Part of my work with Roleplayer's Chronicle involves writing reviews on various RPG markets, old and new, a task I've been skeptically honoring. There's a large part of me viewing the idea of a game designer working on his own RPG publicly judging other games as a bit hypocritical, though a couple others have convinced me that's exactly why I'm qualified to do so. Regardless, I am engaging in the practice and find a fun perk: forcing myself to pick up games with a "valid excuse."
Yesterday, I finally got my hands on the Marvel Heroic Roleplaying game from Margaret Weis Productions and started reading through the opening pages. First thing I'm in love with is the price. Cost me $26 and some change for a full-colour softcover print - and that's Canadian dollars. It's a gorgeous book and as a former printer, I'm in love with the smell of the pages as they crack open for the first time. Like I said, it's a printer thing.
After tearing through the first 20 pages or so before falling asleep, I'm very eager to learn the ins and outs of the game for one solid reason: it's remarkably different from many other major RPGs on the market right now. Pieces of it strike similar to some independent games - much like ones that Fraser Ronald has been playtesting with us - and the essential components of the game are far outside the norm from most games I've played and reviewed, including the Cortex System's Supernatural RPG. This isn't a review and I still have a lot more reading to complete before I can build a final opinion on the game, but things are looking positive so far. Positive enough that I'm keen to run a couple of games with some of Renfrew's newest gamers.
Dice PoolsI first started paying attention to this game when I read about its dice pool resolution system and seeing as my own designs use dice pools, my curiosity was peaked. Particularly because of the limited responses I've received on dice pool games from various forums, I'm interested to see how others find this somewhat convoluted pool system. I'd get into it some more, but there's a part of me thinking it's ripe for this week's Under the Hood.
Personally, I love the idea of dropping a pile of dice on the table in one fell swoop. Though I've never been a magic user and never had opportunity to roll 8d6 in D&D (and other players always claimed the rogue before me), but those few times when I could, I thoroughly enjoyed. As game design begins its latest revolution in the era of Kickstarter and internet publishing, I firmly believe there will be many more games utilizing dice pool mechanics as a stray from the tried, true, and abused difficulty target system. If this game takes off and potentially wins the ENnie this year (as I'm expecting it will), the door to dice pools can be left wide open for the rest of us to follow suit.