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Mr Smith from the Matrix


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#1 g3taso

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Posted 22 August 2017 - 09:18 PM

I'm trying to model this right, and I can't seem to find a really good match. The power is how Mr Smith "rewrites" other people to become part of the Legion of Him in the matrix. The description below is from Toben the Many, a Ravenloft villain and arguably one of the most chilling concepts I ever ran across that also has the same exact effect:

 

"The creature can imprint its personality onto all of its spawn. All of the spawn and the original creature are constantly aware of each other's environment. Each sees, hears, and feels what the others experience. This multi-consciousness perspective does not impair the original creature or its spawn in any way. "

 

  Mind Seed / Toben the Many: Major Transform 1d6, Partial Transform (+1/2), Armor Piercing (+1/2), BOECV (Mental Defense applies; +1) (45 Active Points)  

This is what I have got, but I'm not entirely happy with it. Any other approaches?



#2 Surrealone

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Posted 22 August 2017 - 10:04 PM

To do it properly (per Smith in the film), you'd have to Transform the Body, Mind, AND Spirit (a la 5ER p238, since I gather from BOECV that you're using 5E or 5ER), otherwise you don't get a complete re-write.  i.e. Unless you transform all three aspects, you've re-written the Body but not the Mind, or the Body and Mind, but not the Spirit; you get the idea.

 

With that in mind I think you need a Transform for each of the three aspects ... with them linked.  I think you're also missing the No Range and 0 DCV Concentration limitations exhibited in the film.  You're probably also missing the 'Only works in The Matrix' limitation, since Bane (who was also part of Smith's Legion ... but outside of The Matrix) had no ability to add members to the Legion ... and was, himself, only transformed in Mind and Spirit (since he still looked like Bane ... instead of Smith ... i.e. no Transform to the Body was done).

 

As for the shared consciousness piece exhibited by Smith -- that's just a big Mind Link -- sized for the number of members of the Legion you need -- potentially taken with the Feedback limitation since, you know, Neo destroying Smith fried his entire Legion.  I do -not- think you'd get to take that Mind Link with 'Any Distance' since, again, Bane was an outlier who was disconnected from the shared consciousness of the Legion, despite being a disjoint part of it.


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#3 DasBroot

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Posted 23 August 2017 - 08:17 AM

I agree with the triple transform probably being the best bet but remember the Oracle was still in there during the last confrontation (at least for one line) and that her 'Smith' was the one to face Neo because it was the most powerful (since she was the most powerful entity he absorbed - city shaking and all).  

 

A case could be made for Mind Control (perhaps Possession from one of the advanced power guides?)  with a cosmetic transform linked to it - just to a degree that only the most exceptional could have a chance of making a breakout roll.

 

If it weren't for the 'power' he absorbed from the Oracle a case could be made for a linked killing attack and a weird limitation on duplication (can only create new duplicate when a target is 'absorbed' (killed by the killing attack)).  Neo survived the first encounter because he has more Body than a regular person. :) Combined with a Ego + huge Telepathy roll to absorb all their knowledge as well.


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#4 massey

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Posted 23 August 2017 - 10:22 AM

Well, there are several ways to do it "right".  You have to look at cost vs effectiveness when you're building something like that.

 

I've always had a problem with the triple-transform, since Hero has no rules for someone's "spirit" (not since 4th ed anyway, and the spirit rules weren't talking about the same thing).  That seems like a very genre-specific element that isn't represented in the Matrix movies.  In other words, what is the gameplay difference between something that only only transforms body and mind, versus body, mind, and spirit?  I can't think of one.

 

There's also the issue that Transform is an attack.  It's used as an attack, and it's costed as an attack.  The cost of a Major Transform is based on the cost for RKA, the idea being that if you can kill somebody, you might as well be able to change them into stone or whatever else.  This was explicitly stated in 4th, I don't know if the same language is in later editions.  And most of the time, Smith isn't in a situation where he needs to use an attack.  Most of his transformations occur offscreen, or affect individuals who show up only to be transformed.

 

I would say the simplest method is to just use Duplication.  That's really what he's doing.  It's just that the special effect of his Duplication is that he's changing nameless NPCs (who for gameplay purposes didn't even exist until he needed to change them into himself) into his duplicates.  When he transforms nameless homeless dude pushing a cart into another Agent Smith, that's just Duplication.  That homeless dude didn't even exist until Smith's player said "I run over and turn some homeless guy into another me".  There's no need to roll damage or anything because it's an automatic success.  The GM doesn't have character sheets for all 9 million people in the city, he didn't have a plan for that particular homeless dude.  That guy wasn't holding his action or doing anything important related to the scene.

