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Four-armed combatant...a discussion


Boll Weevil
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Hi, heroes. As I've discussed here before my namesake hero, Boll Weevil, is an insect-powered martial artist that is not at all a Spiderman knock off. He has four arms which makes it difficult to buy clothing off the rack and is allows him to open the car door while carrying many groceries. I have seen a few write-ups for four armed characters including Grond. The not-so-jolly green giant bought Extra Limbs and also a +2 SPD (punching only, with a required skill roll). I have also considered Autofire as a naked advantage on Strength. There is no wrong answer here but I am curious to hear how others have approached this problem.

 

So let's hear it. How would you build it? Some builds like "The Big Wrap-up" I avoid in lieu of just letting strong characters do it if the materials are there. I don't mind paying for this one though as BW would use this ability often. Autofire with 4 limbs seems odd as I can't imagine him letting all four arms fly at once. Having him swing two arms together does make sense as an analog to two-fisted combat but Autofire doesn't work well with just one extra shot. How effective, then, would he be with just Extra Limbs and perhaps a Four-Armed Combatant skill roll? Without buying Ambidexterity I am guessing he would have one dominant arm and three "left hands".

 

Talk amongst yourselves.

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All of these approaches sound reasonable and appropriate. For my part, I've always been fond of an element that was originally part of the Extra Limbs Power, that the more limbs you bought, the more OCV HTH you would have. Based on the assumption that the more swings you can take at an opponent, the harder it is for said opponent to avoid them all. If you like you can Limit that extra OCV to Cost END over and above the STR expenditure, reflecting the extra effort needed to move all those limbs at once.

 

I've also always considered Extra Limbs to be a great justication for more CSL with the Sweep Maneuver, at one or multiple targets.

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I always liked +X STR only for Grabs (-X), uses all 4 arms (-0). In a Heroic game +5 STR (considered a doubling of STR) can make a big difference. Meanwhile, if you only Grab with 2 arms like normal you still have 2 free or hitting or whatnot.

Another thought is 2-weapon fighting. I know technically it is supposed to only be for armed combat, but I could see a GM allowing it for unarmed combat with the provision is was only used on a single target (or just buying the equivalent HtH CSLs with Limitations).

 

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I have played two four-armed bricks in my time. In 6e, we have chosen to write this up in one of two ways.

 

The simple way that costs more and will make your GM nervous = Buy extra SPD equal to your base speed with the limitation "only with Extra Limbs" from the power description.

This was fun and worked well in combat for my SPD 4/8 brick. Essentially I could only move when my base speed allowed (3, 6, 9, 12) but I could take other actions like attacking and blocking (but not move throughs and stuff) on every phase (2, 3, 5, 6, 8, 9, 11, 12).

 

The more complicated way that was cheaper and less potentially off-balancing = A combination of Rapid Attack, +2 OCV only with Extra Limbs, and Half-END on STR. The idea is that you can use the Multiple Attack maneuver for one extra attack almost at will.

 

In either case Extra Limbs (and possibly Ambidexterity) is needed.

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This is not RAW.

 

The Skill Two-Weapon Fighting (6E1 p92) cost 10points and offsets the first -2 OCV penalty for using the Multiple Attacks Combat Maneuver.

 

An option would be to buy this skill multiple times, each time offsetting the modifier.

So a 4-Limb Character could spent 30pts and purchase it three times allowing them to make four attacks at no penalty. A rule may want to be applied that a different limb must be used for each attack, but I would not make this a limitation.

 

You would still need to by the Extra Limbs and if you did not purchase Ambidextrous the Off-Hand penalty would apply to the attacks which do not use you primary limb.

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I'd certainly use it as an excuse to get some disads. Distinctive Appearance, and Phys Limit: Can't Buy Off the Rack.

 

In seriousness, extra HtH levels and some martial arts moves should cover a lot of the advantage that extra limbs give. As Cassandra says, keep it simple, it should be more about the character than the rules, right?

 

If you wanted to get extra fancy, a MPP with different "Four Arms" moves just like a brick might have a MPP of "Brick Tricks" might also do the trick. HA damage, Grab STR bonus, autofire on STR, etc...

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Penalty Skill Levels with Sweep. That lets you offset the CV penalties outright, you can attack multiple times per phase. Also, thematically appropriate, since what you're doing is a maneuver that is available to everyone else, but is intrinsically easier for your multiple-armed combatant.

Also, it's cheap, and really effective.

 

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Penalty Skill Levels with Sweep. That lets you offset the CV penalties outright' date=' you can attack multiple times per phase. Also, thematically appropriate, since what you're doing is a maneuver that is available to everyone else, but is intrinsically easier for your multiple-armed combatant. Also, it's cheap, and really effective. [/quote']

 

A character cannot buy an Offensive PSL to counteract

 

 

the standard OCV penalty imposed by a Combat (or Martial)

 

 

Maneuver, nor to counteract the Unfamiliar Weapon penalty.

Even if your GM allows it anyway,PSLs with Multiple Attack (Sweep in 5E) won't get rid of the DCV penalty (of course, neither does my earlier suggestion of Two-Weapon Fighting).

