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Godlike: Superhero Roleplaying in a World on Fire 1936-1946 [Hardcover]

Dennis Detwiller , Greg Stolze
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Mar 2002
“Godlike in their abilities, let us hope this new breed of man will carry the burden of a suffering world to our ultimate and unwavering goal — freedom for all the people of the Earth.” Franklin D. Roosevelt November 10, 1941 At the dawn of World War II, a handful of people called "Talents" manifested strange powers that set them apart from the rest of humanity. With these powers man took to the air without mechanical aid, explored the depths of the sea without life support, and touched the rim of space. To others, Talents seemed godlike in their power. Only the Talents themselves, pushed to the front lines of every battle, knew the truth — that these newfound powers seemed pointless in the face of death. That their power set them apart from family, friends and enemies. That it made them more, and yet somehow less. These fears, like the power that feeds them, are godlike in their scope. “The world is richly super [yet] delightfully bleak and war-torn…. Look, up in the sky — and take cover.” —Kenneth Hite, Out of the Box A GAME LIKE NO OTHER GODLIKE is a role-playing game in which the players take the roles of superhuman Talents fighting in World War II. No bright spandex, no pulp machismo. In the grimmest conflict in history, ordinary men and women emerge who have the Talents their times demand — but who are still as vulnerable, and ultimately as expendable, as the ordinary troops in the foxholes. The core book includes everything you need to play in a wartime setting ripe with intrigue and combat. “An excellent game with many roleplaying opportunities and chances to be real heroes.” —Jody Harkavy, About.com GODLIKE features an amazing, intensively researched alternate history by award-winning author Dennis Detwiller (Delta Green). There's a full list of ready-to-play powers, and easy rules for creating your own from scratch. A huge "field manual" of weapons and vehicles covers all sides of the war. And Greg Stolze (Unknown Armies) presents the innovative "One-Roll Engine," built for lightning-fast superpowered action. A WORLD ON FIRE GODLIKE features an intensively researched alternate history, the depth of setting and character for which award-winning author Dennis Detwiller (Delta Green) is famous, an innovative rules set by Greg Stolze (Unknown Armies), and a complete "D20" rules conversion by Mike Mearls. “Slick production values, and a simple and clever system with an eye toward punching through tanks and German machine gun nests, make this a great superhero game.” —Mark Finn, RevolutionSF REVISED EDITION This new edition of GODLIKE includes corrections and revisions throughout the book based directly on the feedback of gamers over the years since GODLIKE first appeared. It also includes a new appendix with further rules options adapted from GODLIKE sourcebooks and campaign books by Dennis Detwiller, Allan Goodall and Shane Ivey: squad combat rules, bombardments, minefields, the One-Roll Patrol generator, new powers and more. “GODLIKE ultimately succeeds because it successfully and believably integrates superheroes into the war…. Our Pick: ‘A’.” —Kenneth Newquist, Science Fiction Weekly GODLIKE: You are larger than life . . . but the War is larger than you!
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Impressions Advertising & Marketing (Mar 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0971064202
  • ISBN-13: 978-0971064201
  • Product Dimensions: 28.7 x 21.8 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,514,720 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars To long of a review 28 Oct 2012
By Ben
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Okay this game is simply amazing it has a flaw or 2 but the pluses far out way the negatives making it one of my top 5 RPGs.

The "One Roll System" was a little strange at first but I found it to be the best way of running the game. However if you play over superhero RPGs there are rules in the back to convert too a D20 System which is also very useful. Now the setting stays very close to historical events of WWII giving you a full time line from 1936-46 which will impress history buffs like me. This book is a player's and GM's best friend so much content to customise your characters, NPCs and settings this game has basically the complete WWII tool box to recreate any battle, operation, film or your own Band Of Brothers like saga in any of the theaters of war.

