Guide Your Star Infinity Wars With The Mutants & Mastermind Cosmic Handbook

With the new Star Wars saga passing its middle chapter and Marvel's Infinity War ready to land in May, it means that a lot of groups might be eyeing the stars as a place to set their games. The Cosmic Handbook has been eagerly awaited by Mutants and Masterminds fans for a while, and is finally out for fans of super-heroic science fiction to use in their games.

If you known Green Ronin's universe, you'll recognise several of characters on the cover and be fully within your rights to expect to find them all updated for the third edition rules. You'd be sadly disappointed. If you were hoping for stats for Lady Lunar, Super-Grue, Captain Kraken, Cosmic Mind Or Curator, you're going to have to wait. The other two (Blackstar & Star-Khan) are updated and have been very busy.

Inside the book is far more favourable. The book begins with a history of cosmic comics, and the moves on to the conventions of the cosmic super sub-genre. Like most Green Ronin books, this well written, informative, full of great details but perhaps a bit sparse on the 80-90's era comics. Lots of stuff in this first chapter is great of anyone trying to create a space based game and can really spark ideas. It also ends with expanded rules for 'Power Level X' which is Mutants and Masterminds 'Omnipotent level'. It breaks down and adds a degree of granularity to the term, making it so you can work out who would win in a fight between Ego, Galactus and Dormmau (if you need that sort of thing).

It then goes on to character options and ideas, which is really a series of examples of how to mould the existing system mechanics to provide what you need. While that sounds like something a GM could have done themselves, it is really helpful to have them available - it saves having to do calculations on the fly. The players section also includes a series of quick use archetypes to throw in on a pickup game, based on characters like Star Lord, Rocket Racoon, Silver Surfer, Rom, Phyla-Vell, Orion and others. I am a big fan of these as it makes it really to throw a new player into a game by handing them a copy and sitting them next to an experienced player. They then having something balanced and 'in genre' to play with.

This is then accompanied by a 'running a cosmic game' chapter which is somewhat more generic. It's odd they didn't just roll some of this together with tropes as it is kind of a retread of those ideas. Then they fill the rest of the chapter with a massive stack of villain and minion ideas which are all likely to get used. There are also write ups for 'absolutely not the Xenomorphs from Alien' and 'absolutely not The Predator'. This content is probably what a GM buying the book is going to get the most day-to-day use out of and it's pretty solid with a good variety of villains and motivations.

This might seem like a small thing. However it becomes a problem for the 'higher levels' of mutants and masterminds. Even with this cosmic level book - that gives rule for physically destroying planets - we still have few-to-no examples of foes and challenges for a group of heroes who start out at the highest level. If you really wanted to play a game where the characters were character like DC's New Gods or Marvel's Elders Of The Universe where they started at power level 19 or 20, we have no real example of a challenge beyond waving at some passing rulesets. But for many people, that problem is going to be a niche case. For GMs picking up the book looking to run games based on Star Wars, Guardians Of The Galaxy or The Rann-Thangar War The Cosmic Handbook is going to be amazing.

contributed by Benjamin Jackson


I like the touch of high powered play in the book. I think all games need high powered rules or something that continues play past a certain level. I find with my group everyone gets attached to their character and no one wants the game to stop, so we played 3.5 to 54th level, NWOD to 700+ experience and mutants and masterminds way above power level 20 when we played 2e. The cosmic handbook is excellent, though I would have prefered more cosmic or high powered rules than freedomverse fluff. Still 3.5/5
I have three teenage sons, and they wanted to play a sci-fi / space-opera / bounty hunter game, a mash-up of Guardians of the Galaxy and Cowboy Bebop. The Cosmic Handbook was a life-saver. I've been able to rely heavily on the ideas and NPCs in that book, as well as the DC Adventures Universe book. Great gaming memories!