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Exploring the Possibilities of HERO System

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Without further ado, I recently decided to get into HERO System after having seen a lot about it. From what I've seen, on one side there are a lot of people who laud it for its flexibility and being able to create anything one can think of, and on the other, there are a lot who say it's overly complex and "requires a physics degree to play." The former is what intrigued me, as I like the idea of being able to create anything and having my ideas concretely realized, so I wanted to see just how much could be done with it. I'm a very detail-oriented person, so detailed player creation is a plus to me. As far as the latter, it's best for me to evaluate it for myself, as frequently a lot of what is commonly said isn't so.

 

I've used points-buy system before, so after taking a look at HERO System, I purchased HERO Designer to get started actually building. There's one of my original characters that I recreate in a system to see what can be done and if the character can be faithfully represented. There were some things that didn't seem to have an equivalent from the system I'm accustomed to, so I thought the official board would be the best place to inquire. This seems to be the appropriate subforum to do so, and it appears fairly active on first glance.

 

I'll begin with three questions. First, looking at Invisibility, is there a way in HERO System for a character to be able to selectively make oneself invisible? This is actually important for a character concept. For instance, this character has what is in HERO terms Invisibility to Sight and Hearing Groups, No Fringe, Only Works Against Sentient Beings. Due to the latter, it won't work with cameras. Say he has a meeting with someone. He can have "public" private meetings by using Usable Simultaneously for them to be able to conduce their business on a park bench without being seen or overheard. Or, pertinent to this question, they can meet in a coffee shop, and the character will make them Invisible to Hearing Groups while remaining Visible to Sight Groups. How would one go about accomplishing this with HERO System? There's a Selective Advantage for Area Of Effect powers, but I don't see something similar for what I'm looking for for this, unless I've missed something.

 

Second, there doesn't seem to be a way to buy distance ranks for Areas Of Effect. The size of the area is determined by the active points in the point minus those used to pay of the Area Of Effect advantage, but I don't see a way to adjust it. For most characters it might not matter, but there's one character who specifically has a defined range that his powers work, a little over 19" in HERO System terms, or rounding up to 20" would be acceptable to make it a nice round number. There's a Limited Range Limitation that's only applicable to ranged powers, which limits a ranged power to less than normal range (no greater than half), which is actually decided by the GM, not the person who built the character (if they aren't one and the same). But there doesn't seem to be a way to do what I'm looking for other than by adding Advantages or Limitations until the points add up to the desired area, but I only want to add Advantages or Limitations when they're needed to realize the character concept. It seems odd from what I've read that I can't just buy ranks of area I want, but perhaps I'm missing something.

 

Finally, this is a question with a concrete example. How would I go about building a superscience Focus with which one can scan a target (probably represented by Detect, since Analyze is for a person), and then adjust its output to the amount needed to neutralize the target? All of my previous experience has been with d20, so the biggest thing was figuring out what the d6 values meant, but I believe I've recreated each configuration in HERO System:

 

Multipower, 150-point reserve, Personal (+0) (150 Active

Points); all slots OAF (-1)

1) Tranquilizer Darts: Energy Blast 12d6, No Normal

Defense ([standard]; +1) (120 Active Points); OAF (-1)

2) Tetanizing Beam: Entangle 6d6, 6 DEF, Takes No

Damage From Attacks All Attacks (+1/2), No Normal

Defense ([standard]; Power Defense or not having a

Nervous System; +1*) (150 Active Points); OAF (-1)

3) Single Fire Mode: Killing Attack – Ranged 4d6, Armor

Piercing (+1/2) (90 Active Points); OAF (-1)

4) Neuromuscular Incapacitator: Energy Blast 12d6, No

Normal Defense ([standard]; Any form of Resistant

ED; target is completely insulated; +1) (120 Active

Points); OAF (-1)

5) Auto Fire Mode: Killing Attack - Ranged 4d6, Autofire

(5 shots; + 1/2) (90 Active Points); OAF (-1)

 

It's along the lines of the Lawgiver in Judge Dredd, but with a different focus (e.g., doesn't have stuff like explosive rounds, heating seeking and incendiary rounds, etc). It's a control weapon for neutralization without too much chaos or property damage. I'm not sure how to represent a tranquilizer dart in HERO System. I'm fairly certain the Tetanizing Beam is an Entangle in HERO System terms, and may be against CON. The Neuromuscular Incapacitator could also be represented as a STUN Only Energy Blast. I'll have to look at that some more. That may actually be more accurate to the desired effect. Single and Auto Fire Modes I know are RKAs, and it was just a matter of determining the right d6 values.

 

But aside from ironing out the translation to HERO System, how would I go about making this adjustable using HERO System mechanics? The way it was achieved in the system it was originally built in doesn't seem to exist here, so I haven't been able to determine how to go about it.

 

And since this is a first post, that's it. Thank you in advance to whomever may reply, and I'm looking forward to seeing just what all HERO System can do.

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All Area of Effects increase their area according to the Area of Effect Table on pg. 319 of Hero System 6 Volume 1. Basically with each +1/4 that you add to the Advantage multiplier you double the area covered.

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Without further ado, I recently decided to get into HERO System after having seen a lot about it. From what I've seen, on one side there are a lot of people who laud it for its flexibility and being able to create anything one can think of, and on the other, there are a lot who say it's overly complex and "requires a physics degree to play." The former is what intrigued me, as I like the idea of being able to create anything and having my ideas concretely realized, so I wanted to see just how much could be done with it. I'm a very detail-oriented person, so detailed player creation is a plus to me. As far as the latter, it's best for me to evaluate it for myself, as frequently a lot of what is commonly said isn't so.

First of all, welcome to the forums.

 

What you have heard about the flexibility of Hero is true. The often unspoken caveat is, "But it may cost a lot of points."

 

 

First, looking at Invisibility, is there a way in HERO System for a character to be able to selectively make oneself invisible? This is actually important for a character concept. For instance, this character has what is in HERO terms Invisibility to Sight and Hearing Groups, No Fringe, Only Works Against Sentient Beings. Due to the latter, it won't work with cameras. Say he has a meeting with someone. He can have "public" private meetings by using Usable Simultaneously for them to be able to conduce their business on a park bench without being seen or overheard. Or, pertinent to this question, they can meet in a coffee shop, and the character will make them Invisible to Hearing Groups while remaining Visible to Sight Groups. How would one go about accomplishing this with HERO System? There's a Selective Advantage for Area Of Effect powers, but I don't see something similar for what I'm looking for for this, unless I've missed something.

