Marvel Heroic Roleplaying: Specialties and Milestones

Today, we’ll talk about Specialties and Milestones.

Specialties are the Skills of the Marvel Heroic Roleplaying Game. Every Specialty is listed as either a D8 or a D10. A D8 makes you a Specalist, a D10 makes you a Master. You can roll these with your dice pool when the situation you could use it in presents itself. Let’s look at Luke Cage.

Luke Cage is, as everyone knows, a pretty tough mothereffer. Strong, tough, and intimidating. As such, he’s got some good Specialties to look at. Let’s look at a couple of them. Cage is a Menace Master, which means he gets a D10 at being intimidating, gruff, and causing his foes to cower. Now, he doesn’t have to roll that D10.  He can instead choose to turn that D10 into 2D8 or 3D6. Not bad. We’ll look at probabilities in the future to help you decide what you want to roll in any given situation.

Cage also is a Combat Expert. So, any time he’s fighting, he’s able to add a D8 to his pool. Like the previous one, he can choose to change that D8, in this case, to 2D6.

That’s about all there is for Specialities. Specialties are a small, simple rule that doesn’t need much explaining.

Now we’re going to talk about my favorite part of the Datafile: Milestones.

This is built-in roleplaying moments right on your sheet.

A Milestone is very similar to Keys from Lady Blackbird, as I discussed with Cam on the Dice Monkey Radio podcast. With Milestones, you earn experience points for performing certain actions, or acting in a certain way. You get 1XP for a relatively minor action, 3XP for a more significant action, and 10XP for a very serious action. Once you’ve completed this 10XP action, you can choose to retire that Milestone and establish a new one.

Here, we’ll look at Iron Man, particularly at his Milestone called Demon in a Bottle.

With Demon in a Bottle, Tony Stark gets 1XP when he finds himself in a situation where alcohol is being consumed. This could be at a black-tie event, or even a “we just saved the world” party with the Avengers. Everyone’s drinking… Will Tony?

For 3XP, Tony has to lie to a teammate about his drinking, or give another player reason to believe he’s drinking. This gives the player a great opportunity to either have Iron Man act reckless, and have a great interaction with another player.

For 10XP, Tony has to check himself into rehab, or drink himself into a stupor. That’s pretty extreme! If Iron Man’s in rehab, his player will have to be playing another character for a while.

Now, an important thing to remember is that Milestones shouldn’t be forced. You can’t have, in one session, a player put Tony into a situation where there;s drinking (1XP) and say, “You know what? Tony’s getting hammered! Ten XP! Wooo!” The point of Milestones isn’t for the XP, it’s for the roleplaying opportunities. The XP is just a side benefit.

Milestones can also be the hardest part of making a new character. You need to come up with two very interesting character plotlines that the Watcher will have the opportunity to get you into. I’m looking forward to making my own heroes and seeing how it all plays out.

One thought on “Marvel Heroic Roleplaying: Specialties and Milestones

  1. I also find making the milestones the hardest part of making characters, as well as making campaign milestones… As well as creating unlockables. I think I’m just not use to this aspects of the game.
    Fortunately, we have ample examples (heh) of character milestones via the accompanying hero datafiles, and have a few examples of unlockables with the Breakout event.
    I can share some home brew milestones, if interested…!

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