Hi fans and fellow table toppers it is I Nerdarchist Ted here to talk about Mutants and masterminds. No I am not talking about the future when chemicals have warped our bodies and the world is run by super powered dictators. I could be if I was playing a game of Mutants and Masterminds though.
Mutants and Masterminds is a game that is based in the d20 system so you have your basic stats strength through charisma unless we are talking about 3rd edition M&M than things are only slightly different.
You have skills and feats just like you would in 3rd edition D&D and Pathfinder. But here is where it gets divergent. All the other things you can do in the game come from powers.
Nerdarchy has been playing this game for a handful of years and through a number of different settings as well. The game has many advantages that other games do not.
We checked out a few other games and played a few that just were not balanced or relied on random dice rolls to make your character.
In Mutants and Masterminds you have full control over what your character can do. No silly dice rolling and no Random determination.
With this amazing feature comes a price. You have a point buy system. In other role-playing games I would rather put the stats to chance and roll dice then use a standard point buy system I know lots of groups really like it and that is fine, just not my first choice.
Now the core rules is designed to be a Super Hero game, but do not let that scare you away as the rules can easily be used for many of other great campaigns. Our gaming group has played multiple super hero games set in a variety of time settings, even out in space. We played a fantasy game where yours truly played a Simian martial artist. You guessed it, full of puns I played the Monk-E. I also ran a modern fantasy game that was set in Jim Butcher’s Realm the Dresden Files. When the books for Fate came out none of the group was really interested in FATE so we just migrated the whole thing over to Mutants and Masterminds and the game ran for a good long time with everyone having lots of fun.
Mutants and Masterminds – Supremely Versatile
So the rules are very versatile to allow for just about any type of game and here is why. Number one anything visual is meaningless. If you are trying to hurt something from far away it does not matter if you are shooting a bow, firing a gun or launching flaming purple skulls that materialize out of thin air the power you are using is called blast.
Man does that simplify things. Same goes for melee if you want to hurt something up close the power is just called strike. if you want to have a certain appearance you just look that way, as long as it makes sense and the GM is OK with it. Too many times in other role-playing games especially Dungeons and Dragons where there are set stats to playing a race and especially in third you have to deal with Equivalent Character Levels and monster hit dice to play some races and some have both really lowering your characters actual comparison to the party.
In Mutants and Masterminds these visuals are meaningless and you just play what you want. It is truly great.
The other fantastic thing about Mutants and Masterminds comes from being on the other side of the gaming table. Too many times as a DM have I poured though Monster Manual after Monster Manual to try and find the right monster to throw at the party. It has to have the right challenge rating with enough hit points. It has to be bizarre enough that not all players will instantly know what it is . . . You get the point. In Mutants and Masterminds the GM sets the Power Level at the beginning of the game and with that comes so many great things.
The power level can be used as a fulcrum for making or using NPCs and monsters. So a basic under standing of the rules and knowing what powers you want a bad guy or monster to have allows you to make up a new adversary in moments to minutes without having to pour through tomes finding just the right one.
This allowed me as the GM to basically make a few major players over the course of the game and improve the low level bad guys on the spot saving preparation time for actual story development.
Mutants and Masterminds Interactive Combat
Now I know what you are thinking all games have interactive combat, but not like this one. Mutants and Masterminds has an attack roll and a toughness save. In Dungeons and Dragons I roll to hit and compare it to your Armor class and if I hit you just take damage off of your current hit points. Some games like World of Darkness has a roll to hit versus a roll to dodge, then it you hit you roll damage versus a roll to soak. That takes forever.
Here it is roll to hit if it hits a set damage is compared against a toughness roll to see if you get hurt and if so how badly. It makes for a more dynamic play and requires characters to actually be present to see what is going on.
No running to the bathroom during combat just because you finished your turn.
So you have a game that practically any type of character can be made with any back story you can think of and you have a completed character when you are done. Many fantasy games give you a low level character that can honestly get killed in a first skirmish he gets into. Now this is technically possible in Mutants and Masterminds for it is far less likely.
You also as a GM never have to worry about tallying EXP from your monster and then diving by the number of players. Players simply get 1 or 2 power points to spend on their character for advancement. This may seem like it is not much but again you are dealing with completed characters so these extra points can be saved up for something big and game changing for a character or used for small tweaks to subtly improve the character.
This game is out in Second and Third editions and we have played both with hours and hours of enjoyment. If you need a break from your other table top role-playing games but do not know where to look, give this one a chance I doubt you will be disappointed.
Nerdarchist Ted saying until next time, Stay Nerdy my friends.