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[Sell me on] Marvel Heroic Roleplaying

xrayzed

Transfixed
Validated User
This (Character Creation) is the main area in which I find the game lacking. I've come round to the idea that this is more about telling a story and less about limits as per traditional RPGS. But limits/guidelines can be a good thing! It's one thing to say "Marvel Heroic Roleplaying! Play your heroes your way, without limits!" It's quite another to say "Marvel Heroic Roleplaying! Play your heroes without limits, guidelines, or much in the way of idea on how to do stuff!"

I'm not a hater, fan boys, so don't drown me in your foam...
I'm still new to the game, but based on a first reading I'm not crazy about the chargen rules either. I'll be hacking together my own point-buy system once I become a bit more familiar with the rules.

However it's simply wrong to say the game is "Play your heroes your way, without limits!". There are limits, but they work differently to most other games.

In most superhero games if A goes to grab B we typically look up A's relevant grabbing stat, B's relevant evasion stat, and roll to resolve.

In MHR the way you do this depends on the characters' abilities, powers, and the circumstances.

Mr Fantastic might grab with his Stretching d10, but he'd be hardpressed to add his Science Master or Vehicle Master d10s to his pool, or Absent-Minded Professor distinction d8. He's limited to what makes sense in that context.

Spider-Man might use his Superhuman Strength d10 if in hand-to-hand combat, but if the villain is on the other side of the room he'd probably be limited to his Web-slinging webline d8. If he bounces around the room and makes a series of bad jokes he could add Acrobatics Master d10 and his d8 Wisecracking distinction - or not, if say he was bound to a wall, or was fighting in an extremely loud room. More limits.

Or with the evading part, Spidey would probably use Acro Master d10 and Superhuman Reflexes d10 - you can't grab what you can't catch - while Collosus might get out of a grab by trying to break free with his Godlike Strength d12 - grabbing him is one thing, holding his is another. Shadowcat - Intangibility d10.

So why so many different ways of accomplishing essentially the same thing? Because that's how they do it in the comics.

I find it logical, simple, and effective, and it neatly sidesteps the problem of a character who shouldn't be grabbed being grabbed because they don't have a single specific skill at the right level.
 

kickback

Harumble!
Watcher: Ok, Buffy is in the Arena facing Orcus. The rest of you are in the bleachers with the guards watching you. What do you do?
Giles: I'll start. I want to create an asset where i have a flashback, remembering that this afternoon i read to Buffy in the library. I told her all about Orcus from the Book of Secret Weaknesses. She was bored, but she remembers. I roll vs the doom pool and i win, my effect die is a d8. i create a d8 asset called "Flashback, secret weakness" and hand it to Buffy. Willow is next.
Willow: I close my eyes and mumble a spell of good luck - I roll vs the doom pool and my effect die is a d6. I make a d6 asset called "spell of good luck" and I hand it to Buffy. Xander's up.
Xander: Well, I'm still full of Orcus poison right? I roll vs the doom pool to create an asset called "Hurry, Xander is gonna die!" and... Sucess! my effect die is a d10! Buffy is up.
Buffy: I take the d8, the d6, and the d10. I smile and say "Hey Orcus, want to see my impression of Ghandi? It isn't very good."
Stop making me wish I had a group to play this with. ;)
 

APN

Registered User
Validated User
I'll hold my hand up and apologise to anyone who was offended by any comment I made. I don't make personal attacks and anything I say is 'tongue in cheek' (I wouldn't even know what a rabid fan boy looks like, or even if they exist.)

I'll be following the various threads (as best I can - there are so many, with more popping up all the time it's dizzying - and lagging the forum) to see peoples different takes on the way they do stuff to make the game their own. I guess I'm just disappointed by several things (including not having a print book to read, having to squint at a pdf) as well as what I see as a lack of direction in certain areas (chargen) but some people have already turned the vague feel of that into a part of the game itself, whereby others like to have more of a structured approach. There are lots of positives to the game, but the old adage - you can't please all the people, all the time - rings true for every game so I'll make up my own mind away from this thread.
 

Jack

Wave Man
Validated User
Gonna give an example of how assists work. And also hitting more than one person with one action, effect die wise. Since folks have asked about both before.

So say Luke Cage comes across two costumed thugs, Chemistro and Hydroman, beating on Spider-Man (hey, webhead's clearly having a bad day). Hydroman's got Spidey held in his watery grasp and Chemistro is leveling his transmutation blasters at Spidey and talking about they're gonna be paid extra for making the hero suffer.

Luke looks at the heroes and says "What in the hell do you two fools think you're doing."

Chemistro turns to say something, leveling his other blaster at Cage. Before he can do anything Cage says "Really Calvin? You know what I'm gonna do to you if you even think of pulling that trigger, right? That foot your brother lost is gonna look like sweet christmas by comparison."

With that, he decides to start his action. He's going to try and intimidate the two into backing off and letting Spidey go.*

Spidey decides to assist Cage rather than act, especially since he's being held and has already taken some hits. He whistles and says under his breath but still so the two can hear him "Oh, you two are gonna geeeettttt it." He's trying to help Cage so he's gonna roll first.

Spidey is just rolling against the Doom Pool here to see if circumstances favor his assistance being..well, assistful. He rolls his d10 Buddy Affiliation (cause he's helping Cage), his Wisecracker Distinction (here as a d4 for a plot point, because Spidey's player felt his insult was a bit weak and given his position at the moment it might not have much impact). He also uses his Psych Expert as 2d6 (it could be that or a d8). His powersets really don't factor in here so they aren't included.

The Doom Pool is only 3d6 right now. The Doom Pool rolls 4, 6, and 5. That's an 11 with a d6 effect. Spidey rolls against that: a d10, d4, and 2d6. He gets 9, 2, 6, and 2. He can beat the 11 with the 9 and 6, leaving a d6 for his effect, which creates an Asset. He calls it "Really thought this through, didn't you?" and hands it to Cage.

