Sir Swindle
 member, 161 posts
Wed 8 Mar 2017
at 14:03
M&M Edition mixing
I want to use most of the mechanics from 3rd but keep the D&D stat set up and maybe skills from 2nd. Will this destroy the game for some reason I don't understand?

Reason you ask? D&D stats are more accessible to the unwashed masses. But I think the Power building rules in 3rd are a lot cleaner.

This message was last updated by a moderator, as it was the wrong forum, at 15:16, Wed 08 Mar.

badpenny
 member, 332 posts
 eats shoots and leaves
Wed 8 Mar 2017
at 16:11
M&M Edition mixing
I think you're better off making changes to 2e than trying to fix 3e.

I can give you a detailed list of just how objectively broken 3e is.
Sir Swindle
 member, 162 posts
Thu 9 Mar 2017
at 16:03
Re: M&M Edition mixing
badpenny:
I can give you a detailed list of just how objectively broken 3e is.

Go for it. I'm apparently missing out on the fun.
badpenny
 member, 333 posts
 eats shoots and leaves
Thu 9 Mar 2017
at 17:00
Re: M&M Edition mixing
In the transition from 2e to 3e many things were changed--IMO--just to make it look cosmetically different so they could get the DC license.  The reason why I think this is that the changes that were made don't make any sense.

Abilities

In 2e, since there are Recovery checks, CON is a good deal (and really beyond the Init bonus from DEX) is the only necessary Ability.  When 2e moved away from 1e, all prerequisites were done away with.  This means you are not obligated to buy any of the Abilities.

But in 3e, there are no Recovery checks.  Since you can buy your way around the Abilities (from 2e on), now you really don't need even one of them--but there are more of them!  So this only serves to complicate things (the Close Attack/FGT/Parry intersection has thrown a lot of people).  The AGL/DEX split--which no one asked for--only continues the system's bias against street level characters, e.g. martial artists/weapon masters (typically Attack- and Defense-shifted characters).

The Abilities are not operationalized regarding Difficulties, with no clear situational examples for GMs to make use of Ability checks.  Example: the one listed DC for DEX (to catch something thrown at you--which appears in the Superboy example fight--is a DC 5 check.  Hardly very granular, and frankly, with the linear d20 mechanic statistically irrelevant.

The typical push back against doing away with all the Abilities would be as a defense against Ability Drain/Weaken.  The only problem with that is A) it's pretty rare, and B) isn't balanced even from the get-go across archetypes.  So you have someone with CON 34 (giving them Toughness 12) and someone with CON 14 and Force Field 10.  One character has far more protection against a Drain attack than the other.  So if Drains are a thing, let's all do away with buying Protection and just spam our CON Ability.  Built in min-maxing.  Characters should not be penalized for their concept, or have to pay a concept tax (one player having to pay more than another because the mechanics are stilted).

Powers

Affliction in 3e has a strange appeal as this mix-and-match modular thing, but it's wholly broken and I don't get why people don't see it.

First, it's trying to cram 10 pounds of stuff into a 5 pound bag.  It doesn't work.  The individual powers in 2e were nicely written up with clear game mechanics.  But in 3e, they took a Search and Replace mentality to the 2e text and did things like doing away with the distinction between Saves and Checks.  Have a look at the 3e definition of Impaired or Disabled.  You'll see a clear implication that it applies to all checks because they don't actually say which ones might be excluded.  Many GMs have made Impaired and Disabled apply to Resistance checks, which is astronomically out of proportion with any other game effect.  If you're Disabled (and it literally applies to ALL checks), then you'd be at -5 to Ability checks, Skill checks, Toughness/Fortitude/Will checks, which of course means a reflexive penalty to even breaking out of the Affliction on your subsequent turn.  Only Drain/Weaken might lower all of those traits simultaneously, but you'd have to pay several Extras to do that, but what we're talking about is single rank Affliction.  Bro-ken.

