Device/Normal Identity Questions

Ask M&M 2e rules questions that your fellow gamers can't answer. Only Mutants & Masterminds Line Developer (and creator) Steve Kenson can post replies. He visits the boards in between projects and convention appearances so please be patient!
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Elric
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Device/Normal Identity Questions

Post by Elric » Sun Nov 11, 2007 10:35 pm

Hi Steve,
Some questions relating to battlesuits.

1) The Battlesuit archetype has Normal Identity (Full-Round Action). Normal Identity requires that there be some reasonable means of preventing you from changing into powered form and if your powered form is a Device, it seems like this should have to be something beyond “physically take away the device”, since that’s already inherent in the device flaw. Is this correct?

2) If so, what would you define as a reasonable mechanism for preventing a Battlesuit archetype from assuming their powered form. Given that it only takes a round to change into the battlesuit (instead of, say a minute), it seems a little strange if the answer was “you have to strap on the pauldrons and greaves and anything that limits your mobility too much will prevent this”—if you were really physically putting on the Battlesuit, wouldn’t it take more than a round? Help here would be appreciated.

3) I couldn’t find an Official Rules Question to you about this: how long should it take to take away a Hard to Lose Device from you (or otherwise render it inoperative), assuming you’re helpless. The guideline that it seems most people on the board have is “if it can’t be at least functionally disabled in a full-round if you’re helpless, it isn’t a device.” Is that the intention, or is the Device power written to be more lenient than that?

3b) I presume that the action required to take away or at least disable a Hard to Lose Device should be obvious to an observer- if no one would know how to shut down your Battlesuit, then even though it could theoretically be shut down in a single round while you're helpless, this won't matter much in actual play. Is this correct?

4) Assuming you agree that guideline is appropriate, what would you expect, flavor-wise, would be the full-round action that someone would take to at least disable the Battlesuit archetype’s battlesuit? A power system that can be shut down from the outside and takes some time to start up? Again, some help here would be appreciated.
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Steve Kenson
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Re: Device/Normal Identity Questions

Post by Steve Kenson » Sat Nov 17, 2007 10:06 am

Elric wrote:1) The Battlesuit archetype has Normal Identity (Full-Round Action). Normal Identity requires that there be some reasonable means of preventing you from changing into powered form and if your powered form is a Device, it seems like this should have to be something beyond “physically take away the device”, since that’s already inherent in the device flaw. Is this correct?
Yes and no. There are plenty of other circumstances that would limit a character from taking a full round to suit-up in power armor: protecting one's secret identity, inability to physically put on the armor (due to being restrained, bound, etc.), inability to take the armor everywhere and have it at hand (e.g., "I should have brought my armor when making my routine bank deposit today!"). Essentially, drawback gives the GM fair latitude to introduce complications related to assuming the heroic identity without having to award a hero point (because the player got points "up front").
2) If so, what would you define as a reasonable mechanism for preventing a Battlesuit archetype from assuming their powered form. Given that it only takes a round to change into the battlesuit (instead of, say a minute), it seems a little strange if the answer was “you have to strap on the pauldrons and greaves and anything that limits your mobility too much will prevent this”—if you were really physically putting on the Battlesuit, wouldn’t it take more than a round?
Probably, but that's just part of the flexibility of comic-book time. One might as well say it takes "a panel" of the story to accomplish. The point is the character is out of the action for a significant moment of time.
3) I couldn’t find an Official Rules Question to you about this: how long should it take to take away a Hard to Lose Device from you (or otherwise render it inoperative), assuming you’re helpless. The guideline that it seems most people on the board have is “if it can’t be at least functionally disabled in a full-round if you’re helpless, it isn’t a device.” Is that the intention, or is the Device power written to be more lenient than that?
I wouldn't stick to quite that hard and fast a rule myself; it depends a great deal on the device and the circumstances. Still, I'd say a minute or so is a reasonable maximum amount of time it should take to remove a hard to lose Device; much more than that and things start to get too involved.
3b) I presume that the action required to take away or at least disable a Hard to Lose Device should be obvious to an observer- if no one would know how to shut down your Battlesuit, then even though it could theoretically be shut down in a single round while you're helpless, this won't matter much in actual play. Is this correct?
Essentially. If there's constants wheedling about how a Device actually isn't removable because of this or that, then the player is trying to worm out of having to suffer the drawbacks of having a Device. Part of the deal of the Device power is it is going to get lost at some point: not permanently, and not always, but if it never happens, then the Device discount is just free points.
4) Assuming you agree that guideline is appropriate, what would you expect, flavor-wise, would be the full-round action that someone would take to at least disable the Battlesuit archetype’s battlesuit? A power system that can be shut down from the outside and takes some time to start up? Again, some help here would be appreciated.
That'd be a good example, others might include an override that disables the armor, an emergency release system (intended to prevent the wearer from being trapped in the armor, but also useful for removing it quickly), removal of a vital system component (e.g., cybernetic control helmet, power node, CPU, etc.), and so forth.
Steve Kenson - steve@greenronin.com
Green Ronin Publishing

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