Anyone tried FASERIP?


log in or register to remove this ad

TheHand

Adventurer
I was poking around DriveThruRPG and came across FASERIP. Has anyone given it a try? How close does it come to the old TSR Marvel Superheroes RPG from the 80s?
I have a nostalgic fondness for the old MSH 80's game, though I would personally write a lot of tweaks to the system if I were to run it today.

As far as your question goes, I'm not that familiar with this particular "FASERIP" clone, but skimming through it, the core engine more or less looks the same. A few details got changed, such as they changed the names of the original ranks (such as 'Decent' instead of 'Good', or 'World Class' instead of Remarkable) and the chart on the back cover uses a much more muted color scheme than the original. It looks like they may have tried to clean up the skill system a little, but all in all, it seems pretty much the same... even down to random charts to determine super powers!
 




Bayushi_seikuro

Adventurer
One thing I loved in FASERIP was the karma system for gaining and losing karma. If you kill, you lose ALL Karma unless it gets revealed you killed an android or some weird Marvelism - and they talked about having a team pool to offset Wolverine, for example. The other X-men soaked up his Karma penalties.
 


MGibster

Legend
One thing I loved in FASERIP was the karma system for gaining and losing karma. If you kill, you lose ALL Karma unless it gets revealed you killed an android or some weird Marvelism - and they talked about having a team pool to offset Wolverine, for example. The other X-men soaked up his Karma penalties.
We often wondered how the hell Punisher had any Karma. I think "mysterious" deaths caused you to lose half your Karma, but most of Punisher's were very sterious.
 




Well, for one thing, the Punisher wasn't a hero, and, IIRC, villains had different Karma rules.
Digging around on the internet, I found a PDF of the MSH Basic set published in 1984 and the Advanced set published in 1986. Punisher was a hero available for play in the Basic set, but I think they realized how poorly that concept worked for the game because he wasn't an option in the Advanced set (or at least wasn't in the boxed set books).

I wonder how many print runs the Advanced set had. I bought a copy at a Waldenbooks in 1993 or so, so I wonder how long that thing had been sitting on the shelf by that point especially given what we know now about TSR in those days.
 

I once rolled up a Normal Human that had one power - Alter Ego. Literally all I could do was turn from one regular guy into a different regular guy.

And yet it was kinda fun to play outside of combat.
I had a lot of fun just creating characters using the random tables to see what I'd get. There was a ton of flexibility in what the powers actually did, but as Umbran said it was pretty much impossible to run a balanced game. You pretty much had to create teams of villains with specific heroes in mind for who should fight each villain. It was still fun despite the flaws.
 

billd91

Not your screen monkey (he/him)
I had a lot of fun just creating characters using the random tables to see what I'd get. There was a ton of flexibility in what the powers actually did, but as Umbran said it was pretty much impossible to run a balanced game. You pretty much had to create teams of villains with specific heroes in mind for who should fight each villain. It was still fun despite the flaws.
That’s not uncommon for most superhero games given the breadth of power capabilities, even if built on a balanced point-based system.
 

Alzrius

The EN World kitten
We often wondered how the hell Punisher had any Karma. I think "mysterious" deaths caused you to lose half your Karma, but most of Punisher's were very sterious.
To quote Steven E. Schend from "The Marvel-Phile" column in Dragon #190 (February, 1993):

How can people like assassins gain Karma? If Karma is a reflection of a hero's status compared to the ideal hero, what if a hero doesn't care about his status? The Punisher and Wolverine certainly have no compunctions against killing. I realize that this is against the heroic nature of the game, but these people do kill. How is this handled within the game?

This has always been a sticky question to address, given the rise in vengeful, violent heroes in both the comics and other media. The answers are direct interpretations of the game rules on these matters. Keep in mind that any Judge can change these stipulations to suit the type of game they play; TSR and the MSH game will always rule against killer heroes.

