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jameson (ST)

Mutants & Masterminds - [Review] Power Profiles: #31 – Radiation Powers & #34 – Cosmic Powers

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Power Profiles: #31 – Radiation Powers & #34 – Cosmic Powers

Vitals: Published By Green Ronin • 6 pages • $0.99 • full color PDF

Cosmic Radiation … this pair totally makes sense together … right?

Descriptors, Countering & Features

Radiation: Two descriptors deal not only with the specifics of the descriptor itself but also how these effects differ radically from their real world meanings. Countering covers a wide range of potential options including some well outside the expected offerings. Four Features round out the section.

Cosmic: A single descriptor which, in its defense, covers probably the greatest range of possible sources and effects of any descriptor save perhaps Magic. Going above and beyond we are given a few paragraphs discussion the scale of cosmic powers and cosmic games with several siggestions for GMs with regards to how these scales can be dealt with mechanically. We are also given a half page side bar discussion common “default” powers for cosmic campaigns and how depending on the style of the game a GM may want to grant some degree of these to the PCs for free in order to establish the feel of the game. Two features close out the section providing ways to hook characters into larger cosmic forces.

Offensive Powers

Radiation: Seven powers focusing mainly on Damage and Affliction effects. As with the descriptors, some time is spent discussing how to change the powers to represent a more “realistic” take on radiation at a player’s option. The Mutation power is one with a certain scope and I think I would have liked to see an alternate version based perhaps on Summoning to allow a character to mutate animals or bystanders into useful minions.

Cosmic: Four powers covering five effects. Damage effects cover three of those presented. The suggested optional extras really help to show the potential scope and scale that a cosmic character could possess.

Defensive Powers

Radiation: Five powers. The build for Radiation Shield creates an interesting implication for similar uses with other effects; for instance would a Burst Area Affects Others Immunity to Fire allow for fires to be extinguished within the confines of the area? As written, I would say no based on the effect, but maybe yes based on this power’s flavor text.

Cosmic: Three powers. Spaceworthy is a nice call out as it shows exactly what is needed for “life support” in a hostile environment while not also covering the broader forms of super powered life support. Unearthly likewise does a nice job of detailing some of the often overlooked aspects of Immunity to Fortitude effects.

Movement Powers

Radiation: Three effects, two of which feel like the same power (and are based on the same effect) with only slight differences in descriptors.

Cosmic: Three effects. Space Warp and Faster Than Light utilize the same core Effect but represent vastly different methods of travel across the vast distances of space. I find this useful as a demonstration of the system core conceit of Descriptors and Effects; in this case the descriptors make a great deal of difference between two used of the same base effect.

Utility powers

Radiation: Nine powers, five of which are Sense effects of one type or another. Static Field presents a Concealment based “jamming” field, and one assumes that some GMs may prefer to revert to the Obscure effect option presented in the Sensory Powers profile.

Cosmic: Ten powers. As one would expect given the breadth of the Cosmic descriptor and the general scope attributed to “cosmic powers” this section covers a very diverse assortment of powers and effects from healing to creation and transmutation. Cosmic Tracking provides and interesting mechanical twist on the Senses (Tracking) effect, one that opens that effect up to other ways of functioning.


Radiation: Nine complications complete the profile with focuses on Accidents and Disabilities going beyond the single paragraph.

Cosmic: Eight complications. Accident takes on new meaning when one is perhaps using the expanded scope and scale suggestions from earlier in the product. Complications like Disability and Prejudice also fit nicely into a genre that is often rife with alien species.

Closing Thoughts

Radiation: Radiation Powers proves to be a solid entry in the series. While it lacks any game changing add-ons or unique effect builds it does provide good coverage of all the bases while helping to highlight the differences in effect builds between radiation in the comic books and in the real world.

Cosmic: Cosmic Powers tackles the theme amazingly well considering its scope. No new game mechanics are introduced (though one or two are tweaked gently), but a good deal of advice is offered up with regards on how to handle the theme/genre for a single character or an entire game. This profile rises to the cream of the crop for managing to cover all the bases without feeling either cramped or like material was left out. Highly recommended.


Radiation: 80% - A solid entry into the series.

Cosmic: 95% - Cosmic powers is a very strong offering, with a very good take on the theme and a lot of useful advice for players and Game masters alike.

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