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Killer Shrike

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  1. Like
    Killer Shrike got a reaction from Oruncrest in HS 6e is mechanically the best version of the rules; dissenting views welcome   
    Agreed. There is still room for further refactoring, but given the givens I think it unlikely to happen officially. 
    Personally I think grappling is a little clunky but works ok (using the extended Martial Arts rules for Grab and ?, etc).
    I don't want to see a zone of control or attack of opportunity type of mechanism added to the system, I prefer utilizing held actions or custom abilities for that sort of thing.
    Same. I don't like training wheels or arbitrary "just because" rules (such as why can't CE be used for positive effects; why not?)
    I'm a big believer that the sales problems the Hero System has traditionally had stems largely from the fact that they tend to not make products for PLAYERS to buy...their product appeals almost overwhelmingly to a very specific kind of GM. They also tend to favor "perennials" such as core books and genre source books. I'm a hardcore fan but I'm only going to buy one copy of Fantasy Hero per edition and even then maybe just the pdf if the content is mostly a c&p plus edition tweakage. 
    This is my opinion, but I think a lot of it comes down to posture.
    Lets say you and I and a few other posters are DoJ, the era is 5er, and we've just gotten an influx of cash from a video game related windfall. We decide to use that money to publish a new edition of the system. Around this time, our primary competition for our main money making line of products is a d20 based supers game that puts out relatively slim full color books, usually hardbacks. 
    At this point through long years of hard work, we've managed to put out a huge amount of very thorough books across a wide variety of genres and subgenres as well as a pretty comprehensive line of "ultimate" niche books and core rules. We arguably now own the "crunchy heavy weight universal game system" perch, having surpassed the traditional rival for that slot just by sheer volume and tenacity if nothing else. However a recurring criticism of our product line is that it has a tendency towards a dry no-nonsense business like writing style and a lack of visual flair. For some product lines this is less of a detriment than others, but for the very visual supers genre and its demographic of visually oriented people who prefer to read things in picture form, it is a very jarring mismatch.
    Going into this next edition, it is very important to us that we have full color hardbacks with art that will hopefully resonate with the highly visual superhero rpg fans; we have a leg up here because for superhero content at least we can use art assets developed for the same video game we got the cash from in the first place. 
    So, what we'll do is, double down on what has been working for us so far...big chunky books even more chock full examples, rulings, options, and so on, than before, PLUS in color and with color interior art. The book will be thicker, but no big deal, we can print the design time rules in one volume and the run time rules in another volume. This may even be beneficial as some players who otherwise might not buy the book and just use their GM's copy might decide to buy the character creation volume.
    The people who like us for our chunkiness will be even more happy. The people who are put off by stern black and white walls of text will find the pretty color pages more inviting. Seems foolproof, what could go wrong?
    Ok, now lets groundhog day that, knowing what we now know with the benefit of hindsight.
    Maybe instead we kick off the 6e era by releasing Champions Universe Complete, Turakian Age Complete, Alien Wars Complete etc, up front. They are relatively concise books by Hero standards, maybe an inch and a half across the spine. They each contain the necessary setting information for immediate play, with a playable version of the rules with the proper "presets" of options selected, plus enough content in the form of templates, gear lists, etc, to immediately start play with, and an abbreviated character creation via 8 to 12 partially customize-able templates.
    For the product lines that take off in this format, print splat books in all the usual ways that game companies tend to do, plus an adventure here and there. Someone always says "but adventures don't sell well", to which I say "loss leader". GM's running the one copy of an adventure the group owns tends to lead to supplementary purchases of other stuff, an engaged player base which draws more players, and of course maybe even the one copy of the adventure the group buys to run after this one is done.
    I imagine I don't have to explain what this would look like, because nearly every other game markets themselves in that way.
    But that's not Hero! rings out the cry. Worry not, true believers! The text-only version of the full system is available as an SRD online, for free. How do we monetize that? Well, there's the Limited Edition Full Color Hardback 2 Volume Core Set, for starters. What does that look like? Well, it looks exactly like the 2 volume set we got. What's different about it? Consumer perception. 
    The casual set, both current and hopefully newly attracted, are happy with the various buy and go setting + micro rules books. The hardcore set is happy because they have the massive 6e tomes of thoroughness, ownership of which proves their leetness.
