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No more unckecked Abilities left

Started by Nocker, September 29, 2009, 04:52:38 PM

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I've made two games of Capes, and noticed both times a disturbing thing.
The mundane characters tend to get out of Abilities really fast, and they come up with no "high" Abilities (rated 4 or 5) early in a Scene. After that, they can hardly achieve anything, because they cannot React to high rolled dice and since they have no Debt, they have a score maximum of 6, rarely reached.
When you can't act in a mundane character turn, and no new Conflit would be relevant, what does the player do ? (the end of a Scene can often be felt to come, and in this situation, a new Conflict would artificially extend the Scene) I'd think that everybody could play at each turn, in Capes, and it sounded like a strength of this game. So I'd be glad to hear that I'm wrong.

Dominic Claveau

We had something similar last time we played. I think that the player who had the mundane character managed to pace himself amazingly well. He did so by not reacting at every opportunity. Also, what was interesting is that he didn't have any story token to buy himself another character for that scene so he had to rely exclusively on his character and on the help of the heroes to win his claims. So, I ended up being the only one who could do something for him and I just felt so, well, heroic to stand up for his character !

At another point, there was a conflict where my super-hero didn't want him to prevail, but as a player I didn't want the other player and his super-hero to succeed, so I played my hero as if he was always fumbling and doing stupid or wrong things that hindered "his" side (but rolling up for the side that I, as a player, wanted to see win.) That was truly the first that I ever made my character fail in a rpg !

So yes, I understand that Capes is designed to involve you pretty much all of the time, but it is clearly stated in the book that mundane character will be in a tough position if the scene is long. I don't really see it as a flaw or a bug, though. After all, the game is about having powers and showing that you deserve them. The fact that mundane character are limited only better illustrate the need for supers to do something when nobody else can. That's what makes you a hero, in my opinion.

But perhaps I didn't quite understand your concern. If so, I invite you to explain it a bit further.

Dominic Claveau

Sorry, I confused something. It was stated in the flash demo that picking a mundane character was a risky choice, not really in the book. (Although you can pretty much figure it out when reading the rules.)


Yes, I've seen the warning, and I agree that, strategically, a non-powered character should be played pacely. You can't react to everything and must keep your 5- or 4-rated abilities to really important conflicts. But what if you've got too many important conflicts, and what if there's a lot of turns in the scene ?

I've also noticed that my question applies to powered-characters that chosed to put few (e.g. only three) super-abilities so that they have none rated 4 or 5. If a scene's conflicts happen to have all their dice rated 4 or 5, even powered characters are stuck.

What if such a character's turn comes up, his abilities are all crossed and creating a conflict would be artificial (that is, the end of the scene can be felt) ? What can (must) he do ? Is it acceptable to create an artificial conflict that lengthen the scene ? If this is the only possibility by the rules ?

The advice on pacing play when running a non-powered character seems good, but it's just an advice, so it only helps up to a point.