Marvel Plot Points

A fan site for the Marvel Heroic Roleplaying Game by Margaret Weis Productions

Review: Annihilation Event Book

Annihilation, the newest Event Book for the Marvel Heroic Roleplaying Game, has been out for a couple of weeks now and I’ve finally been able to sit down and get my thoughts on it put together. In short: It is awesome! If you haven’t already, go get it.

What, you need to know more? Don’t you trust me?

Fine.ann0

Structure-wise, Annihilation is set up in the same style as Civil War. A sourcebook at the beginning gives background and setting information for Watchers and players. This is followed by the three Act Event, again like Civil War.

Annihilation also adds a few new concepts to MHRPG. The first is Timed Actions (pg. AN08). Timed Actions give the Watcher a way to simulate situations where time is of the essence. It is basically a situational Complication, but the twist is it can never be removed from the Scene by the players. I like this as a mechanic to ratchet up the tension in a scene.

The next addition is what amounts to Race/Class powersets that are provided for players to build their own unique characters quickly. This is about as close to a traditional RPG character creation process as you will get in MHRPG. You want a Kree pilot? Flip to AN19 and AN12. What about a Shi’ar cleric? AN36 and AN13. Just pick your powersets, come up with some Distinctions, and choose your Milestones. Then you will be ready for cosmic action.

The last addition I should mention is the new Grandmaster level of Specialites. This level represents an unparalleled level of achievement in a given area. Mechanically, this gives characters a D12 Speciality. This level is used sparingly in the book, but to me it was a necessary addition. One thing to note here as well; I did talk with a couple of folks who worked on Annihilation to find out if any previously created characters should have this new level. They said the only one who they seriously considered giving it to was Reed Richards in Science. But, they determined that even as smart as he is, on his own he’s still a step behind someone like Thanos.

Annihilation has more Watcher datafiles than you can shake a cosmic-powered stick at. among them: Annihilus (of course), Thanos, Ravenous, various minor characters from among the races (including the Badoon), and lots of spaceships. I’m really excited with the way they are doing the ships as their own datafiles. It gives the cosmic-scale heroes a way to take on fleets head-to-head, just like they do in the comics. Really excellent.

For me though, the crowning jewel of the Watcher datafiles…Galactus!

Which reminds me. I need to warn you that you don’t have enough D12s for this event. Trust me, you don’t. Galactus’ dice pool could have six of them every time easily. Easily. Anybody know a good place to buy D12s in bulk? I have four…

As far as hero characters go, there are plenty of them to choose from as well. Virtually all the Heralds, Drax (!), Super Skrull, and my personal favorite : Beta Ray Bill. Just to name a few.

If you aren’t that familiar with this part of the Marvel-verse, I think this book will be a great place to jump in. The sourcebook section really does a great job getting you up to speed. If you are a fan of the cosmic side of the Marvel Universe, then I cannot recommend this book enough. It has more than enough material to carry you through Annihilation and beyond.

You can pre-order the dead tree edition from MWP and it comes with a download code for the PDF. Essential version here, Premium version here. This review is based on the Essential version.

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11 comments on “Review: Annihilation Event Book

  1. Grady Bailey (@GB330033)
    March 1, 2013

    My main concern with Annihilation is how to tie it in to an existing campaign. For example, my group is flowing from Breakout to Civil War pretty easily, but I have no idea how we’d be able to move to a cosmic-scale event without essentially starting over with new characters.

    Does it seem like it’d be possible to move from Civil War to Annihilation as part of a single story? Or is that an idea that I just need to give up on?

    • Andrew Gatlin
      March 1, 2013

      That’s a pretty tough transition to me, but it would depend on which characters your group is using. Thor for example could be an easy fit, Spider-Man would be a lot tougher.

      One possibility is to have your group in the Negative Zone after Civil War (via the Project 42 portal), and see Annihilus massing his forces for the invasion. They could discover what he’s planning, then attempt to warn the alien races of the impending disaster.

      That’s the best I can do off the top of my head, and without knowing the specific characters in your group. I’ll do some more thinking on it. If you give me the character list, I might be able to come up with some better hooks for you.

      • Grady Bailey (@GB330033)
        March 1, 2013

        Heh, well it’ll be pretty tough all around, considering my group consists of very low-tech characters (Domino, Deadpool, Black Cat, Luke Cage, and a custom-made character) at this point.

        Basically I’m just wondering if there’s anything (Transition/Action Scenes, heroes, villains, etc) in Annihilation that I can pull to enhance my current campaign. If there really isn’t, then I may hold off on buying it until a later date. I might at least make use of the timer mechanic, since that’s relatively easy to include in a non-cosmic scene (IE: The bomb will go off in X minutes).

    • Jeff
      March 1, 2013

      The Civil War What If? story they published after the event posited a crossover between the two, which involves the Annihilation wave reaching Earth, battering the heroes on both sides to all get-out, and forcing heroes Earthbound and cosmic alike to team up and stop Annihilus.

      • Grady Bailey (@GB330033)
        March 1, 2013

        Ah! I forgot all about that “What If?”

        I may have to track down my copy and see if there’s anything I can use from there as a hook.

      • That What If idea, as well as the Prison 42/Negative Zone link, both have sidebars and optional scenes in the Annihilation book itself.

      • Andrew Gatlin
        March 1, 2013

        Fine Mr. Know-it-all. You act like you wrote the freaking book or something…

  2. Andrew Gatlin
    March 1, 2013
  3. barryreese1972
    March 6, 2013

    Strange — I commented on this thread earlier. I’m really hoping to see this book in print at some point. I know I’m old but I much prefer to have a real book at my gaming table rather than a PDF. The release schedule for this system is killing it for me. I have seen the PDF version and it was a solid book but again… I hope MWP speeds up the print release schedule.

  4. Alvin
    December 11, 2014

    Is there any place that we can actually purchase this book (or pdf) now that MWP doesn’t sell it anymore?

    • Andrew Gatlin
      December 11, 2014

      Sadly no. The physical version never went to print, and when the license ended the pdfs got pulled from Drive Thru.

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This entry was posted on March 1, 2013 by in Annihilation, Review.

All images and names of characters and locations, unless expressly stated and are ™ & © Marvel & Subs. Used without permission.

Heroic Roleplaying & the Cortex Plus system ™ Margaret Weis Productions, Ltd.

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