As I am writing this I've just ended the second session of my Marvel Heroic RPG. The game itself went well and no one so much as picked up a die for a roll - with one exception. I think things went fairly well and was kind of the exact type of session that I, and hopefully some others in the group, needed to go forward with the game. As such, today's post is less about the Marvel Heroic RPG system, and more about what I did and why.
Full RP Session
Going into the session I wanted to focus things on the RP and not the mechanics of the system. The primary reason for this was because the first session was very heavily focused on mechanics - I wanted to teach the players how the game worked - and I wanted the players to be able to focus on who their character was. Essentially, the post I made on Monday about downtime? Yeah, all of that stuff in this session. Best part is, it worked!
No Dice Rolls
One of the things I like about the Marvel Heroic RPG is that it is very straight forward about something: unless the action is important to the story in some way (i.e an attack roll in a real fight) the players shouldn't be rolling to perform otherwise mundane tasks. This manifested in a couple of ways in the session, but the most blatant example was how the telepath in the group got onto a military base that he had been officially invited too. How did he do it? Well, isntead of showing his real ID - which would have worked and gotten him a pass onto the base as a member of S.H.I.E.L.D. - he used his psychic abilities to make the guard see whatever ID would get him past the guard. In most systems I'd have handled this with a power check opposed by the guard's willpower. As a dispenser of GM advice I know this is fairly facetious, but it seems part of the system - it is a use of a power with potential serious consequences for failure. With the Marvel system's rules in mind though I let it slide and I think it worked out great for everyone.
People got to see that the character uses his powers and plays tricks, sometimes even when he doesn't need to. The player got to feel powerful and secure in his power as the simple trick worked. I, as the GM, got the game to move along at a faster place as we didn't have to scrape dice together to figure out if the powerful psychic could make the well trained guard see what he wanted to do. Again, this isn't something unique to Marvel, it is something I've been advising and trying to do for a while in my other games. Marvel is just very up front that this is how it wants the game to work.
What's Your Favorite Food? Mine's Pizza
Kind of an odd topic for a section, unless you were in the game. During the session one of the players - playing an experimental clone of a powerful mutant - asked for something to do and was told to get to know the team, and let the team get to know him. The players response? He approached every member of the team, gave his name, asked for their name, and then asked the above question. It is a simple thing, but - again - it showed a lot about the characters and got everyone interacting.
Over the course of the session several other one liners - some I"m very sad I can't recall now - were traded back and forth and the players took advantage of their freedom to just let their characters kick back, relax, and get to know each other. All the while helping to ground themselves in the universe and seeing how other things work.
Very Little GM Work
One of the most awesome about tonight's game is how little work I actually had to do with it. I was 'active' as the GM in the opening parts of the session with getting all the characters aboard the SHIELD helicarrier and describing how it looked and all that. Once the meeting with Nick Fury was over and the players were able to relax it basically became their game. I was still involved with NPCs and other descriptions, but the game was handed over.
This is what I meant when I said what I needed from the game, especially after a busy day at work. Even better is that it let me establish some facts and work out in my head where the game will be going next. That'd be Wakanda by the way. Where a small chitari presence will get investigated. I'm looking forward to it.