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  1. - Top - End - #1
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    DrowGuy

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    Default I'm Thinking Of Playing Mutants & Masterminds

    Hello everybody. I've been playing D&D 3.5 for quite of while now and I feel like i want to change of pace of different games. I heard Mutants & Masterminds is a pretty popular game. I always want to play a superhero. What can I expect from this kind of game?

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    Eldritch Horror in the Playground Moderator
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    Default Re: I'm Thinking Of Playing Mutants & Masterminds

    First, find a GM. M&M isn't like D&D 3.5 where the rules are mostly static and you can build a character independently then look for a game to play it in. M&M is super modular and doesn't even try to be internally balanced, largely with such (potentially) broken abilities as Summon, Magic, and Shapeshifting, and instead relies on a GM to apply internal balance by limiting or banning problematic things.

    Once you do that, you can expect a very fun superhero game.
    Quote Originally Posted by Red Fel, on quest rewards View Post
    "Is a stack of ten pancakes too many pancakes to give to the party, even if most of them fell on the floor and one or two were stepped on? I wanted to give my party pancakes as a reward but I'm unsure if it's too much. The pancakes are also laced with blowfish poison so the party would have to get an antitoxin before they could eat the ones which weren't pulverized by shoes."

    I don't think anyone would want those pancakes even if you paid them to eat them.

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    Default Re: I'm Thinking Of Playing Mutants & Masterminds

    Quote Originally Posted by The Glyphstone View Post
    First, find a GM. M&M isn't like D&D 3.5 where the rules are mostly static and you can build a character independently then look for a game to play it in. M&M is supermodular and doesn't even try to be internally balanced, largely with such (potentially) broken abilities as Summon, Magic, and Shapeshifting, and instead relies on a GM to apply internal balance by limiting or banning problematic things.

    Once you do that, you can expect a very fun superhero game.
    So the game is very broken. Thank you for the advice.

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    Eldritch Horror in the Playground Moderator
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    Default Re: I'm Thinking Of Playing Mutants & Masterminds

    It can be broken. There is a difference. You do not have Superman solving all his fights by Time Travelling backwards and killing the bad guys as babies, even though time travel is technically one of his powers. Similarly, Time Travel is something M&M has rules for as a power, but a good GM will be very careful about allowing it.

    Instead, Superman flies and punches and shoots heat vision, these are also powers M&M has rules for. Anything you have seen in a comic book, you can recreate in M&M. There are just some things you should not, and the GM helps you know where that line is.
    Last edited by The Glyphstone; 2019-12-22 at 01:17 PM.

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    Default Re: I'm Thinking Of Playing Mutants & Masterminds

    Quote Originally Posted by The Glyphstone View Post
    It can be broken. There is a difference. You do not have Superman solving all his fights by Time Travelling backwards and killing the bad guys as babies, even though time travel is technically one of his powers. Similarly, Time Travel is something M&M has rules for as a power, but a good GM will be very careful about allowing it.

    Instead, Superman flies and punches and shoots heat vision, these are also powers M&M has rules for. Anything you have seen in a comic book, you can recreate in M&M. There are just some things you should not, and the GM helps you know where that line is.
    Wow, I didn't know that time travelling was one of Superman powers.

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    Default Re: I'm Thinking Of Playing Mutants & Masterminds

    Quote Originally Posted by The Glyphstone View Post
    First, find a GM. M&M isn't like D&D 3.5 where the rules are mostly static and you can build a character independently then look for a game to play it in. M&M is super modular and doesn't even try to be internally balanced, largely with such (potentially) broken abilities as Summon, Magic, and Shapeshifting, and instead relies on a GM to apply internal balance by limiting or banning problematic things.

    Once you do that, you can expect a very fun superhero game.
    I'd say it's more important that all the PCs and major NPCs are on the same pages. I once played with a GM who didn't get how Power Level limits worked (he thought stat, skill, and power ranks were limited to PL, and Advantage ranks to half that*) or how to build using arrays. It was kind of shocking to see the differences between the characters he made and the air elementalist I brought, I was able to squeeze in flight 10 and insubstantial just by making my attack, battlefield control, and ability to make wind into an array (everybody else had assistance from the GM and only mechanically simple characters could compete**).

