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  • Alternate Effect

    hello there

    i read the rules and i read some char builds, but i still dont understand it ^^

    If i have the power Flight 10, then i could add an Alternate Effect (AE) for 1 point so for example super speed for 1 point, so i could run and fly with the same speed (no real char advantage)
    and i could add as AE Swimming? this would be a char advantage because flight+merit swimming would add +1 PP per Rank but this AE would be legit?

    Then i could add the Dynamic Alternate Effect (DEV) for 2 Points to get Quickness 10?

    So i use 20 Points for Flight 10, add Super Speed and Swimming for 2 PP and then Quickness 10 for another 2 PP and this would be fine? this sounds imba for me

    i can understand that if my superman clone gets:
    Heat Vision 10 for 20 Points
    add the AE Heat Vision AOE 5
    add the AE Heat Blast 5 with penetrating 5

    or Cold Breath 10
    Damage 10
    AE AOE move Objects
    AE Immobilize Enemies frozen

    but a powergaming Pro could add this Cold Breath as an AE into Heat Vision?

  • #2
    Re: Alternate Effect

    Alternate Effects are mildly confusing to a lot of players at first. The key thing to remember is that an Alternate Effect only uses as many points as the base effect, only one can be used at a time, and you can only switch once per round. Flight 10 is worth 20 pp, so an AE, such as Speed, could use all 20 pp (although you do not have to). So you could have an AE of Speed 20 or Quickness 20. Or you could have an alternate slot composed of Speed 10 and Quickness 10 for a combination of 20 pp. Some things make more sense to AE than others. Protections are generally not a good idea to AE, except possibly with other AEs, because you can't just switch back and forth at will. Imagine someone with Speed 10 and Force Field 10 AEed against each other. They could start with Speed 10, move their full distance, then switch to Force Field for Protection. Sounds good, right? Except next turn, if they want to be able to move quickly again, they switch... and then won't be able to change back to Force Field, so there will be a round when they're at something like +0 for their Toughness save (assuming no other sources). Attack powers are generally pretty safe to AE against each other since you really can only use one per turn.

    Dynamic AEs get more complicated, but the key things to remember is that you still can only switch once per turn, you can only adjust ranks used, not whether Feats, Extras, and Flaws are included, and the power with the most points determines the total number of points you can use. So Speed 10 with DAEs of Quickness 10 and Leaping 10 could choose to use Speed 10, or Speed 5 and Quickness 5, or Leaping 2, Quickness 2, and Speed 6. Those all add up to the 10 pp.

    I'm short on time, so I'll let others explain other caveats.
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    • #3
      Re: Alternate Effect

      The idea behind arrays stands on basically a few aspects: it is needed to allow for a lot of comic-book concepts without needing an enormous amount of Power Points to build and it is based on limitations of the action economy. Generally speaking, having a lot of powers means you can't use them all at once, because a lot of them use a Move or Standard Action and even Free Actions can be limited by the GM if they get out of hand. Arrays allow you to buy extra powers cheaper on the principle that, since you can't use all of your powers at once, there is no need to pay full price.

      If i have the power Flight 10, then i could add an Alternate Effect (AE) for 1 point so for example super speed for 1 point, so i could run and fly with the same speed (no real char advantage)
      and i could add as AE Swimming? this would be a char advantage because flight+merit swimming would add +1 PP per Rank but this AE would be legit?
      You can have Speed as an alternate of Flight. Since Speed costs 1 point per rank and Flight costs two, you can have twice as many ranks of Speed as you have of flight. So, you could have something like Flight 6 in an array along with Speed 12. Many people don't do that for thematic reasons, preferring to have the same speed in both "modes" of movement.

      And yes, you could add swimming for one more point. In fact, that is exactly what the Aquatic flat extra for flight is (flat extras have a fixed cost, so it is just one extra point, not 1 point per rank).

      As I said before, it has to do with not being able to use all of it at once. It is ideal for movement powers like that, because even if you got all those powers separately, without using an array, it would cost a lot of points for a situation that never comes up, because you can't swim, run and fly at the same time.

      Then i could add the Dynamic Alternate Effect (DEV) for 2 Points to get Quickness 10?
      Well, it doesn't need to be dynamic, but it can be, yeah. However, having a single dynamic effect in an array is useless, you need at least two (or you can make the base effect dynamic for 1 point).

      The reason for that, and what I think you didn't notice about dynamic alternate effects, is that while you can use multiple powers at once, you have to divide your points between them.

      For example, if you Have Flight 10 (Dynamic), and a Dynamic alternate effect of Quickness 10. This array would cost 23 points: 20 for Flight 10, 2 for the Dynamic Alternate Effect and 1 to make the base effect dynamic.
      With this array you would have 20 points to divide, one power that costs 2 PP/Rank and one that costs 1 PP/Rank. So, you can use Flight and Quickness together, but not at the maximum. You can have Flight 10, quickness 0. Or Flight 5, Quickness 10. Or Flight 7, Quickness 6. Or any other combination using those 20 points. But you can't have Flight 10 and Quickness 10 at once, your array doesn't have enough points for that.

      As for the cold breath and heat vision, yeah, they could be in a single array. I wouldn't consider it anywhere near powergaming though
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      • #4
        Re: Alternate Effect

        Thanks to both of you. This different set of explanations is helping make sure that I'm on the right track.

