In the super hero game there has to be some provision for overcoming a weakness or limitation, since that is so central to the archetype. Facing and overcoming your weakness is an important part of the hero's journey. And from a meta-gaming standpoint, a weakness is like throwing the GM a bone to give him more personalized details to work with in coming up with a scenario. So, that is a must-have.
But that might be too origin based for some.
[SNIP]for the most part his protagonists are
the neurotic dreamers or sensitive artists or fainting scholars who end up fleeing for their lives ("The Festival," "The Whisperer in Darkness," "At the Mountains of Madness"), getting destroyed ("Dagon," "The Haunter in the Dark," "The Temple"), finding out they themselves are monsters or otherwise disappearing from the earthly realm ("The Outsider," "Rats in the Walls," "Shadow Over Innsmouth," "The Silver Key")
These need to be made into game form like a character class where knowledge is the damage in some way. There is no continuing story unless the last character is dead/mad/transformed that would be a total formula. The one thing for all is that they find out that they are irrelevant at some point...
I took another hard look at these rules, and rolled up characters from each "origin" type -- such as high technology, altered human, mutant, robot and alien. Just to see how it would go I rolled six of each type using the Advanced Set rules. The high technology characters were by far the weakest, unless they are able to take body armor and roll well on the ability modification table. Even if they do that, they need to roll well to compare favorably to the other character types. Altered humans get to raise one ability of their choice, which is a huge factor. Mutants use the same table as altered humans, but get an extra power -- also a huge factor -- and can raise endurance one rank, but they have hindered starting popularity and resources. Robot have a table that allows them to average better abilities than altered humans or mutants, but have reduced starting popularity, and no ability boost like altered humans or mutants. Aliens have abilities similar to robots but with an altered bell curve with greater chances of extremely high or extremely low abilities at each end, and with one less power starting out and only one contact. I got some of the wonkiest results with the aliens. High technology, altered human and robot characters all have equal chances to start out wealthy, and the wealthiest turned out to be an altered human (40, which is Stark or FF wealth level), with very few others ending up even close to that.
A weakness in this system is that none of the tables will, on average, generate a normal human who is physically and/or mentally exceptional, and simply really good at fighting, building gadgets and noticing stuff, which you would think is the baseline for the superhero archetype (think Hawkeye, Black Widow and Punisher in Marvel, Batman and Green Arrow in DC, and pulp heroes like the Shadow, the Phantom, etc.). There should be a table in there between high technology and altered human, with lower maximums but higher minimums like a martial artist/gadgeteer. Most of the high technology heroes turn out to be just normal guys with high reason -- often no higher on average than the other character types -- and worse ability scores otherwise, unless you give them body armor which can be a suit to possibly increase some physical abilities but also possibly lower some.
I'd say altered humans and robots are the best origins to take in this game, if you are rolling up characters randomly. It's a good game if you want to play the "accidents of science" Marvel is mainly known for.
Since we finished the Lost City I have been thinking about Trying a short foray into another system. This is one possibility. Something in the horror genre seems appealing, but I don’t know if I want to run CoC, and I can’t find my old Chill stuff.
What about Unhallowed? Or Trail of Cthulhu? With the horror genre I don’t think rules matter as much. In fact, the fewer rules the better. There is something about highly detailed rules that seems antithetical to horror since horror is about the unknown. A rules light system with a GM able to create the right atmosphere and make the players feel vulnerable and uncertain is what is needed.
I would like to try Unhallowed, but with a smaller more experienced group. All the DJ games are rules heavy. Not familiar with Trail of Cthulhu. CoC D20 is pretty simple. I was thinking about goving that a try.
