Quick Rule Notes

Basically, the Mutants and Masterminds system is d20. Rolling high is good; a natural 20 is an auto-success, while a 1 may not necessarily fail. There are no “fumbles”, but there are “degrees of failure” in which failing by a lot is worse than just barely failing.

The Combat System

All kinds of combat, whatever you’re trying to do, follows one basic rule:
The aggressor rolls an attack against the defender’s (static) avoidance;
then the defender rolls a save to resist the attack’s (static) effect.

Sometimes the effect is Mind Control, and sometimes a temporary Strength loss. Sometimes, though, you just want to hit something – and that uses the same rule. The save you use to avoid direct damage is Toughness. Make your save, and you shrug off the incoming attack; fail it, and you take different damage effects, based on how badly you failed the save.

For nonlethal (general) attacks:

  • Get a “Bruise” for failing the save. “Bruised” imposes a cumulative -1 per Bruise to further Toughness saves against nonlethal damage. (As fights get longer, it’s easier to drop people.)
  • Get “Staggered” for failing by 5 or more. “Staggered” limits you to only one action on your turn, and if you take any further damage effects, you fall Unconscious.
  • Drop to “Unconscious” for failing by 10 or more. “Unconscious” means what it sounds like.

For lethal attacks, in addition to the general effects:

  • Get an “Injury” for failing the save. “Injured” imposes a cumulative -1 per Injury to Toughness saves against lethal damage.
  • Get “Disabled” for failing by 5 or more. “Disabled” limits you to only one action on your turn, and any strenuous action – like attacking – drops you to you Dying afterward.
  • Drop to “Dying” for failing by 10 or more. “Dying” means you should try not to fail your Fort save.

You can recover from these conditions, even during combat, and even without assistance.

  • For failing any Toughness save by 5 or more – in addition to any other effects – you are “Stunned” for a full round. “Stunned” means you lose your Dodge bonus and take an additional -2 to Defense, and you can only take reactions, not proactive actions (saves, but not attacks.)

Half your Defense (rounding down) is your Dodge bonus, which you lose when you’re stunned, flat-footed, and so on. If you buy nine points of Defense, four of those points are Dodge (leaving five points of “innate” defense, for your total of nine.) If you’re utterly helpless, you lose the entire Defense bonus, because at that point you are just a sitting duck. “Stunned” is not helpless, but “Unconscious” is.

Extra Effort

At the cost of becoming Fatigued at the beginning of the following round (or Exhausted if already Fatigued, or Unconscious if already Exhausted), heroic characters may temporarily do things above their normal abilities. They may:

  • Gain +2 to any ability, skill, or power check (but not attack roll.)
  • Boost carrying capacity for one round, effectively increasing STR by 5.
  • Double movement speed for one round.
  • Gain the effect of a Power Feat that you do not have (including the Alternate Power ability) for one round.
  • Roll an immediate additional save against a Lasting effect like Mind Control.
  • Take an extra move or standard action on your turn.

Hero Points

Characters begin each session of play with one Hero Point. Gain another Hero Point for doing something awesome, being hindered by a Complication, or actively pursuing a Belief. You do not gain a Hero Point for an action which cost you a Hero Point to perform. In comic terms, if your character’s actions merit a full-page or two-page panel, you’re probably either earning or spending a Hero Point.

You may spend a Hero Point as a free action to:

  • Add 10 to any one of your d20 rolls – attack roll, skill check, recovery roll, save, whatever. Recovery checks made to rebound from harm (and the Dying condition) are DC 10, and rolling a 1 is not an auto-fail…
  • Gain the use of a feat or power feat that you do not actually have for one round.
  • Double your Dodge bonus to defense for one full round. (If you are flat-footed and thus have lost your Dodge bonus, take a look at the “temporary feat” option and the Uncanny Dodge feat.)
  • Attempt to counter a power as a reaction instead of spending your standard action to do so.
  • Immediately shake off a Stunned or Fatigued condition, or move from Exhausted to merely Fatigued. (This allows you to spend Extra Effort with no ill effects.)
  • Make an accelerated recovery check against any one damage condition as a full-round action, or make a normal recovery check against all Bruised/Injured damage effects instead of just one.
  • Automatically stabilize any dying character.
  • Gain insightful inspiration from the GM.

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Quick Rule Notes

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