    Conversely, playing with a different GM the problem was that one player whined enough that the GM allowed him to break PL limits, which ended up meaning that combat was only fun when he wasn't involved. If he'd just stuck to PL10 as everybody else did my character wouldn't have been sidelined so much... (ironically when he couldn't fight everybody else had fun trying to work as a team, funny that.)

    *no he did not actually read the book, or he wouldn't have been surprised at Improved Initiative being +4 per rank or my request to use my move action after my attack.
    ** I was accused as 'trying to make my character better than everybody else in their field', which wasn't quite true. I was just trying to be as useful as possible, and while the GM had banned magic from being higher than PL-3 he'd ignored the Arrays that made him see magic as OP...
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zelphas View Post
    So here I am, trapped in my laboratory, trying to create a Mechabeast that's powerful enough to take down the howling horde outside my door, but also won't join them once it realizes what I've done...twentieth time's the charm, right?
    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Raziere View Post
    How about a Jovian Uplift stuck in a Case morph? it makes so little sense.

  7. - Top - End - #7
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    Default Re: I'm Thinking Of Playing Mutants & Masterminds

    Quote Originally Posted by Anonymouswizard View Post
    I'd say it's more important than all the PCs and major NPCs are on the same pages. I once played with a GM who didn't get how Power Level limits worked (he thought stat, skill, and power ranks were limited to PL, and Advantage ranks to half that*) or how to build using arrays. It was kind of shocking to see the differences between the characters he made and the air Elementalist I brought, I was able to squeeze in flight 10 and insubstantial just by making my attack, battlefield control, and ability to make wind into an array (everybody else had assistance from the GM and only mechanically simple characters could compete**).

    Conversely, playing with a different GM the problem was that one player whined enough that the GM allowed him to break PL limits, which ended up meaning that combat was only fun when he wasn't involved. If he'd just stuck to PL10 as everybody else did my character wouldn't have been sidelined so much... (ironically when he couldn't fight everybody else had fun trying to work as a team, funny that.)

    *no he did not actually read the book, or he wouldn't have been surprised at Improved Initiative being +4 per rank or my request to use my move action after my attack.
    ** I was accused as 'trying to make my character better than everybody else in their field', which wasn't quite true. I was just trying to be as useful as possible, and while the GM had banned magic from being higher than PL-3 he'd ignored the Arrays that made him see magic as OP...
    Oh wow. I'm sorry you have that experience.

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    Default Re: I'm Thinking Of Playing Mutants & Masterminds

    M&M requires being on the same page as the other players. Its possible to create Doctor Manhattan at PL10 if you try hard enough. Its not fun when the other players bring in the rest of the Watchman and Doctor Manhattan disintegrates everything as a reaction.

    Other things to look out for are tonal, playing a game of Super Friends doesn't mix well with The Authority or The Boys (definitely not the latter).

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    Default Re: I'm Thinking Of Playing Mutants & Masterminds

    Quote Originally Posted by Beleriphon View Post
    M&M requires being on the same page as the other players. It's possible to create Doctor Manhattan at PL10 if you try hard enough. It's not fun when the other players bring in the rest of the Watchman and Doctor Manhattan disintegrates everything as a reaction.

    Other things to look out for are tonal, playing a game of Super Friends doesn't mix well with The Authority or The Boys (definitely not the latter).
    Is PL Power Level by any chance?

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    Default Re: I'm Thinking Of Playing Mutants & Masterminds

    Quote Originally Posted by Bartmanhomer View Post
    Oh wow. I'm sorry you have that experience.
    It's fine, I was pretty much saying the 'don't have Superman and Daredevil in the same group'. The second game I was in had enough fun bits to make me fondly remember it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zelphas View Post
    So here I am, trapped in my laboratory, trying to create a Mechabeast that's powerful enough to take down the howling horde outside my door, but also won't join them once it realizes what I've done...twentieth time's the charm, right?
    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Raziere View Post
    How about a Jovian Uplift stuck in a Case morph? it makes so little sense.

