The assumption for character creation within Marvel Overpower is that you’ll be using D&D Beyond to do so. The process detailed below uses their Standard character tools to create a new Marvel Overpower character.
If you’re creating a character for Marvel Overpower, it is assumed that you’ve been invited into an existing campaign by an established DM, and will be working closely with them to design your character. Ultimately, this post is just an initial guide and does not overrule the DM of your campaign.
Getting started (With Shatterstar)
For the purposes of this tutorial I’m going to create a character that I’m assuming is so niche that the likelihood that anyone other than myself might want to play them is pretty slim. To walk you through the process of creating a character, we’re going to create the Mojoworld gladiator-slash-freedom fighter-slash-rebel-slash-reality star: Gaveedra Seven. Also known as Shatterstar. If you don’t know who that is, I uh, don’t really blame you. But, it seemed fitting as he was created by Arize, using the DNA of his dad Longshot. Kind of. Time paradoxes are messy and not the focus here. Anyway, like Arize, we’re going to create Shatterstar.
Before creating a character, you should decide which version of the character you want to play. For most Marvel characters, there is a Multiverse of different versions of each character. Further still, most Marvel characters have countless character arcs and designs that impact choices that can be made during character creation. All interpretations are valid, and you should work with your DM to see which one is best for you.
In the case of Shatterstar, he’s been everything from a bloodthirsty gladiator, a private eye, and even a landlord. He even has that brief appearance in Deadpool 2. The less said about that, the better. I’m gonna lean into his appearances in X-Factor, which is a little more modern. He’s been on Earth for some time, he’s in love, fleeting as it is, and he’s working with his dad to solve crimes against mutants.
The following character preferences should be used during character creation:
- Homebrew content: No. The reason for this is because DMs have a wide range of homebrew content, and in order to maintain consistency within character creation, it should be avoided. Homebrew content will of course be developed and used once the campaign is underway.
- Critical Role content: Yes. Bring on the Bloodhunter and guns.
- Playtest content: Sure. Just make sure that once something is either removed or made official to adjust.
- Magic: The Gathering content: Yes.
- Eberron content: Yes.
- Rick and Morty content: Absolutely not.
- Noncore D&D Content: For sure. Open the floodgates.
Dice Rolling: Yes
- Optional Class Features: Yes. The more the merrier.
- Customize Your Origin: Yes. This provides even more customization and tailoring how you wish to play your character.
Hit-point type: Manual
Advancement Type: Milestone
- Feats: No. Playing superheroes means any and all Feats are made available to you.
- Multiclass Requirements: No. Nothing should be impossible for a superhero.
Show Level-Scaled Spells: Either
Encumbrance Type: No
Ignore Coin Weight: Either
Ability Score/Modifier Display: Either
Character Privacy: Either
D&D Beyond doesn’t have a “Mojoworld time-paradox clone,” racial option for character creation, and even if they did, it wouldn’t matter. In Marvel Overpower it’s assumed that your in-game character “race” will be whatever it is in the source material. Players should instead choice the character race that helps them build the version of the character they wish to play.
For the sake of this Shatterstar build—a character who is an unrivaled swordsman, and can use those swords to cut through time and space—I liked Bugbear as his character race. The extra five feet of melee range given to him by Long-Limbed will make his swords attacks harder to avoid. Powerful build mimics his superhuman strength while Sneaky gives him proficiency in stealth. Lastly, Surprise Attack allows him to use the element of surprise and add additional damage when he strikes first. Something Shatterstar often does.
Before leaving the Race section during character creation, players should always check the origin manager. There are always additional options for customization here, and can help tweak the character toward an ideal build by providing replacement traits.
Origin Ability Score Increase
Every race in D&D comes with set ability score increase which used to be vital to min-maxing character builds. Now, however, players have the option of swapping those default ability score increases with any of their choosing. This is amazing, and allows players to focus instead on the features of a race rather than ability bonuses.
For Shatterstar, however, the +2 Strength and +1 Dexterity are actually perfect for the build, so we’ll keep it as is.
If your character was given a proficiency as part of its race, Origin Manager gives players the ability to swap it.
Shatterstar was given proficiency in Stealth for choosing Bugbear. While he definitely can be stealthy, and does use that to his advantage, he’s also a warrior who’s not afraid to charge headfirst into battle. So, I could easily swap to another skill. However, because this is X-Factor Shatterstar, I’m going to keep it. It will also come in handy when trying to score that bonus Surprise Attack damage.
