DC RPG: The Hero Points Podcast, Episode 5 – MEGS vs. FASERIP

Which is better? Mayfair's DC Heroes RPG or the TSR's Marvel Super-Heroes RPG? In this crossover of sorts with Pulp2Pixel Podcasts' Dial G for Gamer, DC MEGS supporters Shagg and Siskoid debate the finer points of each game with Marvel FASERIP super-fans Only Living Boy's David Gallaher and Pulp2Pixel's Dr. G, Man of Nerdology. It's a battle of systems, character modeling and product quality the only way it can be fought: With a podcast and lots of ribbing! Guaranteed: 12 APs of Monstrous content!

Have a question or comment? Looking for more great content?

Subscribe via iTunes - https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/dc-rpg-the-hero-points-podcast/id1078162750

This podcast is a proud member of the FIRE AND WATER PODCAST NETWORK:

Thanks for listening! Let's Roll!

28 responses to “DC RPG: The Hero Points Podcast, Episode 5 – MEGS vs. FASERIP

  1. It’s kind of funny how Shagg says that Marvel RPG players tend to play Marvel characters while DC RPG players played their own characters. Zooming ahead to the 21st Century, that’s kind of the design mindset behind the online games. The Marvel Heroes game has players play as Marvel characters; there might be different costumes and skins to help keep everyone happy, but they’re all characters as seen in the comics. The DC Universe Online game lets you make characters “inspired” by your favorite heroes and villains, but costume design and personalization is totally up to the player.

  2. Great show fellas! Even though I never got to really play the DC Game I owned, as I’ve mentioned before (sob) I remember thinking the Marvel System looked cheap by comparison. Perhaps it would have worked better for me and my friends to get us in the door, though.

    Fun “debate”, but I think we all won!


  3. This was a fun debate. I’m a GURPS Supers Guy, who was a Champions guy, I never liked the licensed games as much. I did like the DC games supplements better, but that’s because I had a friend who came up with a conversion table from DC to both games (he also helped us switch between Champions and GUROS), he claimed the “word system” for Marvel was too hard to convert, but he was a Legion fan who hated anything with an X on it, so I suspect a bias.

    1. The words do have a number value though, but I get it.

      I’m also a GURPS head, but while I’ve run the game in many genres/settings (Old West, Time Travel, Autoduel, Vikings, Mars, Steampunk, Ice Age…), some of them over powered (Black Ops, Mecha…), I didn’t get to run any Supers. I did manage to talk about GURPS Supers in Dial G for Gamer episode… 2 I think. Check that out at Pulp2Pixel Podcasts and see what you think.

  4. For DC MEG’s supliments DC editors actually wrote some of them. Especially DC 2nd ed. They even had Neil Gaimain write about magic. My understanding was Marvel was very hands off for the RPG with TSR.

  5. Terrific episode guys. I had both the original DC Heroes edition and the MSH Advanced games, spending much of my childhood pouring over the books as I did with Who’s Who and OHOTMU. My favorite is the Marvel game because it was the one I played with a group of friends, but I have a deep appreciation for both. #FindYourJoy

  6. I bought the Marvel Super Heroes yellow box in 1989, and still have the tattered remnants of the Battle Book, Campaign Book, and that folded sheet of eight character cards. It was a basic game I played once or twice with my brother and cousin in the dumbest fashion possible (like, I was into the Punisher and my cousin was into having his Hulk beat up my Punisher.) I’m cool with the OHOTMU entry art reproductions and quantifiable stats, but it didn’t do much for me as a game or as an information resource. I bought the Mayfair (third edition?) DC book and some supplemental stuff in the late ’90s, and actually had some fun campaigns off of that using mostly original characters. In recent years, I bought the 2nd edition Mayfair box, but just because I wanted the trading cards. They weren’t as pretty as Marvel’s but they also weren’t umpteenth repros of the same recycled art. Marvel TSR just felt like a cash-in on a fad, where the care and quality of DC Mayfair shines on. I still buy the odd DC supplement, just because they’re well done and insightful resources with attractive exclusive art.

    So Shag, have you picked up the Octoyberfest 2013 Exclusive Retro Guardian Figure “Mego” figure, or the Eaglemoss Northstar & Aurora lead figurines, or…

  7. Good podcast. I might’ve liked a bit more love for the DC solo adventures, but that’s just me. (The Batman one is one of my favorite solo adventures of any RPG ever.)

