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So my current campaign has banned arrays from the starting progression of the server (gotta get them as rewards through power stunts in fights you win), so a good number of people use "Check Required DC 20" on things like Summon Constructs 1 (Multiple Minions 4, Ranged, Controlled, Horde) (Unreliable 5/5) or Luck Control 4 (Luck 4) (Sense Dependent) to reduce their costs by 11 points and make them really cheap for the amount of power they bring out. It was to the point that I introduced pretty early a cap of 6 main powers per player.

Normally the idea is that with a DC 20, you only have a 5% chance to fail when using it with a +18. However, with Skill Mastery making the minimum a 10 that is 1 point to make a Check Required DC 28 a near guarantee for rank 1 powers (Summon 1) or powers that only need 1 rank to work properly (Luck Control 4 only applies 1 reaction effect at a time). This is a flat -19 to cost, which is pretty nuts, and while I can just ban it (I'm the gm), I'd like to know if there is anything Rules as Written (RAW) that already stops people from doing this, since I'm interested in gming the game that way.

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Frankly, this is a prime example of rule zero, where as a GM, the rules say to apply what makes sense to avoid exploitation, or people attempting to add flaws that have no flaws. Secondly, allowing Skill Mastery to work here ignores part of that particular modifier.

So there is always a small chance the effect won’t work, regardless of the character’s check bonus.

The modifier specifically says that there is always that 5% chance of failure. Therefore, allowing the use of Skill Mastery would violate that rule. Allowing it is its own house rule.

There are some other minor things to say, such as that you only get 18 points of discount, raising the check DC up to 28, since the first rank requires a DC of 11 to use one rank.

Lastly, the array restriction is obviously pushing people to try to find exploits in the game. Arguably, you have already house-ruled your game to encourage such behaviors. There is a reason why arrays have been in the game since first edition, although they were a bit better hidden in that one.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ "So there is a small chance the effect won't work" that looks like exactly what I was looking for in this context, since any chance the routine check wouldn't work would cause it to have a 50% failure and not apply. Still technically better than giving it Unreliable 50/50 but that flaw is pretty bad anyways. As for the cost, "An effect with this flaw requires a check of some sort—usually a skill check—with a base difficulty of 10, +1 for each additional rank in Check Required." means it starts at 10 with a flat -1, with a total of flat -19. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 13 at 7:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ As for rule 0 and arrays, I do not invoke rule 0 since I feel its more of a cop out for how the game is actually designed. I will say I don't allow for flaws when they give 0 downside, like Distracting Powers cannot be used when you don't have Active Defense, more just that any flaws made good as a result of this become common within the world, making it something easier to notice and to play around by enemies who have lived in this world under the same rules. Increasing the Action of Free Action Sustained Powers for example gives more of a benefit for those that want to counter them. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 13 at 7:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ @FriendlyNeighborhoodChicken: They've never provided an errata, but there is an ambiguity in the first two paragraphs. The stated DC in the first paragraph is "difficulty class of 10 + ranks in Check Required". Then, "If the check succeeds, the character gains the use of 1 effect rank per point the check exceeds the DC. Thus a check result of 14 allows the character to use up to 4 ranks of the effect." which both indicates that you need to exceed the DC to use the first rank, but then provides an example which contradicts that. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 13 at 11:22
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    \$\begingroup\$ FWIW, 2E Ultimate Power, where this was introduced, could only be applied once and had a suggested DC of 10+rank, and seems to be a more binary thing. Choose to use the power at 4 ranks and it's DC 14 to use it. Fail that roll and you use your action with nothing happening. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 13 at 11:26
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    \$\begingroup\$ Rule 0 is pretty much what's been in RPGs since early D&D where the book explicitly says that the rules are meant more as guidelines and can't cover all cases, so you need to use your judgment. And more than most systems, M&M does not have "legal builds" in that a player says "well, it's in the book, so you have to let me do it". The system is not a hard one to break because the intent was not to "win" by math and rhetoric, but rather to have a fun superhero adventure. :-) \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 13 at 11:28

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