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OzMike

Combat Skill Levels vs Martial Arts

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Re: Combat Skill Levels vs Martial Arts

 

Agreed. Try telling players they must pay 5 points to be a Mutant. You don't get anything for your 5 points other than the privilege of being a Mutant' date=' but you can't have your backstory involve being a Mutant unless you shell out the 5 points. At best, I expect your game will have no Mutants (which may be what you wanted in the first place ;) ).[/quote']

 

The old GURPS Supers did exactly that with the Unusual Background. 10-50 or more points to have an unusual origin for the campaign (I never used that, and I think it may have later been dropped). HERO has that as an option with the Advanced Tech perk, though arguably that's just a compromise charge for campaigns where equipment doesn't cost points.

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Re: Combat Skill Levels vs Martial Arts

 

I don't recall that Dark Champs Bats generally tends to fight those sorts of foes in his own books in Gotham, though. JLA Batgod might be able to mow through them easily, but then he's built on a lot more than 250 points.

 

It's just a matter of what tone of game you're aiming for. The statement that 'the least comic book MA can handle 4 or more Shield/Hydra/AIM agents with no problems' is disingenuous. That might hold true for 4-colour games but it does not hold across the full spectrum of comic source material.

 

EDIT: I'll also point out that 11/2 is a normal soldier, and ask, is it necessarily the case that all agents are so much better-trained than the regular armed forces? Are all agents from all potential agencies trained as much as special forces personnel are? 'Cause that's an awful lot of training, and realistically, not all agencies may be willing to afford it. Or if they are, they may not be able to afford it for all their agents, just as the army doesn't send everyone off for special forces training.

 

 

From my recollection at least in the Marvel Universe, the least costumed martial artist was Mockingbird, and she generally didn't have any problems with cannon fodder.

 

As far as training, I don't know about Hydra and Aim, but Shield agents are generally the creme de la creme of agents, and every one of them is probably equal to a special forces soldier. And based on what I've read of West Coast Avengers, IMO Mockingbird could easily clobber 4 or more of them.

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Re: Combat Skill Levels vs Martial Arts

 

I think much of the definitive problem is the idea of "normal" or "real people" being mistaken for the guy next door as opposed to "real" or "normal" people in drama and literature. gary has made a good point with Batman.

 

The characters played in the movies by Bruce Lee, Chuck Norris, Vin Diesel, in the movies or Tarzan, Doc Savage, Honor Harrington, or James Bond in literature are humans with environmental or training edges. No way can I be convinced that Tarzan or the iconic Bruce Lee could be built with 20STR or 20 DEX and 3-4 SPD. Their marked superiority to elite troops and even "boss" level baddies makes it hard for me to accept that the only choices are "reality" or "mutant".

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Re: Combat Skill Levels vs Martial Arts

 

I find it odd how one side will not comment on why it is appropriate for a normal to have to spend more points on a certain F/X than another. They talk about how the comic characters CAN simulate it with skill levels, they are right.

 

My question is why should they have to pay more points than there mutant partner who has agility based power

 

I have REPEATEDLY answered this question: Because it is their conception and that's what I say. You want the advantages for balance? If someone has a Drain Mutant Power power, the normal human doesn't get drained. If they go into a zone where no powers work, the normal human isn't effected.

 

I have also stated with the levels I play at, the extra cost is next to nill (and for that example Hugh, how could I change theconcept you never came up with one).

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Re: Combat Skill Levels vs Martial Arts

 

I have REPEATEDLY answered this question: Because it is their conception and that's what I say. You want the advantages for balance? If someone has a Drain Mutant Power power' date=' the normal human doesn't get drained. If they go into a zone where no powers work, the normal human isn't effected.[/quote']

 

If someone has a power that doesn't work on superpowered people, the normal human is affected. Should we charge extra for fire powers because Drain Water Powers doesn't affect those?

 

In my opinion, your answer reinforces JMOz' point. The only reason that "trained normals" pay more points is that YOU have decided that characters of that conception will pay extra points. It's no different than deciding that being a mutant costs 5 points, or that all magic-based powers cost double.

 

I have also stated with the levels I play at' date=' the extra cost is next to nill (and for that example Hugh, how could I change theconcept you never came up with one).[/quote']

 

You have stated it. Your examples have fallen far from proving it.

