It has a nice ring to it, right? This past weekend I revisited the Icons RPG Assembled Edition and gave it a good read through. There needs to be a new Marvel RPG and Icons is the perfect fit for it. Icons is the spiritual successor to the Marvel Superheroes Role Playing Game* released by TSR in the 80’s and it shows because it’s easy to learn, has a simple dice mechanic and it’s a no-brainer to convert characters from the old system.
Marvel had quite a few role playing games since the first release of Marvel Heroes. It was followed in 1998 by the Marvel Superheroes Adventure Game, also by TSR. It used a modified version of the SAGA system first introduced in the Dragonlance RPG. Cards were used for action resolution that allowed players more control over the action. Using custom cards has its disadvantages (losing them or damaging them) but all in all a pretty decent game.
The next release was in 2003 by Marvel Comics themselves, called The Marvel Universe Role Playing Game. It used a resource allocation mechanic where players would get a pool of stones to represent the characters energy that they would divide up for and use to determine success. They system was meh and only three books were released before Marvel cancelled it for not selling well enough.
The fourth and final release was 2012’s Marvel Heroic Role Playing by Margaret Weis Productions. I didn’t care for this game. There are Powers (Power Sets), Skills (Specialties), Gadgets (part of Power Sets) and Distinctions (think Fate Aspects) but not stats. Half the fun of a supers RPG is comparing Thor’s strength to the Hulk’s or Iron Man’s intelligence to Mr. Fantastic’s. This is personal preference on my part and I’m probably going to steal the Distinctions and use them in my Marvel Icons game as Qualities. Even though it won a few awards and had some favorable reviews, they cancelled it the following year sighting an expensive license and low sales.
It’s time for a Steve Kenson led Marvel Icons Role Playing Game. He’s got the talent, love of the subject matter and game system to do it.
(* Whereas the Mutants and Masterminds RPG 3rd Edition is the spiritual successor to the DC Heroes Role Playing Game)