Ultimately the class a player chooses is up to them. We recommend thinking of how you perceive your Marvel superhero, and the playstyle you want to embody when you play them. Defining how your character engages in combat is an important part of their playstyle, as are their collected skills and abilities in and out of roleplay.
For Shatterstar, my main focus will be on dual-wielding swords, and using teleportation to move around the battlefield. This puts fighters and rangers at the top of the list, but likely will include access to some limited amounts of spells. This might mean multiclassing into casters or monk. By turning off multiclass requirements, literally any and all options are available, so spend time going through options until you find the right ones.
No matter which options you choose, it’s important to note that all Marvel Overpower heroes begin a campaign at level 10.
Starting at Level 10
Marvel Overpower character creation begins at level ten. The reason for this is because most Marvel characters have an abundance of power, and that should reflected even from the beginning of the campaign. Level 10 gives players plenty opportunity to go deep into their class choices and are rewarded with countless abilities and spells to truly feel powerful.
In D&D if level one is meant to be a beginning adventurer and level twenty is a demi-god, level ten seems the logical place to begin a superhero campaign.
For Shatterstar, I took seven of my available ten levels and dropped them into Ranger, so that I could gain jump deep into the Horizon Walker subclass while leaving myself enough levels to reach a subclass in another class.
Optional Feature Manager
Like with the Origin Manager feature, it is recommended that players check out the Optional Feature Manager. This section provides numerous alternatives for character classes based on level. Each alternative is either an additional class feature—which means a player can simply add it to their class—or as a replacement feature allowing them to swap a feature for another one in the list.
The classic Ranger woodsman/explorer tropes are at odds with Shatterstar’s character, even if the rest of the Horizon Walker subclass isn’t so using the optional feature manager, I was able to swap or downplay those aspects of his Ranger class.
Replacing Natural Explorer is Deft Explorer which has less to do with a Ranger’s chosen surroundings as it does his inner mettle. Rather than sorting through enemy types and hoping to stumble across the ones a Ranger has added benefits against, Favored Foe—replacing Favored Enemy—allows a Ranger to focus his keen fighting sense against the enemy in front of him. This makes perfect sense for a gladitorial combatant skilled at picking out weak points in an opponent.
The optional feature manager also lets Rangers add some extra spells into their repertoire, and there’s really no reason to not pick those up even if we don’t plan on adding them to our spell list.
Focus on Feats
As players add levels to their character, working up to level ten, they’ll come across ability score improvements (any time a class reaches level four or eight). Doing so gives players a choice to bump one or two ability scores, or to choose a feat.
A lot of times, choosing to bump a character’s ability score toward 20 is the smart move. While feats can definitely break an encounter wide open, ultimately, ability scores (and their modifiers) have a constant impact on the campaign. However, in Marvel Overpower, it’s recommended that players prioritize feats. This is partly because the method used to roll ability scores—detailed later—result in much higher ability scores than standard, so the jump to the cap of 20 is far easier. Additionally, feats add more unique ways to approach that game that can help tailor playstyles and ultimately offer more variety. This makes sense in the context of roleplaying Marvel superheroes where characters are unique, and have varied approaches to encounters even when power sets are similar.
With dual-wielding his dual-bladed swords being the most distinct feature Shatterstar has (other than the terrible early Liefeld designs), as my fourth-level improvement, I took the dual-wielder feat which allows Shatterstar to dual wield weapons even if they aren’t marked light, and gain an additional +1 to his armor class when dual wielding.
In Marvel Overpower, ability scores are collected using a variation on the standard manual rolls. This variation is call the “tic-tac-toe” method.
For Marvel Overpower, however, it’s done a little differently. Players will roll nine 4d6 and set them each in an open square sequentially from upper left to bottom right until all of them have been filled.
This method makes for overall higher ability scores even when using the standard 4d6 mainly because it not only gives the player nine possible values instead of six, but it also lets the player take the highest value on the board twice.
Using a straight line or diagonal, players then draw a box around two sets of three numbers. However, after drawing the first box, the second box must intersect the first.
As with any character creation, a player cannot keep a value higher than 18, so anything 24-18 counts as only eighteen. However, because the characters being created are superheroes, it only makes senes to ensure that players get at least one 18. If for some reason a player does not roll an 18 or higher, they may replace any value on the board with a 16. This guarantees the possibility of 16 for two ability scores.
