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The Ballad of Min-Maximus (how a power-gamer ruined Wild Talents)

Darrin Kelley

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...why are we being hard on the storyteller?
I'm not. I believe stories like this are important for other people to learn from. And so are the conversations that arise because of them.

I have no issues with the original poster. Regardless of some minor misunderstandings and miscommunications that arose during our exchanges.
 

Rupert

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The Force-Field of PC-Invulnerableness is a separate issue, but kinda falls under the "optimize to help the team" banner - it's protecting everyone, so it's like the suggested "minmax to make a Leader" option.
Except the guy that provides the team-wide really strong force-field also one-shots two tough villians a round. This is not 'someone built a mini-maxed buffer/leader'. This is 'someone built a mini-maxed defender and striker and thinks this is okay'.
 

Mailer

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THE BALLAD OF MIN-MAXIMUS part 8
The Idiot Who Got Lost In The Dark.

Aftermath of Session 3. We are more than half-way through this short campaign that I had planned to run for around 5 sessions. I once held high hopes for this campaign, but while there had been some fun moments, it had mostly been a disappointment--A one-sided cake-walk with very little in the way of true danger. What excitement did occur wasn't exactly pulse-pounding.

My semi-sandbox had quite a few things going on, but the PC's had latched onto “The Brotherhood of Evil Mutants” as they called them. Gladiator, Malice, Blowtorch, and Buzzsaw. They wiped out the campaign's main super villain team in the blink of an eye, and not one of those Super villains even got to take a single shot at the heroes.

Min-Maximus's and Exploitii's character's were simply too powerful for this campaign, particularly Slate, the Telekinetic Wonder-God.

I could have tailored some new villains to better challenge the group. They definitely had some trouble with the illusions, trickery, and psychic attacks of Fear Master—but here's the thing—We only had like two sessions left. Introducing new villains and running the build up and trash talk and tracking down—there just wasn't time for it.

And I was trying to run a fighting, street level campaign with lots of fists and chains and knives and guns and energy blasts and teleporting around. I didn't want all the villains to be a bunch of psychic tricksters and odd balls—all built around trying to accommodate this ONE, ass-wipe Player and his X'Ploitin' sidekick.

I wanted some villains who could take and throw a punch. I wanted there to be some FIGHTS!

I considered ending the campaign here. The main plot they were involved in was resolved (resolved with 4 corpses) and the two over-powered character's were going to continue being a problem without major changes to the campaign power level (which would also have the effect of putting the other 3 characters too far BELOW power level).

But I decided to go ahead and prepare session 4. This would probably be the last Wild Talents session—I would most likely be canceling Session 5.

So I bring some of the sub-plots and background villains more to the front, and I went ahead and developed a new Super-Villain for Session 4 as well. I did NOT tailor this new villain to be an exact counter or foil to Slate, but I did think this villain might offer the team a few complications and might even catch Slate off-balance.

This Villain was named, “The Scarlet Pickle” and I will provide more detail him shortly.

The nature of my “semi-sandbox” had already called for the team to separate several times—but as I prepared Session 4—I all but forced team separation into the plot. At least some of the players would have to operate outside the safety of Slate's Universal Shield.

SESSION 4 BEGINS

I open all sessions with the whole team in the middle of a fight or “situation” This is usually an “easier” encounter designed to warm up the players and let them flex their muscles a bit. Session 4 opened with a bank robbery that had escalated into a full-scale hostage crisis.

Police and SWAT surround the bank, and inside, 8 armed robbers led by a low-tier Super-Villain. I can't remember the super villain's powers because Slate took him out so fast he never really took an action.

The Players not only had to solve the hostage crisis, but they had to also get around the police, who at this point, were VERY unfriendly toward the Heroes.

So Envoy teleports the entire team of 5 onto the roof of the bank. He couldn't teleport them inside, because he had never seen the inside of the bank—Envoy had, however, observed the roof from the News Copter broadcast—allowing him to “Poof” them there.

They go through an access door, and now they are in a dark, access chamber filled with a labyrinth of air-ducts.

“I start quietly looking for a way down into the bank,” Min-Maximus says.

“Okay,” I answer, “Roll Wits plus Naviagtion.”

“I have to roll for this?” Min-Maximus complains, “I mean, eventually Slate is going to spot the access door if he looks around a little.”

“Sure,” I said, “but the question is, exactly HOW LONG does it take during this time-sensitive hostage crisis?”

“Then I let someone else look for it,” Min-Maximus says.

