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 What would you define as OP?

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PostSubject: What would you define as OP?   Mon Oct 27, 2014 2:12 pm

I'm looking for opinions here, people. I want to know what you would consider overpowered within a story and a character.

I ask because of two things: one, I want to promote discussion, and two, I want to know what people think so that we all can begin a broader dialogue about this subject that have been rather debated in our chat a few times.
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PostSubject: Re: What would you define as OP?   Mon Oct 27, 2014 3:29 pm

Well, speaking from my personal experiences from both here and other RP games, I tend to find precognition and time magic to be at the forefront of OP tendencies.

Some precognition is understandable, I mean I've personally had years of martial arts training where learning how to read your opponents movements to know their next move was just another thing taught, but it's not perfect. I myself was particularly bad at it, though none one else in the school could accurately predict my moves either, but that's a side point. There's also just picking up on an attack pattern of opponents, but again it's not usually perfect. The idea of magically, or through some other strange force, always knowing the how, when, and where(s), of any and all attacks just opens the gateway towards OPness in my opinion, especially if it's up to some time in advance.

Then there's time magic... this stuff has just struck a chord with me in almost every RP, simple game, character power, and show I've seen it in. This dislike however isn't completely without merit, as I've seen several games just ruined by the presence of time magic. Whatever challenge, obstacle, or creature that's being dealt with time magic either get's done a dozen times until it's weakness is known with no consequence, is aged into dust or infancy, or other weird time based shenanigans that leave the party unscathed and without worry despite to level of difficulty that might have been present. That isn't to say it's not possible to have a balanced version of this power, but with it being such an extreme 'one shot/skeleton key' I find the notion difficult.
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PostSubject: Re: What would you define as OP?   Mon Oct 27, 2014 7:16 pm

For me, its undefined powers with no set limitations or draw backs. Time magic has a horrible tendency to fall under this category, as well as characters with precognitive abilities that are not defined well. That being said a lot of magic could be played in an overpowered manner. I could make a mage who specializes in telekinesis that kills you by pinching off blood vessels in your brain. Since I'm only using telekinesis, a power that nearly every unicorn has, would it be called OP since I'm using it in a highly effective manner?
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PostSubject: Re: What would you define as OP?   Tue Oct 28, 2014 4:06 am

Well, rather than naming a power in particular, I would like to rather pinpoint the reason why a power can be considered overpowered. In my opinion, when a certain skill allows for a combat action, whether defensive or offensive, and this action has no reasonable counter, then that skill would be considered to be overpowered.

Naturally time magic often falls in this zone, because unless there's a way to counter the sheer power afforded by time magic - which there quite often isn't - and it isn't properly balanced, then no fight could possibly be fair.

However, a way to ensure that a skill isn't overpowered is to introduce all sorts of limitations and drawbacks, which open up new avenues for it to be countered or to remove some ways in which the skill can be abused. To use Sword's example, my standard limitation for telekinesis is the requirement for a line-of-sight contact with the object when first beginning to manipulate it, which would remove the ability to pinch off blood vessels in the brain as they are out of sight. In addition, to limit the effectiveness of Force-choking them to death, when telekinesis is used on any living being, the strength of telekinesis is measured against the strength of the target in his or her struggling to determine whether or not the attack is successful, allowing non-magic enabled species like earth ponies and pegasi to escape a telekinetic offensive. Implementations of limitations such as these help to keep the playing field more even.
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PostSubject: Re: What would you define as OP?   Tue Oct 28, 2014 10:49 pm

I suppose it's that for which no feasable counter exists, or guarantees victory no matter what. This is my extreme and basic take on it though.

On a more technical aspect, it depends on what the story challenges characters with. Take Superman/Kal El for instance. He's extremely powerful by normal and even fictional standards we know of, but that's often countered by over the top dangers and villains that roughly match him. So there's conflict, and things get interesting as there may be things at stake.

If we were to discuss character vs. character within our group, then the standard changes. If opponents in real life might not be evenly matched in a street fight, then one can't expect the same to happen in a combat thread or scenario UNLESS it was carefully arranged like in professional boxing where opponents are set up and expected to be close to evenly matched. At this point, it becomes more about who can make the most of what they have to come out on top in a carefully written manner so long as it's whithin the characters capabilities... So if one character has more ability than another, or more strength, or more speed, then it all boils down to which is more clever so long as they stay alive/intact/not-defeated.

