Post by dorkknight23 on Feb 2, 2006 12:48:16 GMT -5
I've rethought my response to this question browwiw posted:
I realize that Flight can be bought at a AN -1 discount if associated with your Mastery of Elements. Would it be reasonable to apply another AN-1 for the Disadvantage "Works only when Powered Up"? Or, is already factored into the Mastery association discount?
In hindsight, and after looking at the Human Torch's CAD, the result seems to be a resounding yes. You can take a -1 discount of "Works only when Powered Up," although, understandably, you need to have the "Transform into [Element]" option for Mastery of Elements. The Torch put quite a few disadvantages to flying, if you look at it. He must have been saving stones for his Mastery of Fire .
Post by dorkknight23 on Feb 5, 2006 19:23:57 GMT -5
Building Blue Lightning 13 “Transformers: More than Meets the Eye”
Some characters aren’t powerhouses 24/7, some of them are mild-manner milquetoasts who transform into malevolent monstrosities. Transform Self allows a character to transform from a puny man to a raging emerald-skinned goliath (the Hulk,) or, if you want to be crazy, a telepath who can cover herself in diamonds (Emma Frost.) This shows the two approaches to building a transform-based self.
The Hulk Approach: Put all your eggs in one basket, make one awesome high-stone form, and as little as you can into Puny Banner. The Emma Frost Approach: Build to two forms of close stone counts. Divide challenge stones this way: for every 3 challenge stones, put 2 stones into your stronger form, and 1 in your weaker. This will keep you from having too difficult of a time figuring out the prices.
Either approach can work out well. There are few other examples of transform-self characters, Thor (who’s hammer alone is worth more stones than imaginable, let alone the rest of his stats,) Colossus (an awesome example,) and Grey Gargoyle (a not-so-awesome example.) But, it’s another approach to take a character.
Some Minor Tips Stone economy is the name of the game for transform-self based characters. * Disadvantages and other Decreased Costs: Apply disadvantages to transform self adds that disadvantage to every ability, action, and modifier, reducing them accordingly. Hulk has power out of control, which might not be what you’re going for (especially because the GM can decide you calm down and are forced to deal with your opponents as Puny Banner.) Mastery of Magic gets a -1 to the cost of Transform Self, apply as many disadvantages as you can, but remember, you can only decrease the cost for things to half what they should be. This is how the Hulk managed to pull off the power he does. * Multiple Forms: You can, should you desire, pick up more forms to transform into, at a cost of +2 stones per each new form (it’s ambiguous if you have multiple weaker forms or multiple stronger forms, personally, I say multiple stronger forms, but I bet we could have a great debate over it.) However, if you want to pick 6 or more forms (I’m not sure why,) go for 5 for “unlimited” and just pay for 6. Again, I’m not sure why. Metamorphosis could pull off a similar effect and cost a bit less. But, if you want an intermediary form (like Wolfsbane,) then this is a good option for you, especially since they reduce the cost by 1 white.
Some Other Kind of Transformations Transform Self by Touch: The rules are ambiguous on this modifier. “Use Common Sense” is a dangerous phrase to give rule-lawyers or powergamers (or powergaming rule-lawyers.) I think it stands to reason if you transform into a hard material, you gain appropriate toughness and perhaps a strength increase, but this depends on the common sense of the GM. If you transform into water or hydrogen gas you can pass through unsealed doors or other entrances. Transforming into energy forms (like plasma, electricity, etc.) might allow you to add modifier stones of energy damage to your attack. You’d want to work closely with your GM to decide what works and what doesn’t before you decide to pick this power. Transform Others by Touch: Or, as I call it, ‘The Gray Gargoyle Power.’ A cool one-touch knockout, but a bit costly for 15 white. Transform Self/Possession: Of all the alternate transforms, this is pretty handy, especially if you possess an enemy who has a much higher stone count than your own.
