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Steffen

Overpowered or not (Metamorph with all the Powers)?

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Hello!

 

I would like to know what you think about a problem we are having in our group.

Sorry for the long post. :)

 

We have just started a new superhero campaign with four players (plus GM), two of whom have never played Hero before. We have played twice and one of the Hero newbies is already starting to feel disadvantaged.

 

In the beginning the GM asked everyone what kind of superhero we wanted to play. He also asked us to have a theme for our characters. I wanted a telekineticist, another player chose a magical girl inspired by Princess Butterfly and the player in question wanted to play a character who could increase his characteristics (he planned to use Aid for this).

His wife didn't really know what to play but said she would also be interested in Telekinesis so I decided to drop my idea and made a Spider-Man inspired character but with reptile-based powers instead, starting with enhanced Strength, Speed and Dexterity, the same characteristics the other player chose to increase with Aid.

 

For information:

We are playing characters at the start of their career with 50 CP for the unpowered human and 50 CP for superpowers with an AP limit of 25 points.

My wish list includes increased physical Characteristics (main focus on agility), moderate Resistant Defenses, Clinging, Enhanced Senses (Nightvision and Smell), Regeneration and some other reptile-derived powers.

 

After the first two sessions the GM was still struggling to understand the actual theme of the player in question and discussed this with him. The theme is defined as “total body control” with the character modifying his body as needed. The character should be able to become superstrong, supertough, invulnerable, superfast, be immune to diseases and poisons, breath underwater, change shape etc.

He wants to buy powers more or less in in this order:

Increased physical Characteristics (all of them, including resistant defenses), Healing, Enhanced Senses, body modifications like gills (life support) and Extra Limbs (tentacles, additional arms etc.). He also wants movement powers like Flight and Clinging and also Shrinking, Growth, Stretching and Density Increase.

 

The GM decided that having all these options would make the character way too powerful and asked the player to narrow down this ultimate metamorph to a more specific theme. He also remarked that this character could eventually do everything my character can do. The player said that it would take a very long time and lots of CPs to reach his goal and also asked the GM to have me change my powers so that our characters would not overlap.

 

While I'm not really happy with changing my character again and probably won't do it I'm somewhat annoyed by this discussion and want it to end so I told the GM that he should simply allow the concept because the other player really will have to narrow down his choice because of the limited CPs. I also mentioned Plastic Man as an example of a superhero with similar powers but the GM still wants a more specific concept.

 

What do you think? Who is wrong, who is right? Is anyone right at all? What would you do?

 

Thank you!

 

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My usual route for someone who wants to be able to do everything is to say yes but your "theme" is therefore versatility and because you can do everything you can do it less well than specialists, so if the usual energy blast is 10D6, every power man has 8d6 or 9d6.  If the usual force field is 20PD 20ED thenevery power man has 17 or 18.

 

everything, just a little bit less of it....

 

Doc

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Maybe instead of a Morphing character, he could change his concept into a robot character that could do a lot of those things.  Machine-Man comes to mind as a character with a lot of surprises up his sleeve.  Maybe that player wouldn't mind changing to a robot or a cyborg type of concept that could do a lot of those things that he mentioned?

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Stick to your guns.

 

The guy has two basic options - lots of powers, justified by the "total body control" special effect, which are going to eat up points like crazy if they're all in play at once OR being able to choose what he's good at right now through a variable Power Framework (Multipower/VPP).

 

Some characters from the comics that operate in the latter mode are Ultra Boy, Metamorpho, Beast Boy and Plastic Man. Ultra Boy has all of Superboy's powers - but only one at a time. Beast Boy can turn into any animal - but has to accept everything that goes with the chosen form (Mind you, being able to change into a bird to get height and then turning into an elephant to drop on someone is pretty good...)

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The problem lies in the "what he can do right now" area.

 

Given the minuscule point total described, it seems likely that the two characters are going to be very similar for a long time.

 

That might not work out.

 

In the long run, the more narrowly focused character will become better at what he does than the character who tries to do everything. It's quite conceivable that the latter might find himself under-powered!

 

The GM is probably wrong when he thinks that the 'does everything badly' character is over-powered.

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I think the GM is also mistaken about the characters overlapping.

