Character Development: Mutants & Masterminds 3rd Edition

Today’s game is the third incarnation of Mutants & Masterminds from Green Ronin. Mutants & Masterminds is a super-hero role-playing game that permits you to take on the persona of a super-powered being fighting for truth, justice, and the American way (or whatever you want to fight for)! The first step to building a Mutants & Masterminds character is a concept. If you just go in willy-nilly, you’ll quickly lose your focus because there are so many options, so take a few minutes to consider the type of character that you want to play first.

The great thing about Mutants & Masterminds is that you can play literally any character that you can imagine. The system is so versatile that I’ve used it for fantasy, post-apocalyptic settings, and for super-heroics, and I suspect that it will work equally well for space-based campaigns. After all, what are spells and psionics if not super-powers with a different name?

For those who can’t find a copy in your local stores, Mutants & Masterminds 3rd Edition is available through the Green Ronin storefront or through Amazon.

So, let’s talk character. I’m envisioning something a bit different. I thought about doing an all-American Superperson, but I think that I’m going to try something a little more complex. I am envisioning a fallen angel of vengeance, complete with flaming sword! He fights against evil but isn’t afraid to kill to make a point.

Let’s start with stats. There are eight stats in Mutants & Masterminds 3rd edition. Strength, which is a measure of sheer muscle power and your ability to use it. Stamina is health, resilience, and overall physical endurance. Agility is balance, grace, speed, and overall physical coordination, while Dexterity measures hand-eye coordination, precision, and manual dexterity. Fighting measures the character’s ability in close-combat. Intellect covers reasoning ability and learning. Awareness is common-sense and intuition, and Presence is force of personality, persuasiveness, leadership ability, and to a lesser degree, attractiveness.

I imagine that a fallen angel would have decent strength and stamina, so I’ll set those at 3 each. A score of 3 is a bit above human average (0), so that’s pretty good, but still within human limits. As a Power Level 10 hero (which is the default), I have 150 points to play with, and every 2 points put into attributes buys one rank, so I have spent 12 points already. Agility and Dexterity are going to be 2 each, Fighting should be pretty good, and I can go as high as 10 without exceeding my PL cap, so 10 it is. Intellect I will leave at human average, but an angel needs good Awareness and Presence, so I’ll set those at 4 each. I have 94 points left to spend.

Now I’ll turn my attention to advantages. I think I’ll take Assessment, which lets the GM make a secret Insight check for me to determine an opponent’s capabilities as compared to mine. Diehard lets me automatically stabilize when dying, which fits my concept as a difficult-to-kill divine being. I’ll also take one level of Improved Initiative and that’s it for now. I can always revisit if I need to. Each advantage costs 1 point, so I have 91 remaining.

Turning to skills, every point put into skills increases a skill by 2 ranks, and skills in Mutants & Masterminds are very broad. I’ll add 3 points to Intimidation to boost it to +10 (6 ranks). I’m also putting 3 points into Athletics, bringing that up to a +9. That should suffice for skills, so we’ll move on to powers, the meat of the build, and we have 85 points remaining to play with.

Okay, first, I know that he is a fallen angel, so he’ll need wings. That’s easy. We select the Flight power and boost it up a little until we reach the level we want. Each level of flight costs 2 points, and level 6 grants flight at 120 mph. But… that’s for flight with no visible means of support. To set up winged flight, we select the Wings limitation, which reduces our cost by -1 per level, so instead of costing 12 points, our wings only cost 6! For flavor, let’s give this power the name Angelic Wings, (as opposed to the generic Flight).

For his sword, we’ll make a Device, which can be equipped or unequipped. A sword is a Strength-based Damage device, so we’ll start with that. I don’t envision the damage as being too excessive, so I’ll make it Strength plus 4 ranks, which makes the save DC 22. As it is a divine weapon, I’m going to give it two ranks of the Affect Incorporeal extra. This will permit it to have full effect on incorporeal as well as corporeal targets. This raises the cost by a flat 2 points. No problem, we can afford it. I also want the sword to be more dangerous, because of its edge. To accomplish this, I’ll add the Improved Critical advantage to the weapon. This means that it scores a critical on a 19 or 20. Finally, we need to simulate the fact that it is flaming. The easiest way to do this is to add Energy Aura to the Device. I’ll add it at level 5, which due to the Reaction extra that comes with that ability, is 20 points.

