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I have another oddball superpower design question.

 

I just got Mister Watts' Golden Age Champion book, and in checking out the time-lost characters he mentions in it I found this guy, the Man o' Metal. I'd like to try doing a power like his 'metal skin that bursts into flames whenever hit by fire or electricity'. I'm mainly using 5th edition rules here.

 

I'm guessing that one power advantage it would need is Trigger, since he apparently can't activate it on his own but has to get zapped with fire or electricity first. And of course Damage Shield. If anyone has any other ideas for how to model it I'd like to hear them.

 

Thanks everyone.

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Trigger is an Advantage, but you're describing a Limitation.  You shouldn't have to pay more to get less. 

 

I'd probably build it as [whatever damage shield you feel fits], 0 END, Persistent, Always On, Only For [some fitting interval] After Being Hit by Fire/Lightning Attack. 

When he gets zapped, the Limitation keeping it turned off disengages and it becomes active. 

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Right, you have a narrative description.  Can you refine that into what you want in game terms?

 

Right now, I am immediately thinking that he has a damage shield with one continuous charge that resets whenever he is hit with electricity/fire.  So in game terms that means he damages anyone who touches him or that he touches.

 

That's it.

 

Is there more game effect you want?  Does it allow him to push the energy out? Does it allow him to damage lots of folk at once?  Does it affect people simply near him rather than those who manage to touch him?

 

Lots of questions that might influence the build.

 

Doc

 

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I am thinking a Damage Shield operated off of an END reserve which is charged by Absorption from Fire or Electricity.  It should receive a -2 limitation for No Conscious Control - it starts automatically, and runs until the reserve is depleted so, while predictable, the character does not control its activation.  The reserve starts at 0 and has no recovery.

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1 hour ago, Hugh Neilson said:

I am thinking a Damage Shield operated off of an END reserve which is charged by Absorption from Fire or Electricity.  It should receive a -2 limitation for No Conscious Control - it starts automatically, and runs until the reserve is depleted so, while predictable, the character does not control its activation.  The reserve starts at 0 and has no recovery.

 

My concern about this is that you are paying for a limitation.  Instead of working all the time it works if an END pool (that you have paid points for)  is charged by Absorption (which you have paid points for).

 

If the pool and absorption was just bureaucracy and the limited use was reflected in a limitation, then I agree it is a decent way to administer it.

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Here's what I do when I come up with a weird power.  I start out and ask "what is the basic function of this ability?"  As in, in its most streamlined and simple, video game like form, what does it do?  That gives you your basic power.  Then I say "this power is different because of XYZ, does this make it better or worse than the standard power?"  And that tells me if it's an Advantage or a Limitation I should look to.  If the power gets worse, I am not paying extra for it.

 

Honestly, I had one idea in mind when I read your post (and everyone else's responses), and then I read the link you posted and their description is entirely different.  "In his normal human body, he is as vulnerable as any other person, but while on fire, he can melt bullets and grenades. He can breathe underwater and is bulletproof."  That's not a damage shield.  There's no mention of burning people when they get too close.  Sounds like he just has Life Support and a bunch of Armor.  Probably gets increased strength too, because a lot of Golden Age characters did.

 

Having not read that particular comic, and going purely off the description and a general familiarity with Golden Age stories, I'd suggest buying his powers Only in Hero ID.  In his normal identity, the character is a regular private eye.  Build him as a two-fisted adventurer.  Then he's got all his superpowers on a -1/4 limitation.  It's low because (knowing Golden Age comics) any time he's in danger, he's probably going to get exposed to heat or electricity right off the bat almost every time.  Basically he'd do all his detective work, and then when the time came to use his powers, he'd conveniently get thrown into a fire or shocked with electricity.  It's how all those old comics worked.

 

Now if your GM is not going to follow Golden Age logic, and your guy has to spend half the fight hoping to get blasted by somebody with electrical or fire powers, then it's worth a lot more than -1/4.  If the enemies figure out how his powers work, and they send Captain Icicle to fight him, then it's worth more than -1/4.  But if you keep with the original tone, there should always be a fireplace going, or some exposed electrical wiring that he can grab hold of.  Maybe he has to spend one action quietly lighting a book of matches and keeping it in his hand before his powers kick in.  But that's it.  Those guys never had a hard time activating their powers.

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7 hours ago, Doc Democracy said:

 

My concern about this is that you are paying for a limitation.  Instead of working all the time it works if an END pool (that you have paid points for)  is charged by Absorption (which you have paid points for).

