Diesel’s Running Strong

I’ve talked a little bit about The Four Color Hack on Facebook and G+, but not here. The Four Color Hack is a superhero game that rips the heart out of The Black Hack and transplants it into a Frankenstein’s monster game system. Below is a sample hero made up with the version 1 hero creation rules.


Back & Fore: Alfredo Ortiz grew up in a large family in south Texas. His father Carlos worked as a high school coach, and his mother Maria was a nurse in a hospice ward. Alfredo was an unremarkable student except for his industrial arts classes where he showed a combination of interest and talent that resulted in high grades and summer job offers with local repair shops. Life was good, and Alfredo seemed to be on his way toward a bright future after high school graduation. During summer vacation in between his junior and senior years, Alfredo worked full-time at Anthony’s Garage. Anthony Enright was a good boss. He didn’t know as much about automobile repair as one would think he should, but he had a good head for business and a list of steady customers from all over the county. Anthony was quiet, hard-working, and took care of his employees. What only a handful of people in the state knew was that Anthony’s real name was Antonio Gabrielli, that he’d been an accountant for the Salvaggi crime family, and that he was currently in the Witness Security Program.

The hitmen showed up early in the morning. Alfredo was the only employee present when the shooting started. He’d been given the responsibility of opening the shop and prioritizing jobs. Anthony was dead by the time Alfredo made it to the front office. The hitmen shot Alfredo three times and left him for dead. Before they left, they poured gasoline on the floor and set the shop ablaze. Alfredo managed to drag himself through the fire into the back lot. Burned and bleeding, Alfredo was nearly dead by the time the fire trucks arrived. He was rushed to the hospital, and his family gathered, expecting the worst.

The worst never arrived. Instead, Alfredo made a startling recovery. His burns healed, and the new skin that grew was tough, flexible, and metallic. He packed on the pounds with muscle growth. Somehow, the trauma of that morning unlocked something hidden in the recesses of Alfredo’s genetic code. Just a week after he had been admitted to the hospital, Alfredo left very much changed.

Motivation: Alfredo’s not sure he wants to be a superhero, but his physical appearance and the publicity behind his transformation make it hard to imagine living a normal life. Also, Alfredo liked and respected Anthony, and it haunts Alfredo that he couldn’t save him. What’s more, Alfredo worries that the Salvaggi crime family might return to take out the only witness to Anthony’s murder. Leaving home for the big city to fight crime as Diesel just seems like the right thing to do for more than one reason.

Nota Bene: For the origin story, motivation, and picture, Wes received 3d12 Hero Dice.

Ability Scores: STR 16, DEX 15, CON 18, INT 11, WIS 9, CHA 13. Health: 55. Spirit: 39.

Skills: Mechanic.

Nota Bene: Diesel’s starting ability scores were STR 13, DEX 13, CON 13, INT 11, WIS 9, CHA 11. Wes exchanged 1d12 for 2d10. He rolled those 2d10 and scored 14 points to improve ability scores and purchase skills. He put 3 points in STR, 2 points in DEX, 5 points in CON, and 2 points in CHA. He purchased one skill for the other 2 points.

Powers & Abilities: Made of Steel (Metal Skin d10, Running d8, Super-Strength d12+d8).

Nota Bene: Wes had 2d12 Hero Dice remaining. Wes decides all of Diesel’s powers derive from being Made of Steel. Within this container are three powers. He exchanges another d12 for 2d10. He exchanged 1d10 for 2d8. This gives Wes a d12, a d10, and 2d8 Hero Dice. He really wants to pump up Super-Strength, so Wes assigns d12+d8 to that power. He assigns the d10 to Metal Skin. This leaves him with a d8, which Wes gives to a third power simply called Running. For the curious, Diesel can lift nearly 30 tons.

Weakness: Doubtful (roll with Disadvantage against effects that play on uncertainty and inexperience).

Idioms: New to the City, Uncertain Hero.

November 29th, 2016  in Product Development 12 Comments »

12 Responses to “Diesel’s Running Strong”

  • Max says:

    Just wanted to chime in and say that I got the game from DTRPG, and have been very pleased with it. In a time of almost countless (and many excellent) supers RPGs, this one is really grabbing my attention. I especially like the character creation system, and I usually prefer random chargen for supers. Thanks!

