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  • Another FAQ

    Do extra "unused" skill levels or combat levels counteract circumstance penalties? I'm having trouble grokking this or finding it in the rules (though I am sure it's there).

    Assume Agent Annie is PL 5, DEX 1, with her omnigun(TM), which is Damage 3. Her Ranged combat with her gun (skills and all) is +15 because she's a genius with guns.

    When attacking, PL caps limit her to an attack roll of +7, because her damage is 3. The remaining +8 is ignored.

    She wants to do a disarm, a -5 with a ranged weapon. Do the unused levels counteract the -5? It seems to me they should: her attack roll never goes over +7.

    Thanks.

    Kipling aka John
    Some M&M stuff at my blog, [URL="http://jhmcmullen.blogspot.ca"][i]Iconic Energy[/i][/URL], but mostly [i]ICONS[/i]

  • #2
    Re: Another FAQ

    There is no buying of ranks of anything (skills, attack bonus, etc) beyond what's allowed by PL caps.

    What you should do is buy to PL caps, then buy a Feature/Advantage that eliminates the circumstance penalties you wish, e.g Improved Disarm.
    Penny's Build Party - Playable builds - M&M 2.5 featuring Damage Roll combat

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    • #3
      Re: Another FAQ

      Well, the PL cap for a skill (such as Ranged Combat) is PL+10, so it would be legal and under the PL caps if her Ranged Combat skill were, say, +14. Added to a DEX of one, that's allowed by the rules I've found.

      Which is why I'm confused.

      The only way I can make sense of it is to distinguish between the attack roll, which would be limited in this example to 7, and the total skill roll.
      Some M&M stuff at my blog, [URL="http://jhmcmullen.blogspot.ca"][i]Iconic Energy[/i][/URL], but mostly [i]ICONS[/i]

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      • #4
        Re: Another FAQ

        All of the caps for PL remain in play. Take, for example, the PL limits on abilities scores. They're high enough that you could theoretically have a damage or toughness bonus outside of PL without buying anything but abilities, except that they run up against that PL limit. Short of having a Ranged Strength-Damage attack and a negative bonus to Strength, you can't get negative damage, so the most ranged combat skill one can have is PL * 2 (and that's only if you jigger a way to gave a Damage 0 Ranged attack). The question has been raised in the past about what happens when someone picks up a weapon that would break caps. Let's say that our agent has a +8 ranged attack total and typically carries around a +2 damage pistol. Later, she picks up a rifle that has +4 damage. What happens?

        One way to do it is to rule that either attack or damage is automagically lowered to fit PL. She's more inaccurate with the rifle, or the recoil leads to less damaging shots. Another is to allow a temporary bonus (with an OOC understanding that this is strictly temporary and they can't keep the weapon after that or keep using this tactic) and they're outside their PL for the scene for having thought to commandeer the fallen weapon.

        Either way, there is no "sandbagging" past what PL allows.
        [url=http://roninarmy.com/threads/996]My Builds[/url]

        [b]Current games:[/b]
        [url=http://www.echoesofthemultiverse.com/viewtopic.php?f=15&t=839]The J.V. Team (GM)[/URL]

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        • #5
          Re: Another FAQ

          Non-combat skills can go as high as PL+10, but combat skills (IOW, attack bonus) is capped at PLx2 in concert with damage bonus.

          So if your character carried a handgun of +4 damage, s/he would be capped at an attack bonus (Ranged Combat) of +6.
          Penny's Build Party - Playable builds - M&M 2.5 featuring Damage Roll combat

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          • #6
            Re: Another FAQ

            Originally posted by badpenny View Post
            Non-combat skills can go as high as PL+10, but combat skills (IOW, attack bonus) is capped at PLx2 in concert with damage bonus.

            So if your character carried a handgun of +4 damage, s/he would be capped at an attack bonus (Ranged Combat) of +6.
            No, I get that part.

