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Should extra Alternate Power slots be allowed to be bought with Variable?

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  • Should extra Alternate Power slots be allowed to be bought with Variable?

    I did an Iron Man writeup for someone who wanted to represent his many suits. I added in a Variable 1 (Slow) to do things like a 5 point Immunity (Cold damage for arctic armor, etc), or additional movement. It struck me that by adding a few slots to the strength/unibeam/ repulsor rays alternate power setup, I could do War Machine... gatling gun, missile launcher, laser blade.

    Is this legal? Moral? The Slow would keep it from being abused... and then it'd be no different than spending a hero point for another alternate power. Thoughts?

  • #2
    Pretty new to this, so do not take my words for more than the opinion of a beginner:

    I do not think, that's was variable is for. It seems to be supposed to catch the things you can not with the normal AlternateEffect.

    One of my players has a Power that gives him different armours and we represented that with an array of three armours, that have fixed powers, since this is, how he trained them.

    In MCU-Terms: For the Suits that Stark used in the different movies, i would use a big Array of Alternate effects, since they all are different armours. For his Nano-Suit in Infinity War and Endgame a Variable-Power would make sense, since it's the suit itself that changes not Stark who changes the suit.
    GM-to-be who is new to M&M and Pen-and-Paper in generell and without a firm grasp of the english language. My apologies for questions and comments that sound stupider than you are used too.


    • #3
      I'd call this minor GM warning kind of thing. The issue is Variable has a built in cost of 7 PP for 5 PP and you are circumventing it for "some" effects allowing them access to the full 7 PP at a cost of 1 PP. If you buy four or five alts, it might be cheaper just to raise the Variable power by one rank and just call those "alts" standard settings.


      • #4
        I don't think there's anything technically preventing it, but I probably wouldn't allow it in my game except maybe with a player that I know won't abuse it. For example, if they were always only using those alternate power points to tweak weapons systems (modify their rocket-launcher to instead launch mini-missiles to swap Area for Multiattack, for example), then that could make sense. Other players, who try to argue for that letting them swap out their rocket-boot Flight for Super-Movement (Dimensional Travel)...

        You know, actually, the more I think about this, the more it feels like this is more an argument for general constraint of Alternate Effects to follow a theme. Some players get that and some don't.
        [url=]My Builds[/url]

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        • #5
          That's the thing. They spent the 7 points. Variable just gives them added flexibility within a theme. There's probably nothing wrong with it as long as you define what's legal in the variable power to coincide with what's legal in the array/alt effects.

          What I love about the game is you hear this and you're first reaction is it must be illegal. But M&M by raw is very loose in what a power is or isn't.


          • #6
            Yes, this is perfectly legal to do and it even sounds like an appropriate use of Variable. Really good idea.


            • #7
              Here's the writeup in question. Actually, I only did War Machine with the alternate attacks on Variable, but the underwater armor would work for them too... torpedos, ink screen, etc.

              Iron Man

              PL 10 150 points

              Attributes 24 PP
              Strength 0/12
              Agility 0
              Fighting 0
              Awareness 5
              Stamina 2/10
              Dexterity 0
              Intellect 5
              Presence 0

              Defenses 11 PP
              2 Dodge 2/8
              2 Parry 2/8
              - Fort 2/10
              - Tough. 0/12
              5 Will 10

              Repulsor Rays +8 to hit/12 damage
              Unarmed Combat +8 to hit/12 damage
              Unibeam 10 damage, Area Line

              Skills: 15 PP 30
              Expertise (Engineering) 10 (+15)
              Expertise (Everything else) 0/5
              Insight 0/5
              Perception 5 (+10)
              Technology 15 (+20)

              Advantages 7 PP
              Eidetic Memory
              Improved Initiative 1
              Feature Wealth 4 Multi-Millionaire
              Skill Mastery (Technology)

              Powers 92 CP

              2 Tech Genius - Quickness 6 Technology Tasks Only

              Iron Man Armor 90 CP Removable (113 CP)

              30 CP Weapon Systems
              Transistor-powered servomotors - Enhanced Strength 12 Enhanced Skill Unarmed combat 8 (28 CP)
              Repulsor Rays - Ranged Damage 12 Accurate 4 (28 CP)
              Unibeam - Close Damage 10 Area Line Penetrating 6 26 CP + Environmental Control Light 1 (Sunlight level), Cone instead of Radius -0 2 CP (28 CP)

              18 CP Boot Jets Flight 9

              28 CP Armored Exoskeleton - Enhanced Stamina 8, Protection 2, Impervious Toughness 10

              12 Combat Computer Enhanced Dodge 6, Parry 6

              9 Sealed Systems Immunity Life Support, still needs to eat/drink -1

              9 Sensory Systems (Accurate Radio (Radar) Extended 3, Infrared Vision, Tracking (IR vision), Distance Sense

              1 Feature -Technology tools

              6 Variant Armors and armor mods Variable 1, Slow


              Armors and armor mods

              Armors and armor mods

              War Machine

              Laser sight Enhanced Advantage 2 precise attack 2 ranged cover & Concealment

              Alt powers on Weapon Systems 3 CP

              Laser blade Close Damage 10 Accurate 5 linked to Weaken Toughness 10 objects only imp crit 3 Gatling gun Ranged Damage 6 multishot, Accurate 7 penetrating 3

              Radar guided Missiles Ranged Damage 10 Accurate 5 Increased Range 1 Homing 2 Radar

              Undersea Armor

              Hydro Jets – Alternate Power on Boot Jets, Swimming 10, Subtle 1, Environmental Adaption (Underwater) Concealment 2, All Hearing, Passive

              Refractive Coating Immunity 5 Laser Damage

              Mind shield Immunity 5 Half effect from all mental powers (or full immunity from Mind Control)

              Polarized filters Immunity 5 Sensory effects

              Magma Armor Immunity 5 Heat Damage

              Polar Armor Immunity 5 Cold Damage

              Fallout Armor Immunity 5 Radiation damage (or half effect from all radiation effects)

              Insulated Armor Immunity 5 Electrical Damage

              Stealth Armor concealment 1 Radio, concealment 2 Normal Sight, Passive, Subtle 1 on Flight

              Space Armor Life Support includes food/water, Flight 4 Distracting

              Exo-Armor Lifting Strength 3, Impervious Toughness +2