Masks: A New Generation of Heroes

Game Master Cwethan

Character Bible

Greetings! Who wants to be part of a relaxed superhero RPG that's more about character development than optimization and "winning"?


Just me?

Uhhh well, if you're interested, I invite you to sign up for this game of Masks: A New Generation of Heroes!

Short Overview of Masks:

Masks is a tabletop roleplaying game in which you play young superheroes who are growing up in a city several generations into its superheroic age. Halcyon City has had more than its fair share of superheroes, superteams, supervillains, and everything in between. Over the course of three different generations of super-people, Halcyon City has seen it all.

You play members of the fourth generation, young adults trying to figure out who they are and what kind of heroes they want to be. The rest of the world is telling them what to do, but they’ll find their own path amidst the noise. And kick some butt along the way. After all, what’s the point of being a hero if you can’t fight for the things you believe in?

Masks is based on the award-winning Powered by the Apocalypse system developed by Vincent Baker and used in Apocalypse World, Monsterhearts,Urban Shadows, and more. It’s a rules-light system that fuels some of the best innovations in gaming in the last ten years, and Masks has been built from the ground up to incorporate everything I’ve learned about Powered by the Apocalypse games.

When you take an action that would trigger a move, you roll two six-sided dice, add them together with one of your Labels (a stat that describes your hero), and look to the move to see what the results are. On a 10+, you get what you want, and maybe a little extra. On a 7-9, you get what you want, but at some kind of cost or with a complication. On a 6 or less—a miss—the GM says what happens next, and chances are things get complicated for our young heroes.

Masks produces stories like those found in Young Justice, Teen Titans,Young Avengers, X-Men, and more, using the Powered by the Apocalypse rules to provide an easy but useful skeleton for awesome storytelling!

You'll be choosing a "playbook" to start building your hero off. Remember, your hero is still a teen-late teens at most, so it's fine if his powerset isn't the most complete. Plenty of room for development. The options are below.

Mask Playbooks Bios:

The Bull – You’re tough, gruff, and powerful on the outside, and caring on the inside—oh, and you were made by an evil organization that’d love to get you back: can you learn to rely on the team enough to save you from yourself?

The Nova – You’re amazingly, egregiously, horrifyingly powerful, and keeping control is a struggle: can you come to terms with your power before it destroys you? Or someone you care about?

The Outsider – You’re not from here, and you don’t quite understand this place, but you find it fascinating: can you find a way to belong? Or will you always be different?

The Legacy – You’re carrying on a long tradition of heroism and nobility: how can you balance that legacy with your own identity?

The Protege – You’re tied to a mentor who trained you: do you want to be them? Or someone else entirely?

The Janus – You put on the mask, become someone different, escape your mundane life, but you know your responsibilities are always waiting for you: who are you really? The mask or the mundane?

The Delinquent – You’re a rabble-rouser, a rules-breaker, and an incorrigible prankster, someone who pushes people away while secretly wishing they would stay close: can you stop being a little s#$@ for long enough to let them know you actually care?

The Doomed – Your powers are killing you; they come with some awful, nightmarish fate. But until that end comes, you’re going to work to change the world: how much are you willing to give up for your cause before your doom comes?

The Transformed – You don’t look human anymore and the world won’t let you forget it: can you learn to accept yourself? Can you deal with their looks, stares, and fear without becoming the monster they see?

The Beacon – You’re here because this is awesome, and you may not quite fit in, but screw it, you’re going to do this anyway: can you prove that you actually deserve to be here? Or are you just a wannabe?

But the actual playbooks are located ---> Mask Playbooks

If you're wondering about some of the more important mechanics before you decide to sign up or pass, I invite you to read the following two sections. Interaction is the basis of this game, and how you percieve your place in the world and influencing people into changing are core mechanics.

Rules for Labels:

Characters in Masks each have five mechanical attributes called “Labels.” Labels represent how your character views their identity. Are you a Danger or a Savior? A Freak or Superior? Or are you just Mundane?

Each Label ranges from -2 to +3; the higher the rating is, the more the character sees their self by that light. If you have Danger +3, you see yourself as a threatening, violent figure. If you have Mundane -2, you see yourself as anything but a normal person.

The Labels include:

Freak, which is all about being strange, unusual, unknown, different, unique, powerful, weird, and special.
Danger, which is all about being strong, threatening, violent, destructive, badass, frightening, reckless, and mighty.
Savior, which is all about being defensive, protective, overbearing, moralistic, guarding, patronizing, and classically heroic.
Superior, which is all about being clever, faster, better, arrogant, dismissive, commanding, egotistical, and smart
Mundane, which is all about being normal, empathetic, understanding, kind, boring, simple, uninteresting, and human.

