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Would you allow this?


Mr. R
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So this summer I was visiting friends and family, including some old gaming buddies. They were describing a short lived Champions game to me Blew up because of a very inexperienced GM). Anyway one guy was describing his character, basically indestructable guy.

 

He described him this way: No attacks, strength normal, no movement abilities, but defence in the high 50s, Pow Def, Flash Def, Ego Def, and oodles of KB resistance. So he gets in front of the bad guy and taunts him to hit him, or provides cover for other team mates.

 

So------ would you allow this?

 

I'll give my answer in the first reply>

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Re: Would you allow this?

 

NO!

 

This is a one trick pony and will get boring real fast. As soon as the bad guys find out what holes you have, they will be all over it.

 

Entangles, TK, Picking you up and throwing you. If the fight moves else where, how long will it take to get back into action?

 

I predict after about 10 sessions, he will be complaining about having nothing to do. One trick ponies work in the comics like, the Blob keeping Wolverine busy. But that is because Blob has a mental power, Mind Control-Taunt Wolverine into attacking him, only works on Wolverine, 0 End, invisible effects. Otherwise known as writer's fiat. And I refer to Blob, because that was one of his inspirations.

 

So, next!

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Re: Would you allow this?

 

I would not allow Captain Invulnerable because, as Mr. R said, it would get boring real fast, and the bad guys would learn just as fast to simply ignore or entangle him. I would also let the player know this, so he knows it's not just arbitrary.

 

Would you allow a character starting off with SPD 12 and a 1d6 NND as his only attack?

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Re: Would you allow this?

 

I would discourage him from playing the character because I don't think he'll enjoy it all that much, but since he isn't game breaking in any way that I can see I would allow it.

 

So he taunts the bad guys. So what? They take a 0-phase action to soliloquy "Careful buddy. You might hurt my feelings," and then shoot his friends once they realize he can't actually do anything to them. This isn't an MMO where NPCs have to mindlessly attack whoever taunts them.

 

If he becomes too much of a nuisance someone will eventually entangle him, grab him and throw him, gas him, telekinesis him, or otherwise remove him from combat.

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Re: Would you allow this?

 

. . .Would you allow a character starting off with SPD 12 and a 1d6 NND as his only attack?

Kind of a similar answer there. I figured out a while back a good way to 'balance' damage. Take the chance the player has to hit (using their OCV againt a theoretical average DCV) as a value between 0 and 1, multiply that by the average damage they will do (usually figured by dice * 4 - theoretical average defense but that can change depending on things like armor piercing, NNDs, etc.) and multiply it by the characters speed. That gives me a rough idea how much damage a character might do in a round. If they have autofire, AoE's or other advantages it gets trickier but I have formulas to work that out as well.

 

Sample characters in the book seem to range around 70-90 points of damage in a turn using this method. This guy? He's going to average less than 40. Nothing game breaking about that.

 

Of course if he's got other abilities like Martial Arts that could change the picture considerably, but for now we're just assuming all he can really do is run around with a very high speed inflicting minimal damage.

 

That said I would probably force him to lower his speed anyway simply because of the headaches it can cause other players when someone has a ludicrously high speed. Having to wait while he decides 3 different actions that have negligible impact every time you want to make an action is going to get old in a hurry for a player. That's more of an OOC concern, however.

 

(edit: By OOC what I really mean is it is more of a practical consideration [players won't have fun because they have to wait so long] as opposed to a game balance issue.)

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Re: Would you allow this?

 

I'd allow it in a heartbeat, and am surprised that there was any question about it. Characters don't need to be optimized, nor do they even need to be reasonable builds. If the background and personality of the character fits the campaign, and the player wants to play it, then let them. I'll tell a player that I think a character is a bad idea, but in the end it's up to them. As for getting bored after 5-10 sessions, not a big deal. That character retires or goes solo, and another character joins the group. Happens all the time.

 

A character I played a long time was similar to this. I was sick of having superhuman characters be scared of agents with pistols, so I asked for a character that would be invulnerable to all small arms fire. These days damage negation would probably do the trick, but back in 1990 the GM said to use 3/4 damage reduction, 40 resistant defenses, and high CON. Bit more powerful that I expected, but as he only had 25 STR, he couldn't really hurt anything with powers in that campaign. I played him off and on for several years and enjoyed it.

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Re: Would you allow this?

 

Player and GM create characters together. It starts with Character Creation Guidelines and Description of the Setting. If a GM is inexperienced and the Player takes advantage of it the only the Player has fun. GMing is not supposed to be work, a chore, or punishment.