The cost of the weapon is 27, but since it is removable, I get a -1/5 points, mitigating it to 22 points. Just for giggles, I’m making the weapon indestructible, which is another +1 to the total, which brings us to 23 points for the sword. That leaves us with 56 points to spend.

I did say that this was an immortal, divine being. Let’s reflect that with some Immunities. Immunity to Aging, Life Support (which provides immunity to poison, disease, environmental effects, suffocation, starvation, and thirst) and sleep costs a total of 12 points.

I’m also adding the Immortality power at level 5 (10 points), which allows him to return to life 1 day after gaining the dead condition. With 34 points left, I think that I will use the remaining to balance out saving throws and defenses.

I’ll spend 8 points to boost Defense to 10, and Parry is already a 10. Punching Fortitude and Will up to 10 costs a total of 13 points, but Toughness is still lower than I would like (3). Since we can’t boost Toughness directly, we’ll need to add another power; Protection. By adding 7 points of Protection, I boost Toughness to 10. That leaves me with 6 points to spend.

Looking over Advantages again, I feel like an Angel should know Latin, so I’ll give him Latin for 1 point. As drawing a weapon is normally a move action, I’ll make it a free action by adding the Quick Draw advantage, so he can get his sword out quickly. And just because, let’s give him Power Attack, which permits him to sacrifice some of his chance to hit to add damage to the blow. For one more point, I’ll add Favored Environment, which gives him an advantage in his favored environment (air). With only two points remaining, I’ll boost Perception by 4 and that will almost finish him up.

According to the rules, I must have two complications. For him, I think I’ll go with Honor and Motivation. Honor represents his personal code of honor in that he will never take undue advantage of an opponent (no sneak attacks, hitting someone who is down, etc.) and Motivation is justice. He fights for justice and what is right, defending the innocent.

Other than details like hair and eyes, height, weight, and costume, he’s done. I’ll give him shoulder-length blonde hair, tied back in a ponytail, blue eyes, and he will stand 6 feet tall and weight 185 lbs. His costume is a black bodysuit with white boots and a flaming sword on the front. Here is how his stat block looks:

Unnamed Hero – PL 10
Strength 3, Stamina 3, Agility 2, Dexterity 2, Fighting 10, Intellect 0, Awareness 4, Presence 4

Assessment, Diehard, Favored Environment: Aerial, Improved Critical: Flaming Sword, Improved Initiative, Languages 1, Power Attack, Quick Draw

Athletics 6 (+9), Intimidation 6 (+10), Perception 4 (+8)

Angelic Wings: Flight 6 (Speed: 120 miles/hour, 1800 feet/round; Wings)
Flaming Sword (Removable (indestructible))
Damage: Strength-based Damage 4 (DC 22, Advantages: Improved Critical; Affects Insubstantial 2: full rank)
Flaming Aura: Damage 5 (DC 20; Reaction 3: reaction)
Immortality: Immortality 5 (Return after 1 day)
Immunity: Immunity 12 (Aging, Life Support, Sleep)
Protection: Protection 7 (+7 Toughness)

Initiative +6
Damage: Strength-based Damage 4, +10 (DC 22)
Flaming Aura: Damage 5, +10 (DC 20)
Grab, +10 (DC Spec 13)
Throw, +2 (DC 18)
Unarmed, +10 (DC 18)

Motivation: Justice

English, Latin

Dodge 10, Parry 10, Fortitude 10, Toughness 10, Will 10

Power Points
Abilities 56 + Powers 58 + Advantages 7 + Skills 8 (16 ranks) + Defenses 21 = 150

Hero Lab and the Hero Lab logo are Registered Trademarks of LWD Technology, Inc. Free download at Mutants & Masterminds, Third Edition is ©2010-2017 Green Ronin Publishing, LLC. All rights reserved.

Which brings me to my final point. If you’re going to be doing a lot of Mutants & Masterminds, you might seriously want to invest in Hero Lab, a software character generator from Lone Wolf Development. It makes the process sooo much easier and will help keep track of errors, points spent, and everything else.

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