The 3 for 1 Skill variant - its no good...

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Postby Speed Demon » Sun Apr 13, 2003 5:01 pm

Samurai007 wrote:Well, I give all starting characters a number of free skill points equal to their Int score (not mod) This keeps things in a relatively small range, usually 8-20 points. If you give (X + Int mod) x PL, lets say X = 1, you could have anywhere from 0 to 60 free skill points! Increasing X can easily allow 100+ free skill points! If you think about it, using the raw Int score is much better.


I suppose I was being too literal by saying (X + Int mod) since I was taking it straight from DnD. Guess they don't transalte well between DnD and MnM. What I meant was using their skill system (points per lvl + mod). Then again, DnD characters have a ton of skill points, but that WOULD be the case since they don't have super powers per se.

I like your idea of using the Int score for free skill points and will toss that out to my group. Thanks :P
just my 2 cents, 3 nickels, a dime and some lint
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Postby Samurai007 » Sun Apr 13, 2003 5:36 pm

John Bock wrote:Sam007,
They amount of chages you made reminds me of the old days when we weren't happy with D&D and always "fixed" things...

Don't worry, eventually you'll get older and lose the time to fix everything and just play the way it's written...

:lol:


Ummm, I'm 31 years old... you mean I'm going to keep on aging from here??? :cry:

I am a rules tinkerer, always have been, always will be. Some games require only a half page or so before I'm satisfied... MnM is a major overhaul, though... While many of the ideas are great, there is a disturbing lack of balance in the game, IMHO. Not to knock Steve Kenson, as he is a brilliant writer, but he simply is too "fast and loose" when it comes to game balance to suit my tastes, but luckily I feel MnM is a good enough game to warrent spending my time fixing it, rather than tossing it...
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Postby CFP » Sun Apr 13, 2003 5:52 pm

You can please some of the people some of the time, etc., etc...

I don't think it's possible to design a game system where nobody is going to use a house rule. Thankfully M&M was designed with that in mind and includes several suggested optional rules (including the 3:1 skill option) to attempt to suit the tastes of more players and gamemasters.

A GM, should, IMHO take an active hand in helping his players design their characters so that they will

a) mesh reasonably well as a group (interparty conflicts can be all well and good, but having a character who's background is against everying represented by the rest of the characters can't lead to a fun game...)

b) not be all focused in the same area (a team of all 'bricks' who take the 'smash first, smash second, and if there's anything left besides a bloody smear, smash again and THEN try to ask questions approach' gets a bit one dimensional after a while.)

c) keep things balanced (the GM needs to be the one that decides if a flaw is suitable, if a point cost increase/reduction in a power is warrented, and if there are any aspects of powers that he doesn't want to come into play in 'his world'.)

I think that the 3:1 skill ratio is a necessary change to balance certain kinds of characters. (You can STILL accomplish skill increases more cost effectively with super-stats, but IMHO the 'ranks' in the skills mean something so that's the way I go with it.) But that doesn't mean that everyone else (or anyone else) is going to play the game my particular way... And I say more power to them.
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Postby slaughterj » Mon Apr 14, 2003 9:39 am

As a default in *ANY* system, I tend to stick with the rules as written that affect character transferability - while I know most people don't take a character from one campaign to another, simply sticking with the same character construction aspects (i.e., 1:1 skill cost) makes it easier as players come and go as well. Further, as noted, it makes it easier for characters and NPCs to be "compatible" - in the present situation, yes a 3:1 skill cost does make the PCs more powerful than the in-print villains of the same PL, which in turn often means the GM has to do more work. This is not to say that I don't change some rules for games that I run (i.e., in HERO, I let people move before or after attacking, much like d20 allows).
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Powers vs. Skills

Postby projectdaedalus » Mon Apr 14, 2003 10:54 am

There is a huge issue here in terms of point cost between powers and skills, and I think this is really the heart of the problem in terms of skill cost. It costs just as much to be slightly better at Diplomacy (1 Skill Rank) as it does to reduce all incoming damage by 1 (Raise Force Field by 1 Rank). Most players, given that range of choices, would take the increased Force Field.

If the intention of the game designers was to make Skills less relevant than in other D20 games, making them cost less would be worthy of consideration. In any event, when you're comparing the relative worth of a character's powers, what you're most often talking about is combat ability and effectiveness. Skills, for the most part, are useless in combat, so a character that spends 30 PP on Skills is really limiting himself in combat. But if the same character now spends 10 or 15 PP on the same skills, he or she will be able to spend a few more PP on things that will help him or her in combat.

