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  • new house rule: TACTICS

    Recently cooked up a new houserule, and could use some constructive feedback:

    TACTICS
    Once per combat scene, a character (with at least INT 1) can take a standard action to do a quick tactical analysis of the situation, and then makes an impromptu plan based on the former.
    In game terms, this grants the char a +2 circumstance bonus for a number of checks equal to INT ranks during this scene.
    - The enhanced checks can be attack- resistance- and even skill checks, but they must be combat/action-related & justified for a "tactical" descriptor. The GM has the final say, as always.
    - Any leftover uses are lost when the scene ends.
    - Players can spend a hero point to utilize tactics for a second time during the same scene.
    - Characters with genius-level intellect (INT 4+) can choose to spend 2 uses on a single check, for gaining a +5 circ bonus.
    - The number of enhanced checks are tied to the current INT rank: A Weaken INT effect can thus reduce the remaining numbers of uses. And when nerdy genius Dr Bryce Tanner assumes his superstrong-but-dumb alt-form "THE BULK", he loses all remaining uses of Tactics. Lost uses will NOT return when the INT rank goes up again.

    My reasoning for this idea: Intellect is the only ability with almost no combat utility (save for first aid & some tech stuff) - even Presence has some legitimate combat applications (feint, trick, demoralize etc). By now, INT is mostly a "downtime" & "fluff" trait, and thus a popular dump stat.
    So I wanted to change that, for giving smart heroes something to do with these impressive brains during action time. This houserule was somewhat inspired by the old 2e "Master Plan"-Feat, yet I intentionally decided against mandating a home-made advantage or a specific skill - every smart hero should be able of using this, period. (And I also hate retconning pre-existing builds.)
    Another factor is the good efficiency of builds who array high INT with various combat traits, gaining the best of 2 worlds with almost no drawback. While this may sound cheap (or even borderline abusive), there are several justified & prominent character concepts using such an arrangement (werewolf, Jekyll & Hyde, a certain big green ruffian and so on). So rather than punishing (or outright banning) these concepts, I wanted to encourage/reward builds with constantly high INT. Therefore this houserule.
    Your thoughts?
    https://roninarmy.com/forum/atomic-think-tank/roll-call/7149-bothrops-pit#post7149

  • #2
    Re: new house rule: TACTICS

    I built "Plan" as a power in M&M 3e.

    Plan: Luck Control # (probably just 1-2), Area Perception (Auditory), Selective, Innate, Activation: Standard Action (or possibly Limited: takes a lot of time to activate), Limited: requires Interaction; Enhanced Luck # (type of luck, usually just reroll)

    Could also be called heroic speech and the like. I wanted to make it Check Required: Expertise (Tactics) but that's not going to work, as you can't have more than 4 ranks in Luck Control. Int isn't required, but you shouldn't be allowed to take a power like this unless you have Int (or Presence, for certain types of Luck, eg Recovery).

    I guess I just want PCs to have to spend points to get a bonus like that. I can picture some Intelligent characters with personality flaws who would not be able to come up with a workable plan, especially if they're under time stress.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: new house rule: TACTICS

      The +5 option is OP. A character with INT 10 can get five +5's. The cost of an action is also too low, especially on a stealthy character.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: new house rule: TACTICS

        Originally posted by Kimera757
        I guess I just want PCs to have to spend points to get a bonus like that. I can picture some Intelligent characters with personality flaws who would not be able to come up with a workable plan, especially if they're under time stress.
        I wanted to specifically avoid charging extra points for this - every char (PC & NPC alike) with high INT should be able of pulling this off - it's just another combat option. As I wrote before, this is intended to make INT worthwhile in combat.
        As for high INT chars whose personality flaws prevent them from using impromptu Tactics, I think this is best interpreted by a Complication.


        Originally posted by DeanH
        The +5 option is OP. A character with INT 10 can get five +5's. The cost of an action is also too low, especially on a stealthy character.
        You certainly have a point, yet this was the intention! That said, INT 10 is both very expensive & rare. Speaking of the action cost, this is also intentional, as I prefer combat to be quick, nasty & decisive, rather than a drawn-out slugfest.

        By the way, THIS scene perfectly represents what I want to simulate.
        https://roninarmy.com/forum/atomic-think-tank/roll-call/7149-bothrops-pit#post7149

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: new house rule: TACTICS

          Personally I think most of what you've laid out is fine, but DeanH also makes a good point on it being potentially overpowered. I'd keep most of your current guidelines and just add some limits. How about:

          - Number of enhanced checks ("TacTrix") per combat scene is equal to half INT rank rounded up but with a maximum of 5 per scene and the option of refreshing the amount again with a Hero Point

          - Alternatively do an actual Tactics Check with degrees of success granting 1/2/5 tricks for the scene, possibly cumulative with additional but non-consecutive standard actions; the PC must engage before falling back to reassess. INT caps still apply, as does HP option. Setting DC is the tricky bit; could have several factors, but something like a base DC15 for one opponent + 1 per additional opponent seems like a good start.

