The Marvel Heroic Role-Playing Game

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The Marvel Heroic Role-Playing Game

Post by Starfish » Fri Feb 24, 2012 5:37 pm

As you may have noticed by my fanboyish gushing in our chat already, a brand new Marvel role-playing game has been released just last week – a remarkable event for those of us into that whole table-top thing, as the last time that happened was over three decades ago!

Wheee!

Can you tell I'm a little excited? In fact, that already started when I first heard of the game, which happened by pure chance just last month, and I could take a look at the first previews and check the descriptions of how the thing was supposed to play.
So I went ahead and promptly bought the PDF version on the very day it was released (sadly, the lack of an international publisher apparently prevents the distribution of the print version outside of North America for the time being), and have been gobbling up the contents of the book since then.

You can probably tell that I wouldn't have bothered making this thread if my high expectations hadn't been fully met or even exceeded in some parts. So why am I telling you about this, you wonder? Why, because I'd love to rouse the interest of some like-minded people and give the game a try, of course!

What better place to ask around for that than the place where people come to roleplay already, no? And if you think I might have shenanigans in mind, there's a good chance you're right about that...

Now, before I reveal my cunning master-plan (okay, let's call it some half-assed ideas I cooked up while being bored at work), let me tell you a little more about this new game and why I happen to be so excited about it.
Since this isn't the first role-playing game I'm dealing with, you might already guess that it has to be distinctively different from most of the traditional systems out there to make me take notice, and let me assure you that this has nothing to do with the name Marvel printed on the cover and lots of my favourite characters being presented inside. Well, maybe just a little...

No, what makes this game special is that it has been designed specifically to recreate the action found in superhero comic books and most importantly supports a narrative approach with its creative and flexible flow of events. You won't find an overly complex rules set weighed down by countless minute details and encased in rigid instructions, telling you exactly what you can and cannot do.
Instead it encourages creative freedom and invites you to come up with exciting ideas and paint the actions of your character in broad strokes, then consulting the dice to see how well that actually went. This way of handling things makes it the first game that gives me the impression that it might be able to adequately portray the countless things character seem to come up with in superhero comics; something that stricter system would never be able to deal with.

In fact, I'd go so far to say way we currently play fighting instances in our RP are nearly a perfect example of how this game operates, with the exception that the outcome isn't always that predictable. But that's what makes playing a game exciting, isn't it ;)

So, what are my plans, provided anyone is interested in this and doesn't just point and laugh at my nerdiness? Well, this mostly depends on what people would want to do, but let me toss some ideas out there.

First of all, I'd give you a more detailed look at how this thing exactly works, complete with examples of play and how easy it is to stat up a character. I imagine organizing a simple trial game in chat would also help to give people (myself included) a better impression of how this game actually runs.

As far long-term plans, that entirely depends on what people would want. Let me tell you right away that my involvement with Scrawlerearth limits my available time to host and organize something completely separate from it (I could help out with something like that, but probably won't find enough time to do it all on my own), so my preferred solution would be doing something in conjunction with it.

Now before my fellow mods come after me with torches and pitchfork for trying to turn our game into something it isn't, I can assure everyone that I have no such intentions (running a Saturday can be brain-breaking enough without taking any dice into account, thank you).
However, I'll be honest and say that the idea of having this as a entirely optional addition would be most exciting. Regular games and instances would remain completely unaffected, of course, but what if some people decided it might be a fun idea to occasionally have an exciting Danger Room brawl, or head out and do some typical superheroing, and were looking for a way to make things a little more exciting by randomizing the course of action somewhat?

There is very little outright action going on outside of games that specifically involve it, so in my opinion something like this could add a further layer of entertainment in addition to the mostly social instances and plot-driven games.

And before anyone worries – yes it's my stupid idea, therefore I'd also be doing all the work, of course. :P

So, what's everyone's opinion?

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Re: The Marvel Heroic Role-Playing Game

Post by Ult_Sm86 » Fri Feb 24, 2012 5:46 pm

Isn't this sort of what I offered awhile ago?
Granted I wanted a randomized dice system and pre-determined stats, but I get it. This is great. :D

I'm very much behind this if it means making the events a little less calculable/predictable.

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Re: The Marvel Heroic Role-Playing Game

Post by steyn » Fri Feb 24, 2012 6:55 pm

I'm in like
Image

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Re: The Marvel Heroic Role-Playing Game

Post by Svartfreja » Fri Feb 24, 2012 8:12 pm

Totally on board! But you knew that already :shifty
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IronMan: That is the noise Pietro makes right before he's tossed out of the airlock. ~ Avengers: The Children's Crusade #6

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Re: The Marvel Heroic Role-Playing Game

Post by tears~fall~like~glass » Fri Feb 24, 2012 8:49 pm

I'd give it a try.

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Re: The Marvel Heroic Role-Playing Game

Post by Starfish » Sat Feb 25, 2012 12:49 am

It is somewhat similar to the ideas that have been proposed occasionally in the past, but I've always been kind of wary of introducing something like this, mostly because any kind of system we could have introduced into the game would have invariably ended up appearing arbitrary to a certain degree.

And to be honest, nothing we could have come up with by ourselves would have been nearly as exciting and elegant as what the people over at Margaret Weis designed, who simply have endlessly more experience with these kind of things. Their lead designer, Cam Banks, is not only a total Marvel nut, but also a pretty awesome guy, hanging out every day over at rpg.net to give advice, answering rules question, and promising free material via DLC.

But it's hard to explain what makes me think this system will work nicely for us without going into further detail about the game, so I think I'll do just that and give you guys some better impression.

Now, characters in the new Marvel game do have pre-determined stats, much like they would have in any other traditional RPG system, however in much broader and more flexible scope. Traits are generally expressed as a type of die, ranging from four-sided (D4) to twelve-sided (D12), where the former portray attributes that are either not fully developed or have a tendency to cause complications when used, while the latter show true mastery or overwhelming power. So you have people like Wolverine, with Enhanced Strength – D8, and Colossus with his Godlike Strength – D12, for example.

Take this data file for Captain America, for example, posted as one of the previews: http://www.margaretweis.com/images/stor ... romo_2.pdf

You can see everyone has three Affiliations – Solo, Buddy, and Team – telling you how well they operate when on their own, teamed up with another character, or as part of a larger group. One is always rated at D10, one at D8, and one at D6, representing the circumstances they handle best, and where they're out of their comfort zone.

Everyone also has three Distinctions – general descriptors that encompass the most defining aspects of that characters. They not only represent broad aspects of their personality, but can also be a defining habit, occupation, past experience or anything else you deem important or telling about your character. Most importantly, they should be able to act as both a benefit or detriment.

Power Sets are fairly self-explanatory, and every character has at least one - some two - comprised of one or several power traits, each with a die rating. Another part of them are Special Effects (SFX), which are the really interesting and awesome ways powers can be used, instead of merely providing more dice to be used.

Lastly there are Specialities, which are basically just general skill-sets the character knows, with the die type indicating their level of expertise in that field.

Milestones define habits, goals, or things the character deems important, helping them earn experience by encouraging a certain behaviour, but I'm not sure if we're really going to need those, as assigning experience based on the number of semesters completed would be much simpler and more fitting, in my opinion.

Now, when rolling the dice to see how well you perform at any given action, you simply pick one trait from each category and put its die into what is called your Dice Pool, as long as the trait in any way applies to the what you're trying to do.

