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Martial artists and defense


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Regarding Martial Artists, they generally have the highest DCV of heroes. I've seen some nauseating DCV's though, where the martial artist can regularly fight at DCV 15, 17 or even 20 (or higher) while attacking. I'm curious why more of the write-ups for martial artists don't include Combat Luck, instead of more DCV. It fights right in with the general concept. With a nice amount of Combat Luck, you have an opponent that is "just barely avoiding getting hit". Like any other power, there are many different ways a special effect can be applied. Likewise, a martial artists with Damage Reduction is a viable option instead of heaping DCV levels on. I'm found through the years that martial artists, in general, have something of a one-upmanship versus each other DCV-wise.

 

What are your thoughts?

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One power I've begun gaining a greater appreciation for when building a martial artist is Damage Negation. By building it with Nonresistant, Nonpersistent and Restrainable, the cost is only 2.5 points

I just watched that video three times.   In it, the "scrapper" Bolo dodges and blocks more times than does the 'finesse' guy in the yellow suit, and now this whole thread is out of kilter.

I scrapper vs martial artist distinction is not nearly as clear as some like to make out. For example, both characters in that video (and in fact most all fighters in Enter the Dragon) are considered

CV one-upmanship, that is what Campaign Caps are for.

 

When looking at the CV and DC, do not forget that some maneuvers are there to Immitate Haymaker - they may allow high DC, but at reduced OCV, DCv or other combat values. Others Imitate Block (increased DCV at reduced offensive power).

 

Combat Luck has two issues:
- it is pretty expensive

- defending via Defenses is more of a Brick thing

 

Damage Reduction is both hard to apply (it reducs DC) and pretty inconsistent in how much damage it avoids. It is only realy good at reducing damage.

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It is the difference between a narrative game and a simulation it’s game.

 

Many gamers find it difficult to see any difference between combat luck and armour as the mechanic is the same.  I think for some groups, it will work, for others combat luck needs to function differently.

 

I am thinking of changing combat luck to introduce a random element.  The defence comes with a dice pool.  In a combat, when hit with an attack, you roll the dice pool.  You remove every dice in the pool that rolls a six.  If all the dice are removed, the defence fails.  This introduces an element of luck.  The martial artist can push his luck, he can seek to mitigate extra damage by rolling additional dice (one dice for every dice of normal damage removed from the damage roll, starting with lowest results, so 1s get removed before 2s, etc).  This increases the chance of sixes to reduce the dice pool.

 

My biggest hitch is deciding how quickly and how often the pool will refresh.  

 

Doc

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22 minutes ago, Christopher said:

CV one-upmanship, that is what Campaign Caps are for.

 

When looking at the CV and DC, do not forget that some maneuvers are there to Immitate Haymaker - they may allow high DC, but at reduced OCV, DCv or other combat values. Others Imitate Block (increased DCV at reduced offensive power).

 

Combat Luck has two issues:
- it is pretty expensive

- defending via Defenses is more of a Brick thing

 

Damage Reduction is both hard to apply (it reducs DC) and pretty inconsistent in how much damage it avoids. It is only realy good at reducing damage.

The low defenses can be a feature too.

 

22 minutes ago, Christopher said:

Agains high DCV, low defenses the options "Spread Attack" (6E2 49) and "Area of Effect" are particulary effective.

Not to mention every effeect that halfs DCV (like Sight Flash).

 

I appreciate your POV in this.

 

Regarding CV one-upmanship etc, I'm referring to write-ups by Hero Games primarily but have seen plenty of other player write-ups. Someone please correct me if I'm wrong (and I'd be glad) but having read too many posts to count about campaigns, in general the players have the Campaign Caps, the villains don't. Alot of the M.A. villains have high DCVs and multiple levels (and martial art manuever DCV bonuses).

 

Combat Luck is not pretty expensive. It's no more expensive than regular PD & ED: you get 3 PD and 3 ED for 6 pts, which are resistant. How is it expensive? Special effects are the spice of the hero system. Just as a Blast can be fire, electricity, whatever, Combat Luck can be defined as just being clipped by an attack (something Wolverine was frequently shown happening to him in the early comics).

 

I understand what you mean about Damage Reduction other than it's good at reducing damage. It reduces damage; it's Damage Negation that reduces DC. Even DR can have the special effect as avoiding the damage because the M.Artist is so quick.

