A while ago (November 2008, to be slightly more precise) I posted up a bunch of D&D-based Fantasy Archetypes for Mutants & Masterminds Second Edition. Now that the Third Edition has got its feet firmly under the table I think it’s time to do it again, don’t you?
To save some time and duplication of stuff, here’s the original posts o’ mine about using M&M for D&D, all from way back when.
- Why convert?
- Ten reasons why
- Mutants and Racial Templates
- Mutants and Dragons
- Converting Monsters
- Power Word:Superhero
For all the talk about 4e D&D being an exception-based system, in reality it is a thinly veiled effect-based engine. The vast majority of Powers are built using the same core building blocks of doing a certain amount of level-based damage and an additional effect such as:
- knocking the opponent prone
- ongoing damage
- affecting adjacent foes
- forced movement (pull, push, slide)
- create difficult terrain
- … etc.
These effects might last until the next turn, be sustainable, or require a save to end, depending on the level of the Power and the role-playing effect that the ability is aiming to simulate. The Powers which are an exception to this rule are few and far between, and even they tend to follow an internally consistent set of rules. The various Healing Powers for different classes, for example, all work in roughly the same manner – target spends an Healing Surge and gains additional hit points.
In contrast, Mutants & Masterminds is an explicitly effect-based system, and Third Edition even more so than Second Edition. Everything is built from a core set of building blocks which are fully priced out, weighed, measured and quantified. This means that M&M3e is far more consistent than its D&D4e cousin where Powers are measured only by warn fuzzy feelings and fingers in the air.
This in turn means that M&M doesn’t suffer from D&D Updatitis where Powers have to be revised, updated, nerfed or errata’d to oblivion because they are over-powered or abused due to an unexpected combination of Feats and situational bonuses. The price for any ability is calculated, right there. If it’s powerful, it’s expensive. Simple as that.
I like effect-based systems because they quantify the world in predictable ways. A spell might well be the called The Crimson Bands of Balhemoth which summons blood-soaked bandages from the Far Realm that wrap around your foes, but in game terms it’s an effect which Immobilizes opponents (save ends). Effect-based systems mean that similar effects are treated in a similar and consistent manner, and that lets me get on with the role-playing instead of having to look up Obscure and Contradictory Rule Number 3,125. That’s a good thing, right?
Anyhow. On to the Archetypes.
Here’s a Rogue, Fighter, Cleric and Wizard all built using Mutants & Masterminds Third Edition to Power Level 4 with 60 points. This puts them roughly on a par with a 1st level Third Edition D&D or Pathfinder character; if you want something closer to Fourth Edition gameplay, raise the Power Level to 6 & 90 points, and use the extra points to gain Powers, special abilities and the like. If there’s interest, I’ll show you how to do that next time.
Human Rogue, PL4 60p
STR 0, STA 1, AGL 3, DEX 3, FGT 3, INT 2, AWE 1, PRE 2
Dodge 4, Parry 4, Fort 1, Tough 4/1, Will 2, Init +7
Acrobatics +5, Close Combat: Dagger +6, Deception +6, Expertise: Streetwise +6, Perception +5, Persuasion +6, Ranged Combat: Crossbow +4, Sleight of Hand +7, Stealth +7
Accurate Attack, Connected, Daze (Deception), Defensive Roll 2, Evasion, Improved Aim, Improved Initiative, Power Attack, Seize Initiative, Uncanny Dodge, Equipment 2
Adventurer’s Kit, Thief’s Tools, Leather Armour
Dagger (+6 DC16), Crossbow (+4 DC18)
Notes: This is a solid all round Urban Rogue who wields a Dagger and Crossbow with equal skill. Note that there’s no Sneak Attack in M&M3e. Instead we use Power Attack to represent an attack to a vital spot – it’s less accurate (taking a penalty to hit) but does more damage (gain the penalty as a bonus on your damage, up to +/-5). The job of the Rogue is to get into a position where he gains a bonus to hit (hiding, using Improved Aim, flanking, etc) to mitigate that penalty, then hit hard and fast. If you want to customize him, consider swapping out Improved Aim for Set-up to aid your team members or juggling the skill points around to make a more acrobatic and athletic Rogue.
