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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Pixie in the Playground
    Join Date
    Jan 2018
    New York City

    Default Help with Mutants & Masterminds

    So I joined a MnM game and I need help understanding how to make a character. I don't really understand how to spend points. My GM said I have 150 points to spend and I understand everything costs points, but how much points does stats cost. Like is everything 1 point, or does it cost more the more points you put into it. Any help is much appreciated :D
    A few other things I have questions about;
    - How does putting more points into skills affect the scaling, exp web slinging, what does putting more points in web slinging do.
    - Can you stack skills? If I get thrusters and web slinging, can I web sling faster? Or do you need to just put more points in web slinging to go faster?
    - Where in the book if at all does it talk about where the skills scale?
    - Is there leveling, and how does leveling work?
    Right now my gm is asleep, otherwise I would ask him these questions. Also I plan on learning this game so I can run it for friends, so understanding this game is kind of a need.
    Last edited by IllegalCatToss; 2019-10-01 at 10:39 AM.

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Titan in the Playground
    Grod_The_Giant's Avatar

    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Pittsburgh, PA

    Default Re: Help with Mutants & Masterminds

    Do you have a copy of the book? There's an SRD if you don't, though it's harder to learn from. In either case, I feel like the most useful bit of help I can give you is my suggested reading order.

    1. Chapter One: The Basics-- Read at least the first eight pages, though all of it would be ideal. You can skim if you’re used to d20 systems, but take special note of the Ranks and Measures chart on page 11,
    2. Chapter Eight: Action and Adventure-- Skip ahead to Conflicts on page 188 and read from there up until Actions on 194. Again, you can skim if you’re used to d20 systems, but pay close attention to how damage works on page 189.
    3. Chapter Six: Powers-- Read the sections on Acquiring Powers, Effect Types, and How Powers Work. Don’t worry about the table there. Flip ahead to Descriptors on 152 and read that

    That should cover the basic rules, and give a rough understanding of how the game works—fairly standard d20 stuff, with the usual quirky variants of common maneuvers and a wonky damage mechanic. Now for character creation

    1. Chapter Two: Secret Origins. Read the sections on Hero Design and Power Points. Especially read the section on Power Points.
    2. Flip back to Modifiers on page 135 and read that.
    3. Read the Alternate Effect modifier on page 136-138, along with the Under the Hood sidebar
    4. Chapter Seven: Gadgets and Gear. Read the big sections on Devices (157), Equipment (161), and the Under the Hood sidebar on 157
    5. Go back and read the full-page write ups of The Rook and Princess on pages 50-53 for a decent example of the process in action.

    STaRS (and STaRS Lite)
    A non-narrativeist, generic rules-light system, by me. Now officially released!

    Grod's Guide to Greatness
    A big book of player options for 5e, by me

    Quote Originally Posted by Grod_The_Giant View Post
    Grod's Law: You cannot and should not balance bad mechanics by making them annoying to use
    Giants and Graveyards: My collected 3.5 class fixes and more.

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Troll in the Playground
    Rynjin's Avatar

    Join Date
    Sep 2016

    Default Re: Help with Mutants & Masterminds

    Of note the SRD is for 3rd edition; a lot of people still play 2nd edition so if you're playing that you'll need an actual book.

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Troll in the Playground
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Protecting my Horde (yes, I mean that kind)

    Default Re: Help with Mutants & Masterminds

    The edition is highly relevant for some rules. Second Edition and Third Edition are very similar, but not the same.

    At any rate, the advice I'll provide is the same:

    How does putting more points into skills affect the scaling, exp web slinging, what does putting more points in web slinging do.
    You apply points to buy ranks in Effects/Powers (term depends on edition, same idea though). For example, more ranks in Web-slinging as Movement effect (something that modifies base walking) means that using that Effect to move makes your character go faster.

    Can you stack skills? If I get thrusters and web slinging, can I web sling faster? Or do you need to just put more points in web slinging to go faster?
    There are way to make two Effects stack, if they are identical in all respects other than ranks, but there generally isn't any reason to do so.

