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Re: [FateRPG] Modular Abilities

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  • Matthew Corner
    But the concept doesn t inherently imply Mythic capabilities like Son of Mercury or Scion of Atlas might. At any rate, you are perfectly allowed to not let
    Message 1 of 6 , Jun 12, 2012
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      But the concept doesn't inherently imply Mythic capabilities like Son of Mercury or Scion of Atlas might.  At any rate, you are perfectly allowed to not let him select mythic powers even if you do think it fits the high concept.

      And I'll point out again that a slackening loss makes sense to a degree.  If you have 12 points spent on modular abilities, then that's enough to outright buy a ton of those abilities to have most of the time.  With a 2-point catch, that's 6 points of toughness powers, inhuman strength, and inhuman speed.  It isn't like there are combat situations where some of those would be useless (unless a catch was used).  It seems quite possible to me that making you have 8-4 split for modular points-control points might be too expensive.  Another thing to consider is that ostensibly you can buy abilities outright and have them upgraded with modular abilities.  So instead of 2 more points into modular abilities, he could invest it into something he'd use almost all the time, like Inhuman Speed and then boost that with modular powers as needed.  Again, the more refresh you have spent on these sorts of powers, the less the modularity would seem to actually matter.  I think looking at it as just an overhead percentage cost alone is very misleading.

      Hmm, as someone noted though, letting him grab Beast Form as a modular power rather than requiring he purchase it separately, is technically not allowed (though if you're fine with it and it doesn't cause a problem, it isn't a big deal).

      I do think you need to be careful about implementing a solution just because a "numerological" argument makes something sound like a problem and the solution looks pretty.  That stuff doesn't actually matter.  Are his modular abilities disrupting the balance of the game now?  Is he too effective because of these abilities compared to other players?  Consider whether he effectiveness might merely stem from having a better grasp of the rules and hence using other aspects (pun intended) of the system with greater skill than his fellow players.  If he's not causing a problem now, then I say definitely keep the 2-point cost at 2-points and see how he does with 8 points invested in modular abilities and not being allowed to use mythic powers.

      As a fellow physics major, he missed the best deal, which would be the guy that makes magical items for his own use.  That can easily be more powerful.

      Anyhow, unless you are actually having a problem right now, I wouldn't change how the ability works.

      On Tue, Jun 12, 2012 at 8:08 AM, GalacticCmdr <galacticcmdr@...> wrote:

      The concept is not the issue, it works with the ability.

      His character is an Indian spirit that was summoned up during a Ghost Dance. During the dance the Great Spirit imbued two Indians with spirits (think Co-Pilot), one was the warrior spirit (think Huey Newton) and the other was the spirit of wisdom (think Martin L King Jr.). They were to guide the people, but the warrior spirit was angered at his brother and slew him and then led his people into disastrous conflicts with the US Calvary.

      Ability wise the character is built around the concept of taking on various totems. Thus he has a Bear totem (Strength/Toughness), Wolf (Recovery/Toughness), etc. In addition he as one that allows him to shift into the body of a coyote (Beast Form/Supernatural Senses/Claws/Diminutive Size). It all gives a very good Indian warrior spirit feel to it.

      So everything fits together pretty well.

      It is just that I know the player - he has a physics degree and a very good head for math and statistics. Thus he knows how to sniff out a very good deal. Now he is also fair about pointing out why things are a deal, he is the one that pointed me to the slackening loss for modular abilities as the pool gets larger.

      I may end up changing the control cost to make it more like a HERO VPP or Multiform. Thus the more points in the "form" the more expensive the "control", probably at 50% rounded up. So a 3-point form would have a control costs of 2 points, while a 8-point form would have a control cost of 4 points.


      On Mon, Jun 11, 2012 at 11:03 PM, Travis Casey <efindel@...> wrote:

      On Jun 11, 2012, at 9:21 PM, GalacticCmdr wrote:

      This seems like a rather potent ability given the rather small set-aside cost. In fact the larger the pool the more effective it becomes because the set-aside cost is fixed. So a 2-point pool costs 4 points, meaning a 50% loss - but a 8 point pool costs 10 points, giving only a 20% loss.