 

The example to which I refer was my example character who was a highly skilled, highly trained combatant who could match a superhumanly fast combatant in all respects in combat. You continually provided point disparity examples using levels in martial arts, when such a character should be equally accomplished in both HTH and ranged combat, and with combat maneuvers whether or not they are martial in nature. IOW, you provided a build which carried a point cost only marginally greater to be far less accomplished.

 

As to the "change your concept" approach, you can either be a trained non-super and pay extra points, or change your concept from a trained non-super to some other SFX to be permitted to pay the same points as any other character to achieve the same results.

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Re: Combat Skill Levels vs Martial Arts

 

Agreed. Try telling players they must pay 5 points to be a Mutant.

 

That analogy would only be appropriate if the GMs in question charged every training based character extra points. They don't. A more accurate analogy would be "Try telling players that they must pay 5 points if they want to be a mutant who uses guns".

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Re: Combat Skill Levels vs Martial Arts

 

You want the advantages for balance?

 

An advantage, not is disads or play, but in creation - what can this character buy that other characters cannot buy, or must pay a extra premium for. If there is nothing than you are biasing character choices by making that one character concept weaker than others. Period.

 

It is no different than "everyone can purchase AP, except energy projectors - energy can't cut armor down, so it costs energy projectors +1 for Armor Piercing"

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Re: Combat Skill Levels vs Martial Arts

 

That analogy would only be appropriate if the GMs in question charged every training based character extra points. They don't. A more accurate analogy would be "Try telling players that they must pay 5 points if they want to be a mutant who uses guns".

 

True - a normal human with no special abilities (what a great superhero :doi: let's say he has a 20 EGO and a suite of mentalist powers, but has normal human characteristics otherwise, so he's a normal human with mental powers) pays no extra cost.

 

How about "all characters who want magical powers must either be elves or pay double for all their magic powers, because elves are superior at magic"? I haven't ruled that having magical SFX requires your character to be an elf, but I've made fairly certain no one will want to play a non-elf magical character or, phrased alternatively, I have placed any non-elf magic using character at a disadvantage.

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Re: Combat Skill Levels vs Martial Arts

 

I think much of the definitive problem is the idea of "normal" or "real people" being mistaken for the guy next door as opposed to "real" or "normal" people in drama and literature. gary has made a good point with Batman.

 

The characters played in the movies by Bruce Lee, Chuck Norris, Vin Diesel, in the movies or Tarzan, Doc Savage, Honor Harrington, or James Bond in literature are humans with environmental or training edges. No way can I be convinced that Tarzan or the iconic Bruce Lee could be built with 20STR or 20 DEX and 3-4 SPD. Their marked superiority to elite troops and even "boss" level baddies makes it hard for me to accept that the only choices are "reality" or "mutant".

 

Very much so. Cinematic Normal is not the same as Real World Normal.

 

And honestly, we tend to underestimate Real World Normal as well. There are a few men on record who can qualify for a 23-24 STR in HERO terms just looking at their Deadlifts, and some of the old time strong men who never deadlifted might qualify for more based on what we know they did manage. While you can represent them with environmental lifting modifiers and the Hoist skill, it's mechanically simpler just to give them a STR 20+ and be done with it.

 

However, always, your campaign, your rules. I may be representing cinematic reality, but that's no reason why another GM shouldn't concentrate on Real World plus _____.

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Re: Combat Skill Levels vs Martial Arts

 

That analogy would only be appropriate if the GMs in question charged every training based character extra points. They don't. A more accurate analogy would be "Try telling players that they must pay 5 points if they want to be a mutant who uses guns".

 

Yeah, and Cable's player decided that if he had to pay those 5 extra points, he was really going to use those guns. :)

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Re: Combat Skill Levels vs Martial Arts

 

The example to which I refer was my example character who was a highly skilled, highly trained combatant who could match a superhumanly fast combatant in all respects in combat.

 

The problem with that example is that it is internally contradictory. Obviously the second character can not be superhumanly fast if a human is just as fast.

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Re: Combat Skill Levels vs Martial Arts

 

I think much of the definitive problem is the idea of "normal" or "real people" being mistaken for the guy next door as opposed to "real" or "normal" people in drama and literature. gary has made a good point with Batman.

