Varsovian
 member, 1404 posts
Wed 1 Nov 2017
at 14:41
Tell me about Mutants & Masterminds 3E
For the last few years, I've ignored M&M 3E, as I believed that the Second Edition had everything I needed in a superhero game... But, maybe, it was a mistake?

So, I'd like to ask - what do you guys know about M&M 3E? Is it better than 2E? What are the changes? Also, is it more popular than 2E? What books are needed to play it - am I correct that the game has been split into the player's handbook and the GM's handbook?

Finally, are there, by chance, any plans for M&M 4E?
GreyGriffin
 member, 170 posts
 Portal Expat
 Game System Polyglot
Wed 1 Nov 2017
at 15:40
Tell me about Mutants & Masterminds 3E
I definitely like a lot of the streamlining that 3e did.  The new table for time, distance, and scale, once you get your head around it, is a great tool for supers style gameplay, letting you easily handle a lot of the common questions like "how far can I throw this" and "how long will it take me to get there?"

The tightening and streamlining of the skills is another plus, shaking off a lot of that d20 chaff and broadening skills out to be more generally useful.

There have also been changes in how some key exploitable mechanics work, like Impervious and Evasion.  They also have leveled out the effects of status-affecting powers, making them all work on the same core mechanic rather than having each one slightly different.

However, I am not a huge fan of the way they handle defenses (which are spread out among ranged and melee defenses), and their presentation of powers, especially afflict powers, is not very user-friendly.  It relies a lot on the player to build the fluff to make the leap from abstract mechanical effect to comic-book superpower, which is really offputting to a lot of players, in my experience.
Varsovian
 member, 1405 posts
Wed 1 Nov 2017
at 16:28
Tell me about Mutants & Masterminds 3E
Hm. So, is 3E a significant improvement over 2E, or is 2E still perfectly viable when compared to 3E?

BTW. Which books are necessary to play and GM - is the Player's Handbook enough, or is the GM's Handbook required, too?

This message was last edited by the user at 16:40, Wed 01 Nov.

jpetoh
 member, 360 posts
 As irrational
 as pi.
Wed 1 Nov 2017
at 21:08
Tell me about Mutants & Masterminds 3E
M&M 3e is a significant simplification and streamlining of the system, most notably replacing the character ability scores with just the associated bonus. They also moved away from the "crunchy" point-based system to a more general one.

One of the biggest observations I have about the switch from 2e to 3e is that ten years ago, 2e had a lot of supplements, a wonderful original universe with homages to the source material, a lot of great press, and there were dozens of 2e games here on RPOL. When 3e came out, things quieted down. While the designers scored getting the DC license, the significant "dumbing-down" of the system turned off those who were fans of 2e.

Honestly, if your introduction to M&M is 3e, it's still one of the best systems out there. And direct comparison between 2e & 3e depends on how much detail you're willing to tolerate.

Either way, few systems pass my football test. When I pick up a new superhero game, I use the rules-as-written to see how far a person of average strength can throw a football. If I remember correctly, M&M3e was 100 yds.
nauthiz
 member, 544 posts
Wed 1 Nov 2017
at 21:25
Tell me about Mutants & Masterminds 3E
The GM Guide is mostly advice about how to run games in the genre, and pre-generated enemies and such.  There's a very short section with some new/optional mechanics but for the most part if you're used to running super hero games, and you are comfortable enough with the system and have the time/desire to generate your own threats, it's not "necessary".

I'd almost second the "Power Profiles" book as a good second purchase just because it's mostly an expansion on powers with sections of "pre generated" powers grouped thematically, so if you need an ice using villain you can just flip to that section and grab a few.
Varsovian
 member, 1406 posts
Wed 1 Nov 2017
at 21:46
Tell me about Mutants & Masterminds 3E
Thanks for all of the advice, guys!

jpetoh:
M&M 3e is a significant simplification and streamlining of the system, most notably replacing the character ability scores with just the associated bonus. They also moved away from the "crunchy" point-based system to a more general one.