  11. - Top - End - #11
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    Default Re: I'm Thinking Of Playing Mutants & Masterminds

    Quote Originally Posted by Anonymouswizard View Post
    It's fine, I was pretty much saying the 'don't have Superman and Daredevil in the same group'. The second game I was in had enough fun bits to make me fondly remember it.
    Ok. Beside I'm going to be original rather than a existing superhero from the comic books.

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    Default Re: I'm Thinking Of Playing Mutants & Masterminds

    Quote Originally Posted by Bartmanhomer View Post
    Is PL Power Level by any chance?
    Yes.

    The only game I was involved in died because half of the players brought X-Men, and the rest of us had Image characters. At least none of went full out The Boys. The disconnect of how the characters felt shattered the game in a hurry.
    Group templates and Session 0 is very important to M&M, because comic books and super heroes are huge genres and you want everyone on the same page. At least mostly. I mean you can have Squirrel Girl and Wolverine work together, or Deadpool and Cable, but they are the exceptions instead of the rule.
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    Default Re: I'm Thinking Of Playing Mutants & Masterminds

    Quote Originally Posted by lightningcat View Post
    Yes.

    The only game I was involved in died because half of the players brought X-Men, and the rest of us had Image characters. At least none of went full out The Boys. The disconnect of how the characters felt shattered the game in a hurry.
    Group templates and Session 0 is very important to M&M because comic books and superheroes are huge genres and you want everyone on the same page. At least mostly. I mean you can have Squirrel Girl and Wolverine work together, or Deadpool and Cable, but they are the exceptions instead of the rule.
    Ok. But as I mentioned before I'm thinking of making my original superhero rather than an existing superhero in the comics. I assume originality is allowed in this game right?

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    Eldritch Horror in the Playground Moderator
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    Default Re: I'm Thinking Of Playing Mutants & Masterminds

    Quote Originally Posted by Bartmanhomer View Post
    Ok. But as I mentioned before I'm thinking of making my original superhero rather than an existing superhero in the comics. I assume originality is allowed in this game right?
    Yes. They are trying to warn you against having two characters in the same game who are very different power levels, as well as characters who are very different tone/theme-wise. A character as powerful as Superman should not be in the same group as a character as powerful as Daredevil. If the game is dark and serious in tone, like a Batman movie, a silly baker-themed superhero who fights by throwing pies is not appropriate.

    It is using existing characters to give examples, which you should then apply to your original character.
    Quote Originally Posted by Red Fel, on quest rewards View Post
    "Is a stack of ten pancakes too many pancakes to give to the party, even if most of them fell on the floor and one or two were stepped on? I wanted to give my party pancakes as a reward but I'm unsure if it's too much. The pancakes are also laced with blowfish poison so the party would have to get an antitoxin before they could eat the ones which weren't pulverized by shoes."

    I don't think anyone would want those pancakes even if you paid them to eat them.

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    Firbolg in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: I'm Thinking Of Playing Mutants & Masterminds

    Quote Originally Posted by The Glyphstone View Post
    Yes. They are trying to warn you against having two characters in the same game who are very different power levels, as well as characters who are very different tone/theme-wise. A character as powerful as Superman should not be in the same group as a character as powerful as Daredevil. If the game is dark and serious in tone, like a Batman movie, a silly baker-themed superhero who fights by throwing pies is not appropriate.

    It is using existing characters to give examples, which you should then apply to your original character.
    And I totally understand that the game is very broken and uber that certain characters shouldn't be at the same group. I don't need a Superman/Pun-Pun character to win as the rest of the team is useless. It's just unfair to the rest of the players. I totally get it. Also, I check the game rules and most of the powers are insane.