 

The characters played in the movies by Bruce Lee, Chuck Norris, Vin Diesel, in the movies or Tarzan, Doc Savage, Honor Harrington, or James Bond in literature are humans with environmental or training edges. No way can I be convinced that Tarzan or the iconic Bruce Lee could be built with 20STR or 20 DEX and 3-4 SPD. Their marked superiority to elite troops and even "boss" level baddies makes it hard for me to accept that the only choices are "reality" or "mutant".

 

So what you're saying is, combat skills levels suck? It's better to put your points into DEX? This would suggest that DEX is undervalued.

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Re: Combat Skill Levels vs Martial Arts

 

So what you're saying is' date=' combat skills levels suck? It's better to put your points into DEX? This would suggest that DEX is undervalued.[/quote']

 

It is. Big time.

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Re: Combat Skill Levels vs Martial Arts

 

So what you're saying is' date=' combat skills levels suck? It's better to put your points into DEX? This would suggest that DEX is undervalued.[/quote']

 

The 5 and 8 point skill levels are overpriced in games with no NCM, though the 10 point Overall levels are sometimes worthwhile.

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Re: Combat Skill Levels vs Martial Arts

 

I find it vaguely amusing that some people in this thread seem to think characters like Captain America and Batman must be built with either high Characteristics or with Skill levels, as if the two approaches are mutually exclusive. I'd build either one with a combination of comfortably-above-normal DEX/SPD and Skill levels. Both are game mechanics, and represent metagamed aspects of construction.

 

Captain America doesn't say "Wow! Spider-Man's 38 DEX and 7 SPD sure makes him hard to hit!" He says "Wow, that Spider-Man sure is fast! I'll have to use all my natural abilities and training to hit him!"

 

We should not lose sight of the fact we're building characters; and characters (as opposed to constructs) sometimes require less efficient builds. But it shouldn't mean it always requires the less efficient build.

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Re: Combat Skill Levels vs Martial Arts

 

Captain America doesn't say "Wow! Spider-Man's 38 DEX and 7 SPD sure makes him hard to hit!" He says "Wow, that Spider-Man sure is fast! I'll have to use all my natural abilities and training to hit him!"

 

I've got the Captain Amercia Vs Spider-man special issue #37, the one with the gold foiled cover, limited edition, and that is the first thing you mentioned was exactly what he was thinking on page 7, third panel. :eg:

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Re: Combat Skill Levels vs Martial Arts

 

I find it vaguely amusing that some people in this thread seem to think characters like Captain America and Batman must be built with either high Characteristics or with Skill levels, as if the two approaches are mutually exclusive. I'd build either one with a combination of comfortably-above-normal DEX/SPD and Skill levels. Both are game mechanics, and represent metagamed aspects of construction.

 

Captain America doesn't say "Wow! Spider-Man's 38 DEX and 7 SPD sure makes him hard to hit!" He says "Wow, that Spider-Man sure is fast! I'll have to use all my natural abilities and training to hit him!"

 

We should not lose sight of the fact we're building characters; and characters (as opposed to constructs) sometimes require less efficient builds. But it shouldn't mean it always requires the less efficient build.

 

Agreed. I'd add (and I know this was implicit, I just want to bring it out a bit) that the Characters don't know their stats, or the mechanics used to build them. Captain America doesn't know that (in a given campaign) he has a Dex 29, 2 Overall Levels, and 6 3 point Levels with All American Fighting Arts (Default Element: Empty Hand, Weapon Element: Shield). He knows that he can hit almost anything, because in his campaign world he can.

 

We tend to get stuck on the mechanics and forget that, from our character's point of view, "they're not fighting a write up, they're fighting a tank" (Trebuchet, 2005).

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Re: Combat Skill Levels vs Martial Arts

 

So what you're saying is' date=' combat skills levels suck? It's better to put your points into DEX? This would suggest that DEX is undervalued.[/quote']

 

The problem is that there are two prices for stats, the pre-NCM price and the post-NCM price. At present, skill levels are overpriced compared to just buying +5 in the underlying stat. Paying 5 points for +1 to all PRE based skills will never be superior to buying +5 PRE for the same 5 points.