      Hmm... interesting.  I'd always thought of Modular Abilities as an "add-on" power -- that is, in my campaign, I've required players to first take some other Shapeshifting power.  Once they can change form in some way, then they could take Modular Abilities to add on the ability to change function.  This effectively raises the price, and if you want full flexibility, you'll need to go for True Shapeshifting.  That means six points dedicated to something besides the pool, so in order for characters in my game to have a 4-point Modular Abilities pool with full flexibility, they'd have to be at 11 refresh.  I'm not 100% sure that this is the actual design intent, but it seems reasonable to me.

      Note as well that none of the templates in the book include Modular Abilities as either a "must" *or* an optional power.  This strongly indicates to me that the game designers think it's best left as an NPC-only ability.  The one general shapeshift I have had to take True Shapeshifting to get Modular Abilities (as noted above) -- and I've still limited the player to only forms of real-world animals, which limits the possibilities a good bit.  (Although I did decide later that when in Faerie, he's capable of shapeshifting into forms that are "natural" there, such as griffons, giant spiders, etc.  That livens things up a bit while still keeping it under control.)

      My player currently has a 4 point pool. So he can tweak himself to Supernatural Speed or Strength when necessary, but in combat go with a basic Speed/Toughness - once out of combat he clicks in Recovery and blasts off his Minors and declares a recovery capability. Put Beast Change in this to preform a skill shuffle and he pretty much can shift around anything on his character sheet (except raising mental skills) in a full round.

      As the notes beside the power say, the GM can limit what abilities can be taken with Modular Abilities.  I haven't had the one player in my game who has the power try to take Recovery powers with it, and probably wouldn't allow it, myself.

      Note on Beast Change that it's not in the list of abilities that Modular Abilities normally gives access to -- indeed, the entire Shapeshifting category is left out.  I wouldn't allow Modular Abilities points to be put into any of them.  (Consider that if someone can take Beast Change as a modular ability, then they've effectively got the skill shuffle ability of True Shapeshifting, at a cost of only one point from the pool!  Also note that if Shapeshifting powers could be bought, one could use Modular Abilities to buy Mimic Abilities, then use those points to mimic stunts, skills, and magic powers.)

      (Honestly, the only way I could see allowing Beast Change to be bought with Modular Abilities is if it always has to be the same beast form.  Just as the notes say that allowing changing one's Catch for the Toughness powers is effectively the same as not having a Catch, allowing someone to change their Beast Form is effectively the same as them being able to take the form of *any* beast.  Thus, that should have to be bought at the True Shapeshifting cost.)

      The next refresh gained (9) he will be able to up his base pool to 6 points - allowing access to Mythic level powers and reduce the cost of his overhead to 25%.

      A question -- what's the character's High Concept?  Powers taken are supposed to be related to the High Concept -- and I'd enforce that even on powers bought from the Modular Abilities pool.  

      On the other side of things, note the sidebar on pg. 92 -- *anyone* can take temporary powers by paying the cost in Fate Points, if the GM thinks it appropriate.  If the shapeshifter is stealing the show, you might want to remind the other players of that.  Thaumaturges can also choose to shapeshift themselves (the Law only forbids transforming others, not yourself).  Between that and enchanted items, even a minor spellcaster can also be extremely flexible.

      Travis Casey
      Reality is vastly overrated.

      “Irreverence is the champion of liberty and its only sure defense. True irreverence is disrespect for another man’s god.” – Mark Twain

    • Kragar
      The other thing to keep in mind here is that while the character can change abilities at will, he can only use so many at a time. If he uses one of the
      Message 2 of 6 , Jun 13, 2012
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        The other thing to keep in mind here is that while the character can change abilities at will, he can only use so many at a time. If he uses one of the recovery abilities, he's got to keep using it until he's healed. That "freezes" 6 of his pool for the rest of the scene if he uses mythic recovery. It's 4 of his pool for 2 scenes with supernatural.

        Likewise, he'll have to decide which he wants more, that mythic toughness or might. A deadly opponent may put him on the defensive and "pin" him to a certain set of powers.

        He's versatile, yes. But no more so than a wizard with all his toys and a few refinements.
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