    The only additional comment I had is that there was a tone difference between the two games that I’ve had a hard time describing. The DC Heroes game was more . . . analytical? Scholarly? Something like that. The Second Edition of the Batman Sourcebook had fairly scholarly articles like “Is Batman Sane?” and “Is Batman a Killer?” that still stand up well today. The Superman adventure Countdown to Armageddon opens with a classic “Clark Kent is on a train where the bridge is out” scene that breaks down pretty much every possible action a PC would make; it also begins with a super-geeky technical GM note at the beginning that kind of shows the analytical nature of the line: “In Action Comics #546, Superman uses sunspot activity to make Brainiac malfunction. Brainiac has since developed defenses against this.” (That adventure also had great props that I used for my Clark Kent costume at GenCon a couple years ago.) The Atlas of the DC Universe is still an amazing sourcebook of a fake universe.

    In contrast, the Marvel material was usually MUCH breezier. For example, the supplement New York, New York feels like it should be a guide to New York City (I don’t recall there’s such a resource for the Marvel Super-Heroes RPG), but instead it’s a fairly light selection of super-short scenes and 16 pages of characters.

    This doesn’t mean I disliked the Marvel stuff (I own pretty much all of it); some of the material is absolutely brilliant. (Every treatment of magic in the Marvel game is pretty much a delight.*) But it just didn’t reward the same kind of “invest yourself fully into that world” mindset that the DC Heroes RPG did, for me.

    The best analogy I can offer is that the DC Heroes RPG is like Doctor Who Magazine; it provides game details, sure, but it also frequently zooms in on esoterica and really explores strange and seldom-lit corners of the DC universe (especially as incredible as it was in the mid-1980s). In contrast, the Marvel RPG felt more like the Doctor Who annuals — breezy, aimed at a younger crowd, accessible, but lacking in stunning insights or chin-stroking material that really makes you think.

    But, again, they’re both great games, and I’m grateful to live in a universe where both were as long-lived and well-supported as they were.


    * The original Marvel Campaign Book had one of the most amazing sequences ever:

    By the Hoary Hosts of Hoggoth
    And by Ymir’s frozen sea,
    I invoke the flames of Faltine
    to produce a cup of tea.

    Mmm, that’s hot. Calling on extradimensional beings for a cup of tea is like using a bazooka to kill roaches.

  8. Great show for gamers.

    I was definitely a DC gamer and thought the Attribute Point was a very good thing, making charts and rolls easier to figure out rather than harder. I also thought that the concept of Hero Points was very much like comics. It became something of an easy answer when faced with crazy things in comics or sci-fi.

    Q: How did Dr. Octopus defeat the Hulk that time?
    A: He used all his hero points

    Q: How did Spock solve that unsolveable physics equation?
    A: He used all his hero points

    You get the concept.

    This made me pull out my Legion Supplements and look at stats, motivations, and all the great character stuff those books added to the mix.

  9. I have to confess, I never had either the DC nor the Marvel RPGs, and thus I can’t quite join in the sense of nostalgia that many of you do when listening to Hero Points. Still, I’ve found it an entertaining bit to listen to, and I always learn something. The comparisons of this episode DID get me to thinking about the few RPGs I *did* own once upon a time: Star Trek (2 editions, at least one of which I still have, although I maybe only ever played one game with others), Ghostbusters International (I don’t know what became of my copy of this. I did play a few games of this one, at least one as Gamemaster. It was a fun concept), and Doctor Who: Time Lord (this was really just a book, but was an engaging read. I still have it, but have never actually played a game with it).

    I do have one other comment that has come to mind a few times over the years since listening to the F&W family of podcasts (before it was a network, even), but which I’ve never felt relevant to mention in comments until now. This springs from Dr. G’s (I think it was) comment about starting podcasting since listening to your shows. You had some fun with the “back of the hand” way that the comment came out, so allow me to try to say the same thing with a twist that will hopefully make it sound less like an insult (however non-serious).

    I used to do a podcast, myself, roughly a decade or so ago. It was entirely non comic-related, instead spinning out of my experience as a seminary graduate preparing (at the time) for pastoral ministry (I have since found another vocation, but my wife *is* an Episcopal priest). I would do a roughly 5-10 minute spot each week, reading from the Revised Common Lectionary (assigned Scripture readings that many churches use in common each week), and asking a few questions about each passage designed to get folks thinking, and hopefully getting folks to think beyond the standard interpretations that many people just assume about some of the passages. I kept it up for only about 6 months or so, and I’m sure it never had a very high listenership, although I did spin it off into a somewhat-longer tenure on a blog for Presbyterians shortly afterward. Anyone who really cares to listen can still find the files via Internet Archive. Just search for “The Reflectionary” and find the results with my name attached.

    All of this is to say that listening to your podcasts has caused me to toy with the idea of picking up podcasting again, probably in some pop culture-related area. I haven’t yet figured out how to carve the time out of my schedule to be comfortable committing to the endeavor, but it’s a thought that intrigues me more as I return to it time and again. As you often say, “Find your joy!” and you guys, by doing just that, have inspired me to consider picking up a hobby I’d thought left behind me a long time ago.

