This Blog 2019, Goals and Grommets

Inspired by the 2019 goals post over at Charles's Dragons Never Forget Blog, I figured I would do the same thing. 2018 right around ...

Friday, July 31, 2015

WHAT? It really only works at the table?

I have a conundrum.
Or at least a minor problem.

I have been kicking around an idea for an RPG, in the  vein of the Borderlands Video games, but  more decidedly RPG-ish. I don't want to create a board game emulating the video game. I want to create an RPG that captures the tone of the games.

My conundrum happens as I start to work out system. I want to use visual  tactile items, such as drop charts and a box to roll the dice in. All of that would be fine except...
...Drum roll...
I do 90% of my RPG gaming via PC on Roll 20 these days and I don't see clear ways to implement my ideas on Roll20. I have to assume others wanting to play the game would have the same issues.

My first inclination is to scale back, and go a cleaner route, eliminate the  extra widgets and write a game similar to other paper and pencil games. There is something to admire in games like RISUS that you can just print out on a few sheets of paper and  start playing.
Even wihtt D&D  (any edition.) A group needs to invest in the  Players hand book if nothing else. Once that initial purchase is made and you have read that 200 some odd pages the only things anyone needs are a character and some dice.

Two things that roll 20 emulates well are random numbers and character sheets.

I have gone as far as posting a question on the roll 20 forums about using the virtual dice for drop charts. (Virtual dice are these 3D renditions of dice that clatter along your computer screen annoyingly before settling on a number I never use them. I may try them in an effort to simulate drop charts.)
I will update here when I get some responses.

This is the juicy part. As I have said on this blog and to to others who have asked, I pretty much only  write games that I think the group I game with will enjoy, play and  get a kick out of. Sure I have had greater aspirations at various times, but in the end I have to stick what I can accomplish and what is important to me. I just want to have a good time gaming with the folks I game with. I share ideas and  thoughts and blobs of game design here sure, but that's because you folks are part of what's important to me. I hope you get some use out of it.

With that in mind, (much like the "block game*" before it) I start to think that this latest bit of work I'm doing is destined to fall into the, "this only works at the table" category.
Which was fine when we could all get together on some kind of schedule. Life as all of you know tends to take wide shits on all such planned activities.
I hardly ever get to sit with everyone at the table. When we do there is a smorgasbord of games we can play.

So here are my immediate design choices:

  1. Create the game in my head with all of it's accouterments. I will have to do this knowing full well it may never see the run at a table that I would like it to. We just might never get to it. The  game being hard or impossible to implement on the computer will limit its exposure, my play-testing opportunities, and in turn the games overall development. 
  2. Or compromise some of the bits and parts that I have in my minds eye to create a game optimized to run in the medium of an online game. knowing that at the very least every one will get the chance to try the game a few times. Also knowing that some of my Ideas have to be  cut or dramatically altered.
My gut says, "Just make the game you want to make and to hell with it." Which is sound thinking. I agree with that thinking. That thinking appeals to me.
My Pragmatic side knows that I want to write games for my friends and I to PLAY, not a cute intellectual  construct, but a game we play and enjoy. I also want to play it more than once a year.

I imagine these are the balancing acts every designer tackles, solves, and lives with.

Here is the  feed back I have received from the  Roll 20 Team, posted here with out any kind of consent, which I understand is shitty, so I blanked out the  names of the  folks who replied. On the other hand though I am really grateful for the replies which I received very quickly, and which I feel were quite helpful. (I had never considered the scaling issues on the drop charts! That threw me.)

So thank you Roll 20  Mod Team you guys / girls are good eggs. Just keeping things on the up and up by taking your names out.

* In fairness our Friend Neal created a version off the Block Game Second Life which is awesome. He also alphabetized something like 120 skills, and turned his avatar into a dragon, and created a die roller named Spock. All of which is crazy and awesome. I know NOTHING about second life accept that we can get a game of blocks there.

Well that's that ,
enjoy your day leave comments and all that good stuff under the flaperon Below.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Here is the thing...

Here is the thing about our little hobby called role playing games.
Gear Up

Not everyone is out to write a book.
Not everyone is out to change the hobby.
Not every one wants to see the hobby constantly stay the same.
Not everyone is convince the rest of the  community of anything.
Not everyone is out to make a buck.