Well, this could get expensive. First of all, buy buying the Invisibility Power twice - once for Sight, once for Hearing - you can choose to turn on either or both or neither as you choose.

 

If you want to have a private conversation, you not only need Usable by Others, you will need Personal Immunity so you can hear EACH OTHER - otherwise, you are just as imperceptible to one another as to anyone else.

 

Others may have more insight than I can give.

 

 

Second, there doesn't seem to be a way to buy distance ranks for Areas Of Effect. The size of the area is determined by the active points in the point minus those used to pay of the Area Of Effect advantage, but I don't see a way to adjust it. For most characters it might not matter, but there's one character who specifically has a defined range that his powers work, a little over 19" in HERO System terms, or rounding up to 20" would be acceptable to make it a nice round number. There's a Limited Range Limitation that's only applicable to ranged powers, which limits a ranged power to less than normal range (no greater than half), which is actually decided by the GM, not the person who built the character (if they aren't one and the same). But there doesn't seem to be a way to do what I'm looking for other than by adding Advantages or Limitations until the points add up to the desired area, but I only want to add Advantages or Limitations when they're needed to realize the character concept. It seems odd from what I've read that I can't just buy ranks of area I want, but perhaps I'm missing something.

It seems darn odd to me too. I think you bought Hero Designer and have it set to 5th edition rules. If you set it for 6th edition, you can buy the Area you want.

 

Open the character up, at the top mouse over "Current Character" and on the drop down menus choose "Change Current Template" then "6th Edition Rules" then either heroic or superheroic as appropriate. Now you should be able to select a specific Area.

 

 

Finally, this is a question with a concrete example. How would I go about building a superscience Focus with which one can scan a target (probably represented by Detect, since Analyze is for a person), and then adjust its output to the amount needed to neutralize the target? All of my previous experience has been with d20, so the biggest thing was figuring out what the d6 values meant, but I believe I've recreated each configuration in HERO System:

 

Multipower, 150-point reserve, Personal (+0) (150 Active

Points); all slots OAF (-1)

1) Tranquilizer Darts: Energy Blast 12d6, No Normal

Defense ([standard]; +1) (120 Active Points); OAF (-1)

2) Tetanizing Beam: Entangle 6d6, 6 DEF, Takes No

Damage From Attacks All Attacks (+1/2), No Normal

Defense ([standard]; Power Defense or not having a

Nervous System; +1*) (150 Active Points); OAF (-1)

3) Single Fire Mode: Killing Attack – Ranged 4d6, Armor

Piercing (+1/2) (90 Active Points); OAF (-1)

4) Neuromuscular Incapacitator: Energy Blast 12d6, No

Normal Defense ([standard]; Any form of Resistant

ED; target is completely insulated; +1) (120 Active

Points); OAF (-1)

5) Auto Fire Mode: Killing Attack - Ranged 4d6, Autofire

(5 shots; + 1/2) (90 Active Points); OAF (-1)

 

It's along the lines of the Lawgiver in Judge Dredd, but with a different focus (e.g., doesn't have stuff like explosive rounds, heating seeking and incendiary rounds, etc). It's a control weapon for neutralization without too much chaos or property damage. I'm not sure how to represent a tranquilizer dart in HERO System. I'm fairly certain the Tetanizing Beam is an Entangle in HERO System terms, and may be against CON. The Neuromuscular Incapacitator could also be represented as a STUN Only Energy Blast. I'll have to look at that some more. That may actually be more accurate to the desired effect. Single and Auto Fire Modes I know are RKAs, and it was just a matter of determining the right d6 values.

 

But aside from ironing out the translation to HERO System, how would I go about making this adjustable using HERO System mechanics? The way it was achieved in the system it was originally built in doesn't seem to exist here, so I haven't been able to determine how to go about it.

Okay, that's a tough one. First, there's a saying among Hero players: "Just because you can build anything, doesn't mean you should." So some of what I say will be not about rules as such, but about common practice, so you can ignore them if you choose. Other remarks will be about the rules as written, and I'll try to be clear which is which. Let me know if I'm ambiguous. Also, it's now obvious that yes, you are using the 5th edition rules. You will probably find 6th edition a better match for what you want.

 

First of all, 150 Active Points is more than some people let superheroes have. That's a LOT of power.

 

Given that a standard "normal" has an 8 to 10 BOD and no Resistant Defenses, a 4d6 Killing Attack is likely to be an "instant kill" especially if Hit Locations are used. And if all 5 shots of that Autofire hit, we're talking somewhere between chunky salsa and fine red mist. If this is what you want, great; just try not to miss and hit an innocent bystander with this kind of attack.

 

The rules caution us against putting two different No Normal Defense attacks on the same character. This can be unbalancing because anyone not vulnerable to the one attack will probably be open to the other, and you can effectively take down (almost) anyone. This may depend on what the defense is against the No Normal Defense; if both have fairly common defenses it is less problematic.

 

Rules point: in 6th edition this would be "Attack VS Alternate Defense" but can be made to work much as the old No Normal Defense does. You seem to have neglected to specify a defense for the tranquilizer darts.

 

Does this supertech weapon have infinite ammunition? If not, you may want to use the Charges Limitation. As you have written it, it will draw from the characters personal ENDurance - fine if it is actually supposed to be powered by the user's "life energy" or the like. I think, however, that you mean it to have an actual supply of darts and bullets, a certain number of charges of energy, etc.

 

Hero Designer DOES sometimes allow builds that are not technically legal, and I'm not sure an Entangle with No Normal Defense is legal. Or for that matter, how it would work. You might want to just give a Limitation "only on targets with a nervous system." Or use a Drain SPD.

 

As for "making it adjustable" you seem to be wanting the weapon itself to automatically pick for you whichever mode will be most effective on a given target, "most effective" being defined among other things as limiting collateral and property damage and giving priority to capture over kill. Is it possible for you to override this selection, say if you really want something dead? And how complicate are you willing to get?

 

The easiest way I can see to do this is to buy Tactics on a Focus (defined as the same Focus as the Multipower) with a very high roll, and a -0 or -1/4 Limitation (depending on how much of a Limitation you think it is) on the Multipower that the gun itself selects the mode. Tactics seems like the appropriate Skill for determining appropriate force.