Secondly re: Affliction it doesn't work when you examine Dazzle.  It's built as an Affliction with the Flaw: Limited to One Sense.  A Flaw should reduce effectiveness roughly by half, so follow the logic with regards to Move Object:

If I buy MO with the Flaw: Limited Material: Metal, that implies that without the Flaw, it's not limited to one material--it affects all materials.  But that doesn't seem to be the way Affliction is constructed re: Dazzle.

Remove the Limited to One Sense from Dazzle and that should mean it affects all senses, but there's no top domain for Affliction--IOW, it affects the whole character without regard to domain.  By Domain, I mean a narrow scope of traits like "senses."

Dazzle should be built like this: Affliction; Flaw: Limited to Senses; Limited to One Sense.

Snare is equally poorly built as an Affliction, overly expensive, and without any of the Extras from 2e, let alone one of the most important Feats: Tether.  In 3e, you have to build it as an Alternate Move Object, which is beyond ignorant in design.

3e breaks more things than it fixes, even if you like the streamlined STR/Mass/Distance chart, the standardized +2/+5 sequence, etc.

Make some house rule changes to 2e and dump 3e in the bin where it belongs.

If you want to see the changes I've made to 2e, go here: http://www.echoesofthemultiver...c.php?f=16&t=184
Sir Swindle
 member, 163 posts
Thu 9 Mar 2017
at 19:56
Re: M&M Edition mixing
OK, that is a lot to parse. I don't strictly agree with you on several points, but I don't really care to do a point for point counter.

Abilities
This section I was going to go back to 2nd just to not system shock the 3.P crowd.

Powers
Wow, a lot about Affliction, not going to say I haven't seen a bit of misuse. Were there any other Effects you have issue with?

Premade powers do demonstrate some flaws. Dazzle(Sight) is probably 3 times better than Snare but the costs are inverted.

Overall everything presented doesn't seem like something that proper DM oversight can't handle.

I looked over your house rules. Minion rules made some good sense, as does PF/Shadowrun style background skills. Relative Degree Attack Checks is more interesting than crits to say the least.
badpenny
 member, 334 posts
 eats shoots and leaves
Thu 9 Mar 2017
at 21:37
Re: M&M Edition mixing
Concealment can be an issue since they moved from a separate Miss Chance to folding in a direct defense bonus.  It'll be up to the GM to determine whether Concealment is subject to PL caps (as it doesn't say so explicitly in the RAW).

Also, Concealment isn't the same thing as Obscure, and it feels like a[nother] shoehorn to me.  There is an option in one of the Power Profiles (I believe) to bring Obscure as a discrete effect back into the game.

Regeneration in 3e is actually the way it worked in 1e and is way out of balance for A) how little it costs, and B) it's largely unneeded given how fast (and automatic) recovery already is.  In addition, you have the Recover maneuver, so Regen strikes me as very gamey.

And, like Regen, Healing is very potent.  In 3e it defaults to what 2e called the Total Extra, so players can really spotweld with it and it throws off the damage economy a lot.
Sir Swindle
 member, 164 posts
Fri 10 Mar 2017
at 13:42
Re: M&M Edition mixing
That concealment change seems all around positive. I think I may have even seen you talk about how Miss% as a separate mechanic is stupid on a D&D thread, maybe you were on the other side.

I don't understand the Regen argument. It is both too good AND pointless?
badpenny
 member, 335 posts
 eats shoots and leaves
Fri 10 Mar 2017
at 14:08
Re: M&M Edition mixing
Concealment can be rough if someone's at their defensive PL and they take Total Concealment which pushes them to PL+5.  That's pretty extreme.  Of course, the Precise Advantages ignore the Concealment bonus, but the N(PC) would have to have them (or stunt them).  I've just seen too many instances where, say, a PC comes in with it and expects to keep it.  They can feel that a single Advantage is far too little to pay to overcome what they put into it.  IOW, they're gaming the system and get defensive about losing their edge.

I don't play D&D so it must be someone else.  The miss chance in 2e is a separate mechanic, but I think it's a good one.

Regen is too cheap for the significant edge it gives you.  My argument (why it's unnecessary) is that you already have super fast (and automatic) recovery.  IMO, the only reason to take Regen is specifically to violate the Damage economy.  There is the possibility that the player doesn't understand the game well enough to realize that their Regen concept doesn't actually need the Regen effect.

