First off, before reading this thread, go read at least the first two posts in this one (you can skip the examples and commentary if you want); without it, none of this will make much sense:viewtopic.php?t=31064
A few things:
In a couple of cases below, I may mention areas where I think things are now perhaps PL problems that weren’t before.
There are also three assumptions I’m making here that, if incorrect, alter the weight I’m putting on some of the reassessments I’m doing:
1. Disabled and Impaired don’t affect Resistance Checks, at least when using Defenses. It doesn’t actually say this, but it would seem decidedly odd in at least the case of Toughness and Fortitude (and probably Will). That said, one of the places these used is in the mechanics of Intimidation (Demoralized), which as per the errata, officially did impact saves in 2e. So I’m not on what I consider extreme firm ground here.
W. Circumstance Bonuses are not PL capped. There’s nothing I can find that formally says that in DCA, but it certainly was the case in 2e, and some uses would be very odd otherwise. The only indication that might even vaguely suggest is would be the final note in the Aquaman write-up, but that simply could be an ad-hoc decision.
3. Like Deception, Intimidation can be used as a Move action with a -5 modifier. This is not stated anywhere, but it was the case in 2e, and if it isn’t true, this has the doubly odd case of making Deception with the Taunt Advantage stronger than Intimidation itself is, while making Startle weaker than Feinting (since it couldn’t be done as a Move action).
One other thing: proportionateley, targets left Vulnerable are worse off than they were in 2e, even though in absolute terms they’re better (because most such things not only cut your Defense in half, but took off an additional -2), because the stunned combat effect of damage has been replaced by the 3e dazed; as such, a character left vulnerable is far more, well, vulnerable than he otherwise normally ever is in 3e.
That all said, lets see how things have changed.
Agility, Awareness and Presence (Was: Dexterity, Wisdom and Charisma): These attributes still have the same relationship to the other traits that their predecessors did, but on the whole, their PL breaking tendencies have either been reduced (skills) or largely eliminated (saves/defenses). In addition, since skills are now capped in total rather than with a rank cap and a separate ability cap, most abusive builds probably won’t even bother to ramp up the attribute underneath it, as even with 3e’s more expensive skills, its cheaper to just buy the skill.
Defenses (Was: Saves): This problem has largely gone away in 3e. That’s because Reflex (as Dodge) has become part of the normal PL economy, and the other two have been compressed so they average at about PL (this is slightly higher than the PL -2 average I used, but not enough to really be a problem worth worrying about).
A general note about skills: Skills are now capped lower than they were in 2e (though the ratio of this change varies as to PL; its possible at low PLs for there to be almost no difference from 2e, whereas high PL games will notice a much stronger difference.
That said, skills still go high enough to be sometimes problematic, most characters are going to have a hard time resisting a +20 Feint attempt with their likely +10 Will. In addition, I haven’t seen any reference to anything like the old cumulative -1 penalty for repeated tries. The only generic difference is that with the lower caps its harder to reliably be able to use the -5 to do it as a Move action and count on it.
Acrobatics: Other than the fact the Advantage is called Agile Feint rather than Acrobatic Bluff, not much has changed here, and I think my recommendation is still good.
Deception (Was: Bluff): As noted, while the high end ranks aren’t available normally, +15 to +20 is still enough to be getting problematic, so my suggestion hasn’t change.
Intimidate: As noted farther up, how effective this is depends a bit on whether it can be used as a Move action, and whether Impaired or Disabled effect most resistance checks. Other than that, my comments haven’t changed much (including the mild benefit that its resisted by Will being offset by the fact it isn’t just relevant to the person using it to Demoralize).
Persuasion (Was: Diplomacy).: Because of the change in rank maximum, its very unlikely someone will do a complete conversion on enemies any more. Probably judicial application of circumstance penalties will otherwise make this one a non-issue on PL grounds now.
Stealth: While nothing has changed in general here, some issues of emphasis may make this more complicated. Specifically, 3e emphasizes the need for cover and/or concealment to use this much more than 2e. Given that, a GM who is not generous about this (i.e. doesn’t consider ground clutter or shadows to apply) may make this hard enough to use that its not usually much of a PL impact. In addition, the perception of the GM as to how it applies to exotic senses can make this less frequently relevant. Other than that, it, especially with the Hide In Plain Sight Advantage, can at higher ranks still bring most of the problems with the Concealment power to the table, and my recommendations in general still stand.