 

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It's been a while since I was here on the forae - but this subject caught my attention right away. :)

 

My last two PCs in Champions games have both been super-agile, multi-armed guys (one very obviously a Spider-Man pastiche as well with six arms, the other being sort of an avatar of cephalopods with eight tentacles sprouting from his back). Both were created using Fifth edition rules, so I'm not 100% sure how much this carries over to 6th.

 

In both cases, said characters were given Two-weapon fighting, rapid attack (HTH), several OCV levels with Sweep (with a 0-point lim "cannot result in positive modifiers, only cancels penalties), and a couple of DCV levels with the limitation "only to cancel penalties resulting from using the Sweep maneuver".

 

Total cost: under 40 points, IIRC.

 

As far as I was able to tell, this was all rules-legal - it allowed both characters to Sweep four or five times with no penalties to OCV or DCV, potentially in conjunction with a half-move. It could make for a positively disgusting alpha-strike - the only real limiting factor is the END expenditure (which I never bought down, just so it didn't get REALLY unbalanced).

 

(In my opinion: if you aren't using the hit location rules, you likely aren't applying damage to specific body locations at all, nor applying specific penalties to particular actions from damage taken as a result - in such cases, Ambidexterity is essentially flavor only, and shouldn't cost a full 9 points, if you even charge for it at all. Two-Weapon Fighting should cover it well enough in those circumstances that you shouldn't need to purchase Ambidexterity.)

 

In addition, I also purchased 3 overall skill levels (only for skills requiring physical manipulation, only to counteract the Hurried modifier as seen in Ultimate Skill) so that the time required for any task that depended primarily on handling and manipulating objects (eg. mechanical and construction-type tasks, cleaning the kitchen, organizing files and scientific samples, etc.) was shifted down a full increment on the time scale. For example: Kraken, cephalopod super-scientist, needs to reassemble the engine of the team jet in order to get to the next mission. For anyone else, the base time would be an hour - all his extra limbs working in concert allow him to do it in 20 minutes.

 

Not terribly overpowered (and only for about ten points anyway, IIRC) - but it made for some cool flavour on those occasions where it came up.

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Penalty Skill Levels with Sweep. That lets you offset the CV penalties outright' date=' you can attack multiple times per phase. Also, thematically appropriate, since what you're doing is a maneuver that is available to everyone else, but is intrinsically easier for your multiple-armed combatant. Also, it's cheap, and really effective. [/quote']

 

 

I asked Steve Long directly about this a few years back - Penalty skill levels can't technically be bought in this way (for 5th edition, anyway). As I mentioned in my above post, what you can do is buy CSLs with Sweep (2 points apiece), and apply a 0-point limitation to them (since they are too cheap to get any discount on) to make them only able to cancel out penalties, and thus unable to result in positive modifiers.

 

When all is said and done, you end up with CSLs that act exactly like PSLs would - I'd be inclined to simply call them PSLs anyway for simplicity's sake. :)

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the only problem with using sweep this way is the way a miss stops all further attacks from working

 

 

True enough. It is a bit of a needed balancing factor, though - as-is, a character built like this could easily make several attacks at full OCV and no DCV penalties!

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In 6th Ed sweep is not used, I believe it is now called Multiple Attack. If that is the case it should be noted that the rules specifically state that you CANNOT buy CSL's with Multiple Attack. You have to buy the CSL with the attacks you plan to use in the Multiple Attack (and note that since you can only apply CSL's that affect ALL the powers in the multiple Attack you generally can't use the really cheap ones. ) I suppose a GM might allow you to apply a Limited Power Limitation to them "Only for use with Multiple Attack" or some such but that is as close as you can get RAW to eliminating the penalty for attack more people. You could probably buy extra DCV as well (of course you will need twice as much as it will also be 1/2ed) with the same limitation to "counteract" the penalty if allowed. Of course personally as a GM I wouldn't rank that limitation very high (probably no more than -1/4) if it seemed like your character would almost always use a multiple attack anyway.

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In 6th Ed sweep is not used, I believe it is now called Multiple Attack. If that is the case it should be noted that the rules specifically state that you CANNOT buy CSL's with Multiple Attack. You have to buy the CSL with the attacks you plan to use in the Multiple Attack (and note that since you can only apply CSL's that affect ALL the powers in the multiple Attack you generally can't use the really cheap ones. ) I suppose a GM might allow you to apply a Limited Power Limitation to them "Only for use with Multiple Attack" or some such but that is as close as you can get RAW to eliminating the penalty for attack more people. You could probably buy extra DCV as well (of course you will need twice as much as it will also be 1/2ed) with the same limitation to "counteract" the penalty if allowed. Of course personally as a GM I wouldn't rank that limitation very high (probably no more than -1/4) if it seemed like your character would almost always use a multiple attack anyway.
Sound observations, sir. I'm less familiar with 6th edition; but after a cursory scan, some sort of Autofire seemed to be the best option for a multi-armed combatant (either as a naked advantage on STR, or on a HtH attack) when I was curious about doing a conversion of my characters some time ago.
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