How uncontrolled is Uncontrolled?

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cochramd
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How uncontrolled is Uncontrolled?

Postby cochramd » Tue May 15, 2012 5:49 am

A recent thread has gotten me thinking. There are many instances in comic books where heroes are trapped in a seemingly perfect paradise and/or their worst nightmares by an illusionist of some sort. I've come to the conclusion that how this power, and similar powers such as a mask that causes everyone to see you as the thing they fear most or a simple stone which appears to be the viewer's most treasured object, should be represented in M&M depends on how it is going to be used. If escaping the illusion is an adventure in and of itself, then it's entirely GM fiat. However, if the illusionist uses his power in a fashion similar to typical illusionists and/or emotion controllers, then the power is best handled with Uncontrolled Illusion plus Sense-Dependent Emotion Control, with feats, extras and flaws that suit the concept (the most common of which is probably limiting the Emotion Control to one emotion).

Now, here's where I start to get puzzled: How uncontrolled is Uncontrolled? Since there's no hard rules on the Uncontrolled flaw, I've come here for some judgment calls. The illusion takes whatever appearance inspires the corresponding emotion, so his control is only indirect. Can he make an illusion of a bridge? He can make an illusion in a place where he believes that a bridge would inspire a certain emotion, but that is no guarantee that people will see the illusion as a bridge. How much placement control should this power have (does he still have enough control to target people and objects? Can he turn your ally into something you hate, causing you to turn on him? Can he turn the MacGuffin into something that you find utterly disgusting, causing you to drop it?) If he wants to use his power to trick a person into doing something, like opening a door they were supposed to protect or sharing secret information, can he put up an Illusion with an appropriate emotion and spend a hero point to try to push the person into doing that?

On a side note, I assume that vanilla Illusions must be consistent when being viewed by multiple persons. Since the default emotion-illusion combo has the same effect when being looked upon by a single person as it does when looked upon by multiple persons, I must conclude that it is either an illusion of something that universally inspires the emotion or an illusion that changes to appeal to the hopes/fears/dreams of everyone looking at it equally. The former cannot fulfill the 'whatever you hate/fear/love/want the most' descriptor, while the second was more likely to be disbelieved (when it changes every time a new person looks at it, people may start to doubt it's real). So that got me thinking: does a phantasmic Illusion have to appear the same to each of it's victims? Can two people look at the same phantasmic Illusion and see two completely different things?

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Re: How uncontrolled is Uncontrolled?

Postby FuzzyBoots » Tue May 15, 2012 6:41 am

At its heart, Uncontrolled means the GM gets to determine when it turns on or off. Your examples of illusions where the the illusionist gets to choose the general idea of the illusion, but not specific details, seems like a Drawback at best. As regards instilling emotion, etc, that's an effect entirely separate from the illusion. If you want the Emotion Control effect to sometimes be more effective than other times, you could add the Unreliable Flaw to one or more ranks of the Emotion Control effect so that you randomly get the chance that your Emotion Control is much less effective due to the uncontrolled imagery.

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Re: How uncontrolled is Uncontrolled?

Postby cochramd » Tue May 15, 2012 7:53 am

I do want consistent effectiveness on the Emotion Control; as I said, the illusion being whatever the target fears, desires, hates, loves or whatevers the most is just a descriptor, albeit one you'd expect on higher ranked powers.

The Emotion Control is dependent on the Illusion; it doesn't kick in until the target sees the illusion.

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Re: How uncontrolled is Uncontrolled?

Postby FuzzyBoots » Tue May 15, 2012 8:03 am

cochramd wrote:I do want consistent effectiveness on the Emotion Control; as I said, the illusion being whatever the target fears, desires, hates, loves or whatevers the most is just a descriptor, albeit one you'd expect on higher ranked powers.

The Emotion Control is dependent on the Illusion; it doesn't kick in until the target sees the illusion.

In which case I'd probably simply build it as something like this:
Emotion Control 10 (Flaw: Unreliable 6, Drawback: Random negative emotion, Flaw: Sense-Dependent (Vision)) for a grand total of 4+3-1 = 6 pp. When your character uses it, it's dependent on the target seeing the illusory effect (giving them a Reflex save to shield their eyes from the sudden phantasm) and there's approximately a 40% chance that it will work less effectively than expected.

If having the actual illusion present is important, I'd go for a Linked effect similar to how illusory damage is handled. As regards different people seeing different illusions in an unpredictable way, I'd probably go for a zero-sum modifier on the power since sometimes it's useful and sometimes it's a detriment in a fairly even-handed GM manner.

*shrug* That's the way I'd play it, anyhow. It's going to be a bit of a hack no matter how you go about it.

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Re: How uncontrolled is Uncontrolled?

Postby Rabbitman » Fri May 18, 2012 4:14 am

I agree with Fuzzy, there are some complicated ways to build what you're looking for, but Uncontrolled isn't part of it.
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