            But since the limit for skills is different than the cap for attack bonus, you can (theoretically) buy a combat skill so that your total would exceed the attack limit. And the text that I read seemed to me ambiguous about the difference between owning the extra skill and using the extra skill.

            Try a different example. PL10 character, effect value of 10. The attack is limited to 10. Understood.

            We'll say it's his fists. The guy has advantages and a high FGT so his attack is already at 10.

            I'd rather he bought the advantage, but I know my players, so...

            Now for the first time he buys Close Combat skill. He's allowed (I think)--it's under the PL+10 limit. He can't use it (his attack roll is already 10), so you'd think, why bother?

            Except there's some situational modifier--maybe a -2 concealment. As normally run, his attack roll would be +10-2, or 8.

            Do the skill levels come into play then? Can he use them to essentially negate the -2, bringing him back to an attack roll of 10 and an effect of 10?

            Effectively, he has bought skill levels with the (minor) limitation "only for buying off circumstantial modifiers." (I wouldn't give him a cost beak.)

            Would that be legal, or is there a rule that I haven't found yet that forbids it? Always obeying the PL caps, but it seems the kind of case that one of my players is going to take advantage of, so I would like to know.
            Last edited by kipling; 05-02-2014, 10:40 AM. Reason: Darned autocorrect
            Some M&M stuff at my blog, [URL="http://jhmcmullen.blogspot.ca"][i]Iconic Energy[/i][/URL], but mostly [i]ICONS[/i]

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            • #7
              Re: Another FAQ

              I know that they explicitly forbade the same for 2E, although they allowed buying Feats to counteract a specific set of penalties (generally referred to as "Challenge feats"). Fast Feint is a sample of what such a feat might look like. Such feats effectively allow the player to bypass PL in a small area, so I'd look askance at widespread usage and I'd reserve the right to rescind them if they become abusive.
              [url=http://roninarmy.com/threads/996]My Builds[/url]

              [b]Current games:[/b]
              [url=http://www.echoesofthemultiverse.com/viewtopic.php?f=15&t=839]The J.V. Team (GM)[/URL]

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              • #8
                Re: Another FAQ

                I'll live with that as an excuse. "Buy Precise Attack, various Improved whatever, and maybe Favored Environment for something like that. Don't cheap it out by buying extra skill levels."

                EDIT TO ADD: And I suspect the reason that it doesn't forbid owning the extra skills is that in the course of advancement, you might pass the PL limit. A character who is maxed out might buy the advantage that helps with aiming and therefore push everything up.

                For example, you are PL 10, and you hit your caps with a total attack with your favored attack of +12 and and effect of +8. You get a power point as experience, and you buy Close Combat. Suddenly you could have +13. You can only use +12 (until you go up a level).

                The real question is using that extra. A kind GM might let you to counter circumstances not covered by advantages.

                SECOND EDIT: Sorry, I just realized I should have put this under the Mutants & Masterminds Rules section. I'm sorry to have tracked unnecessary threads into the nice new board.
                Last edited by kipling; 05-02-2014, 11:35 AM. Reason: Thought of why something is worded the way it is.
                Some M&M stuff at my blog, [URL="http://jhmcmullen.blogspot.ca"][i]Iconic Energy[/i][/URL], but mostly [i]ICONS[/i]

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                • #9
                  Re: Another FAQ

                  The Hero's Handbook says in the chapter of Secret Origins, right on the clear specific part concerning the Power Level to attack bonus and effect can not rank added toghether exced twice the series power level.

                  So, if a character is PL 5 and wants Ranged Combat Fire Weapons +15 she just canīt, even if the Skill caps is Power Level +10, She can otherwise have Ranged Combat. Fire Weapons +10, but if she has a Pistol with 4 Damage She canīt either.

                  So basically you can not have points beyond what the PL allows you to save and to offset any penalties.


                  What about a Character whoīs PL 5, with Ranged Combat: Fire Weapons +6 and a Pistol + 4, Finding a rifle +8, an enemy barracks?