Actually, a lot of people don't get that at all and are rather hide bound when it comes to effect names.  That's the fault of the writer(s), e.g. Multiattack/Autofire.  It has a built-in descriptor of "multiple attacks/projectiles/etc."  But when you examine it mechanically, it's just more damage for a better attack check.  That could also have a descriptor of "accuracy."  But then again, so could Power Attack.

Or, take Toughness.  Sure, one idea is that a successful Toughness save means you bounced the bullet off your eyelid.  But it could also be Regeneration.  You shot me, I healed instantly.  Or for a martial artist, it could mean that while it looked like you shot me (you exceeded my defense), you didn't really.  The bottom line is that I took no Damage.  There are a lot of descriptors that can account for that.  Not everyone gets that.
Flint_A
 member, 577 posts
Mon 20 Mar 2017
at 11:05
Re: M&M Edition mixing
Disclaimer: I never played 2E, so I don't know whether/to what extent the following problems exist there. But I have HUGE problems with 3E.

Jimmy Olsen is PL 2. Lois Lane is PL 3. So that's "regular human" range, although I guess Lois is a little more skilled than average. For comparison, Superman is PL 15. "Average" superhuman is PL 10. (E.g. Black Manta, Blue Beetle, Booster Gold, etc.)

This average super may want some sort of energy blast, which is extremely common in comics. Let's avoid min/maxing for now. Let's give him Ranged Damage 10 (20), 2 Dexterity (4), Ranged Combat: Ray 8 (4) for a total of 28 points. Notice that this is capped by his PL. Let's say he's attacking someone at his level who isn't optimized either. Say that the enemy has 10 Dodge and 5 Toughness.(That's a little lower than the average for the ready NPCs in the book, but it's fair.)

That's a 50% chance to land a hit, followed by:
5% chance nothing happens.
25% chance enemy has -1.
25% chance enemy has -1 and dazed.
25% chance enemy has -1 and staggered.
20% chance enemy is incapacitated.

So 10% chance of one-shotting one enemy of equal power. 12.5% of a serious penalty. 25% chance of a small penalty. A whopping 52.5% chance that NOTHING happens.

Sure, you can buy some advantages or lower the effect level and compensate with skill ranks and whatnot. The result won't be very different. You spend about 20-30 points for a very underwhelming effect. (It does routinely one-shot minions, but pfft.)

Here's what else you can do with that:

Area Mental Communication 4, Subtle 2 (22) Linked with Comprehend Languages 3 (6): You can mentally talk to EVERYONE IN THE WORLD at the same time, they all understand what you say, no one can even tell where the broadcast is coming from. 28 points. Has no PL requirement, so a PL 2 (regular human) can do it.

Permanent Innate Subtle Precise Create X (2X+3): You literally create detailed real objects. (They don't go away, they can't be nullified, they can't be distinguished from real objects. Even the book says "for all intents and purposes" real.) Volume equals effect rank, with no PL limit. So 11 levels (25 points) gives you 2000 cubic feet.

Permanent Transform any X (5X): In addition to literally infinite uses (create a few pounds of plutonium), the book explicitly mentions you can use it to attack objects (turn a tank into pudding) or as an Affliction (e.g. turn the air around someone's head into concrete). Not only will it devastate your enemies, it will also drive your GM to tears for all the rulings he'll have to make. 5 ranks (25 points) affects 25 pounds of mass, regardless of volume, so that's a lot of air you can transform. No PL limit unless you try to use it as an affliction.

Hey, here's something fun: Slow Variable (transform into other people) Limited to analyzed targets X (5X): Just set aside literally 1 point for an Analytical sense (I suggest Sight), then put all your points here. (You can get that point by reducing an ability score to -1.) You can turn into ANYONE of your PL or lower. Go to a rally and take a close look at the president once, poof, you're the president. (You don't LOOK LIKE the president, you ARE the president. You would pass a DNA test.) Sure, this is more awesome if you're high PL, but like we mentioned PL 3 or so would be enough for regular humans.