So if in our case here Cap leads his team of heroes to beat the snot out of Norman Osborn, he would pick a D10 from his Team Affiliation, a D8 for... say, his Lead by Example Distinction, another D8 for his Enhanced Strength, the D8 for using his Shield as a weapon, and a D10 for his Combat Master Speciality.

He rolls the dice, then picks two and adds them together to get his Total, which tells us how well he did. He also selects a third die to be his Effect, which shows how much impact his action is going to have. For the Total, the number the dice rolled is important, for the Effect, only the type of die matters. So sometimes you might even settle for a lower Total if that means getting to pick a more-sided die as your Effect.

Now Norman would have to oppose Caps action with a reaction of this own, using his own Dice Pool generated in the same way, and trying to beat his opponent's Total or suffer the consequences.

However, all of this dice rolling business is much better explained in these preview pages: http://www.margaretweis.com/images/stor ... review.pdf

This mechanic is at the core for nearly anything you can try to do in the game, but you probably already caught a glimpse of the further options that add a little more depths and tactical complexity. However, the heart of the game is thinking about what your character is going to do, how they're going to accomplish it, and what traits they possess could possibly contribute to that. Then you roll and see what happens.

So, unless I managed to scare you off now, I can give you some more concrete examples next, show you how simple it is to stat up a character by doing that for one of my own, and maybe running them through a sample action scene to give you an impression of how this game plays and could integrates neatly into how we handle conflict right now.

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Re: The Marvel Heroic Role-Playing Game

Post by Ult_Sm86 » Sat Feb 25, 2012 3:07 am

It's sort of like a less complex (albeit more involved -- if that makes any sense) version of GURPS. Hmm...

I'll read the rest of this later (I'm not totally against this yet but I want to maybe have a practice instance with it if we all decide we like it?) but for now I read enough that I'm cool with what I've seen.

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Re: The Marvel Heroic Role-Playing Game

Post by Starfish » Sat Feb 25, 2012 11:49 am

Heh, Gurps is probably one of my favourite role-playing games out there, but let me tell you that I'd consider it orders of magnitude more involved than the new Marvel one. With its incredibly detailed rules, heaps of modifiers, and very rigid turn structure, Gurps is perfect to model more realistic settings. For a superhero game that naturally has to allow for spontaneous ideas and wild flexibility, it would be a nightmare to use. And I say that as one of its biggest fans.

Basically, the Marvel game is a combination of cooperative narration (which is exactly what we're doing already), resource management (in the form of actions of points), and good old luck (through the rolling of dice). And while you can do a lot of creative things with it, the basics are pretty easy to understand once you've familiarized yourself with them a little.

What's also really great is that the Game-Master (called Watcher in this case), doesn't have to be the sole director of the game, deciding on every little detail and action like they would do in most other games. It's simply someone with a firm grasp of the rules who helps people when they don't know what to do, acts as an arbiter when there's a dispute, and decides what is possible and what shouldn't be.

Otherwise, anyone playing is encouraged to make suggestions regarding what could happen, how the story should progress, or what a villain might do. It also helps that there is no set duration for the length of a turn other than what the players decide on in that particular situation. So a single roll of the dice can both describe who gets the upper hand when exchanging a few quick blows with Arclight, or how well you're holding up against that endless onslaught of FoH goons.

Also, I definitely plan to run a little demo game, because simply using the rules gives you a so much better impression of how they work and what they can do than me trying to describe it. :)

However, since I'll probably have to explain the basics before we can do that, anyway, I might just as well do it here, so interested people can get a first glimpse of the whole thing, and those who have decided to give it a try have a little mini-guide to look up.

So stay tuned, and feel free to ask questions!

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Re: The Marvel Heroic Role-Playing Game

Post by Starfish » Sat Feb 25, 2012 6:13 pm

Okay, I've thought long and hard about how to best explain the game without having to basically copy-and-paste the entire rulebook, and I figured that this might be accomplished best by giving examples. And while we're at it, why not keep things in order?

So I'm going to start with the logical first step – what would your character look like when written up for the Marvel RPG, and how do you get there? That will also give me the perfect opportunity to explain in greater detail how the single elements making up a character work and what they mean.

Character Creation Example

I've decided I'll be using Komodo for this, because not only are her abilities quite simple, she's also a freshman and therefore doesn't have a lot of experience to account for.

First of all, let's have a look at the check-list of things to do:

- Assign Affiliations
- Choose Distinctions
- Pick Power Sets
- Take Specialities


Now, that doesn't sound too complex, does it? Let's see how each step is handled then. I'm going to tackle them in order, but it really doesn't matter which part to do first.



Affiliations

Assigning Affiliations is simple enough: Decide if your character is best in either Solo, Buddy, or Team situations, then assign that category a D10. Next think about what would be their second favourite environment and give it a D8. Lastly, the remaining category receives a D6.

As you can probably guess, the Solo Affiliation would be used whenever the character tries to accomplish something on their own, Buddy comes into play when working together with one other person, and Team is relevant for situations of three or more characters working together.
However, keep in mind that this is a very flexible system, and the decision on which category will apply for any given action is less based on the actual number of characters in the scene, but more on what they're actually doing and how they're interacting with each other.
If two X-Men pile onto one bad guy while the rest fights someone else, they would use their Buddy die, just as Penny would use her Solo die should she ignore her team-mates and act on her own. Conversely, even two characters in completely different locations might act as Buddies when it makes sense, such as Doug instructing Selene via radio or telepathic link from inside the van, and so on. But more on this later, when we're doing the actual play example.

Now, for Meltai, I'll start by thinking about what environment would probably suit her best. And while it's true she can be somewhat of a gruff rebel, most of the time she's quite the gregarious person. Additionally, her upbringing as an army brat taught her values such as comradeship and saw her trained to work well with others.
Therefore, I decide to assign the D10 to the Team Affiliation, making her most efficient while working as part of a group.

I still have a D8 and a D6 to distribute, so now I'm going to look at which of the two remaining categories Komodo would handle better:

Buddy appears like a natural choice here, given her team-playing skills, but then I remember the aforementioned gruffness: Dealing with a larger group is one thing, but god help the poor soul stuck with her alone, especially after giving her the slightest reason to be annoyed. On top of that, her independent streak means she just has to run off and do things her own way sometimes.

So I'll end up assigning the D8 to the Solo and the D6 to the Buddy category. And that's it for Affiliations already.



Distinctions

Now this may be something new even for experienced table-top players, as a character's Distinctions somewhat defy the usual genre conventions when it comes to traits. As said before, they can be anything ranging from certain backgrounds, over a defining part of their personality, to occupations or habits. And everyone gets to make up three of them.
Generally speaking, that's what makes your character unique and stick out when compared to the others, and will give you a much clearer picture of who they are and what they do. As you can see, his part is where the bio you wrote up really helps. Don't worry if you don't get it right at the first time of decide you're unhappy with the ones you picked – they can always be altered later. After all, characters grow and change over the course of a story.

Now, the most important advice you can take to heart here is that Distinctions should be broad enough to make them apply to a wide range of situations the character might be faced with, because you really want to use at least one of them with every action you take. Secondly, they should be a double edged sword, meaning they could either help or hinder you when trying to accomplish something.
Why is that important, you wonder? Simple! Because whenever you decide that a Distinction can conceivably aid you to perform the action you're rolling for, you get to add another D8 to your pool. If you decide they would complicate matters in that particular case, you only get a measly D4 for your pool, but also earn a Plot Point. And Plot Points are awesome, because they let you do awesome stuff!

