5719 in-depth character profiles from comics, games, movies

DC Adventures RPG cover

DC Heroes RPG to Mutants and Masterminds 3rd edition aka OMACS 2


Game system: DC Heroes Role-Playing Game

Introduction

Four introductory paragraphs

Welcome to the second version of OMACS (meaning OMACS Maintains it Ain’t a Conversion System), working between DC Heroes 2nd edition and above (“DCH”) and DC Adventures/M&M 3rd edition (“DCA” and “M&M” are used interchangeably).

The main goal of OMACS II is to allow DCA/M&M3 players to benefit to a greater extent from the DCH content on http://www.writeups.org (“WORG”). It assumes M&M knowledge and no DCH knowledge ; DCH connoisseurs can check the OMACS II notes for more information.

It’s called a not-a-conversion-system since in the old parlance, “conversion systems” between RPGs were thought to provide accurate results. OMACS II is purely intended to provide ballpark figures. The gist of the character. A good but not exact evaluation of some key scores. A decent notion of how the character performs. Not ready-to-eat writeups, because that’s impossible, even with the strong DCH influence in DCA.

OMACS II doesn’t use the exact scores given for the iconic characters in the DCA rulesbook, though generally the differences are tiny. There is extensive discussion of this in the OMACS notes, and we plan to produce variant DCA versions of the iconic DCU characters to make it clear what our assumptions were.

For comments, questions, etc. see our thread over at roninarmy.com .

Three important notes

Please note that the resulting values are not built to PL in any way, shape or form – not even “built toward PL” as are the entries in the DCA rulesbook – and do not follow any sort of points-per-PL scheme. The numbers you will obtain are from another game that doesn’t have anything like PLs.

Furthermore the DCH stats are a particularly deliberate evaluation based on something that wouldn’t know PL from a hole in the ground – the media itself, usually comic books. OMACS produces a reflection of how the character performs in the source media ; if you have a specific vision of how DCA characters should look with respect to their PL, adjustments will have to be made.

Please note that this process will populate the DCA character sheet, but will not deliver a completed job. DCA has more fiddly bits than DCH, so once every DCH aspect has been transcribed there are still DCA aspects to be added – usually minor skills (the 3 or 4 ranks type), minor advantages and some minor aspects of the powers. Without these additional elements, it will be a pretty poor DCA writeup.

Please note that you should also read our New Rules&Usage file if you’re interested in the nuts and bolts. Several concepts that exist in DCH but not in DCA are discussed there.

Five key terms

There are five simple concepts DCA players need to have a better operational understanding of DCH profiles :

  • APs in DCH are just like Ranks in M&M, now more than ever.
  • AV is the accuracy or the acumen of something, its chance to “hit”.
  • EV is the brute power of something, how much effect it has when it “hits”.
  • OV is the opposite of AV – how difficult the person, object, etc. is to “hit”.
  • RV is the opposite of EV – how difficult the person, object, etc. is to affect/damage, their durability.

Beyond that you’ll need the rulebook, but generally DCH prefers descriptive, evocative terms. Guessing what things do in a DCH writeup is usually fairly simple, though there are some traps (Invulnerability doesn’t make characters invulnerable, for instance).

With these definitions in mind, you can read through a DCH writeup looking for things to translate into approximative M&M values.

Please note that this is a living document and will keep evolving as we improve our technique.

Table of contents

Offence
Defence
Attributes
Everyman Skills
Skills
Advantages and Drawbacks / Complications
Movement speeds
Powers
Optional sections : Uncapped strength and damage

Table of contents – notes about the system

Intro
Offence
Defence
Attributes
Skills
Misc. notes


Not-the-conversions

1/ Offence bonuses


This is just a matter of identifying the AVs in the DCH entry for the various attacks, then converting to get an idea of DCA values. Common AVs :

  • The DEX attribute is a pretty safe bet as to the base AV of the character.
  • Weaponry in the Skills is armed AV. Usually there’s a term in parentheses after it to specify which weapons – though in DCH it is possible to be competent with all weapons if nothing in specified in parentheses.
  • Martial Artist (AV) or Martial Artist (without parentheses after it) in the Skills is, if higher than DEX, a good unarmed AV. Note that in DCH Martial Artist can also allow for accuracy with weapons, which may be important if you see an armed character with no Weaponry Skill.
  • There exists an Accuracy Skill, usually for a specific power, used as AV.
  • Sometimes, you will see a mention in the Bonuses and Limitations of such-and-such power “being its own AV”, which should be self-explanatory.
DCH AV Rough M&M Offence bonus
02 +0 or +1
03 +2 to +4
04 +5 or +6
05 +7 or +8
06 +9 or +10
07 +11
08 +12 or +13
09 +14 or +15
10 +16 or +17
11 +18 or +19
12 +20

Note that for ranged attacks, some Advantages (notably Improved Aim, All-Out Attack, Precise Shot) provide bonuses (or negate penalties) that are not usually available to melee combatants.

A rule of thumb when translating AVs to offence bonus for a ranged attacked is to allow Precise Shot an All-Out Attack to each replace one point of Offence Bonus, and Improved Aim to replace three points of Offence Bonus, if you decide that the character had one or more of these Advantages. Doing a straight conversion then adding one or more of these Advantages will result in over-valued offence bonuses.

2/ Initiative

Determine M&M Initiative normally, add one rank of Improved Initiative if the Character in DCH has Lightning Reflexes. The Enhanced Initiative Power might be convertible at one Range per three APs, but there’s no data yet.

For Characters who are *clearly* speedsters (preferably with a Speed Force connection, in the case of DCU characters), buying enough ranks of Improved Initiative to bring them close to 90% of the DCH Initiative might work (based on the Flash’s stats).

3/ Damage

Finding the base EV in the DCH writeup is simple – for unarmed combat it’s STR (a STR of 12 has an EV of 12), for Powers it’s the Power’s APs (Flame project: 09 has an EV of 09 ; a gun with Projectile weapon: 04 has an EV of 04) and in some cases it’s straightforward EV (a knife with EV 03).

You can see that most melee weapons have notes for greater EV based on the wielder’s STR, Martial Artist score and such – don’t worry about that and just use an equivalent DCA melee weapon, it usually works out fine.

Martial Artist is tad more complicated, but in DCA terms doesn’t affect unarmed damage directly. The exception is those few characters with something called Schtick (Unfettered Fist) in their Advantages – those treat their Martial Artist score has EV.

This document includes an alternative, “uncapped‘” damage equivalency table that doesn’t constraint values on a 0-20 scale as the DCA rulesbook does – see the TOC.

DCH EV Rough M&M damage bonus
02 +0
03 +1 or +2
04 +2 or +3
05 +4
06 +5
07 +6
08 +7 or +8
09 +8 or +9
10 +10
11 +11
12 +12
13-14 +13
15-16 +14
17-18 +15
19-20 +16
21-22 +17
23 +18
24-25 +19

There is one thing to look out for, and this is the case of Ranks of attacks resisted by Fortitude. On average human-level Fortitude scores are two points higher than Toughness for an unknown reason. To adjust, add two Ranks for such attacks if the table above results in 8 or less Ranks, one Rank if the table says 9 Ranks, and let the rest stand.

4/ Dodge and Parry defences


This is just a matter of identifying the OVs in the DCH entry for the various attacks, then converting to get an idea of DCA values. Common OVs :

  • The DEX attribute is a pretty safe bet as to the base OV of the character
  • Martial Artist (OV) or Martial Artist (without parentheses after it) in the Skills is, if higher than DEX, a good unarmed OV for the purpose of calculating Parry
  • Evasion is another sort of OV. It usually comes with limitations, which translates as an Enhanced Trait (Dodge) with the Limited Flaw (condition to be met to get the bonus, such as wielding a shield or being in flight).
  • The other entities affecting OV are disparate and somewhat rare (Superspeed, Schtick (Flashing Blade), etc.).
DCH OV Rough M&M Dodge or Parry defence
02 0 or 1
03 2 to 4
04 5 or 6
05 7 to 9
06 10
07 11
08 12
09 13
10 14
11 15
12 16

5/ Will defence

DCH establishes a difference between spiritual and mental attacks, so to compute the Will defence we’ll average two Attributes, called MIN and SPI.

Modifiers are not terribly common and best modelled as Powers. These include Mind Field and Magic Field, especially when they are Self Only and/or Always On. Iron Nerves can also play a role, see the Advantages section.

Note that if there is a large difference between MIN and SPI, the character is considerably more resistant to mental/psychic (MIN) or spiritual/magical (SPI) damage. You may want to consider using the lower score as the baseline Will defence and using a power to bolster defences against the type of assault the character is most resistant toward.

DCH average Rough M&M Will defence Possible Impervious Ranks
02 0 or 1
03 2
04 3 to 5
05 6 or 7
06 8 or 9
07 10
08 11 or 12
09 13 2 Ranks
10 14 4 Ranks
11 14 6 Ranks
12 15 8 Ranks
13 16 10 Ranks
14 17 12 Ranks
15 18 14 Ranks

Impervious Will is not commonly used, and should not be considered a default part of the equivalence. It becomes useful as a yardstick for characters who have formal, special defences against psychic attacks and should never fall prey to a low-level effect. Such formal defences often have their Impervious Ranks Limited 1 to Psionics or Magic.

Again, this is uncommon ; furthermore the presence of a DCH Power such as Magic Field or Mind Field is not an indicator of such hardened defences.

6/ Fortitude defence

Fortitude is generally indicated by BODY, which in DCH is the base RV against all things physical.

By far the most common modifier is a Power called Systemic Antidote, which adds straight to BODY. A Character with BODY 08 and Systemic Antidote: 04 would be considered to have a RV of 12 for the purpose of computing a rough Fortitude save.

DCH RV Rough M&M Fortitude defence Possible Impervious Ranks
02 0 or 1
03 2 to 4
04 5 to 7
05 7 or 8
06 9
07 10
08 11
09 11 4 Ranks
10 12 6 Ranks
11 12 8 Ranks
12 12 10 Ranks
14-15 13 12 Ranks
16-17 14 14 Ranks
18 15 15 Ranks

Impervious Fortitude is not commonly used, and should not be considered a default part of the equivalence. It becomes useful as a yardstick for characters who have formal, special defences against one or more Fortitude attack, making it impossible for them to be affected by minor effects.

For such characters the Ranks of Impervious will often be Limited 2 (vs. Poison, vs. Disease, vs. Electrocution…) – for instance for characters depicted as being practically immune to normal toxins, but not to some extraordinary poisons.

7/ Toughness defence

BODY is again going to be our baseline for this one, being the base physical RV. There are quite a few potential modifiers (Skin armour, Energy Absorption, Kinetic absorption, Force field…) but they tend to be better modelled as Protection effects and the like, since they normally work only against certain categories of descriptors.

/BODY/ is an important modifier. A piece of equipment with it (usually an advanced suit of body armour) uses this score in lieu of the wearer’s BODY.

If Martial Artist (RV) or Martial Artist (with nothing in parentheses), minus four, is higher than the character’s BODY, it might be considered for Toughness purposes (though this type of approach is almost always a special case).