    Of course no one knows how it all might have gone down, and we don't know the inner workings of DoJ or what challenges they had to overcome to accomplish what they did. I assume the challenges were harrowing, and I'm personally deeply impressed by what they achieved during both the 5e and 6e eras. It's staggering in scale. It is also true that the rpg industry and the print industry were (and are) going through a brutal period of being disrupted by emerging technologies and changes in interests towards other media.  But I think it is possible that a different approach that was more sensitive to the marketplace and player base would have had a better outcome in the long run. 
    I imagine that you imagine that I imagine that we are imagining along the same imaginary lines.
  2. Like
    Killer Shrike reacted to Lucius in How to Build: Vorpal weapons?   
    I might let him attack a dragon that way once, but I don't know if I'd let him make a Hobbit of it.
    Lucius Alexander
    And a polymorphed palindromedary
  3. Like
    Killer Shrike reacted to akrippler in Combat luck and armor   
    ive used the crap out of your website for a long time now. thanks for responding
  4. Like
    Killer Shrike reacted to Doc Democracy in Multipowers   
    Another spin-off from the 6th edition is best thread.  There seems to be a lot of talk about the value/effectiveness of multipowers.  We got rid of elemental controls because the were simply a way to get free points.  Shrike said that most people that want an MP actually want a VPP.  Others are concerned that people throw things into an MP because it would be stupid not to.
    I guess that it throws up two questions. 
    (1) As far as the toolkit goes, what is the multipower supposed to provide in game effect terms?
    (2) is it too cost effective?
  5. Like
    Killer Shrike reacted to Ninja-Bear in HS 6e is mechanically the best version of the rules; dissenting views welcome   
    Sean about the two MP working together, I believe back in 3rde there was a villain written up like that.  Also have you checked out Champions 5th genre book? I like how Aaron Allston used MPs to enhance the archetypes Basic Powers. He is another key though. He only allowed powers within their respective power sets. As with anything else in Hero, it can be abused! But should it stop you from using it altogether? I say no.
  6. Like
    Killer Shrike reacted to Sean Waters in HS 6e is mechanically the best version of the rules; dissenting views welcome   
    Hmm.  I'm not sure I can get behind the idea that any power that is more than you need is surplus to requirements, at least if you mean what you seem to mean.
    Very few actual characters built by players are ever going to buy a NND as their only major attack: it is going in a MP.  You also almost never see an Entangle outside a MP, or a Flash.  There are many other examples.
    The problem with MPs is not the mechanic, as such, but the way it seems to be habitually used - to cover a wide range of bases to make characters effective in a wide range of situations because that is play-efficient rather than because that realises a concept.  A lot of example characters I have seen are guilty of that.  You get powers with really complex builds that are there for synergy rather than anything else or powers that are situational.  You'd never splash out on that particular power if you were paying full points.  Well, almost never.
    Remember Starburst (I think that was his name, could have been Opal Fruit) from 1eChampions?  He had a MP with an attack, defence and movement power in it, IIRC.  He was damn interesting to run.
  7. Like
    Killer Shrike reacted to Hugh Neilson in HS 6e is mechanically the best version of the rules; dissenting views welcome   
    Perhaps a minor point, but I disagree.  If the average opponent has 20 PD/ED, a 12 DC blast gets 22 STUN past defenses.  A 24 DC Blast will get 64 STUN past defenses, which is considerably more than double, and pass some BOD through as well.  18d6 will get 43 past defenses on average, about double, but will also typically STUN the target (as will 24 DC), so I think that is still more than twice as effective.
    I would agree, however, that allowing the "One Attack Wonder" to have a few more DCs than the "Swiss Army Multipower" trades off some power for some versatility, and can be a good balancer.  If the characters only had enough points to be really good at one thing (15 DC attack; 75 points), pretty good at 3 things (3 12 DC attacks in an MP; 78 points) or marginally good at 5 things (5 10 DC attacks in a MP; 75 points), that balance would find itself more easily.
    But, as you note way above, that will not happen when the campaign maximum is viewed as the campaign minimum.
  8. Like
    Killer Shrike reacted to Gnome BODY (important!) in HS 6e is mechanically the best version of the rules; dissenting views welcome   
    I think I got sloppy about clarity somewhere in the reply chain.  Let me be more formal. 
    Assume: Defenses are generally bought relative to attacks such that a NND attack against a "normal" opponent and a blast of the same AP have roughly equal STUN output.  Based on the guidelines in FRED and the characters I have seen made by my group, posted on the forum, and in published materials, I believe this to be a reasonable assumption for superheroic play. 