Or, you know what? Benefit 5 (5 points) and you're a billionaire. Go with the detailed Wealth rules in the GM book and spend 7 points and you can buy mansions without a check and without making a noticeable dent in your finances. Spend 20 (there is no limit) and you could buy and sell whole countries.

Notice that this is all without doing ridiculous broken crap like a huge dynamic array called "Magic" with pretty much any effect you can throw in (so you have something like five characters for the price of one) or having arrays of huge vehicles and headquarters. These are actually given as examples in the books. (Batman has a vehicle array.) You can have a fleet of helicarriers for pretty cheap too.

But, no, that energy blast is TOTALLY worth the 28 points and it's very balanced. Heck, if you MUST have an energy blast, just make it a laser gun with the Easily Removable flaw (for a 2/5 reduction) or put it on a personal vehicle (for a 4/5 reduction, but requiring an actual vehicle). That's assuming you can't buy it as regular equipment, of course. (Even if equipment is a no-go because of the tech level, you can still put it on a car for equipment prices. Again, specified in the book.) The book makes a point to note that even if something "removable" is destroyed, the GM has to let you repair it eventually as long as the points are still spent there.

Either the GM has to ban half the book or the players have to willingly shoot themselves in the foot to avoid breaking the game.
Sir Swindle
 member, 175 posts
Mon 20 Mar 2017
at 12:04
Re: M&M Edition mixing
Ya, all of that is basically identical between editions. A few details might change but nothing major, that's just a feature of the underlying system.

Just like any game with power building there is a lot of GM/Table "no, that doesn't make sense" going on. Just because you can do something doesn't mean you should or it makes sense in the game.

You can also buy strength 360 and a few ranks in flight and just fly the earth out of its orbit and kill everyone in a day or two.

That transform at 38 could also extend to the whole earth, boy will your enemies be surprised when they are standing on a giant ball of hydrogen. Not sure if it would be massive enough to hold itself together and form a star but either way they aren't happy.
Flint_A
 member, 578 posts
Mon 20 Mar 2017
at 16:49
Re: M&M Edition mixing
Yes, but this isn't like saying "why would anyone play a Fighter in D&D when you have Druids". This is the difference between a Commoner and a Psion. If you ban everything that "breaks the game" you are only left with suboptimal choices.
bigbadron
 moderator, 15305 posts
 He's big, he's bad,
 but mostly he's Ron.
Mon 20 Mar 2017
at 17:31
Re: M&M Edition mixing
quote:
"why would anyone play a Fighter in D&D when you have Druids"

Er... because their character concept calls for a fighter, not a tree-hugging druid.  It's a little thing called "role-playing".
badpenny
 member, 340 posts
 eats shoots and leaves
Mon 20 Mar 2017
at 17:35
Re: M&M Edition mixing
The system needs a complete--from the ground up--new version.  Characters, regardless of concept--should have equal agency.

Beyond abusive constructions, points spent on an idea should give roughly the same value.  If there's one clear "best" then it cheapens everything else.

Example:

Spend two points on Climbing for your Crime Fighter.  Well, two points spent on Wall-Crawling is better since there's no skill checks and no chance of falling.  Spend two points on Flight, and now you can completely overcome all vertical obstacles, can't fall, etc.
Flint_A
 member, 579 posts
Mon 20 Mar 2017
at 19:53
Re: M&M Edition mixing
In reply to bigbadron (msg # 12):

Sure, and that quoted sentence was meant to be a hypothetical super munchkin position. I'm saying that you don't need to go for the tactical nuke if you can still pick the shotgun. But if the book shows you tactical nukes and the GM says you are only allowed a sharp stick, that's very disappointing for a player.
badpenny
 member, 341 posts
 eats shoots and leaves
Mon 20 Mar 2017
at 20:20
Re: M&M Edition mixing
I disagree.  You need equal agency for all players/characters.  Just because you can build anything you want, doesn't mean you should.  That strikes me as moving away from the genre considerations and more toward "what can I do to win."
Flint_A
 member, 580 posts
Mon 20 Mar 2017
at 20:32
Re: M&M Edition mixing
I agree with you on agency. I say give everyone guns, just make them pick between shotgun and machine gun. But just because I think nuke and pointy stick shouldn't be options in the first place doesn't mean I'm not going to use the nuke if it is an option.
Sir Swindle
 member, 180 posts
Mon 20 Mar 2017
at 21:41
Re: M&M Edition mixing
Flint_A:
But just because I think nuke and pointy stick shouldn't be options in the first place doesn't mean I'm not going to use the nuke if it is an option.

