woman being less strong than Martian Manhunter because she was never supposed to be a cosmic character, and she’s meant to compete with the likes of Superman and Captain Marvel through her superior tactical skills.

    9) I just can’t with Crimson Fox. She’s the impoverished Frenchman’s Catwoman. Vixen is wondering what you’re doing in her seat.

    10) I appreciate having access to the JLA’s official documentation without ever having availed myself of it.

    11) Thankful for Dale Gunn stats. He’s the most underrated support staff member in League history. Part of my master plan to make Cyborg a legit icon instead of just the black guy on iconic super teams would be to gift him all the accoutrements of Commander Steel and have Dale Gunn act as his Alfred (or more truthfully, his Frenchie DuChamp.)

    12) Oh good. Stats on the individual Appellaxians. Now we can restage the invasion from JLA; Year One. So excited for that. Let’s get right on that.

    13) I started reading The Sandman with the last chapter of “Season of Mists.” I don’t think I worked my way back to Preludes and Nocturnes until much later, and was just like “eh, Gaiman was still figuring this out.” The Doctor Destiny story was very “I want to be Alan Moore when I grow up,” so I’m glad he moved past that. Give me “Destiny’s Hand” any day– the best JLA story from out of one of its worst runs up to that point (because Vado then redefined where the absolute bottom rested.)

    14) Dehs-per-oh. Like “desperado,” but shorter. For frigs sake. Watch any cartoon, man. “Despair-O” is the “nuclear” of Shag’s super-villain vocabulary. It sounds like the world’s most depressing breakfast cereal.

    15) Re: Doctor Light: Is sodomy a measurable skill/advantage/disadvantage?

    16) Re: The Key: Shouldn’t his Body rating be a 1 for “shriveled like bacon too long in the microwave”?

    17) Re: The Royal Flush Gang: Shouldn’t they save a tree and just list their stats as “roll a 5 or higher to beat the lot of them”?

    1. (2) Yes, the book is black and blue. Those are photocopies. I didn’t want to fold my sourcebook into a scanner and I suspect neither did Shagg.

      (12) So I can count on you for the over ambitious Real Play episode, then?

      (14) DESPAIR!

      (15) The comment we’re not going to read in the feedback section.

      1. 15) Once we’re two years into the Trump Administration, all bets may be off with regard to podcast feedback review propriety. Look at how Ryan’s gone off the rails in just three weeks. Related: science may have regressed to the point where streaming audio is no longer an option, and long distance rates may suddenly apply again.

  15. Huxxah, for that once a year opertuniy to hear about Superhero RPGs, from the superhero fan POV. There are plenty of RPG podcasts that sometimes do supers, but most are from a gamer perspective. Even though it’s rare, it’s nice to see the games from a Super Fans view.

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