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Marvel to Launch Official 'MARVEL MULTIVERSE' Tabletop Role-Playing Game in 2022

Matt Forbeck announced on Twitter that he’s working on a new in-house D616 Marvel RPG due for a 2022 release! It looks like there will be an open playtest.

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What’s the D617 System? “… the all-new D616 System, an accessible and easy-to-learn system for newcomers to tabletop RPGs and a natural evolution for those familiar with the most popular tabletop role-playing games on the market. Use Might, Agility, Resilience, Vigilance, Ego, and Logic to win the day, and discover your true abilities as you face impossible odds!”


 
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Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
THE BLOODY PRESS RELEASE SAYS MARVEL ENTERTAINMENT ON IT PEOPLE!!!1!!!one!
To be fair, when I pointed out - in answer to your question about it - that the press release said you could make new characters, you said:

Umbran said:
Marketing announcements are where weasel-words go to breed. And remember how 5e was supposed to be "modular"? How well did that turn out?

So do we believe the press release or do we not believe the press release? You can choose either, which is fine, but not choose one and then yell at people for doing likewise. ;)
 

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Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
So do we believe the press release or do we not believe the press release? You can choose either, which is fine, but not choose one and then yell at people for doing likewise. ;)

So, Morrus, back before 5e came out, they said it was going to be "modular". That failed to turn out. But, nobody ever doubted that WotC was going to be the publisher. It is almost as if who is publishing it and the qualities of the unseen future work aren't comparable pieces of data. How surprising.
 
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Parmandur

Legend
So, Morrus, back before 5e came out, they said it was going to be "modular". That failed to turn out. But, nobody ever doubted that WotC was going to be the publisher. It is almost as if who is publishing it and the qualities of the unseen future work aren't comparable pieces of data. How surprising.
We're still bickering about whether they failed to ddeliver. They included optional modules that moat people don't use, that don't break the game either way, that some people feel everyone must use because the handful of tables they know use them. Mission accomplished.
 

Bardic Dave

Explorer
So, Morrus, back before 5e came out, they said it was going to be "modular". That failed to turn out. But, nobody ever doubted that WotC was going to be the publisher. It is almost as if who is publishing it and the qualities of the unseen future work aren't comparable pieces of data. How surprising.

A press release vaguely promising "modularity" (a nebulous concept that could mean a lot of different things), and a press release advertising the inclusion of character creation (a much more discrete concept–either you can create characters or you can't) are not at all comparable. I think it's pretty much a sure thing this game will include character creation if that's what they're advertising. With respect to this detail, your "weasel-words" claim feels a bit off the mark.

I think Morrus hit the nail on the head with his post though: it's asinine to defend the fact that you overlooked a detail by claiming press releases are all "weasel-words" with one breath, while chiding others for overlooking a detail from the press release with the next.

But really, could the staff please stop publicly bickering? It's a really bad look.
 

pemerton

Legend
Also saddled with the fact that you couldn't make your own characters ( a edict from Marvel)
It's very straightforward to make PCs for Marvel Heroic. I wrote up two (for my kids) in about 10 minutes each yesterday. I've designed characters using the same system for fantasy RPGing too.

You just work out what the character is able to do, and assign appropriate traits and abilities.
 

pemerton

Legend
What about characters with total regeneration? For example Wolwerine or Deadpool. Or the characters to rich, not only Tony Stark, but also the Fantastic Four or Mark Spector.

How to avoid the overpowered characters?
I think there are many solutions to these "problems" able to be learned from contemporary RPG design.

I don't specifically need random, or point buy.
I do specifically want a system that implements some balance in the game, and doesn't shift that burden entirely on the GM's shoulders making them into the villain who has to personally implement all limits. Let a system do some of that work, please.
The MHRP system does do this work: powers are scaled at d8, d10 and d12 and so you can see pretty straightforwardly whether your character is at Punisher/Captain America level, at Spidey/Power Man level, or at Thor/Hulk level. And the system itself does a pretty good job of accommodating different power levels.

I've played quite a bit of MHRP/Cortex+ Heroic, and built characters for it. The only balance concerns I've had, and they certainly weren't enough to break the game, were Wolverine being perhaps a little too good in a straightforward supers game, and Gandalf being perhaps a little too good in my LotR game.

