Tomorrow is the opening day for X-Men: Apocalypse, the latest of Fox’s X-Men movie franchise. After some missteps with X-Men: The Last Stand and X-Men Origins: Wolverine I’m really liking this series of movies again and looking forward to seeing Apocalypse come to the big screen. In celebration, I’ve put together some resources for playing a scenario in this alternate timeline using Marvel Heroic Roleplaying.
First, let me say that my history with the X-Men was almost entirely through the animated series until recently. That said, this cartoon played a huge role in my adolescence and holds many happy associations. At the same time, Marvel Heroic Roleplaying inspired me to actually delve into the comics and read through the source material (as it were) for my favorite superteam.
The Age of Apocalypse is one of the best epic storylines of the X-Men franchise, and with good reason. Apocalypse, Sinister, Magneto… all the greatest enemies of the X-Men have come out for this party. On top of that, this is an alternate timeline which means your favorite heroes are changed and living alternate lives.
Still, this creates an issue for gaming groups wanting to use the world of Age of Apocalypse (known as Earth-295) because both the history and the characters are different from the books published by Margaret Weis Productions. Those can be addressed one at a time.
If you want to see where this story comes from, here’s a handy list of all the comics released in the original Age of Apocalypse arcs.
|Uncanny X-Men #319–321; X-Men Vol. 2 #38–41||Legion travels back in time to kill Magneto but kills Xavier instead, setting an alternative timeline.||March 1996|
|Astonishing X-Men #1–4||The Horseman Holocaust steals Rogue and Magneto’s baby Charles and the X-Men need to get him back.||August 1995|
|Factor X #1–4||When Prelate Scott Summers begins to work against Apocalypse, his brother betrays him and the X-Men have to rescue him.|
|Generation Next #1–4||Colossus and Shadowcat begin to train Generation Next who rescue Ilyana Rasputina, though Husk dies.|
|X-Calibre #1–4||Nightcrawler seeks out Mystique’s help but instead fights to protect her Antarctic stronghold.|
|X-Man #1–4||X-Man escapes from Earth-295.|
|Amazing X-Men #1–4||The Brotherhood of Chaos try to stop an evacuation of humans from North American and fight the X-Men.||September 1995|
|Gambit and the X-Ternals #1–4||The X-Ternals get a shard of the M’Kraan crystal and try to get it to Magneto.|
|Weapon X #1–4||Jean and Wolverine work with the Human High Council in Europe.|
After this, a series of storylines were released which advances the story further through the greatest challenge to Apocalypse’s rule in Earth-295. These can be found in a collected edition called X-Men: Twilight of the Age of Apocalypse (including X-Universe #1–2 and X-Men: Omega, all released in March of 1996) and make the best option for an Age of Apocalypse campaign. If you want to use this option, here’s an event book for the history of Earth-295 through the comics above.
Since the heroes of Earth-295 are all the same ones as the main timeline (Earth-616) there’s no need to invent every wheel out there. The abilities and powers of your favorite X-Men should be the same, it’s just their personalities and histories that are different. In game terms, that means their Distinctions and Milestones.
Below you’ll find a list of alternate distinctions and milestones for the X-Men. If you want to play a hero in Age of Apocalypse, just use their regular, mainstream datafile and then substitute in these Distinctions and Milestones. I’ve even included some history for the character to give you a new frame of reference.