Last weekend was another playtest week for our gaming group, and this time it was for the Marvel Heroic Roleplaying Game! For the playtest, our GM was Sheimaruen, one our long time Exalted GMs who was up to experimenting with a new system for once, and wanted to try running a game based on the “A Certain Scientific Railgun” anime. To that end, Hikkikomori and I volunteered to be the players for this game, with Hikkikomori playing a biokinetic high school student named Kageyama (if I recall correctly) and myself playing Johnny Gato, the character I posted here on the blog a few days back.
I won’t go into the details of the plot, as I believe Sheimaruen is working on a recap of his own, but I’ll give my impressions of the game so far according to our first attempt to play it:
- It’s Dicey and Fiddly – It took us a bit of time to get used to the dice pool assembly, even if we had most of it on hand in our character sheets. There’s a lot to remember so I was happy that we printed out the Player and Watcher sheets for reference. It was slow going at first, but I think it’s a matter of adapting to a new system. Over time, I expect the time to resolve actions to decrease as the participants get past the learning curve.
- A New Paradigm – One of the more overlooked rules in the Operations Manual is that most of the time rolls occur whenever there are stakes to be considered. Shifting from the purely Pass/Fail paradigm of more traditional systems to the Asset/Complication/Stress condition setting of Marvel is a subtle, but significant shift that needs time to get used to.
- Narrative! – Many of the older readers here know that my taste in games is more traditional, with L5R, Fantasy Craft, HERO and World of Darkness featuring prominently, so getting used to a looser system where players have a hand in the narrative is something that Hikkikomori and I had to get used to. I think old hands in Fate or other similar systems will find this game to be a lot easier to transition to.
That said I enjoyed my first foray into Marvel, and I can see trying to use the system for other Supers games. I’m still not sure if this will be a perfect fit for the Street Level campaign, but it might be worth a shot once we’ve figured out a way to better handle running it with regards to Transition Scenes.