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    Default Re: I'm Thinking Of Playing Mutants & Masterminds

    Quote Originally Posted by Bartmanhomer View Post
    Ok. But as I mentioned before I'm thinking of making my original superhero rather than an existing superhero in the comics. I assume originality is allowed in this game right?
    As has been said, we've been using existing characters as an example of power levels. I was once in a group where we had hacker Quicksilver (early 2000s speeds, I think I topped out a bit under the speed of sound), venusian Storm, extradimensional Sailor Moon, and Captain Marvel/Shazam/Superman/Deku/All Might without any flight or heat vision.

    TBH I was meant to be a brick with an unusual amount of speed, I only started investing in it constantly when I realised Mr Strength and Fighting were doomed to total just over half of the final character.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bartmanhomer View Post
    And I totally understand that the game is very broken and uber that certain characters shouldn't be at the same group. I don't need a Superman/Pun-Pun character to win as the rest of the team is useless. It's just unfair to the rest of the players. I totally get it. Also, I check the game rules and most of the powers are insane.
    To be fair, if the GM is enforcing the rules that's less a problem than Cyclops versus Storm (or Spiderman versus Doctor Strange, or Superman versus Green Lantern). Both characters are roughly the same PL, but one's power is just much more versatile and broadly applicable.

    Also nah, most of the pwers are pretty normal for comics, and it's not quite on the level of Champions for complexity of powers. Spidermans' Web Shooters are just a removable affliction with an alternate effect of whatever the swinging power is called, for example. Plus you don't have the Champions mess of Strength, Dexterity, Intelligence, Presence, Offensive Combat Value, Defensive Combat Value, Offensive Mental Combat Value, Defensive Mental Combat Value, two types of hit points (Body and Stun), and an energy bar for your powers (Endurance).

    I mean, Champions is good, but compared to M&M it's a little bit of a mess, especially as stuff like OCV and DCV have to be bought up on their own.

    Anyway, back to M&M. Just try building a character or two you would never actually play just to help you get how powers work. I suggest starting with something simple, like a Superman copy, before moving on to a couple of more complex powers (e.g. elemental control, psychic powers, being a supersonic bunny...).
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zelphas View Post
    So here I am, trapped in my laboratory, trying to create a Mechabeast that's powerful enough to take down the howling horde outside my door, but also won't join them once it realizes what I've done...twentieth time's the charm, right?
    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Raziere View Post
    How about a Jovian Uplift stuck in a Case morph? it makes so little sense.

  17. - Top - End - #17
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: I'm Thinking Of Playing Mutants & Masterminds

    The important thing to remember is that, unlike most other RPGís, you canít just create a character in M&M3 and expect it to be ok at any and every table. M&M in particular and super hero games in general donít work like that.

    Feel free to make as many characters as you like as practice, but you canít expect Howard the Duck, Superman, Punisher, Wee Hughie, Kick-Ass and Sailor Moon to all be in the same comic/super team/scenario. And yes, you can make all of them at PL10.

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    Default Re: I'm Thinking Of Playing Mutants & Masterminds

    Quote Originally Posted by JustIgnoreMe View Post
    The important thing to remember is that, unlike most other RPGís, you canít just create a character in M&M3 and expect it to be ok at any and every table. M&M in particular and super hero games in general donít work like that.

    Feel free to make as many characters as you like as practice, but you canít expect Howard the Duck, Superman, Punisher, Wee Hughie, Kick-Ass and Sailor Moon to all be in the same comic/super team/scenario. And yes, you can make all of them at PL10.
    I mean, it depends on how serious the campaign is

    But yeah, more than any other genre superhero games need a session zero, and sometimes a session negative one as well where you determine what the world is like (leaving S0 for the character building). Because I have previously desribed Sir Hopsalot, the Relativistic Rabbit*, as 'a relatively serious character concept' with a straight face, although that also has to do with him having an actual backstory and character traits compared to some characters I've seen. And it took a lot of work to get the 'setting fire to his surroundings' bit to work properly.