Of course, the scores below are the final defence score. For tough human characters that will often mean levels in Defensive Roll to bridge the gap between Stamina and Toughness, which is standard in DCA. There’s no real way to derive Imperviousness, though.

DCH RV Rough M&M Toughness defence Possible Impervious Ranks
02 0 or 1
03 2
04 3 or 4
05 5 or 6
06 7 or 8
07 8 or 9
08 10 2 Ranks
09 11 2 Ranks
10 11 4 Ranks
11 12 6 Ranks
11 12 8 Ranks
13 13 or 14 10 Ranks
14 13 or 14 12 Ranks
15 15 or 16 14 Ranks
16 17 or 18 16 Ranks
17-18 18 or 19 18 Ranks

Unlike with Will and Fortitude, Ranks of Impervious with Toughness are fairly common – especially in the case of attack-specific Toughness defences such as Flame Immunity, Cold immunity, etc.

These values are low-balled, and are intended as a “broom wagon” to remove the low odds of a resilient character being hurt by an attack that wouldn’t hurt them in a comic book. As Toughness reaches very high values it picks up, letting “Class 50”+ characters ignore small arms as they should.

Characters who are depicted as “soft” may have half the Ranks or less, characters who are depicted as “hard” should have more, quite possibly a fully Impervious Toughness. This has to be based on observation, since there’s no reliable indicator of this in DCH – Molecular Chameleon to a hard matter is usually a shoe-in, but even Skin Armour may not correspond.

Character with a rocky epidermis, known for bouncing bullets off their body, described as having steel-hard skin or being as tough as titanium, who have repeatedly ignored massed fire, who wear rigid body armour or power armour, etc. are probably on the hard/rigid side.

Conversely, characters with broad attack vulnerabilities (or a high Skin Armour leaving them comparatively vulnerable toward energy attacks) might be ’soft‘ and thus low or out on Imperviousness, especially against the attacks that hurt them more.

8/ Attributes


Now that all the combat stuff is out of the way (combat stuff is pretty important in the genre), we can do the Attributes :

8.1/ Strength :
Just use the damage table in section 3, barring some strange cases. The official DCA profiles add some Lifting-Only strength at the high end ; based on these values here are some numbers to consider for characters with very high Strength. See also the “Uncapped” special section at the end.

DCH STR Possible M&M Lifting-only Strength
13-14 +0 to +2 ranks
15-16 +1 to +3 ranks
17-18 +2 to +4 ranks
19-20 +3 or +4 ranks
21-22 +4 ranks
23-24 +4 ranks
25 +4 ranks

8.2./ Stamina:

DCH BODY Rough M&M Stamina
02 0
03 1 or 2
04 2
05 3
06 4
07 5 or 6
08 6 or 7
09 7 or 8
10 9 or 10
11 11
12 12
13 13
14 14 or 15
15-16 14 to 16
17-18 15 to 19

Of course, make sure that the Stamina doesn’t exceed Toughness and/or Fortitude – this is possible at a few points of the table if you chose high Stamina and low defences among the proposed ranges.

8.3/ Agility:
We’ll use Acrobatics (Athletics) Skill in the DCH writeups, since it’s a good appraisal of DCA Agility. There are a few tricks :

  • If the writeup just says Acrobatics in the Skills, without anything in parentheses, use that number
  • If the writeup has Acrobatics with Subskills in parentheses, but Athletics is not listed among those, use that value minus two
  • If the writeup has no Acrobatics whatsoever in the Skills listing, use DEX minus four
DCH value Rough M&M Agility
Negative 0
0 1
1-3 2
4 3
5-6 4
7-8 5
9 6
10 7
11 8
12 9

8.4/ Dexterity:
The best index for that one is a bit more complicated. Average the following two values :

  • Highest value for the Vehicle Skill. If there’s no such Skill, use DEX -4 instead. Note that Vehicles (Sea) does count for this specific computation.
  • Highest value for a ranged Weaponry Skill. Weaponry without anything in parentheses after it is a valid value, as are such Weaponry Subskills as Firearms, Missile, Heavy, Exotic, Infantry Weapons, Police Weapons, Cowboy Weapons, USMC Weapons and the like. If there are no relevant Weaponry Skills, use DEX -4 instead.
DCH value Rough M&M Dexterity
0 0
1-3 1
4 2
5 3
6 4
7-8 5
9 6
10 7
11 8

8.5/ Fighting :
Fighting is a cosmetic score, but thanks to Pawsplay we now have a simple formula to keep these scores coherent :

  • If the Character has any Martial Artist score, use that as the Fighting (if there are multiple scores for Subskills, use the AV one)
  • If the Character doesn’t have Martial Artist, use DEX minus two
  • There are corner cases Evasion score minus 2 (if it has no limitations), *possibly* a Weaponry score if the character has defencive abilities tied to it (such as Schick (Flashing Blades) but these are really rare.

8.6/ Intellect (by Pawsplay):
The core of Intellect is skill use. In DCH, INT is the link attribute for mental skills. INT also governs untrained use of skills. Intellect has an identical role in DCA. Intellect is otherwise a cosmetic ability (much like Fighting).

From a characterization standpoint, Intellect includes characteristics of both INT (mental quickness and agility) and WIL (deductive and analytical ability). However, the strongest relationship is with intellectual skills, especially technological skills.

To generate an Intellect estimate, find the two highest of: one or more appropriate INT-based skills, INT -2, and WIL -2.

  • INT-based skills are: Detective (but only if it includes subskills other than Legwork and Police Procedure), Gadgetry, Medicine, Military Science (but only if it includes subskills other than Camouflage, Danger Recognition, and Tracking), and Scientist.
  • Some older write-ups of Green Lanterns and characters with mental powers may have WIL scores based on a different sense of “willpower.” Try using revised version of the character, or simply exclude WIL from the equation.

Average the two scores. Use the following chart to generate an estimate:

DCH value Rough M&M Intellect
0 or less 0 or less
1-2 1
3-4 2
5-6 3
7 4
8 5
9 6
10 7
11-12 8 (Batman)
13 9
14 10
15-16 11 (Lex Luthor)
17-18 12
19-20 13 (Brainiac 5)

IMPORTANT NOTE: If a character has no Intellect-based skills whatsoever, and could generally be considered non-intellectual, feel free to assign a lower score, even a much lower one. 0 could be considered unexceptional, even a little dull or brutish; -1 is below the level of functioning of most adults, even unexceptional ones; -2 (or lower) is a child-like intellect or equivalent to a sophisticated social animal like a dolphin.

Less important note: characters with one or no INT-based skills but with the Scholar advantage in an intellectual area of study may be underestimated by this method. Consider adding one 1 rank of Intellect.

8.7/ Awareness :
Average the INT and WIL in the DCH attributes :

DCH value Rough M&M Awareness
02-03 0
04-05 1
06 2
07 3
08 4
09-10 5
11 6
12 7
13-14 8
15 9

If the Character has a DCH Advantage called Sharp Eye, add 1 to their Awareness score.

8.8/ Presence:
Average the INF and AUR in the DCH attributes and use the table. One thing to be aware of is that, in DCH, mystics, magicians and the like tend to have high INF and AUR for mechanical reasons, that often do not reflect their raw social prowess.

For such characters we recommend halving the Presence score this table produces, adjusting up or down based on knowledge of the character (or up if you have no idea).

DCH value Rough M&M Presence
02 0
03-04 1
05-06 2
07 3
08 4
09 5 or 6
10 7
11 or 12 8
13 or 14 9
15 10

9a/ Everyman Skills


DCA has a number of Skills that will be present on almost every character sheet, as they represent actions that nearly everyone can perform to some extend. In DCH those are built-in in the Attributes, but in DCA you need a small cloud of Skills, usually with but a few Ranks, so as not to have a character be oddly incompetent at these actions.

9a.1 /Perception Skill:
The DCH value we’ll use is the INT score. Using the table below you’ll get the Ranks of Perception Skill (not the final bonus – the Ranks).

DCH value Rough M&M Perception Ranks
01 0
02 1
03 2 (possibly 3 or 4)
04 3 (possibly 4 or 5)
05 4 (possibly 5)
06 5
07 6
08 7
09 8
10 9
11 10
12 11
13 or 14 12

The lines with a “possibly…” mention reflect the fact that many adventurous, active types tend to have a 4 Ranks of Perception – it’s the modal amount of Perception Ranks for those guys. In most cases the value before the parenthesis is correct, but most folks who have to be on the ball in their job will use a slightly higher Rank as per the numbers on parentheses.

9a.2 /Insight Skill:
A close relative of Perception. In the DCH stats, pick the highest two scores among among WIL, AUR, Charisma (Persuasion), Detective (Legwork) and Scientist (Observation). As usual, if a person has the Skill listed without anything in parentheses (say, Detective: 10) then they have the Subskill in question and their score for the Skill can be used.

Average these two values to get the character’s Ranks in Insight (not the final bonus – the Ranks).

DCH value Rough M&M Insight Ranks
01 0
02 0 or 1
03 0 to 2
04-05 2 to 4
05-06 4 or 5
07 5 or 6
08 6
09 6 or 7
10 7 to 9
11 8 to 10
12 9 to 11

9a.3 /Athletics Skill:
If the Character has the Acrobatics Skill in DCH, also check the Skills section below.

If the Character doesn’t have this DCH Skill, some Ranks of Athletics may be necessary not to leave them oddly incompetent at it. Average DEX and STR and consult the following table for a likely Athletics *bonus* (not Ranks).

DCH DEX/STR Rough DCA Athletics Bonus
1 +0 or lower
2 +0 to +1
2.5 +0 to +2
3 +1 to +3
4 +3 to +5
5 +5 to +7
6 +6 to +8
7 +8 to +10
8 +9 to +11
9 +10 to +12
10 +11 to +13
11 +13 to +15
12 +14 to +16
13 +15 to +17
14 +16 to 18
15 +17 to +19
16+ +18 to +20

9a.4 /Deception Skill:
If the Character has the Artist (Actor) Subskill (or the whole Artist Skill, unlikely as that may be) — skip this bit and check the Skills section below.

For characters who often obtain genuine results through taunts and provocation (Spider-Man, the Joker, Red Guardian (Shostakov), Hannibal Lecter, etc. – this will usually be marked by some sort of Schtick in DCH), consider using their INFL as though it were an AV to generate an attack bonus, and use that as a Deception bonus (possibly a Limited version). Some DCA Advantages may also apply.

If the Character doesn’t have Artist (Actor) or a taunting-centric Advantage, some Ranks of Deception may be necessary not to leave them oddly incompetent at it. Note that this table assumes the use of more detailed modifiers for the Disguise application of the Deception Skill – see the New Rules page on writeups.org.

Pick the highest of (Charisma (Persuasion) -1) or (INF -3) as a likely number of Ranks (*not* final bonus). Diminish by two or more for Characters who are unsubtle, highly honest, straightforward, or would otherwise not be practiced bluffers and tricksters.

