Mutants & Masterminds

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Postby Nikchick » Sun Jan 27, 2002 12:18 pm

Maki wrote in the Upcoming Releases thread that he's interested in hearing more about Mutants & Masterminds.

I thought it might help if we had a separate thread where we could talk about some of the cool upcoming M&M stuff as it falls into place.

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Postby JoeGKushner » Sun Jan 27, 2002 12:30 pm

Well, let's start with the system.

Will it be more fantasy d20 or use some rules from the various Pulp/Shadow Chasers in the recent isuses of Polyhedron?
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Postby Nikchick » Sun Jan 27, 2002 12:46 pm

On 2002-01-27 12:30, JoeGKushner wrote:
Well, let's start with the system.

Will it be more fantasy d20 or use some rules from the various Pulp/Shadow Chasers in the recent isuses of Polyhedron?


It's not going to use the d20 Modern rules because those rules aren't part of the System Resource Document. What we're trying to do is take the existing d20 rules and optimize them for the superhero genre. Basically, reconfiguring from the ground up and trying to make it all work for supers.
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Postby MacBin » Sun Jan 27, 2002 10:34 pm

Will the book present only rules and an adventure or two - or will there be a "universe" supplied in which to game?
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Postby Steve Kenson » Mon Jan 28, 2002 6:42 am

On 2002-01-27 12:30, JoeGKushner wrote:
Well, let's start with the system.

Will it be more fantasy d20 or use some rules from the various Pulp/Shadow Chasers in the recent isuses of Polyhedron?


Well, neither, actually. I'm kind of stripping the d20 system down to its most basic mechanics (as found in the System Resources Document) and building them back up for use with superheroes. It's still in development but generally it will be a somewhat simpler system than D&D.

My rule of thumb thus far has been when it comes down to a conflict between making it more like D&D and making a as good a superhero game as it can be, I go with the latter.

Hopefully we can get previews up (maybe some sample characters and a short adventure with "lite" rules) once there's a finished draft.
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Postby Steve Kenson » Mon Jan 28, 2002 6:46 am

On 2002-01-27 22:34, MacBin wrote:
Will the book present only rules and an adventure or two - or will there be a "universe" supplied in which to game?


The game book probably won't contain setting material, apart from ideas on how to create you own superhero settings. However, there is a companion sourcebok in the works, currently titled "Freedom City," which provides a complete city setting for superhero campaigns, along with a complete world background and usable NPCs.
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Postby trancejeremy » Tue Jan 29, 2002 12:18 am

What sort of power level will it handle? I mean, Batman or Superman? And will it work okay with other d20 stuff (like say, regular D&D?)

When I was a little kid (about 20 years ago), my friends & I played the X-men in a fantasy setting/D&D game. Weird but fun.
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Postby Steve Kenson » Tue Jan 29, 2002 5:14 am

On 2002-01-29 00:18, trancejeremy wrote:
What sort of power level will it handle? I mean, Batman or Superman? And will it work okay with other d20 stuff (like say, regular D&D?)


The goal is for the game to handle as wide a range of power-levels as possible, although it will be difficult to fit the truly cosmic characters (like the Silver Age Superman) in as viable player characters. It should handle the modern Superman (or the version currently seen in the Justice League cartoon) just fine.

As for compatibility with other d20 stuff, that remains to be seen. I guess I would offer the question: how important is it that Mutants & Masterminds be usable for crossovers with D&D and other d20 products (like Star Wars, Deadlands d20, and so forth)?
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Postby Squirrel Nutkin » Sat Feb 02, 2002 1:47 pm

Need any playtesters? :wink:
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Postby Nikchick » Sat Feb 02, 2002 2:16 pm

On 2002-02-02 13:47, Squirrel Nutkin wrote:
Need any playtesters? :wink:


Absolutely! Contact Chris at GreenRonin@aol.com to get NDAs and so forth.

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Postby Maki » Sat Feb 02, 2002 7:43 pm

Sorry! Maki is back! :razz:

I´m specially interested in knowing about the power-creation system. I know Steve can´t talk about it in details and that we´ll have to buy the book to really find out about this. :smile:

And what about Classes? Is there going to be "Heroe Classes" or something like that? Or is it going to be something more customizable?

The core book will have mechanics and rules for supers RPGs. But is there going to be some material for GMs? Like guidelines on how to create and GM supers adventures/campaigns?

I´ll aks more later. :smile:
Thanks!
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Postby Vocenoctum » Sun Feb 03, 2002 10:11 am

They mentioned that the D20 modern rules would be OGL and that some companies would get advance versions so that supplement's would be available, any chance of that for Green Ronin?

Of course, whether a heroic game is better played as d20 modern or d20 fantasy, I don't know :smile:
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Postby Steve Kenson » Sun Feb 03, 2002 12:24 pm

On 2002-02-02 19:43, Maki wrote:
The core book will have mechanics and rules for supers RPGs. But is there going to be some material for GMs? Like guidelines on how to create and GM supers adventures/campaigns?