ADVANTAGES (WAS: FEATS)
Agile Feint (Was: Acrobatic Bluff): In general this relates to Acrobatics as Acrobatic Bluff does in 2e, and presents the same concerns. It also absorbs the function of the power feat Moving Feint from Ultimate Power, but since unlike that feat, it doesn’t double the movement power rank, so it should rarely produce excessive results. If it does, my suggestion applies there, too.
All-Out Attack: Other than the fact the trade-off feats now have their available-to-everyone baby brothers, nothing has changed that much in regard to them. There’s still a big enough gap between being able to trade-off 2 and trade-off 5 that my caveats apply here.
Daze (Was: Distract): The change in the end condition of this Advantage has made it pretty much a non-concern on PL grounds. In practice, given its short duration, I’m not sure most people will even bother unless up against a single powerful opponent (and even then it may not matter enough to be of concern, unless the “no free actions” crowd is right).
Evasion: Though still a useful trait, the fact the new version of Evasion simply makes it more likely you’ll take half effect from areas means it no longer supercharges minions, and thus can be (mostly) ignored.
Grabbing Finesse (Was: Grappling Finesse): In general, the change in its mechanics have made grappling a manageable enough process that I don’t think its anything to worry about, and thus the same for the related advantages. The only issue I can see with this feat is that it doesn’t really support non-Strength oriented grapplers the way it used to, as most of those aren’t going to have a high Dexterity either. As such, if you’re not forced to use the Dexterity, it may simply be taken by regular brick-type grapplers to avoid the Vulnerability grappling normally imposes on you.
Hide In Plain Sight: Other than the qualifications I note under Stealth, above, nothing has changed here.
Improved Critical: The higher ranks of Improved Critical are no longer available, but the amount that is available is still enough to be a bit of a PL breaker (unless the campaign has a great degree of immune to critical opponents, which it appears even most constructs shouldn’t be in 3e, since it clearly works even against walls). As such, within the range listed, I still suggest tossing in a virtual PL at rank 3-4.
Improved Grab (Was: Improved Grapple. The old Improved Grab does not seem to exist in 3): I’m conflicted as to whether my reaction to this feat has changed. You can still essentially use this in conjunction with Strength to potentially immobilize someone and then hold them while you and/or your allies pound the heck out of them. Is that any more unreasonable than doing so with, say, a paralysis power? I don’t know. This is one I’m going to have to say the jury is out on until I watch the new Grapple rules in use sometime.
Luck: Though no longer providing true Hero Points, Luck points still can provide what is often the most useful form of Hero Points: Improve Roll. As such, I don’t think my feelings about it have changed materially. The only issue I might want to qualify this on is that DCA/3e appears to potentially use a more generous hero point economy than I think was the default in 2e; if that’s the case then Luck might be a bit less important.
Master Plan: This feat is gone completely.
Minions: While in general my opinion on this is the same as it was, there are a few qualifying issues.
First, it appears purchasing large numbers of minions is more difficult. With the Minion advantage proper, there doesn’t even seem to be any discussion of how you decide how many you can have with you on a regular basis. Some people think you have to pay for them individually (which is very steep, even in contrast to the new cost on Summon); some things the developer has said suggest its a negotiated issue, which seems a rather unsatisfactory approach given minions potential impact on combat.
The other issue is that Takedown 2 has gotten even stronger against Minions. While my reading of the Advantage is that it does not permit the usual use of a routine check here, even without that it provides the ability for someone with Takedown 2 to potentially sweep his field of fire of minions in a very short order.
All that said, I think my evaluation before is still basically sound in 3e.
Power Attack: See my comment above regarding All-Out Attack, but otherwise my prior reaction to this is still the same.
Second Chance: Nothing much has changed here; this still ranges from being a general nonissue to a problem if several versions are taken.
Set-Up: Since the traits this applies to haven’t changed all that much, this still has the potential to make them (particularly Deception and potentially Intimidate) all the stronger, and as such my suggestions haven’t changed.
