Monday, August 18, 2014

Marvel '78 Part 3: New Rules

New Powers

Energy Melee Weapon: The hero with this Power possesses a melee weapon that uses the Energy Column for effects and inflicts Rank damage (with a minimum of one Rank higher than the hero's Strength). The player may choose any type of melee weapon (such as axes, whips, daggers, etc) or, alternately, the player may choose a natural weapon (such as fists, kicks, horns, etc).

Enhanced Primary Ability (Fighting/Agility/Strength/etc): The hero with this Power is exceptionally gifted in one of their primary abilities. Add +2 CS to the primary ability rolled (with a minimum of Excellent).

Explosive Missile: The hero with this Power can throw missiles which explode in a radius determined by their Rank, extending in a radius equal to the Area of Effect table from the Advanced Player's Book p. 1. Damage is inflicted equal to the Power's Rank. To determine the type of damage inflicted, roll on the following table: 01-25: Throwing Edged
26-50: Throwing Blunt
51-75: Energy (ignore Bullseye results)
76-100: Force (ignore Bullseye results)

Judgement: The hero with this Power can force an evil opponent to psychically experience the harm they have done to others. Exactly how this is accomplished may be determined by the player, but they must first successfully grapple their foe before using this power. Once the villain is grappled, they must roll a Psyche FEAT versus the hero's Power Rank. If the villain fails, they are stunned for 1-10 rounds.

Lie Detector: The hero with this Power can detect falsehoods. When this power is active, it may be used against a single person in their immediate vicinity by making a Power Rank FEAT against the victim's Psyche. Note that this does not work against recordings or stories retold to the hero.

Overload: The hero with this Power may choose to focus all of their energies into one devastating strike. Once per day, the hero may choose to "Overload", inflicting up to the Power Rank damage on top of the normal damage inflicted by an attack by spending an amount of Karma equal to the additional damage inflicted. Once this strike is made, the hero must make an Endurance FEAT of an Intensity equal to that of the Overload Power; if the FEAT is successful the hero is stunned for 1 round, otherwise they are stunned 1-10 rounds.

Swinging Line: The hero with this Power can move quickly through environments filled with tall objects, such as skyscrapers or Redwood forests, by swinging rapidly from a series of "lines" (webs, ropes and grappling hooks, etc). In such an environment, the hero may move at Power Rank speed (reference the chart on p. 23 of the Advanced Player's Book).

Tracer: The hero with this Power can leave a tracking device on a person or object which can be followed up to Power Rank distance on Range A (from the Range Tables found in the Ultimate Powers Book p. 1). Additionally, the tracer is difficult to notice, requiring an Intuition FEAT of an intensity equal to the Power Rank to notice. Such a tracer must be planted, however, requiring either a Throwing or Fighting FEAT to successfully place.

Miscellaneous House Rules

Healing: A hero regains Health equal to their Endurance one minute after taking damage, again at one hour after taking damage, and thereafter every day after taking damage.

Initiative: Initiative is resolved as per normal, but actions are not declared before initiative is rolled.

Resources: Instead of Resource FEATs, Resources are points gained each week that can be spent in whatever way the hero desires (or saved for a later date). The hero earns points equal to their current Resource Rank each week and deducts the Rank cost from their total Resource points whenever making a purchase.

Melee and Thrown Weapons: A hero can effectively use a weapon with a Strength equal to twice the Material Strength of the weapon, inflicting damage as normal. However, if a hero has a Talent which makes them skilled in the weapon being used they may inflict Strength damage plus the minimum damage inflicted by the weapon.

Example: The Kung-Fu Hustler has a Strength of Excellent (16) and the Talent Martial Arts Weapons. When using a katana in combat (the equivalent of a Great Sword), he would combine the damage done from Strength (16) and that from the katana (15), inflicting a total of 31 points of damage per swing.

Karma and Advancement

Karma Awards: As normal, except that Gaming Awards are not provided.

Buying A Clue: One way for players to spend Karma is to "buy a clue", which gives them a lead into an ongoing conspiracy. By spending 100 Karma a hero is given a clue through a Contact, their Career, or some other method that the Judge devises. If a player wants to jump directly into the action, this is a great way to do so.

Vigilantes: Unlike normal heroes, Vigilantes are held to a different code of honor (one that frequently conflicts with traditional heroes). Karma awards are as normal, except:

Commit Violent Crime (Innocent People): -60
Commit Violent Crime (Criminals): 15
Commit Destructive Crime (Innocent People): -40
Commit Destructive Crime (Criminals): 10
Commit Theft (Innocent People): -20
Commit Theft (Criminals): 0
Commit/Permit Murder (Innocent People): -ALL
Commit/Permit Murder (Minor Criminals): -50
Commit/Permit Murder (Major Criminals): 20
Charities: Personal Appearance: -Neg. Pop.
Popularity (Positive): -Pop.

Karmic Loans: Players, when reaching zero Karma, can choose to borrow Karma in the following denominations: 100, 250, and 500. This Karma cannot be used for advancement and the remainder disappears at the end of the encounter. Karmic loans are often used when a hero is seriously outclassed and desperately needs a win. These debts are paid back through complications which occur during the game, with the greater the loan the harsher the payback. Such debts might include problems which threaten their Careers, their Contacts, or other nasty surprises.


