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Mutants & Masterminds Power Profile #30: Life Powers
by Dominik D. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 12/29/2012 11:10:12
Originally writen on: http://www.rollenspiel-almanach.de/rezension-mutants-masterm-
inds-3rd-power-profiles-30-life-powers-und-31-radiation-powe-
rs/

Bei den Power Profiles handelt es sich um Spielhilfen für die 3. Edition des Superhelden-Rollenspiel Mutants & Masterminds von Green Ronin Publishing. Um dem Leser den Einstieg in diese Rezi zu erleichtern, muss ich etwas ausholen und ein paar generelle Anmerkungen zum Spielsystem machen.

In Mutants & Masterminds bedient man sich zur Gestaltung seiner Superkräfte eines effektbasierten Baukastensystems – unterteilt in die Effektarten „Angriff“, „Verteidigung“, „Kontrolle“, „Bewegung“, „Sinneswahrnehmung“ und „Allgemein“. Man hat also z.B. einen Angriffseffekt namens Damage (Schaden). Um damit einen „Feuerstrahl“ zu definieren, den man sich für seinen Helden vorstellt, muss man einen oder mehrere power descriptors (beschreibende Schlagwörter oder Deskriptoren) sowie Modifikatoren hinzufügen. Im diesem Falle also den Deskriptor „Feuer“ und den Modifikator Ranged (auf Entfernung), wenn man den Feuerstrahl als Fernkampfangriff nutzen möchte.

Deskriptoren in M&M sind eine entscheidende Möglichkeit, grundlegende Elemente und Zusammenhänge für seine Spielwelt zu entwickeln. Sie sollten nicht zu speziell sein, damit sie möglichst universell im gemeinsamen Setting Verwendung finden können, gleichzeitig aber auch nicht zu allgemein, um Charakteren Differenzierungsmöglichkeiten zu erlauben – versinnbildlichen viele Deskriptoren doch auch das zentrale „Thema“ eines Helden. Zusätzlich können dem Deskriptor selbst noch einige kleine Spielvorteile (feature effects) gewährt werden, die jeder Held besitzt, der entsprechende Kräfte des Deskriptors aufweist. So könnte ein Held mit Feuer-Kräften beispielsweise eine kleine Flamme nach Belieben erzeugen oder pyrotechnische Effekte zur Belustigung simulieren.

Durch diese Herangehensweise ist das Power-System von M&M äußerst flexibel, bringt jedoch auch etwas Arbeit mit sich und erfordert Kreativität. Und um dem Spieler diese Arbeit zu erleichtern und seine Kreativität zu stimulieren, wurden die „Power Profiles“ ins Leben gerufen. Diese enthalten vordefinierte, typische Kräfte eines bestimmten Themas, wie sie in vielen Superhelden-Universen vorkommen, und besprechen die möglichen Deskriptoren und einzelnen Effektarten sowie Möglichkeiten und Komplikationen, die man mit dem Thema hat. Man kann sie also wie eine Bedienungsanleitung verstehen oder als Ideensammlung – sie fügen keine neuen Regeln hinzu, sondern zeigen nur auf, was man mit den im M&M Hero’s Handbook vorhandenen Effekten umsetzen kann. Mittlerweile gibt es 31 Power Profiles und nahezu wöchentlich kommen neue hinzu, die dann als PDF-Download auf der Webseite des Spielsystems angeboten werden. Die beiden aktuellen werde ich in dieser Rezension behandeln.



Im Power Profile #30 dreht sich alles um Life Powers, also Kräfte, die das Leben als solches beeinflussen können. Ein schönes Konzept für Superhelden, das jedoch auch ins Gegenteil verkehrt werden kann – etwa für einen Superschurken, der z.B. die lebensentziehenden Kräfte des apokalyptischen Reiters Tod entfesseln oder Untote erschaffen kann. Es wird informiert auf 6 typische Deskriptoren für Life Powers eingegangen und der eine oder andere feine Unterschied herausgearbeitet, der eventuell eine Rolle im Kontext der Regeln spielt. Während die feature effects einige annehmliche Dinge beschreiben, wie etwa das einfache Stabilisieren einer im Sterben liegenden Person durch Handauflegen (im Gegensatz zur Würfelprobe), wird es bei der Betrachtung möglicher offensiver Kräfte der Kategorie „Leben“ schon unangenehm. Fähigkeiten wie etwa das Fleisch eines organischen Lebewesens formen zu können oder durch Berührung Pathogene in den Körper zu schleusen, sind schon ziemlich ekelig. Dafür, dass ich bei dem Thema hauptsächlich den beschützenden, regenerierenden und heilenden Einsatzmittelpunkt erwartet habe, ist doch viel Offensives drin. 5 der 6 offensiven Life Powers arbeiten mit dem spieltechnischen Effekt Affliction, der im Deutschen nur unzureichend mit einem Wort wiedergegeben werden kann. Gemeint ist damit jegliche Art von „Befall“, der zu teilweisen oder vollständigen Einschränkungen beim Opfer führt (z.B. Ohnmacht, Unbeweglichkeit, Fremdkontrolle oder Tod). Einzig die Beschreibungen und zusätzlichen Modifikatoren formen aus dem generischen Effekt die spezielle Superkraft – etwa „Bio-Eingriff“ oder „Anfall“.

