July 6th, 2004

Sepia, RB Office

Memories of the old Marvel RPG

Just now, while reading the paper in the "reading room," I glanced at a brief discussion about the recent Spider Man 2 movie, from the perspective of a spider expert at the Field Museum. This got me thinking about Spidy's powers and which ones were from the spider bite and which ones were from gadgets. When listing the natural powers, one of the ones I listed was his "incredible strength."

Since 90% of my knowledge of the Marvel Universe comes from playing the Marvel RPG in college (circa 1984-1989), this thought instantly made me smile. I had to think back and couldn't remember if Spider Man in that game had "Incredible" strength, or if he had "Unearthly" strength. For that game, the designers used adjectives instead of numbers -- actually for the "advanced" game there were numbers which were banded into the various adjectives -- from "Poor" to something other than "Godlike."

While this may have been a good idea for gamers in the 8-15 year-old market that I'm sure TSR thought the game would target, for college kids this tended to turn at least part of every gaming session into a serious pun-fest.

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