9a.5 /Persuasion Skill:
Most DC Adventures characters will have a modicum of Persuasion Skill. An approximation of their Persuasion Bonus can be obtained by picking the highest two scores among INF, AUR and the Charisma (Persuasion) Skill. As usual, if the DCH Skills just list Charisma with nothing in parentheses, then use that as the Charisma (Persuasion) score. Average this number and check on this table:

DCH average Rough DCA Persuasion Bonus
3 or less zero Ranks, just use Presence
4 +2 Bonus (the character has one Rank)
5 +3 or +4
6 +5 or +6
More Use the DCH average as the DCA Bonus

Subtract 3 to the DCH average for characters with the Socially Inept Drawback.

9a.6 /Expertise Skill:
Characters frequently have 3-5 Ranks of Expertise in their job(s) or past experience.

9a.7 /Stealth Skill:
This tends to be noted in entries as Thief or Thief (Stealth) Skills when demonstrated. One case to be careful of are characters with a high DEX in DCH, who might have a high default level of stealth from their DEX and thus no Skill. This might be the case for DEX 8+ characters, but is far from systematic. Just keep an eye out for that possibility.

9a.8 /Technology Skill:
The Technology skills in DCA doesn’t cover everyman material – even the Operating application only comes into play for exotic equipment. Characters with special technological equipment (often armour or weapons) might have Technology (Limited 2 – their gear) to represent repairs, jury-rigging and perhaps minor improvements, but such skills will usually be explicitly noted in the DCH entry.

9a.9 /Vehicles Skill:
DCH writeups normally explicitly note “everyman driving” skills. If a DCH entry doesn’t include Vehicular Skill, odds are very high that the Character simply doesn’t have any, even everyman ones.

9b/ Skills


This section is a bit different, in large part because the philosophy of skills management is different between DCA and DCH. Rather than take a DCA value and find the DCH equivalent, it tells you what the Skills in DCH translate to in DCA.

This will not create a M&M skills section, since part of those differences is that M&M characters tend to have a “cloud of small skills” at 3 or 4 ranks, which in DCH tend to be rolled into Attributes and broader Skills and Advantages.

This section aims to produce the final skill bonus, not the skill ranks. The ranks can be determined by the gap between the Attribute bonus and the skill bonus, though of course corner cases might result in odd situations (or even an Attribute bonus greater than the skill bonus).

This section extensively uses the DCH notion of Subskills. There are two levels for Skills in DCH – the main Skill and its Subskills. When the Skill is listed alone (e.g., Acrobatics: 06) it is assumed to come with the standard package of Subskills.

When something is specified in parentheses (e.g. Acrobatics (Climbing, Dodging): 06) it means that the Character doesn’t have the standard package, but a specific selection of Subskills instead. A DCH Skill by itself is just a sort of Array for the Subskills, a container.

This section assumes that you’re using the Skill Speciality optional rule from M&M 2nd edition, which is essentially allowing for Skills to have the Limited Drawback without bothering to make them a Enhanced Trait. A Skill with Limited 2 costs 1 point per four ranks (rather than 2) and a Skill with Limited 1 costs 1 point per three ranks.

9.0/ General skill tables
Several subsections below refer to these here General skill tables, which is used for a rough equivalency between the APs of certain Subskills in DCH and final skill bonuses in DCA.

There is one column for most skills, and one column for Expertise skills. The first version of this work had individual tables for most skills to look at the distributions, but the values are close enough for a generic table. Which is a lot more convenient, too.

APs in DCH Subskill DCA non-Expertise Skill bonus DCA Expertise bonus
01 +1 +1 to +3
02 +2 or +3 +4 or +5
03 +4 +6 or +7
04 +5 or +6 +8 or +9
05 +7 or +8 +10 or +11
06 +9 +12
07 +10 +13
08 +11 +14
09 +12 or +13 +15
10 +14 +16 or +17
11 +15 or +16 +18 or +19
12 +17 or +18 +20 or +21
13 +19 +22
14 +20 +23

The following Skills do NOT use that table, so read below — Charisma, Gadgetry.

9.1/ Accuracy
This somewhat rare Skill is purely an AV, and will thus normally map to an offence bonus as explained in the offence bonus section.

9.2/ Acrobatics
The full list of Subskills within Acrobatics is Athletics, Climbing, Dodging, Gymnastics

The standard package is Athletics, Climbing, Dodging.

  • Athletics – maps to both Acrobatics and Athletics in M&M.
  • Climbing – maps to the Climbing application of Athletics in M&M. A Character who only has Acrobatics (Climbing) in DCH will probably have Athletics.
  • Dodging – maps to the Defensive Attack, Evasion and Improved Defences Advantages. This sometimes means all three Advantages, but feel free to be less generous – especially if the DCH APs in that Subskill are five or less.
  • Gymnastics – This Subskill is deprecated ; the skillset is now represented by Artist (Gymnastic) and correspond to an Expertise in Gymnastics Performance.

Acrobatics (Athletics) – or Acrobatics in general – can thus be checked against the general skill table and treated as the average between the character’s Athletics and Acrobatics in DCA. Adjust around this mean.

Do note that in DCA the Athletics skill is based on STR – for characters with superhuman strength that can mean surprisingly high scores in comparison to the DCH value.

It is rare for physically adept heroes not to have about 3 Ranks in Athletics, even if they don’t have any Acrobatics in DCH.

9.3/ Animal Handling
The full list of Subskills within Animal Handling is Riding and Animal Training.

The standard package is both Subskills.

  • Riding translates as an Expertise (Riding mounts), though you should use the non-Expertise column.
  • Animal training translates as an Expertise (Animal training), see the General skill tables above.
  • Occasionally you will see a non-standard Subskill such as Animal Handling (Horses), which indicates both Riding and Training, but only with these animals. Turn that into an Expertise (say, Expertise (Horse riding/training)) and see the General skill tables above.

9.4/ Artist
The full list of standard Subskills within Artist is Actor, Dancer, Graphic Designer, Musician, Painter, Photographer, Sculptor and Writer, though there are various non-standard Subskills that are self-explanatory.

There is not usually a standard package.

Generally these are treated as Expertises, see the General skill tables above.

Artist (Actor) will nearly always map with the Deception Skill in DCA, since it includes disguise, mimicry, impersonation, etc. I certain cases, a character’s DCH’s Artist (Actor) Skill can be represented in DCA by Skills beyond just Deception, particularly Expertise (Actor, Make-Up and Effects, or Costuming/Tailoring), which can be used to reduce Deception/Disguise penalties. Use the non-Expertise column for those.

9.5/ Charisma
The full list of Subskills within Charisma is Intimidation, Interrogation, Persuasion. For Persuasion, see the Everyman Skills version.

The standard package is all three Subskills.

  • Charisma (Interrogation) doesn’t quite map. If the Character has DCH Intimidation, roll their DCH Interrogation into DCA Intimidation ; if the Character has DCH Persuasion, roll it into their DCA Persuasion ; if the character only has Charisma (Interrogation) make it an Expertise in interrogation or perhaps a part of an Expertise (Law Enforcement) that happens to be roughly on he same level.
  • Charisma (Intimidation) maps to Intimidation.

The DCH values for Charisma (Intimidation) can be used as DCA values without modification – do not use the general skills tables or the Persuasion table. However, this ceases to be true past 7 APs. Use the following table :

DCH Charisma M&M bonus
7 or less Same as DCH score
8 Could be 8 or 9
9 Could be 10 or 11
10 Could be 12 or 13
11 Could be 14 or 15
12 Could be 16 or 17

9.6/ Detective
The full list of Subskills within Detective is Clue Analysis, Counterfeit Recognition, Identification systems, Law, Legwork, Police Procedure

The standard package is now understood to be everything but Law (thus you’ll often see the Skill listed as “Detective (All but Law)”).

  • Detective (Clue Analysis) maps to Investigation, mostly – but you should use the Expertise column in the General Skills Table.
  • Detective (Counterfeit recognition) can usually be ignored (but may hint toward an Expertise in Law Enforcement or Security).
  • Detective (Identification systems) can usually be ignored (but may hint toward an Expertise in Law Enforcement or Security).
  • Detective (Law) is an Expertise as a Defence Lawyer, see the General skill tables above.
  • Detective (Legwork). If Detective (Clue Analysis) is also present, a full Investigation Skill is a good bet. If used alone, it is there to give a small specialised boost to social abilities and maps to a Limited 2 version of the Investigation Skill (Gather Information only) plus perhaps some Expertise in Streetwise.
    Detective (Legwork) used alone may also imply Deception, Insight, and Persuasion estimates toward the upper end (see Everyman Skills section).
  • Detective (Police Procedure). A social skill used to deal with law enforcement, usually used to give a small specialised boost to social abilities. More or less maps to an Expertise with police work, but the absence of the Subskill doesn’t mean a lack of knowledge of police matters – it means that the character’s social skills are seen as sufficient to represent how they deal with cops.

9.7/ Gadgetry
The full list of Gadgetry Subskills is Identify Gadget and Build Gadget.

The standard package is both Subskills.

There are some non-standard Subskills that allow to both Identify and Build Gadgets in a specific field (e.g. Gadgetry (Chemistry)).

  • If the character only has Gadgetry (Identify Gadget), consider it a Technology Skill that has Limited 2 (can only do the Operations application)
  • Gadgetry (Build Gadget) maps to Technology, but only partially. In itself is essentially a Limited 1 Technology skill that can only perform Operation, Jury-Rigging, Building and Repairing… plus the Inventor Advantage.
    Some Characters may happen to have DCH Military Science (Demolition) and DCH Thief (Security systems) to represent the ’missing‘ components of Technology, but that would be a stroke of luck. Decide how detailed you want to get.

There are slight differences in the distribution compared to the general skills table, so I suggest using the following :

DCH Gadgetry APs DCA Technology
04 +8 or +9
05 +10
06 +11
07 +12 or +13
08 +14 or +15
09 +16
10 +17 or +18
11 +19
12 +20
13 +21 or +22
14 +23
15 +24

9.8/ Martial Artist
The full list of Martial Artist Subskills can be summed up as AV, EV, OV, RV.

The standard package is all four Subskills.

  • Martial Artist (AV, aka Assault) : see offence bonuses.
  • Martial Artist (EV, aka Battery): the character likely has Power Attack.
  • Martial Artist (OV, aka Blocking): see Dodge and Parry Defences.
  • Martial Artist (RV, aka Defence): see Toughness Defence.

9.9/ Medicine
The full list of Martial Artist Subskills is First Aid, Brainwashing, Forensics, Medical Treatment and Surgery.
The standard package is generally understood to be everything but Brainwashing.

  • By far the most common listing of Medicine is Medicine (First Aid). In game terms this is Treatment with Limited 2 (Limited to Revive and Stabilise) ; see the General skill tables.
  • Nearly all other situations can be approached as being just the Treatment Skill ; see the General skill tables.

9.10/ Military science
The full list of Military Science Subskills is Camouflage, Cartography, Tracking, Cryptography, Danger Recognition, Demolition and Field Command.

