Thursday, May 13, 2010

Green Ronin, Mutants and Masterminds, and DC Adventures

I have to admit that I was a little less than excited when I first heard that Green Ronin was releasing a DC Superheroes role playing game using their Mutants and Masterminds rules set. Mayfair's DC Heroes role playing game is my all-time favorite superhero system, and I loved the first edition of Mutants and Masterminds because it reflected so many design influences from that great game. The first edition of M&M was quick and streamlined and used "acting values, opposing values, and effects" to calculate power costs in a way very reminiscent of Greg Gorden's remarkable DC Heroes system. At the time, I was a fairly regular visitor to the Green Ronin boards and eagerly read discussions about a revised 2nd edition.

I quickly soured on those 2nd edition conversations as the system seemed to be migrating away from a DC Heroes influenced system into a Hero/Champions influenced system. Champions is a great game, but it can also intimidate new gamers and has certain exploits that hard core Hero gamers like to use. These kinds of exploits were being inserted into M&M and I wasn't as pleased as I had hoped. The game transformed from rules light to Champions light, and that was a step backwards in my opinion.

I still purchased all of the products. For all that I didn't like the mechanics of the game, the campaign advice and writing of Green Ronin products is among the best in the industry and I gladly support them. I merely had an "anti-granular" rules nag in the back of my mind every time I opened a text.

So when I read that Green Ronin was doing DC ala M&M, I have to admit that my fear was that it would be DC "Champions Light" and lack a fast and easy system that might appeal to new players -- one of the key reasons to acquire a license in the first place. This was particularly upsetting given Green Ronin's recently demonstrated commitment neophyte friendly games like their amazing Dragon Age and it's AGE System. In fact, I would love to see a DC AGE game.

My fears were somewhat allayed yesterday when I read a press release that Green Ronin was releasing a 3rd edition of Mutants and Masterminds. The key quote for me was "We worked to simplify some elements of the system and fix known issues, while retaining the flexibility and fast-paced play fans have enjoyed." If only they can accomplish what DC Heroes did so well, and M&M 2nd failed to do as well as M&M 1st, and present a system where Batman and Superman are able to adventure together in a manner where both are effective.

Whether I am ecstatic or not about the mechanics one thing is certain, I will be buying DC Adventures on day 1.
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