A fan site for the Marvel Heroic Roleplaying Game by Margaret Weis Productions
I’m noticing certain trends now that Marvel Heroic Roleplaying has passed on. Some time has passed and fans of the game are emerging. With this emergence I am seeing a surge in rules questions that were not specifically spelled out in the basic rulebook. Some have gone so far as to claim this as a limitation of the game, but I think the absence of specific rules speaks to the game’s strengths. I’d like to outline a couple of these ‘absent’ rules now, and address more as they come to my attention.
The first of these I saw in a review of the game that didn’t fully understand the rules. The solution was pretty simple once I was able to step back and consider how it would work within the mechanics of the game. The other was a situation that came up in a game I was running, and I had a pretty hard time with it until I could step away and reason it out.
These invariably come up. The villain’s plan goes all eggplant-shaped, and his or her best option is to hightail it out of there. The heroes, whose main job is to bring the bad guys to justice (usually), pursue. How do you determine any aspect of a chase without hard numbers for speed , distance, or range? Will the heroes catch the bad guy? Will the bad guy evade capture? How would you ever find out?
When a chase starts, it’s like a new Action Scene. Now this particular kind of Action Scene can take place at the end of an Action Scene or in the middle of a current Action Scene. The latter is especially the case if a villain runs off and and the team splits so that one group can chase while the other(s) remain behind to continue the action. It starts when the runner takes an Action to leave the Scene. We’ll use the terms ‘Runner’ and ‘Pursuer’ to describe the sides of the conflict.
This has the potential to go all kinds of different ways, but this is at least the groundwork.
Just because there’s a chase going on, there’s no reason both sides couldn’t make things go a little more sideways. There’s nothing stopping a character from making a ranged attack on another participant. The Runner might decide to do something to alter the landscape, like blowing up a car or knocking down some trees, creating a new complication to slow down anyone pursuing. Any of these extra actions would assume the characters are still moving, but not attempting to change the distance necessarily. Mix it up! The best chase scenes are usually more than just a foot race.
This idea plagued me. A player was playing as Iron Man, and he wanted to throw the Controller at Jigsaw. I was flummoxed. I had no idea where to start with this. After some thinking, I devised a system. I will use the characters that were involved to illustrate.
This method also includes the method for working out the infamous Fastball Special. The biggest difference is the motives of the characters involved. In the Fastball Special, the thrown character is not fighting against the act and is using the act of getting thrown to his or her advantage. Here’s how it works differently. In this case, I’ll use the classic combination of Colossus and Wolverine.
One thing to be aware of here is that the throwing character needs to be strong enough to throw the other character. It would be kind of silly to see Shadowcat chucking the Hulk around like a tennis ball. As a general rule, I’d say a Strength of d10 should be enough to pick up most characters. Particularly big characters would require a d12. Don’t feel restricted by the Strength power trait, though. If Storm decides she might want to huck Wolvie at a target by calling up a d12 wind (using her Weather Supremacy), go ahead. There’s no reason that should be a limitation.
Let’s say for a minute you’re the thrower, and the complication die you’re bringing to the situation is only a d6. You could take an action to step that die up so that you’re adding a little more effort to the throw. Keep in mind that your victim will also have the chance to break the hold, so you have to be pretty confident that you will be able to overpower the other one’s rolls on both actions. Otherwise you will have a hard time stepping up and maintaining the larger die. If you’re the Thing, and you’re trying to throw a run of the mill thug, you probably won’t get much resistance, so you might as well try it. Use your discretion.
So, what do you all have? Are there particular rules systems you might have wanted to see that weren’t hammered out in the rulebook? Chances are the rules are there, it’s just a matter of looking at it from another angle. If there are ideas that you can’t figure out, tell us in the comments. We’ll give it a look.
After taking a careful look at these ideas I added a couple of ways to make these rules a little more dynamic you can see that under the “Bringing More” sections.