 

I may look over this in more detail later; in any case, you can bet other people will jump in, some of them probably disagreeing with me on some detail or other.

 

Lucius Alexander

 

The palindromedary asks, what the heck happened to the size of that font?????

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Welcome, Demiurgos! It's always nice to greet a newcomer to Hero and to the community. This is definitely the place to come for advice about the system -- many of us love to demonstrate how knowledgeable and creative we are. ;)  And you will probably get plenty of diverse suggestions and advice. In Hero there are usually multiple ways to simulate almost anything, and rarely one "correct" way to do it.

 

From your remarks it sounds like you already have some familiarity with how Hero works, so I won't go into detail about the mechanics of the system here. Suffice it to say that the most involved part of Hero is character creation, and that actually running the game is pretty straight-forward. Moreover, the greatest detail comes from using the Powers system, which is only a major factor if you're running superheroes, or fantasy with lots of magic spells. "Heroic-level" characters, such as for modern-day action or pulp era games, are a snap to generate. The infamous "Hero Math" is just basic algebra, and again, most of that comes into play during chargen. Combat can get somewhat involved if you have PCs with a lot of options to choose from, and/or you choose to use a lot of the optional rules. But there are tips we can offer to speed that up.

 

As a general example of what can be done using Hero System, I can think of no better source than the personal website of our forum colleague and published Hero author, Michael "Susano" Surbrook. Surbrook's Stuff is an enormous archive of quality Hero write-ups for characters and things adapted from a vast range of genres and media.

 

As to your specific questions: There are several ways to have varying types of related effects in Hero, subject to Game Master's approval. For you invisibility examples, you could put different types of Invisibility into a Multipower, each slot having its own effects, Advantages, etc. which is usually the point-cheapest route to go. Another way is make certain Advantages or Adders "Naked," separate from the Power they're modifying as though they were their own discrete Power, so you can choose to activate them or not.

 

However, in order to make an area "Invisible" to hearing but not to sight, you might want to look at the Darkness power, which can be purchased to apply to any one of the Sense Groups. Darkness could be used to create a zone of silence, but you can purchase it with Personal Immunity, Usable By Others, so you and your friends can talk to each other. That's one of the things newcomers to Hero System have to get used to: the game mechanics are effects-based. The Power labeled Invisibility has specific game effects, but "invisibility" could be the Special Effect of various Powers, depending on what in-game effect you want that brand of Invisibility to have. Change Environment to create penalties to Sight Perception could be considered a manifestation of powers of invisibility. So could the Skills, Stealth or Concealment. It depends on how you want them to work in your game.

 

Now, your remarks about Area of Effect suggest to me that you're using either the Fifth Edition or the Fourth Edition of Hero System. You should be aware that the latest edition, Sixth, changed the rules for establishing AoE so that it is indeed a fixed area based on the size of the Advantage, not the Active Points in the Power. You might consider investing in either Champions Complete or Fantasy Hero Complete, which have the latest version of the full rules with a relatively simple presentation. Or, if you really want to plunge into detail and don't mind the expense, the two-volume Hero System Sixth Edition has all the details you could ever want.

 

Your sample write-up for your character's weapon looks reasonable to me mechanically, as do your suggested alternatives. Again, what you use to model a specific Special Effect depends on what would best suit the in-game effect you're going for. Start by thinking of what the original attack from your previous game actually did in game-mechanic terms, then look for the Power and Modifiers that are closest to that, regardless of what they're called.

 

Feel free to post followup questions if you're looking for more input. And welcome again. :)

 

EDIT: Lucius, above, makes some very good observations. Having two heads probably helps. :snicker:

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All Area of Effects increase their area according to the Area of Effect Table on pg. 319 of Hero System 6 Volume 1. Basically with each +1/4 that you add to the Advantage multiplier you double the area covered.

I don't think he has that version of the rules, or ANY version for that matter. All he said for sure is that he has Hero Designer.

 

 

Now, your remarks about Area of Effect suggest to me that you're using either the Fifth Edition or the Fourth Edition of Hero System. You should be aware that the latest edition, Sixth, changed the rules for establishing AoE so that it is indeed a fixed area based on the size of the Advantage, not the Active Points in the Power. You might consider investing in either Champions Complete or Fantasy Hero Complete, which have the latest version of the full rules with a relatively simple presentation. Or, if you really want to plunge into detail and don't mind the expense, the two-volume Sixth Edition has all the details you could ever want.

I'm not sure the 2 volume 6th Edition is available in hard copy any more; but I'm sure it's available in PDF. If he wants a hard copy without searching e bay or something, he might do well with Champions Complete, which strikes me as more suitable for what he seems to want to do than Fantasy Hero Complete.

 

Lucius Alexander

 

The palindromedary explains that "complete" means there's enough there to run a game with, not that absolutely everything in the full 6th edition rules is there.

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Welcome to the forum!

Based on your use of inches instead of meters for ranges I assume that you have a copy of the 5e or 5er rules. 6e and CC (Champions Complete) use meters and AOE now separates range from area. The invisibility sfx described can be built a number of different ways. I would focus on what the defenses are to determine the best mechanism to use. Limited Images and Mental Illusions are also viable approaches. I recommend looking at whatever equipment list you can find regarding the 4d6 Killing damage as that's typically RPG level damage. A 50 Cal gun only does 3d6 K for comparison.

Hope that helps.

 

edit - If you want to see some really complicated Hero conversions of a few familiar characters see the hero designer content link in my signature below.

HM

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Personally, for a privacy barrier, I would be looking for an invisible effect Force Wall, transparent to physical matter and works only versus sonic.

 

It would essentially create an invisible wall that you can walk through but prevents the passage of sound waves. That would not take too many points, and probably should not...

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I don't think he has that version of the rules, or ANY version for that matter. All he said for sure is that he has Hero Designer.

 

Ah, okay, well I couldn't tell which of his questions were specific to Hero Designer and which were general Hero System rules questions. The former probably belong in the Hero Designer subforum, while the latter definitely belong here.

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Wow, I hadn't expected so many replies so quickly. I thought I might have to build up a presence here first. Particularly since, as aforementioned, I'm a detail-oriented person, so oftentimes my posts are regarded as too long to read, and thus don't receive many replies.

