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Toptomcat

Shinken needs a re-work

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My character Shinken needs a little polishing, due to new board rules and an inefficient kludge relating to one of his power choices that has led to unforeseen consequences. I'd like to ask some advice here before submitting my edits to the Character Edits topic, as they will be extensive.

First, there are the new board rules relating to minions. Shinken has a bit of an unusual setup: he doesn't have any Summon power or Minion/Sidekick feat per se, but he does have a very significant security force guarding his Headquarters- a hundred-man security force of PL 5s- as well as a Benefit feat that allows them to set foot outside the Headquarters to assist in the event of dire emergency- such as an alien invasion, mass riots, Godzilla attacking, or any other event for which deploying a small army would actually be an appropriate action. They're not there to dog every step the character takes and provide support fire in massive quantities against every supervillian, as a typical Summon or Minion would.

As it stands, this construction is in violation of 5. Considering the special circumstances surrounding this instance of minions, I request the following compromise: while the security force's numbers remain the same, only one squad of six to ten can be 'on panel'- that is, actively participating in a combat encounter- at a time. When some are defeated, should there be more in the immediate area, they can then enter the combat encounter as reinforcements, but no more than 6-10 can be active at any given time.

Second, there is the question of his swords. The concept is essentially to have two swords, a blunt and a sharp one; each of those swords also has an alternate mode that can be useful in exotic situations, an electrical Stun and a plasma sheath that can effect insubstantial targets. Due to concerns over allowing the original Strike (Drawback: Lethal), AP Strike (Drawback: Nonlethal) construction, Dr. Archeville had me separate the two swords into separate devices before approving the character. Unfortunately, that has run into some technical problems of its own: the attacks being considered separate mechanically prevents his Improved Critical and probably his Attack Specialization feats from applying to both of them, which offends me logically since the two weapons are identically weighted, balanced, and used. Therefore, I would like to unify them again, flavoring the switch between blades as a purely cosmetic choice unreflected in the mechanics except insofar as reflected by Shinken's choice between lethal and nonlethal damage: when he's using lethal, he uses the sharp blade, and when he's using nonlethal, he's using the dull one. Here is the alternate construction:

Device 3 (Daisho, 15 points, Easy to Lose) (PF: Benefit: Disarm Resistance [10pp]

Strike 4 (Extra: Penetrating 7; PFs: Mighty, Alternate Power 2, Variable Descriptor (Physical, Slashing if lethal, Physical, Bludgeoning if nonlethal)

AP: Strike 4 (Extra: Penetrating 5; PFs: Mighty, Extended Reach, Incurable, Affects Insubstantial 1 (Energy, Heat, Plasma descriptors)

AP: Stun 6 (PF: Accurate) (Electricity descriptor)

The Disarm Resistance benefit means that the device has to be disarmed twice to be fully negated. Disarming the sharp blade gives the Nonlethal Only drawback to the main Strike and eliminates the Stun AP: disarming the blunt one gives the Lethal Only drawback to the main Strike and eliminates the Strike AP.

Being technically one Strike power, despite being actually two swords, the irritating concerns about the application of combat feats go away. Are there any serious objections to this construction?

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Ah, no. Not seven separate instances of the same Extra. That'd be fairly insane. Some extras, such as Penetrating, can apply to individual ranks of a power- so that instead of doubling the rank of the Strike as relates to penetrating Impervious Toughness, it's treated as if it were n ranks higher, where n is the number of ranks you bought the Extra at. And Mighty Strikes can buy- must buy, in most cases- ranks of an Extra in excess of the base power's rank to pay for the extra applying to the character's Strength modifier.

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First, there are the new board rules relating to minions. Shinken has a bit of an unusual setup: he doesn't have any Summon power or Minion/Sidekick feat per se, but he does have a very significant security force guarding his Headquarters- a hundred-man security force of PL 5s- as well as a Benefit feat that allows them to set foot outside the Headquarters to assist in the event of dire emergency- such as an alien invasion, mass riots, Godzilla attacking, or any other event for which deploying a small army would actually be an appropriate action. They're not there to dog every step the character takes and provide support fire in massive quantities against every supervillian, as a typical Summon or Minion would.

