View Full Version : Just bought Mutants and Masterminds, tell me what to look out for!

2011-07-16, 07:27 PM
So, the other day I found Mutants and Masterminds RPG hidden in a corner of my used bookstore, and immediately bought it. It looks like everything I've ever wanted in anything ever... But naturally I worry. So far I've only played D&D 3.5 and a smidgen of 4e, and through this board I have learned of the many major flaws of each. I've also learned that a majority of flaws in a system can be worked around with some houseruling/homebrew and some foresight.

So today I come to you all to help me learn what I should look out for when it comes to the system mechanics, and what I will need to know to make the RPG experience a good one.

Edit!: I just learned there are multiple editions. I couldn't tell you for sure which one mine is, but the year of publication (2002) and the cover page both line up with the internet descriptions as first.

Cloaked Bloke
2011-07-16, 10:29 PM
Ahh, Mutants and Masterminds. It has the potential to make munchkinry in 3.5 seem pitiful in comparison. The powers and abilities provided in the Core rulebook aren't really all that bad. It's the ones in Ultimate Power you have to watch out for, I think. I believe you have 2nd Edition, so this all should be relevant.

Look out for the following abilities from Ultimate Power

-Duplication: This power leads to shenanigans. Quickly. Watch out if the player asks to have Survival and Mental Link with it.

-Immortality: What It Says On the Tin. While not nearly so bad as Duplication, this also makes encounters for the GM quite difficult. In higher ranks, it can make a character nigh un-killable.

-Magic: By itself, it isn't so bad. Combined with Duplication, however, and things turn ridiculous very fast.

-Nemesis: This one is unique as it is up to the GM to decide, but it still packs way too much of a whallop for most low-level games. It endows the character with the needed powers to destroy their foe, but no others. This changes all the time, too, so if you don't want to spend a lot of time in paper-work when you could be playing, disallow this ability.

-Power Control: If a player asks for this one, seriously look over their sheet and character, in play. In my experience, this was used as a PvP ability numerous times.

2011-07-16, 10:44 PM
Ahh, Mutants and Masterminds. It has the potential to make munchkinry in 3.5 seem pitiful in comparison.

I second this. I DMed a game of M&M not understanding just how crazy it could get. (Its pretty much point buy/custom class D&D. How bad could it get?) What resulted was one player with a character who was an arrogant Superman expy of Hyperion levels apathy. The destruction he left in his wake was so great, I gave out XP to the rest of the more balanced and grounded party simply for surviving the ridiculous stuff the guy pulled off. :smallsigh:

To be fair though, being unkillable is a completely normal Superhero trope. Even when it's not planned or wanted. If someone pulls off coming back from the dead with a power cheat, pull the Comic Editor card. Their character will come back...but only after several sessions to a campaign later and in the most dramatic unsuspecting way. Until then, missing body/assumed dead. Roll a replacement until then. (And maybe keep it a secret from everyone else for added effect when they pop up again)

2011-07-17, 01:26 AM
There are alot of things in M&M that can destroy your game. Even Blast, the most basic attack power in the book. With the right choices at character creation, you can spam an arbitrary number of attacks at everything on the planet in a single round.

Basically, have everyone understand at the begining of the game that you are all going to work together to not break the game. The GM doesn't pull shenanigans if the players don't.

And being unkillable is not all that bad in game terms (means less rerolling characters after bad fights). Being undamagable is much worse, as it means there are no bad fights.

2011-07-17, 10:12 AM
First edition was published in '02, so that seems to be what you have. There are some significant differences between first and second as far as power costs and caps go. Both systems are very playable.

There are a lot of variables that alter how much powers cost. Keeping close track can get confusing, especially at first. Watch out for powers that are variable (Magic, Nemesis) and powers that alter action economy (Duplication, Gestalt).

This is not a game to play with powergamers. It's very concept-based, and character creation should be a cooperative effort with the GM.

