True Believers, Rejoice – Marvel’s Own Tabletop RPG Marvel Multiverse is set to release in 2023. To give gamers the chance to get a first look at the game and provide feedback, the Marvel Multiverse Roleplaying Game Test Rulebook hits stores tomorrow. It details the properties of the game and provides players with everything they need to start an adventure.
The dice system:
Marvel takes a unique angle in Multiverse with the dice system and how the dice work in your favor. No d20s or d100s required – only three d6s. Instead of landing a 20 with a d20 to get a critical hit and all its glorious power bonus, Marvel Multiverse wants you instead to… roll a 1?
That’s right! Differentiate one of the d6s you use as a special die and hope you get 1s.
In the game’s official dice set, the 1 on one of the d6s is replaced with the Marvel logo. Rolling the Marvel logo with this die (or another with a designated d6 you use) nets you a Fantastic Roll. This makes your Marvel logo / roll of 1 count as 6. Add the total of your other two d6s to total your score for an action test, which essentially determines whether you are able to successfully perform an action like jumping through a ravine without falling, determining if an NPC is lying, etc. If you roll normally – say a 3, a 2 and a 5 – your game’s narrator will tell you if your roll hit the target number for a successful check.
If you roll a pair of 6s with the third die landing on the Marvel logo – meaning your die rolls 616 – you get an ultimate fantasy roll and automatically succeed at whatever task you were attempting and avoid any trouble. Powers also have unique effects that activate when throwing a 616, adding a layer of depth to combat sequences.
Rolling three 1s, however, is considered a sloppy roll – you automatically fail, and depending on how cruel your game’s narrator/GM is, you may also incur some sort of punishment, be it Black Panther’s claws snapping or Iron Man’s repulsor beams. dysfunction. Someone who is better at math than me can detail how the 616 dice system compares to a d20 system in terms of landing Ultimate Fantastic Rolls versus critical hits, but that makes the mat work in your favor or not , the 616 system definitely adds fun and intrigue to the dice rolled. Who doesn’t want to roll a dice and have it display the Marvel logo?
What are edges?
The game’s narrator can choose to give players boons if they make an action check with some sort of boon, whether it’s a magic spell or a special tool. An advantage allows the PC to re-roll a single die on an action test, meaning that if you roll two 6s, you can potentially re-roll your special die for the coveted 616 results. However, disadvantageous action checks lead to problems where your narrator can make you re-roll in hopes of deterioration your outcome (sinister, I know). For example, if you land a 616 in Trouble, the narrator might ask you to re-roll the special die, potentially removing your Ultimate Fantastic Roll.
The Create a character function:
A fun part of Marvel Multiverse is the character creation element. Of course, creating and playing a character is one of the main draws of RPGs like Dungeons & Dragons, but I didn’t expect this element to appear in a Marvel tabletop game. To my surprise, Marvel Multiverse has a detailed section on how to create a unique new superhero for the game in addition to the preset character builds for heroes like Spider-Man, Thor, and Captain Marvel. I found it to be quite simple to create an original character and an easy way to introduce characters from the vast Marvel Universe that the playtest rulebook doesn’t yet have versions for.
There are six different archetypes in the Marvel Multiverse: blaster, murderer, genius, polymath, protector, and attacker. These archetypes influence how characters fight in combat. Do they like to strike from the shadows like Wolverine hunting his prey? Throw punches first and ask questions later like the Hulk? Blast from a distance like Cyclops? There are clear analogues of Multiverseto traditional RPG archetypes, which adds to the familiar yet different feeling of Marvel Multiverse.
A sample adventure is included at the end of the playtest rulebook, which I won’t go into too much of so you can fully experience the experience on your own in a game. Still had a chance to play it, but I feel like it’s short, efficient, and offers enough variety of circumstances for players to get a feel for the game before it’s fully released next year. It even has some maps you can use if you’re playing on a virtual platform like Roll20. An excellent but brief section on how to be a storyteller – what Marvel Multiverse calls the dungeon master – appears just before the adventure, giving new DMs (myself included!) a nice introduction to how to lead a TTRPG.
Marvel Multiverse Roleplaying Game Test Rulebook will feel very familiar to fans of tabletop role-playing games. It is presented and written in the same way as a Dungeons & Dragons gamer’s manual with enough detail to guide those who are unfamiliar with tabletop RPGs but have always wanted to become their favorite superheroes. I can’t wait to embrace my inner child, become a superhero with my equally nerdy pals, and go on adventures in Marvel Multiverse.
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