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  • Trying to balance one of my PC's

    I have a character that can make multiple duplicates of himself. The duplicates also have all powers that the original has with the exception of duplication. I am substituting for another gm who also has some problem with this character.

    For example

    On his turn, two to three duplicates would assist an attack, another would open a portal to allow bystanders to escape, while another would use a portal to thwart baddie from escaping....all the while he would have another two on standby.

    Short of mind control, which he has already mentioned would F the party if his character was mind controlled. I don't want to F the party for one problem PC. In my mind, his character seems a bit unbalanced....assisting, opening two portals, plus an attack.. in addition to having a spare or two to block movement.

    I like giving my players a choice....saving x or getting the bad guy. I having trouble coming with scenarios because of these multiple actions....
    Any suggestions or rule insights?

  • #2
    Re: Trying to balance one of my PC's

    Iron Man 3. The bad guy has LOTS of high PL opponents running around. Iron Man has to use all of his suits to distract them while he fights the main bad guy. Put in a whole bunch of them, let mr multiple show off (hand wave this fight so it doesn't take forever), then privately talk to mr multiple about switching his duplicates to descriptors instead of actual people with actions, because action economy easily breaks the game.
    Ragtop, Autobot! And Zeanthara, Are You a God?
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    • #3
      Re: Trying to balance one of my PC's

      This is a combination of two troublesome powers: Duplication and Teleportation, and they just feed on each other. Dupe basically gives the player several actions per turn and Teleport gives them largely unlimited mobility, which can allow them to come up with elaborate plans they can carry out with any need for cooperating with the other players.

      I'm counting about 8 duplicates, which is a lot. With that many, I would hope that they operate at Minions and therefore can go down using minion rules. Depending on the feel of your campaign, those dupes should be getting knocked out or even killed on a regular basis. Given several possible targets, some opponents should just choose one and focus until it's down or inevitably teleports away.

      Originally posted by Socalcoachman View Post
      I like giving my players a choice....saving x or getting the bad guy. I having trouble coming with scenarios because of these multiple actions....
      Any suggestions or rule insights?
      This is a big issue in my book. If you can't think of a way to challenge the players, or put them in positions where they have to make hard choices, you're hobbled in your ability to make a dramatic story for those characters. It's going to depend on the GM and the players just how important that is, but there should be some kind of agreement on how challenging it should be.
      My old [URL="http://www.atomicthinktank.com/viewtopic.php?p=743877#p743877"]Atomic Think Tank[/URL] thread
      My current character thread: [URL="https://roninarmy.com/threads/6194-The-Sound-of-My-Eyebeams-JDRook-s-builds-and-blather?p=233536&viewfull=1#post233536"]The Sound of my Eyebeams[/URL][URL="http://www.atomicthinktank.com/viewtopic.php?p=743877#p743877"]
      [/URL]
      I will build characters in HeroLab for you! Send me [URL="https://www.fiverr.com/jdrook/transcribe-a-mutants-and-masterminds-pc-in-herolab?funnel=6e71f15f-207e-49f4-bf35-9ceb23b979a7"]your finished design[/URL] or even [URL="https://www.fiverr.com/jdrook/create-a-mutants-and-masterminds-pc-in-herolab?context=advanced_search&context_type=rating&funnel=2014103117123522519608360"]your original concept[/URL]!

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      • #4
        Re: Trying to balance one of my PC's

        I've seen similar styles of play in D&D and other systems; the guy that loves to play "The Entourage." Usually the lordly main hero, plus familiars, servants, cohorts, sidekicks, ex-girlfriends, and whatnot. A one-player party, complete with the trimmings. It can be annoying when everyone else has to sit around waiting for all of him to finish so they can take a turn.

        Some of what your player is doing seems reasonable for a Duplicator build. It's natural for them to assist one another in combat, for example. Most examples I've seen in combat focus on effective close combat, such as Duplicate Damsel, Multiple Man, or Silent Majority. Multiplex also has some energy absorption, but that's the rare exception when it comes to adding powers to a Duplicator, not the rule.

