Except... That's an argument by reduction to absurdity. You're focusing on the scenario where Slayer uses nothing but This Will Not Stand the moment he hits the Red Zone. There are plenty of scenarios that aren't "Slayer is making his last stand and shouting his defiance repeatedly at a foe." Aka, reducing your analysis of the character to the scenario where Slayer is in the Red Zone and using his one Red Zone action ability is deliberately misrepresenting him in any situation but the most absurd one, and since that absurd one isn't completely optimal, he's a bad character.
I'm not saying he's bad. I'm saying that the "self-sustaining cycle" of Defending yourself out the ears with your action and doing very little else isn't a productive plan. It's an interesting combo on paper, but in practice I don't think there's a good reason to have it. There are other ways to make hard-to-kill heroes (like Scabbard, above) who can also do other things well, like heal/defend their allies, or go on the offensive, at the same time. Therefore I don't see a compelling reason to take that power over another one that will advance the scene toward a win state, or fend off a loss state, in some way.
Fair enough. I think we've beaten that particular horse to death.
Cat, you nailed it in one with the point of not using it every turn as well, because while "Too Angry To Die" is one way to use it, one of the other biggest uses of Considered Planning is in the name, planning my next move based on what the team does. I already showed how absurd it can get with Inspiring Totem, but lets show an example of the usefulness of using Considered Planning in a team setting:
We have a scene where we have a couple of BBEG's doing their thing, there is a challenge that is needs to be resolved of an Overcome or two, and all Heroes are up and active. We know that the challenge in need of an Overcome or two is a risk if it isn't handled within the next couple of turns, but we can't ignore the BBEG's as well, and we aren't sure what escalating the scene with Twists is gonna do.
So we use Considered Planning, making sure to use the Persistent Boost we reasonably should have made earlier in the scene, and lets assume for sake of the argument we hit that Mid die average of a +2 Bonus. Let's say we roll Bag of Holding's D10, Conviction's D8, and my Red Status's D10. My Max Die will most likely roll a +2 or +3 Mod as a bonus (Unless I roll poorly, but we are all subject to Lady Luck's whims), and my Mid die will probably average around 4-6, but lets say I toss my +2 Bonus on this roll, giving me a 6-8 Mid die. Now, let's make my bonus basic action a Boost as well, giving me a second +2 or +3 Mod. I now have somewhere around 9 DR, so my team can reasonably leave me to my devices and I don't need to worry about most threats, because if something knocked me down it was swinging for the fences or could straight up get past my armor, thus allowing their Boosts and Heals to be tossed to those who need them so they don't meet the same fate.
At this point, I watch the state of the battle and plan the next move I'll make come my turn. If my allies clear the Overcome challenges, then I can use Dual Offense and dump all my bonuses on the Mid die to hit hard, or dump two of them on Mid and one on Min to make the Hinders more tangible. But what if they wail on the villains and leave the challenge alone? Well, I have two Principles that can be leveraged creatively (Maybe someone tried something using their powers earlier to solve the problem but I'm going to use some weird strategy that relies on something other than superpowers, or maybe the problem calls to question whether I'm the right person for this job but I'll do it anyways because I believe this to be a test of my faith in my capabilities to complete my mission), and even if I can't use one of those ability actions, I can still tack on a free Overcome with any of my attacks or onto another Considered Planning, and if I dump all those Bonuses on my Mid die, I can almost 100% assure the Overcome is won without escalating things further (The only way to fail is to roll a 1 on two of my dice and have a total Bonus below +7, have enough Hinders on me that the bonus is rendered moot, or roll my Mid die in such a way that even adding my bonuses doesn't get me past 8 (Example would be rolling a 2 and only having +5 in bonuses)), or if I do have to take a Twist to succeed, it'll probably be a Minor one and the escalation will be much smaller. So by spending a turn in set-up, I can potentially clear 2 Overcome challenges and advance our win condition without forcing someone to spend their turn supporting me and instead allowing them to support a heavy hitter or someone who is dealing with a different problem.
Now, by dropping my guard to do these potential actions, the villains should rightfully target me, I just left myself wide open after executing my plan, and while my Armored ability reduces damage, BBEG's like using BIG BAD EVIL DICE to hit like trucks. But there in lies the beauty of the game, I still have teammates who can act as well. Maybe someone tosses some extra heals my way, or someone uses a Reaction to help me not die before my next turn, or the other big guy comes in and just throttles the bad guy so hard his predecessors feel it. By using Considered Planning, I got off my Big Darn Hero moment and let the others also have their chance to shine, and even if I go down, I go down feeling like I did something cool.
The spammed use of Considered Planning is only more valuable in a situation where Slayer is isolated from the team or he needs additional time for set-up. Maybe I just fell down a trap door and now I'm surrounded by the entire horde of mooks and brutes Baron Blade was planning on ambushing us with and my team is none the wiser. My team is gonna need time to get there, and I need to not die in the process, so we play tactically here and turtle until the team arrives, then switch tactics once I'm sure I'm not about to be run over by 20 guys in Blue and Green spandex. Or maybe I wanna unload some big boi bonuses but my previous roll was complete and utter garbage so I spend a second turn in the defensive state to try and churn up something better.
