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Thread: M&M 3E Question: Werewolf By Night / Hulk / Jason Blood?

  1. #1
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    M&M 3E Question: Werewolf By Night / Hulk / Jason Blood?

    Hello!

    Recently, I've decided to switch to M&M 3E rules... I admit I still have trouble wrapping my head around them. So, if you don't mind, I'd like to ask:

    How to make a character with two forms: an unpowered and superpowered one?

    For example: let's take Werewolf By Night... or some other werewolf-style character. Here's a guy who's a normal man, unremarkable man by day - but, at night, he turns into this superpowered being. He gets powers, but he also gets a new personality, lower mental stats, changes his skills etc. How to handle it rules-wise? What would a character sheet be like?

    The same goes for characters in the mold of the Hulk - or Jason Blood, for that matter. The latter is even more complicated, because he has some magical powers in his human form... as well as a separate demon identity with even bigger set of powers. How to handle a character like that?

    I admit I didn't know how to write such characters up back in M&M 2E... and with M&M 3E, I'm completely at loss :\ Help!

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    Re: M&M 3E Question: Werewolf By Night / Hulk / Jason Blood?

    There's three primary methods.
    For a partial change-of-sheet but no real change in appearance, such as adding ice armor and weapons, the Alternate Form premade works well. Take everything in your new form, apply the Activation (Move) flaw, and transform as a move action whenever needed. You can have an Array of Alternate Forms if desired.
    For total change-of-sheet coupled with change in appearance, the Metamorph option of the Morph power works best. You effectively make two different characters to represent the characters two forms, both with Morph 1 (Metamorph 1) and swap between them as needed.
    The third option is to make the nonpowered form a Complication. If Werewolf By Night turns into John Doe by day, then whenever that hinders his superheroics the Complication is triggered. Just make John Doe's sheet however the GM feels is reasonable.

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    Re: M&M 3E Question: Werewolf By Night / Hulk / Jason Blood?

    Thanks!

    I checked the rules and it seems to me that for a werewolf character, it'd make sense to use Alternate Form... The question is, though: Alternate Form assumes the character voluntarily switches forms. What if a werewolf does not have any control over the transformation, but changes forms automatically at sunrise and sunset? Is that Alternate Form with Uncontrollable and / or Limited flaws? Further on: what if the werewolf changes only at *certain* nights (full moon etc.)?

    As for the change in appearance : could Morph 1 be added to Alternate Form? I guess you could make Morph into a Permanent effect, so that when the Alternate Form is activated, the appearance changes automatically and remains changed while the power is active?

    As for Morph + Metamorph: it's also an option, but if I understand the rules correctly, there's one big limitation: both of the forms need to be of the same points total... So, this solution cannot be applied for character who is an ordinary person in one form and a powerful superhero in the other one...

    And speaking for werewolves: how would you handle the animalistic rages etc, hard-to-control bloodlust etc.? These seem like Complications to me, but should they involve, I don't know, some self-control checks etc.? Or could the GM simply handle them by simply declaring: "Okay, now you feel an urge to kill, you have to attack your allies now"?

    One last question: Alternate Form works nicely if a character has powers in one form and not in the other one. What about characters like Jason Blood, who have some powers in one form and (among others) the same powers, but *stronger*, it the other one? Can you decide that, say, the character has Mystic Blast 3 in both forms... and, also, the Alternate Forms gives him +5 more ranks in Mystic Blast when that form is activated?

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    Hierophant FuzzyBoots's Avatar
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    Re: M&M 3E Question: Werewolf By Night / Hulk / Jason Blood?

