First time with Marvel Heroic

I recently attended Ropecon, the largest role-playing event in Finland. There I had my first chance to try out Margaret Weis Productions’ new Marvel RPG, Marvel Heroic, running a short session of the game. I had planned a scenario where the player characters were to stop Hulk rampaging on the US East Coast and the players picked Sub-Mariner, Colossus and Rogue as their heroes.

The scenario opened in Midtown Manhattan with a straightforward bank robbery. Sandman had taken over a bank with a handful of thugs and was holding the people there as hostages. As the heroes arrived on the scene, Namor stayed first aloofly back, but when Sandman boasted that no one is mightier than him, Sub-Mariner felt his pride slighted and took action. The incensed Atlantean flew straight at Sandman, the force of the impact dispersing the supercriminal’s earthen form all over the bank and thus taking him out with a single blow. The two X-Men then took care of the thugs, Rogue disarming one of them, Colossus intimidating two of them to surrender, and finally the remaining one getting knocked out by Rogue while Colossus was distracting the miscreant.

As the heroes were handing over the thugs to the police and the New York’s finest wondered if they should bring an industrial-size vacuum cleaner to detain Sandman, sudden and gradually strengthening tremors alerted our protagonists to new trouble. Looking to the sky, they saw Hulk heading to the direction of Times Square with giant bounds, pursued by two military helicopters. Namor flew to the Square just in nick of time to stop Hulk from tossing a car at one of the copters, but got half-buried by the green giant for his troubles. Arriving to the scene on Namor’s wing-tips, Rogue and Colossus concentrated their efforts on getting the panicked bystanders out of harm’s way, although with little success. In the meantime, Hulk first shoved his fellow Defender a little deeper in Manhattan soil and then proceeded with his interrupted car-toss, crashing the copter. Namor was quite helpless to do anything until he came up with the idea to distract Hulk by creating with his hands a powerful gust of air that blew out the light bulbs on every billboard of the square. After that, it was easy pickings for Colossus to grab stupefied Hulk and simply throw him out of the scene.

Unfortunately, we had to end the session there, as it was already 4.30 AM and lack of sleep was starting to take its toll on us. We had good time playing the game, but I learned two notable lessons about running and playing Marvel Heroic from the session. First, a powerful character like Namor can take a villain out in a single blow if the Doom Pool is low and can’t be used to boost the villain, as happened with Sandman. Second, with its system of complications and assets, thinking out of the box really pays off in Marvel Heroic and is especially important for the player characters when the odds are stacked against them, as was seen with Namor’s efforts against Hulk.

I’ll be posting datafiles from the session here later on, so stay tuned!

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