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Mutants & Masterminds

Mutants & Masterminds Third Edition


Publisher Description

Since 2002, Mutants & Masterminds has earned its title as the World's Greatest Superhero RPG, inspiring countless game sessions and winning many awards for excellence. The Deluxe Hero's Handbook is the revised and expanded core rulebook of the game's Third Edition and it gives you everything you need to have your own super-heroic adventures:

  • A flexible and powerful system for creating the hero that you want to play.
  • A huge variety of super powers, skills, and advantages to choose from and customize.
  • A core system that emphasizes action and uses only a single 20-sided die.
  • Integrated rules for gadgets, vehicles, and headquarters.
  • Ready-to-play archetypes and a Quickstart Character Generator if you want to get to the action even faster.
  • Advice for Gamemasters on creating and running your own adventure series.
  • Introductions to Mutants & MasterMinds premier settings, Emerald City and Freedom City.
  • Two brand new adventures, Ghost Town by Seth Johnson and Time of the Apes by Christopher McGlothlin.

So what are you waiting for? Choose your powers. Put on your mask. Fight the forces of evil and... Save the world!


A Game for Super Heroes of Any Universe [ edit ]

Mutants and Masterminds was originally released back in 2002, when "D20 systems" (based on 3rd Edition Dungeons and Dragons, and it's innovative Open Gaming License) were extremely popular.  For legal reasons however, M&M chose not to market itself as an official "D20" product, but many aspects of it will be familiar to Dungeons and Dragons fans.

The game's current (third) edition was first released in 2010, as part of a DC Comics-specific game called DC Adventures.  A year later the more generic form of that system (perfect for Marvel fans) was released, and it's generally regarded by fans as an improvement over previous editions.

Mutants and Masterminds can perhaps best be described as a cross between Dungeons and Dragons, and GURPS. It utilizes a D20-based success mechanism, and has similar combat rules, attributes and saving throws to D&D.  However, character creation uses a point-buy system, and instead of hit points the game uses an injury state system.

Mutants & Masterminds, Mutants & Masterminds Third Edition - Rules SummaryCollapse

Character Creation [ edit ]

Character creation in Mutants and Masterminds begins with the selection of an "archetype" (similar to a "class" in Dungeons and Dragons), such as "Crimefighter" or "Gadgeteer".  However, these archetypes are quite different from D&D, in the sense that they're really just templates or pre-made starting characters, which the player can then customize.

This customization is possible because (like GURPS) M&M uses a point-based character creation system.  Like GURPS, the number of points available to a character will vary, depending on the power level of the campaign.  That power level also limits characters to certain maximums, ensuring that a "munchkin" gamer can't simply pour all of their points into a single (overpowered) attack.

Points can (of course) be spent to buy super powers, and the core M&M book offers a decent selection of such powers. especially if you're looking for comic staples.  However, some more "exotic" powers (which are available in GURPS) aren't included in the core book, so you'll need to pick up additional books (eg. Power Profiles) to get them.

In addition to powers players can also improve their attributes, and attributes work very similarly to those in D&D, except that they focus only on the bonus.  For instance, a fairly strong D&D character might have a Strength 16, with a bonus of +2, while the equivalent M&M character would instead just have a Strength of 2.

Finally, players can purchase advantages (which provide some benefit, similar to those in GURPS, or to Edges/Feats in Savage Worlds/D&D), skills (which work similarly to most RPGs) and finally complications.  Complications don't provide bonus points (the way disadvantages/hindrances do in GURPS/Savage Worlds); instead they provide your character with extra "hero points" whenever their complication impacts them in-game.​

Core Mechanics [ edit ]

As a D20 system, Mutants and Masterminds borrows many aspects from Dungeons and Dragons (3/3.5 edition) ... but there are also many differences.  For one thing, only a D20 is used: the d4, d6, etc. are not.

Another difference is that the combat rules have been simplified.  There are is no flanking, attacks of opportunity, etc. and initiative is rolled only once per combat.

Another key difference is that there are no hit points.  Instead, when a character takes a hit they make a saving throw.  Characters have the same three saving throw stats as in D&D 3E, but also have a fourth called toughness, which is used to save against most physical damage attacks.

If a character fails a save, they take one of four damage levels, ranging from being penalized to being unconscious, based on how badly they failed their saving throw roll.  This departure from D&D gives the game a much more comic book feel, as characters can shrug off countless blows, but then be knocked out by a single strong attack.

A Top Choice For Unofficial Marvel Fun [ edit ]

Aggregated Review Scores

SourceAverage Score# of ReviewsAs Of
Amazon4.7 / 53631/27/2022
Drive Thru RPG4.7 / 5321/27/2022
Good Reads3.76 / 5851/27/2022
RPG Geek7.82 / 10391/27/2022
Amazon4.7 / 53631/27/2022
Drive Thru RPG4.6 / 5401/27/2022
Good Reads4.35 / 5401/27/2022
RPG Geek8.3 / 10151/27/2022
Amazon4.8 / 51211/27/2022
Drive Thru RPG4.8 / 5231/27/2022
Good Reads4.13 / 5231/27/2022
RPG Geek7.83 / 10121/27/2022
Drive Thru RPG5 / 541/27/2022
Good Reads5 / 541/27/2022
RPG Geek8 / 1011/27/2022

Mutants and Masterminds, 3rd Edition, is one of the premier comic book RPG systems, and you can see as much from it's inclusion in the top 100 most popular RPGs on RPG Geek. Although it may have once started as a game for DC Comics, its rules are now generic enough to support a Marvel-based campaign just fine.

If you are looking for an RPG that will already be somewhat familiar (to fans of Dungeons and Dragons at least), but is specifically designed for superhero adventuring, Mutants and Masterminds is your best bet.