Two-Fisted Fighting

The place to discuss using and abusing the first edition Mutants & Masterminds rules. Rules questions, rules interpretations, house rules, and more rules.
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Postby karas » Sat Jul 03, 2004 10:37 am

The key is, WHY the character is taking the multiple attacks. That's the point, it's not about what the rules say is permitted, it's about what is appropriate for the genre and the character in question.

Sometimes a one two punch is merely a descriptive or special effects of an attack(like some speedsters, who will punch a target eighty or ninety times in a matter of seconds. This is how they explain the damage they do to the target).

Yes, Spidey has used both web shooters at the same time, and often does so. This isn't a "dual attack" as you'd call it, it's a special effect of the "mode of attack" that he's using. He's using both webshooters to get the "volume" needed for something when one webshooter can't provide the "volume" at the speed he needs it at. He has targeted multiple people with "ropes" or the like, this is simulated by the Snare power with either the Explosive Blast Extra or the Multi-Fire Extra.

The Hulk has, to my knowledge, done several one two punches, but that could easily be described as a special effect(or Extra Effort to push the damage of the attack up a notch), and not Two Seperate melee attacks.

I was saying, and I stand on this, whatever fits the style of the genre you're playing, as well as the character.

If you've got a slow lummox known for power, but responds sluggishly, suddenly doing one two punches on a regular basis is not going to be all that appropriate. While a fast character who relies more on skill is probably going to be doing the ol' one two more frequently.

It's not appropriate for all characters(and this would bog down combat anyway) to suddenly start dishing out two or more attacks per round. This is one of no doubt several reasons why they removed the d20 mentality that every +5 to your base attack bonus gave you an extra attack at a reduced bonus to hit.

It doesnt fit the genre for EVERYONE to have multiple attacks. If they felt it was appropriate to be dishing out multiple attacks, then they would have made it automatic for everyone instead of something optional and mostly acquired via extras or feats.

It makes certain feats or extras almost pointless in ways. If everyone is doing multiple attacks, the only real benefit of feats like rapid strike, rapid shot, or certain extras, is to reduce the penalties of multiple attacks.

What makes them different from everyone else if you allow EVERYONE to dish out multiple attacks and not just those who have paid for them and it fits the character concept.

This is something that should be limited to those who it's appropriate for. Which, it isn't fitting for every character to dish out multiple attacks.

Dr Nuncheon said it simply. In some genres, it's perfectly fitting to see things like sword and gun, but it's not fitting in ALL genres to see everyone dishing out multiple attacks.

I'm sorry if you feel that I'm not adhering to the "spirit" of the genre, or anything like that. But, I stand firmly on this fact.

"Just because the rules say that its permitted and legal doesn't mean it HAS to be used or SHOULD be used in EVERY game."

You can feel free to quote me on that fact.

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Postby Marshal Law » Sat Jul 03, 2004 10:48 am

I'm not disagreeing with you, I'm just failing to see the relevance of your statements.

Attacking with both hands is a perfectly acceptable part of the genre, and anybody can do it within the rules. Those that are not skilled at it simply choose not to most of the time, since it incurs hefty penalties.

If I want to design a powerhouse character who can deliver devastating one-two punches, why shouldn't I do it with the the Ambidexterity and Two-Weapon fighting feats instead of the rapid strike feat? And if I want him to pick up a car in each hand and, nect turn, use a full attack to toss them towards his enemies, why not?
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Postby karas » Tue Jul 06, 2004 10:50 am

I was talking more about the issue of it's regular use in the game, not its irregular or infrequent use.

But, I suppose we'll just have differing views about this. To me, multiple attacks is something that should be relatively limited(the penalties does help to insure that is true to a degree).

But, tell me this, if everyone in the "group" took feats and the like to reduce the penalties of multiple attacks(and uses them at least occassionally), how do you show the prowess of characters who put a lot of emphasis on multiple attacks(even if their damage is quite a bit lower in comparison)? The difference in attack bonuses isn't enough by itself.

The speedster who attacked twice per round at a small penalty is now a lot less "cool" because the brick, at a larger penalty is doing the same, albeit with weapons, either improvised or paid for. Not only can the brick make multiple attacks, but he can dish out more damage faster than the speedster can ever hope to accomplish.

That's another big point, fairness to the players, each "type" should have some kind of advantage, if the fast/agile types don't have the benefits of being the ones known for being able to hit multiple targets on a regular basis, then they lose a lot of their flavor.

It's not as FAIR to them. Both of them may require a full action for the multiple attacks, but the Brick has the numerical advantage in ways.

It's a matter of many things.

If the brick in our group took rapid strike for example, my character(a martial artist/speedster type), would become far less useful. She would be able to drop targets faster than my character could.

It's a matter of stepping on other PCs toes.

That is perhaps the most important thing I can say, you have to be fair, and by removing one of the things that agile or fast types are well known for in the genre(making multiple attacks) and letting EVERYONE have access to it, you weaken the flavor and feel of those types.

