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Thread: Mutants & Masterminds 3rd Edition Revised: Week 1 - Abilities

  1. #41
    Protomolecule Host ArmoredAnathema's Avatar
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    Re: Mutants & Masterminds 3rd Edition Revised: Week 1 - Abilities

    Quote Originally Posted by digitalangel View Post
    That would certainly help DEX a lot, the question becomes is it too much.
    Well, if you Limit the Quickness benefit for DEX to Physical as it says you can for Limit to Type, it actually breaks even. Mainly because each rank costs 0.5 thanks to the Flaw. Even if it applied to all actions, so few characters get use out of having more than one type of Ranged Combat skill or Vehicles. And powers like Agility and Strength tend to get a lot more benefit than the straight even trade some other skills get anyway. If it were ever to be too much, I feel it wouldn't be that overboard compared to what's already in the system.

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    Re: Mutants & Masterminds 3rd Edition Revised: Week 1 - Abilities

    The other problem would be the exponential growth of Quickness. Anyone who wanted 4+ points of DEX would have to start making excuses for why they could do basic tasks at super-speed. It'd lock DEX out for many characters on flavor grounds.

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    Re: Mutants & Masterminds 3rd Edition Revised: Week 1 - Abilities

    Honestly I'm content with where we left DEX before the last question I asked, especially since Nunya's excellent point on Agility becoming the next 'no-brainer.' (to remind everyone; the version of DEX I'm referring to would have parry, close & ranged combat). Even with vehicles getting absorbed into technology that breaks even at worst.

  4. #44
    Protomolecule Host ArmoredAnathema's Avatar
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    Re: Mutants & Masterminds 3rd Edition Revised: Week 1 - Abilities

    Quote Originally Posted by Nunya B View Post
    The other problem would be the exponential growth of Quickness. Anyone who wanted 4+ points of DEX would have to start making excuses for why they could do basic tasks at super-speed. It'd lock DEX out for many characters on flavor grounds.
    You can buy Strength directly to the point you're lifting several dozen tons. If you can get Superhuman levels of Strength via straight Ability, why shouldn't Dexterity be allowed to get superhuman levels of task performing? I understand Quickness might increase someone's task speed quite fast even at the lower ranks, but I'd say that's better than a player getting punished for investing in a stat and having them dumping it entirely due to its uselessness.

    The other two "not game system rebuilding" solutions I can think of are:

    1. To simply start utilizing the "feats of fine control and precision when a specific skill doesn't apply" part it says a lot more often.
    2. Allow the addition of more advantages or Dexterity effects similar to how Strength effects work that allow players to benefit from their Dexterity (perhaps such as a Deflect or Multiattack Enhanced Extra).

    Another part of me wishes that Abilities worked more like a "point pool" which allowed you to allocate the exact point value of the Ability into the precise, related skills and perhaps even eligible advantages you wanted for the character, but I feel that would come with problems pertaining to some Abilities being so rigid such as Strength and Stamina.

  5. #45
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    Re: Mutants & Masterminds 3rd Edition Revised: Week 1 - Abilities

    Quote Originally Posted by ArmoredAnathema View Post
    You can buy Strength directly to the point you're lifting several dozen tons. If you can get Superhuman levels of Strength via straight Ability, why shouldn't Dexterity be allowed to get superhuman levels of task performing? I understand Quickness might increase someone's task speed quite fast even at the lower ranks, but I'd say that's better than a player getting punished for investing in a stat and having them dumping it entirely due to its uselessness.
    Yes, and when you do so you're adding "superhuman strength" to your character's list of character traits. There's no issue with high DEX meaning superhuman quickness in and of itself, but it makes concept-space destructively interact with build-space by equating the mechanic of high DEX with the concept of superhuman speed. Under your revision, a "badass normal" can't justify high DEX just like they can't justify high STR. STR is currently the only Ability that has this problem.

    Quote Originally Posted by ArmoredAnathema View Post
    1. To simply start utilizing the "feats of fine control and precision when a specific skill doesn't apply" part it says a lot more often.
    2. Allow the addition of more advantages or Dexterity effects similar to how Strength effects work that allow players to benefit from their Dexterity (perhaps such as a Deflect or Multiattack Enhanced Extra).
    1 - Yeah, but where? How do you do that without stepping on Expertise and Foo Combat and Acrobatics and etc etc. A good GM can fix any system, but that doesn't mean no system is broken.
    2 - Such as?