Yes, there will definitely be a Gamemastering chapter in the book with advice on creating adventures and campaigns and running the game in general.
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Postby Maki » Sun Feb 03, 2002 5:34 pm

On 2002-02-03 10:11, Vocenoctum wrote:
They mentioned that the D20 modern rules would be OGL and that some companies would get advance versions so that supplement's would be available, any chance of that for Green Ronin?

Of course, whether a heroic game is better played as d20 modern or d20 fantasy, I don't know :smile:


I think Steve have already answered this. :smile:

In another post he said that he´s getting the basic mechanics of OGL d20 and using it for building new mechanics specifically for Supers d20. And that it´ll end up being a more simple system than the D&D one.

It´s a good factor because if he was going to use the Fantasy or Modern set of rules as they are... why I would buy the Mutants & Masterminds core book? :razz:

So, I expect original, serious and dynamic mechanics for Supers in this line. :wink:
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Postby Maki » Mon Feb 04, 2002 7:55 pm

There´s also a discussion about the "Superheroes in d20" going on at the Monte Cook´s message boards:

http://pub58.ezboard.com/fokayyourturnf ... =1&stop=20
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Postby Cagliostro » Sat Feb 09, 2002 5:07 pm

---
"As for compatibility with other d20 stuff, that remains to be seen. I guess I would offer the question: how important is it that Mutants & Masterminds be usable for crossovers with D&D and other d20 products (like Star Wars, Deadlands d20, and so forth)?"
---

Personally, I think it would be an utter waste to have M&M incompatible with D&D. If D&D is, in fact, the base system whence this game will come, it seems one depletes one's resources if one cannot use D&D products out of the box with M&M.

Furthermore, if one can use it with D&D, comparisons become incredibly interesting--I mean, wouldn't YOU like to be able to figure out who was smarter, Batman or Elminster? Or who's the better swordsperson, Drizz't or Elektra?

Finally, D&D establishes a baseline that lends itself to quick assessment. Beginning D&D characters are heroic, but not exceptionally so. A beginning M&M character should be superheroic, but not exceptionally so. You know the power of a 1st-lvl fighter. You should be able to get a quick handle on the power of a 1st-lvl super.

I know that we're still awaiting a draft copy (my groups' NDAs are in the mail), but I have to know: Is the system based on character classes covering super archetypes or is it (IhopeIhopeIhope) based on "modern" classes and then a combination of templates, races, and prestige classes for acquiring super abilities?

I bring this up because I fear a system wherein one plays a Blaster, whose power is (surprise!) blasting things. I much rather play an accountant (or, more likely, adventurer, martial artist, soldier, etc.) who gains the ability to blast via his Radiation Exposure template, Alien race, or Supersoldier prestige class.

I'm just hoping characters are more customizable than core classes based on an arbitrary system of perceived comic book classes.

IhopeIhopeIhope.
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Postby dgnknight » Wed Feb 13, 2002 5:52 am

I few days ago a sent in a request for the NDC forms for playtesting. I have not yet heard any response yet. Are you still looking for playtesters? Is this a dead issue? I hope not. I am really looking foward to a d20 superhero system and would love to help bring it to reality.
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Postby Squirrel Nutkin » Wed Feb 20, 2002 12:07 pm

I'm with Cagliostro -- if M&M isn't compatible with D&D, then what's the point of using the d20 System in the first place?

I mean, there are plenty of systems out there that make good super-hero games. But I would expect that the big draw for M&M is that the GM can make use of his or her other d20 books and supplements. I know it's what got my attention anyway...
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Postby Sketchpad » Thu Feb 28, 2002 4:56 pm

Hmm...I dunno. I like the idea of certain rules being compadible, but why compare someone like, say, Green Arrow to Tanis Half-Elven? They're two completely different genres and should have little bearing on each other.
As for the system, will you be using Vitality Points/Wound Points? And do you think the powers will have an exhaustion point cost?

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Postby Steve Kenson » Thu Feb 28, 2002 7:10 pm

On 2002-02-28 16:56, Sketchpad wrote:
As for the system, will you be using Vitality Points/Wound Points? And do you think the powers will have an exhaustion point cost?


No Vitality Points/Wound Points (and probably no Hit Points, for that matter). I've got something a bit simpler in mind that reflects how damage tends to work for superheroes.

Powers won't have a Vitality Point cost like you see for Force Powers in Star Wars, partly because there aren't any Vitality Points and partly because normal use of their powers doesn't generally tire superheroes out. (There will, of course, be options for powers that cause the user to become fatigued as well as extra effort that gives you a power boost at the cost of becoming fatigued.)

(Now back to some first-draft editing, followed by a persusal of my new copy of "The Essential Dr. Strange". I LOVE those old "Strange Tales" stories!)
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Postby Squirrel Nutkin » Thu Feb 28, 2002 8:21 pm

On 2002-02-28 16:56, Sketchpad wrote:
They're two completely different genres and should have little bearing on each other.