Some of us just put limes on our heads
And Game.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Ax Grinders Goal, Part of the Dyver's "Week Of Vengeance" Project.

Ax Grinders Goal.
This is part of the Dyver's "Week Of Vengeance" Project started by Charles Akins
Dyver's campaign  Blog is here.

“Uncommon patience in planning a revenge that is worth while.”
-Ambrose Bierce

Everyone has an ax to grind.

The duke has finally gone too far, the party thief has been double crossed and here he is in some fetid oubliette. The rouge looks over his fellow prisoners, sneers, spitting into the darkness.
“I swear boys if we ever get outa this feted pit I'm gonna make Duke Havewald pay fer this, and pay dearly.”
Any Gm worth their screen and dice bag would love to hear one of their players direct such a bitter epitaph at an NPC. The player HATES that N.P.C. Job well done.

Then what happens? Unfortunately the various flavors of the world's most well known role playing game don't present any mechanics for sworn vengeance.

There are some simple solutions. One way to approach this would be to make taking vengeance on the duke a goal for the whole party. If this route is taken the thieves revenge becomes the campaign until the situation is resolved one way or another. I have been known to use this technique myself with players taking the spotlight for a few games as they resolve their characters goals, then moving the spotlight to another player for a while. It works, unless the party as a whole is already embroiled in a bigger story than one thieves grudge against a duplicitous duke.

Another method is to make the thief’s advancement to the next level goal based. Telling the player “Your character can't level until your grudge against the duke is resolved.” This works well in some games, it may even be the best solution if the group and the player are going to have time to square off with the duke in the near future. If the party is off doing something else and the thief is going to have to spend time pulled away from the subplot however, this strict a ruling might hobble the thief's progression to severely.

Today I'm going to give a third option. Ax-grinding experience.

Look at how many experience points are required for the character to progress their next full level.
For example: Our rogue is 6th level and currently has 32 thousand experience. The DM would look ahead to the amount needed to raise from 7th to 8th level 40 to 70k or an additional 30 thousand experience.
Now figure out what 5% of that number would be, in this case 1500 experience. Let's call this number the "Ax-grinder Goal or AgG experience". During games or between games if the GM and player agree the player may opt to bank some of their earned experience up to the AgG amount. The experience would be banked so that the character could pursue interests regarding the target of their grudge. The  time they spend plotting their revenge.

Following the thief example above: While the party I pursuing their interests in town, spending the gold they just pulled out of some forsaken crypt, the thief goes off to dig up dirt on the commander of the duke's guards.

The player explains he's hoping to find some blackmail material so he may get closer to the duke at some point. The thief’s actions can be played out in game or reserved as “off page action” which ever works best for the group. The player in this example takes 1500 exp off their total current experience and banks it away under AgG experience.

After the next game the thief might conspire to procure floor plans of the dukes home. Working out with the GM how this might be done they would bank yet another 1500 points of their experience. And so on until they are satisfied with the amount of planning they have put into their revenge or they have banked an amount of experience equal to the amount originally needed to progress one full level. (in our example 30K) At this point the character has done whatever prep and plotting he or she could have done, anything more would just be over icing the cake.

While this is going on the character can take part in normal party activities and gain experience as normal. Experience banked away as AgG experience is a representation of the time the character has spent stewing and plotting vengeance against their hated foe, and not moving forward.

Eventually their character will take all of the bits of information they have gathered and seek their vengeance against those who have wronged them. When this happens the gm needs to ask one question. “What will satisfy your character?”

In our example the answer might be “The death of Duke Havewald!” In a another game the answer might be “To take control of the navy from admiral Sivin.” In yet another game vengeance might be simpler, “To spoil farmer Boyers crops.”

Regardless of the answer the Character must fulfill the statement, if they complete their vengeance, they receive all of their banked AgG experience. If they fail at taking revenge, say the Duke wins out in battle, the navy remains loyal, or the farmer successful figures out what's going on and saves the crops. The AgG experience is forfeit. The character might be free to start the process over again if the GM allows, but this particular plan has failed.

What does this system promote?
The use of AgG experience allows a player to give up small amounts of experience now, for a payoff down the road. In effect allowing the character to invest in his or her plan for vengeance while the rest of adventuring life goes on. If the the character banks a lot of experience early on there is a real motivation to take vengeance quickly and get that exp back, striking while the anger still burns within them. If a character waits too long the amount of experience banked may become less and less meaningful as the character raises levels. Bitterness fading as time passes and fresh priorities occlude the memory.

