Author Topic: Universal Heroes: A Customized Marvel Super Heroes Role Playing Game (MSH RPG)  (Read 698 times)

Firebomb

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Starting back in 1985, me and several friends regularly met weekly (at the minimum) to play the original, basic Marvel Super Heroes Role Playing Game (MSH RPG). We were quite young, and we were rather dim compared to our modern selves. However, we were big comic book fans, so it was a hoot to engage in various adventures in the world of our favorite heroes.

Soon enough, the advanced version of the game came out, and we adopted its use in our regular play sessions. The more we used it, and the more we played other games in addition to the MSH RPG, I increasingly began to find bits and pieces of the rules I thought could use some tweaking. And, at the same time, I found there were more than a few things I'd like to add to the game.

So I began making them.

The material I churned out in the late 80s and early 90s was pretty unpolished, truth be told, but then again I was writing it all out on paper as I progressed. The modern age of computers has greatly helped to facilitate my creative efforts in this regard, even if of late I don't actually have a group with which to engage in gaming these days. Alas.

While the vast majority of what I originally built to accentuate the original rules was in regards to character generation, there are other things I wanted to tweak. And, as time went on, I developed the urge to produce material that wasn't weighed down by the many and various copyrights of others - in other words, truly original material.

And thus, the Universal Heroes system was born.

Ostensibly the same as the MSH RPG, my Universal Heroes rules all feature completely new text, with no copyrighted characters or art that certain corporations could use to Cease and Desist me off of the Internet. Furthermore, the vast majority of my work is still compatible with the original system's rules, in case you don't like all of my modifications.

Thus, one could plug bits and pieces of my original works into their own MSH RPG game if they like, or they could go all in and cut loose with a Universal Heroes game. Either way, I'll be using this specific thread to talk about my original rules material, if only to keep it all in one place and to prevent forum bloat. I wouldn't want to drown everyone else out, after all.

Even if the place is still filling back in.

If you're at all interested, you can find my Universal Heroes materials here: https://www.technohol.com/custom/index.asp
« Last Edit: May 01, 2018, 02:20:13 pm by Firebomb »
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Firebomb

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Universal Heroes: the Core Rules
« Reply #1 on: May 01, 2018, 02:19:13 pm »
The scaffolding with which my Universal Heroes modification to the old system is based upon, the Core Rules covers everything that every player ought to know about the game. Whether a regular player or judging the game, no matter if you're role-playing a cyborg, a wizard, a deity, an alien, or even just a highly skilled and motivated human, there's a whole lot for you to chew on here. The Core Rules include the following:

* ESSENTIAL CAPABILITIES: the heart of any game, ability scores describe the most basic, essential capabilities of every character. They quantify things such as how strong or smart a character happens to be, and so on, and are metrics by which every character can be described on equal footing. No matter what powers or talents they may have, a character always has ability scores. Further reading: https://www.technohol.com/custom/universal-heroes/ability-scores.asp

* METRICS AND ACTIONS: Metrics and Actions: expanding on the basics, it is important to note just how a character's traits, not to mention their incredible super powers, measure up to others. This portion of the game's rules does just that, and then goes on to explain how players can use these metrics to accomplish just about any action they desire during play - regardless of how difficult that action may happen to be. Further reading: https://www.technohol.com/custom/universal-heroes/ranks-and-feats.asp

SPACE AND MOVEMENT: movement is the most basic of actions, but how does one handle moving around? Getting from one place to another seems simple at first, but then you mix various super powers into the deal and it gets all wonky. Here's some basic notions on movement and movement difficulties, from movement powers to clutter and the various issues it may cause. Further reading: https://www.technohol.com/custom/universal-heroes/space-and-movement.asp

TIME AND COMBAT: one of the most important aspects of any game is the time scale of the standard turn. This determines when everything can occur relative to everything else, in a solid and consistent manner. The turn structure manages everything from movement to character actions, and is the very core of how combat flows in every role playing game - not just those presented here! Further reading: https://www.technohol.com/custom/universal-heroes/time-and-combat.asp

ADVANCED BATTLE CONCEPTS: while most conventional combat has been covered in great detail already, there are a lot of things that simply don't qualify as conventional when you get down to it. Super powers, specialized tactics, and even the weather can act to modify how ordinary combat plays out - and Advanced Battle Concepts will show you exactly how. Further reading: https://www.technohol.com/custom/universal-heroes/advanced-battle-concepts.asp

LIVING AND DYING: a coda of sorts to the many and various combat rules described previously, Living and Dying is all about the consequences of battle. The loss of Health and the expenditure of experience (both in play and for advancement) is detailed here, as is a variety of optional uses for these vital metrics, if they are to be adopted for use in one's game. Further reading: https://www.technohol.com/custom/universal-heroes/living-and-dying.asp

