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Marvel Magic for HERO 6th Edition
Most of us CHAMPIONS players have converted our favorite heroes from the comics to our favorite superhero RPG. I can only imagine how many variations there are of, say, a certain six-clawed Canadian there are out there. What some might not know is that Marvel Comics does have some explanations and guidelines they use as a framework for their characters. Magic is rather well-defined in Marvel, and here's how to translate the various forms into a HERO campaign setting.
Magic comes in three distinct forms in the Marvel Universe: Personal, Universal and Extradimensional. These are the three primary sources of all magic in the Marvel Universe. Personal magic uses the practitioner's own essence as a source of power, which is why many such users undergo rigorous physical and mental training. Chi, ki and psychic powers are typically developed in this manner. Universal magic is derived from the ambient mystical energies of the universe itself. Universal magic tends to "bend" the laws of physics and reality, but not ignore them. These spells are incredibly draining for the mage, as he channels these energies through himself in order to manipulate them. Extradimensional magic is reality-ripping, near-omnipotent stuff. Such power is typically gained from making pacts with extradimensional beings (such as the Vishanti, in the case of Doctor Strange) or opening gateways to dimensions whose physics are more fluid and manageable than our own.
Personal magic, in HERO, costs END to use. It is the very life essence of the mage that is being used to create mystical effects. Since this reserve of mystical energy (in humans) is rather limited, there are some effects too powerful for a mage to use at this level. Iron Fist is an example of channeling chi power. Doctor Strange's most basic powers -- telepathy, mind links and so on -- are examples of the basic psychic powers. But, as stated, these take a toll on the user in the form of END. Also, there are few side effects, if any, to tapping one's personal magical energies.
Universal magic is also draining. It is capable of distorting the laws of reality (making hot stuff cold, changing the environment, manipulating nature or the weather, etc.) and, as such, is widely used by most practitioners. The END costs might be lower under certain conditions, such as causing whiteout in a winter snow or communing with nature in a thick forest. Similarly, casting might be more difficult under other circumstances. Areas rich with magical energy might exist where casting spells is effortless, such as Stonehenge.
Extradimensional magic is virtually limitless in its effects. Even the most restrictive physical laws of time and space can be broken and ignored. This is usually due to a nigh-omnipotent sponsor of some sort with which the mage has bargained with for power. In this case, no END should be expended. These are rarely used, as summoning forces beyond one's ken every five minutes will really tick a cosmic-level entity right off. In some instances, the being behind such power will demand favors itself or act out of spite or scorn and deliver a power limitation along with the power granted. It's best to stay in their good graces. A good Summon Power can be used to simulate this, but for more immediate effects it's best to get the Power with a few Limitations. There are few capable of mastering this level of power in the Marvel universe without the assistance of some item of power, even the Sorcerer Supreme himself.
So, ready to have some fun? How about our very own Master of the Mystic Arts!
Mister MagicClick thumbnail to view full-size
This guy -- we'll name him Mister Magic -- made a deal with the devil, as it were, to learn the mystic arts. He trained body, mind and spirit in order to harness forces beyond human ken. Armed with a magic Elemental Ring and his Eldritch Amulet, Mister Magic fights to protect our world from the supernatural forces that would threaten it.
His most powerful effects are more difficult to use but don't cost END because his mentor is the power source. Typically he will call upon his personal magic to get things done, unless the threat is significant. His most powerful attack, Shatter Reality, is only used against demons and the like; he will not kill living creatures willingly. He will also use it against inorganic matter, but considers it unseemly.
He fears his mentor and benefactor might pull his support if he doesn't obey, but there is a respect there as well. Thus far, they are on good terms. What happens, however, when they finally disagree?
And there you have it -- a character fit for Marvel Comics. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!