Daily Illuminator

April 8, 2024: Masks: A New Generation

Nearly a year ago, my husband decided that he wanted to try out Masks: A New Generation from Magpie Games. Run via the Powered by the Apocalypse system, Masks focuses on teen and young adult superheroes as they try to find their place in Halcyon City, a metropolis full of caped crusaders, dastardly villains, and (appropriately) plenty of teen and 20-something drama. Players choose from archetypes, such as The Protégé or The Beacon, rather than classes, and the character creation process includes questions that help you flesh out your hero's personality and motivations. It's a departure from tabletop roleplaying games that focus on combat, but there's plenty of fun to be had.
While most of our friends have been reading comics since they were kids, my formal introduction to comics happened during my college years. I was a bit worried that this would leave me as the odd person out, which is why I chose The Outsider as my archetype. While the role is coded as an alien being, I decided to take a different approach based on my love of Sandman, Rat Queens, and Kieron Gillen's Journey Into Mystery. My Outsider is a half-fae with (somewhat) reformed, villainous parents who raised her far from the hustle and bustle of Halcyon and neglected to tell her exactly why they had to leave the city. I figured this strange combination would be a good way to explain away my lack of knowledge about superhero tropes, as well as any mistakes I might end up making during gameplay itself.
Fortunately, Masks is flexible enough to accommodate players of all skill and knowledge levels. (My friends have also done an excellent job of integrating my oddball into our various adventures and scrapes.) And if you're a fan of TTRPGs that focus more on story than combat, you may want to give this game a try. Our first story arc came to a close back in November, but there were enough unanswered questions and loose ends that we'll be returning to Halcyon City this weekend. I can't wait to see what happens in the next issue . . . er, session.

-- Katie Duffy

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