Marvel Plot Points

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


Marvel Heroic Universal Table 4

The revised Universal Table from Marvel Super Heroes retooled for Marvel Heroic.

From the ashes of Marvel Super Heroes, like a Phoenix the Universal Table rises once more.

NOTE:  Maximum Carnage will return soon.  We’ve got quite a few Scenes in the works, and as this is an all-volunteer game-writing army, we can only get in so many hours a week.  Never fear, though, you’ll see more Maximum Carnage mayhem in the coming weeks.

For many gamers, the return of Marvel characters to role playing games in the Marvel Heroic RPG brought with it a fond recollection to our early gaming days when we broke out our boxed sets and rolled percentile die on the Marvel Super Heroes Universal Table.  The FEAT system (yeah, I know, everyone calls it FASERIP but that just seems less than heroic) was simple and easy to use, and got people playing.  Marvel Heroic continues that tradition, but for some of us, the nostalgia runs deep.

For that reason, I dusted off the old system and challenged it to return to the gaming world.  It took some tweaking of the Marvel Heroic rules, but I think it will serve very well.  For newer gamers, it has the Asset of requiring only 2d10 to play, saving gamers money in buying hordes of extra dice (and also saving table space).  For older gamers like myself, it also has the retro element going for it.


In order to get Marvel Heroic to work well in a Universal Table format, I had to change a few of the rules.  They aren’t major changes, though.

Assembling Your Dice Pools

The heroes and Watcher assemble their dice pools as normal.  However, instead of rolling your dice and then choosing your Total and Effect DIe, you convert all of your dice in your pool into points and total them.  The Watcher does the same.  Then you subtract the reaction pool from the action pool to get your Target Number.

The Universal Table

Take the Target Number and find it on the top row on the Universal Table.  Now make your FEAT: roll Percentile Dice (2d10).  Find the result in the leftmost column.  The intersection of the FEAT Result and the Target Number will give you a FEAT Color.  Green is a successful FEAT, Yellow and Red are each Extraordinary Successes (Red counts as two Extraordinary Successes).  White is failure, and Blue is Extraordinary Failure (which may result in a Complication or in you having to step down your Effect Die).

Determining Your Effect Die

Because using the Universal Table changes the way we use Dice Pools, we need a new way of determining the Effect Die.  This requires a second FEAT Roll for the attacker and a FEAT Roll for the defender.  For the Attacker this uses the same Target Number as the original FEAT; for the defender this requires a Target Number of the opposite sign as the attacker’s Target Number (if the Target Number was +5 for the attacker it is -5 for the defender).  Use the Effect Die column to determine the resulting Effect Die.

Note that the maximum Effect Die you can get is equal to the maximum die in your Dice Pool.  If you only had D8’s and D10’s in your dice pool and you get a Red FEAT Result you still only get a D10 Effect Die.  All rules for stepping up your Effect Die in the standard Marvel Heroic rules apply to determining your final Effect Die after making this FEAT.

Make this Effect Die FEAT however many times you must for the number of Effect Die you have spent Plot Points to create.  However, you do not need to roll again for Area Effect (see the Universal Table for rules for Area Effect and Dice Pools).

Mobs, Large Scale Threats, and the Like.

Any time you have a character sheet with multiple dice under a single entry, such as Team 3D6 or Superhuman Strength 4D10, you only count 1DX in your dice pool.  The remaining dice count as Column Shifts on the Universal Table.  A Column Shift is a single step to the left or the right from your original Target Number.  If the multi-dice is on an opponent’s dice pool, it is a negative CS, if it is on yours or an ally’s, it is a positive CS.


You can still roll an Opportunity on this system.  Any roll that ends in a 1 (01, 11, 21, 31, etc.) counts as an Opportunity.  Yes, you can only roll a single Opportunity in this system; but there’s more opportunities for that Opportunity to turn up, so it balances.

Automatic and Impossible FEATs

Lastly, the Universal Table brings to the Marvel Heroic RPG the concept of Automatic Success and Automatic Failure.  The Universal Table only contains Target Numbers between -21 and +21.  That should be plenty of breathing room in most circumstances.  However, if the Target Number ever drops below -21, the FEAT is Impossible; it automatically fails.  Likewise, if the Target Number ever rises above +21, the FEAT automatically succeeds.


I will be the first to admit this variation of the Universal Table may not fit every game.  In fact, I’ve never play-tested it.  That’s where you all come in.

Run some games with the Universal Table and get back to me.  Where did it excel?  Where did it come up short?  What fixes did you implement that made all the difference?  Can you find ways to restore the top bar to multiple combat results that make sense in Marvel Heroic?  If I get enough feedback I can create a revised Universal Table with your changes, and everybody wins!

Game on, heroes!

About jpjolin

I am an author, RPG gamer, husband, and father.


  1. David
    March 13, 2013

    I think it should be Subtract reaction pool from action pool, right?

    • jpjolin
      March 13, 2013

      Yes, you subtract the reaction pool from the action pool to get the target number. I got it backwards on the table. My goof. Thanks for catching it.

  2. Blue Tyson
    October 25, 2013

    Interesting one, thanks!

  3. Harley Silva
    February 24, 2018

    has anyone updated marvel with a new combat engine the old 1 is way to kiddie friendly. character creation is fantastic in the old game you can make a toon in like 10 minutes but im looking for a way to update karma. karma pools for advancement never felt right and the hard cap on cresting always felt bad im looking for a way to make this game not a pre teen 12 year old game really take the advance set and advance it further. any ideas

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This entry was posted on March 7, 2013 by in Actual Play and tagged .

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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