Post by takewithfood on Nov 15, 2013 13:55:13 GMT -5
Okay, so, like a million years ago you mentioned interest in building Marvel Heroic characters, and I promised a quick walk-through. Well, here we go!
First, a quick look at how the game works:
The main focus of Marvel Heroic is the narrative: it's all about describing what's happening and how things are happening, and the mechanics are built around that.
You don't always have to roll: if you're obviously going to succeed, or fail, then don't bother rolling; for anything else, however, you roll for it.
Rolling is easy: you build a pool of dice to roll by going down your character sheet (called a Data File) and picking one die from each of four categories, as long as you can justify them. Those main categories are:
- Affiliation. Your Affiliation is a measure of how well you do when you're Solo, with a Buddy, or in a Team.
- Distinctions. You will have three "Distinctions", which are character traits that describe your character. When a distinction works in favour of what you're trying to accomplish, you can add a d8 to your dice pool; if the distinction is more likely to hinder you, you only add a d4. For example, Wolverine is "The Best There Is At What I Do", which would help him when he's mixing it up in a fight to the death, but might hinder him when mixing it up at a fancy cocktail party.
- Power Sets. Your super powers are described by individual Power Traits (such as Super Strength, or Sorcery, or Teleportation), which are grouped together into Power Sets. Most heroes have only one set, but some might have two or very rarely three. Each set should have a common cause or origin: again using Wolverine as an example, he has two Power Sets: one for his mutant powers (enhanced physical abilities, senses, and healing factor), and one for his Adamantium stuff (invincible skeleton and claws). Power Sets also have "SFX" and "Limits", but more on that later.
- Specialties. Specialties are your skills and talents, like combat training, business sense, and so on.
You can also get dice from Assets, Resources, Complications, and others, but again, more on that later.
Once your dice pool is assembled, you roll it. You pick two dice and add their values together to make a Total. You want a high total, as the GM (The "Watcher") is going to roll some dice and pick a Total, too, and the highest total wins (ties go to the actor, not defender).
You also pick one die to be your "Effect Die". The value on your effect die doesn't matter, it's the size of the die itself that counts. If your Total is the highest, you get to create an effect with your Effect Die (hence the name). If you're trying to hurt your opponent, for example, then your Effect Die becomes a "Physical Stress" die, and anyone acting against the person you injured gets to add that die to their dice pool, giving them an advantage.
The last thing worth talking about is Plot Points. Plot Points are the currency of gameplay: you earn them when things go badly for you, and spend them to beef up your dice pool when you want to do something super awesome.
Okay, so let's build a Data File:Here's the one of the weird things about Marvel Heroic: there aren't really any character creation rules. There are no "character points" or "skill points" or any currency to spend on sheet stuff, and consequently you can't be underspent or overspent. They book simply asks you to put down whatever you think is right. (It's actually easy to build a character generation system with points to spend, but let's ignore that for now.)
So, we start with Affiliations. This is super easy: The categories are Solo, Buddy, and Team, and you get to assign a d6, a d8, and a d10 to them however you like. The d6 should go in the category you think your hero is least comfortable or effective in, and the d10 should go in their best category. For example, Captain America has a Team d10 Affiliation because he's a natural leader and works best with a group of allies; in contrast, Wolverine has a Solo d10 because he's most efficient lone wolf-style; Spider-Man, who is famous for his team-ups, has a Buddy d10.
Just pick whatever you think is right, and go with it. Affiliations can be changed later, though it costs a little XP to do so.
Distinctions are next. Again, you just choose what feels right for your character; you get 3 Distinctions. Each one could describe some relevant aspect of your character's personality, or their background, or just be a particularly appropriate catch phrase. Ideally, try to imagine how a Distinction could work for or against your character. It's a little counter-intuitive at first, but you will actually want to use Distinctions against yourself, as in doing so you earn 1 Plot Point.
I can't speak for everyone, but I sometimes find it hard to come up with just the right Distinctions. You really have to know your character and what makes them tick, but this can be a good exercise that helps prepare you to roleplay them later.
Power Sets are a little easier, really. Come up with a name for your set that describes what it is, and/or how the powers are tied together. Iron Man has his Powered Armor, Emma Frost is an Omega-Level Telepath, and so on. Then, choose Power Traits from those listed in the book, and write 'em down. Easy.
Each Power Set comes with at least one Limit. A Limit is basically like a character flaw, or the equivalent of a Challenge in MURPG. Limits hinder you in some way, and when they come into play during the course of the game, you're usually rewarded with a Plot Point (there's almost always a silver lining in this game).
And there are SFX which are little traits that alter how your powers work by fiddling with the dice rolling mechanics. There are a lot of examples in the book, and you can use them as guidelines for making up your own, too.
Specialties are super easy. Like with powers, just pick the ones that make sense. Really good at fighting? Pick Combat Expert d8. One of the best in the world at fighting? Make that Combat Master d10.
The last thing to do is craft a couple Milestones. I find that for most people this is the hardest part of character creation, but it's also another of Marvel Heroic's most unique and fun aspects. Milestones are how you will earn the majority of your XP: they're like little XP rewards that you wrap up for yourself, and reward yourself with as you do certain things.
Each Milestone represents a minor storyline for your own character, like Tony Stark's battle with alcoholism, Captain America dealing with being a "Man out of Time", Daredevil protecting his secret identity, and so on. Within each Milestone are XP triggers: there are 1 XP triggers that can happen frequently and represent small steps towards the conclusion of your storyline, a 3 XP trigger that happens infrequently but represent larger steps, and a 10 XP trigger that represents the conclusion to the storyline, and is usually some kind of fork-in-the-road that could go either way, depending on how the story unfolded during play.
That's pretty much all there is to making a character! After reading that, do you have any ideas for how you might fill out a Data File for the concept you have in mind? If so, post 'em, and we can take it from there. ^__^ Ask any questions you might have, too!