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Close Combat: Unarmed Skill Question for a Player's Power

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Close Combat: Unarmed Skill Question for a Player's Power

Postby Kilcannon » Tue Sep 11, 2012 10:40 am

I have a player that made a character that can shapechange his arms and body into various bladed weapons using a strength power damage with descriptor shapechanged bladed weapons. He wants to know while creating his character if his bladed arms are considered unarmed or if they are considered weapons.

He is a mixed martial artist who gained the ability to create various bladed weapons on his arms and on any part of his body. Would he need to buy ranks in Close Combat: Martial arts (unarmed) and in Close Combat: Shapechanging weapons? He wants to know because he doesn't want to take the advantage close combat since he doesn't want to have his character good at all close combat, but he also doesn't want to spend points in two different skills since his bladed weapons are somewhat unarmed attacks since they are a part of him.

Would this just be GM choice, or do the rules state which way it should be?
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Re: Close Combat: Unarmed Skill Question for a Player's Power

Postby badpenny » Tue Sep 11, 2012 10:49 am

Technically they'd use your Close Attack bonus, not your Unarmed bonus. But a Feature (Counts as Unarmed) would solve that.
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Re: Close Combat: Unarmed Skill Question for a Player's Power

Postby Nillaman » Tue Sep 11, 2012 11:18 am

Given the descriptor, I'd say you just have it count as a a bonus to their Unarmed attack, but not allow it to stack with Equipment or random pieces of scenery. Unarmed, for me, generally applies to all powers that are a natural extension of the body, like claws and fangs and fists wrapped in flame.
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Re: Close Combat: Unarmed Skill Question for a Player's Power

Postby Murkglow » Tue Sep 11, 2012 2:09 pm

I agree that it seems like Unarmed would be fine. After all if an entire array can all fall under one combat skill (Ranged Combat: Power Ring or Ranged Combat: Magic) I don't really see why the distinction is necessary here. I mean is there any benefit to him using his unarmed attacks without his shapeshifting powers?
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Re: Close Combat: Unarmed Skill Question for a Player's Power

Postby badpenny » Tue Sep 11, 2012 4:54 pm

There should be some kind of difference given that Close Combat: Unarmed is +2 for 1pp.
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Re: Close Combat: Unarmed Skill Question for a Player's Power

Postby Witchslasher » Tue Sep 11, 2012 5:01 pm

I think if you went strictly "by the book", Close Combat Unarmed shouldn't apply to it.. The book says "Close Combat: Unarmed is an option, meaning skill with unarmed strikes like punches and kicks. However, this bonus does not apply to other forms of unarmed combat maneuvers, including, but not limited to, grabbing or tripping."

If it doesn't even let you trip, I think transforming your arms into knives is different enough from simple punches and kicks. Though I actually ignore the above rule and allow trips to be done with close combat unarmed..
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Re: Close Combat: Unarmed Skill Question for a Player's Power

Postby Fists of Dorn » Tue Sep 11, 2012 6:05 pm

I wouldn't be opposed to using Close Combat: Unarmed to resolve his shape-shifting weapon attacks, but I would draw the line with certain combinations- in particular the Fast Grab advantage. So long as the GM and player are aware of the boundaries it ought to be fine.


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Re: Close Combat: Unarmed Skill Question for a Player's Power

Postby Murkglow » Tue Sep 11, 2012 8:24 pm

badpenny wrote:There should be some kind of difference given that Close Combat: Unarmed is +2 for 1pp.


I don't get what you're trying to say here. The two examples I gave are also +2 for 1pp and are easily just as broad as any benefit granted by Close Combat: Unarmed + Shapeshifting power.

Witchslasher wrote:If it doesn't even let you trip, I think transforming your arms into knives is different enough from simple punches and kicks. Though I actually ignore the above rule and allow trips to be done with close combat unarmed..


The thing is Tripping or Grabbing are actually valuable combat options that are worth making a distinction for. In this case the Shapeshifting power completely removes/replaces any value Close Combat: Unarmed would normally grant (at least I would assume so, I haven't seen the power to tell for sure). There likely is no reason why he would use a normal punch ever so Close Combat: Unarmed is really just a different name for Close Combat: Shapeshifting powers. Or to put it another way this would be like having a power called "combat training" or "hard hitting" thats simply a +1 to strength based damage and making them get a new skill to cover it, seems weird to me. Of course if the shapeshifting grants some other beenfit then I might change my mind but...

