Various Insubstantial tricks (Nancy Makuhari RoD) [3e]

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Various Insubstantial tricks (Nancy Makuhari RoD) [3e]

Postby monele » Wed Jan 01, 2014 3:20 pm

I'm trying to stat up Nancy Makuhari from the Read or Die OAV.

http://readordie.wikia.com/wiki/Nancy_Makuhari

Her main power is that she can phase out her body (or parts of) at will. Yet, she doesn't seem like a complete ghost and doesn't seem to fall in the usual Insubstantial 4 over-powered trappings as she still gets hit by enemies here and there.

It looks like Insubstantial 4 Precise should deal with quite a few things. Here are a few bits I'm unsure how to deal with:

- It seems she either purposefully goes insubstantial and in the open to trick enemies into focusing on her and wasting attacks that have no way of hitting her. Yet, at other times, she uses acrobatics to avoid physical attacks and sometimes does not avoid them. This makes me think it may be reflex-based outside of taunts/feints. Mechanically it's almost as if on one side she's readying to counter attacks with Insubstantial, and on the other it could be a simple boost to Dodge/Parry. Or maybe she just turns on full Insubstantial, ignores attacks, and on the next round she goes substantial again to attack enemies.

- She uses guns. It seems she would need to have her hands and guns go substantial to attack with them. Precise should allow this. How does one adjudicate partial substantiality when it comes to defense? Can others damage her normally? Is she harder to hit?

- It _seems_ she's able to phase her guns too, along with her full-body suit. I don't think she's ever seen picking items by phasing a hand into a container and bringing the item out though, so is it just a descriptor of her Equipment or is this worth a Feature?

- One of her (rare) tricks is to phase her hands into someone and wreck things from the inside (how she can do that without half-fusing with people is beyond me, but hey, it looks cool :p). Mechanically, what this seems to do is simply ignore any physical Protection, just not Thoughness. It's not clear whether energy fields would block her out but it would seem fair (Insubstantial does need that one descriptor that counters it eh?). I'm currently thinking of a Damage linked to Nullify (with many modifiers), but now I'm thinking an Affliction resisted by Fortitude might be more elegant.

- Another risky trick is when she phases out to "let something in" and then phases in to lock it. I'm guessing this is essentially a Grab... maybe Weapon Bind actually.


Have you seen similar uses? Any idea how to stat it up elegantly?



Disclaimer: I'm the GM/Builder for all matters of gm fiat and interpreting rules. Just state the pros and cons of potential GM choices if needed.
Last edited by monele on Thu Jan 02, 2014 1:26 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Various Insubstantial tricks (Nancy Makuhari RoD)

Postby JDRook » Wed Jan 01, 2014 5:25 pm

Just as a thought experiment, you could try building her without using Insubstantial at all. Try this:

Permeate 3 - she can now move through any material like it isn't there. She can theoretically hide inside an object for total concealment and cover, but she would need to hold herr breath (or use an Immunity, but it doesn't look like she has one).

Enhanced Dodge 12 / Parry 12, Subtle, plus the Improved Defense Advantage - Attacks seem to pass right through without her having to move. Of course, particularly skilled opponent could still hit her, but the descriptor would be that they are quick or lucky and caught her off-guard before she could "phase", and going up against guys like that might require that she actually use some acrobatics and maybe get some circumstantial defense bonuses. If she is specifically trying to draw fire without firing back, that's a perfect time to use Improved Defense, which could also have an acrobatic descriptor.

Using the above means she can manipulate objects normally and doesn't have to mess around with Precise or Affect Corporeal or the one Descriptor Weakness, so none of those issues come up. If you absolutely have to, I would recommend treating Partial Insubstantiality as similar to Cover, giving a circumstantial penalty of -2 or -5 to attackers, depending on how much is phased.

Reaching in and messing up organs can be a regular Damage or Affliction effect with Alternate Resistance: Fortitude, so it completely ignores Protection.

Solidifying around an object could be done two ways, depending on how often you want to do it:

- Enhanced STR 6, Limited to Disarms and Grabs, plus Weapon Bind Advantage; Side Effect 2: takes Damage 6 every round resisted by Fortitude. This is a surprising cheap power at 2p plus the Advantage (SE2 will do that), but if you expect her to do it a lot, this will work. You could make it an AE of her organ attack for even less, and maybe increase the STR, but the SE Damage should be commensurate. Then again, it's also cheap enough to just keep separate so you can do it anytime.

- burn a Hero Point for a reroll to Weapon Bind, then get the Hero Point back for the Complication of having an object stuck in your body and wreaking havoc, requiring surgery to fix.

I challenge you to come up with a situation where this all doesn't work just as well as Insub. :)
Sorry, I can't hear your argument for realism over the sound of my eye beams. :P

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Re: Various Insubstantial tricks (Nancy Makuhari RoD)

Postby JDRook » Wed Jan 01, 2014 11:37 pm

I found a 2e build of Makuhari as well. It could use some tweaking but it's a pretty good base to work from.
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Re: Various Insubstantial tricks (Nancy Makuhari RoD) [3e]

Postby monele » Thu Jan 02, 2014 1:47 am

I take it Permeate 3 is Insubstantial 3? I'm having trouble getting the differences between levels. It seems the big difference between 2 and 3 is that you now pass through anything physical (but not energy) and that you're not affected by area attacks? I'm unsure what "energy" type she could be.

