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House Rules for 3rd Edition

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  • House Rules for 3rd Edition

    Hello all! I'm looking to get some of your favourite house rules compiled, specifically to character creation. I'm working on a game and I've run M&M straight before so I'm comfortable with the rules as written and don't plan on changing them. So Impervious works as written, same with skill ranks and point costs. So I'm not so much looking for those kinds of house rules.

    I'm looking more for how do you handle ranks of Benefit, whether it represents wealth, military ranks, or security clearance. What do you do to make that relevant in game?

    What kind of rules do you have at character creation? Do you limit ranks in certain effects, advantages, or other options? Do you make sure all characters have certain skills to reinforce your genre conventions?
    My Current Campaign: [URL=""]Earth-82[/URL] (WIP)

  • #2
    Re: House Rules for 3rd Edition

    - Presence gives you a social or luck based advantage each rank. Since you can't have negative advantages, a negative Presence only gives 1pp per rank.
    - Language advantage gives understanding of idioms and double entendre (etc) commonly found in that language, comprehend languages power does not.


    • #3
      Re: House Rules for 3rd Edition

      These were the ones I used in my one abortive post 3e campaign:

      “Virtual” PL Additions
      Generally speaking, the PL system in M&M does the job its intended to, but because its simple, there are some things it doesn’t account for well; things that effectively or statistically give you more damage or make you harder to hit that aren’t simple direct contributors to one of the four PL components.
      For example Concealment acts to both make it harder to hit you, and reduces the effective defense of targets for any opponent that doesn’t have an Accurate supersense in a sense category not covered or a couple of specific Advantages; that’s a rather large number of opponents.
      What “virtual PL” does is modify one of the four PL contributors based on what a particular troublesome Power, Extra or Advantage does. These modifiers are sometimes rather contextual; for example if someone just has Auditory Concealment, that’s not typically going to have any impact on your combat capabilities by itself, and powers can have Flaws on them that make their combat effects moot or hard to apply.
      The inverse can also occasionally be true; a Flaw can impact a power such that you’ll actually get to subtract something from one of the four contributors, but those are rarer than the ones that add and even more contextual.
      The following are just for informational purposes, so that you know I’ll likely consider them to have virtual PL impact and how much. The format will be Power (or whatever) - PL component - Amount. But again, remember that these are contextual; some of these may have no impact at all, depending on other features of the character

      Deception - Attack - 1-2*
      Intimidate - Effect - 1-2*
      Stealth - Attack/Defense - 1-2*

      Agile Feint (Operates to move Acrobatics into the same category as Deception above)
      Improved Critical - Effect - 1 (at ranks 4-5)
      Minions - $
      Second Chance - Toughness - $
      Sidekick - Attack/Defense - 1 &

      Concealment - Attack/Defense - 1-5
      Create - Toughness - $
      Healing - Toughness - 2-5
      Immunity - Toughness - 1 to half PL
      Insubstantial 2+ - Toughness - 2-6
      Luck Control - Toughness/Effect - $
      Regeneration - Toughness - 1-2
      Summon - $

      Flat Modifiers
      Homing - Attack - 1-2

      Normal Modifiers
      Area - Effect - 1 for the easier shapes to apply; 2 more if also Selective
      Multiattack - Effect - 1
      Linked - Effect - 1 per each extra power linked to all powers involved
      Increased Range (Perception) - Attack - 2 if the user also has non-Perception attacks
      Secondary Effect - Effect - 1

      * This only applies if the skill value is high enough most opponents will have great difficulty resisting; typically PL +5 for the +1, PL +10 for the +2
      $ These tend to take hits only under specific circumstances that are hard to easily summarize.
      & Only when the Sidekick is of comparable power to the main hero.

      Hero Points

      Improve Roll
      Hero Points are a both desirable, and to some degree, necessary component of a system with large swings like a D20 that also uses the resistance roll (which is basically just an inverted threshold damage roll) for effects of attacks.
      But its easy for the hero point benefit to trump the utility of attacks too if they too easily negate all effect. The Improve Roll mechanic has a nasty habit of doing so, particularly with 10+ base saves like Afflictions get. As a consequence, I’m using a weaker style Improve Roll; you use the better of the two rolls, to a minimum of +1 over the first roll.

      Heroic Presence
      This is less about Hero Points per se than it is to give the slightly underpowered Presence attribute (its almost always better as written to just ignore it and buy whichever Presence skills you need). It’s based on a reality that in superhero settings fortune tends to favor those with a great degree of personal presence, over and above their ability to impress people.
      You may elect to try this instead of (or in addition to) using a Hero Point; you roll a Presence roll; this starts at DC 10 and increases in difficulty by +5 every time you try to do it within a given adventure. If successful you may evoke one of the Hero Point powers without using a Hero Point.

