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Marvel Heroic Roleplaying Basic Game

***** (based on 1 rating)

Our Price: $19.99


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The Avengers have been disassembled, the Fantastic Four are somewhere in space, and the X-Men aren’t answering their phone. When dozens of dangerous villains are sprung from the maximum-maximum security prison known as the Raft, who’s going to stop them? You are.

The Marvel Heroic Roleplaying Basic Game uses the acclaimed “Breakout” story arc from Brian Michael Bendis’ New Avengers to launch the Marvel Heroic Roleplaying Basic Game product line. The Operations Manual gives you all the rules you need to play, from gathering your heroes to taking on the likes of Carnage and Mister Hyde in a desperate free-for-all!

  • Hero Files for Captain America, Spider-Man, Daredevil, Iron Man, Wolverine, and more!
  • A mighty mob of Marvel Super Villains, from Armadillo to Zzzax!
  • Easy to learn game rules make this a perfect entry point to super hero roleplaying games!
  • All the action and drama that gamers have come to expect from Margaret Weis Productions and the Cortex Plus System!

Operations Manual Written & Designed by Cam Banks
Breakout Written & Designed by Cam Banks with Rob Donoghue, Jack Norris, Jesse Scoble, Aaron Sullivan, and Chad Underkoffler
Based on New Avengers #1-6 by Brian Michael Bendis, David Finch, and Danny Miki
Based on Heroic Roleplaying rules concepts from Cam Banks, Rob Donoghue, Matt Forbeck, Will Hindmarch, Philippe-Antoine Ménard, and Jesse Scoble

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Product Discussion (19)

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I just learned about this from my Diamond Previews catalog. I'm actually interested/curious about this... and the price is nice. I truly got into RPG's through TSR's "Marvel Super Heroes" role-playing game, so this might be a fun RPG to get... plus Margaret Weis Productions... that's cool
but I have no experience with the Cortex" system mentioned. Is it good? Bad? Indifferent?

Thanks in advance.

PS: Using "Breakout" from Brian Michael Bendis... AWESOME!


Scarab Sages

i bought this on Tuesday, an almost finished reading it. looks real fun. it seems real mechanics light, story heavy, a real change of pace for my group. it steers you toward using the premade heroes, but char gen is real quick and painless, it really just assigning that stat/powers as you see fit. we plan to try it out for the first time next friday after we watch the avengers movie.


Review after 3 weeks for Marvel. Our Pathfinder Group needed a nice change of pace from the weekly grind of Crimson Throne/Kingmaker campaign we have been running on the slow path from 1-15. We played the intro event provided with the pregens and then came up with a system to build newbees. I will say THIS IS NOT A SUPER/HEROES RPG, but it is a COMICBOOK RPG. This system isn't meant for "Who wold win Hulk or Thor?" This is more like "Can the avengers destroy Hydra?"

After playing the Event provided we made many changes. First of all, the game mechanic for me was fantastic. The system balances itself well. We played with the 4 players, but 4 more wanted to try it out. In no way did I have to change anything unlike in Pathfinder if 4 more players come in, the designed adventure becomes less challenging. The system is all about players being the GM as well. GM (Watcher) only manages the doom pool, and rolls for the bad guys. There are no real secrets as the scenes are all out there. When making a character, there is no way to power game or min/max at all. It just doesn't work that way. If you have not read it, you just will not understand. Great game. Big on story, big on combat and a nice break. Only complaint from the players is that we had too many the first night (9). Next night we narrowed the players to the core 4 and things went great and smooth and fast. Takes 30 minutes to know everything there is to know.

My Players like building characters from a low level noob to epic characters. This system does not provide that at all. The sky is the limit, but there are no boundaries. What I did was design a system for a point buy type format. Stole a bit from M&M for leveling those characters, and what came out the end was pure perfection. As a guide Armor pregen is the lowest starter type and Emma Frost is OP. Currently we are playing a low level build for the 4 players, and after last weeks session gave the players 3-4 pts to build their characters. So leveling every session in a sense.