What is "energy" actually? Can she go through fires with this? I admit I'm very unsure about what should block her so far. I'm thinking "spiritual" energy and other multi-phase energies, but I don't think fire, lasers and such should.

In her case, would guns work as is at level 3? It seems like it. Would Precise be of any use in this case? To pick things up maybe?

And I just thought of something: isn't Insubstantial an instant get-out-of-grab card?

Reaching in

Actually came up with this very idea yesterday :D

Solidifying around an object

I thought of Weapon Bind and linked the power to Improved Grab and Hold, but didn't think of Side Effect or a limited STR improvement. I like it!

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Re: Various Insubstantial tricks (Nancy Makuhari RoD) [3e]

Postby JDRook » Thu Jan 02, 2014 3:11 am

monele wrote:I take it Permeate 3 is Insubstantial 3?

Nope. Like I said, pretend Insub doesn't exist.

Permeate is a Movement Effect. It costs 2p/rank: first rank allows you to move through any material at your movement rank -2, and each rank improves that; 3 ranks allows you to move through at full speed, so that is 6p. What it does NOT do is make you immune to anything, and after watching a few episodes of RoD, I feel confident in saying that Makuhari does not have Insubstantial, she has Permeate. Her ability to let attacks go through her (specifically that staff) seems to be skill-based, particularly since Sanzo succeeds in hitting her on the second attempt. To me it makes most sense that "letting stuff pass through her" is just a descriptor for really high defenses, and Sanzo basically just traded for Accurate on that hit.

The Subtle I put on the Enhanced Defenses now seems unnecessary since the pass-through is a descriptor of a really good Dodge (or rather Parry, since the Elongated Staff would technically still act as a melee weapon and target Parry defense). Permeate and Enhanced Defense is still the way to go, though.

monele wrote:I thought of Weapon Bind and linked the power to Improved Grab and Hold, but didn't think of Side Effect or a limited STR improvement. I like it!

I figure the STR should be relative to the Toughness of the body wrapping around the object. It would work well for a character like her since it's unlikely she would break PL with that STR boost, if that's a GM concern. On the other hand, I don't know how often you'd want to do that; it doesn't seem like something she'd do often, and it's arguable that she'd never done it before that staff-catch, so I would probably go with power stunt off of Defenses, since mechanically she would have been trying to get hit and readied an action to "grab" the staff.
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Re: Various Insubstantial tricks (Nancy Makuhari RoD) [3e]

Postby monele » Thu Jan 02, 2014 4:06 am

Permeate is a Movement Effect

Wow, I totally forgot about this one o_o... quite useful to have this distinctive effect in this case though!

Her ability to let attacks go through her (specifically that staff) seems to be skill-based, particularly since Sanzo succeeds in hitting her on the second attempt.

I've read one other explanation being that Sanzo used Chi powers to "catch" her the second time, but I don't know about that... I'd agree with you. I think he just made sure to catch her off-guard on the next hit.

The Subtle I put on the Enhanced Defenses now seems unnecessary since the pass-through is a descriptor of a really good Dodge

I actually liked the Subtle addition. Being Sustained, it should be an obvious power by default... but nothing is obvious about her ability until you've experienced it once ("this won't work twice!"... because he knows about it now).
Compare to having a physical shield in your hand (though admittedly Equipment is noticeable by default IIRC).
I guess the question is: is a noticeable Enhanced Dodge visible while sustained (supposedly round after round) or only when being attacked?

it doesn't seem like something she'd do often, and it's arguable that she'd never done it before that staff-catch, so I would probably go with power stunt off of Defenses, since mechanically she would have been trying to get hit and readied an action to "grab" the staff.

Indeed, I keep thinking of this as a power stunt, possibly a Counter... though it acts way too much like a Grab (her and the staff are "stuck" together and move together). So yeah, I'd say power stunt to boost her grabbing capacity and then ready a Grab on the next staff attack.

Thanks for the help so far, Nancy seems to be coming up nice :)

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Re: Various Insubstantial tricks (Nancy Makuhari RoD) [3e]

Postby JDRook » Thu Jan 02, 2014 11:55 am

No problem. I had been thinking about non-Insubstantial phasing for a while as a possible alternative for building a low-PL Shadowcat-style character, and Nancy's particular effects fit even more perfectly than Kitty Pride's.

monele wrote:I think he just made sure to catch her off-guard on the next hit.

That sounds like a Feint to me, which would work against Defenses, but not against Insubstantial.

As for Defense visibility, I figure the visible effect is that weird little curl of her skin getting out of the way of an attack, which is a little hard to spot. That could be a DC20 Perception check to spot that (which is standard Subtle rank 1), but I don't know if there's a meaningful difference between spotting that and not spotting it. On the other hand, she can do it while standing perfectly still, so even if it's not actually Subtle, it may be worth a similar 1p Feature. It would probably be a GM call, but if it's important to the concept I like to err on the side of "but I paid for it" and then maybe get the cost removed if the GM is generous.
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Re: Various Insubstantial tricks (Nancy Makuhari RoD) [3e]

Postby Unbeliever » Sat Jan 11, 2014 8:53 am

I always liked this character's power set from the anime.

As to the "taunt and then you miss me effect," why not pair the Improved Defense, etc. with a reflavored Interpose advantage?


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