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Aglondir

Active Point Limit?

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I want to run a (heroic) DC game where the characters are monster hunters. They can be normals (100 CP + 50 in Comps) or have a couple of powers.

 

Question 1: What limit should I put on the Active Points of powers? I don't want 12d6 energy blasts, for example.

 

Question 2: Would this work better at 150 CP + 50 in Comps?

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I'm afraid the question is a bit too vauge. You don't want them being superheros flying around with 12d6 blasts, but is a 10 d6 blast o.k.? Lets say they take a healing power. Some beast stabs them in the chest. They survive. Not being superheroic they aren't fine a couple minutes later. But do they recover in hours, or days? If their monster hunters they kill monsters. So the best rule of thumb I can tell you right now is this. Figure out the toughest monsters highest defense, and set the active points so that the heroes can do at least 2d6 of damage to it.

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Yeah, you have to define the hunters in terms of the monsters and/or vice versa.

If you set some arbitrary limits on hunters and then go hog wild building monsters, your "Monster hunters" might become "Monster chow."

 

Or you could end up with embarrassingly ineffective monsters at the other extreme.

 

Lucius Alexander

 

I ended up with a palindromedary

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More important is whether you are going to make characters pay points for Equipment vs. pay for the Skills and Talents/Superskills to use Equipment.

 

If Equipment does not cost character points and only costs 'money' then active points will be under your control as a GM by way of the Equipment Perk.

 

HM

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Thanks for the plug! 

 

For the OP:

 

Here There Be Monsters is a reboot of an older campaign called Demon Hunter: FBI, expanded to change the focus from FBI agent hunters to bounty based monster hunters ala MHI or other modern takes on the concept. I ran it in 6e, but it is 5e compatible as well. There's a collection of "vignettes" aka adventures, and a goodly amount of material provided for it.

 

To get a quick feel for the setting, here's 45 sample "iconic" aka starting / playable characters that also serve as examples for the kinds of characters that are "in bounds" for HtbM campaigns as we ran it. Other GM's of course could spin things however they like.

 

http://killershrike.com/HereThereBeMonsters/Characters_Iconics.aspx

 

 

Here's the "Starting" page, with information on how to make a starting character, including point levels:

 

http://killershrike.com/HereThereBeMonsters/Paradigm_Starting.aspx

 

 

CHARACTER POINT LEVELS This paradigm is expected to be mid powered and to rise into high power as Hunters gain experience. The assumed point level range of Here There Be Monsters is detailed under Assumptions. It is assumed that new characters in this paradigm start with 75 Base Points and up to 50 points from Disadvantages (5e, 75+50), or 125 Base Points and up to 50 points of matching Complications (6e, 125/50). This value can be altered by the GM at will. Rather than the starting levels of Resource Pools being arbitrarily set, Player Characters also get 25 "free" points to seed their Resource Pools with as their players see fit to allocate them. These extra points do not count as part of the character's total points.

 

 

 

Hopefully there's something there of interest.

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The advantage of lower powered characters is that you can throw things against them that usually are ignored.  A pixie with annoying powers might be a serious challenge to a 75 point character, but a 400 point character will barely notice them.  So it gives you a wider range of encounters because characters grow in power, so they will eventually be facing more potent stuff, but characters who start out more powerful will never be challenged by a kobold or whatever.

 

On the other hand, more powerful characters can deal with more significant, monumental events.  The pixie bothering the local nursery isn't much of a monster to hunt, it might feel pathetic to be that wimpy a monster hunter.  But fighting a horde of vampires hiding in the city's government or a dragon marauding a mining community is much more meaningful and feels like you're accomplishing something.

 

So its kind of what you and your players prefer to face.

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Some questions for you:

1.  Are any of the characters using "real world" or equivalent firearms?

2.  How effective do you want characters using "real world" firearms to be in putting down campaign monsters?

3.  How much more or less effective do you want characters that use Powers or Characteristics instead of firearms to be in putting down campaign monsters?

