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Hi, I am trying to come up with a 'spell' that will unlock anything, ala D&D (but built for Champions), from a padlock to a sophisticated bio lock with retina scanners, thumb print locks that determine if the digit with the print is actually alive, etc., all using Magic. This is the most simple I could come up with, but I was wondering if there was a more 'realistic' way... It is a combination of two spells. One to open any locks, one to confuse sensors. Here is what I have:

 

Unlock Anything:  (Total: 169 Active Cost, 52 Real Cost) Major Transform 5d6-1 (Anything Locked into Unlocked, Re-locking), Improved Results Group (+1/2), Reduced Endurance (0 END; 6E1 409; +1/2*) (90 Active Points); Requires A Roll (Skill roll; -1/2), Concentration (1/2 DCV; -1/4), Extra Time (Delayed Phase, -1/4), IIF (Symbol of Hecate; -1/4), Gestures (-1/4), Incantations (-1/4), Limited Power Only Magic (6E1 410) (-1/4) (Real Cost: 30)

(I only have Red END  and Limited Power Only Magic on it because they are on the VPP.)

 

PLUS

Major Transform 5d6-1 (Lock sensors into sensors believing they are still locked, Repair), Various sensors (+1/4), Reduced Endurance (0 END; 6E1 409; +1/2*) (79 Active Points); Requires A Roll (Skill roll; -1/2), Linked (Unlock Anything; -1/2), Concentration (1/2 DCV; -1/4), Extra Time (Delayed Phase, -1/4), IIF (Symbol of Hecate; -1/4), Gestures (-1/4), Incantations (-1/4), Limited Power Only Magic (6E1 410) (-1/4) (Real Cost: 22)

 

Thoughts?

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Unless it has to be instantaneous, do it with Damage over Time.

 

Severe Transform 1 point, Damage Over Time, Target's defenses only apply once, Lock out (cannot be applied multiple times) (13-16 damage increments, damage occurs every Segment, +4 1/2) (27 Active Points)

 

plus

 

Severe Transform 1 point, Damage Over Time, Target's defenses only apply once, Lock out (cannot be applied multiple times) (13-16 damage increments, damage occurs every Segment, +4 1/2) (27 Active Points)

 

It does the same amount in 16 seconds and at a greatly reduced Active Cost. You can add all your Limitations but you won't need Reduced END( and so don"t have to add it) as this only takes 6.

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1 hour ago, Grailknight said:

Unless it has to be instantaneous, do it with Damage over Time.

 

It doesn't have to be, but I was trying to make it like D&D's "Unlock" except that it includes modern locking systems). But I will have to seriously have to look at your suggestion. I don't think I have ever built a power with Damage Over Time before so don't know it well.

 

Quote

Severe Transform 1 point, Damage Over Time, Target's defenses only apply once, Lock out (cannot be applied multiple times) (13-16 damage increments, damage occurs every Segment, +4 1/2) (27 Active Points)

 

plus

 

Severe Transform 1 point, Damage Over Time, Target's defenses only apply once, Lock out (cannot be applied multiple times) (13-16 damage increments, damage occurs every Segment, +4 1/2) (27 Active Points)

 

It does the same amount in 16 seconds and at a greatly reduced Active Cost. You can add all your Limitations but you won't need Reduced END( and so don"t have to add it) as this only takes 6.

 

I only included Reduced END because it is already built into the VPP across all powers (for simplicity). Otherwise I wouldn't have included it in this power anyway.

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Transform is already cumulative, so you don't need to take it as an advantage.  Which means Grail's damage over time is problematic;  if it doesn't work, I'd argue it'd never work...that once the effect ends, if it hasn't managed to unlock, the partial transform vanishes.  Or, if the spell doesn't succeed, at the very least, the sensor blocks will go down, and the alarm WOULD go off, IMO.  OK, yes, some of this is I dislike buying trivial amounts of a base power, then slapping massive advantages on.  (1" teleport bought to 10,000 km megascale, for example.)

 

If I allowed this...it would either be in a more limited form, or it would cost.  You're trying to bypass any type of security system, at almost any level of effort...even a tech genius' system designed with a 22- skill roll.  Sure, the D&D spell does it...but the only locks they anticipate are physical ones, or magical.  Magical locks...in 3rd Ed, the last I'm very familiar with, it'd be a caster power check.  Physical locks, yeah, no problem.  But it's the electronic ones that get me.

