Ultimate X Men

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Ultimate X Men

Postby Scorpio Rising » Fri Feb 21, 2003 12:19 pm

Hi there all. I'm brand new to this board and I'm cross-posting this from RPGNet where everyone is too busy arguing about the manga art in Exalted to talk about, y'know, this stuff....

Anyhow. Apologies, as this probably duplicates back-history to some extent. But here's what I'm dealing with just now....

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Here comes another one from the desperately peddling hamsters inside my head:

So some friends here in Ithaca are trying to put together a once-a-month con where each week we'll play a self-contained one-shot of a different game. Rotating GM's and play groups. The idea is to let gamers meet each other and experience new systems, and also to let us rabid GM's scratch the itch caused by buying hundreds of new games based on reading rave reviews of them here on RPGNet.

For the kickoff con I have decided to run a game of Mutants & Masterminds. Since it's supposed to be a one-shot I decided to make it Ultimate X-Men. That way, players can just pick their favourite X-Man, we'll have a "fight in the Danger Room" to shake down the system and make sure everyone knows what they've got and what they can do, and then Professor X will summon them urgently to the Plot. In principle, it should be a winner.

I'm posting this thread here because I'm still trying to get my head round the M&M rules. I already read the book, but this has been First Contact with character construction and it's already raised a few issues. So here are some points that have come up and which I want to raise:


* Power level: I started statting the X-Men at PL10. Most of them fit under there okay, but some of them have been a little snug. Typically, of course, it's the women who have all the powers and both Storm and Rogue chafed quite a bit in fitting into 150 points. Do you think I would be unbalancing the characters if I slid them up to PL12? So far there's not been any character with a surfeit of points. Also, how strongly do you feel I should keep the power levels homogeneous among the characters? Is it okay if some are PL10 and some are PL13 or will this skew my game?
* Wolverine, a side note: Logan will be an NPC in this game for the same reason that Joe in Reservoir Dogs didn't let anyone be Mr Black. This allows me to go ahead an make him a little higher in PL, which covers his metric buttload of Feats, Skills etc.
* BAB and Defence: A standard PL10 character who maxes his BAB and Defence bases is spending 50 of his 150 points right there. In making these characters I have yet to give anyone a +10 to either of these scores. As a guideline, I put Cyclops at BAB +6 and Colossus at BAB +3. Wolvie probably merits a +8, IMO. But then I looked at the sample PC's in the book and it seemed they had more homogeneity. Whaddaya think?
* Stats: Pawsplay raised this before in another thread. The weird thing with M&M is that it doesn't make sense (in terms of points economy) to take levels of a super-stat before you've maxxed the regular stat to 20. But this can make all of the characters a little bland. What I've thought of doing is to allow characters to take "stat boosts" as Extras on certain powers, hence Peter took STR 18 and a STR Boost +2 (2 points base cost) as an Extra on his Super-STR. As an Extra, I just shave 1 single point of the entire cost of the stat increase. This means that if his powers get cancelled he goes back to his regular STR of 18, while Rogue, say, goes back to her regular STR of 14.
* Setting: I am titling this Ultimate X Men so as to make it clear that it's my view on the X-Universe. Sort of a cross between the movie and Morrisson's current work on New X-Men . I want the school for mutants with hundreds of students and the X-Men as combined faculty and asskicking crew. I'm also going for the low-spandex look. So which X-Men would you focus on? Which villains? What would be a good focus for a one-shot story with about 5 hours of play in it?
* My favourite X-Men period was the Claremont/JR Jr run at the end of the '80's: Rachel, Hellfire Club, Nimrod, "Who said that?", the Marauders, Project:Wideawake, Wraithkill . The X-Men are out of costume, the drama is more focussed and the reality is a little darker. Also, I find good-guy Magneto a much more compelling character than evil-buckethead-Magneto. What material would you suggest I focus on? What elements from the setting are worth salvaging and what needs the ditch?
* For the record, I stopped reading the X-books after Claremont left and only got back in to neWXMen and X-Statix with the recent crop of writers. I really don't dig Mark Millar's work on Ultimate X-Men much, although I do like his take on The Ultimates.
* Does anyone know of any good web resources for either the X-Men in general or X-Men M&M stylee? I thought I remembered some guy with a link to his X-Men M&M stats in his sig from a while back, but I can't track him down.



