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Combat in Mutants and Masterminds

Hey Dice Droppers, 

Your Friendly Neighborhood Dungeon Master is back for the Wednesday post. We are working to bring Episode 5 “Enemy of the State” to you guys this Friday. We hope you enjoyed the trailer this week as our heroes embark on another mission to save one of their own.

We are also excited because this Sunday is the monthiversary for Dice Drop: Evolution. We have almost made it through our first month. We have some amazing content coming to end the month strong with a throwback video coming to you guys tomorrow afternoon to one of our first episodes. As well as a longer episode in “Enemy of the State" as the stakes grow ever higher for our heroes. We are excited to go into our second month strong with content that you guys will enjoy as we continue through our first story arc and possibly begin our second this month. 

Now, as we approach “Enemy of the State", as promised in Monday's post I will be talking about the combat in Mutants and Masterminds. Primarily I will be comparing it to the Combat System in Dungeons and Dragons 5e. 

So, as this preamble is getting a little long, let’s get down to it. 


Mutants and Masterminds, as I discussed before, run off of the d20 system. So, combat works similarly to that of Dungeons and Dragons as many people will be familiar with. You roll a d20 and add the modifiers appropriate for the type of attack or maneuver that you are performing. I.e. You roll a d20 + your fighting modifier for a close combat attack, or you add your Dexterity modifier if you are doing a ranged attack. 

However, after you perform your hit check, that is where the combat system differs from Dungeons and Dragons. Dungeons and Dragons gives you a damage dice to roll depending on the weapon you have and that number rolled subtracts from the targets ‘Hit Points'. When the target's set hit points get to zero they fall unconscious or die. Simple. Dungeons and Dragons is designed for Combat to be simple and allow your heroes to feel powerful as they are mowing down low-hit-point creatures.

M&M gets a little more complicated. Focusing on drawing out combat into long, epic battles you would typically see between a superhero and their villains. There is not a hit point system in Mutants and Masterminds, but rather you make a toughness check to see how well you take the hit against a difficulty check of your opponent's damage modifier (i.e. you get punched by the villain you would be going against his Strength Modifier) plus 15, plus any other modifiers such as if the opponent is using a weapon. If you take a hard enough hit, you will take a penalty for the next time you get hit until you drastically fail the check enough that you fall unconscious. 

Now, this mechanic is meant to give you more epic battles, it also means that a battle can end as soon as it began. It also means that heroes can turn the tide of a battle in the blink of an eye. It all depends on the dice rolls. 

Now, one other big difference is the addition of the “Extra Effort” Mechanic. A hero can perform an additional action, power stunt, bonus action, etc in exchange for feeling fatigued. This extra action can be the make or break point for your heroes as they take that extra action to take an enemy down a peg. This could also break the battle if they use it too early, given the fatigue that they suffer. 

So, the biggest takeaways from the combat system for Mutants and Masterminds boils down to it is a system without a health system, but rather a series of exchanging blows until either the hero or the villain falters. 

Do you have any questions about the combat for Mutants and Masterminds? Leave a comment down below with any questions you have and I will be sure to answer them in an upcoming post. 

Tune in tomorrow on our Facebook and YouTube pages for a throwback to one of my favorite moments so far in the podcast. Be sure to tune in on Friday for the next episode of Dice Drop, as well as the Friday post right here on

Thank you for reading and listening, and, as always, stay safe.

Your Dungeon Master,


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