Trotzdem findet man natürlich auch viele andere Ideen für Kräfte, wobei mir viele „kleine“ und auf den ersten Blick eher unscheinbare Anwendungen gefallen haben – etwa Pharmacopeia, womit man die Wirkung von Medikamenten im Körper eines Kranken simulieren kann. Insgesamt arbeiten die meisten hier vorgestellten Life Powers wenig überraschend mit den Effekten Immunity und Healing.

Die abschließende Besprechung der Complications – die Nachteile eines Helden – finde ich ebenfalls gelungen, da hier u.a. auf die Problematik der Verantwortung eingegangen wird. Manche Helden mit solchen Kräften könnten sich dazu berufen fühlen, anderen ohne deren Einwilligung zu helfen – aber inwieweit gelten sie als praktizierende Ärzte? Müssen sie, falls das gesetzlich zugelassen wird, dann auch den hippokratischen Eid ablegen? Welche gesellschaftlichen Probleme könnten sich für den Charakter ergeben, wenn die Welt weiß, dass er übermenschliche Heilungskräfte hat? Oder was ist mit der Abhängigkeitsgefahr, wenn man die Wirkungen von Medikamenten im eigenen Körper simulieren kann? Interessanter Stoff für die Charakterausgestaltung.



Im Power Profile #31 kommt eine der in der Realität gefürchtete und in Comics immer wieder gern verwendete Kraft unter die Lupe: die Strahlung. Radiation Powers sind ein sehr weites Feld, hier wird primär auf die Mutation und die elektromagnetischen Energien von Alpha-, Beta- und Gammastrahlung sowie auf Mikrowellen und Röntgenstrahlen eingegangen. Das Thema wird hier natürlich aus dem Blickwinkel der Comic-Realität betrachtet, wo Strahlung gleich welchen Typs in der Regel leuchtet und radioaktive Substanzen eher Superkräfte als Krebs entstehen lassen. Nichts desto trotz kann der Spielleiter das in M&M aber auch realistischer handhaben.

Zu den feature effects zählen hier Dinge wie das Erwärmen von Objekten durch kurzzeitige Mikrowellenbestrahlung oder das Leuchten lassen von Körperteilen. Was die beschriebenen Superkräfte angeht, so findet man dort wie erwartet viele offensive Kräfte wie Radiation Blast, Blinding Radiance oder Radioactive Aura (die alle hauptsächlich mit den Effekten Affliction und Damage arbeiten). Doch unter der Kategorie „Nützliche Kräfte“ finde ich die interessanteren, da untypischeren Anwendungen, wie etwa Carbon Dating (Kohlenstoffdatierung), das mit dem Effekt Sense sowie den Parametern/Modifikatoren „Alter“ und „scharfsinnig“ gebaut wurde. Auch nützlich: Radar, Static Field (Feldrauschen) oder Radio Hearing (Funkempfang) – ebenso wie der Klassiker „Röntgenblick“.

Wie in jedem Power Profile wird abschließend auch auf die für „strahlende“ Helden möglichen Komplikationen eingegangen, die ihr Leben problematisch machen können. Und die Liste ist lang: von Vorurteilen als wandelnde Umweltgefährdung über Phobien vor der eigenen Macht bis hin zur Unfähigkeit, normalen Umgang mit anderen Menschen zu pflegen, weil die konstant ausgehende Hintergrundstahlung über lange Zeit ein Krebsrisiko für die Umwelt birgt. Das könnte dazu führen, dass der Held entweder von selbst oder durch gesetzlichen Zwang permanent einen Schutzanzug tragen muss oder in bestimmte Gebäude nicht hinein darf. Ein Held mit Strahlungskräften ist eine perfekte Leinwand für tragische Hintergrundelemente wie z.B. Entfremdung.