                  Well first, the rifle will only during a scene and second, that character will use the same Attack Check, with less damage.
                  An use of an extra effort could allow full damage.
                  "Nothing is more painful than the betrayal of an angel"

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                  • #10
                    Re: Another FAQ

                    Originally posted by Hellhound View Post
                    The Hero's Handbook says in the chapter of Secret Origins, right on the clear specific part concerning the Power Level to attack bonus and effect can not rank added toghether exced twice the series power level.
                    With all due respect, it says attack bonus. Maybe it's because I spent too many years reading software standards, but to me that implies that the bonus you use can't exceed the cap, not that you can't have it (because the cap on skills is different). You can't use the extra, but you might have it.

                    Consider a starting PL 10 character, Skillful Sixgun, with a damage of 5 with his special pistols and a (capped) attack bonus of +15, all of it ranged combat (pistols) skill. He meets his caps. He decides that he should widen his focus a bit and, after his first adventure, buys the ranged combat (guns) advantage with his 1 experience point. Now he has +16 to hit. Does his pistol suddenly do less damage?

                    I'd argue no, you just ignore the extra +1 attack skill until he goes up a level. (A kind GM would let him move that skill rank elsewhere but not undo the change when he goes up a level, but that's not relevant to the question.)

                    You seem to be making the case that the pistol does do less damage because he chose to up his attack bonus. Maybe that's true, but in either case we have to ignore a rank of something he has paid for.

                    Maybe we're just choosing to ignore different things.

                    In either case, I certainly agree that the underlying principle is to prevent nerfing by the player.
                    Some M&M stuff at my blog, [URL="http://jhmcmullen.blogspot.ca"][i]Iconic Energy[/i][/URL], but mostly [i]ICONS[/i]

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                    • #11
                      Re: Another FAQ

                      Originally posted by kipling View Post
                      With all due respect, it says attack bonus. Maybe it's because I spent too many years reading software standards, but to me that implies that the bonus you use can't exceed the cap, not that you can't have it (because the cap on skills is different). You can't use the extra, but you might have it.
                      Well also, the same part talking about skills says:

                      "Your hero total modifier with any skill (abiliyi rank+skill rank+ advantage modifiers) cannot exceed the series power level + 10"

                      The Power Level is, as the book ready says, to put certain limits on where and how players can spend power points when creating or improving their heroes.

                      So, as I already understand cannot is that simple you canīt, no. forget it, donīt use it, etc.
                      "Nothing is more painful than the betrayal of an angel"

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                      • #12
                        Re: Another FAQ

                        Originally posted by Hellhound View Post
                        Well also, the same part talking about skills says:

                        "Your hero total modifier with any skill (abiliyi rank+skill rank+ advantage modifiers) cannot exceed the series power level + 10"

                        The Power Level is, as the book ready says, to put certain limits on where and how players can spend power points when creating or improving their heroes.

                        So, as I already understand cannot is that simple you canīt, no. forget it, donīt use it, etc.
                        Sure, maybe I'm misunderstanding. (Almost always willing to believe that.) but in my hypothetical PL10 game, Skillful Sixgun and his relevant attribute of 0 can't have a skill higher than +20 (PL10+10), but +20 is above both the +15 and the +16 I talked about. So that doesn't affect the question.

                        Anyway, we've found an answer that I'm happy with, and I don't seem to be able to explain properly how the situation could arise without anybody intending to break the rules, so I think further discussion is pointless for me. If someone brings up something that hasn't already been mentioned, I'd love to hear it, but until then, I consider the question answered.

                        Thanks to all those who suffered through my wordings and offered answers.
                        Last edited by kipling; 05-10-2014, 01:16 PM.
                        Some M&M stuff at my blog, [URL="http://jhmcmullen.blogspot.ca"][i]Iconic Energy[/i][/URL], but mostly [i]ICONS[/i]

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