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System quirks (your favorite or least favorite)

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HERO's a great system but it definitely has some quirks that people find amusing, distracting, or annoying.

 

One of mine is falling damage vs move-through damage.

 

HERO assigns a max falling speed (terminal velocity) of 60 meters per segment for 30d6 damage. Oof.

 

The thing is... a move through attack that impacted at 60 meters per segment (ie: a character using  a movement power, a car, etc) inflicts strength + v/6.  So a car with a 'str' of 20 inflicts 14d6 if it moves 60 before hitting you.

 

That's half the damage of striking the ground after falling the same distance in the segment.

 

Why? What makes falling so much more dangerous than being hit by a car travelling at the same distance in that segment? Or a hero strong enough to lift the Statue of Liberty (70) with the same action (14d6 + 10d6 = 24d6)?

 

What's yours?

 

(Open for discussion of anyone's specific quirk as well as adding your own.)

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Mine are the following, i would really love to see them fixed/clarified in a revision:

 

Minor stuff:

 

  • DCV of inanimate objects.
  • Rounding rules(i really love systems with a definite standard rule everywhere).

Major Stuff:

 

  •       Per character phase effects(especially environmental effects acting per character phase)
  •       "Artificial" effects on  rules for the sake of balance(i.e. Remaining Multiple attacks wasted on first failed attack, Adjusting Frameworks Rules)

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Don't forget to include the vehicle's speed.  Most vehicles are speed 3 or 4 and moves in phases.  So in order to match that velocity, you need to multiply that speed by 3 or 4.

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System quirks:

  • 1 point of resistant an never be armor pierced.
  • you apply your full normal defenses if you have 1 pip of resistant against the stun.  Even against a 10d6K.
  • 1 pip of impenetrable defense stops all penetration, no matter how massive
  • 1" of gliding can effectively prevent you from falling to damage but can't stop you from being knocked back
  • a normal who works at his job 9-5 after 5 years will probably only have an 11- or 12-.
  • Buying a knife with points is equivalent in cost to hitting the lottery (buying wealth).
  • No matter how dense you become, you never generate a gravity field.
  • You have over a 75% change to hit a hex right next to you but only a 50% chance to hit one 6' away
  • Boxing matches never last more than 1 round (3 minutes).

 

Note I house rule a lot of these for sanity's sake.

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According to the STRENGTH TABLE, an average normal with STR 8 has a lifting capacity of 75kg, where lifting capacity means the maximum amount of weight s/he can just manage to lift off the ground, stagger with for a step or two, then drop.  Also according to the STRENGTH TABLE, examples of 75kg (i.e. ~165lbs) include a brass bed and a washing machine.

 

When was the last time you saw someone you would consider STR 8 ... single-handedly pick up a washing machine without any assistance or leverage ... stagger  a few steps with it completely off the ground, and then drop it?  How about a brass bed?

 

Yea, I thought so...

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Don't forget to include the vehicle's speed.  Most vehicles are speed 3 or 4 and moves in phases.  So in order to match that velocity, you need to multiply that speed by 3 or 4.

 

That's why I took a chunk out of my original post that addressed that: It just leads to a further mess whereas the more actions a vehicle can take (higher than 2 speed) the less damage it inflicts (and therefore takes)  on a move through in a situation where it's moving at a non-combat rate (ie: driving into a wall) compared to a vehicle with less SPD but the same velocity.

 

Also most drivers have speed 2 so either a) they can only drive the car at half the speed of a driver with speed 4 in a speed 4 vehicle (even out of combat, if you've based the vehicles maximum velocity around taking 4 actions with non-combat multipliers) or b ) as I mentioned above the guy with speed 2 will hit twice as hard because to be going the same speed he needs to be moving twice the distance on each of his phases.

 

Neither are particularly appropriate outcomes - I have no doubt that a professional demolition derby driver (combat driving and a higher speed) will find more opportunities to take shots at me or avoid my clumbsy attempts to hit him, provided his vehicle is nimble enough (higher speed).  I also have no doubt that we can both drive his speed 4 car down a highway at its maximum velocity and that if we hit a wall the same thing will happen to the car, us, and wall regardless.

 

The vehicle rules in general are pretty clunky, though, and worthy of  their own post (this one!) - it's why I threw in the example of a super strong character ramming you being less devastating than hitting the ground at HERO'S terminal velocity.

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  • Adjustment powers fade by default at the rate of 5 points per turn, but RAW tells GMs to do this fade bookwork during post-seg12 rather than 12 segments after the use of the adjustment power.  This translates to characters never getting the full turn (12 segments) of adjustment for which they pay unless a GM house rules the fade bookwork being done 1 turn (12 segments) from when the adjustment power was used.

