Mutants & Masterminds is anything but vanilla. It’s a rules system that is pure unashamed superhero goodness from cover to cover. If he’s wearing a cape, spandex and got his underpants on the outside you can make him using this book. Heck, if he’s wearing a black t-shirt and carrying a bigass gun, you can make him using this the book too. Or anything in between. Or anything at all, for that matter. Mutants & Masterminds isn’t vanilla, but it is. It’s a cunning generic system masquerading as a superhero game. Don’t be fooled!
Case in point. I’m shortly going to be playing in an online fantasy game that’s very, very low-powered. In 4e D&D terms, the starting point is roughly level -3. For 3e D&D, that’s level -1, or level 0 for Classic D&D. This isn’t even “leaving the farm to find your fortune” – it’s before we’ve even left the farm and finished our chores. And we’re going to be playing it using Mutants & Masterminds, straight from the single rulebook.
Here’s my character. Meet Rory.
Rory, PL2, 30pp
Str 10, Dex 14, Con 10, Int 12, Wis 12, Cha 11
Tough +0/+1 (Leather jerkin), Fort +2, Ref +4, Will +3
Attack +2, Defense +2, Init +2
Bluff +4, Notice +4, Search +3, Stealth +6, Survival +4
Beginner’s Luck, Sneak Attack 1, Equipment 1
Long Knife +2 (DC 16)
Now, there’s nothing in there that’ll phase your average D&D gamer regardless of playstyle. He’s a stringy, likeable kid in a grotty leather shirt with his mom’s best kitchen knife. As the son of one of the hunters in the village he’s been taught the value of being quiet and knows that the first hit is the most important one so you’ve got to make it count. Beyond that, he’s an open book.
It’s still Mutants & Masterminds. There’s no House Rules, no changes to the game at all but we’re firmly into D&D territory and it works, beautifully.
Back to the multiverse campaign setting, and our hero group has a name. They’re the Forgotten Heroes, champions who exist outside the multiverse protecting it from those who (knowingly or unknowingly) aim to do it harm.
Let’s leave Mutants & Masterminds week with a grab bag of plot hooks and scenario ideas to show how this will all fit together.
The Dog Soldiers of Earth-17 are invading the multiverse! Can the heroes stop them, and what is the involvement of the ‘Borgs of Universe-812?
A mutagenic virus on Buoshane-212 has gained trans-dimensional capabilities after it absorbed the life essence of Warpsmith, a resident superhero. Can the heroes halt the spread of the mutagen through the multiverse before it takes over all life, everywhere?!
Whilst on vacation, one of the heroes is fatally shot – then returns back to life as if nothing happened! Can the team solve a murder that didn’t happen? Stay tuned to find out!
Don’t Stop the Clock
In 1963, arch-villain Doctor Clock of Earth-685 successfully halted time in his multiverse for an entire year. Can the heroes convince him to wind it back before the whole Weave unravels? Only time (ha ha ha) will tell!
Universe-516, Keystone to an entire sector of the multiverse, has vanished. Where has it gone to, and (more importantly) how to we bring it back?
Adolf and me
April 1945, and our heroes must stop a superhero from Earth-76 before he saves Hitler from certain death – or do they? Do they do the Right Thing and save a life, or do they step in a save a world? Only you can decide!
Mona Lisa Cubed
Someone is stealing all of the copies of The Mona Lisa in the multiverse! How? And, as perplexingly, why? Guest starring The Infinite Man.
We who are not alone, are not alone
In which the heroes discover there’s not just one Multiverse, there’s a multitude of them! Expect a battle royale as Citadel wars against anti-Citadel in a war across the dimensions!
This is the last post for Mutants & Masterminds Week, but far from the last thing I’ll be writing about the system. It’s as near-as-damnit the closest I’ve come to a perfect role-playing engine. It rewards role-playing rather than killing things, encourages playing to the genre tropes and motivations of the characters through the Hero Point system and provides everything you need to play in just one book. The writers shows a deep love and knowledge of the superhero genre without being condescending or comical, yet the rules are solid, flexible and easy enough to understand to use for anything at all.
The perfect game? I think so.