 

How to hit a high DCV isn' t the point. Rather I'm looking for POV on why a higher DCV is almost always the answer to an "experienced" martiat artist as opposed to other ways of building him.

 

I agree, a Brick has higher defenses and the special effect is them getting hit and shrugging it off. A higher PD for the M.A. can be defined as above - a glancing blow. Even Hero Games had a villain with Damage Reduction defined as Hyper-Regeneration.

 

 

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8 minutes ago, Tech said:

Regarding CV one-upmanship etc, I'm referring to write-ups by Hero Games primarily but have seen plenty of other player write-ups. Someone please correct me if I'm wrong (and I'd be glad) but having read too many posts to count about campaigns, in general the players have the Campaign Caps, the villains don't. Alot of the M.A. villains have high DCVs and multiple levels (and martial art manuever DCV bonuses). 

A lot of those villains are what I consider to be written on "Group level". So they have buffed stats, wich allows them to combat whole Groups. Maybe they are just build on a much higher pointlevel?

Without seeing their stats and the situation of their use, it is hard to say anything about them.

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Damage reduction becomes more important, IMO, as attack DCs rise.  The gap between the Def you need to avoid serious BODY damage, and the Def needed to take a few hits, grows with # of DCs.

 

One thing I like on a martial artist, to simulate either rolling with the blow, or that slight sidestep to not get caught squarely, is damage negation, bought with Requires a Skill Roll.  I lean to Acrobatics for it;  Contortionist is possible too, but doesn't fit quite as well to me.

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11 hours ago, unclevlad said:

Damage reduction becomes more important, IMO, as attack DCs rise.  The gap between the Def you need to avoid serious BODY damage, and the Def needed to take a few hits, grows with # of DCs.

It really is a shame to me that Damage Reduction got nerfed so hard in the transition from 5th to 6th.  It's become very hard to get your points worth out of it now, which is a pity since it feels so good to use. 

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46 minutes ago, Gnome BODY (important!) said:

It really is a shame to me that Damage Reduction got nerfed so hard in the transition from 5th to 6th.  It's become very hard to get your points worth out of it now, which is a pity since it feels so good to use. 

 

I don't recall any substantive changes to Damage Reduction between 5e and 6e.  It's always been very pricy.  For 60 points (50% Resistant Physical and Energy), +20 rPD and rED is pretty comparable.  Against a 12d6 attack, and assuming 5 defenses before the rDEF or Dam Red, an average attack will do 17 STUN, 0 BOD (defenses) or 18 STUN, 3 BOD (Dam Red).  Against larger attacks, the Reduction is superior, while the character with defenses will weather smaller attacks better.

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35 minutes ago, Hugh Neilson said:

 

I don't recall any substantive changes to Damage Reduction between 5e and 6e.  It's always been very pricy.  For 60 points (50% Resistant Physical and Energy), +20 rPD and rED is pretty comparable.  Against a 12d6 attack, and assuming 5 defenses before the rDEF or Dam Red, an average attack will do 17 STUN, 0 BOD (defenses) or 18 STUN, 3 BOD (Dam Red).  Against larger attacks, the Reduction is superior, while the character with defenses will weather smaller attacks better.

It was nerfed indirectly.  DRed can be emulated with characteristics and limitations.  It's actually quite simple to get the same effective benefit, and changes were made to the equivalent alternative.  (Equivalent barring Aids and Healing, beneficial Adjustment powers throw things off)

The effective benefit that DRed provides is increased effective STUN, BODY, REC, and CON.  With 50% DRed for example, you take as many hits to down as somebody with twice your STUN and BODY, the part of your REC that recovers STUN+BODY works twice as well, and the part of your CON that resists being Stunned works twice as well. 

For comparison: A hero with 40 STUN, 15 BODY, 15 CON, 12 REC, 50% DRed and a hero with 80 STUN, 30 BODY, 15 CON + 15 CON only to resist Stunning, 12 REC + 12 REC not to recover END?  Functionally identical aside from rounding.  Both will take the same number of hits with the same timing to put down, and recover from those hits equally quickly.  The only real difference is price.  And 6e made the latter much cheaper by cutting the prices of STUN and REC in half. 

 

There's still a tipping point where buying DRed is more efficient than heaping on characteristics, but that tipping point is a lot higher now. 

