Captain Marvel lightning bolt damage

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andhaira
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Captain Marvel lightning bolt damage

Postby andhaira » Sat Mar 08, 2014 5:49 am

Hey guys,

The Captain Marvel entry states that the shazam bolt damage should be dealt as a stunt. Can someone walk me through this, how as a player it should be done?

And what should the damage of the shazam bolt be? Should it be area based damage or affect a single opponent?

Last but not least, I want to add an ability to the Cap where he can call upon one of his 'elders' to gain a temporary power boost as he is sometimes shown to be doing. For example, yelling "Speed of Mercury" to get super-super speed for a short time (speed boost) or "Strength of Hercules" to get even stronger for a short time. How should this be handled? A new ability with more power points?

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Re: Captain Marvel lightning bolt damage

Postby Fred » Tue Mar 11, 2014 7:03 pm

I'd probably make it an alternat effect of his Strength damage. The write-up seems to assume a straight-forward Damage 19 effect, so it probably condiers it a close attack that can only be made against someone stading next to Marvel (which is how it works in the comics).

The boost could be just the explanantion for the +1 rank increase that hero points camn provide. Alternatively, it could be a low-rank Variable effect limited to enhancing the Marvel's suite.

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Re: Captain Marvel lightning bolt damage

Postby saint_matthew » Tue Mar 11, 2014 8:47 pm

andhaira wrote:Last but not least, I want to add an ability to the Cap where he can call upon one of his 'elders' to gain a temporary power boost as he is sometimes shown to be doing. For example, yelling "Speed of Mercury" to get super-super speed for a short time (speed boost) or "Strength of Hercules" to get even stronger for a short time. How should this be handled? A new ability with more power points?


Firstly I'd like to say thanks for referring to Captain Marvel AS Captain Marvel & not Shazam, its greatly appreciated.

Secondly moving on to your question about a boost, it sounds like a new effect, possibly built with Enhance Trait power & with an alternate power array to the other traits.
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Re: Captain Marvel lightning bolt damage

Postby JDRook » Wed Mar 12, 2014 11:19 am

andhaira wrote:The Captain Marvel entry states that the shazam bolt damage should be dealt as a stunt. Can someone walk me through this, how as a player it should be done?

Power Stunts are normally done by deciding which existing power you want to "stunt" from, rearranging the points for a different effect, and then taking Fatigue for the effort, which can be bought off by a Hero Point. Often players will just spend the Hero Point right away as Fred suggested above, but you can hold off if you want to see how your actions play out first. See the Extra Effort and Hero Point sections, DCA p19-21.

andhaira wrote:And what should the damage of the shazam bolt be? Should it be area based damage or affect a single opponent?

That's actually something you can choose based on what stunt you want to perform. This one is a little weird, though. The description says Damage 19, but not what it stunts from. For simplicity, I'd have to assume that it stunts off of the damage component of his STR 19, so it's Close Damage 19 just like his punch, but with a different descriptor (magic lightning), which could take advantage of the target's particular weaknesses. The attack check should also be the same at +11 in order to stay within PL, although I think it would be reasonable for a GM to allow a minor circumstance modifier (+2) for the surprise of the attack, especially since CM is taking Fatigue/using HP for an attack that is largely similar to his basic attack.

If you really wanted an Area Attack, you'd take the 19p in the Close Damage and lower it to allow for a Burst Area Extra, which comes out to 9 ranks of Burst Area Damage. I probably wouldn't recommend this, though, since it doesn't really fit the style of the character or attack. It would also hit everyone in the area around CM, including allies and innocents. Making it Selective would bring the cost up to 3p/rank and drop the rank to 6, so now it would only be particularly effective on lower level NPCs and minions, and it really doesn't feel like something Captain Marvel would/could/should do.

andhaira wrote:I want to add an ability to the Cap where he can call upon one of his 'elders' to gain a temporary power boost as he is sometimes shown to be doing. For example, yelling "Speed of Mercury" to get super-super speed for a short time (speed boost) or "Strength of Hercules" to get even stronger for a short time. How should this be handled? A new ability with more power points?

CM is already really powerful, and is built to have all of his powers on all the time at full power, and is PL 15, which is higher than almost everybody else. The first question is, do you really need him to be more powerful? He could simply call out those names and do his thing, pure roleplaying with no point cost. Fred's suggestion of using Hero Points (or again, just Extra Effort) is probably the simplest way to get actual increases in power without needing more points or breaking PL; this is usually just 1 rank on a selected power.