 

If the pool and absorption was just bureaucracy and the limited use was reflected in a limitation, then I agree it is a decent way to administer it.

 

As Massey points out, I am assuming this is one power, and only kicks in if attacked by fire/electricity.  Let's consider.

 

First, we have the END reserve.  That costs 1 point (4 END, no recovery) only because nothing costs under 1 point.

 

Next, we need some Absorption.  20 BOD (for 20 points) should be plenty.  Let's pay +1/4 so the Reserve can get 40 points maximum (so 40/2 x 5 = 100 END), -1/4 for "only fire/electric" (on the basis that, as Massey notes, onlywe will see it all the time).

 

Now we need the Damage Shield. Let's call that an 8 DC attack power, AoE Surface (+1/4), Constant = 70 AP, no range (-1/2), No Conscious Control (-1) = 28 points.

 

I am using the -1 NCC as the character cannot control the power once it is activated by fire/electricity, and must burn through the END reserve.  I'm not forcing Persistent as the battery pays the END.

 

So 1 + 20 + 28 = 49 points, pretty rigidly applying RAW.  Last 1 phase per 7 BOD absorbed

 

ALTERNATE:  8 DC attack power, AoE Surface (+1/4), 0 END (+1/2), Constant (+1/2), Persistent (+1/4) = 100 AP, no range (-1/2), only after hit by fire/lightning for a limited period based on BOD (-1/2) would be 50 points.

 

If you think that -1/2 is overly stingy, the RAW rules are overpriced.

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well, you put NCC on the first and not the second, the player does not get to choose when to use the continuing charge, there is only one.  I think your -1/2 limitation is a bit stingy.  🙂  I also note that for the second, you make it persistent but not the first...

 

I think RAW might not be so overpriced....

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

Trigger is an Advantage, but you're describing a Limitation.  You shouldn't have to pay more to get less. 

 

I'd probably build it as [whatever damage shield you feel fits], 0 END, Persistent, Always On, Only For [some fitting interval] After Being Hit by Fire/Lightning Attack. 

When he gets zapped, the Limitation keeping it turned off disengages and it becomes active. 

 

Very first thing I want to say is that I _love_ this concept.   Yeah; I know-- but remember that I didn't grow up on supers and comics, so I tend to like the more unusual ideas. :D

 

As to using the Trigger Advantage to get less-- well, the first thing I thought was No Conscious Control, but Hugh beat me to it be several hours. ;)

 

I liked GB(i)'s initial build, and like Hugh, thought an END Reserve would be the perfect "Timer;"  In fact, I have a tendency to use END Reserve as a timer rather than Fuel Charges, etc, particularly on spells in fantasy games, so it sprang to mind.  Then I saw the Always On, and -- please correct me if I'm wrong, but don't the rules mandate that an AO power be zero-END?  The Reserve idea won't work.  Still, slap NCC onto GB(i)'s build and assign a Time Limit and you've got something totally workable.  However, you also have a very reliable power: the duration will never change, no matter how many times you "draw from the lightning" or whatever the justification is with the Damage Shield.  It's not wrong; it's just not me.

 

 

9 hours ago, Hugh Neilson said:

I am thinking a Damage Shield operated off of an END reserve which is charged by Absorption from Fire or Electricity.  It should receive a -2 limitation for No Conscious Control - it starts automatically, and runs until the reserve is depleted so, while predictable, the character does not control its activation.  The reserve starts at 0 and has no recovery.

 

This is dead-on what I was thinking.  The energy to run it comes entirely from outside the character, and the more energy he uses (the more people or doors or whatever) he zaps, the faster it's depleted.

 

 

8 hours ago, Doc Democracy said:

 

My concern about this is that you are paying for a limitation.  Instead of working all the time it works if an END pool (that you have paid points for)  is charged by Absorption (which you have paid points for).

 

If the pool and absorption was just bureaucracy and the limited use was reflected in a limitation, then I agree it is a decent way to administer it.

 

 

Forgive me, but can you elaborate on your meaning in the second sentence?  The first sentence sounds pretty much like Hugh suggested, but the second sentence suggests an issue that I am not seeing / understanding.  :(

 

 

55 minutes ago, Hugh Neilson said:

 

As Massey points out, I am assuming this is one power, and only kicks in if attacked by fire/electricity.  Let's consider.

 

First, we have the END reserve.  That costs 1 point (4 END, no recovery) only because nothing costs under 1 point.