Could you expand on that, please? M&M 2E was crunchy, but you could build almost anything with that system. I've heard that it's not that easy with 3E?

This message was last edited by the user at 21:46, Wed 01 Nov.

jpetoh
 member, 362 posts
 As irrational
 as pi.
Wed 1 Nov 2017
at 22:11
Tell me about Mutants & Masterminds 3E
Correct. The best analogy I can think of is your superhero as dinner.

M&M2e was a recipe book that allowed you to cook up lots of different meals. You'll have to do ingredient prep and experimenting, but you'll eventually get what you wanted with high precision, whether tasty or an acquired taste.

M&M3e is more like a menu. You may have a specific dish in mind, but you're going to need to settle on the closest thing the kitchen can prepare.
Varsovian
 member, 1407 posts
Wed 1 Nov 2017
at 22:19
Tell me about Mutants & Masterminds 3E
Meh. Not sure I like that. On the other hand, nobody seems to be playing 2E these days :(

BTW. Do you know other good superhero RPGs out there?
nauthiz
 member, 545 posts
Thu 2 Nov 2017
at 02:19
Tell me about Mutants & Masterminds 3E
I think with Super Hero games, it's really entirely a matter of taste.

There's lots of games that work well, but they do it in their own specific ways.

I think the better question would be to state the design aspects of systems you enjoy, and ask if there are any systems tailored to the genre that would fit that.
Varsovian
 member, 1408 posts
Thu 2 Nov 2017
at 06:10
Tell me about Mutants & Masterminds 3E
Well, I like superhero games that allow for flexibility and detail when creating the character's powers. Also, games that aren't tied to a specific setting...
GreyGriffin
 member, 172 posts
 Portal Expat
 Game System Polyglot
Thu 2 Nov 2017
at 06:22
Re: Tell me about Mutants & Masterminds 3E
jpetoh:
Correct. The best analogy I can think of is your superhero as dinner.

M&M2e was a recipe book that allowed you to cook up lots of different meals. You'll have to do ingredient prep and experimenting, but you'll eventually get what you wanted with high precision, whether tasty or an acquired taste.

M&M3e is more like a menu. You may have a specific dish in mind, but you're going to need to settle on the closest thing the kitchen can prepare.


I think I disagree with this.  A lot of the stuff you can do in 2e is still around in 3e, but it's just sort of obfuscated behind the system's effects-based philosophy and limited space.  (There are a lot of thematics hiding inside the "Affliction" power, for example, which covers about a third of M&M 2's core powers.)

A lot of the mechanics that were actually removed (Sneak Attack, for instance, which about 90% of my characters had) were deliberately rolled into other mechanics (Power Attack, to attack an opponent's weak points rather than going for a haymaker, making a feint or sneak attack simply more likely to hit rather than a requirement.)

2e did have a lot more supplements and support, but relatively few of the supplements included actual novel mechanics, but rather presented examples of clever remixing and repurposing of powers.  All of which was enormously(!!!) helpful, but not strictly necessary.  3e, unfortunately, has less supplement support, so there's less help in that area.

I never once used Liberty City or any of the other M&M canon settings, so I can't comment on how awesome they are or aren't.
Jobe00
 member, 303 posts
 Role-Playing
 Game Mechanic
Thu 2 Nov 2017
at 14:11
Re: Tell me about Mutants & Masterminds 3E
My first thought upon seeing the Measurements Table in DC Adventures (which was just M&M3 with the DC license) was, "They ripped off the AP Benchmark chart from MEGS!"

MEGS is the Mayfair Exponential Game System which was the mechanics engine of the DC Heroes RPG by Mayfair games and later the Blood of Heroes RPG by Pulsar Games.

Then I checked the front of the DCA book and saw Ray Winninger credited as Additional Design. Ray Winninger was responsible for the Second and Third Edition of DC Heroes.

Essentially, M&M3 is the closest we'll have to MEGS with active support.

M&M3 has the same supplement support, but most of it are PDFs like the Gadget Guides, Power Profiles, and Threat Reports.

