Friday, June 8, 2012

Another MHR Campaign Premise: the X-Men

After our D&D game last night I had a conversation with a few of the players about Marvel Heroic Roleplaying, shared some of the rules (and rules quirks, since a couple of the players thought there were no stats.  They are half right.)  One of the things we discussed was the question of whether it would be better to play in the existing Marvel Universe or build a superhero universe from scratch. One of the other players noted that if you did run a game in the mighty Marvel universe, you would need continually to explain why your team of novice heroes were getting called in instead of the Avengers or the Fantastic Four.  There's lots of ways to deal with this situation, just as the writers of any of the other team books, but in the discussion I had an idea.  One of the other players is basically reading his way through the X-Men comic books, starting with Giant-Size X-Men 1.  The comic book introduced Storm, Nightcrawler, and Colossus, as well as bringing in minor Hulk villain Wolverine to the forefront.  The rest, as they say, is history.

As a side note, I've wondered when my friend will stop, because after about two decades of solid X-Men stories, including the Phoenix saga, the whole "God Love, Man Destroys" mutant prejudice, and then end of Claremont writing the X-Men, the book fragmented with New Mutants, X-Factor, and then God alone knows how many other spin-off titles.

This got me thinking.  MHR has as their introductory adventure a re-telling of "Breakout," which is the first six issues of the New Avengers.  For those who don't know the story, the Scarlet Witch had gone crazy and ended up killing the Vision, Ant-Man, and Hawkeye (two out of three of whom came back).  Tony Stark, a little hard up for cash at the time and overcome with grief, dissolved the Avengers and everyone went their separate ways.  "Six months later" a handful of very popular Marvel heroes were brought together to stop a massive jailbreak at the Raft, the supervillain detention facility near New York.  The "New Avengers" were Iron Man, Captain America, Spider-Woman, Spider-Man, and Luke Cage (Daredevil made a brief appearance in there too, as did the utterly regrettable Sentinel).  Wolverine joined the team after a couple of issues, making the New Avengers officially the Marvel All-Stars.

That's what happened in the comic books, but the RPG suggests putting in your own team instead to become the New Avengers, especially cherry-picking PC's from the list of heroes in the back of the book.  "Breakout" works both as a comic book and as an adventure because it is a pretty pat team set-up piece.  But substituting your own heroes means you are essentially playing in an alternative Marvel universe branching off from about ten years ago, before the Civil War, before the Initiative, before the current "Heroic Age."

So if "Breakout" is a good bring-them-all-together piece for the Avengers, why not do the same thing for Giant-Size X-Men #1?  The old X-Men disappear, and Professor Xavier recruits a bunch of new mutants (the PC's) to become the new X-Men.  It works, it has tons of built-in storylines that you can choose to use or not use.  What I would really do is go with the "New X-Men" and then port it into the universe of the "Wolverine and the X-Men" cartoon series, since I think that series is a sort of pastiche of the past twenty years of mutant madness anyways.

And, you've got a universe without Weapon X, or the Phoenix, or the "Iron Age" of Cable/Deadpool/whatever.  If you want, you can set the campaign in 1975 and have a little fun with the bell-bottoms and afros and post-Vietnam themes.  I even considered bringing in the Phoenix Force, but having it inhabit another person, one who I think is tailor-made for hosting it.

I'd share it with you, but I'm saving it for a campaign that probably won't happen.

1 comment:

  1. that's a really good idea/premise for getting a team together, which is often the hardest part of superhero RPGs. I would just be careful of the mentor angle with Prof. X as that's a cliche I hear about or hear proposed in nearly every superhero game...the older hero recruiting the new heroes, etc.


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