Justice League campaign - How can I have Batman compete?

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Re: Justice League campaign - How can I have Batman compete?

Postby hypervirtue » Mon Dec 30, 2013 10:33 am

saint_matthew wrote:Seriously dude, are you just trolling now?


The only "troll" Matthew I have seen on these boards recently is you honestly. You come into every thread talking about anything regarding game balance and insist that the only way to play M&M is for everyone to be mega combat oriented and fully capped.

Here I presented a totally realistic example of how Batman can compete in a Justice League Campaign.

You know how? The same way he does in the comic books. He does it by being support.

You are arguing that in order to "compete" in a game (compete is a horrible word by the by, participate is much better) one must be able to stand up and deal damage equal to everyone else. That just isn't true. Even a PL 12 Batman can do things that PL 15 Superman and PL 15 Wonder Woman simply can't. If Batman does these things (See how I used trip above) in a team setting he raises the total effective power level of each of his companions by approximately 2.5 or more.

Go look at the Supergirl comic arc. The one in the Superman/Batman series. (Available in graphic novel format!)

We saw Batman try to take on Darkseid.

Batman landed a couple punches, accomplishing nothing at all, and Darkseid incapacitated him with a single punch.

It was only then that Batman informed Darkseid that he set all of the firepit explosives on the planet to detonate and if he didn't let them all go and release Kara he'd lose the whole planet.

Batman didn't win that one straight up.

As to your comments of, "Batman blew up blah blah blah."

Sure. Critical hits, low saving throw rolls, all kinds of things can justify that.

This isn't about Batman 1 on 1'ing people. It never was. It was about Batman competing and contributing to a Justice League campaign and you TOTALLY can do that without upgrading the character.

Heck, in the Justice League there are tons of characters who aren't on Superman or Wonder Woman's level. Aquaman, Green Arrow, Black Canary, The Flash, Plastic Man, Zatanna - All members of the league.

In your mind each of these guys has to be upgraded if they were to be played.

This is a Justice League campaign the OP is talking about. You don't know what everyone is playing and are setting the Benchmark at the highest level and most powerful characters in the series. Insisting that the OP has to change the character when in fact as the OP said:

Coming up very soon I am going to be playing online in a Justice League campaign and we plan on using the character writeups in the DCA books, even with the differing power levels of the characters from JL. I will be playing as Batman.


Meaning he *CAN'T* change the character. Any suggestions for him TO change the character are not helpful to this thread. Why? Because the plan is, specifically, for him not to do that.

So I am telling him how to:
1. Not feel useless
2. Aid the group in an appreciable manner

Based on the criteria that we already have access to.
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Re: Justice League campaign - How can I have Batman compete?

Postby Monolith » Mon Dec 30, 2013 11:58 am

saint_matthew wrote:But just as an FYI if we were doing it properly Batmans player would use intimidation rather than Deception, since he has the Startle Advantage. I was purely using it to demonstrate that the trick while its useful is no substitute for a properly build character.

Startle only works for feints, not tricking.

which means he only needs to roll 7 to hit.... That's 7 to hit a character that is PL 12, by a character that is PL 10, in a game that the OP wants to run in a game where one is playing the JLA.

Manta needs a 7 assuming Bats isn't using defensive attack; which was my whole point. Bats just doesn't sit around with a 20 attack. There's a reason he has defensive attack and the rest of those advantages. Bats is the guy who can walk around with a 19 dodge/parry and still have a 15 attack value.

Tell me, do you think a character whose best trick backfiring handicaps them to the point a PL 10 character needs only a roll of 7 to hit, is going to cut it in a high powered JLA game?

Again, they're not handicapped. If Bats rolls a 7 or higher Manta can't do anything but fall for the trick. If Bats rolls a 1 Manta still needs to roll a 20 to make Bats vulnerable. That requires 2 characters to make 5% rolls in a roll. Highly unlikely; especially with hero points in the game.
Exactly. Batman is now in a slightly worse condition then he was before, and with exactly as few options as he had before, except now the GM is applying circumstance modifiers against you if you try to trick immediately again.

No, he isn't. Your entire argument is predicated on 2 intensely lucky rolls in a row: one rolling a 1 and the other rolling a 20. And even with two odd rolls Bats can still walk away only taking a bruise. I don't see that as a lose like you do. :)

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Re: Justice League campaign - How can I have Batman compete?