Mechanically using experience as a sort of resource that can be withheld until certain terms are met is not unlike a GM giving bonus experience for doing certain things during an adventure. “You picked the vaults lock!” the Gm jots down a bonus value for the difficult task completed.
In the case of AgG having the player character sock away  experience already earned and attaching its use to a future condition creates tension. This vengeance MUST HAPPEN. The tension will create in the player the feelings much like what the character must be going through. Desire to successfully get revenge, anxiety over the chance of succeeding, and most importantly a desire to plan that revenge carefully. Planning  which should in turn get them to sock away more experience and strengthen the whole cycle.

Finally Vengeance should have teeth.
A character bent on revenge should be obsessive, plotting, scheming all at the expense of other things. Once revenge is achieved it should be as if that burden is lifted from the characters back. If vengeance is denied the blow should be crushing, and costly.

Thank you for reading.
-Mark Van Vlack

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Growing up through the lens of Beastie Boys Albums.

Life in general:

I own  the  following albums, Plus three or four EP's

Cookie Puss (1983)
Licensed to Ill (1986)
Paul's Boutique (1989)
Check Your Head (1992)
Some Old Bullshit (1994)
Ill Communication (1994)
The In Sound from Way Out! (1996)
Hello Nasty (1998)
To the 5 Boroughs (2004)
The Mix-Up (2007)
Hot Sauce Committee Part Two (2011)

So I'm 40 years old. That makes me 8 years old when Cookie Puss dropped. For the record I was not listening to  Bootleg Lp's of the Beastie Boys when I was 8 years old. I got my hands on Cookie-puss many years latter. Given the members of the band are all about  8 years ahead of me  age wise in makes sense that I came to the  party a bit late.

I was aware of MTV when I was Eleven, considering my sister is six years older than I am, I was was exposed to all her music at the time. (Mostly Hair bands, but anything on MTV was fair game.)
Regardless of how it happened for better or worse the dawning of my teenage years can be summed up thusly.
Licence to Ill is an album that was on heavy rotation still when I got to high school 1989 or so. It was all rebellion and  party, and  things our parents would disapprove of at the time. I don't listen to Licence any more. I don't think it has any redeeming qualities beyond what I have already grown out of. If however I can find an open minded 16 year old to pawn my copy off on I will do it in a second.

I received my first single disk CD player for my birthday some time around 1989 or 90. My first Cd's were a double set of  Jimi Hendrix. The first CD I ever bought for myself was Paul's Boutique.
I did not know it at the  time but Paul's changed the rap game. All I knew was the  hooks and the beats on that album were unlike anything I had ever heard. I also know I wanted to know where some of those samples came from. It sent me off exploring music, digging into my mothers records, discovering Take five by Brubeck and  learning the term "time signature." I blame that album for my desire to explore the influences behind what ever music I enjoy.

I became A big Jazz and Blues fan, I'm not sure where or when that happened, but I was listening to Muddy, Miles, Burnside, Monk, Lightni'n, Brubeck, Buddy and Mingus in high school.
I was also into Funk, Parliament, Funkadelic, Bootsy Collins, Ghram Central Station, Sly.
Needless to say I was not super popular in high school and  who fucking cares, my cd collection was becoming amazing.

Yet I waited in line to buy Check your Head when it came out on my birthday in 1992.
But those instrumentals doe?!
In 3's
Dub The Mic

My favorite cut even though it's not an instrumental  "Gratitude."

Why  was this Rap outfit playing instruments? Money Marks' Organ work was fucking funky,  deep as shit and  just amazing. Where was this coming from. Percussion, real percussion...
I ran out and bought a wah wah pedal that month. I never looked back.

I'll communication (94) came out just as the  disillusionment of realizing high school is over and now the  real work of living life had started was settling in. I always find it odd when I listen to Ill communication, I feel like that album is also unsettled. A reach back towards Paul's Boutique? A couple of Punk tracks reaching back to the pre-Rap days?
Alot of folks like to think of "Sabotage" or "Root Down" as the defining songs from this album.
I always look to "Bodhisattva Vow" A song inspired by (as I understand it) Adam Yauch's embrace of Buddhism, when compared to "Get it Together"  a more freestyle classic rap song with Guest MC Q-Tip just ripping verses over a simple beat.
An album looking forward and backward at the same time. Like I was in 1994.