 

Gaming is about having fun. Not bullying a friend into getting what you want. The same goes for GMs who bully Players making the Game something you would rather avoid.

 

Apologies if this reads as a rant.

 

QM

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Re: Would you allow this?

 

. . .Gaming is about having fun. Not bullying a friend into getting what you want. The same goes for GMs who bully Players making the Game something you would rather avoid. . .

Which is why I took the path of 'discouraging it but allowing it' (except as noted with speed). I'd discourage it because I suspect the player will get tired of it after a while, but if there's nothing particularly game breaking about it then they aren't decreasing anyone else's fun so let them be. Maybe they do get some kind of weird fun out of it.

 

Requiring the player to take a lower speed falls into the exact same lines. In that case the problem isn't that they will overshadow the other players and decrease their fun but it is still an issue of them making things less fun for everyone else.

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Re: Would you allow this?

 

I'd be leery of such wide spectrum resilience, though I have no reservations about a character that's essentially physically invulnerable (having played one such myself and enjoyed it) OR mentally invulnerable OR unaffected by magic, etc. with little in the way of active powers. If the player is OK with being the tough guy who's not likely to be administering the coup de grace to any opponents, I don't see any great problem.

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Re: Would you allow this?

 

Player and GM create characters together. It starts with Character Creation Guidelines and Description of the Setting. If a GM is inexperienced and the Player takes advantage of it the only the Player has fun. GMing is not supposed to be work, a chore, or punishment.

 

Gaming is about having fun. Not bullying a friend into getting what you want. The same goes for GMs who bully Players making the Game something you would rather avoid.

 

Apologies if this reads as a rant.

 

QM

I let the players build their characters, read over the sheet and the back story (if any), ask questions and make commentary. Then, based on that, the player is free to make adjustments.

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Re: Would you allow this?

 

I played a character named Mr. Indestructable. There were some NNDs that could get him (and damage reduction worked against those). He did have a tendancy to attract the the brick who would want to see just how indestructable he was. He did get tossed from the field a few times. And he could do enough damage to not be completely ignored. (Note the power levels in the game ranged all the way from 8d6 to 30d6, based somewhat on Legion of Superheroes type action)

 

In the context of the game, he worked well.

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Re: Would you allow this?

 

IMO this is why campaign caps become important, because they do affect others fun. With no caps on things like defenses it is far too easy to build characters that are basically invulnerable, but still able to put out high damage. Granted in your case you said that he built him so that he wasn't, but if your not using any caps that is a huge concern. Caps also serve to encourage players to branch out. Now I will agree that this is very much an opinion, and others will differ, but without caps you are basically telling your players "Put all your points into attack, defense, and move, everything else is a waste of time". Because as soon as you let one person do something like that, the rest of the players either have to do the same, or go grab a snack during combat as Mr. Combat Whore can solo everything you throw at him (and frankly if your building something that he cant solo it will just obliterate any other type of character).

 

This does lead to character uniformity problems, and I understand that, and it doesn't accurately model comics. But comics are stories, not games. They are supposed to be fun. And like it or not combat takes a sizeable amount of time. If you don't balance PC's to ensure that they all can perform reliably well in combat, your basically telling them to skip that part of game night.

 

Again, YMMV.

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Re: Would you allow this?

 

I wouldn't worry about him being unbalancing. You're the GM, you always have more points. But I think the guy would rapidly get bored. It might be interesting for a one-shot game, but not a continuing campaign. Because he's basically playing Stan Lee in the Marvel movies. The superhero swings by, doing something cool, battling the villain. Stan Lee stands there and watches. He's not gonna get hurt because he's Stan Lee, but he can't ever do anything.

 

So he's basically an unkillable bank teller. Doesn't sound like fun to me.

 

If a player asked me if he could play this character, I'd tell him he'd be bored stiff and try to talk him into something that might be useful or fun. I don't have a problem with someone with beyond-campaign-normal defenses. But you gotta be able to do something too.

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Re: Would you allow this?

 

Yes, I would allow it. I would give some fair warnings to the player that it may, at times, be frustrating though.

 

But there's also going to be times when the villians will go out of their way trying to harm him, just to prove that it can be done, thus playing right into his shtick. There will be plenty of guys that are too stupid to realize just how toguh the palyer is (your Grond/Ogre types). Others simply won't know him by reputation and will have to figure out that he can't be harmed through trial and error.

