Running an RPG campaign in an established setting is fraught with peril. You can trip over canon, run into disputes over characters, or even accidentally rewrite the history of a cherished character. If not handled well these issues can ruin the campaign.
As previously posted here on the blog, I just started a campaign of the Marvel Heroic RPG. One of my biggest goals is avoiding the pitfalls outlined above. To that end, I set up a few guidelines out of the gate.
This is not the Marvel you know
The main Marvel Universe (Earth-616) has more than fifty years of continuity. It is incredibly rich with literally thousands of characters. It’s a veritable playground for anyone wanting to tell stories about superheroes. Our game is inspired by that universe but is not that universe. I set that out explicitly for the group when we started making characters. We can take elements from Earth-61, the Ultimates universe, and even the recent film continuity but we will be playing in our own universe. Any changes people want to make are fair game.
The first portion of the universe that we established was our own roster of heroes. My players, as a group, created their own supers. The idea is that those four heroes will function as this universe’s Avengers equivalent. The first story we are telling is where they come together as a team and realize that together they can face foes none of them could match alone.
I took it a bit further in establishing our universe. At our first play session, I had everyone at the table take turns saying definitively who is and is not in the universe. Anyone not mentioned may come up or may just never be mentioned. The lists below are definitive, though. This gives us a good place to begin for knowing what is going on in the universe as well as a quick excise of our most disliked characters.
We started with superheroes who are in:
- The Fantastic Four (Mr. Fantastic, Invisible Woman, Human Torch, and Thing)
- The X-Men (Prof. X, Cyclops, Ms. Marvel, Beast, Iceman, and Angel)
- Silver Surfer
- Iron Man
- Quicksilver/Scarlet Witch
- Doc Ock
Villains who are not:
What do you think? Who would be in your Marvel universe? Who would you cut out? Please leave a comment, I’d love to hear your thoughts.