Holding Out For A Hero is a campaign about heroes in the Marvel Universe. It’s about sampling different characters, experiences, and role-playing scenarios. It’s about having fun.
The Cortex System is a bit different for MHRPG than it is for others in the MWP line. Dice pools are created, opposition dice pools (or the game’s doom pool) are gathered and rolled, all while the players narrate what is happening as opposed to picking from a list of possible actions and the dice telling the players what happened.
While we won’t be creating new characters (at least not for some time), even if we were to the system is not about hard stats to crunch. Attributes are represented by dice and not numbers, and those attributes help define who the character is and not via the usual stat sheet most RPG’s use. No Strength, Agility, Endurance, Hit Points, Armor Class…. instead you have Affiliations, Distinctions, Power Sets, Specialties and Milestones.
You don’t earn XP for defeating bad guys (almost always.) Nor for good role-playing (per se.) Nor for completing objectives (typically.) Experience is awarded for facing hard challenges (anytime the Watcher uses a d12), for hitting your Milestones (which are personal to your character, or at least connected to the event and chosen by you), or for when the Watcher ends an action scene abruptly to keep the story flowing.
On one level the game is much simpler and less crunchy than others, and yet on another it’s more resource management oriented and strategic than most as well. You get tone adjustment and action description freedom by stating your intent, but your still bound by the datafile of your character and the common sense of the playing group. There’s a focus on action scenes and dice that can seem to restrict role-playing (acting in character) and yet the transition scenes and nature of the Milestones encourage or even force some level of role-playing that other games don’t.
You might want to check out Tips from Uatu for more of my thoughts on what makes this game unique as well as things to think about when playing.