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  Click here to go to the first special guest post in this thread.   Thread: How to do variable effects in SUPERS!?

  1. #1
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    How to do variable effects in SUPERS!?

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    Hey folks,

    I've asked this before, but never gotten much feedback. I'm wondering if things will be different now that we have an active dialogue going.

    How would you guys handle a character who has a power with variable special effects? Say, a character who controls four elements (fire, wind, air, water), or a character who has a gun that fires all sorts of special rounds (acid pellets, electrical stun arrows, incindiary rounds, etc.)?

    I guess you can buy each element seperately. That's definitely an option, but it seems somewhat pricey and doesn't necessarily match all concepts.

    When I designed my super-archer, I just gave him Super Weaponry and the I Brought This Along Advantage figuring that would cover it.

    I also designed the following Boost in an attempt to provide a solution:

    Extra Energy or Element: This boost can be added to Elemental Control, Elemental Form, Energy Control, or Energy Form. Each 1D allows a character to control or manifest an additional element or energy form with the power it enhances. Although this boost increases the versatility of the power its attached to, said power still counts as a single power for purposes of how (or how often) it may be used in a combat round.

    Example: Fire and Ice is a super-villain with temperature control powers. The GM considers building the character with the power Elemental Control 5d (Fire and Ice) [Boost: Extra Element 1d] for a total cost of 6d. This would allow Fire and Ice to hurl both ice bolts and fire bolts, or to create ice walls and fire walls. This gives him a bit of added flexibility. When facing Ice Maiden, he can opt to exploit her obvious weakness to fire. In a fight against Kid Chameleon, however, he might opt for a cold attack in an attempt to slow down his cold-blooded foe. As a single power, however, Fire and Ice's Elemental Control can only be used once per combat round, either to attack or resist. That being the case, the GM decides to build Fire and Ice with two separate powers: Elemental Control 5d (Fire) and Elemental Control 5d (Ice) for a total cost of 10d. This gives Fire and Ice all of the versatility of the other build, but it allows him to attack with one element while simultaneously resisting with the other. You get what you pay for!

    Another simpler solution might simply be to have a Boost called Variable, which allows one to vary effects along a full spectrum off effects for a mere 1d. Indeed, that's how BASH UE handles it. To some degree, this makes sense. Although they can be used to exploit specific weaknesses and vulnerabilities, variable effects are usually more cosmetic than anything else.

    I'm not sold on any of my solutions, and would love some feedback.

    What say you?

    Best,

    Dragonfly




    Last edited by Dragonfly; 04-03-2012 at 10:34 PM.

  2. #2
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    Hum. Big question.
    I'am inclined to treat it the way Bash does it.
    With a "Variable" boost. First, as you said, sometimes, the changing effects are purely cosmectic. And second, the way the damage system works in Supers fits better the way Variable option is used in Bash. Either you shoot explosive arrows or piercing ones, the damage is unmodified in Supers. Therefore, something like Super Weaponry (special bow) 4D [Boost: Variable - various arrows 1D] could do the trick, I guess. Maybe, in the case of explosive arrows, you would have to add an Area boost, but I don't know how to do it. Would it be a boost inside another boost?
    Sorry for my English, but it's not my primary language.

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    Quote Originally Posted by novaexpress View Post
    Would it be a boost inside another boost?
    Kinda like a "Super-Boost"? That would take some thinking about but could work.

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    Hey guys,

    Thanks for the input, novaexpress. I think you're right about going with a BASHesque approach. It's just simpler. That's what I'm gonna go with.

    As for the question of how to model explosive arrows, I don't think you need a Boost within a Boost. I've always treated Boosts as an aspect of a power that you can opt to use or not. If that's the case, you can just do this:

    Super Weaponry 6D (Weapon Type: High Tech Bow and Arrows, Boost: Area 2D, Boost: Split Attack 2D, Boost: Variable Effect, Complication: Device)

    The total cost is 10D. The archer can choose to fire three 2D arrows, two 3d arrows, one 6d arrow, three 2D explosions, two 3d explosions, or one 6d exlopsion. The special effect of the various arrowheads can be any special effect he wants.

    I think it's nice, simple, and it works. Any thoughts?

    Cheers!

    Dragonfly

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    Yes, Dragonfly. I think it could work that way.
    And the final cost of the power depends on the different kind of arrows the player wants - normal ones, explosive ones (area boost), net ones (webs boosts), flashbang ones (paralysis boost), etc.
    The more he has some special effects, the more it'll cost in dice. Meaning than for a starting average character, it could be his only power.
    Sorry for my English, but it's not my primary language.

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    Hey novaexpress,

    Yeah, that's how I see it. Although I should point out that the power written above only covers damaging arrows. The Variable Boost shouldn't give Longshot the super-archer the ability to vary the core power (super weaponry) - just the descriptor (heat, cold, sonic). If he wants all those other powers you mention, he'd have to buy them separately.

