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Sunday, August 25, 2013

FASERIP, aka Marvel Superheros and its damn awesome

Some like Champions with its crunch, some like Villains and Vigilantes, for me its neither. If I'm going for a Super hero system it has to be Marvel Superheroes. In my mind nothing else even comes close. The Marvel system does a great job recreating the comic books. Henceforth I'll be referring to it as MSH.

One huge advantage that the system current enjoys is there is a wealth of information for the game out there, no more so then: To put it bluntly there is no shortage of material for the judge to pick from. TSR then Wizard of the Coast apparently let the copyright expire and it went to Public Domain, Woot!

The Marvel system is a breeze with many fans knowing it as Marvel FASERIP. FASERIP stands for attributes in the game Fighting, Agility, Strength, Endurance, Reason, Institution, and Psyche. The first four are combined to create the characters Health score and the the later three are likewise combined to determine the characters Karma. Health is analogous to Hit Points while Karma is akin to Luck Points in other systems. Characteristics range from Feeble (2) to Beyond (unlimited) with most being somewhere between Typical (6) and Monstrous (75). Once you start getting above Unearthly (100) it starts to get a bit dodgy but I think a skilled Judge can pull it off. In Marvel there is always someone tougher then yourself or you group.

Talents are likewise well thought out and easy to use. Equipment is likewise straight forward and does not bog the game down. In way the entire rule-set is an early version of the Savage Rules when one things about it, keep it "Fast, Furious and Fun"? MSH does just that.

While there are powers listed in the rule book the best route to go is to use the Ultimate Powers Handbook (don't forget the errata from Dragons #134 and #151 respectively). Powers is always something of a weak spot in MSH. The main problem is you pick a grouping, say Defensive and then roll to see what you get. I think it works because everyone would be picking the same powers (can you say every character with Danger Sense, Cosmic Awareness, True Flight, Regeneration and Invulnerability? That said in my groups we just picked powers and after rolling for the number of them and it always seemed to work out.

The box set is a great entry into the game ans has everything that fledgling players and the Judge needs to get rolling. I recommend actually getting the base game, and go for advanced rather then the basic rules (the picture above is from the Advanced game box set).

Most of my experience with the game was in High School where we played it irregularly which is a shame as it is a fine system. Most of my characters were mutants as I liked characters who actually had powers. This is probably because I also disliked DC comics whose heroes were typically non-powered as typified by Batman. One of my gaming crew from back in the day was a big fan of the rule set, but paradoxically a big fan of DC and created his own version of Batman he tried to foist on me. I had none of that and preferred to play my own characters.
"Don't leave super hero headquarters without me."

Task resolution is handled via well thought out system of green, yellow and red intensities. The task becomes harder as it goes from green to red and requires a higher % dice roll. Speaking of which being based on a d100 makes it easy to use and visualize for players where their scores lie. It also works perfectly with the rankings system of Feeble (2) up to Unearthly (100) in the attributes, one would guess they did this on purpose...

As noted above the Judge is spoiled for choice. He has a vast amount of material to draw on in the Marvel Universe before even writing his own stuff. The Basic line and the Advanced line covers all of the main material from the main run of the Bronze Age of comics in the 80's to the early 90s. 

If I were to play today I think a hi tech wonder character ala Ironman would hold the most interest for me. There is just something about being able to tinker with ones battle suit adding more gizmos then R2-D2 that is appealing.

No matter what you inkling you really cant go wrong with MSH as its a great system.


  1. I believe the copyrighted was automatically extended in 1992 to 95 years thanks to Disney's "OMG! we can't let Steamboat Willie enter the public domain, we haven't milked enough money out of it yet" attitude.

  2. Yeah I don't know about that... Otherwise one would think the website in question would have gotten slapped with a C&D by now.

  3. We played this game extensively in HS. I recently received the yellow box as a gift from a friend who owned a copy that I covetted when I visited his house. I have kind of been jonesin' to play it again.