Okay. That's enough for now. To me my X-Gamers!

- Scorpio rubbing his bald head.
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Postby Ian Noble » Fri Feb 21, 2003 12:33 pm

I just answered this over in your post on rpg.net. Go to www.valdier.com and check out his X-Men writeups.

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Postby Scorpio Rising » Fri Feb 21, 2003 12:40 pm

Thanks, Ian. I guess when I came here I didn't expect to see so many RPGNet regulars. That's a nice bonus.

- Scorpio happy now.
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Re: Ultimate X Men

Postby RogueWriter » Fri Feb 21, 2003 12:43 pm

Scorpio Rising wrote:Hi there all. I'm brand new to this board and I'm cross-posting this from RPGNet where everyone is too busy arguing about the manga art in Exalted to talk about, y'know, this stuff....


Just for the record, I like the manga art in Exalted... :wink:

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Postby Scorpio Rising » Fri Feb 21, 2003 2:36 pm

Oh no. I've spread the contagion.

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Postby RogueWriter » Fri Feb 21, 2003 2:48 pm

:green:

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Postby The Fifth Wanderer » Fri Feb 21, 2003 3:41 pm

Hey, I like Exalted too! :green:
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Postby Scorpio Rising » Fri Feb 21, 2003 3:42 pm

Dammit, will somebody please talk about X-Men? I've watched this thread sink like a titanium dolphin on two forums. Surely someone out there has something interesting to say about the ole' angstridden mutants with the funky blue uniforms?

- Scorpio perplexed by the lack of mutant lovin'.

EDIT: Removed spurious tag.
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Postby Strand0 » Fri Feb 21, 2003 5:35 pm

I read the first three issuses (their were on sale in a bunch), didn't like'em. The character changes weree to drastic, OR didn't matter. :x
You might try doing a search, I know we've had Topic on the U-X-MEN and the other U-titles before.
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Postby RogueWriter » Fri Feb 21, 2003 5:52 pm

Scorpio Rising wrote:Dammit, will somebody please talk about X-Men?


Okay.....

Which?

X-Men?
Ultimate X-Men?
Uncanny X-Men?
X-Men: Evolution?
ad nauseum...
:D

I read the first collected volume of Ultimate X-Men. I haven't purchased any of the other volumes. I quit reading "Unhappy Angst-Men" a long time ago. Why? I couldn't stand Scott Summers. THE Unhappy Angst-Man himself. Lead roles in soap operas have a more stable life than that boy. In Ultimate, there is no period where Scott is cool, it's straight to angst.... :cry:

At least in the movie Scott doesn't whine.... :-?

Things have changed in the X-universe since I quit reading it. I realize this. But, in my opinion, the best creative minds at AEG and White Wolf together couldn't put together a more angst-ridden and convoluted setting than the X-books. Some of that goes a long way, I OD'd on it. There are a lot of X-fans, and I think that's great. I'm just not one of them.

<sets shields to maximum>

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Postby Strand0 » Fri Feb 21, 2003 6:15 pm

RogueWriter wrote:
Scorpio Rising wrote:Dammit, will somebody please talk about X-Men?
Okay.....

Which?

X-Men?
Ultimate X-Men?
Uncanny X-Men?
X-Men: Evolution?
ad nauseum...
:D
Okay. How about ...
Ultimate X Men
It is the title of the Topic.
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Postby RogueWriter » Fri Feb 21, 2003 6:21 pm

Strand0 wrote:Okay. How about ...
Ultimate X Men
It is the title of the Topic.


<checks shield reinforcement>

I was trying a little sarcasm there... Yknow? :yar:

Plus, I did discuss Ultimate in my post....