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3 hours ago, Hugh Neilson said:

 

I don't recall any substantive changes to Damage Reduction between 5e and 6e.  It's always been very pricy.  For 60 points (50% Resistant Physical and Energy), +20 rPD and rED is pretty comparable.  Against a 12d6 attack, and assuming 5 defenses before the rDEF or Dam Red, an average attack will do 17 STUN, 0 BOD (defenses) or 18 STUN, 3 BOD (Dam Red).  Against larger attacks, the Reduction is superior, while the character with defenses will weather smaller attacks better.

 

That's why I mentioned DRed works better against large attacks.  Another aspect is what your game's average defenses are against attacks.  It's an interesting exercise at that point to break out the spreadsheet and run some numbers.

 

DRed has one very nice, if isolated, advantage:  you don't get totally KO'd if you get hit by a KA where the roll's crazy, like 3d killing doing 16 BODY and 80 STUN.  With 25 Def, you're taking 55 and could easily be unconscious.  With the DRed it'd be 37.  That's a big difference.  Note that this also holds against a high damage roll on a normal attack.  I actually base my comparison on 4 STUN per die, not 3.5.  In that case, in your example, it's 23 STUN vs. the rDef, but only 21 against the DRed.  That might be the difference between Stunned or not.  Of course, by the same token, buying all rDef is also inefficient.  That's why it's useful to play around with a spreadsheet with all of this.

 

 

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One power I've begun gaining a greater appreciation for when building a martial artist is Damage Negation. By building it with Nonresistant, Nonpersistent and Restrainable, the cost is only 2.5 points per level. Buying 4-6 levels of Damage Negation and a modest amount of PD/ED gives a pretty decent expert at evading damage. I've built a handful of Heroic-level martial artist characters this way, and they seem to work out okay in combat.

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10 hours ago, Steve said:

One power I've begun gaining a greater appreciation for when building a martial artist is Damage Negation. By building it with Nonresistant, Nonpersistent and Restrainable, the cost is only 2.5 points per level. Buying 4-6 levels of Damage Negation and a modest amount of PD/ED gives a pretty decent expert at evading damage. I've built a handful of Heroic-level martial artist characters this way, and they seem to work out okay in combat.

I always thought Damage Negation was hard to apply in actuall gameplay. It is basically the full DC calculation with every attack hitting that character directly or even if he just happens to be in a AoE.


There is one big reason I advise against Damage Negation or Reduction as primary defense:

- It will not be able to completely block low damage attacks on it's own. Thus either drastically changing damage effectiveness or being only a supplemental defense.

- For Damage Negation, it is also realy hard to apply.

- For damage reduction, it is also realy hard to balance (as it affects the "STUNNED" threshold)

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On ‎12‎/‎27‎/‎2018 at 3:49 PM, Tech said:

Regarding Martial Artists, they generally have the highest DCV of heroes. I've seen some nauseating DCV's though, where the martial artist can regularly fight at DCV 15, 17 or even 20 (or higher) while attacking. I'm curious why more of the write-ups for martial artists don't include Combat Luck, instead of more DCV. It fights right in with the general concept. With a nice amount of Combat Luck, you have an opponent that is "just barely avoiding getting hit". Like any other power, there are many different ways a special effect can be applied. Likewise, a martial artists with Damage Reduction is a viable option instead of heaping DCV levels on. I'm found through the years that martial artists, in general, have something of a one-upmanship versus each other DCV-wise.

 

What are your thoughts?

The defense for most martial artists tends to be 'not getting hit'.  Technique seems to be the rule of thumb for them as an archetype … with higher speeds often coming into play to allow them to act first, hold, and then react to allow for a martial block, a martial dodge, or even a flying dodge in order to avoid damage.  (Most attack only when an opening presents itself … or when heroic need requires risking getting hit in order to save someone else.)

 

Combat Luck, Resistant Defense, Damage Negation, Damage Reduction, PD, ED, CON, STUN, and the like (collectively 'defensive powers' for my purposes, here) are tools used to offset damage that's been taken … rather than avoiding the taking of damage that is so key to the archetype. In the HTH world, moderate-to-heavy defensive power use tends to fall in the realm of bricks and scrappers (i.e. characters who are part martial artist, part brick) … which are usually considered separate/different archetypes from martial artists.  This is likely why you don't see martial artists relying on defensive powers as a primary defense -- because doing so tends to be associated with archetypes other than 'martial artist'.