 

It's like having a brick having a 12D6 Energy Blast, defined as "tear up chunk of sidewalk and throw".  You don't have to waste your actions ripping up a piece of concrete from the ground, you just use the EB because that's the fastest and easiest way.  You can always find something to pick up and throw, because you bought it that way.  Smith bought his Duplication, defined as "turn random passerby into another me".

 

Now, he probably also has some form of Transform or HKA to use against people that have actual character sheets.  When the goal is not just to make another you, but also to "get rid of this guy attacking me", then you need something more.  I'd suggest that there's no real need for a 3-stage Transform.  You're just killing the guy, an HKA would be fine.  You're attacking people who aren't going to have either Power Defense or Resistant PD (other than Combat Luck).  We don't see how the effect would work on somebody like Ben Grimm, so we don't know exactly what defense he was targeting.  HKA should be fine for that world.  Then once you kill the guy, you use your Duplication again.  No need to mess with somebody "healing back" from your Transform, or defining a process to reverse it (we don't see any in the movie except for Neo, if I remember correctly -- the movie was terrible so I only saw it once).  So HKA works, just kill the guy and then Duplicate again.


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#5 massey

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Posted 23 August 2017 - 10:26 AM

I agree with the triple transform probably being the best bet but remember the Oracle was still in there during the last confrontation (at least for one line) and that her 'Smith' was the one to face Neo because it was the most powerful (since she was the most powerful entity he absorbed - city shaking and all).  

 

A case could be made for Mind Control (perhaps Possession from one of the advanced power guides?)  with a cosmetic transform linked to it - just to a degree that only the most exceptional could have a chance of making a breakout roll.

 

If it weren't for the 'power' he absorbed from the Oracle a case could be made for a linked killing attack and a weird limitation on duplication (can only create new duplicate when a target is 'absorbed' (killed by the killing attack)).  Neo survived the first encounter because he has more Body than a regular person. :) Combined with a Ego + huge Telepathy roll to absorb all their knowledge as well.

 

I'd suggest that the dude he takes over in the real world, and absorbing the Oracle, are both plot devices that are one-off events.  There's only one Oracle, and so absorbing her and gaining her knowledge would basically be a campaign goal for Smith.  It's an excuse to spend a lot of XP and get knowledge that he previously wouldn't have had.  The dude he woke up inside in the real world, that's the result of plot complications and the interactions of weird powers.  Smith didn't really expect that to happen.  So that's just an example of the GM being like "okay, now this other thing happens".



#6 Surrealone

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Posted 23 August 2017 - 11:34 AM

 

There's also the issue that Transform is an attack.  It's used as an attack, and it's costed as an attack.  The cost of a Major Transform is based on the cost for RKA, the idea being that if you can kill somebody, you might as well be able to change them into stone or whatever else.  This was explicitly stated in 4th, I don't know if the same language is in later editions.  And most of the time, Smith isn't in a situation where he needs to use an attack.  Most of his transformations occur offscreen, or affect individuals who show up only to be transformed.

Easily solved with a Non-Combat Only [-1] limitation.


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#7 massey

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Posted 23 August 2017 - 11:43 AM

Easily solved with a Non-Combat Only [-1] limitation.


It's just unnecessary. His power is primarily just to summon a horde of goons. Exactly how he does it is less important than what he does.

A car doesn't need Energy Blast, only to ignite gasoline in the pistons. It just needs Running.
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#8 Surrealone

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Posted 23 August 2017 - 02:50 PM

It's just unnecessary. His power is primarily just to summon a horde of goons. Exactly how he does it is less important than what he does.

A car doesn't need Energy Blast, only to ignite gasoline in the pistons. It just needs Running.

I disagree, as the power could also be interpreted to mean he converts a bunch of goons into members of his horde (which is, you know, what the power actually does in the movie).  While that may seem like semantics, it isn't -- specifically because Summoning your own goons still leaves the same number of potential opponents before you, but converting someone else's goons into your own reduces their numbers while increasing yours.  This latter situation isn't properly represented by Duplication ... or Summon.

 

Your 'car' example fails to account for this interpretation/use of the power, by the way, since adding to its Running doesn't reduce that of its opposition, but adding to your horde of goons by transforming somone else's goons into your goons ... DOES reduce the ranks of your opposition.

 

You also can't handwave that conversion away as 'Duplication's SFX' just because you envision it as a non-combat ability, since someone outside of combat can use it on goons who are near a combat but also outside of that combat -- thereby precluding those goons from eventually getting involved in the combat ... which, of course, impacts combat when its time for the goons that were Transformed to get involved.  Duplication completely fails to account for that scenario ... since the affect goons on the opposing side would no longer be potential opponents ... and Duplication didn't convert them into friendlies; instead it just gave you more friendlies to use against your opponents...


