New GM, asking for advice

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JDRook
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Re: New GM, asking for advice

Postby JDRook » Wed Mar 26, 2014 2:01 am

Arthur Eld wrote:You divide the power points up. So if you have Flight 10 and Reaction Damage as DAEs off of Blast 10, you could have Flight 2, Reaction Damage 4, or Flight 4, Reaction Damage 3, or any other combination that added up to 20.

TheSander wrote:But non of those examples actually add up to twenty at all.


They do, you just need to look at the costs per rank.

Blast 10 = Ranged Damage 10 at 2p/rank = 20p
Flight 10 at 2p/rank = 20p
Energy Aura 5 = Reaction Damage 5 at 4p/rank= 20p

Now, built into a Dynamic Array, you have 20p as a pool to distribute between all 3 powers. This configuration has all points in Blast:

Blast 10 - 21p (base power 20 plus 1p for Dynamic)
Flight 0 - 2p (Alternate power 1p plus Dynamic 1p)
Aura 0 - 2p (Alternate power 1p plus Dynamic 1p)

I've added the costs for the Alternate and Dynamic to demonstrate the full cost of the array. The pool costs 20p but the structure of the array costs another 5p between the 3 powers (or "slots" - it's possible to have multiple powers in a single slot, but that starts to get complicated). Essentially each Alternate point allows a slot to use the whole pool, and the Dynamic point allows partial use of that pool.

Removing the slot costs for simplicity, I can show you the other configurations from Arthur Eld's examples. Each one adds up to 20p.

Blast 0 - 0p
Flight 2 - 4p
Aura 4 - 16p (Reaction Damage costs 4p/rank)

Blast 0 - 0p
Flight 4 - 8p
Aura 3 - 12p

You could include the Blast as well:

Blast 3 - 6p
Flight 3 - 6p
Aura 2 - 8p

As you can see, running all three powers at once can leaving them quite low, although they're still dangerous by normal standards. Blast 3 is roughly equal to a standard handgun, Flight 3 still moves you at 250'/round, and anyone touching you with Aura 2 up would be like sticking their hand in a campfire. Relative to most PL10 characters, though, it's nothing to write home about. The advantage is that you can change those points around to what you need most round by round, for a total cost of 25p, whereas having all three powers at full bore simultaneously would cost 60p, so there's some tradeoff there.
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Re: New GM, asking for advice

Postby Monolith » Wed Mar 26, 2014 7:48 am

Dynamic arrays usually work better when you have 1 expensive power being the base for the array. That way you have a lot more points to divide when you need to.

Energy control: 32 pt array
Energy flight: flight 16, dynamic, 33 pts
AE: Energy blast: ranged damage 10, dynamic, 2 pts (this value is limited by your pl)
AE: Energy aura: damage 8, reaction, dynamic, 2 pts

That way you can mix and match with more ranks to better suit your needs:

Flight 1, Blast 7, Aura 4
Flight 6, Blast 10, Aura 0
Flight 2, Blast 0, Aura 7

Dynamic isn't as common in M&M because people like to have more power available to them at one time and things tend to get purchased as independent ability with the same descriptor and the array is often just more of a permanent power stunting pool.

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Re: New GM, asking for advice

Postby TheSander » Wed Mar 26, 2014 8:51 am

Thanks again, you've incredibly helpful. I really needed someone to just spell it out to me so I could sort it out in my head.

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Re: New GM, asking for advice

Postby TheSander » Thu Mar 27, 2014 11:23 am

So one of my players has submitted his first character, a Teleporter, and this is what he presented me with:

Powers
Teleportation:
Teleportation: Teleport 10 [Metahuman; Extended (+1); Change Direction (+1), Change Velocity (+1), Increased Mass +]
Alt: Teleport Others' Attacks: Deflect 5 [Metahuman, Teleport; Reflect (+1), Redirect (+1)]
Alt: Teleport others: Teleport 5 [Metahuman; Change Direction (+1), Change Velocity (+1), Attack (+0), Improved Mass (+1)]
(34 points)
Senses [Direction Sense, Distance Sense, Extended Sight, low-Light Vision, Teleport Awareness]:
Alt: Far-Sighted: Remote Sensing 5 [Metahuman; Simultaneous (+1); Feedback (-1)]
Alt: Far Hearing: Remote Sensing 5 [Metahuman; Simultaneous (+1); Feedback (-1)]
Direction Sense, Distance Sense, Extended Sight, Low-Light Vision, Teleport Awareness: Senses 5 [Metahuman; Innate (+1)]
(8 points)

Offense
Initiative +6
Reflect +16, Damage
Teleport +8, Damage


Apart from being one point wrong because he didn't add Increased Mass properly, I'm unsure about that Reflect +16. I think it's over PL, but I'm unsure. Thoughts?

