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How do I improve?

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How do I improve?

Postby Spectrum » Fri Oct 26, 2012 7:12 pm

Thanks in advance to any that read and/or reply to this thread.

I really enjoy this forum. I love being in games (most of the time ;) ) Its a great mental exercise and hopefully I'm getting better as a writer over all.

On the other hand, I've never liked building characters in all the years that I've been gaming, regardless of system. The way that I was brought up as a gamer was oooh, story.. oh, I have to create a character to get there, mmmm.. errr.. okay, will you help (end up writing it for) me?

Most of the time that's gone pretty well for me in table top games. Its even worked okayish on here once or twice.

I want to get better. In order to keep playing, I need to get better.

I don't know how to get there. It would be great if I could get recommendations on existing characters I'm open to suggestions. I'm even open to bigger ideas on how to get better.

Thanks again for getting this far.
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Re: How do I improve?

Postby Bladewind » Fri Oct 26, 2012 7:36 pm

One suggestion that I can give is what I did in 2nd Edition.

First, I got an Excel Character Generator.

Then, I choose a rabid builder or three and deconstructed their builds into said character sheets.

It helped immensely in understanding the way people put things together.

In third edition, I don't do that quite as often, but I do sit there and deconstruct certain aspects to see how things were put together.

Another good way to understand and get used to third edition is with Hero Lab. Regardless of what you or others may think about the program, if you have the sample por files you get a really good idea of how things are built beyond the pretty little stat blocks that everyone posts.

That and I freely pillage the boards for mechanics and power builds.

You can only get better with time...
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Re: How do I improve?

Postby Batgirl III » Fri Oct 26, 2012 9:08 pm

I was one of those "rabid builders" back in the second edition days, and am trying to regain said status in my new 3e thread. I find that most of us "builders" only love on thing more than building, and that's talking about our builds. Drop by my thread, or J-Mart, or Prodigy Duck's, or where ever and ask questions.

It was a discussion about comparissons between two of of Baron's builds back in 1e that lead to my even signing up for this forum, in order to comment, that led to my signature and (eventually) my 2e thread, which I think ended up well north of 350 builds (they aren't all on the index).

Having said all that, some people just don't like building characters. Obvioussly, I do, but it isn't everyone's cuppa tea... again, I find that most of the "rabid builders" are generally receptive of requests. Not every thread in Roll Call has to be a 200+ build catalog. Develop your concept and theme, put your initial thoughts into the mechanical frame work, and copy it into a new thread here at Roll Call with a subject along the lines of "Help Me Build a Better Energy Controller" and we'll all come a`running. :wink:
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Re: How do I improve?

Postby Earth-Two_Kenn » Fri Oct 26, 2012 11:09 pm

The way to improve your character building skills, as with most things, is with practice. I've been gamemastering for 25 years, although only with "Mutants & Masterminds" since May 2011. I've never known 1E or 2E. But the way I learned to build characters in "Champions" was to just build. Not design, just build. The vast majority of those characters never saw the light of day. I just said, "I want to build a character who does _________________" and I tried to build a character who did __________________. Then I'd go back and review them. Sometimes I'd put them in battles, to test them, and to practice managing the combat rules. I didn't worry about fleshing out these characters, unless except when I found one that really piqued my interest. They were math-and-rule exercises.

Last year, I didn't have to do that. Last year, I just said, "We're going to convert the RC Universe to DCA" (honestly, it caught mine and my group's collective attention first because of the DC tie-in, even if the relative simplicity of the system vs the increasingly rule-heavy Hero System is what won us over). Now, 15.5 months later, we've built or converted over 600 characters, with nearly 500 of them up on our website (http://www.rcuhero.net) , 85 of them in the queue between being built and having the webpage made, and a dozen or two characters kept off the web because I have a few creative friends who are mildly paranoid. At least 450 of the 600-plus builds or conversions are my handiwork. And I am continuously going back to the first ones I did last year, or last spring, or whenever, because my skill keeps improving.