The standard package is all Subskills, but in practise that often is too broad so treat Military Science with nothing in parenthesis with some caution. Nowadays we’re more specific than that, but some older material still have a generic Military Science.

From a DCA point of view, Military Science Subskills are scattered all over the place:

  • Camouflage. A specific version of the Hiding application of the Stealth skill. Usually, it will just be rolled into either a general Stealth score or a Expertise (Military) score ; in the later case see the General skill tables.
  • Cartography. An Expertise. Usually it can be rolled into an Expertise (Military) score, though in some cases it’s an Expertise of its own. See the General skill tables.
  • Tracking. The Tracking Advantage.
  • Cryptography. An Expertise ; see the General skill tables.
  • Danger Recognition. The character likely has the Uncanny Dodge Advantage, or maybe Second Chance (Detecting ambushes).
  • Demolition. This one usually translate as a Limited 2 version of the Technology Skill (limited to the Demolition application). Use the Gadgetry table to translate the number.
  • Field Command. Can usually be rolled into Expertise (Military) ; see the General skill tables.

9.11/ Occultist
The full list of Occultist Subskills is Create Artifact, Identity Artifact, Occult Knowledge, Mentor, Premonition, Ritual Magic.

The standard package is all Subskills.

  • Create Artifacts. The character likely has the Artificer Advantage.
  • Identify artifact, Occult knowledge, Mentor are all rollable into Expertise (Magic), though you may lower the score from the General skill tables if all three Subskills are not present (say, -2 per missing Subskill).
  • Premonition is essentially the ability to pay one Hero Point to foresee the future (not necessarily in a precise way), and could be considered an Advantage that does just that.
  • Ritual Magic is the equivalent of the Ritualist Feat.

9.12/ Scientist
The full list of Scientist Subskills is Analysis, Research, Drawing Plans and Observation.

The standard package is all Subskills.

This skills set doesn’t quite have an equivalent in M&M. Drawing Plans will usually get rolled into a Technology Skill. The rest can just be treated as Expertise: Science using the same table as Gadgetry.

Two Subskills of note :

  • Scientist (Research). This corresponds to information research and analysis (why it is in Scientist is a mystery for the age since this is a Subskill for investigative reporters, intelligence specialists, consultants, lawyers, etc.). There’s nothing along those lines in DCA, though Well-Informed might match for some characters. It could be used as Ranks for a house-rule skill about information research and analysis.
  • Scientist (Computers). Maps to an Expertise (Computer science).

9.13/ Thief
The full list of Thief Subskills is Concealment, Escape Artist, Locks and Safes, Pickpocketing, Stealth, Forgery and Security Systems.

The standard package is all Subskills.

Like Military science, this is a bit dispersed in DCA terms:

  • Concealment is just like the Concealing application of Sleight of Hand.
  • Escape Artist is just like the Escaping application of Sleight of Hand, though Contorting can also be safely assumed.
  • Locks and Safes and Security Systems together correspond to the Security application of the Technology skill ; use the Gadgetry table to estimate the number. If the character cannot use other applications of the Technology skill it’s a Limited 2 version of the skill.
  • Pickpocketing is the equivalent of the Stealing application of Sleight of Hand.
  • Stealth corresponds to the Stealth Skill.
  • Forgery is best treated as an Expertise ; see the General skill tables.

Depending on how many Thief Subskills are present, the character may have a Limited 1 or Limited 2 version of Sleight of Hand – or you may end up just using the Sleight of Hand Skills as a whole. Use the General Skill table, with the non-Expertise column.

9.14/ Vehicles
The full list of Vehicles Subskills is Land, Sea, Air and Space.

The standard package is all Subskills, though you will often see the SEAL notation (standing for Sea, Air, Land and thus leaving Space out)

Leaving Space vehicles out is probably not, in most campaigns, enough of an issue to warrant a Limited. Having only one Subskill in DCH is the equivalent of a Limited 2 in DCA, and having only two of a Limited 1.

Use the non-Expertise column of the general skills table, of course.

9.15/ Weaponry
See the offence bonus section.

10/ Advantages


Here are the rough equivalencies encountered so far.

Attractive Usually indicates a rank of Attractive.
Connoisseur Likely an Expertise of the same name for a final bonus of about +9.
Credentials Might indicate Benefit (Security Clearance) and maybe Connected.
Double-Jointed Enhanced Skill (Sleight of Hand) +6 (Limited 2 – Contorting and Escaping only), plus Enhanced Skill (Athletics) +2 (Limited 2 – Climbing). This Advantage is rarely used.
Expertise About 7 ranks of Expertise in the subject matter.
Familiarity Familiarities in DCH are a note not to assign penalties for unfamiliarity in that area when making rolls. It can cover any subject, from etymology to SCUBA diving, and can be wide or narrow. As a rule of thumb they can correspond to 2-3 Ranks in an Expertise, or be a clue to add a Rank to the Character’s corresponding professional skill (in the examples above, it could be Expertise (Language arts) or Expertise (Special operations soldier) or somesuch).
Gift of gab Increase Presence by 1 over initial estimates. For determinining Intimidation and Persuasion, treat the character as having 1 more AP of Charisma, INF, and/or AURA. Often indicates the presence of social Advantages such as Fascinate, Startle or Taunt.
Insta-Change Usually Feature (Quick Change).
Iron Nerves Fearless is the main equivalent, but is problematic since it’s an absolute. A more nuanced approach is Second Chance (Fear/Intimidation), but it’s only the exact right tool for some characters. GMs who do not allow Fearless (or consider it a two-points Immunity rather than a one-point one) may consider a Iron Nerves one-point Advantage replacing Fearless in the rulesbook, and giving a +6 to defenses against fear and intimidation.
Leadership Inspire and Leadership (but not always both).
Lightning Reflexes Maps to Improved Initiative as noted in the Initiative section.
Local Hero Usually a one-point Benefit representing great popularity within a specific population, just like the DCH Advantage does. Most persons amongst this population will have a Favourable attitude toward the character.
Luck Might indicate Luck.
Popularity This can usually be expressed as a two-points Benefit. Most persons will have a Favorable attitude toward the Character with this Benefit, though some people react weirdly to well-regarded celebrities.
Prehensile Feet Feature 1 (Prehensile Feet) and Enhanced Athletics +6 (Limited 2 to Climbing).
Rich Friends A Benefit (Wealth) with one Rank of Check Required (usually a Persuasion one, though in some cases it’s a professional Expertise – say, expenses accounts).
Scholar About 10 ranks of Expertise in the subject matter.
Sharp Eye See the Awareness calculation.
Schtick (Paired Weapons) Usually corresponds to Enhanced Advantages when wielding a pair of such weapons (Close Attack, Parry, Takedown, Power Attack may be involved). For exceptional cases see Rapid Fire on the New Rules page.
Stabilisation Diehard.
Ultra Luck Often works as two or three ranks of Luck.

11/ Drawbacks

These now generally map to Complications. Generally speaking, what DCH Drawbacks do is fairly clear from the name, but there is a handful of abbreviations:

  • (M/S/C)IA are Irrational Attractions toward something or somebody.
  • (M/S/C)IH are Irrational Hatreds toward destroying something/somebody.
  • (M/S/C/)IF are Irrational Fears of something or somebody.
  • (M/S/C)PI are Psychological Instabilities, with an increasing chance to have an episode.

12/ Movement speeds


DCA and DCH both have real world measures. Thus, if you are lucky enough to have a real speed in MPH, one hour in DCA is 9 ranks, so you can just subtract 9 from the miles to get the speed rank. However, most of the time speeds are going to be based on game statistics or observed performance in the media. Here are some handy conversions.

Speed

Speed is usually going to be equal to APs of ground movement such as Running, -2. This assumes that characters and creatures will frequently run using their Athletics. For things like vehicles, that don’t use Athletics, Running -1 is usually going to be better, or use the speed of a similar vehicle.

Flight

Usually equal to APs of Flight -1. DCA does, however, present a surprisingly wide range of speeds for aircraft, so some comparisons may be necessary.

Swimming

Ranks equal to APs of Swimming. Although the AP values are smaller, DCA assesses a speed penalty for swimming.

Leaping

Leaping is defined more by distance than speed, so you can simply use the appropriate measure. Apart from some dither, Leaping is equal to APs of Jumping, again, accounting for the distance penalty in DCA.

Teleportation

Although DCA rounds are slightly longer, even moreso than Leaping, teleportation is defined by the distance that can be achieved in one move. Ranks in Teleport equal APs of distance, -2. DC Heroes assigns a +7 distance bonus to teleporation, so very often, it will make sense to assign the Extended modifier to Teleport and apportion the ranks accordingly. Alternatively, some ranks with Vulnerable can make sense for characters who teleport very large distance that don’t seem to pertain to combat situations.

13/ Powers


DCH Powers have names in plain English, and deducing what Energy Blast: 06 or Force Field: 04 does is usually straightforward. ”Same thing but lower the number by 1” works pretty well in a majority of cases.

Combat-oriented Powers tend to be about EV or RV, and the article begins with conversion tables about those.

Energy blast is an EV (a damage effect) so you can see it’s about a Damage 5 attack – from context one can assume a Ranged Energy Damage 5 Effect. Force field bolsters RV, so adding it to the BODY of the character and checking the table gives you an idea of how resilient the force field makes that person.

Less straightforward cases can become very complicated indeed, and require strong system mastery of both games. It’s probably best to just come to the Atomic Think Tank Thread for those.

We have not compiled a full list and likely never will – it’s a huge amount of work that generates mediocre value. What we do have is discussion notes from the thread about specific issues.

13.1/ Role of the Second Chance Advantage wrt durability

Second Chance has a friendly relationship with some of these DCH constructs:

  • Energy Absorbtion limited to one energy type. Example: Firebrand II.
  • [Foo] Immunity (which adds to RV), exceeding the base RV by a large amount, but not to a degree that suggests full Immunity in M&M.
  • Minor Conditional Soaking. Example: The Thing’s tough chin versus powerful beatings.
  • RV increases in the 1 to 3 APs range, especially Flame Immunity and Electrical/Lightning Immunity, that are well-documented, vaguely defined, and not essential to characterization. This is especially true if there is suspicion how broadly their resistance applies and one wishes to be conservative. Example: The Thing’s demonstrated resistance to fire, above his general durability.

Healing factors – Regeneration

DC Adventures and DC Heroes have very different approaches to recovery. Recovery in DCA is fast and routine, and is expressed in penalties and conditions. Recovery in DCH is based on APs of BODY, and the rates can vary according to the damage type as well as the operating genre rules. This is not an apples to apples comparison.