FAZIT

Die Power Profiles sind wirklich nützlich und geben gute Fingerzeige, wie man das eigene kreative Potenzial anzapfen und mit dem Baukastensystem von M&M umsetzen kann. Obwohl man viele coole Ideen bekommt, sind natürlich nicht alle vorgestellten Kräfte eines Themas sonderlich originell – erfahrene Superheldenrollenspieler dürften einiges davon auch selbst umsetzen können. Trotzdem bieten sie wenigstens eine gute Basis, um darauf aufzubauen. Und genau das will das Konzept meiner Meinung nach langfristig auch erzielen – das man seine eigenen Ideen umsetzt und nur einen Schubs in die richtige Richtung bekommt. Und noch etwa anderes bewirken die Power Profiles: sie erweitern das Verständnis vom und die Orientierung im Spielsystem von M&M. Ich jedenfalls möchte sie nicht missen. Für gerade mal 80 Cent kann man sich so einen Download gut leisten, gerade wenn man bereits ein Konzept für seinen Superhelden hat und nur noch Anregungen braucht, seine Superkräfte zu definieren.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Mutants & Masterminds Power Profile #30: Life Powers
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Testament: Roleplaying in the Biblical Era
by James M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/02/2012 23:38:11
I love this. However, there are some terrible formatting mistakes in the PDF version. In the descriptions of the Nephilim, no less....

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Testament: Roleplaying in the Biblical Era
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Mutants & Masterminds Threat Report #49: Dollface
by Sean H. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/30/2012 14:47:04
Each of the threat reports comes with a nice piece of color art of the character embedded in the PDF and a separate Hero Lab file. Each includes a prop cover letter from AEGIS, possibly useful for setting a scene, that gives a basic idea about what is publicly known about the character described. Each character or group is given a few plot hooks to help work them into a campaign.

Dollface, is quite fascinating and multipurpose, Dollface is an uploaded personality that now exists in multiple artificial forms playing out various games, plots and stories for her own amusement. Making her usable as enemy, plot device or even ally. At PL 12 she can be quite challenging but she has a classic villain’s sense of honor as well. Overall, a very interesting character with a wide range of possibilities.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Mutants & Masterminds Threat Report #49: Dollface
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Mutants & Masterminds Threat Report #41: The Looking Glass Gang, Part 2
by Sean H. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/30/2012 14:46:27
Each of the threat reports comes with a nice piece of color art of the character embedded in the PDF and a separate Hero Lab file. Each includes a prop cover letter from AEGIS, possibly useful for setting a scene, that gives a basic idea about what is publicly known about the character described. Each character or group is given a few plot hooks to help work them into a campaign.

The Looking Glass Gang: Part One and Part Two, led by the insane White Rabbit -who can make other share his insanity- the Looking Glass Gang seeks to topple Them from power and have a tea party in the ruins. The most dangerous part of the gang is that the White Rabbit can always recruit new members (and part two has a discussion of what other Threat Report characters could fit in the group and where) and convert them to his world view. The Looking Glass Gang is a group that can be used for both comedy and darkly serious scenarios depending on the needs of the campaign.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Mutants & Masterminds Threat Report #41: The Looking Glass Gang, Part 2
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Mutants & Masterminds Threat Report #40: The Looking Glass Gang, Part 1
by Sean H. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/30/2012 14:46:12
Each of the threat reports comes with a nice piece of color art of the character embedded in the PDF and a separate Hero Lab file. Each includes a prop cover letter from AEGIS, possibly useful for setting a scene, that gives a basic idea about what is publicly known about the character described. Each character or group is given a few plot hooks to help work them into a campaign.

The Looking Glass Gang: Part One and Part Two, led by the insane White Rabbit -who can make other share his insanity- the Looking Glass Gang seeks to topple Them from power and have a tea party in the ruins. The most dangerous part of the gang is that the White Rabbit can always recruit new members (and part two has a discussion of what other Threat Report characters could fit in the group and where) and convert them to his world view. The Looking Glass Gang is a group that can be used for both comedy and darkly serious scenarios depending on the needs of the campaign.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Mutants & Masterminds Threat Report #40: The Looking Glass Gang, Part 1
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Mutants & Masterminds Threat Report #48: The Starbreed, Part Two
by Sean H. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/30/2012 14:45:32
Each of the threat reports comes with a nice piece of color art of the character embedded in the PDF and a separate Hero Lab file. Each includes a prop cover letter from AEGIS, possibly useful for setting a scene, that gives a basic idea about what is publicly known about the character described. Each character or group is given a few plot hooks to help work them into a campaign.

