View Full Version : M&M 3e Fundamental House Rules

2017-08-02, 12:48 AM
"Official" House Rules
Official is in quotes because, fun fact, none of the games I'm currently running actually use these house rules as stated. Heroes of Millaine and Nightmare of SIDE use many of them, but I've done some additional tweaking and modifying here. This is mainly just here so I have it and can tweak it for possible future games. Players in my games, do not use this section as a reference for house rules! Refer to the house rules given in the OP of the OOC threads! So Hyperbolic, don't worry, I'm not actually nerfing Declan's primary ability into the ground.

Ability Rebalancing

Abilities cost 2 PP per rank. If you'd like, you can

Strength: Strength effectively provides three traits: Might, Muscle, and Force.

Might: Might is valued at 1 PP per 2 ranks. Strength Limited to Might is a double limit. Might determines your lifting rank (equal to Might), and the maximum distance you can launch or throw a creature or object (equal to Might minus the target's Mass rank). Note that this means that under these house rules, Power Lifting costs only 1 PP per 2 ranks (look, being able to lift huge loads is well and good, but it's not really comparable in terms of utility with measures like Speed and Quickness). Each two ranks of Might provides a -1 PP discount for Move Object powers.

Muscle: Muscle is valued at 1 PP per 2 ranks. Strength Limited to Muscle is a double limit. Muscle is used wherever Strength is called out for combat actions. So, Grabs would have a DC of 10+Muscle. Disarms would be opposed by Muscle. Muscle would be an option for resisting Prowess-resisted attacks. And so on. You may also add Muscle to Mobility, in place of Agility, for combat actions that would normally involve the use of Athletics, such as making or resisting a Trip or Escaping a Grab. Each two ranks of Muscle provides a -1 PP discount for Move Object powers.

Force: Force is valued at 1 PP per rank. Strength Limited to Force is a normal limit. Force can be applied as a PP discount to the final costs of Affliction, Damage (including Damaging Move Object), or Weaken powers (for attacks directly based on physical strength, you can also look at this as a bonus to the base rank). Force may only apply once in any given round, even if you use multiple applicable powers. So if you have Force 10, getting a Damage 10 Linked Affliction 10 costs 10 points, not 0. If you apply a Force bonus or discount to two different powers, you can't use them simultaneously. A basic attack with no powers deals Damage with a rank equal to your Force.

Stamina: Each rank of Stamina provides +1 Toughness and +1 Fortitude.

Agility: Each rank of Agility provides +1 Dodge, +1 Parry, +1 Mobility, and +1 Stealth.

Dexterity: Each rank of Dexterity provides +1 Attack bonus, +2 Initiative, +1 Range rank (see below).

Fighting: Each rank of Fighting provides +1 Attack bonus, +1 Dodge, +1 Parry, and +2 Initiative.

Intellect: Each rank of Intellect provides +1 Expertise, Investigation, Technology, and Treatment.

Awareness: Each rank of Awareness provides +1 Will, +1 Insight, and +1 Perception.

Presence: Each rank of Presence provides +1 Deception, Intimidation, and Persuasion, and also provides one bonus skill point which may be spent only on Deception, Intimidation, Persuasion, Insight, or Expertise.

Combat Stats

Attack Bonus: Attack Bonus in general is considered to be worth 1 PP per 2 ranks, which is accounted for in the bonuses you get from Abilities. Close Attack, Ranged Attack, Close Combat, and Ranged Combat are removed. You can buy attack bonus straight or through Abilities so it's always available, or through Accurate (or just directly in arrayed powers) meaning it only works with that power but to counts towards array value and power stunts. If you want to be less accurate with certain forms of attack, take it as a Complication, which triggers when you are required to fight with the attack form you aren't proficient with (if you choose to do so for whatever reason, the penalty applies but it doesn't count as a Complication, since you're presumably either getting some benefit to make up for it or you can easily swap to a more efficient form of attack if you need to).

Reflex: Dodge and Parry...technically still exist, but they are just shorthands for a limited version of a single stat, Reflex. Reflex alone is worth 1 PP/rank. Dodge and Parry are each worth 1 PP/2 ranks, with Dodge defined as "Reflex Limited to Ranged and Area attacks" and Parry defined as "Reflex Limited to Close attacks". Anywhere Dodge and Parry are called out in the rules, they are technically Reflex, and then Dodge applies if it's a Ranged or Area attack, Parry if it's a Close attack. These house rules tend to refer to Reflex as a single stat.