        The main limitation of such characters is that, usually, this is the only "power" they have. All the other points are put into Stats, Defenses, Skills and Advantages. If this guy AND his dupes can also create portals, then they're even more all over place than before. Give them each a Blast power and they can probably team up to beat almost anyone.

        I think the best approach is to talk to the player about rebuilding the character to be focused on one power set or function so the other characters get to do their share of the action. This is one power combination with a lot of potential to be broken.

        Andrew
        Last edited by Quistar; 12-08-2015, 12:21 AM.
        - Andrew <:-{}

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        • #5
          Re: Trying to balance one of my PC's

          Everyone else covered the other angles pretty well, so I will assume the player will insist on keeping his portal making duplicator for arguments sake. You could toss insubstantial foes at him, even insubstantial 2 would be enough to stop him from blocking stuff. There is also other teleporting bad guys who could coop the portals, it is cheesy but no less than the characters powers. Illusion is always fun. If the characters senses betray them placing the portals is difficult. Of course, there is also the classic counter a duplicator with a duplicator. If he wants 8 dupes, the bad guy duplicator has 16. With all his points spent on powers, you can also have the environment be the foe as well. What if it is really cold/hot/humid? Maybe there is a bomb rigged to blow that is anchored down and requires skill checks to defeat. When I GM, I don't like to just throw big bads at my players, I like to have the big bad be defeatable by some clever method such as destroying the source of his/her power. This will give the other players a chance to do stuff as well if the duplicator insists on being a one man/woman army.
          [url=http://roninarmy.com/threads/46-mrdents-menagerie-of-characters]My characters past and present[/url]

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          • #6
            Re: Trying to balance one of my PC's

            His dupes have the same stats(defense etc) as the original...What kind of bugs me about it is that the dupes can create portals even while extreme separation (tens of miles from each other).

            I am substituting for another gm for a couple of months, so I can't get rid of that character....that gm had to convince the player the original must be on the field and not just stay someplace safe while his dupes get into danger.

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            • #7
              Re: Trying to balance one of my PC's

              As is almost always the case, the best long-term solution is to talk to the player and explain that what they're doing is taking a lion's share of fun away from the rest of the team by sideatepping PL and playing so many characters at once. Since this is a single session, you might just go for the quickie solution.

              The duplication by itself is a pain. One possibility is to ramp up the difficulty. Take a look at this system for building encounters. Your duplicator essentially accounts for more party members than the party itself, so you can double the challenge rating easily. If he has four teammates, normally a significant threat would come up to 12, but now it's 24 since there's essentially 8 of them. Two opponents who are 3 PL above the PCs is a good start. If they target the duplicates more often then not, then the challenge will even itself out.

              As for the teleportation, what happens when the ability goes away? In a super-powered world, Anti-apparition fields, Interdictor units, and just plain anti-teleportation plot devices are common. Alternately, if you want a threat to possibly defeat instead of the villain, consider explosives where, the first time he teleports one away, the timers for the rest of them suddenly shoot forward as they lose the radio signal of the first one. Now, he'll realize that they all have to be disarmed prior to trying to teleport them away. Or, a situation where the building is rigged to collapse. Not only is evacuating the building itself a priority, but getting the orphanage next door as well...
              [url=http://roninarmy.com/threads/996]My Builds[/url]

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              • #8
                Re: Trying to balance one of my PC's

                The suggestions above are all good, but I also think the player may be building or playing his power incorrectly. A Horde of 8 equal-PL, Heroic duplicates costs a mind-boggling 110pp for a PL 10 character: Summon 10 (Heroic +2pp/rank, Horde +1pp/rank, Multiple Minons +6pp/rank). That wouldn't leave much pp over for anything at all.