And visiting sites like this help. Examining the builds, especially of the characters one knows well. If you're a huge, say for example, Spider-Man fan, then look up all of the different builds of Spider-Man you can find here. If you're a fan, you'll know the character. And you can look and see how different people built the same idea. You'll see the things that everyone did the same way. You'll see the things that people did differently. That should give you ideas on how to build those abilities. You may even see, as I saw recently with Captain America, when one person does something one way, and a bunch of people who did it their own way already, go back and revisit their own build incorporating this different way they just saw.
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Re: How do I improve?

Postby Bladewind » Sat Oct 27, 2012 5:40 am

Another important detail...

There is no right or wrong way to build. Mechanics can be tightened - goodness knows I should probably do that myself - and occasionally another power will do what you want. A GM might want you to do something a little differently...

Ultimately, most variances are a matter of taste.
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Re: How do I improve?

Postby Spectrum » Sat Oct 27, 2012 7:11 am

Thank you for all the comments so far. It sounds like the best way to get better at this is by *gasp* doing it.

I've altered the name of my thread to hopefully encourage more commenting.

I'm also going to spend some time reviewing builds here and elsewhere and will try to get a better idea of what people are doing in the process. Earth2 Kenn, I took a quick look at your website and have a feeling that I'll be coming back often.
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Re: How do I improve?

Postby Earth-Two_Kenn » Sat Oct 27, 2012 9:56 pm

Spectrum wrote:Earth2 Kenn, I took a quick look at your website and have a feeling that I'll be coming back often.


Please do, and if you ever have any questions, please, fire away. :D
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Re: How do I improve?

Postby Mark Reuter » Mon Nov 05, 2012 12:19 pm

Seriously, with all the builds in Roll Call, all you have to do is find builds with powersets close to what you want and "steal" them. Many of the builders will enjoy the fact that one of their builds is going to be in an actual game. I do not have the 3e rules in my possession and yet I have made a number of 3e characters by browsing the Roll Call thread (Taliesin and J-Mart are my first two choices usually but there are other fine builders out there).
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Re: How do I improve?

Postby OptimusPrimieval » Mon Nov 05, 2012 4:43 pm

Can't say much more than what's been said already. Shop around on the Roll Call threads until you find something you like. Snag it for your very own. All of us builder types will be very flattered knowing that you chose one of our own :wink:

Lots boards focus on traditional builds and still others focus on turning the classics into "playable" characters right form the start. Quite of us - time permitting - are perfectly willing to help with anything in between! Good luck!
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Re: How do I improve?

Postby ursinethemadbear » Tue Nov 13, 2012 6:11 pm

I personally post original characters only, and I would love it if anyone used them. Players, GMs, anyone, if you want to steal part or all of one of my builds for yours, go ahead.

As for improving your skills, find characters that interest you and build them. Try figuring out how to build a favorite movie or book character, then post it for others to see and comment on. You will learn a lot faster than you think you will.
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Re: How do I improve?

Postby Lord Fell » Tue Nov 13, 2012 10:45 pm

I'm going to kinda disagree with Bladewind regarding the use of a character generating program.

You need to learn how the numbers work, and be able to manipulate them yourself, instead of trusting a program to crunch numbers for you. None of the math is difficult, but until you do the work yourself by hand (I keep a cheap calculator on my desk) it's you're never going to grasp it.
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Re: How do I improve?

Postby Bladewind » Wed Nov 14, 2012 6:20 pm

You may have a valid point there, Fell.

I have a pretty solid grasp of numbers so using an auto-fill sheet or not doesn't hinder me. I can see where it might be a crutch though. I can afford my laziness because in a crunch I can do most of the math mentally for power generation.

To each there own strength - yours seems to be an understanding of the powers to quickly pull together combos of base and extras/flaws to fit a concept.
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Re: How do I improve? (please help with current project)

Postby Spectrum » Sat Nov 17, 2012 8:34 am

I've been using an Excel sheet that I created that lets me do the numbermancy in the direction that I want. I have Hero Lab but it just doesn't do the math the way that I tend to think about things (saves, skills and a few other things acting as subsets of the overall attribute).