 

Sorry, I immediately realized after I'd posted that I hadn't actually specified anywhere in there which edition I was using, but since I'm new, my posts require mod approval before they appear on the board, so I couldn't just edit it. And without any edition being specifically mentioned, the default would be the current edition. I happened to come across a copy of the 5th edition rules at a used bookstore, so that's what I'm using right now. I may get 6th ed. later depending on how well the system creates my characters.

 

First of all, welcome to the forums.

Thank you.

 

What you have heard about the flexibility of Hero is true. The often unspoken caveat is, "But it may cost a lot of points."

For this, it's fine. Points are no object. I want to make it clear that I don't want to get hung up on cost. I'm more interested in verifying the claim that HERO System can build "anything you can think of," and that "If you can think of it, you can create it." I've seen official characters with literally thousands of points, so it doesn't seem that the people who work for HERO get caught up on points when building characters. (I realize that when playing a campaign you have a budget, but this isn't about that, it's being able to realize any concept with the system.) Now, for most characters it isn't even an issue, but some concepts are simply inherently more expensive than others.

 

First of all, buy buying the Invisibility Power twice - once for Sight, once for Hearing - you can choose to turn on either or both or neither as you choose.

 

If you want to have a private conversation, you not only need Usable by Others, you will need Personal Immunity so you can hear EACH OTHER - otherwise, you are just as imperceptible to one another as to anyone else.

Ah. So build the power for each of the Sense Groups he wishes to be Invisible to. I hadn't thought of building them separately. Though that still leaves the issue of being able to selectively make oneself visible to some people while invisible to others. For a private conversation, they're both equally invisible to everyone else. Something similar to Fine Manipulation for Telekinesis that enables precision tasks, a way of precisely controling who you're visible or invisible to. I suppose I should mention that it's accomplished psionically. He psionically makes himself a) equally invisible to everyone, or B) selectively visible to some while invisible to others. Though since it's a non-combat use of a power, it's possible there just might not be a way to do so in HERO, as combat applications usually take precedence over non-combat stuff. Selective for Area Of Effect is for combat.

 

First, there's a saying among Hero players: "Just because you can build anything, doesn't mean you should."

 

Well, that has to do with power gaming. If one is playing a game, as it's a collaborative experience, one can't put together a bunch of effects to kick the butt of anything one might face. You're playing in a team, so you work together with your teammates, not render them irrelevant because you made your character to be able to handle everything by your lonesome. Villains are supposed to be more powerful, that way with the rest of your teammates you can do together what none of you could do individually.

 

I build to concept. I don't have much interest in simply putting together a bunch of effects to kick the butts of other effects. I come up with the personality and things considered "fluff" (I actually dislike that term, as it implies everything outside of mechanics is unnecessary, which is why many just focus on powers) before even deciding on powers. When I know what kind of person they are, then I know how they'll use their powers, and appropriate Disadvantages can be given to put some boundaries on the power use. But that's getting off the point of verifying the ability to realize anything one can imagine as frequently asserted.

 

Given that a standard "normal" has an 8 to 10 BOD and no Resistant Defenses, a 4d6 Killing Attack is likely to be an "instant kill" especially if Hit Locations are used. And if all 5 shots of that Autofire hit, we're talking somewhere between chunky salsa and fine red mist. If this is what you want, great; just try not to miss and hit an innocent bystander with this kind of attack.

Well, no. The most frequently used setting is actually the Neuromuscular Incapacitator, and there are more non-lethal settings than lethal. As aforementioned, I wasn't yet sure about the d6 values, and to compound matters, Normal Damage and Killing Damage are different in HERO, rather than there just being Damage. But I needed a number for the purposes of the example.

 

The rules caution us against putting two different No Normal Defense attacks on the same character. This can be unbalancing because anyone not vulnerable to the one attack will probably be open to the other, and you can effectively take down (almost) anyone. This may depend on what the defense is against the No Normal Defense; if both have fairly common defenses it is less problematic.

 

Rules point: in 6th edition this would be "Attack VS Alternate Defense" but can be made to work much as the old No Normal Defense does. You seem to have neglected to specify a defense for the tranquilizer darts.

Hmm, seems like it I didn't input it, probably because I was (and still am) unsure how to represent it. There doesn't seem to be any building block that does that. But I should have done it for the purposes of the example. As with any tranq dart, the defense would be any resistant defense. The dart first has to penetrate the skin before it can introduce the tranquilizer into the target's system. There are some superhumans whose skin is too tough to be penetrated by a part in the first place, so that wouldn't be an effective tactic. (Unless, of course, the dart is fired with sufficient force to penetrate.)

 

Hero Designer DOES sometimes allow builds that are not technically legal, and I'm not sure an Entangle with No Normal Defense is legal. Or for that matter, how it would work. You might want to just give a Limitation "only on targets with a nervous system." Or use a Drain SPD.

Gadgets and Gear specifically lists a Paralysis Beam that way:

 

Game Information: Entangle 4d6, 4 DEF, Takes No Damage From Attacks (+½), NND (defense is Power Defense or not having a nervous system; +1) (100 Active Points); OAF (-1), Limited Range (100”; -¼), 6 Charges (-¾). Total cost: 33 points.

 

The description of Entangle says, “[a] character with Entangle can restrain, immobilize, or paralyze another character,” which is exactly the effect that's produced, so, with this being an effects-based system, a SPD Drain doesn't seem right when there's specifically an effect that's stated to be able to paralyze another character.

 

As for "making it adjustable" you seem to be wanting the weapon itself to automatically pick for you whichever mode will be most effective on a given target, "most effective" being defined among other things as limiting collateral and property damage and giving priority to capture over kill.

 

No, that isn't correct. There have been machines/robots in comic books that adapt to their opponents. I want to take that same concept and apply it to a weapon. The weapon doesn't pick which mode is most effective, rather, whatever mode the Focus owner selects, the weapon scans the target, adjusts, and outputs the commensurate amount of force necessary to neutralize the target (of course there's a maximum amount of force it can fire with). For instance, if he wants to tranquilize a target, the weapon will scan the target and adjust to the necessary amount based on the readout. So it will only output the necessary amount of force. Limiting collateral and property damage are characteristics of the character, not the weapon. A superhero is immune to conventional weaponry. Bullets bounce harmlessly off him. So when he sees another gun pointed at him, he just stands there to let it harmless bounce off him like their usually do. Unknown to him though, the gun scans him and determines normal force is ineffective against him. So it calculates and adjusts, and when it fires, it does so with sufficient force to actually hurt him, much to his surprise. Like the Luke Cage Netflix series had "Judas" bullets that could penetrate the normally bulletproof Luke Cage, so he actually had to worry about being hurt. The owner of the Focus selects the mode, then the weapon scans the target, determines the necessary force, adjusts, and fires with that force. Superhumans effectively immune to conventional weaponry can be hurt by it, and perhaps even killed if he selects a KA. But most of the time, they'll be more useful for his purposes alive.