    Here's how he might look:

    Longshot (Resistances 5D + Aptitudes 3D + Powers 14D + Aptitudes 1D = 23D)

    Resistances: Composure 2D, Fortitude 2D, Reaction 3D, Will 2D

    Aptitudes: Shooting 4D (Bows)

    Powers: Super Weaponry 4D (Weapon Type: Damage Arrows, Boost: Area 2D, Boost: Armor Piercing 1D, Boost: Split Attack 1D, Boost: Variable Effect 1D, Complication: Device), Webs 4D (Weapon Type: Capture Arrows, Boost: Area 1D, Boost: Split Attack 1D, Boost: Variable Effect 1D, Complication: Device)

    Ads/Disads: I Brought This Along

    One option, of course, would be to drop the Webs power, and just use I Brought This Along for an occasional specialty arrow. That would be far more restricted, but it would bring his cost below 20D and allow him to spend some dice on Aptitudes, etc.

    Cheers!

    Dragonfly

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    I think the 1D cost is either just right or way underpriced, depending on how your narrator has set up the game.

    1) If the Narrator doesn't make frequent use of Vulnerability, then 1D is fine.

    2) If the Narrator uses Vulnerabilities to help flesh out the campaign (something I want to incorporate into a homebrew one day), then being able to pick and choose damage types until you find the appropriate Vulnerability then proceed to slaughter everything that's thrown at you, then 1D is awful cheap.

    I would guess that most campaigns default to #1 so 1D is probably fine, but I'd put in a blurb mentioning the potential abuse if you ever publish this idea.

    Cool beans DF!

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    I think the idea of choosing from a menu of items for each 1d you get actually meshes with the system. This is very similar to what MURPG did with their powers system. You got "specialties" for each point you had in certain powers (Example: Ranged Combat 3 [pistols, shotgun, bow&arrow]). I think listing your variables is a fair and balanced way to deal with variable effects, like energy and elemental control.

    The Variable effect would worry me, because, as Dust noted, 1d is incredibly cheap to create an attack that addresses every weakness. And since every Super has a vulnerability, that makes the effect pretty handy. I think you handle that situation with I Brought This Along, and possibly Super Science, where you can designate what's in the dice pool on the spot ["Uh-oh, Ice Mistral is robbing a bank! Good thing I brought my Fire Blast Arrow"). I like this better than "Hey, there's Ice Mistral. I'll just whip out the fire. Oops, here comes Volcano! Good thing I also have Ice Arrows). Better yet:" "Oh, it's Superman. Not to worry. These arrows are tipped with Red Kryptonite [with a little honey on it, to make it go down easier]."

    It seems to me that you'd end up solving all the problems you face with a single option off one power (I know some players that would do exactly that. I think that might lead to problems on both ends, player and GM.
    Last edited by honestiago; 04-07-2012 at 04:38 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by honestiago View Post
    I think the idea of choosing from a menu of items for each 1d you get actually meshes with the system. This is very similar to what MURPG did with their powers system. You got "specialties" for each point you had in certain powers (Example: Ranged Combat 3 [pistols, shotgun, bow&arrow]). I think listing your variables is a fair and balanced way to deal with variable effects, like energy and elemental control.

    The Variable effect would worry me, because, as Dust noted, 1d is incredibly cheap to create an attack that addresses every weakness. And since every Super has a vulnerability, that makes the effect pretty handy. I think you handle that situation with I Brought This Along, and possibly Super Science, where you can designate what's in the dice pool on the spot ["Uh-oh, Ice Mistral is robbing a bank! Good thing I brought my Fire Blast Arrow"). I like this better than "Hey, there's Ice Mistral. I'll just whip out the fire. Oops, here comes Volcano! Good thing I also have Ice Arrows). Better yet:" "Oh, it's Superman. Not to worry. These arrows are tipped with Red Kryptonite [with a little honey on it, to make it go down easier]."

    It seems to me that you'd end up solving all the problems you face with a single option off one power (I know some players that would do exactly that. I think that might lead to problems on both ends, player and GM.
    I hear your points, and I was there at the start of the discussion, but again - novaexpress's argument holds most water for me so far in terms of the cost analysis. Indeed, your suggestion that this can be handled with I Brought This Along suggests that the 1D option is fine (since I Brought This Along is a 1D Advantage).

    I DO think the Boost description merits some language warning the GM of potential abuse and driving home what should already be known, which is that the GM is the final aribter of what's possible in the game, including what's possible with Variable. It has to make sense given the character concept. If Longshot the archer has Variable, it's probably okay that he have electrical, glue, net, fire, and sonic arrows. The GM, however, should feel free to rule that he doesn't have access to Kraptonite or Unobtanium arrows, because those materials are too rare. He also wouldn't have access to magic arrows, because he's a tech based archer.