There are some here who might suggest that you could use defensive powers with the special effect of 'not getting hit', but that makes no logical sense to most people unless the damage is always reduced to 0. Mechanically, defensive powers come into play when/after a character is hit … and don't actually help avoid a hit … so taking any damage means one got hit, rather than avoiding it.  Certainly one could use defensive powers to represent minimizing the effects of getting hit, but that's not the same as not getting hit … and in terms of thinking, it tends to fall more in the realm of scrappers/bricks than martial artists, archetypically speaking, of course.

 

As for DCV one-upmanship, there's another take on martial arts that avoids that pitfall -- a martial artist built around blocking.  Such a martial artist has little need for piles of DCV if quick enough and played smartly enough.  Deflection tends to be a staple of the build and, with such a build, DCV ends up being pretty normal, but OCV tends to be cranked to allow for multiple blocks/deflects. (Note: Many GMs allow the intermixing of blocks and deflects when/where appropriate -- especially if doing so helps avoid a SPD war, as block/deflect based characters tend to be Bruce Lee-like in SPD in order to be able to reliably react … unless the two can be intermixed.)

 

 

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On 12/28/2018 at 8:36 AM, Gnome BODY (important!) said:

It was nerfed indirectly.  DRed can be emulated with characteristics and limitations.  It's actually quite simple to get the same effective benefit, and changes were made to the equivalent alternative.  (Equivalent barring Aids and Healing, beneficial Adjustment powers throw things off)

The effective benefit that DRed provides is increased effective STUN, BODY, REC, and CON.  With 50% DRed for example, you take as many hits to down as somebody with twice your STUN and BODY, the part of your REC that recovers STUN+BODY works twice as well, and the part of your CON that resists being Stunned works twice as well. 

For comparison: A hero with 40 STUN, 15 BODY, 15 CON, 12 REC, 50% DRed and a hero with 80 STUN, 30 BODY, 15 CON + 15 CON only to resist Stunning, 12 REC + 12 REC not to recover END?  Functionally identical aside from rounding.  Both will take the same number of hits with the same timing to put down, and recover from those hits equally quickly.  The only real difference is price.  And 6e made the latter much cheaper by cutting the prices of STUN and REC in half. 

 

There's still a tipping point where buying DRed is more efficient than heaping on characteristics, but that tipping point is a lot higher now. 

 

Funny...I've also often considered Dam Red to effectively enhance those stats rather than enhance defenses.  But let's compare.

 

6e, +40 STUN is 20 points, +15 BOD is 15 points, +15 CON to resist Stunning (what else does CON do?  Call that -1/4, so 12 points) and +12 REC, does not recover END (call that -1/2, so 8 points) = 55 points.  A 5 point difference feels pretty close to me.  If the base character had 50 STUN the costs even out, and a 23 CON would tip the balance back to Damage Reduction.

 

In 5e, we'd need +15 BOD (30 points), +15 CON (no figured, only resists Stunning so -1.75 = 17 points), +12 REC does not recover END (24/1.5 = 16 points) and +25 Stun (we got 15 from the BOD, 25 points) for a total of 88 points.  Getting the same benefit from 60 points of Damage Reduction seems unbalanced, not accurate pricing.

 

I'm not sure anyone did this comparison in 5e, or during the drafting of 6e, but the math works out remarkably well, all things considered.

 

The reality is that REC, Stun and END were overpriced in 5e, as was "CON - no Figured" (or, more to the point, CON with figured was a huge bargain).  Better leveling the field with Damage Reduction is yet another reflection that the repricing and decoupling approach taken by 6e was a positive move.

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Surrealone I think you have an interesting analyses. And prior to Combat luck in Fifth, I can really see this mentality. However since combat luck and the notion of expanding the roles of powers to represent anilities, I think that the current model of characters are built more based on that’s how things were built than really taking advantage of the new mindset.

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1 hour ago, Hugh Neilson said:

 

Funny...I've also often considered Dam Red to effectively enhance those stats rather than enhance defenses.  But let's compare.

