Jump to content

Medium: Flaw or Descriptor?


Recommended Posts

Hello all...I bring an interesting question. One that poped up the other day in Chat and got me to thinking(dangerous gambit there). The subject is the Flaw: Medium.

At first look, it is a fairly simple flaw. Easy to understand and pretty straight forward...at least on the surface. It requires that something be present for one to access a given ability that has said flaw. That is easy. The hard part comes in this...when the medium TOO available is it really a flaw? This question comes about due to a power I have been thinking of using in an upcoming character, that being Transmit Shadow.

Transmit Shadow is from Ultimate Power, page 198....a sub category of the transmit power. Nasically put, it is Teleport with the Medium Flaw. Now, the other examples in the sample section are Mirrors, Networks, Plants and Water(in Addition to Shadow). Of the list, only Mirrors seems to be a true flaw in that having a mirror handy at another location could be an issue. Networks, in today's society, is almost a joke(it's a 3G world!). Granted, there ARE places that will have no Network, and you may end up there. But for the most part, most adventures will be within cities(traditional superhero playgrounds) with places not having access to Networks an exception instead of the norm. Plants fall under the same thing, even the Desert has plants. The ONLY place I can think of with no plants is the Artic/Antartic. True, plants might be scarce in a city setting (opposite of Networks), but there are enough to allow for at least some semblence of free travel. Water falls under a situational banner. Three Quarters of the globe is covered in water....and things like puddles and fountains can also help. Sewers, though nasty, also fit this bill quite nicely. Then I look at Shadow....my prefered and obviously the most blatant problem. EVERYTHING casts a shadow if it blocks some light. Even in Darkness, there can be shadows IF something blocks light(my personal Favorite: Cars. Due to their very headlights, they cast shadows underneath themselves in even the darkest of nights!

In my particular case, another problem area arose. How big does a shadow need to be? First answer...big enough for you to fit through. My reply....then a target's shadow would suffice? Answer: Well....hesitation. Why? Because it is damn close to being a non-flaw at that point. Medium Flaws suffer from Perception Chaos....meaning what I perceive as good enough may not be the same as what others perceive as being good or being too much. A Shadow that was the same size as me....let's say I am average in size....that would mean that everyperson my size or bigger AND every object my size or bigger...that casts a shadow is now my doorway. Is that a flaw at that point or mearly a descriptor?

Last example(I swear!)....Doctor Metropolis. Forgive me if I am wrong as I only have the FIRST edition Freedom City. BUT, he uses Teleport: Flaw: Medium: Urban Areas. That is a blatant joke. He is a City Spirit....he is tied to the city and should he leave the city, he looses his powers. Thus, a Medium Flaw of Urban Areas is a travesty. He will ALWAYS be in an Urban Area. He cannot function anywhere else. That is not a flaw...that is a descriptor.

I apologize if this has been brough to attention before, I must have missed it. If not, think hard on what this means...when are Mediums descriptors instead of Flaws.

Link to comment

Well the thing is its not about it being present so much as you have to be in contact witht he medium (Or for attack powers use the medium as a point of origin) So for transmit if you are not standing in a shadow you can't use it unless you first take a move action to move to the shadow then another to activate transmit.

If you can use transmit through your own shadow (Which you always have with you pretty much) or wireless networks it woudl be a descriptor. If you need a different shadow or a wired network then its a valid flaw as you can not activate it at any time but need ot meet certain requirements first.

A good example is actually Electras Character Fluer se Joie (IIRC) as she ahs several powers that are basically medium style powers (using plants) but she caries the means to activate them with her pretty much at all times making them regular powers, the fact that they are plant based is just a descriptor for most of them.

Link to comment

Here's how I roll:

If, for the purposes of your character specifically, his Medium will be unavailable roughly 50% of the time, then apply the Limited (-1PP/rank) flaw. There may be shadows around, but they're not necessarily "good/big/dark/whatever" enough for his purposes.

If the "medium" will be accessible more often than not, either apply the Power Loss drawback (with whatever Frequency seems most appropriate), or simply list it under his Complications.

Personally, when faced with the latter option, in this case, I would recommend making it a Complication. If my Darkness/Shadow Controller was faced with a situation where he'd like to Teleport away, but there were no appropriate shadows available to jump through, I'd much rather have an extra Hero Point than a couple of extra power points at character creation.

Link to comment
  • Create New...