Marvelous Phile: Darkness in Marvel Super Heroes RPG

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Hey, guys, Professor Bill of Comic Book University (where tuition is always free) and I’m bringing you the fourth article of the Marvelous Phile, an homage to the excerpt in Dragon Magazine back in the ’80s.

Game mechanic – darkness

Professor Bill opens the pages of the comic book universe in Season Two of Marvel Super Heroes, produced by War Eagle Keep.

In the previous adventure (season 2, episode 4) of Marvel Super Heroes Roleplaying Game live play, our heroes had to deal with being deep in the sewers and subways of New York City. It can get dark down there. Sometimes it’s easier to just give a -1 CS to everything a character does, but there are other options available, especially when you have a character like Lite Brite (or whatever the heck he’s calling himself this week) who will fight against the darkness.

Darkness comes in several varieties. When it’s nighttime, that’s one kind of darkness. Nighttime in the big city is different than out in the country. In the city, where there are plethora of light sources, darkness should be of TY (6) intensity. Out in the country where the only light is that of the moon and stars we’re talking more of a GD (10) intensity. If there is no moon or the city is in a blackout then you may want to play with the darkness a little.

Anything of EX (20) or greater is typically the result of a power or being in a cave. But what do these intensities do?

If the characters have no defense against the darkness, like a flashlight, night vision goggles, or light generation powers, then the darkness is what it is. Otherwise, heroes can dispel the darkness with their own abilities.


The night in the city is considered TY (6) intensity, but The Punisher has night vision goggles, which are of EX (20) ability. The Punisher, as long as he’s wearing the goggles, ignores the effects of the darkness.

However, if there is a character who generates darkness then this is different than static darkness. This is someone actively trying to affect vision. Therefore, Blackout, who has EX (20) Darkforce Generation will have to roll against The Punisher’s night vision goggles. Since they are both at EX (20) ability, Blackout will need to roll against his power and get a yellow result on the Universal Chart to affect The Punisher.

So, what does the darkness do?

Standard darkness will give a character a -1 CS to any distance attacks. Melee combat is not affected. Further, vision is limited to 5 areas (50 feet).

Total darkness, like fighting in a cave, reduces vision to within the immediate area (two feet in any direction) and all FEATS (melee, distance, or otherwise) are performed at -2 CS.

It is the Judge’s discretion if anything the character does in the darkness should be excluded from the -2 CS penalty, but the Judge is encouraged to be mean in darkness conditions. Even combat like wrestling or other forms of grappling are difficult if one cannot see the flailing limbs of their opponent. Plus, someone who can see in the dark should have the upper hand in every way imaginable.

Character profiles

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That’s all for this week. See you next week right here and on the Live Stream.

Professor Bill

Comic Book University

Class dismissed

Join us for some good karma

The Universal Table determines the outcome of all the action in the Marvel Super Heroes RPG

Marvel Super Heroes Roleplaying Game streams live on Mondays at 8 p.m. EST on the Nerdarchy YouTube channel. Viewers in the live chat are encouraged to get their percentile dice and join in as Professor Bill leads Season Two players Nerdarchist Dave, Travis Boles from WebDM, writer and YouTuber Davae Breon Jaxon, Nerdarchy web editor Doug and staff writer Megan R. Miller through a street-level campaign featuring original superhero characters.

You can learn more about how karma is gained and used by viewers in the live stream chat here. Live chat participants can use karma to affect the results of dice rolls using the same mechanic as the players. Before rolling the dice, a player can spend karma to add to the result on a 1:1 ratio. After a dice roll, karma can be added to the result on a 2:1 ratio, with a minimum of 10 karma spent. For example, if Ash is about to make a roll to use his Fire Manipulation power, Megan can choose spend five karma to add an equal amount to the dice result. If Megan decides to roll without using karma, and rolls a 60 (a green result), she could spend 22 karma to add 11 to the result, bringing to total to 71 (a yellow result).

Marvel Super Heroes Roleplaying Game Season Two is produced by War Eagle Keep, creating overlays, running sound and a million other things that make to make this live game awesome in the Mighty Marvel Manner! Check out War Eagle Keep on Instagram @war.eagle.keep

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