    * Although to hit such speeds you need to leave PL10 behind due to how crashing into people works in M&M. He's actually only incredibly supersonic.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zelphas View Post
    So here I am, trapped in my laboratory, trying to create a Mechabeast that's powerful enough to take down the howling horde outside my door, but also won't join them once it realizes what I've done...twentieth time's the charm, right?
    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Raziere View Post
    How about a Jovian Uplift stuck in a Case morph? it makes so little sense.

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    Default Re: I'm Thinking Of Playing Mutants & Masterminds

    One idea that was used in the game I was in, was to build the characters as PL5 normals first, then build them the rest of the way to PL10 heros. Think of this as building the secret identity of the characters. It helps make the characters a bit broader in scope, as some players are known to make very specialized characters.
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    Default Re: I'm Thinking Of Playing Mutants & Masterminds

    Quote Originally Posted by Bartmanhomer View Post
    Is PL Power Level by any chance?
    Yes, it is.

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    Default Re: I'm Thinking Of Playing Mutants & Masterminds

    I think one of the main things you need to be aware of when building an M&M character is that spending points on attributes (Strength, Agility, Fighting, etc.) is typically a big ol' trap. Everything you get from attributes can be gotten for half the price by just putting points in the derived statistics directly. One of the only major missteps of the system IMO because it's really easy to miss the target numbers for your PL if you're like "My character is strong, let's put a lot of points in Strength!" instead of buying points in the Super Strength power which gives you far more bang for your buck.

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    Default Re: I'm Thinking Of Playing Mutants & Masterminds

    Quote Originally Posted by Rynjin View Post
    I think one of the main things you need to be aware of when building an M&M character is that spending points on attributes (Strength, Agility, Fighting, etc.) is typically a big ol' trap. Everything you get from attributes can be gotten for half the price by just putting points in the derived statistics directly. One of the only major missteps of the system IMO because it's really easy to miss the target numbers for your PL if you're like "My character is strong, let's put a lot of points in Strength!" instead of buying points in the Super Strength power which gives you far more bang for your buck.
    Except that Strength is worth everything it's component parts are. Most stats actually give as much or more bang for your buck than buying individually, the question is if you need all that bang.

    Presence is a trap though, it's 1.5 points of value for 2 points, my suggestion is to just leave it at zero while buying up the skills instead. Although if you can be certain that your GM will never use Presence draining attacks you can drop it to -5 and buy the skills up for 2.5 free points.

    Strength is actually really useful up to a point, it's a Damage effect plus rapidly scaling carrying capacity. IME Stamina is a bit of a trap, I've never seen a GM use an effect resisted by Fortitude and several resisted by Will (including a bunch of Will to dodge Will to resist effects), but that's more a case of one GM not knowing the rules and another really liking bricks and illusionists.

    Fighting is weird, only buff it if you have more than one melee attack power and you haven't hit the offensive or defensive cap yet. Similarly for Dexterity, make sure you're putting at least two points into Dexterity skills before you increase it. Agility is just good, it increases Dodge and Initiative, but again keep in mind the defensive caps. Awareness is another case of 'of you're taking enough skills'.

    Intelligence is a stat that is either incredibly useful, or utterly useless. If you have multiple Expertise skills and the other skills it enhances it can be worth more than it's value, if your character isn't into knowledge, medicine, and technology you might be better off ignoring it, but I had one character who was getting abut three points worth of bang out of every point in INT (I definitely had at least two Expertise skills, I think I had three).
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zelphas View Post
    So here I am, trapped in my laboratory, trying to create a Mechabeast that's powerful enough to take down the howling horde outside my door, but also won't join them once it realizes what I've done...twentieth time's the charm, right?
    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Raziere View Post
    How about a Jovian Uplift stuck in a Case morph? it makes so little sense.

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    Default Re: I'm Thinking Of Playing Mutants & Masterminds

    Strength was admittedly a bad example (at least for 3e), but I still stand by that at best you're breaking even with Strength, and that's more than you can say for most other stats. You can spend 20p to get 10 Str or 10p for a melee based Damage effect and 10p in Super Strength for the same effect.

