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» Marvel Heroic RPG Play-test
dingo
 Posted: May 10 2012, 03:17 PM
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Hey guys,

I've been asked to review the new Marvel Heroic RPG, which uses Margaret Weis Productions' Cortex system. It looks like a pretty awesome system, with some rather interesting new mechanics. The review will be published in issue #0 of The Gamer magazine, marking the start of my freelance writing career!

Of course, in order to write a review, I need to use the system. Would any of you be willing to do a play-test session? We'll go through character creation, and I'll run a one-shot adventure designed to put the system through its paces.

The review is due in a couple of weeks, so the sooner we can do this, the better. Three players would be optimal.
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Chronocide
 Posted: May 10 2012, 05:50 PM
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Sure I'd be up for that.
In general I am available TUE WED (THUR 50%) (FRI 50%) (SAT 50%)
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Greg
 Posted: May 10 2012, 07:01 PM
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Sounds like a good idea, though I don't think the basic game even comes with character creation rules, as the game seems to intend for the players to be playing stock heroes from the marvel universe (maybe they're in another book or something, idk).

Playing pre-made heroes isn't really a bad thing in my opinion, as the Marvel universe has had so many writers working on it that putting a personal spin on how you character is alright, as long as you don't directly contradict what's on your character sheet.

Let me know if you do find character character creation rules somewhere. As it is I think I could probably find someone in the Hero Datafiles that I'd like to play.
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Jimbo Cactaur
 Posted: May 10 2012, 08:53 PM
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Well, if we are playing a pre-made adventure maybe it would be a good idea to use the pre-made characters as well. As far as I can see it would seem that this game might be specifically designed for players to grab hold of familiar super-powered heroes and face familiar super-powered threats. It does have the "Marvel" stamp on it after all, not the "City of Heros" one. That is to say that in order to get a good review out of it, "it" being the game the designers wished to present to the public, it would be best to play it like sheep at least once.

Does that make sense to anyone?

Anyway, I would be able to participate next Wednesday if I can host. Thurs is Warhammer, and Friday and into the weekend is pretty soon going to be booked up. Monday might also work for me, Wednesday is just better. If you'd rather have it somewhere else that's fine too, I just don't want a late night away from home.
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dingo
 Posted: May 10 2012, 09:07 PM
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That's three players. Wednesday it is, at Jimbo's. Does 6pm work to start?

There is room for creating new characters in the system. The "Creating New Datafiles" section starts on OM110. However, I agree that, for reviewing purposes, it's best to play the game as-is. Please let me know ASAP which character you want to play.

This post has been edited by dingo: May 10 2012, 09:16 PM
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Greg
 Posted: May 10 2012, 09:57 PM
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Seeing as not all major Marvel heroes have datafiles yet, could you provide a list of characters that will be available?
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Jimbo Cactaur
 Posted: May 10 2012, 10:21 PM
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I think it would be cool to play as an established team of some sort, though I know the rosters change all the time. There's the Avengers, Alpha Flight, Fantastic Four, the X teams, and the beauty of it is that Wolverine has been a member of all of them at one point (I think). I would like to play as either Wolverine, or Thor if we should do Avengers, Quicksilver would be neat too.

I might even suggest two play-throughs one with an X team, one with another major team, just to get the variety.

Also 6:15 works a tad better, as I only get home at 6 if the drive is good.
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Greg
 Posted: May 11 2012, 07:57 AM
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Hmm... Thor isn't on the basic roster. That needs to be amended. There do seem to be fanmade datafiles on the interwebs for the heroes that are more obviously missing, or we could make our own.

