Characters made of gas, Inspiration needed.

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Man Drake
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Characters made of gas, Inspiration needed.

Postby Man Drake » Sun Feb 03, 2013 2:37 pm

I'm looking for some heroes/viillians composed of air and their vulnerabilities and or the "realistic" physics of what could possibly harm or hinder a body made of air.

I'm working on an Object Mimic who will be transforming into various inorganic solids, liquids and gasses by touching them. I believe I know what I'm doing as far as the solids and liquids but the gas part is hard to find balance and suitable weaknesses for.

Any Object Mimic who can go gaseous seems a bit over powered to me since:
1) The object mimic is always surrounded by air so he can always go to gaseous form since he is always "touching the air". Does this make this transition too easy relative to inorganic solids and liquids?
2) he is by definition of Insubstantial 3 immune to all physical attacks/damage.
3) I have bought Invisibility and he can't be accidentally noticed by bumping into. (at least when standing still or moving slowly).
4) He has Air Control and can thereby essentially apply Move Object to slam around anyone as long as there is air present.
5) I think it makes sense to buy immunity to things like cold and heat and even most kinds of energy attacks don't seem like they should harm him. (Impervious protection limited to energy?)

The only thing I can think of to do to a hero made of air is to catch him in an air tight container or maybe mind attacks.

I'm most familiar with Marvel universes of Spiderman, Xmen and Avengers.

Thanks in advance for any help

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Re: Characters made of gas, Inspiration needed.

Postby Doctor Devious » Sun Feb 03, 2013 4:28 pm

If you are concerned about the ability to nip in-to/out-of gaseous form, you can require a build use a full turn to change (which should be seen as a drawback, not a flaw, as one rarely changes form all that much during combat: if its doesn't hamper you 50% of the time, it isn't a flaw).

As a gaseous form already has a lot of defensive traits, I'be be very wary indeed of adding more: that's a general rule: characters should have their weak points too. In addition, it is not advised to have immunity in arrays (or any variable/switchable form), as the cost of an immunity is based on the odds of it happening to you (in addition to how much it helps). If you can change form to fit situation, essentially pick an immunity to fit the situation, then the odds of the immunity being useful (in that config) are extremely high (because you can pick it to fit), and thus the cost of the immunity should be considerably higher than the normal base cost.

You will have a bunch of problems running this power because the scope for "I can be anything" is high - possibly OK for a single PC game, but annoying in a group. You might want to work out a limited number of forms: {hard solid, soft solid; liquid; gas} and leave only a few points for abilities relevant to the specific chemical/substance so the game does not slow down to a crawl every time the character touches something new, and so the character cannot out-perform all the other characters all the time. Everyone deserves their time in the limelight - just not 100% of the time. So for example, air might give invisibility in addition to normal gas characteristics; chlorine is not invisible but might give a choking attack instead.

As for air control: how/why? When he is solid rock, does he have earth control? And if so, again, how/why?

There are quite a few "four elements" builds that do mix control and alternate forms, which might be worth looking at. Most involve strong PC/GM agreement not to abuse the high level of variability that can be present (much like happens with "generic wizard" builds when a magic array can be "a spell to do whatever I want").

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Re: Characters made of gas, Inspiration needed.

Postby Man Drake » Sun Feb 03, 2013 5:28 pm

Doctor Devious wrote:If you are concerned about the ability to nip in-to/out-of gaseous form, you can require a build use a full turn to change (which should be seen as a drawback, not a flaw, as one rarely changes form all that much during combat: if its doesn't hamper you 50% of the time, it isn't a flaw).

Yeah I might do something like that to make a relative disadvantage for the air transform rather than the solid/liquid... But that's still not a vulnerability...

Doctor Devious wrote:As a gaseous form already has a lot of defensive traits, I'd be very wary indeed of adding more: that's a general rule: characters should have their weak points too. In addition, it is not advised to have immunity in arrays (or any variable/switchable form), as the cost of an immunity is based on the odds of it happening to you (in addition to how much it helps). If you can change form to fit situation, essentially pick an immunity to fit the situation, then the odds of the immunity being useful (in that config) are extremely high (because you can pick it to fit), and thus the cost of the immunity should be considerably higher than the normal base cost.

This is pretty much my whole point. I'm looking for examples in the Comics of hopefully longer running heroes/villains that are made of gas. I'm hoping to find commonly authored vulnerabilities for such. My imagination is not coming up with much that would harm a collection of gas molecules. It's much easier to imagine how to harm a body made of steel.

Doctor Devious wrote:You will have a bunch of problems running this power because the scope for "I can be anything" is high - possibly OK for a single PC game, but annoying in a group. You might want to work out a limited number of forms: {hard solid, soft solid; liquid; gas} and leave only a few points for abilities relevant to the specific chemical/substance so the game does not slow down to a crawl every time the character touches something new, and so the character cannot out-perform all the other characters all the time. Everyone deserves their time in the limelight - just not 100% of the time. So for example, air might give invisibility in addition to normal gas characteristics; chlorine is not invisible but gives a chocking attack (and/or blinding).

Yeah I already have all that worked out. Standard attributes for each state of matter and a smaller pool of points with lists of things that can be bought depending on material being mimicked. Index cards for each common substance, Aluminum, Steel, Water, Mercury, Oxygen, Chlorine. The problem is the necessary balancing vulnerabilities. What should hurt molecules of gas and why in a "Realistic Physics" game?

