The official Mutants & Masterminds boards
cbwjm wrote:How many languages does Batman speak? It mentions in the book that languages known double at each rank (7 ranks equals 64 addiontal languages known.)
...Then I worked on getting them better... I sat everybody down and said, "Guys, we're going to take this a piece at a time. Number one, every issue, make sure the character's name is mentioned somewhere. You look at comics from Marvel written in the mid-70s, 1974, 75, you'll find comics -- whole books -- go by where the character's name is never mentioned. No character's name is ever mentioned.
Or like Chris, he'll have Storm walk out, one guy calls her Windrider, the next person calls her Ororo, you know what I mean. If you're a new reader, who the hell is this broad? I kept trying to say, guys, we have new readers, they don't know all the answers, we are telling them the stories, ya see?
Design Diary IV- M&M Advantages:
I love Advantages. Like Skills, they pretty much define a character's personality (Startle & Power Attack vs. Defensive Attack & Improved Defense, etc.), alter his combat statistics to make up for doing less damage normally, make them specialized at various things (ranged or melee combat, grappling), and there's even a few little bits in there. I honestly use WAY more Advantages than most, from this site to the "official" builds, for this character-building reason.
As a general rule, I don't guess Advantage numbers beforehand- I simple take my big list that I write at the bottom of all my Character Bio Pages, and type in whatever fits for the hero. But I have noticed some trends:
Jobbers, Teen Heroes, Rookies, Thugs: Generally 1-5 Advantages. Now that Power Attack, etc. are all allowed for anyone (on a +2/-2 trade-off), I don't use quite as many as the old days.
Fairly decent heroes: 6-10.
Professional, elite heroes: 11-20.
Elite Martial Artists & Spies: 20+ (Shang-Chi, Captain America & Iron Fist all have over 40).
I note that the New Mutants or something are pretty low on the radar, whereas Captain America, Batman, Iron Fist & Spider-Man all pretty much break the bank on their Advantages. Non-Powered guys usually have more of them out of necessity, but alot of Gun-happy guys have a ton as well. Villains tend to use Equipment, but I no longer write down Minions (as it no longer adds up to more Minions with Progression, and no DCA builds seem to use it). Non-powered guys, of course, expend a far more amount than guys with several ranks of Powers.
Moving the Advantages into their own little groups, here's my take on them, and the guys who use them:
Accurate Attack, All-Out Attack, Defensive Attack, Defensive Roll, Favored Environment, Favored Foe, Imp. Aim, Power Attack, Extraordinary Effort, Tough, Withstand Damage
*I LOVE these. Power Attack used to be a no-brainer Advantage, but now I'm more sparing with it (elite Powerhouses and some Martial Artists have it- not as many others would). It turns a +6 damage guy into someone able to damage +10 Impervious guys when they go all-out. The other "Attack" ones are all still great. Defensive for Dexmonkeys, Accurate for elite martial artists (or super-strong types who are known as good fighters as well, and you don't want to shatter your idealized Power Level with them- Thundra comes to mind), and All-Out for crazy scrappers. All-Out Attack is also great for Hulk or Wolverine-types who have defensive powers- they get the boost to hit while also taking heavy damage, which they can just make back. Defensive Roll & Tough are also good "alternatives" to a high Stamina score to make those Toughness saves. Withstand Damage is a great Advantage (ported over from Mecha & Manga) that I add to nearly every top-tier Powerhouse or Brick- they sit there and eat that one heavy shot, giving them a massive +5 bonus to Toughness. Improved Aim is good for any shooty guy.
Somewhat less good are the others. Favoured Environment & Foe are nice now that they no longer affect PL caps, but I'd more rarely dish it out these days.
Agile Feint, Evasion, Grappling Finesse, Hide in Plain Sight, Imp.Defense, Imp.Initiative, Instant Up, Move-By Action, Seize Initiative, Uncanny Dodge
* These sorta fit down below, but are more for the agile types. Spider-Man, Elektra, Daredevil, etc. all max-out on these. Uncanny Dodge & Evasion are especially good for getting out of a jam. Thankfully, Evasion's been nerfed so it's no longer an automatic decision.
Benefits (Ambidexterity), Assessment, Precise Attack, Chokehold, Cunning Fighter (Attack instead of Bluff to Feint), Damaging Escape, Def.Strike, Def.Throw, Diehard, Great Endurance, Follow-Up Strike, Imp.Critical, Imp.Disarm, Fast Grab, Imp.Grab, Imp.Hold, Imp.Smash, Imp.Trip, Last Stand, Prone Fighting, Takedown, Weapon Bind, Weapon Break
* Obviously the largest section. So many guys in comics are combat specialists that you can pick & choose the best things in here for your guys- even Blasters like Cyclops tend to pick up some good stuff over time. The "Grapple" Advantages are default for nearly every Growing Guy or Powerhouse, Improved Critical is handy on ANYONE with a really good attack (it can be pumped onto a Blast power to make up for giving it a less-than-ideal damage value compared to the comics' showings), the Disarm/Smash bits are handy for Weapon guys or armed thugs, etc. Takedown is a necessity for Goonsweepers- I would even allow a HP spent to allow a guy to use it on non-Mooks (now that it's been nerfed a bit in 3e). Last Stand is one that's PERFECT for those uber-tough guys who never seem to falter- The Thing, Wolverine, Spider-Man, Huntress, Cap, etc.