Defense Stats: Reflex/Toughness and Fortitude/Will are no longer traded off against each other directly. Rather, the four of them added together cannot exceed four times your PL, and no individual one can exceed PL + 6. So at PL 10, you could have things like Reflex 10, Toughness 12, Fortitude 8, Will 10; or Reflex 16, Toughness 8, Fortitude 8, Will 8. You may buy Toughness directly just like any other defensive stat.

Power Ranges

Range: Your Range stat determines how far you can attack from. Range costs 1 PP/rank. Close powers always target adjacent foes, unless they have the Reach Extra, in which case your reach is 10' + 5' per Range rank. Ranged powers can target within a Distance Rank equal to or less than your Range rank - 1. For Ranged powers, if the power requires a check on your part (such as an attack roll), you can extend the Distance Rank by 1 by taking -2 on the check, or by 2 by taking -5 on the check.

Powers that are naturally Ranged can substitute half their rank for your Range rank if desired. This also applies to powers that were originally naturally Perception range. Powers that were originally naturally Perception range still do not require an attack roll.

Both Elongation and Move Object are removed. You can add Increased Range to your Strength to reflect Elongation, and also add Feature (No Action/Reaction) for telekinesis and the like. The Fast Grab advantage changes to Fast Maneuver, and can be used to perform a Grab, Trip, Disarm, Escape, Stand, or Move action as a free action upon hitting with an attack. It can also be used to knock targets back or send them flying (Strength or Reflex DC 10+Strength, on a failure get launched a Distance Rank equal to the points failed by - 4, to a maximum equal to the attacker's Strength minus your Mass Rank). Fast Maneuver is a ranked advantage: Choose one of the above options with one rank, three options with two ranks, or all options with three ranks (you can only perform one option at a time, but you can use any of the ones you select interchangeably).

Increased/Reduced Range: Going from Close to Ranged or Ranged to Close is a +/-2 flat point modifier. Perception Range is removed (although see Attacks and Resistances); all previously Perception-ranged powers are simply Ranged. Extended Range and Diminished Range are removed; just add Enhanced or Reduced Range to appropriate powers or array slots.

Consolidated Options: Most miscellaneous differences between Close, Ranged, and Area attacks are removed. Things like Deflect, Interpose, Aid, and so on apply to all of them, Extras like Homing can be used for any of them, etc. The Aim action applies to all of them, but rather than the bonus sizes being based on Close/Range, use the Ranged bonuses (+2, +5 with Improved Aim) if you take any non-free action in the round you Aimed (including if you use Extra Effort to make your Aimed attack immediately), or if you fail a resistance check between Aiming and attacking. Use the Close bonuses (+5, +10 with Improved Aim) otherwise.

The one exception is the Evasion advantage, which provides its bonus against area attacks specifically (but it applies to whatever stat the attack targets, not to Reflex specifically).

Attack Powers

Affliction, Damage, Nullify, and Weaken are considered attack powers. By default, all attack powers make an attack roll against Reflex and are resisted by Toughness. If you wish, on character creation, you can choose a different default for your attack powers, selecting a different defensive stat to target and affect. You may choose the same stat for both.

All attacks, even Area attacks, use normal attack rolls. There are no attacks that automatically hit or only allow a save for half. In the case of Area attacks, roll for each target individually. Perception Area is removed; use normal Area and the Sense-dependent Flaw.

Active Defenses: Your active defense means the bonus applied to the DC to hit you, regardless of what stat it is. All effects that modify or replace active defense simply affect that bonus, not any of your actual defenses. If someone attacks you with an attack that targets Toughness and effects Reflex, then Toughness is your active defense for purposes of that attack (so it would be reduced by All Out Attack, potentially replaced by Deflect, halved from Vulnerable, etc).

Deflect: Deflect rank is an active defense. Active defense bonuses don't apply to Deflect at all. Your own active defense penalties apply to your Deflect actions, whether targeting yourself or another. When Deflecting for others, any active defense penalties that they intentionally take on themselves (mainly from All Out Attack, but also things like Distracting powers) penalize your Deflect, but their other active defense penalties do not. You can shield an ally who has been externally rendered vulnerable just fine, but if they are intentionally taking penalties, it means they are actively making it harder for you to defend them! If you are being Deflected (or Defending) you can make the Deflect/Defend roll instead of an evasion roll (including the +10 on 10 or less), but Deflect and Defend still does nothing against Auto Hit powers.

Deflect is PL limited, using your PL traded off against your target's resistance stat for any given attack. So if you are PL 10 and Deflect for a target with Reflex 8, Toughness 10, Fortitude 12, Will 10, and the target is attacked by a Fortitude-resisted attack, you can only a max of 8 Deflect ranks against that attack. If it's targeted by a Reflex-resisted attack, you can apply up to 12 ranks, assuming your power actually has 12 or more ranks.

