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Quickness, Skill Mastery, and Artificing/Inventing/Ritualist

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  • Quickness, Skill Mastery, and Artificing/Inventing/Ritualist

    Another player in my group came across the combination of Inventor and Quickness, with the intention of building inventions in an extremely quick manner. Unless I missed something, there's actually no limit beyond what a GM decides in regards to ranks in Quickness so you can end up putting a decent amount of points in it and get things done very fast. Due to combat being a stressful situation normally you wouldn't be able to use Quickness to build something in combat, but I noticed Skill Mastery allows you to take routine checks in stressful situations. This seems to mean that you could use Quickness in conjunction with Inventor during a firefight, potentially pulling off A-Team levels of problem solving devices in a matter of minutes(or seconds with enough ranks).

    Would this, with enough ranks and a low enough device cost, mean you could both avoid the hero point cost of jury-rigging and actually build something faster? I know the combo is something many GM's would just disallow or limit, but per the rules is there anything wrong with it?

  • #2
    Re: Quickness, Skill Mastery, and Artificing/Inventing/Ritualist

    By the rules, as far as I recall, there is nothing to prevent it.

    When players come to me with a similar concept, I usually ask them, for the sake of balance, to instead take Variable (Gadgets) as an Alternate Effect of their quickness or their array of super-speed feats and make it so the Advantage doesn't interact with Quickness. Doesn't actually make any sense that Quickness wouldn't apply to Inventor, but sometimes game-balance takes precedence. In others, nobody at the table cared about balance, so I allowed basically instant inventions in that case. My players are not really the kind to abuse the rules, so it wasn't anywhere as bad as it could be.
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    • #3
      Re: Quickness, Skill Mastery, and Artificing/Inventing/Ritualist

      ya I did super speed skill mastery and a few other skill shinangans like edetic memory and jack of all and of course speed of thought on my first build which was basically a what if mcgiver got flashes powers type. I didn't have nearly the amount of knowledge of the options that I do now so wasn't nearly as abusive as could have been but lots of rp fun.

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      • #4
        Re: Quickness, Skill Mastery, and Artificing/Inventing/Ritualist

        "You can perform routine tasks—anything that can be done as a routine check (see Routine Checks in The Basics chapter)—fast, perhaps very fast. Subtract your effect rank from the normal time rank to perform a task to determine how long it takes you."- P.122, Quickness.

        He can reduce the time for the construction check, since it can be made as a routine check. The technology-check part is tricky, since it has to be possible to make it as a routine check. The Inventions checks are however highly demanding, thus normally a routine check is out of question.

        So yeah, extremely cheap invention, with a ton of ranks in Quickness, you could. That would however also mean, that he spends tons of points in a rather fleeting endeavor. He invents very low-PP devices (which are already fairly limited by the check) and looses them pretty much immediately. He also still requires the materials to do so.

        At the end of the day, he basically gets a sort of Variable/Transform power with slightly different costs.

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        • #5
          Re: Quickness, Skill Mastery, and Artificing/Inventing/Ritualist

          The rules allow it, however, legality means very little in this system. The rules allow many absurd and unfair power constructions. A simple example is Healing 10, Limited to Others, Alternate Effect: Healing 10, Limited to Self. This is not different in practice than Healing 10 without flaws, but costs 11pp instead of 20. The game does this because refining the rules to catch all such abuses in all possible conditions will make the rules tedious to read, difficult to understand and cumbersome to use. Instead, it relies on there being humans in the loop (the GM and players) to identify and stop abusive play. Human eyes will very easily see the intent of trying to get limitless amounts of instant inventions at little cost where a page of legalese might not.

          There are plenty of things which obey the letter of rules but violate the spirit of the rules. Conversely there are also things which are not legal but can be allowed because they are still fair, make narrative sense, better represent some concepts or make he game more fun. An example is the Power Reserve power (2e, UP) which is based on arrays but violates some restrictions on them. The rules are only a guideline, not holy writ nor laws of physics, and in the end what's important is not whether something is legal, but whether it is fair and fun.

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          • #6
            Re: Quickness, Skill Mastery, and Artificing/Inventing/Ritualist

            It's not only legal, it's something I've had numerous players use... Heck, it's something I utilize myself with characters such as Doctor Marvel. Personally, I have never found it that disruptive to a game.

