Saturday, February 19, 2011

Super Saturday: MSH House Rules

Here's a post on my current house rules used when playing the Marvel Super Heroes game. This assumes use of just the original Basic set as core rules (available here). As usual, nothing major, just some "small changes": MARVEL SUPER HEROES NOTES AND HOUSE RULES
  • Charging: When charging, make an Endurance check at +1CS per space moved through (maximum +3CS). Damage is equal to Endurance or Body Armor, +2 points per space moved (as per the Advanced/Revised rules).
  • Dodging: When hit, a hero can declare a dodge (or use a defensive or "shielding" power). Roll an Agility check; if the color at least matches the color of the attack, then it becomes a miss. For defensive powers, an Agility check of at least green successfully activates the power. In any case, the hero loses their next normal action.
  • Grappling: If held or knocked down, then only allow use of Body Control abilities and/or Touch Attacks (energy, poison, etc.) until up or escaped.
  • Hack & Slash: Sharp attacks bypass Body Armor up to their material strength (e.g., Wolverine's claws, Hawkeye's pointed arrows, Nick Fury's needler gun).
  • Hero HQs: Note that each of modules MH1-3 have a playing map of one of the major hero groups' HQ (respectively, the X-Men, Avengers, and Fantastic Four).
  • Initiative: Roll initiative via opposed d% rolls and thereafter cycle around the table. (Optionally, add +10 per Intuition difference for the quicker party.)
  • Karma for Mega-Heroes: For very powerful heroes, reduce villain awards by as many ranks as their best ability exceeds Amazing. For example, if Thor (Unearthly; +2CS) defeats a Remarkable villain, then he gets only 10 Karma points (Good; -2CS).
  • Karma for Teams: Awards are given to each hero (not divided). See "Day of the Octopus" p. 5 and other official adventures.
  • Mapless Combat: We find that playing without map & figures, when possible, works very well.
  • Opposed Checks: All such checks & intensities are made as per breaking things on p. 8 (Green if lower, Yellow if equal, Red if higher; impossible if more than one rank above for checks of Strength, Resources, etc.).
  • Resources: Resources are adjudicated by means of FEAT rolls (as per the Advanced/Revised rules). See other documentation for price-of-goods ranks.
PDF version here.


  1. Great ideas! We independently came to some of the same ideas (e.g., claws always ignore armor of equal rank or lower), but I think my biggest innovation was to make all checks opposed in a slightly more dramatic way: equal ranks roll on the Typical column, which has a 50% chance of success, while attackers with a higher rank roll at +1CS for each rank of advantage held. E.g., an attacker with Remarkable Agility shooting at someone with a Good Agility attacks on the Excellent column. This has increased the importance of Agility and Fighting on defense, and allows Spider-Man to be hard to hit while still occasionally being allowed to take an attack!

    I later refined FEATs further in a Mayfair-DC-Heroes-way by requiring a second FEAT on the part of the defender to resist incoming damage, but this is, obviously, a much larger change and requires the introduction of damage conditions, entirely rewritten results charts, etc. The change indicated above can be used without altering the other existing rules at all.

    1. That's nice. On the claws-ignore-armor, there was a day playing at the back of a high school bus where the Wolverine player was much aggrieved he couldn't damage anything because of body armor. I went with the written rules, but he was right, and it haunted me a long time after.