Marvel Heroic Roleplaying Review of Marvel Heroic Roleplaying Basic Game by Margaret Weis Productions - Page 3




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  1. #21
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    If you mean Mutants and Masterminds that's just opinion on the whole "best supers game ever" bit...

    I am glad Marvel went a different route and this version of Cortex+ is the most versatile yet. If anybody here doesn't think this game has support from fans go to RPG.net and look for the thread Lost Files of Marvel... hundreds of fan made characters, including like 4 versions of Batman I think... and look for Claire Redfields Marvel threads Maximum Wesker, which has Spiderman vs. Wesker (Resident Evil) and her Marvel vs. Capcom thread.

    I would post links but I am on my phone so can't do links.

    Also check out exploring-infinity.com blog (I think I spelled it right) for more links to Marvel awesomeness...

 

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    I'm pretty sure that "world's best superhero rpg" was green ronin's slogan for m&m (or something close to it). I guess what I don't understand is why a purely-numbers based branding guy would go with a relative unknown system (which is a little too abstract IMHO ) versus M&M when m&m clearly has bigger sales numbers . Seems like bad business.

    I don't care for the cortex+ system on initial reading, but this review cemented my uninterest in this game because of the poor support for the gm/watcher. I'm a gm first, and I don't much care for canned adventures. This game will have to do quite a lot for custom scenarios and provide me some good guidelines for creating /converting marvel's obscure characters before it gets any of my money
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  • #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shoe View Post
    I'm pretty sure that "world's best superhero rpg" was green ronin's slogan for m&m (or something close to it). I guess what I don't understand is why a purely-numbers based branding guy would go with a relative unknown system (which is a little too abstract IMHO ) versus M&M when m&m clearly has bigger sales numbers . Seems like bad business.

    I don't care for the cortex+ system on initial reading, but this review cemented my uninterest in this game because of the poor support for the gm/watcher. I'm a gm first, and I don't much care for canned adventures. This game will have to do quite a lot for custom scenarios and provide me some good guidelines for creating /converting marvel's obscure characters before it gets any of my money
    Well if you don't like Cortex+ games then you might not like MHR, but this review, like many I have read... was written from a certain perspective of complete misunderstanding of the game itself...

    The biggest glaring mistake is it saying there is no character creation, which the book has 8 pages of making your own character. The second is it saying the book doesn't explain how to play or what to roll when the book goes into incredible detail Twice on what the Datafile IS and how it works... what your Affiliation is, Distinctions, Power Sets, and Specialties and how each function.

    On page OM4 it goes over the Captain Americas Datafile and each section is highlighter and explained. On page 5 it goes over what you can add into a Dice Pool with a sidebar showing you the list... One Affiliation Die, one Distinction, One from each Power Set, one Specialty, One Asset, One Stress Die or One Compilation Die...

    The key to understanding this game is that it is designed around comic book action and stories... and this game does it superbly. Each time you act you explain what. You are doing and how and Then look on your datafile and pick the dice that apply. Then Roll. Pick two dice, add together and pick a third as your Effect Die. The opposition then reacts by describing how they react and rolls dice, picks two and adds together and an Effect Die. If Reaction rolls higher they avoided the Action... if not, the person doing the Action can apply his Effect Die in many ways...

    Do I cause Stress... Do I create a Complication for the target so my teammates can use that. Complication Die in their die rolls... or do I create an Asset? You mean as a Player I get to choose HOW my Action applies to the scene and give it a mechanical result and not just rely on the GM deciding for me after I roll... That's really cool.

    On page 11 it goes into detail on Plot Points, the fuel of the game so to speak... And how you can spend them.

    Page 14 goes into the Doom Pool, The Watchers special dice pool that is one of the coolest elements of this game period and really sets Marvel HR apart from the rest. It represents not just extra dice the Watcher could add to a die roll but also like the ever growing danger of what the heroes will be facing. It is to the Watcher what Plot Points are to Players.

    When you add Milestones into the mix, Milestones being major decision points and personal story arcs for your character, goals or internal complications that the character has to deal with... and you have Distinctions which are basically the same as Aspects in FATE games, personality traits, defining quirks, professional job, catchphrases, like Iron Man's Billionaire Playboy or Things It's Clobberin' Time... put these two together you have a real, simple, fun in game mechanic that fuels Roleplaying your character... and working through Milestones is how you get XP, so yes you have to roleplay to gain XP.

    How XP works in this game is another part of the game that is done on a different paradigm, and I think they should have used a different term than XP just to avoid this confusion... but basically XP is used to "buy" character upgrades during the Event in question... but even the sidebar on page 109 goes into the difference of Temporary vs. Permanent things that come in the expenditure of XP's and how to work with them between Events if you want to use the same character from Event to Event.

