Marvel Heroic RPG - Rules Questions...

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  • edited March 2012
    I can't remember, but can villains take action against the doom pool? In the example MPOSullivan mentions, couldn't Nefaria strive to break free on his own? He could target the complication to wear it down, and maaaaaaybe once it gets rolled (by the doom pool) it goes away? That's kind of cheesy, but it's the players' own fault for not blowing a plot point to keep this thing in place.
  • Posted By: James_NostackI can't remember, but can villains take action against the doom pool? In the example MPOSullivan mentions, couldn't Nefaria strive to break free on his own? He could target the complication to wear it down, and maaaaaaybe once it gets rolled (by the doom pool) it goes away? That's kind of cheesy, but it's the players' own fault for not blowing a plot point to keep this thing in place.
    There is a rule that if you want a villain to help another villain, don't roll. They simply take an action (they can't do anything else that round other than make reaction rolls) and hand one of their traits to another villain.

    Using this logic, if the Watcher announces, "Count Nefaria is going to attack Nick Fury" and then turns to the players, "what do you do?" If the players do nothing or choose to take care of some other threat, then I would simply rule that Count Nefaria automatically succeeds, no roll needed, and apply any of his relevant traits as stress to Nick Fury.

    What's interesting about that, because the Watcher didn't roll, they could not take out Fury in 1 action, the worse they could do is apply d12 stress. The next action would bump that d12 to Stressed Out. So in effect it would act as a warning to the players. "Next action, Fury is done, Nefaria targets Fury again, anyone?"
  • Questions from Running Twice In One Day

    1a. How does the game handle "passive perception"? The GM just declares what the player might see? Like, a hero walks into a room and an invisible villain is there. The villain doesn't want to fight--he just wants to escape. The player [distinct from the hero character] may not know the villain is there, so might not call for a roll. Do we then wait for the villain to take an action [goal: escape without being detected] and the hero then opposes with whatever may apply?

    1b. What if, instead of a villain [i.e., an NPC with agency] it's a clue that the player may not even know to look for in the first place? Can the doom pool initiate action on its own [goal: this tiny clue goes unnoticed]?

    2. How does the game handle attacking someone at range? I.e., Spider-Man hurling a chunk of concrete at the Vulture who's trying to fly away over the East River? Is distance a kind of ad hoc asset or complication?

    3. How does the game handle mechanically-independent traits that are fictionally interlinked? In question #2, we had Spider-Man hurling a big rock at the Vulture. The Vulture had an Asset: Vulture Flying Away as well as a power trait, Vulture's Wings. The player described using his rock to smash the Vulture's wings (i.e., totally demolishing that power trait--ain't no wings left), but what does that do to the Vulture Flying Away asset? Is the Vulture still flying away even without wings? Does the Vulture Flying Away get removed, bumped down, changed to Vulture Swimming Away or what? Should the Vulture take physical stress from being hit with a catapult stone?
  • Posted By: James_Nostacka hero walks into a room and an invisible villain is there. The villain doesn't want to fight--he just wants to escape. The player [distinct from the hero character] may not know the villain is there, so might not call for a roll. Do we then wait for the villain to take an action [goal: escape without being detected] and the hero then opposes with whatever may apply?
    First of all, you absolutely announce "Invisiboy attempts to sneak away from the scene!" - again, imagine you are reading the comic. The only tension in the scene comes from everyone knowing Invisiboy is sneaking away. I would suggest that this is a good point in time to use the Automatic Success rule - spend a die out of the doom pool higher than the trait you're trying to negate (someone's Investigation specialty or whatnot).
    Posted By: James_NostackWhat if, instead of a villain [i.e., an NPC with agency] it's a clue that the player may not even know to look for in the first place? Can the doom pool initiate action on its own [goal: this tiny clue goes unnoticed]?
    Well, for one thing, in every scene someone is doing something. Noticing a clue is a good way to keep things moving forward in the event of a failure or whatnot. So this is pretty hard to answer. It doesn't really make a lot of sense in the context of a game where things happening is the primary way the game's organized.
    Posted By: James_NostackHow does the game handle attacking someone at range? I.e., Spider-Man hurling a chunk of concrete at the Vulture who's trying to fly away over the East River? Is distance a kind ofad hocasset or complication?
    The Vulture can inflict a Complication on Spider-Man (or any other heroes attacking/chasing him) with one of his Result dice - "Getting Away Again d8" or whatever. He can then roll that in opposition to Spider-Man.

    It's not really ad hoc, that's how Complications work?
    Posted By: James_NostackIn question #2, we had Spider-Man hurling a big rock at the Vulture. The Vulture had an Asset: Vulture Flying Away as well as a power trait, Vulture's Wings.
    Okay.
    Posted By: James_NostackThe player described using his rock to smash the Vulture's wings (i.e., totally demolishing that power trait--ain't no wings left), but what does that do to the Vulture Flying Away asset?
    Assets/Complications last until they don't make narrative sense anymore. So I like your idea of changing "Flying Away" to "Swimming Away", because the purpose of the Complication was to show how hard it is to take down the Vulture when you can't punch him.

    Although I would say it is more of a Complication for Spider-Man than an Asset for the Vulture. Like, if he runs into someone else that is not at range, then it wouldn't apply.
    Is the Vulture still flying away even without wings?
    No, that don't make no sense.
    Does the Vulture Flying Away get removed, bumped down, changed to Vulture Swimming Away or what?
    Seems reasonable to me.
    Should the Vulture take physical stress from being hit with a catapult stone?
    No, Spiderman really wasn't trying to cause physical trauma to the Vulture, just bust up his power set, make it easier to bring him in.

