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Omegaprime02

Building a Vehicle based character, looking for advice

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So, I'm relatively new to the system, built a few characters focusing on covering any holes that the party had in it like I usually do, and want to take a character that people in my group won't expect.

 

If you've ever seen or read Arpeggio of Blue Steel you can probably guess what I want to build already, granted I'm going to need a few extra things to be useful to my party

 

To start with, I'm trying to build a character with a mind-linked autonomous ship off shore that can hammer targets with artillery and some limited flight or ground movement capabilities for if the party moves inland for as close to 300 CP as possible (My GM is letting me squint to get as close as possible since I'm the guy that has always played the party's support)

 

I'm wanting to end up with a character, at the end of the campaign, that is a ship, with an drone cleverly disguised as a human, particle cannons as a primary armament with missile massacre in reserve, some kind of omni-directional energy shielding (I figure the Wave Force Armor is probably unattainable), capable of regenerating damage using what is effectively nanotechnology (son).

 

I'm trying to get A to be as close to B as I can, and currently falling back on how I'd build a similar character in Shadowrun, as an AI with a custom housing (that looks suspiciously like a gutted Knox Class Frigate and a humanoid mecha the size of a person).  My GM is allowing me to evolve the ship as time moves on, so I don't need it to have everything all at once. I've already dealt with all the complications, so I'm now focused solely on building this character up.

 

And pointers would be greatly appreciated.

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Personally, I'd build the ship as the main character as it has the controlling AI and all the powers and I'd build the avatar as either a Follower or (more likely) a Duplicate.  I'm not familiar with Arpeggio of Blue Steel, so I don't know which would be better. 

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Netzilla and Duke have covered the basics. 

 

Another possibility would be to have the ship just be SFX.  Instead of buying the ship as a character, have the avatar buy powers like "Call In Cannon Fire" to represent the ship's combat-support abilities.  This has the advantage of being much simpler to make and play, but the disadvantage that if a fight ever comes near the ship or you get in a naval battle you won't have ship-stats to use. 

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I'm of the mind that the ship should be built as a vehicle or base that the characters has, so it does have a physical location that all the characters can use, and then the powers of the character (the humanoid "drone") that rely on the ship (the attacks, etc...) are bought like Gnome Body suggested as just being the SFX of the powers/attacks (all built with Indirect). This saves having to work out super long ranges/modifiers for the attacks coming 100's of miles from the ship and all that kind of thing. 

 

So maybe to start the Ship (built as a vehicle or base) is a simple say 100 point build (or less since most of the powers will be coming from the "character"), so a cost of 20 real points (or less) to the character, so the character still has 280ish points (or more) to spend on powers and abilities. Then with experience points, you can increase the ship and character as time goes on. 

 

Give the Character Regeneration (Resurrection) to simulate that if he is killed (destroyed) the "Ship" builds a new one of him to keep being his Avatar in the campaign. 

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Ok, thank you all for the pointers, question on the SFX attack:

 

Can you have the range for such an attack increase if the character is physically on the ship?  I'd like to be able to play mailman for the party if I'm on the ship or something.

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On 3/23/2019 at 11:34 AM, Omegaprime02 said:

If you've ever seen or read Arpeggio of Blue Steel you can probably guess what I want to build already, granted I'm going to need a few extra things to be useful to my party

One question i always ask in such discussions:
Do you really play a Ship with a Avatar? Or do you play the Avatar with a Ship?

In Andromeda there was a (poorly defined) seperation between the Android Body and the proper Ship AI: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Andromeda_characters#Rommie

I think in most cases you play the Avatar, wich happens to have access to the ship.

 

On 3/23/2019 at 11:34 AM, Omegaprime02 said:

To start with, I'm trying to build a character with a mind-linked autonomous ship off shore that can hammer targets with artillery and some limited flight or ground movement capabilities for if the party moves inland for as close to 300 CP as possible (My GM is letting me squint to get as close as possible since I'm the guy that has always played the party's support)

In HERO that does not require a Vehicle. It can simply be the special effect/reason for some limitations of the powers.