The major point here is that while spamming it may be a "waste of a turn", there are ways of using it that make the self-sustaining nature of it valuable, as I'm not making my teammates stop what they're doing to assist me. If my bonuses are utter trash, I don't need my teammates to spend their turns giving me a stronger bonus rather than buffing the guy about to unleash a Charged Up Blast on BBEG #1, I can just cycle for a better roll on my next turn (Obviously if this is the last turn I'll roll with what I got, but then again EVERYONE should be doing this since this is our last chance). If I feel like I'm about roll poorly on my Big Darn Hero roll, I don't need somone to give me a reroll with their reaction since I can just dump three Boosts on it to make whatever I roll somewhat decent.
But I digress, key point of all this is I can do something by myself in 2 turns that would take a group of 3 heroes 3 turns between the 3 of them to do (Hero A Boosts Hero B and Hero C, who both Overcome) by using Considered Planning to grant myself some Boosts before another ability action (Like my Principles), and not lose my flexibility in the situation (If Heroes A, B and C spend their round doing this, I can use my next turn to hit Enemy A, B and C with an Attack and a Hinder instead, or maybe I hit Enemy A and B with an Attack and Hinder while passing a Boost to Hero A, or maybe I hit Enemy B with an unblockable Attack, then a Second Attack and now they have 2 Hinders on them). Furthermore, while it would take me 2 rounds to get those 2 turns and they can complete their 3 turns in one round, they also gave up the possibility of getting in 3 Attack Actions against enemies that round (Which my flexibility would at least allow me to make up for to some degree on my next turn), and considering how there are some REALLY good Attack Actions available across a large variety of Power Sources and Archetypes, missing out on all that extra Damage could be game-losing as well. I will concede though that if viewed from the "I'm in the Yellow Zone and I have Collections so I can use Red Abilities early" viewpoint it is pretty lackluster, but it still has a use since it could be used to make a stronger persistent bonus for more potential snowballing.
I built a relatively similar hero, actually. Very different purpose, but similar implementation in some ways.
- Background: Exile
- Power Source: Higher Power
- Archetype: Psychic
- Personality: Decisive
-- Water(Weather) d8, Iron(Metal) d8, Salt(Stone) d8, Precognition d8, Deduction d8
-- Science d10, Insight d8, Investigation d10, Salt-Steel Exorcist d8
-- Green: 27-21 Health, d8
--- Forge-Fae's Blessing(Resilience) (I): At the start of your turn, remove any -1 penalties from yourself
--- Strike While It's Hot(Psychic Insight) (R): After rolling during your turn, you may take 1 damage to reroll your entire dice pool.
--- Glimpse Of Possibility(Psychic Assault) (A): Attack using Precognition. Hinder the target using your Min die.
--- Principle Of The Zealot
--- Principle Of Exorcism
-- Yellow: 20-11 Health, d8
--- Salt Of The Earth(Dangerous Explosion) (A): Attack multiple targets using Salt. Use your Mid die. Hinder all targets damaged by this ability with your Min die. Hinder yourself with your Max die.
--- Part The Sea(Embolden) (A): Attack using Water, and Boost all nearby heroes taking Attack or Hinder actions using your Min die until your next turn.
--- Exorcist's Aid(Precognitive Alteration) (R): After an ally rolls dice to take an action for their turn but before using the result, Boost that ally's roll using your single Precognition die.
--- Exorcist's Analysis(Psychic Analysis) (A): Boost yourself using Investigation. Either use your Max die, or use your Mid die and make it persistent.
-- Red: 10-1 Health, d8
--- Exorcist's Discipline(Inspiring Totem) (I): When you use an ability action, you may also perform any one basic action using your Mid die on the same roll.
--- Salt-Steel Sacrament(Lead By Example) (A): Make a basic action using Science. Use your Max die. All other heroes who take the same basic action on their turn against the same target receive a Boost from your Mid+Min dice.
-- Out: Boost an ally by rolling your single History die.
Salt-Steel was discovered as a child, stolen at birth by Fae and raised working at the forge to work with metals that were too dangerous for them to work themselves, particularly cold iron. When a group of exorcists broke up the camp that she was raised in, she was brought back to human society. With no parents or records presenting themselves, she was taken in as a ward of the church. Her powers of manipulating water, salt, and iron came from rigorous training, and while she is no longer affiliated with the church, she efficacy as an exorcist is undeniable. Yet, rumors would tell you that her powers are enhanced by a deal with a higher power, and rarest of all one would hear the truth.
After all, what sane women would sell her soul to the collective will of mankind?
Okay, so here's one that's been frustrating me for a bit.
I wanted to do a take on a reformed villain, in the vein of Marvel's Serpent Society. However, I really couldn't find a good archetype/power-source combination that gave the sort of things I was looking for: a little bit of agility, a little bit of speed, a bit of DR (from scales or the like), and a venomous spit attack. In the end, I ended up with a whole bunch of d8s...