    Quote Originally Posted by ArmoredAnathema View Post
    Another part of me wishes that Abilities worked more like a "point pool" which allowed you to allocate the exact point value of the Ability into the precise, related skills and perhaps even eligible advantages you wanted for the character, but I feel that would come with problems pertaining to some Abilities being so rigid such as Strength and Stamina.
    But at that point you've removed Abilities in all but name. So why not just cut them completely at that point?

  6. #46
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    Re: Mutants & Masterminds 3rd Edition Revised: Week 1 - Abilities

    Coming in late, and I haven't had time to read everything.

    First, I agree with the sentiment that Dexterity should stay and Fighting should go. Move the Close Combat skill(s) to Agility and the Parry Defense to Dexterity. While I can see the system benefit to having both key off of the same Ability, the problem is Ranged Combat and Dodge: Ranged Combat really should be Dexterity-based; Dodge should be Agility-based; Parry should not key off of the same Ability as Dodge; and Dexterity-based Close Combat just feels wrong to me. So that leaves us with Agility providing Close Combat and Dodge while Dexterity provides Ranged Combat and Parry.

    Second, we should have another Defense. As written, we have two “avoidance Defenses” (Parry and Dodge) and three “resistance Defenses” (Toughness, Fortitude, and Will). Will and Dodge are listed under both defense class and resist; though resisting with Dodge is described as “getting out of the way in time”, and Will appears to provide a defense class because there's nothing else available to do it.

    And that's where a sixth Defense comes in: Savvy, the mental counterpart to Dodge and Parry. Savvy would be based on Awareness, and would be defined in terms of self-awareness and a general understanding of how people think; it would be used to _avoid_ mental attacks, providing mental versions of both Active Defense and Defense Class, as opposed to Will which provides the mental version of Resisting. With this change, Will would be based on Presence, not Awareness: the idea is that a forceful personality tends to track with a strong-willed personality.

    I would also shift Toughness from Stamina to Strength for a similar reason: strong characters tend to also be tough, and vice versa.

    A result of these changes are that six of the seven Abilities would have one Defense each: Strength would provide Toughness, Stamina would provide Fortitude, Agility would provide Dodge, Dexterity would provide Parry, Awareness would provide Savvy, and Presence would provide Will. Only Intellect wouldn't provide a Defense — though that's only because I can't think of anything suitable.

    I suppose you could introduce a mental equivalent of Toughness, something that's to Will as Toughness is to Fortitude, and maybe base _that_ off of Intellect; but the only thing I can clearly think of that would bring such a Defense into play would be psychic attacks — or, in darker games which shade into horror, witnessing something truly horrific. In a typical superhero game, mental breakdowns aren't really a thing. Even in Batman's corner of the DC Universe, which is filled with lunatics, I don't think it would factor in often enough to merit a separate Defense. And somehow, the idea that being smart tends to make you mentally stable feels wrong to me.

    Another result of these changes are that Stamina and Awareness would take a hit: Stamina loses Toughness, and Awareness loses most of Will. The latter isn't as much of a problem as the former, as Awareness still has Perception and what it retains from Will is expanded (I'm not mentioning Insight because Savvy largely covers that, rendering the skill mostly moot).

  7. #47
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    Re: Mutants & Masterminds 3rd Edition Revised: Week 1 - Abilities

    Quote Originally Posted by dataweaver View Post
    Coming in late, and I haven't had time to read everything.

    First, I agree with the sentiment that Dexterity should stay and Fighting should go. Move the Close Combat skill(s) to Agility and the Parry Defense to Dexterity. While I can see the system benefit to having both key off of the same Ability, the problem is Ranged Combat and Dodge: Ranged Combat really should be Dexterity-based; Dodge should be Agility-based; Parry should not key off of the same Ability as Dodge; and Dexterity-based Close Combat just feels wrong to me. So that leaves us with Agility providing Close Combat and Dodge while Dexterity provides Ranged Combat and Parry.

    Second, we should have another Defense. As written, we have two “avoidance Defenses” (Parry and Dodge) and three “resistance Defenses” (Toughness, Fortitude, and Will). Will and Dodge are listed under both defense class and resist; though resisting with Dodge is described as “getting out of the way in time”, and Will appears to provide a defense class because there's nothing else available to do it.

    And that's where a sixth Defense comes in: Savvy, the mental counterpart to Dodge and Parry. Savvy would be based on Awareness, and would be defined in terms of self-awareness and a general understanding of how people think; it would be used to _avoid_ mental attacks, providing mental versions of both Active Defense and Defense Class, as opposed to Will which provides the mental version of Resisting. With this change, Will would be based on Presence, not Awareness: the idea is that a forceful personality tends to track with a strong-willed personality.

