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Rabbit

How do you Personally Define Overpowered?

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Whilst not directly spoken about (From what I've seen), I've noticed on a few occasion the concept of overpowered being used whilst discussing other topics. So this just got my curiosity going, how do you personally define overpowered? 

I bring this up because I do argue with myself about it. Most people seem to define it by a single characters powers, such as reality warping or ability to cast giant firestorms. But it's rarely talked about in cases where an individual controls a city or army. A character could just be a regular human, but if he controls an army of 1000 soldiers is that OP? If that same character happens to control a city the size of Hell's Gate, is that OP? Neither of these things are a real 'power', but do make a character very powerful. 

I've never had an issue with powerful character as they can create good plot points, but I would like to hear your opinion on the topic. 

Edited by Rabbit

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NPC's are generally regarded as cannon fodder in my experience, so I generally don't regard them as factoring in much. Which isn't to say an army isn't a powerful force, but PC powers are what I usually regard when judging if something is overpowered.

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In terms of individual powers I go with the mild powers rules, and care more about amplitude than about origin. Generally speaking I consider "reality warping" to be OP but if someone just uses "reality warping" to effect changes whose impact is on the level of "regular magic", then it's fine. It's just a different flavor

I think to your point about scale, it'll be relative to other people and what the system can allow. So if there's only one person in the whole forum that can have an army of 1000, then - well you may not be OP in the classic "black holes" sense but clearly you're very powerful. On Valucre I'd say that relative to a single player character, having an army of 1000 (even fodder, as it were) makes you more powerful than the single player character. Some NPCs are mooks but not all of them. It shouldn't take more than a handful of capable NPCs to offer a serious challenge to most MP characters most of the time

Compared to other army-having folks I'd say an army of 1000 would put you at the low end of intermediate or high end of beginner, as far as armies go. Controlling a mega-city, assuming full control and not just person of influence which is what most people are most of the time, would definitely class you as a national-level threat in my book. OP against thousand-person armies but about on par to other people who have control of mega-cities

Other than that I think the best approach is going from the narrative angle. If the character always has the answer to every problem, that's OP. If they do once, not as big a deal. If the answer isn't perfect or tide-turning, but just makes a difference, also not as big a deal. Healing bruises and scratches isn't even that powerful in MP in my book but in a story where the scratch is supposed to be a big deal, lead to an infection maybe and cause a character to lose an arm or something, someone able to heal that scratch is a big deal. But if they do it as a function of a whole quest, going after the holy grail to cure their aunt or something, it's back within scale

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Resources that are de facto infinite, and the unlimited capacity to preclude complications from any given conflict.

A wizard toasts all her enemies with fire. A general commands absolute loyalty and morale never falters. A politician never has to face the discontent of their constituents and rivals. 

Generally, roleplayers seem to arbitrarily add limitations that sound plausible in the moment, either to generate buy-in or to be conscientious.

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Note that these opinions only apply to competitive IC combat.

In my opinion, characters that always shrug off damage, evade every incoming attack, or just don't react to damage are OP.

  • They make PvP combat incredibly frustrating.
  • They make PvE combat pretty much pointless.
  • In my experience, they typically want to fight everyone and everything.
  • They unflinchingly tank damage without any ill-effects.

In my opinion, characters that are able to cast all of the spells can very easily be OP.  Note that this depends more on how they're played than the previous item.

  • They have access to every imaginable damage type.
  • They upstage more specialized characters.
  • They don't typically have prepared spell lists, so they tend to have a solution for every problem that arises.

In my opinion, characters that can make all of the items can be OP.  Note that this depends more on how they're played than anything else.

  • They can make anything, and they aren't restricted by resources.
  • When they enter combat, no one knows how much of something they have.
  • They can often engage shields and tank damage, sometimes transitioning to category one.
  • They can launch 1,000 missiles in the same time it takes an archer to fire an arrow.
  • They can avail themselves of technology that makes no sense, like a scope that detects your characters based on your characters' heat signature while your characters are on fire in the middle of a burning building surrounded by dozens of NPCs that are also on fire.