Don't get me wrong, I don't mean 100% compatible -- but enough similarity to regular D20 rules that I can, say, flip through the MM and throw a mind flayer at the heroes without too much confusion would be nice. But then again I trust Steve to do a bang-up job no matter what he decides to do! I've been singin' his praises over at my ezboard for a long time now...
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Postby Steve Kenson » Fri Mar 01, 2002 7:07 am

On 2002-02-28 20:21, Squirrel Nutkin wrote:

Don't get me wrong, I don't mean 100% compatible -- but enough similarity to regular D20 rules that I can, say, flip through the MM and throw a mind flayer at the heroes without too much confusion would be nice.


I think I can promise at least that much compatibility. There will certainly be notes on using creatures and characters from other d20 products in Mutants & Masterminds just in case you want to have the heroes fight a dragon, use a mind flayer as a supervillain (or have them invade Earth, for that matter) or have Elminster drop by for a visit or something.

Some things will be handled differently, but a large part of the game will remain familiar to anyone who knows the d20 rules.
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Postby Cagliostro » Fri Mar 01, 2002 8:21 am

I struggle with the idea of a d20 system game without hp or VP/WPs. My dream would be something I can just drop into my D&D game and not have to worry about juggling new ideas.

Why have this high degree of compatibility, you ask? Because my players know D&D. If the d20 system is to become universal, it should be able to handle supers just fine--and if, when handling supers, a new ruleset comes in, then it's not universal.

"But who asked you?" Um, the designer did. Heck, I want to be able to do more than just an "Attack of the Mind Flayers" limited series (although that sounds quite cool). I want my PCs to have the option of being mind flayers--not because playing tentacle-faced brain-eating horror appeals to many of my players (which it would) but because that idea already exists within the ruleset.

There's a big difference between using a skeleton and adding stuff on it and just straight-up evolving. Few would bother with GURPS were it not for a solid generic ruleset. d20 should be the same and Mutants and Masterminds should help that along--enhance what has been published, innovate only when necessary.

Oh, and please don't give me some nonnumeric method of determining my current status in the game. Ugh. Most of the time these are just hp by another name. Call 'em what they are. :wink:

But, hey, I'm willing to give anything a shot. I anxiously await the game itself.
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Postby Steve Kenson » Fri Mar 01, 2002 11:19 am

On 2002-03-01 08:21, Cagliostro wrote:
There's a big difference between using a skeleton and adding stuff on it and just straight-up evolving. Few would bother with GURPS were it not for a solid generic ruleset. d20 should be the same and Mutants and Masterminds should help that along--enhance what has been published, innovate only when necessary.

I agree, it's the "when necessary" part that can be somewhat vague. What I consider a necessary innovation may not be so to some. I can only hope that folks enjoy the game on its own merits.
To be blunt, d20 was NOT really designed as a generic or universal ruleset like, say, GURPS. It is slowly evolving in that direction (via additions like d20 Modern), but there are currently no metasystems in the game that say (for example) "an Nth-level spell is equal to this super-power." Certain elements of existing d20 games (like D&D and Star Wars) are somewhat arbitrary or "judgment calls," such as the level of a new spell or the challenge rating of a particular creature. There are guidelines, but not hard and fast rules.
That said, my goal is to make Mutants & Masterminds as compatible with existing d20 material as possible, while also making it the best superhero RPG that it can be. If those two goals come into conflict, I favor making M&M a better superhero game than a better D&D supplement. There will be options for doing stuff like crossovers between your D&D and M&M characters, using other d20 books for source material, etc., but the game is meant to stand on its own.
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Postby Cagliostro » Fri Mar 01, 2002 4:51 pm

...But there are currently no metasystems in the game that say (for example) "an Nth-level spell is equal to this super-power." Certain elements of existing d20 games (like D&D and Star Wars) are somewhat arbitrary or "judgment calls," such as the level of a new spell or the challenge rating of a particular creature. There are guidelines, but not hard and fast rules.


You're right, of course. The d20 system isn't Champions, nor would I want it to be. One of the nice things--and major differences that can be exploited--is the lack of a metasystem. You own the Marvel Superheroes Ultimate Powers Book, right, Steve? No metasystem there, but the most complete book of powers ever published, many of which are nearly impossible with a metasystem with any balance. How do you balance Adam Warlock's soulgem, for instance? The same way you balance the wish spell. With other stuff just as cool--things that make time stop and meteor swarm the equal of the "do anything in the game" ability.

Just going by something as generic as invulnerability--figure stoneskin is pretty close. It takes a 7th-level wizard cast it, and reverse-engineer from there.

But you know all this, of course. My desire is merely to see the game be super-cool, and strong enough to stand on its own. But a supers game is tough going (just look at Abberent and Brave New World)--I want this one to sing, for everyone, not just the singleminded (and, arguably simple-minded) focus of the aforementioned games. To be able to have hundreds of foes at one's fingertips--i.e. my Monster Manual at least--gives Green Ronin a huge market edge.
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