    Quote Originally Posted by Varsovian View Post
    I checked the rules and it seems to me that for a werewolf character, it'd make sense to use Alternate Form... The question is, though: Alternate Form assumes the character voluntarily switches forms. What if a werewolf does not have any control over the transformation, but changes forms automatically at sunrise and sunset? Is that Alternate Form with Uncontrollable and / or Limited flaws? Further on: what if the werewolf changes only at *certain* nights (full moon etc.)?
    Uncontrollable or Limited could work, but usually, that just becomes a Complication for when they're in the wrong form at the wrong time, because it's just not practical to have a member of a PL 10 group walking around at PL 5 for an entire adventure at a time. This is moreso if their changes are largely controllable except for exceptional cases (say, a werewolf that can change at will normally, but stays a werewolf during the nights of a full moon, and can't transform in the presence of menstruating women). The general rule is that a Flaw should make an ability unavailable at least half of the time, a Complication only yields a Hero Point when it actually causes a problem, and be wary of characters that become useless when their Flaw is present, versus just more limited in their options.

    Quote Originally Posted by Varsovian View Post
    As for the change in appearance : could Morph 1 be added to Alternate Form? I guess you could make Morph into a Permanent effect, so that when the Alternate Form is activated, the appearance changes automatically and remains changed while the power is active?
    Yes. More or less, it becomes "Linked" with the Alternate Form.

    Quote Originally Posted by Varsovian View Post
    As for Morph + Metamorph: it's also an option, but if I understand the rules correctly, there's one big limitation: both of the forms need to be of the same points total... So, this solution cannot be applied for character who is an ordinary person in one form and a powerful superhero in the other one...
    Not necessarily. Basically, Metamorph is an AE of your entire character and, as with any AE, the only rule is that you can't use more points than the base power has.

    Quote Originally Posted by Varsovian View Post
    And speaking for werewolves: how would you handle the animalistic rages etc, hard-to-control bloodlust etc.? These seem like Complications to me, but should they involve, I don't know, some self-control checks etc.? Or could the GM simply handle them by simply declaring: "Okay, now you feel an urge to kill, you have to attack your allies now"?
    Complications, but I would offer a Will save. As with my prior point, players get Hero Points for when it inconveniences them (and generally only once per encounter), not every time it happens. It's kind of an art sometimes deciding when to give an additional Hero Point for someone who continues to be impacted by their Complication for reasons outside of their control.

    Quote Originally Posted by Varsovian View Post
    One last question: Alternate Form works nicely if a character has powers in one form and not in the other one. What about characters like Jason Blood, who have some powers in one form and (among others) the same powers, but *stronger*, it the other one? Can you decide that, say, the character has Mystic Blast 3 in both forms... and, also, the Alternate Forms gives him +5 more ranks in Mystic Blast when that form is activated?
    Yup. There are a handful of cases in the canonical Freedom City builds where they do that. Alternate Forms might also add Extras and Flaws to existing powers. One of the nice ways to handle someone with a "base form" is to build its powers as an Alternate Form and then build the other powers. So, a mystic who transforms into a werewolf might have among his "powers":
    Mystic Package [6 + 1 + 20 + 1 + 5 = 33 pp]
    • Enhanced Attribute: Intellect 3
    • Enhanced Advantage: Ritualist
    • Blast 10 (Mystic Blast)
    • AE: Dagoth's Deadly Dagger (Damage 8, Secondary Effect, Accurate, Subtle, Insidious, Feature: Operates as a Holy Symbol)
    • Force Field 4 (Subtle)


    and have an AE of:
    Werewolf Form [1 pp]
    • Enhanced Attribute: Strength 4, Stamina 4
    • Claws (Strength-Based Damage 6)
    • Regeneration 5
    • Speed 1
    • Morph 1 (Werewolf Form)
    Last edited by FuzzyBoots; 05-29-2018 at 03:46 PM.

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    Re: M&M 3E Question: Werewolf By Night / Hulk / Jason Blood?

    For an Uncontrollable Alternate Form, I'd suggest making it a Complication. If they only change on certain nights, I'd say it's a fairly bad PC concept but definitely a Complication.

    You could easily cram Morph 1 into an Alternate Form the way you describe.

