Tag Archive for: supervillain

Makes Some Noise With “The Heist” for Astonishing Adventures

As part of the Astonishing Adventures line for Mutants & Masterminds, we’re updating and re-releasing a few short adventures from earlier editions of the game for players who might have enjoyed them back then, or haven’t had the opportunity to do so in the fourteen years or so since the Third Edition of M&M launched.

“The Heist” was originally a sample adventure in the Second Edition rulebook, as a classic comic book scenario where two supervillains and their henchmen rob a bank. It was intended as a “teaching adventure” for players new to the game to learn the ropes, and you can still use it as such. It’s also a good sample adventure to use to give new players a taste of how Mutants & Masterminds plays, for conventions and demo games.

If you are new to game-mastering M&M, take a look at how “The Heist” is set up and its advice to Gamemasters, particularly the Involving the Heroes section and the Hero Points headers scattered throughout, which look at opportunities to introduce Complications and award players Hero Points during play. The second part of the adventure also contains two classic Challenge Sequences: A rescue from a collapsing building, and a chase scene to prevent the villains’ escape! Good examples of how to set up and run these staples of the game. There are guidelines to modify the adventure as well for different sized groups and different power levels.

We hope you enjoy this M&M “blast from the past” without needing the kind of hearing-protection that your heroes will, once Rant starts to make some noise!

Available now in the Green Ronin Online Store, and on DriveThruRPG!

Taking Advantage


Advantages with Valiant Heroes

Advantages are traits in the Mutants & Masterminds system that fall in-between Skills and Powers, particular edges or resources characters have, often letting them bend the rules in specific ways under particular circumstances. Valiant Adventures includes many familiar Advantages from the M&M core rules, along with some that have been updated in various ways, and a few new advantages as well.

When we provided pre-generated characters for the Valiant Quickstart, we included descriptions of all of their Advantages. However, when we offered previews of some of the signature Valiant heroes, there wasn’t space on their character sheets to provide descriptions of all of their Advantages: For characters like Ninjak, it would have taken an extra couple of pages!

So here is a quick summary of the new Advantages the sample Valiant heroes have. The rest can be found in the Mutants & Masterminds Hero’s Handbook or Basic Hero’s Handbook. Please note that this is not final text, but a behind-the-scenes look at just a sample of what is in store in the Valiant Adventures manuscript!

Counterattack: If an opponent hits you with a Close Attack, you can use your Reaction to make an immediate Attack against them, before your Resistance Check against their attack’s Effect, if any.

Exploit Momentum: If an opponent misses you with a Close Attack, you can use your Reaction to immediately attempt a Trip Attack against them, and they do not get an opportunity to try and trip you.

Fallen Inspiration: When you are Incapacitated (including Dying or even Dead) you immediately gain a Hero Point and can then divide your current total Hero Points as you wish among any allies able to see or hear you. 

Gadgets: You have access to one (or more) Gadgets, temporary Devices. Each Rank in this Advantage lets you produce one Gadget per adventure. The Gadget can have total Effect Ranks no greater than the series Power Level and any Extras count as additional Ranks equal to the base Effect Rank. Each Gadget is good for one Scene, after which it is no longer usable, unless you expend an additional use of this Advantage. All of your uses of Gadgets reset at the start of each adventure.

Menacing Attack: If you render an opponent Incapacitated (including Dying or Dead, at the GM’s discretion) you can use your Reaction for an immediate Overwhelm Action against all Minion opponents able to see and hear you.

Opportunity Attack: When an opponent within range of your Close Attack moves, and their movement would take them out of your Close Attack range, you can use your Reaction to make an immediate Close Attack against them before they leave your range.

Power Stunt: Each Rank in this Advantage lets you perform a Power Stunt without suffering any Fatigue. All of your uses of Power Stunt reset at the start of each adventure.

Ripose: If an opponent misses you with a Close Attack, you can use your Reaction to make an immediate Close Attack against them.

Sleeper Hold: You can put a target into a hold to knock them out. Make a Close Attack Check against a target’s Parry Defense as a Standard Action. If you hit, the target must make a Fortitude Resistance Check against a DC of (10 + your Strength Rank):

  • Success: No effect.
  • Failure (one degree): The target is Dazed.
  • Failure (two degrees): The target is Stunned.
  • Failure (three degrees): The target is Asleep.

