A fan site for the Marvel Heroic Roleplaying Game by Margaret Weis Productions
Complications. People often wonder why we should use them. They don’t seem to offer much mechanically to a conflict, other than a possible fourth (or more) type of stress. It’s true that from a story standpoint complications cover things not covered by other kinds of stress. From a mechanics perspective, however, they give you alternatives to direct attack that are sometimes the only way to really do anything to certain opponents. The key to this is limits.
It’s not mentioned in the section on spending Plot Points or Doom Dice, but on p. OM92 and OM95, it mentions that Players and Watchers can spend PP/Doom Dice to activate limits. Characters that have the Uncontrollable limit (or the same limit with a different name) turn a power into a complication when the limit is activated.
There are a few characters where this is really interesting. Colossus and Grey Gargoyle are good examples. Wolverine has this too, but it works slightly differently for him. Both Colossus and the Grey Gargoyle have the Invulnerable SFX, meaning they can shrug off most physical stress.
I’ll show you with an example (using Grey Gargoyle against a player, doesn’t wholly matter who the hero is, we’ll say Iron Man):
The Grey Gargoyle is attempting to break out of the Raft. Iron Man doesn’t want to waste his time trying to punch out the Gargoyle. Iron Man makes an attack to push Grey Gargoyle into the water. He’s teamed up with a few other heroes. Here’s his dice pool for the action:
The Grey Gargoyle reacts with:
Let’s assume Iron Man wins. He gets 11 with a d8 effect. Grey Gargoyle rolls 10 with a d10 effect. Because the Grey Gargoyle had a larger effect die, Iron Man’s effect steps back to d6. Iron man can opt to apply d6 Sinking as a complication. However, because Grey Gargoyle has the Like a Rock limit, Iron Man can spend a Plot Point to turn Superhuman Durability into a complication. Now, Grey Gargoyle has d10 Sinking (Superhuman Durability) as a complication. Not only does this give him a higher complication die, but he’s also lost the ability to use Superhuman Durability in his own dice pools. Let’s look at Iron Man’s next turn:
This time, he’s going to use his repulsors to push the Grey Gargoyle deeper underwater. His pool:
Grey Gargoyle reacts with:
Iron Man now has a HUGE advantage. If he succeed, he’ll be unlikely to have his effect stepped back by Grey Gargoyle’s effect. In fact, he could find himself in a position where he beats Grey Gargoyle by five or more. Iron Man could then step up the complication by 2, and Grey Gargoyle effectively sinks to the bottom where he passes out. It could be said that he doesn’t need to breathe when he’s made of stone, so he’s out of the fight but not dead.
If there’s anything I’ve missed, be sure to comment. We love to hear what you’re thinking.