Merging D20 Modern / Mutants & Masterminds


3.5/d20/OGL


I'm just starting a campaign. I hope with the level advancement optional rules in the Masterminds Manual, I can tack Hero levels onto a D20 Modern character.
Has anyone done this before? I'm looking to build an Emergent Powers setting a la Heroes. I've read the Paragons accessory to M&M, and it has some great ideas, but I wanted the characters to start out unpowered, and D20 Modern can do that for me the first few levels.
Any advice and ideas would be helpful.


I dont know what your aiming for but i have ran more then a few 1e m&m games without powers. In that system low PL worked fine.1-5 was the norm i started at with super powers off limits


seekerofshadowlight wrote:
I dont know what your aiming for but i have ran more then a few 1e m&m games without powers. In that system low PL worked fine.1-5 was the norm i started at with super powers off limits

How did firearms work for you? They're given short shift in M&M, I feel.


You could just have them create low PL characters and limit them from choosing powers. In other words, they can only spend points on the standard character stuff, and feats/skills. Anything else is equipment (guns, bulletproof armor, etc).

Then, when they gain powers, they get a bunch more power points and possibly a higher power level (if you want them to have a higher power level). Or you can do the "gain experience, gain a level and increase power level and points" and they can spend them on Powers from this point on, sort of thing.

The main difference between d20 Modern and M&M is the Toughness vs Hitpoints. If you are comfortable converting the d20 Hero classes to have a Toughness score, you could combine the two fairly easily, as they are both based on d20 and all the same attacks, saves, skills, etc.

One thing to note though, the basic hero classes from d20 Modern have fairly low defense, saves and bab set than normal. For example, ONLY the Strong hero has a High BAB, and the class abilities (talents) are fairly weak until you hit the advanced classes (which can by gained by 4th level, different from Prestige classes). So it's a notably lower powered class system than the standard D&D or M&M.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

Talonne Hauk wrote:
seekerofshadowlight wrote:
I dont know what your aiming for but i have ran more then a few 1e m&m games without powers. In that system low PL worked fine.1-5 was the norm i started at with super powers off limits
How did firearms work for you? They're given short shift in M&M, I feel.

Well, I think it is appropriate that in a Superhero game that firearms are "underwhelming." You want the Heroes using their powers, not grabbing some thug's AK-47.

So, it really depends on what you are trying to do.

Have you looked at True20, which uses some of the same mechanics as Mutants & Masterminds, but balanced for more normal humans.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

I've played and DMed a couple "Blood and Vigilance" supers campaigns. It's basically just a rules module added on to the d20 Modern rules system. In addition to Feats, Talents, and Skill Points, you also get Power Points that are spent exactly like skill points, except you get powers from them. The standard rule has PCs getting 12 PPs at 1st level and 3 every additional level (Max 3 + character level PPs per power), but you can alter the number of power points available at 1st level and each additional level to suit the needs of your campaign. It also scales really well and allows flexible builds with class and cross-class power points.

I really liked that system and even used it to make a d20 version of Werewolf and Vampire, etc., back when I was flirting with making an Anita Blake-like universe for a campaign. But then she got the ardeur and got super lame.


What I was looking for was really powers added to D20 Modern. Non-powered M&M is feasible, and it may be the way to go, but I do prefer D20 Modern in many ways to M&M. I thought of using Silver Age Sentinels, but the fact that it's discontinued and M&M is still going strong tilted me in M&M's favor. At least when this is done, I can run an M&M campaign and have reasonable expectations that my players can get the necessary books.
I have not tried True20. I don't know too much about it actually.


Okay. This is cool. I don't have M&M but I've been thinking of checking it out for exactly the same reasons. Or even trying it out on it's own.


Talonne Hauk wrote:
What I was looking for was really powers added to D20 Modern. Non-powered M&M is feasible, and it may be the way to go, but I do prefer D20 Modern in many ways to M&M.

I'll also vouch for Blood & Vigilance (which is exactly "D20 Modern + superpowers"); it worked O.K. in the game I played in. It has the same issues as every other superhero game, though (e.g. some powers are much better than others).

Here's the link to the .pdf for purchase:
http://www.rpgnow.com/product_info.php?products_id=2344

If you want to take a sneak peak at the Open Content part of the rules, you can look here:
B&V rules text file


Talonne Hauk wrote:
seekerofshadowlight wrote:
I dont know what your aiming for but i have ran more then a few 1e m&m games without powers. In that system low PL worked fine.1-5 was the norm i started at with super powers off limits
How did firearms work for you? They're given short shift in M&M, I feel.

I created new stats for em...I'll dig em out for ya if ya like. they are 1e however


Blood & Vigilance looks like it may be just the thing. I'm going to order it up now. Thanks!

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

I like it because it essentially gives you 3 superpowers, so you can be very good at a particular theme, or spread them around to be versatile. You can also spend less than the max on your powers for even more versatility, but you won't be as good as a focused character.

For example, you could make a "Wolverine" type dude by having Superhuman Constitution, Regeneration, and Claws.

