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Mutants & Masterminds Hero's Handbook $17.50
Average Rating:4.7 / 5
Ratings Reviews Total
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Mutants & Masterminds Hero\'s Handbook
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Mutants & Masterminds Hero's Handbook
Publisher: Green Ronin
by Sean H. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 04/17/2011 15:52:06
The latest incarnation of Mutants and Masterminds is an evolution of the system, building on previous successes. If you like superheroes and variants of the D20 system, this is almost certainly the game for you. While the changes from the previous edition (and the core OGL) are noticeable, if you have played M&M before, you will have no problem picking it up. I have no complaints and think it is the best version of the game so far.

Mutants and Masterminds (3rd Edition): Heroes Handbook is a 233-page PDF (230-pages if you remove the cover and OGL) with writing and design by Steve Kenson and published by Green Ronin Publishing.

The layout is taken directly from the print version with a 2-column layout. The (many) tables are clear and interior is packed with impressive full color art. It is a great looking book, no doubt about it. The table of contents is very complete and there is an index as well, so finding what you are looking for should be easy.

3rd edition builds on the lessons of the previous versions of Mutants and Masterminds, combining flexibility and simplicity. Using the OGL as its basis for the rules, anyone who has played a D20 system game will have a basic understanding of the system though several parts of the game have been renamed from the base OGL (eight statistics rather than six, advantages rather than feats) and it uses a damage save mechanic.

The character creation system is point based and divided into power levels that provide a cap on, well, how powerful characters can be. This cap is applied to offense and defense, balancing off ability to hit with ability to inflict damage and ability to avoid attack with the ability to resist damage. The system is designed to minimize the danger of characters being maximized for combat effectiveness alone.

To help get players into the system there is an extensive chapter on character creation that talks about motivation, origin and other important things for the superheroic genre. Additionally, fifteen prebuilt archetypes (from crime fighter to martial artist, energy controller to mimic) are included as examples as what can be built or to just take and run with. Two example characters (The Rook - crime fighter and The Princess - powerhouse) are uses to show how character creation works.

Much of the book (about 60 pages or nearly 90 if you include gadgets and gear as well) is devoted to Powers, which are often the core of being a superhero, and ways to modify them. The power system is very flexible allowing a great deal of flexibility and customization in design of powers. It does not allow the same level of fine-graining as, say, Champions does but it is enough to build most characters and their powers.

The rules system is complete and clearly explained, though it might be a challenge to pick up for someone entirely new to roleplaying games. The Gamesmastering section is short but direct providing some good advice and ideas. Unfortunately while there are statistics for variety of basic NPCs (thugs, agents, animals) there are no sample villains or introductory scenario, both of which would be useful for new gamers.

Disclosure: As a featured reviewer for RPGNow/DriveThroughRPG, I received my copy of this product for free from the publisher for the purpose of this review.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Mutants & Masterminds Hero's Handbook
Publisher: Green Ronin
by Gary W. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/17/2011 11:23:11
Character creation in this game is a headache. I understand what they were trying to do with the Power Effect thing, but in practice it is vague and confusing and complicated to get the powers you want. A simple list of powers, each with its options for customization, would have been better. "Damage" is too vague. Give me "Razor Claws". Why make players scratch their heads as to which Effects to put together to build a simple power like Invulnerability? The Power Level limits turn chargen into arithmetic homework.