This may seem excessive, but again, these are not just standard adventurers, they’re superheroes. Also, in the spirit of balance, anything that a superhero can do, so can the villains.
Players can manually roll their hit points before or after finishing a character’s ability scores. I prefer to do after only because I get to see the final effects of the final Constitution score.
Note: Players should not roll the full ten hit dice when doing this. They should only roll nine. The tenth dice is ignored because at first-level players automatically get the full value of their first class’ hit dice plus their constitution modifier.
In the case of Shatterstar—whose Ranger hit dice are d10—his first hit dice is automatically a ten plus his constitution modifier (+4) for a total of 14. This can be added to the total of his nine other rolled d10s.
Description & Equipment
With the majority of the mechanical aspects of character creation finished, the finishing touches include background and non-mechanical features like vitals and characteristics as well as the equipment that will make up the starting gear for the created character.
Backgrounds in D&D provide the final mechanical benefit to characters and is based on their skills and occupations prior to the campaign. For the sake of Marvel Overpower, players should select the background that makes the most sense. In the example of Shatterstar, the obvious choice for a background is Gladiator.
Custom backgrounds are acceptable as well.
For the sake of ease, all character creation in Marvel Overpower should select the starting equipment option. Follow the choices and drop downs until finished.
Most superheroes have their signature equipment or weapon. Wolverine has his adamantium claws, Thor has Mjolnir, and Shatterstar has his double-bladed swords. In order to provide players with these items that are essential to their characters, they can work with their DMs to replace any two pieces of starting equipment with two uncommon pieces of equipment, or one piece of rare equipment of any kind. Any equipment exchanged in this manner should be renamed after the signature item—like, Mjolnir—and should be treated as a legacy weapon that can be leveled up as the character levels.
After standard character creation has been completed players are allowed a free feat—referred to as a Heroic Feat—testament to their heroic nature. Players can select the “Features and Traits” section on their character sheet, then select the “Feats” sub-section. Above the list of all Feats granted the character (by process of racial trait or ability score) is a “Manage Feats” link. Selecting that will bring up all the available feats in the game. Players may choose one of these Feats as their free Heroic Feat.
Note: If a Feat selected in this manner requires a selection (choice of improved ability score, are added spell), make sure to check the Manage Feats flyout menu for a blue exclamation point so that choice can be made.
It’s not a requirement to fill a character’s spell list last, but, I prefer to do it last so that I can avoid duplication of spells granted by race, class, or feat. Players can select “Spells” on their character sheet and then Manage Spells to add spells to their spell list.
In the event that a character’s multiclass splits their spell modifier, spell attack bonus, or spell DC values, players of Marvel Overpower may always use the highest value.
According to the Marvel Overpower rules, Alignment is dumped in favor of Tactics. To do so, players will work with their DMs to choosing starting tactical advantages according to how they relate to other heroes (Solo, Buddy, Team) and how they approach encounters (Subterfuge, Conflict, Aggressor).
Shatterstar operates just fine within a team like X-Force, or X-Factor, but more commonly forms deep bonds with individuals making his preferred relational tactic Buddy. As a former gladiator and freedom fighter his preferred encounter tactic is Conflict. This means that when Shatterstar finds himself in the company of a single hero, or in the middle of a conflict he gains tactical advantage. When he finds himself in both tactical situations at the same time, he gains double tactical advantage.
When any character has a single tactical advantage, they can gain the benefits of a short rest at any time as a bonus action. This advantage can only be used once any time they gain the tactical advantage. In instance where characters have double tactical advantage, they gain access to a mechanical benefit unique to that character. Players should work with DMs to determine what that ability is, and ensure that it’s properly balanced against other characters.
Like all characters, Shatterstar receives the short rest benefit with a single tactical advantage. With double advantage however, he’ll gain access to an advantage unique to him.
During character creation Shatterstar gained access to the Superior Technique Fighting Style. By default this gives him access to one Battle Master Maneuver (which I selected Riposte). I like the idea that when Shatterstar is in his element, and has doublr tactical advantage, the shackle to one maneuver is removed, and he gains access to any of them. This fits the character thematically as a savvy combatant that learns his opponents strengths and weakness as they clash.
Players and DM should write up this tactical advantage somewhere on the player’s character sheet.