On your Turn, you can take the Concentrate Action to maintain the sleeper hold, requiring a new Resistance Check from the target. Success removes the condition imposed by the sleeper hold and the target escapes. Failure means the Effect increases by one degree until the target is asleep. Sleeping targets get a Fortitude Resistance Check each minute to wake up unless they’re deliberately awakened.

Split Attack: When you take the Attack Action, you can divide your attack between two different targets. This usually represents rapid, but less forceful, attacks in order to hit more than one target. Divide the Effect’s Rank between the two targets as you wish and make an Attack Check for each target. The attack works on each target normally at its reduced Rank.

Tactical Advance: When you impose the Dazed or Stunned Condition on an opponent, allies able to hear you can use their Reaction to move their Speed towards that opponent.

We have less than 30 hours to go, so be sure to get in on the Kickstarter Campaign before it ends tomorrow!

Valiant Views: X-O Manowar

Valiant Views: X-O Manowar

While the Valiant Adventures Quickstart gives you a feel for what it is like to play a tabletop RPG set in the Valiant Universe, due to space limits it doesn’t provide character creation info or a deeper look at some of the signature Valiant characters. In this preview, we look at Valiant’s armored powerhouse, X-O Manowar!

Aric of Dacia was a Visigoth warrior, abducted by the alien Vine, who led a slave revolt and bonded with the sacred Armor Shanhara, a Vine relic. So it’s no surprise that Aric is above-average in his physical Abilities and has formidable Fighting, having mastered most forms of close combat in his time.

His Powers are all tied up in the Shanhara armor, granting him Enhanced Strength and Toughness. The armor is Impervious to low-Rank attacks, including most common earthly weapons like guns. It takes a heavy weapon to even scratch X-O, as Earth’s armed forces learned. Even then, the armor helps Aric recover from lethal damage in minutes. X-O can fly at high speeds and even cross interstellar distances outside of an atmosphere, plus Shanhara grants him a suite of sensors and the ability to understand earthly and alien languages alike.

While Aric can be deprived of his armor, when he takes it off, Shanhara is bonded to him and comes at his call, if possible. It takes great effort to separate X-O from his armor, as many foes have learned.

X-O doesn’t have a lot of skills: Aric was and is a warrior first and foremost, relying on his Fighting more than anything else. He has knowledge of History and Military tactics and operations, he’s athletic, perceptive, and intimidating, and not much else. He has learned some leadership skills, reflected in his Advantages, but still falls back on mostly untrained Presence Checks when it comes to social skills beyond threatening people.

Speaking of Advantages, no surprise that most of the Manowar’s are combat-related. His Counterattack makes it potentially dangerous for a foe to face him in close combat (if you come for the king, you’d best not miss!), the same with his Opportunity Attack. Takedown and Menacing Attack are an effective combo to take out minions and cow the rest with an Overwhelm reaction. His Tactical Advance Advantage makes X-O dangerous as the leader of a force, since his success can allow them to move more quickly to attack their foes at his command.

Shanhara’s occasional comments and advice tend to be limited to X-O’s Senses Powers and spending a Hero Point for Insight, in which case the GM might use Shanhara as a means to offer the Manowar suggestions. Aric’s Complications note that he is a man of honor, but one from an archaic time long past, still trying to do what he sees as good with the tremendous power he has been given.

Check out the Valiant Adventures Roleplaying Game on Kickstarter now!

Valiant Views: Shadowman

Valiant Views: Shadowman

While the Valiant Adventures Quickstart gives you a feel for what it is like to play a tabletop RPG set in the Valiant Universe, due to space limits it doesn’t provide character creation info or a deeper look at some of the signature Valiant characters. In this preview, we look at Valiant’s mystical defender of the Deadside, Shadowman.

Along with Doctor Mirage, Shadowman is our other mystical character, perhaps the one most central to the Valiant Universe’s mystic upheavals. Overall, Shadowman’s Abilities are impressive, but largely because Jack Boniface is bonded with the Shadow Loa: giving him a list of Enhanced Abilites included in those Ranks. The Shadow Loa also makes Shadowman tougher, faster to heal, and essentially unkillable except through mystic means.

