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Turning into a flock of birds?


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First of all, this is a great site.  I can't believe that in my searches over the years for online superhero RPG goodness I never found it before now.  Anyway, I'm a bit rusty on my M&M (but so glad this is 2e, for which I have all the books!), and I'm working on a couple of prospective characters.

 

One has me stumped: among other things, this hero can turn into a flock of crows.  If you've ever read East of West, it's just like what Crow does.  I just don't know how to model it.

Some details: With a thought the character magically turns into a murder of crows.  The crows have some autonomy, but generally stick together.  Some individuals may leave or join the flock as it moves around, but the numbers stay about the same.  The hero can control the entire flock, and can also focus on the senses of a particular bird (say, to overhear a conversation or look through a particular window).  He uses this "form"  as a quick way of getting from place to place, to escape difficult situations, to get to aplces inaccessible in his human form, to be relatively inconspicuous, and to take advantage of the crows' superior senses (which might include some magical senses he doesn't have in his human form).   At this point, I am thinking that the hero cannot use his other magical powers while in this state.  I think maybe part of my problem is where to draw the line between power-definitions and descriptor.

Any insights from the more enlightened?  

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Hey Bourbon, welcome! While we're of course happy to help here, I'd suggest joining the discord, which you can find here.

 

Alright, let's break it down, which you've already done pretty well. This is a tricky one, not something I've really seen done before, so other guides or refs might have some other, probably better ideas.

 

You want to turn into a flock of multiple crows that all move together and can fly, and you can focus the senses of just one bird if you want, and of course, they can fly, while being unable to access other powers? How would you deal with one bird being taken out?

 

First of all, I'd go with the Morph power with the Metamorph feat in order to turn into a crow with exclusive powers, without being able to access the other powers. You can use Summon to Summon a bunch of bird minions, up to 25 with progression as the house rule limit. For the smaller size, I'd go with Shrink, then maybe an ESP effect for being able to effectively use the senses of other crows in the flock, with the Medium [Summoned Minions] flaws for having to look through their eyes.

 

As I said, there's probably a simpler way, but that's an idea, at least.

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Neat idea.

 

You could do this either with Morph+Metamorph, sure, or with a simple Container structure (see Ultimate Power for details), specifically with the "Alternate Form" descriptor, arrayed against your other powers.

 

You'd want Insubstantial at rank 1. You can still exert your physical strength against solid objects and creatures, and physical damage still affects you, but you can squeeze through any small opening, bird-by-bird, and slip out of grapples and snares, since there's nothing holding your swarm together. Each Bruise or Injury you pick up can represent one of the birds getting KO'd or killed. Also, Insubstantial rank 1 can do this:

 

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A fluid character may attempt to catch a falling person or object, cushioning the fall with the character’s flexible form. This requires a move action, and reduces the falling damage by the cushioning character’s Toughness bonus (representing flexibility in this case). Both characters suffer any remaining damage. Higher rank insubstantial forms—lacking physical Strength—cannot attempt this.

 

I now have a mental picture of a murder of crows doing that, and it looks pretty awesome.

 

I wouldn't bother with Shrinking. I would just assume that the murder of crows all together is Medium-sized. I wouldn't bother with Growth either. I would, however, take some Elongation, so that you can spread out the flock for a wider reach.

 

You want Flight, obviously. You probably wouldn't want the standard Power Loss drawback most winged flyers take, since restraining the wings of an entire flock is much more difficult than restraining the wings of a single Medium-sized creature.

 

A Mighty Damage effect would work for their beaks and talons. I would give it 2 ranks of Improved Critical. I would also maybe AP a touch-range Dazzle Visual effect, to represent inflicting minor facial wounds which bleed down into the eyes.

 

I would take Immunity 2 (Critical Hits), to represent the fact that no one bird is more important to the flock than any of the others.

 

For the enhanced vision, you want a high Notice score, maybe a high Search score to go with it, possibly as Enhanced Skills. I would also take Low-Light Vision and the first level of Microscopic Vision, which lets you see dust-sized objects. You may also want Extended on your default Normal Vision sense, although keep in mind that most GMs here don't bother with the range increment rules for Notice checks (by the RAW it's -1 Notice per 10ft increment; Extended multiplies the increment size by x10 with each rank).

 

I would also take Radius on your normal vision, to represent a whole flock of birds looking more or less in all directions at once.

 

Enhanced Skills (Stealth) is probably enough to make them sneaky and inconspicuous.

 

Comprehend Animals (maybe Limited to birds) if you want the birds to be able to talk to "real" birds.

 

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Whoops!  While browsing the site I ran across a recent hero who's a plant controller.  I don't want to step on anyone's toes, so I understand if this character gets turned down.  Just let me know...

 

Don't worry about it.

There's only 2-3 active plant controllers I know of, including mine, which I think is the most recent.

For this site, for there to be only a couple of PCs of a given archetype, that makes that archetype SUPER-rare.

At any given point in time, this site has a couple dozen active players, each of whom has a handful of characters. Try not to make a carbon copy palette-swap of someone else's character, sure, but also accept that there's going to be overlap, and don't let it stop you. Besides, people drift in and out like the tides here. Your PC may be one of seven Hulk-style powerhouses this month, and next month the other six might get archived for inactivity or retired and you could be the only one. So just play what you want to play.

 

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