Sample Character: Rocky
For my sample character, I think of a character who can transform into a giant mass of stone. For variety’s sake, I decide to spend 1 white to create a transitional “covered with small rocky masses” form. This requires a lot more working with your template CAD than other characters. He’ll be a mutant, and can appear non-human (half the cost,) so that gives me 45 stones to work with, 44 counting the transitional form. I decide to work on his weaker form firm, I give him an intelligence of 3 and all physical stats of 2 (5 white), then I give him Close Combat 2, Ranged Combat 2, and General Knowledge 1 (7 white on the weaker form thusfar.) Finally I’ll give him 2 in Technology (1 white,) to make him somewhat of a techie. So, 8 stones on his weaker form, halved for 4. That means he still has 40 stones to split on two forms. His transitional form will have the same agility, speed, intelligence, and all the same actions (that’s 5 white and 1 red), but I’ll add some Unstoppable, some Toughness, and Increased Strength and Durability. I’ll up his Strength and Durability to 4 (8 white,) Toughness (+2) with no AP and no 2x damage (6 white,) and Unstoppable 1 (2 white.) That leaves me 18 white, 2 red to improve my stronger form. I’ll do something similar, the same 5 white and 1 red for the old stuff (that leaves me with 13 white, 1 red.) I’ll boost the strength to 6 and keep the durability at 4 (5 white, 1 red.) I’ll keep the unstoppable of 1 (3 white, 1 red.) I’ll use that 1 red to purchase wealth 1, and I’ll buy Toughness (+4) with no AP and no 2x damage (12 white.) That leaves me with a deficit of 9 stones. How will I come up with 9 stones of challenges? I could just try to slip it by my DM, or I think of some challenges. Okay, he might lose his sense of touch as he gets more rock-like (2 white stones, cutting the challenge in half,) that leaves me 7. I decide to give him some special vulnerabilities. Rocks can be eroded, perhaps he can especially so, so I’ll say that he’s especially vulnerable (elemental sensitivity) to water and wind-based attacks in all his forms (both of those are common, so that’s 6 stones.) I need one stone left, so I decide to make him nearsighted (wears glasses,) so that puts me even.
Actions: Close Combat 2 (Strength bonus or Weapon Modifier) Social Skills 2 (Teenager, Academia) General Knowledge 1 (Intelligence bonus) Technology 2 (Intelligence bonus) Unstoppable 0/1/1 (Strength bonus)
Modifiers: Toughness (+0/+2/+4) no AP, no 2x damage Wealth (1)
Equipment: Unstable Molecule Costume: (+1) to Defense
Transformers can bring the noise and bring the funk, especially if they have a few disadvantages to their transform self, but if you’re willing to manage your stones accordingly. Next time, I’ll be looking into creating and purchasing equipment and building “gadgeteers” (tech-based characters.) See you then.
Post by dorkknight23 on Feb 6, 2006 13:21:40 GMT -5
Where did you get the disadvantage thingy from? It seems broken.
The Hulk took 'power out of control,' for example. Mastery of Magic also lists a "-1 discount" for Transform Self. So it can be done. Personally, I find it difficult to do in a really optimized way, unless you use 'can combine with ability/action/modifier' with Mastery of Magic. And it can be broken, but if you make a really powerful alternate form that can only be used in rare circumstances then it's all the more sensible.
Umm, I guess I was thinking of something different. I might use this with a twist.
I think there is a easier way. Power out of control is a disadvantage that gives you back a maximum amount of 10 white stones. So why don't you just subtract that from the price you paid for Transform Self. or whatever, it doesn't matter really.
Don't forget, there's ALWAYS a better way to make a character than to use Transform Self. Any character anyone ever makes with Transform Self, I can make tons cheaper with all the same mechanics, without using Transform Self.
Post by dorkknight23 on Feb 17, 2006 18:57:43 GMT -5
Building Blue Lighting 14 Equipment Or “Where Did He Get All Those Wonderful Toys?”
Some characters don’t have cool superpowers, but rely on cool equipment (like Hawkeye.) Others have minor powers with some cool toys (Black Panther, or Green Goblin.) Still, for those characters who use them, equipment can give them a real edge.