A Ninja type is known for hitting multiple targets, if the Brick can do the same, then one of the things that make Ninjas cool is watered down.

But, I boil it down to differing images, you seem to be looking more at things from a purely rules issue. Me, I'm looking at things more from a story and fairness issue.

Given the choice between rules and a good story(which should be fun for everyone, including the GM), I'll drop kick the rules 8 days a week, 25 hours a day, 367 days a year.

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Postby Marshal Law » Tue Jul 06, 2004 11:03 am

So, basically, you are saying that if Superman wants to hit people twice, he shouldn't be allowed, because it isn't fair on the Flash?

Even though Supes' character is just as much about speed as it is strength?
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Postby Dannyalcatraz » Fri Jul 09, 2004 10:41 pm

Sorry to jump in late, but I've been reading this thread for a time, and I'm trying to get a grasp on some things here.

M&M apparently doesn't permit multiple attacks of any kind without appropriate feats, extras or stunts. Does this mean multiple unarmed attacks (without significant penalties) also requires Ambidex & TWF? You don't even get a single extra attack (L & R punches)?

I don't see the logic behind fearing or disallowing bricks with Rapid Strike. A brick may be lumbering and slow, but he may have lightning fast hands. Look at professional boxers. Even the heavyweights (at least, the elite few) can land punches with dizzying speed. If you're still concerned about the brick stepping on the speedster's schtick, perhaps allow PCs with Super Speed to take Rapid Strike multiple times, perhaps 1 time per 3 levels of Super Speed?

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Postby Marshal Law » Sat Jul 10, 2004 1:51 am

Dannyalcatraz wrote:
M&M apparently doesn't permit multiple attacks of any kind without appropriate feats, extras or stunts. Does this mean multiple unarmed attacks (without significant penalties) also requires Ambidex & TWF? You don't even get a single extra attack (L & R punches)?


Correct - anybody can attack with both hands, but there will be big penalities if you have not taken the appropriate feats.
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Postby Veritas Games » Sat Jul 10, 2004 5:12 am

karas wrote:Sword/Sword(Two Weapon Fighting), Unarmed/Unarmed(Rapid Strike), Power/Power(Rapid Shot) all have clearcut rules about their usage(and feats to do so, along with restrictions on the usage of said feats).


It doesn't require feats to use these two-weapon attacks, at least in melee. The feats just offset penalties for taking these actions.

A big issue is also whether one considers unarmed attacks to be a "weapon", and thus able to benefit from two weapon fighting. Different people will have different ideas on this of course.


In the core d20 rules this is definitely allowable (to punch with an offhand).

B) The attacks must be thematically similar to be used in conjunction. IE Weapon Attack and then Paralyzing Touch probably wouldn't get my approval, but a swift punch(via Strike or raw Strength), followed up by Paralyzing Touch would be thematically appropriate.


What's the theme? I see swashbucklers all the time swing a sword and then sock somebody in the jaw with their offhand. Now the only difference is that their offhand is carrying a paralyzing touch.

Now if the Weapon Attack and the Paralyzing Touch were both from weapons, then it would be thematically appropriate.


Again, I think you have a strange notion of "thematically appropriate" given the huge numbers of action movies I've seen where the hero has a weapon in one hand and a bare fist and yet uses both.

And "thematically appropriate" is gonna be a hard thing to systematically rule on.
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Postby Veritas Games » Sat Jul 10, 2004 5:29 am

karas wrote:There are a lot of things, that rules wise are perfectly legal, but could you imagine seeing someone doing it in an actual game? How often do you see heroes who have both blades and guns attacking with BOTH in the same round? I honestly can't think of many, in either comics or movies.


Well, since most Civil War, Revolutionary War, and pirate movies don't have "end of round" flash across the screen it's hard to say when somebody is doing something in the same round.

However, I have certainly seen people fight with a sword or an axe in one hand and a pistol in the other in movies.

Sure, they might go dual guns until things close to melee, and then switch to paired swords.

It's a matter of what fits the theme and the setting.


Actually, in a lot of the genres where I've seen this, switching out the pistol for a second sword or knife has little to do with the genre. For pirate and revolutionary war era guns most of them only carry one shot at a time, and so you are forced to reload on the spot or switch out to a melee weapon. So I've seen characters carry both and then use the pistol to pistol whip someone or switch to another weapon after the pistol is empty.


Part of the fun is keeping in the spirit of the "style" of the game.


Doesn't Corsair from the Starjammers fight with a sword in one hand and a laser pistol in the other. I can't remember. But if he does, then you have, right there, an example of a comic book character that does this stuff.

Here's a picture here:
http://shdictionary.tripod.com/superheroes/corsair.html

I think that's a gun in his one hand and a sword in the other, but I can't be sure. Lots of the Starjammers use both swords and blasters, though, I know that. And the Starjammers cross over periodically with the X-Men comics, so they are not that horribly obscure.