 

You're going to actually buy Dexterity and Speed, while Metamorph Guy is using Aid to boost those? He's vulnerable to Dispel, and has to burn phases to build those up and keep those powered up - you don't. If you both end up with Clinging, it's not exactly going to cramp your style any more than if you both had Flight, or were both brawlers. Probably you'll both have different Complications.

 

Chameleon Boy is another character who fits his concept, possibly closer than the others:

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reep_Daggle

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19 hours ago, mrinku said:

I think the GM is also mistaken about the characters overlapping.

 

You're going to actually buy Dexterity and Speed, while Metamorph Guy is using Aid to boost those? He's vulnerable to Dispel, and has to burn phases to build those up and keep those powered up - you don't. If you both end up with Clinging, it's not exactly going to cramp your style any more than if you both had Flight, or were both brawlers. Probably you'll both have different Complications.

 

Chameleon Boy is another character who fits his concept, possibly closer than the others:

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reep_Daggle

 

He may be vulnerable to Dispel but unless the GM specifically goes out of his way to have a villain prepared to Dispel the Aid, it's probably not going to happen.

 

(A general question to everyone who's used Aid: have you had it Dispelled before? More than once? I know I've never run into it but that's just me.)

 

A long time ago - and I mean looooong ago when the campaign was still relatively new - a friend and me ran into the 'power overlap' situation. "Hey, we're both bricks." What differentiated us was our concept and some minor powers one had the other didn't. I wouldn't worry about having powers overlapping/being relatively the same. It's your concept & background,  and how you play them, that will help make them different. Having the Aid power makes that hero unpredictable because the roll might be low one time, high another time. Perhaps the Aid should be limited to one roll per adventure.

Ask the GM to allow your character. Is having two characters similar to each other in powers such a bad idea? No, unless one decides to try to be a glory-hog in which case that is a player problem.

You pointed out that you are all new to the Hero Games system. Allow each other to make errors during games, to change things as needed, even create new characters or allow similar ones. Doing this gives you experience to know your own playing style(s), which is important. When I first started with the group I have, we went through a 'hero of the week' phase where me and another player kept trying out lots of different new characters and probably retiring them just as quickly. The other players rather enjoyed this phase of endless creativity. You or someone else might find they want to try a different type of character after playing a few games, and the GM should allow it while everyone is still new.

I don't think anyone is in the wrong here. This is a time of character and game system learning and this discussion reflects it.

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1 minute ago, Doc Democracy said:

 

It is nice of you to welcome him, but he has been here since 2008! :-)  Just not as vociferous as some of us!

 

Oh. I only saw the number of his posts.......   you're still welcome here! :)

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Thanks a lot, Tech. :)

 

...and of course thanks to everyone who replied.

 

In the meantime the GM and the unhappy player had another conversation and have come to an agreement.

The character will now simulate animals powers but only the powers of one animal at a time, similar to the DC superhero Vixen. This will only include still existing animals, no extinct species or mythical creatures.

The player still has to decide if the character will always keep his human form (disallowing Flight), shapechange partially (like arms to wings) or completely change into animals.

 

While the GM thinks that this will result in an interesting and flexible character he also thinks that the player still feels too restricted. Hopefully he will come to like the concept.

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On 12/3/2017 at 12:49 AM, Steffen said:

Hello!

 

I would like to know what you think about a problem we are having in our group.

Sorry for the long post. :)

 

We have just started a new superhero campaign with four players (plus GM), two of whom have never played Hero before. We have played twice and one of the Hero newbies is already starting to feel disadvantaged.

 

In the beginning the GM asked everyone what kind of superhero we wanted to play. He also asked us to have a theme for our characters. I wanted a telekineticist, another player chose a magical girl inspired by Princess Butterfly and the player in question wanted to play a character who could increase his characteristics (he planned to use Aid for this).

His wife didn't really know what to play but said she would also be interested in Telekinesis so I decided to drop my idea and made a Spider-Man inspired character but with reptile-based powers instead, starting with enhanced Strength, Speed and Dexterity, the same characteristics the other player chose to increase with Aid.

 

For information:

We are playing characters at the start of their career with 50 CP for the unpowered human and 50 CP for superpowers with an AP limit of 25 points.

