We’re a greedy lot, we gamers. Give us 8 character classes, and we demand 20. Give us 500 spells and we’ll gobble up another 2,000 and still ache for more. And give us 100 superpowers in the core Marvel RPG books and you just know we’re going to love the Ultimate Powers supplement.
Between the covers you’ll find almost 300 new powers ranging from the useful (Teleport Others) to the downright bizarre (Self-Vegetation, anyone?) and well as a souped up set of character generation tables which unlock all of this goodness as soon as you’re ready to roll the dice. As it says in the preface, the goal of this supplement was to re-create as near as dammit every single power found in the comicbooks, and when we’re talking Marvel, that’s a strange and wonderful source indeed. And boy, have they succeeded. There are, of course, omissions, but you’d be struggling to find them.
What’s fun is being able to mix the powers together during character generation. Resist:Vampirism might make sense if you’re a vampire-battling warrior, but how’s that going to help your battlesuit-wearing alien from the far future? I’ve said it before though – it’s the weird dichtonomies of random generation that make this such a terrific system when it comes to creating characters.
The fun starts with the Physical Form table which take you straight into WTFland. Roll 59 and your character is an Equiman – the likely result of a mating between a centaur and a human. Don’t ask. Just…. don’t. It weirded me out the first time too.
Thankfully, there’s more cool than there is downright strange with several different types of mutant, modified humans (and surgical composites – my favourites!), cyborgs, robots and more. Want to play a deity? Hope you roll 89, or have a GM who’s happy for you to choose from the table.
Unlike the generation from the Advanced Players book, the generation in Ultimate Powers can be time consuming. With the former it’s possible to create your hero in a matter of minutes. Roll the dice, pick your powers from the list, figure out a rough origin then hit the ground running. Quick, simple and immense fun. Characters from Ultimate Powers are more a labour of love with each roll of the dice meaning more strangeness is added to the mix. It takes time to work out the thread that links all the disparate elements together – but the end result is frequently worth it.
If you want to try the Marvel RPG yourself head over to Classic Marvel where the entire system and supplements can be downloaded for free. Go to Other Stuff->Downloads->Advanced Game and Modules for the Marvel RPG Advanced Set. Spend some time surfing the site – it’s a terrific resource full of more role-playing goodness than you can possibly imagine.
Make Mine Marvel!