                It's a Move action to give minions commands, so the example in your OP costs 3 Move actions, for example. Minions only take action on the turn after they're summoned, they appear in the space closest to the original, and the original is Vulnerable while summoning a Horde, so it's easy to snipe the original or wipe out the entire group with some area attacks. Play up more of the limitations of Summon (don't let him summon duplicates off-screen, for example) and see how that goes.

                Originally posted by Socalcoachman View Post
                I am substituting for another gm for a couple of months, so I can't get rid of that character....that gm had to convince the player the original must be on the field and not just stay someplace safe while his dupes get into danger.
                No GM should need to convince a player to follow a ruling. If something's clearly making the game not fun for you and the other players, put your foot down and say no.

                I know this is hard, since as a GM enjoyment comes from seeing your players having fun; and I know it can be very difficult to say no to forceful, type A personalities. If you don't say no and mean it, they will learn to argue and fight over every ruling of yours until they get their way.

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                • #9
                  Re: Trying to balance one of my PC's

                  Originally posted by Ysariel View Post
                  The suggestions above are all good, but I also think the player may be building or playing his power incorrectly. A Horde of 8 equal-PL, Heroic duplicates costs a mind-boggling 110pp for a PL 10 character: Summon 10 (Heroic +2pp/rank, Horde +1pp/rank, Multiple Minons +6pp/rank). That wouldn't leave much pp over for anything at all.

                  It's a Move action to give minions commands, so the example in your OP costs 3 Move actions, for example. Minions only take action on the turn after they're summoned, they appear in the space closest to the original, and the original is Vulnerable while summoning a Horde, so it's easy to snipe the original or wipe out the entire group with some area attacks. Play up more of the limitations of Summon (don't let him summon duplicates off-screen, for example) and see how that goes.
                  This. You've got a (possibly unintentional) cheater in your midst, yo.

                  If his argument is "Each Duplicate acts on their own to work together!" then apart from the non-rule-following, doesn't that make each one of them an autonomous intelligent person? Especially if they can appear far away from the duplicator why don't they develop different ideas and argue? Complete Control and Autonomous Action are mutually exclusive.

                  There is also possibility D: that the player is a dick and will find new ways to annoy you.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Trying to balance one of my PC's

                    Just make sure if the duplicates are supposed to be minion classed or not. I ran a game with a duplicator once, and after a shaky first two rounds, I found out burst and cone AOE were my friends.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Trying to balance one of my PC's

                      Originally posted by Ysariel View Post
                      The suggestions above are all good, but I also think the player may be building or playing his power incorrectly. A Horde of 8 equal-PL, Heroic duplicates costs a mind-boggling 110pp for a PL 10 character: Summon 10 (Heroic +2pp/rank, Horde +1pp/rank, Multiple Minons +6pp/rank). That wouldn't leave much pp over for anything at all.
                      This was what I was initially going to say. The character should have a bunch of actions, but should be really hampered in other ways. Basically, his 7ish dupes shouldn't be nearly as effective in close combat as, say, one PL 10 martial artist.

                      It might be that the Duplicator solves a lot of the things you're expecting to throw against the superhero team, e.g. innocent bystanders. That, in and of itself, is perfectly fine. The Speedster or Green Lantern could do the same. But, I'd wonder why the Duplicator would be quite so effective in combat. Maybe the encounters are a bit too easy?

                      On a build level, the idea of having multiple non-minion summons is usually a red flag. But, as Ysariel notes, it's super expensive. So, that in and of itself should be a serious limiter on what the PC can do. If you've got the build maybe post it?


                      Originally posted by Ysariel View Post
                      It's a Move action to give minions commands, so the example in your OP costs 3 Move actions, for example. Minions only take action on the turn after they're summoned, they appear in the space closest to the original, and the original is Vulnerable while summoning a Horde, so it's easy to snipe the original or wipe out the entire group with some area attacks. Play up more of the limitations of Summon (don't let him summon duplicates off-screen, for example) and see how that goes.
                      I'm must less of a fan of the bolded part. It's a very fiddly section of the rules and also something that doesn't exactly make sense. The Dupes are thinking people with the same motivations. Clearing out bystanders and so forth is not a super sophisticated subtle plan. It's very close to page 1 of the superhero playbook.

