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By default, OVA doesn't limit character abilities, but it does suggest several limitation methods (p21). Which method(s) work well for high-powered characters? I’d like to run games with fantastic settings, superhuman and supernatural characters, etc. At the same time, I want to present the PCs with interesting challenges, and I’d like them to be on equal footing with each other. That's my goal for imposing limits.

There aren’t many examples given for Power Ceiling and Scaled Cost, so I don’t know where to set the numbers if I use them. I don’t want to saddle PCs with so few levels that they wind up average Joes instead of fantastic heroes. I don’t want to give them so many that I struggle to challenge them, either.

I’m also uncertain about Base Zero. Most of the sample characters comply with it, and many of them have 20+ points of abilities, thus 15+ points of weaknesses. I’m concerned that it might be difficult to keep track of so many weaknesses during play, that they won’t all get utilized, or that players won’t enjoy RPing that many flaws.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Answer in answers. not comments please. \$\endgroup\$
    – mxyzplk
    Jun 17 '16 at 11:44
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From experience, the sample characters are rather weak/medium. They seem to be designed as ones you'd start with and improve over a campaign. Pay attention to the TVs or Threat Values as that is a reasonable indicator of how powerful a character is in combat. However the difficulty will depend on what you throw at them as if you use something that isn't in their specialties, they'll only have 2 dice to attempt it. As for flaws the same applies, many won't be applicable unless you as the GM make them, and if they are used, they will make life interesting, as coasting through a game isn't fun either.

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OVA works by having a drawback for each advantage or skill they use. This is actually a two-edged setup, in that it not only means you have to make sure the drawbacks are as topical as the strengths (I.E. If the character is nervous around women, then the story can't very well take place in a boy's camp where the the nearest girl is 30 miles away) but also that you must consider the things they don't list as the character's "average" capabilities. This can make players think much more broadly, particularly when they level up, as it encourages well-rounded characters.

This of course comes with the flip-side of a good RPG, and that's that there will always be room for the dice to break the statistical curve, and that's where you have to improvise.

I'm no statistician, but keep in mind, the way OVA works is you get more dice to attempt something, and you need a larger grouping of the same number to succeed a check the harder it is supposed to be. The thing about it is, the more dice you have, the more the statistical curve becomes polarized (that is, rare curve breakers become rarer, and common rolls become more common), so sadly, the more dice, the "higher the barrier" the lower the chances of something surprising happening in the attempt. Roll a few mock attempts with say, 3,5, and 7 dice and and you'll get a feel for what the average results tend to be.

Topical drawbacks, and statistical polarization. Just keep these two things in mind, and you should be able to make a game with the feel you want.

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