Postby hypervirtue » Mon Dec 30, 2013 1:06 pm

Monolith wrote:No, he isn't. Your entire argument is predicated on 2 intensely lucky rolls in a row: one rolling a 1 and the other rolling a 20. And even with two odd rolls Bats can still walk away only taking a bruise. I don't see that as a lose like you do. :)



Lets turn this around on Matthew.

Namely, Batman vs Black Manta under the same criteria that Matthew used. Namely that we dictate that one character rolls a natural 1, and the other rolls a natural 20.

So Batman rolls up on Black Manta and punches him, using the above criteria Batman did a full on Power Attack (-5 from his accuracy, +5 to his damage) and rolls a natural 20 (just as his version of Black Manta was able to do against Batman's trick) he does 14 damage. (4 from strength, 5 from power attack, 5 from the critical hit.)

Black Manta, on the other hand, rolls a natural 1 on his (DC 29) toughness save, scoring a whopping score of 9.

Manta fails the same by 4 degrees! Batman wins! Yay!

-----

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Re: Justice League campaign - How can I have Batman compete?

Postby JonL » Mon Dec 30, 2013 1:40 pm

Okay everyone, cool off.

We all know Saint Matthew uses very strong language (which he should be careful of, because it always seems to lead to arguments) and everyone else in this thread is just making things worse by getting excited and attacking him. If everyone can't keep it civil, then walk away from the thread for a while and come back later. Arguing is pointless and only leads to people getting reported.
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Re: Justice League campaign - How can I have Batman compete?

Postby Elric » Mon Dec 30, 2013 2:37 pm

Captain Liberty wrote:The Batman is my favorite character in comics.

Coming up very soon I am going to be playing online in a Justice League campaign and we plan on using the character writeups in the DCA books, even with the differing power levels of the characters from JL. I will be playing as Batman.


It's well known that heavily Attack-shifted characters are weak (unless fighting heavily Defense-shifted opponents). It's also well known that a difference of multiple PLs is a substantial barrier to combat effectiveness even without the attack-shifted problem. See, e.g., http://atomicthinktank.com/viewtopic.ph ... 85#p714185

So my suggestion is to give Batman more damage to raise his PL while also making him less attack shifted for his (new and higher) PL. Warrior’s Training: Enhanced Strength 4 [Limited to damage] gets him to +20 Attack/8 damage, and he can Power Attack for 5 and have a respectable +15 attack/13 damage, which won't be enough to trouble someone like Darkseid but will be enough against foes without serious Toughness shifts.

Then on Defense, add 2 to his Dodge/Parry/Toughness as well (possibly Fortitude and Will as well, I recall that his Will at least is already quite high).

Edit: This post assumes other people are playing the PL 14-15 heavy hitters (e.g., Wonder Woman, Martian Manhunter, Superman).
Last edited by Elric on Mon Dec 30, 2013 6:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Justice League campaign - How can I have Batman compete?

Postby Earth-Two_Kenn » Mon Dec 30, 2013 2:42 pm

Here's the thing. It's a Justice League game. The Justice League is not a PL 15 game. The PL of the Justice League is all over the board. The Big 7? Their average PL is 13.42. The next 9 members who joined during the Happy Harbor and Satellite years: 3 PL 10s and 6 PL 11s. Average PL for those 16 members 11.875.

Adam Strange is a 10, Captain Comet an 11, Metamorpho a 12.

Later on, yes, Doctor Fate and Captain Marvel joined (for PL 15s), but so did Ice and Huntress (PL 9s). Blue Beetle (Ted) is an 11. Booster Gold and Fire are 10s, Captain Atom a 14, Guy a 13 . Wally and Kyle have the same PLs as their predecessors, Steel and Zauriel are 12s . Mr. Miracle, Barda, and Orion are 12, 13, and 14.

And look at their foes. Yeah Darkseid's a 16 and Amazo's a 15. But the Key, Dr. Light, Kanjar Ro, Felix Faust, Professor Ivo, T.O. Morrow are all PL 11. Yes the current version of Despero is a PL 14, but Amos Fortune's a 10. The Demons 3 are all PL 13. The Royal Flush Gang is PL 10 (10.6 on average if they have an Ace Android instead of an Ace). Queen Bee is a 12. The Injustice Gang was a straight up 10.5

It isn't really a question of how to make Batman compete. It's a question of "can the game master handle running a game where the Power Levels of both the heroes and villains are so diverse." It's also a question of "can each of the players handle the different roles their character has on the team." So yes, does Batman's player know not to get in a fist fight with Darkseid, but also does Superman's player know to go handle the Key's giant robot and trust Batman to defeat the Key.
Last edited by Earth-Two_Kenn on Sun Jan 05, 2014 8:29 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Justice League campaign - How can I have Batman compete?

