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More Details From Marvel RPG Writer

Matt Forbeck, the writer of the upcoming official Marvel Multiverse RPG, talked a little more about the game on his blog.


He confirms that you can create your own characters, as well as play existing Marvel characters. The last Marvel game was the 2012 award-winning Marvel Heroic Roleplaying by Cam Banks and Rob Donoghue, powered by Cortex Plus. Prior to that was Jeff Grub's 1984 Marvel Super Heroes (known as FASERIP due its its attributes of Fighting, Agility, Strength... etc.), and a couple of other games.

The current game borrows that latter idea, with MARVEL standing for the abilities of Might, Agility, Resilience, Vigilance, Ego, and Logic.

Read more from Matt Forbeck at the link below!


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Russ Morrissey

Russ Morrissey

I think that Marvel and Conan* are the only ones with five (if one includes the forthcoming work for Marvel.) The Lord of the Rings has had four (MERP, Decipher, the One Ring, Adventures in Middle Earth), as has Traveller's Third Imperium (various editions of Traveller**, HERO license, GURPS license, d20 License.)

*Conan: AD&D adventures, TSR game, GURPS license, Mongoose d20, Modiphius 2d20.
** If you consider some of these to be separate lines that might tie with Star Trek.
You missed ICE's Lord of the Rings Adventure Game which was a 2d6 based engine, only vaguely related to MERP.

So...
D&D (unofficial, but OE D&D got sued successfully and had to "de-Tolkien" for 1976 and later printings.)
ICE's Middle Earth Role Playing, aka "Rolemaster Light" and "MERP". d100+Mods. 2 editions of it, too.
ICE's Lord of the Rings Adventure Game. This is a 2d6 rules light offering.
Decipher's Lord of the Rings Roleplaying Game, a 2d6 system compatible with their Star Trek game.
Cubicle 7's The One Ring. Really, Francesco Napolitano's work, sold via C7, under sublicense.
C7's Adventures in Middle Earth, a D&D 5E variant, using the same setting materials as TOR.
It's going into Free League's The One Ring, 2nd Edition. Should be aiming for the printers in a month or two.
Whether your count D&D or not is entirely a point of view issue.
Unlicensed but clearly directly derived: Against the Darkmaster, which is a MERP pseudoclone, Middle Earth Adventure Game, a fan rework of LOTRAG, and Midnight, A "what if Sauron Won?" setting.

Star Wars... WEG had 3 editions (1e, 2e, 2eRE) and 1e had, essentially, 2 sub-editions by rules expansion releases. Plus Star Wars Live Action, a set of LARP rules from the 2eRE era, but the rules can easily be used for tabletop.
TSR had 3 editions (SW d20, SW d20 revised, SW Saga Edition)
FFG has one edition, but in 3 corebooks, each slightly tailored.
SO, 6 editions, and depending upon whom one asks, 3, 4, 5, 6, or 7 rulesets.

Star Trek has...
Enterprise (Licensed in Japan. Never sold officially outside. Very minimalist OSRish rules, but it was from back when that was still considered relatively recent)
Heritage Star Trek (released in a magazine. Mechanics are similar but less extensive than Enterprise. Essentially, rules for a barfight set on the bridge.)
FASA Trek - 2 editions, mostly intercompatible. Star Trek: The Roleplaying Game.
Task Force Games's Prime Directive RPG, released under a sublicense from Franz Joseph, still available due to Paramount losing to ADB & FJD.
Last Unicorn's Star Trek RPGs (TNG, DS9, and TOS cores.) Star Trek the Next Generation RPG, Deep Space 9 RPG, Star Trek The Original Series Role Playing Game.)
Decipher's Star Trek the Roleplaying Game. Better known as D-Trek.
ADB's GURPS: Prime Directive, Prime Directive d20, and Prime Directive D20M: all under the same license as the original Prime Directive. 2nd editions for two of those
Modiphius' Star Trek Adventures. Second Core is out, too, Star Trek Adventures: Klingon Core Rulebook.
10 rulesets, 14 rules editions, 3 alternate cores... 17 different rulebooks. Too many knockoffs to get more than mention.