 

However, if we reduce the cost of skill levels to make them competetive in that environment, they now become underpriced in games where NCM applies, since I can get +1 to all the skills for half the price of buying up the stat.

 

Separate pricing for skill levels in an NCM game and skill levels in a non-NCM game could solve this.

 

I find 2 point skill levels (+1 OCV wth 1 maneuver) and 3 point levels (tight group) for the maneuvers the character uses most commonly can be ecoonomical for characters who have one primary attack, or whose attacks fall into a tight group. For characters with a wider array of attacks, no they are not cost effective.

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Re: Combat Skill Levels vs Martial Arts

 

We tend to get stuck on the mechanics and forget that' date=' from our character's point of view, "they're not fighting a write up, they're fighting a tank" (Trebuchet, 2005).[/quote']I said that? Damn, I'm smart! :D

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Re: Combat Skill Levels vs Martial Arts

 

From my recollection at least in the Marvel Universe, the least costumed martial artist was Mockingbird, and she generally didn't have any problems with cannon fodder.

 

As far as training, I don't know about Hydra and Aim, but Shield agents are generally the creme de la creme of agents, and every one of them is probably equal to a special forces soldier. And based on what I've read of West Coast Avengers, IMO Mockingbird could easily clobber 4 or more of them.

 

From what I could find on Mockingbird, she was a former Shield agent herself. For a 250-point NCM game I'd probably build her with somewhere between 17-20/4 to a Shield agent's 14/3. And she'd certainly have more levels than any agent. An average CV of 7-9 to a Shield agent's average CV of 5-6, probably better defenses, and better DCs... taking on 4 doesn't sound like too much of a stretch, if she can maintain a substantial DCV edge over them. And it's quite possible within NCM on a 250-point budget. But that's for a Dark Champions-style version of the character, and I don't get the impression that her native habitat is that gritty. For a more natural 4-colour feel for the character, play her at 350 and boost her CV accordingly.

 

Similarly, one *can* build an early version of Batman, within NCM, on 250 points. But if someone wants Batman to appear in their game, in many cases that won't be the version they are thinking of. (Certainly not one with only a single overall level and no CSLs to his name!)

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Re: Combat Skill Levels vs Martial Arts

 

In my opinion, your answer reinforces JMOz' point. The only reason that "trained normals" pay more points is that YOU have decided that characters of that conception will pay extra points. It's no different than deciding that being a mutant costs 5 points, or that all magic-based powers cost double.

I agree. So what? You don't let a trained human have a 60 STR when that would be more cost efficient than buying Martial Arts plus DC's there is NO DIFFERENCE. Sure you can use your "Genre Example" but, you've already agreed my way can simulate the Genre too. All you're left with is the basic fact that this is the EXACT SAME THING. You accept it with STR, but you don't with DEX.

You have stated it. Your examples have fallen far from proving it.

Of course they do, you keep changing it to suit your argument. If my example proves it, you add another "What If" so my example is no longer valid.

 

The example to which I refer was my example character who was a highly skilled' date=' highly trained combatant who could match a superhumanly fast combatant in all respects in combat.[/quote']

Okay NOW I have a concept I can work with. It's what you've stated, so no changing it, even when you see how rediculously easy it will be to prove I can make your coneption.

 

Okay, first thing we have to do is determine what a Superhumanly Fast Combatant is. Welp in my world 21 DEX is superhumanly fast.

 

Now we have to figure out how much more a person has to spend to make NCM of 20 DEX just as effective as a 21 DEX. Well let's see, first you have to buy Lightning Reflexes +1 for 1 point...Yep I see your point, to fit into your concept, I need a whole extra negative two points. Boy did you show me.

 

You continually provided point disparity examples using levels in martial arts' date=' when such a character should be equally accomplished in both HTH and ranged combat, and with combat maneuvers whether or not they are martial in nature. IOW, you provided a build which carried a point cost only marginally greater to be far less accomplished.[/quote']

Again I was working off half a concept, now that that's nailed down, I've solved the problem.