My wish list includes increased physical Characteristics (main focus on agility), moderate Resistant Defenses, Clinging, Enhanced Senses (Nightvision and Smell), Regeneration and some other reptile-derived powers.

 

After the first two sessions the GM was still struggling to understand the actual theme of the player in question and discussed this with him. The theme is defined as “total body control” with the character modifying his body as needed. The character should be able to become superstrong, supertough, invulnerable, superfast, be immune to diseases and poisons, breath underwater, change shape etc.

He wants to buy powers more or less in in this order:

Increased physical Characteristics (all of them, including resistant defenses), Healing, Enhanced Senses, body modifications like gills (life support) and Extra Limbs (tentacles, additional arms etc.). He also wants movement powers like Flight and Clinging and also Shrinking, Growth, Stretching and Density Increase.

 

The GM decided that having all these options would make the character way too powerful and asked the player to narrow down this ultimate metamorph to a more specific theme. He also remarked that this character could eventually do everything my character can do. The player said that it would take a very long time and lots of CPs to reach his goal and also asked the GM to have me change my powers so that our characters would not overlap.

 

While I'm not really happy with changing my character again and probably won't do it I'm somewhat annoyed by this discussion and want it to end so I told the GM that he should simply allow the concept because the other player really will have to narrow down his choice because of the limited CPs. I also mentioned Plastic Man as an example of a superhero with similar powers but the GM still wants a more specific concept.

 

What do you think? Who is wrong, who is right? Is anyone right at all? What would you do?

 

Thank you!

 

 

What are CPs?  I'm a 5th Edition player.

 

I have a multiform Template that could take care of some of the players request.

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Val Char Cost

20 STR 10

18 DEX 24

20 CON 20

12 BODY 4

13 INT 3

11 EGO 2

20 PRE 10

18 COM 4

6 PD 2

4 ED 0

4 SPD 12

10 REC 4

50 END 5

32 STUN 0

Total Characteristics Cost: 100 Points

 

Cost Powers

15 Armor +5 rPD +5 rED

50 Multipower (50 Points)

5 u) EB 10d6

5 u) Multiform: 250 Points

5 u) Multiform: 250 Points

15 EC [Metamorph]-15 Points

15 1) Flight 10", 8x NCM

15 2) FF +10 rPD +10 rED, No END (+1/2)

Total Powers Cost: 125 Points

 

 

Val Char Cost

50 STR 40

15 DEX 15

25 CON 30

14 BODY 8

13 INT 3

10 EGO 0

20 PRE 10

18 COM 4

25 PD 15

15 ED 10

4 SPD 15

15 REC 0

50 END 0

52 STUN 0

Total Characteristics Cost: 150 Points

 

Cost Powers

10 Damage Resistance 10 rPD 10 rED

20 ES: Active Sonar, UV Sight

37 Flight 10", 8x NCM, Usable Underwater (+1/4)

8 LS: Breathe Underwater, High Pressure, Intense Cold

Total Powers Cost: 75 Points

 

 

Val Char Cost

20 STR 10

23 DEX 39

20 CON 20

12 BODY 4

13 INT 3

11 EGO 2

15 PRE 5

18 COM 4

6 PD 2

4 ED 0

6 SPD 27

10 REC 4

50 END 5

32 STUN 0

Total Characteristics Cost: 125 Points

 

Cost Powers

15 Armor +5 r PD +5 rED

10 Clinging 50 STR

15 EC [Super-Speed]-15 Points

15 1) FF +10 rPD +10 rED, No END (+1/2)

15 2) STR +30

15 3) Stretching 4", No END (+1/2)

15 4) Swinging 10", 8x NCM, No END (+1/2)

Total Powers Cost: 100 Points

 

 

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Sorry to bother you but I'll post this anyway. 😉

 

I'm not sure how long it will take our GM to come to an end (hopefully only two more sessions) but when the adventure is finished we will never ever again play HERO with the players of the metamorph and the telekineticist.

The HERO system is simply not the right game for players who get an important part of their roleplaying fun from finding and using just the right combination of powers and abilities. This is possible and probably intended for Pathfinder but a bad idea in HERO.