In my opinion, characters with incredibly high speed stats/combat teleportation/practically unavoidable attacks with no setup are OP.

  • They telefrag you.
  • If they don't telefrag you, they Ora Ora Ora you.
  • If they have super speed, they often abuse it to land squarely in category one.
  • If you manage to gain the upper hand, their character runs away faster than you can say "Expeditious Retreat."

In my opinion, anything that breaks MP is OP.

 

Additionally, I wouldn't call NPCs mooks, at least not in Terrenus.  I read somewhere that mooks in Terrenus are the exception, not the rule.  If memory serves, the average Terran is basically an Olympian who can throw rocks with his/her/its mind.

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Does it break the anti munch projects rules? Doing these things to other roleplayers is rude as hell and the list is pretty much common sense in my opinion.

Yeah. That's pretty much it. I consider someone refusing to use the anti munch project a big red flag.

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Super speed and gravity manipulation. 

Super speed can be a real fucker when it comes to the suspension of disbelief, especially when you're moving faster than the eye can see/the speed of sound/reflexes. It gets even worse when the culprits ignore physics or are choosy with which ones they prefer to adhere to. 

On the opposite end of the spectrum is gravity manipulation. I just never enjoyed seeing anyone use woo woo magic to manipulate a theoretical force that potentially alters time. If you're using woo woo, cast a fireball or crap thunder. Those things are palatable. 

Edited by Roen

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7 minutes ago, Roen said:

Super speed and gravity manipulation. 

Super speed can be a real fucker when it comes to the suspension of disbelief, especially when you're moving faster than the eye can see/the speed of sound/reflexes. It gets even worse when the culprits ignore physics or are choosy with which ones they prefer to adhere to. 

On the opposite end of the spectrum is gravity manipulation. I just never enjoyed seeing anyone use woo woo magic to manipulate a theoretical force that potentially alters time. If you're using woo woo, cast a fireball or crab thunder. Those things are palatable. 

From here on out I'll be referring to bs pulled out a hat magic as woo woo magic.

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Others have already said it well but “overpowered” is indeed quite subjective. 

I’d say in general that a PC is OP if whatever they are doing upsets the roleplay equilibrium between what a PC can do to exercise power and what a PC should do to maintain uniform enjoyment for all parties involved.

It is safe to assume that most acts of OP do not lead to group enjoyment. Maybe the summoned fire tsunami engulfs too many cities in a split second or the PC never makes a single mistake; a variety of OP scenarios generally make things less interesting for anyone who isn’t the OP PC’s RPer grinning behind their monitor.

But ‘subjective’ sounds like a pretty key term because I don’t think that powers themselves are necessarily OP so much as how they are used. If your character is a god who in your own special realm outside of Valucre can burn stars into nonexistence by blinking then power to you, but as long as those abilities are intensely nerfed on Valucre then fair weather friend.

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10 hours ago, Roen said:

On the opposite end of the spectrum is gravity manipulation. I just never enjoyed seeing anyone use woo woo magic to manipulate a theoretical force that potentially alters time. If you're using woo woo, cast a fireball or crap thunder. Those things are palatable. 

I mean, I've seen you cast a warpstorm of hurricane vaginal dentata and turn a city into bloated cherubs. Although both were story events. 

Edited by Fierach

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27 minutes ago, Fierach said:

I mean, I've seen you cast a warpstorm of hurricane vaginal dentata and turn a city into bloated cherubs. Although both were story events. 

This is actually a good caveat, and harkens to previous comments made in this thread. ‘OP’ is subjective, and opinions will often deviate between what is over powered and what isn’t depending on their personal styles of play and their community’s expectations. Knowing the crowd you’re playing with is a good way to avoid stepping on toes.