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Re: New GM, asking for advice

Postby Monolith » Thu Mar 27, 2014 11:39 am

I don't use hero creator so I'm not familiar with their layout, but I'll make some comments.

Technically, senses are permanent duration, and permanent duration abilities can't have alternate effects or be power stunted. So the alts on the base sense are illegal.

Deflect is based on your defensive value. It is a trade off between toughness and dodge/parry. If the character's only attack ability is reflecting then giving himself a 16 attack is a way for him to try and exceed pl limits. He is goosing the system in his favor. As a GM you're well within your rights to ask him to lower that.

Also, his 5 deflect value probably isn't going to help him very often. A 5 deflect means he is saving someone with a 15. A 10 attack character only needs to roll 6 or higher to bypass it and make it obsolete. Assuming you're in a pl 10 game he's not going to be doing much deflecting or reflecting.

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Re: New GM, asking for advice

Postby JDRook » Thu Mar 27, 2014 5:58 pm

As a GM, you can always say no if you don't like a build. You are of course encouraged to say yes when you can. I'm a fan of saying, "Yes, but it's going to work like this . . ."

Monolith wrote:Technically, senses are permanent duration, and permanent duration abilities can't have alternate effects or be power stunted. So the alts on the base sense are illegal.

Theoretically you could change the senses to a Sustained Duration for the same cost, meaning they could have AEs and stunts, but that they would also require a Free Action. This would mean they couldn't be used if Stunned, and if you did allow that I'd recommend defining some kind of limit on the number of Free Actions the PC could take per round so they don't abuse the privilege. Or you can just say "Yes" or "No" to the whole sense array.

Monolith wrote:Also, his 5 deflect value probably isn't going to help him very often. A 5 deflect means he is saving someone with a 15.

That's not quite accurate. Regular defenses are the defense rank + 10 (essentially like doing a routine check), but Deflect actually allows the Deflector to roll a check vs the attacker's check AND to add 10 on a roll of 10 or less. That means Deflect 5 would actually be anywhere from 16 to 25 in value, averaging around 20, so it would be roughly equivalent to Dodge 10 only more random. It's important to remember that it uses up a Standard Action as well, which brings up the last point . . .

Monolith wrote:If the character's only attack ability is reflecting then giving himself a 16 attack is a way for him to try and exceed pl limits. He is goosing the system in his favor. As a GM you're well within your rights to ask him to lower that.

I agree heartily with this. If it's a PL10 build, that +16 Reflect would break PL for any reflected attack over 4 ranks, which is probably most of them, at least in the important fights. The "Yes, but . . ." for this could be that, instead of insisting that the attack bonus be lower, just say that you'll be enforcing the PL limit on any reflected attacks. What that means is that even if he reflects a 12 rank Blast, it's going to only hit for 4 ranks if he uses the +16 bonus, the rest essentially getting lost as he tries to manipulate such a powerful blast so accurately (he'll get better as his PL goes up). To be generous, you could allow him to have use the reflected power at full bore in exchange for a Hero Point; that way he can have the devastating reversal he no doubt wants, but he has to either be choosy as to when he uses it or save up his Hero Points by triggering his Complications and roleplaying.

Another option could be to allow a tradeoff within the range of the attack: so with a rank 12 Blast, if he didn't want to lose 8 ranks while deflecting, he could tradeoff his attack bonus as low as +8, so the full damage would still play and the attack wouldn't be as accurate, but it would still be within PL10.
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Re: New GM, asking for advice

Postby TheSander » Fri Mar 28, 2014 5:51 am

Apparently, what he want is for far-sight and far-hearing to not be "always on". The idea he had is that he can use them, but they do not benefit from the enhanced senses he enjoys (the low-light vision and the others).