      Villain Points
      The official method of GMs providing hero point-like benefits for the opposition in M&M is known as “GM Fiat”; that’s also a term that applies to more coarse intervention like the GM just declaring an evert happens. I tend to use that sort of thing very sparingly (i.e. only when its absolutely necessary to set up a situation).
      However, not using hero points for the opposition some of the time is not really avoidable and make the system work right. One of the problems with the “GM Fiat” idea is that it turns into an exercise in “when does the GM think its time for the heroes to win”.
      I’m not a fan of that. At all. So what I do is, at the start of a session, I put aside a certain number of “villain points” in a separate pool; for this particular campaign, I’m going to do about 12 since group is relatively small. Since automatically giving those to the person who makes it necessary has proved in the past to be problematic, I will randomize who I start with and rotate around the room who gets the villain points after I expend them.


      One thing Mutants and Masterminds had never really handled well was knockback, the effect of being struck by powerful blows and blasts sending someone flying. There was a set of rules in 2e (and as an optional rule in the 3e Masterminds Manual), but they had problems and the default choice in 3e of it being arbitrary GM choice and treated as a “complication” of sorts is very unsatisfactory to me (and from what I can tell, a fair number of other people). So I came up with my own solution:

      Knockback is an optional effect of a critical hit. That does not mean that it uses up any of the other normal critical hit options (you still can add 5 damage or do any of the other normal critical results). I refer to it as optional since the attacker has the choice whether to do knockback or not (to avoid situations where this rule would otherwise mean a crit is actually detrimental to the person rolling it, a low mobility melee attacker for example). Knockback is only possible with attacks targeted at Toughness (which, in 3e, appears to be only damage).

      To determine knockback, take the damage of the attack (including critical damage), and add 15 to determine the DC. The target makes a resistance check using Strength, Dodge or Flight ranks at his choice.

      Ranks of Growth will directly add to Strength or Flight value for this purpose; half the rank of Impervious Toughness (i.e. the part that in 3e is actually Impervious) add to it too. Ranks of Defensive Roll will add to Dodge for purposes of this roll. Ranks of Shrinking come off any resistance.

      A single degree of failure causes the target to be knocked down; each additional degree will cause the target to be knocked back one step on the distance chart, starting at distance 0 (that is to say, 30 feet). Targets do not take additional damage for hitting other objects during knockback, thought the objects will (equal to the rank of the distance); its possible under some circumstances such objects could include a person (usually they'll get a Dodge roll against the rank of the knockback to avoid this).

      Other Related Rules

      Instead of a normal attack, a person can attempt a Push: a Push takes a -2 on the attack roll, and uses the attacker's Strength to attempt knockback as indicated above with no need for a critical hit. An Advantage called Improved Push will eliminate the -2 hit penalty. Unlike the case with normal knockback, a push can do damage to the target if he hits an obstacle.

      Extras and other modifiers

      A couple of relevant modifiers impact knockback:

      Improved Knockback: This flat extra adds 2 to chances of a crit only for purposes of checking for knockback per rank; this stacks with normal ranks of Improved Critical, but a 1 will still fail in any case, and attack that misses will not cause knockback no matter what the knockback check is.

      Increased Knockback: This flat extra adds 1 point to the damage for purposes of the knockback check; it is not PL capped per se, but the maximum rank of it that can be purchased is 10.


      • #4
        Re: House Rules for 3rd Edition

        Presence: Use presence based advantages from 2e especially Mecha&Manga. Use of Luck stat that. To prevent overlapping: Deception only works to hide facts no longer used to simply trick people into doing things for you, Intimidation being used to coerced others is an advantage but can now be used to encourage others (boosting team members instead of debuffing enemies), Persuasion now usable instead of insight to see through coercion.

        Intelligence: Check to use mental Quickness, Investigation now untrained and can be used to general planing/problem solving. First aid removed and made an expertise with advantage. Tech now only for computers and designing/decrypting.

        Dexterity: Check for Physical Quickness, Lower DCs for Slight of Hand, Slight of hand now useful for textile concealment. Vehicles removed and made Expertise, add Mech added for crafting and repairing tech or dismantling traps.

        Combat: Cannot have more ranks in specialized close/ranged combat than general ranks. By becoming vulnerable one attack check can be used for the other (Guns in melee or ranged melee attacks) Advantage to remove this for a specialty. Extended limbs and whips use Ranged Attack Check.

        Defense: Defense extras effect both. Bonus from shrinking does is not affected by vulnerability or defenselessness. +1 per rank to make sustained defenses that do not become vulnerable or defenseless while maintained. Continuous makes it last even while incapacitated. Defensive roll can be added to a defense.
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