                      The rest of the stuff Ysariel says here makes a lot of sense to me. Part of me really wouldn't want to let him summon Dupes off-screen or before a battle, but I don't know if you can really enforce that compared to other Sustained effects. If they know the battle is coming, or scout the area, then that might be overly draconian. Overall, though, I feel like the huge point cost of this ability should help limit its game breaking-ness a lot.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Trying to balance one of my PC's

                        Just to remind the OP since no one else seemed to mention it, you know a KOed summon can't come back until it's completely recovered.
                        Last edited by ArnoldTheAndroid; 12-22-2015, 03:07 PM.

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                        • #13
                          Re: Trying to balance one of my PC's

                          I might be misunderstanding but weren't summons without the control extra autonomous and under the control of the gm? So the move action to command would have use in organizing an actual plan. It's not like their mentally linked so one trying to help fight the monster won't realize his buddy had the same idea so no one is left to support the portals. Or they split up and then get picked off one by one.

                          But can you post the build so we can check the stats? cause he really shouldn't be so powerful.
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                          • #14
                            Re: Trying to balance one of my PC's

                            The player is a good guy, but something seems not right with his character or those power combinations are broken.(Teleportation Attack, Mimic, duplication Horde with access to all his powers except duplication). Every session feels like his character is constantly saving the party...while the other players are along for the ride. I really hate building npc's to counter just his set of powers. I was going to build speedster so I can do strafing attacks(cheesey way to get away from him teleporting my bad guy into something(cell, locked room etc.). I realized it wouldn't be fair to my martial artist , pseudo batman, and torch players.

                            He can also mimic appearances of different individuals which has foiled baddies looking to kidnap an npc. Bunch of decoy clones appearing as the npc all going in different directions while real target safely teleports to safety. Or they mimic the prime character so I have to use a die for that 1 in 10 chance NPC's actually targeted the correct prime clone(that is if he has the prime clone in the combat area).

                            His prime does summon other clones(plural) when one gets wiped out...while have his remaining clones do their combat actions.


                            I also need some clarification on teleportation as an attack. The player used three of his clones to assist his other another clone to teleport the bad guy illusionist out of combat(into a cell). Is it just one fortitude/Will roll with a simple success? I noticed that Affliction has stages, but his teleport can effectively move baddies out of combat with a simple success.
                            Last edited by Socalcoachman; 12-27-2015, 05:25 AM.

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                            • #15
                              Re: Trying to balance one of my PC's

                              @Socalcoachman: Sounds like it's time for you to put on your GM hat & tell your player no. I'm sure he's a great guy, but as a general rule of thumb, if you ever find yourself sitting and plotting how to take out a character so they don't just single handedly decimate your adventure, it almost always means the character is no suitable for the style of game you are trying to run: The easiest solution to whit is getting the player to play a different character: Much easier than changing the entire campaign concept, or changing your entire story telling style to fit one player out of the group. An lets be honest when two GMs have trouble with the same character concept, chances are good the character concept is super not suitable.

                              Doesn't mean the players not still a great guy, he just happens to be that great guy who is playing an unsuitable character..... Especially given the description of the other player characters.

                              Just because you can build something in M&M doesn't mean you should, it's the GM's job to tell him no. This sounds like one of those instances when saying no is entirely suitable, not to mention reasonable.
                              Last edited by saint_matthew; 12-27-2015, 09:36 AM.
                              “The very powerful and the very stupid have one thing in common. Instead of altering their views to fit the facts, they alter the facts to fit their views...which can be very uncomfortable if you happen to be one of the facts that needs altering.”

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