I had an idea for a Mutants and Masterminds (2e) character based on a video game character idea of mine: a Gestalt consisting of a human male and a smaller, roughly cat-sized alien symbiote. As a Gestalt, the symbiote could provide augmentations for the human by fusing its body mass with various regions of the human's body (i.e. arms for strength or reach, legs for speed and jump height, forming wings on his back for gliding), but due to its small size, it can only provide one benefit at a time, but can take an action to switch what benefit it is providing.

Individually though, things work differently; the human doesn't have any powers of his own (except maybe above-average physical stats as a side effect of his little friend) while the symbiote not only has small size and shapeshifting abilities, but also can bond with and control other humans to aid and protect his owner, though it cannot provide the same augmentations as when it is bonded to its owner.

I am aware there are powers available for this concept to work, I'm just wondering if the whole "human without powers + small non-human with powers" joint combo could be done within the game's rules. Is it possible, and if not, what would I need to change?


It's totally possible and a player did it in one of my game. The challenge with Gestalt is the "Duration: Sustained" part. You get KO? Your symbiote is kicked out or something. You can buy extras to make this continuous if you like. Just remember that gestalt is meant to represent two creatures (or more) of equal power level that together creates a single more powerful being. So if you play in a 150 PP campaign, your human and your symbiote would have 75 PP each etc. It's possible but I think there are simpler approach.

What my player did was to think about it the other way around. Why not play an alien with mind control on contact? So he played the alien and used the Boost power to increase a mundane guy and took powers (like super-strength, super-speed, strike etc.) with flaw that requires him to be physically attached to a body to function. A mix of flaws and drawbacks and you're good to go.

If you want your symbiote to be able to control other bodies and use them to protect the main host, you can use mind control on other guys here's what I suggest: Summon.

Usually people think of summon as this unnatural way to call a minion here. Magic or teleport etc. But it's actually a simple way to have quick help come from somewhere. Having a move called "Call security" (Summon Minion with flaw: delay 5 min) is a good example of how you can use it. So I would have Summon (in fiction you simply mind controlled a bystander who suddenly helps you. Add the power modifier called Sacrifice and you can use those minions to intercept attacks!

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Of course it can be done.

It is easiest if the symbiote is unable to act on its own (outside of jumping to another host as you described).

The way you will do this is simple:

Symbiote Bonding

  • Enhanced Trait 30 (Enhanced Strength 12, Enhanced Stamina 12, Enhanced Fighting 6)
  • AE: Flight Flight 6, Enhanced Trait 18 (Enhanced Feats(Move-By Action, Evasion 2, Favored Environment (flying)) Enhanced Strength 8, Enhanced Strength 6 (Limited: lifting only))
  • AE: Protective Barrier Protection 10 (Impervious 5, Shapeable) Enhanced Trait 5 (Ultimate Effort: Toughness, Ultimate Effort: Reflex, Interpose, Set-up 2)


  • AE: Symbiote Possession Mind Control 10 (Ranged Affliction resisted by Will, Extras: Duration: Sustained (+2/rank), Progressive(+2/rank), Flaws: Instant Recovery(-1/rank), Limited to 2nd/3rd degree(-1/rank), Limited to one target at a time (-1/rank)) -/Defenseless/Controlled

The total cost of this power is 30 point +1 point per alternate effect. Essentially, once per round you can shift your array around (the symbiote moves to a different area, or does a different thing). If you need, you can throw your symbiote as a ranged attack. If it hits your target makes DC 20 Will saves until you recall the symbiote or it becomes Controlled (see Affliction, page 87 of DC Adventures/M&M 3E). The symbiote will continue trying to take over your target each round, until it takes complete control (Progressive + sustained duration) or the target succeeds at a Will save, which completely forces the symbiote out.

You can buy any number of different powers for the array at one point each, and you have 30 points to spend on each power you buy for the array. If you put more points into the array (such as making it 40 points + 1/effect) you can enhance the number of points you have for each power.

Most of what the symbiote will give you is Enhanced Trait (which basically lets you buy anything you could at character creation) to boost your abilities or give you feats.

If your symbiote gives you some sort of continual effect while it's joined with you, just add that to each power in the array except the Affliction.

If your symbiote can exit your body for a limited time and act independently, you can add another Alternate Effect: Summon. Spend however many points your array has to build your Summon power, give it the Active and Heroic extras (lets it act independently and makes it not subject to the minion rules). At 5 points/rank, you could get a rank 6 symbiote in the above array, who you would build before the game using 90 power points (15 x rank).

If summon doesn't seem right (by the rules, the symbiote would simply disappear when incapacitated) you could consider having Enhanced Trait: Sidekick instead. Put 30 ranks into it (as per the power above) and you could build the symbiote as a 150-point character (assuming your character has > 150 power points, sidekicks have to have fewer than you). Or, you could do something like Enhanced Stamina 10, Enhanced Trait (Sidekick) 20 to have a 100-point Symbiote sidekick that leaves you with just enough of itself to make you tougher (or similar).

Side note: Built all the powers you want in your array, then make the most expensive one the primary effect. Primary effect doesn't mean 'what I'm using by default'. If you decide to go for a 50 point Summon, that should be your primary effect. Everything else would then be Alternate Effects built with 50 points. You don't have to spend all the power points available on each effect.

Edit: This assumes you mean M&M 3rd Edition (aka DC Adventures). If this is for 2nd Edition, there's a few differences, largely around the names of powers/feats, but the idea is the same.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ It's second edition, but thanks for the pointers; I'll see what I can find that's close to what you mentioned. \$\endgroup\$ – Cobalt Jun 25 '13 at 17:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ It's largely the same, just substitute Enhanced Strength/con etc for the Enhanced Traits and buy the feats as Power Feats on the powers. You'll probably want to go for Sidekick as your symbiote, instead of Summon, and the Mind Control might need some tweaks. Other than that, unchanged. \$\endgroup\$ – Jeff Jun 25 '13 at 17:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ I find it rather clever to have both Sidekick and additional power effects. Seems like an elegant way of representing all the possibilities without overcomplicating it (such as a full-on Sidekick with Enhanced Traits on Others Only, Limited to the character for example). \$\endgroup\$ – leokhorn Jun 30 '13 at 14:32

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