Wednesday, April 25, 2018

The Vigilante Hack Review

On it's surface, The Vigilante Hack by Bloat Games seems like just another supers game. The cover is rather plain (which a thing with The Black Hack and it's alternate versions) and features a Captain America-esque woman. However, this is not a supers game. Seriously, if you turn the book over the first sentence you'll see is "THE VIGILANTE HACK IS NOT A SUPERHERO GAME."

This isn't the Spider-Man rpg. This is the Kick-Ass rpg.

The pdf is 37 pages counting covers, legal text, dedications/acknowledgements, and such. Like The Black Hack, the rules are a stripped down and stream-lined version of original D&D with a few new rules (such as Usage Die) and some familiar thing from modern games (Advantage/Disadvantage). Other than (optionally) villain damage, the players do all the dice rolling in this game. Armor doesn't make a character hard to hit, it reduces damage. While I don't really want to use the original Black Hack to game because that's now how I want to D&D, these rule modifications make for excellent non-powered vigilante play. There are a few different ways to play the game. For example, damage can be determined by class or by weapon. Also, there is a nice house rule about advantage and disadvantage. 

You might be wondering about characters in this game. As mentioned they're regular folks that have no powers. They can choose from several classes though. Here are those classes (with comic book examples). 
  • Archer - Green Arrow
  • Dark Avenger - Batman
  • Martial Artist - Elektra 
  • Mercenary - Deathstroke
  • Protégé - Robin
  • True Vigilante - Kick-Ass
The book then gives a page of goons, mooks, and thugs with relevant stats. Because of the simplicity of the system these are super light. After this we get some named villains. These are presented with HD, backstories, weapons of choice, and other useful info. A few have other abilities and one or two are something more (or less than human). These villains feel like Batman villains and that works just fine.

I've yet to play the game, but it seems like a lot of fun. I'm imagining my campaign setting borrowing from many different sources. While the characters will be in an original city (or perhaps the city mentioned in the gamemaster supplement), they won't be the only costumed vigilantes in the world. My city will exist along with Gotham, Bludhaven, and Star City. Plus I'm seeing vigilantes like Daredevil, Casey Jones, and Kick-Ass all existing in the world's version of NYC. Frank Castle's roams America and The Boondock Saints are probably in Boston (or prison given the end of the second film). 

You can purchase The Vigilante Hack here.


  1. I notice you mention, as an example, Daredevil... but isn’t he powered? How would you accurately portray him in this game?

    1. Well in some videos I've seen the author mentioned he tried to emulate the Daredevil series with this game. It wouldn't be hard to house rule though. Basically give him advantage on non-sight checks involving senses and disadvantage on rolls when there is sensory overload. You would also want the character to have a high wisdom.

      I honestly think you could get away with a few low powered super things. For example, allow a martial artist to breathe underwater (or at least hold its breath for a while) and maybe give them built in armor and you have ninja turtles.

      As far as Daredevil specifically, I might use him in my game as an npc. There's more leeway with npc's in the books. One of the villains is a Ra's Al Ghul character who calls herself the Immortal. Another is basically Clayface, and still another has some Poison Ivy-esque abilities.

      While the characters aren't truly super, a GM could change this up and give a little wiggle room.

  2. This is something I am definitely interested in. And I love the optional rule for damage being based on class. That was one of the things I loved about Dungeon World.

    1. The price tag is great too. Not sure how the game would fly with your younger players, but you could easily reskin it for TMNT or something, honestly (see my above response to Tim for that).

  3. Thanks Justin! Great review. I really appreciate the exposure. :)