Anybody else have a problem with Telekinetics?

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Anybody else have a problem with Telekinetics?

Postby barbedwings » Sun Aug 03, 2003 8:22 am

In the game I am currently playing in, there are 2 high powered telekinetics who seem to constantly use their powers in frustrating ways for the DM.

For example:

In an underground subway station they tried to rip up a "layer of the solid cement floor" and fling it against the walls, they tried to pull "chunks" of the ceiling down on people. They tried to rip a moving helicopter's rotors off, simultaneously smashing two people together....oh and my favorite, they somehow ripped steel girders out of a solid cement ceiling with their powers and begun to spin them at rapid speed moving them through an exclosed area and holding one such spinning steel girder in front of them as a shield. The one actually picked up a subway car and begun spinning that.

They seem to be able to lift many tons of weight, which gives the players the idea that they can do just about anything. They can snatch guns from enemies, or just deconstruct the urban environment and send spinning chunks of death, they can fly... and the one that made me twitch... the one character also has Absorbtion and swore that his telekinetic force field took off 10 pts and THEN his absorbtion took off another 10. I tried to explain the power stacking limits (again), and I assume I was correct?

Are there any suggested rules or limitations to what they can do with this power?
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Postby Nightlynx » Sun Aug 03, 2003 8:31 am

Hummmm
I have often wondered about the issue of TK and finess. Its one thing to be able to pick up a large object (Rock, Car, tree, etc) and throw it around. But what about picking up an egg or a lightbulb or something a tad bit more fraigle, which also leads to the concept of manipulation - Its one thing to pick up a gun and disarm and bad guy its another to pick up his gun and trun it and point it back at him using TK. So do levels = finess or should it be an extra/flaw type thing?

thats really all i have to share about TK right now - I will give it some more thing and get back to it soon! I just really see it as being one thing to have the power and another to have fine control....

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Postby CASE » Sun Aug 03, 2003 8:57 am

Have them spend hero points to perform the actions, also have problems arise from the government for the city destruction. You are correct about absorbtion, check the errata.
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Postby Inazuma » Sun Aug 03, 2003 9:09 am

Wow, okay first off....

Yes, Absorption and Force Field are subject to stacking limits. Assuming these TKs are PL10, then they can only get the effects of one power or the other, not both at once.

Otherwise, by the rules, there's not much they are doing wrong. TK allows them to manipulate all sorts of stuff remotely. Just make sure they follow the rules for "breaking things" when they want to rip steel girders out of walls and such. It should take some effort. Double check the strength charts to be certain they can lift certain things. A subway car sounds awfully heavy, after all.

Also, don't be afraid to toss the consequences of their actions at them. If they keep ripping holes in walls and ceilings, sooner or later buildings are going to start collapsing around them. And if innocent people start dying in those falling buildings...

Superheroes need to be responsible with the use of their powers, and it just sounds to me that these TKs are being rather careless.
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Postby horned god » Sun Aug 03, 2003 9:29 am

Magneto does that sort of thing like take the guns en masse and point them, cock them, and potentially fire them at others or rip up stuff and generally do what the players your talking about do.

First they need Grapple next you could create an extra if you think it is needed called 'Manipulate' or perhaps I have not read the TK rules good enough and something already exists which allows this sort of manipulation. Still the point is in the end they could do all that your describing by spending the appropriate points, and yes its a headache for the GM.

That was part of my issue with how to write up Mystique as a player or someone using her could read the power and say 'well it says...' and yes someone could say 'but that is not in her concept'. Yet a real character made up from scratch like your player characters won't make up concepts limited in such a way and as gamers will assume they can do what is listed.

I remade Mystique's powers as follows this way it is limited by concept and she gets two flaws and has two extras. I describe the nature of the flaws
in the Notes which fit her concept.

Shapeshift [mutation]
extra: Continuous
extra: Exact
flaw: Limited-Cannot assume nonliving form
flaw: Restricted-Limited extra effort ability

Perhaps you could do the same for your TK players yet, they will naturally say 'ok my concept is....and then basically go on to describe it so as to be able to do whatever is they want to which would be a heck of a lot. I don't feel players limit their concepts and why should they want to, it creates barriers basically to game play.
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Postby Artimus » Sun Aug 03, 2003 9:51 am

Remindes me of a quote (Excuse me if I don't have it word for word)

Green Lantern: We Must be held accountable for our actions. We have too much power not to be...