    Where in the book if at all does it talk about where the skills scale?
    Depends on the edition, but you want the Effects/Powers chapter and the Ranks and Measures Chart. The Rank and Measures Chart breaks stuff into different ranks. I'll use 3rd Edition Flight as an example. Flight Rank 1 lets a character move 1 Distance Rank while flying per move action, which equates to 60 feet. At Flight Rank 20 the lets a character fly 4,000 miles as a move action.

    Wall Crawling with Rank 1 lets a character travel at their regular ground movement rate -1 Rank. So a normal hero Moves Distance Rank 0 (30 feet per move), Wall Crawling makes that Distance Rank -1 (15 feet per move) and they are Vulnerable. Rank 2 of Wall Crawling lets a character move at their regular speed and no Vulnerable condition.

    Both of those use 3rd Edition values, so if you are using 2nd Edition the principle is the same, but the values will be different.

    Is there leveling, and how does leveling work?
    Not as such, you can play a whole campaign without adding points or increasing power, although it is fun to do so. Generally the GM will award a few (like 1 or 2) Power Points per session that you can use to improve or add new powers. Keep in mind that Power Level limits still apply until the GM changes the PL of the game.

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Orc in the Playground
    Join Date
    Oct 2016

    Default Re: Help with Mutants & Masterminds

    Quote Originally Posted by IllegalCatToss View Post
    - Is there leveling, and how does leveling work?
    Right now my gm is asleep, otherwise I would ask him these questions. Also I plan on learning this game so I can run it for friends, so understanding this game is kind of a need.
    you have probably received all the help you need but i'll toss in a few cents...

    your PL is your level and, in 2e, there is a book that provided a level progression. this next part is important; This game lacks requirements for BAB, toughness (your HP) and your saves. it is incredibly easy to make a character that can't handle anything the GM throws your way due to lacking those features. That is why the level progression in Mastermind's Manuel was, and is, so helpful; at PL10 your BAB, Defense, good save(s) and bad save(s) should be sitting around +10 / +10 / +7 / +3 respectively.

    if you do decide to GM then keep that in mind. It is vary hard (impossible if the players don't notice) to GM a game with both a Superman and a vary mortal Batman in the same room. make a graph that shows each heroes name, BAB, Defense, fort, will, and reflex. try to keep the super villains near them (usually above by 2-4 points in they solo) so as to not unnecessarily overwhelm them.

    things like this are often overlooked until it becomes a problem.
    Last edited by Alcore; 2019-10-10 at 08:42 AM.

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Orc in the Playground
    Son of A Lich!'s Avatar

    Join Date
    Oct 2018

    Default Re: Help with Mutants & Masterminds

    Is your GM well versed in the system?

    Back in high school (2003 maybe? It was the year 1st ed came out), I picked up M&M strictly because I wanted to port the Toughness save into D&D - I thought it handled things in a very cool and thematic way and I have loved it ever since.

    To learn the system, however, I tried to GM a M&M Campaign and found myself drowning almost immediately.

    First of all, players have a hard time with balance. When you come from a D&D background, hearing that at level 10, you can make a monk that punch ghost and drain the life force away with ancient Shao Lin forbidden techniques is cool and fluffy BUT... it makes them feel like they are building in bad faith (Generally worried that the GM will turn their character build away). I would say to this day that I get 90% of builds in either A) Diet Superman, B) Spider Man, C) Batman/Punisher, or D) Goku from Dragonball Z (With the caveat of other DBZ characters who are functionally Gokus in different skin, like Gohan, Trunks, Vegeta Etc). This feels safe, but keeps them from building the characters they want to make because it just feels broken from a 3.X D&D perspective or similar intro TTRPG games. The other 10% of the time is bathroom psychics (Dumping nearly all your points into something like Perception to perceive everything in the universe and a psychic attack that forces will saves vs damage. Basically a 180 of the other 90%).