Shadowman’s other powers involve his Shadow Scythe, his signature weapon, which is effective against spirits and other creatures of the Deadside and a weapon he can swing in an arc to Multiattack. He also has a considerable Necromancy Array, particularly his power to summon darkness, travel to and from the Deadside, and to Command the Dead and the creatures of the Deadside when necessary. Extra Effort for some power stunts can add other Necromatic Effects to Shadowman’s Array temporarily, but he tends to rely on his physical prowess more than those powers anyway.

Jack has Undead as a Favored Foe Advantage, giving him an additional edge. He has some Combat Advantages, notably Menacing Attack, which lets him Intimidate after felling a foe, especially useful against groups of minions. He also has Leadership, more in the area of helping allies like the Abettors to shake off Conditions, and Fallen Inspiration, which lets him do the same even when he’s taken out of a fight!

His Skills rely fairly heavily on Intimidation and Occult, although his Expertise in History (he started out as a museum curator in New Orleans) comes in handy sometimes. It’s notable that Shadowman is a more effective close combatant, with slightly lower Defense against ranged attacks and no real ranged attacks of his own, unless he does a power stunt or throws something. He prefers to get right up into the fight whenever possible.

Shadowman’s Responsibility Complication is often at-odds with his Isolated Complication: He wants to do good and help others, but at the same time feels like he has to go it alone, making it hard for people to help him, as Alyssa and the other Abettors and his sometime allies will attest.

Check out the Valiant Adventures Roleplaying Game on Kickstarter now!

Valiant Views: Ninjak

Valiant Views: Ninjak!

While the Valiant Adventures Quickstart gives you a feel for what it is like to play a tabletop RPG set in the Valiant Universe, due to space limits it doesn’t provide character creation info or a deeper look at some of the signature Valiant characters. In this preview, we look at Valiant’s ultimate secret agent and super-spy, Ninjak.

Ninjak is a prime example of a “normal human” who, well, isn’t in that some of his abilities (Agility, Dexterity, and Intellect) are above the “normal human” limit that hovers around Rank 6 and his Fighting Ability is truly superhuman at 14, but then Ninjak is one of the best all-around combatants in the Valiant Universe. He relies on that high Attack Bonus because his Damage output is relatively low for his Power Level, meaning Ninjak is going to Power Attack when he can against lower Defense targets (if he’s not using his Gadgets Advantage to simply plant a bomb on them…).

Ninjak’s “powers” are all Devices, particularly built into his uniform. In particular, his Enhanced Armor Mode is a good example of Power Level trade-offs: It exchanges upping his Toughness (Protection) at a reduction in his Dodge and Parry, keeping his Power Level the same, but recognizing situations where Ninjak needs greater Toughness while still maintaining quite high Defense Class against attacks.

He has a formidable set of Equipment, including a variety of weapons, all cutting-edge tech, but not so advanced they count as Devices.

Ninjak was the true test for the layout of the Advantages section! He has a lot of them. Notable is his Gadgets Advantage, a new one in Valiant Adventures that lets him come up with his signature “I have a device for that” move in the comics. He’s naturally got the Assessment, Connected, and Well-Informed Advantages for intelligence gathering, along with a lot of Combat Advantages reflecting his training, cunning, and skill. Of note are new Valiant Adventures Advantages like Exploit Momentum, Opportunity Attack, Riposte, Sleeper Hold, and Split Attack. The first three make use of the addition of a once per Turn Reaction option, letting Ninjak respond to things his opponents are doing. The other two are a revision of the old Chokehold Advantage and an Advantage version of the Split Effect Modifier, allowing him to make two smaller attacks in place of a larger one.

Ninjak is also a Skill monster, adding to his already formidable Abilities in all of the ninja- and espionage-related Skills. In particular, his Skill Mastery in Stealth lets Ninjak routinely disappear and conceal himself under most circumstances unless dealing with an opponent with Senses Effects that allow them to detect him (as X-O Manowar did in their initial encounters).

Check out the Valiant Adventures Roleplaying Game on Kickstarter now!

Valiant Views: Faith!

While the
Valiant Adventures Quickstart gives you a feel for what it is like to play a tabletop RPG set in the Valiant Universe, due to space limits it doesn’t provide character creation info or a deeper look at some of the signature Valiant characters. For some additional previews, we’re looking to do just that. This Valiant View is of the high-flyiong Faith.