Hardly knowing the rules (the telekineticist player) and refusing to accept the GM's authority to set the basic campaign parameters (both) doesn't help either.

 

Well, the experiment failed and we are richer for the experience...

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On ‎12‎/‎3‎/‎2017 at 5:31 AM, Doc Democracy said:

My usual route for someone who wants to be able to do everything is to say yes but your "theme" is therefore versatility and because you can do everything you can do it less well than specialists, so if the usual energy blast is 10D6, every power man has 8d6 or 9d6.  If the usual force field is 20PD 20ED thenevery power man has 17 or 18.

 

everything, just a little bit less of it....

 

Doc

This is spot-on.

 

4 hours ago, Steffen said:

The HERO system is simply not the right game for players who get an important part of their roleplaying fun from finding and using just the right combination of powers and abilities. This is possible and probably intended for Pathfinder but a bad idea in HERO.

 

Hardly knowing the rules (the telekineticist player) and refusing to accept the GM's authority to set the basic campaign parameters (both) doesn't help either.

Actually, the Hero system is a fantastic game for players who get an important part of their RP fun from the discovery and implementation/use of 'just the right combination' of powers and abilities.  However, it's a terrible system for someone who wants to do so without consuming and understanding every nuance of the rules … most especially if said someone won't accept the GM's authority, which is final.

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20 hours ago, Surrealone said:

Actually, the Hero system is a fantastic game for players who get an important part of their RP fun from the discovery and implementation/use of 'just the right combination' of powers and abilities.  However, it's a terrible system for someone who wants to do so without consuming and understanding every nuance of the rules … most especially if said someone won't accept the GM's authority, which is final.

 

Systems like Pathfinder give the GM and players clear rules for what is possible and allowed and clearly show which abilities a character can have at any given level while HERO only suggests rough guidelines and grants a lot of freedom.

This makes the GM directly responsible for the restrictions he imposes on this freedom in order to keep the game balanced and the campaign world in accordance with his vision. And if some players argue about every restriction that is not explicitly mentioned in the rules or resent the GMs rulings because they think they are arbitrary this will get arduous very quickly.

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The guy, being new to the system, wants to play a "comic book" character, while Champions is a "superhero" RPG.

 

In comics, powers are very poorly defined.  This is intentional.  It lets the "title" hero be very strong one month and just not quite strong enough the month after that.  It also lets the title hero have whatever power that happen to need just when they need it.  Think Batman '66's Utility Belt, or Superman's Super Knitting.

 

So while comic books work that way, Champions DOSN'T.  

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1 hour ago, phydaux said:

The guy, being new to the system, wants to play a "comic book" character, while Champions is a "superhero" RPG.

 

In comics, powers are very poorly defined.  This is intentional.  It lets the "title" hero be very strong one month and just not quite strong enough the month after that.  It also lets the title hero have whatever power that happen to need just when they need it.  Think Batman '66's Utility Belt, or Superman's Super Knitting.

 

So while comic books work that way, Champions DOSN'T.  

 

Unless you are using VPPs, the Power Skill and/or the more permissive early edition special effect driven approach.

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I only rarely let even experienced players run a VPP.   The game gets bogged down as they try to do the math to see how many abilities they can pull off at the same time, frantically pulling meaningless power disadvantages out of thin air.

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It all comes down to the "crunchyness" of the Hero system.  When you build your PC you know EXACTLY what your character can do.  Unfortunately, you ALSO know what your character CAN'T do.    For some of us, it is the reason we love the system but a lot of players just HATE being restricted in any way.

 

I can literally hear in my mind this player taking to the GM, because I have been that GM and have had players like that talk to me:

 

"His powers are lizard-based, so he looks like a lizard.  But not SO MUCH like a lizard that if he went out in public people would notice, so he doesn't get any negative modifiers to his social interactions.  But he DOES GET bonuses to his PRE Attacks & Intimidation skill rolls because he looks like a lizard.  And he can be super strong.  He can be just as strong as a PC who was built to ONLY be super strong.  But he can ALSO be super fast if he wants to be, just as fast as a speed-based character, only he won't be AS strong then, but he can still be super fast AND lift a tank over his head if he needs to.  He gets around by Super Leaping but he can ALSO Cling, AND Swing, and Glide...."

