Page 6 of 6 FirstFirst ... 456
Results 51 to 55 of 55

Thread: Why doesn't PL cap everything?

  1. #51
    Keeper of Secrets
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Posts
    1,781

    Re: Why doesn't PL cap everything?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nunya B View Post
    The easiest solution is to inform the player that there will be none of that tomfoolery at your table.
    The Bathroom Psychic is just the poster-child for an entire family of "I can hurt you but you can't hurt me" methods such as Orbital Laser Man, Punch Ghost, Variable Immunity Man, Selective Create Man, Sniper Rifle Speedster, etc. Exhaustively and specifically banning them is a fool's errand. If somebody brings something suspicious to the table, sitting down with them and talking it out like adults is the best solution. After all, sometimes the guy with a pocket howitzer and a camera drone isn't out to break the game. Banning potentially objectionable traits means also banning non-objectionable uses of those traits.
    The guy who can just shoot the villains from orbit doesn't become a problem until they become the guy who does just shoot the villains from orbit.
    There's certainly some of this, too.

    And it doesn't have to always mean a complete ban. For example, my wife's game has a character who has the ability to launch an attack while Insubstantial. She let the player buy it, but told them that they'd have to be somewhat sub-PL with the attack to make up for the ability to do that. That's meant that while its an advantage, its not overwhelming.

    The biggest thing, as I harp on, is being mindful of how the pieces interact, and knowing to watch for them.

    As I've noted when talking about my wife's old character Dupe, Duplication wasn't overpowered intrinsically; neither was high end Charisma and skill; even the old 2e Distract feat, though it was borderline, wasn't. But put the three of them on one character and it was a huge potential problem.

  2. #52
    Keeper of Secrets digitalangel's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Huntsville, AL
    Posts
    2,148

    Re: Why doesn't PL cap everything?

    I think Darkdreamer hit the nail on the head in a lot of ways in the last 2 posts.

    This is one of those things that M&M and D&D have in common. There are plenty of powers/abilities/spells/etc. that are good or even very good on their own but not OP until you put them in the right combination. In M&M that usually means more PPs per rank to get it, in D&D it usually means having to be a certain class or higher level to get the ability. The problem is when a munchkin player wants to go for the uber powerful combo of abilities or just wants every really good ability they can get their hands on without thinking about balance within the game or the party, or sometimes even whether that combination is feasible to what their character concept is supposed to be (munchkin is not a character concept). Let's face it this entire thread is really about dealing with munchkins as much as anything else.

    Don't get me wrong, when the GM and players agree up front that they are in the mood to play a munchkin campaign, it can be fun. Heck among the systems I came from before getting introduced to M&M years ago was Rifts. Being a munchkin is almost a requirement in that setting just not to get your teeth kicked in, because so many of your opponents are little munchkins too. It was for years (a long long time ago) one of my main systems. Yes, there were both Rifts/other Palladium systems as well as D&D versions that I min/maxed characters in. Especially when I was much younger and thought of the game more in winning vs losing terms instead of telling a story as a group, I didn't even see the min/maxing as necessarily bad at the time. I look back at some of the games from middle school/junior high/high school and wouldn't let several of those characters (including many that I played in those games) at my table now outside of an intentional munchkin game or a one shot game to be silly or just let someone see how a combo could work theoretically. Of course even those games at the end of high school/beginning of college were 20 years ago now, and experience and maturity have changed my view on the purpose of the game and the proper type of character a lot.

    I get the sense from this thread that is the same state of mind DnDVSMnM is coming from. I still don't feel he is trying to troll us, even with that account name. Maybe he is just so used to playing around min/maxers or munchkins that he thinks it is normal or at least common. Maybe he is thinking of the purpose of the game being GM vs players to "win" an adventure. Or maybe he isn't coming from either of those places and just doesn't want to have the same problems in M&M that he has seen in D&D before.
    Classic car restoring, gun owning, martial arts practicing, military, gamer geek, kinky lesbian IT chick (has your brain exploded yet?)
    Andromeda (Welcome to Wonderland)
    Night Breeze (Transformers Game)
    MSG Grimes (Battle for LA)
    My character library so far

  3. #53
    Inceptor
    Join Date
    May 2018
    Posts
    11

    Re: Why doesn't PL cap everything?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nunya B View Post
    The easiest solution is to inform the player that there will be none of that tomfoolery at your table.
    That sounds nice and all but I don't know where the line is. In D&D there is a pretty good consensus on where Practical Optimization stops and Theoretical Optimization starts. Damage immunity is one of those things. In D&D's defense, you have to search fairly hard to try to find it: regeneration+energy immunity, beastland ferocity, the mountain maneuver, etc. But M&M is just like 'here you go' and gives no indication that people would have a problem with it. So how do you even know when you are wasting your time with building anything in M&M? I do not want to waste my time with a crappy system. I thought M&M was better than that!