MnM 3e is hampered by confusing mechanics, unclear explanations, and complicated chargen.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Mutants & Masterminds Hero's Handbook
Publisher: Green Ronin
by Ronald W. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/07/2011 09:06:10
I really like the 3rd edition of M&M. If you already own the DC Adventures book you will already be familiar with what this book has to offer. The system is very straightforward and everything is easy on the eyes. You can't go wrong with M&M.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Mutants & Masterminds Hero's Handbook
Publisher: Green Ronin
by NB N. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 01/24/2011 19:12:57
I’m going to try and keep this one short. I haven’t had a chance to run a game yet, but I have played it a few times. The updated version is great though I can’t say how much has changed. I had a pregen when I played and a GM explaining the rules. The best part is the rules are pretty straightforward if you have ever played a d20-based game. You create characters using a point buy system to purchase attributes, skills, advantage, and powers. Calculate some defense scores and other standard RPG stats and you are pretty much ready to go. The book provides A TON of character archetypes to use and modify, lots of powers, advantages, regular and super powered equipment, and of course superpowers. The mechanics will be very familiar to experienced gamers and very easy to teach to new players (again just roll them up a pregen or give them one of the example characters in the manual). There are typical sections on creating adventures and series (i.e. campaigns) and other GMing advice.

Yeah, it’s your standard core rulebook, but I have to say it’s one of the best for superhero games. It seems fairly balanced and overall the book is laid out very nicely. Also, it’s GORGEOUS. The art is amazing and features tons of the standard superhero archetypes throughout from grimacing, gritty types to bouncy Barbies who can punch through a brick wall. I dig this book for sure.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Mutants & Masterminds Hero's Handbook
Publisher: Green Ronin
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 12/29/2010 09:35:00
M&M 3rd Edition first off looks a lot like the DC Adventures RPG also from Green Ronin out earlier this year.

What are the big changes from 2nd Edition? Well GR is moving more and more away from the d20 3.0 standards and more into True20 land. That is the Abilities (and there are now 8 of them) are the pluses. So instead of Strength 18 (+4) like you see in other d20 games, M&M3 just uses Strength 4. Easy enough and a logical extension of their line of thought with True20.

I mentioned there are 8 abilities now; Strength, Agility, Dexterity, Stamina, Intellect, Awareness, Presence and Fighting. Agility and Fighting are the big new ones. Agility had been part of Dexterity and does some of the things Dex used to do. Agility relates more to "bodily dexterity" and dexterity is more like "hand-eye coordination". Fighting is now the close combat ability. Now while I rather see this more of a skill than an ability, this is a comic book world and it works here. There are "close combat" and "ranged combat" skills as well. So Fighting I suppose is more of a natural aptitude towards combat.

Skills are given greater coverage and are streamlined from the d20 3.0 base, but not quite as streamlined as say D&D 4. They are closer to Cinematic Unisystem in nature really. Skills are still linked to a specific ability like d20, but are also now detailed on what sort of action they are, move, standard or free. Much more detail is given for skills and how to use them in a variety of situations.

Feats have become more Unisystem/GURPS like and renamed Advantages. They are ranked and used very much like a Advantage or Quality would be used in another game. I can see the next evolution of True20 doing something like this too since they are organized in a similar manner to True20's powers.

Powers come next. Powers are similar to Advantages, but have a much greater effect on various game systems. An Advantage might boost a skill or change an aspect of combat. Powers go above an beyond that. In general the Powers are much more detailed than earlier editions. There are a lot of Extras and Flaws to add to Powers for a lot of customization. Gadgets and Gear are separated from Powers in this edition.

Damage is handled differently in this game. The Damage Track is gone replaced by a very Marvel Superheroes looking chart. The results are basically No Effect, some penalty all the way up to incapacitated. It is simple enough to use. I am of two minds on this. First, while I never really warmed to the damage track in M&M/True20 it was easy to use and innovative. The damage chart here is also very, very easy to use as well and works on similar principles. The chart has some Old School "feng shui" about it without it being an "endless chart".

Green Ronin has always produced top notch products. This one is no exception. I didn't notice much in the way of recycled text from earlier editions or even from DCA, but it very well could be there. I would be surprised if there wasn't really; I only really noticed one or two bits of recycled art and that was from their Magic book and Powers book for 2nd Ed. There were few other bits here and there and there might have been others, but if I didn't notice it that is the same as it not being there right?

All in all this looks like a great game and it might even be superior to M&M 2nd ed aka "The World's Greatest Superhero Game".

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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