    XP can be used towards things like changing a Distinction or switching Affiliations to gaining a new Specialty or adding a new SFX to a Power Set, or even changing a Power Set completely... or Unlocking Event Resources which can become available through the combination of meeting certain Event results and completing Event Milestones, so for example you worked with SHIELD in an Event and helped them deal with a crisis that saved them and you have the XP you could spend some to maybe get to use a SHIELD transport... or maybe become an official member of SHIELD itself.

    IMO this is the greatest thing about the game... as a player I get some narrative control on how my character changes during the Event by this unique use of XP where I can spend 10 XP and declare that I do work for SHIELD... If that is possible through the Event... and become an agent and not just have to rely on GM allowing it.

    It's a really cool, really fun game. it is also very simple and there is rarely any book lookup... especially when every player has a Hero Cheatsheet... then everything you need to know is on your Datafile.

  • #24
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    While that follow up is most appreciative and quite informative, it didn't really address my main concern: gm/watcher resources. It seems that few if any villain data files were provided, an it also seems (from the original review) that there are very few rules on how heroes interact with the world around them, as well as almost no help learning to build fair/challenging encounters. Was the review inaccurate in this front as well?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shoe View Post
    While that follow up is most appreciative and quite informative, it didn't really address my main concern: gm/watcher resources. It seems that few if any villain data files were provided, an it also seems (from the original review) that there are very few rules on how heroes interact with the world around them, as well as almost no help learning to build fair/challenging encounters. Was the review inaccurate in this front as well?
    In all honesty, in a way, the wonderful folks that wrote this game did drop the ball on that yes...

    It does go over how Events work, the Event format, Event Milestones and a touch on using XP within an Event but if they did not include Breakout, the Mini-Event, then yes this gamewould have seriously been hampered.

    There are a few pages that cover Watcher Characters, and basically Watcher characters come in a few varieties... Main Villains, that get a full Datafile like Heroes... Minor Villains, which get condensed Datafiles (basically just give them what they NEED for the scene)...Mobs, a single Datafile representing large groups of mooks, and Large Threats, a single Datafile representing things like a Tyranosaurous Rex (threats that would take a group to deal with).

    In the Breakout Event there are examples of all this... and it has 48 Watcher characters that the Watcher can choose to use depending on how the Event plays out. Most of them are here to show off how versatile and simple they are. 49 if you include the Sentinel stats on page OM49.

    So for any review to say this game has NO Watcher resources to work with would be another big mistake... there is an entire adventure in here with many possible villains to use, and the 23 Hero Datafiles...

    I guess its just a perspective thing... this game is different. IMO I feel there are more Watcher resources than Mutants and Masterminds 3e has GM resources on how to run the game. Thats just me. Once you understand how Marvel works, that every action a player taakes is their Panel action within the Scene, and every Scene is part of the Act in the Event... and every Scene should have a goal, with its own Scene Distinctions to add flavor, and when somebody Acts they have to state the Intention of their Action so the opposition can clearly React...

    All this is specifically laid out in the book.

    I would say this game has Watcher resources... its just laid out throughout the rules and not separated in their own "Being a Watcher" chapter.

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    I love the game but I have to echo @Felon 's complaints about the website. The flow is very poor. You arrive, click on the giant Marvel banner and get sent to a page that has:

    a link to buy the book.
    a link to find a preferred retailer.
    a link to @Cam Banks 's latest blog post, about why the game is Event-centric.
    some "buzz" links which are limited to: pre-order Civil War, preview #3, and "when will Marvel arrive?"

    What is it? How does it play? What do you do with it? It really seems like there should be some information there instead of some links. Why am I buying it?

    And then there's the rest. Where are links to the other previews? Cam's blog entries? (which you can access by clicking on his name, but that's not obvious IMO) The downloadable content? You have to go down to the very bottom of the page to the generic list of links in the corner and click "Downloads" for that. There's nothing on the Marvel page itself. And there's no Downloads tab/button up top.

    A link to the Marvel forums would be useful to place on the Marvel page, as well, I think, but there is a "Forums" tab/button up top so they're not hard to find.
    Last edited by Spatula; Friday, 18th May, 2012 at 09:00 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shoe View Post
    While that follow up is most appreciative and quite informative, it didn't really address my main concern: gm/watcher resources. It seems that few if any villain data files were provided, an it also seems (from the original review) that there are very few rules on how heroes interact with the world around them, as well as almost no help learning to build fair/challenging encounters. Was the review inaccurate in this front as well?
    There's I think 41 super villains in the book, plus a bunch of other stuff (SHIELD agents, dinosaurs, Sentinels, etc.). A lot of the villains are C-listers, because they're tied to the Breakout adventure, but there are some big names in there.

    I dunno what rules you need for the heroes to interact with the world. There's rules for adjucating actions... I guess I don't understand this complaint.