            Having said that, Inventor is one of those "open ended" Advantages that I usually caution new Game Masters to keep an eye on. If you dig through my Ready to Play Builds, you'll see I mention it in the Game Master Notes section of every character that has the Inventor Advantage.

            I tend to encourage my players to keep their characters to around Quickness 9; that's a one hour task in a six seconds. Past that point, I find, you really just get into a point of diminishing returns... Few tasks that naturally take longer than an hour really benefit from being done in six seconds that aren't just as advantageous when done in 30 seconds or a full minute. At least, not until your in the 24 Hours to 1 Second tier... But that's just dang expensive.

            Oh, another thing to remember about Quickness: the hero is the one who is moving at exponentially faster speeds, objects outside his direct control are still going to work at a regular speed. So Superman can butcher, pluck, clean, brine, stuff, and season a turkey in the blink of an eye— but the oven in Ma Kent's kitchen ain't gonna cook it any faster.

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            • #7
              Re: Quickness, Skill Mastery, and Artificing/Inventing/Ritualist

              I allow Quickness (Limited to Design Checks -2) but prefer that players use the jury rigging rules (and spend a Hero Point) to speed up the build. It keeps things in balance. Players should not be seeking to avoid the cost of Variable and expect to gain it for the few points invested in Inventor.
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              • #8
                Re: Quickness, Skill Mastery, and Artificing/Inventing/Ritualist

                Thanks for the responses everyone. My group is currently in a very high powered campaign(PL20) and it's actually our first time playing the system. My character has Quickness 20 which seems to mean most things requiring less than a time rank of 15(2 Days) can pretty much be built as a free action, and anything requiring less than a time of 20(2 Months) can be done in a single round. It allows for some... powerful possibilities without bothering to spend the hero point on jury-rigging. Like I said we're still new to the system so we don't have any house rules to prevent abuses yet, but depending on how this ends up working in-game it might be something we'll have to limit somehow.

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                • #9
                  Re: Quickness, Skill Mastery, and Artificing/Inventing/Ritualist

                  At PL20 and assuming a PP Budget anywhere close to the suggested 15 per PL... Frankly, the ability to whip up random inventions more or less at will is pretty lackluster.

                  Don't be too proud of the technological terrors you're constructing. The ability to invent a better Batmobile is insignificant next to the power to destroy a planet with your eye-beams.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Quickness, Skill Mastery, and Artificing/Inventing/Ritualist

                    Ah, the Infinite Abuse game! Keep in mind that technically Inventing is a 2 stage process (design and construction) and jury-rigging overrides the design aspect. With that in mind, I'd require separate rounds for each no matter how many dozens of ranks of Quickness, so that would be 1 round to design, 1 round to build, and then you could start using it. It's still better than standard jury-rig and still fits genre ("Cover me, I've got an idea!"). Also, I think jury-rig was intended as a "top-speed" for inventing anyway, so anything that takes less rounds to build than the number of points it costs is already breaking Inventor by my reckoning. If you want faster there's always Variable, and I could see stunting an Array off Quickness to get it.

                    Actually, I built an Inventor Variable for a friend, since he specifically wanted to be able to create inventions on the fly (Quantum Chemical Catalytic Rubber-Science). I took Variable 4, slapped on Check Required: Science and a custom Flaw so that every point of success translated to 1 point in the Variable. This allowed him to do amazing things with his Science skill in a single round and still have a chance for things to go only middling well or extremely badly (Side Effect Flaw) on a poor roll, so it was exciting.
                    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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                    • #11
                      Re: Quickness, Skill Mastery, and Artificing/Inventing/Ritualist

                      Originally posted by Ysariel View Post
                      The rules allow it, however, legality means very little in this system. The rules allow many absurd and unfair power constructions. A simple example is Healing 10, Limited to Others, Alternate Effect: Healing 10, Limited to Self. This is not different in practice than Healing 10 without flaws, but costs 11pp instead of 20.
                      Steve used nearly the same example of what you can't do in the rules. If a flaw doesn't limit you then it's not worth any saving. If a -1 flaw doesn't limit the power around 50% then it's a quirk, at best.
                      "Reverting to name calling suggests you are defensive and therefore find my opinion valid," Spock, Into Darkness.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Quickness, Skill Mastery, and Artificing/Inventing/Ritualist

