Marvel Superheroes is/was a licensed Role-playing game from TSR based off Marvel Comics. It’s often called Marvel FASERIP in reference to the character Abilities: Fighting, Agility, Strength, Endurance, Reason, Intuition, and Psyche (FASERIP). The abilities have have numbered ranks from Feeble (2) to Amazing (50) to cosmic-level Class 1000(1000+).
Players either choose an existing Marvel Hero or create an original character. Play requires only two ten-sided dice (2d10) to create percentiles (d100) Game play is handled by two charts: a color-coded universal table and the Battle Effects Table. See image.
Players should read the Battle Book, a 16 (!) page that goes over the basics. It’s not truly necessary, often you’ll tell the GM what you want to do and he’ll tell you if it can be done and what you need to roll. The Game Master AKA the Judge, needs to also read the 48 page Campaign Book, which includes powers, character creation, and Karma.
Karma is the currency of the game with two uses: altering roll and character advancement. You can add Karma to a roll to increase the total (Ten Karma points equals +10 to the roll) or reduce hits on your character. Long term you can improve your hero’s abilities, powers, etc. Players gain Karma by super-heroic actions such as defeating villains, preventing crimes, and spending time with their families. Players who allow or preform crimes lose Karma.
The game’s good but not perfect. It’s a bit dated now, both in setting (1980s comic books) and in game-style (GM power/ rule looseness). It has the same Power levels problems the comics do: Thor and Daredevil can be in the same group and both need to be challenged. Unless a character is Dodging he has no defense bonus, so Spider-Man is usually as easy to hit as the Blob.
Oh, but the good. The strengths are simplicity in play and creation, the many options available, and just the general joy of the game. The nonfatal, comic book style of the violence makes it fine for all ages. Marvel characters are a great hook and an easy way to introduce new players to role-playing.
Just as they did with D&D TSR would revise the rules and eventually release an Advance Game (1986) to allow more complicated play. While the game “died” in 1993 in that it no longer has official support, there’s resources online such as updated character stats.
Fun fact: I brought my boxed starter set at Evercon 2014. If you go to Evercon 2015 this January 9th and 10th who knows what you might find. Hint, Hint.
Happy New Year, everyone.