Marvel’s new tabletop RPG makes it clear to fans with disabilities that, no matter the obstacle, anyone can be a superhero.
Tabletop RPGs are more popular than ever with a resurgence of Dungeons & Dragons and shows like Critical Role popularizing them on streaming services. Marvel has jumped on the bandwagon, having published a new tabletop RPG called the Marvel Multiverse Roleplaying Game. Allowing players to take on the roles of their favorite Marvel heroes or even design one of their own as they face off against the greatest villains in the Marvel Multiverse, this new title takes a lot of cues from classic TTRPGs while also adding in its own unique superhero flavor.
One underrated element of the game is how it explicitly encourages players to incorporate disabilities into a character’s backstory and traits. While technically possible in other RPGs, the Marvel Multiverse RPG specifically includes traits like “Blind” and “Deaf” as options in the playtest material. The Game Master (here called the “Narrator”) is greatly encouraged to craft a campaign that utilizes traits to their fullest potential, taking into account a player character’s abilities and disabilities as they craft adventures that challenge them. This, in turn, encourages players to be more mindful of how their character will act in a given situation, especially when trying to overcome their own limitations.
Allowing players to incorporate disabilities not only forces players to think creatively when encountering difficult challenges in the game, but also serves as a way to honor Marvel’s enduring legacy of representation when it comes to people with various disabilities. Characters like Hawkeye (who is Deaf) and Daredevil (who is blind) are both completely viable to play as in this world and can actively contribute to the team’s heroics. Their disabilities are an active and present part of their lives, neither brushed off as flavor text nor making them less valuable than their counterparts.
Mechanically, disabilities in the Marvel Multiverse RPG influence how a character acts, such as giving a negative modifier to a perception check or being unable to make out certain details in a description. However, such disabilities can also give players a distinct advantage in certain situations. For example, a spell that takes away a character’s powers if they speak will not only have no impact on a mute character; they can also lead the party and communicate with sign language.
The Marvel Multiverse RPG takes various elements from the franchise’s vast lore and places them into a truly unique TTRPG experience. The emphasis on storytelling and awareness of every player character’s traits – whether they provide clear advantages or seem to put one at a disadvantage – is sure to tickle Narrators ‘imaginations and a players’ resourcefulness.
By adding disabilities to a game like this, the Marvel Multiverse Tabletop Roleplaying Game not only grants players a new and fresh way to play their characters, but also gives players with disabilities a much-needed signal that they are also welcome at the table. While games like D&D have been slowly improving their approaches to Representation, with fans often doing the heavy lifting, the Marvel RPG is saying from the very start that the TTRPG space is for everyone, and anyone can be a hero.
How the Marvel Multiverse Role-Playing Game Differs From Other TTRPGs
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