Help with PL and campaign growth

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drkrash
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Help with PL and campaign growth

Postby drkrash » Mon Jan 27, 2014 5:27 am

Hello, all. I’m looking to get some insights from people with more play experience than myself. I’m in the odd position of setting up a new M&M campaign, but I literally have a year or two to do it while another campaign finishes. I had some questions about Power Level.

1) Based on Jabroniville’s builds, I’m more and more convinced that, even for an “Avengers” style game, starting at PL 9 is not such a bad thing. It still gives enough points to make a powerful starting character, but still gives room to grow in PL over time. Any counter-argument to that (other than all the example starting characters being PL 10)?

2) Even though players will only play one character at a time, I was thinking of having everyone make 2 characters (to have a larger team), with a combined PL of 18 (if I say “starting” characters are PL 9) or 20 (if I start at PL 10 instead). So a player may choose a PL 8 and a PL 10 character instead of two PL 9 characters. But each would start with 135 points (if I choose PL 9) or 150 (if I choose PL 10), regardless of their actual PL. Lower PL guys would have more tricks, higher PL guys would have fewer tricks but more raw power. What does this break? (I'm not worried about balance of the PL 8 guy feeling as useful in combat - his or her lesser ability in that regard is taken as a given.)

3) Rather than just increase a character's PL after 15 experience (or some other arbitrary number), has anyone come up with player incentives to dissuade players from increasing PL (other than the GM just not allowing it)? I’d like to be able to give them the choice to do so, but I think the standard powergamer player mindset will always just increase maximum power if given a chance, and it seems to me that a group meeting on a regular basis would progress well beyond JLA power levels really within a year or so of starting player, with all the challenges that contains.

If it matters to your response, my players are all familiar with complicated builds and have run Hero characters from starting levels to 700 XP. Because of this, I’m trying to anticipate long-term growth issues in advance. Any advice? Thanks.

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danelsan
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Re: Help with PL and campaign growth

Postby danelsan » Mon Jan 27, 2014 6:21 am

As far as variable PL goes, I usually do it like this:

1) Decide on a base PL. As an example, PL 10.

2) Decide on an initial rate of PP per PL. For reasons that will soon be clear, I usually take an even number. For this example, I'll go with 16, for a base of 160 PP.

3) Players decide the PL of their characters. Choices are: base PL, one PL lower or one PL higher. I usually also allow partial PL variation, such as PL 9 attacks with PL 10 defenses. I keep skills fixed at base PL (mostly because changing it kinda wrecks my little system here).

4) Adjust PP. Going with a higher PL subtracts one PL's worth from your total, while going a PL lower adds the same amount. If partial PL variation is permitted, then half that amount is attached to attack and half to defense.

Taking our base PL 10 with 160 PP, this could result in:

PL 10 in attack and defense, 160 PP
PL 9 in attack and defense, 176 PP
PL 11 in attack and defense, 144 PP
PL 9 in attack and 10 in defense or the inverse, 168 PP
PL 11 in attack and 10 in defense or the inverse, 152 PP
PL 9 in attack and 11 in defense or the inverse, 160 PP

This way, lower PL heroes have more tricks, while higher PL heroes are powerful but limited in versatility.


As for growth, these days I usually just award it when it feels right, independently for PP gained, usually no more than 2 PLs per campaign. In the past I have just made it cost one PL's worth. In the example I gave, it would cost 16 PP to raise PL by 1. This keeps the idea that the more powerful characters would have more narrow competences, while the less powerful ones are more broadly capable.
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freeclint
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Re: Help with PL and campaign growth

Postby freeclint » Mon Jan 27, 2014 8:27 am

Danelsan, I like that theory. I like it a lot. Very good work. Consider it stolen should I ever get a group up and run again.

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saint_matthew
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Re: Help with PL and campaign growth

Postby saint_matthew » Mon Jan 27, 2014 8:29 am

I think you can't really make an informed choice on PL or starting points until you've decided what you are running. Over the years I've run a couple of different paradigms from swords & sorcery at PL 8 with build points at story transition points (think of them like "story acts"), to a PL 10/150 "Avengers/Hometown Heroes" game with no increase in PL or points, but instead a story reward system (the group was more role play than power-gamers), I've run a "Justice League Unlimited/Planetary Guardians" game where players played the new intake for the next generation starting at Pl10/150 & they gained points ever 2 sessions.

It all depends on what kind of game you want to run.
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drkrash
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Re: Help with PL and campaign growth

Postby drkrash » Mon Jan 27, 2014 10:59 am

saint_matthew wrote:I think you can't really make an informed choice on PL or starting points until you've decided what you are running. Over the years I've run a couple of different paradigms from swords & sorcery at PL 8 with build points at story transition points (think of them like "story acts"), to a PL 10/150 "Avengers/Hometown Heroes" game with no increase in PL or points, but instead a story reward system (the group was more role play than power-gamers), I've run a "Justice League Unlimited/Planetary Guardians" game where players played the new intake for the next generation starting at Pl10/150 & they gained points ever 2 sessions.

It all depends on what kind of game you want to run.


This is a fair question, though I do know what kind of game it will be. It will be an Avengers-style "PCs are the big guys" (though fairly new to heroing). The players will not be content without some sort of actual PP power increase over time, because that's what they like. Since I'll be looking at basically weekly sessions, I was thinking of 1 PP per session, and I liked the simplicity of danielsan's idea of making PL increases cost PP.


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