Keep in mind, as a GM, there are some powers that will severely mess up your plans and encounters. Insubstantial, Teleport, Impervious Protection, etc. Don't ban them, just keep the characters' powers in mind when crafting adventures.

EDIT: Also, don't worry about PCs being "unkillable." You aren't supposed to kill them, you're supposed to knock them unconscious or otherwise incapacitate them so the villain can escape/stick them in a deathtrap/enact his evil plan. Of course you CAN play more lethal games, but I recommend doing so at a lower Power Level than the common PL 10.

2011-07-18, 05:55 AM
PL10 is the listed standard level for play, note that this level is (IMHO) high x-men/low avengers level.

There are a lot of powers with GM warnings on them, there are also smaller warnings hidden in other places (like the section on changing action types).

Don't expect a balanced game, so engage the players in setting the theme of the setting/campaign. Get them to enjoy the and stick with the campaign themes, because if they want to break the campaign, they probably can.

The game assumes the main N/PCs will cap their attacks and defenses, it's how they hit these caps that is the interesting part.

Shapeshift and other variable arrays should be restricted until both the GM and players understand the system properly (not because of overpowered-ness, but simply due to complexity).

edit: My advice is for 2nd edition, sorry. Only one I have played with. Someone if it might crossover, so leaving it in though.

2011-07-18, 06:44 AM
I don't think if most of this advice applies to 1e, which to my knowledge is more of a class and level system.

2011-07-18, 10:47 AM
my experience is with 2e, so if this is 1e have no idea how useful this will be, but...

Alternate power, it allows you to gain an additional power with the same number of points as an existing power for only 1pp. I'm definitely not saying ban it, but keep a close eye on it.

Lost Demiurge
2011-07-18, 01:07 PM
1E isn't a class and level system. It's about the same as 2nd edition, with a little less balance.

That said, enjoy! You've picked up one of the better superhero games out there, even if it's the earliest version available. Things to watch out for...

...Talk with your players before the game starts, to establish the theme and idea of the campaign. Ask them to try to fill different niches, power and skillwise. Get them talking about how they're going to avoid stepping on each others shoes, or how they'll complement each other. If you can do that, then the rest of the game gets easier.

...Skill ranks are underpowered. For about equal cost, PC's can get things like increased attributes which boost skills AND stat rolls. A common fix is to have skill ranks cost 1/4 of a point. 2nd edition made this official, it's a pretty easy and balanced fix.

...At PL 10 the characters will be able to pull off some pretty amazing stuff. Unless you're running a really gritty, realistic setting (why?), then LET THEM.

...Hero Points are the key to making the game awesome. Want to use your blast for a once-off effect like flight or telekinesis? Hero point! Want to make sure that Thunderpunch the facebreaker doesn't one-shot you? Hero point! Give them a hero point back when they do something awesome or accomplish a major goal. It keeps them flowing!

...M&M is one of the best systems out there for winging it. Don't stat every villain or map every location out, just go with the flow.

Have fun!

2011-07-18, 01:52 PM
Thank you for all the advice everyone! While I can see 2nd edition is more popular, it seems to be mostly the same idea and so the advice all still works.

Also, Thunderpunch the facebreaker is a wonderful name.

Lost Demiurge
2011-07-18, 03:57 PM
Thank you for all the advice everyone! While I can see 2nd edition is more popular, it seems to be mostly the same idea and so the advice all still works.

Also, Thunderpunch the facebreaker is a wonderful name.

Wish I could claim Thunderpunch as my idea. Got it from a City of Heroes player back in the day...

2011-07-18, 04:14 PM
Wish I could claim Thunderpunch as my idea. Got it from a City of Heroes player back in the day...

Ahhhhh, memories. CoH/CoV and EQ1 were my favorites by far. I still prefer to be with people in the same room (pen and paper) but those games will always hold a special place in my heart.

In fact, so much so, that I was thinking of buying MnM and trying to recreate CoH/CoV as much as possible.