For me, I'll go with Colossus, Captain America or Thing.
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Chronocide
 Posted: May 11 2012, 11:18 AM
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If we are already picking then I would go with iron man, or maybe something more weird like Odin or Madam Web which would of course require some manual creation.
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dingo
 Posted: May 16 2012, 02:54 PM
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Looking forward to this, guys. I have Greg playing Captain America, Jimbo as Thor, and Chronocide as Iron Man. I'll provide the datafiles and rule cheat sheets.
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dingo
 Posted: May 17 2012, 03:35 PM
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Thanks for coming out, guys! Any thoughts now that we've played the game a bit? My review is due a week from today, so I don't think we can get another session in. I plan to read through some of the more confusing parts of the book again just to be sure I have it right, and you have any epiphanies about the game, please let me know.
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Greg
 Posted: May 17 2012, 08:56 PM
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I think we could had more fun with this system if you as the GM had more time to prepare for the game, and were enthusiastic and knowledgeable of the adventure going into it. As it was, there was too much pointing out the flaws while we are still trying to learn exactly how the system is supposed to work. This is NOT a criticism of you as a GM, but rather a criticism of how the game and adventure was approached in an overly clinical and overly rushed manner. Typically when a game is run, the Gamemaster has the time to gain a brief understanding of how the game is supposed to work, as well as create or choose an adventure the adventure that they will want to run and will be enthusiastic about. I'm wasn't really turned off on the system, as I think that while it seemed a bit complex when we first delved into it, we were able to learn and understand what all our characters were capable of doing over the course of the session. What did turn me off was just the atmosphere of playing a game for the purpose of reviewing, as it made the actual playing of the game less fun, as there was an alternate agenda aside from having fun.

Overall, if someone wanted to run an adventure of their own design using this system again, I would. However, it seems the way the game works wasn't to the other players' likings, so I'd doubt I'll have the opportunity to give it another spin.

This post has been edited by Greg: May 17 2012, 08:57 PM
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dingo
 Posted: May 17 2012, 10:05 PM
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QUOTE (Greg @ May 17 2012, 08:56 PM)
What did turn me off was just the atmosphere of playing a game for the purpose of reviewing, as it made the actual playing of the game less fun, as there was an alternate agenda aside from having fun.

Ah, I think we're getting somewhere now. I've heard you say several times that having fun is your main aim in playing an RPG, so that makes sense. I think that you out of everyone present had the least critical approach to gaming. You're more experiential, whereas I'm all for poking holes in things and trying to see how they can be improved.

It's unfortunate that the first review play-test was unpleasant for you in that sense, because I think having that alternate perspective helps me write a fairer review. I think the system was designed more for people of your mindset than for mine. It's good to learn stuff like that, and I intend to discuss that in the article.

If you're still willing to help me out in the future with stuff like this, I can make adjustments in the approach, because I do value your input.
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Greg
 Posted: May 17 2012, 11:46 PM
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Yeah, I can see future reviews being a different experience, seeing as there will be more time for the GM to familiarize themselves with the basics of the system and the details of the adventure. In terms of how we run these review sessions, I think it would provide a purer view if we try to approach them the same way we do when we normally game, and then save some time after the game for analysis.

I can see how getting a variety of differing opinions makes for a better review. Having my thoughts on an RPG differ from the other members of the group does not make my opinion invalid, but shows that the game has certain positive and negative elements that may produce different responses from gamer to gamer based on their particular approach to both Roleplaying and the Marvel universe.

In terms of making a Value judgement , while I've only played one other other Marvel rpg, It seemed like an improvement over the Marvel Heroes Adventure game. However, similarly that particular predecessor, the game is not built for an extended campaign, but rather playing through individual adventures or scenarios.

This post has been edited by Greg: May 17 2012, 11:47 PM
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dingo
 Posted: May 18 2012, 01:47 AM
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QUOTE (Greg @ May 17 2012, 11:46 PM)
Yeah, I can see future reviews being a different experience, seeing as there will be more time for the GM to familiarize themselves with the basics of the system and the details of the adventure.

I think this case particularly bad for this. For most other systems I could have learned the basics in a few hours, but this one was more foreign than I had expected. I do regret not giving enough time to learning the adventure, though.

QUOTE
In terms of how we run these review sessions, I think it would provide a purer view if we try to approach them the same way we do when we normally game, and then save some time after the game for analysis.

There are pros and cons to both approaches. The more organic way you describe would give an idea of how much fun the system is. A play-test in the truer sense tells me (and, in turn, my prospective readers) more about how good the game is, and whether they should (or shouldn't) buy it instead of others. As I see it, my job as the reviewer is much more about judging quality than about how much fun I had.
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