I love Marvel Heroic Roleplaying because non-comic fans enjoy the game just as much as comic geeks. I run a regular monthly game with 8 people, and only two would count themselves as comic book nerds. I asked for story requests, and both of my geeks came through. Iron Man suggested Armor Wars, and Beast suggested something with X-Men and time travel. My thoughts immediately went to the iconic story “Days of Future Past.”
Days of Future Past
In the comic, the X-Men glimpse a future ruled by Sentinels following the assassination of anti-mutant activist Senator Kelly. Using a “flash-forward” storytelling approach, parallel stories play out. However, I wanted to provide a different approach for my players, and have their characters brought to the future to witness the devastation for themselves.
The comic story kicks off with Shadowcat encountering her future self in the Danger Room. With MHR, we have an eclectic mix of X-Men, Fantastic Four, and street level heroes, so I needed a good reason for them to come together. I decided to introduce Danger, the sentient Danger Room, to be our inciting action. Following this encounter, Bishop arrives from the future and kidnaps a mutant on the team (suspecting this mutant to be the assassin). The rest of the team follows him through the portal and into the alternate timeline.
Once there, the team battles Bishop’s team, mostly consisting of New Mutants. I made my selection based largely on the availability of Heroclix minis. Weaker characters like Karma exist to provide assets and complications (something my players rarely use) or feeding the Doom Pool. Hopefully by leading the way we can see more interesting actions and stray away from simply “I punch the villain” each round.
With a table of 8, I have had trouble introducing genuine peril for the team. I hope having two powerful Sentinels will provide an “Oh crap!” moment when the players see the minis come out. Act Two also features a battle with the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. A couple of these villains also are “asset-makers” more than brawlers, which should help make the game interesting. I enjoyed writing up Destiny, who can see the future. She can add an asset to the rest of the villains, improving their reactions against the heroes.
If you are playing with fewer players, you can scale back the number of combatants your team faces. I would encourage you to use at least one “asset-maker,” especially if your table struggles to be inventive with their actions. My plan is to reveal that, while their actions saved the day, time travel has repercussions that few anticipate. Hopefully, this story will set the stage for a foray into the Age of Apocalypse universe that Margaret Weis has in production!