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Noob question: Enhanced Strength

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  • Noob question: Enhanced Strength

    I’ve never played M&M before, nor created a character in it. To get started, I thought I’d look at an archetype to decide how to build my first character. I’m looking at the “Powerhouse” archetype on page 44. He has a Strength of 12 and among his powers is “Super-Strength”, consisting of “Enhanced Strength 8, plus Enhanced Strength 4, Limited to Lifting (Lifting Str 16…)”.

    Why take the “Enhanced Strength 8”? Without a limitation, why not just increase the raw Strength score? On page 106, I see that the “…key differences are that Enhanced Trait is a power effect, rather than a natural trait, and as an effect it can be combined with extra effort and other effects. See Extra Effort in The Basics chapter and Enhanced Abilities in the Abilities chapter for more.”

    On page 56, I see Enhanced Abilities “…can be used for power stunts and extra effort (normal abilities cannot, see Extra Effort, page 19)”. Why can’t normal abilities be used with Extra Effort? On page 19, the “Bonus” benefit says nothing to indicate the check can’t be used for Strength check. The “Power” benefit lets you increase your power effect by +1 rank… but the “Strength” benefit lets you increase your Strength by +1 rank; what’s the difference? I don’t see how the “Power Stunt” benefit can be used with Enhanced Strength. Obviously, “Resistance” and “Speed” don’t apply to an ability check.

    How about Retry? “Certain effects (see the Powers chapter) require extra effort to retry after a certain degree of failure. The extra effort merely permits another attempt to use the effect; it grants no other benefits.” That just sends us back to the Power Effect; that’s no answer.

    Or am I missing something?

    I suppose I could ask the same question about the “Enhanced Stamina 10”. Granted the “Power” benefit of Extra Effort can’t be used with regular Stamina… but still, if that’s the only reason, why not take just “Enhanced Stamina 1” so that the rest of the Stamina you buy is good even when you’re unconscious, for instance?

  • #2
    No worries. Indeed, one could buy Strength regularly instead of Enhanced Strength, which would make it Innate and Permanent for free. Technically speaking, that would make it no longer able to have its rank increased or Power Stunt by Extra Effort except that, yes, there's an out for Strength where you can naturally "lift really hard" to increase your strength by one until your next turn. Additionally, it's canonical that you can Power Stunt the damage portion of your Strength for attacks with different effects, maybe an Affliction to model slapping the guy around to disorient him instead of going for damage. It's only half the ranks (and presumably your ability to lift things therefore doesn't get reduced when you do it) and it's up to the GM as to what gets allowed, but it is an option.

    So why use Enhanced Strength? Well, you can stunt the full amount, and use it for other effects (like maybe channeling your Enhanced Strength 8 into Leaping 16 to model Hulk-style leaps). Also, it simply makes it clear that these are additional abilities that may not always be there (c.f. if Superman is under the influence of Kryptonite, all of that Enhanced Strength and Stamina goes away).
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    • #3
      Originally posted by Aaron Bitman View Post
      why not take just “Enhanced Stamina 1” so that the rest of the Stamina you buy is good even when you’re unconscious, for instance?
      Because not all characters are super when unconscious. It all comes down to what you are modelling. If you are modelling Bruce Banner. He has a real Stamina of 2. When he's the Hulk, Stamina is at least 12. OTOH, if you are modelling Superman, your Stamina is probably always 12 or more. (Kryptonite should be a Power Loss or Weakness Complication, IMHO.)