CHARACTER GENERATION: with a (hopefully) solid understanding of all else, what you need next is a character to play the game with! Character generation explains all the options available to a player, and if it doesn't shuffle him or her off to another, specialized page dedicated to one origin or another, it details how to build adventurers without ascendant powers. Further reading: https://www.technohol.com/custom/universal-heroes/character-generation.asp

POWERS: here one can find a comprehensive roster of every power currently available in the game systems supported here. Whether they exist as a mutant ability, a magical spell, a psionic talent, or even some sort of deific legacy, all the ascendant abilities that heroes, villains, and everyone in between can use in the game are spelled out in great detail! Further reading: https://www.technohol.com/custom/universal-heroes/powers.asp

POWER CUSTOMIZATION: while these games try to account for every possible ability a player may want to try out, the truth is that even one hundred game developers could never achieve this astounding feat. Thus, room is left for players to customize their ascendant abilities, either by limiting them for more power or by enhancing them for more versatility. Further reading: https://www.technohol.com/custom/universal-heroes/power-customization.asp

QUIRKS: the quirks system is a tool with which a player may customize and individualize a character somewhat, adding minor beneficial traits or deleterious hindrances as they see fit. Quirks can be used solely for that purpose, or can be added to a character in order to either justify additional powers, talents or contacts - or perhaps the reverse, if the player desires. Further reading: https://www.technohol.com/custom/universal-heroes/quirks.asp

TALENTS: talents are representative of knowledge a character possesses. One does not need aberrant genes or alien ancestors or psi exposure in order to learn a talent - anyone can do so given the appropriate opportunity and time to study. There are many different kinds of talents, all of which have a practical benefit for every character - either in or out of combat. Further reading: https://www.technohol.com/custom/universal-heroes/talents.asp

CONTACTS: contacts are people that a character knows well. A character's contacts are a good way to determine or expand on his or her origin, as they represent people that not are not only aware of them but are willing to help him or her as they go adventuring. Questions such as why the character knows these contacts and how their relationships work only help to develop their story more. Further reading: https://www.technohol.com/custom/universal-heroes/contacts.asp

That's a lot to process, to be sure, but hopefully there's something here (if not everything) that you can use to enhance your own Marvel Super Heroes Role-Playing Games!
« Last Edit: July 01, 2018, 12:16:59 pm by Firebomb »
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Firebomb

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Universal Heroes: the Textbook Character Treatise
« Reply #2 on: May 01, 2018, 02:44:48 pm »
The Textbook Character Treatise is a collection of knowledge geared towards those who wish to play the role of an inherently superhuman character in the Universal Heroes system. Sure, wizards, psis, and electronicists are great fun, but in the end they are merely human. Those characters who are the subject of the TCT are essentially one with their powers, not having had to build, study, or awaken them, and are often much different than others with power - both within and without!

The types of characters covered by the TCT include the following:

* ALTERED HUMANS: these are formerly normal individuals who have been changed - whether by accident or by design. The impetus for this change can be virtually anything unusual in the environment, ranging from bizarre energies to complex chemicals - or even a mix of the two. Similarly, something 'strange' in the character's genetic makeup may simply respond unusually to otherwise normal stimuli. This stimuli, whatever it happens to be, is the cause of the character developing powers.

* ARISEN: freak occurrences and strange happenstances are the cause of a person gaining inherent powers on many occasions. But sometimes, these events don't just invest powers in someone - they cause an entire transnormal being to manifest from seeming nothingness! These rare and bizarre incidents will generate a super human, their costumes, and whatever 'stuff' they acquired during character generation. They have no memories prior to the moment they sprung into being, but can nonetheless function as created.

* COMPOSITES: a character of this type is one who is comprised of the parts of many different individuals. On occasion this will involve the pieces of various dead bodies being reassembled into what is at first glance a coherent body, thus making the composite a variant on the reanimate theme. In other circumstances, this might reflect a character drastically modified by the aciurgy power - whether or not they possess that power. The powers such an individual has is either due to the sum of their parts, or the process that made them what they are.

* DEGENERATES: an accident of conception can cause advances in evolution, with beneficial mutations moving the species forward. However, similar accidents can cause reversions in the genome, thrusting a given lifeform backwards down their path of evolution. Of course, this leaves the suddenly regressed creature with a lot of 'extra' genetic material - which often combines in a random fashion to generate ascendant abilities! While society may frown upon such individuals, scientists love to pick degenerates apart, for they represent humanity's recent past.