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#9 mrinku

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Posted 23 August 2017 - 05:20 PM

Stepping back slightly, from how I read his posts the OP does sounds like he's after the effect and not just the special effect. In fact, he seems far more interested in the personality takeover than any physical change, and THAT sounds a bit like Mind Control to me... possibly supplemented by a Mental and/or Spirit Transform, though regular Mind Control is capable of making a target think they're someone else at high enough effect. On the other hand Mind Control takeovers have more wiggle room to be reversed than Transforms.

 

If you're just after the effect of cloning your intellect onto a target, Mental Transform is usually sufficient. You may see some variation among your horde depending on how you interpret the Mind/Spirit vagueness, but they'd all think the same and have the same intellectual motivations - which presumably would include working together as a horde. Mental only horde members may still be attracted to different genders, have different phobias etc and probably more scope to throw off the possession if "Spirit" based triggers came into play (perhaps if a loved one was about to be executed by the horde). Mental+Spirit would shut that down better.

 

But I agree that within the context of the Matrix, Smith's power is pretty much just Duplication.



#10 g3taso

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Posted 23 August 2017 - 07:45 PM

Self duplication, and inclusion into the gestalt consciousness of the greater whole.



#11 Greywind

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Posted 24 August 2017 - 08:05 AM

Duplication

Mink Link

Requires other bodies


With your shield or on it.

 

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#12 indy523

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Posted 02 September 2017 - 11:11 PM

I agree with the triple transform probably being the best bet but remember the Oracle was still in there during the last confrontation (at least for one line) and that her 'Smith' was the one to face Neo because it was the most powerful (since she was the most powerful entity he absorbed - city shaking and all).  

 

A case could be made for Mind Control (perhaps Possession from one of the advanced power guides?)  with a cosmetic transform linked to it - just to a degree that only the most exceptional could have a chance of making a breakout roll.

 

If it weren't for the 'power' he absorbed from the Oracle a case could be made for a linked killing attack and a weird limitation on duplication (can only create new duplicate when a target is 'absorbed' (killed by the killing attack)).  Neo survived the first encounter because he has more Body than a regular person. :) Combined with a Ego + huge Telepathy roll to absorb all their knowledge as well.

 

The Duplication could have a limitation Must have random human battery to take over -1/4L.  That way the GM could tell the Smith character, npe sorry there is nobody around to see NEO so you can't find him, thus Neo gets out of the Matrix.



#13 g3taso

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Posted 03 September 2017 - 08:03 AM

So for a 250pt character (as example) you propose 

 

Duplication (creates 250-point form), Cannot Recombine (+0), Usable As Attack (+1) (100 Active Points); Personality & Knowledge Only (-1)

 

As I understand it, this allows the character to transform a mook or other unimportant person into another Mr. Smith. As mentioned above I am primarily interested in duplicating Mr. Smith's mind and impressing it on another person. As in the movies, this is a permanent transformation.



#14 DasBroot

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Posted 05 September 2017 - 10:04 AM

This is definitely sounding more and more like "Possession" from the APG - with a cosmetic transform.


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*silence*

".... it was a *big* rock."


#15 g3taso

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Posted 06 September 2017 - 07:33 AM

Not at all. It's a killing attack. Instead of killing them, they become you. 



#16 massey

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Posted 06 September 2017 - 10:15 AM

I disagree, as the power could also be interpreted to mean he converts a bunch of goons into members of his horde (which is, you know, what the power actually does in the movie).  While that may seem like semantics, it isn't -- specifically because Summoning your own goons still leaves the same number of potential opponents before you, but converting someone else's goons into your own reduces their numbers while increasing yours.  This latter situation isn't properly represented by Duplication ... or Summon.

 

Your 'car' example fails to account for this interpretation/use of the power, by the way, since adding to its Running doesn't reduce that of its opposition, but adding to your horde of goons by transforming somone else's goons into your goons ... DOES reduce the ranks of your opposition.

 

You also can't handwave that conversion away as 'Duplication's SFX' just because you envision it as a non-combat ability, since someone outside of combat can use it on goons who are near a combat but also outside of that combat -- thereby precluding those goons from eventually getting involved in the combat ... which, of course, impacts combat when its time for the goons that were Transformed to get involved.  Duplication completely fails to account for that scenario ... since the affect goons on the opposing side would no longer be potential opponents ... and Duplication didn't convert them into friendlies; instead it just gave you more friendlies to use against your opponents...