 

Next, we need some Absorption.  20 BOD (for 20 points) should be plenty.  Let's pay +1/4 so the Reserve can get 40 points maximum (so 40/2 x 5 = 100 END), -1/4 for "only fire/electric" (on the basis that, as Massey notes, onlywe will see it all the time).

 

I don't disagree with -1/4 as a starting point, but I think he's going to have to work out that bonus with the GM: while I use fire a lot as conversational examples, neither Fire Powers nor Electrical Powers are particularly common in my campaigns (see the Killer Watt conversation from a year or two back ;)   )  Again, I don't disagree with it as a baseline; as an example of why he needs to get with the GM, though, I suggest that in my own games, it would be worth a -1/2, possibly 3/4.  The exception, of course, is if the player intends to run around sticking his hands in fuseboxes and gas grills to increase his access to the power, in which case, -1/4.  And if he just wants that to be part of the special effect of "turning the power on," and expects to have ready access to fire or lightning any time he needs it-- well then I'll still allow it (I like a challenge!  :lol:  ), but it's going to be a -0.

 

Again-- not an argument; offered more as something for the OP to think about as to the "value" of a Limitation.

 

 

 

55 minutes ago, Hugh Neilson said:

 

Now we need the Damage Shield. Let's call that an 8 DC attack power, AoE Surface (+1/4), Constant = 70 AP, no range (-1/2), No Conscious Control (-1) = 28 points.

 

Next question:

 

How long have I been mis-using damage  shield?  Area Effect Surface?  Okay, you can't possibly answer that, can't you?  :lol:     I know that AOE Surface  _exists_; I've just never required it on a damage shield.  Since you can turn around and hit an opponent with a brick at no charge, I've always let Damage Shield just work on someone making contact with you.  Am I breaking a rule, or did a rule change?  Or has "Damage Shield" just been renamed AOE: Surface.

 

Though this is something I'm not going to change,  it doesn't alter the fact that I would be appreciative for any answer you can give on that one.

 

 

55 minutes ago, Hugh Neilson said:

 

I am using the -1 NCC as the character cannot control the power once it is activated by fire/electricity, and must burn through the END reserve.  I'm not forcing Persistent as the battery pays the END.

 

Which makes perfect sense: forcing something that's not needed just because it _can_ be applied is something of a pet peeve of mine, and I can't tell you how nice it is to see a clean build that doesn't include everything that _could_ be applied to it forced into it.   ;)

 

 

55 minutes ago, Hugh Neilson said:

 

So 1 + 20 + 28 = 49 points, pretty rigidly applying RAW.  Last 1 phase per 7 BOD absorbed

 

Which could be made more effective through one level of Reduced END, but at an additional cost.  Again, not disagreeing with what you've got; just something else for the OP to consider.

 

 

55 minutes ago, Hugh Neilson said:

 

ALTERNATE:  8 DC attack power, AoE Surface (+1/4), 0 END (+1/2), Constant (+1/2), Persistent (+1/4) = 100 AP, no range (-1/2), only after hit by fire/lightning for a limited period based on BOD (-1/2) would be 50 points.

 

If you think that -1/2 is overly stingy, the RAW rules are overpriced.

 

 

If you're going to apply the Zero END, there's no reason not to go with GB(i)'s build: you've got a set time limit, as the Damage Shield was the only thing that would be using the same amount of END every phase-- My apologies, but given the picture in the link, and the description given by the OP, I got the impression there was a Density increase going on here, too.

 

If there _are_ two powers being charged and used at the same rate (sort of), then perhaps Unified as well?

 

 

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1 minute ago, Duke Bushido said:

I got the impression there was a Density increase going on here, too.

 

If there _are_ two powers being charged and used at the same rate (sort of), then perhaps Unified as well?

 

 

 

Okay, I just read the linked page on an actual screen, and the DI may or may not exist, period.  Dude might just be blue.  But there is definitely some increased PD / Forcefield versus projectiles going on here: while on fire, he can melt bullets....

 

 

 

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5 minutes ago, Duke Bushido said:

 

Forgive me, but can you elaborate on your meaning in the second sentence?  The first sentence sounds pretty much like Hugh suggested, but the second sentence suggests an issue that I am not seeing / understanding.  

 

I am saying that the damage shield is limited in its use and you are buying an END battery to reduce its utility.  So effectively spending points to limit the utility of the damage shield.  It always makes my skin itch.  I love it as a mechanic as it gives you the bureaucracy you want to manage the power but you are spending points to do it. 

 

7 minutes ago, Duke Bushido said:

How long have I been mis-using damage  shield?  Area Effect Surface?  Okay, you can't possibly answer that, can't you?  :lol:     I know that AOE Surface  _exists_; I've just never required it on a damage shield.  Since you can turn around and hit an opponent with a brick at no charge, I've always let Damage Shield just work on someone making contact with you.  Am I breaking a rule, or did a rule change?  Or has "Damage Shield" just been renamed AOE: Surface.

 

It is pretty much just folding Damage shield into the Area of Effect advantage.  I think (though I never used it often) it is pretty much the same price.

 

So for detail (put my hands on my books)

 

8 DC attack, AoE Surface (+1/4) (50 AP) 4 recoverable charges that last 2 phases (-1/4), no range (-1/2) - 29 points.  Now this IS a bit less effective than yours.  It would only kick back four times for every time that it gets activated.  However, he should not be able to choose to hold the charges back, so I will apply the same NCC you use for yours (-1) which means I can get it for 18 points, or decide to up the number of charges.

 

Not quite the same power, different utilities but in most play situations they play out pretty similarly.  Is the added utility of the no charge counting equal to the extra points used?  In the 18 point version he has 8 phases (or four damage causing segments) of damage shield when he gets attacked.  Your guy gets one phase for every 7 BOD absorbed, so 8 phases if he absorbs 56 BOD....

 

Doc

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Thanks, Doc! 

 

On first reading, I had not noticed that "damage shield" was _not_ listed; I was reading it as "... damage shield (+1/4), AOE: surface (+1/4)....."

 

I trust you can see why my eyes bugged!   :lol:

 

Now, if it helps you soothe your crawly skin, consider that what you are paying for is not beuracracy; that's just a helpful side effect in this case.  What you are paying for is the ability for this power to never let you come up short for other END uses.  If this is the character's only power, he still has END for STR and for Movement.  If he has other powers, well he has END for them, too.  He will never deplete his personal END on accident- that is, no matter how many times he bursts into flame or how frequently he does it, it will never tire him; he will never not be able to do this thing any time the trigger situation occurs. 

 

_That_ is what you are paying for: a sort of insurance that this power will _always_ work, no matter how drained the character himself may be. 

 

 

I use a _lot_ of END Reserve builds (it's one of the few "upgrades" I accepted from later editions) for precisely the reason I described, and the majority of them are fueled by absorption, just like Hugh presented here.  And for magic?  Oh yeah; lots of it: in most of my fantasy campaigns, magic does not tire the user; he simply "uses up" what's available to him and waits for it to recharge / goes through a ritual / whatever option I am playing with at that time. 

 

I love these things the way other people like Power Pool or Multipower (not a big fan of either, but I do dabble in multipower a bit). 

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10 minutes ago, Duke Bushido said:

That_ is what you are paying for: a sort of insurance that this power will _always_ work, no matter how drained the character himself may be.

 

How much have you paid here? It doubled the cost of the power.  I could have it on constantly by paying 0 END, for +1/2 and putting the same limitation of only for four phases after being hit with fire gives me Hugh's build at reduced cost.

 

I DO use END reserve for lots of things, the examples you give are exactly the kind of thing it is useful for.  In this instance it is being used to limit a power, I am still itching!!! 🙂

 

Doc

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Thanks to everyone who answered my question here. I'll have to come back later when I have more time to read through these properly. I was also blanking on some of the original power write-up -- I was thinking of it as 'he catches fire and can burn people while it lasts' not that he can melt bullets. Though you'd think that if he got hot enough to melt bullets before they touched his skin, touching or being touched by him would be painful.

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39 minutes ago, Doc Democracy said:

 

How much have you paid here? It doubled the cost of the power. 

 

 

With this build; yes.  This build wasn't the cheapest thing ever done with End Reserve, but it still made the power work as described.  I should have stated more clearly my defense of Endurance Reserve as a generalized tool.  It's really hard to put a value on "while my forcefield is up and running, I think I'll take a couple of recoveries," which is one of my favorite things about END Reserve-- It doesn't cost +1 for Zero END (and potentially way more than that in pre-4e builds like my own ;)  )

 

Now without the END Reserve, if we're building this power, it doesn't work when he's out of END unless you pay double for it.

 

Which was your problem with this build, I believe.

 

Still, I can see where you're coming from, the more I think about it.   Make the reserve cheaper-- like, as a rule; I don't mean just slap on some more Limitations.  Just make it cheaper.  It _should_ be cheaper than Zero END, after all, since Zero END means there is no time limit.