However, there are some convenient convergences. 10 ranks of Regeneration in DCA will allow you to recover one point of penalty each round, while 10 ranks of Regeneration in DCH will allow you to make one Bashing recovery check each round. 5 ranks of Regeneration and 2 ranks of Regeneration, recovering one point every other round, or every five rounds, respectively, also happen to be popular and common ranks of Regeneration, whereas Regeneration in DC Heroes is based on APs of time, doubling each AP. So just use this handy table:

Regeneration (APs) Regeneration (ranks)
7 or less 1
8 2
9 5
10 10
11 15
12 20

Beyond 12 APs, just go home, you’re drunk. Well… If you feel the need to define something especially effective for very high ranks, some kind of comic book style almost instantaneous recovery from wounds that nearly destroy the body, consider dialing back the Regeneration back to 1 or 2 ranks and buying a level of Healing (self only) using the APs of Regeneration as though they were an EV.

So, if you see a character with Regeneration: 18, and you think that’s really important to portray, you could give them Regeneration 1 and Healing 14, Limited (self only).

Healing factors – Invulnerability

Invulnerability is something of an ugly DCH duckling. Counter-intuitively named, working unintuitively as it needs to “hit” the character’s BODY score, abstract and corresponding to a wide range of in-universe abilities, often having to be slapped with a roll frequency limitation, sitting in Regeneration’s garden (and Desperation Recovery’s) with an unclear delineation between the two…

But Diehard, and also a pretty strong case for Ultimate Effort (Toughness) are strong possibilities. Sufficiently strong cases are treated as Immortality in DCA, with appropriate limitations and Complications as needed.

Optional sections


Uncapped
The writeups in the DCA rulesbook essentially follow a 1-20 scale as a design choice. This has some advantages (especially if you want characters of different PL to work together), but some GMs may prefer to have a more open-topped scale, not one soft-capped at 20. If so, some guidelines:

  • for EVs of 14 or more, ignore the damage equivalencies table and use DCH EVs as a M&M damage bonus without any alteration. If it’s 18 in DCH, it’s 18 in DCA ; if it’s 25 it’s 25.
  • for STR of 14 or more, same thing
  • drop “lifting only” strength rank bonuses, they’re no longer useful
  • if you get a Toughness and/or Fortitude of 13 or more using the OMACS II equivalencies, alter them as follows :
M&M Toughness Rough M&M Toughness
(straight equivalency) (uncapped equivalency)
13 13
14 14 or 15
15 16 or 17
16 18 or 19
17 20 or 21
18 22 or 23
19 24 or 25
20 26
M&M Fortitude Rough M&M Fortitude
(straight equivalency) (uncapped equivalency)
13 13
14 16
15 19


Sharing

The links to follow us and/or subscribe to our monthly newsletter are at the bottom of this page.


Design notes

Notes about benchmarks used for OMACS II – Introduction

Unlike OMACS I, OMACS II is chiefly based on comparisons of scores between DCH and DCA, to establish correlations and derive tables that approximate those.

The good news is that this endeavour is best conducted with a relatively low number of data points, using ’pivot‘ heroes with well-known capabilities who have encountered and/or fought a vast number of less pivotal characters. Both the DCA and the DCH writeups use key characters as benchmarks, and the number of likely scores for any attribute is fairly low.

The bad news is that such an exercise requires good knowledge of both systems (so reading the notes require DCH knowledge, unlike OMACS II itself) and, more importantly, of the key heroes used as benchmarks – and of the implicit hierarchies existing between them. Knowing how good an acrobat Nightwing is is important, but there also has to be a sense of scale to determine how much better he’s at it than, say, Black Canary.

As a further note, the DCH rules we’ll be using here is the one used on writeups.org – Blood of Heroes Special Edition with various additional conventions and material. For those who come from older editions it’s roughly like the 2nd and 3rd edition of DC Heroes, but with new stuff. See the FAQ on writeups.org for more about all of this.

Neither set of official writeups is considered perfect, and neither is our understanding of the pivot characters’ abilities. Thus, whenever we’re analysing scores for benchmark characters, we don’t compare things straight away. We use the DCH evaluations to adjust the DCA scores and vice versa, using our knowledge to assess what is going on.

This means that the first result of OMACS II has been more precise ideas about scores for the benchmark characters, both in DCA and DCH, because we could draw average guesses from a greater pool of highly informed guesses. You will see that in action in the notes, and see how it produces a more coherent scale of who is better than whom at what, allowing for more coherent comparisons of quantities across game systems.

Of course, this work also produces series of revised scores for the benchmark characters, allowing to improve their writeups in both systems. The differences are not huge (aside from some quirks, both DCA and DCH have pretty good official writeups), but it’s a nice side-product. There’s more on this at the end of the document, if you want.

This whole body of work is complicated, there are inevitably judgement calls, and it informs important writeups. Thus I’ve decided to take extensive notes about the design of OMACS II so people can check the reasoning, see how some values they’re not sure they agree with were arrived at, and let those who want to make changes know the tool. Also, some people like reading about this stuff.

Notes about the Trinity and the Big Red Cheese

These four characters are especially important for benchmarks…. but…

Superman and Captain Marvel

The ’iconic‘ versions of Supes and Captain Marvel are considerably different in DCA and DCH. DCH Superman is still informed by the Silver Age as the Man of Tomorrow with “super-intelligence” ; DCA Superman is the less brainy 2000s version. DCH Captain Marvel was the version right after the Crisis and a minor character, whereas the DCA version is the major character and powerful version seen nowadays.

This makes many, many scores pointless to compare – except, thankfully, for some keystone values such as their strength. *Furthermore*, the values for Superman’s and Captain Marvel’s DEX in the DCH rulesbook have long been debated by DCH players, with the apparent majority using lower values – making these DCH scores unsuitable for benchmarking purposes.

Batman

Batman is at the very least the version often nicknamed “the bat-god”, and probably beyond. It seems that he has been build to PL to some extend – once it has been determined that Bruce is PL12, not pushing his skills to PL would indeed seem strange (he’s *Batman*).

This result in skill levels that are considerably higher than characters in the next tier for that skill – in part because Batman is also considerably above characters in the tier below him in terms of Attributes. There’s a considerable range of values between what a very skilled hero can do and what Batman can do, which I’ve come to call “the Batman Gap” because what the world needs is more sound-bites.

As you will see, the reasoning in OMACS often has to adjust Batman to levels that are still markedly superior to other people’s but not outrageously so in order not to warp the scale and inflate numbers.

And of course Wonder Woman

The DCA version of Wonder Woman is about accurate for Diana in most JLA books or making a guest appearance, the DCH version on WORG is about accurate for Diana in her book in the hands of her more enthusiastic and talented writers (the supreme warrior depicted by Rucka, or the quasi-goddess depicted by Simone). As you’ll see from time to time we adjust for that.

Amusingly this often means that the more powerful version of Wonder Woman ends up with the exact same scores as Batman does in the rulesbook, whereas the Bat is toned down by a few points.

Generally, one may notice that the values we use for benchmark DC characters are slightly different from those in the old rulesbooks as they were tweaked a bit – but most of these differences are but one AP.

Construction of the system


1/ Offence bonuses

The key values for the lower end of the scale are covered, in this sections and all others, by checking the supporting characters (DCA pp 266-268) and comparing with similar generic profiles for DCH. In this case we have a high end at +6 for SWAT types (soldiers and cops are +5), thugs at about +2 and baseline civilians at +0.

Generally speaking, M&M supporting characters stats are more aggressive, with trained generic NPCs starting circa PL4 ; DCH keeps these NPCs at a more subdued level and has thugs that are not much weaker than cops. To adjust for this, +0 to +6 are kept on a DCH scale from one to four.

DCA is more fine-grained than the basic rules for DCH for offence and defence purposes (though the DCH communities introduced a number of tools to deal with that), so in many cases I’ll use what DCH scores would be if there were DCA-like granularity.
Key offence bonuses in DCA:
Hal Jordan, unarmed +8
Martian Manhunter unarmed +12
Aquaman unarmed +13
Catwoman unarmed +13
Robin unarmed +13
Wonder Woman unarmed +14
Green Arrow archery +15 but see below
Nightwing unarmed +15
Black Canary unarmed +16
Batman unarmed +20 (puxa !)

Key AVs in DCH:
Hal Jordan, unarmed would be 5 or 6
Martian Manhunter, unarmed would be 7
Aquaman, unarmed would be 9
Catwoman, unarmed would be 8-9 (depending on era)
Robin, unarmed would be 7-8 (depending on era)
Wonder Woman, unarmed is 12
Green Arrow, archery is 11 or 12 (depending on era)
Nightwing, unarmed is 09 (during the Blüdhaven era)
Black Canary, unarmed would be about 10 nowadays
Batman, unarmed is +10

Analysis and DCU confrontation:
Okay, there are problems here. The adjustments we are going to consider:

  • Green Arrow. It’s a trap – his ranged combat Advantages will usually mean a higher offensive bonus (say, via Improved Aim, Precise Attack negating penalties, possible All-Out Attack, etc.) on average than with a melee combatant. It’s wiser to assume a +20 Offence Bonus for Ollie in actual game situations, based on those additional bonuses he’s going to bring to bear.
  • Robin being that close to Selina or Dick is weird, unless we assume old versions of Nightwing and Catwoman (say, in the 1980s) and Tim as Red Robin. Otherwise it doesn’t match observed performance. Let’s treat Tim as a +12, it’s credible and it’s just one point.
  • The big problem here is Bruce vs. Diana. As it turns out it doesn’t match observed material – Wonder Woman just stomps Batman in hand-to-hand sparring even when adjusted for strength, as seen several times in JLA or Wonder Woman stories such as the landmark The Hiketeia ; we also know that she’s technically superior to even the current Black Canary (and much faster).

So… no major difficulties but the Bruce/Diana one. Bringing the Bat back to +17 and Wonder Woman up to +20 works very neatly on all levels. It will create distortion for villains benched against WW and Batman, but Bruce’s offence being so much higher than fighters just under his tier is really odd and creates more distortion than our approach. We’ll assume these values (probably the biggest change we’ll make to official DCA stats) in the OMACS II table and our revised writeups.

2/ Initiative
In the published writeups, one rank of Improved Initiative seems standard for accomplished fighters with fast reflexes ; multiple ranks seem reserved to speedsters but all agile/precise warriors have one (except Wonder Woman, who has a tremendous Agility).

Parsing the heroes leads to the conclusion that Initiative should be determined as per the normal DCA formula and the one thing that affects it (one rank of Improved Initiative) is the equivalent of DCH’s Lightning Reflexes (in fact the match is almost perfect).

Speedster-wise, we have but one data point – the Flash’s Initiative is 44 in DCA and 50 in DCH – so I’m wary of drawing conclusions, especially since lower Initiative scores have no correlation between the two games (frex DCH Batman is a 36, DCA Batman is a 11 – like with most things Initiative in DCA is much more random than in DCH, especially with the d20 rather than 2d10 distribution).

3/ Damage
As noted during OMACS I work, the two games seem to use a rather similar scale for damage, but a glance at the DCA writeups for pivot characters implies that the top of the scale got squished – it’s soft-capped at 20. Which is not surprising, as you may remember that OMACS I damage for the Kryptonian end of the scale were a bit higher than most estimates.