Postby hypervirtue » Mon Dec 30, 2013 2:59 pm

Earth-Two_Kenn wrote:It isn't really a question of how to make Batman compete. It's a question of "can the game master handle running a game where the Power Levels of both the heroes and villains are so diverse." It's also a question of "can each of the players handle the different roles their character has on the team." So yes, does Batman's player no not to get in a fist fight with Darkseid, but also does Superman's player know to go handle the Key's giant robot and trust Batman to defeat the Key.


This.

In spades this.
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Re: Justice League campaign - How can I have Batman compete?

Postby Foreshadow » Sat Jan 04, 2014 12:19 am

I don't get this discussion. When you do only 4 damage unarmed, or 6 with a batarang, that is merely your base damage, as your character can do a range. (I won't go into the fact Batman should have been made with a bat costume that included gloves/gauntlets that he wears that justify a damage bonus, so he should do like 5 or 6 damage uarmed).

[on a side note, Batman doesn't have things like his batsuit that should have protection, rather he is simply built with defensive roll, that is why he doesn't have a suit that grants at least +1 or +2 damage bonus with unarmed], yet a design pattern where characters with fighting skill are give a training descriptor power like Martial Prowess where they might have Martial Prowess +2 (unarmed damage). It is basically the Strike power with a training descriptor. Yet, the proper 3e approach to doing this is to make this an Advantage. That way it goes with the advantages and you don't need to add an entry to the Powers section for the many highly effective unarmed fighters in comics, and its a 'training' power, thus in the mehcanics of the game you can't mimic or drain or otherwise block it as a power, yet if you can effect a characters advantages you can.

:idea: Martial Prowess advantage would be a ranked Advantage with each rank = to +1 unarmed damage. You get a damage bonus in one specific type of damage, not like all melee weapons or something. Thus it should cost 1 pp per rank, same as any advantage, is not the lease bit wacky or unbalanced. I was surprised the book didn't include it to start. In other words, Batman should have simply had Martial Prowess 2 (or 3 or 4, whatever you think) do at least 2 more damage for unarmed, and it would have been listed in the main rule book. Now, if so, it would easily be a standard build option for many skilled unarmed fighter type characters. The name martial prowess could be different, but it works and you get the idea behind it.

Then you can routinely give characters a more proper strength for that character (more than likely lower) and still have them do, as per their concept, a bit more unarmed damage. Robin for example, especially as a teen would have 0 strength, but might have a rank or 2 or later on as he ages more ranks in Martial Prowess. Say as Nightwing he has 2 strength and 4 martial prowess,

Yet, if he has 4 damage, and power attack, his range is 4 to 9, and then he has at least +1 damage potentially (hero point or extra effort?), then there is critical hit, that is +5 so Batman can do up to 15 damage potentially.

Since impervious 18 (Superman) means with a normal full on Power Attack (not needing the effort or hero point or critical) Batman can force a save on superman it means Batman can physically threaten Superman

A character isn't just the damage they can do with a fist. First that is why there are 3 saves, and characters overall effectiveness don't boil down to their ability to trigger those saves. Batman has so many things Superman is jealous of, namely the many skills which benefit Batman during much of the game where Superman would either be a spectator or hope he is lucky with a die roll.

I don't see how Batman doesn't some how fit in with the PL 15 Superman and Wonder Woman like some lesser character. Sure he is 12, but its really not that big of a deal.

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Re: Justice League campaign - How can I have Batman compete?

Postby Fists of Dorn » Sat Jan 04, 2014 3:25 am

Foreshadow wrote:Since impervious 18 (Superman) means with a normal full on Power Attack (not needing the effort or hero point or critical) Batman can force a save on superman it means Batman can physically threaten Superman



I just want to point out this mistake as I have seen it fairly often as of late: None of the maneuvers may more than double the bonus it affects. A character with a four strength cannot use the power attack maneuver to increase his damage bonus by five, no matter how much of an attack bonus he has to sink toward it.
If Batman were to use one of his other attacks that granted strength-based damage he could fully utilize his power attack advantage (He could also use Extra Effort to increase his strength bonus by +1, then power attack).