The Starbreed: Part One and Part Two, these two products are very closely linked forming a complete adventure arc between them, the Starbreed are from an alternate Earth -now destroyed- and they have come to our world to warn us . . . but is that their only agenda? Part One has three characters while Part Two has only two but one of them has four aspects, so still quite a bit there. A six-scene adventure arc (three scenes in each product) to introduce them is also included. They are quite challenging (PL 12 each) in a fight, so not opponents for inexperienced heroes.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Mutants & Masterminds Threat Report #48: The Starbreed, Part Two
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Mutants & Masterminds Threat Report #47: The Starbreed, Part One
by Sean H. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/30/2012 14:45:21
Each of the threat reports comes with a nice piece of color art of the character embedded in the PDF and a separate Hero Lab file. Each includes a prop cover letter from AEGIS, possibly useful for setting a scene, that gives a basic idea about what is publicly known about the character described. Each character or group is given a few plot hooks to help work them into a campaign.

The Starbreed: Part One and Part Two, these two products are very closely linked forming a complete adventure arc between them, the Starbreed are from an alternate Earth -now destroyed- and they have come to our world to warn us . . . but is that their only agenda? Part One has three characters while Part Two has only two but one of them has four aspects, so still quite a bit there. A six-scene adventure arc (three scenes in each product) to introduce them is also included. They are quite challenging (PL 12 each) in a fight, so not opponents for inexperienced heroes.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Mutants & Masterminds Threat Report #47: The Starbreed, Part One
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Supernatural Handbook
by Nenad R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/14/2012 06:39:02
This is an excellent resource on running horror games and sessions, and is highly recommended, even if you do not run M&M. There is an emphasis on incorporating horror into a superhero setting, but the book is full of ideas, as well as a good explanation of how to create horror, and how to create interesting antagonists.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Supernatural Handbook
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Supernatural Handbook
by Jae C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/27/2012 14:47:54
I was really looking forward to this Handbook and it fully delivers as a resource book on how to run a horror-based campaign, but more in an Agent of Freedom sort of way than as a supplement for superhero teams.

The background material on how to run supernatural adventures is very good and it comprehensively details the various horror options, stereotypes and backgrounds you can use. The problem is that it feels almost like a background for a separate campaign to Mutants and Masterminds rather than something that can be added to an existing campaign. There are numerous guidelines on how to run the various types of horror adventures for the various powerlevels but the over all feel of the material was that this is primarily aimed at skilled normals or lower level supernaturally-powered characters than level 10 and above powered metahuman heroes.

The various graphics are nice but those used to illustrate the character stereotypes in particular turned me off as they were more Sandman in style than Superhero and didn't work for me personally and the included organisation, Arcade is too US-centric for those of us who are not running adventures set in America (and would be extremely difficult to transplant to say UK or European soil) and again fails to provide sufficient hooks for including superheroes except as occasional support to Arcade's existing investigative teams...

Overall this would be an excellent supplement for streetlevel heroes (hence the 4 stars) but would be harder to make work for higher power levels and at present I'm not sure how useful this will be in an existing campaign - even one that is already magic-based.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Mutants & Masterminds Threat Report #45: Jade Spider
by Sean H. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 10/14/2012 19:37:27
Each of the threat reports comes with a nice piece of color art of the character embedded in the PDF and a separate Hero Lab file. Each includes a prop cover letter from AEGIS, possibly useful for setting a scene, that gives a basic idea about what is publicly known about the character described. Each character is given a few plot hooks to help work them into a campaign.

Jade Spider (#45) is a merciless but very skilled martial artist and assassin, a dangerous killer who seeks only his own advancement and comfort. At PL 11, he is a dangerous and adaptable foe who can be used as an adversary in a wide variety of sales.

Disclosure: As a featured reviewer for RPGNow/DriveThroughRPG, I received my copies of these product for free from the publisher for the purpose of this review.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Mutants & Masterminds Threat Report #45: Jade Spider
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Mutants & Masterminds Threat Report #44: Ku Tu the Eternal
by Sean H. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 10/14/2012 19:18:57
Each of the threat reports comes with a nice piece of color art of the character embedded in the PDF and a separate Hero Lab file. Each includes a prop cover letter from AEGIS, possibly useful for setting a scene, that gives a basic idea about what is publicly known about the character described. Each character is given a few plot hooks to help work them into a campaign.