    If he just wanted to hurt the guy, he should have done that instead.
  • edited March 2012
    But wait, Jason, that really doesn't make any sense.

    First, some quick context. Rather than having Electro fly some dude away from the raft in Break-Out, I used the Vulture. So he's not just escaping from Spider-Man, he's escaping from everybody, so I gotta buy it as an asset because there are multiple heroes involved, and therefore an complication tagged to a single hero won't do it. But if we have that as an asset (or a complication or whatever), what happens when there are multiple people around, fictionally at different distances? The Vulture might be "getting away d12" with respect to the Thing, but only "getting away d6" with respect Iron Man. This would make sense as a complication tagged to each hero, but would require many, many effect dice to set up.

    Second and much more importantly: if we eliminate or reduce an asset or complication "for free" when it makes fictional sense to do so, why can't we create an asset/complication/stress when it makes fictional sense? Why is saying, "Trashing the Vulture's wings with a rock makes his escaping go away, of course. But don't you dare say it causes physical stress."

    I feel like there's this really awesome dice-economy in this game that has some neat inputs into the fiction. Dice to clouds, in Vincent's lingo. But the reverse--turning purely fictional inputs into dice--is almost totally absent, or at best can only be accomplished by the expenditure of a (to me) surprising number of resources.
  • edited March 2012
    Posted By: James_NostackSo he's not just escaping from Spider-Man, he's escaping from everybody, so I gotta buy it as an asset because there are multiple heroes involved, and therefore an complication tagged to a single hero won't do it.
    Oh, I get it. In that case, why wouldn't you do it as a stunt instead? It makes more sense that he's flying really fast versus creating an asset about how far away he is.
    Posted By: James_NostackBut if we have that as an asset (or a complication or whatever), what happens when there are multiple people around, fictionally at different distances?
    That is why the stunt makes more sense. I thought he was going that far away so he could taunt Spidey in some way, use that distance to do something to Spidey specifically.
    Posted By: James_NostackSecond and much more importantly: if we eliminate or reduce an asset or complication "for free" when it makes fictional sense to do so, why can't wecreatean asset/complication/stress when it makes fictional sense?
    No, that wasn't the question, the question was "is he still flying when his wings are broken" and the answer to that is a clear "no".

    Similarly, Stress is special, because characters are special.

    Again, imagine the comics.

    Spidey webslings a rock at the guy. Next panel: "Curses, my wings are broken!" Spidey makes a quip or whatever. THEN Spidey starts a beat down because of whatever the Vulture did to his aunt. Breaking his wings is special. It's its own thing.

    (None of that clouds and arrows and stuff ever made any sense.)
  • edited March 2012
    Posted By: James_NostackBut wait, Jason, that really doesn't make any sense.

    First, some quick context. Rather than having Electro fly some dude away from the raft in Break-Out, I used the Vulture. So he's not just escaping from Spider-Man, he's escaping from everybody, so I gotta buy it as an asset because there are multiple heroes involved, and therefore an complication tagged to a single hero won't do it. But if we have that as an asset (or a complication or whatever), what happens when there are multiple people around, fictionally at different distances? The Vulture might be "getting away d12" with respect to the Thing, but only "getting away d6" with respect Iron Man. This would make sense as a complication tagged to each hero, but would require many, many effect dice to set up.

    Second and much more importantly: if we eliminate or reduce an asset or complication "for free" when it makes fictional sense to do so, why can't wecreatean asset/complication/stress when it makes fictional sense? Why is saying, "Trashing the Vulture's wings with a rock makes his escaping go away, of course. But don't you dare say it causes physical stress."
    JDCorley's answer makes sense.

    In regard to having a different level of Complication by individual character, thats a level of detail the game doesn't really go into. RPGs are full of such abstractions, so it's just a question of getting used to it.

    However, the system handles this kind of thing in a way. For example, if Vulture has the "Getting Away d12" Complication, and a PC goes after him, it's easier for that PC to create their own Asset of "Closing In on Vulture" at lowered dice than a d12, than removing the Complication.

    Alternatively, if Vulture only got distance from one PC, as GM, suggest that the Complication be "Getting Away from Captain America d12" instead of something more general.

    In terms of creating and ending Assets and Complication when it makes fictional sense, this is not really as assymetrical as you make it out to be. A GM can add Assets and Complications when it makes fictional sense, especially at the start of a scene, so as to allow players more control over the scene through their dice rolls. Likewise, removing an Asset and Complication normally requires a dice roll (see targeting Traits). The main point is that though there is a resource economy drive by dice rolls, it should never override the narrative. When the two conflict, the narrative wins.
  • More questions:

    1. How can I create a "spreading wild fire" or "escaping helicopter" trait that steps up at the end of every round?

    2. Is there anyway for Heroes to shrink the Doom Pool?

    3. The rules say, "[d]on’t roll the dice when… [snip] [t]he only outcome of either success or failure is that nothing happens", but there are a lot of rolls where the result of failure is nothing happening. Are we doing something wrong? Should something always change? If a Hero fails to attack a Villain, and that Villain doesn't have the ability to counter attack, should something happen?
  • edited March 2012
    Posted By: JDCorleyPosted By: James_NostackSo he's not just escaping from Spider-Man, he's escaping from everybody, so I gotta buy it as an asset because there are multiple heroes involved, and therefore an complication tagged to a single hero won't do it.
    Oh, I get it. In that case, why wouldn't you do it as a stunt instead? It makes more sense that he's flying really fast versus creating an asset about how far away he is.