"Directed Artillery" can simply be a Blast wich simulates "directing fire from the ship", with appropirate Power Modifiers (like does not work into closed spaces, Area of Effect, etc.). You would use a normal Strike Action and OCV roll to use it. That would all tie it properly into the Combat Action Resolution.

And for Utility Powers you only really need "Useable by others/nearby" to expand it into the team.

Having an actually seperate Character sheet - like a Ship - can be a bit of a balance issue. At worst you might be able to pull 2 attacks per phase (1 from the avatar, 1 from the ship).

 

On 3/23/2019 at 10:17 PM, Omegaprime02 said:

Ok, thank you all for the pointers, question on the SFX attack:

 

Can you have the range for such an attack increase if the character is physically on the ship?  I'd like to be able to play mailman for the party if I'm on the ship or something. 

The primary source of Attack range is tge Active Points, but it can be expanded via Advantages.

I think the default is 10m/active Point With Active Points in Superheroics being usually around 60 AP - so 600 meters. But usually aiming the attack at such ranges is a bigger issue the having it reach at all.

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The big “trick” with HERO is figuring out how you want things to play out in game.  You need a really good vision of that to properly model the game effect.

 

If you think about the call in artillery, then you have a presence close to the rest of the party (the avatar) and a presence off-shore (the ship).  The idea is that the avatar “spots” for the ship and the attack will not come from the avatar but from the ship.  There are various ways to accomplish this. 

 

One.  You make the avatar the character and the ship is an adjunct.  You can model the artillery with an indirect attack and the range modifier is based on the distance between the avatar and the target.  You might impose a slight delay between the attack being fired and the attack hitting.  You might indicate that the attack might be blocked or prevented in some way from reaching the target.  In this case the ship does not necessarily exist, it is a special effect.  However you could indicate that the ship is a focus, or that the power has a physical manifestation.  In either case that means opponents can interact physically with the ship, potentially depriving the avatar of access to the artillery.

 

Two.  You make the ship the character and the avatar a physical manifestation of a clairaudience power.  The presence of the avatar means that the ship can target opponents close to the party but range penalties are based on the distance between the ship and the target.  There are a variety of options for this method too that enhance the avatar or accuracy of the artillery.

 

If you want the range of the artillery to be enhanced when the avatar is on the ship then you can model this as well.  I think this is only an issue because, if the avatar is on the ship, how does the ship target an opponent.  You need to be able to perceive a target before you can shoot at it.

 

Doc

 

 

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8 hours ago, Doc Democracy said:

Two.  You make the ship the character and the avatar a physical manifestation of a clairaudience power.  The presence of the avatar means that the ship can target opponents close to the party but range penalties are based on the distance between the ship and the target.  There are a variety of options for this method too that enhance the avatar or accuracy of the artillery.

 

This is what I want to do, I just can't figure out how for the life of me, I looked at the Clairsence power and dismissed it, mainly because I need the avatar to be able to interact with the world, I didn't realize that I could make it fully physical.  How would you go about starting down this rabbit hole?

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Someone who uses 6e can tell you more, but if I remember-- haven't read the 6e books in three or four years now, and Basic (my go-to reference, now that I have it) doesn't seem to cover it, but if I remember correctly there is an option in 6e to have a power modifier "physical manifestation."  This is akin to a Focus, really, but the differences are noteworthy.  That is one option.

 

However, that doesn't really give you a "character" to interact through beyond whatever Clairsentience you decide to build: just because you have a manifestation that can walk and talk and listen and read doesn't mean that you have a character that can take an inflict damage, open doors, swing swords, etc.

 

There's also the option to make your people-esque character an actual separate character.  This removes lots and lots of build issues, but odds are your GM (and likely the other players) isn't really going to go for that.

 

That leaves some options out there, still:

 

You can have a follower, through whom you can use the Clairsentience.  Still, a Follower is essentially a GMPC and not your character.

 

You can have a drone / automaton under "Mind Control" (not hard for a willing target), but automata operate under different rules (or at least, they _can_.  They don't actually have to).