So Cage gets an extra d6 to roll. Its not great, but it's better than nothing.

Now Cage goes. He's rolling d10 Buddy too, and his Come Get Some! Distinction at d8. Now Cage is gonna get to use his d10 Superhuman Strength, because it's what he's basically threatening these losers with. He's also a Menace Master which can be either another d10, 2d8, or 3d6. He decides to take 2d8. He asks the Watcher if Luke's Area Attack SFX could work here and the Watcher says she doesn't think so. But that's cool, it'll all work out for the street smart brother with a skin of steel.

So Luke has 2d10, 3d8, and the d6 Spidey gave him by helping. He rolls and gets 8, 9, 2, 4, 4, and 5. Luke decides to make the 8 and 9 his total for 17, adding a plot point to keep an additional die: that 5 (from the d6 Spidey gave, btw) for a whopping 22.

He takes one of the d8s as an Effect for the roll, which he defines as emotional stress on Chemistro defined as making this fool thing long and hard about Luke's threat. He then decides to spend a plot point he has to pick another effect die and include it in this action. He takes another d8, which he defines as emotional stress on Hydro-Man for much the same reasons as Chemistro.

Chemistro rolls his reaction (it's 3d8 and a d6, figured based on Buddy, a Distinction, his own Menace Expert, and his weapon's attack since it's making him feel brave) He gets a 2,4,4,2...which kinda sucks. The best he can do is a 8...which means Luke beat him by 14 or more. This basically steps up that stress twice (one for each extra 5 over the roll), this puts the d8 effect up to d12. He's rattled as hell, and Cage can roll that d12 stress against him for future actions.

Now Hydro-Man goes. Hydro-Man has 1d4 (Buddy) and 2d8 from a Distinction and an appropriate power. Except that's not going to happen as he rolls 1, 1, and 4. And he can't even count the 1s so...yeah. That's a 4. Those 1s also generate opportunities, which can be used for various things by spending a plot point but really? Probably not gonna need it...

Hydro-man looks to his partner, takes a look at Cage, then down at Spider-Man who he's still holding. He mumbles "sorry" to Spidey and turns into water and flows away. Chemistro now stands there facing two heroes, shaken and very much alone.

*as an aside, he might also grab an 1 XP for declaring Chemistro an old foe if he wants to hit his "Settle the Score" Milestone and make that a thing- he also might decide Chemistro is too much of a yutz to even bother having a grudge
 
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SocratesGoneMad

Featherless biped?
Validated User
Jack, I love your write-ups. The amount of detail, including letting us know exactly what was rolled, is really amazing. If you have time, would you mind doing a mental or social combat (one round is fine) where the specialty being used isn't Menace or Psych? I'm still trying to grok how things like Crime, Covert, and Cosmic work outside of Transition scenes.
 

EldritchFire

Registered User
Validated User
Watcher: Ok, Buffy is in the Arena facing Orcus. The rest of you are in the bleachers with the guards watching you. What do you do?
Giles: I'll start. I want to create an asset where i have a flashback, remembering that this afternoon i read to Buffy in the library. I told her all about Orcus from the Book of Secret Weaknesses. She was bored, but she remembers. I roll vs the doom pool and i win, my effect die is a d8. i create a d8 asset called "Flashback, secret weakness" and hand it to Buffy. Willow is next.
Willow: I close my eyes and mumble a spell of good luck - I roll vs the doom pool and my effect die is a d6. I make a d6 asset called "spell of good luck" and I hand it to Buffy. Xander's up.
Xander: Well, I'm still full of Orcus poison right? I roll vs the doom pool to create an asset called "Hurry, Xander is gonna die!" and... Sucess! my effect die is a d10! Buffy is up.
Buffy: I take the d8, the d6, and the d10. I smile and say "Hey Orcus, want to see my impression of Ghandi? It isn't very good."
One minor point: You can only add one Asset into your pool by default. However, you can spend a Plot Point to include more. Another good thing about having multiple Assets in play is that if your opposition tries to remove it, they have three to worry about!

-EF
 

Reef

Incredible!
RPGnet Member
Validated User
Watcher: Ok, Buffy is in the Arena facing Orcus. The rest of you are in the bleachers with the guards watching you. What do you do?
Giles: I'll start. I want to create an asset where i have a flashback, remembering that this afternoon i read to Buffy in the library. I told her all about Orcus from the Book of Secret Weaknesses. She was bored, but she remembers. I roll vs the doom pool and i win, my effect die is a d8. i create a d8 asset called "Flashback, secret weakness" and hand it to Buffy. Willow is next.
Willow: I close my eyes and mumble a spell of good luck - I roll vs the doom pool and my effect die is a d6. I make a d6 asset called "spell of good luck" and I hand it to Buffy. Xander's up.
Xander: Well, I'm still full of Orcus poison right? I roll vs the doom pool to create an asset called "Hurry, Xander is gonna die!" and... Sucess! my effect die is a d10! Buffy is up.
Buffy: I take the d8, the d6, and the d10. I smile and say "Hey Orcus, want to see my impression of Ghandi? It isn't very good."
Holy cow, that one post has done more to sell me on this game than four whole threads. Awesome!
 

Jack

Wave Man
Validated User
Jack, I love your write-ups. The amount of detail, including letting us know exactly what was rolled, is really amazing. If you have time, would you mind doing a mental or social combat (one round is fine) where the specialty being used isn't Menace or Psych? I'm still trying to grok how things like Crime, Covert, and Cosmic work outside of Transition scenes.
Yeah let me think of a good one. I think they mostly do work in transitions but yeah, I'll ponder one.
 
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