I highly recommend the 10th Anniversary Hero's Handbook for M&M.

M&M3 seems to take the best aspects of MEGS and the HERO System, the mechanics for Champions, and melds them into an excellent system.
Varsovian
 member, 1409 posts
Thu 2 Nov 2017
at 17:19
Re: Tell me about Mutants & Masterminds 3E
GreyGriffin:
I think I disagree with this.  A lot of the stuff you can do in 2e is still around in 3e, but it's just sort of obfuscated behind the system's effects-based philosophy and limited space.  (There are a lot of thematics hiding inside the "Affliction" power, for example, which covers about a third of M&M 2's core powers.)


Okay, could you explain what effect-based philosophy is? I wonder how that works, exactly.

Jobe00:
M&M3 seems to take the best aspects of MEGS and the HERO System, the mechanics for Champions, and melds them into an excellent system.


So, Jobe00, you think that 3E is worth of picking up? We played 2E together, do you think that 3E has the same potential for coming up with interesting character concepts?
GreyGriffin
 member, 173 posts
 Portal Expat
 Game System Polyglot
Thu 2 Nov 2017
at 17:43
Re: Tell me about Mutants & Masterminds 3E
Effects-based systems focus on the mechanical impact of powers rather than their narrative effect.  For instance, look at Snare, in M&M 2.  A Snare could be a lasso, a magical net, super-science glue, a mind controlling effect that convinces someone not to move, or even a wicked arm bar hold.

The effect is that your target stops moving.  The circumstances surrounding all of that are up to your imagination, although your descriptors can have minor perhipheral effects, and through Extras and Flaws you can flavor up your effect to be more appropriate to your descriptors.  The mechanics are simply focused on what effect your actions have, rather than trying to predict those actions and base effects on some kind of simulation.  (In the example above, grappling fighting styles, lasso proficiencies and feats, and a Magic Don't Move spell might all be approached by different angles based on how the game treats its simulation mechanics.)

These effects-based mechanics, rather than specific spell- or power- based mechanics are the core of M&M's narrative flexibility.  When you can repurpose Blast to any ranged attack, from hurling small rocks to summoning ethereal godfists from the sky, the limit is your imagination, rather than what supplement you own.

M&M 3 trusts the player to do a lot of that flavor and imagination legwork (for instance, translating Sneak Attack to Power Attack, or translating Afflict into a lasso).  While M&M 2 had a much broader array of examples, and some exceptions and repriced builds for more edge case powers, it operated under the same philosophy.  Most of the mechanics in M&M 2's supplements can be built or derived from mechanics established in the core books, they just do a lot of the legwork for you.

And most of the mechanics in M&M 2's powers are encapsulated in M&M 3, they're just wrapped a little tighter, and are thus a bit more difficult to unwind.

In essence, you have access to most of the same effects, you just have to find them again.

This message was last edited by the user at 17:46, Thu 02 Nov.

Jobe00
 member, 304 posts
 Role-Playing
 Game Mechanic
Thu 2 Nov 2017
at 22:05
Re: Tell me about Mutants & Masterminds 3E
The simplest description of effects-based philosophy is you decide on what you want to happen and the you build a power to create the effect you want.

Champions is also an effects-based system, so anyone that's played Champions for any amount of time will find this easy to deal with.

The Power Profiles PDFs can help a lot with this as well.

As for investing in M&M3, it's the best supers RPG on the market, and it refined M&M2.
Varsovian
 member, 1410 posts
Fri 3 Nov 2017
at 21:52
Re: Tell me about Mutants & Masterminds 3E
Okay, thanks!