Here's the rule (Emphasis is mine):

M&M 3E Hero's Handbook- Action & Adventure- Maneuvers- p.198 wrote:When you make an attack you can take a penalty of up to –2 on your attack bonus and add the same number (up to +2) to the effect bonus of your attack. Your attack bonus cannot be reduced below +0 and the effect bonus cannot more than double. The changes to attack and effect are decided before you make your attack check and last until the start of your next turn. This maneuver does not apply to effects requiring no attack check or allowing no resistance check.




With that said, I agree with Foreshadow and the others who have stated that Batman's lower damage output should not disqualify him from participating in a game. I think hypervirtue provided a sensible breakdown of how characters in these situations (A human, no matter how dedicated or well trained, taking on a foe who is nearly- or in some cases completely- invulnerable to that human's options for dealing damage) should think beyond their gloved fists in order to survive.

Beyond that there is a good argument that when Batman is operating with the JLA the GM may allow him to make some changes in the equipment he has access to. This could be where Batman wears his armored batsuit (with a couple of ranks of protection to put him at his PL12 caps for dodge/parry and toughness), takes along his power-knuckles (may trade in some equipment ranks to make these as a device- just make them damage at rank eight with two ranks of the inaccurate flat flaw to keep him in his PL; note that I said to make them damage-8 not strength-based damage-8 - I don't think his power-knuckles rely that much on the force of his punch, but I could be wrong- at which point just make them strength-based damage-4 with the same two ranks of the inaccurate flaw). In a JLA game, Batman can get away with not having the batcave and vehicles on his character sheet because he won't be using them primarily; instead he uses the JLA's facilities. Should he need access to them during the campaign the GM can simply grant that the character has access to it; after all the GM is going to be responsible for limiting Batman's use of these items no longer on his character sheet.


I wouldn't get carried away with trying to swing Batman's effect ranks too far upward though for the very reason that Earth-Two_Kenn makes: Most of the JLA's villains aren't made to be put into slugfests with teams of heroes on the order of Wonder Woman and Superman.
Just using the power-knuckles against most of the JLA's foes puts the GM into a situation very similar to what the OP felt about having Batman participating with Superman and Wonder Woman: the GM is faced with a hero who is very difficult for most of the villains to hit and who can seriously harm the villain with little fear of getting hit in return.


The Key:
-Dodge: 16
-Parry: 18
-Toughness: +3
-Melee: +11
-Ranged/ Key Blaster: +3/ +12

Batman, RAW, could use the defensive attack maneuver (with the advantage) to increase his own defenses to 29, making it very difficult for The Key to land a single hit. However Batman still has a +15 to land his own punches and a +9 to land his Batarangs against a foe who would then need to roll a 16 or 18, respectively, on his d20 to avoid any damage.


Doctor Light (Arthur Light):
-Dodge: 19
-Parry: 17
-Toughness: +12/+2
-Melee: +0
-Ranged: +10
-Area Affliction: -

The same can be said of Doctor Light, with the significant differences being that Light has a better Toughness and has access to a rank 11 area affliction effect (Which shouldn't worry Batman too much considering his high Dodge).


Black Manta:
-Dodge: 22
-Parry: 22
-Toughness: +8 (+3 w/o the suit, but that is unlikely to occur often)
-Melee: +12
-Ranged: +10 (most of his aresenal)
-Area damage: -

Black Manta is much closer to the Batman, RAW, than The Key or Doctor Light. Even so, Batman (again using the defensive attack maneuver) needs to roll a 7 to punch him (Black Manta needs an 11 on his d20 to avoid damage) and a 13 to hit with a batarang (Black Manta needs a 13 on his d20 to avoid damage). On the other hand Black Manta needs a 17 to land a punch against Batman (who needs an 15 on his d20 to avoid damage) or a 19 to land one of his ranged attacks (Batman needs a 17 to avoid the eye-laser or a 15 to avoid the torpedo). The disparity there is enough to keep Batman in good control of the fight against Black Manta. And once he has Manta on the ropes he could switch from using the defensive attack maneuver to the power attack maneuver to end the fight more quickly; Manta would still be having trouble hitting Batman- especially when the GM allows multiple maneuvers to be used simultaneously (Defensive attack for 2 while power attacking for 3 for example).