The Labels shift and change over the course of the game as your self-image changes, most often due to the influence of others. As these Labels shift, so does your position in the story: a hero who sees their self as a Danger is better at directly engaging villains and threats, but their low Mundane means they might struggle to connect with ordinary people after a fight.

Rules for Influence:

Influence is a mechanic used to keep track of whose words matter to you. When you have Influence over someone else, it means they care about what you say. When someone else has Influence over you, it means that you’re affected by their words.

Much of Masks involves giving, taking, and losing Influence over others. After all, you can’t convince your teammate to stop being a Danger if you don’t have Influence over them. When you do have Influence over them, and you tell them how they endangered civilians, your words might lead their Labels to shift. They might be chagrined at your words, and shift their Danger up, and their Savior down—they see themselves as more of a Danger, because of what you said. Or, they might resist, argue with you, and wind up shifting their Savior up and their Danger down—they don’t care what you say because they define who they are, and they choose to be a Savior.

Influence allows for a quick and easy way to understand whose words can cause your Labels to shift. You care about what they say, so your self-image is tied up in how they view you, what they say about you, and what you accept about their perspective on the world.

Of course, you are just a young superhero, trying to find your way. And that means in Masks, all the adults have influence over you by default. But you can resist what they say to free yourselves of their words. You just have to stand up to them, and tell them that you make your own path…easy, right?

So....if I haven't scared you off yet, and you're eager to play, Great! I hope to have a team of at least 4 but wasn't sure how many players would be interested.

Unfortunately, part of the character creation process involves the other chosen players, so creating a character won't really work for an application here.

That said, if you're a proactive roleplayer who doesn't mind learning a relatively simple system, I'd love for you to write "I officially want to be part of this game." in your comment somewhere along with the playbook you wish to use. Sadly, we can't have two people playing the same playbook, so any arguments over a certain one will end with neither player having access to that option.

Happy Gaming!

I am excited! I'll be working on a Nova character, not sure what power yet but we'll figure something out :D

For those who want more reading....

Moves will give you the framework of when you have to make an effort to do accomplish something that has a chance of failure. This isn't for normal use of powers or things you can do with ease, rather, its when there are going to be consequences.

This is an example of a "scene" during play which isn't combat. Conversation is an important developmental tool between player characters.

Mark of interest to investigate.

Oh....err....I read the caveat. I officially want to be in this game as the team's Nova. Going with sorcery, going to do all the magic.

Dark Archive

I officially want to be part of this game!

And I'd like to play an Outsider. =3

I'm interested as a Legacy.

Shareena is actually me, like I said I'm interested in a Legacy.

"I officially want to be part of this game."

I would love to play The Delinquent.

here as well. I think I'll do a Doomed, who is trying to resist becoming the monster that he knows he will become in the future.

So here is my first stab a this character:

North Star:

Playbook: The Doomed

Hero Name: North Star (because everyone follows me)
Real Name: Tycho Simpson

Look:Man, Shifting, white, haunted eyes, adaptive clothing, adaptive costume

Memory Manipulation, Psychic Constructs, Superhuman Strength and Speed

Nemesis: My nemesis is my future self, the being that I am prophesied (or destined, depending on your point of view) to become. A psychic ruler of minds and master of the entire world, who controls all he sees (and what he can't see as well).

Team Moves: When you share a triumphant celebration with someone, give them influence over you and spend 1 team from the ppol to clear one box on your doom track.

When you share a vulnerability or weakness with someone, give them influence over you and ask them if they honestly think there's hope for you. If they say yes, mark potential or clear one box of your doom track. If they say no, mark a condition or mark your doom track.

Potential: _ _ _ _ _
*every time you miss a roll on a move, mark potential.

_ Take a move from another playbook.
_ Take a move from another playbook.
_ Take a move from another playbook.
_Someone permanently loses influence over you; add +1 to a label.
_Rearrange your Labels as you choose, and add +1 to a label.
_Unlock your Moment of Truth.
_Clear a doomsign; you lose access to tht move for now.
_Get burn and three flares (from the Nova's playbook).


When you've taken five advances from the top list, you can take advances from the list below.

_Unlock your moment of truth after you've used it once.
_Confront your doom on your own terms; if you survive, change playbooks.
_Take an adult move.
_Take an adult move.
_Lock a label, and add +1 to a label of your choice.
_Become a paragon of the city for however long you have left.