 

Is it possible for you to override this selection, say if you really want something dead?

 

The weapon will ultimately do what he wants it to, as it has no sentience of its own, and it has two settings capable of killing, so there's nothing to override if he wanted to kill someone. Select the KA and pull the trigger (though seeing how there are plenty of mercs out there, it's not something he would need to personally do. He's someone who doesn't care to attract a lot of attention to himself—a Disadvantage, which is why he uses the invisibility power to stay off the radar. It should be a while before anyone knows he even exists). What the weapon does is scan the target to determine what level of force is necessary to output to achieve whatever effect he wants, then will output that level of force. It's primarily for use against superhuman targets against whom conventional weaponry is ineffective. Incapacitating, paralyzing, tranquilizing or outright killing normals isn't particularly difficult if someone wants to do so. People literally do it everyday.

 

And how complicate are you willing to get?

As much as is necessary to realize the concept. I've already built it in another system, so I want to see how HERO System differs. As far as I'm concerned, there's no such thing as "too complicated" as long as it accurately represents the character. My philosophy is that, every single character in comic books or any other fictional medium began as nothing more than an idea in someone's head. And these systems are frequently used to build these characters. If other people's creations are accurately depicted with these RPG systems in great detail, why would I not want my own built the same? Now, not every character needs or warrants a lot of detail, but there are certain ones that I put a lot of detail into creating them, and I want that detail to be reflected on the character sheet, which is why I wanted to try this system. I and the people I RPed with know the character, but others don't, which means it requires more detail than a character who has over half a century of source material, several movies, games, etc., who people already know. I've monetarily compensated people who've edited published builds to consult them on how best to build particular characters so they'd be as professionally done as the ideas of other people that appear in books, so I don't have a problem with paying people for their help and their time. (I figure, since I've paid for books of other people's ideas and paid to watch movies of other people's ideas, it wouldn't make sense to be unwilling to pay to bring my own to life.)

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Welcome, Demiurgos! It's always nice to greet a newcomer to Hero and to the community. This is definitely the place to come for advice about the system -- many of us love to demonstrate how knowledgeable and creative we are. ;) And you will probably get plenty of diverse suggestions and advice. In Hero there are usually multiple ways to simulate almost anything, and rarely one "correct" way to do it.

 

From your remarks it sounds like you already have some familiarity with how Hero works, so I won't go into detail about the mechanics of the system here. Suffice it to say that the most involved part of Hero is character creation, and that actually running the game is pretty straight-forward. Moreover, the greatest detail comes from using the Powers system, which is only a major factor if you're running superheroes, or fantasy with lots of magic spells. "Heroic-level" characters, such as for modern-day action or pulp era games, are a snap to generate. The infamous "Hero Math" is just basic algebra, and again, most of that comes into play during chargen. Combat can get somewhat involved if you have PCs with a lot of options to choose from, and/or you choose to use a lot of the optional rules. But there are tips we can offer to speed that up.

Thank you. I'll be looking to soak up any knowledge anyone's willing to bestow until I'm able to build stuff on my own. I only have one character that's really complex, so everything else should be simple in comparison. All the others are more conventional.

 

When I take an interest in something, I tend to fully dive in. And anyways, I figure that a minimum amount of knowledge should be a prequisite before coming on here to ask a question. It wouldn't make sense for me to ask something the answer to which would be readily apparent if I'd just read the book.

 

 

As a general example of what can be done using Hero System, I can think of no better source than the personal website of our forum colleague and published Hero author, Michael "Susano" Surbrook. Surbrook's Stuff is an enormous archive of quality Hero write-ups for characters and things adapted from a vast range of genres and media.

I'll take a look at that. Thanks.

 

As to your specific questions: There are several ways to have varying types of related effects in Hero, subject to Game Master's approval. For you invisibility examples, you could put different types of Invisibility into a Multipower, each slot having its own effects, Advantages, etc. which is usually the point-cheapest route to go. Another way is make certain Advantages or Adders "Naked," separate from the Power they're modifying as though they were their own discrete Power, so you can choose to activate them or not.

 

However, in order to make an area "Invisible" to hearing but not to sight, you might want to look at the Darkness power, which can be purchased to apply to any one of the Sense Groups. Darkness could be used to create a zone of silence, but you can purchase it with Personal Immunity, Usable By Others, so you and your friends can talk to each other. That's one of the things newcomers to Hero System have to get used to: the game mechanics are effects-based. The Power labeled Invisibility has specific game effects, but "invisibility" could be the Special Effect of various Powers, depending on what in-game effect you want that brand of Invisibility to have. Change Environment to create penalties to Sight Perception could be considered a manifestation of powers of invisibility. So could the Skills, Stealth or Concealment. It depends on how you want them to work in your game.

Yes, I'm familiar with an effects-based system. The questions I asked about were actually all things I've already built on another effects-based system. Stuff that had a HERO System equivalent I built, but there are some things that don't seem to have an equivalent in this system, which prompted my questions. I could selectively make a character visible and invisible to whomever he wanted, but I didn't see any modifiers that enable you to selectively do anything other than choose who to hit or not hit in an Area Of Effect.

 

Now, your remarks about Area of Effect suggest to me that you're using either the Fifth Edition or the Fourth Edition of Hero System. You should be aware that the latest edition, Sixth, changed the rules for establishing AoE so that it is indeed a fixed area based on the size of the Advantage, not the Active Points in the Power. You might consider investing in either Champions Complete or Fantasy Hero Complete, which have the latest version of the full rules with a relatively simple presentation. Or, if you really want to plunge into detail and don't mind the expense, the two-volume Hero System Sixth Edition has all the details you could ever want.

Yes, as aforementioned whenever my post is approved and appears, I neglected to mention I was using the Fifth Edition. I saw that people were still posting about Fifth Edition, but I forgot to say that's what I was using.