I've been struggling (with the help of Millennium) on a character concept for his Batch 9 game and haven't had much luck at all. I was hoping to get some feedback on where we're going wrong.

Name Jormugandr ("Girl in the Box")

Complications:

"The Flesh is Weak" (Handicap): In order to contain Jormugandr, the government had to do extensive physical damage and must constant regular medical care.

"Faraday Cage" (Weakness): Sufficient shielding (like the sarcophagus) will block her from using most of her powers.

"Public Enemy" (Hunted): The only reason the government has kept her alive is because she might be a valuable weapon. That could change.

"Scrubbed": No public record of her existence remains, leaving her without basic rights as a citizen.

"Vindictive": No slight shall be tolerated, death is only the end of misery.

-----------------
Original build (using Power profile tech)

Pl 8
Points 120

Attributes 0
Saves 14
Abilities 26
Advantages 17
Powers 63
Total 120

Left over 0

Attributes (0pp)
STR -5
STA 3
AGL -5
DEX -4
FGT -4
INT 10
AWE 5
PRE 0

Saves (14 pp)
Dodge 0
Fort 3
Parry 0
Toughness 3
Will 10

Skills (26 pp)
Deception 5
Expertise: Business 17
Expertise: Computers 17
Insight 17
Intimidation 5
Perception 15
Persuasion 5
Treatment 11

Advantages (16 pp)
Benefit: Cipher 2, Benefit: Security Clearance, Connected, Contacts, Eidetic Memory, Favored Environment: Cyberrealm, Speed of Thought, Skill Mastery: Computers & Investigation, Wealth 5, Well Informed

Powers (63 total pp, many are from Power Profile Tech)

"Cybernaut" (1 pp) Movement 1 (dimensional travel, cyberspace), limited: leaves meat body behind

"Social Engineering" (10 pp) Enhanced (PRE 10, not in person)

"Web Search" (2 pp) Enhanced (Investigation 6, not in person)

"Web Apps" (1 pp) Feature: Machines Like Me

"Control Technology" (9 pp) Perception Ranged Affliction 7 (controlled), Overcome by Technology skill or Will; Limited (third degree only), Affects Objects Only, Limited to Technology, subtle 1

"Network Jump" (6 pp) teleport 6, accurate, extended (only extended), medium (networks), leaves meat behind

"Blazing speeds" (3 pp) Quickness 6, limited to mental tasks

"Interface" (4 pp) Comprehend (machines)

"Wireless" (18 pp) Communication (radio), limited (must be able to send signal), rapid 5, subtle 1

"Sensor Network" (10 pp) Remote- Sensing (Visual and Auditory), Limited to technological sensors, feedback, subtle 1
---------------
2nd attempt (Millennium)

Abilities
STR 0, STA 0, AGL 0, DEX 0, FGT 0, INT 10, AWE 5, PRE [10] 0

Skills
Deception +5/15, Expertise [Financial Systems] +15, Insight +11, Intimidation +0/10, Investigation +10/18, Perception 5, Persuasion +5/15, Technology +15, Treatment +11

Advantages
Benefit [Cipher] 2, Connected, Contacts, Skill Mastery [Technology], Well-Informed, Eidetic Memory, Speed of Thought

Powers
Computer Brain [Container] - 19pp
Quantum Mind Comprehend [Machines], Quickness 6 (Flaw: Limited [Mental])
Predictive Analysis Enhanced Trait [Dodge and Parry] 10 (Flaw: Limited [Not against Surprise Attacks])

Web Presence [Container] - 12pp
Enhanced Trait [Investigation] 8 (Flaw: Limited [Only on computers]), Enhanced Trait [Presence] 10 (Flaw: Limited [Only On-line])

God In The Machine [Array]
BP: Network Connection Communication [Radio] 3 (Small Nation, Extra: Rapid 5, Extra: Subtle 1)
AP: Big Brother Remote Sensing 17 (500 miles, Audio and Visual, Extra: Subtle 1, Flaw: Feedback, Medium: Technological Sensors)
AP: Control Technology Affliction 8 (Extra: Affects Object Only, Extra: Range 2 [Perception], Extra: Subtle 1, Flaw: Limited [3rd degree], Flaw: Quirk [Electronics Only])