As it stands, this construction is in violation of 5. Considering the special circumstances surrounding this instance of minions, I request the following compromise: while the security force's numbers remain the same, only one squad of six to ten can be 'on panel'- that is, actively participating in a combat encounter- at a time. When some are defeated, should there be more in the immediate area, they can then enter the combat encounter as reinforcements, but no more than 6-10 can be active at any given time.

It's true Shinken doesn't have it per se, the Minions are his HQ's. The HQ which he owns.

Per the new rules, you'd be limited to 5 PL 5 armored soldiers on-screen at any time, the other 95 being on assignment elsewhere, in the hospital following some super-battle, on vacation, or otherwise indisposed.

(Why did you need 100 soldiers in the first place? Standing armies isn't something superheroes usually have, that's more typically a supervillain thing.)

Second, there is the question of his swords. The concept is essentially to have two swords, a blunt and a sharp one; each of those swords also has an alternate mode that can be useful in exotic situations, an electrical Stun and a plasma sheath that can effect insubstantial targets. Due to concerns over allowing the original Strike (Drawback: Lethal), AP Strike (Drawback: Nonlethal) construction, Dr. Archeville had me separate the two swords into separate devices before approving the character. Unfortunately, that has run into some technical problems of its own: the attacks being considered separate mechanically prevents his Improved Critical and probably his Attack Specialization feats from applying to both of them, which offends me logically since the two weapons are identically weighted, balanced, and used. Therefore, I would like to unify them again, flavoring the switch between blades as a purely cosmetic choice unreflected in the mechanics except insofar as reflected by Shinken's choice between lethal and nonlethal damage: when he's using lethal, he uses the sharp blade, and when he's using nonlethal, he's using the dull one. Here is the alternate construction:

Device 3 (Daisho, 15 points, Easy to Lose) (PF: Benefit: Disarm Resistance [10pp]

Strike 4 (Extra: Penetrating 7; PFs: Mighty, Alternate Power 2, Variable Descriptor (Physical, Slashing if lethal, Physical, Bludgeoning if nonlethal)

AP: Strike 4 (Extra: Penetrating 5; PFs: Mighty, Extended Reach, Incurable, Affects Insubstantial 1 (Energy, Heat, Plasma descriptors)

AP: Stun 6 (PF: Accurate) (Electricity descriptor)

The Disarm Resistance benefit means that the device has to be disarmed twice to be fully negated. Disarming the sharp blade gives the Nonlethal Only drawback to the main Strike and eliminates the Stun AP: disarming the blunt one gives the Lethal Only drawback to the main Strike and eliminates the Strike AP.

Being technically one Strike power, despite being actually two swords, the irritating concerns about the application of combat feats go away. Are there any serious objections to this construction?

This... seems to work perfectly well.

Except Improved Crit, like Attack Specialization, should by the RAW only apply to one particular & specific attack, not an Array of attacks (which the above is). You don't technically have one Strike power, you have two Strikes and a Stun.

Then again, since we are already fudging things and letting you use Attack Specialization (Shinken's Own Weapons), we could probably fudge on that, too.

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It's true Shinken doesn't have it per se, the Minions are his HQ's. The HQ which he owns.

Per the new rules, you'd be limited to 5 PL 5 armored soldiers on-screen at any time, the other 95 being on assignment elsewhere, in the hospital following some super-battle, on vacation, or otherwise indisposed.

(Why did you need 100 soldiers in the first place? Standing armies isn't something superheroes usually have, that's more typically a supervillain thing.)

