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Defenses to maximum!

Defenses to maximum!

I've picked up the M&M3 book a little while ago and started diving in to it. I've apped for a few games but nothing has taken off the ground yet. One thing struck me was that several of the DM's said that I needed to max out the defenses, otherwise it wouldn't be a viable character.

I've run one combat myself with my home group and it took a while for the PL10 team to drop a group of PL 3 thugs. Even though the bruises accumulated every round, it took a while to get that 4th degree hit.

So... do you need to max out all your defenses to make a survivable character?

Ideally, your defense, toughness, attack, and damage should all hit your PL caps, with your other save averaging about that. Now, you are a point short on one or maybe two, it is not the end of the world, but more than that and you simply cease to be a a character of your nominal PL, and instead act as one of a lower PL. This causes all the standard issues associated with having a deadweight character in the party.

Not vital, but definitely should try and get within a couple.. Keep in mind also that if a staggered enemy takes another staggered condition, they move to the 4th degree of failure.. Taking average toughness for PL 3 vs Average damage for PL 10, they should get knocked out pretty quick.. A toughness of 3 vs DC 25 means anything 11 (14 total) or less gets them staggered, two of those and he's out. They're knocked out by rolling a 6 (9 total) or less no matter.. Maybe your dice were rolling well for the toughness, which can happen and is sort of a flaw with MnM's system.

I seriously doubt the players were in any danger of taking any real damage in this encounter.. And they shouldn't be with that big of a PL gap.. However if they do not at least somewhat optimize their defenses, they can take damage and get staggered or worse by these guys, which shouldn't happen.. This should be a push over of a fight. Think if some player was only at say... Half cap for 10.. 5 parry 5 toughness.. These thugs that should be easy will hit him quite a bit (only needing a 12 to do so if they're average capped) and the hero needing a to beat a 18 to avoid harm on his toughness check to avoid damage.. The below average capped hero will probably win, but will most likely take some damage and is really only a few bad toughness saves from losing a fight that should, again, be a cakewalk.

Yeah, the dice were pretty middling on the PC's side and decent on the thug's but that was a difference of 7 PL's. Given that the degrees are in increments of 5, then the level at which they break would be five as well, all things being equal. But I haven't sat down and analyzed the numbers.

In most game types, I usually try to keep the players' Fort and Will saves at about PL-2. This makes Afflictions a little more effective. But other than that, yes, max everything else out.

Also, thugs (and any other minions) don't accumulate injuries - they automatically take the worst possible effect when they fail a save. That was probably why the combat took much longer than it should have.

I was using the Thug archetype from the book, not character features. Does that matter? Can you cite what page that fact is on? I find that the book is very information dense (a good thing) but sometimes hard to find key facts.

Page 193 in the M&M3e PDF (my DCA HH is packed away at the moment):

Minions are minor characters subject to special rules in combat, and generally easier to defeat than normal characters. Villains often employ hordes of minions against heroes. The following rules apply to minions:
• Minions cannot score critical hits against non-minions.
• Non-minions can make attack checks against minions as routine checks.
• If a minion fails a resistance check, the minion suffers the worst degree of the effect. So a minion failing a Damage resistance check, for example, is incapacitated, regardless of the degree of failure.
• Certain traits (like the Takedown advantage) are more effective against or specifically target minions.

Okay, so this applies to a PL3 thug bought as a villain's minion but not to the same thug that works for himself. Gotcha.

It applies to anyone the GM wants it to apply to. :-)

Think of it as a genre trope. In hero comics, there are always large groups of these mooks for the heroes to burn through in awesomeness! In a PL 10 superhero game, PL 3 thugs should probably always be minions. They aren't there to challenge the heroes. That's boring and it takes too long (for me anyway; your mileage may vary). Mooks are there to distract the heroes and/or let the heroes show off their bad-ass-tastic-ness!


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