  10. Great podcast guys – good effort all round.

    I’ve owned a copy of the Advanced MSH set for almost 20 years now, and it’s hands down my favourite ever RPG. I love how you can pick it up play it in minutes and it only needs one chart (regardless of what Shag claims).

    Also, I love the writing style of the Advanced Set; the power description for Water Breathing always makes me smile.

    I’ve run two separate campaigns over the years – the most recent one was set in the 80’s, with player generated PCs and featured the heroes winning the Eurovision Song Contest after they’d beated up the Latverian entry.

    That said, Shag and Siskoid have inspired me to buy a copy of 2nd ed DC Heroes. And the Atlas to the DC Universe. And the World at War supplement.

    I just need to play it now.

  11. Having never played the DC game, even though I own many of the source books, I can’t tell you which game is better. What I can tell you is what we did for the Marvel game.

    My group of friends played the Advanced version of Marvel all through Middle & High School, and even into college. We always played characters based on ourselves with super powers. For example, one of my first characters was me with Dark Force Generation & Manipulation, code named Spectre. This character changed over time, but it was still me.

    As we were teenagers, we didn’t like to have the same powers for an extended period, but since they were based on us we couldn’t kill the characters off, so we had to come up with in story reasons for the change. Spectre, it turned out, was being poisoned by the Darf Force dimension, so he needed something to draw that out of him. Enter Tony Stark with a modified version of his Silver Centurion armor, which ran off of Dark Force. So my character became an Iron Man analog.

    You can see some of these changes on the covers that I (badly) drew for some of our adventures as The South Jersey Avengers. https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.3702325734831.1073741827.1776115422&type=1&l=e6e0f9e31e

    I still have many of the Handbook supplements which, I agree, are better than the DC version since they are designed to be all in one, not additions to the Who’s Who entry. I also have the Dr. Doom & Avengers boxed sets, which had some great maps included. We used most of these in our adventures, to the point where a lot of them are falling apart.

    We did roll up characters for my wife and daughter about a year ago, but have yet to come back to them. Time is not on our side recently.

    There is a wonderful resource out there for the game, with all (I think) the supplements available for download. It’s great stuff. http://www.classicmarvelforever.com/cms/

  12. I really loved this podcast! I owned the Marvel system when I was young and loved it. Some items you brought up in your podcast are not correct. Aunt May could never kill Galactus with a knife. Body armor or True Invulnerability came into play. Also Spider Man could never beat Firelord or the X-men in this system. Even if you decided to dodge it didn’t provide a great benefit. If someone even with poor fighting rolled a 66 he would still hit Spider man since you couldn’t reduce things below Shift 0. The Advanced System improved avoiding close combat attacks but not ranged attacks. Also you had a predictability factor. If Thor and Hercules were fighting if either landed 4 hits the opponent would be unconscious. Maybe less if you stunned them but no more than four. And you could easily hit someone charging using your characters with high endurance which were bricks like Rhino and the Juggernaut. Not very comic accurate. That being said Ioved the game at the time and you can house rule a lot of these items.
    I got DC Heroes some time after but never played it. I would think reading the rules Spider Man has a better chance beating Firelord or the X-Men using hero points and the luck of the dice. Much more so than MSH. And as much detail Marvel gives in OHOTMU the rpg handbooks did not. However the little info in Who’s Who the RPG supplements gave a lot of info about the character’s powers like Captain Atom being able to easily lift a battleship or Green Lanterns going 1500 times the speed of light.
    Anyway great podcast! I wish it was more than once a year. This is my first post ever on this site though I have been a long time listener.

  13. I can’t bear myself to say Shag was right….so I’ll default to Siskoid was right. I’ve always had both games, but Marvel was the easier system for me to understand. Flash-forward 25 years, and based on this episode I suggested playing with my kids (7 and 10) 1st edition instead of Marvel which they had recently started. I read the Getting Started, the first half of the Players book and took them Titans Nevermore. We didn’t finish the adventure, but man, it ran smooth, and the kids enjoyed it! It was weird hybrid of Wolfman/Perez Titans and Teen Titans Go! (I chuckled every time my son said, ‘We’re the Titans of Jump City!”) I liked a lot of points that were brought up in the podcast and found them to be true especially the way opposing results gave a sense of continual defense so you didn’t have to spend actions dodging. The only thing I found confusing is equipment. Deathstroke’s sword didn’t have uses, but Wonder Girl’s Lasso did, etc. I’m really interested in how they address game balance and finding the right challenge for a group of players. For me, this is where a lot of Supers games, even point buy, breakdown.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *