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I've decided vehicles and barriers have to be the bane of any new GM. (Using Champions Complete)

 

Hamster ball number 1: A size one enclosed vehicle - the dreaded power armor.  Why is vehicle armor so cheap, and not increased in cost like automatons immune to stun are?  The DC cap in the game is 12, and 16 points of hardened and impenetrable PD/ED makes the thing basically indestructible. I understand why the player wanted to go in that direction (aside from avoiding the stun) - he wanted to spend a hundred points on skills and other things and not be at a disadvantage in combat when compared to the other brick, who has ... demolitions and breakfall ... and a vehicle is a stupidly effective way to do so.

 

The vehicle also has flash defense, power defense, and mental defense, and can teleport - he's a long term champions player and has had some savage "GM vs Player" GMs before - so is paranoid that the moment he doesn't have those defenses they'll be exploited, as they always have been.  Which is why I straddle the line when I wish he didn't have some of those defenses ... so I could challenge the team (ie 'exploit them').  He can't always be responding to another distress call - the player wants to play the game with his friends, not just be at the same table as them doing his own thing.  

 

Hamster ball number 2: A mobile, dismissable, unanchored, fixed shape (globe) barrier with no range. He uses Telekinisis and Mental Blast as his attacks, so being unable to attack through his own barrier isn't a problem. A near literal hamster ball.  He didn't go the usual 'highest pd/ed I can afford, 1 body' route - he went 1 pd/ed and as much body as he could afford (because he thought the other way was 'overpowered').  I kind of like this one. Strictly speaking, it's not as effective - it can be burned down by a handful of enemies using submachine guns in a hurry - but he's got some resistant defense underneath to take the edge off of overflow damage before he can recreate the globe, and at speed 6 he's fast enough to put it back up before real harm is done most of the time.

 

Hamster ball number 1 I'm at a loss to challenge in a fight (I can't in good conscience throw Entangles or englobing Barriers with cannot be escaped with Teleport at him every session of his existence, after all). While that's fine (there's more to a game than fighting, and a reason he wanted his skills, contacts, bases, and everything else that was previously 'hindering' his character in a fight) to a certain extent it's making the other brick feel redundant (he joined the group after her), as she is tough as nails but still takes stun damage from max DC attacks and has been overwhelmed and stunned by combined attacks a few times, whereas the suit has never taken body (and has regen 1/turn just in case).

 

(At a loss to challenge in a fight without completely overwhelming the very human pilot within, that is - as a GM it's easy enough to destroy any character ... such as fielding an enemy like Shrinker, with phasing and an affect physical world power who phases through the vehicle into the cockpit and knocks out / kills the pilot.  That would get old really fast and is no different than saying 'rocks fall, you die')

 

Hamster ball number 2 I'm just wondering if it's legitimate.  I can't see any reason it's not, but again in certain situations (facing down a single supervillain or two using a cap level attack) it nearly completely removes any sense of 'peril' from the enemy (his 'under-armor' is sufficient to make taking body or even stun from any kind of overflow unlikely).

 

Though a 1 pd / 1 end 37 body Barrier did have one unexpected surprise for him one session - Armadillo tunneled through it like it wasn't even there and nearly knocked his block off.

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Just a couple responses, more from our fellow posters to follow:

 

Hamster ball #1:  Most GMs would rule that power armor must be bought as a focus.  

 

Vehicle needs serviced from time to time.  Make sure this happens on screen.  Ensure that he gets caught in a fight without the armor sometimes.

 

Hamster ball #2: TK doesn't work through barriers without an Indirect Advantage, unless that's a 6e change.  A tank of spray paint would make the ball opaque, and partners could be Holding Phases to attack when he drops the ball.  Also, the wet paint may then drop on him, coating him, including his eyes, etc.

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All you really have to do is occasionally hit the vehicle with some Body damage.  A simple 1d6 Killing Attack with the Penetrating Advantage will do the job.  As long as the other campaign Brick also has Regeneration of some form this shouldn't unbalance things.  In fact it should re-balance them since anytime the 'vehicle' takes Body Damage the following table should be consulted.  Even the vehicle's 'repair system' (Regeneration) could be lost if enough separate instances of Body damage occur.