Now, one thing that comes to mind instantly in Melati's case is her upbringing among the military, so I'm going to call her first Distinction “Army Brat”. This can not only encompass the skills and knowledge she picked up while being raised on various bases, but also her affinity for all things that go boom, a collection of values and creeds she picked up, her tendency to pick the violent approach to solving problems, and so on. As you can see, that's easily something that might either help her, or complicate matters.

For the second one I decide to take something describing her personality. One thing that should be fitting is “Hothead”, for example. That nicely describes her rebellious streak, issues with authority, and the tendency to act before thinking, but also stubbornness and refusal to give in. Again, definitely a double-edged sword.

Just one more to go! Since the first two already give us an idea about her background, skills, and personality traits, I'll use the last Distinction to say something about how she interacts with others. “Comrade” comes to mind, as she is not only loves to party hard with a bunch of friends, but will also stick up for them no matter what, expecting the same in return, making this a Distinction I can see coming up whenever her fellows are directly involved.


Powers

Now starts the fun part, and arguably the most involved, unless you simply go with a pre-generated hero file or simply borrow the power set of another character who is similar. Fortunately, the process isn't hard at all if you have the faintest idea what your character can do.

Every character has one Power Set, while a few may have two or more. Each set is made up of its individual Power Traits, each with its own die rating, as well as Specific Effects that can be activated when appropriate (SFX) and Limits, which can occasionally complicate matters for the hero, but will provide them with additionally Plot Points when invoked.

Komodo is probably as easy as it gets, even though I don't have any official data file for her on hand (hurry up, Fifty States Initiative source book!), simply because we can look at characters with similar powers, transfer them over, and tweak them as needed. In her case, I'll simply grab the “Feral Mutant” set found on Wolverine's official Data File and the “Bestial Mutant” one from Beast's, and see if I can mash them together until the result fits my image of her abilities.

The Power Traits are mostly identical on both sets, so I'm just going to transfer them over to Komodo's set, giving her the traits of Strength, Stamina, Durability, Senses, and Reflexes. That was quick and easy, but now I need to decide which die rating to give each power. So let me start by giving you an overview of what each rating roughly means:



D4 – This power is either barely developed, not under the control of the hero, and will rarely add much of benefit to any situation. In fact, it might end up complicating things instead of helping.
Example: Telepathy so unreliable it will occasionally let you pick up surface thoughts.
Mundane Equivalent: Pretty much anything normal, non-trained humans try to do.

D6 – Generally the best a normal human can achieve without technological or super-powered aid. This is where you'll find all the “peak human so-and-so” traits.
Example: Flight that serves as a mode of transportation, but not much more.
Mundane equivalent: Small arms fire or body armour.

D8 – Now we're entering the interesting territory. The majority of powers fall into this category; clearly beyond the scope of normal humans, but still mostly tied to the normal laws of physics.
Example: Enough strength to hurl grown people or tip over cars.
Mundane equivalent: Most vehicles, heavy automatic weapons, explosives.

D10 – Obviously superhuman in scope, this is what the signature powers of most experienced characters are rated at, allowing for impressive and ground-breaking feats.
Example: Blast powers strong enough to threaten tanks and whole buildings.
Mundane equivalent: Heavy military ordnance.

D12 – The territory of the truly epic: Wolverine's healing, Colossus's strength, Juggernaut's toughness, and Xavier's mind powers. The best of the best in their respective fields.
Example: Weather control that lets you engulf a city with a blizzard.
Mundane equivalent: Whatever it may be, I'm sure you'll have to be at Defcon 1 to use it.



Now I promptly decide that the majority of Komodo's traits will be rated at D8. She's strong, but can't wrestle someone like Arclight or throw cars around, she's fast and agile, but can't out-dance Spidey, and she has precise senses, but not as refined as more dedicated trackers.

Now, her Stamina is arguably the most important trait in her Power Set, since it directly determines the effectiveness of her healing factor. Going strictly by the comics, a D12 like Wolverine's appears justified – she was shown to regenerate lost limbs in moments, after all. However, this seems excessive at this point, since she's still an inexperienced freshman. Besides, having room to grow later is part of the fun. So I'll be content with giving her a D10 here for now.

I also included the Durability because she's mentioned to have tough, scaly skin. However, this doesn't strike to be much more effective than a simple bullet-proof vest, and she was never shown to just shrug off hard hits without taking damage. So I'll leave this at a modest D6 for now. Not truly useful, but maybe something to help her out in a pinch.

Happy with the traits I picked, I'm going to add two Special Effects that will be part of her Power Set – a good number for a starting hero. They further define what she can do with her abilities and give her additional options:

The first one is “Healing Factor” from Logan's file, an obvious choice in her case. Beast's file has “Claws & Fangs”, another perfect fit that I'll copy straight over. The former lets her remove physical injuries for the cost of a Plot Point, the latter gives her the option to make her physical attacks more unpredictable, but potentially more devastating as well.

That's all I can think of right now, as any other abilities can be added later in play. SFX are truly a great way to portray a character's improving grasp on their powers and the many cool and unique things they can do with them.

I'll have to take at least one Limit, as well. “Mutant” is a no-brainer here, making her susceptible to mutant-affecting technology, but awarding her with a Plot Point whenever that happens.

Since Limits always earn the character a Plot Point when they occur, they're not only disadvantages that make the game much more interesting, they encourage to be actively used to fuel your own awesomeness. So I'm going to throw in a second one for great justice!

After all, Melati is known to be affected by mind controlling powers that target reptiles, such as when The Lizard turned her against her own team-mates. I think I'm going to call that one “Reptile Brain”, increasing the effectiveness of the Animal Control power when used against her, but compensating her with a Plot Point when that happens.



Eventually, this is is what I end up with for Komodo's Power Set:

Feral Mutant

Enhanced Strength – D8
Durability – D6
Superhuman Stamina – D10
Enhanced Senses – D8
Enhanced Reflexes – D8


SFX - Claws and Fangs: Add a D6 to your dice pool for an attack action and step back the highest die in your pool by one. Step up the physical stress inflicted by one.
SFX - Healing Factor: Spend 1 PP to recover your physical stress and step back our physical trauma by one.

Limit – Mutant: Gain 1 PP when affected by mutant-specific technology.
Limit – Reptile Brain: Step up any Complication received through the Animal Control power and gain 1 PP.


Note that her shape-shifting ability doesn't show up here, at all. That's okay, because it's pretty much only for flavour and so limited in scope that it's not relevant for this write up, anyway. Should it ever become relevant for an Action Scene, well, that's what Stunts are for! More on these later, however.




Specialities

We're almost done with Komodo's file, as the only part that's still missing are her Specialities. These are all the noteworthy skills and talents she has at her disposal, and so this step mostly depends on what kind of background you've given your character in his or her bio.
Note that this doesn't have to contain every little thing your character can possibly do or every bit of knowledge they may have picked up in the past – this is what Stunts will be used for.
For example, having the “Vehicle” Speciality at a higher rating doesn't mean you have a driver's license, it means you 're able how to steer the van through thick traffic while being shot at, and possibly know your way around behind the controls of the Blackbird.