Key damage bonuses in DCA:
Civilian, unarmed +0
Soldier, unarmed +1
Cop, unarmed +2
Black Canary, unarmed +2
Green Arrow, unarmed +2
Hal Jordan, unarmed +2
9mm pistol, +3
Nightwing, unarmed +3
Batman, unarmed +4
.44 magnum revolver, +4
Shotgun, +5
Aquaman, unarmed +10
Martian Manhunter, unarmed +16
Wonder Woman, unarmed +16
Captain Marvel, unarmed +19
Superman, unarmed +19

Meh – I have a big gap in the middle of the scale. Damnit. On the other hand I can see the curve already.

Key EVs in DCH:
Civilian, unarmed 02
Soldier, unarmed 03
Cop, unarmed 03
Black Canary, unarmed 03
Green Arrow, unarmed 04
Hal Jordan, unarmed 04
9mm pistol, 04
Nightwing, unarmed 04
Batman, unarmed 05
.44 magnum revolver, 05
Shotgun, 06
Aquaman, unarmed 09 (but quite possibly 10, really… okay, 10)
Martian Manhunter, unarmed 19
Wonder Woman, unarmed 20
Captain Marvel, unarmed 24
Superman, unarmed 25

The DCH curve is a bit smoother for human beings, but otherwise the two games have very consistent ratings. I’m a bit chagrined about the lack of data near the centre, but considering 10-12 as the segment where the two lines overlap is a good guess, since that’s stretch were differences in strength still have pretty significant effects in the comics – after that it’s bricks-land and the differences play a less drastic role.

Then the table writes itself with few irregularities (but then if there were no irregularities I’d just do formulae).


4/ Dodge and Parry defences

There too, base DCH doesn’t distinguish between ranged and melee defences – so another good point for DCA. DCH has been modified (with the Evasion Subskills, in particular) to reflect this, but it’s not very present in iconic characters. Thus, I’m again gonna use some reliable extrapolation on the DCH side.

Key dodge and parry numbers in DCA:
Civilian : +0 Dodge and Parry
Thug: +1 Dodge, +2 Parry
Police officer: +2 Dodge, +4 Parry
SWAT officer: +4 Dodge and Parry
Soldiers : +5 Dodge and Parry
Hal Jordan: +10 Parry
Aquaman: +11 Dodge and Parry
Robin: +11 Dodge and Parry
Black Canary: +12 Dodge
Green Arrow: +12 Parry
Hal Jordan: +12 Dodge
Nightwing: +12 Parry
Batman : +14 Dodge and Parry
Black Canary: +14 Parry
Green Arrow: +14 Dodge
Nightwing: +14 Dodge
Wonder Woman : +16 Dodge and Parry

Key OVs in DCH:
Civilian : 02 Melee and Ranged
Police officer : 03 Melee and Ranged
SWAT officer: 03 Melee and Ranged
Soldier: 03 Melee and Ranged
Hal Jordan: would be 05 or 06 Melee
Green Arrow: 06 melee
Robin: would be 07 melee and ranged
Aquaman: would be 08 Melee and Ranged
Hal Jordan: 08 Ranged
Black Canary: would be 08 Ranged
Green Arrow: 09 Ranged
Nightwing: 09 Melee
Black Canary: would be 10 Melee
Nightwing: 11 Ranged
Wonder Woman: 12 Melee and Ranged

Analysis and DCU confrontation:
Eyeballing a straight mapping between the two sets produces very constrained results because the defensive values in DCA are very much squished. Most everybody ranges between +11 and +13, with daring outliers at, oh, +10 and +14. This narrow distribution pretty much dictates the equivalencies table unless we want to introduce overlap between lines, which I’d rather avoid for such important numbers.

Generally the results are off by about one point in a random direction. That’s a very reasonable range, amply explained by differences in opinion about the characters. No real conflict between the scores and observed performance, in fact the results of OMACS seem to map quite nicely to the characters in the comics. Next.

5/ Will defence
There’s more to it in DCH than MIN and SPI (INT and INF often play a role, and there are issues with the role of WIL in official DCH stats), but this formula favours the ’purest‘ attributes – those for which the main consideration when deciding about the proper scores was resistance to mental and spiritual attacks, respectively.
Key Will defences in DCA:
Flash 10
Green Arrow 10
Aquaman 11
Black Canary 11
Nightwing 12
Batman 13
Captain Marvel 15
Martian Manhunter 15
Superman 15
Wonder Woman 16
Green Lantern 18

Key averaged MIN/SPI scores in DCH:
Aquaman 7
Black Canary would now be at… no idea. Yeah, 7 or so.
Flash 7.5
Green Arrow 7.5
Captain Marvel 8
Nightwing 8.5
Martian Manhunter 9
Wonder Woman 10
Batman 11
Green Lantern 12
Superman 12.5

Mmmm… meh. It’s a mess. Let’s see the key averaged MIN/SPI/WIL scores in DCH, in case it helps:
Black Canary let’s say 7 again
Flash 7
Aquaman 7.3
Green Arrow 8.3
Captain Marvel 8.7
Nightwing 8.7
Martian Manhunter 9.7
Wonder Woman 11
Batman 11.3
Superman 15
Green Lantern 15.6

Analysis and DCU confrontation:
The two work together fairly nicely until we reach a respectable +12 or so, and then it kinda goes south. The DCA hierarchy seems to be a better representation of the characters in the comics than the DCH one.

Wonder Woman is a tad overpowered this time around (too many writers treat her as more vulnerable than that), and Batman underpowered (his resistance to Apokolipsian torture before the Omega Sanction should be an ample demonstration of this – Batman is one of the strongest minds in the DCU and has strong, sophisticated mental defences with backup personalities and whatnot. And the Morrison take is probably the best-known one at that point).

So we’ll essentially average the values – as long as they reflect broadly comparable versions of the characters, of course. This averaging is done in *both* DCH and DCA, and favours DCA values when in doubt since they seem better. Thus we end up with a smoother set of values (by definition), and one that likely ends up being more accurate in both systems.

So we’re in double jeopardy here, and the cleanest solution I have is to write down the DCH and DCA value as they should be. Because I’ll essentially be averaging the two sets of assessments (except for Captain Marvel where I clearly favour DCA), which is always a good thing. This also limits the drift of the scores of the benchmark characters in either system, which is good too.

Okay, let’s do the modified target values:

Modified key Will defences in DCA:
Flash 10
Green Arrow 10
Black Canary 10 (lowered by one)
Aquaman 11
Nightwing 12
Captain Marvel 14 (lowered by one)
Wonder Woman 14 (lowered by two)
Martian Manhunter 14 (lowered by one)
Batman 15 (upped by two)
Superman 15
Green Lantern 18

Modified key averaged MIN/SPI scores in DCH:
Black Canary 7
Flash 7.5
Green Arrow 7.5
Aquaman 8 (upped by one)
Nightwing 8.5
Martian Manhunter 10 (upped by one)
Wonder Woman 10
Captain Marvel 11 (upped by three)
Batman 12 (upped by one)
Superman 12 (lowered by .5)
Green Lantern 15 (upped by four, because I’ll also fix the WIL issue)

Yeah, much more convenient. The two main changes in DCH are long-overdue fixes for Hal Jordan and the Big Red Cheese. The two main DCA changes are bringing Wonder Woman and Batman closer to the repeatedly evidenced levels. Note to self – consider an Ultimate Effort (Will) for Diana, that may be the most interesting solution to model her.

The lower levels of the scale are filled using the civilian, then the cop, then the distribution I felt was correct based on habit with the DCH distribution of those stats.

6/ Fortitude defence
This is an area where DCA might be a tad too specific – base physical resistance plus or minus topical modifiers is sufficient, and the Fortitude grouping is a bit odd. Oh, well.

Again, the values for the stock NPCs (cops, thugs…) in DCA are pretty aggressive, going as high as +6, whereas in DCH they are more subdued.

Key fortitude defences in DCA:
Civilian +0
Thug +4
Cop +4
Soldier +5
SWAT officer +6
Green Arrow +7
Robin +7
Nightwing +8
Batman +9
Black Canary +9
Green Lantern +10
Aquaman +11
Martian Manhunter +13
Wonder Woman +14
Captain Marvel +15
Superman +15

Key RVs vs poison/disease in DCH:
Civilian, 02
Thug, 03
Cop, 03
Soldier, 03
SWAT officer, 04
Green Arrow, 05
Robin, 04
Nightwing, 05
Batman, 06
Black Canary, 05
Green Lantern, 05
Aquaman, 09
Martian Manhunter, 15
Wonder Woman, 14
Captain Marvel, 16
Superman, 18

Analysis and DCU confrontation:
It sort of aligns, though Hal Jordan being more resilient toward poison than Batman is weird. Since in DCA’s Hal’s Fortitude is way, way higher than his ring-less Stamina, I suspect some of the protective effects of the ring (which DCH models as /BODY/) have been rolled in buying up his Fortitude defence. So I’ll ignore it right now.

Generally things work out with the usual plus or minus one dither, and the DCA values are reasonable for the characters as seen in comics. And TBH it’s not a terribly important value anyway unless the whole campaign is about fighting Dr. Poison and Catalyst, so small differences aren’t critical.

7/ Toughness defence
Now that one is considerably more important.

Key toughness defences in DCA :
Civilian 0
Thug, no jacket 2
Soldier, no armour 2
Cop, no armour 2
Green Arrow, 2 (6 w/Defensive Roll)
Black Canary, 3 (6 w/Defensive Roll)
Nightwing, 3 (6 w/Defensive Roll)
Flash, 3 (8 w/Defensive Roll)
Batman, 4 (8 w/Defensive Roll)
Aquaman, 8 (11 w/Defensive Roll)
Martian Manhunter, 13
Hal Jordan, 14 (with ring on)
Wonder Woman, 14
Superman, 18
Captain Marvel, 19

Key RVs vs straight attacks in DCH:
Civilian, 02
Thug, 03
Cop, 03
Soldier, 03
SWAT officer, 04
Green Arrow, 05
Robin, 04
Nightwing, 05
Batman, 06
Black Canary, 05
Flash, 07 (2 from Skin Armour)
Aquaman, 09
Green Lantern, 12 (with ring)
Martian Manhunter, 15
Wonder Woman, 14
Captain Marvel, 16
Superman, 18

Analysis and DCU confrontation:
I’ve thrown in the Defensive Rolls based on what I noticed in OMACS I, and it does make sense when looking at the compared scales. People can always fiddle with defensive rolls, though guidelines should of course be provided.
With the Defensive Rolls it falls in place fairly well.

Imperviousness plays a role in how DCA toughness defences are determined, but it’s going to be hard to explain and this is a case where I’d need a lot of data points rather than a few high-impact ones.

HPs are key to durability in DC Heroes, but this is not going to matter. Because DCH favours offence over defence and let the HPs buffer that delta, whereas DCA as defence on the same level than offence (DCA is significantly more random than DCH in many ways, not least including the dice type).

DCU-wise… DCH Green Lantern seems a bit low compared to the DCA one but he actually has a way to shunt energy into a higher RV so it actually works out. J‘onn and Diana are flipped around by one point – that’s just noise, though that and Kal vs. Billy mean I may prefer wide lines on the table at the high end to allow for that.