In any event, as long as all of the PCs and NPCs are using the same cost for things, balance between them is not an issue. In terms of the game system as a whole, there are balance problems, but none of them are insurmountable.
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Postby Victim » Mon Apr 14, 2003 11:06 am

Samurai007 wrote:What's more, do you really want exact balance between PCs and villains (assuming such were possible)? If that were the case, fully 50% of the time the villains should win, and which 50% is entirely random. When I build my adventures, I design it so that if the PCs are "supposed" to lose in their 1st match with the villains, I stack things against them. I never make it completely impossible for them to succeed, and in fact the heroes have actually won several initial encounters they were supposed to lose according to the plot. This caused me to have to think on my feet and pretty much just wing things from then on. (I really didn't think they could win, but they got some lucky rolls, and the villains were missing practically every shot :( )

For the big finale, you want it to be a tough battle, but you want the heroes to actually win. Again, things don't always work out as planned, and sometimes you need to figure out a contingency plan in such an event.


I think villain points help with that mode of play. In general, the PCs will have more total points to spend than the GM. So the villains fair well in the early encounters because they spend VP when needed, and possibly just for some extra power. Then, at the climatic battle, the PCs are able to rally because they have points left while the enemies are all out.

As for skills, the cost should depend on the basic DCs. If most checks are DC 15, then you can get by with a rank or two and stat mods, especially if you have super stats.
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Postby crash beedo » Mon Apr 14, 2003 11:34 am

I think projectdaedalus hit on what I was getting at - the 3/1 works great in a game world where the GM is building PCs and NPCs using the same costing.

I realized 3/1 was less than optimal after looking through Freedom City, and seeing how low-skilled were many of the heroes and villains. In addition, their attack and defense suffers, too, by having skills overcosted. I was asking myself, why would our PCs take these PL10 guys and bend them over a barrel? Oh yeah, we have all those extra points by buying cheapies skills...

By saving a third on your skill costs, you can have a lot of extra points for things like attack,defense, higher attributes, extra feats - and still play someone competent in the "real" world. We're going to go back to the 1/1 costing - really just for consistency with the published materials and making the GM's life easier. Transferability is a good reason too.

(Of course, the presumption is that players NEED to take a minimal amount of skills to function - I guess its up to the individual GM to make skill checks important enough that its justified buying any skills. This one has been well-debated already on the boards).
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Postby corwyn » Sat Aug 09, 2003 12:26 am

Victim wrote:
Samurai007 wrote:What's more, do you really want exact balance between PCs and villains (assuming such were possible)? If that were the case, fully 50% of the time the villains should win, and which 50% is entirely random. When I build my adventures, I design it so that if the PCs are "supposed" to lose in their 1st match with the villains, I stack things against them. I never make it completely impossible for them to succeed, and in fact the heroes have actually won several initial encounters they were supposed to lose according to the plot. This caused me to have to think on my feet and pretty much just wing things from then on. (I really didn't think they could win, but they got some lucky rolls, and the villains were missing practically every shot :( )

For the big finale, you want it to be a tough battle, but you want the heroes to actually win. Again, things don't always work out as planned, and sometimes you need to figure out a contingency plan in such an event.


I think villain points help with that mode of play. In general, the PCs will have more total points to spend than the GM. So the villains fair well in the early encounters because they spend VP when needed, and possibly just for some extra power. Then, at the climatic battle, the PCs are able to rally because they have points left while the enemies are all out.



Is this really what happens. I've run into that PC never-fail syndrome. The PCs refuse to withdraw or (shudder) surrender because this means failure. In a fantasy game this can make it difficult to defeat the heroes, even temporarily, without killing them, unless you tell them it's time to lose. In M&M the heroes have more HPs than villains AND they can use them to recover from unconsciousness. This means that the villains have to go down less often than the heroes to make the fight :fair" or at least challenging. Then the heroes will spend every last HP to stay in the fight.

I don't see how I'm going to defeat my PCs and have them have anything left for the rematch or escape. Well, except just by making the villains fast enough that they can't be pursued.

At least I can see my players doing this. :)
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Postby Eletarmion » Mon Aug 11, 2003 7:56 am

crash beedo wrote:I think projectdaedalus hit on what I was getting at - the 3/1 works great in a game world where the GM is building PCs and NPCs using the same costing.


Well, I agree - except that this is pretty evident. I'm a 3:1 proponenet, but I've always believed in an equal playing field. My PCs are built with 3:1 and so are my villains and NPCs. It means some measure of conversion work from supplement for supplement, but then again, that's going to be the case anyway.

Best,

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Postby Novac » Mon Aug 11, 2003 9:18 am

As a player of Rogues in D&D, I tend to like a lot of skills. I haven't played at the 3:1 ratio but I think I'd go for it.
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Postby Valdier » Mon Aug 11, 2003 9:57 am

Our house rules posted over on my site have just about eliminated the need to convert villains to 3:1 since PC's physical stats cost double.

This keeps stats at the same levels as the npc's in the books (rather than the far more economical all 20's). The extra cost for physical stats also makes up for the gain in skills that can be found on some PC's. Really though most players seem to flesh out their skills to be more well rounded in my experience rather than raising one skill extraordinarily high.
If you are looking for news, examples, tutorials, FAQ or something else, try visiting Valdier.com
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