I am two sessions into my first Mundus Novit campaign using Mutants & Masterminds (Second Edition). It’s interesting how a rules set and player interest can change a game’s direction.
I know True20 pretty well. I’ve run a few different games with it (so far, two “historical/alt history” and one modern spec ops) and I like the feel of True20. While I don’t think the Powers as presented in True20 Revised fit my conception of Mundus Novit, it certainly could fit yours. The odd thing is that with just the inclusion of a -2 penalty on actions for being Wounded, True20 feels more “gritty” than M&M. Not actually gritty, just in comparison.
For my games, I made it a -1 cumulative penalty, so if a character has 3 Wounds, the character has a -3 on all checks, including Toughness. That gave me a level of grit that made me happy.
But I digress.
I gave my players a bunch of choices for playing Mundus Novit. The decision was to go super-hero. I did stipulate it would be without bright costumes and such, but gave the group a choice between the Authority and Planetary as campaign paradigms. While the campaign adventures are Planetary flavoured, the crew is more the Authority.
Here’s what I mean. By now, everyone should be aware of my love for Warren Ellis. While Nextwave indoctrinated me, it was Planetary that made me the raving fanboy that I am. His work on the Authority just reinforced that.
For me, Planetary was about powerful individuals while the Authority (at least during Ellis’ run) was about intense situations. That is not to say that Planetary did not have intense situation nor that the Authority did not have powerful individuals, but these were secondary.
To me, Planetary is about the characters and the story while the Authority is about the powers and hitting stuff. Because the Authority focuses so much on the powers, it seems like the Planetary characters are less powerful by comparison. In raw power, this is absolutely untrue. However, the powers are not the focus of Planetary, so one tends to focus on the characters and the plot.
Mutants & Masterminds is perfect for the Authority. I don’t know if the shift in our campaign flavour is due to the system or just the characters created using it. It may be a reflection of the power level at which I set the campaign.
I set the power level at 10 for a few reasons. One was that I test-built a few characters. To get the kind of character I wanted, level 10 seemed to be the sweet spot. The characters weren’t uber-powerful, but they could do a lot. Thing is, I could not test or even understand all of the powers. I still don’t.
There are some powers that don’t cost much that can really affect specific parts of the campaign. Ranges and speeds can get pretty silly at rank 10. One of the characters has Datalink with a range “to the moon!”
Now, when I built my test characters, I didn’t understand about things like Alternate Powers. That’s kind of a big thing. All the characters in the game have alternate powers. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it does change how one plans the game, and how the game moves.
This is yet another example of how one really needs to run a game to understand how it works. I still say that there is value in a review of a game that the reviewer has not played, as long as that fact is clear in the review.
Stick around. I’ve got more to say about the Osiris campaign.