Both Trek and Middle Earth have more editions/rulesets than Marvel's now 6.... and by named editions, so also does Star Wars.
 

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The Star Fleet Universe is a fascinating edge case in licensing. Roddenberry was very laid back about fan works between the end of the original series and the start of Next Generation. When Star Fleet Battles and Star Fleet Technical Manual came out, they got a tacit because elements of those games were incorporated in various novels and such. The timeline has since diverged significantly from later Trek media, which was an argument why they didn't have to stop production when Paramount killed a ton of licensed products in the early 90s. So it exists as a weird alternate universe licensee, so long as they don't mention any characters from the show.
Actually, FJD didn't deal with Roddenberry. Roddenberry blew off Mr. Schnaubelt. Lucille Ball, however, did not. And signed the license for FJD. FJD then sublicensed Lou Zocchi (SFBM), and shortly after, Steven V Cole (SFB).
In the late 1980's, when FASA overstepped their license, it was pointed out that SFB also was stepping on Paramount's rights. Paramount lost. See the last four issues of TFG's Nexus Magazine, which I are being rereleased in PDF; I'm not certain those issues are out yet.
Paramount lost, and was forced by the California courts to license ADB... but only to the materials from FJD's works, and their extrapolations from it.
 





It is how he did it in Brave New World, though. You had power packages like "Flyer" and "Speedster" and (IIRC) "Brick".
That's definitely probably the way to do superheroes with classes. The problem, as alluded to earlier by other folks, is that approach can't capture the whole range of superhero power-sets without other add-ons, like the ability to take abilities outside your set or feat packages or something.

It's a lot easier to make things a la carte, even if it's most optimal to link them all together with feat trees or other pre-requisites. (The ancillary abilities of DC's speedsters, for instance, like vibrating through objects or creating tornadoes with their primary power set, would be an awkward fit for someone who's primary ability was being a brawler.)
 


Parmandur

Legend
That's definitely probably the way to do superheroes with classes. The problem, as alluded to earlier by other folks, is that approach can't capture the whole range of superhero power-sets without other add-ons, like the ability to take abilities outside your set or feat packages or something.

It's a lot easier to make things a la carte, even if it's most optimal to link them all together with feat trees or other pre-requisites. (The ancillary abilities of DC's speedsters, for instance, like vibrating through objects or creating tornadoes with their primary power set, would be an awkward fit for someone who's primary ability was being a brawler.)
It wouldn't surprise me if we see something like what you describe in the second paragraph: a Class system with Talent trees.

Given that Forbeck and the press release felt the need to call back to Dungeons & Dragons circuitously, it seems plausible that he's looking to the market leader for ideas. Level and Class has worked well for Fantasy, and I would be very interested to see that approach with Marvel characters.
 

Greg K

Adventurer
It wouldn't surprise me if we see something like what you describe in the second paragraph: a Class system with Talent trees.

Given that Forbeck and the press release felt the need to call back to Dungeons & Dragons circuitously, it seems plausible that he's looking to the market leader for ideas. Level and Class has worked well for Fantasy, and I would be very interested to see that approach with Marvel characters.
I never want see a class/level system for Marvel. D&D style class/level systems have been done several times for supers. Three of the most prominent have been Heroes Unlimited (Palladium), Foundation: A World in Black and White (Nightshift Games) using 3e SRD, and Vigilance (RPGObjects) for d20 Modern. It has been awful every time for handling supers. Vigilace, probably, did as good a job as can be done with D&D style class/level for supers and still failed (and I say this as someone that like the author's work for d20M and considered his work to better than the d20M genee material put out by WOTC).
 
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It wouldn't surprise me if we see something like what you describe in the second paragraph: a Class system with Talent trees.

Given that Forbeck and the press release felt the need to call back to Dungeons & Dragons circuitously, it seems plausible that he's looking to the market leader for ideas. Level and Class has worked well for Fantasy, and I would be very interested to see that approach with Marvel characters.
I've seen an awful lot of Supers RPGs over the years, and the ones which have attempted to use fixed classes have pretty much all been disasters, because tons of comics characters just aren't going to comfortably fit in any class, and you end up either having tons of classes with tons of overlap, or like three classes which still manage to pointlessly restrict you and prevent you from replicating comic book characters.