Now the theme This game can be played as Captain America'ish character punching Hitler in the face and saving the world and gives you rules and tips to do so. Yet the main tone the book tries and succeeds at creating is a bleak, dangerous and horrific depiction of war. for instance I GM'd a campaign that took place on the Normandy beach landing's similar to the opening of "Saving Private Ryan". 4/5 of the group were either mangled, crippled or killed during the 3 session battle the combat and killing in this game is brutal it goes for a high realism setting that becomes a bitter fight for survival even if you are a "talent" (super-human). Combat fatigue, exposure to the elements and even a single well rolled shot can get you killed and leave a player a new player feeling hollow at the end. You may be reading this now and be thinking I'm being a harsh GM and I am, for this game and only because (I state this to every new player) "this is war, war is harsh".
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5.0 out of 5 stars People with talents 11 Aug 2005
Format:Hardcover
Welcome to 1940s. Welcome to an alternate WWII with superheroes. The background is very detailer and very realist. Well, as realist as superhero backgrounds can be (ie. no costumes).There is page after page of a detailed chronology of World War II in a world of superheroes. What I really liked was that the authors indicated which events actually did happen and which ones are fictional. The game mechanics are absolutely wonderful and inteligent.
Character creation is very straightforward. Where things get interesting is the resolution system. Players roll a number of ten sided dice. This is called the dice pool. Rather than adding these together or taking the highest, the object is to make a set of the same numbers. In general, the width of a roll is more important than its height.
Actual play is very deadly. Yes the players have super powers, but the weak kind. However it's very fun to die!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  9 reviews
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Godlike, a great WWII super-hero game 27 Nov 2002
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Godlike is a game set in World War II that manages to play with and break most previous super-heroic conventions.
If you want to play 4-color All-Star Squadron type WWII capes and cowls, that option is there but the default setting for the game is a gritty and brutal world where the players don't wear costumes to show their powered status out of fear of enemy snipers taking them out.
The game probably owes more to George R.R. Martin's Wild Cards or Saving Private Ryan than standard super-hero comic books.
The book is self-contained and while supplements will be coming out, none are necessary to break the book out and play a successful campaign. Furthermore, in an alternate history game, a supplement is only a library (or an Amazon.com) away.
The system makes combat fast and brutal. Their O.R.E. (One Roll Engine) gives damage, hit location, and initiative in one easy to-hit roll. The character creation is also quite simple, a nice change from past super-hero systems with mind-numbing number crunching.
All in all I can't recommend this book enough, it is a great role-playing game.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Solid Game 5 May 2003
By "zuckus-5" - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
One of the best superhero games on the market. Uniquely simple, the Godlike system allows for fast and easy play. There are some flaws in the system, namely hard dice, but no system is perfect. The setting is great and the book does a good job of developing the World War II era. My biggest problem with the book is that many original copies had poor binding. Luckily, the producers of the book will allow you to send it back and get a new book with good binding.
If you are a fan of superhero gaming, this is the game for you.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing Take on Superhero RPGs 31 Aug 2008
By Rodney Meek - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I've been a bit of a fan of Detwiller since picking up some of his Delta Green material awhile back, so I thought I'd take a look at his version of a superhero RPG. Godlike was originally released in 2001 through Pagan Publishing and is now supported by EOS Press, although there's only been one major supplement in the interim, "Wild Talents" in 2006.

This book introduces Detwiller's take on superheroics, which is basically that life is nasty, brutish, and short in wartime. The uber-legendary Talents amongst the cast of Allied and Axis NPCs top out at 150 building points--PCs generally will start with 25. This means that they'll have one pretty cool power, but with major limitations. Maybe you can lift a jeep, but you're as vulnerable to a round through the head as anyone else. Or perhaps you DO have the power of invulnerability to weapons fire--but only if you see it coming, which does you little good when a sniper's got a scope on you. Or you stumble into poison gas. Also, there are certain Talents (so-called Zeds) who suppress everyone's abilities just by walking into range. Even if that weren't a factor, when Talents battle each other, they tend to interfere with each other's powers and make them more difficult to use, so random bystanders can pick them off with a few carefully placed shots.

This is in keeping with Detwiller's overall intent--a consideration of why, if superheroes existed, they didn't just end WWII in four days on their own. In the Godlike world, the Talents are seldom powerful enough to have a chance to make really significant impacts. And there are literally tens of thousands of superpowered individuals, so whenever one of them might start wreaking havoc somewhere, a half-dozen opponents will quickly show up to stop him or her. Overall, the life expectancy of the average battlefront Talent is not good at all.

The game uses an interesting dice pool mechanic based solely on 10-siders. (Vaguely reminiscent of the d6 approach of West End's Star Wars RPG for you old-schoolers.) The higher your attribute or skill, the more dice you can sling. You want to get matches to succeed--the higher the pair (or trio, or quad...), the more awesome your success. Often, you only need a single match of any kind to succeed, but in other cases you have to get at least, say, a pair of sixes. So, a matching pair is critical, but as important is getting as many of a kind as possible, because that determines how fast you perform your action. So, if you roll five d10 and come up with a pair of 9s, you succeeded really well...but you didn't go as fast as the guy who rolled three 3s. This becomes important in combat situations because the faster guy can mess with the slower guy's roll. Depending upon your character build, you may also have paid building points at the outset to ensure that for a given skill or power you will ALWAYS have a pair of 10s in your pool, or you can always deploy a wild die to expand a matching pair into a triplet so you go faster.

