For the purposes of this discussion, let's assume I'm talking about 400 pt superheroic characters.
Although I've been playing Champions for a couple of years now and have owned Champions books since '89 (3ed FTW), I've never been truly comfortable with my ability to balance characters. Do I have enough defenses? Are my attacks strong enough? Did I build a tank so tough that nothing can take him down? Mind you that last bit may not be good if the rest of the team are all glass cannons. My brother is a vicious MIN/MAXer and has hurt my games by being so good that everyone else looks weak by comparison. He doesn't mean to hurt my games, it just comes naturally to him and it's something I need to identify before the game starts and feelings get hurt. So I was thinking.... HEY! No comments about how that's unusual for me. So I was thinking how to I establish a normal range and detect abilities outside the statistical norm. This is what I've come up with, based on some questions a GM far better than me asked me about my character and I submit it for your comment and criticism.
The first step, as always with any RPG, is to RTFM, to Read The (Fantastic) Manual. In this case, the rule book at 6E1 35 gives us this set of normal ranges.
Standard Superheroic Ranges (6E1 35)
Skill Roll 11-15-
This is a start, but isn't as helpful as I'd like. For example, a SPD of 3-10 is a huge range. If two characters both 10d6 pulson blast then the SPD 10 guy is doing, on average, 350 damage per turn while the SPD 3 guy only does 105. But, you may say, what about the END cost. Well, yea, a 10d6 blast takes 5 end per shot so the SPD 10 guy uses 50 per turn while the SPD 3 guy a mere 15, but that isn't as much of a limitation as much as a speed bump to be worked around. It's been my experience that fights rarely last more than 3 turns, 5 at maximum, so as long as you have enough END to run your powers for five turns, you're set. And there are many many tools you can use to make sure your character isn't sucking END before the post recovery phase. It's just not that big a limitation.
So, what do I suggest? Well, we need two barriers here. The first is given with the above ranges, a max burst or instant damage of 14DC or 80AP whichever comes first. (The DC table is at 6E2 97) The other barrier I think we need is a DPS barrier in terms of DC per SPD or AP per SPD. Now at this point, it's all guess work from me, but the slowest character with the strongest attack would have 42 DCpSPD (14*3) and 240 ACpSPD while the fastest character with the weakest attack would have 60 DCpSPD and 400 ACpSPD. The fastest character with the strongest attack would have a DCpSPD of 140 and an ACpSPD of 800.
So, based on this points, where should we place the upper bound? I would put it at 120 DCpSPD and 600 ACpSPD but that's just me, I have no logic to justify those numbers and that disturbs me.
Actually the bigger question is should we place an upper bound? Is this extra barrier really needed or am I imposing an unnecessary restriction? Consider this: Al is a super hero with SPD 3 and a 10d6 pulson blast while Ben is a SPD 6 hero with a 5d6 pulson blast. In theory they both do on average 105 damage per turn, right? Let's say they go up against Jim who has an ED of 20. Al would attack do, on average 45 points of damage per turn (3*(35-20)) while Ben... Ok, the math here get's a bit complicated but he would but it would be less than 15. Full confession: Yes, I know enough of statistics to know that 45 isn't accurate either but it's still a good estimate. So, there's our problem. Two characters with the same damage per turn yet the slower hero is three times more effective. Yes, I'm this much of a geek that questions like this keep me up at night.
So, any thoughts? Am I barking up the wrong tree entirely or is there some value to my madness?