Yeah, you're right, the Marvel character generation system is bland. It's not very inspiring, and often gets you some weird combinations... Like what if you get lucky and roll fighting ability of Amazing (50) and then get Poor (4) strength? You could just go with it, and call it your "Amazing Feather-punch" ("I hardly ever miss, but bad guys hardly ever feel it"). Maybe that is why I remember the games playing out like episodes of THE TICK, because the best way to handle some of the illogical or unplayable combinations is with humor. In a team game, you could easily end up with one or two heroes who greatly overshadow the others, because of a high strength score and/or high power rank, with the others not having much to do, except maybe be comic relief.
There is a supplement called THE ULTIMATE POWERS BOOK, and I have a pdf of it. I'll have to dig into that to see if it maybe has a better system for character generation.
I had tossed the entire collection out. It was a two feet high stack of MARVEL supplements. I recall most were illustrated by Jeff Butler who at the time I thought was awesome from THE BADGER which was my top 5 faves of the 80's at the time. In retrospect not so much. Once the ongoing potential fades its like you have to review everything presented all over again. Like DREADSTAR was my favorite comic of the 80's as it came out but ceased the minute that it stopped and ended on a sour note.
I recall playing something with Arcade from the X-MEN.
Speaking of DREADSTAR, I actually met Starlin in 1990 but he is not a sociable animal. Very angry guy. So I ended up buying his paperback AMONG MADMEN from him and getting him to sign THANOS QUEST #1 which he did on the inside cover which was bizarre. That was the first time I went to a comic convention. What a difference from that shitty Comic Con crap.
AT that time, MSH RPG had these ongoing Marvel Universe type books that I refused to buy because I was sitting on that massive pile which no one wanted to play.
Right, they went through that phase of obsessively detailing everyone and everything in the Marvel Universe, and then doing annual updates in an attempt to keep things as current as possible with the comics. I didn't even try to keep up with those. It was a constant churning out of character write-ups, which were sometimes fun to read, but I thought they were missing a big opportunity because most players want to create their own superheroes and that's where the game is weakest. Even that scenario in DRAGON Magazine set in WW2, "Sudden Dawn," assumed the players would take on the roles of the pregenerated superheroes (B-team heroes from the 1940's).
Every time the Badger comes up, I now think of "The Coon" on SOUTH PARK.
Post by geneweigel on Apr 10, 2018 10:54:52 GMT -5
I was pecking it all up on a conveyor belt like a fool on the comic end but I tried to put a stopgap on that rpg end.
On the non-RPG end, I have all the folder inserts for DC superheroes but Marvel kept going with the folder inserts. They were FRONT/BACK/SIDE of character with non-game stats and bibliography of relevant changes. It just kept coming. They look terrible in the binders that I put them in. At least DC came with a binder.
I also have cards that came out around that same period (89-90) that have stats on the back for Marvel and DC. I have these in binders with baseball card holders.
They had the good will of Marvel fans keeping them going for a while, but the whole thing petered out in the early 90's. The last scenario was published in 1991, I think. The Gamer's Handbook/annual updates were pretty expensive, and I saw there were a few box sets, but then that was it, the game was no longer supported after around 1993. I often wondered how many people were actually playing the game, and how much of the product was simply being bought up by comic book fans just because it was Marvel-related.
Recently, I was watching some Marvel FASERIP videos on YouTube, but I just lost interest. That guy's game just had too much clutter thrown into it, and I never got a sense of who the superheroes were or what they were supposed to be doing. The Judge had this weird set up where the players started as themselves in the real world, and got transported to the Marvel Universe, and got powers, and then every episode after that it was just throwing everything but the kitchen sink at them, with viewers of the live feed somehow involved, and then the Judge himself was revealed to be the supervillain. A bit too meta, for my taste.
The Heroclix game, OTOH, really captures the feel of the comic books. In a two on two game scenario with Masters of Evil invading the Avengers' Mansion, the guys playing against us as the Masters of Evil began blaming each other when they started losing. "You cretin! We would have won, if you hadn't used such stupid tactics!" It was hilarious.
Last Edit: Apr 10, 2018 13:26:54 GMT -5 by GRWelsh