 

I apparently missed this response earlier.

 

I think you're trying to "abuse-proof" a build.  In other words, you're trying to force a theoretical player into having the most comprehensive version of a power possible because of how this person might want to use it.  I don't think that's necessary.  The power works how it is built, the player can't take the special effect of a power and then expand it to its logical extreme without purchasing it that way. You're looking to prevent a potentially sneaky player from taking advantage of a cheap power to simulate an expensive one.  The simple solution is to just say "no, you didn't build it that way", rather than require a build that is so expensive that the player is unlikely to be able to afford it in the first place.

 

I just rewatched this train wreck of a movie a few weeks ago.  I hadn't seen it since it came out, and now I remember why.  In the film, we see Smith use this power in two ways.  The first way is as an attack.  He sticks his hand into somebody and aggressively converts them into a copy of himself.  We see him do this, I believe, 4 times.  He uses it against a random lady, he uses it against an Agent, he uses it against that guy he possesses in the real world, and he uses it against Neo (where it fails).  So the first way, once is against a hapless bystander, the other three are against potential opponents.  This method is going to require some form of attack power.

 

The second way Smith uses it is to just bring more hims to the battle.  His duplicates just show up out of nowhere.  I mean, I guess he was offscreen somewhere, turning normal people into more Smiths.  That's the implication.  But we don't see it happen that way.  Most of the time, in fact, this is what Smith does.  More hims just come out of the woodwork.  The easiest way to represent this, in Hero, is with Summon.  The only people he is turning into more Smiths are background characters who, for game purposes, didn't really exist beforehand.  The GM is very unlikely to have the entire city written up with character sheets.  We don't need to know how much Body poor little Suzy has.  We just need to know that 5 more Smiths just ran out of that building.

 

In this particular campaign, Smith is not going to be fighting a horde of goons who he can instantly wipe out with his Summon.  Anyone who is onscreen as an active opponent will have to be taken out by the "stab you in the chest with my hand" attack power.  But the guys who just show up out of nowhere are perfectly fine as Summoned dudes.

 

The third movie, I'm not going to watch again.  It's just not worth it.



#17 massey

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Posted 06 September 2017 - 10:41 AM

So here's how I'd build Smith.  I'm going to take some shortcuts here, because it's just for example purposes.  Adjust the exact stats to your preference.  I'm also gonna estimate point costs, because I'm just writing it out here and not going to run it through HeroDesigner.  5th edition rules.

 


Ex-Agent Smith

 

Str 25

Dex 23

Con 25

Body 10

Int 18

Ego 20

Pre 20

Com 10

 

PD 20

ED 20

Spd 6

Rec 10

End 50

Stun 50

 

 

+4 HTH levels

+2 Ranged levels

 

(while Ex-Agent Smith supposedly still has Agent-level reflexes, he only really fights Neo, and we don't see him do the "9/9 Combat Luck, costs End, must abort next phase" super-dodge that other Agents do)

 

Martial Arts, up to about 10D6 damage

 

Mind Link w/ other Smiths

 

Make More Me's Multipower

u -- 6D6 RKA, no range, all or nothing, full phase

u -- Summon Smith (300 pts?  however much he is), variable limitation (either "must follow RKA", or "must arrive under own power").

 

There you go.  That's a basic Smith.  So if an opponent is onscreen, he tries to ambush them with his killing attack.  He kills them, and then on his next phase he can use the Summon to create another him.  Visually it looks like one continuous thing.  As far as game mechanics go, it's two separate Powers being used.  Or he can just stand there and Summon a guy who he has previously created somewhere else.  This is where we see a Smith stick his head out of an upstairs window and then jump down and run over to the fight.  It's gonna take him a while to get there, but he's coming in from offscreen.  For him to kill off the entire planet, and make it Planet Smith, he's got to get more XP and probably play through his own story arc.


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#18 g3taso

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Posted 06 September 2017 - 03:10 PM

In this case I'm not going for a "convert main characters" attack and tend be lean along the lines of working this on mooks for sheer availability and convenience and nothing else. Not that I would be averse to an attack against real characters though.



#19 Sean Waters

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Posted 14 September 2017 - 06:54 PM

Have you thought of EDM to a reality where there are more of you and fewer of them?

 

No?

 

Probably for the best.

 

If this is a NPC power, just let it happen, you control how and when it happens so you do not need to worry about the mechanics of the build, just apply whatever rules you feel are appropriate.  I trust you, you are the GM.

 

If it is for a player, no no, noity no, noity no no no no, I think not.


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