    This is what makes me think the gentleman's agreement approach is actually the wrong way to go about it. In D&D, you can actually form very easily and quickly a gentleman's agreement. Generally the GM sets the maturity rating (is torture allowed?) and requests the cooperation level (is team killing allowed?). You need only a few things. This is true in M&M as well. All D&D has to do is list the tier range requested (base classes & PrCs). Sure you have to link the resources if the players don't have them memorized (I do, but this is unusual). But it works and its easy. Is there such a list for M&M? I get that its probably as 'done'/'finished' as 3.5 (like pathfinder), but this seems a flat out requirement to even consider your method. Instead the easier thing seems to me to just patch a few holes here and there and then use the system fully without worrying about what counts as tom-foolery. Sure you miss the ability to become a ground-based howitzer (which is cool), but you still get to be that in a smaller capacity (a regular canon). You just don't get to be an orbital howitzer too (being an orbital canon is slow an not a problem; more funny looney toons than war-of-the-worlds dangerous).
    The Bathroom Psychic is just the poster-child for an entire family of "I can hurt you but you can't hurt me" methods such as Orbital Laser Man, Punch Ghost, Variable Immunity Man, Selective Create Man, Sniper Rifle Speedster, etc. Exhaustively and specifically banning them is a fool's errand.
    You can see why I might disagree with the second part. At the risk of trying your patience, can I get familiarized (basic combo synergy only) with the last four? There can't be hundreds of these broken builds. A dozen or so seems doable to address specifically.
    The guy who can just shoot the villains from orbit doesn't become a problem until they become the guy who does just shoot the villains from orbit.
    I like this. I do. But if you allow a build that can, then you have to sacrifice the ability for players to run their own characters realistically (within the cooperation and maturity level set). Player agency is the entire reason people still play table tops. If you want the game master to tell you 'no' to on-the-fly, real player decisions, that's what video games are for. If the programmer didn't anticipate it, you generally can't do it (glitches aside). That's nice and all, but table top RPGs are supposed to be a whole level up from that.
    The alternative would be to create a completely balanced set of rules capable of expressing the entire range of superpowers
    Yes. And keep in mind, this is how M&M was introduced to me. And it seems to be close (and small) enough that this is actually attainable.
    If you try to bring The Gunisher to a Saturday Morning Superfriends game, it doesn't matter how rules-legal you are.
    Agreed, but I'll reiterate that fluff incompatibility is entirely separate from mechanics. You can refluff that Gunisher into Batman with little effort.
    many GMs have enough house-rules or strongly held balance opinions to complicate things.
    Assuming that that balanced set of rules is achieved earlier, all you have to do as a player is quickly compatibility-check a build with those few house rules. If the GM is the type to ban power lifting as a house rule, you know that he won't be a good GM. Bullet dodged. If he wants a non-powerlifting game for fluff, you just bring out your green lantern build instead. Arbitrary restrictions can be fun.
    You have to ask permission for everything.... It's a lot like the 3.5 question of "what books are allowed", just because it's printed and rules-legal doesn't mean the GM will let you play a Swordsage.
    DMs are supposed to list constrained books: there better be a very good reason for a game to be core only. If there isn't, you probably have a noob DM and you should tread carefully (you probably won't have much fun). If the DM is good but doesn't restrict canon sources, you know that you can play a swordsage. Maybe not the unarmed variant (the rules for those aren't finished)... but you can play a regular one. If you have a DM who only bans Spell Compendium and you build a swordsage and show up and he suddenly says 'no swordsages,' you should thank that DM. He just saved you playing in a crappy game; a DM who can't handle a swordsage or won't refluff one with you so the build stays almost exactly the same is a bad DM. It's like a video game with stuck in alpha with bad programming. You can try and have fun, but there are better games to play at that point.
    My copy is the 10th Anniversary edition, that'd be why. I keep forgetting what parts were added in it.
    I guess I won't be able to look up what you were referencing. That's frustrating.

