I downloaded the first "Justice Wheels" from Fainting Goat a while back but at the time it only had the vehicle and the character inside. Recently they updated their supplements to add a few pages covering the Vehicle power and a set of chase rules. Seeing this I downloaded the updated version and looked it over after digging through the Marvel rules. Some thoughts:
- I still don't like Prowess as an automatic part of every vehicle. Would a Corvette have a higher or lower prowess than a Smart Car? What about a cement truck? Then you get into aircraft and it gets even stranger. I just don't have a way to gauge a vehicle's natural hand-to-hand combat ability and I think it should just be rolled into a driving test when a driver wants to sideswipe or ram something.
- Speed, Strength and Stamina make sense for pretty much any vehicle - that's pretty much the same trio of abilities that we get in MSH, less Type and Protection.
- Then we get Coordination as an innate ability, basically the handling ability of the vehicle. This makes some sense as Coordination is used as the relevant ability for things like driving and piloting tests, modified by any applicable specialties. With these rules, the vehicles Coordination is used instead of the character's, although it is still modified by applicable specialties. Then we are informed that this should also be used for attacking with any vehicle mounted weapons. Presumably the focus here is ranged weapons, and I can kind of see that, but it's a little messy. You would think that ramming something would be even more dependent on vehicle handling than firing a hood-mounted bazooka, but instead this is supposed to use a vehicle's Prowess - that's just messy to me. For myself, I'd drop Prowess and just give them all a Coordination stat and use that for all handling type tests and for any shooting that comes up and for any attempts to smack anything with the vehicle itself. I'd also add in the rule from Marvel that those kinds of tests would use the lower of either the driver's or the vehicle's Coordination.
- As a power I do like it. To encourage their use I think that vehicle rules in superhero games should give back more points than they cost, with the consideration that the vehicle is not always present and can be lost or destroyed. These rules do that, giving some baseline options just for taking the power and then also including some notes on adding powers to the vehicle.
- The simpler approach given is to use a Pyramid test with some of the optional rules added in. That works but it's not anything particularly innovative. My biggest beef is that it would be over in one or two rounds most likely and seems like a fairly mundane approach to what should be a memorable part of an adventure - a dramatic chase!
- The more complex approach uses a custom set of chase rules which remind me a bit of some of the Savage Worlds chase rules and also a set of custom chase rules I ran across for Star Wars Saga Edition. Now when I say "complex" please realize that this is one page of rules - one page! - and is likely to be much more satisfying in play than "roll 4 successes and win". Pyramids are fine for handling some situations but for a dramatic chase sequence these are much much better. I'll be trying them out in play soon to verify my opinion and I'll cover them in my notes.
So, is the search over? I think it might be! I'm willing to give up the separate Body/Protection ratings used in MSH to keep things a little simpler, and I'm going to drop Prowess too. I may keep Type though as it does help clarify things a bit when looking at some custom super-vehicle. Even with these changes I think the Marvel vehicle list will translate over just fine and that's where my personal campaign list will start. I think a front and back sheet with the chase rules on one side and a list of stock vehicles on the other is quite worthy as an addition to the campaign.