I continue to be challenged by the theory that having two choices in combat is "interesting tactical choice" but having choice of whether the Bear swipes with his claws (killing attack), snaps down with his bite (different killing attack), bashes with his paws (normal attack), attempts to Grab, or Trip, or Disarm his target, or uses any of a variety of other maneuvers, possibly including purchased Martial maneuvers like legsweep, or even combines his attacks (multiple attack; combined attack) is not.
Well this one is easily answered, at least. If all the pieces in Chess are queens, then there is no longer the structure that makes it chess. It instead becomes something more like drafts (chequers to Americans, I think). Limits on choices are necessary for choices to be meaningful because the fewer limits there are on choices, the less distinct they become. If the player can mix and match manoeuvres between bites and claws, then bites and claws become more interchangeable and the choice less meaningful. Remember that I had TWO criteria - simple and tactically meaningful. Give someone a hammer and a screwdriver, you have a simple choice that has visibly different outcomes. Give someone a giant toolbox and tell them "hey - now you have LOTS of tactical choices" and two things happen - firstly you lose the simplicity. Secondly, choice diminishes which may seem counterintuitive to you but uninformed choice is not perceived as choice. This is a consequence of the first. A player only feels like they're making a choice if they're in control and they understand those choices. If the player does not, then they actually feel like they don't have choice, they have guessing. Or that they'll just end up doing what their GM tells them they should do which is again, not something that feels like tactical choice to them. In the above, you listed out Grab, Trip, Disarm, Legsweep, Multiple Attack and Combined Attack. In my scenario the player is sitting across from me and saying something like "Should I try to bite the knight which might work or be more defensive and knock him over so he can't attack me so well?" Maybe they do some very quick arithmetic on the two scenarios. It's meaningful and it's in their control. In your scenario, they sit there with the eight different options and if they want to make an informed choice, it's going to take twenty minutes of looking at rules and comparing numbers. What will more likely happen is the player retreats out of either confusion or lack of time to properly assess things and just guesses at what they think will be the best. And guessing doesn't feel like choice.
So you see, with two clearly distinct options a player has a tactical decision to make. With massive flexibility, it turns into "I don't have the tools to determine which is best." The former is an exciting decision, the latter a disheartening spin of the compass.
So use "Does Knockdown" on the bear's attack and prohibit anyone else taking the same advantage on any attack. DONE - you are not using the knockback or knockdown rules anywhere else - this is a special feature of one special attack.
Which works absolutely fine for me and is what I've been asking for. But I don't know how to cost it. The system says "here are knockdown rules you can use" but it's just an option that you turn on or off system wide. It's not a Power or an Advantage that I can add. There are things that adjust how it works, but no cost for actually adding it as a special feature of an attack. The above is what I am wanting to do. I don't know how to cost it.
But be prepared for players who may wonder what the point of switching to this much more flexible game system was, if they are not allowed to actually build character abilities flexibly.
They don't want to. Hero is more like a programming language than a program. They want to fight monsters and role-play, not read through two 400+ page books trying to figure out how to do this stuff. Hell, if it's taking me the GM this much effort to make an attack that knocks someone over, how do you expect a friend to manage who I've just invited round to try this thing called a role-playing game? Trust me - I know who I game with a lot better than you do!
The primary reason you are getting many suggestions over four pages is not that it is tough to do, but because there are an array of ways to do it, each just a bit different, so we have spent four pages narrowing it down to options that fit your criteria. "Easy and quick" would have been Doc D's post right after you first mentioned knocking a target down - add "does knockdown" to the attack.