 

BUT...considering the "caster power check"...I wonder if a Suppress is better than a Transform, for complex locks?  Keep something like a 2d6 Severe Transform for the physical locks, but serious ones might be Suppress.  And I'm not sure a Transform or Suppress is correct for the sensors.  No...come to think, for this, I'd require Mind Control (class of minds:  machine).  That's why it's there.  In fact, for any electronic-based lock, that's all you need.

 

So I'd definitely NOT allow a Transform to do everything.  

 

If you're duplicating Knock, BTW, why would it re-lock?

 

 

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To extend the thought...to handle REALLY good systems, I'd require Mind Scan, to *find* the actual computer you need to control.  It's connected to the door but it's not in the door.  I'd also require Computer Systems or Security Systems to see about access logging, and what countermeasures might be in place to block simple hacking.  Serious security starts by analyzing potential threats...and they take their sweet time in doing so.  So, a simple hand-wave, boom, we're in...that doesn't work for me. 

 

Secondary point:  I'd be SERIOUSLY disinclined to allow most of those limitations.  They don't matter;  this is an out-of-combat power.  

Oh, and the skill roll would be at -17 as you have it written....you have to cast em both together, and there's 170 active.  Got a 30- skill roll?

 

Last:  Magic Only is a VPP limitation, affecting the control cost.  IIRC, it doesn't reduce the real cost of powers in the VPP.  Probably not significant right now, with the other limitations.  And just looking?  5d6-1 Severe is 70;  you have +1 total advantage.  Even with just the +1/2 Improved Results Group, you're looking at 105 Active.  As a general rule, it's a very bad idea, as well, to put 0 END as a common modifier on the VPP.  Hero Designer will, I think, bounce powers that don't cost END to begin with, as they can't fit within the framework.  (I know it'll do that with limitations like Beam...you can't add, say, an HA in, because Beam can't be applied to an HA.)  Also not sure that Hero Designer always does the calculation of Active correctly when you have common advantages...I'm thinking I saw some cases where it didn't, in stuff I did like this.   

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5 hours ago, unclevlad said:

If I allowed this...it would either be in a more limited form, or it would cost.  You're trying to bypass any type of security system, at almost any level of effort...even a tech genius' system designed with a 22- skill roll.  Sure, the D&D spell does it...but the only locks they anticipate are physical ones, or magical.  Magical locks...in 3rd Ed, the last I'm very familiar with, it'd be a caster power check.  Physical locks, yeah, no problem.  But it's the electronic ones that get me.

 

Well, at least my version Costs, lol. But, if magic...uhhh...mystically unlocks physical locks, why not 'mystically' unlock electronic locks as well? I could certainly see a GM imposing skill roll penalties for the highly crafted 22- skill roll electronic locks.

Or maybe it could be a simple TK with fine manipulation. If all you are doing is a simple physical manipulation. Any difficulty penalties would be based on how complicated the lock is to maneuver (a simple bar across the door would be easy, vs having to move 3 items out of the way to allow the bolt to be undone, like a key lock), with knowing how locks work being a complimentary skill.

 

If TK was the first 'spell', the second one would be something that prevents the lock from sending a signal to the security computer which runs the lock and/or sets of the alarm.

 

Quote

BUT...considering the "caster power check"...I wonder if a Suppress is better than a Transform, for complex locks?  Keep something like a 2d6 Severe Transform for the physical locks, but serious ones might be Suppress.  And I'm not sure a Transform or Suppress is correct for the sensors.  No...come to think, for this, I'd require Mind Control (class of minds:  machine).  That's why it's there.  In fact, for any electronic-based lock, that's all you need.

 

I like Mind Control: Machines. It can either be used on the security computer controlling the lock directly, or on the lock itself - the lock itself being a small computer; it is a separate computer anyway which just happens to be in contact with the main security computer, so you just 'mind control' it to not send that signal.

 

Quote

So I'd definitely NOT allow a Transform to do everything.  

 

I don't disagree - but it does happen to be a 'catch-all' power when you can't come up with a better way to create a legitimate comic power. Which is why I asked if there Is a better way.

 

Quote

If you're duplicating Knock, BTW, why would it re-lock?