Faith is our first psiot character, a definite archetype in Valiant Advenutures. Psiots are people with the potential for psionic powers, harbingers of the next stage of humanity. However, at this stage, few psiots “activate” and gain powers on their own, and the process of trying to force an activation is both difficult and dangerous, often ending in the subject’s death. Faith Herbert was one of the lucky ones, and she knows it.

So, Faith’s Abilities are overall decent, but not a major element of her character. She’s smart, determined, and personable, and has learned to defend herself a bit, but all-in-all, nothing outside of the normal human range of Ability Ranks.

It’s Faith’s Powers that are the focus of her character sheet. Her psiot ability is a psychokinetic “Companion Field” that allows Faith to levitate herself and other people or things in proximity. She has since learned to extend her Companion Field to both move more distant objects and to create a kind of repulsion field to block or deflect attacks and other sources of harm. Those uses go into an Array, based on what Faith is focusing on at any given moment; her Force Field protects her, while her Shield is a wider and stronger form of protection, but largely immobile since it requires more concentration.

Of particular note is Faith’s Boundless Optimism, giving her a Bonus Die on Will Resistance Checks against certain Effects, a version of the Resistance Power that models Faith’s ability to overcome personal obstacles, along with her Advantages.

Speaking of which, Faith has some Advantages involving the use of her powers in combat, particularly Evasion, Improved Disarm, Interpose (useful for her Force Field and Shield), and Redirect. She has a Benefit for her Secret Identity for the occasions when it has come in handy, such as when Faith was accused of a crime, and related Advantages like Connected and Well-Informed for both her journalist connections and her knowing a lot of other heroes. Lastly, Faith has some interpersonal Advantages: Extraordinary Effort for her unflagging determination, Leadership representing her ability to help other people overcome obstacles, Luck for her ability to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat, and a Second Chance Advantage that goes along with resisting attempts to manipulate her or get her to give up.

Faith’s Skills mostly involve her day-to-day training as a journalist and investigator, what she has learned as a hero in the field and, most of all, her boundless knowledge of pop culture and geek subjects, which the GM should find uses for in adventures much like Faith does in the comics. Her Complications mostly revolve around Faith being a good person who wants to do good and inspire other people to be better. She’s a true hero and ray of sunshine.

Check out the Valiant Adventures Roleplaying Game on Kickstarter now!

Valiant Views: Doctor Mirage

Valiant Views: Doctor Mirage preview

While the Valiant Adventures Quickstart gives you a feel for what it is like to play a tabletop RPG set in the Valiant Universe, due to space limits it doesn’t provide character creation info or a deeper look at some of the signature Valiant characters. For some additional previews, we’re looking to do just that. This Valiant View is of Doctor Mirage.

Shan Fong Mirage is our first mystical character, a significant element of the Valiant Universe as we’ll see. In terms of Abilities, Dr. Mirage is above average, but still a “normal” human in most regards. Her Awareness is considerable, related to her extrasensory gifts, and her Presence is as well, owing both to her power in the spirit world and her real-world celebrity. Given how important both Awareness- and Presence-based Skills are for her, it makes sense that Dr. Mirage has good Ranks in both, as well as Intellect.

Speaking of Skills, Shan’s are, as we mentioned, strongly focused on Awareness (Insight and Perception), Presence (Deception and Persuasion), and Intellect (Investigation and Occult). Of note is the Occult Skill, new in Valiant Adventures. It’s effectively an Expertise Skill, but with the importance of Occult Skill to so many characters and situations, it was easier to define and name it as a separate Skill of its own. Mirage also has some practical “adventuring” skills: training in Close Combat, Stealth, and Treatment.

For Advantages, Shan has several related to her status as a former celebrity, like Benefit: Famous and Contacts. Most of her other Advantages relate to her talents as an occult investigator, particularly Favored Foe: Spirits, Second Chance on Investigation Checks involving the paranormal, Trance, and Well-Informed, which in her case usually involves her connections to the spirit world and the Deadside. Of particular note is Mirage’s Power Stunt Advantage: This is an addition to Valiant Adventures that is similar to the Luck Advantage (which she also has) except it is “free” uses of the Power Stunt option of extra effort, reflecting Doctor Mirage’s flexibility as a sorcerer. She can be relied upon to pull off a couple of unusual spells or effects without having to worry about fatigue or having Hero Points on-hand.