I’m not going to get too into the nitty-gritty of the equipment rules, so read them on your own. The pricing for Equipment is given on pages 90 to 91 in the Guide to Hulk and the Avengers.
What Equipment is Good For
Equipment is useful for two things: 1) Giving human-level characters powers that they normally wouldn’t have. For example, the average guy on the street can’t see in the dark, but with Nightvision Goggles which would give Enhanced Vision 3 (See in Darkness), he would. 2) Free stones. Free stones. Free. Stones. Modifier stones and actions except the stone are free are both handy ways for human-level characters (or supers with lower than average durability or intelligence) to get more stones for no energy. This fits well with the “gadgeeter” archetype of heroes relying on equipment to make them awesome crimefighters.
An Awesome Piece of Equipment
I’m going to talk about one of my favorite pieces of equipment. It’s not Captain America’s Shield, or Thor’s Hammer, although both are awesome. I’m talking about Daredevil’s Billy Club. For 18 white stones, Daredevil gets 4 free stones to either close combat, ranged combat, or acrobatics. You might say ‘Jeez, when will that ever come in handy?’ I’m going to bet the 4 actions Daredevil’s going to use the most (in no particular order) are: 1) Acrobatics 2) Close Combat 3) Concentration (which he gets +7 from radar senses) 4) Ranged Combat
So, Daredevil is getting a lot of free stones for the skills he’s going to be commonly using in his superhero guise. Suddenly, all those stones are worth it.
Sample Character: Hunter
My idea is to make a character with ordinary stats, but make him awesome through the use of equipment. I want to make a vigilante who’ll dress entirely in black, who will hunt criminals by turning invisible. To this end I think of what skills he’ll commonly use: primarily close combat and hunting/tracking. To this end, I’ll want the following pieces of equipment: a quarterstaff (with 2 weapon modifiers,) a mask that provides enhanced vision, animal senses, and sonar senses, a bulletproof costume, and a belt that grants invisibility. This one will be the most expensive, I’m thinking costing it at 6 will make him extremely difficult to detect except by very effective animal senses. 6+2+3=CL 11, or 20 white stones. Costly, yes, but it’ll save me stones. I’m going to give him every ability at 3 (7 white.) That leaves me with 13 stones left, before I think of challenges, so I’m going to have to figure out what I want for challenges: Extreme Hubris (holds himself above the law), and Won’t Let the Villains Escape (5 white stones, essentially a compulsion preventing him from letting anyone escape.) Now I have 20 stones left over. Let’s figure out his quarterstaff: I’d make it two (+2) weapon modifiers and make it indestructible for 3 white. Next up, the costume, (+2) and no 2x damage from firearms for 5 white. I have 12 white left before I think of his mask: Animal Senses (+4) and Sonar Senses (3) will keep me in business, for 3 white. I have 9 white left to spend on actions. I’ll buy Ninja at 2 (6 white,) Wealth 3 (1 white), Social Skills 2, Acrobatics 1, and Hunting/Tracking 3 (2 white.) However, I still feel like I could use some Reflexive Dodge and some Toughness, so I think about challenges: I’m willing to give him 5 stones for 2 sets of deadly enemies: the police, who view him as a dangerous vigilante, and the criminal community, who recognize him as a deadly opponent. With these 5 stones, I’m going to give him Reflexive Dodge (+2) and Toughness (+1) (5 white total.)
Name: Hunter Identity: Arthur Robins
Height: 5’11 Weight: 175 lbs. Eye Color: Brown Hair Color: Black Species: Human
Equipment: Bulletproof Costume: (+2) defense, nullifies 2x damage Quarterstaff: 2 (+2) weapon modifiers Mask: Provides Animal Senses 4 and Sonar Senses 3 Invisibility Belt: Invisibility 6 but the stones are free
Look at the way he conserves stones: Invisibility: no stones spent, plus he can catch any invisible opponents at up to 300 feet. Hunting/Tracking: +4 from Animal Senses. Ninja: (+4) from weapon modifiers Defense: (+2) from Costume, (+2) from Reflexive Dodge, (+1) from Toughness
So, he can pull off some amazing feats with little stone expenditure.