    From your questioning alone, I think you are planning out a Spider man build to test the waters. That's cool, have fun, and if you are formatting a character you really want to play but need to see how this works out first, let your GM know you may want to swap out characters later.

    The next problem I had was relearning how to make encounters. THIS is 'The Thing' that M&M really forces you to work out all the bad habits that D&D encourages when transitioning. In D&D the basic question of almost any conflict is "How do you kill X?". There is a treasure chest in this room, you can't open it because it's locked. how do you "kill" the lock? Bash it open? Thieves tools? Knock spell? Room of goblins? How do you kill the Goblins? etc etc.

    This just becomes TEDIOUS in M&M. First of all, if the "Room" in the encounter is less then 200 ft on all sides, distance is meaningless. If you have a player with teleportation, or super strength or any number of stone breaking abilities (Which is nearly all of them) that "Room" is meaningless. I promise that any character can go out of bounds the second it becomes advantageous for them to do so and you have to be prepared for that to happen.

    Players rarely "Die" in M&M and if they do, it's usually just an inconvenience. Since all resurrection is basically True Res in this game, I usually have a 'Respawn' location for the players to use at whim. However, this also applies to Villains. Typically, unless one villain is tricked out specifically for another hero, a 1v1 fight between a PL 10 hero and villain needs to be at least PL12. For 1v1. Players have a lot more experience with their characters and usually much better tools to deal with curve balls. The Villain doesn't have these luxuries, and you usually don't have the time and effort put into fleshing out their powers and abilities to combat a masterwork crafted PC character.

    So, in order to challenge the characters, saying this is a room full of goblins, fight each other until death gets really boring. Even if their are 8 PL8 "Goblins" without the minion rule fighting 4 PL10 characters, the ability for combat to drastically swing on occasion, the amount of beating it takes to knock someone unconscious and the amount of bruises you have to spread out quickly becomes more of a test of the player's patience instead of a challenging encounter.

    So, you need to stack conflicts that have to be resolved in totality together. The Goblins are conducting experiments on the townsfolk - A rift is spreading in the center of town, pouring out eldritch abominations - The Town's Mayor is spewing out chaotic and crazy demands - The Wizard has mysteriously vanished with just his hat and familiar left behind. These all have the same catalyst, the players need to figure out what that catalyst is. Someone needs to tend to the Mayor, The Familiar will accompany the party in their search for the wizard, if they find the townsfolk, they find a clue to the wizard's location, the townsfolk who are still in town need to be saved and kept save from the abominations, the rift needs to be sealed. The Goblin Shaman behind it all needs to be dealt with, accumulating in one awesome fight between the players and the goblin shaman with 8 minions and raised eldritch abomination/townsfolk hybrids, and if things get too dicey and swingy, The wizard shows up with the artifact he was protecting from the goblin Shaman.

    Now, you can do this in D&D, nothing is stopping you. But D&D has an expectation of dungeon delving and exploring, and this kind of train wreck "Adventure" is far better suited for a game like M&M.

    Oh, and also you need to learn to write for Superman, encounters that don't involve punching it to victory. Human connections and taking the advantage of the players weaknesses in exchange for Hero Points. I can tell you that I always felt bad for the idea of taking a wizards spell book away or forcing a paladin to drop his oath to make an encounter more engaging, but M&M's exchange for asking players to play into their weaknesses is such a good design. It makes the players feel like they aren't being targeted as getting a valuable tool to solve the problems they are facing and challenged to figure it out without their usual gimmicks.

    Finally, I think the most common house rule in this system is 2d10 or 3d6 instead of 1d20. Working with a bell curve helps with the 1 shot villain victories and such, a difference of +2 makes a lot more of an impact on 3d6 then 1d20.


    I'm planning on making a Newbies guide to M&M 3rd, but have been kinda hit a bit harder by the move up to Wisconsin then I was expecting. I'll see if I can get at least a page done this weekend and message you with a link to it.
    Quote Originally Posted by Grey_Wolf_c View Post
    English: so broken, you technically cannot use it wrong.
    Grey Wolf

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