What to expect from the Marvel Multiverse TTRPG

The new playtest rulebook for the Marvel Multiverse TTRPG will be released March 2022 but it’s not the first time Marvel have stepped into the TTRPG world. In 1984 they released the Marvel Super Heroes roleplaying game, but how different will their new TTRPG be? Let’s Get Shawarma and travel back in time!

Attributes

Way back in the 1980s character attributes were split into fighting, agility, strength, endurance, reason, intuition and psyche. But you can’t make that into an anagram… can you? You couldn’t. So Marvel have overhauled this system into the MARVEL attributes, namely, Might, Agility, Resilience, Vigilance, Ego, and Logic. THAT SPELLS MARVEL!

Back in the day, each attribute was linked to a basic 1 out of 100 number denoting how good you were at it. Attribute scores for most characters range from 1 to 100, where normal human ability is Typical (6), and peak (non-superheroic) human ability is Excellent (20). The designers minimize use of the numerical figures, instead preferring adjectives like “Incredible” (36-45) and “Amazing” (46-62).

Honestly, TTRPGs need stats so despite the name change expect the system to function in basically the same way.

Character creation and origin stories

Details about how custom character creation will function in the new Marvel Multiverse TTRPG have been sketchy at best, other than Marvel announcing that you’ll be able to do it. But looking back at Marvel Super Heroes gives us some clues as to how it might work.

In 1984, beyond the attributes mentioned above, characters had to select a background that would sort of guide what powers they had and how powerful they were. These were Altered Humans, High-Tech Wonders, Mutants, Robots and Aliens. Players were expected to chat with their GM to work out which powers they could wield and this system was expanded when Marvel released the Ultimate Powers Book which featured over 300 new powers that players could use in their character.

With a little polishing this system, or something like it, could be an easy to understand mechanic that works both as a character creation guide but also a jumping off point for the backstory that drives your character through the campaign in a narrative sense.

Resources, popularity and karma

In Marvel Super Heroes there were three main stats that would rise and fall much quicker than the skill attributes. There were resources, popularity and karma.

Resources referred to how much ingame currency you had to cover things like living expenses and homes etc. It makes a lot of sense and we’re excited that it might be in Marvel’s designs to make a game that could focus just as much on upkeep a secret identity as it does actual hero work.

Popularity is exactly what it says on the ti. Wanna get in somewhere or influence a non-player character? That’s where your popularity score comes in. Would characters have two scores, one for their alter ego and one for themselves? That could be cool.

Finally, Karma is a little harder to explain but used to work in a similar fashion to superiority die in D&D. The game’s equivalent of experience points, Karma was initially determined by the sum of a character’s three mental attributes (Reason, Intuition, and Psyche).

Essentially it allowed players to increase their chances of a successful roll by spending points of Karma. A player who wants to make sure he hits a villain in a critical situation can spend however many Karma points necessary to raise the dice roll to the desired result. The GM distributes additional Karma points at the end of game sessions, typically as rewards for accomplishing heroic goals such as defeating villains, saving innocents, and foiling crimes. Interestingly you could also lose karma by fleeing from a fight and killing NPCs which is a really cool way of wrangling your players as a GM.

Either way, expect at least versions of all three mechanics to feature in the Marvel Multiverse TTRPG.

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