15 CP spent on Wealth can have more impact on a government, election, etc. than 15 CP spent on Mind Control.

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System quirks:

  • 1 point of resistant an never be armor pierced.
  • you apply your full normal defenses if you have 1 pip of resistant against the stun.  Even against a 10d6K.
  • 1 pip of impenetrable defense stops all penetration, no matter how massive

 

Note I house rule a lot of these for sanity's sake.

 

Indeed.  You have to buy AP or Penetrating for your entire blast to get the full benefit  - why wouldn't you have to buy their counters  for all the sources of PD/ED you wish to apply against said blast to get the full benefit?

 

As for number 2, though - we used to accidentally only apply rPD/rED against stun from killing attacks.  The result was lots of people had lots of resistant armor.  Once we corrected it the meta-game changed to mix resistant and non-resistant to save some points.  So instead of a brick buying 30 resistant in a 12 DC game he'll buy 20 resistant and 10 non (10 points is 10 points. 20 if he buys both the same way).

 

On the plus side, though, it did allow someone who WANTED to take a little body from most killing attacks buy 10 r and  20 normal = he bleeds without being taken out by the stun, so I don't mind it.

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HERO's a great system but it definitely has some quirks that people find amusing, distracting, or annoying.

 

One of mine is falling damage vs move-through damage.

 

HERO assigns a max falling speed (terminal velocity) of 60 meters per segment for 30d6 damage. Oof.

 

The thing is... a move through attack that impacted at 60 meters per segment (ie: a character using  a movement power, a car, etc) inflicts strength + v/6.  So a car with a 'str' of 20 inflicts 14d6 if it moves 60 before hitting you.

 

That's half the damage of striking the ground after falling the same distance in the segment.

 

Why? What makes falling so much more dangerous than being hit by a car travelling at the same distance in that segment? Or a hero strong enough to lift the Statue of Liberty (70) with the same action (14d6 + 10d6 = 24d6)?

 

 

Character movement is counted per Phase rather than per Segment.  If the Move Through-er is SPD 5, that 60 meters per Phase comes out to 300 meters per Turn, approximately 56 mph.  60 meters per Segment comes out to 720 meters per Turn, approximately 135 mph.  If that same SPD 5 move-through-er had 144 meters of Running (720 meters per Turn, same as terminal velocity), that move through would then do 24d6 from velocity alone, a lot more comparable.  

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  • Adjustment powers fade by default at the rate of 5 points per turn, but RAW tells GMs to do this fade bookwork during post-seg12 rather than 12 segments after the use of the adjustment power.  This translates to characters never getting the full turn (12 segments) of adjustment for which they pay unless a GM house rules the fade bookwork being done 1 turn (12 segments) from when the adjustment power was used.

 

The groups I played with actually did all the extra bookkeeping necessary to track when each Adjustment attack occurred so that the fade/return would happen on the correct Segments (including tracking the points of effect from each attack separately if necessary). We didn't resort to the simplifying procedure of doing it as part of post-Segment 12 Recoveries.

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1 point of resistant cannot be reduced by armor piercing.

 

Hm

 

...because 0.5 rounds up to 1 and the defender gets the benefit of the rounding for defences, but it's still only one point. I think the issue here has a lot more to do with the GM approving a single point of resistant defence in the first place. Impose a minimum cost/rating on the munchins and move on. 

 

But if you're THAT desperate to bypass all resistant defences (presumably to do more STUN instead of one more BODY pip), there are ways and means if the GM allows it through AVLD/NND and defence drains/suppression instead of AP. But you're probably better throwing those points at increased STUN Multiple.

 

My bugbears have largely already been mentioned by others. I'd probably throw in the speed chart itself, despite not utterly hating it. I think it's long been one of the mechanics that drags things out too much for no great advantage. It was almost certainly designed to cater for super speed characters, but in the end it never really did that job anyway. The Flash or Quicksilver need more than a 6x speed increase over an average Joe, 3x or 4x better than trained mooks, and up to twice as fast as other supers. Which is why you actually have to build superspeed with powers.

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Character movement is counted per Phase rather than per Segment.  If the Move Through-er is SPD 5, that 60 meters per Phase comes out to 300 meters per Turn, approximately 56 mph.  60 meters per Segment comes out to 720 meters per Turn, approximately 135 mph.  If that same SPD 5 move-through-er had 144 meters of Running (720 meters per Turn, same as terminal velocity), that move through would then do 24d6 from velocity alone, a lot more comparable.  

