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Yes, YOU can take part in a Marvel Superheroes RPG online!

MarvelHey guys, Professor Bill from Comic Book University, and I’m going to talk (write) about the game I’m running for Nerdarchy on Thursdays. Marvel Superheroes Role Playing Game is an old love for many of us, but that’s not the crux of what I want to talk about.

Rather, I want to discuss the audience participation technique I’m employing.

You see, I remember someone talking to Dave about involving the audience as much as possible. I don’t remember who the speaker was who said this (comment the answer below if you know), but I thought this was a great idea. Now the guy didn’t give any examples, but just the concept was fantastic, and it really stuck with me. Then Dave called me out in the chat and dared me to run an MSHRPG game for him and some peeps.

What’s funny is that the story came to me pretty quickly. I initially thought of a trilogy and then quickly thought of a way to make it nine stories broken into three chapters. Also getting players to be their own heroes without just assigning them pre-existing heroes or allowing them to pick their own.

This, I thought, would get boring quickly. They would have to play the characters “the right way.” No one would believe an Iceman who just went around killing people or an Iron Man who didn’t think out a solution rather than just blasting everything with his repulsors. So, sending them into the world as themselves was a fairly easy decision, too.

Rather, it was the audience participation that weighed heavily on me.

I mean, why would people want to watch a game that doesn’t involve them? There’s not much of a participation rate if you’re watching and there’s no involvement. When I’m doing my own podcasts (live on Saturdays on YouTube at 10am or 12pm, Comic Book University -cheap plug) I talk with the audience all the time. I don’t let a single comment go unmentioned and I make sure to call on the person by name, because it’s a good feeling to be involved in a conversation and have your opinion heard and mentioned.

So, how could I turn this participation that I foster to an RPG? That’s when I came to the revelation that I could just call on the chat to play some of the enemies in the game. I know there’s a delay, so I make sure to call on audience members as soon as possible to give the chat time to hear, respond, and get their ideas ready.

There’s a bit of quick-thinking necessary on my part (minor pat on the back) because I have to adapt to what the chat member wants to do, find a way to combine it with what the other members called upon want to do, and make it relevant to the game.

The bank scenario was probably the best part so far. I had five bank robbers with a hidden agenda, so I needed to control the leader, but the other four I surrendered to the chat. I told them what the bank members had as far as equipment and let them do what they wanted. No one had dice on them, so I had to roll for them, but we had attacks flying and threats made and intimidations delivered.

All-in-all I’d call that dangerously productive. And that’s important to me. It’s why I wanted participation on the building of my character for the Open Legend game I’m in on Fridays with most of the same Nerdarchists. It’s the same reason why I wanted your participation in building the city map for the same game (I can’t wait till we get to play in that city).

I have a few other ideas planned for how I can get you guys involved in the Marvel game if you’re watching the chat, so by all means, bring your d10s and be prepared to participate.

Professor Bill
Comic Book University
Class Dismissed

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Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 review

Guardians of the GalaxyHey, guys, Professor Bill of Comic Book University, and what kind of professor of comics would I be if I didn’t see Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2 (GotGv2)? Here are my thoughts. Continue reading Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 review

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Rogue: The Most Dangerous Person in the Room

Do you have a rogue in your ranks? Lots of players chose the rogue because they want that key moment, that time to shine.

The general combat classes always get that. The fighter with swinging swords and chopping battle axe, the monk hitting twenty times per round, the barbarian raging through a horde of orcs. Even many of the other classes get to shine in combat, like the wizard and his trusty fireball or the cleric with her flame strike. And do not get in the way of a druid in bear form. Continue reading Rogue: The Most Dangerous Person in the Room

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The Big Bad, Comic Book Style

Kingpin FiskHave you ever read the Drizzt Do’Urden books? Who hasn’t, right? Do you remember Pasha Pook? He was a smarmy guy who double-dealt among everyone, even his own employees. I mean, who double deals Artemis Entreri?

And he was a punk. Continue reading The Big Bad, Comic Book Style

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Who Wants to Live Forever?

It’s not just an awesome Queen song. It’s about wanting to play more than one character in your life, or giving meaning to the life of your character.

Hey, guys, Professor Bill here, and I want to talk about one of my favorite parts of role playing … choosing my own death. It doesn’t have to be emo, there are many reasons why you would want your character to die. Maybe you want to play a different character. With me, I figure that a character can only be known for but so many accomplishments. I mean, sure you’ve slain that ancient red dragon, but lots of people in many games around the world have, too. Continue reading Who Wants to Live Forever?

