….. or should that be Dungeons & Masterminds? You decide. Either way, it’s Mutants & Masterminds dressed up to look like Dungeons & Dragons. Why would you do such a thing?
Well, I’ll tell you.
- Your players don’t like 4e D&D
- You don’t want to go back to 3e D&D
- M&M offers more flexibility all round; players can generate damned near anything using the rules (within Power Level limits, of course). GMs can too!
- The GM can shamelessly beg, borrow and steal from 3e, 4e or anywhere else that’s d20-ish compliant with the minimum of fuss of bother, opening up a whole world of fun in the shape of adventures, the 3e Monster Manuals, the 4e Monster Manual and the Tomes of Horror. Hehehe.
- M&M has more mature rules for Hero Points, Minions, etc
- M&M doesn’t require a battlemat to play (but works happily with one too)
- M&M can be played over IRC. That’s tricky to do (but not impossible, granted) with 4e D&D
- Hero Lab – a stable, well supported, third party character/NPC/base/anything generator (it does 3e D&D too!)
- Utterly stunning fan support over at The Atomic Think Tank
- M&M is probably the best, most advanced and most wonderful rpg rules ever invented and deserves your love
Oh, and it’s fun too.
That’s all well and good, but how would you implement such a thing?
M&M is great because a wide open vista; there’s no character classes, races, pre-designed Powers or anything to limit your creativity. It’s also problematic for D&D-style play because there’s no character classes, races, pre-designed Powers or anything to reinforce the tropes of the genre. Thankfully, it’s not difficult to add what you need as you go along. Just create a template for the race, class or feature as they’re needed, and you’ll soon have everything you want, when you want it.
Here’s a quick example. Let’s generate a Tiefling Cleric, aiming to hit as close to 4e D&D as possible. I’ve set the Power Level at 6, and there’s 90 points to throw around.
First, we need a Tiefling template. In each case the number at the start is the points cost.
Tiefling, 13 points
2 +2 Int
2 +2 Cha
1 +2 Bluff, +2 Stealth
1 Super-senses 1 (Low-light Vision)
1 Bloodhunt (Enhanced Trait 2 (+1 attack, Limited 1 (per Encounter))
5 Immunity 5 (Fire)
1 Infernal Wrath (Boost 2; +2 attack & +2 damage, Limited 1 (per Encounter))
Wow. That was easy! In this case we’re going to spend the 13 points to buy the whole shebang; as this is M&M I could just as easily chop and change to best fit the image of my character. For example, we could lose the Infernal Wrath ability and add Flight to create a winged Tiefling, replace Immunity (Fire) with Immunity (Cold) ar whatever. It’s my character, after all :D .
Next up, let’s make a Cleric template
Cleric, 15 points
2 +2 Will
1 +4 KS:Theology & Philosophy
1 Feat: Ritualist (tied to KS:Theology & Philosophy)
1 Channel Divinity: Divine Fortune (Luck 1)
4 Channel Divinity: Turn Undead (Blast 4; DC 19, Range touch, Affects Insubstantial 2, Area:Burst (20′ radius), Alternate save: Will, Limited 1 (per Encounter), Limited 2 (vs Undead only)
6 Healing Word (Healing 2; Ranged 1 (20′))
Turn Undead is a fairly complex ability to put together, but it works out pretty cheap to buy. Who needs an exception-based system when you’ve got an inclusive system that handles everything right in the rules, eh? In this case it’s an attack that does a hefty (for the Power Level) amount of damage as a 20′ radius burst originating from the caster’s position, but only affects Undead (including intangible critters). In other words – the 4e Turn Undead Power, broken down into M&M terms.
So far we’ve spent 28 points out of our 90, and we’ve still to add stats, Feats and Skills beyond those granted by the Race and Class. But first…. Powers!
As this is a by-the-book 4e D&D to M&M conversion, let’s give him 2 at-will Powers, 1 per Encounter and 1 per Day, converting Powers straight from the 4e PHB. By default, all M&M powers are usable whenever the player wants to use them, so we’re going to use the Limited flaw to control whether the Power is usable once per Encounter (Limited 1), or usable once per Day (Limited 2). This has the happy side effect of making the Powers cheaper to buy too. Which is nice.
Powers, 30 points
10 Lance of Faith (Blast 3; Range 30′, DC 18, Alternate Save:Reflex, Linked to Boost 2 (one ally: +2 attack to hit same foe only))
5 Priest’s Shield (Strike 3; Mighty, DC 18, Linked to Boost 2 (+1 AC to you and one ally))
8 Wrathful Strike (Strike 4; Mighty, DC 19, linked to Stun 5 (DC 15), Limited 1 (per Encounter))
7 Avenging Flame (Strike 5; Mighty, DC 20, Duration 2 (sustained), Slow Fade (1 minute), Limited 2 (per Day))
4e D&D Powers are pretty hinky because most of them do two things at once, such as damage and grant an ally a combat bonus. M&M handles that with the Linked extra, which ties two (or more) powers to both work at the same time. That’s nice, but in play I’d use simpler powers instead and have more lovely points to spend on other things. That also throws the trust back to the player – instead of giving them Powers that are used in one specific way, they can invent clever and cunning tricks of their own, and spend Hero Points to make ’em happen.
Finally, we can put it all together, spend points on stats and the like, buy equipment and end up with a finished, 4e-like character.
Good Male Tiefling Cleric PL6, 90pp
Str 16, Dex 10, Con 12, Int 12, Wis 14, Cha 15
Tough +1/+4, Fort +2, Ref +1, Will +5
Attack (Melee) +6, Attack (Ranged) +4, Grapple +9, Def +4, Init +0
Bluff +4, Diplomacy +4, KS:Theology & Philosophy +5, Sense Motive +4, Stealth +2
Attack Focus 2 (Melee), Ritualist (tied to KS:Theology & Philosophy)
Super-senses 1 (Low-light Vision)
Bloodhunt (Enhanced Trait 2 (+1 attack, Limited 1 (per Encounter))
Immunity 5 (Fire)
Infernal Wrath (Boost 2; +2 attack & +2 damage, Limited 1 (per Encounter))
Channel Divinity: Divine Fortune (Luck 1)
Channel Divinity: Turn Undead (Blast 4; DC 19, Range touch, Affects Insubstantial 2, Area:Burst (20′ radius), Alternate save: Will, Limited 1 (per Encounter), Limited 2 (vs Undead only)
Healing Word (Healing 2; Ranged 1 (20′))
Lance of Faith (Blast 3; Range 30′, DC 18, Alternate Save:Reflex, Linked to Boost 2 (one ally: +2 attack to hit same foe only))
Priest’s Shield (Strike 3; Mighty, DC 18, Linked to Boost 2 (+1 AC to you and one ally))
Wrathful Strike (Strike 4; Mighty, DC 19, linked to Stun 5 (DC 15), Limited 1 (per Encounter))
Avenging Flame (Strike 5; Mighty, DC 20, Duration 2 (sustained), Slow Fade (1 minute), Limited 2 (per Day))
Chainmail (+3 Toughness) & Mace (+6, DC 20)