Wednesday, November 30, 2011

1984 - TSR's Marvel Superheroes Roleplaying Game

The first edition of the Marvel Superheroes RPG game was released in 1984 by TSR and designed by Jeff Grubb.

The first edition, the Basic Set, was a box set priced at $15 and included the following:

- 16 page Battle Book which featured original art by Al Milgrom
- 52 page Campaign Book which featured original art by Sal Buscema
- Day of the Octopus game adventure
- a 2-sided map of New York City
- 8 character cards
- 25 cardboard tokens

TSR's gaming publication, Dragon magazine, had a monthly column called The Marvel-phile which usually added new characters or groups

Here's list of the Adventure modules that were released for the basic set:

  • The Breeder Bombs (X-Men)
  • Time Trap (Avengers)
  • Murderworld! (Fantastic Four)
  • Lone Wolves (Daredevil, Black Widow, Power Man, Iron Fist)
  • Cat's Paw (Alpha Flight)
  • Judge's Screen
  • Avengers Assembled!
  • Adventure Foldup Figures
  • Pit of the Viper (incl. Adventure Foldup Figures)
  • Secret Wars
  • The Last Resort (West Coast Avengers)
  • Thunder over Jotunheim (Thor)
  • Fault Line (Spider-Man & Avengers)
  • Project Wideawake
  • Concrete Jungle
  • Weapons Locker
  • Gates of What If ? (Spider-Man, FF, Avengers)

Here's a review (a bit biased of course) of the game system by Marvel Age:


  1. can't seem to zoom in on the pics once i click on them?

  2. I just tried and it works. You can right click and save the file locally to get a larger view.

  3. Fantastic! To funny that you already had it in the works when I asked. I loved this when it came out and made my own superhero a bunch of time. unfortunately my friends in the area at the time were not interested in it and we kept playing DND after only trying it once or twice. I'd love to get a game going. but with Video games basically doing that now (DC online and marvel soon) I think that is a dream I have to let go.

  4. Hey Daniel, I loved this game as well from the moment it came out. I didn't have any luck either with my local friends to play. However, recently I've hooked up with a gang of gamers that love comics and we've actually played a supervillain campaign and we're about to start a cosmic storyline...

  5. Ah, this brings back fond memories! I bought the set when it first came out, but never really got into playing it. I've amassed a lot of the other modules over the years just because they had fantastic art from John Byrne and other 80s greats.

  6. They launched this RPG with the art of Al Milgrom and Sal Buscema ... WHY?

    1. Because those guys are reliable talented artists who get the job done. That's why.

  7. I love this! I just recently found my battle book and campaign book and all the old modules. I have every single one that you've listed (I believe you're missing Secret Wars II, the guide on magical characters whose name escapes me, and New York, New York, which was a very cool choose-you-own-adventure type of game with a random adventure generator, i.e. a paper wheel, and a bunch of mini-adventures (different from that Thor module, which was more a classic choose-your-own-adventure format).

    I played all the modules with my brother, but once those were done I usually spent hours playing on my own just picking characters to fight each other and rolling their battles. My favourite purchases I think were Project Wideawake and especially Concrete Jungle, such a great variety of characters in that one. I also loved that Weapons Locker book which actually gave the prices of weapons (measured in Resource points). I would pick two organizations like SHIELD and Hydra, give them a budget of a few thousand resource points and strategically purchase different combos of weapons, then have them wage war on one of those city maps...

    As you can probably tell, this post brings back a ton of good memories, and you haven't even covered the "advanced" RPG they released a couple of years later!

    Thanks for all the great nostalgia!

  8. Ah, I was yet another fan of this game who couldn't (1) get my comic reading friends to play an RPG or (2) my RPG playing friends to try anything other than AD&D.

    I think, back then, games that only used a ten sided day scared off those who who thought you needed all six types of D&D dice!

  9. Any decent sources out there for the foldup figures?

  10. Love this system wish i still had some old gaming budys or new ones. Thank's to the guys that made this stuff. your pretty good.

  11. It's indeed a great system, still play it today. Nice and simple and fun.

  12. I'm reluctant to post to this, it being an old thread, but here goes!
    Marvel Super Heroes RPG was my first, but by no means last rpg! The Marvel game was simple, way to jump right into and the character creation system could give you some wild variations! It was fun to just toss dice down to see what weird characters you could make.
    I ran this game for over 2 years and expanded into the Advanced version once it came out. Our game group went on to try DC Heroes, Champions, GURPS Supers, Villains and Vigilantes, etc but Marvel was the bench mark that was never beaten.
    Loved that game!
    I introduced it to my wife a couple of years ago but she prefers rules light (practically non-existent) instead. I'd still love to make a Marvel character and wage battle across the Marvel Manhattan map, though!

  13. Hey Mike, thanks for posting. We still play MSHRPG in my gaming group!

  14. Most / all this stuff is freely downloadable here:



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