How many flat flaws are too many?

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Kuildeous
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How many flat flaws are too many?

Postby Kuildeous » Fri Apr 11, 2014 6:52 pm

I'll be running a M&M game based on the Torg world. For those who don't know what that is, it is essentially the modern world invaded by multiple realities. These realities supercede the regular world (known as Core Earth), so that tools that are too advanced don't even work.

For example, an assault rifle works in Core Earth, but it would not work in the fantasy realm. By contrast, a fireball spell works in the fantasy realm but not in Core Earth. There are different levels of technological, magical, and spiritual allowances. I have them broken up into low, medium, high, and paragon. The PCs are exceptional and can break these rules fairly often. It may sound like a huge penalty for someone with a plasma rifle to only use it in one realm, but the PC often can overcome that and loses his ability only on a natural 1.

To reflect an advanced tool, I want to have a flaw that the effect doesn't work in low, medium, or high values. So, a club has no penalty. A sword does not work in low-tech places. A katana does not work in low- or medium-tech places. And a power sword does not work in low-, medium-, or high-tech places. My initial thought was to have a -1 flaw for the sword, a -2 flaw for the katana, and a -3 flaw for the power sword. This allows them to enjoy greater effect values at the cost that they could cause "disconnection" (the term used in the game where a PC can no longer violate the rules of the reality).

But as I'm making some example characters to show my players, I'm wondering if those flaws are just too much. This is especially glaringly apparent since I intend to start the campaign off at PL 6, so a -3 Flaw is really potent. A Rank 6 Power Sword that is Easily Removable and has a 3-point Flaw only costs 1 PP. Now I'm a newbie at M&M, but I get the feeling this is really quite cheap for the power.

So I come to the experts. Is it too much to allow a 3-point flaw? Especially since it won't be too hard for the PCs to overcome those flaws (I'm allowing Hero Points to reconnect). I still want there to be some sort of compensation for having an effect that can fail in an area of low tech/spirit/magic, but I think my 1/2/3-point Flaw may be going too far. Any suggestions on how to handle this?

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FuzzyBoots
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Re: How many flat flaws are too many?

Postby FuzzyBoots » Fri Apr 11, 2014 8:33 pm

General rule of thumb is that a -1 Flaw should remove approximately half of the utility. A -2 Flaw should be at about 75% and so on. So yes, your flaws are too great here.

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Re: How many flat flaws are too many?

Postby Kuildeous » Fri Apr 11, 2014 8:33 pm

Something I may toy around with is capping the effect values based on what level it's at. This looks like it may work at PL 8. The caps for low/medium/high/paragon would be 2/4/6/8. The equipment list actually kind of follows this already, though heavy weapons kind of break that mold. Then again, this is where GM mitigation comes into play. My players would respect the wishes, and if someone's concept is someone who uses an RPG launcher, then that can violate the rule.

That way there would be no flaws. It's amazing how cheap you can make a power with the Easily Removable flaw. Then again, the flaw is there to be exploited, so I'll encourage players to consider multiple weapons.

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Re: How many flat flaws are too many?

Postby FuzzyBoots » Sat Apr 12, 2014 8:04 am

Eyeh, if your villains never do Disarm or Sunder actions and your heroes have Quick Draw or always walk around with their weapons in their hands, it's tricky. Back in 2E, I started house-ruling a Concentration check to hold onto wielded items when Stunned, but 3E doesn't have Concentration or routine Stunned on attacks. I suppose you could do the same thing with Dazed, have them make a check of some sort to hold onto their weapons as they're knocked silly. Just remember that they'll expect the same ability versus villains.

There is also the GM Fiat version where you say, "Hero Point. When you swing your sword into Omega's side, he steps back, wrenching it from your grip. Looks like it's stuck right now. Good luck wrenching it out while he's attacking you."

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Re: How many flat flaws are too many?

Postby JDRook » Sat Apr 12, 2014 2:41 pm

FuzzyBoots wrote:General rule of thumb is that a -1 Flaw should remove approximately half of the utility. A -2 Flaw should be at about 75% and so on. So yes, your flaws are too great here.

Point of order, this would be for Full Flaws that give you -1p/rank, as opposes to a Flat Flaw which is just -1p. In 2e (which I know is FuzzyBoots specialty) the equivalent to a Flat Flaw would be a Drawback, so I can see where the confusion would come from.

I do recommend FB's Complication suggestion for Removeables if your games don't have a lot of weapon loss.
Sorry, I can't hear your argument for realism over the sound of my eye beams. :P

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Kuildeous
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Re: How many flat flaws are too many?

Postby Kuildeous » Sat Apr 12, 2014 7:04 pm

FuzzyBoots wrote:Eyeh, if your villains never do Disarm or Sunder actions and your heroes have Quick Draw or always walk around with their weapons in their hands, it's tricky. Back in 2E, I started house-ruling a Concentration check to hold onto wielded items when Stunned, but 3E doesn't have Concentration or routine Stunned on attacks. I suppose you could do the same thing with Dazed, have them make a check of some sort to hold onto their weapons as they're knocked silly. Just remember that they'll expect the same ability versus villains.


Well, 3rd Edition D&D had the person drop whatever he was holding when he was stunned. I have some 3E veterans in the group, so nobody would bat an eye if I ruled that being stunned does the same thing here. Thanks for the idea. I'll probably leave dazed alone, but I'll feel that out when we start playing.


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