 

I use Hero Designer, and that is just the way it lays the power out. Re-lock is the 'heals back by'.

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4 hours ago, unclevlad said:

To extend the thought...to handle REALLY good systems, I'd require Mind Scan, to *find* the actual computer you need to control.  It's connected to the door but it's not in the door.  I'd also require Computer Systems or Security Systems to see about access logging, and what countermeasures might be in place to block simple hacking.  Serious security starts by analyzing potential threats...and they take their sweet time in doing so.  So, a simple hand-wave, boom, we're in...that doesn't work for me. 

 

If the lock is a sophisticated bio lock, it is a separate small dedicated computer. If one wants to control all the locks in a facility, yeah, I totally agree. If one is standing directly in front of the bio lock, machine control should be able to affect just that one computer.

 

4 hours ago, unclevlad said:

 

Secondary point:  I'd be SERIOUSLY disinclined to allow most of those limitations.  They don't matter;  this is an out-of-combat power.  

 

Requires A Roll (Skill roll; -1/2), Limited Power Only Magic (6E1 410) are on the VPP itself. Skill roll to even get the spell off in the first place makes sense to me. And 'Magic Only' on all powers in the VPP gives the Magic SFX, so in this case if a lock is protected against magic, that is an additional defense against the 'Knock'.

 

Concentration (1/2 DCV; -1/4), Extra Time (Delayed Phase, -1/4), Gestures (-1/4), Incantations (-1/4), are 'combat' if you are trying to keep hidden what you are doing so as to not get caught (such as trying to surreptitiously trying to break into a place). Gestures and incantations attract attention, extra time is more time to get caught, and Concentration is when someone is trying to shoot at you while you are trying to get through a door to a safe place.

 

IIF (Symbol of Hecate; -1/4) is something you have to have to even cast the spell in the first place.

 

4 hours ago, unclevlad said:

 


Oh, and the skill roll would be at -17 as you have it written....you have to cast em both together, and there's 170 active.  Got a 30- skill roll?

 

No, some, but not that much. But this is where taking even more time to gain bonuses to your roll comes into play, again, increasing your chances of either getting caught, or gets you shot at more while trying to get the door open to get into a safe place.

 

4 hours ago, unclevlad said:

Last:  Magic Only is a VPP limitation, affecting the control cost.  IIRC, it doesn't reduce the real cost of powers in the VPP. 

 

6E 410:  "Slightly Limited Class of powers available (for example, Only Magic)" thereby giving an additional SFX which can be defended against. Like if the locks were protected against magic. Plus:

 

"The third type of Limitation affects the powers bought through the power Pool. This sort of Limitation is taken for both the Control Cost and for any powers built with the power Pool. Again, it is just another SFX which can be defended against. It has to be on the 'spell slot' as well to give that SFX which can be defended against.

 

4 hours ago, unclevlad said:

 

Probably not significant right now, with the other limitations. 

 

True, it isn't significant Real Cost-wise at least. Very little RC benefit while giving that SFX which can be defended against. And since it has to be there...

 

4 hours ago, unclevlad said:

And just looking?  5d6-1 Severe is 70;  you have +1 total advantage.  Even with just the +1/2 Improved Results Group, you're looking at 105 Active. 

 

Yep, expensive. But this character is being designed for a high level game; a 500-600 point level game. Not a Thor level or Superman level of later Flash level game, but definitely not a Heroic level game either.

 

4 hours ago, unclevlad said:

As a general rule, it's a very bad idea, as well, to put 0 END as a common modifier on the VPP.  Hero Designer will, I think, bounce powers that don't cost END to begin with, as they can't fit within the framework.

 

The power was built with Hero Designer 6, as well as all the other 'spells' I have created (including ones which are 0 END to begin with, so no they don't get bounced. What it does is give me individual spell slots that cost more AP and RC, and add penalties to skill rolls, even if Red END doesn't apply. Ie. I am paying even more for the spells which are 0 END to begin with than I need to. I only did it that way to save time and energy on Math, lol.

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5 hours ago, Tom Cowan said:

how about skill levels as a power, lock picking at 150 would unlock most locks

 

But except for very few cases, skill levels don't belong in a VPP. And, that wouldn't allow the 'silencing'  (no transmission from the lock to the security computer. Otherwise I would love it.