Alternate Resistance: You can use the Alternate Resistance Extra to change what defenses you target from your default for your attack powers (non-attack powers use whatever stats they call for normally). You don't apply the Extra at all to attacks that use your default. You may change the defense targeted, the defense used to resist, or both. Note in the case of Nullify that the power rank remains available as an alternate regardless of what the main resistance check changes to. You may only choose Reflex, Toughness, Fortitude, or Will. The cost to add Alternate Resistance to a power is as follows (if multiple of the following apply, add up the cost increases):
-If the power involves a stat that isn't in your default add +1/rank.
-If the power targets the same stat as it is resisted by, add +1/rank. If you have the means to reliably do this regarding a different stat (such as a Variable power that could be used to do it, or other powers in an array that do so with a different stat) add another +1/rank.
-If the power is being created "on the fly" (i.e. from a Variable power, power stunt, Variable Type Summon, invention, etc) with foreknowledge of the sort of opponents you will likely be using it against, add +1/rank.
-If the power is being Linked to another attack power that calls for a different resistance check, add +1/rank. For each previous power in the chain that received this surcharge, add another +1/rank.

Major Immunities: Immunity to attacks that involve a chosen stat are 30-rank immunities. To take a major immunity, you must have the chosen stat at least equal to your PL + 2 - you don't get to save points on defenses by purchasing a major immunity, but rather they take an already good defense and make it unassailable. Each major immunity past the first increases the cost by 20 PP, unless it is covering for a nonexistent stat. If the GM deems the immunity especially common (for example, immunity to attacks targeting Reflex or resisted by Toughness in a typical game where most NPC defaults will be just that), it counts as two Major Immunities, for a base cost of 80 assuming it's the only one.

Major Immunities and Nonexistent Stats: If you don't have one of the defensive stats due to an Absent Ability, you may take a major immunity to the stat anyway, and it doesn't carry a surcharge if you have other major immunities (but it can add to the surcharge for other ones; these immunities are counted first). That stat counts as equal to your PL for tradeoff purposes, and your other stats have the number of points it is possible for them to exceed your PL by reduced by 2. The Affects Objects Extra can ignore these immunities as well as the Penetrating Extra (see below). If the immunity is ignored, a Heroic individual or its Devices or Durable vehicles treats its defensive stat as equal to its PL, a Heroic character's Installations or non-Durable Vehicle use PL - 5, and Minions, their Devices and Equipment, and mundane objects simply automatically receive the worst possible degree of failure.

Skill Changes

Combat Skills: Remove Close Combat and Ranged Combat skills entirely.

Expertise: Expertise is just one skill. What used to be individual Expertise skills are now individual fields of expertise. You have proficiency in up to one field of expertise per Expertise rank. You roll using your full Expertise rank for every field you have proficiency in, although if you want you may spend one proficiency to get partial proficiency in several fields, dividing your Expertise ranks among them (no field can ever exceed your full ranks). You may also exchange one proficiency for an additional language known, or an additional 1 Equipment Point, if you wish, so you can have a very high Expertise skill in only a few or even only one field if you wish. You may leave some proficiencies unselected and fill them in between scenes. You may also fill one or more of them in mid-scene at the cost of a Hero Point.

If you have Jack of All Trades, you are treated as a minimum of half proficient (i.e. you use at least half your Expertise ranks, rounded down) for all fields of expertise. If you have Eidetic Memory, you gain this benefit as well, but only for knowledge-related checks. These bonuses don't stack.

You may buy five additional proficiencies for 1 PP. The Languages advantage is removed, since these options are strictly superior to it.

In the case of fields of expertise that would logically use other Abilities, if you gain proficiency in them, you may substitute a different skill you possess that uses the appropriate Ability. For example, if you have Expertise 0 but Persuasion 12, you could get proficiency in Singing, for example, and use Persuasion rather than Expertise for your singing checks, since Singing is a field that could logically use Presence for its check. Dancing, likewise, could logically use Agility or Presence, so if you gain proficiency in Dancing, you could choose to use Mobility, Stealth, Persuasion, Deception, or Intimidation for the relevant checks. This also applies for half proficiencies from Jack of All Trades, but not from Eidetic Memory, since that is tied clearly to Intellect.

Interaction Skills: When taking a social action that could logically involve multiple interaction skills, first roll using your highest. If your second-highest of the available options is at least +5, you may roll it as well. If your third-highest of the available options is at least +10, you may roll it as well. The action uses whichever skill would result in the most positive response. So for example, if you are making a sort of "carrot and stick" offer to an NPC, and your Persuasion and Intimidation are both at least +5, you could roll both and use the most favorable results - this might mean whichever check is higher, or whichever skill will prompt the most positive response (like if Persuasion would make them helpful but Intimidation would make them mad, Persuasion applies) etc.

