(The most obvious difference between 2nd and 3rd edition is that the 2nd edition set comes with a lot more character writeups than the 3rd edition rulebook but I'm not going to include them in this comparison. I'm also not going to cover things like chapters being in different order since 2nd edition spread its material out over three books so of course things are going to be in a different order.)
I'll look at the rules first and character creation second..
Many of the rules presented as optional in 3rd edition (in the grey boxes) are presented in 2nd edition as "advanced rules" and are grouped together in an appendix at the end of the rules manual. The only exceptions are Optional Turn Order (p97, 3rd edition), High Speed Movement (p106, 3rd), Reliability and Damage (p113, 3rd) and Dividing Omni-Gadget APs (p118, 3rd), these are all new material. The only advanced rule from 2nd edition that did not make it to 3rd edition is their version of Alter Ego (p65, rules manual, 2nd) and that's because 3rd edition made it into a Drawback.
Second edition does not have rules for outer space like 3rd edition (p105), I believe they first appeared in a 2nd edition supplement. Second edition puts "Fires, Collisions, and Natural Disasters" in the advanced rules appendix instead of with the rest of the special combat situations like in 3rd edition.
Under Gadgetry, Hardened Defenses are not included in the 2nd edition rulebook. Range is not a value you can purchase like AV and EV in 2nd edition. Second edition Omni-Gadgets defined Ability Range C as "Mimicked Powers" instead of "Physical and Mental Powers" though I think they mean the same thing. Third edition introduced a limitation on Ability Range D for Omni-Gadgets that the gadget must also have Range A and/or B. The Factor Cost Modifiers for Range Classes C and D are reversed, in 2nd edition it's C +1, D +2 while in 3rd edition it's C +2, D +1.
There are some minor differences in the writeups for real-world gadgets, things like slightly different movement speeds (Running, Swimming or Flight powers) and a couple additional powers like giving Radar Sense to most of the airplanes in 3rd edition. The weapons are pretty much the same in both books though 2nd edition has higher BODY values on some of the melee weapons (BODY 8 for a knife vs BODY 5 in 3rd) while 3rd edition has a few more weapons added to the list. Second edition has a section in its Gadgetry chapter covering the special gadgets of several heroes (Batman, Nightwing and the New Titans) that is omitted from 3rd edition.
Under Wealth, Upkeep and Bankruptcy are advanced rules in 2nd edition.
The Genre rules have a few slight differences; 2nd edition had the option of limiting the number of HPs a character could spend on an ability (for example, in the Gritty genre you could only increase an ability by half its value) while 3rd edition has the option of making the cost of increasing an ability vary between genres (in Gritty for example it costs 5 HP to raise an ability 1 AP). Third edition also introduced varying costs for Last Ditch Defense and Desperation Recovery Checks.
Moving on to character creation...
Third edition's attribute benchmarks are an addition to the material.
The typos in the 3rd edition AP Purchase Chart are not present in the 2nd edition chart and vice versa.
The Diminishing and Fatiguing Limitations in 3rd edition are new.
Area Knowledge in 2nd edition is a flat 20 HP regardless of the size of the area in question while 3rd edition introduced a sliding scale based on the size of the region.
Buddy, Free Access and Security Clearance are not in 2nd edition, they were introduced in later 2nd edition supplements. The 2nd edition Silent Assistant Advantage is not in 3rd edition.
As noted above, the Alter Ego Drawback is not present in 2nd edition as it is handled differently. The Arch Enemy Drawback is not in 2nd edition either, it first appeared in a supplement.
I'm just going to skim over the powers so I won't include things like changes to the Base and Factor Costs. There are a good number that have changed but I haven't been keeping track of them.
New powers in third edition: Paralysis, Shade, Snare, Vibe, Mental Freeze, Mental Illusion, Pyrotechnics and Radio Communication. I believe most of these were introduced in supplements.
The following powers are ones I'm aware of that had their writeups change from 2nd to 3rd edition:
Energy Absorption - added Bonus that links it to Power Reserve
Flight - mentions that most forms of Flight will work underwater at -2 APs
Growth - 2nd edition worked in terms of adding 3' per AP, 3rd edition adds +1 AP of height for every 3 APs of power activated.
Invisibility - 3rd edition allows as a Bonus the ability to be invisible to senses besides sight.
Shrinking - 3rd edition added a penalty to movement rate
Dispersal - 3rd edition adds the ability to attack by partially solidifying
Force Manipulation - 3rd edition is more descriptive on what the power can and cannot do
Power Reserve - added Limitation that links it to Energy Absorption
Recall - 2nd edition used APs as amount of information that could be retained, 3rd edition allows for limitless retention of information but requires a Dice Action to use the power.
Dimension Travel - 2nd edition used a much simpler method to calculate the OV/RV for the Travel ability, basically there was just a list of dimensions and the OV/RV for that dimension regardless of where you started from. 3rd edition uses the Dimension Travel Guide map introduced in the Magic SB.
Under skills, Dancer was added to Artist, Danger Recognition and Field Command were added to Military Science while Electronic Countermeasures was eliminated, Premonition was added to Occultist and the rules for Ritual Magic were expanded (Magic SB).
So overall, most of the differences are minor and if you've got a fairly complete set of the second edition supplements you have a lot of the material in 3rd edition that wasn't in the 2nd edition boxed set.
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page created 3/13/97