(On the blogs normal topic this was also the time of my best D&D campaign when we were playing all the time with a big group.)

"The In sound From Way Out" Is a collection of instrumentals form the other albums, It was a must have , it's still in CD player rotation at my house nineteen years latter.

Hello Nasty: 1998, I had done some college in fits and starts. I was working and partying a lot afterward. Mostly working evening shifts,  three pm to eleven pm. This album  flew right past me. I mean I bought it when it came out but I never really dug into it. I was distracted, days were going by too fast. I was 23 and My memory of the time is super occluded. Not because I was a raving drunk or anything , but because the  days and nights all stretched into each other.
"Intergalactic" was the single, it's so tight. The whole album is tight.
I love the track "Remote Control" for whatever reason that four chord chorus gets me.
 I honestly don't remember what year I married my first wife or  when I broke up with my  high school girl Freind's or what the  fucking fucks was going on. I can't recon time from my early 20's. That whole part of my life is  tight and  blurred, and that's exactly how I felt about this album. Too Fast too full of bells and whistles, just too much to be remembered.

Fast forward, I'm sitting at home. I have the day off I work day shift now, I'm married and living in a not great apartment in a not great part of town.
It's 2001, I'm watching  tower 2 fall down on the  news.
The  phone rings, It's my father in law, he says "Somebody's going to get their ass kicked over this, everybody is going to go crazy."
I don't know how he predicted the future so quickly, rest his soul, he was a smart man, he was 100% correct.

It took  six years between albums and three years after  September 11th for the  Beastie Boys to come out with "To the 5 Boroughs."
It was a very Sober album. Like many people I had opinions about  politics, but I never thought about our place in the  world that deeply until 2977 people died in the bombing of the world trade center via passenger jet. (Just saying 9-11 has never done the event justice.)

"It takes  Time to Build"
"Right Right Now Now"
"All Life styles"
and Naturally the corner stone song "An open Letter to NYC"

I never understood when I heard people in my circles say "Nobody wants to hear the Beastie Boys rap about politics."
By this time they were all over 35, what the  hell did you expect them to  rap about ? the  same shit they were talking about on "Licence to Ill?" Did people still want to hear them rap about weed? Seriously?

Lyrics like:
"I'm getting kind of tired of the situation
The US attacking other nations
And narration, on every station
False election's got me losing my patience
I'm a funky-ass Jew and I'm on my way
And yes I got to say fuck the KKK "


"All you spazzes and you freaks
Go and do your thing 'cause you're unique
If it don't hurt nobody else than
Don't be afraid to be yourself and
Special dedication and so on
to all lifestyles, sizes, shapes and forms
We gotta keep the party going on
All lifestyles, sizes, shapes, and form"

And Basically the whole content of 'We got The"

I was glad to hear these songs I was 29 at the time and thinking in a lot of different directions, most of which were looking suspiciously at things  going-on in our own government. Hearing a group that had always  supplied the background music for my life , also talking about politics and  thinking in very similar ways as I had been, was some how reassuring.

The Mix Up came out in 2007.
All analog, all instrumental. Pretty much all top level work. Proving once again there is music behind the curtains. At the time I was listening to the  Black Keys early albums, various things by Jack White, Tres Amigos by ZZ Top, Morley and Arbuckle, RL Burnside's live recordings. I was looking for any thing with rough edges as far as production was concerned. The Mix Up fit that mood and it didn't. It showed an ability to take the analog tech of the 80's and  Mix it into a slurry of beats and melody that could almost be called Ultra produced because of it's complexities. I really enjoy that album to this day and I hope somewhere someone is still stealing  samples off it for their own  work. I was glad they won a Grammy for it I actually thought it was their best album to date.