“You've already taken the lead,” I respond. “If you fail this roll, then someone else can give it a try.”

Min-Maximus reluctantly picked up his two ten-sided dice and tried to roll a match. He failed.

“Slate wastes five minutes leading you around through the maze of air ducts,” I narrate, “He leads you into the same dead-end twice. You now have only 5 minutes before SWAT attempts to breach, which will almost certainly lead to civilian caualties”

“Great work, Slate,” Gunmetal laughed.

Min-Maximus was pissed, “It's stupid that my character would get lost like that just because of a dice roll!”

“What's stupid here is your character,” I said, “He got lost in the dark because you statted him up as a slack-jawed idiot!”

Min-Maximus brought up the Amnesia and Instinctive Intelligence again.

SIGH

Next Up—The Scarlet Pickle
 
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Darrin Kelley

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🔴 Warning - threadban for making the whole thread about him
Except the guy that provides the team-wide really strong force-field also one-shots two tough villians a round. This is not 'someone built a mini-maxed buffer/leader'. This is 'someone built a mini-maxed defender and striker and thinks this is okay'.
It's a bigger problem than that.

Min-Maximus was trying to make the whole game to be a one man show. Where the rest of the group of players and characters are utterly irrelevant.

Players of that particular mindset have always been a problem in superhero gaming. Regardless of whatever system was used. Because the vast majority of superhero campaigns are team based. If you have a player who refuses to cooperate with that paradigm, you end up with a major problem at a foundational level.
 
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Snumpus

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It's a bigger problem than that.

Min-Maximus was trying to make the whole game to be a one man show. Where the rest of the group of players and characters are utterly irrelevant.

Players of that particular mindset have always been a problem in superhero gaming. Regardless of whatever system was used. Because the vast majority of superhero campaigns are team based. If you have a player who refuses to cooperate with that paradigm, you end up with a major problem at a foundational level.
We know. There have already been multiple pages on the subject. This happened years ago, the OP has explained in just about every way they can how they learned to do things differently, and is just trying to tell a funny story about the learning experience. I’m really not sure what other kind of response the constant refrain of ‘Here’s where you went wrong’ is seeking.
 

DannyK

One Shot Man
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I am not sure if I count as an Omega-type player and won't say for sure until I can figure out if Omega is the best or not.

I have to wonder how the other players were handling this. As a wiseass, I could imagine getting a lot of enjoyment from following a superpowered oaf wander around in circles while the hostage situation deteriorates, but only if the oaf's player is in on it. If they're getting very tense and puffed up about, it's not fun at all.
 

hippokrene

Active member
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My first thought is how does one eat or breathe through this barrier?
If it's the barrier I recall, it's permeable to gasses. It explicitly says in the write-up that you won't suffocate while encircled by it. If he's taken the advantage that lets ally attacks through then allowing him to eat is probably permitted.

My first thought would be to use a Flash attack (blinding) against him or a gas attack, both of which could be strong enough to KO the character depending on his other attributes.
 

StableEquilibrium

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I do understand how powerful spider-man is. Between Daredevil and Spider-Man means in the middle power wise--Not as weak as DD and not as strong as Spider-Man. That all said, despite Spider-Man's Amazing Strength, He's still able to have a good fight with characters such as the Vulture. He does miss sometimes, and he does take hits.

So, yes, Spider-Man level is too high for this campaign. I expect you will next suggest that maybe this wasn't clear to the players--Maybe they misunderstood my guidance about the power level between DD and SM to mean UP TO SM levels. But keep in mind--my guidance didn't end with this one line of suggestions. We continued to discuss power level and expectations through the ENTIRE process of character creation. Most of this time was spent arguing with Min-Maximus for hours on end about the concept that his Universal Shield being on WHILE he SLEEPS is somehow a DISADVANTAGE that GIVES HIM POINTS rather than costing them.
Hmm. A classic disad that’s really an advantage. When Champions first came out, my friends and I had fun designing broken characters to see what we could do with the system. We never played any of these or used them as NPCs in our campaigns, but we had fun because the design part was like its own game.

The frustrating part of point build systems is that you have to consider and construct all the implications of your character conception. There’s no room in such systems for improvising a new use for an ability or coming up with an idea of what your character should be capable of doing because of background and training and implementing it during a desperate situation.

On another note, your pair of MinMaximus and Exploitii sounds like something I’ve seen several times. Two people one of whom is a real jerk, the other who is kind of orbiting the jerk and doing some of what the jerk does, but is a decent person underneath and thrives once away from the jerk’s gravity field.
 
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