    You are technically correct that Metamorph requires equal PP on both sides, but in practice I can't imagine anyone anywhere complaining that you underspent on one side. I doubt any GM would hesitate to OK it.

    Rages, bloodlust, etc are definitely Complications. Rolls or no rolls is a matter of preference, but I would expect them to come up more often if they weren't sure-thing.

    Similar powers stack if desired, yes. You could have Mystic Blast 3 because you're a wizard, Mystic Blast 2 from a magic wand, Mystic Blast 4 from a demonic Alternate Form, and stapled together they'd be Mystic Blast 9.

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    Re: M&M 3E Question: Werewolf By Night / Hulk / Jason Blood?

    Thanks for input, guys!

    (and yeah, I realize that "a guy who turns into werewolf one night a month" may be a bad concept I was simply wondering how to build someone like that, because that's how the archetypical werewolves work)

    One more question: recognizability of a character in their AF. If, say, the whole point of Morph in the AF is to simulate the fact the werewolf (or some other character with an AF) is hard to recognize in this other form, then - is Morph really necessary? In the core rulebook, there's the Princess character that basically has the same thing as a Feature: no-one is able to recognize her in her superhero ID, even though she wears no mask at all. So, would it be okay to just declare that the werewolf has this small Feature of being too bestial in appearance to be recognized? Or would you say that such a character needs to pay for a normal Morph 1 effect?

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    Keeper of Secrets Bothrops's Avatar
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    Re: M&M 3E Question: Werewolf By Night / Hulk / Jason Blood?

    Quote Originally Posted by Varsovian View Post
    Thanks for input, guys!

    (and yeah, I realize that "a guy who turns into werewolf one night a month" may be a bad concept I was simply wondering how to build someone like that, because that's how the archetypical werewolves work)

    One more question: recognizability of a character in their AF. If, say, the whole point of Morph in the AF is to simulate the fact the werewolf (or some other character with an AF) is hard to recognize in this other form, then - is Morph really necessary? In the core rulebook, there's the Princess character that basically has the same thing as a Feature: no-one is able to recognize her in her superhero ID, even though she wears no mask at all. So, would it be okay to just declare that the werewolf has this small Feature of being too bestial in appearance to be recognized? Or would you say that such a character needs to pay for a normal Morph 1 effect?
    That depends on the actual appearance of your werewolf form. If it looks just like an ordinary wolf, then yes, Morph 1 should be warranted (because you can pose as a normal mundane wolf). But if you turn into a bipedal hairy deathmachine, I'd say you need neither Morph nor a Feature (because you're so obviously monstrous & terrifying, you'll not gonna fool anyone).
    Morph is much more than just "looking differently" or even just hiding your identity. It's for impersonating someone (or something) else, typically for the purpose of infiltration or blending into a crowd. Turning into something obviously UNNATURAL would just cause panic & alarm everywhere, defeating the abovementioned purposes. So no Morph required.

    Princess is a special case, as her Feature is a clearly supernatural effect that hides her private identity as "Jessica Prentiss" without actually changing her appearance at all. And as "Princess", she could still walk into a diner without causing any suspicion, since she still looks like an ordinary girl in a pink t-shirt. Therefore, the Feature. Yet her hero buddy Mongrel (a "quasi-werewolf") is a textbook example for the things I said above (he's got a "wolfman"-alternate form without any Morph or Feature, because it's unique & clearly unnatural).

    Oh, and perhaps you might like THIS sample werewolf build.
    so long
    Last edited by Bothrops; 05-29-2018 at 07:31 PM.

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    Hierophant FuzzyBoots's Avatar
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    Re: M&M 3E Question: Werewolf By Night / Hulk / Jason Blood?

