Ronin Round Table: Where Soars the Cosmic Handbook?

Pre-Order Cosmic Handbook

Pre-Order Cosmic Handbook

The cosmic gods have answered our prayers! Years of requests via email, the Atomic Think Tank, instant messages, and in-person are just a couple of weeks away from being fulfilled! The newest Mutants & Masterminds title, the long-awaited Cosmic Handbook, is about to make its way to your favorite game store!

Right up front, I want to make sure you’re aware that if you pre-order the physical book at the link above, you’ll be able to add the PDF to the order for only $5. And, big bonus, you get the PDF delivered to you immediately.

As for the book itself, it covers a lot of ground. Chapter 1 starts off with a few pages of history of cosmic heroes in comics, beginning with Superman and continuing up to the last few years. Then it dives into conventions of the genre. This section is really interesting because it shows players and GMs the sorts of things they should expect to see in a cosmic game and the sorts of things they may want their character to embody. It’s not a how-to manual, but it should give everyone a good grounding in what makes a cosmic game cosmic.

Chapter 2 is all about player characters. This is the section players will be most interested in. It defines three different levels of cosmic series: Challengers of the Cosmos, at PL8 to 10, Cosmic Crusaders, at PL10 to 12, and Cosmic Avatars, at PL12 and up. The level of a normal cosmic series is the Cosmic Crusader level, with characters beginning at PL12 and advancing from there. This is a couple of steps up from the normal super-heroic M&M series and should be a real treat for players who are interested in pushing boundaries and want to be able to throw around some serious power!

Chapter 2 also includes nine different sample heroes of different power levels, including the Cosmic Buccaneer, Cosmic Critter, Galactic Peace Officer, Ray-Gun Hero, Space Demigod, Space Knight, Space Soldier, Star Hero, and Strange Visitor. Far from an exhaustive list of cosmic hero archetypes, these characters should provide players with a good starting points, examples, and inspiration.

Chapter 3 is for the GM and concentrates on running a cosmic series. It provides GMs with tips on creating ongoing cosmic games, gives examples of the sorts of stories work well, and caps it off with ten villain archetypes to challenge your players! These villains include the Alien Supermind, Avatar of Destruction, Imperial Champion, Space Dragon, The Devourer, Galactic Tough Guy, Renegade Space Cop, Star Hunter, and Time Master. There’s even a bunch of minion archetypes and sample minions that can show up in your games. Can you say “Cuddly alien pet,” or “Xenomorph”?

Chapter 4 covers the Earth-Prime, or Freedom City Cosmos. It gives a brief history of the cosmos as it is in the setting all the Mutants & Masterminds characters exist in, from the Preservers and their role in seeding the universe with races, all the way up to the modern day and the chaos caused by the arrival of Collapsar.

Our goal with this chapter was to clear out all the established empires and make it possible for the player characters to play an important role in the cosmos. Instead of everything being clearly regimented and broken into empires, it’s more like the Wild West. The old powers are destroyed or in survival mode, while new powers, like the Stellar Khanate, are making their move to gain in significance. Along with these changes, more cosmic-powered groups, such as the nanotech-fueled Argents and Blackstar’s Blackguard, have appeared to pursue their own agendas. Agendas which will certainly cause the heroes some problems.

Finally, in chapter 5, we revisit Freedom City 2525. This homage to the Legion of Super-Heroes is converted to the new edition of M&M and includes a bevy of heroes and villains. Whether you use them in a series set in the future or as inspiration for allies and adversaries for your players’ characters, these 17 characters will definitely come in useful!

So far, people who’ve already downloaded the PDF have had great things to say about the book. We’re pleased to be able to get this out to everyone at a time when cosmic movies like The Guardians of the Galaxy and Star Wars: The Force Awakens are so popular. Hopefully they’ll inspire you and your friends to head out into the stars!

Jon Leitheusser

Jon Leitheusser

Jon Leitheusser is the developer for the Mutants & Masterminds game. He started gaming at the age of 12, has worked in the industry at a game and comic store, two distribution companies, as a publisher (where he originally published the Dork Tower comic book), as a game designer for HeroClix, as a freelancer, and finally for Green Ronin. He's originally from Burlington, Wisconsin and now lives in Renton, Washington with his wife and a really unfriendly cat.
Jon Leitheusser