Specialities are again rated from D4 to D12, with roughly the following meaning (those who have been able to take a look at the rules will notice I made some alterations here; because toying around with house rules is what I do):



D4 – Rookie: More of a liability than anything else, this denotes something you might think yourself proficient at, but really aren't. Learn to play, noob.

D6 – Novice: You know what you're doing, mostly. Most people trained to do their job will be found here.

D8 – Expert: You're a blossoming talent or an experienced veteran in your field of expertise. This is the playground of most professionals.

D10 – Master: Very few people reach these levels of skills, and even then only in one or two areas perhaps. Here you are among the best of the best.

D12 – Legend: If Stephen Hawking turned his wheelchair into a time machine, took off to steal the brains of Carl Sagan, Einstein, and Newton, then hooked them up to his own, he might have a Science Speciality rated at this level.



A unique feature of Speciality traits is that you can generally turn one die of a higher rating into two of a lower one when adding them to your dice pool for an action. For example, a Vehicle Expert might opt to put 2D6 into his pool instead of the D8 it normally offers.

Now, let's try to find out what Melati might possibly be good at, so I'll browse the list of Specialities first. Here's what we got:

Acrobatic – What our favourite blue elf was well known for.
Business – Buy low. Sell high. Profit.
Combat – You may be the best at what you do, but this certainly helps.
Covert – Sneaky sneaky.
Crime – You're either studying law or committing crimes. Maybe both.
Medical – Better than kissing ouchies better.
Menace – Rawr! You know how to scare people.
Psych – Used by shrinks and car salesmen alike.
Science – Oh my stars and garters!
Tech – More than just operating the toaster without burning yourself.
Vehicle – They're not letting you behind the wheel of the Blackbird without that.

As you can see, Specialities are very broad and open again, subsuming a wide range of possible skills and knowledges under a few traits. Most characters will possess between 3 and 6 different Specialities, with experienced heroes having the majority rated at Expert, and only a few rated as Master. Young high-school graduates and college kids would arguably have to start out with lower traits. The number of Specialities a characters possesses isn't nearly as important as the trait levels themselves.

In Melati's case, I'll start by picking those she'd definitely possess. She's a freshman, so I'll try to not be greedy and limit the number of Expert traits (D8) to two, while any Master traits can't really be justified in her case. Having gone through basic training and seen more than her fair share of school-yard fighting, I'm going to give her a D8 for Combat. As a lover of sport and action, another D8 for Acrobatics sounds fine, too.
Most likely having received some medical training, I'll add another D6 to that Speciality, before assigning another to Tech. She loves tinkering with stuff, after all. Representing her experience at bar brawls and the whole posturing and intimidation that involves, Menace receives a D6, as well.
Now for something fun! With D4 being more a liability than anything else (you'll see why when I give you the play example), I've decided to give her Crime and Vehicle rated at Rookie levels – she has pulled some tricks in the past, but doesn't know nearly as much as she thinks she does, and her driving skills mostly involve hitting other things.

That gives me an above average number of Speciality Traits, but all rated dangerously low, representing Melati's varied and colourful upbringing nicely:

Acrobatics Expert – D8
Combat Expert – D8
Medical Novice – D6
Menace Novice – D6
Tech Novice – D6
Vehicle Rookie – D4
Crime Rookie – D4




And that's it, basically! All done and ready to play, even though I might change a few things around later, after going through some test playing and seeing how things actually work out in the field. I'll post a condensed write-up of Komodo in the next post, so you can see what the finished thing looks like.

You may have noticed I never mentioned anything in the way of rigid limits, such as only getting so many resources to throw around when creating a character, which is a staple in most other RPGs. It seemed as if I just picking the things I liked and that seemed to make sense and fit Komodo's appearance in the comics. That's true, because this is exactly how it works.

You create the character as you envision him or her, without being restricted by an arbitrary resource pool. Sounds a bit unbalanced? Maybe. On the other hand, superhero games where folks like Hawkeye and Hulk are on the same team are impossible to balance without distorting at least one of these characters beyond recognition, anyway, and the myriad of Power Traits and Special Effect would make it a nightmare to compare each and every one of them.

That doesn't mean you can do whatever you like, of course. Not only do your fellow players have to agree with your assessment that the character you made is within reason, I'll also think of a few rough guidelines about what would be appropriate for a young hero and college freshman. Also, not only to I reserve the option of rejecting clearly whack write-ups, I'll also award the clearly less powerful characters with other bonuses to compensate, such as a larger supply of Plot Points.

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Re: The Marvel Heroic Role-Playing Game

Post by Starfish » Sat Feb 25, 2012 6:25 pm

Melati Kusuma – Komodo

Solo – D8
Buddy – D6
Team – D10


Army Brat
Hothead
Comrade



Feral Mutant Power Set

Enhanced Strength – D8
Durability – D6
Superhuman Stamina – D10
Enhanced Senses – D8
Enhanced Reflexes – D8


SFX - Claws and Fangs: Add a D6 to your dice pool for an attack action and step back the highest die in your pool by one. Step up the physical stress inflicted by one.
SFX - Healing Factor: Spend 1 PP to recover your physical stress and step back our physical trauma by one.

Limit – Mutant: Gain 1 PP when affected by mutant-specific technology.
Limit – Reptile Brain: Step up any Complication received through the Animal Control power and gain 1 PP.


Specialities
Acrobatics Expert – D8
Combat Expert – D8
Medical Novice – D6
Menace Novice – D6
Tech Novice – D6
Vehicle Rookie – D4
Crime Rookie – D4

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Re: The Marvel Heroic Role-Playing Game

Post by Scumfish » Sat Feb 25, 2012 7:50 pm

To be honest, it was a lot easier than I thought it would be to set this up ^^ Thanks Star!

ADAM KILDUFF aka TOXIC

AFFILIATIONS:

d10: Solo
d8: Team
d6: Buddy

DISTINCTIONS:

Psychopath
Bunny Berserker
Twitchy Raver

POWERS:

Elementary Control [Hemeotokinesis] : d12 [LIMIT: Eyeline]
Enhanced Senses : d10
Speed : d10
Stamina : d8
Strength : d10

SFX: Boneblades: Add a D6 to your dice pool for an attack action and step back the highest die in your pool by one. Step up the physical stress inflicted by one.
SFX: Bloodrage: Shutdown all abilities except Elementary Control to treble die. Knocked out for d6 minutes.
SFX: Bloodraver: [Burst] Double Elem. Control die against single opponent; remove highest rolling die and add 3d6 for total.

LIMIT - Mutant: Gain 1 PP when affected by mutant-specific technology.
LIMIT - Psycho: Gain 1 PP if Bloodrage activated or emotion causes psychotic behaviour
LIMIT - Stinkbomb/Flashgrendade : Gain 1 PP if something overwhelms a sense.

SPECIALITIES:

Acrobatic: d10
Business: - (Adam? Business? Hah!)
Combat: d10
Covert: d8
Crime: d8
Medical: d6
Menace: d4
Psych: d6
Science: d4
Tech: d8 [with Plank]
Vehicle: d8 [has been noted he's flown the Jet a couple of times - with help :shifty]

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Re: The Marvel Heroic Role-Playing Game

Post by steyn » Sat Feb 25, 2012 8:59 pm

Deadpool

Afilliations
Solo - D8
Buddy - D10
Team - D6


Distinctions
D8 / D4 + 1pp

Map of Scars:
Whether it's sharp or dull, chances are he's been injured by it and gotten over it. Fear of pain has lost all meaning for Deadpool.