Conclusion Equipment can really help the human-level players play with the big boys. Next time on Building Blue Lightning I bring it all together with team-building. I’m going to build a Random Team, and preach the virtues of a multi-man team. See you then.
You should probably play up wealth in that. For a time, a wealth of 3+ was a staple in all the characters I used, because spending that initial quart-million was cheaper than spending stones (claws at 1 are like 3 stones, wealth 3 is 1 stone, and that $250,000 buys a +1 dagger, with a load to spare.)
I suppose the quintessential equipment character (in Marvel) is Iron Man, and its probably no surprize that his wealth is 8. Indeed, that is the number of Dr. Dooms wealth also. Daredevils wealth of 1 probably didnt take *too* long to pay for that billy club.
(on a side note, Spidermans wealth probably dosnt cover his equipment. -1 wealth was probably a little harsh, considering he has an (iffy) avenue of cash generation. I can only assume he stole the parts for the webshooters from University.)
Besides that, these writeups have all been superb, the fist person to make an unnoficial write up and include them WINS AT LIFE.
Post by dorkknight23 on Mar 11, 2006 20:07:26 GMT -5
Building Blue Lightning 15: Random Teams "How to, In the Words of Project Runway: Make it Work"
Many teams in Marvel’s history have formed seemingly at random: The Avengers, The New Warriors, The Defenders, The Champions, The Exiles... With this concept in mind, it is easy to see a team of heroes working together and deciding they like it. With that in mind, a randomly assembled team can work just as well as any multi-talent team. If they’re willing to work at being good that is.
Point 1: You Need a Leader.
Someone should take leadership responsibilities. If someone already purchased leadership at 2 or 3, then all the better, but, even if not, one or more of your team members should invest in leadership. This action makes fights go quicker and smoother. I recommend a character with a lot of energy to burn (either high durability or intelligence-based at 5 or above) be used for this function, this way they can be putting a lot into leadership and still being able to be helpful with, let’s just call a spade a spade and say “optic blasts.”
Point 2: What Each Position Should Be Doing
Your character should, either organically or intentionally, fit into one of the five roles: Close Fighters, Ranged Fighter, Scout, Master, or Support. A good multi-man team should have all the roles filled. Randomly found teams might not. In fact, if you look at a team like the New Avengers, there might not be a single master on the team, for example. This means you need to define your roles carefully.
Close Fighters: Your job is to keep any more sensitive characters protected from attacks. Draw the fire of enemy close fighters, ranged fighters, and other opponents. If more than 2 close fighters are on a team, one can focus on wiping out smaller opponents while one (usually with more toughness) wades through to battle with the big guys. Ranged Fighters: The close fighters should be out there drawing enemy fire. Use this to your advantage and snipe at opponents. Either hit the little ones or the big ones (if you feel your attacks can damage them.) If two or more ranged fighters are on a team, provide cover fire, alternating between attacking the bigger enemies and the smaller ones. Masters: Masters can easily fill the ranged role on a team, should they be present. Also, try to be creative to see when your powers can be used. For example, a Master of Ice could try and lower the ambient temperature of an area, trying to impose situational modifiers on the enemies (although, make sure your allies wear warm clothing in such a case.) Scouts: In combat, scouts are usually second fiddle to other fighters, usually not as good at is as those who focus on close and ranged fighters. Play a role analogous to a rogue in D&D, either flank your close fighters and try and either draw their fire or try to cut down on the enemies. If you can, sneak to the back and attack an undefended opponent, you can likely rank up some situational modifiers with that. Supports: It’s in the name. Support. Help your allies or hurt your enemies if you can. If you’re a support character filling another role (like Close Fighter) then see where you’re more needed, providing support or filling a combat role.
