Author – ThatAceGal (@ThatAceGal)
Where to Buy – https://thatacegal.itch.io/rivals-in-my-superhero-school
When I came up with the idea for “500 Word Reviews for $5.00 Games”, I toyed with only writing a word per penny a game cost me. I’m glad I canned that concept because I would already be well over the limit for “Rivals? In MY Superhero School?” which set me back a grand total of $0.25 (on sale from its regular price of $1.00). I mean, even typing the name would’ve eaten up 20% of my word budget. Thankfully, I have more wiggle room to write a full review because this game deserves a deeper dive than 25 or even 100 words could give it.
“Rivals? In MY Superhero School?” (RIMSS) is a four-page superhero hack of the infinitely hackable space opera RPG “Lasers and Feelings” (LaF), though it differentiates itself from its parent game by more than just setting. Where LaF is designed for a group of players and a GM, RIMSS is a GM-less game designed for two players. The GM is replaced by a randomly determined premise explaining why the player characters are rivals as well as a list of twelve scenes, six of which will see action in a given game.
Beyond this, the game is a narrative-forward game of collaborative storytelling focusing on the rivalry between two fundamentally different heroes. One player plays as the brash Red Student while the second player controls the subtle Blue Student. The game does not describe what powers these individuals have, leaving that up to the players to decide during play. At the end of the six scenes, time jumps to the end of the year at which point the rivalry comes to an end, whatever that means to the players.
As with all LaF games, players have two opposing stats which, in RIMSS, are Calm and Rage. Anything action that might fail requires a roll, with fours and fives counting as successes and sixes counting as double successes. A roll of one subtracts from the total amount of successes a player has. Unlike its predecessor LaF, RIMSS does not offer a handy chart to explain what the number of successes might indicate. If you happen to roll four sixes, you succeed just as much as if you rolled one four. While I imagine most tables will narrate things differently depending on the amount of successes or failures achieved, the author does not encourage or prohibit this at any point in the rules.
That minor quibble aside, RIMSS is a fine addition to the growing stable of LaF hacks and worth every one of the twenty-five pennies it cost me. Further, its simplicity gives it surprising flexibility. For example, though it seems intended to emulate a year-long rivalry in a superhero high school, our game took place in one day at a day care center. If you’re ever short a few people for game night or you and your partner want a fun way to pass an hour, grab a cape and 4d6 and give RIMSS a shot.
DISCLAIMER: I do not know anyone involved with this game, nor did I receive anything for free in exchange for this review. I did receive the desire to play more superhero RPGs after this. Is Masks still the ttrpg darling or has it been replaced by something new?