“What kind of heroes?” and “What makes them a team?”. These are questions we’re going to look at today in Day 3 of Mutants & Masterminds week!
Our multiversal superheroes come from all walks of life, and in some cases we’re using the word “life” pretty loosely. Perhaps the dominant lifeform in Universe-15003 is intelligent pools of acid, or your hero is a borg-like entity from Jupiter-812. One of the joys of having a multiverse to work with is that the players can run different versions of the same character through the campaign if they want, replacing the millionaire playboy hero Ironclad or Earth-517 with the millionaire canine Ironclaw of Earth-7125 or the United Soviet States’ Ironlady of Earth-981. One hero, many possibilities.
All of this choice can seem pretty daunting, so we’re going to provide two things to help make the players’ life a little easier: archetypes, and standard equipment.
Archetypes are the closest that Mutants & Masterminds comes to providing character classes. These are pre-designed boilerplate characters that the player can use as-is, adapt or simply use as inspiration. They are entirely optional, and there’s nothing mechanically different between a character created using an archetype and one that’s created from scratch. For example, if a player wants to play a Batman-style hero he’s free to choose (and adapt) the Costumed Adventurer archetype from the M&M Core Rules, or create their own.
They also provide another service: archetypes help to re-enforce the genre. For example, if I was running a horror-themed game I’d offer archetypes such as Vampire Slayer, Reformed Werewolf, Zealous Priest and the like. This sends a message to the players that these are the style of characters I expect them to create, even if they don’t use the archetypes themselves.
As we’re intentionally keeping the options wide open for this campaign, all of the Archetypes from the M&M Core Rules, Instant Superheroes or any other supplement are free to use. A few of the archetypes could be used to represent specific organizations and groups within the multiverse, of which the heroes can be ex-members. For example, from Instant Superheroes:
Ring Bearer: The Guardians of Light are a misguided group of arrogant do-gooders who “police” a number of universes across the multiverse. While there’s a few good cops, most of them think they’re above everyone else, and our heroes all too frequently clash with them when their paths cross.
Demons: Universe-666. ‘Nuff said.
Cyborg: Universe-812 has been quarantined due to a serious Borg infestation. Occasionally, isolated members manage to break free of their conditioning and somehow find a way into the wider multiverse. Some become heroes, but all too often…..
Jungle Lord: Earth-744 is a lush planet coated entirely in plantlife. It’s history has followed that of our own Earth pretty closely with the two World Wars fought between elephant-riding warriors on a massive scale. Heroes from this realm are entirely unsuited to high-technology life, but that doesn’t stop them from being great fun to play!
Of course, these examples aren’t the only cases of these archetypes across the multiverse – cyborgs and demons can originate anywhere – they’re just here to kickstart the players’ imaginations.
It’s important that the team has a sense of identity. I’ve intentionally not given the group a name. I’ll leave that to the players; it’s their group, after all. Each character has access to certain items of equipment: an in-ear commlink, anti-flash contact lenses, a standard-issue jumpsuit (provides a +3 Toughness bonus and they’re free to pick the design and colours themselves) and an Insignia which gives them Flight 2 (up to 250mph). The Insingia can be adapted to be worn as a belt buckle, bracelet, brooch, etc as desired, and it’s only usable by registered members of the team. It is their badge of office and (to those who recognise such things) identifies them as members of the team. Altogether this little lot costs just 10 character points. Bargain! Not every hero will require all of the items (a hero composed of solid Rock will have little use for a jumpsuit), so the items will be replaced with other pieces of equipment of equal value.
Next time we’re going to take a closer look at the multiverse, and introduce the heroes’ Base of Operations: The Singular Citadel!
Meantime, here’s a sample hero and member of the team. Meet Skylark, AKA Muro Voigt.
Skylark was a dancer from the 51st century on Zao-9532, a realm where a perfect genetically enhanced utopia hid an undercurrent of depravity and corruption on an epic scale. She was inadvertently caught in a cross-fire between two crimelords, one of whom was meant to die that day. She was rescued, then assisted the team sent in to ensure events proceeded as expected, and accepted their offer to join them at the end of the mission.
Skylark is a superb acrobat and can create psionic baton-like Eskrima sticks at will which she uses to deadly effect in combat. She wears a yellow-and-black standard issue jumpsuit with her Insignia on her left breast.
Skylark AKA Muro Voigt, PL10, 160pp
Str 16, Dex 34, Con 18, Int 14, Wis 16, Cha 22
Tough +4/+7, Fort +10, Ref +12, Will +8
Attack +8, Defense +11, Init +12
Psi-Eskrima Sticks: Strike 7 (+10 DC 25, Mighty, Thrown 1 50′, Accurate 1, Dimensional 2 (Tangent Dimensions), Affects Insubstantial 1, Ricochet 1, Split Attack 1)
Insignia: Device 2 (Flight 5, 250mph)
Commlink, Flash contacts, Standard-issue suit (Toughness +3), 5ep Base contribution
Acrobatics +16, Climb +8, Gather Information +12, Investigate +8, Stealth +12
Acrobatic Bluff, Ambidexterity, Elusive Target, Evasion 2, Improved Defense 2, Improved Disarm 2, Precise Shot 2, Quick Draw 1, Redirect, Set Up, Throwing Mastery 2, Ultimate Effort 1 (Acrobatics), Uncanny Dodge 2 (Visual), Equipment 2
Till next time!