 

 

A character with 12 speed and 60 running is also travelling at 'terminal velocity' ... but they still do str+10d6 on a move through.

 

That's the 'two cars hit you at 100 km/h' thing I referenced in an earlier post - the car with the lower SPD but same maximum velocity does more damage when it hits you by virtue of having to travel farther per Phase it moves.  

 

By your example the hero with 5 SPD has to move farther to match the true velocity of falling and therefore does (and takes) more damage (24d6)  than the hero with 12 SPD (10d6) who is moving just as 'fast' (720 m per turn).  He also takes a -14 ocv compared to the -6 ocv of the spd 12 character.

 

(The speed 5 character also reaches the door that his teammate just opened at the end of phase 4 130 meters away on Phase 5 first despite them both moving at the same per turn velocity.)

 

That just feels off to me on ALL accounts (OCV the least, in gut feel - he's moving in 60 meter bursts instead of 144 so maybe he has more control).

 

And in all cases falling that last 60 meters once you're at 60 m / segment (because you don't stop falling when it's not your phase) still trumps them both (30d6)

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A character with 12 speed and 60 running is also travelling at 'terminal velocity' ... but they still do str+10d6 on a move through.

 

That's the 'two cars hit you at 100 km/h' thing I referenced in an earlier post - the car with the lower SPD but same maximum velocity does more damage when it hits you by virtue of having to travel farther per Phase it moves.  

 

By your example the hero with 5 SPD has to move farther to match the true velocity of falling and therefore does (and takes) more damage (24d6)  than the hero with 12 SPD (10d6) who is moving just as 'fast' (720 m per turn).  He also takes a -14 ocv compared to the -6 ocv of the spd 12 character.

 

(The speed 5 character also reaches the door that his teammate just opened at the end of phase 4 130 meters away on Phase 5 first despite them both moving at the same per turn velocity.)

 

That just feels off to me on ALL accounts (OCV the least, in gut feel - he's moving in 60 meter bursts instead of 144 so maybe he has more control).

 

And in all cases falling that last 60 meters once you're at 60 m / segment (because you don't stop falling when it's not your phase) still trumps them both (30d6)

 

These issues are addressed in APG1 pages 178-179.  Basically, the Velocity Factor rules from 5e are re-introduced and Falling damage is considered to be equivalent to an Uncontrolled Move Through vs. the ground (meaning no Knockback is done so the character takes x2 damage) which is the main source of the seeming disparity with character vs. character Move Through damage.

 

VELOCITY DAMAGE TABLE

Action OCV DCV Damage/Effect

Falling +0 +0 (MASS + (VF)d6) x2

Grab By -3 -4 Move By and Grab object, +(VF)d6 to STR

Move By -2 -2 STR/2 + (VF)d6

Move Through -(VF) -3 STR + (VF)d6

 

:)

HM

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I dislike that the rules for Falling and Knockback don't mesh with one another or the rules for Velocity-based Maneuvers. Most especially I dislike the fact that the Iconic Hero System Speedster's best tactic (Passing Strike and similar maneuvers) is actively punished by investing in Speed instead of Movement. All velocity-based game elements should be measuring Velocity based on the same formulae (like Velocity per Turn or Segment for example).

 

I dislike that you can have AVAD become a Limitation (I.E. the defense is more Common than before), yet per RAW such a power still has to take Does BODY (as a separate, prorated +1 advantage that eats up Active Points) regardless of the sum value of AVAD+Does BODY.

 

I dislike many of the rules regarding Adjustment Powers... Including the completely unnecessary 'halving' of Effect when positively Adjusting a Framework Slot (which made a lot more sense back when Elemental Controls were a thing).

 

I dislike the inconsistency between the rules for Foci, and those for Objects.

 

I like the mechanics of the combat system:

I like the way Maneuvers work, and I love the way Aborting and Holding Actions is set up. 

I like the Hit Location Tables, and fact that the other "optional combat rules" are part of the core toolkit.

 

I like that the modular 'code-like' nature of Power Construction allows me to create extremely complex combinations of mechanics in a very concise format that can be read without ambiguity by an experienced player/GM.

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Back with find weakness, my defenses were usually 17 for low or 33 for high just for halving issues.  I don't seem to do that anymore in 6th.

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Well... it's actually a form of taking cover, so should usually penalise the shooter by -4 OCV for only seeing head and shoulders, if they can actually see that much (falling prone works best if there's something to hide behind when you do so). Of course, the unseen sniper looking down from the 6th floor may not have the problem...