Overall, This is like Cortex but better. System is easy to learn and the players love how every roll has numerous outcomes. Every action is limited only by imagination. No real rules to say how many feet, or how hard it is, and my favorite, No Rules Lawyers, No min/maxing and no power gaming. The rules are built for fun and fun only. Oh and the big plus for those in my group horrible at math...If you can add 8+5 you can master the math portion. Love it Love it.

Lantern Lodge

I bought this from my FLGS and have read through the whole book including the event (adventure) and the datafiles (pregens). Though I haven't played it yet, I love the system. I really enjoy the open story telling system, the lack of heavy rules, and the simple game mechanics. It really is a nice venture from dealing with hundreds of rules for everything and being able to let your imagination run wild.

I will be starting my first game tomorrow, Wednesday, May 2, and we will making our own characters as all the gamers are comic book fans and want to make their own heroes. I will post a review as soon as we play through the mini event provided in the book.

Grand Lodge

Has anyone read the Smallville RPG? Is it the same, or have they tweaked it beyond that?

Dark Archive

awesome!!! takes me back to high school!!!

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

For those of you who have played it. How does it compare to TSR's "FASE RIP" Marvel Super Hoeroes RPG?

A buddy of mine got this book and we're thinking of starting it up soon. Does anyone know somewhere to find a pdf so we can print characters? Possibly one for buying the book?

Grand Lodge

Go to the Margaret Weis games website. There is a character sheet fillable PDF there in the downloads section.

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I strongly urge caution before buying this game. I found the rules woefully lacking. No character creation rules (for PCs or NPCs), and I very strongly dislike the dice pool mechanic. Skills come in three levels: you don't know it, expert, and master (which roll higher dice than d6 or even d4). Not even suggestions on setting up hazardous conditions/environments (burning houses, earthquakes, etc.). Gear is either an asset or a power set, but no real discussion on the difference, and nothing stopping PCs from taking gear from enemies and using it so they get access to expanded power sets without paying XP for it. Also, apparently, some forms of "damage" give bonuses to actions, even combat actions.

This isn't simply a matter of having to be creative/imaginative with the game. The vagueness and ambiguity of this game system is ridiculous. GURPS 4th edition, the HERO System, and Mutants and Masterminds 2nd edition almost all do a better job than the Cortex System. The old TSR system (FASERIP) is pretty okay, but needs to be modified a bit for new technology and developments in the Marvel universe itself (I'm mainly thinking of the vehicle, buildings/rooms, and equipment lists, as well as the Karma system which needs a little bit of tweaking; a few individual powers need to be tweaked, but most are okay as-is).

I'm sure lots of people will disagree with me on this, but I STRONGLY urge anyone thinking about running a Marvel heroes game to be very cautious about using these new rules. Find a physical copy somewhere you can read thoroughly before buying. I'm definitely glad I did.

Got my copy this weekend and I am amazed!
It is rules-light and flexible and most important it is story-driven!
I have been playing for over 20 years now and the one thing I have heard players say, no matter the system was, "I have a great idea for my character, but not enough points to build it".
Marvel Heroes solves this, imho, quite nicely: you create a characters backstory, history, affiliations and concept and then simply assign powers you deem fitting.

I am of a mind to covert this for Star Wars. OMG the possibilities!

As far as I understand it this is NOT the Cortex system. The Cortex system is used in games like Firefly and is not working like the Marvel Heroes system.

This is not a game for number-crunching or min-maxing. This is a set of tools to make storytelling, fast-paced, two-fisted role-playing sessions with a minimum of rules baggage.

To quote, "there is no rule that prevents you from putting a d12 in every category. But such a character is sure to earn you that stare from your friends. Yes, that's the one."

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Well it looks like there are two camps when it comes to this game: those who think that it's great and those who think that it's awful. Eindrachen's opinion sounds like he has the gaming style that I prefer rules that are "set in stone" rather than ones that are "vague guidelines". Looks like, with much sadness, I will pass on this one. If only the dispute on who legally owns the rights to the "Mayfair Exponential Game System" (MEGS) Ruleset could be settled. THAT is a great system in my opinion!