    Quote Originally Posted by Darkdreamer View Post
    Its the combination that is problematic, just as it is with the Perception range mental attack and the accurate, acute detect minds in the Bathroom Mentalist build.

    That's really the gig; its not individual components that turn into problems in a lot of these cases, its how they play together, and that's very, very hard to address in any non-ad-hoc way.
    Okay. I seem to have just come up with an off-the-hip successful solution that would shut down that particular combo, right? What's stopping someone (not necessarily me), from doing the same? If it were done elegantly it would be quite convincing and make it difficult for people to disagree (they would essentially have to say that they are okay with that kind of tomfoolery).
    Quote Originally Posted by Darkdreamer View Post
    the ability to launch an attack while Insubstantial.
    Isn't that normal for non-physical things? I might be missing something.
    Duplication wasn't overpowered intrinsically; neither was high end Charisma and skill; even the old 2e Distract feat, though it was borderline, wasn't. But put the three of them on one character and it was a huge potential problem.
    I'm sorry you'll have to summarize the mechanics for me in addition to listing them. Is there a 3e version? If I am guessing correctly at how this was supposed to have worked and if Dupe were a jester, that sounds amusing...
    Quote Originally Posted by digitalangel View Post
    (munchkin is not a character concept). Let's face it this entire thread is really about dealing with munchkins as much as anything else.
    Yes. And I actually laughed at that parenthetical. I was like "who makes a character concept for ... oh."
    I didn't even see the min/maxing as necessarily bad at the time. I look back at some of the games from middle school/junior high/high school and wouldn't let several of those characters (including many that I played in those games) at my table now outside of an intentional munchkin game
    In full honesty, I don't see a problem with practical min/max'ing so long as its fair and up-front. But I deeply dislike theoretical optimization (bathroom psychics or "the spelunker" D&D build).
    I still don't feel he is trying to troll us, even with that account name.
    Oh. Oh that? Yeah, that's just my sense of humor. It's actually a pretty troll name now that I think about it. But that just makes it more amusing to me. I apologize if it triggers people, but not for considering them similar systems. I just saw in Hero High Revised p155 a Feature called Prestidigitation that lists no rules. Nor do I don't expect it to. I know what that is from D&D. So I looked at d20herosrd.com to make sure it wasn't copied over there (a lot of the M&M rules are nearly copy-pasted which is wonderful for me). But since it wasn't there I went to the original d20srd (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/spells/prestidigitation.htm) to see if the ability is worth it while thinking about M&M. So far, M&M has been very much worth the switch, but I always compare it to what it came from
    Maybe he is just so used to playing around min/maxers or munchkins that he thinks it is normal or at least common. Maybe he is thinking of the purpose of the game being GM vs players to "win" an adventure.
    The first part is definitely true. The second part ... yes and no. I am totally okay with 'losing' in a campaign both as a player and a DM. It's the old adage to not point a gun at anything you aren't willing to shoot. So yes, sometimes the heroes lose and world gets conquered by the villain (this is why you don't time travel to stop WWII). But I can also accept this and not feel the need to continue it in order to 'make' the players win.

    I also like to think that I allow proportionate restraints on roleplaying and roll-playing, ie the harder you build the more participation is expected. So if you want to build a casual bruiser, that's fine. You get to have your grunts for dialogue and let the more experienced players control an unequal share of the flow of the game. But if you bring a really min/maxed build, then I expect you to be the one saving the party's behind. No being lazy for you.

    And generally this is what players want; RP and optimization in equal amounts. I generally find that even players who have low power builds (monks in D&D, for instance) but are very good role players, tend to have built their characters to surprise me with just how useful they are. Generally this gives me the hint that they just optimized on a spectrum I didn't expect and which often pleasantly surprises me when they turn out to be helpful to the party in addition to helpful players to have in my campaigns. I like to remove their shackles and let them play things that others are wary of. It's often very fun to encourage players to flex their character-building muscles. I just feel its my responsibility to make sure those muscles fit on the right skeleton of practical optimization rather than theoretical.