 

From 6e2 page 195
 

VEHICLE DAMAGE TABLE
Roll 1d6 Vehicle Loses
1 One 2x Noncombat Movement multiplier
2 10m of Combat Movement
3 Vehicle’s largest Power
4 10 STR
5 5 DEX
6 1 SPD

 

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From what the OP said that attitude is what caused this in the first place

 

Now as a GM you could go for some AVAD's ,Indirect , and multiple levels of Penetration are your friends

use his strengths against him

a bunch of agents w/ 1d6 x2 pen Neutron bolt rifles would reek havok

 

this is an update of an attack from the 3rd ed GADGETS book

Neutron bolt:  RKA 2d6, Does BODY (+1) (60 Active Points); Attack Versus Alternate Defense (ED; -1 1/2)

normally neutrons would just pass through any target ,    Resistant def slows down the neutrons and the bleed of energy geting converted to heat and radiation to do damage  the target

 

 

 

Slap the player a couple times until he apologizes.

 

 

Slap the player a couple times until he apologizes.

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The powerset isn't campaign appropriate just  because a vehicle can buy it cheaper. Figure out how much the equivalent level of PD/ED would cost a character and hold him to that total plus 1. 

 

Or be nice and and restrict him to 12 PD/ED. He'll still bounce campaign average attacks but will take some damage which his auto repair will fix.

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I would still say my original answer is the most prompt solution.

However have you tried just telling him his design is asshattery and to not do it?

 

Vehicles get large discounts because like other perks they have limitations and can come and go at a whim.

As a GM, I would not bother scouring the rules for a solution I would just let the player know it is unacceptable. What he wants is the skills of the skill based characters and the powers of the tank.

I have seen this with "Power Sword" build guy and "power armor" guy. So all their powers and characteristics have limitations effectively giving them double points. Then when you let their focus get taken away they feel frustrated, but that is part of the limitations nature and when they take it they are agreeing to the limitation.

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I missed the fact that the 'vehicle' had Hardened & Impenetrable defenses in the OP.

I would disallow that. That level of defense should be reserved for truly unique 'items of power' like Cap's Shield, Thor's Hammer, Wonder Woman's Lasso, etc...  NOT Iron Man's armor without the addition of an 'active defense' (force fields or such that uses up power reserves).

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Of course the armor is hardened and impenetrable.... he's learned the hard way with a long list of killer GMs the folly of doing it otherwise.  It's why I *don't* go the route of 'oh yeah, well, penetrating * X+1!"  It's a simple solution, but it gets into an 'arms race' between player and GM that I don't find constructive.  He's a good player and a good friend, but he's damaged goods when it comes to trusting any GM (every RPG his characters are built to be as hard to disable for the GM as possible because of how he's been worked over by his last GMs), and I don't need to feed that distrust.

 

We've talked about limiting it to 12, but his concern comes from the lack of rules in Champions Complete.  Clearly his Resistant Defense is the largest Power in the armor, so even taking 1 point of damage and rolling a 3 would eliminate it, meaning the next hit would severely cripple and the one after likely destroy it (it has 20 body).  So it's frustratingly hard to challenge AND made of glass.  He might be more willing to the idea if the rules say that armor isn't on the list of Powers that can get turned off - he'd probably be cool with taking a point or two of body every once in a while if it meant his cannon went offline, or he lost a sense, or the flight engines go offline until repair.  Maybe that's us misinterpreting the rules or building the vehicle wrong?  If the armor was bought as base PD/ED instead it couldn't be taken off the list, could it?

 

Nobody's touched the soap bubble barrier yet, so I assume the power scans as legit (and the paint idea is hilarious and WILL come up, as I have an enemy group which thrives on such insane tactics).  But if it is legit, what would be the difference between allowing it (nearly indestructible vs single tough opponents) and allowing the vehicle? That's kind of been a point of debate in my mind - do I houserule that all characters must take stun, even if it makes no sense?  What if his concept was 'drone pilot' instead, and he sat in the Base, spending his points of vehicles with AIs, and just oversaw them through a video link, giving the AI commands? Size 0 is a real thing for a vehicle size, and can fit wherever a standard character can. Would I demand his army of remote control toys take stun? Those are better built as Automatons with the appropriate modifiers (which makes it pricier to achieve the same results, but the same results can be achieved... with now the added headache of 'I deploy 8').  There are far worse ways to break a champions game's level of power than having a single indestructible unit kicking around at the end of the day - I'm mostly concerned for the morale of other players.