So I know we try to avoid this type of language. But you are wrong. Not all possible options should be used if they don't fit. You are playing a character not a character sheet.
Flint_A
 member, 581 posts
Tue 21 Mar 2017
at 07:28
Re: M&M Edition mixing
Well, 90% of my characters tend to be one of two types.

1) Power-hungry intelligent callous magician, in which case it fits the character to min/max.

2) Joke characters that are not at all optimized but just fun to roleplay.

And sure, if I'm going with the second type, I don't load up on nukes. That's fine. That wasn't my main point.

My main point is that in this system, if you want to go for the superhero "feel", you have to shoot yourself in the foot. Yes, you don't have to use Transform to suffocate people, even though the book explicitly tells you you can do it. But the "regular" superhero stuff; such as energy rays, growing to giant size and punching things, etc. are HORRIBLE compared to other stuff. You don't need to go for the nuke, but even less abusable stuff like Move Object give you a lot more bang for your buck. ("Bang" not only in the "beat up enemies" sense, but ALSO "fun roleplaying" sense.)

It's as if the system was explicitly designed with the mentality of "Hey, we created all these fancy shiny options for you. If you want to go play a generic superhero, screw you, you're going to pay through the nose for it." This is even more clear when you look at the official Power Profiles, which are just full of munchkinism.
GreyGriffin
 member, 68 posts
 Portal Expat
 Game System Polyglot
Sun 26 Mar 2017
at 19:07
Re: M&M Edition mixing
Mutants and Masterminds operates under the assumption that games will be both run and played in the style of comic books.  This is, I think a reasonable assumption.

The result is that powers are priced according to their use value, in the context of the narrative of a typical action comic book.  Straight up combat abilities like energy blasts and magic lassos are extremely useful in that narrative context.  Many comic characters are defined and benchmarked according to their ability to disintegrate the opposition.

Are those costs correct?  Probably not.  But are the costs of other abilities too low?  Also, probably not.

In the context of an action comic book, a lot of powers that other games carefully meter for balance reasons are considered ancillary (For the philosophy behind this, see: Space Travel, Time Travel).  One of the liberating aspects of M&M is that it allows characters to have real and interesting powers that scale more generously than almost any game before it.

That does, however, create balance issues when you put those powers in the hands of jaded veterans of the Tomb of Horrors who are willing and able to break the game over their knee because they are finally allowed to do it.  When you defy the genre expectations of lantern jawed heroes being punched in the lantern jaw, you kind of turn the system's intent on its head.

Much like one's first game of D&D, where one realizes they can rampage through the town, burn it to the ground, and experiment with being a misanthrope in a consequence-free environment, Supers games like M&M invite a long period of cathartic, destructive experimentation on the part of players who have long been constrained by game design that is careful not to give them universe-breaking tools.  Getting over that hump of experimentation, and perhaps regretting blowing up the world once or twice, is key to enjoying M&M, but it's also a tremendous patience burner, especially for GMs who just want to see Superman punch Darkseid.

More than any other system that I've played, M&M requires cooperation, coordination, and understanding between the players and the GM.  Communicating tone and intent, and being willing to sacrifice and give ground on both sides of the screen are vital to a successful game.

All that being said, I really like the design philosophy behind 3e, although it does commit a few unfortunate sins.  I am hugely in favor of the condensed skill list, the standardized suite of conditions, and I am a huge fan of the scale table.  I am not a huge fan of the attribute spread, (Specifically, I seethe at having separate Ranged and Melee defense attributes) and I think the points economy needs some significant tweaking.

This message was last edited by the user at 19:08, Sun 26 Mar.