From a gamist point of view, the minions need to be formidable and numerous mainly because their primary function- guarding the headquarters when Shinken is away- will be conducted without any superhuman support, and so they need to be more than a speed bump to a character of equal PL. Their secondary function- assisting in the case of dire emergency- will always be conducted against a force, almost certainly a Referee-controlled rather than a PC-controlled, that overpowers Shinken and all of the minions combined anyway. The most problematic case- numerous and powerful minions acting in concert with Shinken to utterly crush a threat that would otherwise have been an equal challenge- simply does not occur. This is why I'm requesting a slight bending of these rules, effectively treating Shinken as just 1 PL greater for the purposes of these special Minions.

From a thematic point of view, Shinken has a standing army because of a thread of his character I eventually want to explore: that by virtue of his wealth and association with the military-industrial complex, Benjiro is far more powerful than any citizen in a democratic polity probably ought to be, yet he loves liberal democracy and devotes himself to protecting it and behaving as he morally should, despite the vast potential he has for breaking the rules of society. Ares is Blackwater, it's the East India Company, it's the dark side of capitalism, deforming the whole of the social order with its weight and influence...yet, ultimately, all for the good, solely because of the benevolence and self-discipline of the man at the helm. The point is to make moral compasses spin a bit.

This... seems to work perfectly well.

Except Improved Crit, like Attack Specialization, should by the RAW only apply to one particular & specific attack, not an Array of attacks (which the above is). You don't technically have one Strike power, you have two Strikes and a Stun.

Then again, since we are already fudging things and letting you use Attack Specialization (Shinken's Own Weapons), we could probably fudge on that, too.

Steve Kenson would seem to agree.

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On this boards, Arrowhawk also uses Attack Specialisation and Improved Critical to apply to his whole bow array (of which 7/9 attacks need an attack roll), and I haven't had this concern brought up before, despite using a much bigger array. And, as Toptomcat points out, in the first link the example of Bowman from the Freedom City book is used, whose build I based heavily upon, using the same principle.

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This is why I'm requesting a slight bending of these rules, effectively treating Shinken as just 1 PL greater for the purposes of these special Minions.

No. Largely because you're only 2pp away from hitting PL 11 as is, and you shouldn't have much difficulty in doing enough to earn 2pps this month.

From a thematic point of view, Shinken has a standing army because of a thread of his character I eventually want to explore: that by virtue of his wealth and association with the military-industrial complex, Benjiro is far more powerful than any citizen in a democratic polity probably ought to be, yet he loves liberal democracy and devotes himself to protecting it and behaving as he morally should, despite the vast potential he has for breaking the rules of society. Ares is Blackwater, it's the East India Company, it's the dark side of capitalism, deforming the whole of the social order with its weight and influence...yet, ultimately, all for the good, solely because of the benevolence and self-discipline of the man at the helm. The point is to make moral compasses spin a bit.

So... Tony Stark?

(Then again, I'm playing a German Mad Scientist who's trying to break away from some aspects of his family's reputation, yet still honoring others....)

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No. Largely because you're only 2pp away from hitting PL 11 as is, and you shouldn't have much difficulty in doing enough to earn 2pps this month.

Fair enough. But the 'only x at a time on-screen' part is reasonable?

So... Tony Stark?

(Then again, I'm playing a German Mad Scientist who's trying to break away from some aspects of his family's reputation, yet still honoring others....)

That's a major part of his inspiration, yes.

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Honestly, I think the application of feats like Attack Specialization and Improved Critical is a bit too narrow and strict in FCPBP as it is. I see no reason why either one couldn't apply to an entire array of attack powers based around a central item or theme.

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Honestly, I think the application of feats like Attack Specialization and Improved Critical is a bit too narrow and strict in FCPBP as it is. I see no reason why either one couldn't apply to an entire array of attack powers based around a central item or theme.

Like it already does for Arrowhawk's bow & arrow array (and, more canonically, for Bowman's bow & arrow array)?

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Yes. Exactly. I could have sworn I saw it mentioned somewhere that you guys ruled that those feats can't apply to an entire array, just one power in it. Maybe I was mistaken.

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The thing is, by strict reading of the rules, you could have accurate as a power feat for every array slot for the same cost. That's the rationale I use in home games, at least.

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