I'll be buying this game, then :)
eternaldarkness
 member, 872 posts
 And the world shall fall
 into eternal darkness....
Wed 22 Nov 2017
at 02:30
Re: Tell me about Mutants & Masterminds 3E
Let me add my .02 and say that i definitely prefer 3E to 2E, though I don't mind 2E at all. I look past flavor to the actual effects of a power anyway, so removing the window dressing is easy in any case, and the crunchiness of 2E due to its D20 roots doesn't bother me much since i'm used to it, but 3E is definitely more efficient in that regard and quicker to build characters with, too. Not to mention way more streamlined.
minioch
 member, 171 posts
Thu 23 Nov 2017
at 23:49
Re: Tell me about Mutants & Masterminds 3E

You only need the Hero's Handbook. It does not take two separate books (such as the GM's Guide) to play or run the game as a GM. The GM's Guide is pretty much that: a bunch of guidelines for running an RPG that are useless to anyone who's been a GM longer than five minutes. There are a few optional rules in there, but it's certainly not anything that's NEEDED.

M&M3e (to me), is to M&M2e what D&D5e is to D&D3.5 -- I can't call it "rules lite," because it's not that at all, but everything is more streamlined and organized, and even with less "effects" as far as powers are concerned, I've never had any issues converting anything I ever made in 2e over to 3e.

Also, my players find 3e much easier to grasp, because there are only a few major rules that everyone needs to know:

Roll d20 + ability/skill/etc. modifiers vs DC

If there's a minor advantage or disadvantage to what the character is trying to do, it's a +2 or -2 modifier. If there's a major advantage or disadvantage, it's +5 or -5. No more of that "-2 per 10 feet" nonsense and what have you.

The numbers are much easier to deal with, and instead of the usual "fail by 5 or more, fail by 10 or more" results you get in 2e, they measure it in "degrees of success/failure," which is exactly the same thing with a different name, but failing at all is "one degree," failing by 5 or more is "two degrees," etc.

And someone above was dead-on. The Affliction effect covers a lot of the old effects you would find in 2e.

I also always felt like Skills in 2e were far too inexpensive for what they actually do. Four skill points per power point was ridiculous, whereas in 3e it's 2 skill points per power point, but the skills are made to be a bit more broad. A good example of this is "Vehicles," which covers everything from a boat to an airplane. Depending on the setting/campaign, though, myself and other people sometimes split this into "Pilot" and "Drive," or what have you, and some people go even further. But using Batman, Superman, and the Flash as an example--what does it really matter to the other two guys if Batman's "Vehicles" skill covers both the Batmobile and the Batboat?

Also, the tables, man. It's so awesome to be able to take 5 seconds to see how far someone can throw something, how fast they're flying, etc.

Impervious also got "fixed" so that a character with Impervious 10 doesn't have to roll when dealing with effects of rank 5 or less. It's half. So, using Superman as an example again, if I'm not mistaken his Toughness is 18, with 18 ranks of Impervious. In 2e that would be almost unplayable, but in 3e, it just means Superman doesn't have to roll against any damage effects of 9 or less.

This probably sounds like rambling, but it was totally stream of consciousness, so I hope it makes sense and/or helps.

I've been playing (and by playing, I mean GMing, because I've never PLAYED M&M at all) M&M since the first edition, and 3, 2, 1 is exactly the order I like them in. I absolutely loved 2e compared to 1e and it was very difficult for me to want to switch from 2e to 3e, and even after buying the 3e book, I bounced back and forth many times as to what I wanted to do with it.

All in all, I feel like 3e is easier to work with, I can build characters much faster, and as a GM, there's not nearly as much number crunching and miscellaneous stuff to keep up with, and I can focus much more on the characters and story.

I hope this helps!

P.S. To my knowledge, there are no plans for an M&M4e at this time. The "Basic Hero's Handbook" is being released in June of 2018, and is clearly marked as being for 3e, claiming to "streamline and clarify the flexible, robust third edition rules, with simplified character creation and a selection of ready-made adventures, the M&MBHH lets players jump right into the action. The book is fully compatible with Mutants & Masterminds third edition and supplements, instantly expanding your character options and adventure potential. Whether you're just getting started, or want an extra player-friendly reference at the table, the M&MBHH is the choice for your world-saving needs!"