Crazy Horse:
Deadpool is crazy, plain and simple. The man is more random than lottery numbers, which is a big help when facing foes and confusing them. However this could mean a problem when facing everyday life, such as going to class, chatting with people or tying his shoes.

Team up! Starring Deadpool and... :
Just like a tour through the museum, the buddy system works well with Deadpool, especially when it comes to his ego and trying to show off at how good he is. In a fight, it can be impressive, in a mundane situation, it can get annoying.


Melee Healer Power Set

Enhanced Strength - D8
Superhuman Stamina - D10
Enhanced Reflexes - D8
Psychic Resistance - D10

SFX: Healing Factor. Spend 1 PP to recover your physical stress and step back your
physical trauma by –1.

SFX: Immunity. Spend 1 PP to ignore telepathy or mind control.

SFX: Out of the Box. Borrow any die in the doom pool as an asset for your next action, then step up and return the doom die.

Limit:
Mutant : Earn 1 PP when affected by mutant-specific Milestones and tech.


Specialities:

Acrobatic Expert - D8
Combat Expert - D8
Covert Novice - D6
Crime Novice - D6
Menace Rookie - D4
Psych Rookie - D4
Vehicle Novice - D6

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Re: The Marvel Heroic Role-Playing Game

Post by Starfish » Sun Feb 26, 2012 2:06 pm

All of these look really excellent already! I would perhaps rework some of Adam's SFX and Limits, to bring them in line with how the game works and actually handles those things, but that's really no biggie, as you wrote these up without the aid of the rulebook, after all. And I'm sure we can think of some more for Wade over the course of play, and maybe think of a Limit that deals with his... unique state of mind. :scratch

Limits and Specail Effects are the more fidgety bits of character creation, anyway, as you can do all kinds of crazy and wild things with them, and it's not easy to wrap your head around the concept at first, especially when coming from more traditional RPGs. So instead of struggling with the rules just yet, when in doubt it's best to just give a quick description of what you'd think might be cool things for the character to do, and we can work together to turn it into a Special Effect.

This is actually a great opportunity for me to clarify what SFX and Limits can represent, to hopefully clear up some misconceptions that might easily pop up. First of all, they don't have to be things strictly tied to the powers of a character, even though they're listed under Power Set. A Special Effect can be anything from a neat trick, certain talents, a shtick, or generally one of the character's important things. And they're an awesome way to let a character grow without slapping more or bigger dice on them, which isn't nearly as exciting as pulling a completely new stunt!

The same is true for Limits. Saying something about how a character's powers work is just one thing they do, but they can also stand for quirks in their personality or something about how they approach problems, especially if these actions tend to lead to complications. They also don't need to take into account every possible detail. For example, it doesn't have to be mentioned that telepathy won't affect a mechanical target or that trying to bring Super Strength to bear on a flying or intangible opponent will require some creativity – this is common sense.

Which actually brings me to one of the central premises of this game: Shared narrative and player consensus. The rules don't dictate the story, but the other way around – they serve the story.

What does that mean? Simple – instead of bothering with countless rules and exceptions to tell you what is possible and what isn't and enforcing strict rules for things like timing, modifiers, positioning, and whatnot (as GURPS and D&D do, for example), the game trusts its players to decide together whether a proposed action is valid or not, with the Watcher stepping in to speak a verdict when necessary.

Let me give an example: A telepath is set upon by a gang of thugs, so she defends herself and wants to give them a sound thrashing. Now, if she wanted to add her die from the Telepathy trait into her Dice Pool for that action, that would naturally cause some frowns, and I as Watcher would ask her how she'd possibly justify doing that. Then we come up with the idea that she's going to use her telepathy during the brawl to cloud her opponent's senses, so they don't see the strikes coming. I say “Rock on!” and let her use the die.

As you can see, the game actively encourages and rewards finding creative ways to use your abilities.

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Blink

Post by puppygirl » Sun Feb 26, 2012 7:57 pm

Afilliation
Solo - d10
Buddy - d8
Team - d6

Distinctions
Indominable Spirit: Clarice never gives up, no matter what
Kind Hearted: What it says on the tin, she's a compassionate person
Street Life: For all her big-eyed innocence, five years living and fighting on the streets have made her wiser than she appears

Powers
Teleportation: d10
Crystal Javelins: d10

SFX: Thinking with Portals: Clarice uses the power of gravity to give her physical attacks more power - Replace a d10 power trait with 2d8 or 3d6
SFX: Portal Flurry: Clarice rapidly opens and closes portals around her target at random, striking them in quick sucession from various different angles - Step up or double a power trait against a single target, then remove the highest rolling die and add another into your total

Limit - Mutant: Gain 1 PP when affected by mutant-specific technology.
Limit - The Astounding Blink: Clarice sometimes forgets that real-life crime fighting isn't like the cartoons - When inflicting a complication on a target, gain 1 PP and take a complication of equal die size as your effect.

Specialities
Acrobatic: d8
Combat: d8
Covert: d6
Crime: d6
Medical: d4
Science: d4
Vehicle: d4
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"Why can’t people appreciate how much effort I put in to not becoming a serial killer?"

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Re: The Marvel Heroic Role-Playing Game

Post by Ult_Sm86 » Sun Feb 26, 2012 10:27 pm

I don't know if I have the attention span for all of this. I'll need a couple of days.

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Re: The Marvel Heroic Role-Playing Game

Post by Saint Kurt » Mon Feb 27, 2012 10:41 pm

Margaret Weis... Ooo.

Is this a cortex system based game? I see it uses plot points and dice steps, but I don't see the assets and complications aspect of character creation that I normally associate with Margaret Weis games in your little description.

If so, I am so in to try this if you'll have me. I love the cortex system for it's ability to create balanced characters, allow PC flexibility during play, and allow for copious amounts of ROLE playing (rather than roll playing). The cons for me is that it can be cumbersome during complex combat actions. But it's a small con because it can totally be worked around if the GM and the players are smart about it.

I'm so excited if this is cortex based and you guys start playing it. I've played in 3 different extensive cortex based campaigns, written adventures, and made a number of characters (my own and helping other new players with theirs). I'm a huge fan. You'll have so much fun.

-e

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Re: The Marvel Heroic Role-Playing Game

Post by Starfish » Tue Feb 28, 2012 4:57 pm

Yes, this is indeed the latest version of the cortex rules system, specifically tweaked for comic book style gameplay, and I see you love the game for the very same reasons I do - especially the focus on role-playing and narration. All the fun things like Assets and Complications are present, too, just not relevant for character creation (I'm not sure how other cortex games handled them).

And of course you're more than welcome to join on in! :D

I'll try to post a few examples of how the game is played later, too!

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Re: The Marvel Heroic Role-Playing Game

Post by Starfish » Thu Mar 01, 2012 11:44 am

Double posting for great justice! I'm thrilled to see that there has been plenty of excitement generated already, both here and in chat, and I really like what I'm seeing of the posted characters so far. Of course, several people have been asking questions about the game and how to best stat up their characters, and I'd like to assure you that I'll do my best to assist all of you to the best of my abilities, while still learning all the finer tricks myself.