I also think that they're getting a little too much bang for their buck here. Make them spend hero points or extra effort to do pretty much every one of those 'unbalanced' things.

Here's how I would handle each of these in my games(I have a player with Telepathy & Telekenesis)

1. "Trying to make it collapse on people"
-I would say that this is not possible without extra effort or hero points. Also, make sure that people do not approve of them just destroying half a building every 5 minutes.

2. "rip a moving helicopter's rotors off"
-Hero Point/Extra effort. Also, some of the other heroes might not approve of tactics like this.

3. "smash 2 people together"
-See above.

4. "ripped steel girders out of a solid cement ceiling with their powers and begun to spin them at rapid speed moving them through an exclosed area and holding one such spinning steel girder in front of them as a shield"
-The first should cause an avalanche
-The second would be extra effort to temporarly gain forcefield.

5. "picked up a subway car and begun spinning that"
-I'd just disallow this all together...
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Postby Green Lantern » Sun Aug 03, 2003 10:44 am

Artimus wrote:Remindes me of a quote (Excuse me if I don't have it word for word)

Green Lantern: We Must be held accountable for our actions. We have too much power not to be...



I'm definitely being misquoted here... :green:
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Postby horned god » Sun Aug 03, 2003 11:58 am

If you think about it TK allows you to move X amount of weight, that means free standing weight not tied down, not connected and especially not a part of a structure like a building. So its one thing to lift a car or push it while its in neutral. To push a car even while its in Park which means its wheels won't move and thus you are literally pushing the whole weight that would all be valid to do under TK.

To rip up the sidewalk would not be the same really as you are breaking down the molecular level of things. Sure Molecule man can do this and tugging and pulling with TK can be done like we see Darth Vader do or a number of TK's in the movies. Yet, most of them or perhaps all of them create a 'force' which is somewhat wild and uncontrolled and it bends and rips and starts the process like flushing a toilet, ie once you start it it just starts going and the momentum is created. So I can see you rip off a gate's door for example but only with extra effort thus only with a hero point and that no 'extra' would allow this and that means for each round you want to be destructive costs points. Thus have them simply buy 'Hero's Luck' and stock up on extra hero points if they wish to regularly become Darth Vader.
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Postby Striker » Sun Aug 03, 2003 12:13 pm

I never had a problem with TK. It was telepathy and Mental blast that I had problems with. I just explained to the player beforehand that inorder to pick up yourself in any way for or fashion, you need the Flight extra. Same goes for other people and the grapple extra. And if they want to rip up pieces of sidewalk, I'll tell them to make a TK check vs the break DC of concreate. (I just used the Break DC of stone from the DMG) It went over pretty well.

I still think that TK should cost 3pp/level and include an attack effect just from throwing things at people. But that's just my oppinion.
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Postby Gamskee » Sun Aug 03, 2003 1:01 pm

Well, looking at TK, you could rule that you need the energy blast and grapple extras to rip up things. Reason being that you need to pull it free(which would require grapple) and damage the substance(which requires energy blast).
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Postby Telik » Sun Aug 03, 2003 3:46 pm

Uh,.. DMG?
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Postby Striker » Sun Aug 03, 2003 4:11 pm

Telik wrote:Uh,.. DMG?


Sorry, that was a D&D reference. That would be the Dungeon Master's Guide. Or is it the Player's Handbook that the object hardness/break DCs are in? Argh! It's so much simpler when everything is in one book..........
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Postby Strict31 » Sun Aug 03, 2003 4:43 pm

For the most part, this sort of stuff is seen often in comics (and even movies) with TK characters. The only thing I might have a problem with is separating the steel bars from the concrete. I think I'd rule that you've got to be able to see the thing you wish to affect. Maybe Extra Effort that stunt.

