Combat tactics

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Combat tactics

Post by Raz9000x » Wed May 30, 2007 2:13 am

I'm going to be running a Claremont Academy game soon, and the strategic use of powers while combating supervillains is going to be a part of the curriculum. I've been looking for a website on combat tactics for superheroes. So far I've come up with this old article from the very cool Marvel Super Heroes site:

...but I can't find much else. Has anyone else stumbled upon websites like this or is this such an off the wall topic that I should be lucky I found what I did?
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Post by mlangsdorf » Wed May 30, 2007 5:12 am

The following is a long article I wrote for my group after they started getting frustrated with the fights in my M&M game:


In most comics, the villains win initially. The heros get
beat down, ensnared, or whatever. Then suddenly the heros
get over their issues, find out what is important to them,
and surge to victory. Mechanically, what happens is that
the villains run out of villain points, and the heros start
using their hero points to greater effect. Try to conserve
hero points while the villains still have them.


Move actions are generally useful for 4 things: movement,
feints, tricks, or demoralize attempts. If your character
isn't good at feinting, tricking, or demoralizing and her
opponent is, use your movement action to move out of melee
contact or behind cover. That way, your opponent has to
use its move action to follow, preventing it from feinting
or demoralizing your character.

In today's combat, Inferno would like to have spent more time
feinting, but she kept having to move to get an attack in.
On the other hand, Paladin stayed in one place against Fenris.
Paladin never feinted Fenris, but Fenris feinted Paladin
every round. If Paladin had moved away instead, Fenris would
have had to keep moving to follow instead of feinting.


The typical attack, with a +10 to hit and a save DC of 20, has
about a 1/3 chance of affecting a Defense 20 foe with an average
(+5) save in the relevant save, before the foe spends hero points.
That means if you try some cool trick against someone and they
aren't affected by it, it might affect them if you try again.
Only if you try it 3-4 times and the foe never spends a villain
point should you assume the attack doesn't work and try something

Alternately, if every time you try an attack against a foe, they
have to spend a villain point to resist, that's probably a very
effective attack. Keep doing it - they'll run out of villain
points eventually. Also consider using extra effort to surge,
since if you hit the foe with the same attack twice in the same
turn, they can't use a villain point to reroll both saves.

Also, keep track of your die rolls. If you need a 16 or better
just to hit a foe, it's probably not worth your time to try to
keep hitting them. Try to alter the environment so that they're
easier to hit.


At any time, a character can say a sentence or two. It's only
a move action to give an order to a minion or to give a complicated
order to another PC. If you just want to do basic co-ordination,
like "go attack that guy!" you can do that at any time. If you
need to set up something difficult, like "Wait until Harrier
attacks, then power stunt a burning attack while I take an aid
another action," that's more of a move action.

Also, the villains usually have motivations. Trying to get
them to reveal their deep dark secrets is usually a Trick (and
thus a Move action), but asking simple questions is a free action
that can be taken at any time.


If you're not sure about something in the game, please ask.
Apparently some people thought that Sonic Boom was invisible
when he's running (he's not) or that only super speedsters have
a chance to hit him (no, but he does have a high Defense).

The rules in M&M are different from other games. If you're
not sure how something works, please check with me before
getting frustrated.


Like I said before, most attacks in M&M have a 2 in 3 chance
of failing. That means it takes 3 people ganging up on one
guy to affect someone in a single round. Alternately, a single
character can engage 2 foes for a couple of rounds without
getting too beat up, or 3 foes if the character is actively
defending. Use this to your advantage.

One hero with good defenses should try to tangle up 2-4 foes,
while the other PCs gang up at 3:1 odds (or 4:1 if possible).
After one villain is done, the odds are even more in the
heroes' favor and becomes easier to gang up on the second foe.
This should quickly snowball into a pile of defeated villains.