There was a whole section on creating new Datafiles. The section mentions creating datafiles for unpublished Marvel heroes, but does not mention non-Marvel heroes. However, creating a datafile for a character published by Marvel, some other publisher, or one's own unique hero is the same process.The vast majority of people in the discussion threads on RPGNet had no problem with it. It was only a handful (maybe, slightly more) of people that were upset that random or point buy generation was not included. As to whether or not it was a user-friendly method is a separate issue (personally, I found it user-friendly except Milestones which are awkward for how my games go).
I agree with all this except the bit about Milestones. I thought they actually worked very well for a supers-style game: because they create the possibility for the players to be managing their PCs advancement, via pushing towards and/or creating their own Milestone-relevant events, somewhat independently of the fiction being created by the GM as the focus of the Action scenes. This reminded me of how, in superhero comics, the personal development often happens largely independently of whether its Electro or Arcade or Dr Doom who is this month's villain.
 

pemerton

Legend
Might ≈ Strength
Agility ≈ Dexterity
Resilience ≈ Constitution
Vigilance ≈ Wisdom (Perception)
Ego ≈ Charisma (Sense of Self)
Logic ≈ Intelligence
Yep, it's straight up renamed D&D stats.
THAT SPELL M.A.R.V.E.L.

(Sorry, it just seemed important do state the most important bit unambiguously.

EDIT: I had a further thought that it's a good thing that we don't still have a Comeliness stat, because then the seventh stat would have to be Ugliness, to spell out M.A.R.V.E.L.U.
 

pemerton

Legend
I think this is a really important point, and one that a lot of RPG and even MCU fans just can't wrap their heads around--cape comics aren't about realism, so stop complaining about Black Widow and Hawkeye being in the Avengers, or arguing about whether Batman can beat Superman in a fight. Batman can, if that's what the story is, and Black Widow can kill alien soldiers with her dual handguns because these narratives are about clashes of will, not the nuances of pistol-caliber ballistics.

Obviously porting that sort of approach to an RPG is tough, but as much as I loved Champions back in the day, I don't think quantifying all of this stuff down, and therefore making some characters utterly helpless when not beating up a mugger, is doing the cape comic genre justice.

<snip<

Pulling this sort of thing off mechanically is really tough, and while there are some cool supers games, I haven't seen a system that's made it feasible and satisfying to have a Daredevil-level PC and an Iron Man-level PC on the same team.
Marvel Heroic RP does just this, by flattening without eliminating the numerical expression of power differentials, and by given the GM an incentive to throw extra resources against the more powerful PCs.

As for balance,I had enough people with actual play experiene tell me that the system balances characters in play and works for having Hawkeye and Black Widow on a team with Thor, Iron Man and the Hulk. Similarly, I was told that a street level character could hold their own in a team-up with someone with all d12 powers in power set.
I think that last sentence is probably a bit exaggerated - I think that sort of team-up (eg Green Arrow and Green Lantern) will push the system tolerances a little bit. Most of the characters in the Annihilation book - flagged as a "cosmic" event - are markedly more powerful (in numerical terms) than most of the characters in the Civil War books. I think this would manifest itself in play, though I'll admit that I haven't tried a game with such marked power differentials.

I'm just about to finish my first mini-campaign of Marvel Heroic Roleplaying. It's fantastic. I'm a bit shocked at the criticism of it in this thread.
It's always been controversial, partly for the character build thing and partly because it's extremely non-D&D-ish in its approach to resolution and to play more generally.

However, I still want to give MHR a try (thanks to a website that discussed using the game for non-Event based games) and it the first system to which I would turn for a certain style of game/campaign depending upon the players.
I've had no trouble using the system both for supers and (taking some ideas from the Cortex Hackers' Guide) for fantasy, without using an "event" framework.

I think it's a great system, and the supers play has, for me, been very comic bookish in feel.
 


So, Morrus, back before 5e came out, they said it was going to be "modular". That failed to turn out. But, nobody ever doubted that WotC was going to be the publisher. It is almost as if who is publishing it and the qualities of the unseen future work aren't comparable pieces of data. How surprising.
Yeah, I share your concerns here.

Marvel RPGs have an interesting history. Most of them have had, for my money, excellent mechanics which were, if anything, before their time (FASERIP, MSHAG, Cortex being the ones I'm familiar with), yeah all three of them were very much focused on playing the default characters and worked well with that but increasingly less well with others. FASERIP probably did the best, for my money.

Really hoping two things with this one:

1) It has a genuinely great system, and doesn't break that trend.

2) As you say, it lets you create your own characters.