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Re: New GM, asking for advice

Postby FuzzyBoots » Fri Mar 28, 2014 6:33 am

Ah. First off, Feedback is generally used for the "attack the remotely displaced sense object source with non-sensory attacks" kind of thing, which doesn't entirely gibe with the idea of "hearing from far away". It's the magical floating ear that, once detected, can be sliced with a sword or shot at. Normally, without the No Conduit Extra, you can do things like Dazzle, apply a Medusa stoning effect, etc. Otherwise it seems fairly reasonable. Your guy needs to apply a small amount of effort to keep those 5 Super-Senses on at any given time. He can choose to remotely view another location while maintaining his non-super-senses and the locus from which he observes there can be shot at to damage him. Same with hearing.

Does that sound right for you?

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Re: New GM, asking for advice

Postby TheSander » Fri Mar 28, 2014 6:45 am

FuzzyBoots wrote:Ah. First off, Feedback is generally used for the "attack the remotely displaced sense object source with non-sensory attacks" kind of thing, which doesn't entirely gibe with the idea of "hearing from far away". It's the magical floating ear that, once detected, can be sliced with a sword or shot at. Normally, without the No Conduit Extra, you can do things like Dazzle, apply a Medusa stoning effect, etc. Otherwise it seems fairly reasonable. Your guy needs to apply a small amount of effort to keep those 5 Super-Senses on at any given time. He can choose to remotely view another location while maintaining his non-super-senses and the locus from which he observes there can be shot at to damage him. Same with hearing.

Does that sound right for you?

It does, thank you.

So basivally I should tell him to remove Feedback flaw, but make the array Sustained?

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Re: New GM, asking for advice

Postby Monolith » Fri Mar 28, 2014 7:24 am

When you make a permanent sense sustained it's really no longer a sense. It's a power. It's visible and everyone can see you using it. Your eyes might light-up, your head might glow, beams might come out of your eyes. Whatever the player decides to use to describe it, it's no longer an invisible sense. It's a visible power.

I'd also like to point out that just because you have a sense doesn't mean you turned it on. You don't walk around with infrared vision going all the time. The finfrared only works when you choose to activate it. So you don't need an array to differentiate when one sense is working or not.

Plus just putting it into an array is just a way to skim points. You're getting 18 pts worth of senses for 8 pts. It's feels a little munchkiny; like it was done to save points rather then to have a true character concept.

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Re: New GM, asking for advice

Postby FuzzyBoots » Fri Mar 28, 2014 8:52 am

Good catch on it no longer being Subtle at that point. As regards it being arrayed, it all depends on if there's a common power source or theme. If the character harbors a small psychic symbiont that transfers information to him, it would make sense that he'd be able to immediately query it for information about local distances, etc, or send it out to relay back sensory information.

But I'd actually argue against using the Remote part of it. Applying Extended to the senses would, in my opinion, make more sense based on the descriptor.

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Re: New GM, asking for advice

Postby JDRook » Fri Mar 28, 2014 8:55 am

Took another pass at the build:

The Alternate Effects on the Teleport are both unnecessarily low. In fact, both are less than half the cost of the base power. While that's not necessarily a bad thing, it makes me wonder if the player misunderstands how arrays work. Since the base power is 33p, that means each AE can be up to 33p, but the player must choose which slot he is using each round. For instance, he couldn't use the Deflect and the Teleport Attack at the same time. Maybe what he wants is a Dynamic array, so he could run both at once. Unfortunately, those two power use a Standard Action, so he could only use both in one round using extra effort. I'd talk to him to figure out exactly how he expects that array to work in combat. As a sidenote, he needs to define what resists the Teleport Attack.

I forgot about the visibility issue when making permanent powers Sustained, although now that I read it again it seems that he bought his senses twice and one set of them is Innate? Obviously he wants those available all the time, so they shouldn't be in an array at all. Also, the Far-Seeing Remote Sensing power would actually be 10p since Vision is 2p/rank and the other senses are 1, so it's too big for that array in any case.

