Thursday, October 05, 2006

Amazing Triple Action

Adamant Entertainment just released a new PDF E-Zine for Mutants and Masterminds. I picked up a copy over at RPGNow.
Here are some of my thoughts on it.

At first I was kind of put off by the first 12 pages being characters. Personally I don’t need more characters. There are plenty of books, Blogs, and websites full of characters for M&M. and if characters are going to be in every issue then maybe devote 2-4 pages to them not 12. What I did like is that the characters presented were useful in the storyline that followed in the other articles presented, at least it was a thoughtful process and served a purpose as a whole rather than just sticking some random characters in there for filler.
Next came a section on Archetypes. To me archetypes are just another name for prestige classes, character kits, hero packages, and so on (eventually I'm sure I’ll see an “Anti-Paladin Archetype”). Here again, there are so many of these “Archetypes” floating around in cyberspace do I really need three more?
The insider Info section was good. It gave a rundown on a hero who used the Internet to set up “workshops” globally so that when he fought evil far from home he always had a nearby place to repair his equipment. I enjoyed that article; it was inventive and showed some real “out of the box” thinking.
The fight scenery section gave a too brief overview of a south pacific island, it’s people, origins, and it’s spiritual guardian. I would rather have seen the extra effort and pages go towards fleshing this island out more, instead of towards 12 pages of new heroes.
Following the island section is a three-page adventure using the various preceding articles. As I stated earlier I admire the fact that most of the preceding information fed into the adventure, but again the material could have been fleshed out better.
The issue rounds out with a pair of articles on different types of teams and setting up a group. While the team types article was interesting the setting up a group was nothing that many publishers already add to their rulebooks in the “how to run a game” section.
Overall it wasn’t a bad read, but it didn’t rock my world either. I applaud the effort and I’ll probably plunk down the cash for another issue or two, just to see how it goes, but right now for almost $6.00 you’re not really getting too much. I would suggest maybe adding more articles on gaming techniques and novel uses for powers already in print. Another thing that might be nifty is to add some cardboard cutouts to end pages. Maybe each issue could have a building of some type, which one could print up on cardstock and use during actual play. And after several issues of collecting these buildings and sceneries you could have a city center or galactic outpost.
One of the things I always hear about super’s games is that beating up bad guys gets boring after a while. That may be because GM’s are having a hard time thinking of original material for a sustained supers campaign. This is where ATA could help. The wheel has already been invented; the thing to do now is to show people different things they can do with M&M rather than just foiling the super crooks at the First National Bank.