Friday, March 25, 2016

Marvel Character Creation

So, having purchased the Marvel Super Heroes RPG for the last time, I decided to use it.  One of my goals is to provide gameable content for every post here.  Without further ado, let us make a character!

First off, origin.  I rolled a 72, which makes our new hero a Hi-Tech Wonder.  That's cool; Iron Man is one of my favorites.  Now to generate his primary abilities.  Fighting 41 (Good), Agility 62 (Good), Strength 08 (Poor), Endurance 61 (Good), Reason 91 (Excellent!), Intuition 97 (Remarkable), and Psyche 11 (Typical).  The Reason roll is really good; I was surprised by the Intuition roll and if I had rolled a high Psyche, I might have gone more of the mystical route instead of scientific.  As a Hi-Tech Wonder, Reason gets increased two ranks to Incredible.  Secondary abilities of Health (27) and Karma (67) are just math problems; I remember not liking that initial rank numbers are on the bottom of their respective rank, but now I see more of the rationale behind it for new heroes.  For initial Resources, I decide to roll (92) to improve it from Typical to Remarkable.  Popularity starts off as 10 and I choose a secret identity, so 5/5.

Now for Powers.  I roll a 74, which gives me 4 initial Powers.  I've decided to just roll for categories and then pick the individual powers.  I roll a 34 (Energy Control), 99 (Body Alterations/Defensive, yes!), 15 (Movement), and 67 (Distance Attack).  That's a good spread to start with; let's start with Body Alterations/Defensive.  Taking Body Armor is a no-brainer; as a Hi-Tech Wonder, all of my powers will be rolled into this suit of armor.  For power rank, I roll a 78 (Incredible).  Now to modify my Fighting (56) by one rank, Agility (66) by one rank, Strength (94!) by four ranks, and Endurance (71) by two ranks.  Also, I can lower my Agility by one rank (Typical) to increase my power rank by one (Amazing).  My Health while wearing my armor is now 76.  For Energy Control, I've always liked Gravity Manipulation and I roll a 94 for an Amazing rank; I get one Power Stunt and decide to increase weight on targets at the Amazing rank, making it feel like 50 tons!  For Distance Attack, I choose Darkforce Generation, another personal favorite, and roll 72 for an Incredible rank attack.  Finally, I choose Lightning Speed for my Movement power.  I roll a 46, but the power must be at least Endurance plus one, so it's Incredible.  I also get to use it for Agility FEATs.

For my Talents, I roll an 81 for three.  I decide to choose these and go with Engineering, Physics, and Repair/Tinkering.  I roll a 21 for Contacts, giving me one, which is the organization I work for or own; I decide it's Business World, giving me Incredible Resources to draw on and it's my company.

So, here's what we've got:  a genius business owner in a suit of armor that makes targets heavier, shoots black bolts, and moves at 105 MPH.  What if the Darkforce is a little less specific?  What if our character developed a device that replicated a black hole?  With the recent discovery of gravitational waves, this seems really cool.  By manipulating a micro black hole, he can increase gravity and lash out with singularity spears; he also alters space-time to achieve high speeds.  Thus, I give you Cygnus X-1, named after the first black hole to be observed.

Leonard Cooper, MEng, PhD, started his company with a grant from Stark Industries. Based in San Francisco to research singularities as a power source, Dr. Cooper used Stark's arc reactor technology as a starting point.  Following information gleaned from the invasion of New York, Dr. Cooper was able to create an aperture into a micro black hole and capture the Hawking radiation in 1-second microbursts.  Unfortunately, there was no effective way to channel this tremendous energy into a directly usable source for consumption, but it did have certain side effects when released, such as gravitational anomalies.  Dr. Cooper created a "gravitational lens" that allowed for controlled release of energy and built a suit of armor around it to channel the energy.  He learned to use the energy to increase local gravity, accelerate to fractions of light, and channel tangible black matter.  Following Stark's example, he became Cygnus X-1, Dark Star of the Bay Area.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

MARVELous Memories

If memory serves, my true introduction into roleplaying games was 1986.  That would have made me 11 years and in 6th grade, which matches a lot of what I remember.  My soon to be best friend in the whole world was 2 years older and was heavily into RPGs, including AD&D, Star Frontiers, and even Battletech!  But he was also into a game I had vague familiarity with:  Marvel Super Heroes, the first RPG I ever bought.  To really date myself, I bought it at a KayBee Toys in the mall.  I remember pouring over that Advanced Set box, trying to understand it all.  I got character creation fairly easily and had a ball with random generation of tons of characters.  The rest was a little more complex without someone to bounce off of.  Soon thereafter, I was invited into the inner sanctum of my older friends and fully initiated into RPGs; we had some great D&D and AD&D campaigns (including Temple of Elemental Evil), but the MSH campaign is still probably my favorite.

