Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Marvel Roleplaying Game

So recently I had a chance to look at the Marvel Heroic Roleplaying Game. I only had time to skim through it quickly so I'm not going to say I completely understand how the combat works or I have all of the stat blocks memorized. It looks like it is a pretty good system for mimicking Super Hero comic books. The book is quite large (200+ pages) and contains a pretty good description of how the game works. It also includes a short adventure at the end.

Combat works with a token system. It uses the standard D20 set of dice but no twenty siders. Most rolls are checks against a fixed number but some are contested against an NPC's roll. What I find  really interesting is the use of tokens. As combat goes on, you can spent your tokens to be able to roll extra dice (using the most favorable results). The neat part is that you can earn more tokens by doing cool but not optimal things with your turn.

I recall one session in Pathfinder where our Barbarian whips out his weapon and tried to do a dazzling display to intimidate the enemy. Everyone at the table got mad at him because rather than do the optimal thing (kill the bad guy) at best he would have given the bad guy a small penalty to his next attack roll. In Pathfinder there is no mechanical reason to do something cool. Why would you throw a chair at a bad guy when you can shoot him with your bow. Pathfinder (and D&D in general) is all about taking out the bad guys as efficiently as possible. Except by GM fiat, there are no rewards for cool. I think it's great that there's actually a game system out there that tries to reward the heroic and the cool even if its not the most optimal option.


Rognar said...

I believe, like the other lines from Margaret Weis Productions, the new Marvel game uses the Cortex game system. I've heard good things about it, although I've never tried it. It's supposed to be medium heavy, though perhaps less crunchy than we're used to.

Obiri said...

I think it could be a cool system once you figure out. I especially like that it gives you a mechanical benefit for doing something other than "I do a full attack with my bow".

While pathfinder has tons of cool options, if you are a melee class you rather use anything other than your main attack form which is actually kind of boring.

Rognar said...

I'm curious how you came to Marvel. Nobody in our group, including you, has ever indicated the slightest interest in superhero games. Have you gotten 'Avengers fever'?

Obiri said...

What you probably don't know is that I was an avid comic book (Marvel Comics of course) collector for a few years and I still get the bug from time to time.

I used to play TMNT/Heroes Unlimited/Ninjas and Superspies back in the late 80s. This of course eventually led to Rifts. I still like a good superhero game but its hard to get the feeling right. Balance can be a major issue too, in TSR's early Marvel Super Hero game one character could be the Black Widow (no powers) and another could be the Silver Surfer (Cosmic Powers). It was hard to make work.

Anyway I saw an add for this version and did a bit of research. I'd be willing to give it a test run on a limited basis mainly to see if the system is any fun. It looks like it has potential.

Rognar said...

I never knew that. I bought a pdf of Mutants & Masterminds some time ago. It's a d20 supers game by Green Ronin. Obviously never played it, but it got great reviews and I was susceptible (I think I'd just seen The Green Lantern, which I liked a lot more than most people).

Obiri said...

I've heard good things about Mutants and Masterminds too but never checked it out.