Friday, November 9, 2012

DM's Dilemna - Mutants, Masterminds, and Editions

Home Front Supers news:

  • The Apprentices are still interested in ICONS and M&M. They probably aren't going to get more into Champions without a solid character builder and at the moment I don't have one. Plus the simplicity of ICONS and the d20 touchpoint of M&M make them an easier transition from our other games.
  • The main group may be open to a one-off supers session to try some things out. Right now I'm leaning towards Marvel Heroic as it lends itself pretty easily to a hand-out-the-character-sheets-and-go approach and that's what this needs to be for now. Plus most of the player know a fair number of Marvel characters, from the movies at the very least. ICONS might work down the road for some more one-offs but for right now I think Civil War will be our starting point and we will see where it goes. 
 That's most of the plan for the short term. In the medium term, I've paused my Champions obsession for a moment to contemplate actually running a sustained M&M game. Setting? Opposition? System?

Yes, system. In reviewing my M&M stuff I realized that as much as I like the 3rd Edition I have a ton of material for 2nd edition, as I was building up my 2E book collection right before 3E was announced. The obvious answer is "CONVERT" but that does take some extra work. While I think 3E improved a lot of the game in numerous ways I didn't think 2E was bad. I have multiple rulebooks, adventures, and a whole lot of Freedom City that I could use as-is, without having to do any extra prep other than the normal things I would do to run a game anyway.

For 3E I have multiple rulebooks, the Threat Reports and Power Profiles for support, and the Emerald City adventures among others. So there's plenty to work with there. I just like some of the older stuff and not having to convert it makes it very attractive to this somewhat time-crunched  DM.

I've become very attached to the idea of running Time of Crisis and Time of Vengeance for a group which would tie them in to the whole Freedom City setting and open up some options there for some of the other supporting material that I have. All of that is written for 2E.

I also like the Emerald City arc once it gets going and that's written for 3E.

So, could I run two arcs at the same time, say one in 2E with the grown-ups in Freedom City and one with the Apprentices in 3E with Emerald City? Assuming we had the time to do both, I would still be worried about confusing myself with slightly different system mechanics, so I'm not sure that's even a good idea. Our Pathfinder experimentation showed me that can pop up when running two similar systems back to back but I wouldn't let that stop me from trying.

Just to complicate things there's some talk about revisiting Freedom City in 3E next year - probably late next year going by Green Ronin's recent scheduling - which would set up a transition from 2E to 3e very nicely if I could work everything in over the next year and the Freedom City campaign players wanted to update the mechanics.

All of this also ignores my potential homebrew settings and adventures - I can probably use either edition for those. It's really just a question of published material.

So I suppose it's not a terrible problem to have but it's the one that's been on my mind this week. Considering that both of my 4E D&D campaigns are being converted from older material I think I can say that I like doing that for my games, I'm just not sure I want to take it on for another game.

Comments are welcome as always, especially if you've tried running multiple similar games simultaneously, or if you've spent extensive time with both editions.


John Reyst said...

For M&M 3E there is also, an SRD (online rules reference) site for the M&M 3E game that includes all of the Open Game Content portions of the game (virtually all of it.) If you see any issues with the site let me know ( and I'll get right on it!


Blacksteel said...

Oh I have that one bookmarked. Access to the rules is not so much of a problem (partly thanks to the site), it's more of a supporting material problem

Barking Alien said...

Converting from 2E to 3E isn't all that hard, even less so if you're like me and prefer the spirit of the law to the letter of it.

That said,, the Mutants & Mastermind Forum, has a lot of conversions and character write ups for 3E for older M&M editions, Marvel, DC and stuff from a host of other places.

I would go 3E but that's me. I do love that game and I've loved every version of M&M.

Matt Celis said...

3E didn't impress me as an improvement, I'd stick with 2E. Sorting out conditions was nigh-incomprehensible to me, as was finding the page that explains what happens when you punch someone. In a superhero game.