 

(Our biggest rule is "At the end of the day, when the stars align and your shtick goes off in full... how much fun is it for the other players?" Both he and the psychic are close to skirting that line, but they're both good concepts well executed, so I've been hesitant to say 'no, bad... rebuild using shifting campaign limits because I didn't think things through when designing them')

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I like the idea that the armor itself is not a power that can be randomly shut down - it's the whole physical suit, so it seems like it would be the last ability to go, not the first.

 

I always like a similar construct used against the players - how happy will the team be fighting a Big Bad with a similar construct a few Defense (or BOD for the Barrier) bigger than the one a single PC has? If the ability is abusive for an enemy, it's abusive for an ally as well.

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Hugh Neilson, above, has it right.  Rule those out as inappropriate builds for villains or heroes, etc.  Also see "If you min-max all the time, you will make enemies of your fellow players. For the purposes of Champions, no one wants to be the guy who kicks the kryptonite out of the way for Superman."  -Balabanto

 

An armored car has only 8 DEF, so 12+ DEF for a PC vehicle would be too high for me, let alone with those Advantages. 

 

The Big Bad, as Hugh described above, may not have higher DEF or BODY than the PC, but could be plural instead, such as a version of Aaron Allston's Steel Brigade power armored goons, space marines, or bio-driven alien world conqueror machines ala the Mechanoids, serial numbers filed off of the latter to protect rights.

 

Sm_classes.jpg

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The second guy is tough but there can be handled. Use Flash, AVAD vs Flash, Darkness, Tunneling, or auto-fire as mentioned above. Since his bubble is Mobile, Bricks can grab and throw him vs 3 DCV. Other Mentalists can attack him and he loses his attack when he has to reset his Barrier. He is far more vulnerable to agents than most supers if very tough vs one or two opponents.

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This concept reminds me of the Amazing Turtle from Wild Cards, he owned a junk yard and was the worlds most powerful TK, but he had no defenses, so he built a heavily armored tank like shell to float around in.

In his first fight with a powerful opponent they disabled his camera's.

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I considered throwing an 'Evil Twin' at the team, but it would have to be more of a 'mirror match' - my players work really well as a team (honestly, power armor guy spends more  time using Dive for Cover to intercept attacks leveled at the psychic or glass cannon than punching things.) and while the armor provides a decent chunk of mental defense it's mostly the team psychic using mind control defensively that keeps him from being turned into a turnip against the psychic enemies they face.  While he's being a team damage sponge the other brick is rampaging around the battle map beating things up - and would have an exact replica evil twin of the armor grappled in a heartbeat (being 30 points of strength stronger).

 

I don't want to discourage that in any way.  He's not saying 'Stay and guard the base. I've got this.' and clearing adventures himself... I wish he was because it would be easier to crack down on.  

 

 

The second guy is tough but there can be handled. Use Flash, AVAD vs Flash, Darkness, Tunneling, or auto-fire as mentioned above. Since his bubble is Mobile, Bricks can grab and throw him vs 3 DCV. Other Mentalists can attack him and he loses his attack when he has to reset his Barrier. He is far more vulnerable to agents than most supers if very tough vs one or two opponents.

 

Ok, I flat out missed  that it takes an attack action to activate the barrier defensively.  I thought the attack vs DCV 3 was reserved for using it at range - otherwise why would it be on the list of powers you can abort to?

 

The player would be fine with spending the attack action - I just want to make sure that's the proper ruling.

 

"The Big Bad, as Hugh described above, may not have higher DEF or BODY than the PC, but could be plural instead, such as a version of Aaron Allston's Steel Brigade power armored goons, space marines, or bio-driven alien world conqueror machines ala the Mechanoids, serial numbers filed off of the latter to protect rights."

