Previously Mutants & Masterminds MUX, now a Question! DUN DUN DUN!


  • Coder

    Since it really belongs over here, one of the projects I am working on is a Mutants & Masterminds MUX, set in an original world. The general idea is that the city is frikken huge, not like Mega-City 1 from Judge Dread huge, but huge enough that it goes from horizon to horizon.

    Because it's so big, there's so many people, that even thousands of heroes can't stop all the crime everywhere (I am taking that from Dread though) so there is always a need for heroes even though there's tons of them.

    I want to have different areas of the grid be set up for different styles of play, some will be grit and gritty for vigilante type characters where it's messy and bloody, some will be more akin to four color good guys vs bad, some will be in between. This way there is a wide variety of areas for people to play in and a wide variety of acceptable characters.

    Starting characters will be of two varieties, standard Power Level 10 characters will require an approval before play, while anyone can make a quicky character that is PL 5. PL 5 characters are more 'High School' or 'Side Kick' type of characters, or just someone very very new to their abilities. PL 5 characters won't require an approval, just go through the chargen and if they finish to the code's satisfaction, they can play immediately.

    Obviously I can't run it all by myself, and there is some huge gaps in themes, so when I am ready I am going to look for other staffers but until then, that's the general idea.

    I went with Mutants & Masterminds because the system is fast and simple and generally should be pretty smooth for combat scenes I am hoping without to much chart checking, and chargen is a breeze compared to, say, Hero System.



  • I'm not sure I'd call M&M fast and simple. It's one of the crunchier systems around. 3e?



  • @Lithium
    As i said, when you're ready for staff, let me know. I do like your world idea; sounds like a solid plan.


  • Coder

    @TNP It's nowhere near as crunchy as Hero System, or as chart dependent as DC Heroes and requires far less conversion than say TSR's MArvel Superheroes game back in the day.

    There's a certain elegance to d20 + modifiers vs d20 + modifiers and determine results. No matter how you look at it, that's pretty simple game play and a lot of people are familiar with the type of modifiers that might come into play due to exposure. I don't have 3rd edition, just 2nd so I was going with that.

    @Runescryer said:

    @Lithium
    As i said, when you're ready for staff, let me know. I do like your world idea; sounds like a solid plan.

    I will be in touch when I get to grid building :)


  • Pitcrew

    Sounds awesome, one of my fav systems.


  • Coder

    I will play on an M&M 2 game if someone promises to make my character for me. I do not understand the system one whit. The basics are clear, but there are expectations of minmaxing that are not evident in the rulebook.

    I've also been reading too many web comics that subvert the superhero/hero trope, from "Superbitch" to "Cucumber Quest" to "Strong Female Protagonist". I find the power fantasy to be the least interesting part of someone with powers beyond mankind's ken which ... you know, maybe I shouldn't be allowed to play on a superhero game of any sort.


  • Banned

    @Thenomain said:

    I will play on an M&M 2 game if someone promises to make my character for me. I do not understand the system one whit. The basics are clear, but there are expectations of minmaxing that are not evident in the rulebook.

    I've also been reading too many web comics that subvert the superhero/hero trope, from "Superbitch" to "Cucumber Quest" to "Strong Female Protagonist". I find the power fantasy to be the least interesting part of someone with powers beyond mankind's ken which ... you know, maybe I shouldn't be allowed to play on a superhero game of any sort.

    You and I should both play on a Superhero game, since I don't really like superheroes. I'll make you a character if you wish. What race would you prefer him or her to be, and what gender?


  • Coder

    @Thenomain said:

    I will play on an M&M 2 game if someone promises to make my character for me. I do not understand the system one whit. The basics are clear, but there are expectations of minmaxing that are not evident in the rulebook.

    I've also been reading too many web comics that subvert the superhero/hero trope, from "Superbitch" to "Cucumber Quest" to "Strong Female Protagonist". I find the power fantasy to be the least interesting part of someone with powers beyond mankind's ken which ... you know, maybe I shouldn't be allowed to play on a superhero game of any sort.

    As to min maxing, I can see how it could be done but it's still limited by hard balance locks for the power level, and of course a GM willing to say 'No' can help a ton. That said, there is a lot of flexibility to it and so I am sure someone who really knows the system could game the heck out of it at the chargen level.

    Right now I am reading through the 3rd edition stuff to see if I like the changes or not and see which I prefer. 2nd edition seems to have a lot of different theme books, while third seems to have a lot of different power books.