    I like to think that I stay that responsible while being a player. This is why I am so open to the idea of where the line of balance is. I have to know if I'm going to build in it. I can start a different thread if necessary. I don't know if this board has rules about wandering topics.
    Last edited by DnDVSMnM; 05-21-2018 at 12:58 PM.

  4. #54
    Keeper of Secrets
    Join Date
    Sep 2017
    Posts
    238

    Re: Why doesn't PL cap everything?

    > I don't know where the line is
    > M&M is just like 'here you go' and gives no indication that people would have a problem with it. So how do you even know when you are wasting your time with building anything in M&M?
    In a vacuum, nobody does. It moves around. To put it in D&D 3.5 terms, some groups are fine with a DMM Persist CoDzilla and others start getting antsy when a fighter starts using improved trip with a glaive. There's common trends, like basically nobody wanting infinite wish loops, but a lot of it is talking about optimization to see where the boundaries are. Most everyone who optimizes to any degree will get bit by this eventually.
    In M&M, there's similar contention about how point-efficient is too point-efficient and how combat-effective is too combat-effective. You have to settle down with the GM and players and hash things out, same as with anything. Tier based balance is just a shorthand that's already worked out, but it still requires players to sit down and make sure they're on the same page. A core-book prepared spellcaster is T1. A core-book blaster spellcaster is T5. The guy who brings the latter to a game where everybody else has the former, or vice-versa, is likely to be asked to reconsider. M&M has the same principles, just not as hashed out by optimizers.

    > In D&D, you can actually form very easily and quickly a gentleman's agreement
    > All D&D has to do is list the tier range requested
    I'm fairly sure what you're experiencing here is that you know D&D well and don't yet know M&M well. Balance-by-tier is a fairly advanced bit of knowledge that anyone who hasn't delved into optimization will be blind to.
    Any experienced M&M player could fairly easily put together a "watch list" of powers that need a chat with the player before they get OK'd. Just off the top of my head, I'd have Selective Create, Area or Reduced Action Healing, Insubstantial 3+, Time/Space/Dimension Travel, Regeneration 10+, Summon, Accurate Teleport, and a bunch of the Orbital Laser Man style tricks on the list. For separate reasons, I'd want to discuss large Variable pools to make sure the player would be able to reallocate them without stalling the game for half an hour, and tell anyone with Immortality they can have it for free since I don't intend to kill PCs.

    > can I get familiarized (basic combo synergy only) with the last four?
    Punch Ghost: Insubstantial 4 and Affects Corporeal on Strength or an attack. The ghost can punch its enemies, its enemies can't punch the ghost.
    Variable Immunity Man: Has a Variable he uses to gain Immunity to whatever his foes have. As soon as he gets a turn, he's immune to his foes.
    Selective Create Man: Has Create with the Selective extra. He (and his entire team) get to shoot the enemy from behind/inside a wall that only exists for their enemies. If they break the wall, he makes another. If they don't break the wall, he can start layering them.
    Sniper Rifle Speedster: Has a high-rank movement power and a Perception Range or Extended Range attack. Shoots you from farther away than you can shoot back, runs away fast enough that nobody can get close enough to shoot back. With Move-By Action, careful kiting is rendered unnecessary thanks to just loitering half the state away between shots. Can realistically work just by having a higher Effect Rank on his attack than his opponents, since rank determines range. Note that anyone with Flight and a ranged attack can do this against a ground-bound melee opponent.

    > But if you allow a build that can, then you have to sacrifice the ability for players to run their own characters realistically
    Part of this was suboptimal communication on my part: I don't feel a once-off instance of Orbital Laser Man is bad, just repeated instances of it. If the Justice League finds themselves in orbit after thwarting Lex Luthor's space-crime and hear The Joker is attacking city hall, when Superman's player decides to use his telescopic heat vision to just zap The Joker from orbit that's fine by me. That's organic use of character abilities in creative ways. But if Superman's player decides that every outdoors fight should start with him flying to orbit so he can't be shot at, there's a clear and obvious problem.
    The other part of it is the nature of cooperative play. If memory serves, any D&D 3.5 character who's not LE and can make a fairly straight-forward knowledge check can use the Pazuzu entry to an infinite wish loop. In fact, any high Intelligence character can be argued to be out-of-character if they don't at least entertain the idea. But for obvious reasons, that sort of TO tomfoolery doesn't get done at respectable tables by respectable folks. There's a gentleman's agreement not to bring TO to a normal game, even if your character is capable of it.