Danger: +1
Freak: +1
Savior: +1
Superior: -1
Mundane: 0

_Afraid: (-2 to engage a threat)
_Angry: (-2 to comfort or support or pierce the mask)
_Guilty (-2 to provoke someone or assess the situation)
_Hopeless (-2 to unleash your powers)
_Insecure (-2 to defend someone or reject others' influence)

*When did you first learn of your doom: as a child, the cult that raised me told me it was my sacred duty to rule mankind.
*When I was rescued by (insert Dr. Fate/Strange character here) found me, she knew that I would need a place to learn to use my powers safely, so she guided my power to allow me to form a demiplane.
*I oppose my nemesis because I don't want to be the authoritarian dictator of a future world where I control everyone's minds and will. I think it's the worst thing that you could do. And because it would be so easy to become that person.
*The hero that raised me has been training me to harness my power safely, so definitely her.
*(assuming that we are starting as a team) they are the first real friends I have ever had.

What brings your doom closer:
Overexerting yourself, facing danger alone

Doom Track: _ _ _ _ _

Doom Signs:
X Portal: Mark your doom drack to appear in a scene with anyone you want.

Features: A meditation space; art, music, and food; a library of valuable tomes (really my memories of my future self).

Downsides: I will need to mark one box on my doomtrack; The best I can do is a lesser version, unreliable and limited.

Let me know if I'm missing anything.

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I'm interested. I have several super hero characters, so right now I'm brainstorming to see who would fit in these categories, or if I'll create someone brand new.

But at the outset, I think I've got one character who may work as a Protégé.

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I've got three officially interested as per the rules in the primary post. I'll open up the discussion thread soon so we can begin more in-depth character creation for those that need help or have questions.

@ Vrog
Looks pretty good. We'll flesh it out more through discussion. But make sure you read through all of the primary post.

Masks Hero Alias Template:


Hero Name:
Real Name (if different):


Danger : 0
Freak : 0
Savior : 0
Superior : 0
Mundane : 0


Have Influence on:

Team Moves

List your team moves


Write dowsn any current advancements.


List Questions, then answers.


We'll answer these questions in discussion.

*Any Other Abilites Unique to your Playbook


In-game, we'll be using the copy-paste strategy at the beginning of each of our posts as conditions, potential, and honestly, even labels change a lot. As I know some people post on mobile or find it a pain to edit their stats at every change, the copy-paste method should help make things easier.

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Heh heh. Oops. I suppose you wanted me to literally say "I officially want to be part of this game."

Well, if you're willing to overlook that gaffe, I officially want to be part of this game.

But as I said earlier, I have a stable of characters I've created over the years and I'm working to figure out which one will best transition to this new system. Most of my characters were built using the old Marvel Superhero system (FASERIP).

Officially want to be part of this. I will hopefully decide what I actually want to be once I get home and get access to the plabooks.


I officially want to be part of this game.

Since I'm new to the ruleset, I actually think I'd like to put together a character using the Beacon. I think I've got a couple ideas of how to work with it that would work.

I'm totally new to this too, but that's what makes it fun!

Whoa, didn't expect this much interest to be honest. Shouldn't be a problem though.

Officially Expressed Interest/ Accepted Players
WarforgedMan - Nova
Atlas2112 - Outsider
rungok - Delinquent
Stalwart - Protege
Doomkitten - Undecided
Phntm888 - Beacon

if you're confused about why you aren't on the list, please read the first post thoroughly. If you're just expressing interest, the above-listed playbooks have been officially called "dibs."

@DM Default - You made an Alias Template for us? You are the hero that the Paizo Boards truly deserves.

I officially want to be part of this game. Like I said, I'm thinking Legacy.

I know that it's a group character creation process (similar to the Dresden files rpg) but I left those parts out of my build, since they would need to be done separately anyway.

Officially Expressed Interest/ Accepted Players
WarforgedMan - Nova
Atlas2112 - Outsider
rungok - Delinquent
Stalwart - Protege
Doomkitten - Undecided
Phntm888 - Beacon
Phantom mouse - Legacy

Discussion thread is up for those who are accepted. Feel free to post in.

For anyone who hasn't submitted an official submission yet, the playbooks left are:

The Bull, The Doomed, The Janus, The Transformed.

Though, Doomkitten hasn't chosen a playbook for herself yet.

You missed me on the list sir.

@ Vrog
I will remind once again to read the primary post thoroughly.

Hint: you don't need to open any spoilers.

oh, sorry, I am interested in the game/expressing interest. and I officially want to be part of this game with the Doomed playbook.

Sorry, too excited.

Also, reading is OP.

Consider yourself added sir.

Okay. I think I want to play the Bull. Coming up with concept and creating character meow.

Okee doke, a lot more than I anticipated but never fear.

Due to the nature of the game, we'll hit a cap off players or interest will die out. If you are still interested in playing, the available playbooks are left.

Available Playbooks
The Janus
The Transformed

I would like to play The Transformed. Alias coming up shortly.

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