Also, DCH Captain Marvel is underpowered (again) and should just have BODY 18 so we’re done with it. Poor Captain Marvel – I suppose it’s mostly licensing issues, since back in the DCH days Billy couldn’t be as strong or tough as Clark by editorial mandate.

8/ Attributes
These rarely play a role in themselves, since we concentrate on final, effective bonuses rather than intermediary values. But they’re nice-to-haves.

8.1/ Strength
Key Strength scores in DCA:
Black Canary 2
Green Arrow 2
Robin 2
Nightwing 3
Batman 4
Aquaman 10
Martian Manhunter 16 (lift STR is 20)
Wonder Woman 16 (lift STR is 22)
Captain Marvel 19 (lift STR is 23)
Superman 19 (lift STR is 23)

Key STR APs in DCH:
Black Canary 04
Green Arrow 04
Robin 03
Nightwing 04
Batman 05
Aquaman 10
Martian Manhunter 19
Wonder Woman 20
Captain Marvel 24 but really 25
Superman 25

Analysis and DCU confrontation:
For STR we’re going to let any fuzziness be arbitrated by the weight-lifting power — keeping in mind that there’s a known knot with Batman’s STR (he’s not a full 05 – just a hair above 04).

APs of Weight in DCH and ranks of Weight in DCA are about the same thing, though, but we’re not shooting for a straight conversion since DCA and DCH have different scales for how humans work, and for the Kryptonian end of the scale.

Again, there’s a lack of data point in the middle portion, and I use 13+ as a breakpoint where bricks-land start and STR differences become less important. And it falls just right. Amazing !

Lifting STR (to represent the fact that all DCA heavyweights have it) is estimated to cover most of the differential between DCH max lift and DCA max lift, which seems to be pretty much the intent in the DCA writeups – though it may suggest bumping up Wonder Woman’s DCA strength by one (and her lift-only strength down by one).

8.2/ Stamina
This one is almost purely going though the motions, since what counts is Fortitude and Toughness.

Key DCA Stamina scores:
Robin 1
Cop 2
Soldier 2
Green Arrow 2
Hal Jordan 2
Black Canary 3
Flash 3 (looks… low)
Nightwing 3
Batman 4
Vandal Savage 5
Aquaman 8
Martian Manhunter 10
Superman 14
Wonder Woman 14
Captain Marvel 15
Grundy 20

Key DCH BODY APs:
Cop 03
Soldier 03
Robin would be 04
Green Arrow 04 or 05
Hal Jordan 05
Black Canary 05
Flash 06
Nightwing 05
Batman 06
Vandal Savage would be 07
Aquaman 09
Wonder Woman 14
Martian Manhunter 15
Superman 18
Grundy would be 18 in this version

Analysis and DCU confrontation:
There’s a fair bit of dither, but it’s not catastrophic and I really don’t mind giving broader ranges than usual since Stamina is such a minor presence – people adjusting it a bit based on their own guesses won’t change anything in most cases.

Grundy is exactly to Stamina what Batman was to offence bonuses, but since it’s just Stamina (and his Toughness is not an outlier) it’s not worth it to suggest a change.

8.3/ Agility
This one is tricky because MEGS DEX (aka the Great Catchall Stat) isn’t a good measure of Agility ; in many instances the APs of Acrobatics (Athletics) is a better measure, especially in a comic book environment.

Key DCA Agility scores:
Captain Marvel 2
Hal Jordan 2
Martian Manhunter 2
Superman 2
Aquaman 4
Flash 4
Green Arrow 4
Robin 5
Black Canary 5
Nightwing 6
Batman 7
Wonder Woman 10

Key DCH Acrobatics (Athletics) APs, including Unskilled use (counted as DEX -4 for expediency purposes):
Hal Jordan 01
Flash 03+ (from Superspeed, so up to 25 I guess)
Martian Manhunter 03
Aquaman should be 05
Green Arrow 06
Robin would be about 07 or 08
Black Canary 08
Nightwing 11
Batman 09 or 10
Wonder Woman 11 (should be upped to 12, now that I think about it)

Analysis and DCU confrontation:
First observation – the DCA ratings are strange and off-putting and do not seem to align with the DCU hierarchy. In fact I’ve reread the description of Agility a few times to make sure we were talking about the same thing.

Our revised writeups will suggest quite a few changes, but I’m okay with that – Agility is a stat, not a final score, so the impact will be discreet.

Second – the approach I took with Acrobatics seems to work, actually, in producing a distribution that is not completely removed from the DCA one. Let’s just run with it, since as noted Agility scores are not that big a deal.

I’m gonna be a bit aggressive with Acrobatics 11 (Nightwing or Daredevil) based on the rulesbook’s definition of what a 7 means re: peak human levels, and reproduce to a small extend the mode at 2 that can be seen in the DCA distribution (and the lesser one at 4 whilst I’m at it).

8.4/ Dexterity
Of course, the first step is to check the definition, which boils down to “shoot straight and drive fast”. Which in turns immediately implies another Skills-centric approach, as with Agility. Let’s use relevant Weaponry or Vehicles skills, or an approximation of Unskilled levels.

Key DCA Dexterity scores:
Aquaman 2 (?)
Captain Marvel 2
Martian Manhunter 2 (?)
Superman 2 (?)
Black Canary 3
Hal Jordan 3 (??)
Green Arrow 4 (???)
Nightwing 4 (?)
Robin 5 (?)
Batman 7
Wonder Woman 8

At this point we’ll have an interlude because I need to come up with a distribution that is not too different of that one despite being completely puzzled by the DCA hierarchy.

Using the highest applicable score can’t work – look at what ace pilot Hal Jordan got, or the world’s best archer. About the only approach that comes to mind is an average between Weaponry (ranged stuff) and Vehicles (but not Sea), subbing DEX -4 (as an approximation of Unskilled levels) since that should suitably depress scores for people who are not Batman while still making a bit more sense than the DCA distribution.

This is going to impact the hierarchy a fair bit but well… it should. As usual, Clark and Billy are out of the running.

Key DCH indices using the formula in OMACS II for Dexterity:
Aquaman should be 05 (note to self fix the current DCH Skills, too wide for Arthur)
Black Canary would be 05 or 06
Robin would be 06
Martian Manhunter 06
Hal Jordan 07
Green Arrow 08
Nightwing 08 (note to self up his vehicles (land) to 08)
Batman 10
Wonder Woman 11 (not to self add Vehicles (air) at 09

Analysis and DCU confrontation:
The DCH index seems to do a good job at resembling the DCA distribution but with scores that make sense DCU-wise. É bonita, é legal ! And as it turns out it was an excellent source of ideas to add more detail and colour to iconic DCH writeups that are a bit blocky.

8.5/ Fighting
That one is hard because it is essentially the bedrock of your close combat skills (that is, the one you’re the least good at – for the rest there’s skill levels and Advantages so you reach your target offence bonus).

The DCH DEX is an interesting entity, but there are plenty of characters who have Weaponry or Martial artist skill levels below DEX (though not by much) because they’re not at Unskilled levels (or because it’s a Subskill that doesn’t allow for Unskilled Use).

And using DEX minus something would, in most cases, result in a Fighting score that exceeds the previously computed offence bonuses or parry defence, which are the correct score.

However, Fighting has an interesting characteristic – it’s only ever used to compute offence bonuses and parry. Which we already have. So we… don’t care about Fighting, really, and can freely invoke the “pick some number that makes sense” rule with some guidelines.

8.6/ Intellect
You’d think it was a clear equivalent of WIL, but noooo :

Key DCA Intellect scores:
Green Arrow 1
Hal Jordan 1
Aquaman 2
Black Canary 2
Captain Marvel 2
Superman 2
Wonder Woman 2
Martian Manhunter 3
Nightwing 3
Catwoman 3
Flash 4
Robin 5
Joker 6
Prometheus 6
Batman 8
Darkseid 8
Gorilla Grodd 8
Lex Luthor 11

Key DCH WIL APs:
Green Arrow 10 (might be a bit high though, let’s say 8 and review the writeup)
Hal Jordan 13
Aquaman 08
… no need to go on, it won’t gonna work. At all.

Looking at the DCA scores, the actual metric seems to be “I do science !”. So let me go back and add a few villains to have more data points. Now let’s grab some DCH tech-type skills:

Key DCH tech-type skills:
Aquaman none
Hal Jordan none
Black Canary none, it’s Dinah
Captain Marvel none
Wonder Woman none
Catwoman (identify gadgets) 05 (her Security Systems skills are a 11)
Green Arrow (Clue Analysis) 06
Nightwing (various) 06
Flash (Scientist) 06
Robin about 07 maybe 08
Martian Manhunter (Gadgetry) 10 (maybe not the same version of the character)
Prometheus (various) 10
Joker (Gadgetry) 11
Batman (various) 12
Grodd (various) 12
Darkseid (Scientist) 15 (but it reflects godly science)
Luthor (various) 15

Analysis and DCU confrontation:
Not only am I unable to derive equivalency rules, but I have no idea what “Intellect” means in DCA. Two guys who are lower than what seems the heroic baseline (2) are respectively a USAF captain with enormous, universe-spanning life experience ; and an excellent student with a MBA, extensive life experience including in-depth international travel and who was the mayor of a large city. A notoriously technophobic florist gets more than they do.

8.7/ Awareness
Awareness is an unholy mix of at least three things – perception, common sense and willpower – so we’ll first try an average of INT and WIL to confront scores.

Key DCA Awareness scores:
Black Canary 2
Green Arrow 2 (? I’m starting to think we’re not talkin’ about the same guy here)
Aquaman 3
Hal Jordan 3
Flash 3
Martian Manhunter 4
Nightwing 4
Robin 4
Wonder Woman 4
Batman 7
Captain Marvel 10 (puxa !)

These spreads look really bottom-heavy across most attributes. The DCH curve is much more even so we’re going to fudge with DCA scores a bit. Furthermore I’m getting a feeling that GR treats this score as something called “Wisdom” (hence middling scores for Ollie and Dinah and a stratospheric score for the enhanced Billy), but much like WIL in DCH it’s not what it does. Misleading name.

Key DCH averaged INT and WIL APs:
Black Canary 06
Green Arrow 08.5
Superman 15.5
Aquaman 08
Hal Jordan 10.5
Flash 06.5
Martian Manhunter 10.5
Nightwing 08
Robin about 08
Wonder Woman 10.5
Batman 12
Captain Marvel 07

Analysis and DCU confrontation:
The DCH scale seems much more sensible for just about everyone. Yes, ah ah ah, Green Arrow is impulsive and radical, but he has a lot of willpower and may be the sharpest hunter on Earth. We’re going to use a re-jigged DCA scale here, to align a bit with the more observant DCH scores and better represent the composite nature of the stat.

Alternative DCA Awareness distribution:
Black Canary 2
Aquaman 3
Flash 3
Green Arrow 4
Nightwing 4
Robin 4
Wonder Woman 5
Hal Jordan 5
Martian Manhunter 5
Batman 7
Superman 7

The OMACS II table assumes this later table. As you can see the differences are not massive and it probably all falls under the “different versions of the character are considered to be iconic” umbrella.

