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Mutants & Masterminds: Mastermind's Manual 2nd Edition [Hardcover]

By Steve Kenson & Ramon Perez (Contributor)
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Item description for Mutants & Masterminds: Mastermind's Manual 2nd Edition by Steve Kenson & Ramon Perez...

The Mastermind's Manual is the perfect companion to the award-winning Mutants & Masterminds Superhero Roleplaying Game. In its pages you will find endless ways to customize the M&M system to suit your game, along with helpful Gamemaster advice, and insight into how the game is designed and played. The Mastermind's Manual includes a vast array of optional and variant rules, complete guidelines for creating your own feats and super-powers, expanded systems for proficiency, combat, chases, skill use, and nearly every other aspect of the game. With the Mastermind's Manual, you open up infinite possibilities, infinite options, and the power to truly make the world yours. It's your master plan for taking the game to the next level... and what evil mastermind wouldn't want that?

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Item Specifications...

Pages   160
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 0.5" Width: 8.5" Height: 10.75"
Weight:   1.45 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Jan 15, 2006
Publisher   Green Ronin Publishing
ISBN  1932442553  
ISBN13  9781932442557  

Availability  0 units.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Entertainment > Games > General
2Books > Subjects > Entertainment > Games > Role Playing & Fantasy > General
3Books > Subjects > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Gaming

Reviews - What do customers think about Mutants & Masterminds: Mastermind's Manual 2nd Edition?

Rules Options Galore  Feb 23, 2007
At its heart, the Mastermind's Manual is a smorgasbord of new rules options for a 2nd Edition Mutants & Masterminds campaign. The Manual contains dozens of options for all aspects of the game, including character creation, feats, skills, powers and combat. In addition to the rules options there is gamemaster advice and expanded rule systems. The book also includes a FAQ about the game, as well as errata for the 2nd edition - a nice inclusion.

I liked some of the rules options better than others, but overall most seemed both well thought out and interesting. Some of them, like the rules for extra attacks, could easily have been included with the core rules. Others, like the optional level-based advancement rules or rules for using hit points could make significant changes to how the game is played.

What's missing? I would have really liked a chapter devoted to `plug ins' like a sample bank map, a template for a runaway robot, etc. that I could easily drop into my campaign. Maybe I'm just greedy, but these would be more useful to me than a discussion of tech levels or other general advice.
Supers Toolbox  Nov 3, 2006
The Mastermind's Manual is a book geared primarily towards the game master of the Mutants and Masterminds game. In it you will find suggestions, tips and tricks for running what can be one of the greatest superhero role playing games ever devised. Several more Martial Arts styles drawn from the real world are tallied up in terms of feats for ease of reference as well as revisiting ones in the second edition main book. This can be likened to the DMG of M&M. Anyone who is running or is thinking of running a Mutants and Masterminds campaign really should consider this book. Freedom City gives you a setting, the main book has all the basic rules for play. But the Mastermind's Manual is for the GM who wants a few extra cards up her figurative sleeve to tinker with the system when it gets to be somewhat contrary to his or her vision. Not exactly an essential book, but for the Mutants and Masterminds game, it does help the GM do his job a lot better.
Pure Genius...  Aug 23, 2006
I have a few problems with Mutants & Masterminds 2E (M&M2E) at it's core. It's a good game, but it feels just a bit "blah" to me in play. I have issues with the linear d20 system, as well as a bit of a "bored now" feeling toward it's Toughness save in lieu of rolling gobs of damage dice against traditional Hit Points. I heard the Mastermind's Manual would have a few optional rules to help people like me customize M&M2E to what we saw as the exemplary superhero game, if M&M2E wasn't already there. I was mistaken. There are a few HUNDRED optional rules listed herein.

This means the Mastermind's Manual is geared more toward system (crunch) junkies, and setting (fluff) junkies will probably find the book lacking. I am both a system and setting junkie, and bought Freedom City 2nd at the same time as this book to sate both needs ;-).

What you have here is a 160 page tome of pure substance. If you pay for page count the price is terrible, but if you pay for content, the price is peanuts. Nearly every system of M&M2E is given an optional rules and replacement rules treatment, among which are my quest for a bell curved resolution system and hit points/damage system.

But there's so much more. Systems and tweeks that can change M&M2E into a different game. M&M2E at core is designed for closer to Four Color superhero play (like Justice League), but several options presented within the Mastermind's Manual can easily scale it down to gritty Street level play the likes of Punisher, Batman, and Daredevil. Also, some options exist to bring the game into the other direction, scaling the power level up to resemble something like Nobilis (godlings).

Now, I'm not saying you'll use (or even like) all 200 optional rules, because you probably won't. I don't even come close, I only like/use about 10 of them for my version of M&M2E. But having them all there to peruse is a real treat, as it shows exactly what the system can be customized to do, as well as how far the designer will go to help fans houserule the game into their perfect superhero RPG. Every rule seems to have been playtested to iron the kinks out, every question I came up with was clearly answered in the text. While I don't like and won't use many of the rules, it's good to see the breadth presented in an effort to make the book useful to anybody, not just those with a particular taste.

This book also shows how to create Powers from scratch (including breaking down the Powers from the core into their component parts), and handling Powers in different manners than just the core.

The main merit of this book (as in a merit to any group, even those that love core M&M2E with no changes), in my opinion, is the GM tips and tricks. For superpowers that tend to break the plot (you know - invisibility, mind control, esp, incorporeality, mind reading, precognition, etc), utilizing both the "real lives" and the "super lives" of the superhero characters, even different possibilities in the roles of superheroes vs. the society around them.

All this, and I've barely scratched the surface on the Mastermind's Manual, giving you what I would say is a weak selection of the sheer mass of options within. Let me just say that this book turned me around when it came to M&M2E's system. It took me from "blah" to "whoa!" in no time. I can't say as to whether it will do the same to others, but it seems likely to be a good addition to anyone's M&M2E library.
How do you make the best even better?  Jul 26, 2006

You don't. What you do is, you give people the tools so that they can can make things better in their own way.

The Mastermind's Manual was described by lead writer and gaming guru Steve Kenson as "Unearthed Arcana for Mutants and Masterminds". Unearthed Arcana, a Wizards of the Coast supplement for Dungeons and Dragons, was a compilation of dozens of optional rules for that game, so you know from the start that you're going to be getting a book of optional rules. Many of these were options included in the first edition of the game that had to be cut from the second edition's page count; quite a few of them are the status quo of the first edition, offered as options for those who don't like the way the second edition does things. And there are also some rules for gamers who aren't happy with the changes that Mutants and Masterminds introduces to the basic rules set. (Of this last category, the only ones that make me wince are slightly ham-handed attempts to reintroduce hit points and experience levels to the system.)

But there's more. There's a short section explaining how the various powers in the main rulebook are put together, and explaining how one can go about building new ones. There are sections offering advice about simulating natural hazards, and about world-building and different styles of games. It's obvious that the designers have put a lot of thought into their work, with many sidebars on "how and why you might (or might not) want to use this."

What has most contributed to the so-called D20 revolution is less the freedom to use the system offered by its creators to other publishers, then its recognition that most, if not all, gamers don't necessarily just use the game systems we're offered "out of the box". We tinker, we invent house rules. We say, I like this idea that I've come up with better than what the publishers came up with. This has never really been sanctioned before, and I say that it's about time. Kudos to Green Ronin for offering the tools to make their great system even better.

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