The generation system has seven steps;
• Generate a physical form.
• Generate an Origin of Power.
• Generate Primary Abilities.
• Generate Secondary Abilities.
• Generate a Weakness.
• Generate Powers.
• Give your character life.
The joy and exasperation of random creation is that even when you think you know where you’re heading, you can still be taken in a completely different direction by a roll of the dice. Each of the seven steps contains factors that can totally revamp your character. You can even interpret the same sets of numbers in dramatically different ways.
Your character’s physical form is what he/she/it looks like now. Oh, the character might have been born a relatively normal child in Cleveland, Ohio, but this category is how people see them now.
Origin of Power
Now that you’ve determined what your character looks like, the next question is how did he/she/it get that way? More importantly, how did the character get the Powers that set them apart from mortal men (or cyborgs or centaurs or kitty cats)? This is the stage where you determine the Origin of Power. There are several possibilities here, each one a single event in your character’s life that transformed him/her/it into a Super Hero. The player can interpret the Origin two ways. The first way assumes that the character has always had approximately the same Physical Form that he/she/it now possesses. In that case, the Origin is the event in which their Powers first appeared.
The second way of interpreting the Origin is to assume that the character began life as a perfectly Normal, Human, say a kid from Euclid, Ohio. In that case, the Origin was an event that not only gave him/her/it Power, it may have also drastically altered his Physical form.
Each role-playing game has a set of basic characteristics for each character. These define such things as physical and mental traits, damage resistance, and how the character interacts with his/her/it’s world.
In the MARVEL SUPER HEROES’ game, these are the seven primary abilities;
A measure of raw combat ability, used to determine if the character lands a blow in hand-to-hand (called Slugfest) combat, used to determine if a character evades a blunt attack, used to determine if a multiple combat attack or other FEAT involving hand-to-hand combat is successful, and used to determine the secondary ability known as Health.
A measure of dexterity and nimbleness, used to determine if the character hits with a thrown or aimed weapon at a distance, used to determine if the character dodges a missile attack, used to determine if the character catches an object, holds onto a ledge, or successfully performs actions that require quick action or co-ordination, used to determine how well a character handles a vehicle, & used to determine the secondary ability known as Health.
A measure of physical muscle power used to determine damage inflicted in slugfest combat, used to determine success and damage in wrestling combat and success in Grabbing, Escaping, and Blocking manoeuvres, used to determine success in destroying materials, used to determine if a character can lift a heavy object or perform other acts that require physical power and used to determine the secondary ability known as Health.
A measure of personal toughness and physical resistance Used to determine normal moving speed, used to determine success in charging attacks, used to determine success in avoiding the effects of disease, poison, and gas, used to determine success in matters that require the character to perform actions over a long period of time, such as holding one’s breath, used to determine the secondary ability known as Health, used to resist the effects of Slams, Stuns, and Kill results directed against the character, used to determine the amount of Health regained by a wounded individual.
A measure of personal success to tasks relating to knowledge, puzzle-solving, and advanced technology
A measure of personal success of tasks relating to awareness, perception, and instinct.
A measure of personal success of tasks relating to willpower, psionics, and magic.
Health is used to determine the amount of physical damage the character can absorb before losing consciousness and potentially dying. Health does not have a rank or rank number, but rather is the sum of the rank numbers of the character’s Fighting, Agility, Strength, and Endurance. Health is lost through combat, accidents, attacks, and other potentially dangerous and life-threatening situations.
As a character adventures in the Marvel Universe, he/she gains and loses Karma. Karma is the reward system of the game, and is a register of how well the character is doing. Karma is also a spendable experience point. In other words, it is gained by the player, and may be spent by the player to make sure certain actions happen when they are supposed to. Karma is also spent to complete technological items, accomplish Power Stunts, and to advance the character in abilities and power.
Popularity is a variable ability, and may be increased or decreased according to the situation. Popularity is a measure of the characters reputation and public Image, whereas Karma is the character’s success within the cosmic scheme of things, in general. Popularity depends on what your hero/villain does in public, and how the press reacts to him. Popularity is awarded on a day-to-day basis, as it takes time for information to move through the media. As a hero performs actions for the public good. and those actions are reported to the public at large, the hero’s Popularity Increases. If the villain is accused of evil acts, or failing to protect the populace, his Popularity may drop. Popularity may reach a negative value, unlike Karma. Contacts and willing informants or assistants are all effected by the character’s popularity. In some cases. joining a group or gaining official government sanction will grant certain automatic Contacts. These are separate exceptions that are dealt with by the Judge and given to the players as specific opportunities. Contacts may be lost through the character performing actions that are not in the Contact’s best interest. This indiscretion must be known to be effective. For example, hiding a criminal wanted by the FBI may endanger the character’s contact with the FBI. In such situations, the Judge will make a Popularity FEAT for the character, modified by circumstance. If the FEAT fails, the character will lose that Contact (the organization becomes Neutral or, if the crime was severe, Unfriendly or Hostile). Regaining the good graces of a lost Contact will cost half the cost of buying that Contact. and reflects that certain members of the organization may think the character is OK, or that the organization was wrong. Friendly targets Green FEAT-Neutrals Yellow FEAT-Unfriendly targets Red FEAT-Hostile targets are Impossible.
Generated when the character is created, Resources is a measure of how wealthy a character is, and how the character may use that wealth. Presented as a rank with a rank number, it is used to determine if a character can afford a particular item or service. Resources may be increased through the spending of Karma, and under specific circumstances laid down by the Judge. Resources may be similarly deducted by the Judge in campaign situations.
A Weakness is a cause-and-effect situation. A specific stimulus causes the Weakness to appear. Its effect is what actually occurs to the character as a result of being exposed to the stimulus. The final consideration is the duration of the Weakness. This is the length of time the character is affected. Okay, why should you, the player, even pay attention to this section? Everyone has a weakness. For Normal Humans, the standard stimuli are Elemental Allergy, Molecular Allergy, and Energy Allergy with Fatal Effects. Super powered characters possess an enhanced resistance to all of these stimuli but retain a special Weakness to a specific stimulus.
Beyond the attributes, characters possessed powers, such as Spider-Man’s wall crawling, or Mister Fantastic’s elasticity. The powers function on a mostly ad hoc basis, and thus each character’s description gives considerable space to a description of how his or her powers work in the game.
There are times when the Game Master/Storyteller will have restrictions of certain power classes or powers in their campaign. Ask the Game Master/Storyteller about any restrictions.
The Marvel Superheroes Game also features a simple skill system, referred to as Talents. Talents needs to be learned and covers a wide range of knowledges from Archery to Zoology. A Talent raises a character’s ability by one rank when attempting actions related to that Talent. For example, a character uses his/her Agility score when attempting ranged attacks. A character with an Agility of Excellent would normally roll on that column when attacking with a rifle. However, if he/she had the “Guns” Talent the character would treat their Agility as the next higher power rank (Remarkable).
The Game Master/Storyteller was free to determine if a character would be unable to attempt an action without the appropriate Talent (such as a character with no medical background attempting to make a pill that can cure a rare disease).
Contacts represent social, political, and personal friends and allies through whom the character may gain information, help, and equipment. Unlike other abilities, Contacts have no rank number. Contacts are considered as Friendly to the character for purposes of determining reactions. The more powerful a Contact, the more likely that Contact may interfere with the character’s life. requesting favors, providing missions, and the like. A low level Contact like a snitch in the criminal element provides fewer ties to the character than knowing the President/Prime Minister on a first name basis (“Cap? Hi. This is the Stephen . I have this problem in the Middle East…:’).