First of all, try not to feel overwhelmed or required to generate a perfect representation of your character right away – almost everything can be adjusted, changed, or switched out during play, and the game makes the assumption that player's will want to frequently add or replace Special Effect and Limits to keep things varied and interesting.

Aside from that, I'm considering some guidelines to help with character creation and establish reasonable boundaries, most likely based on seniority, as an experienced X-Men and post-graduate student naturally will have a lot more at their disposal than a freshman straight out of high-school.

Secondly, while some of you were already able to take a look at the game rules, I know the cortex system can be a little hard to digest at first glance, especially when completely unfamiliar to table-top RPGs or coming from more traditionally structured games. However, since no dry explanation of the rules comes close to seeing the game in action – and because I promised it earlier – we shall now dive right in.

Example of Play


For our sample action scene, I'll start out with something simple, demonstrating how rolls are made to perform actions and reactions, what kind of effects can result from such actions, and some of the options you can take to affect all of these things, as well as show how the resource management system works.

It will also be a great opportunity to shed some light on the lingo of the game, so I'll explain what the different terms mean when they come up, instead of simply throwing a big, boring glossary at you.

So let's set our scene! I'm going to use Komodo for this, and say that while she hangs out in some shady dive downtown to toss back a few drinks, some FoH troublemakers decide they don't like the look of her green hide. Cheered on by his friends, their big and burly leader struts over to teach the mutie filth some lesson. With neither party interested in a diplomatic solution, things are going to heat up in an instant.

Fist of all, at the beginning of any action scene, we're decided with how many dice the Doom Pool is going to start out. Which actually brings us to our very first glossary entry...

- - > Doom Pool: The primary resource of the Watcher, this pool contains a number of dice that can be used to oppose the player characters in several ways. It's in constant flux throughout play, swelling when players roll 1s or use abilities that feed the pool, and shrinking when the Watcher expends dice to fuel certain effects, very similar to the Plot Points players use.
A smaller doom pool can represents situations that are under control or with little at stake, a larger pool can show the growing tension and escalating conflict, for example.


Since there's little at stake and the event is on the local scale, the Doom Pool starts at its default size of 2D6. Komodo also starts with the minimum of 1 Plot Point in her supply, which brings us right to your next entry...

- - > Plot Points: Primarily earned by using Distinctions negatively, invoking a character's Limits, or rolling 1s, these points can be expended to gain various advantages. These range from adding more dice to your pool before rolling, improve your results after you rolled, activating certain SFX, performing stunts or gaining resources. You'll see how they can be used during this example.


Now, on to our action! However, before we can do anything with our FoH thug, he's going to need some stats, so we'll throw something together really quick. And since he's not really anyone important, we'll keep simple and make him an Extra character (they're called Speciality characters in the rulebook, but I find that term cumbersome and am used to calling them extras):

FoH Thug – D6
Team – D8 Buddy – D4 Solo – D6
Big Bruiser – D6



As you can see, that's a whole lot less information than the write-ups for major characters like our heroes above have. In fact, Extra characters are the most simple in the game, possessing only a generic expertise die, used for all actions that might fall under their speciality, their three affiliations, and maybe a couple of appropriate traits, SFX, and Limits.
They're the generic rank and file, henchmen, guards, soldiers, beat cops, civilians, faceless ninja, and so on. Usually, a single one of them wouldn't even warrant breaking out the dice, and I could just narrate how Komodo beats the crap out of him, but since we're here to learn, we actually go through with this.

Now that our thug as some stats and is posing a challenge, let's move on to resolve it. One of the players characters normally go first in action scenes, unless the Watcher pays for the right to interrupt their action by expending a die from his doom pool. However, that die must at least match the highest rated Senses or Reflexes trait among all hero characters, and since Komodo has a D8 rating in those and there are only 2D6 doom, there's nothing to be done about it.

With her turn to act, Komodo narrates what she's going to do and what she aims to accomplish. In this case, simply giving the annoying thug a sound beating for interrupting her drinking session, so she takes an attack option with the goal of inflicting physical stress.

“Sitting by the bar with a bottle of beer in her hand, Melati's night of relaxed drinking seems to take a turn for the exciting when she spots the mean looking fellow heading her way, hurling insults and making rude comments concerning the colour of her skin. Smirking to herself, Mel empties her bottle, then turns around to answer his challenge by hurling it against the guy's head. While he reels from the impact and mutters curses, the mutant girl slips out of her jacket, flexes her arms, and gets ready to dance.”

Now that we have an image of what she's going to do, we go on and assemble her dice pool for this action:

Affiliation is easy enough – as she's on her own at the moment, we take her Solo rating of D8. Up next we pick one of her Distinctions, and decide whether to use it positively or negatively. “Hothead” seems most appropriate in this case, and I say it's going to hinder her by clouding her judgement. So I only get to add a D4 to her pool (using a Distinction negatively), instead of another D8 (using it positively), but by doing so she gets instantly awarded another Plot Point, bringing her total to 2.
Next I get to pick one trait from her Power Set, and Enhanced Strength seems like the most fitting candidate her, so I add another D8 to the pool. Note that Reflexes would have also been an appropriate choice, representing a more nimble approach to take out the bad guy, compared to using brute force.
Finally, I'm going to add an appropriate Speciality, and her Combat Expert trait is the obvious choice here. It would normally give me another D8, but since Specialities can be split into more dice of a smaller size, I'm going to add this trait as 2D6 instead, increasing the chance that at least some of my dice will show usable numbers.
I could also use her Claws and Fangs SFX at this point to further tinker with the dice pool, or pay a plot point to add a second trait from one of the aforementioned categories (the Enhanced Reflexes come to mind here), or even use it to pay for a stunt, but that simple thug isn't worth the hassle, so I'm just going to roll the dice.

- - > For Komodo's action we're rolling: 2D8,2D6,1D4
- - > The two D8s come up as 5 and 7, the D6s as 2 and 3, and the sad little D4 gets a 1

I set aside the D4, as all dice that come up as 1 can't be used for anything. They're called Opportunities, and can be exploited by the Watcher (just as players may exploit any 1s rolled by the Watcher), either to trigger any abilities that say “activate an opportunity to...”, or to simply grow to the doom pool. Since there are no such abilities around, the Watcher simply adds another D6 doom. Alternatively, he could have stepped up the smallest die in the pool by one size, thus turning one of the D6s into a D8.
The good thing about rolling a 1 is, however, that having the Watcher exploit it always nets you another Plot Point. So Komodo has now 3 to throw around. Of course, multiple 1s offer multiple opportunities to be used, which is why rolling D4s is a double-edged sword, as they easily tend to complicate matters.

- - > The doom pool is now at 3D6, indicating the growing tension in the bar at the outbreak of a fight.

From the remaining dice, Komodo now has to pick two, adding their values together to form her Total, and a third that will become her Effect Die The Total tells how well she performed an action, and must be beaten by the opposition with a higher number, while the Effect Die shows how up much impact a successful action will have. You will want dice showing a high number to go into your total, while for the Effect only the type of die matters, which can lead to situations where you want to settle on a lower Total if that means having a larger die to make up your Effect.
In this case, adding the two D8s together would give her the highest possible Total of 13 (5+7), but leave her with only a D6 for an Effect. Switching out the lower D8 (5) with the higher D6 (3) would bring her total down to 10 (3+7), but free up one of the D8s to become her Effect, possibly spending a plot point to add a third die (in this case the only remaining D6 with its value of 2) into her Total.
Deciding it's worth it, she plays it safe and takes a Total of 13 and an Effect of D6.

