Character guidelines (Vanguard)

From WestGuard

Vanguard character guidelines

The game system used is Mutants & Masterminds, 2nd Edition, the world's greatest superhero RPG. For help with Blackmoor's Mutants & Masterminds Character Builder, see the M&M 2e Character Builder page.

Character types

The world is in danger of shifting from "Bronze Age" into "Iron Age". The ambush and murder of a whole superhero team has never happened (in this world) before. Historically, the good guys were not usually anti-heroes, and the bad guys were almost never ruthless psychopaths. This attack by Doomguard (whoever they are) is a change, and not for the better. Part of the premise of the setting is that the PCs are dealing with that change. Do they fight it? Do they go along with it? That sort of thing.

As for the characters, they do not have to be goody-goodies in brightly colored tights (although that's okay), but they at least have to be people who want to make the world better... or at least keep it from getting any worse.

And I would like to work with people on their origins, so that I can set up some plots hooks for down the road.

General guidelines

The average person is just that: average. Your character's Abilities (Strength, Dex, etc.) start at "average" (10) and go up from there. On the other hand, your character probably does not need to have Abilities that place them as the strongest/smartest/most dextrous in the nation, unless that is actually your character's primary focus. Take a look at the sample characters on pages 16-23 for a good feel of what I expect.

As a general rule, here are some rough guidelines for how many points to spend on what:

Abilities 20-30 points
Skills 10-20 points
Feats 0-10 points
Powers 50-60 points
Attack/Defense 30-40 points (Base Attack Bonus/Base Defense Bonus +8 each on average)
Saving Throws 12-18 points (A base save of +4 is low, +10 is high)
Drawbacks 0-5 points

These are just guidelines. If your character is a skill monster like Batman, for example, you'll have fewer points in Powers and more in Skills. If you are a kung-fu badass like Neo, you might have fewer Skills and more points in Feats. On the other hand, if your character all about the Powers, like the Human Torch, you will have a lot more in Powers and less in Skills and Feats.

Among the other cool things that Hero Points and Extra Effort (pages 120-121) let you do is add a feat to a power. "Alternate Power" is a feat. This means that there is really no need to pay for powers that your character theoretically ought to have but that would rarely be used. When you need that power, you can have it by spending a Hero Point -- and you always start a game with a Hero Point. Pretty cool, huh?

Also check out the the Inventor and Ritualist feats, and the Improvised Tools feat (pages 62 and 63).

Check out Devices (pages 81 and 128-132) and Equipment (pages 60 and 132-142). Devices are personal, and are things you can't just buy. Devices will always come back if they are lost, but they can't be replaced just by running down to the local store. Equipment is mundane, if potentially expensive, gear. It is easily lost, but easily replaced. Iron Man has a Device. Batman has Equipment. You get a small cost break for a Device, and a larger cost break for Equipment.

Finally, do not forget about the people around your character. Sidekicks, mentors, minions, frail relatives, snoopy co-workers, and danger-prone significant others.