Saturday, March 26, 2011

Reaching For The Tormented Minds Of The Mutant Masters

Hey everyone and welcome to another installment of the Dispatch!

Our superhero game just wrapped up this week so for this one we are going to have a quick review of Mutants and Masterminds First Edition. Sure the Third Edition just came out but I'm just a little slow here, geez! Plus we are going to start digging back into Song of Blades with a little home brew I am working on that is inspired by Malifaux. So without further ado, let's get to it!

A Quick Review Of Mutants And Masterminds First Edition

This week saw the end of our three story M&M mini campaign and man was it a blast! The story that my friend Pat managed to weave together was a fun one and the system really supported his own very open GMing style. The system itself acts as a framework that lets you piece together virtually whatever superhero your mind can imagine. By using a point buy system for the whole process it really lets you shape your character into exactly what you are looking for, not to mention its easy to throw in little tweaks to the system as well.

My own character for our session, the Citizen, is a prime example of the flexibility of the rules. When I first created him I only had a very vague character concept and no idea how the system worked. Once the first session was done I realized that he really didn't fit my own expectations but because character generation uses a point buy system I was able to easily shuffle some stats around without starting over from scratch. In fact I was even able to justify the changes that were happening through the story as slight modifications that were being done to my armor between each session which I thought was a great.

The skill system is virtually the same as what you find in 3.5 or 4.0 which is another point in its favor given how common those are nowadays. On the other hand the combat system is a little different as it used opposed rolls to figure out what happens instead of just having you roll over you armor class, reflex, or what have you. I think this really strengthens the comic book feel of the game by adding a dynamic element to the combats.

Another thing that Pat did which really gave the whole story a very dynamic quality was greatly increasing the experience rewards at the end of each session. The rulebook recommends just one or two points per session but Pat blew this out of the water by increasing it to a whopping ten points! This might see somewhat over the top to some people but given the short nature of the story arcs he was running I think that it worked perfectly and really let the characters grow with the story.

Now the only question is why even look at the first edition when there are two more editions out there. We went with it because it is Pat's preferred choice. Second edition seems to drastically increase the powers of the PCs by reducing the point cost for virtually everything. This is not necessarily a bad thing but it does change the feel of the game and since Pat was the one running it I was happy to go with what he put on the table. Not to mention the fact that I was able to get my own hardcover copy of the rules for less than $10 which is always a good thing IMO.

All in all, I really enjoyed the game. The rules gave the game the over-the-top feel that most comics have and were incredibly flexible. I don't think that the system would translate very well into other genres but if you are looking to get into some superhero action I definitely recommend giving Mutants And Masterminds a try!

Welcome To Song Of Torments Reach

Way back in ancient times (meaning sometime last year...) I restarted this blog with an article about Malifaux. Well, flash forward to the present and I still haven't played a game of Malifaux yet but I still love the setting and the miniatures.

More recently I heard about Song Of Blades and Heroes and picked it up along with several expansions. The game is quick to learn, fast to play, and incredibly versatile though there were parts of it (such as the magic system) that really didn't do anything for me. This changed once ShadowSea was released as they really fleshed out many aspects of the game including magic.

It was shortly after getting ShadowSea and using its rules for my own generic fantasy setting that it occurred to me to try using them for Malifaux. Both settings involve magic working side by side with more technical things like firearms and constructs so I dug in to see what I could do.

For the most part there was little that really needed to be switched. In fact, there were only a handful of special abilities that just didn't sound like they would fit into Malifaux so it was easy enough to drop those out. On the other hand, there are a few abilities that are common place in Malifaux that ShadowSea didn't have so I had to take some creative license. Two prime examples of this are the gunfighter ability which lets a model use its pistols in close combat and the rapid fire ability which lets a model shoot twice in it turn. Overall I think I have things more or less balanced out but time will tell.

The Parting Shot...

That's all for now but be sure to come back again! On the role playing front we are about to start a Pathfinder game while I'm planning on getting some more posted on Torments Reach on the miniatures side, with run downs of some of the crews I've assembled along with a battle report or two. I've also almost finished listening to the whole back catalog of Happy Jacks RPG Podcast (yes they really are that good) so I'll stick my ear to the interwebs to see what other noise I can find to talk about. If you have any comments or questions feel free to leave them here on the blog or you can email me at SinCitySnowman@gmail.com. Until next time...

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