2009 Adam Yauch (MCA) was diagnosed with cancer.
He died May 4th 2012.
I don't get emotional about  people passing, I did not cry into a pillow when I heard one of the Beastie Boys died. It was a realization though that time is a commodity. A commodity that I waste like an endless stream. (I'm doing it now!)
A musician that had gone from feeling up beach going fans on Yo MTV Raps to an adult publicly apologizing for anti gay and misogynistic lyrics in his own earlier career, Organizing Tibetan Freedom concerts, and creating the Milarepa Fund.
That's what people do, they grow up.
"Sure Shot" includes the lyrics:
 "I want to say a little something that’s long overdue /
 The disrespect to women has got to be through/
 To all the mothers and sisters and wives and friends /
 I want to offer my love and respect to the end."
During those three years The Hot Sauce Committee Part 2 dropped (2011)
It's a great album, really very solid from the production, the verses, to the beats. Long Burn the Fire , Lee Majors Come Again, Multilateral Nuclear Disarmament (instrumental), and Too Many Rappers (feat Nas) are stand outs for me.
As their last work it's a great rock to stand on.
When this album came out I was 36, My life as it is was and is in order. I have my fantastic wife, a house, a decent job that might disappear at any second, but hell that's American life. Putting this album into my own time line it fits, every thing is built out and reasonably matured.

I understand there are some tracks out there from Hot Sauce Committee Part 1. I hope to hear them some day, and I would buy them if they were released , but for me the  real Beasite Boy Discography ends at HSCp1.

How does this all tie into what I do here on the blog?
I'm not sure it does, but there you go.
I guess I am just looking at life right now, and trying to form some kind of personal continuity, music seems to work for me.

Next post will be about games..

Sunday, July 5, 2015

My favorite Game System. (MEGS) Part of the My favorite game project.

Written in conjunction with the fine folks over at Dyver's

This is a love story.
Sometimes a mechanic just grabs me. (No. Not that kind of mechanic, a game mechanic.)
It's not the presentation, the setting or the subject but the way the game approaches what it does and how it applies itself.
It' about loving a design, loving the way all the parts just fall into place and work.

I need to go back in time  a bit  to get this started.
It’s around 1994 or 1995, I'm in college my friends and I play 2nd edition when we can. I'm in the now defunct Rhinebeck used book store prowling for old rpg books. Sitting there on the front table is a copy of “DC heroes 3rd edition.”

The cover features Batman, Doomsday, the Joker and most prominently Wonder Woman. It’s an odd shiny cover the production values look good. My attention however, is mostly drawn to a small white mark down sticker that said “$4.98”.

I figure, “Price is right  why the hell not and It will likely give me some ideas for Marvel.”
So I snatched it up.”

To be clear I don't, and never have read comics. It's one section of Geek culture that missed me completely, but I did have friends that read comics and we used to play FASERIP marvel superheroes every now and again. That was and is my extent of comics knowledge, just what I could absorb via osmosis from my comic loving friends.

At the time I had no idea that Mayfair games was in it's death throws, or that this game was part of a hot intellectual property debate, or that TSR had just sued Mayfair over “role-aides” and that the company burnt a lot of resources in it's own legal defense. I had no idea I was holding what was basically a RPG corpse.

Once I got home, I opened the book and started reading.
Page 6.

One: Attribute points are the basic form of measurement in the DC heroes RPG. Everything including Time, Distance and Volume is measured in Attribute Points.”

Such a simple statement yet it covers so much ground. It was the first time I had seen a game that took its setting and everything in it and tied it (no lashed it) to the mechanics. The game was written as if one never could have existed without the other.
Forget how many pounds your character can lift, now it's how many AP's. Since AP's measure everything simple formulas can be applied to in game problems.

You want to know how far your superhero character can throw a car? Subtract the weight in AP's from the characters strength. The resulting number is the distance in AP the character can throw a car.
Your strength 10 superhero can toss that car up to 150 feet.

My next thought was, “How does this communicate heroic scale?” Attributes which are also AP are exponential so a hero with a strength of three is 2X as strong as someone with a strength of two and so on. Each AP covers the  range of measurements from its base up to the next AP for example 7AP of time covers the range from 4 minutes to 8.33 minutes, 8AP’s of time covers the values for 8.33 up to 16.66 and so on.

So on a more heroic scale a character with a strength of 20 can lob that same car 28 miles, because that hero is just that much stronger than your comparatively tiny strength 10 hero.

You want to know about distances and timing out actions in game events?
How far can I fly with my flight power of eight ? Thats a quarter mile in 0 AP of time which is 4 seconds.  How long will it take for my character to fly to that hospital a mile away then? Remember we only have 10 minutes before the bomb goes off! A  mile is 10 Ap of distance and you can fly 8 AP worth of speed, so if you haul ass you can get there in around 16 seconds  which is 2 AP of time For the record you have about 8 AP of time left before ..BOOM..