Ku Tu the Eternal (#44) an alien mummy, once god-king of the Olmecs resurrected by accident, he now seeks to rebuild his empire. Controlling awesome cosmic energy powers (PL 14), he rebuilds his army of transformed jaguar men and floating, laser-eyed stone heads. Perfect for an end of the year scenario and as a reoccurring threat.

Disclosure: As a featured reviewer for RPGNow/DriveThroughRPG, I received my copies of these product for free from the publisher for the purpose of this review.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Mutants & Masterminds Threat Report #44: Ku Tu the Eternal
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Mutants & Masterminds Threat Report #43: Dracula
by Sean H. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 10/14/2012 19:10:05
Each of the threat reports comes with a nice piece of color art of the character embedded in the PDF and a separate Hero Lab file. Each includes a prop cover letter from AEGIS, possibly useful for setting a scene, that gives a basic idea about what is publicly known about the character described. Each character is given a few plot hooks to help work them into a campaign.

Dracula (#43) the Lord of the Vampires, the classic undead villain (at PL11) perfect for a Halloween-themed scenario. Dracula has a long tradition of showing up in comics, now he can show up in your campaign as well. Stats for his summoned bats, rats and wolves are also provided.

Disclosure: As a featured reviewer for RPGNow/DriveThroughRPG, I received my copies of these product for free from the publisher for the purpose of this review.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Mutants & Masterminds Threat Report #43: Dracula
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Mutants & Masterminds Threat Report #46: Professor Zed
by Sean H. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 10/14/2012 19:06:54
Each of the threat reports come with a nice piece of color art of the character embedded in the PDF and a separate Hero Lab file. Each includes a prop cover letter from AEGIS, possibly useful for setting a scene, that gives a basic idea about what is publicly known about the character described. Each character is given a few plot hooks to help work them into a campaign.

Professor Zed (#46) has acquired the ability to travel between alternate realities, which he has plundered for useful technology making him into a serious threat (PL12). His most unusually power is his defenses, they are adaptive, making him immune to attacks he has already experienced, making him a challenging foe. He does wish to protect his home dimension (usually the same one as the heroes) from other dimensional marauders so that he can control it. I suspect Zed would be useful especially if you are doing transdimensional campaign or one with transdimensional elements.

Disclosure: As a featured reviewer for RPGNow/DriveThroughRPG, I received my copies of these product for free from the publisher for the purpose of this review.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Mutants & Masterminds Threat Report #46: Professor Zed
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Mutants & Masterminds Threat Report #42: The Eightfold Web
by Sean H. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 10/14/2012 19:05:50
Each of the threat reports comes with a nice piece of color art of the character embedded in the PDF and a separate Hero Lab file. Each includes a prop cover letter from AEGIS, possibly useful for setting a scene, that gives a basic idea about what is publicly known about the character described. Each character is given a few plot hooks to help work them into a campaign.

The Eightfold Web (#42) is a cult dedicated to an ancient spider deity rather than a single person. Using magic and ancient secrets, the sinister network works to control the world behind the scenes. The leaders of the cult, along with suggestions for their secret identities are detailed along with spells, summoned spiders and cultists. The Web can fill a multitude of roles in a campaign and will be especially useful as a foil for mystical and espionage oriented characters.

Disclosure: As a featured reviewer for RPGNow/DriveThroughRPG, I received my copies of these product for free from the publisher for the purpose of this review.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Mutants & Masterminds Threat Report #42: The Eightfold Web
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DC ADVENTURES Heroes & Villains, Vol. 2
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 09/10/2012 16:41:57
Vol 2 of the Heroes & Villain write-ups for the DC Adventures RPG (but it also works for M&M3).
This is the L-Z listing, "Lady Shiva" to "Victor Zsasz".

The write-ups are very detailed and make for good reading even if you don't use this in a supers game. If you are a fan of the DC Universe (mostly pre New 52) then this is a must have resource.
If you enjoy DCA/M&M3 then there are plenty of great ideas here. Highlights include Zatanna and a bunch of minion stats. There are also stats for the "Super Animals", cultists, undead and Demons. Also included, soldiers, robots, monsters, ninjas and animals.

There are some repeats from the Core book.

All in all a great purchase if you are a DC or M&M fan.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
DC ADVENTURES Heroes & Villains, Vol. 2
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