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I'm playing in a PbP campaign. One of the players chose to be able to control insects using the Affliction power. I think he's realizing the limitations of what he chose, and is looking to try to game the system to get more effect out of it. After attempting to squeeze 16 pp of power out of his 8 pp power with a Power Stunt, he sprung this gem on me (corrected for grammar / punctuation by V2Blast):

Mentally telling the Bros to get into any cracks big enough for them and start gnawing and destroying anything they came across inside of 'the walls'...
Meanwhile, Ernie tried to get close enough to T-Boy to lay him out...

Okay, let's try this: The bro horde are basically gonna try to destroy the robots from the inside-out, crawling into anything they can fit through...

The game, of course, doesn't have stats for insects attacking things. They have an effective Strength somewhere in the negatives, and there really isn't much justification for them having very effective destructive capabilities given he only gathered them up after entering the toy factory. On top of that, he's basically trying to do this in addition to his own actions. Part of me is tempted to treat this as a null action, but I feel like he should get some bang for his buck. An insect swarm (an archetype provided by the game) has no effective Strength, but does have an Affliction 3. The catch is that most of the opponents are minions, which are defined as taking the worst possible result, so about a quarter of the minions would still likely be incapacitated by this "free" attack (It would have a DC of 12, and their defenses average around 3-5 for this attack, and any failure would take them down).

To be perfectly honest, I'm kind of on the fence about the player in general. He has a shaky grasp of the rules, posts with atrocious grammar and random formatting (apparently, his computer broke, so he's posting on his PS4), and just in general, he annoys me. But we're already replacing two players who ghosted on the boards, so I'm planning to stomach him for the last half of the adventure.

Overall, I'm looking for a way to mechanically handle what is essentially him trying to get a power for free using side effects without having him feel like he wasted 8 PP on being able to mind control insects.

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    \$\begingroup\$ "What should I do"/"How should I handle this" questions are very broad/open-ended and potentially primarily opinion-based. It could be improved if you told us what goal you're trying to achieve, and then we can help answer how to best achieve that goal. \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Oct 4 '18 at 2:10
  • \$\begingroup\$ As for the grammar errors in your player's quote, I don't think fixing the punctuation/spacing to make it more readable fundamentally changes anything about your question (aside from supporting your dislike of his "atrocious grammar and random formatting", which itself seems unrelated to the actual question)... But it's up to you, of course. A semi-related meta on editing quoted tweets for readability. \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Oct 4 '18 at 2:36
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    \$\begingroup\$ @V2Blast: You are right that it probably could be fixed with a note that the quotation has been altered. I'll edit your changes back in and just note that. I shouldn't ask questions while frustrated like this. \$\endgroup\$ – Sean Duggan Oct 4 '18 at 2:40
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Alternate Effect: Damage

It's clear from the quote that the player's intent is to Damage the toy robots. Therefore the player desires to Power Stunt into an Alternate Effect: Damage. The specific modifiers, cost, and rank will depend upon several factors that are not included in your post.

Still, at a guess, the effect will probably be Ranged Area (Burst) Damage 2 for 6 PP. Shaving another point, via Drawbacks, would allow the player to get another Rank of effect.

If the player needs an in-world explanation for why he can't maintain this effect, point out that a lot of the insects get burned or crushed inside the robots' hardware. If you judge that too many have been destroyed then you may rule that there are no longer sufficient insects for any powers, and provide the character a Hero Point for the Complication of not being able to use his insect-based powers.

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I wound up using the Affliction normally associated with swarms (Burst Affliction 3 (Dazed / Stunned / Paralyzed), changing the Fortitude save to Toughness, since constructs don't have Fortitude, and lowering the Affliction to Rank 2 to accommodate Selective. And, as it turned out, since most of the enemy builds were Toughness-shifted, it wasn't that much of an issue. After two rounds of it, one minion dropped and the main bad guy is Stunned for a round.

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