Point 3: The Fastball Special
Every team should think of ways to combine their own powers, like the X-Men’s fastball specials. Moving close fighters into range (like the fastball special) is one way to help. But, there are plenty of ways for characters to help one another. Using protective powers to add to their defenses is another option. There are many possible options, as long as you’re creative about how to use your powers.
Point 4: Teamwork Questionnaire
I made up a brief questionnaire for teams. This works just as well for random teams as it does multi-man or exotic teams, just non-multi-man teams need to be more creative about it.
Every member of a team should fill out this questionairre. A multi-man team should hopefully have a member prepared to fill most of these niches. A random team will have to rely on a lot of creativity and forethought to be prepared in case of...
How will your team deal with…? * Close Combat situations * Ranged Combat situations * Technological threats (robots, powered armor, etc.) * Occult/supernatural threats (demons, ghosts, masters of magic, etc.) * Multiple enemies * Teamwork/leadership responsibilities * The suppression or neutralization of powers * The possibilities of civilian casualties/”crowd control” * Protection of property * Negative conditions (poor lighting, etc.) * Infiltration exercises/scouting * Mind control/telepaths * Masters of Elements * Improvisation (quick-thinking) * Unusual terrain (underwater, zero-gravity, etc.) * Any combination thereof * Miscellaneous/Any other kinds of scenarios you can envision?
What are 5 things you can do with each of your actions or powers, alone or in concert? (Be creative)
What are 10 things you can do with your powers in concert with another character’s actions or powers? (Be creative)
A randomly assembled team can be just as good as a multi-man team. If the team prepares a little ahead of time to assess threats, and are creative about it, then they can do just as well as any mutli-man team.
Next time, I’ll be extolling the virtues of multi-man teams. See you then.
Post by dorkknight23 on Mar 13, 2006 11:12:48 GMT -5
With these 5 stones, I’m going to give him Reflexive Dodge (+2) and Toughness (+1) (5 white total.)
Actually I think it would cost 4 white total, because he has animal senses through his masc.
The rules for animal senses in the original book say that you get a -1 to Cost level of reflexive dodge if you have animal senses.
I thought about that, but he only has Animal Senses thanks to his equipment. Were I the GM, I would not give him that discount. Note I also bought hunting/tracking at normal cost, without the -1 to cost level. I think equipment providing actions or modifiers shouldn't give a discount to other actions or modifiers not included in the equipment. I suppose a GM could rule either way on the subject, but that's how I feel about it.
Post by dorkknight23 on Apr 9, 2006 20:55:32 GMT -5
Building Blue Lightning 17: Random Teams Or “When Heroes Stop Being Polite”
A lot of super-hero teams are assembled randomly. The Avengers are one such example, so are the New Warriors, and the Exiles. Only a lucky few (the X-Men, the Fantastic Four, Alpha Flight to an extent,) have the advantage of being able to pick and choose the roles to fill. A random team could very well be lacking in one of more of the multi-man roles, and this could make dealing with certain situations difficult. However, if played correctly, a randomly assembled team can be just as deadly as an efficiently constructed Multi-Man team like the Fantastic Four or the X-Men.
First off, any team benefits from one member or more having Leadership. If nobody starts with Leadership, a few players (2 in a game of size 4 or so) should dedicate some lines to learning leadership, those two can improve the actions or the other two (or the other one with leadership.) Telepaths or Masters of Magic benefit from learning leadership, because they cannot benefit from leadership themselves, which makes it more efficient for them to use it. The best characters to have leadership are those that have access to plenty of stones in a panel with a high regeneration rate (either Intelligence-based characters or Durability with a Healing Factor.) This will enable you to use more energy more often to help your allies.
The major point to remember is to try and play to your strength and neutralize your weaknesses. If you have a lot of close fighters, then rely on close combat skills. If you have a lot of ranged characters, snipe from a distance before closing in. If you have all scouts, then try to avoid combat and start ambushes whenever possible. This involves utilizing some strategizing. Figure out what your powers can do, especially to aid your opponents. Think of Wolverine and his signature Fastball Special. Figure out some kind of similar synergy that enables multiple powers to work together towards making the most effective combat out there. Boosted with leadership, this becomes even easier.