    Well, for one thing because villains cannot stunt. Presumably you mean spend from the doom pool. But then what does the Vulture do with his effect die?
    Posted By: James_NostackSecond and much more importantly: if we eliminate or reduce an asset or complication "for free" when it makes fictional sense to do so, why can't wecreatean asset/complication/stress when it makes fictional sense?
    No, that wasn't the question, the question was "is he still flying when his wings are broken" and the answer to that is a clear "no".

    Similarly, Stress is special, because characters are special.

    Again, imagine the comics.

    Spidey webslings a rock at the guy. Next panel: "Curses, my wings are broken!" Spidey makes a quip or whatever. THEN Spidey starts a beat down because of whatever the Vulture did to his aunt. Breaking his wings isspecial. It's its own thing.
    Jason, I'm gonna do you one better. Though I cannot locate an actual comic where this happens, I thought I'd make my own.
    image

    I think you can click on that to make it (much too) big. Spider-Man is frustrated with the Vulture, so he throws a 500-pound air-conditioning unit at him, breaking Vulture's wings, so the Vulture can no longer fly. At the end, we see that the Vulture has sustained some injuries from the impact and the fall. While I'm no artist, I think this is an extremely natural and plausible way to imagine these events. (I'm not saying everyone's got to agree with me, just that I don't think I'm crazy for imagining things this way.)

    So if this was you and me, as little kids, running around the backyard pretending to be super-heroes, it would sound something like this:
    JASON-VULTURE: "You can't catch me, you're out of webs!"
    ME-SPIDEY: "Fine! I throw a heavy thing at you, ka-pow!"
    JASON-VULTURE: "Oh no, my wings, I can't fly!"
    ME-SPIDEY: "Also, I've ruptured your spleen."
    JASON: "No you didn't!"
    ME-SPIDEY: "Yes I did!"

    One way to understand role-playing games is that they resolve the "no you didn't / yes I did" impasse. Stop arguing, go to the dice.
    JASON-WATCHER: "Congratulations, you broke the Vulture's Enhanced Flight d8."
    ME-SPIDEY: "And so what does that do to his asset/complication/stunt of getting away?"
    JASON-WATCHER: "Well, that goes away too."
    ME-SPIDEY: "Really? I only had one effect die."
    JASON-WATCHER: "Well sure, but it doesn't make any sense for the Vulture to continue to fly away once his wings are busted!"
    ME-SPIDEY: "Okay. Cool. Does the Vulture take any physical stress?"
    JASON-WATCHER: "No. You only had one effect die."
    ME-SPIDEY: "But surely hitting a dude with a massive fuckin' object is gonna bang him up just as plausibly as thwart his escape."
    JASON-WATCHER: "No, that's totally not the same thing because the dice economy requires it to be a different thing."
    ME-SPIDEY: "This is one of those ridiculous-if-you-think-about-it things like Class & Hit Points in D&D, isn't it?"
    JASON-WATCHER: "Not at all! Just imagine the comics, they wouldn't illustrate the Vulture getting his wings broken AND getting hurt."
    ME-SPIDEY: "No, I didn't just imagine a comic, I made you one. You could totally illustrate that."
    JASON: "No you couldn't."
    ME: "Yes you could! I just did!"
    JASON: "No you couldn't! The mechanics say you must have drawn something different!"

    We're back to arguing about what the fiction ought to look like based on intuition. You're going to win the argument because that's how the mechanics work, but those mechanics require a particular fictional approach which is about as sensible as fire-and-forget spellcasting: i.e., not especially sensible but can live with it.

    I think you've either got to embrace the mechanics fully and unapologetically without referencing what "ought" to happen in the fiction, or else allow the players / GM to slap on an extra effect die here or there when it makes sense to do so.
  • Posted By: James_NostackWell, for one thing because villains cannot stunt. Presumably you mean spend from the doom pool. But then what does the Vulture do with his effect die?
    What was he trying to do in the scene? Maybe he inflicts physical stress on Spidey by getting him to over-exert himself, or emotional stress as he taunts Spidey, or something?
    Posted By: James_NostackJASON-WATCHER: "Congratulations, you broke the Vulture's Enhanced Flight d8."
    ME-SPIDEY: "And so what does that do to his asset/complication/stunt of getting away?"
    JASON-WATCHER: "Well, that goes away too."
    No it doesn't, it just means he can't do it again this round. That's why the stunt/spend from doom pool to get a d8 makes more sense than an asset/complication. He WAS going really fast trying to get away. So now he can't do that anymore.
  • Posted By: jenskotHow can I create a "spreading wild fire" or "escaping helicopter" trait that steps up at the end of every round?
    Scene Distinction. But you don't necessarily want it to step up. If it's impairing people, you want to be rolling that d4 + PP.
    Posted By: jenskotIs there anyway for Heroes to shrink the Doom Pool?
    SFX. There used to be a rule in an earlier playtest version that you could use an effect die to take out a die of the same type or smaller from doom, as you rescue civilians/quip at the villain/etc. But I can't seem to find it in the final version. Shouldn't really hurt anything. Although if the Doom Pool is getting too big, likely its time for the Watcher to start spending out of it for stuff.
    Posted By: jenskotthere are a lot of rolls where the result of failure is nothing happening. Are we doing something wrong? Should something always change? If a Hero fails to attack a Villain, and that Villain doesn't have the ability to counter attack, should something happen?
    What is the villain doing? I don't understand this scene idea that you have.
  • edited March 2012
    Jason, if we can't even agree on whether this is an Asset, a Complication, a Stunt, a Doom Pool, or whatever-whatever, then I think something else is afoot here.