    Let character A have a pair of N point attack powers that are able to be used in a multiple power attack.  Let character B have a single N point reserve multipower with N points spent on ultra slots containing attacks.  Omit consideration of other powers A or B may have. 
    Observation: A can multiple power attack, B cannot.  Observation: B can flexibly change the defense they are targeting, A cannot. 
    Conclusion: A will have greater raw output, but be highly susceptible to variation caused by their target's characteristics.  B will experience the inverse, with a stable but lower output. 
  9. Like
    Killer Shrike reacted to Hugh Neilson in HS 6e is mechanically the best version of the rules; dissenting views welcome   
    While I'm in  mid-edit!  Oh well...
  10. Like
    Killer Shrike got a reaction from Hugh Neilson in HS 6e is mechanically the best version of the rules; dissenting views welcome   
    Tangential to the point I was making, but if you allow for the offensive side, you have to allow for the defensive side. In other words, if some characters were allowed to have x2 effect, then some characters would also be allowed to have x2 the defense. 
    The main take away of my response being that x2 options is not equal to twice the impact. It is only twice the choices.
  11. Like
    Killer Shrike got a reaction from Toxxus in HS 6e is mechanically the best version of the rules; dissenting views welcome   
    Lets define terms...what do you mean when you say effective?
    When I say effective I mean from the perspective of results.
    In a campaign setting where most encounters are settled by conflict and conflict is primarily resolved by killing those you are in conflict with, a big component of character "effectiveness" from the perspective of results is going to come down to how well a character kills opponents and resists being killed themselves.
    For instance, if one character killed a bad guy, and the other character killed another identical bad guy with equivalent effort, then it is not relevant from an effectiveness standpoint in that instance if one of the characters had 4 other ways to kill the bad guy that they didn't use. If most of the bad guys to be killed are killable by the character with the one way to do all that killing, then that character is mostly as effective as the character with 5 ways to do all that killing, and if the simple character with only one way to do all that killing is able to have a higher damage output than the fancy killer with 5, it shifts again. In a game that favors killing opponents DPS (damage per second) is king, and how a given character achieves their maximum DPS is only circumstantially relevant.
    So, given two characters A and B, assuming both A and B are equally survivable to keep it simple, A has a MP with various attacks, B has one attack + other offensively enabling abilities. Then we look at the typical opposition characters A and B can be expected to face during actual play.
    We now have two choices...we can either let A and B progress through actual play and accrue actual data as to which is most effective, or we can theory craft / analyze and try to guess which will be more effective.
    To do it empirically we would just set up the campaign and run it, recording our observations until we were satisfied and then concluding with some findings. There would of course be probabilistic vagaries, but over a long enough timeline that should even out. There would of course be differences in player skill and circumstance, but assuming we had taken steps to control for that somewhat (not given A to a noob, and B to an expert or vice versa, not deliberately thrown opposition into the mix to bias towards A or B, etc), it should even out enough to draw some conclusions.
    To do it theoretically, we would have to take into account the nature of the two characters, the campaign guidelines / caps / imposed limits, and the nature of the typical opposition as they are presented and run by a particular GM, and allow for vagaries of probability. We would have to get specific to "run the numbers". 
    There are also some meta considerations such as "character concept validity" but I'm willing to lump that into "imposed limits" and call it a push.
    In some cases with the variables set just so, A or B may prove to be more effective overall. In other cases, in a different context, the outcome may be different. 
    I am comfortable talking about this at the theory crafting level, but I've also played and run enough games over a long enough period of time to have seen multiple cases of swiss army knife characters vs bread and butter fundamentals characters side by side and to draw empirical observations from that experience. And my conclusion from that is, "it depends". MP's are good. But so are other options within the system. MP based builds can be very competitive, but so can other builds. In a vacuum MP's bring a lot to the table, in actual play a lot of other factors apply. 
    Now I acknowledge that you don't want to dissect or argue about it, and I acknowledge that while a statement like "I...essentially true...won't hold up to a formal scientific dissection" is like fingernails on a chalkboard to someone like me, you mean it in the sense of "agree to disagree" or "useful rule of thumb" or "personal red flag based upon my experience". Which is all good, for me. 
    I feel compelled to add smiley faces so people don't interpret me as being hostile when I am trying to be friendly. So...

  12. Like
    Killer Shrike got a reaction from Durzan Malakim in HS 6e is mechanically the best version of the rules; dissenting views welcome   
    I think we are speaking at cross purposes.
