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  • Machine Controller questions

    Hello everyone. I am running a game and one of my PC's is looking into a machine controller type character. We're playing in a sci-fi setting akin to Star Wars, so there's lots of mechs and large military hardware he'd like to be able to take away from the enemy and turn it around to use it against them.

    But, the rules are getting weird for this. Ok, it's an Affliction, obviously. Here's a basic power I worked up:

    "Affliction: Cumulative Affliction 8 (1st degree: Entranced, 2nd degree: Compelled, 3rd degree: Controlled, DC 18; Affects Objects Only, Alternate Resistance (Dodge), Increased Duration 2: sustained, Increased Range 2: perception, Reversible, Selective; Activation 2: standard action, Check Required 10: DC 20 - Technology, Distracting, Noticeable: Line of energy between you and hacked vehicle)

    I know objects "do not get resistance checks; the effect works on the targeted object at its maximum degree of success." That makes me think he should take the "limited, 3rd degree only" flaw because he will never use the other two degrees, and "controlled" is really what we're after here.

    But this seems crazy broken. I can understand taking over the occasional vehicle or tank or something, but what's stopping this from working on starships? I mean, is there anything besides GM Fiat that's stopping it from working? Starships don't have a Dodge rating, so does that mean it'll always work? Do the pilots get a dodge check? Can something that's the size of a Star Destroyer really be taken over with one check?

    Halp!

  • #2
    Re: Machine Controller questions

    Yeah, Affliction is a sticky widget. Frankly, I think this should almost fall under Transform, but the game designers say Nay. Affliction is more for characters (PC and NPCs) while Transform is more for non-characters. And my choosing Affects Objects Only, any PC or NPCs not built as a Construct (i.e. no -5 STA) is automatically Immune. That is the difference between Affects Objects and Affects Objects Only. It may not be much, but it is something to remember.

    Base the size they can affects on the Power Rank, since it is otherwise meaningless with Affects Objects Only Extra. They can maybe take over one gun turret on the Star Destroyer or one pilot station (there are likely dozens) and force pilot checks or apply penalties to Pilot checks.
    [HR][/HR][URL="http://roninarmy.com/threads/60-Kenseido-s-Menagerie"]Kenseido's Menagerie of Characters[/URL]

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    • #3
      Re: Machine Controller questions

      Originally posted by Kenmis View Post
      But, the rules are getting weird for this. Ok, it's an Affliction, obviously.
      It's not always obvious what effect you want to use. There's a surprisingly simple power from the Tech Power Profile for manipulating tech:

      Manipulate Technology: Perception Ranged Move Object 1, Precise, Limited to Operating Machines • 3 points

      That's not 3p/rank, that's 3 points, period. Most machines are designed to have a human operator of average strength, and this allows you to control a machine exactly as if you were at the controls, only at perception range, meaning you can do it to any machine you can see. That does in fact include starships, although you may want to require that the user can see or otherwise sense the controls (some kind of tech sense or possibly a high degree of success on an Tech check vs the complexity of the machine).

      Continuing in this vein, most machines are essentially big tools of varying complexity. IMO, for a Controlled Affliction to be necessary, the machine must have some level of automation to it, from autopilot to preprogrammed responses to full-on AI. The Control Technology power from the same Profile is similar to what you have, but is limited to 3rd Degree (Controlled). There's also a suggestion of using the Technology Skill to overcome your control, so if you did use this to take over a starship, the pilot and crew could use their Tech (or possibly Vehicle) skills to resist it. This is essentially a "hacking battle" for control.
      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]
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      • #4
        Re: Machine Controller questions

        I do like that power, although I build it slightly different.

        Control Technology: Move Object (Perception Range, Precise; Limited to Technology) at 2pp/rank +1pp

        This lets you not only work the controls but to get effects similar to Animate Machines without the messy Minion rules.
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        • #5
          Re: Machine Controller questions

          Originally posted by kenseido View Post
          This lets you not only work the controls but to get effects similar to Animate Machines without the messy Minion rules.
          I see them as much more different. Technically, you could use Animate Machines to turn a car into a fully-functioning Autobot. Using a Move Object-based power wouldn't allow the machine any capabilities beyond what it could do before. And since it's Limited to Technology, I assume you couldn't use MO ranks to lift it off the ground, so what is the point of more than 1 rank?
          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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          • #6
            Re: Machine Controller questions

            Well one, if some power is resisting you, you have a better chance at success.

            And maybe you couldn't lift the car off the ground, but you could make the engine turn and roll it forward if you have a high enough rank.

            Also, you could use it to cause someone's Power Armor to "seize up" and pin them.
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            • #7
              Re: Machine Controller questions

              Originally posted by kenseido View Post
              I do like that power, although I build it slightly different.

              Control Technology: Move Object (Perception Range, Precise; Limited to Technology) at 2pp/rank +1pp

              This lets you not only work the controls but to get effects similar to Animate Machines without the messy Minion rules.
              Originally posted by kenseido View Post
              Well one, if some power is resisting you, you have a better chance at success.

              And maybe you couldn't lift the car off the ground, but you could make the engine turn and roll it forward if you have a high enough rank.