Looks a bit like it, Kevida. But then, there's absolutely nothing wrong with that. :D

I always think that system preferences are pet peeves.
For me one of the best and most under-rated game systems still is the SilCore system by DreamPod 9. But that's a story for another day. ;)

I am looking forward to introducing this to our annual old-time gamers reunion we have each Xmas and Easter, where my old party gets together to have a fun afternoon. We are getting old and you know what they say about old dogs and new tricks.
I think this game is perfect for it!

Ha! I forgot the best thing:
the Hero data sheet format matches the format on, which means you can easily translate any character in the database to the game.

Simcha wrote:
For me one of the best and most under-rated game systems still is the SilCore system by DreamPod 9. But that's a story for another day. ;)

I would love to see a separate thread on why you like it... or at least send me a PM with a link to where I can read more about it. Color me intrigued.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4


Your comments make me want to try this game out!

Aaron Sullivan is a good friend of mine and a great writer. He's done a ton of good work for Green Ronin, and he's been an awesome freelancer for Steve Kenson on Mutant and Masterminds 2nd and 3rd Edition. I trust him completely to have an excellent grasp of Marvel characters, both current and historical. (That goes for DC Comics too, but that's just a side-note). I know Cam Banks by reputation, but Aaron Sullivan's name gives me confidence that someone actually cracked open a comic book or two and did their character and plot homework (as much as he was allowed to, that is). And I'm not just praising a friend, I had absolutely no idea that he had worked on this game, since I moved from the East Coast to Oregon.

Back in 2007, Aaron got me back into traditional mainstream gaming, and specifically introduced me to Paizo Publishing and encouraged me to check out Rise of the Runelords (sadly I missed getting a Charter tag by a few weeks). I owe him a great deal and I miss chatting about gaming with him.


A weak character creation system is.. concerning.. But I like a loose rule system sometimes. I started with traditional D&D and went many decades into freeform and diceless gaming. Then after almost skipping 3.5 I came back. I found those rules light system really helped me honed the concept of character and story, which when married to a good role-playing system like Pathfinder can make a truly excellent game.

So I am really tempted to try this out, if just for a good read and to see how they pull it off.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

I've been running a Marvel RPG campaign since the 1990s, and I actually really liked this system. It's open-ended enough that it's incredibly hard to break, there's little randomization in character creation, and it seems to have taken the best of most superheroic rpgs to make a highly flexible system that can generate a wide variety of characters and NOT make them overwhelming to each other. Good stuff and I'll be buying the rest of the line just as soon as someone explains how the Premium and Essentials versions work. :) Well done, guys... and the introduction by Jeff Grubb was a classy touch.

Liberty's Edge

[I'll be buying the rest of the line just as soon as someone explains how the Premium and Essentials versions work.

The link for the premium version from trhe MWP website: p;product=11494047

The essentials edition: p;product=11494046

If you have the core book and don't want to buy it twice get the essentials edition. If one does not have toe core book buy the premioum edition. I am tempted. Faserip was one of my favorite supe rpgs growing up yet I'm not sure if I liek the freeform aspect of the rpg.

Silver Crusade

Well I picked it since I buy all supers systems, but I can honestly say this system doesn't feel like a good fit for the genre.

Icons is still my goto system for rules-lite Supers. It's the spiritual successor to FASERIP, as Mutants & Masterminds feels like the successor to Mayfair's DC line.

I bought this book at my FLGS and gave it a look. Over all it is pretty good, It stresses roleplay over game mechanics which easily allows interaction between street level heroes and gods. It is a very good fit for a marvel style adventure. A S.H.E.I.L.D. Agent can stand sise by side with Hulk, Spiderman, and Wolverine and in game not be completely rendered useless. The Mob rules are good, and I like how they did a free form set of rules for power creation.

I recommend this game if you want to run a fast paces Superhero base game with a strong focus on roleplay.

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