As to the "change your concept" approach' date=' you can either be a trained non-super and pay extra points, or change your concept from a trained non-super to some other SFX to be permitted to pay the same points as any other character to achieve the same results.[/quote']

Absolutely, just like you can be a trained non-super and have to buy a 20 STR plus DC's for Martial Arts, or you can change your concept and simply buy a 60 STR. Show me the difference.

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Re: Combat Skill Levels vs Martial Arts

 

An advantage, not is disads or play, but in creation - what can this character buy that other characters cannot buy, or must pay a extra premium for. If there is nothing than you are biasing character choices by making that one character concept weaker than others. Period.

 

It is no different than "everyone can purchase AP, except energy projectors - energy can't cut armor down, so it costs energy projectors +1 for Armor Piercing"

Actually it's more like saying "If your origin is you are a trained human you can't shoot fire out of your mouth." What are YOU giving trained humans to make up for that limitation?

 

You see EVERYONE does what I do, they just don't do it to DEX. The fact that someone is suggesting it, seems be mindblowing.

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Re: Combat Skill Levels vs Martial Arts

 

I have REPEATEDLY answered this question: Because it is their conception and that's what I say. You want the advantages for balance? If someone has a Drain Mutant Power power, the normal human doesn't get drained. If they go into a zone where no powers work, the normal human isn't effected.

 

I have also stated with the levels I play at, the extra cost is next to nill (and for that example Hugh, how could I change theconcept you never came up with one).

 

 

Ok, let me rephase: Why should this concept be unfairly punished because of your bias against it? How is the level of points valid, 1 point or a hundred you are still charging them points for the concept how is that FAIR

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Re: Combat Skill Levels vs Martial Arts

 

I agree. So what? You don't let a trained human have a 60 STR when that would be more cost efficient than buying Martial Arts plus DC's there is NO DIFFERENCE. Sure you can use your "Genre Example" but, you've already agreed my way can simulate the Genre too. All you're left with is the basic fact that this is the EXACT SAME THING. You accept it with STR, but you don't with DEX.

 

[snip]

 

Absolutely, just like you can be a trained non-super and have to buy a 20 STR plus DC's for Martial Arts, or you can change your concept and simply buy a 60 STR. Show me the difference.

OK, let's start with:

 

- 60 STR uses more END per Phase than equivalent damage with martial arts

 

- 60 STR costs more than equivalent damage with martial arts

 

- 60 STR provides additional PD

 

- 60 STR provides additional REC

 

- 60 STR provides additional STUN

 

- 60 STR provides additional Lifting capability

 

- 60 STR provides additional Leaping capability

 

- 60 STR provides additional Throwing capability

 

In other words, extra STR does not provide identical benefits to a character with martial arts who does the same number of damage classes. The martial artist gains:

 

- Lower END cost

 

- Some CV benefits

 

- several unique combat maneuvers

 

Hardly seems an even match, even if it were in concept for most martial artists to have 60 STR instead of a significantly lower STR plus Martial Maneuvers and Damage Classes. Some people actually build to a concept; not to maximum point efficiency.

 

You may feel that 21+ is "superhuman" in your campaign, but your campaign is not everybody else's. Many, maybe most, GMs are not going to consider that the break point for truly superhuman levels, especially in a Champions campaign (and this entire discussion is about Champions, not some other genre). Champions officially considers 30+ to be superhuman. Not 21+ unless the character takes the NCM Disad.

 

I as a GM wouldn't let a "trained human" concept exceed 30 DEX anymore than I'd let him buy 60 STR, but I would let him buy 30 in either Characteristic. You've been throwing around a 32 DEX straw man most of this thread when most GMs in fact probably wouldn't allow a 32 DEX to call himself a "normal" man in the first place. Of course, I wouldn't give either Batman or Captain America a DEX in the 30's either. They'd both be in the upper 20's with multiple Skill Levels; and both with a 6 SPD if I built them. Fast. Not superhuman.

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Re: Combat Skill Levels vs Martial Arts

 

Actually it's more like saying "If your origin is you are a trained human you can't shoot fire out of your mouth." What are YOU giving trained humans to make up for that limitation?

 

You see EVERYONE does what I do, they just don't do it to DEX. The fact that someone is suggesting it, seems be mindblowing.

 

I would allow a normal human to breath fire out of there mouth, I can think of three or four F/X for it. Including intence training in three different fields.

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