    The premise of this thread is that of the various editions of the Hero System, from 1st to 6th, it is my position that I think 6e offers the "best" version of the game mechanics published to date, and invited others to make their case that 6e does not offer the "best" version of the game mechanics published to date.
    Secondarily, I inquired as to what is behind a trend I had noticed for people to not just prefer an earlier version of the rules, but to outright disparage, hate on, or make snide remarks about 6e. You responded, which I appreciate, and put forth your viewpoint of the changes made in 6e (which I gathered that you aren't a fan of).
    You had some other talking points, which I responded to and some of which I agreed with, but among them was an argument that Figured Characteristics were removed with the intent of not granting what you contended was a small number of free points per character with the implication that it was a small percentage of a 350 point character and thus not worth correcting.  I pointed out that the game system is not intended only for 350 point or higher characters; it is intended to be used for lower pointed heroic characters as well and the free points gained by abusing Figureds was not trivial at that point range.
    You responded with a post that I interpreted as alluding or suggesting that you think that the Hero System doesn't work for heroic level  games (which I disagree with), and asked you to clarify if that is what you meant and pointed out that people, myself included, have run heroic level games with the system successfully. Your response appears to be forwarding the claim that it was I myself, not the game system, that made heroic play work.
    Well, it seems to me that you are being a bit slippery around where exactly the goalposts of this conversation are, but ok...I'll play along.
    The same statement works for supers as well. Every superheroic, or high point level game wherein I used the Hero System as the GM, required me to do some amount of work to make the campaign function. I would posit the same is true for you and every other Hero System GM running any kind of Hero System game. Even 350 point superheroes.
    The same is also true of every other rpg game I've ever run using any game system, universal, generic, or otherwise. Regardless of whether a game uses points, slots, class, level, or other resource allocation schemes at the end of the day they are tools to be wielded by the GM and the players. Game systems are merely collections of tools. Some offer only limited purpose or specialized tools, some are effectively just kits with build-by-picture instructions, some have a small form factor like a toolbox, others are akin to a garage workbench and pegboard set up, and others are more akin to industrial makers spaces. But no matter how grand or how tawdry, they are just tools and require effort to be applied towards the task of running a campaign.
    That aside, you seem to be wanting to turn this into a more general discussion about point based systems in general, and appear to think that I am of the position that point based systems are intrinsically balanced, or even that perfect balance is attainable. I am not of either position. Perfect balance is unattainable, and just putting character points in your game does not make it magically balanced.
    However, that does not mean that character points provide no benefit as a balancing mechanic. 
    Very simple things can be reduced to an either or proposition. Complex things rarely if ever can; instead there is usually some kind of spectrum. At one end is one extreme, and at the other end the other extreme. Somewhere on a spectrum with "character points offer no utility as a game balance mechanism" on one end and "character points are synonymous with perfect game balance, intrinsically" at the other,  is the idea "character points are useful when used to purchase abilities that are costed in an attempt to approximate parity across various kinds of abilities such that an ability that costs x character points is approximately as powerful as a different ability that costs x character points, in the abstract".
    This middle ground is what the Hero System, and some other universal systems and some non-universal systems, strive for. And to that end the game designers of those games make an effort to ensure that individual abilities are costed taking this goal into account. To the extent that they are successful on a given ability, it is considered to be a good ability, to the extent that they get it wrong on a given ability, that ability will come to be considered as weak or strong. If given the opportunity to patch the game system, the game designers may opt to buff weak (i.e. overcosted and / or underpowered) abilities or nerf  strong (i.e. undercosted and / or overpowered) abilities. This is normal and desirable. Of course sometimes the game designers attempts at a rebalance go too far or not far enough. It is an iterative process, which is probably why games tend to have versions.
    Note that the idea that x points of y should be approximately equivalent to x points of z, does not mean that in every given context or situation y and z should be equally relevant or reliable or useful. It only means that in a vacuum, in the abstract, they are equivalent. Context is king. In a particular setting, in a particular genre, at a particular power level, some abilities may be irrelevant, unreliable, or useless. This does not necessarily mean those abilities are costed incorrectly; it just means the system's offering of that ability is the same as a tool on your toolshop's pegboard that you don't need for the thing you are currently making. I don't throw away my soldering iron when I'm doing woodworking. I understand that it is a good tool, and a useful one, and I'm glad I have it in my shop; it will get used for some other project where it is applicable (perhaps even necessary).