Another way to do it would be to use power stunts again, only using the power for each elder as a base. Speed of Mercury is already a 30p Array; if you wanted to turn that all into pure movment speed, you get Speed 30, which would be about 4 times the speed of light and get you anywhere on earth in one move action. You could use it for other speedster-style tricks if you wanted as well; check The Flash for ideas. Strength of Hercules is just extra-lifting strength, and you technically couldn't turn that into more pure STR without breaking PL, but you could stunt the damage component of CM's STR 19 all into lifting, so you'd end up with a lifting strength equal to STR 42 (19 * 2 + 4), which is about 100 gigatons or the equivalent of all the biomass on earth, so it's considerable.

You could use the Array or Variable suggested above, but I really don't think it would be necessary. I think Extra Effort, Hero Points and power stunts will give you the flexibility you want but will also limit how often you use them. IMO, this keeps them from being overused and therefore becoming boring. There are also consequences for overuse, which can make for hard, dramatic choices. It's really a matter of preference.
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Re: Captain Marvel lightning bolt damage

Postby andhaira » Fri Mar 14, 2014 8:12 am

Thanks for the replies guys.

I really think the Shazam bolt should be more powerful than him just smacking someone. Not due to powergaming, but because it is a (pre New 52) risky move that could leave him as Billy Batson and vulnerable if he misses his dodge and gets hit by the bolt instead.

Sure I get that the descriptor changes so it is magic/lightning instead of punches, but I feel this should be a last resort, special move that should also feel special mechanically.

So I was thinking increasing damage than 19. It can have two variants, a 19 version area attack and a higher version single attack. But if he misses his dodge, he transforms into Billy

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Re: Captain Marvel lightning bolt damage

Postby Fred » Fri Mar 14, 2014 8:37 am

Yeah, this is the thing: the way the AE is written up, there's no danger whatsoever of Marvel becoming Billy, unless the GM want to add that complication and require Dodge check. You could add that limitation -- "Does not work and/or reverts to non-powered form if fails a Dodge check" for a -1 or -2 (for both). With the extra points, it would be easy to increase the Damage, but this ould certainly punch a hole thrugh the PL. Plus, I'm not sure what would be the DC for the Dodge check. The lightning's Damage rank?

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Re: Captain Marvel lightning bolt damage

Postby Earth-Two_Kenn » Fri Mar 14, 2014 10:39 am

The easiest way to increase the bolt's damage is to slap a few points of Inaccurate on it, as well as the Dodge check. An argument could be made for adding Indirect to it, as well. Basically, it would work best on slow and surprised opponents.
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Re: Captain Marvel lightning bolt damage

Postby Monolith » Fri Mar 14, 2014 10:42 am

Fred wrote:Yeah, this is the thing: the way the AE is written up, there's no danger whatsoever of Marvel becoming Billy, unless the GM want to add that complication and require Dodge check. You could add that limitation -- "Does not work and/or reverts to non-powered form if fails a Dodge check" for a -1 or -2 (for both). With the extra points, it would be easy to increase the Damage, but this ould certainly punch a hole thrugh the PL. Plus, I'm not sure what would be the DC for the Dodge check. The lightning's Damage rank?

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It feels like you're really over-thinking this. The mechanic is Marvel changing his physical damage to magical electricity damage via a power stunt. So if someone has immunity physical and Marvel can't hurt him with a punch he power stunts to the lightning to try and hurt him. All the jumping and moving is just descriptor, not mechanics.

If you want it to fail then leave it to the foe to do something, such as a counter, to make it fail and then throw Marvel a hero point because he was accidentally turned into Billy.

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Re: Captain Marvel lightning bolt damage

Postby digitalangel » Fri Mar 14, 2014 10:47 am

If you are wanting it to be significantly stronger than his punch and not have to raise PL for it, you can make it grab based. If you grab an opponent, and immobilize them then you can get by with next to nothing on + to hit with the attack and go up to PL x 2 on its damage and still be in PL caps. It fits with some of the depictions of the attack I've seen before for the character and gives you that stronger hit you sounded like you wanted.
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Re: Captain Marvel lightning bolt damage

Postby JDRook » Fri Mar 14, 2014 1:23 pm

andhaira wrote:I feel this should be a last resort, special move that should also feel special mechanically.

Personally, I think there's too much focus on getting the mechanics to make the power interesting. Simple mechanics with innovative descriptors are far more interesting as well as easier to resolve.

That said, I do like digitalangel's Grab-based suggestion.
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Re: Captain Marvel lightning bolt damage

Postby Flying Cobra » Fri Mar 14, 2014 7:11 pm

The easiest way to make the lightning bolt more powerful is by adding indirect and Power Attack. Since this isn't a common stunt for Shazam, he should have surprise to help with the attack roll, giving him a +6 to attack, damage 22 indirect 2 Magical Lightning bolt, with a DC of 37. That should smart even for Superman, though eventually he'd catch on to the tactic. The biggest problem, though, is that there are players, readers and (worst of all) writers out there who see something cool like this happen once and think it's something the character should do routinely, turning it into power creep.


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