Also, let's face it. Not every character is one with actual combat training as seen in the very sheets we have, so expecting to do well in a fight with a casual character against a Royal Guard character, or a random thugh against a trained professional for example is just asking for a beating more often than not. Sometimes, you just gotta know when to flee trouble or stand back, rather than jump into danger, get beat badly, and then complain it didn't work out unless you were specifically looking for an uphill challenge... There's my two bits.
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PostSubject: Re: What would you define as OP?   Wed Oct 29, 2014 6:34 pm

In terms of RPing, one has to think of things in a manner similar to how one thinks of video or pen-and-paper games, when asked about the issue of OP.
When it comes to abilities, it's typically best to consider what tier of power characters are intended to be at. If I were to compare Dungeons & Dragons characters to Exalted characters, I would find Exalted characters of equivalent level to nearly always be incredibly OP. Because Exalted plays at a much higher power tier than D&D does; in Exalted, you start off as basically a walking, physical god. In D&D, you're a normal human.
Nobilis would be even worse, and that game's built around social intrigue (although, it does force that by basically making everyone into such a high tier that direct combat is the messiest and least efficient use of your energy).

The largest thing is in figuring out what sort of challenges a character is facing. Once you're over that hurdle, figuring out OPness gets a lot easier.
Being an implacable, indestructible monster isn't very useful or powerful when the character in question is dealing largely with social intrigue, stealth, or esponiage. Being a powerful monster might well be a weakness in such settings, as your go-to plan probably isn't going to endear you to anyone, and as Machiavelli puts it:
Quote :
And here comes in the question whether it is better to be loved rather than feared, or feared rather than loved. It might perhaps be answered that we should wish to be both; but since love and fear can hardly exist together, if we must choose between them, it is far safer to be feared than loved.
Nevertheless a prince ought to inspire fear in such a way that, if he does not win love, he avoids hatred; because he can endure very well being feared whilst he is not hated.

However, when you've leveled the playing field relatively well, only considering characters that are facing similar levels of challenges and similar sorts, characters geared for the same power tier, basically, certain abilities will show up as OP.
The thing that is going to stand out the most is when someone goes with a "jack of all trades" character while forgetting the "master of none" part of the idiom. These characters can do everything, or nearly everything, as well as the characters that specialize in any given area.
The next thing that will stand out is direct action denial. This comes in many forms, but essentially breaks down to a character having the ability to directly cancel out any actions on your end, whether you're the GM or another player. This doesn't mean just reacting and countering your actions, it means literally preventing you from taking actions. Most sorts of time manipulation fit in here, and abusing anti-magic and similar abilities also falls under it. Being immune to things in PC-on-PC combat can also turn out this way, due to some characters being one-trick-ponies offensively.
From a GM side, action denial can be a sensible thing as a response to powerful characters. When the GM starts throwing fireproof things at characters that only really have fire-related abilities and just burn everything to the ground every fight, either he wants you to graduate to a new kind of tactic, or he's trying to stick his way into your tier more easily so that he can actually provide a bit of meaningful conflict without you burning it to the ground (it's a little railroady to do that, but if the GM is doing that, be happy that there aren't any rocks falling).
A player doing action denial is typically a very bad thing. Because that means they're either doing it to the GM, which can stifle actual conflict and destroy storylines, or he's doing it to other players, which is just plain rude.

I could probably come up with more specific instances, but I think the biggest sign of true OP breaks down into a few words:
Does anyone else matter?
Being OP is not a problem, as far as I see, so long as they're not hogging that spotlight. Everyone needs their moment in the limelight, and they ought to be given roles that are just as important as everyone else. All players want to enjoy themselves, and the first step to that is being able to make a difference in the thread.
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PostSubject: Re: What would you define as OP?   Wed Nov 05, 2014 9:01 pm

Generally I find the most OP characters are the really large and powerful creatures like my chimera character Chilly, this is mostly in combat threads though.

Mind control is probably the power I find to be the worst if it doesn't have very strict limitations placed on it. A character with mind control is pretty much invincible. Combat thread: mind control the enemies to attack each other, Social thread: Mind control others to make them think your their best friend and stealth threads normally develop these-aren't-the-droids-your-looking-for syndrome. I put mind control above time powers on my list of most OP powers.
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