It's been a while since I posted anything about Marvel Heroic. It's not because I love the game any less, but I haven't been able to run it in a while, and I've been doing a lot more playing than running these days, because, well, life.
But between all of the excitement over Age of Ultron and the Daredevil television series, the bug has bitten me again. Don't know if I will get the chance to run the system any time soon, but I was driven to refine some ideas I had used for a one shot a bit.
Before I started running my Civil War game online, I ran a one shot based on an issue of Avengers Assemble that came out way back when the first Avengers movie happened. In that session, I ran the new Zodiac that Thanos had empowered as a single large scale threat.
Yes, I was insane. It was a 12d10 large scale threat. It didn't actually work too badly, except that until the heroes started to chip away at the large scale threat pool, it was hammering the less physically robust heroes. That said, it was a lot more manageable than trying to make up stats for 12 Zodiac members. And I'll totally admit it was also based on the idea that we never really got specific powers for the individual members of the group, so running them as a large scale threat allowed me to tell the players that the fire signs were shooting fire, the earth signs were pounding on them, etc.
Running larger teams can be a pain, even in a smooth system like Marvel Heroic. While the individual dice pools are a lot more fun to build than just taking actions in other games, nobody wants a three round fight to take up a four hour session. Well, maybe if it's really awesome . . .
What this brought me around to is to make the large scale threat team a little more personalized to the team involved. Thinking about this, this led me to my idea, expressed below in my Sinister Six example, of having an SFX native to each member of the team, and having a limit that cuts that SFX off once that member of the team is gone.
I wouldn't suggest doing this for noteworthy villains that just happen to be fighting the heroes at the same time, such as villains that are trying to escape during the Breakout event, and are not used to working with one another. You may also want to try keeping the team's leader separate for a more distinct experience. For example, Mister Sinister probably shouldn't be lumped in with a Marauders large scale threat, nor should Apocalypse be lumped into a Four Horsemen large scale threat.
That said, groups like the U-Foes or the Sinister Six below usually operate more as a team, with their leader being a bit more like a "first among equals," no matter how they view themselves.
Someday I hope to give this particular idea a spin as a Watcher, but should you get the chance to use this in your games, I'd love to hear about it and if it worked smoothly. Thanks for reading!
The Sinister Six
Large Scale Threat 6d10
Doctor Octopus' Revenge Squad
More Ambitious than Successful
Spider-Man Must Pay!
Sinister Six Unleashed
d8 Movement; d10 Weapon; d10 Blast; d10 Shapeshifting d8; Durability d10; Stretching d10; Strength d10; Energy Control d10
SFX Teamwork If a pool includes a Sinister Six Unleashed power, you may replace two dice with one die +1 step larger.
SFX Multipower Use two or more Sinister Six Unleashed powers in a die pool at -1 step for each additional power after the first.
SFX Area Attack Add a d6 and keep an additional effect die for each additional target.
SFX Focused Resources Shut down a Sinister Six Unleashed power to add a die to the Doom Pool.
SFX Sacrificing Pawns (Doctor Octopus) Discard one Large Scale Threat Die to add a die of equal size to the Doom Pool.
SFX Berserker Charge (Rhino) Step up or double any Sinister Six Unleashed power. If the action fails, discard the largest die from the Doom Pool.
SFX I'm Not Who You Think I Am (Chameleon) On a reaction against a physical attack, inflict the effect type of the original attack at another target affiliated with the attacker.
SFX Castles of Sand (Sandman) Add a d6 and step up you effect die when creating using Sinister Six Unleashed to create assets.
SFX That Was My Stunt Double (Mysterio) Spend a die from the Doom Pool equal to the stress inflicted by an attack or a complication to ignore that effect.
SFX Path of Least Resistance (Electro) Add a d6 and keep an additional effect die to inflict an Electrical Disruption complication on a target with a standard nervous system or powered by electricity.
Limit Domino Effect Whenever a die is removed from the total Large Scale Threat pool, the character that stressed that die out of the total names which member of the team that die represented (the Watcher can ask them to reassign if they chose Doctor Octopus). When that team member is named, their SFX and their specialty is no longer available to the team. If more than one team member is listed for a specialty, that specialty is available until all team members with that specialty has been removed from the fight.
d8 Combat Expert (Rhino, Sandman); d10 Covert Master (Chameleon, Mysterio); d8 Crime Expert (Doctor Octopus, Chameleon, Mysterio); d10 Medical Master (Doctor Octopus); d8 Menace Expert (Rhino, Sandman, Mysterio); d10 Science Master (Doctor Octopus); d10 Tech Expert (Doctor Octopus, Mysterio); Vehicle Expert (Chameleon, Mysterio)