Power Stunts: As normal, except that the stunt is considered part of their bag of tricks after five successful uses of the stunt.

Ability Advancement: Raising an ability by one rank numbers costs 5 times the current rank number of that ability. When crest into the next rank, an additional 200 Karma points are spent.

Resource Advancement: Cost is 5 times the rank number, plus 100 points for Cresting.

Popularity Advancement: Only available through public acts.

Power Advancement: Cost is 10 times the rank number gained, and the cost for cresting is 250 additional points.

Power Addition: Only available through Tier Advancement, see below.

Talent Addition: Characters may learn from anyone at 500 points per Talent.

Contact Addition: Contacts may only be characters that the hero has met and dealt with during play. Contacts cost 250 points plus 5 times the Resource rank of the Contact.

Tier Advancement: Heroes which have invested 4,000 Karma into their character may opt into Tier Advancement. Tier Advancement costs 2,000 Karma and starts the hero on a major quest. This quest is extremely perilous, often placing their Careers, Contacts, and Powers at risk. If the hero succeeds at this quest, they advance to the Avenger Tier, often gaining increased Primary Abilities and Powers more in line with heroes such as Captain America, Iron Man, and Thor.


The following rules completely supersede the Hardware chapter in the Advanced Player's Book.

Heroes with Excellent or greater Reason can create super-scientific items given the proper Inspirations. Inspirations are discovered through the exploration of strange and exotic locales, from the jungles of the Savage Land to other dimensions such as the Negative Zone.

Each Inspiration is based on the study of the alien flora, fauna, technologies, and environments found in such places. When a potential Inspiration is found, heroes with sufficient Reason to grasp this will be informed by the Judge. Recovery of the potential Inspiration (or a sample thereof, if sufficient) will allow further study.

Inspirations, once recovered, are assigned a Rank and can be studied in a Laboratory of equal or greater Rank (see Setting Up House in the Advanced Players' Book p. 55). Studying the Inspiration requires a Reason FEAT versus the Inspiration's Rank. The amount of time needed to understand the Inspiration is as follows:

If the hero's Reason is greater than the Inspiration's Rank, it will take 40 hours to discover. 
If the hero's Reason is equal to the Inspiration's Rank, it will take 80 hours to discover.
If the hero's Reason is less than the Inspiration's Rank, it will take 160 hours to discover per Rank greater than the hero's Reason.

Example: The Amazing Brain discovers a strange artifact in Subterranea which is a potential Inspiration. Taking the artifact back to his laboratory, the Judge informs the Amazing Brain that the Inspiration is at Amazing Rank. The Brain, having a sufficient laboratory, begins studying the artifact. Since his Reason is Remarkable, it will require 320 hours of study to unlock its secrets.

Once the Inspiration has been successfully studied, the Judge will inform the player of the Inspiration's properties. In most circumstances, this will provide the hero with the chance to produce inventions from their discovery. There is often either a commercial use (potentially increasing the hero's Resources) or a super-heroic one. Each of these will have a number of hours and Resource points required to produce the discovery.

Alternately, the hero may opt not to develop an Inspiration, instead keeping it in reserve to kitbash an invention in the future. Kitbashing allows the hero to quickly develop a one-use item which can solve a problem through their scientific genius (but which cannot be easily replicated). Kitbashing 'burns' the Inspiration and is approved by the Judge on a case-by-case basis.

Example: The Amazing Brain, after successfully studying the artifact from Subterranea, discovers that it is a communications device capable of instantaneous interstellar radio. The Judge informs the Brain's player that he has a few options: A. Interstellar Radio: The Amazing Brain can produce briefcase-sized vocal communications devices capable of reaching deep space. Each device will require a Workshop of Amazing Rank, 100 Resource Points, and 40 hours of labor.

B. Improved Cellular Communications: The Amazing Brain can devise a method to increase cellular range and reception. This will require a Workshop of Incredible Rank, 250 Resource Points, and 160 hours of labor.

C. Restore Artifact: The Brain can also opt to bring the ancient artifact back into working order and potentially communicate with the ancient alien astronauts who left it behind. This will require a Workshop of Remarkable Rank, 50 Resource Points, and 20 hours of labor.

The Amazing Brain, opting for none of these, decides to keep the Inspiration for later kitbashing. When Earth is invaded by a Kree fleet intent on exposing humanity to Terrigen Mists, the Amazing Brain decides to try and use his Inspiration to kitbash a jamming device which will prevent the fleet from coordinating its strikes. The Judge rules that this will take 50 Resource Points, a Workshop of Incredible Rank, and 20 hours of labor.

In the next Marvel '78 post, we'll look at the list of Contacts that players can choose from, including Gods, Aliens, and Interdimensional Entities.

Looking further into the future, we'll discuss how players can discover and explore the strange corners of the Marvel Universe in search of Inspirations (and, consequently, the cool toys they bring) and Interdimensional Entities for the Wizards to make pacts with.


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