          - I'd probably try to work Assessment or Expertise: Tactics into the mix as well, since I think those are underutilized.
          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]!

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: new house rule: TACTICS

            I'm probably going to steal this as a house rule. I've had a genius-type player who's been struggling to be a presence on the battlefield and this looks like a great system.

            JDRook's idea for using expertise: tactics in this also sounds good. Lots of comic characters have good military training, tactical skill, etc... but aren't otherwise smart. I would probably trust a battle plan from a Captain America/Captain Atom/Rick Flagg type over one from a Mister Fantastic/Hank Pym/Ted Kord.

            Maybe a custom advantage: Tactician, allowing INT to be used for tactics, and the option to instead get a specific expertise: tactics would express the difference well. Strategic heroes with otherwise average intelligence could use tactics, but the genius with the tactician advantage (a Batman type with genius level IQ and insane strategic planning ability) would also be viable.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: new house rule: TACTICS

              Personally, I would build strategy on Intellect and tactics on Fighting. (Fighting needs some lovin')

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: new house rule: TACTICS

                Thanks for the feedback so far. A few thoughts:
                I begin agreeing that further limiting the number of enhanced checks (I dubbed them "edges") isn't a bad idea. Rather than halving them, I opt for INT-2 edges. This restricts Tactics to higher INT-scores, reduces the total number of edges, without punishing heroes with really high INT too much.
                I also agree that the (quite powerful) +5 option is too easily accessible, so I'll tie it to a custom advantage (similar to the other maneuver advantages: +2 power attack is for free, but +5 requires the eponymous advantage).
                JDRook's suggestions of incorporating Assessment & Expertise (tactics) are also sound, I'll somewhat include both. That said, Expertise (tactics) is a relatively rare skill (with no untrained use), and since my explicit goal with this houserule is pampering ALL highly intelligent characters (& thus avoiding to mandate specific builds), so I think the mechanics of Tactics should be dominated by INT, with the skill providing a minor bonus. I also want to keep it as simple as possible, so adding stuff like modifiers for multiple opponents and so on is clearly off-limits.

                So here's my updated version:
                TACTICS
                Once per combat scene, a character can take a standard action to do a quick tactical analysis of the situation, and then makes an impromptu plan based on the former.
                In game terms, this grants the char 1 EDGE for each INT rank over 2 (= INT-2 edges) for this scene. 1 edge can be spent on a check to grant a +2 circumstance bonus.
                - The enhanced checks can be attack- resistance- and even skill checks, but they must be combat/action-related & justified for a "tactical" descriptor. The GM has the final say, as always.
                - Any leftover edges are lost when the scene ends.
                - When using TACTICS, a char can also make an Expertise (tactics) skill check (DC 15). Success grants 1 extra edge - this one is always spent first. Also, characters with INT of 2 or less can use this option.
                - The Assessment advantage allows using TACTICS as a move action.
                - Players can spend a hero point to utilize tactics for a second time during the same scene.
                - The number of edges is tied to the current INT rank: A Weaken INT effect can thus reduce the remaining edges. And when nerdy genius Dr Bryce Tanner assumes his superstrong-but-dumb alt-form "THE BULK", he loses all remaining edges. Lost edges will NOT return when the INT rank goes up again.

                new advantage:
                Improved Tactics
                When using Tactics, you can choose to spend 2 edges on a single check, for a +5 circumstance bonus.
                Last edited by Bothrops; 02-22-2019, 01:42 PM.
                https://roninarmy.com/forum/atomic-think-tank/roll-call/7149-bothrops-pit#post7149

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: new house rule: TACTICS

                  I forgot to mention this earlier, but how would you want this to interact with Setup? Could you share edges with your team, like a less action-expensive Aid?
                  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]!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: new house rule: TACTICS

                    Originally posted by JDRook View Post
                    I forgot to mention this earlier, but how would you want this to interact with Setup? Could you share edges with your team, like a less action-expensive Aid?
                    Good idea. I'd do it this way:
                    Each rank of Set-up allows granting 1 edge to an individual ally (with whom you're able to interact with) as a move action (this counts as having spent the edge). The ally can freely use the granted edge, but must have done so until the beginning of your next turn, or else it's lost. Any individual ally can "hold" only 1 granted edge at a time (the edge must be spent before another can be received).

                    Example:
                    Dr Bryce Tanner (INT 5) uses Tactics, and therefore gets 3 edges. Yet in the next round, it becomes clear that THE BULK's brute strength is needed. The latter's INT is only -1, meaning he'll lose all edge upon transformation. Knowing this, Tanner decides he'd give his edge to his allies rather than wasting it. With his 3 ranks of Set-up, he uses his next move action to grant 1 edge each to his 3 buddies Tin Man, Blue Mantis & Major Alabama before taking his standard action for unleashing THE BULK.
                    https://roninarmy.com/forum/atomic-think-tank/roll-call/7149-bothrops-pit#post7149

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