If you want to talk "in world" reasons why Tripping wouldn't be covered but Spikes would (this is not to say this is a basis on which I would make this decision), Tripping and Grabbing are not the same kind of skill as punching/kicking but the same punch that works with your fist works even better when your fist is replaced by a spike.
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Re: Close Combat: Unarmed Skill Question for a Player's Power

Postby Witchslasher » Wed Sep 12, 2012 7:11 am

I don't think Trip and Grab are valuable enough to have to spend "close combat: trip" or something like that. Maybe there could Close Combat: Combat Manuevers? But I don't really think that's a great idea.. I think most close combats should allow you to trip as part of their skill.. A guy trained in Unarmed Combat would know how to "sweep the leg" a guy trained to a staff can trip with the staff, it's actually a fairly common combat manuever in action movies.. Not by the book, mind you, the book is pretty clear that that doesn't work :)

I'm not really looking for "real world" examples to fit in my Superhero game :) but I would argue that someone trained in unarmed combat is much more likely to also know how to sweep then how to deal with his hand being transformed into a metal sword and swinging it. There's different weighting to be considered (why boxing with 16 oz gloves is different than fighting with MMA style 4 oz gloves) and there's simply more to punching than simply sticking your fist out at a rapid speed and hoping it finds the target.
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Re: Close Combat: Unarmed Skill Question for a Player's Power

Postby Kilcannon » Wed Sep 12, 2012 9:31 am

The only reason he would use unarmed combat without the shapechanged weapons is so that he can not actively use his powers or if he wants to do less damage. Part of his power is going to have a limitation that it must always do full damage since the blade like claws, spikes, etc are so sharp that it isn't able to pull back. He is supposed to 4savage when using them. If he wants to hold back or not kill someone he would just punch them or kick them or do some other martial art attack.

I knew grab needed its own skill if you wanted to improve on the chance to hit with it, but I didn't realize Trip did. I have been using Close combat: unarmed or martial arts (depending on character's description) to make trip attacks.

Just wondering would there be a way to make mixed martial arts include grab and trip all in one or just tell the player to only focus their energy on Advantage: Close Attack? Then limit the advantage to close attacks that don't require weapons because the player is insisting he does not want to be able to use a sword, knife, or any other weapon. His training was limited only to never using weapons except for his shapechanging power.
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Re: Close Combat: Unarmed Skill Question for a Player's Power

Postby Witchslasher » Wed Sep 12, 2012 9:42 am

Probably going to end up being one of those "GM choice" kind of thing.. I think if you let Mixed Martial Arts be a skill that encompasses everything, that'd be too much.. Then again if you made one of those "powers that aren't powers" of Enhanced Advantage: Close Attack with Limited Flaw as being "limited to non-weapon attacks".. I guess that'd work.. Would end up costing as much as a skill too.. Makes it seem like is SHOULDN'T work then.. Maybe the flaw isn't limited enough to qualify for a flaw and should just be a quirk instead.

One a side track, I could possibly see different sorts of Martial Arts giving bonuses to maneuvers.. Seems like something like Judo should give both trips (and throws, which I believe are mechanically the same as trips) and grappling.. As Judo is focused on both of those, but Judo isn't a "striking" martial art, so maybe no bonuses to unarmed attacks? I dunno.. Probably off topic..

If it were me and we were going by a strict interpretation of the rules as written. I would say his hand blades are different skills than his unarmed.. You simply could not fight the same way when your hands are transformed into knives.. This could also allow him to cap out both for different costs.. Like his blades obviously do more damage, so he wouldn't be spending as many points raising the skill to attack to the cap, where he'd probably need more to raise his unarmed to cap (if he even caps it at all since it's not a "primary" attack).
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Re: Close Combat: Unarmed Skill Question for a Player's Power

Postby Kilcannon » Wed Sep 12, 2012 10:23 am

So if he is going to take close attack (advantage) he would be raising all his close attacks (unarmed, grab, trip, shapechanging blades & weapons), but he would also be just as good at swords, knives, staffs, etc which he doesn't want. So would a 3point quirk (doesn't add to weapons) be better than a limited -1pt/rk work better? Otherwise I might just convince him to take close combat advantage to the full cap of his shapechanging weapons and then take a few ranks in unarmed, grab, and trip and say for him to just forget about the limitation of not using weapons. He said if he doesn't have the limitation its not the end of the world, but he was trying to give himself a flaw since I have stated that there will be enemies with powers that can nullify or technology that can nullify. He wanted it to be that if he was under some kind of nullify that he can't just pick up a sword or a knife to do more damage since he isn't a strong character unless he has his shapechanging weapons. If under a nullify he wanted to depend on his low damaging martial arts, trips, grabs to survive since he can still hit accurately, just with little damage.