  • admin says:

    Thank you muchly. I’d love to hear any specific, constructive criticism you might have, especially from actual play. Enjoy! 🙂

  • Max says:

    I will certainly do so! I just came down with a massive cold, though, so it may be a while 🙂

    Also “actual play” will likely be quite some time, since I haven’t had a regular gaming group in a couple of years now. Ugh!

    I have, however, pointed a buddy of mine (who lives far away) toward this game, and he loves to play test RPGs, so we shall see what happens!

  • Max says:

    Hi! One question just occurred to me: in this example, Diesel ends up with a D12+D8 Super Strength, allowing him to lift about 30 tons.

    In the rules,(Hero Dice Benchmarks, page 16), you don’t seem to start adding “+ other dice” to a power until it reaches a D20 rating. The scale from this section is actually what led me to think it was prohibitively “expensive” to give characters comic-book-level strength in this game, since the Thing would need an 18 STR and D20+D6 Super Strength to lift 153, 600 lbs, and Spider-Man would need an 18 STR and a D16 Super Strength to lift 19,200 lbs.

    So…do you see what I mean? Am I missing something basic, here? I just don’t see how Diesel’s D12+D8 Super Strength works, and how it translates to lifting, etc.


  • admin says:

    Hello again. Sorry for taking so long to reply. Busy, busy.

    Yes, to start with, achieving Thing-level STR is difficult if not impossible. Right now, I’m treating this as a feature rather than a bug.

    To determine a hero’s overhead press, start with Table 7: Overhead Press. So, for example, a character with a 10 STR has an overhead press of 100 pounds. If that character has Super-Strength d4, his overhead press is doubled to 200 pounds. If he had Super-Strength d10, his overhead press would be 16 times more, or 1,600 pounds. The same character with an 18 STR and Super-Strength d10 would be able to lift 4,800 pounds.

    That make sense?

    Right now, I’m not happy with the way Super-Strength is adjusting overhead press, but I’ve not hit on a workable solution yet. After playtests and input I’ve received, there are some bigger fish to fry first.

  • Max says:


    Yes, I get the how the multipliers apply, but I wasn’t sure how Diesel gets to have two different sized dice assigned to his one power, and that changes the multipliers involved?

    As in, does his D12 plus D8 Super Strength get both multipliers, one for D12, then one for D8?


  • admin says:

    Ah, I understand now.

    The d12+d8 is an artifact left over from the earliest set of rules I was working with. I abandoned that schema for die progression. To answer your question, though, no, he didn’t get both multipliers. The original benchmark chart had a category for d12+d8 as a single rating.

  • Max says:

    Okay, so using the new rules, Diesel would not be able to lift anywhere close to 30 tons.

    I suppose I could just up all the multipliers for lifting, since damage done by super strong characters in 4-color-style comics has never been depicted very realistically 🙂

  • admin says:

    Good day, Max.

    I beat the super-strength “problem” (I think). It dawned on me that the only characters in the game that have a STR Stat are going to be heroes. I upped the overhead press weights, maxing out at 800 pounds for STR 18. I then adjusted the weight benchmarks, getting rid of the multipliers and assigning a value starting with 1 ton at d4. I’m going to get a blog post up with the modified tables some time this week. This gives my modified Diesel (Super-Strength d12) an overhead press of 25 tons.


  • Max says:

    Cool! I know it’s just arbitrary, but the “lifts X tons” was just drilled into a lot of our brains by the classic OHOTMU comics and the TSR game back in the day. Looking forward to the blog post!

  • Max says:

    I also just dropped a few bucks inthe jar for the updated file of the game 🙂

  • admin says:

    Cool! I know it’s just arbitrary, but the “lifts X tons” was just drilled into a lot of our brains by the classic OHOTMU comics and the TSR game back in the day. Looking forward to the blog post!

    Drilled deeply. I was even looking at some old OHOTMU comics for inspiration. 🙂

    Also, thanks for the bucks! I need to start looking at some more stock art soon.

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