Super Smash Heroic Hack, Part I: Changes Afoot

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I’m glad to present a new series by guest blogger Andy Hauge for our 101st post. I noticed him brainstorming the idea on G+, and maybe here we can get him to dive into it a little deeper for us. If you want to get in on the Marvel action, be sure to participate in the Marvel Heroic Roleplaying Civil War Event Book Giveaway before Friday the 20th.   ~ Adam

Hey! My name’s Andy, and I’m the (more or less) regular blogger for my site, The Player’s Side of the Screen. I’m here doing a little elaborating on a post that I threw out to Google+, and apparently it was interesting enough to merit a little more expansion. So, grab your dice and hold on for the ride!

While mulling over various RPG-related things, my unruly gamer brain noted an interesting connection—the ruleset of Marvel Heroic Roleplaying was tailor-made for a little video game series called Super Smash Brothers. Various character abilities? Check. Large cast of already-defined characters? Check. Not-quite-standard method of KOs? Check. Very flexible and all about roughly balancing characters in a not-quite-realistic way? Oh yeah. So I set my mind to figuring out exactly how that transfer could be accomplished.

Super Smash Bros plus Marvel Heroic Roleplaying

It requires a bit of hacking to move from Marvel Heroic to Smash Brothers, for a few reasons. Although both fictions share the same action core, there’s…a whole lot more…smashing in Smash Brothers. Comic books are known for entwining drama and action, but Smash Brothers doesn’t generally tend to spend much time on anything that doesn’t have to do with fighting. It’s a good ol’ feast of cartoony action. This means that many parts of Marvel Heroic simply don’t have a place in this hack, which I am hereby dubbing Super Smash Heroic Hack (SSHH).

The Dice You Roll

For one thing, although the ruleset will be easily re-purposed for heroes vs. baddies (like the Subspace Emissary adventure), the bulk of the fun in any iteration of Smash Brothers is a chaotic multiplayer frenzy. Everyone’s out to knock everyone else out of the fight. This means that not only does the action need to be directed 100% to PVP, but also that the Doom Pool itself needs to play a new role. Also, if everything is PVP, that means Affiliations gotta change.

Specialties are outta the picture. What matters in Smash is not the special knowledge you have; it’s how good your fighting technique is. However, there’s still a place for specialties. They just get…somewhat repurposed. Because there’s still a sort of variety and depth to Smash combat.

Getting Clobbered

The game doesn’t really have any strong emphasis on Emotional or Mental stress at all. You deal damage, and the more damage that gets dealt, the farther you fly. This brings up two points. First, all stress is Physical stress. Second, getting Stressed Out can’t come from stepping a stress die up to d12+. Marvel Heroic has a unique approach to damage, but it’s not quite enough for this hack.

Since it’s a fighting game, the traditional turn-based initiative model doesn’t work so well. Fighting games are all about making instant decisions and getting inside your opponent’s head on the fly. Which means that the game has to move to simultaneous actions. And that gets me excited, because simultaneous action opens up a whole new field of tactical thinking. (It gave me no end of pleasure to out-think my GM during a Mouse Guard fight…)

So, Then…

Where does this leave the hack? Well, there’s some holes that need to be filled…but that’s okay, because the game strongly suggests some ways to fill those holes. Where it doesn’t, I’m quite certain that my brain fiddles enough with game mechanics to figure something out.

Next week, I’ll discuss how to break down actions in Super Smash Heroic Hack, and explain just what’s up with the Affiliations…

About Andy Hauge

Good evening, afternoon, or whatever time it happens to be there, ladies and gents! I happen to be Andy, who happens to be a freelance web designer, musician, writer, and whatnot. Is that introduction enough?