    The problem wth added powers is it can be easy to have power creep so I will go through them with fine toothed comb. I am already yanking out time travel, dimensional travel, postcognition, and precognition because they are a royal pain in table top, and will be even more in a mux.


  • Coder

    @Lithium

    Let me correct for pedants. Instead of min-max, imagine I said "functional character who doesn't suck out of the box". M&M2 suffers the problem of most d20 games of too much going on. You need to be pretty dedicated to understanding the whole of the system before making some fairly basic choices. From what I can tell, this barrier to entry is higher than many other RPGs, and the need to see numeric and systematic interactions between powers, abilities, and tweaks is akin to min-maxing capabilities. Which I do not have.



  • I think the key to understanding M&M is understanding PL. It is, unfortunately, a min-max issue by default. If you want to be competitive at a given PL you need to have your offense in a certain area (to-hit + damage output = X) and your defense in a certain area (defense + toughness = X). While I love the system you can't just go in and make a character without balancing those two things. If you do you may not get what you think you're getting. It also means some characters come out with fairly wonky stats. The Joker, for instance, has a very high to hit rating for melee combat and it is rationalized as "Well, he needs to be a match for Batman in a fight..."

    For me it's a small thing, I still very much like the system, but it is a thing.


  • Pitcrew

    My advice for newbies in the system is to just get your defence, to hit, damage and toughness to equal PL that will make you effective, then use whatever points you have left over which is normally a fair number to add the color/flavor you are wanting for the pc.
    As far as barrier to entry it is likely a bit higher then the average rpg but on the lose side for superhero games.


  • Pitcrew

    I'm not against min maxing, if people develop the character beyond the sheet. The stats really don't effect the personality. Min Maxing in a game with combat as a focus is...just smart gaming. You want to do well and survive. But when that's your ONLY focus and you ignore the esoteric stuff, that's when it becomes a issue.



  • As I said, it's one of the crunchier systems out there.


  • Coder

    @ZombieGenesis said:

    I think the key to understanding M&M is understanding PL. It is, unfortunately, a min-max issue by default.

    Thanks, this was the point I was getting at. The game rules of MM2 touch on this lightly, "Set your PL as high as you can go, then go from there," but going from there is not straightforward.

    @DnvnQuinn said:

    Min Maxing in a game with combat as a focus is...just smart gaming.

    It rankled me when HelloRaptor said things like this. My contention--my very strong and deeply-rooted belief--is that if the game doesn't help you play it, it's a shitty game. If your table doesn't help you overcome the learning curve, they are shitty friends.

    MM2 requires you to be good at its brand of min-maxing before you've ever played the game. This is doubly true on Mushes, because the people around you aren't friends, and MM2's chargen system makes WoD Mage's magic system look like kindergarten math.

    Anecdotally, my MM2 character attempts end up with maybe two powers, while those around me have six or so and do more damage with a better chance to hit. How? I have no idea, because this form of min-maxing is not in my gamer's DNA. MM2 is, probably quite by accident, antagonistic toward anything but the d20 Feat-Based gamer mentality.


    The main, and almost only, reason I point this out is that every time people gush about how awesome M&M is, I want to scratch my eyes out crying tears of blood.


  • Banned

    @Thenomain said:

    It rankled me when HelloRaptor said things...

    Me too.


  • Coder

    @Thenomain said:

    @ZombieGenesis said:

    I think the key to understanding M&M is understanding PL. It is, unfortunately, a min-max issue by default.

    Thanks, this was the point I was getting at. The game rules of MM2 touch on this lightly, "Set your PL as high as you can go, then go from there," but going from there is not straightforward.

    @DnvnQuinn said:

    Min Maxing in a game with combat as a focus is...just smart gaming.

    It rankled me when HelloRaptor said things like this. My contention--my very strong and deeply-rooted belief--is that if the game doesn't help you play it, it's a shitty game. If your table doesn't help you overcome the learning curve, they are shitty friends.

    MM2 requires you to be good at its brand of min-maxing before you've ever played the game. This is doubly true on Mushes, because the people around you aren't friends, and MM2's chargen system makes WoD Mage's magic system look like kindergarten math.

    Anecdotally, my MM2 character attempts end up with maybe two powers, while those around me have six or so and do more damage with a better chance to hit. How? I have no idea, because this form of min-maxing is not in my gamer's DNA. MM2 is, probably quite by accident, antagonistic toward anything but the d20 Feat-Based gamer mentality.


    The main, and almost only, reason I point this out is that every time people gush about how awesome M&M is, I want to scratch my eyes out crying tears of blood.