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39 minutes ago, phydaux said:

"His powers are lizard-based, so he looks like a lizard.  But not SO MUCH like a lizard that if he went out in public people would notice, so he doesn't get any negative modifiers to his social interactions.  But he DOES GET bonuses to his PRE Attacks & Intimidation skill rolls because he looks like a lizard.  And he can be super strong.  He can be just as strong as a PC who was built to ONLY be super strong.  But he can ALSO be super fast if he wants to be, just as fast as a speed-based character, only he won't be AS strong then, but he can still be super fast AND lift a tank over his head if he needs to.  He gets around by Super Leaping but he can ALSO Cling, AND Swing, and Glide...."

 

I built that character a couple of months ago! 😀

 

Just replace "lizard" with "insect".

The only problem with what you have described is the Presence related stuff. I could be convinced to let that slide with a bit of tacit shapeshifting. "He doesn't always look as lizard-y". He'd be paying points for the Presence though.

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Actually, I am the guy who wanted lizard-powers but because the other one complained I settled for a character with cold/ice powers to end the argument almost a year ago. But the new concept is fun, too. 🙂

 

In the end the other guy' was allowed to play a superhero who can have all abilities of all non-extinct animals but "only"one animal at a time. He built this with a Multipower with lots of slots and prepared tables with the characteristics of all interesting animals to facilitate switching the slots.

As far as I remember he used these powers and enhanced characteristics: Strength, Dexterity, Speed, Leaping, Running, Clinging, Nightvision and other enhanced Senses, increased OCV, and DCV and resistant Defenses. He bought Regeneration outside of the MP.

In my opinion this is already a wide range of powers but you also have to  consider that he can use most of them at the maximum campaign level assuming he can find the right animal.

 

But this is not the problem why I don't want to play with him anymore.

 

The first half of the problem is that he complains about the Magical Girl character of another player because she is too versatile. This character has resistant Defenses, Flight, Healing, Sight Group Images to create light and an Attack-Multipower with Blast (STUN only), RKA (only versus objects) and Entangle. Characteristics are at low to mid-level of the campaign guidelines. I cannot accept that this character is supposed to be overpowered. The player didn't even use all EPs because she is tired of having to defend her character.

The second half of the problem is that the GM gave us values for Damage Classes, Speed, resistant Defenses etc. showing what he considers low, medium and high and he told us that only one of these can be at the high level. After some time the GM and me realized that the player in question is using his MP to keep changing the actual high-level ability. The GMs mistake was that he didn't explicitly state that the high-level ability must always be the same one.

 

And then there is the player with the TK-powered character... 🙄

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2 hours ago, Steffen said:

But this is not the problem why I don't want to play with him anymore.

 

The first half of the problem is that he complains about the Magical Girl character of another player because she is too versatile. This character has resistant Defenses, Flight, Healing, Sight Group Images to create light and an Attack-Multipower with Blast (STUN only), RKA (only versus objects) and Entangle. Characteristics are at low to mid-level of the campaign guidelines. I cannot accept that this character is supposed to be overpowered. The player didn't even use all EPs because she is tired of having to defend her character.

The second half of the problem is that the GM gave us values for Damage Classes, Speed, resistant Defenses etc. showing what he considers low, medium and high and he told us that only one of these can be at the high level. After some time the GM and me realized that the player in question is using his MP to keep changing the actual high-level ability. The GMs mistake was that he didn't explicitly state that the high-level ability must always be the same one.

 

And then there is the player with the TK-powered character... 🙄

 

Without knowing the whole story, I’d have to say the problem isn’t with Champions, but is with the players and the GM! These players sound like Pathfinder munchkins who don’t understand the concept of Champions at all. On one hand, it sounds like too many people trying to manipulate the rules without knowing them well enough. On the other hand it sounds like too many people who don’t want to actually play to their concepts(both their advantages AND limitations), which is critical in Champions. The openness of character creation is a benefit, but people who are trained to think in terms of classes, and all the munchkinny aspects that go with it, have a hard time with defining their own limitations. Everyone has to cooperate at this basic level first, and the GM needs to enforce a clarity of concept for each hero.

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