 

6e, +40 STUN is 20 points, +15 BOD is 15 points, +15 CON to resist Stunning (what else does CON do?  Call that -1/4, so 12 points) and +12 REC, does not recover END (call that -1/2, so 8 points) = 55 points.  A 5 point difference feels pretty close to me.  If the base character had 50 STUN the costs even out, and a 23 CON would tip the balance back to Damage Reduction.

 

In 5e, we'd need +15 BOD (30 points), +15 CON (no figured, only resists Stunning so -1.75 = 17 points), +12 REC does not recover END (24/1.5 = 16 points) and +25 Stun (we got 15 from the BOD, 25 points) for a total of 88 points.  Getting the same benefit from 60 points of Damage Reduction seems unbalanced, not accurate pricing.

 

I'm not sure anyone did this comparison in 5e, or during the drafting of 6e, but the math works out remarkably well, all things considered.

 

The reality is that REC, Stun and END were overpriced in 5e, as was "CON - no Figured" (or, more to the point, CON with figured was a huge bargain).  Better leveling the field with Damage Reduction is yet another reflection that the repricing and decoupling approach taken by 6e was a positive move.

The math works out nicely for the numbers I chose, but the numbers I chose were pretty deliberate to illustrate an "edition tipping point": In 6e characteristics come up the winning option while in 5e DRed is the cheaper path.  You can tweak the starting characteristics up and get a result of "DRed cheaper" for both or tweak them down and get a result of "characteristics cheaper" for both. 

The core takeaway I was going for is that at a certain threshold of characteristics, buying DRed becomes cheaper than increasing those characteristics for the same effect and that threshold is when DRed becomes point-efficient to buy.  That threshold is higher in 6e due to the lower prices of characteristics, meaning fewer characters will have point-efficient DRed. 

 

I do agree that 6e's cost reductions for characteristics were necessary.  I just feel that DRed should have had some points shaved off too. 

 

1 hour ago, Ninja-Bear said:

However since combat luck and the notion of expanding the roles of powers to represent anilities, I think that the current model of characters are built more based on that’s how things were built than really taking advantage of the new mindset.

I've toyed with the idea of building a NPC Brick as high DCV but modest defenses, with the SFX of being totally invulnerable everywhere save for a small, obvious, and tricky to hit weak point. 

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6e, +40 STUN is 20 points, +15 BOD is 15 points, +15 CON to resist Stunning (what else does CON do?  Call that -1/4, so 12 points) and +12 REC, does not recover END (call that -1/2, so 8 points) = 55 points.  A 5 point difference feels pretty close to me.  If the base character had 50 STUN the costs even out, and a 23 CON would tip the balance back to Damage Reduction.

 

 

The DRed STUN reduction happens automatically.

 

The REC requires that you take a recovery...which means you don't take an action, plus you have to shut down any powers costing END.  

 

Am I missing something?  The other equivalences make sense from a comparative aspect, but this seems to break it.  The REC aspect is NOT free.

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8 hours ago, Ninja-Bear said:

Surrealone I think you have an interesting analyses. And prior to Combat luck in Fifth, I can really see this mentality. However since combat luck and the notion of expanding the roles of powers to represent anilities, I think that the current model of characters are built more based on that’s how things were built than really taking advantage of the new mindset.

I agree with you that martial artists are largely built on 'how things were', but I believe that is, by and large, because not much really changed for martial artists.  The big defensive change between 5th and 6th that I noted was allowing Blocks against ranged attacks (if, say, using a shield or other appropriate tool/device) by default … such that Deflection was merely an expansion of the ability to Block ranged attacks - potentially freeing up 20 CP on some martial artist character sheets. 

 

Combat Luck didn't change much (if anything) for martial artists, IMHO, because at its core, Combat Luck is just Resistant Defense with some Advantages (Hardened + Impenetrable) and Limitations (Luck-Based + Non-Persistent).  This means it's still a defense that reduces the damage you take after you have been hit … as opposed to something that keeps you from getting hit in the first place.  As previously stated, the defense for the archetypical martial artist tends to be 'not getting hit' … so a defensive power like Combat Luck really doesn't do much for to how they're built or played.  Damage Negation is in a similar boat, since it, too, comes into play only after the Hit/No-Hit portion of the combat sequence is resolved.  Specifically, Combat Luck, Damage Negation, Damage Reduction, Resistant Defense, etc. all come into play to protect a martial artist in Checklist item #5 in the Combat Sequence Checklist found on 6e2 p34 … whereas the archetypical martial artist's defense of 'not getting hit' comes into play to protect that martial artist in Checklist item #4.  These numbers are, of course, based on the standard Checklist, so obviously different numbers would apply if using optional rules. That said, the premise is still the same -- defensive powers that help a character take less damage … aren't the same as capabilities that allow a character to avoid damage (completely) in the first place such that no damage roll is ever made

