D&D General What Edition to use Nine

What Edition could you best throw The Mask in?

  • 0 Edition (red box, white box, etc)

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • 1st Edition

    Votes: 1 16.7%
  • 2nd Edition

    Votes: 2 33.3%
  • 3rd Edition (3, 3.5, PathFinder 1E)

    Votes: 1 16.7%
  • 4th Edition

    Votes: 1 16.7%
  • 5th Edition

    Votes: 1 16.7%

Like Hit Point discussions or Lowkey's hatred of Paladins, What Edition to use has risen again! I present an unusual situation/thing and ask you which edition of D&D would best represent it. This time I'm asking what Edition would best do "The Mask." While it was originally from comic books, I'm referring to the movie with Jim Carrey in it. What I really mean is the item that is the mask. Here's a clip to jog your memory.

So it flips your personality, gives you practically infinite HP, summons random items, gives you the fascinate ability, take no fall damage, makes you really good at dodging, and that's probably just the beginning of it. Say I wanted to give The Mask out to a party of PCs (or maybe have them fight a villain wearing it?). What Edition could emulate an item of such power???

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That's a 2e artifact without a curse attached to it - any added curse should be quite fatal within shortest time to balance things out again.

2E had the most gonzo artifacts, and The Mask would fit in closest there. I say closest, but it's still really dang powerful.

That said, you can use it in any edition as part of a story arc where the players take it from a well intentioned peasant, they get to use it a bit, then get chased by a villain who eventually steals it, then defeat the villain and destroy it or return it to Loki.

You could add a caveat - The Mask pops off at dawn and can never be worn by the same person twice. This ensures the party shares the fun between each other before losing it.


41st lv DM
Any edition.
Why? Because you're the DM. You don't need the rules to tell you what your Mask artifact can/can't do. YOU decide. YOU make it happen.


The mask basically just turns you into a Toon. That's a lot less impressive in a universe with readily available magic than in one where it is exceptionally rare. An artifact to be sure, but pretty much any D&D system could handle it. I'm not sure it would be particularly fun, because like many 1e AD&D artifacts, it's an intelligent device whose major malevolent power is that it takes you over and turns you into an NPC.

Tony Vargas

The Mask fits no particular edition's rules for artifacts. 4e had great rules for artifacts as a story element that would be prominent in play over multiple levels and have a give-and-take between the character and the artifact. Earlier editions modeled artifacts 'taking over.'

I voted 1e, not because it's artifacts'd work, mechanically - artifact creation was mostly picking special powers from tables - but because it had an attitude and track record of shameless pop-culture references and over the top silliness. Maybe 0e moreso, from some of the stories we've heard from the game's earliest days.

In last place: D&D 3.X. No one cares how many ranks in Open Lock or Use Rope The Mask has, no one wants to make The Mask into a prosthetic forehead wizard and look up the effects of its spells. The Mask is a ridiculous artifact and would work best in a narrative game like Fate or anything else where you throw in ridiculous Sfx. The physics engine simulationism and especially the spell based physics engine mesh exceptionally badly with something so toon-like. And binding the DM with the game rules doesn't work here.

In first place: D&D 4e. The slightly goofy nature of the high number of hit points works well with The Mask, the powers structure does as well as anything. But most importantly 4e's forced movement abilities could mesh extremely well with the general aesthetic of The Mask. It's still not a good fit, but this is the only version of D&D that has any advantages over a rules light narrative system.

In the middle: Everything else. Probably slightly easier and a slightly better fit in oD&D but basically it's not a good fit, not a fit where you need to fight the system every step of the way, and not something where the system makes the Mask shine in any real way.

A modern narrative system either with Fate-style aspects or Apocalypse World/Blades in the Dark-style success with consequences results and more abstract resolution mechanics would be a long way ahead of any D&D system.


The slightly goofy nature of the high number of hit points works well with The Mask...

I wouldn't model The Mask as increasing hit points at all. I would model it as providing significant resistances to non-magical damage.

I mean basically you would just be modelling typical powers possessed by Toons in the RPG Toon - "back pockets" and the "If it is funny, it works" rule, for example.

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