Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Blast from the DM past

Now for something a little less boring. Between resume shuffles, working on some aspects of combat project, and doing minor DM things I've been digging through my DM notes and folders to find some of my most earliest Mutants and Masterminds workings for my current game. So I think I'll share some laughable things with you.

First off this was made with very very sketchy knowledge of Mutants and Masterminds 2nd edition. So much so that I overlooked a few things. To start with Mutants and Masterminds 2nd editon was green ronin taking the OGL for D&D 3.5 and thoroughly gutting it and replacing its innards and limbs with modular cybernetic running off an arcane magic generator that was brought to life by cosmic rays to make a point buy Super hero game. All the basic ideas are in there to a degree along with the "Toughness" save system. So the six stats everyone loves is still there, with some attack bonus, and the gutted armor class system renamed defense. The game is point buy with "power levels"(which will be refereed to as PL) which works like regular levels to a degree. How easily a character can hit another character, damage them, or otherwise effect them is caped by these things. I won't get into it too much but it's actually an interesting balance system in a game that relies on the DM keeping it from being horribly broken due to it trying to replicate super heroes.

There is attributes, saves, skills, and feats. All the fun stuff D&D has come to gained in 3.5, on top of that is powers and the power structure which would take a while to explain. Effectivly Attributes get modifiers that are applied all over the place, mostly saves and skills. 2nd edition divorced most of attributes from combat things beyond strength modifier damage. Other than that mostly functions the same.

So anyways with that onto the things I did. These were some proto ideas from my Fantasy Mutants and Masterminds game. The thought was that if I need something quick I'd pull out one of these classes and add up some numbers on the fly and be good. I went a different direction but will talk a bit more on that.

So without further delay the "fighter" template.

General fighter

(1:1) +1 bonus per 2 above 10
STR   12(+1)       2 points
DEX  12(+1)       2 points
CON  12(+1)       2 points
WIS   10
INT    10
CHR  10

-6 overall

Combat modifiers
ATK +0       
DEF +1        2 points

-2 in section,-8 overall

Ref  +0       
Fort +1        1 point
Will +0       

-1 in section,-9 overall

Attack Focus(melee or ranged) 1 rank
Equipment 1 rank (upgrade in armor and weapon)
Takedown attack

-3 in section ,-12 overall


-0 in section, -12 overall


Device 1 rank 3 points
base 4 points a rank
Flaw Easy to lose -1 point a rank

-3 in section, -15 overall.

So to what this all means. First this idea follows that "each PL is 15 points so if I fill up 15 points I can slap them together to make foe NPC!" idea. It works and it doesn't. While this does stack up well there were some things I missed. First not a skill rank in sight, while this isn't too horrible sometimes players like to try something that isn't beat them over the head until they stop trying to impede their movement. It's rare but it happens and that's where skills come in, I generally run NPCs under a system of  "Excellent","Proficient", and "not trained" as per a twist on the 2nd edition Masterminds manual splat. Instead of paying 1 point for 4 ranks of some skills it's 2 points for max ranks in a skill and 1 point for half of max ranks, no points means it's relying on attribute bonus only. Not the worst thing.

The worst thing was that I made things that violate PL and took non stacking feats along with this "fighter" is just as good with his fist than without. Not bad if you were going for that sort of thing but this was to be the classic he uses a weapon fighter. Strength bonus goes straight to your unarmed damage which is capped at your PL, with devices or certain equipment you can get weapons that add it to their damage as well, up to the PL. By having a +1 bonus per PL you end up Capped on strength based damage and any more is just pointless, should have it be 1 point a rank so it's at least half of the potential cap but that's not what I did.

The next bad thing is the saves. They're just horrible and way back then they seemed alright but really weren't. First thing is not an ounce of will save, which is fine for fighter minions I shouldn't care about but it seems like a vast oversight when I'm using this template for stronger than town guard things. The Fortitude save is completely non functioning past PL 3. The reason being that it takes the constitution bonus into account and the Saves (besides toughness) cap at PL+6. At PL 4 it'll have 8 fortitude when it should only have 7. This is a big oversight. having PL in reflex save is acceptable though.

Last bit of problems is in with the feats. Attack focus isn't bad, that or attack bonus which is just wasted points for a one range NPC. The first problem here is equipment. Equipment runs on what is effectively the power system only scaled down in cost and mundane for the most part. A lot of them are just given out in a list but you are encouraged to make other things for it. With this I was expecting all the points to be dropped into armor and such. With the oversight that con goes to "toughness" saves which is where armor would go, not only that it maxes it out. Jumping ahead you'll see the device entry is wher eI planed the weapon to go so buying weapons is pointless here. The only thing I can think of is a bunch of rope or other little useful trinkets that are only useful to PCs for the most part unless I want to play Tuckers Kobolds. Not a promising aspect as I'll be getting a lot of such items with every PL getting 5 points worth of them. After that there is the non ranked takedown feat, so every PL added woudl mean I have one point floating around that I would probalby ignore or take a random rleated feat in.

So all in all, this didn't quite accomplish what I wanted. Thanks to how I ran the games I ended up more often than not hand constructing the little obstacles in the players path until I got the hang of winging it. Winging it being I pick what saves the best, what attributes are high and low, what gimmick it has, and a few powers at the relative level for anything without a name. Which works pretty well and I know I could fit it all together without breaking the guideline of Power points per Power Level ideals I keep as a GM.

Well hopefully this was a bit more entertaining, it's a bit of a challenge to come up with something worthwhile on a near daily basis. Though it's probably a good thing for me. Anyways I might revise this idea in the future, if I'm really feeling like it maybe I could see if I could make a book of minions and mooks under Green Ronins OGL licence for Mutants and Masterminds. Either edition would work though I would think 3rd would be the one to work under, and that isn't quite my style.


  1. I'm looking forward to when it comes time to try and design monsters on my end and learning the hard way just what works up to a good challenge.

    M&M is such a fun system but it's deceptive and fools you into thinking its simple at first glance.

  2. This is slightly more entertaining elementary school math ;D