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From 130 reviews

Sentinel Comics

First Edition

Contents

Publisher Description

In Sentinel Comics: The Roleplaying Game, you and your friends play as comic-book heroes - either from the pages of Sentinel Comics or from your own imagination! Join forces against terrible villains and fight in dangerous environments, all in a tabletop roleplaying game!



The core rulebook teaches you everything you need to play Sentinel Comics: the Roleplaying Game, whether playing a hero, or running the game as the GM. It has full, robust rules for hero creation (that we will be showcasing more in an update, coming soon!), as well as a vast set of tools for GMs to create their own minions, lieutenants, challenges, villains, environments, doomsday devices, action scenes, and so much more!

 

Sentinel Comics is a relatively new RPG.  The introductory starter kit for it was first released in 2017 (when it was nominated for the  Golden Geek RPG of the Year), and then the full rulebook wasn't made available until 2020.

However, being the new kid on the block certainly hasn't hurt the game's popularity, and Sentinel Comics is quickly becoming one of the go to systems for superhero role-playing.  With a relatively light-weight system that focuses more on outcomes and less on crunch, but at the same time enough detailed powers to let a player create virtually any super hero they can imagine, Sentinel Comics offers what many feel is the perfect superhero RPG experience.

A Note About Sentinel Comics

One thing to note: Sentinel Comics RPG is based on the Sentinel Comics line of comics and games.  This means that instead of having traditional Marvel or DC Comics superheroes, the game features its own superhero world, with stats for its own line of  superheroes.

That being said, the game is flexible enough to be used with a different world from the one from the comics, and GMs are by no means forced to use the characters from the comics, and this is definitely an RPG that any comic fan can enjoy.

Sentinel Comics, First Edition - Rules SummaryCollapse

Character Creation [ edit ]

Character creation involves a series of steps that can either be random or chosen. The random selection involves rolling multiple dice (which dice is often determined in previous steps).  The player then either chooses an individual die's result, or the sum of any two dice, ensuring no one can ever get stuck with a single bad option.

Powers and Qualities

Powers are the characters' super power, while qualities are more similar to skills in other systems.  Example qualities include being good at Banter, History, or Close Combat, while powers include all the standard super hero abilities, like Flight, Strength, or Inventions.

Powers and qualities each have a die associated with them.  Which die, and which powers/qualities a character has, is determined by the other steps of character creation.

Ability Colors

Characters use powers with abilities, and there are three types: green, yellow, and red.

Green abilities can be used any time, but yellow and red abilities can only be used when circumstances get more dire (ie. when either the status of their injuries, or of the current scene, becomes yellow/red).  This mechanic ensures characters only use their most potent abilities at the culmination of a fight, instead of leading with them.

Background

There are twenty different backgrounds for a player to choose or randomly select.  Backgrounds can be more mundane (eg. Academic, Law Enforcement, or Tragic), or exotic (eg. Otherworldly, Former Villain, or Interstellar), and they provide the character with "Green" and "Yellow" abilities.

Power Source

Again, the player can select or randomly determine their power source, again with twenty options.  There's all the standard comic staples, from Accidents and Relics, to Aliens and Radiation.  A character's power source provides powers (of course), but also potentially yellow abilities, qualities, or other abilities.

Archetypes

Finally the player chooses/rolls an Archetype.  Again, these should be familiar to any comic book fan, with  options like Speedster, Blaster, Gadgeteer, or Psychic.  Archetypes also provide green/yellow abilities, and determines your Principle.

Principle

Each character has two principles, which are the character's guiding directive, such as Destiny or Justice.  They provide a green ability.

Personality

Again the player can choose from a variety of personalities.  The character's choice of personality is very significant in Sentinels, as it determines their three status dice (Green, Yellow, and Red).

Red Abilities

Red abilities are the character's signature move, and are always chosen at the end of character creation; they are never randomed.  Red abilities are organized into groups, and a character must already have a lesser power from that group to gain a red power in it.

Retcon

Finally the player gets to make one "retcon" to their character, which let's them violate the rules to improve them in some way.  For instance, one option is to add extra red ability, while another is to add a d6 power of choice.

Core Mechanics [ edit ]

Actions

All actions a character can take fall into five meta-actions: attacking, defending, boosting, hindering, or overcoming.  Attacking and defending are self-explanatory, as are boosting and hindering.  Overcoming is a sort of catch-all action, which covers things like rescuing innocents, or disabling a ticking time bomb.

Each hero has a set of powers and qualities as a result of their character creation choices.  To take an action the player rolls one die associated with a related quality, and one with the relevant power.  They also get a third die, based on their current health status.

Outcomes 

Most effects use the middle die of the roll to determine the effect, although some heroes have powers that let you use the maximum die rolled instead (or that let you use the minimum die rolled, but have it affect multiple targets).

The result of the roll determines the outcome.  If it is an attack roll, the result is the amount of damage inflicted.  If it is a defense roll, that much damage is prevented from the next attack.

On a boosting or hindering roll every four points of outcome results in a +1 or -1 to the roll of the person you're boosting/hindering.

But is it Any Good? [ edit ]

Aggregated Review Scores

SourceAverage Score# of ReviewsAs Of
Amazon4.7/5834/20/2022
Drive Thru RPG5/5254/20/2022
Good Reads4.62/5134/20/2022
RPG Geek8.67/1094/20/2022

Superhero RPGs have to strike a difficult balance between having enough mechanical "crunch" to satisfy the game aspect, but also having enough flexibility to allow for great superhero stories.  Some games, like GURPS, lean heavily into the crunch, while others, like Masks, instead focus on the narrative more heavily.

Sentinel Comics toes the line between the two, offering a relatively lighter and more story-focused system, but still offering enough superhero details to keep things interesting and keep characters distinct.  Striking this balance this has resulted in very positive reviews: on Drive Thru RPG (which only accepts customer reviews), the game has a perfect five star average, from twenty-five reviews.

Amazon, with 83 reviews, also had a very positive average, of 4.7 / 5.  Even RPG Geek, which is notoriously the most critical site, gave the game an average score of 8.67 / 10.

Conclusion

If you're looking for a slightly more narrative-focused super hero RPG, which provides its own detailed comic book world, but also provides generic enough super hero rules to work for nearly any comic book story, Sentinel Comics offers what many consider the perfect blend of superhero RPG rules.

Numerous reviewers commented on how playing Sentinel Comics felt comic-booky, and on how the genericness of the game's rules allowed them to work for a great variety of scenarios.  In short, Sentinel Comics is currently the hot new superhero RPG that many GMs are starting campaigns with, so if you're looking to start your own it definitely is worth checking out.