 

Just realised this thread also asked for favourite quirks, and I'm a glass half full kinda guy, so here's mine:

 

Combat maneuvers. IMHO the heart and soul of HERO. Every choice has a purpose, which is what you want in a tactical game. 

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Things I do not particularly care for;

  • Breakpoints at 13, 18, etc. I would have, long ago, wished Hero would have ditched the Char/5 and just made every point of Characteristic mean something.
  • Half dice for normal damage attacks. This is a direct artifact of the Breakpoints and drives me insane.
  • The Roll Low part of Skill rolls. I mean it's not horrific, but a Roll High system would have been more intuitive.
  • An underlying assumption that because I have a High Score in X, Therefore I am Y (I have a High Intelligence Score, Therefore I am Smart). I a toolkit game, I would think that the opposite were true (I bought a lot of Skills, etc to represent my Intelligence, Therefore I am Intelligent). Just purely a taste thing.

 

What I like about Hero is that all of those little complaints that I have are so easy to fix. I can just decide to divide all the stats by 5, thereby removing both the Breakpoints, eliminating half dice for Normal attacks, and making each point mean something. I can, easily, devise a Roll High system.  I can also choose to remove Characteristics (except combat and attrition stats like PD, ED, Body and Stun) and go to an entirely skills based system wherein the skills and powers you buy reflect your character. Believe me, I have imagined ways to push Hero so far that it hardly seems like Hero anymore. It merely retains the core dice rolling and damage mechanics. I have even conceived of how to replace Body and Stun with Shadowrun like Condition Monitors and a damage system that correlates. At some point it ceases to be Hero but that takes a lot of stretching.

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I agree very much that a good system should make every stat point mean something. GURPS does that very cleanly, and it was definitely the case in my original RPG, Traveller. For HERO a lot of the ratings are just there to balance points and for stuff like adjustment powers, but you would modify the const-per-point to suit and just adjust of active points anyway. 10 points per point of DEX on this scale, for example.

 

Fuzion tried to do it that way but I didn't much care for it at the time. Prowlers & Paragons is worth a look for a dice pool take on the matter, for ideas. 

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But every point of every characteristic DOES mean something - for every single characteristic except INT.  So why not say that? Why not say, "I'm glad every point of 16 of the 17 characteristics means something, but I wish it was so for INT as well."

 

And as I've suggested many times before, for years in fact, there's a pretty easy house rule I use for this:

 

Intellect skill rolls are not always based on 9+INT/5 or less.  That's just the default.  Two factors come into play in using the skill: general intelligence, and specific experience/training in the skill.  There may be some circumstances where general intelligence is more important, that usual, relative to training/experience with the skill.  In such cases, the base roll becomes 8+INT/4 or less, or 8+INT/3 or less, or maybe in extreme cases, even 6+INT/2 or less.  And there are some cases when specific training/experience is more important that general intelligence.  In such cases, the roll becomes 9+INT/6 or less, or 10+INT/7 or less, or maybe even as extreme as 10+INT/10 or less.

 

Thus, a character with 30 INT and just the base 3-point skill does really well the more raw intelligence is a factor, but worse when training/experience is more of a factor.

And the character with 10 INT who has spent 11 points on the skill at +4 does much better when the specific training is the primary factor.

 

And yes, this can be applied to other CHA-based skills as well.  But I find it gets the most used for INT-based skills.

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One thing that's always bugged me is that Leaping takes one Phase regardless of distance (aside from the noncombat multiples). If I buy 100m of Leaping, I will leap that far in one Phase. That's pretty freaking fast movement!

 

Leaping isn't like Running or Flight, where you're buying the ability to use a mode of travel to traverse a given distance in a given amount of time. In the game, if you can run or fly at all, given time and END, you'll traverse whatever distance you want to.  So when you buy additional Running or Flight, you're just buying additional speed. But with Leaping, you're buying the ability to leap a given distance in one Phase (again, side from noncombat multiples) -- meaning you're buying both speed and maximum distance.

 

Yet, the write-up for Leaping (previously, Superleap) has never broken that out and offered a clear way to, for example, make a 100m leap take multiple Phases.

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Yet, the write-up for Leaping (previously, Superleap) has never broken that out and offered a clear way to, for example, make a 100" leap take multiple Phases.

Yes they have. Noncombat Movement works differently for Leaping. Your total Noncombat Leaping is also your maximum leap distance, yet you only travel your Combat Leaping per Phase. Therefore a character with 200m (the 6th/CC/FHC equivalent of 100") of Leaping with x8 Noncombat Multiplier can leap up to 1,600m in a single bound, but completing such a leap would take 8 phases.

 

I wish for the sake of consistency that they had made Swinging work the same way.

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