I don’t read reviews of things I already like, and I like Marvel Heroic Roleplaying a lot already. However, I’ve heard that some reviewers are saying vehicles might be difficult to model in the game. In fact, vehicles are very easy to interact with, and there are many ways to model them, depending on their place and significance in the story. Let’s look at some options.
If Captain America jumps on a motorcycle to chase a Hydra spy, here are his options:
1) He has paid a PP during the last transition scene for a Vehicle Specialty Resource. He now has “Motorcycle d6” until the next transition scene. Whenever he does anything motorcycle related, he can add in this resource to his dice pool. If someone attacks the motorcycle in some way, they must use an effect die against the resource.
Cost: 1 PP (spent ahead of time in a Transition Scene)
Benefit: d6 or d8 Resource (depending on your Vehicle Specialty)
2) He described himself as arriving on his motorcycle, but has not spent a PP for a Resource. Now he wants to use the motorcycle to zip after the Hydra spy. The motorcycle is purely narrative at this point. He can use his Vehicle Specialty, and Stunts from the specialty to represent the motorcycle and his driving skills. However, if the motorcycle is targeted, any success vs the motorcycle takes it out! This option may take some getting used to, but once you do, you’ll realize the beauty and freedom of Cortex Plus’ focus on story significance.
Benefit: No mechanical benefit, but freedom in and some control over the narrative
Risk: Narrative details are easily lost
3) He runs out and sees a nice motorcycle in the parking lot. He decides to borrow it. He rolls a dice pool against the Doom Pool for “borrowing” the bike and uses his effect die as an Asset “Motorcycle”, probably paying a PP to make it persistent. If the Doom Pool wins, he either doesn’t have the bike, it won’t start, or perhaps he does use it as in #2 above, but the Watcher spends a Doom die to keep the effect on a reaction and uses that effect to cause Cap some emotional stress from stealing someone’s motorcycle.
Cost: Free (or 1 PP to make it persistent)
Benefit: Potentially any size Asset (depending on your effect die)
Risk: The asset is decently secure but you risk potential backlash such as stress or complications (although it costs the Watcher a doom die which is always a good thing)
4) Cap has spent some XP and unlocked a new power set representing his motorcycle. He uses that! It works just like having another power set on his sheet.
Cost: 5 or 10 XP for the Unlockable
Benefit: Increased tactical options, an additional die in your pools, and cinematic awesomeness
Risk: Asset is now subject to Limits
Power Set – Cap’s Motorcycle
Enhanced Speed d8, Enhanced Durability d8, Weapon d8
SFX: Rockets – Step up or double Weapon die on your next roll, or spend 1 PP to do both, then shutdown that power. Recover power by activating an opportunity or during a Transition Scene.
Limit: Gear – Shutdown Cap’s Motorcycle and gain 1 PP. Take an action vs. the doom pool to recover gear.
Enemy vehicles can work the same way, so the Hydra spy has “Sports Car d6”, or else a power set representing a sup-ed up sports car with spy gadgets.
Just for kicks, here is a way to model an enemy Tiger Tank:
Affiliation: Team 2d6 (This represents the crew)
Distinctions: Frightening, Unreliable, Weaker in the Back
Turret Gun d10, Machine Gun d8, Superhuman Durability d10, Speed d8
SFX: Multipower – Use two or more Armored Tank powers in your dice pool, at –1 step for each additional power.
Limit: Crew – knock away affiliation dice with d8 effects to stress out tank.
Specialties: Vehicle expert, Combat expert