 

They fight ai controlled automatons immune to stun all the time.  Their main antagonists use them to help capture new psychics to indoctrinate (one of the first fights as a team was one of these "psychic press gangs" trying to get the team psychic, which is how he became 'team psychic').  They typically have defenses of 8, or 6 and 50% damage reduction.  The other brick actually has a low point compulsion towards breaking things, and loves, loves, LOVES when enemy robots show up.

 

One enemy robot had a 14 - after a few whacks doing 0 the stronger brick put a 40 ton water tower on top of it and walked away.  Its still twitching hand has become background scenery for downtown scenes a few times.

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I considered throwing an 'Evil Twin' at the team, but it would have to be more of a 'mirror match' - my players work really well as a team (honestly, power armor guy spends more  time using Dive for Cover to intercept attacks leveled at the psychic or glass cannon than punching things.) and while the armor provides a decent chunk of mental defense it's mostly the team psychic using mind control defensively that keeps him from being turned into a turnip against the psychic enemies they face.  While he's being a team damage sponge the other brick is rampaging around the battle map beating things up - and would have an exact replica evil twin of the armor grappled in a heartbeat (being 30 points of strength stronger).

Of course, the Mirror Team can use the same tactic, potentially reducing a battle to rocket tag, if both sides have equal knowledge of the other.

 

"The Big Bad, as Hugh described above, may not have higher DEF or BODY than the PC, but could be plural instead, such as a version of Aaron Allston's Steel Brigade power armored goons, space marines, or bio-driven alien world conqueror machines ala the Mechanoids, serial numbers filed off of the latter to protect rights."

 

They fight ai controlled automatons immune to stun all the time.  Their main antagonists use them to help capture new psychics to indoctrinate (one of the first fights as a team was one of these "psychic press gangs" trying to get the team psychic, which is how he became 'team psychic').  They typically have defenses of 8, or 6 and 50% damage reduction.

So toss in the experimental Mark V version whose defenses match the Powered Armor vehicle. Their other abilities should be no better than his, and ideally a bit less. If it's not abusive for him, it's not abusive for them, right? Watch the ensuing combat. Do the players complain about how tough these new opponents are? If they do, them point out (only at the end of the fight) that those were the exact same defenses Power Armor Man has, AND they had weaker other abilities - if that defense build overpowered for them, isn't it also overpowered for him? Let's talk about what the campaign limits should be.

 

In my own game, I would be reluctant to allow "only BOD gets through" defenses in excess of the campaign standard DC limit. A normal attack would get something through only on an above average roll and a KA would usually slip a point or three past defenses. I would, however, agree that his armor is not subject to random disabling (ie the defenses would be the last thing to go, simulating near-total destruction of the suit as everything else is already disabled).

  

Ok, I flat out missed that it takes an attack action to activate the barrier defensively. I thought the attack vs DCV 3 was reserved for using it at range - otherwise why would it be on the list of powers you can abort to?

You can abort to any Defensive Power.

Yup - it takes an attack action. And if he aborts, he loses his next phase anyway.

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Toying with the idea of removing the DC limit, allowing rebuilds, and then watching him drown in his own paranoia trying to maintain absolute immunity, knowing in his heart of hearts that a 40d6 (60? 80!) blast could be out there waiting for him, or a 60 active point standardized drain speed, or a 24d6 mind control...

 

Honestly, it's probably the best political decision *and* it provides more leeway for challenging the group, since I was using the same caps. 

 

I am going to take the suggestions here and mirror match them, however - been looking for an excuse to run a few sessions on Multifarian Earth, anyways.

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DC caps are for players, not GMs.

 

Even ignoring that, a 4d6 KA is 12 DC, and can do more than 16 points on a good roll. So can a 3d6 KA, but obviously less often.

 

NPCs can push and use haymakers too.

 

A 5d6 RKA is only 15 DC, and will do an average of 17.5 body.

 

The first guy is far from invulnerable.

 

The second one is interesting, but stoppable.

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Another thought: how comfortable are you with maths?

 

If you can, do a probability chart, and work out how frequently the first character will take Body from a 4d6 KA.

 

It will happen, and it might happen frequently enough to keep him in line.

 

I would rather a character who can be stunned though.

 

PS: I've just done a probability chart, and a bit less than one hit in four will do body. That works for me. He's tough, but he's not invulnerable.

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