Dwarven Fighter, PL4 60p
STR 3, STA 2, AGL 1, DEX 1, FGT 1, INT 0, AWE 3, PRE 3
Dodge 3, Parry 3, Fort 5, Tough 5, Will 3, Init +1
Athletics +9, Expertise: Dungeoneering +4, Intimidation +7, Perception +7,
All-out Attack, Benefit (Member of Fighter’s Guild), Close Attack 1, Daze: Intimidation, Improved Critical 2 (Battleaxe), Improved Defense, Improved Disarm, Improved Trip, Interpose, Power Attack, Takedown 2, Teamwork, Ultimate Effort (Resist Knockback), Equipment 2
Enhanced Strength 1 (lifting only), Senses (Detect Minerals 2, Direction Sense, Distance Sense, Low-light Vision)
Adventurer;s Kit, Chainmail Armour, Medium Wooden Shield
Battleaxe (+2 DC21)
Notes: Here’s a fun one. This is a Rock Dwarf who can lift up to 800lds above his head! Add in the ability to detect minerals, direction sense and distance sense, and this is a kind of dwarf unlike any you’ll find in D&D. Why? Because I can, and that’s the joy of M&M. You are limited by your imagination, not that of some distant game designer. As ever, customize, tweak and redesign to suit.
Human Cleric, PL4 60p
STR 2, STA 1, AGL 0, DEX 0, FGT 0, INT 1, AWE 3, PRE 1
Dodge 3, Parry 4, Fort 4, Tough 4, Will 4, Init +0
Close Combat: Warhammer +3, Expertise: Religion +6, Insight +7, Perception +7, Persuasion +9
Benefit (Ordained Priest), Favoured Foe (Undead), Inspire, Ritualist, Teamwork, Equipment 2
- Turn Undead (Cone Area Ranged Damage 4, DC19, Limited:Undead only)
- AP: Healing 4
- AP: Light of Pelor (Dazzle 4, affects Sight, resisted by Will, DC14)
- AP: Bless Ground (Environment 3, Bless Crops, Impede Movement 1, Radius 120’)
Adventurer’s Kit, Chainmail Armour
Warhammer (+3 DC20)
Notes: This is a classic undead-bashing priest of Pelor with a handful of Alternative Powers which lets the Cleric heal, cast a dazzling light and bless the ground, causing crops to suddenly grow and tangle the ground. Add extra APs (only 1 point each! cheap!) for additional divine spells.
Elven Wizard, PL4 60p
STR 0, STA 0, AGL 2, DEX 2, FGT 0, INT 3, AWE 2, PRE 2
Dodge 4, Parry 2, Fort 2, Tough 1, Will 6, Init +2
Expertise: History +7, Expertise: Magic +11, Perception +8, Persuasion +4
Defensive Attack, Eidetic Memory, Minion 1 (Apprentice), Ritualist, Skill Mastery (Expertise: Magic), Ultimate Effort (Expertise: Magic), Equipment 1
Senses 1 (Low-Light Vision)
Fey Magic (limited: must be able to speak and move hands):
- Arcane Bolt (Blast, DC19)
- AP: Fairy Wings (Flight 2, 8mph)
- AP: Nature’s Tongue (Comprehend: Plants & Understand Animals)
- AP: Shield (Protection 4)
- AP: Summon Feyhounds (Summon 1, Multiple Minions: 2×15 point minions)
- AP: Tree Stride: Teleport 4 (500’, Medium: Trees)
Adventurer’s Kit, Spellbook, Leather Armour
Staff (+0 DC17)
Notes: And we end with a nature-themed Elven Wizard who uses such spells as Tree Stride, Fairy Wings and Summon Feyhounds to look as druidic as possible and still carry a spellbook. As ever, customise, add spells and modify as required.
Till next time!