I would recommend adding the Remote Sensing as an alternate to the Teleport array and making it the same rank as the Teleport, so conceptually he can spy as far as he can 'port, with the assumption being whatever allows him to 'port can be used to spy. I'd also put both Vision and Hearing together and take out Simultaneous, but that's more about my preferences. Again, talk to him about his concept of how he expects it to work.
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Re: New GM, asking for advice

Postby TheSander » Mon Mar 31, 2014 9:56 pm

So player (still the same, all the others are taking their sweet time) came back to me with this:
Abilities
Strength 0, Stamina 4, Agility 3, Dexterity 6, Fighting 4, Intellect 0, Awareness 10, Presence 4
Powers
Teleportation:
Teleportation: Teleport 10 [Metahuman; Extended (+1); Change Direction (+1), Change Velocity (+1), Increased Mass (+1)]
Alt: Teleport Others' Attacks: Deflect 10 [Metahuman, Teleport; Reflect (+1), Redirect (+1)]
Alt: Teleport others: Teleport 5 [Metahuman; Change Direction (+1), Change Velocity (+1), Attack (+0), Improved Mass (+1)]
Alt: Far-Sighted: Remote Sensing 10 [Metahuman; Simultaneous (+1); Feedback (-1)]
Alt: Far Hearing: Remote Sensing 10 [Metahuman; Simultaneous (+1); Feedback (-1)]
(37 points)
Senses [Direction Sense, Distance Sense, Extended Sight, low-Light Vision, Teleport Awareness]:
Direction Sense, Distance Sense, Extended Sight, Low-Light Vision, Teleport Awareness: Senses 5 [Metahuman; Innate (+1)]
(6 points)
Equipment
Advantages
Agile Feint, Assessment, Seize Initiative, Close Attack 4, Evasion 4
Skills
Acrobatics 5 (+8 ), Athletics (+0), Deception (+4), Insight 10 (+20), Intimidation (+4), Perception 10 (+20), Persuasion 10 (+14), Ranged Combat: Deflection 10 (+16), Stealth 5 (+8 )
Offense
Initiative +3
Deflect +16, Damage
Teleport +8, Damage
Defense
Dodge 10, Parry 4
Toughness 4 (Def Roll 0), Fortitude 4, Will 12
Power Points
Abilities 62 + Powers 43 + Advantages 11 + Skills 25 + Defenses 9 = Total 150
Complications
Acceptance
Accident
Phobia - Being Restrained
Relationship - His Parents

I don't think there's anything wrong with it, though maybe I'm missing something. Thoughts?

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Re: New GM, asking for advice

Postby JDRook » Tue Apr 01, 2014 12:25 am

It's mostly good, but again there are a few things that could use some clarification:

TheSander wrote:Abilities
Strength 0, Stamina 4, Agility 3, Dexterity 6, Fighting 4, Intellect 0, Awareness 10, Presence 4

- Does he really need all that DEX? It's not uncommon for players to set AGI and DEX at equal ranks for a sense of consistency even if there's no mechanical benefit, but he has twice as much DEX as AGI and no DEX-based skills, so it seems really wasteful. He could easily drop DEX to 0 and buy up Ranged Attack 6 for the same functionality and a 6p discount. Heck, he only has one Ranged Attack (that darned Deflect) so if he doesn't plan on using other ranged attacks effectively (like thrown objects or maybe picking up a gun), he could just buy up Ranged Combat Skill for even fewer points.
- Does he really need all that Awareness? This is for a different reason, since he's definitely using the AWE-based skills. AWE 10 is incredibly high. Comparing to the 600+ DC official builds, about 2% of them have AWE 10 or higher and all of those are PL12 or higher. So while there's nothing rules-wise that stops him from having all that AWE, there should be a very good reason for his character to have it.

TheSander wrote:Powers
Teleportation:
Teleportation: Teleport 10 [Metahuman; Extended (+1); Change Direction (+1), Change Velocity (+1), Increased Mass (+1)]
Alt: Teleport Others' Attacks: Deflect 10 [Metahuman, Teleport; Reflect (+1), Redirect (+1)]
Alt: Teleport others: Teleport 5 [Metahuman; Change Direction (+1), Change Velocity (+1), Attack (+0), Improved Mass (+1)]
Alt: Far-Sighted: Remote Sensing 10 [Metahuman; Simultaneous (+1); Feedback (-1)]
Alt: Far Hearing: Remote Sensing 10 [Metahuman; Simultaneous (+1); Feedback (-1)]

The array is okay, although it's underpowered, and I'd want to make sure that's intentional.

