A Father and Son Night of Marvel Heroic RPG

In preparation for the Goshen Game Day, last Sunday Nick Garcia ran a game of Marvel Heroic RPG. He wanted to familiarize himself with the mechanics and see how long the session would take.

I played Beast and Aidan, my son, played Wolverine. It was strangely reminiscent of real life. For those parents, stick with me, because I think there is a learning experience present in this game.

Sidebar: I’ve watched some X-Men cartoons and moves, but have never read the comics. I do know that Wolverine is a hot-head and Beast is much more calm and collected.

Sidebar 2: There were other players and it was great playing with them, but I’m focusing in on one interaction at the game table.

Wolverine has an Beserk SFX (i.e. special ability) that allows for him to borrow a dice from the Doom Pool (i.e. the dice the GM uses to challenge the players), then return the dice stepped up (i.e. the returned dice is now more dangerous in the GMs hands).

Beast has an Oh My Stars and Garters SFX that allows him to pay a Plot Point (i.e. in game currency used to do something “better” but gained through complications/”bad” things happening to the character) to borrow a dice from the Doom Pool then return the dice stepped down (i.e. the returned dice is now less dangerous in the GMs hands).

Play went like this

  • Wolverine would borrow a dice from the Doom Pool.
  • Wolverine would use the dice.
  • Wolverine would return a larger, more dangerous dice, to the Doom Pool
  • Beast would spend a “hard earned” Plot Point to borrow a dice from the Doom Pool.
  • Beast would use the dice.
  • Beast would return a smaller, less dangerous dice, to the Doom Pool

So here was a case where Beast, at a personal cost, was keeping Wolverine’s recklessness in check – though Aidan recognized that borrowing a d12 may not be a bad thing.

What I would really like to see is both Aidan and I playing Wolverine and Beast to the point where we both understand that interaction. Then switch characters so that he was playing Beast and I was playing Wolverine. Would Aidan notice the shift, and have a more hawkish eye for the doom pool? Would I be able to Beserk with reckless abandon?

And all of this is to say kudos to Margaret Weid Productions for delivering a nuanced game that can so wonderfully models iconic characters, interactions, behaviors, and powers via mechanics . This experience has me very much interested in the Leverage and Smallville RPGs.

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