Doctor Devious wrote:As for air control: how/why? When he is solid rock, does he have earth control? And if so, again, how/why?

I'm basically using Air Control power and its Alternate Power suggestions as the characters' world manipulation/attacks in gas form. For example, since the Insubstantial 3 means I have no strength and cannot punch or lift things directly, I've bought Air Control at Touch range to lift/shove/throw things, and use alternate powers to Fly, make tornadoes, make suffocation attacks, etc. all at touch range, with the descriptor of using the air of my body to swirl and spin and surround things/people.

I do not need the same trick for liquid forms or solid forms as they have a Strength rating that can be applied to the world at large.

Doctor Devious wrote:There are quite a few "four elements" builds that do mix control and alternate forms, which might be worth looking at. Most involve strong PC/GM agreement not to abuse the high level of variability that can be present (much like happens with "generic wizard" builds when a magic array can be "a spell to do whatever I want").

Got URLs?
I don't have a problem with build mechanics, just looking for pointers to Comic characters made of gas and their vulnerabilities/complications.

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Re: Characters made of gas, Inspiration needed.

Postby Doctor Devious » Mon Feb 04, 2013 5:30 am

The use of air control does make game-sense for a djinn idea, but the question will be does it make for a balanced build in this character: should the character be allowed to be untouchable but effectively able to touch everything else? (given that the charater does have alternate solid forms). Is the idea that their air control is really control of their own body, not air in general?. If so, you might get size issues* regarding what air powers could truly do.

*i.e. do they need some ranks of growth for their air form to have enough substance to actually do anything? 10 cubic liters of air isn't going to be able to do very much to a solid object.

Man Drake wrote:
Doctor Devious wrote:There are quite a few "four elements" builds that do mix control and alternate forms, which might be worth looking at...

Got URLs?

Try this one on for size: I haven't checked if it is a great build or not, but it seems somebody did a bunch of work on it at the very least. Searching for elemental terms, the insubstantial power and the like in the Roll Call is how I'd go looking for them.

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Re: Characters made of gas, Inspiration needed.

Postby Man Drake » Mon Feb 04, 2013 4:10 pm

Doctor Devious wrote:The use of air control does make game-sense for a djinn idea, but the question will be does it make for a balanced build in this character: should the character be allowed to be untouchable but effectively able to touch everything else? (given that the character does have alternate solid forms).

Which is exactly what I've been saying this whole time.

Doctor Devious wrote:Is the idea that their air control is really control of their own body, not air in general?. If so, you might get size issues* regarding what air powers could truly do.

*i.e. do they need some ranks of growth for their air form to have enough substance to actually do anything? 10 cubic liters of air isn't going to be able to do very much to a solid object.

Well, one of the things I'm playing with is the ability to absorb large amounts of the material being mimicked for a Growth effect. That or just leaving it as a descriptor of using the characters body/having control over the surrounding material. Control over the material will still always be at touch range. Think Sandman of Spiderman's enemies.

Doctor Devious wrote: Searching for elemental terms, the insubstantial power and the like in the Roll Call is how I'd go looking for them.

Yeah I was really more looking for names of characters that exist in say Marvel comics, but I suppose I could check the roll call....

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Re: Characters made of gas, Inspiration needed.

Postby Tryptic » Sun Apr 14, 2013 10:54 am

I had a PC in one of my games that was made of Gas and I managed to find a few drawbacks for him, maybe these can help you out.

First off, do NOT give him straight-up invisibility. It WILL be overpowered and there's nothing you can do about that. The Gaseous form does come with concealment, which my PC was allowed to have but I forced him to take the drawback limited (low light) which meant he could still be seen in sunlight or fluorescent lighting.

Second, you can't give him any resistance to energy attacks, period. He's gaseous, which means his form is very unstable and if anything would be more affected by disruptive energy than a solid character would. To me it doesn't make sense for him to be immune to these effects. Not even things like heat and cold, although I suppose one or the other would be okay.

Next, the rules for Insubstantial 4 state that they must choose one descriptor that will always affect them; I house ruled that a character with Insubstantial 3 must choose a descriptor that will half-affect them.

As for Air Control, I agree with Doctor Devious that he shouldn't necessarily get it. My PC could always drop his gas form if he wanted to move something, and thus become vulnerable for a turn, or I would allow him to spend a hero point to negate the drawback for 1 turn if he really wanted to move something in gaseous form. In the actual game it happened rarely enough that he was always happy to spend the point.

Finally there were environmental effects, which I had some fun playing with since his speed was normally ridiculously high (500ft/round or something). One time he was in a museum and the fight set off the fire sprinklers, and I made him move 1/2 speed and roll a will save each turn to avoid dropping his gaseous form since the water was scattering him. In fact I imposed movement penalties and reflex/will saves a lot, whenever there was a strong wind or explosions going on.

I know this sounds like a whole lot of disadvantages, but my player was smart and he still managed to be deadly since he chose his fights carefully. As a rule of thumb, I never let a character be immune to more than 1/3 of the attacks that he will face in the campaign unless he has a weakness to something fairly common. NPC's can have more, provided there's a way for the PC's to break the immunity during the fight. Total immunity is difficult to balance.
"The most important thing is that nobody was hurt. Except your opponents."
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