Now the thug has to roll a Reaction to defend against Komodo's Action, hoping to somehow beat her Total. He simply takes his Expertise, his Solo Affiliation, and the Big Bruiser trait (something that would be helpful to keep from getting beat up), each rated at D6, to form his dice pool of 3D6.
The Watcher may opt to help the thug out by lending him a die from the doom pool, but that would either cost him the die, or he'd have to hand Komodo another Plot Point to keep the die in his pool after the action. Since another D6 from the doom pool wouldn't make much difference, he just rolls what he has.

- - > For the FoH thug's reaction we're rolling: 3D6, getting 5,2,6

As you can see, there's no way he could form a Total that would beat Komodo's Total of 13 by just adding two dice together. He takes the best he can manage (11), and keeps a D6 for his Effect.

Now we compare the results: Komodo's Total is higher, so her action is successful. Her Effect has also not been beaten by the thug, so she gets to apply it fully. Her aim was it to inflict physical stress, so the thug now receives D6 Physical Stress (the size of Komodo's Effect Die). Ouch!

In fact, this brings us to...

- - > Stress: One of the types of effect your actions can have (the other important ones being Assets and Complications), Stress is generally the result of some kind of attack, and comes in the three flavours Physical, Mental, and Emotional. Like any other trait, it's rated as a type of die, with a higher die meaning you're in a worse shape, and is tracked separately for each of the three types. Most characters can endure accumulating stress up to a rating of D12 in each category before stressing out. Even before that happens, characters may add one of the stress dice of their opponent to their own pools when acting against them.

However, Extras aren't nearly as resilient, and can only endure stress up to their expertise rating, stressing out once this limit is exceeded. Since our thug has an expertise of D6, he's still in the fight, but already badly messed up and reeling from Komodo's blows. Anything that steps up his Physical Stress by just one step to D8 would take him out now.

“Friendly chats are interrupted by the sudden outbreak of a fight, and the bar erupts with loud shouts when the big guy and the green-skinned girl start exchanging blows. Never one to hold back, Melati instantly goes on the offensive, sending the much larger guy stumbling backwards. He does his best to ward off the surprisingly strong girl and grab her arms, but then a fierce punch to the stomach knocks the air out of him, followed by another that makes him spit blood on the wooden floor.”

But he's still holding on, determined not to go down without a fight, as it's now his turn to act. Trying to pay back the mutant in kind, he goes for an attack action himself, assembling his dice pool. Since all the traits used in his reaction to defend against Komodo's attack also apply for this action, he would again have 3D6 in his pool. Deciding to help out the poor guy, the Watcher throws in one of his die from the doom pool.

- - > For the Thug's attack we're rolling: 4D6, getting 5,5,3,2

Since all dice are of the same size, it doesn't matter which one we keep as an Effect, so we just add the two highest together to get our Total of 10, with a D6 Effect.

Now it's Komodo's turn to roll a reaction, and she assembles her own dice pool, again using the same Solo affiliation of D8. Not feeling threatened by the simply thug, she again chooses to use her “Hotheaded” Distinction as a hindrance, putting the D4 into her pool and bringing her PP supply up to 4 points. From her power set she takes the Enhanced Reflexes D8 trait, as it's more appropriate for a defensive roll against a physical attack, and this time uses her Combat Expert speciality at its D8 rating.
However, since the FoH thug already took a beating and is suffering from D6 physical stress, she gets to add that die to her pool, as well, since it's something that would hinder him in his fight against her.

- - > Komodo rolls for her Reaction: 3D8,1D6,1D4, getting a 6,5,3,4 and 3

Adding her two highest rolling D8s together for her Total, she gets an 11, enough to beat the Thug's result, and allowing her to declare the remaining D8 as her Effect Die. The Thug's offensive is completely ineffective and accomplishes nothing.

Normally, this would conclude the turn, as both characters got to act, but unfortunately for the thug, Komodo has plenty of Plot Points to play around with, which brings us to...

- - > Counter attack: After rolling a successful Reaction against an opposing character's Action, the expense of a PP triggers a counter-attack, inflicting the defender's Effect Die on the attacker instead of the other way around, albeit the die gets stepped down once, and is usually applied either as Stress or a Complication.

Spending one of her four points, Komodo announces the counter, wishing to inflict her own Effect Die as Physical Stress. Since that would also be the most reasonable outcome in such a situation, the Watcher rules this to be valid and docks the poor thug another D6 of stress – her Effect Die of D8, stepped down once because it's a counter.

Since the thug already had D6 Physical Stress, and the new stress die isn't higher than his current rating, it simply gets stepped up to the next step, bringing him to D8. Oh noes, this is more than his Expertise rating of D6, meaning the thug gets stressed out, effectively taking him out of the action and allowing me to explain...

- - > Stressed Out: Should any kind of Stress ever get stepped up beyond D12 (or their Expertise Rating, in case of Extras), the character becomes stressed out. They're either unconscious or too beaten up, panicking or catatonic from fear, or dazed and too confused to do much. They're unable to take most actions for the remainder of the scene, unless they recover with the aid of an ally or an appropriate ability.

Getting stressed out also leads to Trauma, unless the character delivering the blow chooses to pull their punches, merely knocking out the opposition instead of inflicting serious injuries. This being your friendly Friday night bar brawl, Komodo plays gently with the thug and spares him the further pain.

- - > Trauma: A more severe and persistent version of Stress, a single step of Trauma is inflicted whenever a character becomes stressed out, and increases further should they take additional Stress while in a stressed out state. It's tracked just like Stress, with separate categories for Physical, Mental, and Emotional Trauma, and also rated with a die-code. As you can imagine, stepping up Trauma beyond D12 should be avoided...

Also, remember that we used a die from the doom pool to help out the thug in his futile action. Normally, that die would now be removed from the pool, unless the Watcher buys it back by giving a Plot Point to every character that was affected by its use. In this case, this is only Komodo, and since we may have use for that die later, she receives another PP, bringing her total back to 4, and return the D6 to the DP, keeping it at 3D6.

“Wiping the blood from his lips, the thug snarls an angry insult at the mutant, then flails wildly in the hope to overpower the smaller female. He gets angry and frustrated when she effortlessly avoids his large fist, obviously enjoying herself as she plants one jab after the other on him. Launching one last desperate attack, Melati simply sidesteps the mighty swing, grabs the thug's head, and smashes him against the counter. Leaving some of his blood and one of his teeth on the bar, he collapses in a sorry heap, while the rest of the room stares in disbelief.”

This concludes our short gameplay example, hopefully giving you a quick impression of how actions are resolved in the game. I tried to keep things simple, of course, so none of the more complex mechanics were brought up yet. We're going to keep those for the actual practise play. :)

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Re: The Marvel Heroic Role-Playing Game

Post by Starfish » Thu Mar 08, 2012 8:05 pm

Okay, since dry textbook descriptions can be confusing and make matters appear more complicated than they actually are, and the best way to learn a game is by actually playing it, I've decided to offer some practice sessions for everyone who's interested, where we can go through some simple actions to show you how everything is done.