8.8/ Presence
Should be a straight match for an averaged INF and AUR, let’s try that:

Key Presence scores in DCA:
Black Canary 2
Flash 2
Aquaman 3
Captain Marvel 3
Green Arrow 3
Hal Jordan 3
Martian Manhunter 3
Nightwing 4
Superman 4
Zatanna 4
Wonder Woman 6
Batman 7

I’m adding Zee (which is not usually part of the sample, since despite liking the character I haven’t read enough of her modern adventures) to get a first idea of how far off the DCH drift will be (DCH has very strong social attributes for mystic types, and that doesn’t always match with the source material).

Key averaged INF/AUR APs in DCH:
Black Canary 05.5
Flash 05.5
Hal Jordan 06.5
Captain Marvel 06.5 (but as usual for Billy in DCH it’s under-stated)
Aquaman 07
Green Arrow 07
Nightwing 07.5
Martian Manhunter 08.5
Batman 09
Wonder Woman 10
Zatanna 13 (as noted, DCH “mystic drift”)
Superman 15 (but it has always seemed a bit ham-fisted)

Analysis and DCU confrontation:
The usual issues, which we can easily compensate for. Also, another case of a scale that works better once Wonder Woman and Batman are switched around.

9/ Skills
Most of the reasoning is already explained in the main document.

If a character can only perform some of the applications of the skill, the DCA approach seems to be to give them only a few ranks. This is streamlined and more or less works in practise, but it’s a bit… sloppy when one is used to specifying domains within broad skills.

9.0/ Expertises
Let’s throw a few scores into a set to see how they behave…

Character Expertise DCA value Rough DCH equiv.
Green Arr. Politics +7
Flash LEO +8 4
Aquaman Atlantean +9 4
Cpt. Marvel Radio host +9 4
Wonder Wo. Mythology +10 5
Flash Forensics +12 6
Superman Journalism +12 6
Zatanna Performance +12 6 or 7
Nightwing Criminology +13 8
Catwoman Burglar +13 11
Zatanna Magic +15 9
Circe Magic +18 14
Luthor Business +18 10
Batman Criminology +21 12
Luthor Science +23 15
Vandal S. History +23

The big thing is a difference of Catwoman version (the DCH one on WORG likely is the best thief in the world, the one in DCA isn’t. The difference for Circe likely isn’t important – it may be an artefact of her Occult Knowledge being rolled into her general Occultist score.

Note: the individual calculations for the various skills has since been folded into a two-columns model, since the differences were minimal.

9.2/ Acrobatics
Rather straightforward, let’s match a few data points (average of Athletics and Acrobatics bonuses) on the DCA side, Acrobatics (Athletics) on the DCH side) for noticeably athletic characters

Character DCA value DCH value
Flash +7.5
Green Arrow +9 06
Black Canary +10.5 08
Aquaman +11
Robin +11.5 About 08
Catwoman +13 10
Batman +15 09
Nightwing +15.5 11
Wonder Wo. +18 12

Aquaman seems to be an outlier, but then I’m unsure about both DCA and DCH estimates. Kicking Arthur out, we still have a wobbly scale and that seems to largely be a result of differences in estimations about the prowess of these characters (and in some cases, oddities triggered by averaging Acrobatics and Athletics, and/or super-strength).

The resulting table is something of a murky compromise, based on guesses about what the DCA values entail. Meh.

9.4/ Artist
The fuzzy one is Artist (Actor), so let’s match data points

Character DCA Deception DCH Artist (Actor)
Flash +6
Black Canary +9
Green Arrow +11
Nightwing +12 07
Zatanna +12
Catwoman +14 07
Batman +15 10

While it looks terrible, one has to remember that we’re interested in how DCH stats can inform DCA stats, not the other way around. So having Artist (Actor) says that you probably have a good Deception (in DCH one can get by with high stats and Unskilled Use), but having Deception doesn’t imply Artist (Actor). Still, these DCA stats can motivate a few low scores of Artist (Actor) in DCH stats to soften Unskilled Penalties.

9.5/ Charisma
Let’s do two tables (the scales seem quite different, mostly because once again Batman has an unearthly score).

Character DCA Intimidation DCH Charisma (Intimidation)
Green Arrow +7 08
Martian Ma. +8 09 Unskilled
Catwoman +8 08
Aquaman +9 08 Unskilled
Wonder Wo. +10 10 Unskilled
Nightwing +12 07
Batman +22 12
Character DCA Persuasion DCH Charisma (Persuasion)
Hal Jordan +7 06.5 Unskilled
Martian Ma. +8 08.5 Unskilled
Nightwing +10 09
Zatanna +10 — (INF is 08)
Batman +12 12
Wonder Wo. +12 12
Catwoman +14 (?) 08

So as it turns out the two DCA scales are fairly similar… provided that we ignore Batman’s massive score and Catwoman’s difficult to explain level. The OMACS tables will do just that and assume a +10 for Catwoman’s Persuasion and a +16 for Batman’s Intimidation so he won’t scare the Anti-Monitor off the universe. There’s a difference of interpretation of Blüdhaven-era Nightwing, but I think that the DCH values are better.

Once these outliers are out, we can reach our unofficial target of plus or minus one by just using the same numbers. How odd.

9.6/ Detective
Only one score to translate, though I assume that Batman will be absurdly off the charts.

Character DCA Investigation DCH (Clue Analysis)
Hal Jordan +5 would be a 03 or so I guess
Green Arrow +7 06 (but beware, different versions of character)
Black Canary +8 Some Subskills at 06, otherwise none
Wonder Wo. +8 zilch
Catwoman +8 zilch
Flash +12 06 Scientist, I guess. He really should have Cl. An.
Martian Ma. +13 10 (but Linked, so likely not exact)
Nightwing +15 08
Robin +15 09
Batman +22 10

Let’s assume Batman at +20 for the sake of the OMACS scale, you know the drill. Having him be markedly above Tim and Dick (especially Blüdhaven-era Dick) is accurate, even with the Skill Mastery.

That one is clear as mud. Almost every single score is unusable. Yay. The bad news is thus that the table in OMACS is based of seats-of-my-pants evaluations of how the DCA approach would work in DCH ; the good news is that I’m probably the one with the most experience to do this, and I’m building some dither in the numbers.

9.7/ Gadgetry
That one is rather thorny due to different boundaries – and both the DCA model and the DCH model have their problems. Still there’s probably a good correlation between DCA Technology and DCH Gadgetry. Let’s check.

Character DCA Technology DCH Gadgetry
Aquaman +5
Catwoman +7 05 (Identify Gadget)
Martian Ma. +7 10 (different take, and Linked)
Nightwing +11 06
Robin +11 06
Flash +12 04 (but 06 Scientist – and his 04 always felt low)
Batman +15 12 (different take)
Luthor +24 15

Bleargh. Still… we can assume that this version of Batman would have about a 08 Gadgetry (rather than his more Silver Age-ish, Linked score), assume Barry is a high 06 or low 07 (I think his DCH score is low to represent the fact he seldom uses it… we’d have a different approach with a 07 and Minor Marginal now)… that and a crowbar will force-fit a curve somewhere in there. It’s a dirty job, but somebody gotta do it – and it doesn’t look too bad once it’s written up, actually.

9.12/ Scientist
Characters that are heavy on Observation might best be represented by a new DCA Advantage. I know it’s not the Silver Age and its pipe-smoking TV dad scientists spouting science facts any more, but still… the absence of coverage in DCA is weird.

9.13/ Thief
Mapping equivalencies essentially leaves us with the Sleight of Hand equivalencies, so let’s draft a quick table.

Character DCA SoH DCH Thief (or Subskills)
Robin +11 08
Nightwing +12 08
Zatanna +14 — (the old DCH Zatanna writeup is old)
Catwoman +14 11 (but different versions of char.)
Batman +15 10

Few values and mostly clustered. We’ll assume that the version of Catwoman with a 11 in Thief would have a +18 in DCA and base the rest on loose equivalencies with other tables, since that one simply doesn’t have enough material to draw from.

9.14/ Vehicles
A case where you can’t avoid Limited Skills by arguing that folks with low bonuses can’t succeed at the complex applications.

Character DCA Vehicles DCH Vehicles
Aquaman +5 06 (non-Sea should presumably be lower)
Martian Ma. +6 07 but Linked so forget it
Green Arrow +10 04 (clear difference in estimates here)
Catwoman +10 08 (but is a tougher version)
Black Canary +11 About 07 or 08
Robin +11 About 07 or 08
Nightwing +12 06 but Land should be 08
Wonder Wo. +12 Should have 08 or 09
Batman +15 10
Hal Jordan +15 10 (air)

Another mess with relatively few usable points, though the cop and the reporter profiles provide us with precious bottom-of-the-scale targets.

Transversal analysis

If you’ve read that far, you must be pretty determined, so I suppose I can throw in one more comment about this work. In particular – why was this work on iconic heroes important in sparking modified writeups in DCA and DCH ? The answer is transversality.

Normally, writeup analysis (or, more commonly, just writing the thing) is centred on the character itself, with stats being benched against documented performance to make them more correct. So one looks at the Wonder Woman writeup and confront that to a germane body of Wonder Woman material – and to some mental benchmarks about what sort of score is needed to perform (or fail to perform) such and such feat.

What was done here is different (and more tedious, alas) — It’s matching series of values and comparing them between characters. What you get from this is completely different view. The work is not to check scores in isolation but to check conformity to something very important in the genre – hierarchies.

In this context, a rating that may have seemed OK in isolation may starts looking off – Wonder Woman *could* have such-and-such score since it is compatible with her observed performance, but when comparing to other benchmark characters it starts looking too high or too low. In essence, it’s a further dimension to control estimates from.

One last way to look at it is as a meta-study. Each researched ability score is the conclusion of a lot of data – it’s data compressed into a number (or an Advantage, or whichever). By comparing writeups transversally, it’s like throwing these huge sets of data all in the same pool and working on all of them at once.

Use of equivalency system

One of the key point of the OMACS system for WORG contributors :

  • there is a lot of research ’locked‘ into the DCH scores and stats in writeups.org, and the idea is to tap it without running the research
  • the precision of the memories associated with this research collapses surprisingly quickly once the research is done, especially for persons doing a lot of research and writing. Within months – perhaps even weeks – the memories based on the research are starting to become unreliable, barring people with APs of Recall. The DCH data, on the other hand, doesn’t change and can still be used as perfectly fresh memories in encoded form.
  • it is easy to change a value based on comments that disagreed with one’s assessments ; it is less easy to remember what the disagreement was. Most people tend to have their view of the character revert to what it was as they forget the dissonant argument. The modified stats do not.

By Sébastien Andrivet

Helper(s): Taliesin, Pawsplay

Subscribe to our MINI-NEWSLETTER !

One bare-bones e-mail per month. Plain text. Short. To the point. Learn more.