 

Your sample write-up for your character's weapon looks reasonable to me mechanically, as do your suggested alternatives. Again, what you use to model a specific Special Effect depends on what would best suit the in-game effect you're going for. Start by thinking of what the original attack from your previous game actually did in game-mechanic terms, then look for the Power and Modifiers that are closest to that, regardless of what they're called.

The things that could be translated into HERO, I've already done. The basic stuff is simple: e.g., Telepathy is Telepathy is Telepathy, regardless of the system, ranged damage is ranged damage is ranged damage, hand-to-hand is hand-to-hand is hand-to-hand, Transform is Transform is Transform, etc., there aren't going to be any drastic differences. Some details might vary, there may be different rules for them since they're different systems, but the big effects are going to pretty much be the same everywhere. So now I have to find alternatives there are to achieve the same effect in this system, if it's possible to do so.

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What the weapon does is scan the target to determine what level of force is necessary to output to achieve whatever effect he wants, then will output that level of force. It's primarily for use against superhuman targets against whom conventional weaponry is ineffective. Incapacitating, paralyzing, tranquilizing or outright killing normals isn't particularly difficult if someone wants to do so. People literally do it everyday.

 

This bit here seems to be a problem. What does it mean?

 

At some point, the size of the attack (number of dice) is being modulated. Is it being done automatically by the weapon, or is it being controlled by the user (influenced by the scanning function)?

 

For most of your attacks, it doesn't really matter! Just fire at full power. Both normals and supers will be affected. The former will be more affected, but that's unlikely to matter most of the time.

 

The problem is with potentially lethal attacks. An attack that could stun a superhuman is quite likely to kill a normal. That would be where the scan business would make a difference.

 

But you need to specify how it is supposed to work.

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Ah, okay, well I couldn't tell which of his questions were specific to Hero Designer and which were general Hero System rules questions. The former probably belong in the Hero Designer subforum, while the latter definitely belong here.

 

None of my questions were specific to Hero Designer, or involved it at all. There's specifically a HERO Designer subforum for anything related to that. I only mentioned it in passing in the introduction, saying that I'd bought it after deciding to try it, but Hero Designer is actually irrelevant to my questions.

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This bit here seems to be a problem. What does it mean?

 

At some point, the size of the attack (number of dice) is being modulated. Is it being done automatically by the weapon, or is it being controlled by the user (influenced by the scanning function)?

 

For most of your attacks, it doesn't really matter! Just fire at full power. Both normals and supers will be affected. The former will be more affected, but that's unlikely to matter most of the time.

 

The problem is with potentially lethal attacks. An attack that could stun a superhuman is quite likely to kill a normal. That would be where the scan business would make a difference.

 

But you need to specify how it is supposed to work.

 

With all due respect, "it doesn't really matter" doesn't exactly do anything as far verifying or disproving the claim that HERO System can do "anything one can think of." Numerous people have said it. The whole purpose of my trying HERO System is to put it to the test myself. I've already built it in another system, and since this is said to have even more flexibility, I wanted to see how the effect I've already done would be accomplished in this one, but this system doesn't seem to have an equivalent mechanic for doing so, which prompted my question, since I can't build it the same way.

 

Since it's an effect-based system, to make things simple, reduce confusion, and boil it down to the bare bones: Take a 12d6 blast. How would HERO System enable one to increase the output to a 15d6 blast or decrease it to a 9d6 blast?

 

I've already done it, in another system, with existing modifiers the system had. My question is, how can I do this in HERO System? And if the answer is, you can't, then that's the answer. That would then mean that it would be necessary to set the maximum and minimum output level and then buy a separate blast for every single power output level that might be necessary for each of the five settings, and put them all in a Multipower. If that's the only option, that's the only option. But that's why I'm asking people who know more about the system than I do.

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Ah. So build the power for each of the Sense Groups he wishes to be Invisible to. I hadn't thought of building them separately. Though that still leaves the issue of being able to selectively make oneself visible to some people while invisible to others. For a private conversation, they're both equally invisible to everyone else. Something similar to Fine Manipulation for Telekinesis that enables precision tasks, a way of precisely controling who you're visible or invisible to. I suppose I should mention that it's accomplished psionically. He psionically makes himself a) equally invisible to everyone, or B) selectively visible to some while invisible to others. Though since it's a non-combat use of a power, it's possible there just might not be a way to do so in HERO, as combat applications usually take precedence over non-combat stuff. Selective for Area Of Effect is for combat.

I see two ways to do this, one of which I'm not sure works in 5th edition.

 

I know in 6th, you could buy a Naked Advantage of Personal Immunity, and apply "Usable by Others" specifically the "Usable Nearby" option, and pick people near you who can see through the invisibility.

 

The other option is a massive Mental Illusions with Area Effect and Selective, and Limitation: Only to render self invisible.

 

 

Gadgets and Gear specifically lists a Paralysis Beam that way:

 

Game Information: Entangle 4d6, 4 DEF, Takes No Damage From Attacks (+½), NND (defense is Power Defense or not having a nervous system; +1) (100 Active Points); OAF (-1), Limited Range (100”; -¼), 6 Charges (-¾). Total cost: 33 points.

 

The description of Entangle says, “[a] character with Entangle can restrain, immobilize, or paralyze another character,” which is exactly the effect that's produced, so, with this being an effects-based system, a SPD Drain doesn't seem right when there's specifically an effect that's stated to be able to paralyze another character.

I can't claim to understand how that Advantage applies to that Power, so I'm at a loss. I suppose I am Definitely Not the Champions Guru. Maybe I should get a t shirt.

 

No, that isn't correct. There have been machines/robots in comic books that adapt to their opponents. I want to take that same concept and apply it to a weapon. The weapon doesn't pick which mode is most effective, rather, whatever mode the Focus owner selects, the weapon scans the target, adjusts, and outputs the commensurate amount of force necessary to neutralize the target (of course there's a maximum amount of force it can fire with). For instance, if he wants to tranquilize a target, the weapon will scan the target and adjust to the necessary amount based on the readout. So it will only output the necessary amount of force. Limiting collateral and property damage are characteristics of the character, not the weapon. A superhero is immune to conventional weaponry. Bullets bounce harmlessly off him. So when he sees another gun pointed at him, he just stands there to let it harmless bounce off him like their usually do. Unknown to him though, the gun scans him and determines normal force is ineffective against him. So it calculates and adjusts, and when it fires, it does so with sufficient force to actually hurt him, much to his surprise. Like the Luke Cage Netflix series had "Judas" bullets that could penetrate the normally bulletproof Luke Cage, so he actually had to worry about being hurt. The owner of the Focus selects the mode, then the weapon scans the target, determines the necessary force, adjusts, and fires with that force. Superhumans effectively immune to conventional weaponry can be hurt by it, and perhaps even killed if he selects a KA. But most of the time, they'll be more useful for his purposes alive.