Mobility: Combine Acrobatics, Athletics, and Vehicles into one skill, Mobility. Mobility also gains the Escape and Contortion options from Sleight of Hand. A Mobility check to increase speed can boost any movement mode, not just land speed, and beating the DC by multiple degrees can generally let you cross some spare distance above your normal movement but below the next Distance Rank, if you need to. While Mobility is not directly modified by Strength, Muscle can be substituted for Agility on Mobility checks for combat actions that would normally use Athletics, if doing so would be advantageous for you. The Improved Trip advantage allows you to choose whether the target uses Muscle or Agility to resist your trip.

Stealth: Stealth gains all other functions of Sleight of Hand, which is removed.

Treatment: Replacing the Revive option, as a standard action, you can use Treatment to assist a character suffering from an Affliction. A successful Treatment check (DC 15 + Affliction rank) reduces the degree of the Affliction by one per degree of success. You can only attempt to treat a given Affliction once. If you have a Healing power, you can spend a move action to channel this benefit through your Healing power at a -5 penalty. Treatment can also be substituted for Expertise (Medicine).


Damage Recovery Order: The default recovery order for damage (with each step taking one minute normally) is as follows: First you have to remove each Bruise individually. Then you downgrade your existing Staggered condition to Dazed. Then you remove the Dazed condition. Then you downgrade Unconscious to Staggered. Then you downgrade Staggered to Dazed. And finally Dazed downgrades to normal. The one-round Daze from failing a resistance check against Damage by two degrees isn't part of normal recovery, it's just a brief side effect of being hit that hard, but if you take such a Daze while suffering a lingering Daze, it returns you to Staggered instead.

Regeneration and Healing powers, then, likewise follow this order.

Healing: The Healing power heals one condition if its check succeeds, plus one additional condition per two degrees of success beyond the first. Restorative healing cures one point of weakened traits per point of success on the Healing check that does not go to healing damage, to a maximum equal to the power's rank. The total healing received by a given target is halved, rounded up, if that target has failed a resistance check against the type of attack being healed (so Damage for base Healing, Weakens for Restorative) since the end of the healer's last turn.

Regeneration: Regeneration costs 2 PP/rank, and your regeneration rate is halved in any round that you fail a resistance check against Damage.


Impervious: Impervious costs a flat +2 PP, rather than +1 PP/rank, to add to a given defensive stat. Your Impervious rating is half your Power Level, not half the stat. However, your Impervious rating is your full Power Level against Minions and against Equipment other than Installations. You can buy Impervious for either attacks that target the stat or that are resisted by the stat, or you can buy both individually.

Penetrating: Penetrating applies to all immunities, except immunities that come from Absent Abilities (though it does apply to immunities that are covering up for nonexistent stats due to Absent Abilities). This includes, but is not limited to, Impervious.

Power Caps: Max power rank, except for powers where ranks just let you pick from options (such as Senses, Immunity, Movement, etc) is PL+10 (although seriously, rank = PL is usually plenty sufficient unless it's your "big schtick"). Accurate Senses are capped at Extended 3. This becomes Extended 2 if they Counter All Concealment, or Extended 1 if they Penetrate Concealment.

Little Dinky Details: Some little quality-of-life bits that are honestly more about making my job a little easier, but they're technically house rules so I may as well note them.

I ignore as a matter of course any rule that tells me to give you incorrect information if you fail by a high number of degrees. Being unable to trust your information-gathering capabilities doesn't help anyone.
I use a simplified version of Assessment; one degree you get their PL, two degrees you get their tradeoffs, three degrees you learn if any stats are below PL limits, absent, or immune.
I'm cool with using any social skill in combat as a move action at -5, not just Deception.
Power Stunts last until end of scene, you are unable to take free actions, or you swap to another power in the array. This isn't technically a house rule since you can do this already by making any stunt an Enhanced Trait, but I'm kinda codifying it here to make sure it's clear that I'm cool with it.
For PbP, I allow Interpose to be used after the save is rolled, but the Interposer has to take the same d20 result for its save (it substitutes its own resistance bonus though).
I don't play the M&M recovery rules strictly. By and large, once an enemy is out it's out. PCs recover from damage and third-degree Afflictions at the end of the scene (or start of the next scene if they lost), etc. Stuff like first and second degree Afflictions, Weaken recovery, Regeneration, and all that still work normally, it's just that you don't have to worry about waiting a full minute to wake up after a battle, or be concerned that enemies will start coming to one minute after you knock them out for no good reason.