 

Most real world firearms are not more than 2d6 Killing attack (6DC not counting advantages) for example, an AK-47 is 2d6 Killing attack with 5x Autofire (45 Active Points); a .44 Automag a 2d6 Killing attack single shot (6th Ed. vol. 1 pg. 208.)

 

Everything in Hero is relative, and in this case you have two primary concerns:

1.  How much more or less effective will this attack/weapon be in putting down campaign opponents?  (12DC may be twice as many Active Points as 6DC but given they way protections work it is significantly more than twice as effective at producing stuns, knockouts and deaths)

2.  How much more or less effective at dealing damage do you want this character to be to other characters in the campaign.

 

While the first concern can be computed mathematically pretty easily, the second is more difficult.  In my opinion, it boils down to "How much more damage can I give the 'Glass Canon' while keeping all the players interested and contributing meaningfully in the combat?"  

 

Be very wary of a character who can both put out more damage than the other players and high Speed.

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Some ways I have used to keep "Glass Canons" from getting out of hand and frustrating the other players:

 

1.  The Glass Canon cannot output that much additional damage all the time (limited use) or against all targets or more commonly has to take greater risks to use it, e.g. concentration with or without extra time.   A flamethrower is often a poor weapon to run around in open war zones with its limited range and the tendency of opponent to explode the fuel tanks, but in those circumstances when it can be used effectively it's hard to beat.  In a campaign where the standard is people use firearms, the flame thrower operator takes significant penalties, lower range, chance of being immolated by his own weapon, which help off set the advantages of energy damage over physical damage, area of effect, and higher damage (whether straight dice or through continuous etc.).

 

2.  The Glass Canon is squishier than normal so has to spend more of their time taking cover or other defensive actions rather than pumping out damage.  Or perhaps the Glass Canon has a unique vulnerability and/or susceptibility that the other characters don't have.  

 

3.  A combination of any of Concentration limitations, lower speed, lower OCV with the high DC attack to render the character's expected damage per Turn roughly equivalent to the campaign standard.  You can also take into account "utility" damage like autofire, area of effect, range etc.  A Browning M82 .50 sniper rifle hits harder bullet for bullet than an AR-15, but weigh 4 times more, and until contradicted by an actual sniper, a whole lot more difficult to fire accurately from the shoulder.  The M82 might be a 4d6 RKA (Active Points 60) and an AR-15 is 2d6 RKA autofire 5x (Active Points 45).  If you add OCV penalties for not shooting while braced and set to the M82, you probably have reasonable balance between the two weapons.  The Sniper is stuck setting up and bracing, while the assault rifle is free to move and fire in a dynamic environment.

 

4.  Additional damage can also be balanced by the campaign ethic.  If, for example, producing corpses is a "bad idea" then those with extra damage are going to be further constrained from using high damage attacks/weapons with the "beam" or "always full power" limitation ('cause it's hard to pull a punch with a flame thrower).

 

5.  Additional power that doesn't translate directly into damage may not need to be as vigorously monitored.  Some powers in the source material end up costing an awful lot of points without really unbalancing the campaign.  Most "subtle" mental powers fit this description as the extra +20 Ego effect to make the target unaware of the power tends to bloat the power beyond it's direct effectiveness on combat.  So if you allow mental powers, as I have on occasion, you might allow "+7d6 [Mental Power] standard effect only for purposes of achieving +20 Ego for target unaware of attack" and not count that as part of the power's active point limit.  A Mega scaled group teleport spell just to get the team from one part of the world to another may be rather expensive, but again it won't really unbalance combat nor will the other players feel bad about getting to the adventure that much quicker.

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 Most "subtle" mental powers fit this description as the extra +20 Ego effect to make the target unaware of the power tends to bloat the power beyond it's direct effectiveness on combat

 

 

This is an aspect of active point limits that helps understand its limitations. They are a very useful basic guideline, but a power like this isn't so much too powerful as it is very genre-appropriate.  In the comics, for example, its usually a less capable, more limited mentalist that people remember mucking about with their heads, rather than an unusually gifted one.  The ability to keep folks from remembering what you did to them is powerful, but not game-breaking in most cases.

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