With respect, that doesn't for reasons given above - I don't know how to cost it because I don't want knockdown to be a general rule in the system. And as regards the suggestion that I'm dismissing lots of solutions, I honestly find the Martial Arts Maneouvres system in its entirety really confusing. Possibly just Linked Legsweep is the way to go, but rightly or wrongly, I genuinely struggle to understand all these rules and know when I've got it right. You talked about me discussing Multiform in the thread. I finally figured out where I was going wrong with that power after a LOT of re-reading and headaches - it's because there is a typo in the cost section of the Multiform power. It says "the most expensive form" and the body of the power description goes to some lengths to say that a character's "True Form" is one of their forms. The cost section should say "the most expensive ALTERNATE form", but it doesn't. I'm guessing that you've been playing Hero for a long time, but I am new to it and things like that throw me. I'm not embarrassed to say I struggle understanding all this stuff. It's very complex. In fact, it brings us back around to the beginning of this post where someone is lost through too many options. Give me two ways to do something, I'll manage somehow. I have around six in this thread and lack the tools to evaluate between them all. You see where I'm coming from?
If you want it to be D&D, play D&D!
The problem with D&D 5e is that whilst it is simple, it has all the balance of a one-legged man in a landslide, is about as granular as a boulder and due it's maddening d20 "curve" and Advantage / Disadvantage mechancic (roll twice and pick the most favourable / unfavourable) is about as predictable as throwing darts at a wall. Hero 6e has the downside that it is very complicated, but compensates by being fantastic in many, many ways. What I'm trying to do is not go back to D&D, but get my Complexity Payments out of the way upfront so that I can enjoy all the good stuff it offers. I want to have my cake and eat it, basically.
Do you want it to always be the same penalty to the roll? Like, when hit the target rolls at -3? Or do you want it to be based on the amount of damage done?
By far I want it to be the former. Whilst that might seem odd, I'm intending for powers like this to superceded as characters advance. So this is the first Bear form. As they advance, druids get access to the Great Bear and then Dire Bear versions of the power. Which will have higher strength but I can also re-calculate the power specifically for that form so the simplicity of a static -3 (for example) is pure benefit and no downside.
Change Environment is the classic "make a DEX Roll or fall prone" Power. If you want a constant value, buy that much. Forcing a roll costs 3 points for -1, so -3 would be 9 points. If you want a variable amount, buy a larger value (say, -10) and add a Limitation, like "Max penalty equal to BODY done."
You would add the Instant (-1/2), No Range (-1/2), and Linked To Paw Smash (-1/2) or whatever you call the combined attack. The real cost would be (9 / 2.5) 3.6, which rounds to 4 Real Points. That would add to the cost of the Paw Smash, so it would look something like:
Paw Smash: HKA, 1d6 vs. PD (2d6 with STR) (Real Cost: 15 points) plus Change Environment (fall prone, -3 to STR or DEX Roll, whichever is better) (9 Active Points); No Range (-1/2), Instant (-1/2), Linked to HKA (-1/2) (Real Cost: 4 points). Total Real Cost: 19 points. END Cost: 2 (+1 if 10 or 15 STR used).
That does exactly it.
Edit: This assumes the bear has 15 STR, which costs 1 END; the HKA costs 1 END, and the Change Environment costs 1 END. If the bear has more STR, you can add whatever the bear's STR damage is; if he has 20 STR, he'll spend 1 for the HKA, 2 for the STR, and 1 for the CE, to do a total of 2d6+1. It could be rewritten thusly:
Paw Smash: 2d6 melee Killing (includes Strength); when hit, target must make STR or DEX Roll at -3 or fall prone. END Cost: 3.
Thank you. A hundred times thank you. This is by far the simplest in play, imo. The player makes an attack. If they hit, target must make a Dex "save". I think I will go with Str over Dex as you suggest because I like the thematic and game consequences of that. I can't tell you enough how much I appreciate you actually writing it out like that with the costs as well.
I'm sorry to people generally in the thread if I appear to rail against the Hero system. It's a truly remarkable system. I just get frustrated a bit trying to work out some things which feel like they ought to be simple but are not obvious to me. Sometimes when you make complex things simple, you make simple things complex. It's a principle of design that is hard to get away from. But I have played many, many different role-playing game systems and Hero 6e is one of the three best systems I have ever seen and by far the best of its type. (The other two systems have different goals and are very different).
Thank you very much to everyone who has taken the time to reply to this thread - every post in it has taught me something about the system and I appreciate it.