I mean, if you want to get technical and BY THE RULES, if you take one movement power, ANY other movement power is a Power Stunt of it. That's what the rules say, but I'll agree with my GM who says otherwise.


No, the rules say that any other movement power MAY be a power stunt of the first power.

If you consider triggered powers you'll note that it's entirely possible to have one power fire as a trigger of the other where they are not used exclusively of each other (as would be the case for a power stunt of an attack).

Just because you're a fast runner doesn't necessarily mean that you can fly at the same speed.


Actually, in these rules, if you take one as a power stunt of the other, it may mean exactly that.

If it's appropriate for a character to have multiple attacks in a round(which is VERY short to begin with), take the appropriate feats, or take the penalties.


Actually, a six-second round is pretty long in real time. While you probably won't choose to attack multiple times in that period in melee if you want to keep your defenses up. I promise you that, even without training, if I stand there stock still you can punch me at least 3 times in that time period, or twice really hard.

I've see karateka who can punch faster than that.

The key is, what fits the "Genre" and what fits the Character in question, not what the rules say is permitted.


While I think that's an acceptable paradigm, you seem to think that lots of things that are in the movies and the comics aren't in the movies and the comics.

That's the only thing I'm really fighting against.

So, I'm hardly questioning your right to choose how to play, but I am asking you for a reality check on what types of actions actually occur in some genres.
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Postby Veritas Games » Sat Jul 10, 2004 5:37 am

karas wrote:Sometimes a one two punch is merely a descriptive or special effects of an attack(like some speedsters, who will punch a target eighty or ninety times in a matter of seconds. This is how they explain the damage they do to the target).


Right, and sometimes it's not. Sometimes it's an attack against guy A followed by an attack against guy B (not uncommon in swashbuckling films and the comics).

Look, it's really trivial for a guy to get the ability to make multiple ranged attacks in M&M. The question is whether and how that interacts with the rules on two-fisted fighting.

I would suspect that the multi-attack rules (without special feats) weren't meant to allow ranged attacks in the mix (in M&M at least). Or more precisely, if they were, then the ranged multi-attack feats weren't well integrated into such a schema, because it requires you to take feats to make the attacks (with penalties) that you can already make (with penalties) without feats. Now arguably, the lack of match (in some cases) comes from the notion that the ranged attack may assume the guy has one weapon, but for the flame projectors out there who can fire flamebolts from each hand, well, they are pretty much packing two weapons.

I think the whole multi-attack architecture in M&M probably needs a substantive overhaul for simplification, streamlining, and clarification.
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Postby hobgoblin » Sun Jul 11, 2004 5:20 am

as for the speedster vs the brick, the speedster puts many fast blows into one (101 jabs with the left in one attack) while the brick puts 1 big blow with the same, result? one attack. its just a matter of description...

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Postby Veritas Games » Sun Jul 11, 2004 8:12 am

hobgoblin wrote:as for the speedster vs the brick, the speedster puts many fast blows into one (101 jabs with the left in one attack) while the brick puts 1 big blow with the same, result? one attack. its just a matter of description...


So, what you are saying, is that if the speedster punches something 100+ times that would break his hand each time then he should still do as much damage as a brick? I don't think so.

I think there's a huge difference in, for example, doing a +1 attack 10 times in a row and a +10 damage attack once. If each attack automatically hits and the defender has no armor then it's probably more useful to have 10 +1 hits in a row. However, to punch through the side of an armored vehicle you'd want the bigger punch.

So, yes, you could simulate the 100+ punches as one big blast, but it would be better simulated by multiple hits that do lower damage. Champions has Reduced Penetration (I think that's what it's called) to help simulate that. It divides up the damage and then applies each hit separately versus the armor. An unarmored target can't tell the difference, but an armored target definitely can.

Your mileage may vary.
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Postby hobgoblin » Sun Jul 11, 2004 8:40 am

100 punches hitting the exact same spot over and over will wear down the area even tho they individualy packs less force then one big blow...

but this is just me trying to rationalize a in my view silly problem as in d20 a singel attack dont have to be a singel punch or bullet or similar (alltho it often is)...

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Postby The Trapster » Mon Jul 12, 2004 12:36 am

Comicbook physics vs. Real physics
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Postby Veritas Games » Mon Jul 12, 2004 5:26 am

The Trapster wrote:Comicbook physics vs. Real physics



Actually, this varies from speedster to speedster. Some have kinetic force fields which protect them from damage and allow them to penetrate things their strength alone couldn't. Others don't.

And like I said, this type of reduced penetration occurs in other games too to effectively describe drawcut weapons, tiger claws, shotguns, and other things that don't have a ton of armor penetration value but go right through skin without a problem.

Same reason why some supers gaming systems actually have autofire mechanics instead of just declaring automatic machine guns to have higher single shot damage -- they want people with minimal levels of protection to bounce the lethal portion of bullet damage whether they are hit by one bullet or 100 bullets.
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