It's hard to make a "Superman" type dude because you'd have to have Superhuman Strength, Speed, Flight, Invulnerability, Heat Vision, X-ray Vision, Cold breath, etc. etc. But that's OK, since D20 Modern works better as a team-based game as opposed to 1 guy being super good at everything and everyone else just sitting around watching him roll dice.


SmiloDan wrote:
It's hard to make a "Superman" type dude because you'd have to have Superhuman Strength, Speed, Flight, Invulnerability, Heat Vision, X-ray Vision, Cold breath, etc. etc.

Hey, even Superman didn't start with all of those powers; he earned them over the course of 70 years!

The big advantage that B&V has is that it should mesh pretty seamlessly with d20 Modern. I haven't played M&M yet, but it looks like it's more elegant with some things. Actually, there are some pretty strong similarities (e.g. you can have one main power like "Weather Control" with various individual sub-powers that you can either learn permanently or use temporarily via Hero/Action Points).

Liberty's Edge Contributor

The easiest route for you will probably be just to borrow a few elements from M&M rather than going for a complete hybrid of the two systems. Specifically, just port over the Powers and leave the feats, equipment, and so on behind. Once you decide to give your players powers, just start assigning them an arbitrary number of Power Points based on the level of super-ness you want (I'd recommend 3 per level if you want to keep them limited to one power or a small collection of related effect, or 5 per level for something a little closer to four-color). Set the limit for powers to either the character level, or something slightly higher (again, depending on how four-color you want the game to turn and how destructive you can stand your players becoming). For the kind of game you're looking for, I'd recommend 3 PP per level and a PL cap equal to your character level, as well as allowing the players to pick up Drawbacks for extra PP

The Mastermind Manual has a few notes for converting M&M to a hit point system; I'd recommend using that for a more post-modern, "Heroes"-style game. The basic boil down to Toughness bonuses from powers (like Prtection) translate into DR equal to twice the bonus, and Impervious protection ups that DR to three times the bonus, so a hero with two ranks of Density would gain DR 3 when they activate the power. In addition, damaging powers like Blast and Strike start out at a d4 of damage and scale up as if they were weapons increasing in size (d4 -> d6 -> d8 -> 2d6 -> ect), so a fire Blast 6 would do 4d6 fire damage. The Mastermind Manual explains it a little better, and is probably worth picking up if you're looking at any major re-toolings of the M&M system.

Good luck with you project; I hope it works out.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Subscriber

Talonne, just curious- did you move forward with this campaign? I'm getting ready to start a M&M campaign in the vein of Heroes, with the hit point rules... Wondering how it's turned out for you (or others that have tried it).


We're currently running a d20 game with M&M stuff added on top. It really adds a nice spice to the normally mundane gameplay. Sometimes players go crazy with powers and the DM starts to murder all the players to balance it out, but it's nice. Try it out. I'd say start by not limiting power levels. Maybe a +1 level adjustment for 3 points per level, +3 for 5 per level. That way it still evens out a little.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Subscriber

I think I'm heading toward a mutated version of M&M at this point- using the M&M rules as a basis, but using equipment and specific rules from Spycraft and d20 Modern. We're playing a relatively loose online (PBEM/PBP) game, so the rules aren't the focus. At this point, the players aren't even using character sheets yet. :)


SageSTL wrote:
I think I'm heading toward a mutated version of M&M at this point- using the M&M rules as a basis, but using equipment and specific rules from Spycraft and d20 Modern. We're playing a relatively loose online (PBEM/PBP) game, so the rules aren't the focus. At this point, the players aren't even using character sheets yet. :)

Did you take a look at the Blood & Vigilance rules?


Agents of Freedom with possibly some True20 weapons sprinkled in.


I was thinking about running a "League of Extraordinary Gentlemen" type of game using the d20 Modern rules. I am not familiar with M&M or any of the other rulesets mentioned so which do you think would work best for this type of game?


ronin wrote:
I was thinking about running a "League of Extraordinary Gentlemen" type of game using the d20 Modern rules. I am not familiar with M&M or any of the other rulesets mentioned so which do you think would work best for this type of game?

Blood & Vigilance is just an add-on to d20 Modern that adds superpowers. It's cheap, too. :-)

Mutants & Masterminds is a d20-based game, but it's more similar to True20. There are no levels or classes or hit points, for instance.


ronin wrote:
I was thinking about running a "League of Extraordinary Gentlemen" type of game using the d20 Modern rules.

M&M or True20 if you want to stay in the d20 realm.

Hero System, Savage Worlds or Spirit of the Century if you wish to venture beyond.


I hate to resurrect dead posts, but I thought I might mention Custom Characters as an option for the combination of Mutants and Masterminds for character creation and advancement.

The character uses the experience they gain to "purchase" HP, saves, and virtually all other aspects of their advancement.

It might be easier to think about it in a similar way to Runescape, or maybe Elder Scrolls: Morrowind and Oblivion. The more you use a skill (the more experience you 'put into it') the better you become.

This web link will take you to the website as it can be difficult to find: http://www.easydamus.com/CustomCharacters.html

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