Combat
Dodge +0/10, Parry +0/10, Fortitude 6, Toughness 0, Will 10
Initiative +10
-----------------------------------
Third attempt (mine)

Pl 8
Points 120

Attributes 10
Saves 16
Abilities 27
Advantages 12
Powers 55
Total 120

Left over 0

Attributes (10 pp)
STR 0
STA 0
AGL 0
DEX 0
FGT 0
INT 5
AWE 0
PRE 0

Saves (16 pp)
Dodge 0
Fort 6
Parry 0
Toughness 0
Will 10

Skills (27 pp)
Deception 5
Expertise: Financial Systems 15
Insight 11
Perception 5
Persuasion 5
Technology 17
Treatment 11

Advantages (12 pp)
Benefit: Cipher 2, Connected, Contacts, Eidetic Memory, equipment 2, inventor, Online Research, Speed of Thought, Skill Mastery: Technology, Well Informed

Powers (55 pp total)

"Quantum mind" (7 pp): Comprehend Machines, quickness 6, flaw: limited: mental

"Predictive analysis" (10+1 pp): Enhanced trait: dodge and parry (10 each), flaw, limited: not against surprise attacks
AE: "Data mining" postcognition/precognition- uncontrolled, Foundation type: only valid for available information

"network connection" (14+1 pp) communication (radio), 1mile, extra: rapid 5, subtle 1)
AE: "Monitoring the Bandwidth" senses: radio, ultra hearing, rapid 5, analytical 1, tracking 2, penetrates concealment (4)

"Big Brother" (18 pp) remote sensing (500 miles, audio and visual, extra subtle 1, flaw: feedback, medium:technological sensors)

"Control technology" (4 pp) affiction 8, affects objects only, extra range 2: perception: subtle 1, flaw: limited 3rd degree, quirk: electronics only, distracting
---------------------------------------

The biggest problem seems to be trying to stay combat effective while keeping character concept in the forefront. A few ideas that I've played around with (but couldn't get anywhere with) are having an alternate form or having sidekick/minion/summon to represent the technopathic ability.

Thanks in advance for suggestions/solutions!
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Re: How do I improve?

Postby Lord Fell » Fri Nov 23, 2012 9:55 pm

The first problem I have is with the concept vs. name. Jormungandr is the Midgard Serpent. I don't get "girl in a box" with that name.

The second problem I have is a massive "deal breaker" for character concepts in general. Your basic concept is a "Bathroom Psychic." That is a character who's physical body never gets to "the action" but instead wreaks havoc at long distance. Hence the term "Bathroom Psychic" -can be perfectly effective while in the bathroom dropping a duke. If you're having problems turning concept into stats, it's probably because this specific niche of character is always problematic... and are explicitly banned in most cases, and functionally banned in most every other case. By "functionally banned" I mean that the GM doesn't say that you can't play the character, but come selection time, they start to realize how badly it would screw up what they're trying to do, and skip the character.

Ok...
Looking over your build(s) I keep coming back to my second problem. You can't really change your build without breaking your concept. Your build(s) are either ineffectual in a combat sense, or omnipotent, depending on the situation (both scenarios are completely bad). So, you need to change your build... which breaks your concept. When your concept is what's broken, the only solution is to trash it and get a new concept.
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Re: How do I improve?

Postby Batgirl III » Sat Nov 24, 2012 6:36 am

As a GM, I am always extremly reluctant to allow a character that can "telecomute" to the adventure. In those genres where it is almost expeted to happen (e.g., Shadowrun's hackers and magicians) it can still prove disrupting to the group... if you and your freinds think the concept is kosher, rock on. But, I'd be wary.

I like " Jörmungandr" as a name. It's exactly the kind of over-the-top hubris you see in "Hollywood Hackers" in most media.
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