    Int is one of the better ones (since there's things like Invent and the...spell version of Invent I forget the name of it turbocharges), but niche.

    Again, "in general". Most characters are just fine with a big fat 0 in every stat.

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    Default Re: I'm Thinking Of Playing Mutants & Masterminds

    Quote Originally Posted by Rynjin View Post
    Strength was admittedly a bad example (at least for 3e), but I still stand by that at best you're breaking even with Strength, and that's more than you can say for most other stats. You can spend 20p to get 10 Str or 10p for a melee based Damage effect and 10p in Super Strength for the same effect.

    Int is one of the better ones (since there's things like Invent and the...spell version of Invent I forget the name of it turbocharges), but niche.

    Again, "in general". Most characters are just fine with a big fat 0 in every stat.
    There's two magic functions: Artifice and Ritualist. Works basically the same though.

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    Default Re: I'm Thinking Of Playing Mutants & Masterminds

    my group played 2ed for a little while. just as in d&d, there is a massive power gap depending on how you build your character, a mentalist can completely dominate everything. out of all the different characters we ran, the most fun i had was a rogue'ish type skill monkey that could walk thru walls and burrow through the ground. your power level and points to spend has a massive impact on the playability/survivability/fun potential of anything you do. however i agree with the above, find a game first, figure out the setting and ground rules, and then build a character.
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    Default Re: I'm Thinking Of Playing Mutants & Masterminds

    Typically, I use Presence as a psuedo-paladin like stat to show "Protagonist Power".

    So, if someone wanted to make Goku, I'd let them use Strength to make attacks and the ilk for their normal form and then use Alternate Form with a 10 in Presence and opening an attack array with Presence for Stat Dependant or giving Protection Stat Dependant (Presence).

    Doing this makes it more relevant to specific builds and keeps things from stacking with each other (like boosting Strength of allies and inadvertently increasing Goku's Power and Toughness). Further, it lets enemies drain Presence as the dubious "Stealing Energy/Power" without having to link draining on Toughness and Strength and Agility or whatever.

    But otherwise, yeah, Stats are mostly useless unless built for specifically. It does open some characters up to a vulnerability to Weaken, but frankly, players should always expect something to be cautious about.

    ---

    For the OP, however; Use 2d10 or 3d6 in place of the 1d20. M&M combat can get really swingy in practice, it's probably the biggest complaint I hear about the system. Putting the die values on bell curve is a good way to inhibit that inherent swing.

    Also, it's not much of a dungeon crawler (It can be, but it's much harder to get the same feel). The goal isn't progression like D&D, it's more like a puzzle. Identify where your parties strengths are and how to leverage that against the problem at hand. Many players will see the ability to Fly or Teleport and feel like the game is busted in their favor, as that's hard to come by at starter levels in D&D. But when everyone's super, no one is - All their villains can fly or use eye beams or what have you and the goal is getting the right people taking the right attacks and beat the doomsday clock.

    Doesn't matter if you can fly in space or cast counterspell at will if a city is wiped off the map because you couldn't find a Quantum Bomb that only exists when your not looking at it. *shrug* it's not my job to solve the problem for you, you have Hero points and can figure out how to use them to combat this problem.
    Quote Originally Posted by Grey_Wolf_c View Post
    English: so broken, you technically cannot use it wrong.
    Grey Wolf

  27. - Top - End - #27
    Troll in the Playground
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    Protecting my Horde (yes, I mean that kind)

    Default Re: I'm Thinking Of Playing Mutants & Masterminds

    Quote Originally Posted by Son of A Lich! View Post
    For the OP, however; Use 2d10 or 3d6 in place of the 1d20. M&M combat can get really swingy in practice, it's probably the biggest complaint I hear about the system. Putting the die values on bell curve is a good way to inhibit that inherent swing.
    I'd suggest against that, since with hero points it is possible to eliminate most of the swinginess. Plus, the NPCs don't need hero points, the GM fiats something as happening and all affected PCs get a hero point. By the time the characters finally fight the badguy they should just be swimming in them.

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