 

I really believe, as Netzilla beat me to earlier, that Duplication is the best bet: Duplicate is less powerful (I assume), can't recombine, etc, etc.  Your GM may allow you to use Mind Link with your duplicate to use all the duplicates senses instead of the pricier Clairsentience builds.

 

If I may borrow the accidental catch phrase of our last president:

 

"Now let me be clear:"  I am not claiming that this is the cleanest possible build.  I am only stating that it is the cleanest one I can think of right now.

 

 

Hope that, or anything in this thread, helps you.

 

 

Duke

 

 

Edited by Duke Bushido
Fixed an incorrect attribution. Sorry, Netzilla

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So this idea interested me so I took a stab at creating it how I would do it. I obviously don't know your campaign limits, house rules, etc... So this was just an attempt to cover most things and keep it close to 300 points. Very hard to do! His skills are very weak, plus there is other stuff I am sure he should have, but without reducing his characteristics even lower or cutting powers he would/should have this wasn't possible. I didn't spend time on complications or so other details (didn't build out the ship which is a floating base in this build). 

 

Anyway, I've attached here. 

Ship Avatar Character.pdf

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So, just a quick mention that I don't think other people have covered.

 

One problem that you will run into is that when you build something fairly non-traditional like this, there are going to be like 50 different ways to do it.  At least one of those ways will be ultra-expensive, and at least one of them will be ultra-efficient.  Seriously if you experiment enough with it, you'll find a character build that is super-powerful compared to everyone else's character.  It'll be perfectly book legal, and it'll be crushingly powerful.

 

Now, that's only a problem if it makes people in your group upset.  If everybody sort of agrees that it's your turn to be the ass-kicker, and they all have a good time with it, then who cares? 

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As far as actual game advice, I'd recommend against doing that, at least for now.  Actually I'd suggest just building a normal character, and then throwing in a power or two to reflect the fact that you've got this ship somewhere offscreen.  For instance you could have an "artillery barrage" power that is just a big area effect attack, with a limitation that it takes an extra phase or two to use, and you have to be kinda close to the "ship" to use it.

 

12D6 Energy Blast, Explosion, lands at end of next phase (-1/2 maybe), must be within 10 miles of a body of water (-1/2 maybe, presumably the ship is always nearby somehow).  No need for a really complex build, it's just presumed that there's a ship out there somewhere.

 

You mention you want the character so that it's revealed at the end of the campaign that it's really the ship that is the character.  That's easy enough to do without going into a complex character construction.  Basically you talk it over with your GM, and decide that for the last X number of game sessions, your character will change and you'll swap out to a vehicle that you built for that occasion.

 

Think of it like the recent Captain Marvel movie.  Mild spoiler alert if you haven't seen it:  In the last 5 minutes of the movie the character gets a huge power up over what she had throughout the first 95% of the film.  Effectively she spends the whole movie at one power level, and then at the end she gets her big finale where the GM hands her a new character sheet that is waaay more powerful.

 

If you just want the power increase at the very end, there's no reason to build it into the character you'll be using for most of the game.  You can just treat it as a story arc for your character that concludes when the game wraps up.  Now, if you want that big powerful guy for most of the game, that's different.  You probably need to find a way to build that.  But the longer you are clearly head and shoulders more powerful than the other characters, the more their players may begin to resent it.

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One last point -- you don't have to construct every aspect of the character, particularly if it's really unusual.

 

Suppose I wanted to play a hero that is the psychic projection of a little boy in a coma.  The kid's dream manifests itself as Captain Amazing, superhero.  This can just be a background description for my character.  I don't have to create the character sheet of the little boy.  I don't have to worry about what powers the little boy might have, or how it was purchased.  I just declare it to be so.  I build a regular superhero and then note it on the character sheet (or even just keep it in my head if I don't want to reveal it to anyone) that somewhere out there is a kid in a hospital who has created Captain Amazing.  But as long as it stays a background element, there's no need to try and model it with game mechanics.