    The Vulture ain't trying to do nothing to Spider-Man. He is trying to get his nasty buzzard self away, ASAP. What is that, mechanically, when there are lots of other (unpictured) heroes around? When is he close by, when is he far away, when is he gone? And with respect to whom?

    I mean: this is a game based on a visual medium, and after a week of study, 8 hours of play, and lots of internet-wrangling, I cannot picture one guy flying away from 3-4 other guys. This isn't necessarily a problem, but it is hugely weird.
  • Posted By: James_NostackI think you can click on that to make it (much too) big. Spider-Man is frustrated with the Vulture, so he throws a 500-pound air-conditioning unit at him, breaking Vulture's wings, so the Vulture can no longer fly
    And one more thing, why not spend a PP to add on an additional effect die if it's THAT IMPORTANT SO DRAMMMAATIC? d12 to Shut Down the Vultures wings, and then a d8 of physical stress? That's what PP are for.
  • edited March 2012
    Posted By: James_NostackThe Vulture ain't trying to do nothing to Spider-Man. He is trying to get his nasty buzzard self away, ASAP. What is that, mechanically, when there are lots of other (unpictured) heroes around? When is he close by, when is he far away, when is he gone?
    Sorry (again). I thought we were talking about his ability to fly specifically. That's a power/power set.

    Yes, with his roll, he should create an Escaping! Asset. But the way that his flight is expressed is not in the Asset, it's in the pool he rolls to get the Asset. So when his wings get crunched, his power is shut down (it has the Gear Limit, so this can happen), but the Asset remains until taken out by other effect dice. He would still be Escaping! some other way. If we accidentally wrote something too specific on the Asset like "Flying Away", we should fix that if what we really mean is "he's a long way away".

    If someone - anyone - closes with him, he no longer has that advantage in achieving his goal (escape!), so it goes away completely, no matter who else is where. It don't matter if it's Thor or Squirrel Girl. That's how I would do it.

    The ability to fly is not an Asset.

    Edit: I'm not a super expert on this, so others can/should kick in too.
  • Hey, I thought about this one some more and I think, given the math of the game, I was being too picky. Sure, go ahead and create an Asset, then split it up if one person and not another overcomes it. Do it however makes sense: the addition or subtraction of one die from the die pool is really not that significant. There's normally going to be a lot of dice in the die pool. This is why a Power Set with 10 powers in it is balanced with a Power Set with 2 in it - because you only get one die from the pool for free and have to pay for everything else. Similarly, even if you're rolling a shit-ton of dice, you still only get to keep 2 + 1 effect without spending Plot Points. It's the Plot Point/Doom Pool economy that's really driving the balance here, not the die pool.
  • Posted By: JDCorleyPosted By: jenskotHow can I create a "spreading wild fire" or "escaping helicopter" trait that steps up at the end of every round?
    Scene Distinction. But you don't necessarily want it to step up. If it's impairing people, you want to be rolling that d4 + PP.
    That's what I tried a few times and it felt flat in play (for the 3 different groups I tried it with). Especially since you can only use 1 Distinction (Scene or personal) per roll. Last game I had the spreading wild fire step up at the end of each round and it was very tense and emotionally pleasing for the players. I'm trying to find a way to recreate that feeling without hacking the game (yet).
    Posted By: JDCorleyPosted By: jenskotIs there anyway for Heroes to shrink the Doom Pool?
    SFX. There used to be a rule in an earlier playtest version that you could use an effect die to take out a die of the same type or smaller from doom, as you rescue civilians/quip at the villain/etc. But I can't seem to find it in the final version. Shouldn't really hurt anything. Although if the Doom Pool is getting too big, likely its time for the Watcher to start spending out of it for stuff.
    Cool!
    Posted By: JDCorleyPosted By: jenskotthere are a lot of rolls where the result of failure is nothing happening. Are we doing something wrong? Should something always change? If a Hero fails to attack a Villain, and that Villain doesn't have the ability to counter attack, should something happen?
    What is the villain doing? I don't understand this scene idea that you have.

    Examples:

    - Magneto attacks Wolverine, hoping to knock him unconscious. Wolverine defends but doesn't have a Plot Point to counter attack. The situation remains the same.

    - A Sentinel is flying away and has the asset, "High in the Air d8". Cyclops attacks hoping to stop the Sentinel from getting further away. Cyclops fails. The Sentinel is still where they started, nothing lost, nothing gained.

    In both cases, cool things seemingly happen in the story, but the mechanics remain the same.

    Are we playing wrong?

    I know this is how many RPGs work, but given that the book says not to roll if failure would result in nothing happening, I feel like we're missing something.
  • Posted By: jenskotMagneto attacks Wolverine, hoping to knock him unconscious. Wolverine defends but doesn't have a Plot Point to counter attack. The situation remains the same.
    Oh, okay. Yes, that's right. That's not really what "don't roll if failure means nothing happens" means in this context. Wolvy gets his turn to respond at some point and Magneto's actions have made it clear what he's after. Revealing that is "something happens".