 

IMHO, it's the latter capabilities that tend to be central to how most martial artists are built … and 6e really didn't do anything that would warrant building a martial artist around taking (less) damage rather than completely avoiding it.  Going down that road ("ok, I'll build to take damage rather than avoid it completely") is traveling down the road of a scrapper, anyway … and if you travel far enough down it you eventually become a brick, instead.

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20 hours ago, Gnome BODY (important!) said:

The math works out nicely for the numbers I chose, but the numbers I chose were pretty deliberate to illustrate an "edition tipping point": In 6e characteristics come up the winning option while in 5e DRed is the cheaper path.  You can tweak the starting characteristics up and get a result of "DRed cheaper" for both or tweak them down and get a result of "characteristics cheaper" for both. 

The core takeaway I was going for is that at a certain threshold of characteristics, buying DRed becomes cheaper than increasing those characteristics for the same effect and that threshold is when DRed becomes point-efficient to buy.  That threshold is higher in 6e due to the lower prices of characteristics, meaning fewer characters will have point-efficient DRed. 

 

I do agree that 6e's cost reductions for characteristics were necessary.  I just feel that DRed should have had some points shaved off too.

 

Given the  numbers you selected were about average for a Supers game, shaving points off damage reduction would mean it is the superior choice for pretty much all Supers.  Making it the only efficient buy reminds me of the pre-6e issue that high DEX was the only way to be an effective combatant at a reasonable point cost, so the most brutish Bricks had DEX at a level comparable to olympic gymnasts.

 

Damage Reduction suffers from the same issue as all "fixed cost" abilities - there will always be a point where it is overly expensive, or a bargain price, for what it does.

 

The pricing also needs to make sense compared to the cost of defenses.

 

15 hours ago, unclevlad said:

 

The DRed STUN reduction happens automatically.

 

The REC requires that you take a recovery...which means you don't take an action, plus you have to shut down any powers costing END.  

 

Am I missing something?  The other equivalences make sense from a comparative aspect, but this seems to break it.  The REC aspect is NOT free.

 

The REC means that the character recovers twice as fast (essential as he has twice as much STUN and BOD) for the same number of recoveries, whether the character only takes PS 12 recoveries, out of combat recoveries, or uses phases to recover.  I'd say they are functionally equivalent, although the REC-based character will move up the charts for speed of recovery once KO'd faster (if KOd at -29, getting a REC of 24 is much more useful than a REC of 12).

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I think Damage Negation is an option that has not yet been well evaluated as a game management tool. 

 

A Super with, say, 25 defenses, 15 resistant, in a 12 DC game will never take BOD from a normal attack, and seldom from a killing attack.  That's fine if the intent is that BOD damage is rare in the game, but some source material sees Supers of equivalent power do BOD damage to one another pretty routinely, and a more powerful foe may hospitalize his opponent.  [Anyone remember the Marvel 2 in 1 where the Thing is in the hospital after battles with Champion and Gladiator?]

 

For this, Damage Negation may be a better choice.  With the defenses above, a typical normal attack gets 17 STUN past defenses, and a typical KA (14x2) manages only 3 STUN past defenses.

 

Change that to, say, 6 DC Damage Negation and 8 defenses, all resistant.  Now that normal attack manages 13 STUN past defenses, and an average KA gets 6 STUN through.  But above average rolls can also punch a bit of BOD through.

 

Against a 15 DC opponent, our Defenses-based Super takes 27.5 average STUN and no BOD.  Our Negation-based Super  takes 23.5 STUN and 1 BOD - that larger attack is doing real injury.  A KA will average 2.5 BOD and 13 STUN.

 

This would add a much higher level of lethality to a Supers game.  In a typical Silver/Bronze age game, that's not really desirable, but a more iron-age feel (higher risk combat) can be better achieved by ensuring BOD damage is a more real possibility.

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