Eventually, I wore my books out.  They were falling apart and I had moved on to things like Vampire, Star Wars, and Champions.  I really can't recall what happened to that first box set; I may very well have gotten rid of it around my first marriage in 1999.  But eventually, I remember missing it.  Oh, I had bought the Marvel SAGA when it came out, and actually played it with my first wife and a friend.  But I missed my old, first love.  As luck would have it, sometime during that time period between my first marriage and divorce, I found a used copy that was damn near flawless.  Complete, intact, barely used.  I can't remember the price, but I know it was not much; probably between 10 and 20 dollars in the early 2000s.

Then, I met my second wife.  Sometime after we got married, probably during moving in together, I realized I lacked the space to keep all these wonderful childhood books.  So I purged; HARD.  Gone were the AD&D books I first bought (orange spine PHB, DMG, and Fiend Folio); all of my Fading Suns books (basically everything ever published); and so much more.  And gone too, was my precious first love:  Marvel Super Heroes Advanced Set.

Until now.


The box is not in as good a condition as my previous one, but there are no tears.


The books are dang near flawless; a little aging, some rust on the staples, but they really don't look like they were read much.



Pretty sure this is the original map, which was meant to be connected to the map in the Original Set.


All of the standups are here, uncut.



And the character cards, uncut!




And this little blast from the past....But wait, I think I see something else under there!


And this!


That's right; I got the two rulebooks from the Starter Traveller box (another casualty of my purge).  No, no adventures or maps, but really, these two books are sufficient to run Traveller forever.


Yep, it certainly did just get better.  As I told my wife, this is the last time I'm buying this.  All of this was acquired for the paltry sum of $35.00.  Sometimes, the gaming gods smile on me.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

EPThursday - This Time, It's Personal

So, I’m going to try to do some recurring posts.  First up, I will designate Thursday as Empire of the Petal Thursday or EPThursday.  I will attempt to recount the exploits of my Wednesday night games run by +James Maliszewski 

Last night, we were in the clan house of the Iron Pillar clan.  Seven of us, four warriors (Chuminish, Kurukkemish, Komesh, and Viruish), two priests (Komish and Cherekelmir, my character) and a magic user (Ka’uleggish), had been invited to dinner with the head of the clan, ChusĂșnish.  This clan house appeared to be in some sort of parallel dimension of death; coincidentally, these Iron Pillars are worshippers of the Five-Headed Lord of Worms, Master of the Undead, Guide Into Darkness, the Demon of Decay.  So yeah, we kinda got what we asked for last night.

While we were waiting for dinner to begin, we investigated more of the surrounding area.  We discovered that based on the spatial geography of where we were, the town we originally came from should be nearby.  Unfortunately, when we arrived, we discovered rubble as if tanks had rolled through the place.  Surprisingly, there were no remains and some of the buildings were not in the original town we had left.  Upon discovering nothing fundamentally useful, we returned to the clan house to await dinner.

Upon arrival, ChusĂșnish began to parlay with us as his undead servants entered.  Braziers were lit to help alleviate the overpowering stench of death and decay; unfortunately for us, the smoke began to accumulate thickly and we all had to save vs poison or begin coughing.  The dark lord then unleashed his minions upon us!  We fought 10 skeletons in the hazy chamber.  This was our first combat since beginning play almost weekly since after Christmas.  My dice were very hot; Cherekelmir hit one skeleton each round and rolled maximum damage for each.  Unfortunately, our warriors could not hit the broad side of a barn with a baseball bat.  Komesh was reduced to one hit point and Kurukkemish and Komesh were trapped in one corner.  However, Ka’uleggish dashed to the doors in the nick of time to begin the process of ventilating the room.  As the haze cleared, we spotted an undead leader of the group commanding the skeletons.  Kurukkemish and Komish charged across the room to the leader; Kurukkemish missed and prepared to meet his doom.  Fortunately, his brother Komish did not miss as he stabbed the rotting thing with his halberd and returned it to the land of the unliving.  I healed Komesh and we began to sweep and clear rooms.  We came up empty handed for the first two flanking the dining hall and moved toward the southwest, to investigate a room we had found to be empty earlier.

When Chuminish opened the door, he saw a woman kneeling on the floor, staring at the opposite wall.  She spoke to him and when he approached, he discovered she too was undead!  I believe this is when he uttered the best line of the night:  “Is there a skeleton in my face trying to murder me right now?”  The woman zombie tore into Chuminish viciously, reducing him to 0 hit points.  I believe it was Viruish who finally struck the killing blow, but our friend was shuffling off his mortal coil.  Both myself and Komish had previously used our cure light wounds for the day, but Cherekelmir did not let that stop him.  I kneeled beside his still form and prayed to Bulkh, asking for Chuminish’s return.  Ka’uleggish provided a blasphemous tome we had found earlier and we offered it as a burnt sacrifice to Bulkh.  As the gods would have it, Chuminish did rise from the ground, but he was now…changed.