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I grew pretty tired of "magic can do ANYTHING!!!" some years ago, personally.  

 

And, no, it's not costing you any points.  It's a VPP power...not even a multipower slot.  So sure, you paid for it in the control cost...and I'd double check those.  Build the power completely outside the VPP, as a Combined Power, and see what your Active is.  Is your Control big enough?  The Control size you buy is the max # of active points.  And, yes, this IS a combined power as they're having to be cast together...so building them separately in your VPP will break down.  This is something I've learned thru building a lot of char sheets...sometimes it's best to build the powers as a point of reference, THEN structure the VPP or MP around them, and adjust as needed.  For example, I like doing Fantasy Me...in the real world.  Characteristics, some defenses, life support, probably regen...and something like a 125 point VPP with 50 Control. :)  Half phase to switch, keep the skill roll because that's a limitation you can throw onto the powers so you can fit more in. :) 

 

When you're taking gestures and incants, how is taking more time improving your ability to cast the spell?  Plus, remember, even if allowed you're only getting +1 per step down the time chart.  What's the baseline time to hack a lock?  The example on 6E1 p. 59 is pick a lock...easier, IMO, and faster...and gives it a turn.  Well, if you want +6 to the roll...you're at a day.  And that's still...HOW tough a skill roll?

 

I'm also gonna suggest again, drop the 0 END from the VPP itself.  Just try it.  This is a one-off;  you hardly care about the END, but you DO care about the Active, and that in turn will affect several aspects.

 

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1 minute ago, unclevlad said:

I grew pretty tired of "magic can do ANYTHING!!!" some years ago, personally.  

 

I have always liked playing Wizards, in any genre/game system. I would create Dr. Strange specifically if I was playing in a high enough level game. Hell, if it was a completely magic free HERO system game, I would be the gadgeteer, lol. If the GM doesn't like those, it probably isn't the campaign for me. No biggie.

 

1 minute ago, unclevlad said:

And, no, it's not costing you any points.  It's a VPP power...not even a multipower slot.  So sure, you paid for it in the control cost...and I'd double check those.

 

I use Hero Designer so that my entire creation process is not all about me performing math, lol.

 

1 minute ago, unclevlad said:

 

 

 Build the power completely outside the VPP, as a Combined Power, and see what your Active is. 
 

 

I have done so, multiple times. When the power slot I buy is at its Greatest, it allows for only one slot, maybe 2, to be active, then the character has to go through the process of changing slots to do something else (which I why I also create the powers at lower levels as well). To me, that is a valid trade off, especially when I pay for something through the VPP (in this case Red END), which means even naturally 0 END powers have their RP increased when they don't have to. Basically, I could make those naturally 0 END powers even more powerful if I would take the time and effort to apply Red END to them individually. I am paying more for the VPP for many powers which do not even get a bonus for it. To me, that is a valid trade off.

 

1 minute ago, unclevlad said:

Is your Control big enough?  The Control size you buy is the max # of active points. 

 

Yes. According to Hero Designer.

 

1 minute ago, unclevlad said:

And, yes, this IS a combined power as they're having to be cast together...so building them separately in your VPP will break down. 

 

And that is how I bought it, was as a Compound Power.

 

1 minute ago, unclevlad said:

This is something I've learned thru building a lot of char sheets...sometimes it's best to build the powers as a point of reference, THEN structure the VPP or MP around them, and adjust as needed.  For example, I like doing Fantasy Me...in the real world.  Characteristics, some defenses, life support, probably regen...and something like a 125 point VPP with 50 Control. :)  Half phase to switch, keep the skill roll because that's a limitation you can throw onto the powers so you can fit more in. :) 

 

I have done that too, in a Heroic or lower level game. :)  But in a Superheroic game, where the characters and evil NPC can kill or capture 'normals' with but a thought, I find it easier to create a concept (like a lower leveled Dr. Strange) and then build the powers to fit the concept.

 

1 minute ago, unclevlad said:

When you're taking gestures and incants, how is taking more time improving your ability to cast the spell? 

 

I can't remember where it is in the rules to quote a page, but there is a rule somewhere that says that if you take more time can give your rolls bonuses. Specifically for gestures and incantations, there are two ways they can be purchased: required throughout casting (which would 'build the power' during casting and make you much more noticeable as a target), and not required throughout, which would make you less noticeable as a target, for a lower -limitation. With this specific spell, I took without 'throughout.' So the gestures and incantations are not 'building the power of the spell', they are just required to make the spell possible in the first place.

