You are on page 1of 9

ALTERNATE ABILITY BENCHMARKS ABILITY BENCHMARKS: I have two issues with the

Ability Benchmarks as presented in the game. First, the


FOR MUTANTS AND MASTERMINDS: 3E
values changed from Mutants and Masterminds 2E, but
I love the game DC Adventures. Not only does it feature
the designation for “human maximum” wasn’t adjusted
half of my favorite comic book characters (the other
accordingly. In Mutants and Masterminds 2E, for
half residing in the Marvel Universe), but it also
example, the “human maximum” for all Abilities was set
launched the third edition of Mutants and
at 25, which granted a +7 Modifier. A character with a
Masterminds, one the best superhero RPGs ever
Strength score at this level could lift up to 1,600 lbs.,
created. In most respects, the game earns an A+ from
which might seem excessive, but which comes close to
me. The mechanics are streamlined and elegant, and
accurately expressing the prowess exhibited by Captain
the layout is beautiful. I’m very pleased.
America and other “peak human” characters as they
appear in the comics.
That being said, no game has ever satisfied me 100%, so
there are a couple of areas that I feel need tweaking to
Mutants and Masterminds 3E slightly changed the way
suit my particular gaming style. Among those areas are
Abilities work. In this version of the rules, the old
the Ability Benchmarks and the actual write-ups for
Ability “score” is dropped in favor of a straight modifier.
some of the DC Heroes characters.
Gone, then, is the aforementioned 25, but the +7
modifier (now expressed as Strength 7) remains as the
“human maximum” for Abilities. The values, however,
have changed, so a character with Strength 7 can now ORIGINAL RANK ADJUSTED RANK
lift 3 tons! As far as I’m concerned, this no longer 1 1
matches what I consider to be the “human maximum” 2 2
as presented in either real life or in the genre material. 3 3
4 4
5 4
One solution to this dilemma is to assume that Abilities
6 5
now have different maxima. Indeed, the game 7 5
designers seem to have assumed as much. A “peak
human” (or near “peak human”) character like Batman, The exception to this rule is Fighting, which the game
for instance, is presented as having a Strength 4, a designers seemed to have treated differently from all
Dexterity 7, and a Fighting 14. There is nothing wrong the other Abilities. What I did with Fighting was divide
with this approach, except that I personally don’t like it. the assigned value by two (rounding down), and then
It messes with my sense of order, and it makes it convert that value using the above table. Batman, for
confusing for my players during character creation. instance, has a Fighting 14 in the core book. Fourteen,
divided by two is seven. If we then convert that value
The rules and tables presented in this document, using the table above, Batman ends up with a Fighting
therefore, take a different approach, tweaking the 5.
benchmarks presented in DC Adventures.
This is a good time to point out that lowering Batman’s
CHARACTER WRITE-UPS: Obviously, tweaking the Fighting Ability in no way lowers his combat ability in
Ability Benchmarks means tweaking some of the write- the game. Indeed, his final combat values are pretty
ups presented in DC Adventures to match my rules close (if not identical) to those presented in the core
changes. In addition, I prefer slightly different book. They are just purchased differently. The use of
interpretations of some of the DC characters presented Advantages like Close Attack or Ranged Attack (which I
in DC Adventures. Specifically, I prefer my Batman a treat as overall fighting skills) compensate for the
little more human than “Bat-God,” and I prefer my reduced Fighting score, so Batman remains impressive
Superman a bit more powerful, cheery, optimistic, on the battlefield, even while his rank in Fighting is
competent, and intelligent than he has been presented made consistent with the other Abilities.
for the last 15 years or so.