    I would also shift Toughness from Stamina to Strength for a similar reason: strong characters tend to also be tough, and vice versa.

    A result of these changes are that six of the seven Abilities would have one Defense each: Strength would provide Toughness, Stamina would provide Fortitude, Agility would provide Dodge, Dexterity would provide Parry, Awareness would provide Savvy, and Presence would provide Will. Only Intellect wouldn't provide a Defense — though that's only because I can't think of anything suitable.

    I suppose you could introduce a mental equivalent of Toughness, something that's to Will as Toughness is to Fortitude, and maybe base _that_ off of Intellect; but the only thing I can clearly think of that would bring such a Defense into play would be psychic attacks — or, in darker games which shade into horror, witnessing something truly horrific. In a typical superhero game, mental breakdowns aren't really a thing. Even in Batman's corner of the DC Universe, which is filled with lunatics, I don't think it would factor in often enough to merit a separate Defense. And somehow, the idea that being smart tends to make you mentally stable feels wrong to me.

    Another result of these changes are that Stamina and Awareness would take a hit: Stamina loses Toughness, and Awareness loses most of Will. The latter isn't as much of a problem as the former, as Awareness still has Perception and what it retains from Will is expanded (I'm not mentioning Insight because Savvy largely covers that, rendering the skill mostly moot).
    Can't say I'm in favor.
    A: Your changes would make Stamina and Awareness never worth buying, being Presence #2 and #3.
    B: Your changes would make all characters significantly less capable, since they'd have another Defense to buy. Speaking of, you never specified what it would trade-off with (or if it even would).
    C: Having AGI provide close accuracy and ranged defense, with the opposite for DEX, is schizophrenic and makes no sense whatever. I mean, I get your reasoning but John Q Noob will be very confused.

  8. #48
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    Re: Mutants & Masterminds 3rd Edition Revised: Week 1 - Abilities

    For what it's worth, I overstated the effects of Savvy on Insight: upon closer examination, there's only one use of the skill that the Defense would render moot.

    As for Stamina: if its with is so fundamentally tied to providing Toughness, then I submit that it needs revision anyway. IMHO, every Ability needs to have at least one Skill linked to it; in the case of Stamina, that would be something like Athletics, but focused on feats of endurance. I was just looking through the Modern AGE Quickstart, and I noticed that every Ability in that game has a Focus that fills a similar role to what skills usually cover in other games: for instance, Constitution covers Propelling, Running, Stamina, Swimming, and Tolerance, while Strength has Climbing, Intimidation, Jumping, Machining, Might, and Steering. I wouldn't do it in precisely the same way in M&M; but the premise is similar: Stamina Skills cover physical activities that benefit from pacing yourself (like Running or Swimming) while Strength Skills cover physical activities that benefit from going all out.

    In your first post, you mentioned something about the existing mechanics often doing things that don't make sense conceptually, but are there because they're balanced mechanically. You mentioned it negatively, as a flaw that ought to be corrected. That's the angle I'm coming at this from: what to do to make the game mechanics align with the concepts that each Ability represents. Balance takes a back seat to that: it isn't too be totally ignored, but as long as the Ability in question has enough going for it on its own terms that a player might find it interesting to invest in it, it should be OK.

    Also, while I'm on the subject of my overall design philosophy: I'm not a big fan of point crunching, as it creates the illusion that things are balanced even if they aren't. I can _do_ point-crunching just fine; my gateway RPG was Champions, and my next RPG was GURPS. So I understand the point economy mindset. But it's something that I have come to view as getting too much attention to the point that character designs have suffered when players have found themselves choosing what's point-effective over what suits the concept they wanted to play. As such, I tend to focus more on conceptual integrity than on point costs.

    That said, I do agree on the somewhat schizophrenic nature of attack and defense with regard to Dexterity and Agility as I've described them. But again, conceptual integrity: I just can't see any of the four combat related traits (the Combat skills and the Active Defenses) keying to Abilities other than the ones I listed.

  9. #49
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    Re: Mutants & Masterminds 3rd Edition Revised: Week 1 - Abilities

    For the record, here are the core concepts for the Abilities as I see them:

    Strength is physical power.
    Stamina is physical health.
    Dexterity is physical precision.
    Agility is physical responsiveness.
    Intellect is mental precision.
    Awareness is mental responsiveness.
    Presence is mental power (“force of personality”).

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