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Marvel goes Dungeons & Dragons... kind of

It’s not quite Dungeons & Dragons, but Doctor Strange has assembled the ultimate Marvel party for an interesting RPG campaign.

Doctor Strange and his RPG party
Image credit: Marvel

If you were assembling a Dungeons & Dragons party, which Marvel heroes would you recruit? This is a question that the Sorcerer Supreme faces in Doctor Strange #13 (written by Jed MacKay and penciled by Pasqual Ferry). When a tabletop RPG gaming session goes out of control, it’s up to Doctor Strange and his party to save the day. The only way to stop the threat is to play the game themselves. Yes, this means that we get an issue of Marvel heroes on a D&Desque campaign.

Who are the heroes that Strange assembled for his party, and what classes did they choose? Let’s dive in…

Warning: Spoilers ahead for Doctor Strange #13!

The ultimate RPG experience

Cobolorum, Marvel's RPG game
Image credit: Marvel

First, let’s do a quick breakdown of the game Strange and his party are playing. Cobolorum is a tabletop RPG, similar to Dungeons & Dragons. “Players imagine themselves as warriors and thieves, clerics and wizards, and conduct campaigns of violence in search of wealth,” Strange explains. In other words, Cobolorum is similar to most fantasy-based RPGs. However, there is one key difference – players of the game tap into actual magic.

“Powerful rites are inscribed in the rulebook, encoded in the illustrations, ciphered into randomized tables. A gaming group unwittingly becomes a coven. A circuit. Until the imaginary adventure is no longer imaginary, but a festering sore on reality itself,” Strange reveals.

This plot point is amusing when you recall some of hysteria surrounding tabletop RPGs in the 80s. Religious groups spoke out against Dungeons & Dragons, believing that the game was teaching children to channel the occult. Strange alludes to this controversy when he gives his wife Clea a brief history of tabletop RPGs. “There was a bit of moral panic in the 1980s surrounding these games, however. There was talk about how they were demonic. How they messed about with real magic. All nonsense, of course, except for one. Cobolorum.”

A group of kids stumble upon the game, and their campaign plunges Manhattan into chaos. The Upper West Side is transformed, with some of Cobolorum’s unique scenery appearing throughout the city. According to Strange, the dark magic behind the game is causing the mythical RPG to have an existential crisis.

“This is a psychomimetic space with a rudimentary instinctual mind,” Strange explains. “In order to further exist, to grow, to solidify, it requires conscious thinking minds that can operate at a higher level of thought. To wit: players.”

This means Strange and his party must enter Cobolorum to remove the players. Otherwise the game will continue to take over our dimension, until reality is fractured. With that in mind, let’s meet Strange’s D&D par-…I mean, Strange’s Cobolorum party.

Doctor Strange assembles an RPG party

Doctor Strange assembles an RPG party
Image credit: Marvel

Strange would love to bring his wife Clea (a sorcerer in her own right) on this adventure, but in order to enter Cobolorum, he must obey the rules of the game. That means he must assemble a party with a magic user, thief, priest, and a fighter. Obviously, Strange is the magic user. So, who are the Marvel heroes that have been gathered for this D&Desque campaign?

  • Black Cat, the thief – An anti-hero who is Spider-Man’s on-again off-again love interest. Felicia has broken into Strange’s Sanctum Sanctorum on multiple occasions, which put her on the sorcerer’s radar. Black Cat is hoping the campaign finishes in time for her to go to happy hour.
  • Hunter’s Moon, the priest – A vigilante who is a member of Moon Knight’s Midnight Mission. He is the second high priest of Khonshu. He was actually Strange’s third choice to fill the priest slot, as Moon Knight and Daredevil were both unavailable. (It’s weird to think Marvel’s roster of heroes has multiple priests)
  • Taskmaster, the fighter – Mercenary and expert fighter. His other talent is annoying the hell out of anyone who works with him. He claims he never played RPGs in high school because he was too busy dating girls. Strange says he picked Taskmaster because nobody would miss him if he perished during the campaign. He was probably joking…probably.

The party enters Cobolorum, and the rest of the issue is filled with RPG fun. We see our heroes sneak into dungeons and fight monsters, all without rolling dice. The party also gets on one another’s nerves, but to be fair, that happens with most gaming groups. Doctor Strange #13 ends with the reveal that Baron Mordo is the gamemaster, and he has a dragon waiting to slay our players. It’s going to take more than a good dice roll to get out of that one. Either way, this campaign will pick back up next month in Doctor Strange #14.

(I’m hoping this group stays together! Marvel needs a cool D&D party)

An advance review copy of Doctor Strange #13 was provided ahead of release by Marvel.

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About the Author
Joshua Lapin-Bertone avatar

Joshua Lapin-Bertone

Contributing writer

Joshua is a pop culture writer specializing in comic book media. His work has appeared on the official DC Comics website, the DC Universe subscription service, HBO Max promotional videos, the Batman Universe fansite, and more. In between traveling around the country to cover various comic conventions, Joshua resides in Florida where he binges superhero television and reads obscure comics from yesteryear.
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