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They might be giants . . .


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I'd been thinking of which concept to try out with my PL6 character, and I thought I'd go for my teenaged giant, Clarence Hightower. I tried him in another system and rather liked him, so I thought I'd see if he'd work out for Claremont. There's a few hiccups in design, though, and I'd like to see what you guys might be able to add.

Basic summary, Clarence has suddenly got a "growth" spurt that has made him a 15 year old giant. He also has even larger hands and feet (and forearms and calves) of roughly twice proportional size, so he's not only big but clumsy-looking and gawky.

Questions and concerns, in no particular order:

- At PL 6, Clarence can be up to Growth 6 or about 12 feet tall, and I would have his Growth increase first every time he achieved a new power level. It would definitely be Permanent, possibly Innate, although it might be interesting to have him lose his power on very rare occasions to be reminded how it felt to be "normal". So what descriptor might his growth have that would allow it to be Nullified, and how common would it be in FC?

- Scanning through the other characters, I see most of the ones with Growth are only 4 ranks, with a few non-permanent suggestions. And finally reading through the Freedom City back, it seems like Claremont tries to keep the heroing kids hidden. Would that be workable with a 14 foot Freshman?

- In the other system I built Clarence in (HERO), I gave him a touch-range one-hex area attack to simulate his oversized fists and feet. M&M has that effect built in to size consideration, specifically for characters 3 sizes larger than their opponents (ie Gargantuan vs Medium). So effectively Clarence would have Gargantuan hands and feet. Would it be better to simulate them with an AoE Strike, or would it be possible (or allowable) to give him 6 more ranks of Growth Flawed to only effect his hand and foot size? The second way would make it somewhat simpler for him to develop as he "grows into" his extremities.

- My previous conception of Clarence also had him even taller, so I was thinking about the alternate method for giant sizing the HERO system occasionally uses (I imagine Dr. A may be familiar with it). Basically it buys aspects of Growth separately with appropriate powers, like Permanent Elongation for height and reach, Immovable to simulate mass, and abilities like STR and CON. I figured rank 2-3 Perm Elong would get him the right dimensions and then I could build up the rest. Would something like that be permitted, or do you prefer sticking with Growth to make larger characters?

- Special consideration: I noticed someone had a character named Amazon with some Growth and retired her some months back. I had originally set up Clarence to be the son of an accountant and a retired Amazon hero (whether she was actually an Amazon or just named that was never explored). I'm still not caught up on all of Freedom City's history and legacies, but maybe we could retcon his mother as an Amazon legacy character.

That should be plenty to chew on. Looking forward to tips and feedback.

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I'd go with "mutant" as the descriptor for his Growth if you want it to be Permanent but not necessarily Innate. Based on characters like Leech from X3, it's possible for gross physical mutations to be Nullified. "Magic" is also a decent catch-all.

You'd have a much harder time being a semi-public hero than most people with powers, just due to the difficulty you'd have in disguising yourself. There are ways around that, such as Morph, but Claremont would probably hesitate before sending you out with Next-Gen.

I'd recommend a Targeted Area attack, touch range, Shapeable Area, with a couple of Progression feats to shrink the area. Growth, limited to hands and feet, is a little too weird for me because Growth does more than just change size, and even size has several effects other than what are usually thought of. His Intimidate modifier goes up when using his hands - does that mean he makes scary shadow puppets or something? My method is a little easier to handle, since there are fewer consequences.

I would stick with Growth for making him larger, rather than buying a lot of things piecemail. I haven't played HERO, but my guess is that it doesn't have the d20-style size characteristic. It's a matter of being clear about how the character works. Other refs might have a different opinion there.

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Growth isn't as limited by PL as you may thing. You can have more ranks in Growth than your PL -- the limit is in how much Str and Con the Growth gives.

That's good to know. So if I'm understanding right, a PL6 character has an Ability limit of 32, and every rank of Growth gives +2 Str, so he could conceivably have up to 11 ranks of Growth provided he got all additional Str from only Growth. Not that I'd go that high, at least to start, but Growth 8 (Huge) might be just about right to start.

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You can also have ability penalties, which give back power points on a one-for-one basis. If your character's Strength is based out of his size, then that's perfectly reasonable. If you start at Strength 8, you can have Growth 8 (Huge) and only require a minor tradeoff. Since you have attack penalties at that point anyway, it's not hard to make such a tradeoff.

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Close, but not quite. Dex, Int, Wis and Cha are limited to (20 + 2xPL), or (20+ [6x2]) 32 for a PL 6 char. But Str and Con -- since they directly affect damage & Toughness save -- are limited to (10 + 2xPL), or (10 + [6x2]) 22 for a PL 6 char. This number can be altered with attack/damage and defense/toughness trade-offs, though.

So, with no trade-offs, the most Growth a PL 6 char with Str & Con of 10 could benefit from is 6 ranks. He'd have a Str of 22/+6 and a Con of 16/+3 when fully grown. If you trade in points of maximum attack bonus in order to get more maximum damage, you could benefit from more Growth.

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34 is the number that comes out when taking the maximum tradeoff between save DC and attack for PL 6 . Technically, you could go up to 35, and some GMs might also allow negative tradeoffs on attack, which Growth provides. I personally wouldn't allow it, since that's just too shifted for my taste.

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  • 1 month later...

Those were useful tips, guys. Thanks.

I'm still concerned about the idea of Clarence getting around, though. I kinda like the complication of him being permanently Large (I'm thinking Growth 6 with his oversized - essentially Gargantuan - hands and feet), but I'd need him to get around FC somehow without causing the "Gojiro!" effect. (At least initially. Once he's an established hero he can walk around more openly.)

One idea for this was to make himself a vehicle that he can hide in. Say, gut a standard utility van and have him scrunch down in the back. He could have a driver, but I had been thinking of making him skilled as well as big (more Beast than Hulk) so maybe he also builds alternate controls into it so he can drive it himself while still being hidden.

So there's a Craft: Mech skill, maybe a little contortion (is that an Escape Artist subskill?). The van would be equipment, I assume, but maybe with a few other options on it. Maybe even give him Inventor feat.

Is this idea workable? What would said van look like in terms of game mechanics? What other skills or traits might be good for what I'm sketching?

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