    It does not fall apart in my experience. In 4e and 5e, the main issue I encountered was the effect of figured characteristics on the design of heroic level characters. They had a strong tendency to coalesce into a relatively small number of viable characteristic distributions.
    In 4e cost minimums were a bit of a problem from time to time. That was reduced in prevalence somewhere along the way, reducing that sticking point. There were still some powers with an effective minimum buy in or alternately that just couldn't get to a useful level on low points, but 6e did good work in reducing that minor sticking point as well.
    The rest of the system worked fine, in fact, better than fine. The robustness of the combat system and the skill model, and the martial arts system, and perks, and talents alone provide a great foundation for heroic level play unto themselves. The power system continued to have some issues at low power level that traced directly back to superhero origins for the most part, and work in this area to remove such unnecessary points of friction was useful and paid off. I would recommend you consider putting together a heroic campaign using 6e and see what you think. You might be surprised. 
    As I alluded to upscreen, this is as true of supers as it is of anything else. The Hero System, whether you play 4e, 5e, or 6e explicitly acknowledges that the game opts towards openness and expects the GM to ride herd to balance their own campaigns using the Hero System. If you crack open 4e and flip to the back you'll find this spelled out in clear language. Standard superheroes are not exempted from that, if anything standard supers are notable examples of close GM oversight and rulings being required.
  13. Like
    Killer Shrike reacted to Durzan Malakim in Free Equipment - Pros & Cons   
    It may not feel right for PCs to loot NPCs toys, but there's nothing preventing one NPC group from looting the wonderful toys from another NPC group. Isn't VIPER always trying to get PRIMUS tech? Aren't Dr. Destroyer's and Mechanon's creations the envy of others? Ideally, the PCs feel they have the powers and resources to be heroic without having to loot the opposition, but there are stories to be told about keeping wondrous toys out of the wrong hands.
    I think the temporarily use wondrous toys you didn't pay points for is fine as long as PCs routinely encounter their side-effects or limitations. Does the press start calling a hero a VIPER agent because he's always got one of their toys? Does that Mechanon-built power rifle hack your base computer? Do the heroes really not have any Psychological Limitations about staying on-brand or being heroic?
  14. Like
    Killer Shrike reacted to RDU Neil in Combat luck and armor   
    When you peel it apart it does look like a cobble, but our group loves Combat Luck, even with armor, but because it fits the cinematic action. It lets them have a modicum of comfort when being blasted with automatic gunfire that one lucky shot won't completely take them out. It does make hits to armor (less common/less coverage in modern action than fantasy) much less likely to penetrate, but in a game where taking any Body damage is serious, it just allows them to have more confidence in combat.
    As I've said elsewhere, if it was a more traditional Danger International (spies and private eyes, not action movies) I'd disallow or further nerf Combat Luck (like only damage resistance and doesn't stack). 
    Edit: Combat Luck is something, in my experience, that looks like a horrible cobble/cludge on paper, but ACTUAL PLAY it works very simply and elegantly and affects play in a way that feels right. Ugly in construction, elegant in execution.
  15. Like
    Killer Shrike got a reaction from akrippler in Combat luck and armor   
    In 5e, I used limits on the # of levels characters could take for both Combat Luck and Deadly Blow.
    I also formally defined how defenses stack.
  16. Like
    Killer Shrike reacted to Doc Democracy in Free Equipment - Pros & Cons   
    In almost every game I play now I have dispensed with equipment lists and resources.  It is too much trouble for me and harshes the buzz of the game.  Sometimes, when access to equipment might be an issue I ask the players to write down the things they currently have in their possession based on their character descriptions.  The police officer guy will have a gun as well as a radio without any explanation, the physicist might actually be carrying a geiger counter (though I might make him explain why) and the rock star will not be allowed to have that axe until I realise he was talking about his guitar...
    I am open to players having the things that they think their characters would have because it helps them better visualise the character in the game.  Most players do not then seek to push the boundaries and they are usually better policed by the other players than by me.
    In HERO, all this kit is fine to be available without a single point spent, just like it is in other games.  I get the players to spend their points on the things that make their character stand out.  I have moved in a more narrative direction as I got older.
  17. Like
    Killer Shrike reacted to RDU Neil in Free Equipment - Pros & Cons   
    So I'm sure this topic will bring lots of opinions and heat. I'm sure the AMTs (angry math types) will show up with their calculations to prove the horribleness of other people's ideas, and that is fine.
