The first role-playing game that I ever played (back in the year 2000) was the Marvel Super Heroes Role-playing Game. I was a fan of comics ever since I was a child and this seemed to be a natural fit. Though the system had been out of print for years already, we had an old Advanced Player's’ Handbook that had everything we needed for both the Game Master and the players. My first character creation went very quickly, as I developed an idea with a friend. Soon, I was off playing pretend in the most tremendous way.
EDITOR'S NOTE: An slightly updated version of the rules system called FASERIP is available at DriveThruRPG where it can be downloaded for free. Check it out!
1. Easy System to Pick Up
The rule book is small and the calculations simple. One page of coloured columns and rows meant that knowing the difficulty of your task and the skills you have could translate easily to success or failure of a task. You don’t have a ton of stats and talents and feats and spells and other things to keep track of. The front side of a piece of loose leaf paper was ample space for both your needed information and your doodles.
2. Familiar Non-player Characters
Facing off against dastardly villains I remember loathing and being guided by legends of the superhero realm was a hook for me. Being in a world where I already knew not just the flavour of the setting, but actual old origin stories gives you an immersive experience. Really, role-playing in this game was just the culmination of childhood fantasies crossed with old playground games with friends.
This is the era of the superhero. From the fun and campy Guardians of the Galaxy, to the classic Avengers, or even the gritty side of Luke Cage, Daredevil, and Jessica Jones, we have a wealth of story to create from and a context that can be used to build our world. There is no superhero genre that has not been sparked in recent years. This makes me want to start up another game ASAP.
4. Karma Points
Karma points are possibly my favourite part of the Marvel Super Hero system. They replace experience points that most role-playing games have. You gain the points by doing ‘super hero’ type things like saving children, stopping villains, and delivering most excellent monologues. But you can also lose these points by killing someone (even accidentally), stealing, or other unheroic acts. These Karma points could be used to boost your luck on rolls that were extra important (no one wants the hero to fail) or to save and used to boost your powers or stats. It gives the world an authentic comic vibe which I love.
These are the reasons, you should grab an old book, some PDFs online, and start up a game. You won’t regret it.
Vanessa is a sarcastic, 30-something wife, mother and educator. She likes things and stuff, but not simultaneously (she is not a machine!) She is also trying out this new twitter handle at @sarasma_nessa (though she is terrible at it)
I am become death, destroyer of worlds.