Wednesday, November 10, 2010

1993 Mayfair Games DC Heroes Role-Playing Game Third Edition Martian Manhunter Entry

I bought a batch of Mayfair gaming books as reference along the lines of Who's Who on the cheap in the late '90s, and ended up GMing a DC campaign with a bunch of young regulars at my comic shop. I have some fond memories of that time, but it was also a bit of a trial, and our attempt at a second campaign fell apart in a mix of exhaustion and just plain growing apart. I never got around to using any big names in a campaign, as my group was made up of tough guy fighters who jacked up their Dexterity/Strength/Body to hit everything all the time. I could have punished them for that with some brainiac adversaries, or by playing the psychological hang-ups they'd exchanged for high power levels against them, but I wasn't that cruel. Instead, I mostly invented similar characters and let the 12d bloodbath commence.

I was surprised the Martian Manhunter made it into this primary handbook as one of twenty-nine characters who were provided playable stats. Aquaman, Batman, Captain Marvel, Guy Gardner & Hawkman all received half-page presentations, as did the late additions for "The Death of Superman:" Doomsday, The Kryptonian (pre-Eradicator,) the Man of Steel (still called Henry Johnson,) the Cyborg, Superboy and Superman himself.

J'Onn J'Onzz was relegated to the fifth page, sandwiched between Lobo and Nightwing. His Dexterity of 7 was Olympic-level, along the lines of Aquaman and Vandal Savage. His Strength of 18 was substantial, ranged at 1,600-6,400 tons in a tier with the Spectre, Wonder Woman, Solomon Grundy, Gorilla Grodd and Lobo. A Body of 15 equated to diamond hardness along the lines of Power Girl. Those were the three attributes used to determine the ability to physically hit something, the damage dealt, and the ability to sustain damage.

An Intelligence of 9 again recalled Grodd and Wonder Woman, making them among a select few world authorities on a given subject. Will of 9 allowed one to override self-preservation to enter battle, like Sgt. Rock. Mind of 8 was the fortitude of hardened soldiers. Again, these attributes dealt with psychic assaults, schemes, and stresses.

Influence of 7 meant a personality so unique as to be nationally regarded, like Queen Hippolyte and Green Arrow. Aura of 7 rocked along similar lines, but covered mystique and respect along the lines of Batman or Hal Jordan. Spirit of 6 expressed a security of belief one is willing to die for, like Huntress and Booster Gold.

How these stats related to gameplay was that J'Onn could punch humans and slower metahumans, and he had the strength and stamina to trade devastating blows with almost anyone. Most of the rest of his abilities were at higher human levels. Checking his special powers though, he could fly really fast, and was mighty hard to detect, but his telepathic abilities were middling.

I can't place the art used on this one, so it's probably from some licensing/style guide. The basic figure recalls a journeyman along the lines of Alex Saviuk or Greg LaRoque. Those inks look an awful lot like Mike DeCarlo. The art was originally off to the right, but keeping it there meant the same tiny reproduction you'll see at my other blog entries today, so I moved it.

More Mayfair 3rd Edition for Today:


Tom Hartley said...

I still have that box somewhere. It comes with a JLI adventure. Pretty sure Saviuk is the penciller, and DeCarlo is definitely the inker.

The "famous" Dr. Erdel?

Diabolu Frank said...

I didn't get mine in a box. It was in a shrink-wrapped liquidation bundle of supplements/modules I got from Chessex Distribution. I still don't have that JLI module with the Kevin Maguire cover.

Tom Hartley said...

Would you want the boxed set if you could get it for a reasonable price?

Diabolu Frank said...

As I student, I have no money, and I'm not sure what was in the box, besides. I might holler at you next year, though.

LissBirds said...

All I can take away from those stats is that apparently being a Private Eye doesn't pay well.