 

Hmmm...  Was it 3e or 4e that introduced the modern RED END x2 means Zero END?  If it was 3e, then there was a time that I _was_ way cheaper-- officially, I mean.  It's cheaper in my games, but you know why already.  Perhaps it wasn't properly re-thought in light of RED END x2 = 0END, and no one has really caught it-- no one who can afford to buy copyrights and publish rules, I mean-- clearly you've picked up on it long ago.   

 

So...  do we make END RES cheaper, or Zero END more expensive?

 

 

 

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4 hours ago, Duke Bushido said:

However, you also have a very reliable power: the duration will never change, no matter how many times you "draw from the lightning" or whatever the justification is with the Damage Shield.  It's not wrong; it's just not me.

It's a custom Limitation, [interval] can be whatever the maker wants it to be.  One minute.  One Turn.  A number of Segments equal to the STUN dealt by the source.  A number of Phases equal to the BODY dealt by the source.  1d6 minutes, rolled by the GM and kept secret.  2d10 uses, rolled publicly.  Etc. 

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6 hours ago, Duke Bushido said:

With this build; yes.  This build wasn't the cheapest thing ever done with End Reserve, but it still made the power work as described.

 

And that comes back to my original statement.

17 hours ago, Doc Democracy said:

If the pool and absorption was just bureaucracy and the limited use was reflected in a limitation, then I agree it is a decent way to administer it.

 

You asked me what I meant. I meant, put the pool in there as part of the power and decide how much its use limits the power.  You might decide not at all, and just give it for free, you might award a -1/4 limitation.

 

 

Doc

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On 3/23/2020 at 3:56 PM, Doc Democracy said:

well, you put NCC on the first and not the second, the player does not get to choose when to use the continuing charge, there is only one.  I think your -1/2 limitation is a bit stingy.  🙂  I also note that for the second, you make it persistent but not the first...

 

I think RAW might not be so overpriced....

 

A power running from an END reserve, RAW, does not need Persistent to continue to draw on the reserve when the character is KOd.  Of course, that can be great, or it can suck when you wake up with no juice left.

 

On 3/23/2020 at 4:46 PM, Duke Bushido said:

How long have I been mis-using damage  shield?  Area Effect Surface?  Okay, you can't possibly answer that, can't you?  :lol:     I know that AOE Surface  _exists_; I've just never required it on a damage shield.  Since you can turn around and hit an opponent with a brick at no charge, I've always let Damage Shield just work on someone making contact with you.  Am I breaking a rule, or did a rule change?  Or has "Damage Shield" just been renamed AOE: Surface.

 

I'm not sure when AoE surface cropped up.  This could make a gun superheated with Heat Vision, or a wall freezing cold (or sticky).  It is 6e when a Constant AoE Surface, no range to cover the character's body replaced Damage Shield as a separate advantage.

 

It's not "always on", it's "can't shut off until battery drained", which I would consider pretty much the same limitation.

 

On 3/23/2020 at 5:56 PM, Doc Democracy said:

How much have you paid here? It doubled the cost of the power.  I could have it on constantly by paying 0 END, for +1/2 and putting the same limitation of only for four phases after being hit with fire gives me Hugh's build at reduced cost.

 

It is not Constant if you just buy 0 END, nor is it quasi-Persistent.  But I specifically said "if you find -1/2 stingy", because that is the acid test of the comparability of the costs.

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39 minutes ago, Hugh Neilson said:

A power running from an END reserve, RAW, does not need Persistent to continue to draw on the reserve when the character is KOd

 

I would say my no conscious control, charges would continue in much the same way, and they don't need persistent either.  So my 18 point power is pretty cheap compared to your 50 point monster.  🙂

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On 3/23/2020 at 5:16 PM, Doc Democracy said:

8 DC attack, AoE Surface (+1/4) (50 AP) 4 recoverable charges that last 2 phases (-1/4), no range (-1/2) - 29 points.  Now this IS a bit less effective than yours.  It would only kick back four times for every time that it gets activated.  However, he should not be able to choose to hold the charges back, so I will apply the same NCC you use for yours (-1) which means I can get it for 18 points, or decide to up the number of charges.

 

Like mine, this requires some creative interpretation, here of the recoverable charges.  I am pretty sure that was not intended to mean "well, next turn you can use them all again".

 

I am confident that, if stunned or KOd, you cannot activate another charge.  With that in mind, I think you need a single recoverable charge that lasts longer.

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