Monday, April 19, 2010

Mutants & Masterminds RPG- The Golden Age

For my next installment of Golden Age week, I'm going to review the Golden Age sourcebook for Green Ronin's Mutant & Masterminds game. Now, I haven't actually reviewed M&M as a whole yet, but here's the short version- it's a heavily modified version of the D20 system used to emulate superhero stories, and it's awesome.

Anyway, Golden Age, as you can imagine, is all about running games and campaigns during the Golden Age of Comics. As such, it covers a broad range, from low-powered mystery men to full-on superheroes, two-fisted PI's to rough and ready soldiers fighting overseas.

Chapter 1 focuses on the history of Golden Age Comics. Superman, Batman, Captain America and others. It also offers a brief view of trends and genres that aren't superheroes. There's nothing too surprising for the comic fan here, though it's well-presented. The most interesting thing is that, unlike some comics histories I've read, Golden Age offers a theory as to why the superhero genre waned immediately following the war whereas other genres flourished.

Chapter 2 covers the real world history of the period covering 1938-1955. As such, it gives a brief overview of World War II. More importantly, it covers the social context of America from that period. Music, movies, sports, and other topics are presented to allow both the player and the GM to make their games as realistic (or not) as desired.

Chapter 3 is about describing the period in terms of game mechanics. Various optional rules are presented to further capture the feel of the Golden Age. Finally, there are several pre-made characters for lazy players.

Chapter 4 is for the Gamemaster. It presents tips on style, mainly. It also gives stats for several NPCs likely to show up in a Golden AGe campaign, including HITLER. That's right- players can have their characters recreate the cover to Captain America #1.

Chapter 5 presents period-specific information on M&M's Freedom City campaign setting. It pulls info from the previous chapters to further illustrate to players and GMs on how to use the info presented to make cohesive Golden Age characters and settings.

Chapter 6 presents a pre-made adventure module to ease everyone in to a Golden Age game.

Finally, there's the Appendix which presents rules on how to run mass combat. Basically, it's a shorthand system to simulate large units of armies. So, this is the section if you ever wanted to know how Captain Marvel would fare against an army platoon.

Overall, this is a damn good book. The writing is top-notch, and the art, with few exceptions is excellent. As a style guide, it works very well independent of the M&M rules. Using the M&M books, it's very useful, as it ties in with many other books they've released since. Quite honestly, it's one of my favorite RPG sourcebooks.

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