Thursday, September 25, 2014

Marvel Two-In-One

I have a new pet project.

I am taking TSR's classic Marvel Super Heroes RPG (aka, the FASERIP system), and merging it with MWP's Marvel Heroic RPG.

Marvel Super Heroic!

What If? Indeed!
When it comes to Superhero RPGs, there are two games that sit in a very strange place in the Sanctum Sanctorum that is my brain.

The Marvel Super Heroes RPG by Jeff Grub (TSR, 1984), and the Marvel Heroic Roleplaying Game by Cam Banks and Rob Donoghue (Margret Weiss Productions, 2012).

I really don't like the Marvel Super Heroes game by TSR. I don't know why exactly, beyond the fact that it always struck me as sort of silly, and childish. I also felt it was odd that there were so few levels of power to differentiate everyone in Marvel Universe from Frog Man to Galactus.

I do like Marvel Heroic. A lot. It's very thematic, giving one the feeling of being in a modern Marvel comic book. It also has some nifty mechanics such as Assets, Complications and the ever awesome Doom Pool. I am not a big fan of big crunch, but I do like it when crunch translates directly into genre tropes, as is the case here.

Unfortunately, MH suffers from several obstacles when trying to win over many people I've spoken to about the game, at least in relation to long term play.

First, the character creation system is somewhere between vague and non-existent.

There is little to no system for (traditional) character improvement, even though the game has a really cool experience point system. There just isn't enough to do with your XP once you get it.

Power levels and effects don't feel particularly different from each other mechanically.

Each game has, IMHO, certain strengths, weaknesses, and interesting approaches to Superhero RPGs that the other covers, improves upon, and compliments. In the interest of searching for the perfect blend of genre simulation and game mechanics, I feel this mutant hybrid is worth exploring.

Basically I want to use the Assets, Complications and other situational modifiers from Heroic in FASERIP. Also, the cool XP system in Heroic (as in, how you gain XP), could give you MSH Karma instead. What do you think?
There are a few other elements of FASERIP and Heroic I'll be merging, but the key to this hybrid (the reason I'm doing it), is to give Heroic (my favorite of the two), the two things it sorely lacks. #1. A character creation system most players can wrap their heads around. #2. A system for improving your character through XP that benefits from Heroic's dramatic XP rules.

More on this idea as it develops. If anyone has any ideas, questions, or recommendations, feel free to let me know.


Barking Alien




  1. This sounds fun! Looking forward to seeing what you do!

    1. Me too. LOL

      This is a side project, but it's really calling to me with its potential. I doubt it would replace Champions as my favorite system for Supers, but it does beg investigation and experimentation nonetheless.

  2. Your ideas are intriguing to me and I want to subscribe to your newsletter.

    Seriously, as possibly the only person on the planet who played MHR more than once (and for an entire year), I am totally ready to take what is good and right about that game and fix the rest.

  3. Love it! I'm a lover of FASERIP, but I'm aware it's not everyone's cup of tea. That said, it sounds like you're taking the best of both worlds (multiverses?) so count me excited to learn more!

  4. Just off the top of my head I don;t see much that's transferable between the two but I sort of see where you're going. I'm curious to see what you do with it.

  5. I'm curious, however. Why did you pick Marvel/FASERIP over some other games out there?