Duplication Question

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This came up in chat and got me curious on how Duplication ought to be built here:

Imagine you build a duplicator at PL10. Intuitively you give them Duplication 10 (some stuff), which, by the rules, gives you 150pp summoned duplicates as minions. The power, though, specifies:

You must have this power at a rank equal to your power point total (minus the cost of Duplication) divided by 15 and rounded up for your duplicate to possess your full abilities.

Which means that you basically have wasted pp on your duplicates - if you've sunk at least 20pp (10 ranks x 2pp/rank) into Duplication, your duplicates can't be any better than 130pp (your 150pp - 20pp). You get the same effect with Duplication 9 (some stuff), which costs at least 18pp, limiting your duplicates to 132pp and giving you 135pp to fuel them with - still over, but only just.

Which brings me to the question: is there any reason to go Duplication 10 over Duplication 9, here? You've met the power's minimum requirement so your duplicates ought to have "your full abilities", unless refs rule that they're functionally PL9 unless they have the (completely unused) pp to make them PL10. The only thing I can think of is planning for the future - if you have Duplication 9 and get more than 3pp you'll have to bump Duplication up a rank to keep your duplicates in top form. But then, you could just do that with the pp you earned.

For that matter, this becomes a mess if you're putting extras and feats into Duplication. Take the following: Duplication ? (Extras: Horde, Survival; Power Feats: Absorption Healing, Mental Link, Progression 4/25). This costs 6pp + 4pp/rank. If you're PL10, we can do some maths:

rank*15 >= 150 - 6 - rank*4

rank*15 >= 144 - rank*4

rank*19 >= 144

rank >= 144/19

rank >= 7.57

Meaning that Duplication 8 (Extras: Horde, Survival; Power Feats: Absorption Healing, Mental Link, Progression 4/25) [38pp] gives us 120pp to fuel PL10-capped duplicates who are limited to 112pp. By not going Duplication 10 we've saved ourselves 8pp...but only if that's legal. Is that legal, or am I way off my rocker?

That is legal. You generally will not buy duplication up to your full PL rank. Your Dupes are limited (Like all summons) to your PL caps you just have a limited budget with which to reach those caps.

Hurrah, my instincts didn't fail me (for once)! Thanks, durf.

I also did some math on this, and figured out that you can buy:

Duplication 8 (Feats: Absorption Healing, Mental Link, Progression 4[25 duplicates], Sacrifice; Extras: Horde [+1], Action/Free[+2]) [47pp]

And have 103pp to spend on the rest of your character.

PL10 150-47 = 103 <= 120 = 15*8 Rank 8

You wouldn't even need to buy up the rank until you got about halfway through PL11.

Also, is it impossible to buy duplication at less than the [rank]*[15]pp level? If so, how do you decide which points the duplicates use and which they do not?

Also, is it impossible to buy duplication at less than the [rank]*[15]pp level? If so, how do you decide which points the duplicates use and which they do not?

Duplication's based on Summon. Summon gives you 15p per rank of summoned critter. You don't need to use all the pp the power gives, just like you don't need to use all the pp in an Array slot.

So for instance if I were to buy that power at rank 7, they would have 105 points to spend, but the power would cost me 42 points, (from my 150 that's 108pp) Which three points on my character would I exclude from the dupes? anything I want? or is there like an order of operations of which attributes get cut first (stats, then saves, then combat, etc?)

It would be your choice what to cut. Duplication is just summon with a descriptor. Normally you would make perfect duplicates but you could pick one area that degrades on the duplicates if you liked

Player's choice. One guy might have a Duplicator whose dupes are weaker than him, another might make dupes that are slower.