- The Deflect power would cost 30p. It could be pushed up to Deflect 11 and cost 33p, which would still fit in the array slot and wouldn't affect the PL since Toughness is really low.
- Teleport other as an Attack needs to be defined. As written, it's a Close Attack, so it targets the Parry defense like all Close Attacks. It also has to have a resistance chosen, which is usually Dodge or Will, but it should be appropriate to the descriptor of the attack. Lastly, at rank 5 it costs 13 points, so he could easily increase the rank or possibly make the attack Ranged or even Perception ranged without going over the array cost. It would make conceptual sense that he couldn't teleport others further than himself, so 10 rank should probably be the top limit, but that could be Ranged Teleport 10 or Perception Range Teleport 7. It depends on how he wants it to work.
- The Far-senses don't need the Feedback to fit in the array, but if he wants to keep them to fit concept, that's cool. If I had to assume how it would work, I would guess that he somehow uses the teleport "hole" to look or listen to another location, using just one eye or one ear (allowing for Simultaneous). The viewing portal could be sensed with a DC20 (10 + rank) Insight check by those being observed, and Feedback means that the portal can be attack and hurt him directly, although the portal does provide some protection. For one more point the portal could be Subtle and require a DC30 to sense, which would generally be impossible for anyone not on par with PL10 characters. If he is keeping the Feedback, I would suggest having the two senses together so he can see and hear at the same time, since he should have the points for it, unless it's part of his concept that he can only do one at a time.

TheSander wrote:Senses [Direction Sense, Distance Sense, Extended Sight, low-Light Vision, Teleport Awareness]:
Direction Sense, Distance Sense, Extended Sight, Low-Light Vision, Teleport Awareness: Senses 5 [Metahuman; Innate (+1)]

I'm not sure why this is written out twice, but otherwise it seems fine. Keep in mind that Teleport Awareness should be assigned a sense group (probably Mental) and is Ranged by default, but not Radius, so he'd have to be facing the direction of any teleportation powers to sense them.

TheSander wrote:Advantages
Agile Feint, Assessment, Seize Initiative, Close Attack 4, Evasion 4
Skills
Acrobatics 5 (+8 ), Athletics (+0), Deception (+4), Insight 10 (+20), Intimidation (+4), Perception 10 (+20), Persuasion 10 (+14), Ranged Combat: Deflection 10 (+16), Stealth 5 (+8 )

Few points here:
- Agile Feint can be used with either Acrobatics or movement speed, so technically he could use his Teleport 10 (as long as that array slot is active). Honestly, I'd never considered Teleport with Agile Feint, but even though you could argue that Teleport isn't technically "moving" in the same way as all of the other movement powers, it is definitely used as a deceptive maneuver in genre and that is what Agile Feint is all about, so that's pretty cool. It also means he could drop Acrobatics if he wanted to, although it has other uses.
- Assessment requires Insight checks, and he has hit caps on both his Insight and Perception. While there's nothing wrong with this, it does mean he is at the highest possible level for those skills without going to a higher Power Level, and there should be some kind of character reason for that. Even the (arguably overbuilt) official Batman build only has Insight +17 total and Perception +20 and he's PL12.
- There's no such thing as Evasion 4. I have to assume that's a typo.

TheSander wrote:Offense
Initiative +3
Deflect +16, Damage
Teleport +8, Damage
Defense
Dodge 10, Parry 4
Toughness 4 (Def Roll 0), Fortitude 4, Will 12

- ah, that +16 on Deflect. Still seems like an end run on PL limits, especially with a bonus that high. I've commented on this previously in the thread, so I'll just say that it might be better to put some of those points somewhere else.
- so offensively, the Teleport Attack works out to PL9, the Deflect is PL "undefined", and unarmed is PL4. On the defensive side, he defends Close attacks at PL4, Ranged at PL7 and exotic attacks at PL8. Admittedly, the Deflect power helps a lot, but I'd recommend pushing up a few of those lower defenses to keep from getting taken down by surprise attacks.

That went a lot longer than I thought, but hopefully gives you something to work with.
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Re: New GM, asking for advice

Postby TheSander » Tue Apr 01, 2014 9:13 am

Thank you very much, thats good food for thought. Hopefully the other players won't be as difficult :)


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