By Christopher Helton
The Bundle of Holding is back with even more DRM-free PDFs for fans of tabletop roleplaying games, this time with added super-hero action. From now until April 21st (at 11am EST), Green Ronin Publishing's Mutants & Masterminds RPG is available from the Bundle of Holding site, with 10% of the proceeds going to the Center for Justice & Accountability and FareStart. At the time of this writing, the Bundle had earned over $11,000, with $1,100 of that going to the charities.
Currently in its third edition, Mutants & Masterminds was created from the D20 SRD (system reference document) and customized for super-heroic adventure by game designer and developer Steven Kenson. The third edition is the biggest and most robust version of the game yet, and is also the engine that powers the DC Adventures RPG (based on the characters and settings published by DC Comics) and a licensed setting based on the Wildcards novels edited by George R.R. Martin. Mutants & Masterminds is one of the premiere games for playing super-heroes currently on the market, having won numerous awards over its years of publication.
This Bundle contains everything that you need to get started and play in a Mutants & Masterminds game. For the basic price of $8.95, you receive copies of The Deluxe Hero's Handbook, The Gamemaster's Guide and The Sentinels (10 premade heroic characters that you can use to jump right into the action of your Mutants & Masterminds games). These DRM-free PDFs would normally cost $35.
The Deluxe Hero's Handbook gives you all of the rules that you will need to play Mutants & Masterminds, including robust character creation rules that features a point-buy system that allow you to create the character that you want. Based on the D20 SRD, the rules that powered the very popular 3rd edition of Dungeons & Dragons, these rules are familiar to gamers, but at the same time rebuilt and expanded to handle the most powerful super-heroes. The third edition also received input and additional rules design from Ray Winninger, one of the designers of the DC Heroes RPG and Underground (a satirical super-hero game in the style of comics like Marshall Law) from Mayfair Games in the 80s and 90s.
The Gamemaster's Guide for Mutants & Masterminds builds on the information from the Deluxe Hero's Handbook and gives the Gamemaster information on building world, running super-heroic campaigns and how to hack and adapt the Mutants & Masterminds rules to better fit the type of super-hero games that they want to run. There are also sections on building your own villains for the game and bases for your super-villains (including the ever-popular Island Base and Insane Asylum). The advice on running super-hero games is some of the best that you are going to find in tabletop RPGs, informed by decades of running super-hero games and Mutants & Masterminds.
The final "core" selection is The Sentinels, a collection of ten pregenerated characters for Mutants & Masterminds. These are helpful for pick-up games where you just want to get a game started, having a character ready for those nights when you have an extra person, or just to see how characters can be built within the game.
Then if you pay over the threshold of the Bundle you also receive a set of bonus DRM-free PDFs as well. At the time of writing, the threshold for this Bundle was around $20. The "bonus" material in this Bundle at the time of writing (additional material is often added to these bundles as they raise more money) are Threat Report, the Mutants & Masterminds GM's Kit and Emerald City Knights Adventure Series. This is another $36 worth of material for your Mutants & Masterminds games.
In Threat Report you get over 70 villains and villain groups to bedevil your Mutants & Masterminds characters. From combat hardened bricks to arcane menaces to gods and goddess, the Threat Report covers the bases of villainous ways to threaten the heroes of your campaign.
Emerald City Knights is a series of adventures set in the Pacific Northwest that takes a group of new heroes (your characters!) and forges them into an experienced super group. This series of six adventures introduces your characters to the newest corner of the World of Freedom (home of Freedom City, the default setting for Mutants & Masterminds) and to each other. By the time this series has been run through your characters will have their own part of the world in which to adventure and fight evildoers. This allows players new to the game to learn the rules and to learn about the world at the same time, without the need for big chunks of exposition from the GM.
The Mutants & Masterminds GM's Kit has PDFs for a customizable GM's screen. You print the panels that you want and build your own GM's screen for your games. It also has a "Quickstart Character Generator" that allows you to randomly create quick and easy Mutants & Masterminds characters. Since not every player (or GM) likes games where you build your characters from scratch, having a random method for making characters can spice things up, and give you some of the weird characters that you might encounter in a super-hero comic book.
Threat Report and The Sentinels also come with files for the Hero Lab character generator software. You can load these files into your Hero Lab software and customize them for your own games.
All of this gives you everything that you need to start up and run a Mutants & masterminds for a number of years, and with all of the files being DRM-free you can move them around from your computer to your tablet to your phone and use your books where you want to use them. Act soon, the longer the Bundle runs, the higher the threshold amount gets for all of the bonus material.
Christopher Helton is a blogger, podcaster and tabletop RPG publisher who talks about games and other forms of geekery at the long-running Dorkland! blog. He is also the co-publisher at the ENnie Award winning Battlefield Press, Inc. You can find him on Twitter at @dorkland and on G+ at https://plus.google.com/+ChristopherHelton/ where he will talk your ear off about gaming and comics.