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This is a 5e supers character that uses a lot of supervehicles as his "superhero" abilities...Mr. Goodspeed

 

Here's another 5e supers character that is a noncorporeal energy being...ERG-9 but has a robotic containment suit that allows him to interact with the physical world and focus his energy into blasts.

 

The thing to keep in mind with vehicular based characters is that it all comes down to their DEF. Too low and they will fall apart, too high and they are nigh-invulnerable. They are also much more complicated than a normal character. Vehicles fall apart as they get damaged, losing abilities. During play this can be a speedbump to resolve. Often it can be less troublesome to just model vehicular / robotic abilities with a more normal character build and apply SFX than to build a character based on vehicle rules, but it depends on the player and the GM and what they want to deal with at the table.

 

 

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Arpeggio of Blue Steel was a great anime and I wish they had made another season. 

 

Anyway, I believe that Netzilla and Duke Bushido have the best suggestion.  IIRC correctly the ships were sentient and the avatars were more there to interact with humans (and allow viewers to have something to listen to) than anything more.   And I don't remember the avatars ever being very far from their ship-bodies. 

 

I would use one of the warships in Ultimate Vehicle as a starting point and then add intelligence and other characteristics.   For the avatars, IIRC they would disappear under high stress (damage to the ship/high tempo combat), though I may be mixing up anime.  If that is true, then the avatar could be a projection rather than a drone/robot. 

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18 hours ago, Duke Bushido said:

I'm not entirely certain which way to go here.

 

Would the OP please clarify:  

 

Which one is your actual character:  is it the avatar, or is it the ship itself?

 

 

Flavor text wise? They're controlled simultaneously by an object called a Union Core (basically a quantum computer on steroids).

Game play wise? Ship if I could get away with it, using clariaudience like Doc Democracy recommends.  Otherwise I'll be using a character with the ship attached as a vehicle.

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You know, the idea of what is the base character is meaningless in terms of gameplay - in either case you are going to have two entities, one with the party and one remotely.  It is the mechanics that change.  I like Massey's version of the character, I think this would be easy to play in a face to face game because everything is going to make reasonable sense.  If you build it the other way there are likely going to be little things that do not quite work the way you think they should and require tweaks and changes until they do work.

 

As far as the clairaudience thing is concerned - to get around the need for the physical manifestation to interact with things in a game mechanical way, I think I would also buy a summon Avatar style power and make that avatar the physical manifestation of the clairaudience.  That means that you would have a thing that can walk talk etc etc without any handwavium involved by allows the ship to target stuff nearby and be completely informed of what is going on.  It would also mean that when the avatar is wasted by some attack, you might still be able to attack as the visual component of the avatar may still be active, even if the avatar itself is dead/broken/smashed to pieces... (I have a picture of half a face lying on the battlefield with the eye tracking the bad guy and a salvo on its way...

 

Doc

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Ok, I think I have everything I need to build this character, now I'm off to try and break the designer over my knee to build a proper template to support such a character.

 

Thank you all, I'd still be fumbling around in the dark without you guys.

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I'm late to this one, sorry.

 

I like Doc Democracy's idea of clairaudience with physical manifestation in the form of a person.

 

Just to expand on that idea:

 

To allow the manifestation to interact with the immediate vicinity you'd need to build some Mega scale,  Indirect powers: Telekinesis to represent their ability to interact physically, and Images for sound so they can talk. Both powers would have to buy a form of Indirect to represent the ability to be active anywhere  the manifestation can get to. Depending on how human-like you want the manifestation to be you can also add touch, and smell/taste to the clairsentience. Keep in mind the phys. man. gets to move at whatever speed you buy for your clairsentience.

 

I can't remember off the top of my head how tough a physical manifestation is, but it doesn't have to be. How much fun will it be when the "character" gets killed by some bad guy, only to have the character just come wandering back in a few moments later as if nothing happened?

 

Just had a strange thought: maybe the phys. man. develops, for want of a better term, Pinnocchio Syndrome? (Or not, as I say, just an odd thought.)

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