My friend Jason asked a question about handling initiative in Marvel Heroic Roleplaying when there is an allied Watcher character. When the heroes choose that character, does the Watcher get to choose who should act next as if a hero player was choosing, or as the Watcher?

My preference when running a roleplaying game is to do as little work as possible. In this case, where there is an ally – let’s say Black Widow is tagging along with the heroes – if I controlled her as a character, I’m basically playing a dice game with myself. I’m making her attack rolls against the villains; I’m making the villains’ reaction rolls against her; the heroes are just sitting around as I’m rolling dice against myself. Instead, I would just place Black Widow on the board as an asset for the team rated at… well, she’s got a lot of d8s there, maybe a Black Widow d8 (asset). That way, I can use a version of the rules on OM53 (Support and Recovery Actions by Watcher Characters) and just say that whatever assistance Natasha uses, she’s doing support actions at d8.

But what if the heroes want Natasha to go after Bullseye while everyone else is tangled up with other opposition? Swap out the Black Widow d8 (asset) and turn that into a d8 Black Widow is all over my ass! (complication) and stick it on Bullseye. So no matter what Bullseye does – maybe he’s taking a pot shot at Iron Man, maybe he’s reacting to Iron Man slamming him into a wall – Black Widow’s  complication is always hindering him.


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