Stats above 7 were generally left as-is. I only adjusted
In addition, I’ve assigned values to some of my favorite them if I preferred a slightly different interpretation of a
Marvel Characters and included these in the tables particular character. For the most part, this only
below. Why? Just because I like ‘em! happened with Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman
and Lex Luthor.
NOTES ON ADJUSTMENTS: I thought some of you might
be interested in how I arrived at the new values MORE TO COME: I’m working on a similar document
presented below. First, I decided that 5 would be the that provides benchmarks for Skills as well as for
new “human maximum” for all Abilities. That meant Combat and Defense values. I am also refining a
that I had to adjust all values from 1 – 7 to fit the new conversion matrix that I use as a guide for converting
benchmarks. In general, I approved of the relative characters between a series of systems, including HERO,
values that the game designers assigned to the various SAGA, BASH and Savage Worlds.
characters in the core book, so I wanted to keep those
rankings consistent. In order to do so, I used the In the meantime, I hope the following tables are
following table: interesting, if not useful.
ALTERNATE ABILITY BENCHMARK TABLE
CATEGORY RANK EXAMPLES
-5 Completely inept or disabled
-4 Weak; infant
WEAK HUMAN -3 Younger child
-2 Child, elderly, impaired
-1 Below average; teenager
AVERAGE HUMAN 0 Average adult
1 Above average
2 Gifted
HEROIC HUMAN 3 Best in a nation
4 One of the best in the world
5 Best ever, peak human
6
7
SUPERHUMAN 8
9 Spider-Man’s Agility, Mister Fantastic’s Intellect
10
11
12
WORLD CLASS SUPERHUMAN 13 Sub-Mariner’s Strength and Stamina
14
15 Thing’s Strength and Stamina
16 Wonder Woman’s Strength and Stamina
17
LEGENDARY SUPERHUMAN 18
19
20 Superman’s Strength and Stamina
21
22
COSMIC ENTITY 23
24
25
STRENGTH STAMINA
RANK EXAMPLES RANK EXAMPLES
-1 -1
0 Doctor Strange, Zatanna 0
Flash II, Human Torch, Invisible Woman, Mister 1 Iron Man, Robin
1
Fantastic
2 Green Arrow, Green Lantern, Zatanna
Black Canary, Cyclops, Green Arrow, Green Lantern,
2 3 Black Canary, Cyclops, Daredevil, Doctor Strange,
Nightcrawler, Plastic Man, Robin, Storm
Flash II, Hawkeye, Human Torch, Invisible Woman,
3 Daredevil, Hawkeye, Nightwing Mister Fantastic, Nightcrawler, Nightwing, Storm
4 Batman, Black Panther, Wolverine 4 Batman, Black Panther, Plastic Man
5 Captain America 5 Captain America
6 6 Spider-Man, Wolverine
7 7
8 8 Aquaman
9 Spider-Man 9
10 Aquaman 10 J’onn J’onzz, Wonder Woman
11 11
12 Iron Man 12
13 She-Hulk, Sub-Mariner 13 She-Hulk, Sub-Mariner
14 14
15 Thing 15 Thing
16 J’onn J’onzz, Thor, Wonder Woman 16 Thor
17 17
18 Hulk 18 Hulk
19 19
20 Captain Marvel, Superman 20 Captain Marvel, Superman
AGILITY DEXTERITY
RANK EXAMPLES RANK EXAMPLES
-1 -1 Hulk
0 Hulk 0
1 Doctor Strange, Mister Fantastic 1 Mister Fantastic, Thing
Captain Marvel, Cyclops, Green Lantern, Invisible Aquaman, Captain Marvel, Cyclops, Doctor Strange,
2 Woman, Iron Man, J’onn J’onzz, She-Hulk, Invisible Woman, Iron Man, J’onn J’onzz, She-Hulk,
2
Superman, Thing, Thor, Zatanna, Storm,
Sub-Mariner, Superman, Thor
Green Arrow, Hawkeye, Human Torch, Storm, Sub-
3
Mariner Black Canary, Flash II, Green Lantern, Human Torch,
3
Wolverine
Aquaman, Batman, Black Canary, Flash II, Plastic
4
Man, Robin Batman, Black Panther, Green Arrow, Hawkeye,
4
Nightwing, Plastic Man, Robin, Zatanna
Black Panther, Captain America, Daredevil,
5
Nightwing, Wolverine 5 Captain America, Daredevil, Nightcrawler
6 6 Wonder Woman
7 Nightcrawler
7 Spider-Man
8 Wonder Woman
9 Spider-Man
FIGHTING
RANK EXAMPLES
-1
0
1
Cyclops, Doctor Strange, Flash II, Green Arrow,
Green Lantern, Hawkeye, Human Torch, Invisible
2 Woman, Iron Man,
Mister Fantastic, Nightcrawler, Plastic Man,
Zatanna
3 Captain Marvel, She-Hulk, Spider-Man, Storm
Aquaman, Black Canary, Hulk, J’onn J’onzz,
4
Nightwing, Robin, Sub-Mariner, Superman, Thing
Batman, Black Panther, Captain America, Daredevil,
5
Wolverine, Wonder Woman
6
7 Thor