Dr. Mirage’s powers feature her protective “working clothes” which provide Protection (and increase to her Toughness) as well as Resistance to Spirit Powers. This is another instance of the Resistance mechanic, based off the new Bonus Die mechanic in Valiant Adventures (see the Valiant Adventures Quickstart for details). “See Spirits” is pre-defined Senses Effect in Valiant, given how many characters have it, and Doctor Mirage is unusual in that she can enter the Deadside largely at-will, although only in spirit form while in trance. Lastly, she has a selection of common spells, which she can supplement with her Power Stunt Advantage, as well as actual extra effort and Hero Point spending.

What about Shan’s ghostly husband Hwen? For the most part, his presence in her life is covered by her Stubborn Complication (her devotion to him) and by her Contacts, Power Stunt, and Well-Informed Advantages, which can also reflect Hwen’s influence in the Deadside and his ability to offer insights and advice, along with the effects of spending Hero Points for Inspiration.

Check out the Valiant Adventures Roleplaying Game on Kickstarter now!

Valiant Views: Bloodshot

Bloodshot from Valiant Adventures RPG. Live on Kickstarter now!


While the Valiant Adventures Quickstart gives you a feel for what it is like to play a tabletop RPG set in the Valiant Universe, due to space limits it doesn’t provide character creation info or a deeper look at some of the signature Valiant characters. For some additional previews, we’re looking to do just that, starting with the one-man army known as Bloodshot.

Although Bloodshot is “just” a nano-enhanced human, he’s Power Level 11 because he’s a serious combatant.

In terms of Abilities, Bloodshot is mostly within the human range: His Strength is nigh-superhuman, but nowhere in the class of powerhouses like X-O Manowar. His Stamina, on the other hand, is pretty massive, Rank 10, since enduring and recovering from things is pretty much what Bloodshot does. It made sense to give him high Stamina for all of the things he’d use it for: Resistance Checks (both Fortitude and Toughness) and Recovery Checks. Since Valiant also defaults to a Damage Resistance system where even a successful Toughness Resistance Check results in a slight Damage Condition (a bruise or injury) there was no concern about Bloodshot being too tough. He still takes damage (albeit not as easily as most people) but recovers fast. His Fighting is also right up there at Rank 12, since he’s a masterful soldier and combatant.

In terms of Powers, Bloodshot is host to a colony of advanced nanites, microscopic machines, that rebuild his body and give him some machine-interfacing abilities. His main power is his Nanite Regeneration, and he has a lot of Ranks in it, making Recovery Checks fast! He has a Limit on his Regeneration that the nanites require an infusion of protein after or while rebuilding him. Bloodshot’s other powers are based on ways his nanites can modify his body (his Nanite Morphology) or connect with other machines (his Nanite Networking). Since he was conceived as an anti-psiot weapon, Bloodshot also has Resistance to Psionic Powers, a new mechanic in Valiant which grants a Bonus Die on Resistance Checks against those powers (see the Valiant Adventures Quickstart for details about Bonus and Penalty Dice).

Bloodshot has a number of Advantages, notably All-Out Attack (he often sacrifices defense, knowing he’ll bounce back), Close Attack (giving him a massive +15 attack bonus in close combat), and Ultimate Effort for resisting pain. We could have given Bloodshot a Resistance to Pain power, but Ultimate Effort seemed more in-line with how he handles things in the comics, making it more of a conscious effort and something the player chooses to engage. He also has a hefty amount of Equipment for his usual loadout of weapons.

Bloodshot’s skills are what you’d expect for a highly-trained commando. Although he has a big bonus to Computers Skill Checks, Bloodshot doesn’t himself know much about computers: It’s his nanites doing the work there. He does have some general Electronics and Mechanics Skill. Intimidation is by far his major Interaction Skill!

Check out the Valiant Adventures Roleplaying Game on Kickstarter now!

