The Basics of Marvel SAGA — The Character Sheet

Let’s first talk about the character sheet and stat block. Here’s an example using a favorite character of mine:

Rocket Raccoon

Strength 4X
Agility 10A
Intellect 4X
Willpower 4D

Edge: 1
Hand: 3 (17)
Calling: Protector
Hindrance: Monstrous

Skills:
Acrobatics, Marksmanship, Martial Arts, Piloting
Law Enforcement

Powers:
Enhanced Senses (Smell and Sight) 8
Shrinking 2
Limit: Permanent

Equipment:
Laser Pistol 10
Rocket Skates (Flight) 8

Let’s start with the abilities.  There are four of them:  Strength, Agility, Intellect, Willpower.  And each has an associated color, as I’ve illustrated twice already.  These colors correspond to suits in the Fate Deck, which is the main mechanic of randomness and resolution within the game.

Each ability can be quantified from 0 to 30, which can be described as non-existent to cosmic.  The Core Book provides a nice framework of benchmarks to compare hero to hero.  Rocket, for example, is as strong as The Scarlet Witch, as agile as Captain America (mainly due to his small size), as smart as the Sandman and as willful as Siryn.

The letter code after each number represents the number of skills a character will have for that ability.  X means you have no skills in that ability.  D means you have one.  C means two.  B mean three.  A means four (or more, though rarely).  Sometimes, if heroes are evenly matched, the code be used to settle a contest, if one has a “higher” code.

Next, we have Edge.  Edge represents the ability of a hero (or villain) to defy odds.  In game play, if you hold a card with a value equal or less than your Edge, you can play it for free.  Rocket has an Edge of 1, but Captain America has an edge of 4, meaning he can add more free cards to his actions than the average hero.

A hero’s Calling represents their raison d’etre.  During the game the GM can invoke situation that “call” to a hero, and the player should address the situation if they are the hero they believe themselves to be.  For example, Rocket has the Protector calling.  During play, an escaping villain knocks down a wall in front of an oncoming bus full of people.  According to his calling, Rocket should save those people before pursuing the villain.

Sometimes, a hero might have a Hindrance, which causes them difficulty during play.  Rocket’s hindrance is Monstrous, which means he has a tough time interacting with ordinary humans (people end to freak out when an above-average sized raccoon, smoking a cigar, asks them for some change).  The GM may rule, however, than in outer space, this hindrance may not apply, since many aliens may have weird features.

Next come the skills.  As mentioned, each are associated with a particular ability.  Most skills reduce the difficulty of actions associated with that skill.  For example, Rocket can shoot things with more ease because he has Marksmanship.  Other skills have different uses.  For example, Rocket’s Martial Arts skill allows him to use his Agility to melee attack, as opposed to Strength (which is the standard ability associted with hand-to-hand).  Furthermore, though Rocket does not have one, heroes can have World Class skills.  These allow heroes to defy the odds when using the associated skill.  I will talk about this later.

Powers typically define a hero or villain.  Like everything else, they are associated with a particular ability and they have a numerical intensity, like the abilities.  Rocket has Enhanced Smell and Sight, each at intensity 8, as well as Shrinking 2.  His Shrinking power has a limit of Permanent.  If a power has a limit, the power is typically less effective under certain circumstances.  In this case, Rocket is always small; he cannot turn the power off.  Powers can also be more effective by developing Stunts.  Stunts allow heroes to use their powers in creative ways.

Lastly, let’s talk equipment.  Equipment is handled like powers.  They are associated with abilities and have intensities.  Rocket has a Laser Pistol (intensity 10) and Rocket Skates that give him the ability to fly at intensity 8.
That’s it for now.

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