Beginner's Luck, Equipment, Inventor, Jack-of-all-Trades, Skill Mastery, Track, Ultimate Effort, Well-Informed
* Used somewhat less often, but any Spy/Detective/Skilled Guy should have them. Reed Richards, Tony Stark, Hank Pym, et al. Ultimate Effort can also be used for your Powerhouses' Strength checks, Captain America & Thing's Will Saves, and all sorts of things. Equipment is a little trickier, since some guys can alternate equipment to include whatever, but a few ranks for Thugs & guys with guns is always handy.
Inspire, Interpose, Leadership, Minions, Redirect, Set-Up, Sidekick, Teamwork
* Stuff to help your friends in combat, which can be useful or even game-breaking if you're all dirty fighters. Minions & Sidekicks are their own thing- they're great for villains with Beastly help or general armed minions, but you can otherwise just not 'charge' them the points for that and count those things as just regular threats as well. I wouldn't want too many players to have those Advantages by themselves- outnumbering is a BIG advantage in this game. Of course, it gets REALLY pricey to use multiple Minions these days, as there's no real option for having more than one guy- you either have to buy it multiple times, or assume it's cost works like Summon does.
Close & Ranged Attack:
* These are here to help fill out the characters' stats. Close Attack is rare for me, as it's usually just a waste of space to include that in addition to Fighting & Parry to get a character's final numbers- it's easier just to use a high Fighting score. It's only real use for me is guys who use Shields (low-level Fantasy characters quickly go over-PL defensively with them otherwise- this way keeps their Parry score down while still allowing good close combat), plus slower, easy to hit characters. Ranged Attack is much better, since Dexterity isn't a cost-effective Ability Score, and I usually use a bit of it, even on guys who aren't normally ranged fighters. After all, most any comic character can be reasonably skilled picking up a gun or a rock or something and taking a desperate shot at somebody.
Attractive, Benefit, Connected, Contacts, Daze, Fascinate, Luck, Precise Attack (Ranged), Quick Draw, Startle, Taunt
* Stuff of varying use- often great for "Character" bits. Lots of guys seem to have friends in high places, unusual Wealth, great Luck- a potential game-breaker, etc. I'm iffy on Fearless, since that's normally a much more expensive Immunity, but as a GM, I would probably nerf it a bit to either a +5 bonus, or simply render you immune to Intimidation (and not Mind Controlled Fear). Startle's good for Scrappers & Powerhouses.
Attractive is it's own deal- it's a big boost in many situations, but it's always iffy to use on a character. I mean, it's COMIC BOOKS- the medium more legendary than friggin' HOLLYWOOD for every person being abnormally beautiful. It's often tempting to just throw it on EVERY female character especially- but I tend to use it only on characters explicitly given as amazingly good-looking, to the point where it has a battlefield effect. Power Girl & Wonder Woman are good examples of distracting beauties that have their looks as plot points (getting 2 ranks of it, even). Jean Grey, Psylocke, Emma Frost & Rogue are likewise all famous for being good-looking in-world, and Kitty Pryde's just so cute you HAVE to use it (if you disagree, you are a horrible judge of everything and I wish death upon you). But every random Image chick, or just some female characters who don't actively use their looks to their advantage probably can go without it (Firestar, Arclight, etc.). Generally, only PLOT POINT attractive people get this Advantage for me... unless I love them.
Animal Empathy, Artificer, Eidetic Memory, Ritualist, Second Chance, Throwing Mastery, Trance
* Some of these aren't necessarily BAD, I just find little use for them except in odd cases. Artificer, Ritualist & Trance are all good Mage Advantages, for example, but most wouldn't get any use out of them. Eidetic Memory is good on robots or Lex Luthor/Batmanny types. Second Chance is alright I suppose, but I always gloss it over. I suppose guys who are good at fighting Telepathic assaults- Captain America for instance, are good for it.
I use this quite a lot, though I avoid using some guys' iconic weapons as Equipment whenever necessary- DCA used GREEN ARROW'S ARROWS as "Equipment" for some reason, despite the fact that they're often Trick Arrows, and I disagree. I usually use the common Equipment rules and stats, except for guns.
Guns in M&M:
I REALLY find it odd how weak they consistently make guns in this system. I understand the reasoning- guys with guns never seem to harm the heroes in the books, and this is nigh-impossible to do in an RPG without giving Mooks the worst accuracy in the universe. So to keep PLs where they are, they make Guns weaker. Personally, I think that a baseline gun in the modern era should be +5 Damage AT LEAST, and often have Multiattack on top of it. Some later 2e sources were starting towards this (I believe an Assault Rifle was +7 or something in the "Silver Age" book), but now in 3e they've gone back. Note also that Multiattack weapons have worse accuracy in real life, and I often reflect this with an Alt-Effect shot that's lower-accuracy but higher-volume.
Language- Here's a big one- I don't charge as much for this as the game book says to. For 1 rank, you get 2 Languages (base plus another), for 2 ranks, you get "A few", and 3-4 ranks are "lots". Kept kinda vague, because really, how often is speaking Chinese, French AND German gonna come up? Not really fair to charge Batman a ton of points for all of his- he actually can speak a LOT of them going by individual comics. I would argue that you could speak whatever is handy with FOUR ranks of an Advantage (it is unquestionably way more handy to be a Multi-Millionaire than a Polyglot, and it costs the same).
PhilproT wrote:Sorry for what might be an embarrassingly dumb question, but I see some advantages that don't appear in my copy of DCA: last stand, tough, withstand damage... Where do these come from?
Jabroniville wrote:Oh yeah, there's that, too- not so much of a problem for Super-Villains (or Iron Age heroes, for that matter...), but it can hamper you in team tactics. During the "Tournament of Suck" I ran, most guys were still able to fit only enemies in their areas of attack, though- using a gameboard or something makes it easier. There WERE some incidences of "Friendly Fire", though.