Valiant Worlds for Mutants & Masterminds

 Valiant Adventures Roleplaying, Worlds of Valiant

When the DC Adventures RPG premiered with what would be the Third Edition of the Mutants & Masterminds game system, it was the only version of that edition available. The stand-alone Third Edition Hero’s Handbook wouldn’t come along until the following year. But with the Valiant Adventures RPG, using a modified version of the M&M system funding on Kickstarter now, long-time players of the Third Edition may ask themselves “Can I just use Worlds of Valiant as an M&M setting sourcebook? Do I really need the new rulebook, if all I want is the Valiant setting and characters?”

The simple answer is: You don’t need the Valiant Adventures Hero’s Handbook to get use out of the Worlds of Valiant as a setting sourcebook for your Third Edition M&M rulebook(s). Worlds will contain the bulk of the information on Valiant characters and their different corners of the universe. While Valiant does make some minor adjustments to the Third Edition rules to better suit the setting, the material in Worlds will still be quite usable. The notable areas of “translation” are:

Skills: Valiant breaks a few M&M skills into smaller sub-skills; Technology into Computers, Electronics, and Mechanics, for example, or Vehicles into Driving and Piloting. Still, the names of the skills are quite self-explanatory, and you can use them as-given in the Valiant write-ups, or translate them back to their M&M equivalents on-the-fly quite easily.

Advantages: The largest number of new character traits in Valiant Adventures are advantages, many of them based on the rules options introduced there. If a Valiant character write-up has an advantage not in the Third Edition Mutants & Masterminds Hero’s Handbook, you can just ignore it, but getting and using those advantages (in Valiant or in your regular M&M game) is one good reason to pick up the Valiant Hero’s Handbook.

Powers: A few powers—notably Healing and Regeneration—are a bit different in Valiant, to go with the adjustments to Damage and Damage Resistance to suit the Valiant Universe setting. That said, their Ranks remain essentially the same, and you can easily convert them to their M&M equivalents, if you want. We’re also looking at presenting powers in Valiant write-ups a bit differently, with more prose explanations of what a character’s powers are along with the game-system notation of their Effects. This is more a change in presentation than mechanics, however, so it doesn’t really affect the write-ups’ usability—if anything, we hope it increases it!

The other things about character stats: Abilities, Ranks, Defenses, and so forth are all the same in Valiant as in M&M Third Edition, as you can easily see by taking a look at the characters in the Valiant Adventures Quickstart. We’ll also be showing off some sample Valiant heroes soon so you can get a sense for what the Worlds book will offer and how useful it will be to you. Take a look and … Stay Valiant!

Valiant Adventures RPG: Playmat Breakdown

The Valiant Adventures Playmat!

Hello heroes! Of the new products coming for the Valiant Adventures Roleplaying Game, I am most excited for the playmat! I conceived of this neoprene mat almost as a player-facing Gamemaster’s screen. I wanted a central location for players to find all of the reference material they needed at a glance. Things like what Hero Points and Extra Effort can be used for, a space for the new Condition Cards, somewhere to keep track of Hero Point tokens, the new Damage track, and a space to roll dice. As I’ve mentioned a couple of times now, one of my guiding design philosophies for this game was to make it accessible to new players.

I also wanted to take an opportunity to encourage mindfulness in gameplay. There are 4 Condition Card slots and 5 Hero Point slots on the mat, something I chose rather deliberately. I wanted GM’s to see those 5 Hero Point spots and think about filling them throughout the course of a game session. Hero Points are meant to be awarded often in this game. They play a substantial role in allowing PCs to contribute to the group storytelling at the heart of tabletop RPGs and enable PCs to pull off legendary shenanigans that will be the talk of your group for years to come. Gamemasters, please give out more during your games, I promise they will make things more fun for your players and for you.

I also wanted players to see the four Condition Card slots near the list of actions to encourage them to experiment in combat. Exchanging bruises until someone is unconscious is a perfectly great way to approach combat, but there are so many other options in Valiant Adventures Roleplaying Game for standard actions and attacks. You can try to overwhelm an opponent to force them to do something you want them to, trip them to make it easier for people to attack them up close, inflict the Impaired Condition through an Affliction to make all of their rolls worse, the possibilities are endless!

There was a little bit of pushback about the mat. It’s not a traditional tabletop RPG product and conceptually it was hard to visualize. However, once people saw the final design it became a “I didn’t know I wanted that, but I definitely do now,” moment. I hope that is something many of you experienced as well and I can’t wait to see these mats in my home and con games!