    But you shouldn't roll to notice a clue (for example) if the result of failure is "welp, you're there". That's different.
  • edited March 2012
    Posted By: jenskotThat's what I tried a few times and it felt flat in play (for the 3 different groups I tried it with). Especially since you can only use 1 Distinction (Scene or personal) per roll. Last game I had thespreading wild firestep up at the end of each round and it was very tense and emotionally pleasing for the players. I'm trying to find a way to recreate that feeling without hacking the game (yet).
    You could just make it a Scene Effect. Add Complication "spreading wild fire" at d4 and allow ot to be increased by spending a Doom Dice of equal to or higher value.
    Posted By: jenskotExamples:

    - Magneto attacks Wolverine, hoping to knock him unconscious. Wolverine defends but doesn't have a Plot Point to counter attack. The situation remains the same.

    - A Sentinel is flying away and has the asset, "High in the Air d8". Cyclops attacks hoping to stop the Sentinel from getting further away. Cyclops fails. The Sentinel is still where they started, nothing lost, nothing gained.

    In both cases, cool things seemingly happen in the story, but the mechanics remain the same.

    Are we playing wrong?
    No. They are both missed attacks. In terms of combat, the failure to do anything against an opponent isn't really nothing given the time pressure and tension of the scene. It provides an advantage to your opponent.
  • edited March 2012
    Posted By: JDCorleyYes, with his roll, he should create an Escaping! Asset. But the way that his flight is expressed is not in the Asset, it's in the pool he rolls to get the Asset. So when his wings get crunched, his power is shut down (it has the Gear Limit, so this can happen), but the Asset remains until taken out by other effect dice. He would still be Escaping! some other way. If we accidentally wrote something too specific on the Asset like "Flying Away", we should fix that if what we really mean is "he's a long way away".

    If someone - anyone - closes with him, he no longer has that advantage in achieving his goal (escape!), so it goes away completely, no matter who else is where. It don't matter if it's Thor or Squirrel Girl. That's how I would do it.
    That's exactly the conclusion I came to as well. In fact you can even see it in the little comic I drew:
    1. the Vulture creates asset: far away d8. Spider-Man tries to use his webs but the Watcher activates the Limit: Out of Juice.
    2. Spider-Man takes a round to somehow create asset: 500-pound ventilation unit d8 while the off-panel Vulture somehow bumps his own asset to d10
    3. Spider-Man hurls the ventilation unit and removes the Vulture's Feathery Flight d8 power trait. The far away asset remains.
    4. Spider-Man somehow takes action against the far away asset, eliminating it. (Oops! The stupid artist forgot Spidey was out of webbing!)
    5. The action resumes with Spider-Man in close proximity to the Vulture...
    My hang-up was that I wasn't allowing the fiction to police the mechanical possibilities. Purely looking at mechanics, Spider-Man ends up with a d10 effect die which he could use either to remove the far away asset, inflict stress, inflict a complication d10, or remove one of the Vulture's power traits. But all of this starts with Spider-Man's stated intention: "I'm throwing a heavy object at this guy." Hitting the Vulture with a heavy object doesn't bring him any closer to you, so you can't remove the asset. Under the circumstances, it's difficult to imagine a complication other than physical stress, so complications are most likely ruled out. Mental or emotional stress is theoretically possible, but not easy to justify. Busting the Vulture's flight power trait, however, is both fictionally plausible, mechanically permitted, and tactically helpful. The table has to provide a consensus on limiting effects to what's fictionally plausible. (This principle is implied on page OM54, and maybe elsewhere.)

    (Aside: I've heard hopefully apocryphal stories that in Dungeons & Dragons 4e you can knock an ooze prone. This is really weird, because an ooze can't stand up in the first place! But the design philosophy of 4e apparently means that the mechanical cause, your White Phoenix Death-Trip, is going to have a mechanical effect, your enemy is knocked prone, regardless of whether that makes fictional sense. That doesn't seem to be the case with Marvel Heroic, at least not entirely: the table's gotta act as a gatekeeper so that the fiction constrains the mechanics.)

    PANEL 5 represents the inverse of this principle, and is why I drew the comic originally. Instead of the fiction subtracting from the full range of mechanical effects, it might be creating a mechanical effect--in this case, d6 physical stress or something. While this could have been from an extra effect die that Spider-Man purchased in PANEL 3, or Vulture's really unlucky landing in PANEL 4, it could just be thrown in there for the hell of it. As you say, it probably wouldn't have a huge effect on the math, but the GM might want to spend a Doom Die just for the hell of it.

    Thanks for your time, Jason. Sorry if I sounded aggravated earlier!
  • edited March 2012
    So here's a question rising out of that last post.

    Spider-Man wants to rip up an industrial air-conditioning unit in order to throw it at someone. (Using the "fiction polices the mechanics" principle I sorta-invented last post, Spider-Man wouldn't be able to use his super strength against a far-away enemy, so he needs an asset.) This is mechanically significant, because he needs to create an asset. But Spider-Man routinely lifts several tons, and let's stipulate the A/C unit is like 500 pounds. In my little comic, Spidey spends Panel 2 putting together a die pool of Solo + Wisecrack + Strength. But what's he rolling against? Options that I see:

    * He doesn't need to roll at all. Five hundred pounds is nothing for Spider-Man, it just happens. Because there's no roll, there's no effect die, and hence no asset created. It just makes the super strength attack in Panel 3 fictionally plausible and hence mechanically possible.

    * He doesn't need to roll because it's well within his abilities, and his spider-strength d10 gets treated like a support die (variation on OM53), even though he's ultimately supporting himself.

