NPC Creation in the Marvel Multiverse RPG
So, the new Marvel RPG is out (or at least the open playtest is). It’s… okay. I don’t think it does anything massively innovative in the field of superhero game design, but it is serviceable and there a few interesting bits about it. It does feel superficially similar to D&D (though perhaps more 4e than 5e), but I guess that’s no bad thing if you’re trying to attract a large player base.
Being only a playtest, there’s a bunch of stuff missing that I would find useful when running. So naturally I’ve set to knocking some stuff up for it, which I’ll post here as and when I get it typed up.
First up, notes on building characters; primarily NPCs, but random character creation can be used by all.
Rank 0 Characters “Bystanders”
The Ability Score Points by rank allows for rank 0 characters (giving them 0 points to spend, so scores sit at 0 on average), however all of the archetypes start at rank 1 so there is currently no way to produce statistics for a bystander. It’s pretty easy to extrapolate something though.
The Polymath is the closest thing to an Everyman, so we can take a rank 1 Polymath as the basis and roll everything down a level.
Knocking one off the modifiers and defences leaves you at +1/12 across the board. Fight and Ranged damage should be d6/2. Health and Focus 4 apiece.
If the bystander has one of the listed professions (one of which can be generated with a d12 if necessary), they get the appropriate traits. Otherwise it’s unlikely to be important. A bystander obviously has no power set or powers.
So, for clarity, the Bystander Archetype table will look something like this:
|Rank||Might||Agility||Resilience||Vigilance||Ego||Logic||Fight Damage||Ranged Damage||Health||Focus|
|0||+1 12||+1 12||+1 12||+1 12||+1 12||+1 12||1d6/2||1d6/2||4||4|
Obviously if you’re running games with Captain Marvel and Thor, bystander stats are likely to pretty irrelevant. But if you’re intending to run largely low ranked street level stuff as I am, this might be handy.
Random Character Generation
I have enough to think about without having to come up with entirely new character ideas as well. This is where random charts can help generate some inspiration.
|8||Extraordinary Origin, roll twice (will take up a trait slot)|
|2||Health Care Worker|
|2||Audience||Combat Trickery||Fearless||Infamous||Mentor||Scientific Expertise|
|3||Authority||Connections||First Aid||Interrogation||Mute||Secret Identity|
|4||Battle Ready||Deaf||Freerunning||Inventor||Obligation||Signature Attack|
|5||Beguiling||Dealmaker||Fresh Eyes||Investigation||Out of Shape||Signature Weapon|
|6||Berserker||Debate Champ||Glibness||Iron Will||Piloting||Situational Awareness|
|7||Black Market Access||Dependents||Gullible||Lab Access||Poor||Short|
|8||Blind||Eidetic Memory||Green Door||Leader||Powerful||Sneaky|
|9||Bloodthirsty||Enduring Constitution||Hard of Hearing||Legal Eagle||Public Identity||Stranger|
|10||Clueless||Extra Career||Headquarters||Leverage||Public Speaking||Streetwise|
|11||Combat Expert||Extreme Appearance||Heroic||Linguist||Quick Learner||Surprising Power|
|12||Combat Finesse||Enemy||Honest||Loner||Regal||Vision Issues|
Roll 1d6 for each Attribute Point you have to spend to see where to put it. At higher ranks you might want to consider using 2 or 3 points per d6 to reduce the amount of dice you’re throwing.
If you need a villain in a hurry, you don’t want to be spending ages poring through the book building a character. It can also be overwhelming dealing with the sheer amount of powers characters get at higher ranks, and you will probably be running several villains at once. So we need a simple way to build easy to run villains.
Simply pick an appropriate rank, randomly generate an archetype and some power sets using the tables above. Assume they are at half the maximum cap of each attribute. Select just one or two appropriate powers from each power set they have, and ignore any prerequisites.
If you want a single, powerful, boss level villain for your players to fight, just throwing a higher ranked enemy at them might not always work well due to the way the Archetype tables work out. Instead, considering giving the boss extra health and extra actions:
- Multiply their Health value by the number of player character heroes.
- In their own turn they will only have a Move action and an Easy action, usually used to gloat. They will get a single standard Action after each player character takes their turn.
At higher ranks, your average rank 1 Goon might as well not be there. They won’t be able to hit a player character without a 616, and any player character can pretty much automatically wipe them out with a standard attack. In this case, don’t bother statting up the Goons or rolling dice to hit them. Just assume a Goon can be knocked out automatically with each attack used. Roll once for all the Goons attacks, counting them as an appropriate archetype rank equivalent to the number of Goons attacking for hit rolls and damage, but don’t add Attributes to the numbers.