On another note does every type of attack (such as weapon smash, disarm, grab, trip, etc) need their own skill check? Because if that is the case maybe he or other players are better just taking a higher fighting ability score all together if they are trying to be able to do all of these different types of attacks.

This player wants to be incredible martial artist before getting his powers. Wants to be ex UFC fighter so he would have accurate attack, defensive attack, all out attack, power attack, improved grab, improved hold, fast grap, and improved trip. Leaning towards just telling him to take higher fighting ability, close attack advantage, and a few ranks in each type. Then give him a quirk that he only has his fighting ability and not his close attack advantage with weapons. In a non-superhero game he would still kick butt verses normal individuals. His shapechanging damage puts him in league with supers since they will be extremely sharp and penetrating damage.
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Re: Close Combat: Unarmed Skill Question for a Player's Power

Postby Murkglow » Wed Sep 12, 2012 12:39 pm

Witchslasher wrote:I don't think Trip and Grab are valuable enough to have to spend "close combat: trip" or something like that. Maybe there could Close Combat: Combat Manuevers? But I don't really think that's a great idea...


I completely disagree about Grab/Trip not being worth their own skill and fully think Close Combat: Combat Manuevers is a worthwhile skill. I don't understadn why you would argue that folding in trip into Unarmed is ok but using unarmed for "natural weapons" (claws for example or in this case spikes/blades) isn't ok. Especially when Unarmed would be largely useless as a skill on its own.
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Re: Close Combat: Unarmed Skill Question for a Player's Power

Postby Witchslasher » Wed Sep 12, 2012 12:54 pm

Because i think in all my play i've seen 1 trip done.. A trip that probably wouldn't have been done if the user wasn't able to use his Unarmed skill.. I've never even seen anyone ever try to take "close combat: trip" or something like that. I didn't even know this rule for the longest time because it always made perfect sense that when doing a manuever, you use the attack roll of whatever you're doing the manever with..

Also just the way I think of "Unarmed combat".. I think of it as a skilled martial artist, which involves doing cool manuevers like sweeping, a common martial arts move (I guess if the martial artist was a boxer, I might have a different POV).. Grab I could definitely see being different tho..

When Wolverine attacks someone, punching and kicking vs wielding his claws seems to be very different to me. The claws are bigger, they weigh more, there are special considerations to be made so you don't cut your own leg off.. Even sabretooth style claws are signficantly different in how you attack with them compared to punching and kicking.. When you're sweeping someone, you're still doing an unarmed attack, just at their legs.. Or if you're trying to kick a gun out of their hand, you're still kicking them, just aiming at their gun hand rather than their head, body or whatever..

Close Combat Manuevers just didn't ring through with me because then you'd get it and suddenly be good with everything as long as you're doing a manuever.. Like I'm awesome with swords, staffs, unarmed, and daggers... but only when disarming, I suck with them otherwise (extreme example)..

I see your point of view and everything, just doesn't ring right with me.. I guess my take on trip is sort of a "houserule" based on my experiences in my games (trips being very rare) and personal perspective.

I personally don't really have a problem with the claws or whatever falling under Close Combat Unarmed. Like you said, he's probably just going to use it for the better attack, I just don't think it works by a strict interpretation of the rules as written (neither does my trip stuff, but that's kind of moot to the original topic).. I could be wrong.. After all the shapeshifter archetype in the book has many ranks in the close combat unarmed skill and he'd obviously use claws. Catwoman also looks like her claws fall under unarmed.. So probably the way you're saying :)
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Re: Close Combat: Unarmed Skill Question for a Player's Power

Postby Murkglow » Wed Sep 12, 2012 4:04 pm

Witchslasher wrote:Because i think in all my play i've seen 1 trip done.. A trip that probably wouldn't have been done if the user wasn't able to use his Unarmed skill..


Then I would say either your players aren't making full use of their abilities or they/your game aren't set up to take advantage of it. Prone can be very powerful in the right situation. I mean do your players not Feint or use Afflictions either? Trip is also more valuable if you are playing with alot of terrain and/or with low movement (ie not alot of flyers/speeders) and you keep clear track of where people are (as opposed to just handwaving stuff like that).

Witchslasher wrote:I've never even seen anyone ever try to take "close combat: trip" or something like that.


That's because anyone who is serious about using combat maneuvers just uses Fighting/Close Attack to hit their caps since they would need to cover their normal combat ability too. That said I have seen a build with Close Combat: Grappling before.

Anyway, to each their own.
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