    * He doesn't need to roll, and the GM says, "Eh, 500 pounds? That's probably something someone with Enhanced Strength d8 could lift with some strain, so take that as an asset: 500-pound ventilation unit at d8." This permits the GM and players to size up stuff on the fly, without mucking around in the rolls. This is useful! Say Spider-Man is driving his Spider-Mobile for a peaceful Sunday drive without a care in the world, when a kid steps into traffic. It would be handy to slap down: complication: driving fast without having to previously establish all this stuff with resources. (If I were going to say the Vulture got banged up without mechanical cause, this is exactly how I'd do it. "Eh, looks like about d6 physical stress, let's slap that on there.")

    * He rolls against the Doom Pool, because even if it's something he could normally do easily, we're gamers playing out a combat scene. The weight, aerodynamics, and general suitability for bonking a flying vulture-man gets determined by Spider-Man's effect die. To me, this skirts close to "don't roll if nothing happens on failure," but maybe it's a wasted opportunity and the Vulture continues to get away...?

    There's a related question about what the Vulture rolls against to land without taking injury when his wings are broken; presumably that's what he's trying to do in Panel 4. This one may be in the rules somewhere and I missed it.
  • How does the timing of activating Opportunities work?

    Each side of the equation can us Opporutnities to add dice to their pools, right? So who should be rolling first, then? Or do the player and the Watcher roll at the same time, and then we deal with any Opportunties before deciding how things fell out?
  • Posted By: James_NostackSo here's a question rising out of that last post.
    Assets don't normally cover material possessions. They are normally situational advantages, as anyone can take advantage of them if it makes sense narratively (for example far away could be used by people against Vulture). Physical items and people tend to be Resources.

    As such, I don't see the A/C unit as an Asset. Spiderman is targetting a Trait and possibly using a Strength Stunt. So, I would say option 1.
  • edited March 2012
    Posted By: buzzEach side of the equation can us Opporutnities to add dice to their pools, right? So who should be rolling first, then? Or do the player and the Watcher roll at the same time, and then we deal with any Opportunties before deciding how things fell out?
    Opportunities are not used by anyone to add to the dice pool that is rolled. Watcher's use them to add to the Doom Pool (which is distinct from the Dice Pool). Player's use them to boost Pushes and Stunts, create Resources, and boost Assets.
  • edited March 2012
    Posted By: buzzHow does the timing of activating Opportunities work?

    Each side of the equation can us Opporutnities to add dice to their pools, right? So who should be rolling first, then? Or do the player and the Watcher roll at the same time, and then we deal with any Opportunties before deciding how things fell out?
    First, the attacker rolls. Then the attacker declares their total, effects, and opportunities.

    Then the appropriate people may buy those opportunities.

    Then any defenders make reaction rolls.

    Wolverine attacks Magneto. Wolverine spends Plot Points to keep multiple Effect Dice. He declares his total (15) and that he is using his effects to inflict physical stress on both Magneto and his buddy Toad, and finally that he rolled 1 opportunity. The Watcher buys that opportunity. Then Magneto and the Toad make reaction rolls. If Magneto or Toad rolls an opportunity, Wolverine can buy it but can't use it immediately because he already rolled.
  • Posted By: SkywalkerPosted By: jenskotThat's what I tried a few times and it felt flat in play (for the 3 different groups I tried it with). Especially since you can only use 1 Distinction (Scene or personal) per roll. Last game I had thespreading wild firestep up at the end of each round and it was very tense and emotionally pleasing for the players. I'm trying to find a way to recreate that feeling without hacking the game (yet).
    You could just make it a Scene Effect. Add Complication "spreading wild fire" at d4 and allow ot to be increased by spending a Doom Dice of equal to or higher value.

    What's a Scene Effect? I just did a search and didn't see it come up.

    Aren't Complications only inflicted on targeted characters?

    Can you spend Doom Dice to Step Up Complications?
  • OM17:

    "Activate Scene or Event Effects
    Sometimes, a Scene or Event has effects that are activated by spending from the doom pool. These are essentially additional “spend a doom die to…” options added to the generic list provided in this section. These can include bringing in more bad guys, triggering some kind of time-sensitive incident, or introducing a major villain or supporting character. The list of effects specifies the cost from the doom pool for activating these effects."

    Its basically an open mechanic to allow the GM to add cool stuff to a scene without spending dice. There are examples in Breakout.

    You are right about Complications effecting 1 person.

    There is no official way to step up Complications. Assets get stepped up by players when the Watcher rolls opportunities, so you could mirror this mechanic. I would also allow a Complication to be stepped up if a second Complication of the same type were inflicted much like Stress, if it made sense.

    The danger with allowing Complications to be stepped up all the time though is that you can take out an opponent by stepping up a Complication over d12. So, you may end up diluting Stress.
  • Posted By: SkywalkerOM17:

    "Activate Scene or Event Effects
    Sometimes, a Scene or Event has effects that are activated by spending from the doom pool. These are essentially additional “spend a doom die to…” options added to the generic list provided in this section. These can include bringing in more bad guys, triggering some kind of time-sensitive incident, or introducing a major villain or supporting character. The list of effects specifies the cost from the doom pool for activating these effects."

    Its basically an open mechanic to allow the GM to add cool stuff to a scene without spending dice. There are examples in Breakout.
    Neat! Thanks so much!
    Posted By: SkywalkerYou are right about Complications effecting 1 person.

    There is no official way to step up Complications. Assets get stepped up by players when the Watcher rolls opportunities, so you could mirror this mechanic. I would also allow a Complication to be stepped up if a second Complication of the same type were inflicted much like Stress, if it made sense.