Okay, yep, that's kind of bizarre. What you want is an "anti-overkill" effect. Since I don't see where this is much of either an Advantage or a Limitation, I'd suggest a +0 Advantage or -0 Limitation "Damage Adjusted to Minimum to Neutralize Target." Then when you roll damage, if it puts the target down, start subtracting dice starting with the largest and when you reach the point the target is just barely unconscious or just barely dead or whatever, stop subtracting dice and use that amount of damage.

 

To be perfectly honest this sounds like a ridiculous hassle to do in a game and I have no idea why you would want to do this, but that's how to do it.

 

Lucius Alexander

 

The palindromedary wears a t shirt saying "What's Champions?"

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I think that for the selective invisibility, one method might be for the Invisibility to have a +0 advantage - not versus those whom InvisibleGuy is in telepathic contact with.

 

I would then have the character buy an area effect 5 or 10 point telepathy power (cannot remember if there is a minimum point buy for telepathy) purely for the purposes of excluding people from the power.  The telepathy would provide a mechanism for the character to make contact with those he wishes to see him and everyone else would have to deal with the invisibility.

 

I think it is right for this to cost more - it does provide more utility - the question is whether you pile the cost onto the Invisibility as an advantage (and there is a case for that I think - and something Steve might like for a future APG)  or require the use of another power...

 

Doc

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After looking at the rulebook, and some of the suggestions:

 

However, in order to make an area "Invisible" to hearing but not to sight, you might want to look at the Darkness power, which can be purchased to apply to any one of the Sense Groups. Darkness could be used to create a zone of silence, but you can purchase it with Personal Immunity, Usable By Others, so you and your friends can talk to each other.

 

"Darkness makes the covered area impenetrable by the Senses it affects. ... It doesn't just make PER Rolls with the affected Senses harder, it makes them impoosible" (5ER 145). A Smoke Grenade is Darkness to Sight Groups, and no one in it can see, and no one outside of it can see into it, which is why it's used for cover. So no one would be able to "hear into" it, and it explicitly says the Personal Immunity Advantage is needed to be able to perceive through it oneself (5E 146). Then it seems Usable On Others at the Usable Simultaneously level would be needed so that that character and whomever else he's talking to can both perceive through the field, and no one else will hear themparabolic mics, enhanced senses, nada. Then 6E has Usable By Nearly, where he could bestow the Immunity and retain control of it. That would be more accurate, since he's allowing them to hear him, but he can disallow them whenever he wants, whereas with Usable By Others you no longer have control of the Immunity once you give it. It seems that with Selectable explicitly stated not to work with Invisibility (5ER 250), that that might be the next option for going outside of Invisibility for the building block of the power.

 

As was also said, in 6E the tactic of using Usable By Nearby to grant Invisibility to the person(s) of one's choosing is available for Invisibility. So whatever Senses he's Invisible to to everyone else, he can allow selected people to see him. So it seems Personal Immunity + Usable Nearby is the way to go for a 6E build to be visible to certain people but not others.

 

5E doesn't have Usable By Nearby, so to grant Immunity and keep control of it would require Usable By Attack. Now the with proposed Selective Area Of Effect Mental Illusions, he does use Mental Illusions for another purpose, so it would be appropriate to use it to render himself invisible as well. USD lists a Cloak of Illusion power where the character conceals himself with an illusion and someone right next to him can't see, hear or smell him. So looking at the degrees, making important objects appear where none are present or vanish is a major change, which would make removing oneself from the setting an EGO + 10 effect, is that correct? That may be in the lead thus far for 5e.

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Since it's an effect-based system, to make things simple, reduce confusion, and boil it down to the bare bones: Take a 12d6 blast. How would HERO System enable one to increase the output to a 15d6 blast or decrease it to a 9d6 blast?

 

Buy a 15d6 blast, and use it at whatever power level you want.

 

If you want something that isn't that tunable, buy a 9d6 attack. This means you will be always able to use up to 9d6.

 

Then buy an additional 6d6 subject to whatever limitations apply.

 

Ah. I think I get what part of the issue is. The default condition is that you can use powers at less than full power. To change that, use the Beam disadvantage. This would probably make sense in the gun case - a bullet can but doesn't have to be represented this way.

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Buy a 15d6 blast, and use it at whatever power level you want.

 

If you want something that isn't that tunable, buy a 9d6 attack. This means you will be always able to use up to 9d6.

 

Then buy an additional 6d6 subject to whatever limitations apply.

 

Ah. I think I get what part of the issue is. The default condition is that you can use powers at less than full power. To change that, use the Beam disadvantage. This would probably make sense in the gun case - a bullet can but doesn't have to be represented this way.

 

Ohhhhh... so in HERO System you can inherently use attacks at less than full power? It seems my ignorance of the system was the issue. I was operating on the assumption that your attack was fixed at whatever level you purchased it. I apologize then. That means it would actually be trivial to accomplish the "adjustable power level" effect in HERO, just buy the maximum range, then the gun scans the target (by whichever mechanic best serves that purpose), and if less force is needed than its maximum capacity, HERO enables you to use less than full power at any time anyway, so you simply fire at whatever power is needed. And as you suggest, have an additional xd6 for use in the event of someone with particularly tough skin.

 

I'll have to take a look at the rules for that and at the Beam disadvantage. Thank you. So I need to be sure of the KA range and how much damage each d6 of KA does.

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Ohhhhh... so in HERO System you can inherently use attacks at less than full power?

I didn't realize that you didn't realize that. I thought you were looking for something to adjust the damage output "automatically" without the player having to say "let's hit this guy with just 2d6 Killing."

 

the gun scans the target (by whichever mechanic best serves that purpose)

Look under Enhanced Senses for Detect.

