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Mutants & Masterminds - [Review] Power Profiles #5: Tech Powers

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Power Profiles #5: Tech Powers

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

By now you should either be familiar with the basic layout of the Power Profiles series (if you aren't please go here, or here to read my earlier reviews of the first two Power Profiles) so I'll dispense with the usual description and right into what was good and what was less so.

Descriptors and Features

We kick off with a good 2/3 page on descriptors for tech based powers. *sound of scratching record*

Wait, no, I should back up. Power Profiles: Tech Powers, encompasses powers that control and interface with technology. There is some discussion herein about technologically based powers but the product wisely points the reader to look at Power Profile #2: Armor Powers, if what you really want is guns, rockets, and laser beams.

OK, then, sorry about that. Descriptors for tech are fairly broad, with suggestions like “Computer”, “super science”, and “machine” in addition to the exceedingly broad “technology”. GMs will need to exercise their own judgement based on their taste and campaign if something like “technology” is simply too broad, it’s definitely a matter of taste and your campaign, but I would be hesitant to allow something as broad as “technology” in a high-tech science fiction styled game.

Countering is discussed briefly, and mentions that with control over the myriad of technology in the world today it might well be easy to figure out a way to counter powers of many, many, other descriptors in addition to those that share your own. Countering a fire by activating a building’s fire suppression systems, for example.

Features suggest little utility powers like being a universal remote (handy for watching your favorite team at the local pub), or having a “built-in” minor technological function.

Offensive Powers

Four powers are given here, each being different in terms of effects used and effects gained. These power control technology in some respect; as a result they may provide a somewhat less than reliable mode of attacking the super villain of the day. Of the four Animate Machines is easily the most utile power and the one requiring the greatest amount of preparation ahead of time as it functions off the Summon effect (as it did in second edition).

Defensive Powers

Two powers, both of which are built off the Immunity effect, deal with the character being, in some way, part (or entirely) machine. This section points you to the Armor Powers profile for things like armor, force fields, and the like, which I feel is a nice way of say “look we don’t want to waste your time and money by repeating ourselves”. Honestly I’m glad to see this; respect for your customers is always appreciated. Unfortunately this section also has a sentence that was overlooked by editing and grammar police. Hopefully they’ll fix it and make an updated file available.

Movement Powers

Three powers in this section; two of which involve digitizing your character a-la Tron and moving around via the vast networks in our modern age. The third involves using tech at your disposal to build (albeit in a mere moment) a “ride” of sorts. Again, if you are looking for things like built in rockets, or a personal pan-dimensional teleporter, you should check out the Armor profile instead.

Utility Powers

The real meat of this product; containing 8 powers, and more than a full page this is where we get all the odds and ends powers that make the tech guys fun to play but don’t really fall into the other categories. The best of them is probably Technomorph, which is basically a Variable effect that works in the same way as the title character from the Generator Rex cartoon, allowing the PC to transform his body parts into technological items at will. It’s expensive, but it should be, and the implicit descriptor restriction of “Technology” is an important balancing factor.

Complications

The Complications offered are fairly standard fare but do receive good suggestions on how to tailor their effects to a tech character.

Closing Thoughts

Tech Powers dives into a type of powers that is probably best exemplified by words like cybermancy, technokinesis, and the like. Control over machines, their functions, and their use is convered in depth while allowing the Armor Power profile published a few weeks prior to deal with the overt uses of technology. If you intend to make a character who interfaces with computers and other tech and bends them to their will this will prove indispensable.

Rating: 95%, a solid entry

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A small addendum:

A minor quirk in this Power Profile was a sentence that was poorly worded. I didn't ding extra points on it because these things do happen, instead I reported it to Green Ronin. Last night the M&M line developer posted up a reply and notified that a new version of the Tech Powers PDF was available for download with the offending sentence cleaned up.

Props to Green Ronin for taking care of their customers.

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That is great. The possibility to have a proper product is one of the things that I love the most about digital publishing. There is no longer a need for errata and at some point we may actually be able to have books that are completely readable. A few years ago I didn't think that was possible.

Props to Green Ronin for listening to their customers and doing something to improve the quality of their books.

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