* DESCENDANTS: these are posthumans who inherited their transnormal abilities from either one or both of their parents. This can involve receiving smashed genes from one's parents or a like exposure to the same... whatever it was... that caused such abilities to form in their progenitor(s) in the first place. As such, the abilities of a descendant will usually be somewhat predictable, based on what others know about their parents. Though not technically mutants or altered humans, it takes a keen eye to tell the difference sometimes.

* MUTANTS: these individuals are ascendant beings who were literally born different than his or her parents... very different. When first conceived, a mutant acquires genetic information that was not donated by either parent, yet are completely viable organisms nonetheless. Some mutants simply possess extra digits or perhaps heterochromia, but others manifest truly fantastic, ascendant abilities instead! An offshoot of their parents' species by definition, mutants are a race unto themselves.

* REANIMATES: these revivified entities were normal human beings their entire lives - well, physically at any rate. However, they eventually died... and instead of the normal biological processes taking over at that point, they suddenly lurched back to life - with incredible powers, no less! Such an individual is not undead, but instead has inexplicably seen their spark of life reignited somehow. Reanimates are usually the result of a formerly normal character dying in a spectacular fashion, often involving freakish chemicals or exotic forms of energy.

Should any of these transnormal character types interest you, the TCT provides comprehensive rules to generate each, from start to finish. In addition to a unique modifier that comes with each type of textbook character, a staggering array of super human powers is available for the taking, along with specialized limitations that such beings can take to augment their power. Furthermore, notes are provided to help players navigate such beings through the world created by their Judge, though naturally some details depend on its history.

Head on over to Technohol 13 at your leisure, and you can read the entirety of the Textbook Character Treatise.

https://www.technohol.com/custom/universal-heroes/textbook-character-treatise.asp
« Last Edit: May 19, 2018, 05:26:14 pm by Firebomb »
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Firebomb

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Universal Heroes: the Technical Reference
« Reply #3 on: May 19, 2018, 06:02:48 pm »
Technology is an amazing thing. The sum total of human innovation, technology is an additive phenomenon, each advance ultimately feeding into the rest of human knowledge, and growing it in new and exciting ways. Thus, it is inevitable that characters will appear whose super human capabilities are derived from technology, whether using devices to access those powers, being considerably augmented by science somehow, or even being the product of bleeding-edge industry.

The Technical Reference is an attempt to give players of the Universal Heroes Role Playing Game the tools they need to add characters whose abilities are based on technology. While every conceivable technological angle that can offer players powers cannot truly be covered by a single document, the Technical Reference gives a good base from which high tech heroes and villains can begin play. It includes the following segments of knowledge:

* SPECIFICATION: this bare-bones section breaks down the three basic kinds of characters that are detailed in the Technical Reference: device-wielders, cyborgs, and robots. Each come with inherent advantages and disadvantages in the game, or in other words, character limitations. This invariably tends to make technology-based adventurers more powerful than their conventional counterparts, but at the same time, does hamstring them now and then.

* DOCUMENTATION: this extensive portion of the Technical Reference provides the rules necessary to add common technologies to one's game. These can be the source of one's power, or simply something characters have laying around the house. Everything you need to know to handle armor (powered or otherwise), computers, cybernetics, firearms, robots, and vehicles is provided, along with notes for the basic characteristics of other, less common items one may encounter.

* GENERATION: want to build characters whose powers are derived from technology in some form or another? Here's how to do it! From start to finish, whether using the random or systematic method, the process for building characters with the Technical Reference is provided in exquisite detail. From character type to ability scores to powers/equipment to limitations to enhancements to quirks to talents to contacts, you won't need anything else to make your Child of the Electron!

* CREATION: once your character is active in the world, adding new technological capabilities to them isn't as easy as spending points or rolling dice. No, they have to build or otherwise acquire the technology they need in-game. This portion of the Technical Reference explains the process of invention in lurid detail, whether simply buying the gear off the shelf, spending hard-earned Karma to add new capabilities, or bypassing both to build things (mostly) from scratch!

* CULMINATION: the end of the Technical Reference, this portion of the book focuses on issues which may affect characters of a technological bent over the course of a campaign. Whether referring to actual character limitations or simply the sociological ramifications of such characters and their capabilities, this material is intended to be food for thought for all players, whether Judging or otherwise. Anything that puts an idea in someone's head, after all, is totally a good thing.

Should characters based on, augmented with, or comprised of technology strike your fancy, the Technical Reference has (most) everything you could ever need to make them happen in your game. If my probably gushing summary of the Technical Reference has stoked your interest in that project, you can naturally head on over to Technohol 13 to check it out, or even download the entire thing if you wish. You can find it at the following address:

https://www.technohol.com/custom/universal-heroes/technical-reference.asp
« Last Edit: July 01, 2018, 12:10:52 pm by Firebomb »
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