Re: 2, honestly what gives me the most hope is the blank outline character on the cover, which suggests "your character here" in a way not present in other Marvel RPGs.

The most concerning thing is that the lead developer isn't someone whose work I'm super-familiar with, except I really didn't like the system of Brave New World (or the original Mutant Chronicles). My worry is he wasn't chosen because he had some amazing vision for a Marvel RPG with a great, accessible system, but because he was experienced, and a "safe pair of hands", and Marvel execs don't give two shakes of a lamb's tail about the system because the game is going to sell based on other factors.

Glad there are two X-Men on the cover at least, so it's not some MCU-only deal. Though oh my god that is the worst Thor I've ever seen. If it wasn't for the hammer I wouldn't even have recognised him. Is it some weird-ass variant Thor, like Black Knight holding Thor's hammer or something?
 
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Greg K

Adventurer
I agree with all this except the bit about Milestones. I thought they actually worked very well for a supers-style game: because they create the possibility for the players to be managing their PCs advancement, via pushing towards and/or creating their own Milestone-relevant events, somewhat independently of the fiction being created by the GM as the focus of the Action scenes. This reminded me of how, in superhero comics, the personal development often happens largely independently of whether its Electro or Arcade or Dr Doom who is this month's villain.
I did not say they don't work well in general. I said I felt that they would not work well for the type of game that I likr to run. I like the idea behind them. However, I remember feeling they could be an issue and at the lower point range feel forced. I'd have to go back and look at Milestones and see if it jars my memory (it has been several years) and then take time to articulate my thoughts if does. However, I have a three hour final due tonight and need to finish a short paper regarding my final project which is also due tonight (yay, for being back in school :) ).
 

Greg K

Adventurer
Marvel Heroic RP does just this, by flattening without eliminating the numerical expression of power differentials, and by given the GM an
I think that last sentence is probably a bit exaggerated - I think that sort of team-up (eg Green Arrow and Green Lantern) will push the system tolerances a little bit. Most of the characters in the Annihilation book - flagged as a "cosmic" event - are markedly more powerful (in numerical terms) than most of the characters in the Civil War books. I think this would manifest itself in play, though I'll admit that I haven't tried a game with such marked power differentials.
It may have been, but that is what I was told- the lower powered characters would generate more 1s and therefore more pp which would balance them out.
Now, I never saw the Annihilation event book (nor do I have any desire to read the source material). Cosmic can mean two diffierent things in comics- cosmic scale in terms of power level or cosmic as taking place in space (ok, I guess three things if it the title or event dealswith both). I don't the people making the comment had "Cosmic" power, pretty much do all due all characters in mind or someone like either the Hulk (Strength, Durability and Stamina at Godlike level) or Thor (Godlike Strength and Stamina plus Godlike Durability and Weather Supermacy through Mjolnir) when they made their comments.
 

It's been interesting to read everyone's thoughts on the various Marvel systems and some of the things that had me fired up have been addressed already but there were a couple of points I wanted to make:
  • Matt Forbeck has worked on a ton of games so I am 100% sure he's not going to see this as a chance to being back the Brave New World mechanics and finally get them the presentation they deserve 😋
  • I think it's extremely unlikely we will see an actual d16 used. I'd expect a d20 and d6's, maybe d10's - I assume the name is a joke and a unique, trademark-friendly identifier.
  • It's clearly meant to be friendly to 5E players so I wouldn't expect radical innovation here but I would be happy to be surprised.
  • The paid playtest thing ... that's interesting. We've seen it with Pathfinder, sure, and with FFG Star Wars but it's odd that a big non-RPG company is taking that approach. Looks like the playtest starts in 2022 so we won't see a finished game until 2023. Well, it should be an interesting run.
 

Greg K

Adventurer
The MHRP system does do this work: powers are scaled at d8, d10 and d12 and so you can see pretty straightforwardly whether your character is at Punisher/Captain America level, at Spidey/Power Man level, or at Thor/Hulk level. And the system itself does a pretty good job of accommodating different power levels.
As a fan of 70's and early 80's Marvel, I do miss the level between Spidey/Powerman and Thor/Hulk in which Iron Man, Rogue, and a few others fell.
 