 

I've seen more than my fair share of Immortal/Invulnerable types in comics - Britt, Buterball and to a lesser degree guys like the Mr Immortal or your typical Highlander knockoff. You also have Bulletproof over in Galactic Champions as an example form the books, thoguh I don't think he has all the exoitc defenses covered. A lot of those types seem to end up being leader/skill monkey as well (especially if they have age and experience on their side).

 

Did the character in question have any skills of note or did he spend all his points on being "invulnerable"? If the former, he could easily fill several roles out of combat...

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Re: Would you allow this?

 

IMO this is why campaign caps become important, because they do affect others fun. With no caps on things like defenses it is far too easy to build characters that are basically invulnerable, but still able to put out high damage. Granted in your case you said that he built him so that he wasn't, but if your not using any caps that is a huge concern. Caps also serve to encourage players to branch out. Now I will agree that this is very much an opinion, and others will differ, but without caps you are basically telling your players "Put all your points into attack, defense, and move, everything else is a waste of time". Because as soon as you let one person do something like that, the rest of the players either have to do the same, or go grab a snack during combat as Mr. Combat Whore can solo everything you throw at him (and frankly if your building something that he cant solo it will just obliterate any other type of character).

 

This does lead to character uniformity problems, and I understand that, and it doesn't accurately model comics. But comics are stories, not games. They are supposed to be fun. And like it or not combat takes a sizeable amount of time. If you don't balance PC's to ensure that they all can perform reliably well in combat, your basically telling them to skip that part of game night.

 

Again, YMMV.

There are other ways to keep characters on par than caps though. For example, the system I use is to have a defined average character. For every area that a PC is above that, they should be equally below it elsewhere. So you could totally make "Mr. Indestructable" but not "Mr. Omnicompetent" because that indestructability demands being weaker in other areas. Combine it with quick check by the GM (necessary even with caps) and you get (IME) a pretty good level of balance.

 

As for this particular character - it's not in danger of being overpowered, but it's definitely in danger of ending up too useless, and there's somewhat of a thin region for adjustments. I'd make sure the player knew what they were getting into, but not bar it outright.

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Re: Would you allow this?

 

Would you allow a character starting off with SPD 12 and a 1d6 NND as his only attack?

 

Kind of a similar answer there. I figured out a while back a good way to 'balance' damage. Take the chance the player has to hit (using their OCV againt a theoretical average DCV) as a value between 0 and 1, multiply that by the average damage they will do (usually figured by dice * 4 - theoretical average defense but that can change depending on things like armor piercing, NNDs, etc.) and multiply it by the characters speed. That gives me a rough idea how much damage a character might do in a round. If they have autofire, AoE's or other advantages it gets trickier but I have formulas to work that out as well.

 

Sample characters in the book seem to range around 70-90 points of damage in a turn using this method. This guy? He's going to average less than 40. Nothing game breaking about that.

 

Of course if he's got other abilities like Martial Arts that could change the picture considerably, but for now we're just assuming all he can really do is run around with a very high speed inflicting minimal damage.

 

That said I would probably force him to lower his speed anyway simply because of the headaches it can cause other players when someone has a ludicrously high speed. Having to wait while he decides 3 different actions that have negligible impact every time you want to make an action is going to get old in a hurry for a player. That's more of an OOC concern, however.

 

(edit: By OOC what I really mean is it is more of a practical consideration [players won't have fun because they have to wait so long] as opposed to a game balance issue.)

 

In my case, I did allow the character, not taking into account the player (who is a min-max/munchkin/rules-lawyer type). He had a few minor Limitations on the attack -- I believe a 15- Activation roll and Only in Hero ID -- which made an already relatively low-cost power even cheaper. What I didn't realize is what he planned to do, which was buy Autofire with his first points of XP. Since he had Shrinking, many of his attacks were by surprise, so his chances to hit with multiple shots were fairly high. Suddenly, that 40 average STUN a Turn jumps up to 80-120 or higher if foes are unable to perceive him. Soon enough, he's taking characters out in 3-4 Segments.

 

[Original attack: 1d6 NND (+1), Reduced END (0 END; +1/2), Activation 15- (-1/4), Only in Hero ID (-1/4) = 8 points]

[New attack: 1d6 NND (+1), Autofire (5 shots; +1/2), Reduced END (0 END; +1), Activation 15- (-1/4), Only in Hero ID (-1/4) = 12 points]

 

What I should have pushed him to dial back was the 12 SPD. Really, that was effectively the game-breaker.

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