Marvel Heroic Roleplaying
|Publisher(s)||Margaret Weis Productions|
The basic game was designed to let players assume the roles of superheroes from Marvel Comics, and to tie in with relatively recent events in the Marvel Universe such as Civil War and Annihilation, and a planned Age of Apocalypse setting book, and the core rules can be found in both the basic game and the Premium Event Book versions of the events. The basic rules come with the Breakout event - the events of New Avengers volume 1 intended to be played through by the pre-generated characters.
The game was designed to be fast playing and easy to use and run and very flexible, and designed explicitly for Troupe Play in which the players are expected to pick up new characters between action scenes (or occasionally within them). It has also been described as a "a “comic book story” roleplaying game, not a “superhero” game as is common with many other games of this type". Unusually for a role playing game you are expected to know the capabilities of your character and your stats do not explicitly restrict what you can do, merely resolving what happens when you act.
Margaret Weis Productions announced on April 24, 2013 that they would no longer produce content for the Marvel Heroic Roleplaying Game. "...And in Marvel news… the economics of licensing a tie-in product is always something we have to weigh carefully. We brokered an admittedly ambitious license with Marvel. Our first event, CIVIL WAR, was successful and well received, but it didn’t garner the level of sales necessary to sustain the rest of the line. We’ve learned from this and are taking a very different approach with the other licensed properties we’re bringing out to you in the next three years. We believe we created a great game. Those of you that have supported us have been terrific, and we appreciate you. But, unfortunately, we will not be bringing any new product out under the Marvel line..." 
Marvel Heroic Roleplaying is a one of the examples of the Cortex Plus system and like most games in that system it uses a Roll-and-Keep method, with each dice representing something that would be notable in the setting and story that is being told. Unusually for a Cortex Plus game, rather than keeping two dice
In order to affect the game above the normal limits, the players get Plot Points, and the GM (known as The Watcher) gets the Doom Pool. Every time any dice rolls a 1 that is called an Opportunity, and if a player rolls a 1 the Watcher may either add a d6 to the Doom Pool or step up a dice (and may do this multiple times on multiple 1s in the pool).
Dice dependent on the PC that may be included are:
- One Distinction either as a d8 or a d4 keeping a plot point.
- One Affiliation (Solo/Budy/Team) - who the character is with. Some people work better on their own, and some in teams. PCs have one at d10, one at d8, and one at d6.
- Power Sets (which may be heavily modified by Sfx or limits). One dice per power set by default.
- One Speciality - a mix of skills, knowledge, and contacts. Experts are rated d8, and Masters d10. Specialties are Acrobatics, Combat, Covert, Medical, Menace, Mystic, Psych, Science, Tech, and Vehicle - with most characters not being rated in most specialties. A d10 speciality may be replaced by 2d8 or 3d6 and a d8 speciality may be replaced by 2d6
Dice dependent on the prior actions that may be included are:
- One asset - an object or situational advantage created within the scene
- One resource - a pre-planned advantage created in a transition scene, and one step smaller than the speciality that created it.
- One dice from Stress (i.e. Harm) or a complication (i.e. a temporary impediment) affecting your opponent
The player characters can use Plot Points for several purposes.
- To power their abilities as listed under their Sfx in their power sets
- To add an extra dice to the dice pool
- To keep an extra dice - either to their result total or as an extra effect dice.
- To change a form of incoming stress from one type to another.
The Doom Pool
As a rule the Doom Pool can be used to do anything a plot point can other than change a type of stress but the dice affected must be of equal or lower size to the dice spent out of the Doom Pool. There are also two additional functions.
- To activate reinforcements
- 2d12 may be spent from the Doom Pool to immediately end a scene.
Reception has been positive with Marvel Heroic Roleplaying winning the 2012 ENnie Award for Best Rules, and the silver awards for Best Game and Product of the Year. In 2013 the basic set won the Origins Award for the Best Roleplaying Game and the Civil War Event Book won Best Roleplaying Supplement.
- New Avengers Volume 1: Breakout Trade Paperback - Marvel Website
- Why Marvel Heroic Roleplay plays so uniquely with designer Cam Banks - ENWorld article
- RPG.Net Review
- Cardenas, Christi. "Creative Directions; Pipeline News, 7th paragraph". Creative Directions. Margaret Weis Productions website. Retrieved 23 April 2013.
- 2012 Ennie Awards
- ICv2 list of the 39th Origins Award Winners