    Your examples above are valid, but they assume the worse type of player, which I'd rather not do. They also assume a pushover of a GM, which I'd rather not do either.

    As for Variable - not all supers have vulnerabilities. Example: of the 27 characters included in the SUPERS! rulebook, five have vulnerabilities and/or weaknesses, and only 3 of those have ones that would exploitable by Longshot the archer (assuming you have a GM worth his salt, and a half-decent player). In the end, those numbers suggest a relatively limited utility. I think going with more than 1D would be way too much.

    Cheers!

    Dragonfly
    Last edited by Dragonfly; 04-21-2012 at 05:21 AM.

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    Speaking of "I brought this along", could someone explain to me the 1/2D+1 rule, please?
    I'm not sure to understand it rightly.
    Sorry for my English, but it's not my primary language.

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    1/2D+1 means it has 1-3+1D in points to create a one-shot gadget for the situation. So you tell the REF - hey look, I'm chained up but I happen to have brought along this little laser-cutter. THe REF says that's ok - so you roll a die getting (say) 4 meaning your laser-cutter has a (4/2)+1=3D laser beam. It can only be used at short range for the purpose of cutting through the chains (and maybe, if the door is locked, cutting through the door lock too - but the REF would have to be quite generous to allow that as well).

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    Thanks Simon.
    It makes more sense now.
    Sorry for my English, but it's not my primary language.

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    Fly:

    I don't like to assume the worst player either. But you do run into them. And GMs do like to say yes rather than no.

    The thing about the variable effect is that you can whip up almost anything. Thus, when facing a brute, you can finagle an attack that exploits a weak area (say their Will or Reactions are low). While this is not a stated vulnerability, it is nevertheless a weakness (this is actually what I was alluding to with Supers -- every character has a weak area of some kind, though not necessarily a kryptonite, as it were). I think creating a swiss army knife makes it a bit too easy to be creative with solutions and/or teamwork, which is at the core of a Supers game. That said, there probably SHOULD be a way for a hero to a Batman-type, or The Mad Thinker, or Kang (one who creates solutions to just about every eventuality). I feel like you can do that with I Brought This Along to an extent (or multiple "I brought this along's"). A variable effect means I can fine tune to just about every circumstance. Still, I wouldn't be against it if the variables were listed on the sheet prior to play. I would probably still price it higher, though.

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    Howdy honestiago!

    Quote Originally Posted by honestiago View Post
    The thing about the variable effect is that you can whip up almost anything. Thus, when facing a brute, you can finagle an attack that exploits a weak area (say their Will or Reactions are low).
    Actually, you can't. Variable allows you to vary the special effect of the existing power, NOT the actual power itself, OR the Resistances it affects. You can't, for instance, take a Control Element power and turn it into Webs or Mind Control. In that example, the only thing you CAN do is take a Control Element power, and vary the elements, and even then it should be limited according to concept. In short, unless your foe has a Vulnerability or a Weakness to a particular type of attack, Variable doesn't make your attack any more effective against that foe.

    Cheers!

    Dragonfly

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dragonfly View Post
    Actually, you can't. Variable allows you to vary the special effect of the existing power, NOT the actual power itself, OR the Resistances it affects. You can't, for instance, take a Control Element power and turn it into Webs or Mind Control. In that example, the only thing you CAN do is take a Control Element power, and vary the elements, and even then it should be limited according to concept. In short, unless your foe has a Vulnerability or a Weakness to a particular type of attack, Variable doesn't make your attack any more effective against that foe.
    This is not the way I understood the original proposal. From what I understood, I can take something like elemental control and then vary the type of element I can use. So, if said Brute with low Reaction comes at me, rather than having to blast at him with Fire, I can instead use my variable effect to create an Ice Slick, or perhaps a cloud of toxic gas (air control?). Whether effects or powers, you have to treat things like fire, smoke and ice differently. So the effect really IS the power, for all intents and purposes, and giving me a variety of different effects, especially in conjunction with an elemental power, is essentially the same as giving me multiple powers. But let's say I'm completely wrong on that, and, as you say, only the effect is varied, and the power itself is treated the same way. If that's true, then here's my question -- if the boost really doesn't do anything to vary the power, isn't it really nothing more than a flavor boost? If I throw down an ice slick rather than using my fire blast, and the GM rules that big charging brute can simply Brawn his way through it, rather than having to maintain his balance, then what advantage do I have by varying the effect? I might as well have thrown down a "Circle of Fire" and made him go around that, because my effect isn't forcing any clear advantage to me in this situation. And if it doesn't present me with a clear advantage, how much of a boost is it?

    In any case, I want to be clear that I LIKE the idea. I just believe it's more of an advantage than one may think, and should be more expensive. If it's really only a flavor boost, then I guess it's priced about right, and can stand and is.

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