Sidekick: Nothing much has made this any weaker in 3e, so my suggestions stand.
Startle and Taunt: As noted on their parent skills, these still have the same issues they ever did and (barring some of the questions regarding Intimidate) the same suggestions.
Teamwork: Even given it applies to Team Attacks (and its not completely clear it does), its hard to assess this one because its a little hard to figure exactly what impact it has on the process. It may well still be a problematic trait on Minions.
Concealment: While in general Concealment hasn’t gotten noticeably weaker in 3e (though as I noted, surprise in general is slightly weaker than it used to be), and as such my recommendations are, in theory, the same, there are two elements of 3e that have to be examined to determine exactly how effective its liable to be, beyond the normal super-senses issue: Precise Attack and Uncanny Dodge.
For those who have not looked at these two Advantages, they’ve changed noticeably. Precise Attack now allows you to take it one (or more of four ways): with ranged or close combat, to negate miss chance for concealment or cover. This means that if you have any real idea where a Concealed target is, if you have the version that allows you to ignore Concealment, Concealment has no defensive effect. The new Uncanny Dodge differs from its old version in one important way: there is no dependence on a sense group, or on your senses at all. In fact, it simply makes it impossible to be surprised. As such, a character with Concealment gets no offensive benefit on you.
As such, if you’re invisible and fighting a character with both advantages, your only advantage is to make it hard for him to pick you out (if you, for example, fired and then moved each time and he didn’t ready). As such, the frequency of builds with these feats should be assessed when deciding on the virtual PL to charge someone with Concealment powers.
Create (Was: Create Object): The issues about use of Create Object as portable cover still apply just as well to Create, as far as I can tell, and as such my discussion of them and appropriate PL penalties still applies.
Growth: Most of my discussion of Growth is no longer valid given the change in how the steps go. There are some potential construction complications over the fact that Stamina outstrips the defense penalties you take, however, but most of them only likely come up if you want to have combat functionality outside your Growth.
Healing: Most of the issue in my prior thread here are still present, except for the hideous bottom-loading. In fact, the new Healing defaults to Total in its mechanic, so it’s a little worse. In addition, the UP change in how much time was taken has gone away, so you’re back to being able to spot-weld party members with this. As such I’d recommend sticking with the suggestions I had for Reaction or Free Healing (though there’s problematic elements to the ability to prop up others that can’t be easily addressed here).
Immunity: Nothing much has changed here; if anything, the combination of the fact there’s no longer a distinction between lethal and nonlethal damage, and the fact Impervious is less attractive now, may mean some of these cases may tend to come up more often.
Insubstantial: I just noticed that I somehow never addressed this in my original thread. Insubstantial has some of the same issues as Immunity except it has a generic (and cheap) counter. That makes it hard to assess. Insubstantial 1 can probably be ignored, since all it makes you immune to is grabs and grab-like attacks. The other three become progressively more problematic, however, and by the time you’ve hit Insubstantial 4, you’re dealing with a target that may well be immune to the majority of attackers depending on how common Affects Insubstantial is and mental attacks are. Given that these three levels of powers become progressively more immune to at least damage, I’d consider adding some virtual Toughness to each of them; +2 per level above one unless the campaign has features making them easier to trump doesn’t seem unreasonable to me.
Luck Control: In general I don’t think anything in 3e has made my discussion of this any less valid. If anything, if the perception that an increase in hero points present is true, this may be an even more problematic power. The only question is the utility of the third function of Luck Control for a PC; since there’s little discussion of 2e style “villain point” use of GM Fiat, its not clear how useful this part of the power will be for a PC.
Move Object: It is not clear from my reading whether 3e is PL capped or not. If not, even though 3e Grappling is much less severe, much of my discussion is still valid. If it is, this is mostly a non-issue.
Obscure: Since this has now been made an element of Concealment, see my discussion above.
Regeneration: Though the mechanics of this power have changed considerably (its much more like the 1e version) its still problematic on PL grounds. Its also quite cheap. Given a 10 rank version will, effectively negate a “hit” (-1 Toughness penalty) every round, I would suggest at the very least applying one Virtual Toughness per each 10 ranks, and I’m not sure but that twice that might be warranted.
