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The Four Color Hack
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The Four Color Hack

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It's arrived! The Four Color Hack emerges from its playtest version into a robust game of superheroics. The players take on the roles of Writers, who create and run superheroes, and the Editor, who storyboards the villainous machinations that the heroes must thwart. TFCH is a collaborative roleplaying game from beginning to end, featuring guidelines that help everyone at the table have a hand in setting, tone, and contents of each Issue. The flexible, narrative rules let Writers create nearly any hero they can imagine, running those heroes with a system built around a simple core mechanic. Included for the Editor's use and inspiration are 12 villains, ranging from mook-level H.U.R.T. agents all the way up to the world-beating threat of the alien conqueror Invicta.

The Four Color Hack rips the heart from The Black Hack, and transplants that still beating organ into a Frankenstein's monster of a system. The result is a fast-paced, flexible narrative system that gives every player at the table a role to play as either one of the Writers or the Editor, all of whom work together to create their own comic book adventures.

This most recent update fixes errors in the text, simplifies some of the combat rules, and adds an expanded version of Battle in Jurgen Zeeger Park for use as an introductory adventure.

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Customer avatar
Jason L January 03, 2017 5:23 am UTC
I gave it a couple of read-throughs, and while I do like some of the concepts, I think there need to be some things better explained.

1: How exactly can you have more than one power container? Is each one essentially a separate theme with it's own suite of powers? (For example, if I have a character who is a cartoon cheetah (Stranger things have happened in the comics), should I then buy Cartoon Physics (Let's say, "Stretching d4, Defy Gravity d4, Regeneration d8) and Superspeed D8 as separate containers costing a d6 and a d10? What exactly do the containers themselves do?

2: Personal nitpick here, but the base Damage, Protection and Recovery ratings really should have been put in Character Creation so that I can actually get this info on my sheet before play. Same for benchmarks and special cases on powers. Also, if Ranged attacks have their base damage determined by Dexterity, why is that not also the case for ranged powers that inflict damage, like it is for close combat powers...See more
Customer avatar
Mark C January 06, 2017 7:06 pm UTC
Thanks for the questions, Adam. Sorry it took so long to reply. Here're some answers:

1. A power container is really just a descriptive element that labels a certain power source or motif for powers. So, yes, your cartoon cheetah could have two power containers. One, Cartoon Physics, could be abilities common to all cartoon characters. The hero could have another container, Like a Cheetah (or something to that effect), that would include Superspeed and maybe Claws. The containers themselves don't do anything. They're more like narrative justifications for the mechanics.

2. Agreed. The document needs some reorganization. Regarding powers and base damage, the dice add together. Thus, if Cartoon Cheetah has base melee damage of d4 and also has Really Sharp Claws d6, then Cartoon Cheetah could roll d4+d6 for melee damage.

3. The bonus Hero Die grows. At first, it is a d4. If not spent before a second one is earned, it grows to d6, then d8 for a third, et cetera.

4....See more
Customer avatar
Jason L January 06, 2017 8:45 pm UTC
Thank you for replying.

1: Thank you for the advice on the power containers. But there is one more thing that needs clarification on that point.

You say in the rules that you need one weakness for every power container. So, in keeping with my Cartoon Cheetah example (whom from this point I should call Savannah Sprint), with my two containers, I would need two weaknesses (Possibly one relating to the fact that paint thinners burn like acid on her skin (a la Who Framed Roger Rabbit) and a touch of greed as well (everyone has their vices, and I imagine she's had a history as a cat burglar before a terrible accident at a chemical plant did strange things to grant the speed). This appears to make containers very easy to abuse. My best guess is that this is where "High Trust" comes into play.

3: Thanks for the clarification.

4: I saw that after typing that up and felt like an idiot for bringing it up.

Stunts: In retrospect, the freeform nature...See more
Customer avatar
Mark C January 08, 2017 10:29 pm UTC
Hello, again.

1. Yes, each power container requires a weakness, and, certainly, there are types of players who would abuse the system. This is why, as you note, I emphasize that TFCH is a "high trust" game, and also that hero creation is a collaborative process. I'd be wary of letting a player just show up for the start of a hero campaign with an already-made hero.

Re: Combat: Interesting advice. I'm leaning toward perhaps something similiar. Also, for base protection and maybe powers as well, I'm considering using The Black Hack's default system for armor, which is that armor serves sort of like bonus hit points.

Again, thanks for the comments. Definitely helpful. :)
Customer avatar
Jacob R December 21, 2016 6:16 am UTC
If I read page 6 correctly you can use Hero Dice at character creation to increase your stats? And you can trade 1d12 for 2 of the next lowest dice and so on down to 1d4? If that's the case it would optiimize your character if you turned in your 3d6 for 48d4. Assigning 8 of those to each stat would give an average bonus of +16 to each stat.
Customer avatar
Mark C December 21, 2016 10:46 am UTC
You could do that, but each Stat has a maximum starting value of 18. You need 40 points to hit those caps. I suppose a player could spend the difference on a barrel full of skills.
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File Last Updated:
May 24, 2018
This title was added to our catalog on December 20, 2016.