The toothy ruinstorm is as good example as any. It’s one of my favorite abilities, and I’m able to scale and/or tailor it to fit the narrative it is being used it. I can tell you how fast it moves, what it does, the kind of damage you can expect, so on and so forth. It has quantifiable and reasonable limits, such as requiring spell reagents and possessive a time/post limit, et cetera. It makes it not only palatable to myself, because I like knowing my character’s ceiling and being creative beneath it, but it makes it palatable to others if they see and know all about what they’re potentially facing down. 
 

Infesting a city with giant flying carnivorous babies is an example of OP, however. I’d like to say sorry for that, and I (maybe) promise to never do it again. 

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There's nothing to apologize for, both were cool, nobody really liked that city anyway (I mean, Puerto Diablo? pfft), and it was badass. Good guys can't be everywhere and villains gotta earn their villain cred.

Edited by Fierach

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For me, overpowered is contextual, both in environment and usage. 

If you're in a medieval setting where the majority of players and npcs around you are wielding sharp sticks and swords, and you bring a technologically advanced weapon like a modern 21st century firearm, that's overpowered.

If you're in a futuristic setting, everybody has a mech, force fields, and power armor with force fields on top of your force fields, and you bring a modern 21st century firearm, that's underpowered.

Referencing an old dungeons and dragons session I once heard about, If you have a seed that can instantly grow into a tree, that can be considered overpowered, if you entered a competition about gardening. But what if you play smart and toss it into an attacker’s mouth just before it grows? A giant lycan bites your hand off and dies instantly being exploded by a tree growing inside it. That’s kinda OP isn’t it?

Obviously, some sorts of tech/magic/ability are more prone to becoming "overpowered" then others. See, water manipulation. What if your water manipulation ability is so fine and powerful you can rip the water from somebody’s blood? Planar magicks and gravity manipulation are commonly used “overpowered” magicks, as are telekinesis and psychic powers. Super-speed is hilariously overpowered if used correctly and with the correct supporting abilities. Although I guess now we’re beginning to fall into the realm of something being “abused” or “minmaxed” rather than actually being overpowered.

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@Die Shize Extremely well said, I read your post after I made my own and there's plenty of overlap. I'm going to post it anyway, but you said it first!

 

The conversation about OP powers always devolves into discussions of splitting hairs: "this is OP, but this variation of that is not" 

The variety and frequency of these comparisons shows that while they are the answer to Rabbit's question, they are not the answer to the most important questions: what is OP? How do I spot OP? How do I stop OP?

And the very simple and actionable answer to those questions is: OP can be defined as "actions which infringe on the enjoyment of your fellow writers" 

Note that I specified actions and not abilities. Like the old adage "guns don't kill people, people kill people", we could say "powers aren't OP, people's usage of powers are OP" 

If we stop asking "hey, is this an OP ability?" and instead ask "Okay, what do you intend to do with that ability?" we can really determine if a writer intends to use their character's abilities to grief other players or simply enhance a story. 

Then we turn to the other players involved and ask "will this power ruin the fun you're intending to have? Will the power present roadblocks you don't want? (as compared to roadblocks you do want, like every story ought to have)

In my time on Valucre I have pointedly and egregiously defied the mild powers rule. My major PC was a prophet through whom I gave myself access to unbeatable god magic at any time I chose, with no restrictions. And it was all canon. I have never once been accused of being OP. 

There's a reason for this, and it's that I never used those characters/powers to do anything aside from set scenes for other RPers to enjoy, and provide missions to other PCs for the purpose of creating storylines. Any conversation about my character's power level would be purely academic, because I never used the powers I awarded to myself for any purpose but to enhance other people's experiences in a consensual way. 

I support the mild power level of Valucre as a concept for the masses, because frankly the majority of people in this hobby treat RPing not as storytelling, but as an analog RPG video game with an informal rules framework they can exploit for...I don't even know what, honestly. Because of this strange but ubiquitous cultural truth of RPing, blanket rules need to be created and enforced until the day comes when all people write RP to tell stories and not to accumulate PC power out of selfishness. 

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