Wednesday, February 22, 2012
New Marvel RPG - First Look
Short Take: It's very different.
Slightly longer take: The terminology is a little confusing on my first read-through but I'm getting it. It's not a dead-simple mechanical design like Icons but it's not as complex as M&M or Champions.
Personal scale of Supers games from least to most complex:
Icons -> Marvel Super Heroes -> V&V -> Silver Age Sentinels -> M&M -> Champions
The character sheet looks about as complicated as any traditional Supers game but what's there is not the same as other games. I would describe most other super RPG's as driven by plot then settled by mechanics. This game is almost plot as mechanics. There's a lot of player control mechanics and giving and taking of dice based on weaknesses or complications or seeking an advantage or just rolling a "1" sometimes.
There are no standard attributes like Strength Dex or Con - only the stuff that is unusual is rated. That's taking a little time for me to get used to, but I think I can live with it. It is absolutely not a Simulationist game, in gamer techie terms. It is very much a storytellers game. You're not likely to see CharOp boards springing up around this game. Things are rated by die type, kind of like Savage Worlds, and you then assemble these different capabilities into a dice pool that you use to resolve your action. I've never played another game using these mechanics so it's a pretty big shift for me. I usually associate dice pools with fairly simple game mechanics like d6 Star Wars and Shadowrun but these are a level more complicated than that and at the moment less intuitive.
Final Oddity for now: There really aren't detailed rules for character creation. That's a little weird since character options are usually the heart of a Supers system. There's a short section that walks you through the structure of a character and basically says "decide what each of these things should be" but if you're looking for a long list of powers and point costs or random charts you're not going to find them here. They do give you 20+ Marvel heroes (which can be mined for power ideas) and a starting "Event" which is this game's name for a campaign, and I think it works, but I need to read through some of it again and try running it.