    The danger with allowing Complications to be stepped up all the time though is that you can take out an opponent by stepping up a Complication over d12. So, you may end up diluting Stress.
    Good points.

    If we take a page from "use the Doom Pool the way Heroes use Plot Points" then we could:

    - Villain uses an Effect Die to create an asset, "wild fire".
    - Watcher spends a Doom Die to make the asset "wild fire" last till the end of the scene (instead of 1 roll).
    - Watcher spends additional Doom Dice or Villain Effect Dice to Step Up "wild fire."

    That seems fairly balanced. And what's exciting is the "wild fire" could spread because of opportunities, which is more fun than just having it automatically step up at the end of a round.
  • The only thing I would add is that as players can only step up Assets on Watcher Opportunities, I would probably say that the Watcher could only spend Doom Dice to increase something envirnomental like wild fire when PCs rolled Opportunities. This makes the wild fire less rapidly increasing and more unpredictable.
  • edited March 2012
    I agree. Pretty cool!
  • Posted By: SkywalkerPosted By: James_NostackSo here's a question rising out of that last post.
    Assets don't normally cover material possessions. They are normally situational advantages, as anyone can take advantage of them if it makes sense narratively (for example far away could be used by people against Vulture). Physical items and people tend to be Resources.

    As such, I don't see the A/C unit as an Asset. Spiderman is targetting a Trait and possibly using a Strength Stunt. So, I would say option 1.

    It is fascinating that no two people translate the fiction into the mechanics in the same way. And it's not even that we disagree on the fiction--we're working off the same little comic. But this time I think I am correct in my interpretation that the AC unit as an asset:
    Posted by: Operations Manual 23
    Assets are brief and
    situational, created to help other heroes by
    adding to their dice pools or as a means of
    giving you more dice in subsequent actions.
    They’re also a way for you to call something
    out as being significant or important, like a
    piece of the scenery
    or a supporting character
    who previously didn’t have game
    mechanics representing them.
    (emphasis added).
  • No probs. As you point out, the rules of this RPG allow different approaches to the same problem and all those approaches can still be right.

    FWIW I think its fine to treat the A/C unit as an Asset and can understand your reasoning. I might even decide that myself depending on certain other factors, like how long the A/C unit was expected to be in play, would anyone else be expected to use it etc.
  • Remember my realization: Plus or minus one die really doesn't affect the math of the game that much.
  • Posted By: Skywalker"Activate Scene or Event Effects
    Sometimes, a Scene or Event has effects that are activated by spending from the doom pool..."

    Its basically an open mechanic to allow the GM to add cool stuff to a scene without spending dice.
    The passage you quoted says that Doom Dice must be spent to activate these effects. Or do you mean they don't need to spend to create the effects, just to active them?
  • Posted By: James_NostackThe Vulture ain't trying to do nothing to Spider-Man. He is trying to get his nasty buzzard self away, ASAP. What is that, mechanically, when there are lots of other (unpictured) heroes around? When is he close by, when is he far away, when is he gone? And with respect to whom?
    My take based on some re-reading while I was on the train this morning, and tell me if this makes sense.

    VULTURE: I'm getting out of here! I roll [Affiliation + Distinction + Power + Specialty], and I spend a Doom Die to add the Stunt, "High-Flying Retreat d8".

    SPIDEY: I'm going to stop him! I roll [Affiliation + Distinction + Power + Specialty], and I spend a PP to add the Stunt (or use an existing Scene Distinction), "Hurled AC Unit d8".

    They roll. Assuming that Spidey was rolling a Reaction and not an Action, if he succeeds, I think he simply prevents Vulture from escaping this round. He could spend a PP to use the Effect die to shutdown the Vulture's Wings trait, I believe.

    If Spidey was rolling an Action, then he could declare his intent to be a shutdown of the Vulture's Wings trait, and Vulture is simply trying to defend himself by getting as far away as possible.

    Anyway, if the Vulture wins in either case, then the fictional result is that he's flown off, and anyone attacking him either needs to have the ability to pursue him or attack at range. I don't know that specifics about range really matter. We're talking about superheroes here; they will find a way, be it a repulsor ray shot or a Fastball Special.

    I dunno. Am I in the ball park?
  • Posted By: SkywalkerOpportunities are not used by anyone to add to the dice pool that is rolled.
    OM12:
    "Activate the Watcher’s Opportunity
    You can give yourself either a d8 push die for your dice pool or a stunt at d10. In other words, spending the PP when the Watcher rolls a 1 lets you create either the push d6 or the stunt d8 for your next roll and then immediately step it up by one. You can either use this on a reaction (if the Watcher gave you the opportunities on an action) or save it for your next action. If you’re saving it, write a note as a reminder."

    Okay, so basically Actions roll first. Opportunities can then be used by the Watcher to add Doom dice, or used by the Player to add dice to Reaction they will roll in response.

    Reactions roll next. Opportunities can then be used by the Watcher to add Doom dice, or used by the Player to add dice to the next Action they roll.

    Is that right?
  • I'm not sure it's clear, but you can't use opportunities from your own dice. (Right?)
  • Posted By: Christian GriffenI'm not sure it's clear, but you can't use opportunities from your own dice. (Right?)
    Right. You activate opportunities rolled by your opponent.
  • Posted By: buzzPosted By: SkywalkerOpportunities are not used by anyone to add to the dice pool that is rolled.
    OM12:
    "Activate the Watcher’s Opportunity
    You cangive yourself either a d8 push die for your dice pool or a stunt at d10. In other words, spending the PP when the Watcher rolls a 1 lets you create either the push d6 or the stunt d8 for your next roll and then immediately step it up by one.You can either use this on a reaction (if the Watcher gave you the opportunities on an action) or save it for your next action. If you’re saving it, write a note as a reminder."

