Tuesday, August 9, 2011

New Marvel Comics RPG?

It may have been announced over the weekend, but I just learned of Margaret Weis Productions getting the Marvel Comics RPG license. If you are unfamiliar with Margaret Weis, She is one-half of the creative force the produced the original Dragonlance trilogy of novels set in the D&D world of Krynn, a world full of Dragons that up and disappeared one day for a long while, as well as a number of hugely unsuccessful projects that over the years have been received by great fanfare and then went nowhere.

Marvel Comics are full of angsty teenagers who suddenly realized they really were the beautiful unique snowflake they always wanted to be and now have to deal with the consequences that come with it. Along the way they manage to alienate everyone who ever loved them/hated them/was also a beautiful unique snowflake. Also, it gave birth to Stan Lee being fucking awesome

Back in the 80s, TSR (the original people who brought you D&D that you probably grew up with) produced this crazy role play game called Marvel Super Heroes. In theory, you could play as Wolverine or his sucky sidekick Cyclops or wife-beating Reed Richards and take on the evils of the world while trying to resolve your own personal issues. What really happened is that you rolled dice and ended up with some crazy random assed powers, like super-smell (as in you can smell things really well) or knee nipples, and have to fight the evils of the world with a power that will cause them to itch mildly.

In theory, Margaret Weis will be bringing this back and modernizing it. Its been reported that the license will see at least 16 sourcebooks including the main ruleset, and starting with current events in the Marvel Universe. This is a pretty cool improvement over the old game as their expansions gave you info and stats on the current members of teams, as opposed to the outcomes and ramifications of major events. While its cool to have the stats on Hulk '88, they don't express to the non-comicbook kid what impact the events of Planet Hulk had on him once he ended up back on earth (hint: not good)

That Sounds Promising!

Well, maybe. Like I said, Weis has been involved in a lot of stuff that has gone nowhere. Her big claim to fame has been the original DragonLance novels, which were fantastic and really set the bar for D&D-esk fantasy in regards to character development and worldbuilding, but her more recent endeavors are only so so. This game is also said to be using the Cortex system, which is the first I've ever heard of it. Granted, I'm not as big on my RPGs as I once was, but I most recently used to work in a board game store that also specialized in RPGs so I feel confident in saying that I would have at least been familiar with it in name only had it been at all notable.

So That's Bad.

Not necessarily. The license is what will move this game on the shelves, as people love comics and playing as comicbook characters, just look at all the men and women who dress as hot sexy heroines like Wonder Woman, Power Girl, Phoenix, Rogue, and so on. If the game system itself is solid or at least innovative it'll be able to hold its ground, but with quality generic superhero games like Mutants and Masterminds from Green Ronin already on the shelf and receiving critical acclaim, it will be difficult for a game by a publisher with an unknown system to really do well.

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