Rules Clarifications and House Rules

House Rules and Character Creation

See this page: Character Creation

Unlike your tradition M&M game, advancement in this one is slowed: 30 XP per level. That way I hope I can get a handle on levels and such before you move to the next one and I have to relearn things.

Quickness and Paperwork

James asks about Quickness and whether the Limitation for One Thing Only (a -2 flaw) applies to filling out paperwork.

Ruling Sort of. I rule it applies as a -2 limitation for familiar paperwork. If you want the Quickness to apply to any sort of forms, even ones you haven’t seen before or kinds of questions that you have to think about the answers to, it’s only a -1 limitation. So: filling out paperwork related to the lawyer business or being a superhero, Huitzil can easily use the Quickness. I’d probably lower it a rank for something unfamiliar but related (the Canadian UNTIL superhero forms), and it wouldn’t apply at all for something like, oh, infertility medication forms. A guideline is that if you have Expertise: in that area, it would apply to the paperwork related to that. (That’s only a guideline; I’m not suggesting that you have to get “Expertise: Steel City Sentries”.)

Combining Maneuvers

tl;dr version: I think the RAW strongly implies you can combine maneuvers and advantages. If someone is being abusive about it (and there’s a fine line between “clever” and “abusive”), we house rule it away because it’s not true to the style of game we want to play. If you’re not abusive about it, we celebrate your cleverness. GM gets to decide what “abusive” is.

Lengthy Discussion

The problem seems to be Maneuvers, and specifically All-Out Attack and Power Attack, and oh, the discussions on the Green Ronin board.

I thought I’d come at this another way, and ignore the Advantages, which I think confuse things, and just think about the maneuvers listed under Maneuvers (pages 196-199 of the Heroes Handbook).

All of these maneuvers are optional, of course (it says so on p. 196). The maneuvers are:

Name Effect
Accurate Attack Trade up to +2 effect for the same amount to hit.
All-Out Attack Trade up to +2 on active defenses for the same amount to hit.
Defensive Attack Trade up to +2 to hit for the same amount in additional active defenses.
Demoralize Use Intimidation as an action to Impair an opponent until the end of your next turn
Feint Use Deception as an action to make an opponent Vulnerable to your attack in the next round.
Finishing Attack If the target is defenseless, hit without rolling; if you roll and hit, it’s considered a critical
Power Attack Trade up to +2 to hit for the same amount of additional effect.
Slam Attack Use your speed as damage, but you take half of it
Surprise Attack Someone surprised is Stunned and Vulnerable for a round (p. 183).
Team Attack Everyone with the same general type of attack can increase damage if they all attack together.

Demoralize and Feint are each defined as a standard action, so you can’t mix them, and they aren’t attacks, so any maneuver that says “When you make an attack” can’t go with them.

Two of the other maneuvers (Surprise Attack and Team Attack) are more about the circumstances surrounding the attack than the way you choose to fiddle your character’s numbers.

Surprise Attack and Team Attack could probably be combined with almost any of the other attacks: a surprise slam attack, for instance. I don’t think many people would have a problem with a surprise team attack where everyone has increased their attack with Power Attack…it’s one of those things that teams do when assaulting the Big Bad Evil Dude who can shrug off any of their attacks. So those two maneuvers might reasonably be done with almost other maneuver.

So I don’t think the intent is not to combine some maneuvers.

Finishing Attack has a pretty specific requirements (target defenseless) and also is defined as a standard action. However, I can see adding (say) power attack to it because the target has an awfully high Toughness, for instance.

Slam Attack is also a pretty specific maneuver, but I can certainly see someone adding, say, Accurate Attack because they don’t want to miss. That turns (for instance) Speed 10 into Damage 8, or damage 9 if you moved full speed….but you’re less likely to miss.

That being said, the following are … let’s say abusable. They modify how you do an attack (“When you make an attack you can…” is what they all say).

  • Accurate Attack
  • All-Out Attack
  • Defensive Attack
  • Power Attack

Some of them are contradictory and there’s no point to using them together, like Power Attack and Accurate Attack. They max out at changing the relevant bonus by 2, can’t improve something by more than double, and can’t take anything below +0, so you can’t make yourself (say) more vulnerable than Defenseless. I don’t see anyone talking about what the results might be when you add +4 to an attack bonus (which almost certainly doesn’t double it for any PL7+ game) by combining Accurate Attack and All-Out Attack.

The biggie seems to be All-Out Attack and Power Attack. Your attack bonus stays the same, your defenses go down, your effect goes up. It’s the equivalent of a haymaker. I don’t see a big problem.

I would say you can combine maneuvers, if the description allows and it makes narrative sense.

However, as pointed out before, when someone has the Advantages, things get sticky, because the advantages let you shift things for essentially a degree of success. Like precognition or postcognition, this is a combination that can knock a GM’s careful plan into the trash.

I haven’t seen anything in the rules that says yes or so. I don’t really have the problem with my players (when they do something like that, we call it clever playing, and I account for it in the future; must be our wargaming roots).

But you can’t limit the number of advantages or combat advantages in a turn to one, because then characters with Improved Initiative can never use their Taunt advantage, and that’s clearly not true to the source material.

So you can chain them and combine them, and if we see that it’s ruining other fun (like, I don’t seem to be able to come up with a villain who can last three turns), well, I’ll outlaw it. GM gets to decide what ’s appropriate.

Rules Clarifications and House Rules

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