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Postby Strand0 » Fri Feb 21, 2003 6:25 pm

RogueWriter wrote:I was trying a little sarcasm there... Yknow? :yar:
D'ho! :green:
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Re: Ultimate X Men

Postby tsadkiel » Fri Feb 21, 2003 6:26 pm

Scorpio Rising wrote: * My favourite X-Men period was the Claremont/JR Jr run at the end of the '80's: Rachel, Hellfire Club, Nimrod, "Who said that?", the Marauders, Project:Wideawake, Wraithkill . The X-Men are out of costume, the drama is more focussed and the reality is a little darker. Also, I find good-guy Magneto a much more compelling character than evil-buckethead-Magneto. What material would you suggest I focus on? What elements from the setting are worth salvaging and what needs the ditch?


If I ever run anything in the Marvel Universe, I think I'll use the old MSH Advanced Set as the cut off point - the characters would be as they appear in the Advanced set writeups, and I'd ignore any and all continuity from after that point. (That was the time that I was really reading comics, and also my first exposure to superhero rp'ing.) I'd also set the game explicitly in the eighties, but that may be a sad attempt to recapture my faded youth.
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Re: Ultimate X Men

Postby RogueWriter » Fri Feb 21, 2003 6:37 pm

tsadkiel wrote:If I ever run anything in the Marvel Universe, I think I'll use the old MSH Advanced Set as the cut off point - the characters would be as they appear in the Advanced set writeups, and I'd ignore any and all continuity from after that point. (That was the time that I was really reading comics, and also my first exposure to superhero rp'ing.) I'd also set the game explicitly in the eighties, but that may be a sad attempt to recapture my faded youth.


You mean you wouldn't run the Avengers in that most coveted of time-frames... Post-Onslaught but Pre-Heroes Reborn??? :o

Say it isn't so!!! :D

For what its worth, in my opinion, current Marvel continuity is about as reliable as DC pre-crisis.... And that definitely includes the X-books. They've always had the priviledge of ignoring continuity, and it's spreading....

One of my favorite examples, although this was several years ago, Firelord, former herald of Galactus, someone who could go one-on-one, toe to toe with Thor (Even with the Warriors Three), gets his butt kicked by Spider-Man. I haven't read a Spider-Man story since. (Okay, I did read Ultimate Spider-Man. But only after I was told there were no heralds of Galactus being Spider-slapped.) :)

Marvel, in my opinion, needs their editorial staff to enforce continuity, and not let certain authors play with historical precedents at will...

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Re: Ultimate X Men

Postby Blackhawk » Fri Feb 21, 2003 8:08 pm

RogueWriter wrote:One of my favorite examples, although this was several years ago, Firelord, former herald of Galactus, someone who could go one-on-one, toe to toe with Thor (Even with the Warriors Three), gets his butt kicked by Spider-Man. I haven't read a Spider-Man story since. (Okay, I did read Ultimate Spider-Man. But only after I was told there were no heralds of Galactus being Spider-slapped.) :)

Marvel, in my opinion, needs their editorial staff to enforce continuity, and not let certain authors play with historical precedents at will...


Hey! I actually liked that story! I think it showed what Spider-Man is truly capable of achieving. :D

If you look at it in M&M terms, Spider-Man used every trick in the book to beat Firelord. He used Heroic Surge, Rapid Strike, Power Attack, and every Hero Point he had.

Of course, that's not to say that Marvel isn't a continuity nightmare. Let's see, Cable had a cybernetic arm and then later it became techno-organic. That doesn't even go into all the mini-series they would run that would have no effect on continuity whatsoever. Or... or... well, there's just too much to list. :roll:


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<Set phasers to unreachable itch.> :wink:


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Re: Ultimate X Men

Postby RogueWriter » Fri Feb 21, 2003 8:35 pm

Blackhawk wrote:Hey! I actually liked that story! I think it showed what Spider-Man is truly capable of achieving. :D

If you look at it in M&M terms, Spider-Man used every trick in the book to beat Firelord. He used Heroic Surge, Rapid Strike, Power Attack, and every Hero Point he had.


