Villains and Vigilantes was the first role-playing game designed by Jack Herman and Jeff Dee, featuring illustrations by Dee. Fantasy Games Unlimited published the first edition of Villains and Vigilantes in 1979. The second edition of Villains and Vigilantes was published in 1982 with significant rule revisions.
Characters in Villains and Vigilantes reflected the unique nature of the rules. First, instead of playing a completely fictional character, players were encouraged to start the character-creation process with a version of themselves (presumably as the superhero's "secret identity.") V&V then used random die rolls for the origins of superpowers (i.e., mutant, space alien, etc.) number and type, sometimes resulting in odd combinations. A further quirk of the system was that while players advanced in levels and hit points, superpowers did not, lending a different feel to characters at low, middle and high power levels.
Another notable feature of the system was its approach to combat: a table outlined the effectiveness of the attacker's superpower (for example, an energy blast)against all of the defender's powers. In theory, reflecting the interplay of attack and defense powers.
Crisis at Crusader Citadel was an introductory module, a V&V supplement published in 1982 by Fantasy Game Unlimited, written and illustrated by the game's creators, Dee and Herman. The scenario begins with the players controlling neophyte superheroes, based on themselves, who are looking to apply for membership in the established super-hero team called the Crusaders. During the adventure, the player-heroes have to stop a crime wave being carried out by the Crusaders' opposite numbers, a villain team called the Crushers.
Four years after the adventure booklet was published, the setting of the first module was used as the basis of a Villains and Vigilantes comic book mini-series by Dee and Herman published by Eclipse Comics. Each issue included character sheets for new heroes and villains and update material for the existing ones for use with the game.
Two early modules for the game by Bill Willingham, Death Duel with the Destroyers and The Island of Dr. Apocalypse, used characters that would later appear in his Comico comic book series, Elementals. Similarly, a Villains and Vigilantes character, The Dark, later appeared in a series of comic books by the independent publisher Continüm Comics.
Fantasy Games Unlimited stopped publishing Villains and Vigilantes for retail outlets in 1987, but they still own the trademarks & publishing rights. Most of the Villains and Vigilantes back catalog is still available for purchase from their web-site. The company has even teased the release of some never-before published Villains and Vigilantes modules in 2007.
The unofficial "sequel" to the Villains and Vigilantes game is a new game called Living Legends, designed by Villains and Vigilantes co-creator Jeff Dee and published under his Unigames imprint, although its dedicated site has not been updated in years.
Chapters that PlayEdit
The following chapters are know to play, previously played, or open to playing the game: