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Marvel Heroic Roleplaying: Civil War Fifty State Initiative
Publisher: Margaret Weis Productions
by Chris H. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 09/01/2012 13:22:05

This supplement gives you a Howard the Duck datafile. 'nuff said.

Okay, so maybe there’s more to say than that. This supplement to the Civil War event book really gives you two things, in very unequal measure. First, it gives you about half a dozen short action scenes set in the aftermath of the Civil War—two scenes for each of three teams, the Initiative (well, sort of a network of teams), the Thunderbolts, and the Heroes for Hire. Second, and mostly, it gives you datafiles for a whole bunch of second- and third-string heroes from the Marvel Universe … yes, including Howard the Duck.

It’s basically a roster book, so a glance at the table of contents should pretty much tell you whether you want the book or not. For me, Howard really was pretty much the highlight of the book, but whether that tells you more about me or about the book is for you to decide. Personally, I’m not very interested in most of the heroes included. The Great Lakes Champions, Liberteens, the Shadow Initiative, the folks training at Camp Hammond, and even the Rangers (I’m a Texas native, though living elsewhere now) don’t interest me very much. I have no desire to play them or run an adventure featuring them. The Thunderbolts might be a different story, though I’d personally use them as antagonists, not as the heroes. That pretty much leaves the Heroes for Hire.

The distribution of the datafiles throughout the book can be a little bit annoying, even confusing. Some datafiles, about half a page long with red backgrounds, are presented along with the action scenes and the team descriptions. Thus Baron Zemo’s datafile appears on p. FS55, in the section of the book dedicated to the Thunderbolts (pp. FS50–FS63). Here’s where you’ll also find Eel, Mongoose, Porcupine, American Eagle, Jack Flag, Sepulchre, and Steel Spider, in connection with two action scenes featuring the Thunderbolts. But to find datafiles for Bullseye, Moonstone, Radioactive Man, Songbird, Swordsman, and Venom, you look in the back of the book, where each has a two-page spread with a blue background. I’m not sure why Swordsman rates a two-page spread and Zemo only gets half a page, but I am sure that it’s a bit of a pain tracking where each datafile is found. Consistently grouping the characters with their teams or consistently listing everybody at the end in alphabetical order would have made the book more convenient to use.

When the PDF of this book was first released, the image resolution was terrible, but MWP updated the product with a better-looking version. That’s good responsiveness and customer service … but it doesn’t really make the book any more useful for me. The book accomplishes its goal well. It’s just not a goal that really lights a spark in my GMing heart; the book does not inspire me to want to use these characters. GMs, er, Watchers who have an interest in these characters will love it.

[4 of 5 Stars!]
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Marvel Heroic Roleplaying: Civil War Fifty State Initiative
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