<Engineering... Full power to the shields.>


<Set phasers to unreachable itch.> :wink:


<Set photons to sarcasm> :green:

It may have been a good story. I just thought it went too far. In my opinion, if the story had been written with Spidey keeping Firelord contained, keeping him distracted until the heavyweight Avengers could get there, I would have been able to buy it. But this is like Super Marvin taking out Green Lantern (Hal Jordan) in a toe-to-toe fight. :D

And that just isn't going to happen, folks. Spider-Man beat Firelord with his popularity, in my opinion, not within any stretch of credulous continuity considering his powers.

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Postby JayAZO » Fri Feb 21, 2003 8:36 pm

I know this is an Xman post but Spidey is not great super hero that's why he is so popular. He can get his Butt kicked by the Rhino but survived to win the Day. Firelord is a Herald of Galactus. He is in no way in Firelords zip code

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Re: Ultimate X Men

Postby Blackhawk » Fri Feb 21, 2003 9:02 pm

RogueWriter wrote:It may have been a good story. I just thought it went too far. In my opinion, if the story had been written with Spidey keeping Firelord contained, keeping him distracted until the heavyweight Avengers could get there, I would have been able to buy it. But this is like Super Marvin taking out Green Lantern (Hal Jordan) in a toe-to-toe fight. :D

And that just isn't going to happen, folks. Spider-Man beat Firelord with his popularity, in my opinion, not within any stretch of credulous continuity considering his powers.


Eh, not my opinion. That's cool though.

Firelord may be tough, but Galactus doesn't increase reflexes for squat. Firelord simply couldn't touch him. Spidey bounced around him as fast as he could and hit him with everything he had. Sure Spidey couldn't take him out with one punch, but he kept him stunned and just never stopped hitting him. He knew that if he let up, he'd be toast. Heck, in his mind, all he was doing was distracting Firelord till the Avengers or FF arrived. He was just as surprised as anyone that Firelord was unconscious when the Avengers arrived.

The thing about Spider-Man is that 99% of the time, he's the one that's distracted, either by "real life" or innocents or something. When he's focused, he's unbeatable. (Or when he has access to the Captain Universe powers. :wink: )

And I'd really compare it to Zan of the Wonder Twins taking out Hal Jordan/Green Lantern. Impossible? HA! Just wait until Zan says, "Form of... yellow snow!" :wink:


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Mutants... really!

Postby Blackhawk » Fri Feb 21, 2003 9:35 pm

Okay, I felt bad hijacking this thread with a non-mutant. :oops:

Here's the problem I foresee running X-Men according to your vision.

It's your vision.

Bear with me. You can tell your players all you want that you're making changes from the X-Men "continuity" (HA!), but if they see Wolverine, Cyclops, Professor X, etc., then they're going to see X-Men, and they're going to see the X-Men they know. Eventually, you will have a point where your separate visions don't mesh. ("How could you not use this when you used that?")

What I recommend is shaking up their vision of the X-Men from the get go. Take away some of the "comfort" factors of the X-Men and make it truly your own alternative universe. And the easiest way I can think to do this... change the names.

Look under the Mirror Universe thread. There is an alternative universe version of the X-Men there. Go with some of those code-names. Psight for Cyclops, perhaps Icarus for Angel, and so on. Instead of the X-Men, you could go with Magneto founding the school (if you like the "heroic" Magneto), and the team is called Magnum Force. Or if you want to go with a more "mutant" name, the Next Wave.

The nice thing about this is that in addition to making your universe separate from any, ahem... X-pectations your players have, they also have the freedom to alter the characters personalities. Make Scott Summers a bit of a hothead (he sees red, ha!), Robert Drake (Frost)always keeps his cool, Icarus is the team genius now, and Hank McCoy (Animal) is a beer drinking, skirt chasing, well... animal. :wink:

Anyway, in short, keep the parts of the house you like, just repaint the exterior, so the players are looking for the differences, not the similarities.


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Postby Strand0 » Fri Feb 21, 2003 11:09 pm

Strand0 wrote:
RogueWriter wrote:
Scorpio Rising wrote:Dammit, will somebody please talk about X-Men?
Okay.....

