Hi folks, been a long time since I posted here.
I've been thinking about using the Marvel Heroic RPG for a short run. I've read the core book and Civil War a couple of times and it looks good on paper but I also have some concerns. Some of these come from my experience playing FATE in its Spirit of the Century incarnation. I can see some strong parallels between SotC and MHRPG, but I also know that the state of the art has advanced a lot in the intervening years.
I was wondering if anyone with table experience could speak to the following questions about MHRPG:
1) How well does it handle conflicts with unequal numbers of participants? Can I run Magneto vs 5 X-Men? Dr Doom vs 5 Avengers? Darkseid vs the JLA? Or do I have to pile up a bunch of mooks on the villain's side to keep the heroes from dogpiling them?
2) How long do combats tend to run in terms of the number of rounds?
3) The game I have in mind won't be all that combat focused. How well would MHRPG handle Tony Stark spending a month in his lab trying to solve a tricky engineering problem? A super-speed race between Quicksilver and Northstar? A bake-off between zombie Julia Child and the Amazing Forbush Man?
4) How well do the social mechanics play out? I see, particularly in Civil War, that there is some suggestion about playing social scenes, court appearances and the like as Action Scenes. Because so much of the dice pools come from powers, I kind of imagine this playing out like X-Men / Alpha Flight where the characters are constantly blasting each other with energy bolts while they philosophize over the rights and wrongs of whether to save the world.
5) How reactive/responsive is the GM able to be in terms of structuring scenes in play? I have a hard time reading the published Events and not feeling like they are massive railroads, but I think I may be reading them wrong. It seems like in principle the scenes they suggest could be used like Key Scenes in TSoY (I even think that term is used in one of the books somewhere): those scenes could be sprinkled in amongst player-driven scenes as appropriate and a balance could be struck between player-authored and GM/scenario-authored content. But how has this really played out at your table?
Thoughts greatly appreciated. Apologies too if there are good discussions on this to be found on the web; I've done a bit of digging but haven't really turned up answers to these questions elsewhere.