Old School RPGs – Marvel Super Heroes (FASERIP)

FASERIPMarvelRPGI’m not sure why, but lately I’ve been thinking a lot about the 1984 Marvel Super Heroes RPG by TSR. Not only was it the first RPG I every played, but it was also my first foray into content creation. Back in my college days, I actually ran a Marvel Super Heroes RPG email list. It was the first time I realized I could connect with people around the world about something I truly loved, and it was exciting to see all the ideas, characters and stories that others were coming up with. A lot of my nostalgic feelings towards the game probably comes from it being my first connection to other geeks, but that doesn’t diminish the fact that Marvel Super Heroes (MSHRPG) is a really solid and simple game system.

The MSHRPG (often referred to as the “FASERIP” system based on the first letter of each of the characters’ core attributes) revolves around resolving actions on the system’s “Universal Results Table.” Find your ability or skill level, roll 2 d10 to get a number 1-100 and where the two intersect determines your success. While the results are defined, GMs (Game Masters) are given a lot of leeway to determine what the actual results are. The result is a very story driven system that allows for a lot of improvisation and descriptive action.

Another great thing about the game was its character creation system. You could, of course, just pick a character from the Marvel Universe and start playing, but many of the games I played in or GMed used the setting to come up with their own characters and adventures. There was a system for randomly generating characters, but unlike a lot of games (at least at the time), players were encouraged to describe their character the GM who would then “model” the character after existing heroes. So, how strong was your character? Could they lift an armored truck above their head like She-Hulk or were they just at the top of physical condition like Captain America? I loved this because as long as your character wasn’t overpowered for the campaign you were participating in, you could start immediately with the character you pictured in your mind.

I have a lot of fond memories of playing in and running games using the FASERIP system. It was easy to learn, gave a lot of flexibility to both the GM and the players, and drew upon the vast Marvel Universe mythology. If your regular gaming group is looking to take a break from their regularly scheduled dungeon crawl and would like to try something new, I highly recommend giving it a try.

If you are interested in learning more about the Marvel Super Heroes RPG, the following links are a good place to start!

Classic Marvel Forever – This site has a good beginner’s guide and has links to download all the old manuals.

These have been around for close to 20 years and were some of the sites I went to when I ran the MSH email list:
Ben Riely’s Marvel RPG Page
Technohol 13

Also fun and helpful:
MSH Gamer

And if you want to find people to play with or bounce ideas off of:
Classic Marvel RPG Facebook Page