This message was last edited by the user at 00:11, Fri 24 Nov.

tsukoyomi
 member, 91 posts
Tue 12 Dec 2017
at 19:55
Re: Tell me about Mutants & Masterminds 3E
Let's throw a couple cents here.

3E is no less crunchy than 2E, nor is it really 'simpler', what it is, is more streamlined.
Some of it is getting rid of d20 roots (ie: the grappling mechanics, the carry weight mechanics, sneak attack, switching from having a stat and a modifier to having the stat be the modifier, the changed time/value/whatever table) and switching to something less troublesome to work with.
Some of it is consolidating skills.
Some of it is a step further from what Ultimate Power did for 2E, ie: instead of having 'strike' and 'blast', you have 'damage', and just get the range extra if you want it ranged. Instead of snare, dazzle, and all those other status effect powers each with their own slightly different mechanic, you have Affliction, which lets you custom-build one.
There's also the change to the damage mechanics, instead of tracking lethal and nonlethal separately, it's just all in one, with powers like healing and regen being simplified.
Some of it is rebalances, like the changes to impervious, changing save or dies for graded results (failing is generally not too bad, but failing for 5 or more tends to suck a lot)

Now, I'm not 100% happy with all the changes, tho to be fair for most of them, I wasn't happy with the 2e alternative either. An example is impervious: it was waaay too good, but now it is mostly worthless.


Splatbooks:
Book-wise, you only need the hero's handbook. The others are 'nice' as advice, as stuff to plug into your game to speed up your campaign creation or just to get your creative juices flowing, but by no means necessary.

Beyond the main book, most of the 2e's books were fluff and advice on how to run campaigns with X flavor, a lot of characters you could just import and refluff into your game, and sometimes with some clever ideas of how to build things with the existing tools. The fluff is 100% usable with 3E, the character examples are buildable, if not likely to fall within the same PP. The clever uses is a mixed bag, some you can use, some are already implemented, some are no longer valid or even useful.

The exceptions to this were the GM manual and Ultimate Power, the former had a whole lot of alternate rules, and the later did some serious work on the powers. 3E's GM manual has some alternate rules and stuff, but a whole lot less, and it doesn't need Ultimate Power because the manual already went full tilt on that direction.

Since it did go full tilt in that direction, it's a little harder at first to translate your fluff idea into a mechanical power when it diverts from the basics. This is where Power Profiles comes in, lots of premade powers, suggestions and thematic advice, categorized by power themes (animal, cold, fire, armor...).

The 3E version of Gadget Guides deserves a honorable mention. Much, much better than it's 2E counterpart, it's organized like the Power Profiles book, it also has slightly tweaked rules for inventing, and some seriously sweet work on expanding the rituals ruleset to allow for more concepts. Can you say Wuxia meditation magic?

Thread Reports, and it's DC counterpart, Heroes and Villains, are just character profile after character profile. Useful, but not necessary.

All the Emerald City stuff is just more on the Freedom City setting, just in a neighboring city.

Neither Cosmic Handbook nor Supernatural Handbook have 2e counterparts. Both are like the bulk of the 2e books like <whatever> Age, Mecha & Manga or Hero High: lots of fluff, advice on how to set the tone, little optional adjustments to the rules or extra ones, and a bunch of pre-made examples of things. Cosmic treats with everything space, Supernatural, oddly enough, is not a Book of Magic counterpart, it's not regular comic book style magic. Instead, it's horror and mystery, stuff in the style of Lovecraft, Silent Hill, the old-style horror movies or maybe Constantine.

Other than those two, there's revised versions of Hero High and Wild Cards, and there's DC Universe, which is basically Worlds of Freedom but for DC. Haven't checked out Watchguards.


Teh SRD
Lastly, and this is quite the reason to switch to 3e, is that there's an official and free SRD:
http://www.d20herosrd.com/
It has most of the Hero's Handbook sans some setting-specific fluff and some stuff renamed (hero points renamed victory points), it even has a few chapters from Gadget Guides. More than enough for most players, which seriously widens your available candidates for games.

This message was last edited by the user at 19:57, Yesterday.