Sunday, June 6, 2010

The Welshman (Mutants & Masterminds)

God, I hate skill systems.

But my readers have already heard me bitch about that. We won't bother going into that again right now. Nor any of the other standard D20 issues.

This is more of a general rant about superhero RPGs in general.

For my money, any superhero game should be able to model a fairly wide range of superheroes and villains, some that are personal favorites, others that are simply archetypal to the point that they should be there. Batman and Robin, for example...I ain't a fan of the dynamic duo. But someone might want to play their equivalent. And most any superhero universe (any one I'm running) should have a rampaging force of nature like the Incredible Hulk.

AND...there should be a fairly decent chance of the former dynamic duo finding a way to stop the latter atomic age monster.

In no particular order of importance, here's what I want to see in a game (in addition to the folks already mentioned):

1. Daredevil and Electra
2. Luke Cage, Iron Fist, and Misty Knight
3. Iron Man and War Machine
4. Captain America and Falcon
5. Bucky Barnes/Winter Soldier
6. Thor
7. Green Arrow and Green Lantern
8. Ozmandius and Rorschach
9. Wolverine and Spiderman
10. Swamp Thing
11. The Fantastic Four
12. Armor, Silver Streak, and Megalith (The Revengers)
13. Dr. Doom and Dr. Strange

Silver Surfer (the one comic book I actually bothered to collect as a kid) I generally give a "pass," as anyone imbued with the Power Cosmic is a little too "all powerful" for a superhero team. On the other hand, Superman and other alien "godlings" should be possible, albeit with kryptonite achilles heels (or the equivalent).

Unfortunately, even Marvel Superheroes has trouble with some of their own characters. Any game where Galactus can stomp Aunt May and she's still breathing is a bit outside my ability to suspend belief.

It's a tricky bit of does one create a wide range of power levels with appropriate degrees of disparity while still allowing the light-weight characters to compete with the heavies? In comics, this happens frequently...because the writers are telling stories, not rolling dice and working within systems. But you'd think there's a way to manage it.

I made my first M&M character last night...something I'd been putting off all weekend. Here he is, without further ado:

The Welshman

Str 14, Dex 20, Int 14, Wis 14, Con 14, Cha 18
Base Attack Bonus +6, Base Defense +6
Skills (un-modified ranks): Acrobatics 5, Balance 5, Bluff 5, Climb 5, Craft (fletcher) 5, Escape Artist 2, Hide 8, Intimidate 2, Jump 2, Move Silently 8, Spot 8, Survival 2
Feats: Point Blank Shot, Far Shot, Precise Shot, Rapid Shot, Infamy, Track
Powers: Weapon (bow, ranged) +9
Power Stunts: Dual damage (hunting or target arrows), Stun (flash arrow), Snare (pinning arrow), Fatigue (tranq arrow)

"That doesn't seem like much of a stat block, JB...what's the beef with D20 again?" The beef is that it took me a couple hours to point-buy the character, even without doing all the additional calculations, AND with plenty of skimping (in hindsight, I should probably have given him a few ranks of gadgetry to model crazy-ass arrows, instead of just taking power stunts, for example).

Still, "Green Arrow" (at least the Longbow Hunter version) seems to be quite doable with Mutants & Masterminds. I'll have to run a quick combat using the D20 system to see how it works.


  1. With all due respect, if you're going after LONGBOW HUNTER-era Ollie (which is, in my opinion, the BEST Ollie), then you don't need any Gadgetry levels, because he never messed with crazy-ass arrows then. When I started to buy graphic novels, to replace the comics I had sold, the FIRST one I bought was LONGBOW HUNTERS. 8)

  2. If you ARE going for wild archery, may I suggest using The Black Bowman by Joshua Dunlow, as a guide over on the Atomic Think Tank Forums dedicated to M&M?

    That build is not by me, but from someone that I rather like their style of pulling the definition of a concept out of the M&M rules.

    If M&M might scratch your itch, but is a tad too complex, I would also point you to a conversion of it to Microlite20 - called Microlite20 Costumes by Andrew Domino.

    Just trying to help out. I can't seem to get links to work in a comment, but Googling these should get you there rather quickly.


  3. @ Badger King: I know, I know! But I figured "snare" would be like pinning an opponent's sleeve or something...and then it was a slippery slope into gadgetry. Totally agree it's the best he hangs in MY hometown (Seattle).

    @ Bane: Thanks for the help...I have yet to check out Microlite20 for anything...I'll be sure to look at Mr. Domino's ML20 Costumes.

  4. Marvel Super Heroes had a HUGE problem with character balance, especially if you are rolling random characters. You can wind up with a low-power, street level hero teamed up with a cosmic powered hero...guess who's getting all the action?