    > Yes. And keep in mind, this is how M&M was introduced to me. And it seems to be close (and small) enough that this is actually attainable.
    I would not say that is accurate. M&M has a bunch of wonderful traits that make it easily my favorite d20 system, but it is very heavily reliant on GM oversight for balance. The irritating part is that all the balance issues are circumstantial, so plugging the gaps with house-rules tends to hurt well-meaning players by reducing their options.

    > Agreed, but I'll reiterate that fluff incompatibility is entirely separate from mechanics. You can refluff that Gunisher into Batman with little effort.
    > If he wants a non-powerlifting game for fluff, you just bring out your green lantern build instead.
    My anecdotal experience is that a player presents their character for approval, the GM comments on some things and requests some changes, and rarely does a character enter play as they were first submitted. Quick mechanical overhauls are about as fast as refluffing, or even faster. This isn't even limited to M&M, it's a common trend in every game I've played in where the GM bothered to look at the players character sheets. Unless the GM knows the player really well and vice versa, it takes a bit to get on the same page.

    > Isn't that normal for non-physical things? I might be missing something.
    Insubstantial 2 and 3 "turn off" your Strength. Insubstantial 4 prevents you from interacting with the world just like the world can't interact with you. Affects Corporeal removes these drawbacks.

    > they would essentially have to say that they are okay with that kind of tomfoolery
    Your proposed fix, like many possible solutions, is one that seems reasonable when viewed from the perspective of fixing Bathroom Mentalists but would likely irritate players who had another perspective. Somebody planning an Indirect attacker and not thinking of engaging in tomfoolery would likely complain about what they saw as unnecessary restrictions used to prevent a problem that hadn't occurred. Moreover, anyone taking an Indirect Ranged attack is expressing a desire to at some point use it to benefit from indirectness and rangedness at the same time, which your rule would hinder.

  5. #55
    Keeper of Secrets
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Posts
    1,781

    Re: Why doesn't PL cap everything?

    Quote Originally Posted by DnDVSMnM View Post
    Okay. I seem to have just come up with an off-the-hip successful solution that would shut down that particular combo, right? What's stopping someone (not necessarily me), from doing the same? If it were done elegantly it would be quite convincing and make it difficult for people to disagree (they would essentially have to say that they are okay with that kind of tomfoolery).
    Because it destroys most of the point in a Perception attack at all. The range issues are, except in abusive builds, not normally that relevant; its the inability to avoid the attack in the first place which is why its a full per-rank extra.



    Isn't that normal for non-physical things? I might be missing something.
    Not completely. There's a extra you have to take to do so with Insub 4, which is the most problematic level. But even accounting for that its usually too good a trick, since there are a lot of opponents who have, essentially, no way to respond. Its a problem that can come up in other games too; its not an issue just with M&M. But there are often associated secondary mechanisms in other super games that permit a way to attack while Insubstantial (whatever they call it). Its not quite as bad as being flat out Immune (because all Insubstantial versions have some kind of hole, and Affect Insub is cheap, but it doesn't make sense to have it on every opponent.

    I'm sorry you'll have to summarize the mechanics for me in addition to listing them. Is there a 3e version? If I am guessing correctly at how this was supposed to have worked and if Dupe were a jester, that sounds amusing...
    Distract's 3e equivalent is the Advantage "Daze"; the 2e version instead did basically what 3e's stun effect does--robbed you of your actions for a round. 2e also had skill ranks and attribute ranks cap separately, so someone could ramp up a skill total to as much as +30. Since Distract was done by an social skill versus either Will or Sense Motive, someone who firewalled the skill and ramped up the attribute could have a skill total no-one not built almost specifically to punch through ultra-high level social skills. So if you combined the skill level with the feat, you could pretty much reliably shut down someone every round in a way they'd be unlikely to resist (it got slightly harder each time, but at -1 per attempt, your normal character with, say, a +10 or less was still not making that roll until well after the end of any normal combat sequence). And then, since it was a duplicator, she could do it to a whole supervillain team every round.

    This was not something someone would necessarily foresee looking at any of the individual pieces.
    Last edited by Darkdreamer; 05-21-2018 at 09:43 PM.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •