House Rule: No-Prize

ImageOne thing I admire about the rule-set for Marvel Heroic Roleplaying is both its simplicity and its completeness. It is not a game for which I feel a great need to create house rules or to revise it. The one addition I might make is less a rule, than a Watcher option or tool: what I call the No-Prize.

According to the unofficial Marvel Wiki, the No-Prize was a “reward given out to fans who get a letter printed in a Marvel comic, which points out a mistake within a series and comes up with a clever excuse for it being printed . . . which was nothing” (emphasis added). Later, as other writers were let into the joke and could award their own faithful readers: “they soon made their own rules up on how people would receive a No Prize.”

In this spirit, I propose an optional XP award:

  • Handed out by the Watcher to players when they choose to act in ways that preserve continuity. Typically, it would be a 1 XP award. The Watcher would announce it publicly at the start of the scene: if players take actions that lead to X outcome, they will receive the award.
  • Awarded by players at the end of a play session to a single player for any reason whatsoever, based on their vote.

In Secret War, the first Past scene is an action scene where Nick Fury recruits heroes for his secret mission. Since it is already established who went on the secret mission in the first place (active player heroes), narrative logic demands that they somehow accept the mission: whether it is by their ready agreement or by Nick Fury’s emotional blackmail.

This is how I might frame the No-Prize: Players who agree to go on Nick Fury’s secret mission, earn one bonus XP. (Actually, I might also give them a 3 XP option: if Nick Fury convinces you to go on the secret mission by emotionally stressing you out, you receive a bonus 3 XP.)

Food for thought.