Levels are even worse, if done in any traditional way.

Level and class has absolutely not "worked well for fantasy", by the way. That's simply not true. Class works well for fantasy, but D&D's level system is pretty godawful for most fantasy settings and characters. D&D is it's own subgenre, significantly deviant from any other kind of fantasy.

You might say "Well D&D is successful!!!!", and yeah, it is, because it's from 1974, and people who play D&D generally want to play D&D. But people coming to a Marvel game will often want to play Marvel characters, and class and level aren't going to work well for that, period.
 

You might say "Well D&D is successful!!!!", and yeah, it is, because it's from 1974, and people who play D&D generally want to play D&D. But people coming to a Marvel game will often want to play Marvel characters, and class and level aren't going to work well for that, period.
3E's 20th level commoners are a great example of how silly it gets, along with designers (and DMs) thinking that anyone important has to have high levels in pretty much every version of D&D.
 

Parmandur

Legend
I've seen an awful lot of Supers RPGs over the years, and the ones which have attempted to use fixed classes have pretty much all been disasters, because tons of comics characters just aren't going to comfortably fit in any class, and you end up either having tons of classes with tons of overlap, or like three classes which still manage to pointlessly restrict you and prevent you from replicating comic book characters.

Levels are even worse, if done in any traditional way.

Level and class has absolutely not "worked well for fantasy", by the way. That's simply not true. Class works well for fantasy, but D&D's level system is pretty godawful for most fantasy settings and characters. D&D is it's own subgenre, significantly deviant from any other kind of fantasy.

You might say "Well D&D is successful!!!!", and yeah, it is, because it's from 1974, and people who play D&D generally want to play D&D. But people coming to a Marvel game will often want to play Marvel characters, and class and level aren't going to work well for that, period.
Well, well see what they do here.
 

Greg K

Adventurer
Level and class has absolutely not "worked well for fantasy", by the way. That's simply not true. Class works well for fantasy, but D&D's level system is pretty godawful for most fantasy settings and characters. D&D is it's own subgenre, significantly deviant from any other kind of fantasy.
Agreed. D&D levels (and I would argue classes) are awful for most fantasy settings and characters. The combination of class/level is especially awful for licensed characters and, especially, fails for supers for reasons you mentioned in your orignal reply
 


Parmandur

Legend
Agreed. D&D levels (and I would argue classes) are awful for most fantasy settings and characters. The combination of class/level is especially awful for licensed characters and, especially, fails for supers for reasons you mentioned in your orignal reply
shrug it's worked well in my experience.
 

Is that an issue of levels, or of holding NPCs/monsters to using the same design precepts as PCs?
I think it's an issue of no one, including the designers, being able to separate temporal power from game power and having very few knobs to turn.

Maybe the greatest smith in the world doesn't have to have high hit points and be relatively great in battle, as a 3E 20th level expert would be, or also have an exceptionally high stat that would manifest itself in multiple ways, as it does in 5E.

5E is better than 3E in this regard, as NPCs and monsters no longer are bound to the same structures as they were in 3E (I didn't play 4E, so I don't know how it worked there), but I think the simulationist impulse is a problem many times in D&D, like with this one.
 

Parmandur

Legend
I think it's an issue of no one, including the designers, being able to separate temporal power from game power and having very few knobs to turn.

Maybe the greatest smith in the world doesn't have to have high hit points and be relatively great in battle, as a 3E 20th level expert would be, or also have an exceptionally high stat that would manifest itself in multiple ways, as it does in 5E.

5E is better than 3E in this regard, as NPCs and monsters no longer are bound to the same structures as they were in 3E (I didn't play 4E, so I don't know how it worked there), but I think the simulationist impulse is a problem many times in D&D, like with this one.
That's a mainly 3E thing, in my experience.
 


Parmandur

Legend
which class/level supers have you played?
I have never played any Supers game, actually, can't get past the "reading the rules" part. Speaking more to my experience D&D and D&D like games. I would like to see a Supers game that works more like D&D, personally. Or to go in a radically different direction, Traveller, but I'm not going to get my hopes up.
 

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