    Quote Originally Posted by Varsovian View Post
    One more question: recognizability of a character in their AF. If, say, the whole point of Morph in the AF is to simulate the fact the werewolf (or some other character with an AF) is hard to recognize in this other form, then - is Morph really necessary? In the core rulebook, there's the Princess character that basically has the same thing as a Feature: no-one is able to recognize her in her superhero ID, even though she wears no mask at all. So, would it be okay to just declare that the werewolf has this small Feature of being too bestial in appearance to be recognized? Or would you say that such a character needs to pay for a normal Morph 1 effect?
    Honestly, that's one of those sticky points that's been present since 2E. Morph for "one form" is generally way too expensive for what it really is worth. As Equipment, it kind of works. Same as the 1 PP Feature that Princess has, as a Free action, you switch appearances with a high bonus for Deception checks to hide your identity. Similarly, most superheroes can don their mask rapidly and are very seldom picked out. It would probably make more sense to allow single identities (Morph 1 in 3E) for a single power point, and just start "narrow range" at 5 PP and "wide range" at 10 PP, and so on. FWIW, 2E had a similar setup of tiers, but it cost 1 PP per +5 at each tier. Or, you just handwave it and everyone gets a free "disguise" for their alternate persona with a high enough bonus that they'll generally be able to avoid detection even without an investment in Deception.

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    Re: M&M 3E Question: Werewolf By Night / Hulk / Jason Blood?

    Typically a hero gets one "free unbreakable disguise" in the form of their costume. It's just genre convention that the spandex mask makes you completely unrecognizable. No reason you couldn't ask to have that be extended to your alternate form.

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    Re: M&M 3E Question: Werewolf By Night / Hulk / Jason Blood?

    Quote Originally Posted by FuzzyBoots View Post
    Honestly, that's one of those sticky points that's been present since 2E. Morph for "one form" is generally way too expensive for what it really is worth. As Equipment, it kind of works. Same as the 1 PP Feature that Princess has, as a Free action, you switch appearances with a high bonus for Deception checks to hide your identity. Similarly, most superheroes can don their mask rapidly and are very seldom picked out. It would probably make more sense to allow single identities (Morph 1 in 3E) for a single power point, and just start "narrow range" at 5 PP and "wide range" at 10 PP, and so on. FWIW, 2E had a similar setup of tiers, but it cost 1 PP per +5 at each tier. Or, you just handwave it and everyone gets a free "disguise" for their alternate persona with a high enough bonus that they'll generally be able to avoid detection even without an investment in Deception.

    Interesting discussion-and yes, I would agree with FuzzBoots that "one-form" Morph is too expensive for the benefit it gives; I would house-rule Rank 1 allows transformation into (as an example) humanoids of your character's own species, sex, and rough size/proportions, Rank 2 would allow any human shape with up to 1 rank shifts in size (height), though mass would be unchanged, 3 ranks allows ANY humanoid shape, including aliens, demonic-looking creatures, bipedal non-sentient animals, etc., and then 4th rank allows transformation into any form, RAW.

    A lot simply depends on design philosophy-when Jon L as line editor/developer, he was of the opinion a character built with Alternate Form (Heroic) should purchase a rank of Morph, if the character was supposed to look drastically different in the empowered form. This is why I included it in two of my Rogues Gallery villains, Harbinger of the Far-Tide and Cinnamon Styx (of the Candy Crew gang) were built with the power. But it could also certainly be argued as above, that switching to a super-powered form is just another special-effect for donning a mask and costume (in terms of game effect). This was basically my approach with a couple of rogues written up a bit later in the series, Mother Moonlight and Red-Teeth Sven, just treating their transformations back to human form as Complications or the Limited Flaw on their Alternate Forms.

    Of course, one could say a super-powered form that doesn't include Morph will retain a superficial resemblance to the "mundane" version-similar voices, fingerprints, scent, etc. in both guises. Whereas including the "one additional shape" power would give the +20 bonus to Disguise checks, which I personally would extend to ALL identifying physical characteristics, perhaps even to blood type or DNA.

    All my best.
    Last edited by greycrusader; 06-06-2018 at 09:25 PM.

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