Green Ronin’s assorted series of characters, gadget types, locales, etc., for Mutants & Masterminds 3e makes it easy to “Try before you buy (a lot).” So I decided to check out their “Gadget Guide” series. The Guides feature ready-made devices for M&M heroes and villains, each one focusing on a different category or descriptor, such as Nanotech, Installations or Robots. I picked Gadget Guide: Magic as I had a concept for a mystical “gadgeteer” character who mainly uses and creates magic items rather than casting spells.
This is a five page (the sixth is Credits & Licensing) of information on gadgets with Magical, Mystical and similar descriptors. It starts with a page or so of short but useful discussions of the differences between “mass produced” and unique magical items, as well as “Techno-magic” and “Sufficiently Advanced Science.” It ends with a useful sidebar on Artifacts, the most powerful mystical items. These are the equivalent of Power Level X NPCs and need to be handled similarly. If you want your PC heroes to deal with a mystical artifact, read this first!
Similar to the powers in the Power Profiles PDFs and compilation, the items are divided into categories–Array, Offensive, Defensive and General. Array items include the Spellbook, with fluff similar to the required D&D Wizard’s spellbook, except that it is read from, not memorized, which allows more uses per day than playing a wizard in most fantasy games! Mechanics-wise, it is simply an Array with the Magic descriptor, and probably Removable flaw, or at least a Power Loss complication. All the General items are unique, named items such as the Mask of the Modrossus, as are a few other items. A unique item that got my attention was the Serpent Scepter of the remnants of the Lemurian Empire Serpent People, which had recently shown up in the Emerald City Knights campaign where I am a player. (We saved the day nonetheless. Barely.) The generic items mainly serve as examples/inspirations for your own similar magical gadgets and include conjure bags and magic carpets.
I will be making use of Gadget Guide: Magic and already have a couple ideas. As for the full compilation, not now, as I don’t have a lot of use for these. I probably will at some point because I do love the system and it isn’t expensive in either format. Just like the Power Profile and Threat Report series, you need spend only a couple bucks to decide if the full sourcebook might be useful or interesting to you. The Gadget Guide: Magic PDF (or any other series PDF) is available from Green Ronin for US$1.95 or as part of the compilation Gadget Guides ($16 PDF or $29.95 softcover).