I'm not going to schedule a definite time for these – just poke me while in chat and we'll see about making it work. I'll also gladly help you with all details of character creation, if you like. :)

For further reference – and until I can get something more elaborate and neatly arranged set up – I'll give you a quick overview of important core aspects of the game:


Glossary
  • Action: Any attempt to do something in the story with the intent of leaving an effect, including attacking an opponent, helping a friend, fixing something important, or saving a bunch of imperilled civilians. Every character gets to act once before a turn is done.
  • Reaction: Whenever someone becomes the target of an Action, they get to roll their Reaction in order to oppose it, trying to either avoid the intended effect or reduce it. Every character can perform an unlimited number of Reactions. If no character is specifically targeted, the Doom Pool is used instead.
  • Trait: Describing something of importance to the story, whether it's one of a character's abilities, a beneficial or hampering condition or circumstance, or just a crucial object. Always rated as a type of die, ranging from D4 to D12.
  • Dice Pool: A collection of dice, rolled at once to perform an action or reaction. It's assembled from all the traits on your character's data-file that might be helpful in the attempt to achieve the intended goal.
  • Effect: The result of an Action and expressed as a die type ranging from D4 to D12, it's used to either add a new trait (most often stress, assets, or complications), or to change or remove an existing one.
  • Stress: Comes in the types Physical, Mental, and Emotional, usually inflicted by successful attack actions. Taking too much stress of either type incapacitates the character. Successful recovery actions by an ally can reduce your own stress, as can certain SFX.
  • Asset: Anything beneficial to the character and their allies, usually generated as the result of an Action intended to help someone else or to improve your own chances. Depending on their exact nature, they can last for one roll or up to the entire scene. Expressed as a trait with a die rating.
  • Complication: Anything restricting the character, usually generated as the result of an Action intended to hinder an opponent. Depending on their exact nature, they can last for the entire scene or less. Expressed as a trait with a die rating.
  • Step up: Exchange the die type of a trait with one having more sides. For example, a D6 is stepped up to a D8.
  • Step down: Exchange the die type of a trait with one having less sides. For example, a D10 is stepped down to a D8.


When to roll

Roll the Dice when…
  • You’re not sure if your hero will succeed or fail.
  • You want to try something that’s challenging or dangerous.
  • You want to oppose or help another character.

Don’t roll the Dice when…
  • The outcome isn’t an interesting part of the story.
  • There’s nothing or nobody to stop your hero.
  • The intended goal is outside your hero’s ability.


Rolling the Dice!
  • 1. Describe what you want to do and how you are trying to achieve it.
  • 2. Build your dice pool. (see below)
  • 3. Spend Plot Points (PP) to enhance your pool. (see below)
  • 4. Roll your dice.
  • 5. Set aside opportunities (dice that roll a 1, you can't use them).
  • 6. Add together two dice for your total (higher is better).
  • 7. Choose a die (from your remaining dice, not in your total) as your effect die. Only the type of die matters, not the number it rolls. If you don't have one left, it's a D4.
  • 8. Spend PP to enhance your roll. (see below)
  • 9. Declare your final total and effect dice.
  • 10. Opponents may exploit your opportunities by paying PPs.
  • 11. Opponents make reaction rolls (follow steps 1-10 above).
  • 12. Compare your total to each of your opponent's.
  • 13. Use effect dice.


Building your Dice Pool!

Look at your character's data-file, then add...
  • ...one die from your affiliation, depending on if you're acting on your own, with a friend, or as part of a group,
  • ...one of your Distinctions, either as a D8 (when it helps you), or as a D4 + 1 PP (when it hinders you),
  • ...one die from each of your Power Sets,
  • ...one of your Specialities,
If available, also add...
  • ...one asset die,
  • ...one push or stunt die,
  • ...one resource die,
  • ...one of your target's complication dice,
  • ...and one of your target's stress dice.
Note: Each trait selected must be able to contribute to the intended goal in at least some feasible way.



Spending Plot Points

Before you roll, you can spend PP to...
  • ...add a D6 Push die,
  • ...add a D8 Stunt die, showing off your Powers or Specialities,
  • ...add a second die from one trait group, for example a second Distinction or another Power Trait,
  • ...activate a SFX that requires a PP expenditure
After you roll, you can spend PP to...
  • ...add another die to your Total (for example, 1 PP to add together three dice instead of just two, 2 PP to add four, and so on),
  • ...Keep an extra effect die, as long as you have unused dice in your pool,
  • ...activate a SFX that requires a PP expenditure,
  • ...change Stress you've just taken to another type

Earning Plot Points
  • Use one of your own or a scene Distinction as a hindrance.
  • Activate a Limit on your Power Set.
  • Having Opportunities you rolled exploited by the Watcher.
  • Getting stressed out.

The Action Order
  • The Watcher chooses a hero to go first.
  • After the chosen hero acts, his or her player chooses who acts next.
  • Everyone, including all Watcher characters, must act before anyone can act again.
  • The Watcher may interrupt the action order to have their character go next (or first) by spending at least D6 from the doom pool, or at least a die equal to the highest Reflexes or Senses powers a hero possesses.
  • You can make unlimited reaction rolls. They don't cost actions.
This covers the most important and frequently used elements of the game, and hopefully provides a handy reference sheet for now. Feel free to ask questions and poke me chat; I'll gladly explain everything in further depth and will help you out with some practise playing. :)

PanicSwitch
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Re: The Marvel Heroic Role-Playing Game

Post by PanicSwitch » Sat Mar 23, 2013 2:39 am

Cecilia Reyes - Facade

Affiliation
Solo - D8
Buddy - D10
Team - D6

Distinctions
Feist: Exactly what the label says, she's a smallish woman that's very excitable, spirited and opinionated.

Undying Loyalty: Family & friends, these are the most important things in Cecilia's life, mess with them and you're in for a world of hurt.

Slumdog: A lifetime of hard living and existing alongside street life has made her a tough nut to crack.

Powers
Force Fields: D10 [LIMIT: Line of Sight]

SFX: Sentinel: Cecilia creates shield armour around her body to protect herself from harm and give her strikes more power-Replace a D10 power trait with two D8 or three D6.

SFX: Field Flurry: Cecilia rapidly slams shields into her target, striking them in quick succession from various different angles- Step up or double a power trait against a single target, then remove the highest rolling die and add another into your total.

SFX: Ricochet: Projectile based weapons bounce off Cecilia's forcefields- Step up or double a power trait against a single target, then remove the highest rolling die and add another into your total.


Limit - Mutant: Gain 1 PP when affected by mutant-specific technology.
Limit - Burnout: Cecilia's powers are directly connected to her energy levels and pain tolerance- Gain 1 PP for any physical trauma received from heavy weapons (i.e. grenades, rocket launchers, flamethrowers, being hit by a car).
Limit - PTSD: Past traumas have taken their toll on Cecilia's mental health- Gain 1 PP from emotional stress related to gunfire or injury to a friend.

Specialities
Combat: D6
Medical: D8
Psych: D4
Science: D8
Tech: D4
Vehicle: D6
Magneto: "That was really Xorn's twin brother possessed by the sentient mould, Sublime, pretending to be me, pretending to be Xorn."
Beast: "That defies all logic."
Magneto: "Ohhh like none of you have ever died before!"
-Death Becomes Them, Floating Hands Studios

The Thing: "Didn't they come up with a cure for your kind?"
Wolverine: "You gotta problem with mutants?"
The Thing: "I meant Canadians."
-Astonishing X-Men #7

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