This is a game in which you have to esentially purchase each individual thing you wanna be able to do. As someone pointed out, if you have the grapple and EB extras (my TK did), then I wouldn't question ripping up a section of concrete. Would a GM have a problem with a Super-Strong character digging his fingers into a section of flooring and tearing it up to hurl at someone? I don't think so. The Super-Strong guy loses out in range, while the TK generally doesn't have the benefit of adding his base attribute lifting cap to his total lifting cap. I say it balances out essentially.

I might be biased, because I really like my TK (although she's never done this sort of thing...) but at the same time, if I make a TK, he/she's gonna have the extras purchased to cover these sorts of things, and that means the cost is gonna balance out in most cases.

And, if the GM feels the character is stepping over his limits, then he should feel free to require Extra Effort to pull of an Extra or Power Stunt to cover it.

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Postby Telik » Sun Aug 03, 2003 5:17 pm

Striker, I was just kidding. It's actually really in the PHB. We've been playing D&D recently, but it's still fun to check the boards. I want to start a push with my gaming group to return to our characters the Legion, but until then I'll forgo my TK for a good old bastard sword. Can I say that?

Maybe when Crooks hits the stands I'll have more ammo in the supers vs. fantasy war that's going on. On the TK issue we never really had much trouble with agonizing the GM. I did pitch Pisces off a twenty story building, but I thought she could fly really. You know what, fish don't fly...

And once I did snatch the Star Gauntlet off the hand of a very angry Gemini too. It was anti-climatic for the scene but we were outnumbered and I rolled a twenty on an opposed strength roll. Usually though I'd stick to simple energy blasts and whine about not doing damage. Both of my GM's were very good at balance things, and I never went out of my way to do collateral damage. Our campaign was probably 50% roleplaying, 40% hack and slash, with 10% problem solving. A good group of characters fighting the forces of evil.
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Postby Novac » Sun Aug 03, 2003 5:36 pm

Telik wrote: Our campaign was probably 50% roleplaying, 40% hack and slash, with 10% problem solving. A good group of characters fighting the forces of evil.


The perfect super hero campaign it sounds like :)
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Postby barbedwings » Sun Aug 03, 2003 9:01 pm

Yeah, as far as the clear rampant property destruction... it was one of those alternate GMs, hence alternate universe, sessions as our normal GM lost his voice. In this alternate universe our alternate GM is a pushover and let the other characters convince him to allow villan characters.

Since the GM that was running it was a pushover anyway... it made the "inventive" uses of TK more painful I think as they were -constantly- doing stuff of this nature and not using Extra effort or Hero points.
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Postby Telik » Sun Aug 03, 2003 10:00 pm

You know hero points is one of the best solutions to problems. I can't remberer how times as my alter ego I used extra effort to gain a new stunt or extra. It became a regular thing for me, and it makes characters more versitile.

Consider a Marvel hero like Iceman. In one version of their rules he had like a paragraph of extra stunts. Human Torch the same way. I've been roleplaying long enough to remember some of those old systems. MnM takes that a step further an enables characters some really cool abilites without limiting them in what they can do. In other sytems you had the power stunt or you didn't.

I've been cheering this game for almost a year now, and I wish all of you happy adventures. I will say this about GMs, I had a few little problems with my regular GM. The point is we got together and all had a good time. That's why I play.
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Re: Anybody else have a problem with Telekinetics?

Postby Max_Maze » Sun Aug 03, 2003 10:04 pm

barbedwings wrote:They seem to be able to lift many tons of weight, which gives the players the idea that they can do just about anything. They can snatch guns from enemies, or just deconstruct the urban environment and send spinning chunks of death, they can fly... and the one that made me twitch... the one character also has Absorbtion and swore that his telekinetic force field took off 10 pts and THEN his absorbtion took off another 10. I tried to explain the power stacking limits (again), and I assume I was correct?

Are there any suggested rules or limitations to what they can do with this power?


To rip things up, I would rule that they would definitely need an attack effect, such as EB. The same goes for attacking with an object held with TK. To defend they need a defense effect, such as Force Field. It requires a half action fore each object they pick up, unless they have Area of Effect, and Selective to avoid picking up everything in the area. To move themselves they need Flight.