Which?

X-Men?
Ultimate X-Men?
Uncanny X-Men?
X-Men: Evolution?
ad nauseum...
:D
Okay. How about ...
Ultimate X Men
It is the title of the Topic.
U X-MEN? :oops:
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Postby tetsujin28 » Sat Feb 22, 2003 1:06 am

Strand0 wrote:I read the first three issuses (their were on sale in a bunch), didn't like'em. The character changes weree to drastic, OR didn't matter. :x
You might try doing a search, I know we've had Topic on the U-X-MEN and the other U-titles before.

I have to agree -- I found them just too full of post-modern angst and needless destruction (which is odd, 'cause there didn't seem to be any actual action going on). I feel the same way about Morrison's run on X-Men. Oh, well, I can always go back and read pre-175 issues...
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Postby VooDoo Dolly » Sat Feb 22, 2003 7:41 am

Ahhh Ultimate X-men in the ultimate universe...

I love the Ultimate Univers and ran a game set in it a bit back..

I set it up so that Charley started a new team that he would work with that would be a group of adult mutants (Like night school) that are working for the same goals as the x-men and would be seen as a separate Entity. That way if something politically bad were to happen to the X-men, the second team could still carry on his (chucks) dream (Not putting all of chucks Egg's in one basket.

The game started with the characters defending the UN in NY from a sentinel attack controlled by magneto (In the Comic he re-programmed a bunch of them and sent them to attack DC, I figure a terrorist Like Mags would have sent a few to screw with the UN as well)

When the Characters arrived on the scene, they found a mob of mutants being gunned down by teams of Shield troops. (Mutants are always considered armed and dangerous pre-Nick furry... and one of the reasons the Ultimates were formed was to protect humanity from mutant terrorists like Magneto and the Brother hood)

They had some other adventures, and went the own way from Chuck when He and the X-men were Kidnapped by Project "Weapon X"

(Had a nifty one were a battered Wolvie tracked them down to help him find the brotherhood to back him up when they sprung the x-guys)

Any who, If you read the Ultimate comics, you find there are LOTS of areas were a separate team could interact in the universe with out breaking the ultimate universe continuity...


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Postby Strand0 » Sat Feb 22, 2003 9:53 am

VooDoo Dolly wrote:I set it up so that Charley started a new team that he would work with that would be a group of adult mutants (Like night school) that are working for the same goals as the x-men and would be seen as a separate Entity.
Wow. I didn't know the Ultimate X-Men had any goals.... I guess I missed it. Or maybe they didn't mention it in the first three issues. :|

VD-D I like your idea. Night School :)
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Postby Moridin » Sat Feb 22, 2003 10:27 am

Well, you don't necessarily have to go so far as to make drastic changes to do a parallel world. I run into the same problem as you. I love the X-Men, but I don't care for some of the stuff before and after my "golden years" of the book. For example, My favorite run was from when they started X-Men #1 until the Age o Apocalypse ended. There's some stuff before that that I liked, and some stuff after, but for the most part I just liked thos years.

So here's what I do: I let my players know that they are in an alternate world and not to expect too much to be the same. I told them to consider the X-Men to have been founded and had some adventures, but not to consider anything extraordinary to have happened since that time. No adventures with the Shi'ar, heck, not even a Phoenix Saga. Days of Future Past happened, but more along the lines of what happened in the cartoon series than the comics. Apocalypse still turns Angel into Archangel, Bishop still comes back in time from a devastated future, and Cable still comes back from a far far future fighting Apocalypse. Basically, this allows me to keep a lot of the coolest villains -- Magneto, Apocalypse, Sinister, Sentinels -- around without a whole bunch of muckety muck continuity. No Onslaught, none of these "new" X-Men. Magneto is still up on Asteroid M being a villain, Exodus is still hanging with him, and the Acolytes make great recurring villains.

So, set certain ground rules. Say, "Here's what happened in my X-Universe" and let it go at that.

Or, run Age of Apocalypse. I've been dying to run that one.
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