    Ok I can see how that would be a relevant concern, but I still feel it is less of an issue than say someone going into a Hero System game without any understanding of how to make a character because then it'll be even worse.

    I do plan on putting archetypes into the game, think of them sort of as a pre-built character that can be customized to your hearts content in order for people to see what I want the majority of characters to be like.

    So you will be able to pick an archetype, say Brick/Tank and then customize the abilities via their SFX so that one brick might be made of steel, another might just be a superman type, another might be a regenerator who heals damage as it's done, etc.

    The chargen I am working on also gives advice on how to balance things to be effective, and hopefully other staff who do approvals (They better do this or they won't be approval staff for very long) will also work with people at all stages to help make functional characters.


  • Coder

    @Lithium
    This is true. It is less painful to go barefoot into the backyard of someone with twelve dogs with the runs than it is to go barefoot into a room covered with broken glass.


  • Coder

    @Thenomain said:

    @Lithium
    This is true. It is less painful to go barefoot into the backyard of someone with twelve dogs with the runs than it is to go barefoot into a room covered with broken glass.

    I'm not quite sure why you'd associate such analogies with this particular game system. Out of all the super hero game systems I've come across it's the easiest to understand other than pure consent... well no, that's not entirely true. The original Marvel SuperHeroes RPG that TSR made in the 80's was /super/ easy to understand but was based on random character creation which would mean luck, and only luck, got to determine how powerful your character was compared to everyone else.

    Try making an encounter balance where one guy can lift 75 tons, and the other has human max stats because the origin they rolled doesn't allow for anything high at all.

    There may be options I am not familiar with to be sure, I don't claim to know every super hero game system out there but out of the ones I do know, M&M seems to be the easiest to balance for an online game, and facilitate original character creation.

    Hero System is so crunchy it's a huge barrier for entry
    DC Hero System is chart dependent and more crunchy than M&M (Though I almost went with that instead of M&M until I read more on it)
    Sailor Moon RPG is based on the tri-stat system which, I dislike.
    GURPS is a nightmare of customization and will not balance, ever.
    Heroes Unlimited... Palladium. Nuff said.
    Wild Talents has a neat system, but one that is unique enough that people who know the system will destroy people who do no every time at the character creation stage.

    M&M at least I can put in some guide lines and limits on my end so that people cannot nerf themselves into oblivion. A key point for all super hero games is character creation and it's at that point I need to make sure the code and assistance is it's strongest so that everyone who comes through can reasonably contribute to most situations.

    Will I succeed? I don't know, but I aim to try.

    What system would you even consider trying for this particular Genre Theno? I am honestly curious.



  • I think the strength of M&M is once you get past the need to balance your PL the rest of the system is fairly easy. At least in comparison to some other systems. I obviously love M&M as my DC game uses it but as someone who coded what I think is about as simple a system as you're going to get...it can still be a monumental obstacle for new players to get through. At least if you want your system to provide an initial checks and balances for PL and point calculation and what not.

    If you make a game using the M&M system I think you need to be okay with the fact that you are likely going to draw only M&M players. I can kind of get around that with my DC game because all the FCs have their +sheets already made for them. Players simply pop on and claim a character. On an OC only game new players will have to learn the system (which can be daunting) and then figure out character generation (which can be equally as daunting).

    Despite all that I still love M&M and think it can be a great base for a MUX. It is for the reasons discussed above, however, that a group of people I'm working with have decided not to use M&M for their superhero game and instead are probably going to use a variation of ICONS/FASERIP.

    Anyway, those are my thoughts on M&M and games that might use them.



  • @Lithium
    There's a couple of other supers game systems out there.

    DC Universe: the last game from West End before they completely folded, it's the modified D6 system adapted for supeheroes. Not really sucessfully...

    Marvel Heroic Roleplaying: Margaret Weiss Production's recent entry. Has some interesting dice and narrative mechanics, but no chargen, as far as I remember.

    Cypher System: new universal game system from Monte Cook using the system from Numeria and The Strange. Simple dice mechanics,deceptively simple char gen (in a good way).

    Abberant: White Wolf's superhero game. Storyteller system and easy enough. My only real problem with it was the narrow 1-5 trait range.

    In the end, I agree with you that M&M is the best overall mixture of ease of play and complexity.



  • Another nice things about M&M is that you can use it for just about any power level and any genre. You can easily create six shooters for westerns, starships for SF, and Force powers for Star Wars. Off the top of my head, I can't think of any WoD powers that can't be duplicated using M&M so it could be used for that setting as well.

    It really is a good system once you get past the high learning curve.


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