Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Review: Better Mousetrap 3e

Taking a break right now from D&D related things.  My next "Order of the Platinum Dragon" game is not till Gen Con and I don't have anything yet for the "Dragonslayers".  So I wanted to go back to another idea I was playing around with; my limited run Supers game. I pretty much know what I want to do, vampires and what system I would like to use; M&M3/DC Adventures.  My choice would be to use Dracula, but I want someone or something that is far more of a threat.  Maybe not Darkseid or Mordru level threats, but close.   But in any case something stronger is needed.

Thankfully I have a copy of Better Mousetrap 3e.

Described as "the most extensive, largest third-party rules supplement for ... Mutants & Masterminds" this book lives up to the hype. At 293 pages (covers, ogl, and toc still leave this at 289 pages of solid content) calling it "supplement" undersells it.  Personally I prefer to think of it as "The Villain's Handbook".  Everything you need to create a super-villain (not just a villain), their lair, plenty of skills and gadgets and of course powers.   There is so much here really.

Chapter 1 covers skills.  Plenty of new uses for old skills.  Reading it over it seemed obvious that a lot of skill uses for ancient or immortal characters/villains/heroes.  So perfect for your Vandal Savage types or old vampires like Dracula.  There are some new skills as well.  Brainwashing is a nice one. But there are lot of good ones.  All in all about 25 pages worth of skills.

Chapter 2 gives us new Advantages. Ace is a nice one but there plenty here, including some Minion Advantages.  This is actually really nice.  I tend to gloss over minions.  Maybe all those years of watching the "Adam West" Batman series.  There are also Organization Advantages.

Chapter 3 has all the new Powers. And there are a lot here. There are new Power Effects and new  Power Builds.  There are also plenty of new Flaws. Needed for bad guys really.

Chapter 4 covers new rules.  This chapter is more utilitarian.  There are some car chase/combat rules and some mounted combat rules.  There are some limited Mecha rules too.

Chapter 5 gets into what I consider the meat of the book and the reason I like it; Making a Better Bad Guy.  This is what you need to make your villains into super-villains.  Some of this chapter covers the motivation of villains and (the best parts) their evil plans.  Some motivations are given ("The World Shall Be Mine!" and "The Voices Told Me to Do It" among others) which discusses why villains do what they do.   Motivations are also discussed based on when the villain got their start. For example A Silver Age Villain does things differently than a Golden-Age or Modern-Age Villain.
It is often said that a hero is only as good as their enemies.  Well this takes the opposite take, a villain is only as good as their enemies are evil. There is a good section on anti-heroes and even Arch-Enemies.  Every hero needs a good arch-enemy.
Several new villain archetypes are presented.  Many should be familiar since they pull on some strong archetypes or at least stereotypes, but that is perfect really.  Any of these can be filled out to a full blown villain.   Once you do that there are plenty of rank and file minions; brutes, troopers, pilots, infiltrators and cyber versions of all of them.

Chapter 6 includes Gadgets and Gear. This includes melee weapons and archaic weapons.  Again for our old immortal villains.  There are also plenty of guns and vehicles for the minions.

Chapter 7 is the Many Faces of Evil. This covers not just villains, but their organizations.
Chapter 8 covers Headquarters.  This covers where those organizations and villains will hide
out.   There is quite a lot of material here too.

Chapter 9, Evil to the Utmost, talks about how to use evil and villains.  There are even some villains detailed here.

All in all a really good product.  If you need to detail your villain and evil organization then this is the book you need.

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