So a few months back I got together with a couple of guys I know and we decided we were going to give Mutants and Masterminds a try. I was pretty pumped to GM a few modules as I had just come off a long stretch of running a Shadowrun campaign and was what could only be described as “rules weary." I needed something new to me, something I hadn’t tried before, and it need to be a little less heavy-handed when it came to crunch content. So we got together and picked Mutants and Masterminds. We all loved comic books and none of us had really felt like playing the old Marvel RPG at the time, and I am so glad we didn’t. Mutants and Masterminds from Green Ronin turned out to be a blast and even though we’re currently on summer hiatus my thoughts still wander back to how fun those sessions were, how great Emerald City felt, and how the city’s heroes were utterly magnificent in their play. So here are 3 things that really shone in Mutants and Masterminds 3rd Edition:
1) As a GM I hate looking in books all the time.
While the quick-start rules aren’t a quick as Green Ronin would have you believe, they’re still fairly quick. My players decided on a magical hero themed campaign and were able to lay down characters fairly quickly with minimal meddling by me. Mutants and Masterminds provided a wealth of pre-generated characters to build upon and customize without a lot of hassle. The only difficulty we really had was defining a magical array for one character and conceptualizing exactly how speedster powers had limitations - OK, we're still not totally sure about that one. The rules were easy to pick up after that with just a few sessions and nobody seemed to have any complaints towards my end of the table.
2) You’re a Super Hero right out of the gate.
I think that the players really enjoyed not being level one or experience light to start out with. They were able to do some pretty spectacular things within the first few pages of the Emerald City Knights module. Despite being a man short of the number requirement of the module the game seems to be easily negotiable to their power levels and skills sets. Sure they might not have any super-geniuses on the team or the have the power of a paragon backing them up but the game allows the players to come in at a level where they’re more like Batman than Robin.
3) Player Agency
So here it is; Hero Points make the game more enjoyable to everyone at the table, including myself as a GM. I’m not my player’s enemy, I want them to succeed, I want the story to carry forward. Sure this role-playing and sometimes players will fail, but there have been many a time as both GM and player that I wished that I could see myself or someone else just call a shot and make things happen.
Mutants and Masterminds Hero point mechanic does this fantastically. I’m not claiming that things can’t go wrong for you in-game but being able to use a Hero point to overcome negative effects and statuses comes in pretty handy in the midst of battle. Hero points aren’t free either; they have to be earned usually by something going wrong for our super team. Evil is alive, afoot, and well written into Emerald City, subsequently the best use of the Hero point can be when players use it to directly influence on aspect of the story for a single result. I think it allows for greater player agency within the game. Allowing them to achieve and experience those last minute epic saves and wins without being bogged down with continually bad rolls.
Take heart! Evil may be stalking the streets of Emerald City but you and your caped crusaders are definitely up to the challenge. Mutants and Masterminds proved to be on of the highlights of my spring and I recommend it to anyone looking for a few fun short sessions or long lasting campaigns. The 3rd edition, quick start rules, as well as supplementary material are available here at Green Ronin online.
About Ryan: So I try to read about 50 comics a week, depending on my ability to pay the power bill. I try to read as much new and independent works as my tried and trusted favorites, and I’ve been doing this for years. Thus, I can roughly say that I am pretty decent at comicology, however I hold no formal degree. Luckily, degrees are no substitute for common sense and that’s how I got this gig.
I am become death, destroyer of worlds.