Marvel Heroic Roleplaying – Knockback & Chases

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I am pleased to welcome Dave Thomas—Grimmshade on Twitter and—as the newest contributor to Exploring Infinity. If you haven’t seen his contributions on, Im’ glad to say he’s overflowing with excellent ideas and resources especially for MWP’s Marvel Heroic Roleplaying.

His experience with the game is extensive in various formats: following playtesting last fall, he has run a continuing weekly Marvel game for months, played some others, and run yet another via play-by-post. So if you have questions or ideas for future posts, leave a comment and let him know.

Stay tuned here for tremendous Heroic Roleplaying resources from him in the near future, and please help me welcome him warmly as he dives headfirst into infinity with his unique brand of exploration.

~ Adam

Knockback & Chases

I thought I would kick off my first blog post with some simple tips for the Marvel Heroic Roleplaying system. One of my group’s favorite elements of supers rpg’s is massive knockback. They love sending villains flying through walls or down city blocks. Although it may seem obvious to some, I have received several questions on how Heroic Roleplaying handles knockback and chases. Let’s take a look.


While at first glance, Heroic Roleplaying appears to have no knockback system, it’s actually already a part of the game via the complication effect system. Whether you’re a player or the Watcher, when you want to do a knockback type effect, simply use an effect die to place a “Knocked Back” or similar complication on the target. If you want  your knockback to also do damage, just pay a PP for a second effect die.

The target must then use appropriate traits (such as movement powers) to remove the complication, usually by rolling vs the Doom Pool plus the complication die if the target is a player’s hero. Until the target removes the complication, its die is added to opposition rolls for any action the target takes that would be effected by the distance.


You can use a similar system for chases. The character who is fleeing creates a distance asset such as “Far Away”, “In my dust”, or “Getting away.” He adds this asset’s die to rolls opposing any action taken against him that would be affected by distance or range. If he raises this asset above d12, he escapes. Pursuers may use appropriate traits to act against this asset. If they remove it, they have caught up to the fleeing character.

You’ll want to use an asset in this case and not a complication since a complication only affects one enemy. You may use assets, however, against all applicable opposition.

NOTE: For this chase option, I recommend allowing the distance asset to be persistent, much like a complication. I normally run my assets this way anyway, lasting for free as long as narratively appropriate. At that point, players can spend a PP to keep them around even longer, thus shaping the narrative to match. This way, assets’ duration is identical to that of complications.

Feedback and Foreshadowing

Hopefully some of you find these simple tips useful for your super heroic hi-jinx. Now it’s your turn. What do you think? How do these systems play out in your games? How else could this concept be used?

In coming days, watch for a number of Action Scenes you can bring right into your game.

About Grimmshade

Hobbies: Spending time with my lovely NZ wife, gaming (Xbox One & Tabletop games), and reading. Favorite Tabletop Games: 13th Age, Trail of Cthulhu, Fate, Elder Sign, Sentinels of the Multiverse, & probably Edge of the Empire if I ever get a chance to try it.