Tell me exactly how far your strength 17 fighter in AD&D can toss a sack of potatoes? It’s an easy question for a gm; the answer “far enough.”  Here however, I had something that could tell me exactly and without question. The designers had managed to quantify the world in a very applicable way. Right now It might not seem like much. In today's world where many games have moved to a much more abstract design model it might not even seem necessary It may seem unnecessary and too “crunchy.”

At the time I was blown away.  

Actions are determined using Acting, Effecting, Opposing and Resisting values based on the character's and the target's attributes or powers. The acting values and opposing values are referenced on a action table to see what number the player must beat on 2d10, with doubles exploding. After a success is rolled the gm looks at the result chart where the effect value is compared to the resistance value to determine how many AP are earned as a result. (called unsurprisingly Result AP's or RAP’s)

Sounds like a lot, and  there are some more fiddly bits to it. Things like rolling well to earn column shifts on the result table as so on. The system takes a bit of mastery on the part of the Game master.  

In spite of that it works extremely well in play. Seeing as everything is AP's those result AP's can be anything. Information gained in an interrogation, amount of a wall kicked down, how far you threw the Joker, how hard that punch was, whatever.

Another small almost forgotten blurb can be found on Page 89 in a box text blurb titled “altering the game environment.”
This text states,  “The game master may allow the players to spend hero points to alter the game environment to suit their fancy.” Then goes on to give an in game example about a player spending points to “find” a beaker of acid in the lab that he then throws in the bad guys face.

This is a good place to restate that I had been playing a lot of D&D at the time and had the mind set, “If the Gm did not say a thing was there then it was either hidden or not there at all.”
The idea that the players could have an idea then spend some resource to insert their idea into the games environment was totally new to me.
In other games If my character was in an orc camp I could ask, “Does my fighter see any torches laying around?” and the Gm could say yes or no.
That interaction is completely different than saying, “How many hero points would it cost for me to find a torch sitting near the  fire pit?”
In my mind it was a paradigm shift. More to the point It’s an idea that I have since lifted to greater and lesser degrees for every game I have written.

At the time, DC Heroes  was the single most eloquent merging of setting, subject and system I had seen. It still is. Much Like the Amber dice-less system had a few years before it opened my eyes to a new way of looking at game design. It was not separate systems for character creation, then combat, then the world, it was one unifying system that encompassed and unified all of that and not only remained thematic it bolstered the theme.

Sure there are warts.
It's point buy character creation system, which is open for abuse by taking extraneous character limitations for points. I'm not sure all of the fiddly math bits and examples included in the game text are necessary and at some points definitely occlude the real greatness of the system. The gadget section is almost useless. I think the usability of the book overall is weak.

I loved it.

So what happened?
I've only played it once. Once in 20 years.

Like a cast off note to an unrequited love, it has sat neglected in a box for all these years. In fact to write this I had to climb into my attic to retrieve my yellowing copy.
This is a system that is hard to sell to players who are used to D&D and it's ilk. By the time I got my hands on it our group were all into D&D and had moved on from the idea of playing comic book characters.

I thought about porting things into it. I quickly gave up on the idea because what makes the game great is how well it ties the world to a super heroic level of game play. Running a fantasy style game with this would be like hunting deer with a howitzer. Explosive, and only fun once.

When it finally did get played we had a good time, but it was the same good time we have with Deluxe Car Wars, Super Mario, or Paranoia. It's the fun of looking back on what was cool then, how RPG's used to be written and how things were. I don't think any of us ever considered making it a regular thing.

For me  it remains my favorite game that I never really got to play. It remains influential in how I look at game design. It remains one of the measuring sticks I hold any new system up to.

It remains that one system that absolutely grabbed me.

Thank you for reading.

DC Heroes 3rd edition was published by Mayfair games inc. 1993
Copyright: DC Comics.
Game design credit listed as: Greg Gorden.
Editorial duties and 3rd ed revision Credit to: Bryan Nystul.

The system was known as the "Mayfair Exponential Game System" or MEGS. I never knew that until the past few years, to me it has always been "DC Hero's 3rd edition".

The Game  system in it's most current form was published by Pulsar games under the title "Blood of Heroes" ISBN-13: 978-0966528039