Assassins in the MSH game are, by definition, villains; their crimes bring them as much Karma as heroes get for stopping the same crimes. However, villains lose only 30 Karma for killing people. The Karma gained for committing a violent crime (such as murder) is negated by the 30-point loss, and they gain zero Karma for their actions, Assassins, therefore, must gain their Karma at tasks other than killing. Characters like the Red Skull lose Karma by the ton for killing underlings, but they gain Karma in many other evil ways and these killings promote fear (and negative Popularity).

If a hero doesn't care about his status as an ideal hero, he just doesn't have the Karma to spend like other heroes. Heroes who kill (Wolverine, Punisher, Devil Slayer) gain Karma normally with many actions, but lose it all immediately upon killing. Since they don't uphold the strict ideals of the heroic tradition to protect life, they don't get the bonuses to excel at their heroic duties (Karma points). The lack of Karma also prevents new Power Stunts from being developed or new equipment from being procured; when was the last time you saw Wolverine or the Punisher perform something totally new and unexpected?
 

MGibster

Legend
To quote Steven E. Schend from "The Marvel-Phile" column in Dragon #190 (February, 1993):
I think I pretty much stopped playing Marvel around 1990-1991 at the latest. This thread got me to thinking about how MSH would have responded the the "EXTREME-TO-THE-MAX" comics that became more common in the 90s and your quote gives me some insight into that. They really missed an opportunity to come up with a power stunt based on the number of pouches on a hero's costume though.
 

timbannock

Adventurer
I was poking around DriveThruRPG and came across FASERIP. Has anyone given it a try? How close does it come to the old TSR Marvel Superheroes RPG from the 80s?
Own it, played it, and used it as a starting point for my very own retroclone, Astonishing Super Heroes. Here are my thoughts on FASERIP:

It's great, overall. There's definitely a sense of "re-balancing" but more so a lot of "standardizing" of how powers work. But the with the clearly spelled out modifications listed with every power, it really does an excellent and comprehensive job of being a better "all-in-one" package for superhero character building than the original TSR MSH game was, in any of its forms. I think there's a ton of legitimate nostalgia for books like MSH's Ultimate Powers, but have you ever read it and tried to run any of it by RAW? It's a nightmare! And FASERIP very succinctly solves a lot of that. Lots of quality of life improvements throughout, really.

A great point about the game is that the character generation system is quite a bit different from MSH...but the two systems are so compatible, that it's incredibly easy to just choose whatever you like best (the random methods from MSH Basic Set, the more involved versions in the Advanced sets) and just know that you have to dig into a little more customization during power selection/creation in FASERIP, but that extra work isn't much, and is well worth it for ease of use.

I used FASERIP as the basis for mine for a reason: it's solid. It standardizes stuff. It's overall really good. It's very complete! I created my own because I saw some opportunities to streamline even further, and a couple places where I could get just a teensy bit closer to MSH's Basic Set in terms of language. Plus I wanted to completely remove the Karma system to allow for a more customizable modern-day superhero/antihero approach, if people wanted to play The Punisher or Wolverine and the like. I think I did some cool stuff, and made defensive actions a bit more logical, but I also failed at keeping it all contained to a single book, so I think that's where FASERIP really wins out, even over the original MSH game.
 



Yeah, I cannot speak to the clone, but the original was a blast.

The original is not for people who give a hoot about balance.
So I finally had some time to read through the rules further and they seem to have addressed the major issues with imbalance in the original. Instead of rolling each stat randomly which as we know produced a wide range of power levels, the GM sets the baseline power level for the overall campaign and you roll to apply 3 +1 modifiers and 3 -1 modifiers to your primary stats.

For selecting your powers, you get 8 rolls on the table to select a power and at the end you can elect to trade in powers you don't want for skills, contacts, or wealth/rep increases. All of your powers are at that baseline campaign level -1, with options to get limited bonuses. The end result is a much more balanced game. I'm going to give running a session a try with a few people from my D&D table down the road to see how it actually plays out.

Edit: They also clearly label a few powers as being potentially problematic, so the GM can decide not to use them. An example is Dream Control because "this power can result in the player spending long periods interacting with the GM on their own, while the other players get bored."
 

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top