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How to Play

Astonishing Super Heroes is a roleplaying game in which the players have super-powered characters (heroes or PCs, short for player characters) who form a team. This team gets involved in a scenario run by the Game Moderator (a.k.a. GM), who frames the events in the world that entice the team to act! The GM plays all of the non-player characters (NPCs), which includes sidekicks, contacts, bystanders, and even super-powered villains!

The Core Mechanic

The core mechanic of this game works in five steps:

  1. Find the Rank of your ability, power or whatever you’re using on the Uni-Table.
  2. Modify it (move to the right or left) based on any applicable Talents, gear, powers, or situational modifiers.
  3. Roll percentile dice (d100).
  4. Cross reference the result of the percentile dice roll to the color (White, Green, Yellow, or Red) in the column matching your rank.
  5. Declare the color and resolve the action!

When you see “Make a (______) roll” or “just know it means “Roll dice and look up the results on the Uni-Table.”

1. Find Your Rank

A Rank is a rating for a primary ability, power, or piece of gear.

Your character sheet has the following primary abilities:

  1. Fighting: hand-to-hand combat prowess.
  2. Agility: dexterity and maneuverability.
  3. Strength: raw physical might.
  4. Endurance: physical stamina and durability.
  5. Reason: logical acumen, intellect, and complex problem-solving.
  6. Intuition: instinctive insight, social awareness.
  7. Psyche: force of personality, willpower.

Each of those has a Rank and Rank # (Rank Number):

  • SH0 for Shift 0 (zero)
  • WK (2) for Weak
  • MD (4) for Mediocre
  • AV (6) for Average (as in average human)
  • GD (10) for Good
  • EX (20) for Excellent
  • RM (30) for Remarkable
  • IN (40) for Incredible
  • AM (50) for Amazing
  • SP (75) for Spectacular
  • UN (100) for Uncanny
  • X1 (150) for Extreme 1
  • X2 (200) for Extreme 2
  • X3 (500) for Extreme 3
  • C1k for Cosmic 1000
  • C3k for Cosmic 3000
  • C5k for Cosmic 5000

Ranks can be found as the header columns on the Uni-Table. This is because when you roll dice, you’ll be using the column of the Rank for your attribute, ability, power or gear, plus or minus any modifiers.

The Rank Number is used to apply effects once the roll determines if an action succeeds or fails. Often, the Rank Number will be applied as damage or stress, or might measure how much of something you resist.

2. Apply Modifiers

Modifiers occur when some trait (such as the aforementioned Talents) or situation (like fighting in the dark) moves you to a new Rank. When you apply a modifier, you change the Rank, so you effectively “shift” over to a different column on the Uni-Table:

  • A +1R means shift to the right one column: you’re rolling on a better column!
  • A -2R means you shift to the left two columns: uh-oh, now it’s harder to succeed!

You’ll notice a hard break between the columns for X500 and C1k. That’s because no matter what modifiers are in play, if your base rank isn’t C1k or better, you can’t be rolling on the C1k (or better) columns. Those ranks — C1k, C3k, and C5k — are strictly for super-powerful beings. It’s just mind-bogglingly high.

Exceptions: There’s an exception to the “modifiers move you over a column on the Uni-Table” rule. Whenever a modifier doesn’t have that trailing “R” on it, it means you simply add or subtract the number, usually from a Rank Number.

This is the case with Initiative, Health and Damage, Resolve and Stress, and Karma.

3. Roll the Dice

When a character does something interesting (brave, foolish, or otherwise), the person playing that character rolls percentile dice. This is sometimes written as d100 or d%, and includes two 10-sided dice, one of which counts as the tens column (“00” to “90” ) and the other as the ones column (“1” to “10” or sometimes “1” to “0” ).

Remember the exception, Leon! Percentile dice that come up as “00” on the tens and “0” (or sometimes “10”, depending on the die) on the ones, the result is 100! So the dice should always give you a result from 01 to 100. There is no rolling zero (0).

4. Read the Result

Once you have your roll, you cross reference that number along the left-hand side of the Universal Table to the Rank column, and see what color occupies that space. The different colors and their general meaning are:

  • White = The roll failed.
  • Green = The roll succeeded.
  • Yellow = The roll succeeded with style!
  • Red = Congratulations! The roll succeeded in an extraordinary way!

5. Resolve the Action

Once you determine the color result, you apply whatever effects the rules tell you. In situations where you are trying to harm someone physically or apply pressure to someone in a social setting, you might apply damage or stress in the form of the Rank Number of one of your abilities. Certain maneuvers may have additional special effects, often governed by the color result: you might slam or stun an opponent if you hit them hard enough!


You’ll sometimes see something that says “make a roll against Difficulty RM 30” or “make a roll against a Difficulty equal to your opponent’s power Rank.”

This means you compare the Ranks of the two things: whatever trait you’re using, like Fighting or Endurance, against whatever it’s telling you the Difficulty is.

If the Difficulty is less than your Rank, good news: you only need a Green result to succeed completely. If the Difficulty is 3 or more Ranks lower, the GM can rule you automatically succeed. If there are variable results based on the color result, use them exactly as indicated.

If the Difficulty is equal to your Rank, you need a Yellow result to succeed. If there are variable results based on the color result, both White and Green results act as White results, Yellow acts as Green, and Red acts as Yellow. There is no chance of achieving the listed Red results.

If the Difficulty is higher than your Rank, then you need a Red result to succeed. If it’s 3 or more Ranks higher, the GM can rule you fail automatically. If there are variable results based on the color result, White, Green, and Yellow all count as White, and Red counts as Green. There is no chance of achieving the listed Yellow or Red results.

Optional Rule: Modifiers

This system intentionally plays down situational and circumstantial modifiers, in favor of relying on Talents or the rules inherent in specific maneuvers and powers. For situational modifiers, a good rule of thumb is not to add any that don’t already get called out in the rules: a simple +/-1R isn’t really going to make a huge difference, even if you pile on a few of them.

If you absolutely need to add them, choose either +2R or -2R and don’t worry about anything greater or lesser. Don’t account for each component of a situation individually: just because it’s dark outside, it’s also raining, and there’s a terrible screeching sound from a bird, doesn’t mean you need to tack on +3/-3 or something like that. Just stick with “it’s beneficial, so +2R” or “it’s a problem, so -2R.”


  1. Roll dice when success and failure are both interesting, otherwise just describe what happens.
  2. To roll dice, pick up two 10-sided dice and designate one as the 10s column and one as the 1s column— bonus if you already have dice that read “10” to “00” and “1” to “10” or sometimes “1” to “0” . You will generate a number between 01 and 100.
  3. Look up the dice roll result on the left side of the Universal Table.
  4. Cross-reference that with the column based on the Rank you are rolling for in order to find the color of your result.
    • White = bad news.
    • Green = good news.
    • Yellow = great news.
    • Red = the best news ever…unless it’s overkill, then OOPS!
  5. If a roll has an Difficulty, compare your Rank to its Rank to see if you might just need to roll higher than a Green result just to succeed!