So Transform as a power is pretty generous with its wording, but I was looking into the Gamemaster's Guide for M&M and found a section called 'Disasters' at pg.174 which lists things like Floods, Quicksand, Tornadoes, Thunderstorms, Earthquakes, and such as a extension of the typical Environment Rules. I was wondering with the wordings like "thing" and/or "anything else" if its a reasonable use of the power, and if so how would you determine the size of the Disasters. Here's some of the wordings for Transform for reference.

2 points: Transform one thing or substance into one other thing or substance, such as metal into wood, iron into glass, or broken objects into repaired ones.

5 points: Transform any material into anything else.


2 Answers 2


Disasters need too much mass for this to work easily

The Transform power says (p. 184, Hero's Handbook Deluxe):

You can change objects into other objects, altering their shape and material composition in the process. You must touch the chosen object, which requires a close attack check if the object is held or worn by a character.

There is no formal definition of what constitutes an object, so this is up to the GM, although that description reads to me more like the typical everyday definition of object than something like an avalanche. The "Under the Hood" section of Transform says

TRANSFORM Transform is a powerful effect, particularly in the hands of a cunning player. To a degree, Transform can duplicate certain other effects, such as trapping a target by transforming air into a solid material or turning oxygen into a suffocating gas (both Afflictions). This is perfectly allowable; use the rules for other effects as guidelines on how to handle these situations, using Transform rank to determine resistance DCs.

So there is explicit support that it need not be limited to solid, physical objects. However, the amount of mass you can transform is limited:

You can transform (Transform rank –6) rank mass, so Transform 1 can affect up to 1.5 lbs (mass rank –5), then 3 lbs. at rank 2, and so forth, on up to rank 20, which affects 400 tons at once.

So your cited rank 5 power can only transform 25 lbs. of mass.

Comparing this to the disaster rules, those talk about things like avalanches or collapsing buildings or tunnels, so you are out of luck, unless you can scale up the rank way beyond 20. Because 400 tons is not a lot if you talk about avalanches and tunnel collapses.

The mass of a typical avalanche can be up to a million tons. The mass of the stone in a collapsing tunnel likewise would be massive unless the tunnel was rather small - at about 1.5 tons per cubic meter, with a single lane already 3 meters wide, and you needing to tunnel about 3m deep to leave room for utilities pipes, each meter of a normal two-lane tunnel collapse would be over 25 tons, so anything beyond a short underpass tunnel will weigh 1000s of tons.

  • \$\begingroup\$ The Increased Mass extra is flat 1 per point and can increase the amount of mass you affect without increasing the PL, so I wonder if that could get it to more realistic levels of mass for such disasters, though I will admit I was hoping for more localized disasters since the mechanics don't specify a size. I just think the effects are neat. Is there any other problems than mass limit and what defines a object? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Dec 28, 2023 at 1:15
  • \$\begingroup\$ @FriendlyNeighborhoodChicken I think you'll better have a chat on this with your GM. The disaster rules are GM-facing, not player facing, and it will be up to your GM what they allow or do not allow here. There is no game definition at what scale a disaster would start; if I were the GM, I'd think more about abuse/balance, so if you tried to use it to cheat a way around normal limitations, I would not let you do that, but if it was more about flavor, I'd let. But I am not your GM, so best ask them :-) \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 2 at 8:25

As per my answer to where someone (maybe you) posted this to Reddit, this is more of a Power Stunt thing where you buy up the effects you want. The text in Transform indicating that certain transformations might replicate the effect of a power, and to use the rank of the Transform, are intended as more of a rule of thumb for the GM (e.g. if someone uses Transform 5 to run the linoleum into tar, use a Snare 5) than a statement that powers will be of that Transform rank. Making it a Power Stunt sidesteps having to fudge the ranks by simply having you buy what the power is worth.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Normally as a GM I'd say "why is this not a Power Stunt" but Transform outright specifies "Tricks" you can do via Transform and explicitly refers to effects rather than powers specifically, like suffocation from environmental hazard rules. The other issue is the several cases the designers seem to intend you to "fudge the ranks", given stuff like Immunity to Falling and Safe Fall are essentially the same thing but one is cheaper, and flaws like "Increased Action" to Sustained Stats is -2/R for cheap. Optimizing is part of the fun, and I'd ban arrays before banning this. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 20 at 23:45

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