Overall I just don't see the need to put Batman's damage/effect rank up with Wonder Woman and Superman (or similarly high rank damage/effect characters). For one thing it diminishes those characters and seems like it will lead to the players with Batman (and similar characters) resorting to winning a combat by engaging in a slugfest rather than winning the day by using clever tactics to foil the villain(s)'s plan and therefor avoiding the slugfest (which the character ought to know is a more foolish approach for that specific character).




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Re: Justice League campaign - How can I have Batman compete?

Postby Doresh » Sat Jan 04, 2014 6:27 am

@Foreshadow:

Books/splats/whatever like "Talent Powers" beg to differ. If you want to consistently hit harder in melee, just buy Damage as a power. Not allowing "normal" human to posess "powers" is not hard-coded into the rules. That's why it's effects-based.

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Re: Justice League campaign - How can I have Batman compete?

Postby Monolith » Sat Jan 04, 2014 7:27 am

Fists of Dorn wrote:
Foreshadow wrote:Since impervious 18 (Superman) means with a normal full on Power Attack (not needing the effort or hero point or critical) Batman can force a save on superman it means Batman can physically threaten Superman



I just want to point out this mistake as I have seen it fairly often as of late: None of the maneuvers may more than double the bonus it affects. A character with a four strength cannot use the power attack maneuver to increase his damage bonus by five, no matter how much of an attack bonus he has to sink toward it.
If Batman were to use one of his other attacks that granted strength-based damage he could fully utilize his power attack advantage (He could also use Extra Effort to increase his strength bonus by +1, then power attack).

Bats can do 11 damage with a power attack and his batarangs, so he can force a save from Supes with that. If you give him +2 damage bat-knuckles to work as melee batarangs the guy can always do 11 damage; and still have a big attack value. That's more damage then a tank cannon. :)

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Re: Justice League campaign - How can I have Batman compete?

Postby Foreshadow » Sat Jan 04, 2014 11:03 pm

Have Damage as an advantage just makes bookkeeping and entries on the character easier. Defensive Roll is like the defensive equivalent to this, you gain Protection essentially, and its easier just to have it as an advantage standardized. Sure you can add Damage to any character, but you can also add a conditional Protection too. Not everything needs to be an advantage, just that it is a natural fit to add.

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Re: Justice League campaign - How can I have Batman compete?

Postby Doresh » Sun Jan 05, 2014 7:19 am

Defensive Roll has its own quirks compared to Protection (for better or worse).

"Standardizing" powers by turning them into powers sounds weird. I certainly can't imagine "Blast" to become an Advantage anytime soon.

As for bookkeeping, I prefer nicely-formatted powers over yet another entry in an already too long laundry list of Advantages.

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Re: Justice League campaign - How can I have Batman compete?

Postby Monolith » Sun Jan 05, 2014 7:58 am

Doresh wrote:Defensive Roll has its own quirks compared to Protection (for better or worse).

"Standardizing" powers by turning them into powers sounds weird. I certainly can't imagine "Blast" to become an Advantage anytime soon.

As for bookkeeping, I prefer nicely-formatted powers over yet another entry in an already too long laundry list of Advantages.

Within the game a lot of 1 pt powers, especially features, get turned into advantages. 2e had a lot more examples of this; and there are some in the 3e power profiles too. I have no problem with some type of melee combat prowess advantage that adds damage. The 3e version of Raven has that type of build as well.

In general, I'm relatively happy with the 3e Batman build; though I think the utility belt could some some beefing on the area powers. When you take him out of the context of the heavy hitters of the JLA and put him into the context of the foes he normally fights: Joker, Catwoman, Riddler, and so on, his 8-11 damage is more then sufficient to deal with them. And as I've said before, Bats can take most of the other pl 12 heroes in the JLA.

I find that most of the villains in the game are actually under-powered, anyway. Many of the heroes have +1 pl, or more, on their main villains. What's a pl 12 Cheetah going to do against a pl 15 Wonder Woman?

And Ken is right, above. Most of the JLA aren't Supes and Diana and GL. Most of them are in the 10-12 range.

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Re: Justice League campaign - How can I have Batman compete?

Postby Doresh » Sun Jan 05, 2014 11:55 am

I'm not familiar with 2e. I just don't think it's much of a point to create new Advantages that have the same effect as a power.

The higher PL of heroes does make sense:

1. The heroes usually win.
2. The villains have lots of minions.
3. The villains usually have no scruples and use dirty tricks to exploit the heroes' ethics.


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