I think it's extremely unlikely we will see an actual d16 used. I'd expect a d20 and d6's, maybe d10's - I assume the name is a joke and a unique, trademark-friendly identifier.
Be shocked if a d20 is used. It's practically a D&D trademark and I don't think it's actually helpful as a part of most RPG design. Of course I'd die of shock if an actual d16 was used (I do have one!). Fully expecting d6s and d10s here.
It's clearly meant to be friendly to 5E players so I wouldn't expect radical innovation here but I would be happy to be surprised.
it doesn't need to be radical, but hopefully it's a bit tighter and more modern in its general design than 5E is outside of combat. I expect combat will have a fairly traditional action-order approach rather than a more narrative "DM says who goes" deal like PtbA/Resistance/etc.
 

Parmandur

Legend
Be shocked if a d20 is used. It's practically a D&D trademark and I don't think it's actually helpful as a part of most RPG design. Of course I'd die of shock if an actual d16 was used (I do have one!). Fully expecting d6s and d10s here.

it doesn't need to be radical, but hopefully it's a bit tighter and more modern in its general design than 5E is outside of combat. I expect combat will have a fairly traditional action-order approach rather than a more narrative "DM says who goes" deal like PtbA/Resistance/etc.
The main reason to think dice like a d20 would be ysed is that they sell those duce sets in Walmart and Target, so they are very, very widely available.
 

pemerton

Legend
I wasn't going to reply because you have papers to write! But you've prompted me to in any event.

Now, I never saw the Annihilation event book (nor do I have any desire to read the source material). Cosmic can mean two diffierent things in comics- cosmic scale in terms of power level or cosmic as taking place in space (ok, I guess three things if it the title or event dealswith both). I don't the people making the comment had "Cosmic" power, pretty much do all due all characters in mind or someone like either the Hulk (Strength, Durability and Stamina at Godlike level) or Thor (Godlike Strength and Stamina plus Godlike Durability and Weather Supermacy through Mjolnir) when they made their comments.
There are a couple of typos that mean I'm not following this 100%. But many of the characters in Annihilation have power sets with multiple d12s. I think this would be noticeable in play alongside (say) Captain America.

that is what I was told- the lower powered characters would generate more 1s and therefore more pp which would balance them out.
Yep, that's true. It's not enough on its own - you also need the GM to throw the Doom Pool dice generated by those 1s at the more powerful PCs. In my experience it took a couple of sessions to start to get a feel for Doom Pool dynamics, and it's not a perfect mechanic, but I quite like it.

But I think a pool with d12s in it is pretty strong, and so will put some pressure on the balance between PCs. I'm conjecturing a bit when I say I don't think it would be fatal in any way, but I think it might be noticed in play. The weaker PCs, for instance, might start to focus more on establishing assets that then assist the stronger PC in actually delivering the 12+ result that saves the day.

As a fan of 70's and early 80's Marvel, I do miss the level between Spidey/Powerman and Thor/Hulk in which Iron Man, Rogue, and a few others fell.
One way the system can pick that up is via having multiple powersets, which therefore allows more dice in the pool. Eg in our supers game one player played Nightcrawler (with one power set), one Iceman (likewise with one power set) and another War Machine (with two power sets, one for his armour and one for his weapons).
 

Zaukrie

New Publisher
Putting aside mechanics......what kind of adventures happen in super hero games? How do you keep them from being all powerful all the time? I've never played a super hero game.....and am curious what kinds of stories people ran.
 

I wonder about if the 616 system will try to harness the synergy of popularity of the d20 system. Most of newbie players only want to learn the system of their favorite or first game. If the 616 system is not enough good, then the players will buy the books for the fluff/lore/blackground, and this is a very rich, but not the crunch. In the internet age lot of players would rather to read the fandom wikis.

I think Marvel is going to release, or they should, something like a DM Guild where 3PPs and players can publish their own ideas, for example an alternate timeline where the superheroes appeared in the 30's years and now the heroes are the third generation (but thanks high advanced science and the discovered secret of the eternal youth humans can be live more time. The sad part is the new generations can't find the better jobs because they are too many veterans who don't retire but to fund their own business).

If the 616 system is too close to d20 system then others, for example Paizo, could publish their own clone.

The 616 system has to show or offer something more interesting than the system of Mutants & Masterminds.

In the past I suggest a special leveling-up with two pillars for a d20 superheroes. One of the pillars would be the classic "+hit points, +bonus attack and bonus save check", and the second pillar is all the learn things but not linked with the battlefield, for example languanges, sciences, driving vehicles. This could allow games where the PCs are too powerful, and then one of the pillars would be "frozen", but the XPs rewards would be used for the second pillar.
 

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