 

1 minute ago, unclevlad said:

Plus, remember, even if allowed you're only getting +1 per step down the time chart.  What's the baseline time to hack a lock?

 

Hack a lock, sure. As for the baseline time, I don't know. But this is not 'hacking' a lock. This is using a power to 'poof' open a lock, much like, "Knock" in D&D.

 

1 minute ago, unclevlad said:

  The example on 6E1 p. 59 is pick a lock...easier, IMO, and faster...and gives it a turn.  Well, if you want +6 to the roll...you're at a day.  And that's still...HOW tough a skill roll?

 

Maybe that is where we are misunderstanding each other. The Magic Skill Roll is to 'get the spell off''. Some complications would of course interfere with that skill roll (loud noises and distractions, being shot at, and the like. But complexity of the lock should not interfere with the roll to cast the spell. Take using a powered suit of armor to Blast someone for instance. If the blast requires a roll to make it fire, the complexity of the targets defenses do not affect that roll. Once you have gotten the shot off, the complexity of the targets defenses only determine whether or not or how much damage you do. Now, in the case of Transforming a lock, once you achieve whatever is used as the BODY of the lock, Poof! It is unlocked. If you use Control Machine, once you have achieved the level of whatever you determine the EGO (or more likely the INT) of the lock, Poof! it is unlocked. The complexity of the lock affects how much EGO (INT?) the lock has, but not the ability to get the spell off.

 

1 minute ago, unclevlad said:

I'm also gonna suggest again, drop the 0 END from the VPP itself.  Just try it.  This is a one-off;  you hardly care about the END, but you DO care about the Active, and that in turn will affect several aspects.

 

I agree with you on this. I do not care about the END on a naturally 0 END power, and I do care about the Active Points of each spell. But I freely admit that when I have 0+ potential spells (a lot of that is in different power levels of the same spell), I am lazy, and I would rather put it on the VPP than calculate it into each individual spell on which it would make a difference, even if it costs me level of power of the spell/more Active Points.

 

Who knows... since I haven't been able to find a reliable game (lasting more than a session or two) since 4th Edition, once I am finished building this character, maybe I Will go back and take the Red End off the VPP and apply it where appropriate to each individual spell. But in the meantime, I am having too much fun just creating the character to fit the concept (in this case Willow nearly 20 years and lots of experience) after Buffy the Vampire Slayer has ended).

 

1 minute ago, unclevlad said:

 

 

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30 minutes ago, sinanju said:

I'd use Tunneling, with the Limitation/Special Effect that it only works on existing doors/windows/gates/etc. Whenever you want to go thru a door, hey--it's unlocked! How conveeeeeenient. Then I can close it behind me (the "fill in behind" option for Tunneling) and my pursuers can't follow me.

 

OMG I love it! So much simpler (and cheaper, lol). I would still have to build the compound power so that it doesn't set off alarms if I made the SFX target the lock itself. But if I did it on the natural portals you mention, there is already a power in Champions Powers (CP 267) Shrink Tunneling, which would allow just that.

 

Or I could even just Desolidify the portal (UAA) with a Time Limit, limited to those portals.

 

Thanks!

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You don't need to worry about the math with HD.  Start by slapping the 0 END advantage and whatever else, then start buying up the dice.  

 

On the skill roll:  SOME skill rolls get this.  That's entirely up to the GM, tho, whether it does or doesn't.  Here?  No.  Especially given that you can do Requires a Skill Roll (-1 per 20 points).  And again...look at how much extra time this takes to get a major advantage.  You're probably right that the base time thing...but what IS the base time to consider the spell?  Probably a phase?  OK, so that's your base time on the time chart, IF it's allowed.  I'm also saying that as GM, I'd probably allow Extra Time to switch slots in the VPP...because that's time *in combat*.  You can switch around pretty freely outside combat.  But I'd be VERY leery about Extra Time to improve the skill roll to cast the spell, UNLESS doing so actually increased the casting time *on* the spell.  That feels reasonable.  I'm not sure if I"d treat Extra Phase as Phase, or Turn, for purposes of the time chart...the Extra Time limitation is much more fine-grained, but it's also intended for combat-time casting, NOT non-combat casting.  So I'd probably be stringent...anything beyond a normal action, counts as a turn for *this* time chart.  And maybe not, honestly, as it'd only be 1 point, and the time increments on the time chart grow very quickly.  

