Thursday, April 12, 2012

Swords, Sorcery & Mystery Men!

Come on, we all know Thor would have kicked his ass
Although I wrote Mystery Men! as a superhero game, there’s no reason it can’t be used to emulate other genres, so long as they are a bit over the top in terms of power. For the next few weeks, I’m going to delve into the fantasy genre to see how well MM! can emulate swords & sorcery.

Weapons & Equipment
In MM!, all hand weapons are created equally, at least in terms of damage. For a game of MM! Swords & Sorcery, it might be a good idea to substitute the damage ratings from traditional fantasy games – i.e. fists do 1d3, daggers and other small weapons 1d4, and so on, up to two-handed swords and axes doing 1d12 or 2d6 (or whatever).

I would also use the traditional armor values from the SRD.

You might also want to use a traditional approach to buying equipment, allowing to buy 1 gold piece per 10 XP spent to purchase equipment.

Exploration vs. Quests
A game of MM! Swords & Sorcery can be based around site exploration (sandboxes and dungeons) or quests, and will probably be a bit of both. Any storyline or plot you’ve seen in the pulp fantasy that spawned most swords & sorcery comics. The possible advantage of MM! for pulp fantasy is the ability to go solo, since the characters are usually a bit more powerful and their abilities and powers a bit more fluid.

MM! bases one’s skills one their occupation, and MM! Swords & Sorcery is no different. To keep things easy, think in terms of classic pulp fantasy tropes: Barbarian, captain of the guard, desert raider, sorcerer, witch, holy man, etc.

MM! has a host of monsters already, but naturally a few more won’t hurt. I’ll try to stat one or two with each of these posts.

Heroes and Heroines
The focus of swords & sorcery comics is the heroes, of course, so let’s start with the Granddaddy of them all … that grim fellow who goes about trampling thrones and reluctantly rescuing maidens. In all of these cases, I’m going to go for a 50,000 XP build to keep them awesome. Most of these heroes are low on genuine super powers, so most of the points will go to buying impressive ability scores and a few other little boons, the rest going to a high level and lots of hit points. If you’re going solo into Hyboria, you’ll want those hit points. If you want to start from the beginning of a barbarian’s career, I suggest starting with 10,000 XP and one non-adventuring occupation. For higher amounts of XP, think in terms of one occupation per 10,000 XP to simulate a life’s worth of experiences.

In MM!, an ability score of 1 to 6 represents the human norm. While fantasy characters are always a bit more than human, you might want to limit ability scores to a maximum of 12. You might also want to increase the ability bonuses from +1 per 3 points to +1 per 2 points.

CONAN THE CIMMERIAN, Adventurer Level 14 (Thief, Reaver, Slayer)
STR 8 (+4) | DEX 6 (+3) | CON 6 (+3) | INT 3 (+1) | WIL 4 (+2) | CHA 3 (+1)
HP 110 | DC 17 | ATK +11 (+15 melee, +14 ranged) | SPD 2 | XP 29,330

Ability Boosts: Str +4, Dex +3, Con +5, Int +1, Will +1

Powers: Catfall, Iron Grip, Jump, Weapon Master (Fists, Bastard Sword)

Gear: Atlantean Bastard Sword (1d10+4), chainmail shirt, dagger (1d4 +4), shortbow (1d6+3)

LVL 11 (83 hp) | PH 8 (+4) | MN 0 (+0) | DC 18 | SPD 2 | XP 1100

ATK Bite (1d10), Constrict (1d10)

LVL 5 (38 hp) | PH 7 (+4) | MN 0 (+0) | DC 18 | SPD 2 | XP 500

ATK Claws (1d8), Bite (1d8)


  1. Awesome! I love the swords and sorcery genre, but it would not have occurred to me to use MM! -- but it looks like it would work very well. Very much looking forward to seeing what else you come up with.

  2. I have some ideas on replicating priests and rogues, and I have quite a few characters and monsters to present.

    I'm also seriously considering a G+ campaign pitting Mystery Men! Against the Giants.


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