M&M 3E Discussion: Power Levels
ZombieGenesis last edited by
So I've run various incarnations of Mutants and Masterminds since the first edition of the game (Sovereign City for both first and second edition and Empire Bay for third) and the one thing that always seems to be a pain is figuring out what makes for acceptable power levels. This discussion came up again recently so I decided to discuss it here.
Note, this isn't a discussion about how viable M&M is for a superhero game (on or off a MUX) just about what constitutes acceptable power levels for games that do or would use M&M.
The span of a few power levels can have a huge impact on how well characters can mesh in M&M. For me, and most of the people I play with, we've found that more than a 2 PL gap leads to big problems. We either play PL 8 to 10 or PL 10 to 12. The last time I had Empire Bay open to the public I allowed PLs from 8 to 12. Some people loved it and some people hated it (to the point of just not playing on the game).
So what would be acceptable? Just saying "This is a PL 10 game, that's it end of story"? Or allowing characters from any rank up to 10 with the understanding that no character will ever advance beyond PL 10? Or is allowing up to PL 12 acceptable?
Also, how strictly should PL be enforced? Should a player be required to meet the Offense and Defense caps of a PL? Or should a character be allowed to come in at Offense Power Level 9 and have a max Defense Power Level of 8 while using PL 10 character points (150)?
Playing off that, how should max character points be handled? Should each PL have a cap? Should a 300 point PL 9 character be allowed?
I love M&M. I do. It may not be my favorite RPG but it really does cover a lot of bases and it covers them fairly well. It's just power points and power levels that can get frustrating. If a player understands them, great! If they don't...well that's where the headaches can begin.
So, for gits and shiggles, I thought I'd throw up a post here for suggestions on how to manage them on some hypothetical M&M game.
I would probably allow 8 to 10 for CG with a hard cap of 12 at least initially. If the player base gets good sized and wanted to grow characters more powerful I would consider revising upwards.
As for as the cap go I wouldn't force a character to max out, for example I would approve the character that was offensive 9 and defensive 8 with PL 10 over all points but I would also point out that the system is designed with characters being at their power level caps in mind so while they are the same points as an average pl10 person they might under perform mechanically.
I don't think you should force people to spend to the cap but you should definitely explain the downsides of not doing so, but leave the final choice up to the player.
Misadventure last edited by
What were the problems encountered?
As for characters not being at the caps but spending all their points, do you mean such as a street heroes being broader in ability, but otherwise not a match for PL capped opposition? Sorta being like "don't involve me at PL 10, I'm trying to be in the PL 8 game" issues?
Thenomain last edited by
The last M&M game I tried I was told that if I didn’t use the PL caps I was not building a character correctly. As this is not something I read in the book chargen, I felt very out of place and eventually gave up even getting on the grid. M&M chargen is not easy for newbs.
Otherwise I’d say that you either limit PL harshly, or you set each event at a PL and let people of that PL or two lower get involved. That is, if your “within 2” rule is something you feel confident about.
ZombieGenesis last edited by
I think the problem with M&M as a system for MU's is that the people who get it, get it. Those who don't? As stated, feel out of place. Which is too bad because it genuinely is a solid system.