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New DM Handbook: The Rival Party

New DM HandbookFrom Beowulf vs BrecaMuhammed Ali vs Joe FrazierMaverick vs IcemanMarvel vs DC, Bill Gates vs Steve Jobs, and Gary Oak vs Ash Ketchum, rivalries have been an integral part of history and culture from the beginning of civilization. They drive and fuel us to do better. To be better.

Rivals aren’t just opponents to be vanquished. They’re the measuring stick by which we compare ourselves. Pepsi doesn’t compare itself against Shasta. It competes with Coca-Cola. In turn, the Dr Pepper Snapple Group may aspire to be in competition with Pepsi and Coca-Cola, but being that both companies have no problem sharing space with Dr Pepper products, it’s obvious that they aren’t. Continue reading New DM Handbook: The Rival Party

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Blast from the Past: Transformers: The Movie

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The Transformers in all their heroic glory. Oh, how soon the mighty would fall.

With the live-action Transformers movies of the last decade, it can be easy for some fans to forget the franchise was originally a cartoon series back in the 1980s, a series based upon a line of toys produced by Hasbro. Also, some fans might be too young to know about the old cartoons, and they might have missed the spectacle that was Transformers: The Movie from 1986.

When the movie hit theaters, the TV cartoon already had been running strong for a couple of years along with a comic book series from Marvel. Autobot characters like Optimus Prime, Bumblebee and Jazz had become fan favorites while everyone loved to hate the evil Decepticons, such as Megatron, Thundercracker and Soundwave.

Most of the fans were young at the time, and soon many of them came to trust the world of and the storytelling about the Transformers.

Which was why more than a few fans were surprised by the events that took place in the 1986 movie.

This is Megatron. You can probably tell he’s a bad guy.

Transformers died. No, they were killed, out-and-out murdered. This film was a no-holds-barred match between the Autobots and the Decipticons, and both sides paid a heavy price. The nice little television cartoon about robots wanting to protect the world and save the universe had become something of a bloodbath on the big screen.

There was some little outcry, but this was a decade or so before the Internet and it wasn’t as easy to voice one’s opinion publicly, let alone stir up any serious outrage. So, viewers made their opinion known the old-fashioned way. They voted with their wallets.

The Transformers movie pretty much tanked in the theaters. According to author Stephen Kline’s 1993 book Out of the Garden, about marketing to young people, Hasbro lost more than $10 million between The Transformers film and a My Little Pony movie.

Things didn’t look good for Hasbro, or the Transformers.

Apparently Hasbro had wanted many of the Transformers killed off in the movie so the company could bring out a new toy line of the robot warriors. Even the famous Optimus Prime was killed off, though Hasbro eventually brought him back in the animated TV show.

That really big ball is Unicron. He’s a giant robot that can change himself into a planet. So that he can eat other planets. Gulp.

Still, several decades later, Transformers: The Movie has something of a fan following. Though one might argue the artistic worth or entertainment value of The Transformers in general, or individual Transformers projects, there can be little doubt that these robot protectors continue to hold popularity. Every few years there’s a new live-action film or animated special. Despite Hasbro’s best attempts in the 1986 movie, The Transformers just won’t die.

Nowadays Autobots and Decepticons alike are killed off time and time again, only to rise once more at a later date, but all the butchery started with a movie back in the ’80s.

But the next time you watch some Transformer action on the tube, the big screen, or the computer monitor, remember to Stay Nerdy!

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Board Games in Review – Legendary – Deck Building Game

legendaryHello and Happy Monday.  And if it is Monday you all know what time it is.  That’s right time for another board game review. Last week I veered away from my typical board games to talk about dice.  You can read that article here.

I am a fan of deck building games.  I have been playing them for a while and for a long time Thunderstone was my favorite.  The complex set up eventually became replaced by Ascension.  For Christmas I received a copy of Legendary: The Marvel Deck Building Game.

Not only does this game combine the cool characters you love, both good and bad, but you actually have win conditions and bad guys to fight.  The mechanic is really cool and takes some time to get in stride.  Depending on which super villain you are up against and what hero selection you have it can go from hard to really challenging.

Are You Legendary – Can you take down the Mastermind?

Continue reading Board Games in Review – Legendary – Deck Building Game