Marvel Superheroes d20 Characters

This paper presents suggestiions for converting characters from the Marvel Super Heroes RPG of the mid-1980's to the d20-style Mutants & Masterminds game system.

The Basics

The original Marvel Super Heroes RPG is a nice resource to start with, since over the course of its publication it presented official role-playing statistics for hundreds of Marvel superheroes and villains. A starting assumption I'll make is this: a power level 10 character (the "baseline" superhero in Mutants & Masterminds) is potent enough to have one ability or power of Unearthly rank (the nominal highest standard rank in Marvel Super Heroes). Therefore, Unearthly = 10 ranks in some super power or ability. Higher power-level characters may have multiple powers of Unearthly or above; over power-level 15, a character may possibly have the equivalent of a Class 1000 ability or greater. (Headline Marvel heroes, such as the founding Avengers, will likely be around power-level 15.)

Normal Abilities

Starting with an analysis of Strength lifting values in each system (always the easiest place to base a comparison of ability scores), let's say that the following relations hold for "normal", non-super-powered men and women. (MSH asserts that Remarkable is the highest achievable normal-human rank, but for symmetry it's best to assume that that level requires some specialized super-type training.) This is done for each of the 6 abilities, where the relations are Strength:Strength, Agility:Dexterity, Endurance:Constitution, Reason:Intelligence, Intuition:Wisdom, and Psyche:Charisma.

Normal Ability Scores
Marvel Abilityd20 Abilityd20 Range
Feeble 2 1-3
Poor 5 4-7
Typical 10 8-13
Good 15 14-17
Excellent 20 18-20

Super Abilities

Super-abilities over Excellent (in MSH) are assumed to be converted to an ability score of 20, plus some level of the appropriate Super-Ability power (in Mutants & Masterminds), as shown below. Abilities listed as "Shift 0" should be converted to "nonexistent" abilities; abilities higher than those shown below should increase by +1 super-ability rank for each step above Unearthly. (Some super-abilities could alternatively be replaced by ranks in Amazing Save or Protection or other powers.)

Super Ability Scores
Marvel Abilityd20 Ability
Remarkable 20 & Super 2
Incredible 20 & Super 4
Amazing 20 & Super 6
Monstrous 20 & Super 8
Unearthly 20 & Super 10

Super Powers

Super powers are hopefully fairly straightforward conversions, at least with regard to picking a super power in Mutants & Masterminds that matches one with a similar name or effect from MSH. The conversion of super power ranks is done via the table below. Use this table for the conversion of Fighting ability to points of Base Attack Bonus, as well. Ranks above Unearthly should add +1 to a given power, following the same simple pattern below. (Note that a power-level 20 character could spend all 300 of his power points just to achieve Unearthly ratings in all his ability scores, attack, and defense, without taking any super powers.)

Super Power Ranks
Marvel Rankd20 Power
Feeble 1
Poor 2
Typical 3
Good 4
Excellent 5
Remarkable 6
Incredible 7
Amazing 8
Monstrous 9
Unearthly 10