Wayback Wednesday – Marvel Super Heroes RPG

If you’ve read the blog lately, you know my infatuation with the new Icons roleplaying game. A big reason I’m so excited about this new game is that it hearkens back to my first foray into the geeky world of rpg’s: The Marvel Super Heroes Roleplaying Game. In a lot of ways, that game not only opened my eyes to the wide world of roleplaying, but to gaming in general.

The Classic Marvel Super Heroes RPG

It was the early 80’s and I was a big fan of Marvel comics. X-Men, Avengers, Spidey, you name it, I was into it. A buddy of mine who was also into comics introduced me to this new concept called a “roleplaying game”. I was fascinated. Not only could you pretend you were Spidey or the Hulk, but you could also make up your own super heroes? Wow. Although we tended to play the game more like a miniatures game, I was hooked.

I remember riding my bike up to the little book store in Ankeny and asking if they had it. Although they didn’t, the owner said he could order it for me. So, with my hard earned paper route money, I waited the week until it arrived and then devoured the book when it did come. The downer was that I really didn’t have anyone else who wanted to play, so my time was limited to when I was able to get together with that buddy who lived in another town.

Eventually, they published the advanced rules (which I also had to order and practically badger that same book shop owner into getting for me – so much for customer service!). I remember making up tons of characters for that game and introduced it to a couple of buddies when I moved to Arizona (who in turn introduced me to some game called Dungeons & Dragons, maybe you’ve heard of it?). Still, my heart remained in the world of comics and with that game.

The Original Yellow Box Set

Time marched on and my dad tossed all my comics, and the game, before a move (curse you Dad, I could probably pay for both of my boy’s college with those comics!). I grew up, graduated from High School and sort of lost touch with the comic, and gaming, scene for awhile. Eventually, I saw Uncanny X-Men 275 at a Wal-Mart and I picked it up. Once again, I was hooked. But so was my girlfriend at the time.

Now, not only was she open to comics in general, when I described this game to her, she was intrigued. I quickly made my way over to a local comic book shop and they had the Advanced Rules on the shelf. I grabbed that copy and the rest is history. We recruited a couple of other guys from college to join us along with a buddy from High School (as a side note, there were three of us attending a very conservative Baptist college, I have a feeling if they knew what we were doing, they would probably have choked). We played that campaign for well over a year.

Although that campaign ended abruptly when a certain space opera game came on the scene, I do often wonder what might have happened with that game. With the advent of this cool new thing called the world wide interweb, I searched to see whatever became of this relic of my childhood. Much to my dismay, I discovered that the game was no longer in production. Sure I could get PDF’s of the material from different sites, it still wasn’t the same. And recently not only has Icons tried to capture the feeling of the game, but other games like 4C have come much closer as a “retro-clone” of the original system.

Still, nothing will quite measure up to the many lazy afternoons I spent simulating super hero combat using the classic FASERIP system. So today I roll those percentile dice in honor of you, the classic Marvel Super Heroes Role Playing Game.

PS – If you have an extra copy of the “Ultimate Power Book”, let me know. Maybe we can work something out!

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