The Absorption and Force Field adding together is a no-no unless the combined levels are under the characters PL.

If they have paid for all the extras on their TK, and spend the required actions, then what they are doing is ok by the rules. It might not be very heroic, though.

Tk and its limitations is also discussed in this thread. It might clarify some things.
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Re: Anybody else have a problem with Telekinetics?

Postby Fazhoul » Mon Aug 04, 2003 11:52 am

barbedwings wrote:In the game I am currently playing in, there are 2 high powered telekinetics who seem to constantly use their powers in frustrating ways for the DM.

For example:

In an underground subway station they tried to rip up a "layer of the solid cement floor" and fling it against the walls, they tried to pull "chunks" of the ceiling down on people. They tried to rip a moving helicopter's rotors off, simultaneously smashing two people together....oh and my favorite, they somehow ripped steel girders out of a solid cement ceiling with their powers and begun to spin them at rapid speed moving them through an exclosed area and holding one such spinning steel girder in front of them as a shield. The one actually picked up a subway car and begun spinning that.

They seem to be able to lift many tons of weight, which gives the players the idea that they can do just about anything. They can snatch guns from enemies, or just deconstruct the urban environment and send spinning chunks of death, they can fly... and the one that made me twitch... the one character also has Absorbtion and swore that his telekinetic force field took off 10 pts and THEN his absorbtion took off another 10. I tried to explain the power stacking limits (again), and I assume I was correct?

Are there any suggested rules or limitations to what they can do with this power?


Well, I just looked this up and according to http://www.nycsubway.org/cars/r142.html an average subway car weighs 70,000 lbs empty while PL TK only allows them to lift 51,200 lbs. I realize you had no way of knowing this but for future reference. (The NYC Subway site is really cool. I never knew it existed until I went looking for the weight of a subway car.)

As for ripping the steel out of concrete you need to figure out the strength of the concrete. According to Steve Kenson himself the hardness ratings listed on page 139 are per INCH of the material.
"...note that the hardnesses on the table are for about an inch of the material, each additional inch thickness adds +1."

So a foot thick wall of concrete would have a hardness of 20 which gives it a pretty good damage save vs their TK. And unless their TK was magnetic based I wouldn't have allowed them to specifically select the steel that was embedded in the concrete. Even then it would be an extra effort or hero point to do so.
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Re: Anybody else have a problem with Telekinetics?

Postby Anthony » Mon Aug 04, 2003 3:34 pm

barbedwings wrote:
In an underground subway station they tried to rip up a "layer of the solid cement floor" and fling it against the walls, they tried to pull "chunks" of the ceiling down on people. They tried to rip a moving helicopter's rotors off, simultaneously smashing two people together....oh and my favorite, they somehow ripped steel girders out of a solid cement ceiling with their powers and begun to spin them at rapid speed moving them through an exclosed area and holding one such spinning steel girder in front of them as a shield. The one actually picked up a subway car and begun spinning that.


All of these things are doable -- with one major caveat. In order to rip chunks out of things, you have to damage said thing. If they don't have the energy blast extra, they can't damage objects. If they do have the energy blast extra, they'll have to spend actions and make the rolls to actually damage the objects they're ripping up. Plus, of course, the objects they're ripping up are going to tend to be damaged; use the improvised weapon rules.

This will efficiently slow down all these stunts.

For more issues: yes, you can disarm people. Treat as a disarm, replacing your strength bonus with your TK power. If you have the flight extra, you can fly. Etc.
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Postby Green Knight » Tue Aug 05, 2003 9:39 am

Green Lantern wrote:
Artimus wrote:Remindes me of a quote (Excuse me if I don't have it word for word)

Green Lantern: We Must be held accountable for our actions. We have too much power not to be...



I'm definitely being misquoted here... :green:


Well, it depends. Which Green Lantern are you? Are you Hal Jordan, Guy Gardner, Jon Stewart, Kyle Rayner, or some other Green Lantern like Kilowogg?
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Postby spatulalad » Tue Aug 05, 2003 11:24 am

I have a PC in my group with Grapple, Area Effect, and Selective on his Telekinesis +10.

Harshes my Minion buzz big time.
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