              Also, you could use it to cause someone's Power Armor to "seize up" and pin them.
              Kenseido,

              Your way to build this has another advantage. Multiple levels and split (possibly multiple times) would let you control multiple machines at once. Just remember that when using Move Object, especially on a machince controlled by mechanical levers or pedals that you probably wants multiple ranks to be able to overcome the STR of the person whose hand is on the control stick.

              With digital interfaces multiple levels becomes much less meaningful since pushing a button (or worse, touchscreen) harder doesn't do you any good.

              As a GM, I would probably limit the split to taking the same action with multiple copies of the same or similar piece of machinery since it still only takes 1 action, but that could still be advantageous. Since it is only a move action you are using to use the controls, you could still do 2 commands per round or do other things at the same time.
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              • #8
                Re: Machine Controller questions

                I really like the Split option. It would probably work best to have the Control Affliction at a high rank and then have the Split Move Object as an AE, allowing you to control several machines at once or focusing on one if it's more important and/or you're getting resistance.
                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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                • #9
                  Re: Machine Controller questions

                  To the OP, I think the key is the Alternative Saveodge. This is basically saying anything that cannot get out of the way is controlled.
                  What is the rational behind the power anyway?
                  How about dropping Check Required and just making the Alt. Save Vehicles,Technology,Close Combat, and/Or Ranged Combat?
                  Long list I know, but it covers the ways Tech is used in this game.Even just Technology is better than Dodge.
                  Unoccupied vehicles and devices would have a save based on their complexity, occupied tech would have the users skills to help. A star destroyer would be complex and well manned, thus difficult to control. No need to be exact, set the save to where you think it aught to be, and roll with it.
                  This keeps you from having to make multiple roles for one use of a power , and it avoids the character auto controlling the death star(no dodge score to speak of).

                  I am not sure why he has Selective, without an Area of effect, Precise should do for any fine work, and I don't know if that line qualifies as Noticeable- it sounds pretty much like what one should expect on any Sustained Effect that lacks Subtle. In fact Noticeable is only for Permanent And Continuous powers.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Machine Controller questions

                    Originally posted by JDRook View Post
                    I see them as much more different. Technically, you could use Animate Machines to turn a car into a fully-functioning Autobot. Using a Move Object-based power wouldn't allow the machine any capabilities beyond what it could do before. And since it's Limited to Technology, I assume you couldn't use MO ranks to lift it off the ground, so what is the point of more than 1 rank?
                    As written, why could you not use it to lift it off the ground?

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                    • #11
                      Re: Machine Controller questions

                      Originally posted by ronyon View Post
                      As written, why could you not use it to lift it off the ground?
                      Because lifting an object with Move Object and using it for movement has been officially noted as "sure, it could work that way, but that's Flight with a Platform Flaw. Buy that instead".
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                      • #12
                        Re: Machine Controller questions

                        I like minions, so I do this:





                        Implements of Ogun(64 Minion Edition)
                        Effect:Summon,Active,Responsive,Continuous,Percept ion,Horde,Multiple Minions(x6),Self Powered,Subtle,Feature:Servants,Dimensional(“insid e” of an artifact),Mental Link ,Quirkimensional Only

                        The Affliction/Move Object power I give to these 64 minions looks like this:



                        Obedience Of The Crafted

                        Affliction: Resisted by Technology Or Will (1st degree: -, 2nd degree: -, 3rd degree: Controlled,Affects Only Objects,Concentration,Sustained,Contagious,Limited to Technology,Feedback(When Controlled Targets Are Damaged),Limited(third degree only),Instant Recovery,Subtle,Insidious,Precise,Dimensional(Dime nsion where the Summoner is),Alternate Effect :The Implements Awaken


                        The Implements Awaken

                        Effect:Move Object,Contagious,Close Range,Limited(Objects Only),Limited(Technology),Feedback(When "Moved Objects" Are Damaged),Subtle,Insidious,Precise ,Dimensional (Dimension where the Summoner is).


                        So there is an independent minion occupying each of as many as 64 objects/networks(Contagious). I stole the dimensional idea from some "Cyber Space" builds, and I avoid making the minions untouchable there via the Feedback flaw.

                        I have a version that uses "one" minion to occupy a crap load of objects, since many GMs would object to 64 minions

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                        • #13
                          Re: Machine Controller questions

                          Originally posted by FuzzyBoots View Post
                          Because lifting an object with Move Object and using it for movement has been officially noted as "sure, it could work that way, but that's Flight with a Platform Flaw. Buy that instead".
                          I see, I hadn't assumed the character was in the vehicle. I find it messy-an enclosed car is hardly a Platform. I would as soon give it a Feature, kind of like the Aquatic Extra for Flight.
                          "Dancing:The Object(s) you are moving has a speed equal to your Move Object rank, minus 2. Attacks with the Objec(s)t are resolved as normal, not as a Slam attack"

                          Same as an AE, with a penalty to speed to make up for the convenience of not having to shift.
                          Avoids the issues with Modifying Flight with Attack.


                          What do you think?

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