We received a couple questions from someone who bought the Mighty Six RPG and we wanted to share their question and the answer here!
Question (well actually three…):
I just purchased Mighty Six and am currently reading through the rules. I have been playing out a few basic fights with characters in the back of the book, just simple toe to toe slug fests to see how damage and soak work. I don’t know if I’m doing it wrong but just about every damage roll causes the person’s wound levels to drop right to dead even after soaking. If I am understanding this right an unharmed character with a 20 soak get hit for 36 damage, 16 gets past soak which drops them to dead since they can’t shrug that off. Is this correct or am I missing something?
The second question I have is about designing new powers. Is there a rule of thumb for setting point costs for powers?
Lastly, when you release future suppliments/adventures/etc. do you plan to have a default baseline power point total for the power level of the products?
Thank you for your time. I am really enjoying this product and am looking forward to future releases!
Answer from Paul, one of the authors of the Mighty Six RPG:
These are great opening questions because they cut right to some of the biggest challenges we faced when designing and testing this game. I’ll go after the low hanging fruit here and answer your questions in reverse, saving your first question for last because it requires a lot of thought.
With respect to your last question, absolutely. Every supplement will contain a statement about recommended power levels, and maybe suggestions on how to either reduce or increase the challenge level of the scenario. If you look at the sample adventure, it recommends 3 to 5 heroes of at least 100 points each. And that’s probably an LD 50 (lethal dose 50, or dose required to kill 50% of the time for those who are not science nerds like myself). Unlike some games where one can determine down to the last hit point how things are going to turn out, we’re probably going to have way more unpredictability and eschew things like “threat ratings” or “creature ratings”. To me, that kinda sucks the soul out of a game a little. We will however have recommendations about how powerful characters need to be to have a reasonable chance of success.
Regarding your second question, the answer is both no and yes. I wish I could reveal to you the golden table that enumerates the relative values of all abilities and powers and permits side by side comparison in order to properly assign point costs to every new Powerk. Unfortunately such a table (to my knowledge) does not exist, yet. We arrived at the values of our Powerks using a couple of different methods. First, if it already existed in the Mini Six Bare Bones Edition text then we didn’t change it (except when you Amplify that Perk to make it more powerful, then each bump costs the Perks baseline cost, or in some cases its “therafter” cost). We did this to make this game as seemlessly connected to Mini Six as possible, so that characters from both Mini and Mighty Six could be easily interchanged. The second method was just raw trial and error and game esthetics. Powers that rapidly dominated a game became relatively more expensive than weaker ones. Crude, but I think somewhat successful. Everybody’s tolerance for Min/Maxing Munchkinism is different, and there are always more ways to skin this cat, but in our playtests we found this mixture effective.
Now, having said this, our intention with Powerks was not have an exhaustive list of every super power under the sun. Instead, our intention was to allow you to construct your own Powerks using our list of “simple” Powerks all mixed into a Power Source or an Invention. So we don’t have for example, Weather Control as a listed Powerk. Lots of comic book characters do, but each of them does it in very different ways with very different abilities. If I wanted to make a Weather Control Power Source I would decide what abilities I wanted to have because of Weather Control and include the corresponding Powerks as part of my “Weather Control” Power Source. So my Weather-Dude character would buy a ten level Power Source (costing me 50 Power Points). That lets me have a Power Source with slots for ten Powerks that I can distribute and redistribute 30 Power Points among, as needed. The slots might contain Energy Blast (lighting bolts), Flight (carried by the wind), Energy Blast (wind), Energy Blast (frost), Create Matter (rain water), Telekinesis (other things carried by the winds), Dazzle (an obscuring fog), Super Defense (enveloped in a vortex of wind). This still leaves 2 empty slots that I can fill later (at a cost of 10 Character Points) as my character develops and new ideas come to mind.
So even though Weather Control isn’t on the menu, you can make it yourself using the MIghty Six ruleset and a little creativity, without being limited by someone else’s notion of what a weather controlling character should be able to do.
Your first question is the best one, and speaks to the huge variability in roleplaying and story telling culture. Ask anyone who I’ve GM’d and they’ll all tell you that I’m a bastard, but fair. No stranger to the TPK (total party kill) am I, and that goes for my super hero games as well. But I would never claim that my style is the best and only style anyone should play. Far from it. The genre of the super heroic is a many colored beast, containing both the gritty and the grandiose. Gritty titles like The Watchmen, The DarkKnight, Kick-Ass and so on, are full of blood, guts, broken teeth and littered with the bodies of named characters. More Grandiose titles like the Avengers, JLA etc occasionally kill off characters with much fanfare and gnashing of teeth and accompanying drama. I’m more of a fan of the former than the latter, and some of that has probably leaked into my game.
Yes, if you inflict 16 or more damage beyond someone’s Soak, they’re dead, kaput, pushing up the daisies, taking a prolonged dirt nap, pining for the fjords, an ex-character. If the Hulk ever managed to land a solid blow on DareDevil, I imagine the results would be the same. Splat. For my tastes, this is fine and is as it should be. All is well. Pass the player another character sheet.
But for many, this is not what they signed up for when they play super heroic RPGs damn it! DareDevil can’t die, he’s my favorite character! Amen to that brother, so we’ve got a few solutions in the rules.
- Character Points can be burned to bump up your Soak on a point by point basis reducing the damage to something less lethal like Mortal Wound (still pretty bad but salvageable) or Incapacitated.
- Hero Points can be burned the same way, each point yielding a +6 bonus to Soak in the similar fashion. Up to three points can be used in this way. Alternately a Hero Point can be used to lower a Wound result by one step, and arguably, turning a Dead result into a Mortal Wound instead. Hero Points can also be used in more narrative ways as stated in The Mini Six Bare Bones Edition pg 6 “Make a small change to their location (locating an unlocked window, finding a can of WD40 and a roll of duct tape, etc.)”. One could potentially extrapolate this to cover any setting element. So the plasma blast that would have incinerated your head instead gets deflected by a hunk of falling debris, causing the shrapnel to blind you for the scene (or perhaps longer). Maybe the Menacing Mass slipped on leaking transmission fluid from all the wrecked cars around him all the time, and instead of inflicting lethal damage, only manages Knockout damage. As a GM< if a player suggested such uses for their Hero Points, I'd go along with it, since they're somewhat entertaining.
- Shrugging It Off. In MIghty Six, some, if not all Wound results can be Shrugged Off, trading Stuns for Wound levels. Technically, a Dead result can’t be Shrugged, but who’s to say in your campaign such a House Rule couldn’t exist. It would certainly make things a little less lethal. Maybe one could give the player the option of taking a new physical Complication like Lame, One Eye, Ugly etc in exchange for reducing the Dead to Incapacitated.
- Declare the default damage in the Campaign to Knockout instead of Wounding. All damage causes Wound levels by default, unless otherwise stated. Damage can be declared as Knockout even after it’s inflicted. One could say that unless otherwise specified all damage is Knockout, and fatalities bear significant repercussions (vendettas, legal process, bad karma etc) as it does in real life. This moral dimension tends to get forgotten in most RPG scenarios.
Any way, I hope my ramblings have helped. Remember, it’s your game now, tweak it, re-write it, scrap everything but the cover page if you wish and don’t be afraid to write in your questions.