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Mutants & Masterminds Hero's Handbook $17.95
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".

[5 of 5 Stars!]
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Mutants & Masterminds Hero's Handbook
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