Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Supers: Iron Man's Resolve

I think Robert's comments on my last post are extensive and insightful enough to warrant a full-post response -- the highest honor I can bestow to a reader! -- especially where this passage is concerned:
My concern isn't if Iron Man can take out the minion - of course he can with an apex skill of +5 vs the minions apex of 1 to 3 (the guy with the 3 might be carrying a bazooka).

With different scales as you have proposed where you either need to buy into the scale or spend will to temporarily act on that scale. My concern is more that Iron Man forgetting to take his Resolve to the super scale and Psychic Blast dude with a Fair super scale mental attack being able to casually mop the floor with Iron Man.

First thing I'd buy under your system is a super defense in every conflict category (probably Endurance and Resolve). And when everyone needs to do something like that to "feel playable" then IMHO something is wrong.

I totally understand the concern re: Iron Man's Resolve (didn't Hemingway write that?), and I'm aware this needs tweaking -- possibly past the point of recognition, but that's how these things often go. (I'm less married to the scales than to the player-defined super-skills-plus-trappings thing.)

My concern with removing the scales, or redefining what Superb means based on genre, is that within the supers genre abilities can vary so wildly I'm not sure a scale of +1 to +10 would really cover it. And once we get up past Superb, it really bugs me that the character's bonus far outstrips the variability of the dice. I admit it is more intuitive to just say "I'm the Hulk -- I have +10 Super-Strength!" but the +10 itself puts me off.

This reminds me a bit of something that came up for Legends of Anglerre. When we were tossing around ideas for epic-level characters, an early one someone proposed was the idea that you'd spend spin on an attack to do something extra, or to have an effect -- like spending spin to be able to harm a dragon -- but all that really boils down to is a +3 to the defender's defense. LOA still makes use of spin for epic-level stuff like that (last time I saw it -- who knows what it looks like after editing?), although the problem remains that equally matched high-skill opponents are no more likely to get spin on a roll than their equally matched low-skill counterparts.

That's the kind of thing I want to avoid, and am struggling with (or "with which I struggle"). I'm not comfortable with the Hulk having Superb Might while a mook has Average Might, but nor do I like expanding that range out ad infinitum to accommodate those extremes. I really want the split between Human and Superhuman to be more than a few degrees' difference on the ladder. I fervently believe there's another option, and if separate scales isn't the solution, then there are other switches and dials still left for me to fiddle with.


Robert Stehwien said...

Thanks for the complement in a whole post to respond to me. I'll be watching your updates on fate supers as I do think it has legs. I've made a stab at supers with Fate Mythic Heroes but it needs some playtesting and overall work

I liked the post back in april on making supers traits . A build your own power "skill" something like that in Wild Talents or the build your own skills in The Kerberos Club (a Wild Talents supplement) could work out nicely in that department.

Mike Olson said...

Wild Talents is definitely a big inspiration for the current just-add-trappings model, as it was for the ideas we were tossing around back in April. But those ideas were pretty specific -- more specific, I think, than is required. There's no need for me to tell you what kinds of trappings Stretching can have when you can logically derive those for yourself from a list. The more open an non-restrictive it is, the more flexible it'll be. I draw the line at "Just pay a Fate Point!" though. I need a little more structure than that.

(I'm kinda dying to check out Kerberos Club, BTW. Supers plus historical fiction is an easy sell for me.)

Mind if I link to your Fate Mythic Heroes?

free hatani said...

I have been playing around with some of your suggestions today. I have gotta to say I like where it is heading. Don't stop now!

It is dangerously close to a complete point buy version of FATE. In your hack, if stunts were to also cost refresh, and a point of refresh equals 5 skill points, why not just have "Enhanced" as a stunt? Everything in FATE then would have a price. You could conceivably even say, "We are going to play a 110 point Supers Team".

Thanks to you I spent a good part of the afternoon trying to build a Silver Surfer knock-off! I think this is the most excited I have been about SuperHero FATE.

Mike Olson said...

"Dangerously close" is right -- don't think that hasn't occurred to me. I've thought about pricing the usual generic stunts (+1 with a skill in narrow circumstances/+2 to maneuvers with a skill/skill substitution) at one level, and the generic super-stunt at another. Like 3 and 5 or something.

Really glad you're enjoying the ideas here! I think I have a much better solution re: scaling, one that isn't so absolute, but in the meantime, feel free to post your Silver Surfer. I'd love to see it.

Robert Stehwien said...

Feel free to link to mythic heroes.

Wild Talents and Kerberos Club are inspirations for me. I love a scale from 1-10 and combining the power creation from WT and Skill creation from KC hits the spot. I have yet to actually try playing WT or ORE (so many games so little time). It might be a little crunchy for me, hit locations turn me off in general. But I'd still like to try it.

Don't fear making a point buy Fate! Actually something near WT/KC would be nice.