    Ah, cool. I see what you are getting at. My point is that Opportunities don't really add dice but boosts up the Push or Stunt dice that you add by spending PP. As such, boosted Push and Stunt dice are added the same way as Push and Stunt dice normally, they are just one step bigger.
  • Posted By: SkywalkerAh, cool. I see what you are getting at. My point is that Opportunities don't really add dice but boosts up the Push or Stunt dice that you add by spending PP. As such, boosted Push and Stunt dice are added the same way as Push and Stunt dice normally, they are just one step bigger.
    All is clear to me now. Thanks for the clarification!
  • Yeah, I got that backwards a couple of times too. Good stuff.
  • Posted By: jenskotExamples:

    - Magneto attacks Wolverine, hoping to knock him unconscious. Wolverine defends but doesn't have a Plot Point to counter attack. The situation remains the same.

    - A Sentinel is flying away and has the asset, "High in the Air d8". Cyclops attacks hoping to stop the Sentinel from getting further away. Cyclops fails. The Sentinel is still where they started, nothing lost, nothing gained.

    In both cases, cool things seemingly happen in the story, but the mechanics remain the same.

    Are we playing wrong?
    Posted By: JDCorleyOh, okay. Yes, that's right. That's not really what "don't roll if failure means nothing happens" means in this context. Wolvy gets his turn to respond at some point and Magneto's actions have made it clear what he's after. Revealing that is "something happens".

    But you shouldn't roll to notice a clue (for example) if the result of failure is "welp, you're there". That's different.
    Posted By: SkywalkerNo. They are both missed attacks. In terms of combat, the failure to do anything against an opponent isn't really nothing given the time pressure and tension of the scene. It provides an advantage to your opponent.
    I was about to post "makes sense" a few hours ago but forgot. Since then a few things happened which changed my opinion to "it depends".

    Chris posted a great blog post, Closer Look at Whiff Factor and I talked with 2 friends who played Marvel but rarely play RPGs otherwise (but read lots of comics).

    They felt frustrated when they had to wait till it was their turn (in a 6 player game, that could be 15-20 minutes) only to whiff. It was boring for them. "This is one of the reasons we don't play most RPGs." Technically missing in combat isn't nothing happening because mechanically that means you are still in danger, the enemy gets to attack you again, and you might be taken out. But emotionally, for them, it feels empty. It feels like nothing happened. They admitted this would be less the case if there were only 2-3 players. As a gamer (of certain games), I'm conditioned to accept whiffing and waiting a long time for my turn. Or maybe they are conditioned to be less patient. Either way it feels off for them and theoretically they are more the audience for this game than I am.

    The only 3 times the players didn't seem happy about the games we ran were: 1. being initially intimidated by the character sheet, 2. not liking what you spend XP on, and 3. whiffing after waiting quite a while to do something.

    To be fair, the Marvel Action Order helps battle these negative feelings. If you whiff, you can choose who goes next and often that meant choosing the character who successfully defended against you so that they could attack you... opening the possibility you could counter attack and hold onto the spotlight longer.
  • edited March 2012
    Yes..the action order is a big help for people like this, if they recognize that that's what they want to be spending their resources/time on.

    Often times I get complaints from players that go like this (not a Marvel thing, just a RPG thing)

    "I hate when my character goes last."
    "You know you can adjust your character in this way so you won't go last"
    "No, I don't want to do that, I just don't want to go last"

    "Doctor, doctor, it hurts when I bang my head against the wall"
    "So don't bang your head against the wall"
  • Another thing that will help this is don't run MHR with more than 5 players.
  • When can I play the Silver Surfer?
  • edited March 2012
    @Nathan: Annihilation event book, I'd wager.

    EDIT: Or, just, you know, go ahead and write him up now. It's pretty easy.
  • Yeah, he's one of the easier ones I'd say. "Show me ya moves!"
  • Re: OM54

    Okay, so I can target an asset, complication or trait. How are traits shutdown this way recovered?

    E.g., you target Iron Man's Replusors d8 and shut it down. How long does this last? How does Iron Man recover the trait?
  • Iron Man can activate an opportunity or attempt a recovery action using his Tech Specialty vs doom pool (rerouting systems, etc). Usually, though, I'd have it recover at the beginning of the next transition scene.

    Cheers,
    Cam
  • Posted By: CamBanksIron Man can activate an opportunity or attempt a recovery action using his Tech Specialty vs doom pool (rerouting systems, etc). Usually, though, I'd have it recover at the beginning of the next transition scene.
    Cool.

    How readily should a character be able to shutdown another character's traits? I know that OM55 talks about the Watcher setting limits on whether a trait can be shut down or just stepped back, e.g., Godlike Strength d12 vs Godlike Durability d12 can theoretically only step down the other trait. But what about Godlike vs. Superhuman or lower?

    I ask because shutdown seems like a really effective way to fight, especially if it can be done in one shot.
  • I think OM55 and common sense pretty much cover the subject. The GM gets a final say on what Traits can get shut down and which Traits only get stepped down if targetted. Also, shutting down a Trait can be effective, but its an action spend not causing Stress, so its often less efficient and colourful.
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