 

Target Scan: (Total: 32 Active Cost, 14 Real Cost) Detect A Large Class Of Things: STR, CON, STUN, BOD, total and Resistant PD and ED. and Extra Thing: Nervous System 15- (Radio Group: includes Range and Sense), Rapid: x10, Targeting (32 Active Points); OAF (-1), Nonpersistent (-1/4) (Real Cost: 14)

 

Lucius Alexander

 

Detect Palindromedary

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Welcome!  The HERO community is not only very loyal and responsive, it also loves a challenge. :)  

 

Just skimmed through and thought I'd put in my two cents on some subjects.  There's a lot to read and I'm headed out right now.

 

On the privacy field, I don't remember if it still in HERO 6th ed, but there was the modifier to the advantage AoE to have a hole in the center.  It wouldn't be a stretch for the GM to hand wave a custom adder to darkness to do the same thing.

 

Another way to build the privacy zone is to use images (mental or regular) and make the center of the zone unaffected with personal immunity (defined as those in the center of the zone).  The image is of no one there.  This build came out around the time of Predator the movie as another way to build invisibility in my group.

 

Another way I use to recreate the sanctuary D&D spell is extradimensional travel to a pocket dimension area of effect 1 hex.  Outside of the dimension, no one can see or hear you but access to the dimension is easily accomplished by entering the field of the effect.

 

I'll post later I thing about the weapon.

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I didn't realize that you didn't realize that. I thought you were looking for something to adjust the damage output "automatically" without the player having to say "let's hit this guy with just 2d6 Killing."

 

Ah. That explains your comment. When you said it was "bizarre" and you had no idea why I would want to do that, it seemed that I may have been insulted for some unknown reason. But if one knows HERO already allows you to use your attack at whatever power level you want, I can see now why it would seem odd. There was actually nothing special about that at all.

 

But, no, the character scans the target, which in game mechanics is accomplished with Detect, and the weapon Detects the target's defenses, the Large Class of Things. With this information, the player playing him knows how much he needs to do, and in game terms the weapon is adjusted to whatever level of force is required and fires, and in game terms the player announces he's using xd6 of whatever setting it is.

 

So putting aside the d6 levels for the moment (those weren't final, they were just there as placeholders) to look at power construction, it looks like this:

 

75

Multipower, 150-point reserve, Personal (+0) (175 Active

Points); all slots OAF (-1)

 

6u

1) Tranquilizer Darts: Energy Blast 12d6, No Normal

Defense ([standard]; Any form of Resistant

Defense +1) (120 Active Points); OAF (-1)

12

7u

2) Tetanizing Beam: Entangle 6d6, 6 DEF, Takes No

Damage From Attacks All Attacks (+1/2), No Normal

Defense ([standard]; Power Defense or not having a

Nervous System; +1*) (150 Active Points); OAF (-1)

15

1u

3 Target Scan: Detect A Large Class Of Things: STR,

CON, STUN, BOD, total and Resistant PD and ED

and Each Extra Thing or Class of Things 15- (Radio

Group), Rapid x10, Targeting (34 Active Points); OAF

(-1), Nonpersistent (-1/4)

0

4u

4) Single Fire Mode: Killing Attack – Ranged 4d6, Armor

Piercing (+1/2) (90 Active Points); OAF (-1)

9

3u

5) Neuromuscular Incapacitator: Energy Blast 12d6,

STUN Only (+0) (60 Active Points); OAF (-1)

6

4u

6) Auto Fire Mode: Killing Attack - Ranged 4d6, Autofire

(5 shots; + 1/2) (90 Active Points); OAF (-1)

9

 

I think I'll make the Neuromuscular Incapacitator STUN Only since that's the desired effect, and that also happens to halve the cost as well, though cost is secondary to concept. Now, HERO Designer gives a warning that Detect should not be placed in a Mulitpower or any other Power Framework, but as it's the weapon that has this capability, not the character, is it okay for this specific build to make an exception since that's the concept?

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Making a sfx argument for inclusion of sensory powers in frameworks is a slippery slope. It basically devalues points spent by other characters on senses outside of frameworks. Focus and Unified are both appropriate limitations.

edit - For more on this see this recent similar thread - http://www.herogames.com/forums/topic/95969-detects-and-power-frameworks/?p=2609735

HM

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Making a sfx argument for inclusion of sensory powers in frameworks is a slippery slope. It basically devalues points spent by other characters on senses outside of frameworks. Focus and Unified are both appropriate limitations.

 

HM

 

I don't see Unified, so I take it that's in 6e?

 

So if it doesn't go inside the Multipower, how would it be clear on the character sheet that it's actually for the Multipower? The multipower is a weapon, and Detect is its Targeting Scan. Two separate Foci look like two completely unrelated things since there's nothing that indicates they're part of the same whole.

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I don't see Unified, so I take it that's in 6e?

 

So if it doesn't go inside the Multipower, how would it be clear on the character sheet that it's actually for the Multipower? The multipower is a weapon, and Detect is its Targeting Scan. Two separate Foci look like two completely unrelated things since there's nothing that indicates they're part of the same whole.

 

Unified is the 6e replacement for the Elemental Control Framework.  Since it is a Limitation it can be combined with Multipowers and Variable Power Pools with GM permission.

 

From the now defunct 5er FAQ answered by Steve Long:

 

Q: If a character wants powers outside his EC (whether in another Power Framework or otherwise) to be affected by negative Adjustment Powers (Drains and the like) as if they were in the EC (to represent a linkage of the overall special effects of his powers), how can he buy that?

 

A:  To simulate this sort of linkage, take this Limitation on all relevant powers outside the EC: Affected By Negative Adjustment Powers Used On [Name] EC (-1/4).

 

If a character wants his EC to suffer negative effects when any of the outside, related, powers suffer them, he should take the following Limitation on all such EC powers subject to the handicap: Affected By Negative Adjustment Powers Used On Any Outside Power Of [X] Special Effect (-1/4). (Feel free to define X more specifically if you want and the GM doesn’t object.)

 

If a character wants the slots in his Multipower to work like an EC in regard to the effects of Drain (or the like), he really should buy an EC instead of a Multipower. But if the GM doesn’t object, he could apply a variant of these -1/4 Limitations to make the Multipower work like an EC in regard to Drains and the like.

 

Of course, the value of these Limitations may change depending on the frequency with which Drains (and the like) are used in the campaign.

 

Steve basically changed the name of this Limitation to Unified and removed EC's altogether in 6e.

 

:)

HM

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