I caved and got the Marvel RPG pdf after some nice person sent me some cash last week (thank you Peter). I didn’t get the $400 for rent, but I got a nice few days with a shiny new RPG without the stress of having to review it, which is much appreciated. Still too early to form a total opinion, but I like it. There’s a lot of talk about how D&D 5e will be modular, but because of the way Cortex works, it already IS modular. There are about twenty things you can do with every dice roll if you want to get really tactical, but you can also just roll to hit if you want, and the system works fine each way.
It’s main flaw is it is NOT very friendly for chargen, because there isn’t a complete list of all the power options. If you don’t know that The Thing has a cool power effect where he breaks the scenery a lot, you can’t find it anywhere else in the book. Likewise GMs could use more guidance on building NPCs. There are lots of really really fun dice tricks, making for a tactical and tactile experience full of kapwing and kapow in the best sense, but not always a clear idea of what all those tricks mean on a deeper level.
However, the emphasis on smooth, stylistic chargen is lots of fun, particularly designing Milestones and Distinctions. Here’s my first go at Atomic Robo, which might give you a feel for the system.
Affiliations: Solo d8 Buddy d6 Team d10
I Used My Violence On Them!
88 Years Old
Power Set: Atomic Robot
Godlike Durability d12
Superhuman Strength d10
Cybernetic Senses d6
SFX: Collateral Damage (as per Thing), Immunity (gas, toxins, disease, pressure), Invulnerable (except electrical attacks)
Tools of Science
Lightning Gun d10
SFX: Area Attack, Dangerous
Combat Expert d8
Science Master d10
Tech Expert d8
Vehicle Expert d8
Destroying the Scenery
1 XP when something heavy falls on you
3 XP when you are Stressed Out by physical stress
10 XP when you cause an enormously valuable or large thing to be destroyed (eg Tokyo, the Empire State Building, a pyramid)
1 XP when a seemingly normal person or situation you encounter is revealed to be strange or crazy
3 XP when monsters or villains show up unexpectedly
10 XP when something threatens to destroy the world or the universe