But, nevertheless, below is Lady Toxic (Amy Krait), once a known infiltrator and thief, but now purportedly reformed and aiding a set of heroes against her former comrades. I'd be interesting in hearing some feedback on her...
First read through, noticing a few things. Serpent Dance, Sink Fangs, Venomous Drain, and Coiled to Strike are each using Powers/Qualities from outside of their normal options. Is that intentional?
I’m not following here…elaborate?
Serpent Dance (renamed from Throw Minion) normally uses a Power, and it's currently using a Quality.
Normally, when a character gets a Red Zone Ability, it has to use a power or quality from the category it's taken from. From looking at her Sheet, Sink Fangs would normally be using Venom Spit, Take Down would normally be using Wall-Crawling, and... Wait, does she have a Mental Quality that I'm not seeing?
I see the issue with Throw Minion currently; that's an easy change to move it over to Agility (which actually nets me a better die).
The text in Step 5 says "You must have a die assigned to a power or quality in a category to use with an ability from that category." It doesn't necessarily say that you have to use that power/quality with that ability; just that you have to have a power or quality in that category to take a red ability in that grouping. (p. 106 for reference). Maybe I'm misreading, but I took it as, "If you possess a quality/power that's relevant, it unlocks this group to pick from."
As I'm reading it, I could take Charged-Up Blast (Sink Fangs) because I have Sigature Weapon as a power. However, there's nothing saying I *have* to use Signature Weapon to trigger that power. Same goes for Take-Down (Venomous Drain).
I think you got me, though, with Considered Planning (Coiled to Strike). Intuition is an Intellectual Power, not a Mental Quality, so I wouldn't be able to pull from that table. Stupid synonyms... Swap that one for Endurance Fighting.
It's easy to miss, but it's the second paragraph:
"Some Red abilities also specify that they can only be used with a specific power or quality instead of any from within that category"
I read that as well; and, in fact, there are Red abilities that have a power or quality already assigned to them. Sacrificial Ram is one of those; it requires you to use Signature Vehicle, as opposed to any of the other Hallmark powers.
At any rate, the two Red powers that I picked are still both valid, even if they need their power or quality switched (which, in the end, is pretty much going to be a d8, unless I’m using Agility or Criminal Underworld).
Thoughts on the actual build, then?
Um... The link broke. I'd closed it at one point. From what I recall though, she seems quite able to engage foes and force foes to fight on their terms. By the end of a fight, she'll most likely be able to tear whatever target is hit by Sink Fangs, and Venomous Drain will serve as an excellent backup option for locking down a target for teammates to strike down if she can't herself.
I just re-uploaded it, which probably broke the link. I went ahead and fixed it up above, but I'll link it again *here* for ease.
On the plus side, it occured to me that she's heavy on hinders. I didn't walk into this character picturing her as a debuffer, but it definitely fits the character I had hoped to build. That, at least, was successful...
Alright, aside from weirdness with powers/qualities in abilities, my first thought: Lady Toxic seems excellent at disrupting a plan.
In the Green Zone, she's able to engage a foe while keeping her own guard up, or disrupt their bolsters or hinders, or just move somewhere problematic. That level of versatility means that she'll rarely run out of options. Combined with Slippery letting her slip out of penalties automatically over time, she'll be able to make what she does happen effectively.
In the Yellow Zone, her options expand a bit more. Giving herself a small boost while Attacking or making a minor foe she targets attack someone else are good for escalating or building up for confronting more dangerous threats.
In the Red Zone, she's able to finish a single target effectively. Sink Fangs has the potential to be devastating, while Venomous Drain is able to make sure that her target isn't going to be able to respond effectively. Weakening Strikes is a good general ability, and it has excellent flavor in this case.
Overall? Lady Toxic will be able to make sure that a single target is miserable, but might have difficulty dealing with multiple targets at once.
My reading is that “to use with” means that you have to both have that die and use it with the ability. The Step by Step instructions back this up: “Choose two red abilities. Pick from the list that corresponds with the category of the power or quality that you will use for this ability.”
Salt-Steel: A solid generalist. No earth-shaking combos unless you have several teammates who use basic actions in Red (Inspiring Totem, Lead By Example, Overload), but no glaring weaknesses either.
Lady Toxic: I'm amused that, while normally "poison" characters are debilitators, Lady Toxic is all about defending and removing debuffs, and getting enemies to hurt each other... until she gets into Red. Then she's all about the debuffs. As a villain-turned-hero, it makes a lot of sense--it's a lot like Harpy's Arcane/Bird dichotomy.
I'm not sure where Charged-Up Blast fits into this build, though. It's a nice heavy hit even without a lot of Boosts, but Lady Toxic only has one ability (in Yellow) that gives her a boost, and it's a small one (and also, not a great ability, though Diversion isn't a good choice here either). Finishing Blow might be more effective and more thematic. Discern Weakness also stands out to me, thematically.
This is also my read on the rules.
If not already obvious, that's also my read on them. I have plenty more characters to throw in this thread for people to give thoughts on, if no one else has a thing to be rated ATM.
The most important conversions I've done are the 4 PCs from our present Champions game. Maybe I'll put them up here for some evaluation so I don't hand the players lame characters!