When assembling a random team, you might often start at a disadvantage compared to a multi-man team. However, with some skill, strategy, and synergy, even a team made up entirely of close fighters can become the best is the business.
Post by dorkknight23 on Apr 9, 2006 20:55:58 GMT -5
Building Blue Lightning 18: Multi-Man Teams Or “The Benefits of Planning Ahead”
The multi-man team is one of the most effective combinations for a team. This team should, ideally, include at least one person to fill each role we’ve described (close fighter, ranged fighter, master, scout, support, with at least one having leadership.) With a little of everything, nothing should surprise you, and you’ll have something prepared for any situation.
The important part of being a team: teamwork. Communicate with your fellow players, figure out strategies, and look out for the interests of the team and your goals and.
Close Fighter: odds are you’ll be able to take more hits than the others. Play to your strengths and wade into combat, either take out the opponents ranged characters (who shouldn’t be as good close up) to protect your weaker allies, or keep the enemy close fighters from closing in to injure your allies.
Ranged Fighter: one word: snipe. Hit opponents from a distance, preferably taking care of other ranged opponents or close fighters who your own close fighter isn’t dealing with.
Scouts: Your jobs are best suited for out of combat, but depending, you should double as either a close or ranged fighter. Play to those strengths and play as a second for either the close or ranged role.
Masters: Mastery requires a certain amount of creativity. You can just blast like a ranged combatant if the need requires, or (if you substitute your Mastery for an ability like Strength) you can play as a close fighter. Look for opportunities to manipulate the element of your choice in combat.
Support: Either aid your allies or hinder their opponents, to minimize injuries and thus ensure you can last the fight.
Leaders: Split leadership where you feel it’s needed (particularly against characters attacking stronger opponents, or characters who need more energy to be operating at full efficiency.)
Multi-Man Team Hall of Fame:
Two teams have made Multi-Man teams into an art. One is the Fantastic Four, the other is the X-Men.
The Fantastic Four: Mr. Fantastic (Support [Technology, Leadership]) Invisible Woman (Close Fighter, Scout, Support [Force Fields, Vehicles, Flight, Leadership]) Human Torch (Ranged Fighter/Master [Fire]/Support [Vehicles, Flight], a good Close Fighter) Thing (Close Fighter primarily, Support [Vehicles], decent Ranged Fighter)
Furthermore, if you look at the Four as members have gone on hiatus, they manage to replace those roles. The Thing was replaced by She-Hulk and Power Man (amongst others,) Mr. Fantastic by Ant-Man (as a tech specialist,) and so on. They manage to take five roles and divide them pretty well amongst four people. Although not my favorite team, I must admire how the Four’s put together.
The X-Men: (In particular, the Claremont-Byrne Era team) Cyclops (Close Fighter/Ranged Fighter/Support [Vehicles, Technology, Leadership]) Marvel Girl/Jean Grey (Close Fighter/Ranged Fighter/Support [Telepathy, Flight, Medical Healing, Leadership]) Nightcrawler (Close Fighter/Scout/Support [Medical Healing, Technology, Vehicles]) Colossus (Close Fighter/Support [Vehicles]) Wolverine (Close Fighter/Scout/Support [Vehicles]) Storm (Close Fighter/Scout/Master [Weather]/Support [Leadership]) Banshee (Close Fighter/Ranged Fighter/Master [Sonic]/Scout/Support [Leadership, Technology, Force Field])
All I learned about comic books I learned from reading X-Men, and all I learned about making an effective multi-talent team I learned from reading X-Men. The team has characters who fill multiple roles exceptionally well, with everyone having some sort of support function, in addition to filling multiple roles (Banshee can fill all five very well.) Not only that, the team was a tightly trained combat machine, well prepared for dealing with almost any scenario.
That’s all I have to say about multi-man teams. If you have a multi-man team together, then half your work is done for you in terms of making a well-balanced and efficient team.