                        Originally posted by JDRook View Post
                        Ah, the Infinite Abuse game! Keep in mind that technically Inventing is a 2 stage process (design and construction) and jury-rigging overrides the design aspect. With that in mind, I'd require separate rounds for each no matter how many dozens of ranks of Quickness, so that would be 1 round to design, 1 round to build, and then you could start using it.
                        Separating it so it takes at least two actions, or rounds, is a good idea. And abuse is ok right now because it lets the group see what is potentially unbalancing or game-slowing in the future so we can house rule it. Our first few sessions so far have been slow going because we're working on knowing the rules well enough for quick play. The trial version of Hero Lab has been pretty helpful for coming up with power stunts because of tracking points, allowing me to create stuff quickly if needed so I'm not flipping through pages trying to calculate everything.

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                        • #13
                          Re: Quickness, Skill Mastery, and Artificing/Inventing/Ritualist

                          Quickness-linked Invention can be good or bad;

                          I think it emulates the comic book genius of Reed Richards and Bruce Wayne. Other GMs don't. That's where it falls. You either accept it as GM or you don't.

                          You have PCs who can travel 1,000 miles in a second. You have PCs who can telepathically-scan hundreds of minds in a second. You have PCs who can lift 100,000 tons w/o breaking a sweat. Why not give the smart guy the same kind of agency? They build a plot-device countering device to spoil your plot

                          That's when you bring out the hostages

                          Try not to block players' ideas. Just reshape your game to flex with them and deliver the fun you & everyone else wants, right?
                          [URL="http://roninarmy.com/threads/1243-My-Dream-House"]My Dream House[/URL]

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                          • #14
                            Re: Quickness, Skill Mastery, and Artificing/Inventing/Ritualist

                            Originally posted by dream View Post
                            Try not to block players' ideas. Just reshape your game to flex with them and deliver the fun you & everyone else wants, right?
                            Of course the other side of this is that games are made up of many people playing together. The person who spent 70 points for the Variable to allow him to have a huge selection of Inventions at his finger tips - like Dr. Henry Pym - might feel a little resentment at the player who spent 1 point on an Advantage and 5 or 6 more on some Flawed Quickness, who is getting the same things at a fraction of the cost due to a rules' snafu.

                            The rules are there for balance.

                            The 2E version had the Design Check as Routine but the Construction Check as normal - which gave you a reason to use Jury-Rig to speed up the build process. I prefer 2E's version.
                            Last edited by Black Mamba; 12-26-2014, 09:16 PM.
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                            • #15
                              Re: Quickness, Skill Mastery, and Artificing/Inventing/Ritualist

                              Originally posted by Black Mamba View Post
                              Of course the other side of this is that games are made up of many people playing together. The person who spent 70 points for the Variable to allow him to have a huge selection of Inventions at his finger tips - like Dr. Henry Pym - might feel a little resentment at the player who spent 1 point on an Advantage and 5 or 6 more on some Flawed Quickness, who is getting the same things at a fraction of the cost due to a rules' snafu.

                              The rules are there for balance.

                              The 2E version had the Design Check as Routine but the Construction Check as normal - which gave you a reason to use Jury-Rig to speed up the build process. I prefer 2E's version.
                              The one thing you seem to forget though is that he still needs materials for it. Those are easily denied. More so - the GM has to actually offer the stuff the player needs to him, instead of the player just fiddling something out of thin air. That means that while he can invent and construct something in mere seconds, he still is bound to physical restraints.

                              Artificer on the other hand...well, would be more of an annoyance, but then again - it is VERY restrictive, since it has to be a routine check. Routine Checks may be allowed, when the DC is 10 + Skill Rank (Since your roll is treated as a 10).

                              Now the Inventions require a DC10+PPcost to invent and to construct. This means that at PL10 his inventions can be at 20PP cost max (since max skill bonus is twice the PL, thus 20). Lets say its easily removable. This means you have to add 2/3 to the 20PP (Since they cost 2/5 less). That means that easily removable inventions could cost up to 34PP. While thats not bad, its not as strong as a Variable with 70PP, youve got to admit.

                              Its easy to call out on something to be overpowered or wrong, but thinking of how useful it actually is might solve the feeling of unfairness. The power is severely crippled by its limitations and the quickness-thingy wont help much on a battlefield.

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