    There's no sort of "challenge rating" or anything. On the one hand, I would really appreciate something like that. On the other, I don't see how that sort of thing is possible in a supers game. If you're Daredevil, facing the Hulk is terrifying. If you're Professor X... not so much. If you're facing Carnage or Venom and you're the Human Torch or Banshee, you're in good shape. If you're Spider-Man, you're going to have a tougher time of it, unless you can figure out how to exploit their vulnerabilities from the scenery. How do you rate that sort of interplay?

    The starting adventure does give you guidelines for how many heroes are good for an encounter and offers lots of suggestions for ramping up the difficulty if things are too easy.

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    meh.
    Last edited by Spatula; Saturday, 19th May, 2012 at 12:34 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stacie GmrGrl View Post
    The key to understanding this game is that it is designed around comic book action and stories... and this game does it superbly. Each time you act you explain what. You are doing and how and Then look on your datafile and pick the dice that apply. Then Roll. Pick two dice, add together and pick a third as your Effect Die. The opposition then reacts by describing how they react and rolls dice, picks two and adds together and an Effect Die. If Reaction rolls higher they avoided the Action... if not, the person doing the Action can apply his Effect Die in many ways...

    Do I cause Stress... Do I create a Complication for the target so my teammates can use that. Complication Die in their die rolls... or do I create an Asset? You mean as a Player I get to choose HOW my Action applies to the scene and give it a mechanical result and not just rely on the GM deciding for me after I roll... That's really cool.
    Thanks for the post. You've convinced me. I just bought a copy off of Amazon. Hope it's everything it's been cracked up to be.

    I adored Mutants & Masterminds for a while, but it wound up falling into the same trap as the superhero games that came before it. It has a really great character generation system, but no interesting or dynamic gameplay. At a demo at DragonCon, me and a friend playtested the new DC version using Martian Manhunter and Green Lantern. Imagine that combination of abilities. It should give rise to an endless array of tactics. Instead, we just basically zeroed in on the heaviest-hitting power we had and used it pretty much every turn. Even when describing what we're trying to do to the GM, he's just pointing out that it's more-or-less putting different window-dressing on the same general power (Move Object, for instance). And if you try to do anything too out there, then just spend a Hero point and the DM fiats the result.

    So, I came to realize that M&M is basically just Golden Axe distilled into an RPG. You hammer the ATTACK button repeatedly, and if you ever feel really squeezed, you can hit the MAGIC button (i.e. spend a Hero point). Eventually someone flubs a soak roll and they go down. And that's all there is too it. Maybe I'm just too much of a right-brained type, but that seems to lack depth.

    One of the basic presumptions in M&M, Champions, TSR Marvel, and pretty much every other game I've played is that every character must have some kind of strong persistent, passive defense. The end result is that low-powered attacks simply pancake uselessly. If all you do in one of these games is hammer away, then it's dumb to bother having a small hammer. Play Hulk, not Daredevil.

    If you look at an old Avengers comic book--say, fighting Graviton or Magneto or Count Nefaria--you'll find that the lower-power characters are able to contribute against a powerhouse villain, even if it's just the wasp zapping the villain in his eyes to blind him for a second, or Cap getting a villain to waste time and energy zapping his shield. That distracts the villain, put him off-guard, and lets the heavyweight heroes get in a solid hit.

    What I'm taking from Stacie is that this version of Marvel Supers actually gets it. Superhero games aren't all about character design. Fingers crossed.
    Last edited by Felon; Saturday, 19th May, 2012 at 07:00 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cam Banks View Post
    What else would you like to see on our site, Felon? We do a great deal of social network communication thru our Facebook page, Twitter, and with my own accounts in those places, as well as host our own forums. I've also started up a blog on the MWP site. Always keen to hear other suggestions.
    Thanks for asking.

    Look at Stacie's post. She did more to sell a copy of the game to me than anything else I've read.

    Here are the main things the site should do to entice readers and potential customers:
    • State the design goals. What makes this game special or different from other superhero RPG's? I already own superhero games. Why do I want this one? The Marvel brand is a major plus (mainly because Marvel has a great cast of villains), but that's not really enough.
    • Give a basic overview of the core concepts. Post that image of Cap Stacie mentioned.
    • Realizing that the gaming audience is inherently divided between left-brained and right-brained gamers, target both or either demographic. Is it a system that relies heavily on improvisation, abstraction, and fiat? Is it a crunch system that focuses on tactical gameplay? A lot of people will assume one or the other until they are told otherwise.
    • Maintain an archive. Why can't I find links to the previous design diaries and preview articles?


    Btw, I sure hope there's a villain book on the way real soon. I mean, right now it's like having D&D without a Monster Manual.
    Last edited by Felon; Sunday, 20th May, 2012 at 07:08 AM.
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