The book includes plenty of stuff on how to create your character with attributes, skills, and powers (plus flaw if you need to cheapen the cost of desired builds), a list of equipment, weapons, and vehicles (but not in nerdy detail where the author feels compelled to expound on the virtues of the German Tiger II tank versus the Soviet T-34), background details on how the various combatants treated and deployed their Talents, and a huge section that goes through the entire war to list major battles and developments and the roles played by assorted Talents. Scattered throughout this last are sidebars about prominent Talents--when they manifested, what side they're on, what their powers are, what kind of background they have, and what they did in the war and, if they survived, in civilian life afterwards. (Ten of these NPCs are fully statted out toward the end of the book.) Memorable Talents are the Immortal, who is, well, immortal, to the point where his body reconstitutes itself even if completely destroyed; Lord Yama, apparently also immortal and evidently some kind of minor Indian god with the Word of Command who ends up founding his own nation of Assam; "Super-Man", who became ultra-powerful but vehemently anti-war, and who ended up with a lobotomy for his troubles; Aesgir, who could break nearly anything, was nearly invulnerable, and who could ferry entire groups of people through the pocket dimension of Valhalla (essentially a walking-speed teleport); and of course the out-of-control and completely mad Baba Yaga, who manifested through vile Soviet experiments on their own citizenry and who turned into a large hut on pincered tentacle-legs with enough strength to casually toss tanks around.

Detwiller brings an interesting authorial voice to this work, especially in his introduction, which is unusually frank for the industry. This particular work may not be to the taste of everyone, especially those who want their PCs to start out with powers at least in the Iron Man range, but for those who have been yearning to mix WWII squad-level combat with low-level gritty superpowered heroics, this'll be just the thing.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Godlike: Don't Let the d20 Fans Fool You, This Game Works! 24 Sep 2008
By Dennis Moore - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
One of the reviewers of this book has a bias for the d20 system and it shows through, unfortunately, quite well. I'll tell you up front I have a bias as well, and its basis. After owning and playing both the d20 Modern RPG Core book and Godlike, it's Godlike I kept. Having played d20 once before and having played Godlike once before I will tell you Godlike allows for more rapid conflict and task resolution than d20.

There is no broken system here in Godlike. The rules are not very complex compared to what I've seen from d20. There are no classes that force you to move in lock-step within some arbitrary 'level'. You build a character with a certain number of points. On the second page of the character creation chapter there is a summary called "How To Make A Character". The first thing it tells you is "Talk to your GM (gamemaster)". If you want/need more points to create the character you want then follow the instructions. The worst thing he or she will probably say is 'no'.

The art direction, layout and typesetting for this book works for me. It all goes to reinforce the feeling that the war this book deals with is serious business without flogging you with angst or despair.

The d10 dice pool mechanics provide for a bell curve, explained on the second page of the game mechanics chapter. Even the hypertext d20 System Resource Document recommends using three d6 if you want a bell curve in a d20 game.

The gaming community need this game ported to d20 like a fish needs a bicycle. There are many d20 sourcebooks out there for running supers and there are many d20 sourcebooks out there for running WW2 adventures. Godlike blends both genres in a superb fashion. The ORE engine is not d20. I can't tell anyone it's better, for the same reason I can't tell anyone raspberry is better than strawberry. I can tell anyone reading this review that if you want a fun gaming experience that doesn't collide with the rules that are supposed to help bring the experience to fruition that you owe it to yourself to go to the website at arcdream dot com and download the Godlike quick play rules and the tutorial. Then consider buying this book. I doubt very much you'll regret the purchase. Thank you for your time.
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent concept 15 Dec 2002
By David A. Farnell - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This is a very impressive game, and even if you don't role-play, the background info is worth reading for the pure enjoyment. Two things stop me from giving it the 5 stars it would otherwise deserve: A weak binding (at least on my copy), which makes me scared to reread it for fear it'll start falling apart; and all the typos. It's hard to believe that with all the care, the skill, and the sheer LOVE that was obviously put into this book, it was sent to the printers with multiple, really distracting typos on every page. I hope there will be a second edition soon to fix those problems, because otherwise, it's 5 stars all the way.
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