 

And...you're trying to build a VPP with effectively a 170 point control cost?  Even if it's 112 with the common 0 END modifier, that is seriously, incredibly HUGE.

 

 

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1 hour ago, unclevlad said:

You don't need to worry about the math with HD.  Start by slapping the 0 END advantage and whatever else, then start buying up the dice.  

 

You are probably right. Maybe I will...like I said, after I am done with the character. I am having too much fun with this 'mode' I am in :)

 

1 hour ago, unclevlad said:

 I'm not sure if I"d treat Extra Phase as Phase, or Turn, for purposes of the time chart...the Extra Time limitation is much more fine-grained, but it's also intended for combat-time casting, NOT non-combat casting.

 

Oh, I am not counting that Extra Phase as part of taking extra time toward improving a roll. That is just part of her Schtick. She has two types of spell. Ritual, and non-ritual. Everything she does during a ritual spell has (at least) that Extra Phase for the Casting of the spell. When she does non-ritual spell (those without limitations), she has a chance to turn into a mean, nasty, angry version of herself (left over from her Buffy the Vampire Slayer days). Schtick. If she did anything with extra time to improve a roll, it would be in addition to that Extra Time limitation.

 

1 hour ago, unclevlad said:

And...you're trying to build a VPP with effectively a 170 point control cost?  Even if it's 112 with the common 0 END modifier, that is seriously, incredibly HUGE.

 

Maybe so, depending on the level of the game you are playing. For example, the game she is being created for is, say X-men level, where a tornado Storm creates *will* take a plane out of the sky, not just muck with its direction, speed, and turn mode. She isn't being created for a Superman flies in the opposite direction of the earth and turns back time level, but a lot more than Change Environment is the highest level of weather control you can buy kind of game. It's a 'you can buy Invisibility to cover Everything game level, not a you can buy Invisibility to only two sense groups kind of game.

(And just for the record: In this instance it's a Control of 180 *with* the Red END 0 on the VPP. 120 without.) Aww hell, maybe I get off my ass and take the time and effort to remove the Red END from the VPP now, before I come up with even more powers to put in the VPP, saving myself more time later, lol.

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4 minutes ago, massey said:

You guys are crazy.  5” of Teleport will get you through any locked door, even massive vaults.  Or just take Desolidification and walk through it.  End result is the same.  You don’t need some 150 active point monstrosity of a power.

But it won't get your friends through.  Unlocking a door will get your friends through. 

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You can of course toss in the weight multiplier for not much.

 

However, you're also going to need something like clairsentience to see inside the vault;  Safe Blind Teleport is a poor second choice.

 

And this will get you into the vault...then what?  Let's say it's the bank's safety deposit vault...how are you gonna get the boxes open?

 

Does teleport displace air?  It generally doesn't matter...but here it does.  A vault *today* doesn't have a security measure to sense displaced air, but in a world with superpowers?  How about motion sensors to kick off lights and cameras in the vault?  Or IR sensors that automatically trigger an alarm when there's a spike.  Teleport is, IMO, the most obvious threat;  this may be campaign-specific but teleport is a sweet power.  Desolid is very nice, but also seriously expensive, and has significant, tricky implications, so it's likely to be relatively limited by comparison.  And yet, the IR probably goes off....

 

You need to play more agents, spies, and thief-types. :)  Getting in is only the first step.

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12 hours ago, massey said:

You guys are crazy.  5” of Teleport will get you through any locked door, even massive vaults.  Or just take Desolidification and walk through it.  End result is the same.  You don’t need some 150 active point monstrosity of a power.

 

But I want the character to be able to unlock Any lock. Small chest, small combination lock built into a wall, briefcase lock, etc. If it is not possible or too difficult, so be it, but I at least have to ask...

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6 minutes ago, tombrown803 said:

how about just buy lockpicking, security systems, and computer programing with a high skill roll. That might be the easiest way to do it

 

Now if only those were available in a VPP (the character is a witch...), and I am trying approach the D&D effect: Knock

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