        One place that your examples make me less certain: even in an AE, the level of a power is still limited to the PL, right? So even though 10 ranks of flight is the same cost as 20 ranks of running, you're still limited to 10 (or whatever the PL of the game) ranks of running.

        Dynamic is a little easier (for me) to understand thinking of it in computer terms.
        A standard AE is like a drop down option, you can choose option A, B or C, but only one at a time. The cost here is free for option A and then each additional option costs 1.

        A dynamic AE is more like a slider, allowing you to pick a point between A and B (as long as the costs add up). Having more than two options is 'just' adding more dimensions. The cost here is 1 more than in a standard AE, 1 for A and then 2 for B+.

        I haven't seen setups that combine the two ideas, but should be possible.

        Adding to this is the newer idea of a Wide array. The basic idea is the same but is a bigger 'grocery bag' so that you can pick more than one choice. The cost here is the same as both of the above but the base cost is as high as you want to have at any one time.

        Finally, there is the often abused concept of a variable. Each rank of variable gives 5 pp for you to play around with in a single unifying theme. The cost is 5 per rank plus a few more depending on how often it can be changed, how wide the concept, etc.

        Hopefully, its as clear as mud.

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        • #5
          Re: Alternate Effect

          Originally posted by Spectrum View Post
          One place that your examples make me less certain: even in an AE, the level of a power is still limited to the PL, right? So even though 10 ranks of flight is the same cost as 20 ranks of running, you're still limited to 10 (or whatever the PL of the game) ranks of running.
          No, that's not right at all. Only certain powers are limited to rank=Power Level. Very few really, what with trade-offs and all.

          If your teen speedster is PL 8, they can have Speed 10, or 12, or even 20 if they want.

          Also, I should point out this thread really isn't in the right spot, this is more of a Rules forum thing than a Roll Call thing.
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          • #6
            Re: Alternate Effect

            It is not every power that is Limited by PL. Remember, the PL limitations are:

            Offensively, the Attack bonus + Effect Rank can't be higher than PLx2 (Area attacks and Perception range attacks are special cases, lacking an attack roll. Those have their Effect Rank limited to PL)

            Defensively, each of the combinations of Dodge + Toughness, Parry + Toughness, and Fortitude + Will can't be higher than PLx2

            Skills can't have a total bonus (Ability + Skill Ranks + miscellaneous modifiers*) higher than PL +10

            Anything else is not restricted by PL. So a PL8 beginner hero can have, say, Teleport 20, because it is not an attack effect (but if he had an alternate effect of Teleport with the Attack extra, then that alternate effect would be limited by Attack + Effect = PL x2).

            Of course, the GM may still decide that such a thing is out of scope for the game they have in mind and prohibit such high movement powers (or anything else they don't want in their game), but as far as PL restrictions go, most General, Movement and Defensive Powers are unlimited (except things that modify values that do count for PL, like Protection or Growth, which end up indirectly limited by PL restrictions. In such cases you have to monitor the values these powers modify to keep within PL restrictions. So, if you are a PL 10 character with Stamina 5 and Dodge 10, you can't have Protection higher than 5, because that would make your Toughness + Dodge go over 20).



            * Except circumstantial modifiers given by the GM or some advantage or something. Circumstance bonuses can break PL rules.
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            • #7
              Re: Alternate Effect

              Non-dynamic powers in an Array (a term that had more meaning back in 2E, but basically a set of AEed powers) with Dynamic powers basically show up in one situation, powers that take up all of the power points available (they also sometimes show up thematically, but that's less common). So, for example, if I were playing a Martian Manhunter-esque character, I might have the following array.

              Martian Powers 10 [20 pp + 1 for dynamic base power + 2 for 1 dynamic AE + 1 for 1 AE]
              Flight 10 [Dynamic]
              Insubstantial 4 [AE]
              Power Lifting 20 [Dynamic]

              Because Insubstantial cannot be used at different ranks than what you bought it at, and it uses all 20 pp, it doesn't really make sense to make it Dynamic. On a side note, one of the ways people often notate Arrays is as Array (half of the PP), an artifact from 2E that's very handy for "over-stuffed" dynamic arrays where you expect to use two or more powers at full strength. For example, a possible exception to the "Don't use your defense in an array with attacks" is the following:

              Junk Powers 15 36 pp + 1 + 2 + 2 + 2 = 43 pp
              Flight 8 [Flaw: Platform, Dynamic]
              Blast 10 [Dynamic]
              Force Field 8 [Dynamic]
              Telekinesis 10 [Flaw: Limited to Junk, Dynamic]

              This guy can allocate his 36 pp however he wants. For example, he could be using Force Field 8, Blast 10, and Flight 2. If he's not Blasting people, he could shift the points to Telekinesis. If he really needs to move quickly, he can reduce his Toughness save or his Blast to boost his Flight. Theoretically, the same guy could be built with Flight 30 [Flaw: Platform] as the base power, but that suggests that he's able to routinely move 3 times the speed of light on his platform of junk. Another advantage, which admittedly doesn't show up all that often (and may be overruled by the GM), is that, if the character's attack or defense bonuses gets reduced, say by an Affliction, he can pump more power into his Blast or Force Field to go back up to PL ranks at the cost of reducing other abilities.
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              [b]Current games:[/b]
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