INTELLECT
RANK EXAMPLES
-3 AWARENESS
-2 Hulk RANK EXAMPLES
-1 -1
0 Plastic Man 0 Hulk
1 Green Arrow, Green Lantern, Thor 1
2 Aquaman, Black Canary, Captain America, Captain Black Canary, Green Arrow, Human Torch, Plastic
Marvel, Cyclops, Hawkeye, Human Torch, Invisible 2 Man, She-Hulk, Sub-Mariner, Thing, Thor,
Woman, Wolverine
Nightcrawler, She-Hulk, Storm, Sub-Mariner, Thing,
Wolverine, Wonder Woman Aquaman, Cyclops, Flash II, Green Lantern,
3 Hawkeye, Iron Man, Mister Fantastic, Nightcrawler,
3 Daredevil, Doctor Strange, J’onn J’onzz, Nightwing, Storm
Spider-Man, Zatanna
Daredevil, Invisible Woman, J’onn J’onzz,
4 Black Panther, Flash II, Robin, Superman 4
Nightwing, Robin, Spider-Man, Zatanna
Batman, Black Panther, Captain America,
5 Batman, Iron Man 5
Superman, Wonder Woman
6
6
7
7
8
8
9 Doctor Strange
9 Mister Fantastic
10 Captain Marvel
PRESENCE
RANK EXAMPLES
-3
-2 Hulk
-1
0
1 Spider-Man
Black Canary, Daredevil, Flash II, Invisible Woman,
2 Mister Fantastic, Plastic Man, Robin, She-Hulk,
Thing
Aquaman, Captain Marvel, Cyclops, Doctor Strange,
Green Arrow, Green Lantern, Hawkeye, Human
3
Torch, Iron Man,
J’onn J’onzz, Nightcrawler, Sub-Mariner, Wolverine
4 Black Panther, Nightwing, Storm, Thor, Zatanna
Batman, Captain America, Superman, Wonder
5
Woman
ALTERNATE SKILL BENCHMARKS FOR
MUTANTS AND MASTERMINDS: 3E
Having finished my Alternate Ability Benchmarks for
Mutants and Masterminds 3E, I decided to tackle the
issue of Skill benchmarks. In this case, I’m using the
term “Skill” pretty liberally to include not only Skills, but
also levels of the Advantages Close Attack and Ranged
Attack, as well as Defenses.

The values found in the following table are meant to


provide players with guidelines for how to think about
these various factors while building their characters,
and are not meant to be proscriptive.

The “Skill Category” column provides labels for the


various levels of training.

The “Description” column equates the character’s level


of proficiency to real world measures of skill mastery.
That doesn’t, however, mean that a character with a
skill at +15 necessarily has a Ph.D. or elite training in
that particular field. It simply means that the individual
performs at that level of ability. Spider-Man, for
instance, might only have purchased +5 in Dodge (the
equivalent of “basic training”), but when added to his
Agility 9 that +5 becomes a +14. Spidey has achieved
the level of Master with his Dodge ability, despite his ALTERNATE SKILL BENCHMARK TABLE
lack of training! SKILL TOTAL
DESCRIPTION
CATEGORY BONUS
The “Total Bonus” column refers to the sum of Ability + UNTRAINED 0
Advantages + Skills. To determine what your character’s The equivalent of a
level of training is, subtract the Ability from the total Bachelor’s degree and
BASIC TRAINING 1-5
modifier and compare the result to the table below. other forms of basic
Captain America, for instance, might have the attack training
Shield Bash +20. To find out what his level of training is, The equivalent of a
subtract his Fighting 5 from that total. Compare the +15 EXPERT TRAINING 6-10 Master’s degree or
professional training
to the table below, and you end up with “elite training”
(or the equivalent of a seasoned Ph.D. in the sweet The equivalent of a Ph.D.
MASTERY 11-15 or other forms of elite
science of shield-slinging).
training
Equivalent to a human
being with the highest
LEGENDARY MASTERY 16-20
possible levels of training
and talent
Truly beyond the reach of
COSMIC MASTERY 21-25 un-augmented human
beings

Related Interests