Shrinking: Though the mechanics have been shuffled about somewhat so that its not quite the cost deal it used to be (most of the side benefits are somewhat balanced by the hit in mobility; the Strength penalty and Intimidation penalty probably won’t matter to many characters), but unlike Growth, it does not say it is PL capped, so the Defense bonus is still a PL breaker. I’d strongly suggest not letting it be, and just applying the defense it gives the cap normally.
Summon: Though the costs on this have increased noticeably, this doesn’t change any of the problems I describe when they do occur; it just means its less likely to come up. As such, I’d suggest sticking with the suggestions I make under Minions and Summons when necessary.
FLAT MODIFIERS (WAS: POWER FEATS)
Accurate: Nothing much has changed here; again, its not a problem in and of itself, but it can compound other problems.
Homing: Nothing much seems to have changed other than making the ranks linear rather than progressive, so I think my suggestions are basically sound, though you might need to slide up the number of ranks of the modifier before it kicks in.
Indirect: Other than the spreading out of the effect, nothing much has changed, and as such this is still only an issue when combined with Create.
Slow Fade: This modifier is gone; apparently its function is handled by changing duration.
Subtle: Nothing has changed with this modifier, and as such it is still only an issue with Stealth and Concealment.
REGULAR MODIFIERS (WAS: EXTRAS)
Action: This is gone. Other than the ability to turn most durational powers into Reaction, there is no generic way to reduce the duration of most powers.
Affects Corporeal: As noted in the other document, this is only relevant to the degree that it makes Insubstantial 4 more than a fancy escape power.
Alternate Effect (Was: Alternate Save): Probably the only reason this actually warrants extra cost these days (since normally the average of Will and Fortitude will be right around PL) is because it allows you to pull out a damage effect that will likely get a worse save than Toughness would against obviously Toughness shifted characters. It might still warrant a single level of Virtual Effect for that reason too, but it’s a hard call.
Area: One of the few extras that has gotten, effectively, stronger. That’s because the two things that dealt with areas in general (Evasion) and area damage specifically (Impervious) have gotten weaker. As such I might well insist on a virtual Effect hit with at least the easier to apply shapes (Cones, Lines and certainly Shapeable), and there’s still a strong benefit to using Selective, so my original suggestion of a +2 is probably still a good idea. Targeted seems to be gone, so there’s no issue there.
Aura: This modifier, per se, has gone away. Now its just how a Reaction touch effect works as a default, but probably my suggestion regarding the UP version of Aura are still relevant.
Multiattack (Was: Autofire): This has changed more than a bit. Its increased damage property jumps in odd jumps, but is still fairly strong (vaguely equivalent to the common +2 version of the Extra without some of the limits) but has a much higher threshold, and the multitarget capability is superior. Its complicated a bit by the fact this is one of the few modifiers that probably serves the Attack shifted better. My general feeling after eyeballing the numbers is that there’s probably still one virtual Effect worth of benefit here.
Effortless: This modifier is either gone, or limited to the few powers where its relevant (Healing mostly, as I recall).
Independent: This is also gone. Though it could be problematic, there actually doesn’t seem to be any way to emulate the result it was trying for in core DCA.
Linked: Nothing has changed since the UP version of this modifier, and it still appears to pummel PL to me, so my suggestion hasn’t changed.
No Saving Throw: This, and its problems, has gone away.
Increased Range (Was: Range): This is still about Perception, and nothing appears to have changed here on my reading. As such, I think my analysis is still valid.
Secondary Effect: Again, nothing much has changed here that I can see, and as such I think my evaluation still applies.
Selective (Was Selective Attack): As noted, this still supercharges areas, so I think my suggestions in the prior document still apply.
Total Fade: This modifier appears to be gone, or is simply an example of Limited.
Vampiric: This modifier is also gone. Apparently its emulated by various Reaction effects.
The two frameworks I discuss (Arrays and Variables) don’t seem to have changed much, if at all (Containers have sort of, kind of gone away, but they weren’t an issue in the old days) so my discussion of them is still probably valid.
Well, that’s my take on these at the current time. Feel free to question, correct me, or generally discuss.