    I'd still like to discuss my sense that "Pay for Everything With Points" is a left-over relic of old-school Champions, and that the "problems" of free equipment are not so much with what is free, but with the lack of value in what you actually pay for.
    As a caveat, I've long since come to the position that "equipment" (including guns and explosives and cell phones and handcuffs, whatever) is just that, equipment like in any other RPG, and it is available to the PCs if it is situationally, plot-wise and economically appropriate for them to have it... no points necessary. If the Cap clone wants to say he has a .45 on his hip but not pay points for it, no problem. I mean, the tendency is to allow lower point, much more vulnerable "Heroic" characters to use and go up against assault rifles and such, why should it be any more unbalancing to let supers have similar access, especially when those weapons are much less likely to be as dangerous to supers? It really isn't.  (There are issues that arise, but it isn't because the equipment is free... see below.)
    Another reason I can't justify equipment is the following: Imagine a character had a small, palm size device that contained the vast knowledge of humanity at the touch of a button, could light up a room, capture images, communicate over vast distances and do it all through voice interaction. In the '80s, we'd have called this a "Mother Box" and it would have been nearly magical and probably the majority of a 300 point character's point build. Today, this is a cell phone and every idiot has one. Do you still make someone pay points for their smart phone? I certainly don't. That whole concept right there is one of the biggest barriers to entry for new players. It makes no intuitive sense.
    So, anecdotally, I've been allowing "free equipment" no matter what kind of HERO game we are playing for some time, and it has 90% of the time worked fine, supers or heroic.*
    But my anecdotes are not your anecdotes, so let's discuss further
    So... bear with me... what are the downsides of allowing free equipment for supers, with the same caveats as heroic (it is situationally, plot-wise and economically appropriate for the PC to have it)?  Like I said, the AMTs will have all kinds of numbers and formulas, but I think it comes down to one concept: Equipment (free or not) makes super powers less super, powers less powerful.
    For example: The classic issue in Fantasy Hero, is that the fighter with a sword is dishing out top notch damage, spending points only on stats. The magic user has to sink a ton of points into a "spell" that essentially does the same damage, but cost a big chunk of the build points that the Fighter can spend on all kinds of other things. There is very little outside of contrived plot scenarios, that the blast spell and the sword aren't really just two different SFX for the ability to deal 2 1/2d6K or whatever. Where is the advantage (mechanically) that should come with investing so many points? That magic user ain't feelin' very magical... and that hurts the game.
    In a supers game, Zapper pays 30 pts for a 2d6RKA electro blast, while Gunman is wielding a 2d6 AF AR-15 at the same time, for minimal point outlay (Weapon Fam).
    In many cases, especially with modern military arms... equipment is even MORE powerful than the super-powers capped at an AP level far below that of a decent assault rifle. Essentially, super powers (specifically around damage levels) are stuck in '70s-'80s concepts and not caught up with modern understanding of and access to high-powered weaponry. At the same time, HERO has gone out of its way to attempt to standardize/stat out/document the wide variety of weaponry and attack equipment potentially available. Equipment/weapon damage has leveled up over the years, but super-powers haven't (and in fact, buying powers has become MORE expensive for the same abilities over time).
    Now... part of this is not just raw damage. It is the fact that the game tries to apply "realistic damage and fire rates" to weapons, but doesn't enforce all the "realistic" downsides. Weapons can get heavy, humans get tired quickly hauling and firing them, ammunition needs to be carried and can run out, weapons fire a lot faster and run out a lot faster without necessarily hitting more than the rules allow. Weapons get hot, dirty, broken, need maintenance, slow you down when turning to fire, cause ear and eye damage to the unprotected user, etc. They cost money and require access, and are uncomfortable to carry around even if you aren't using them.
    I mean, if I could shoot 2d6RKAs out of my fingers, with no needs for any equipment or ammo, just occasionally stopping for a few quick breaths... that WOULD be incredibly super, and amazing, and in the real world would be of HUGE advantage to people relying on equipment. BUT in a HERO game, all that matters is 2d6RKA... whether it comes from my fingers or a gun. If you spend points for your attack, and I don't, I can spend points to be BETTER with that attack even, making super powers even less super.
    Now, even with free equipment... movement powers still seem super. Defense powers still seems super (unless you are playing super high level SF and everybody has their own power-armor). Enhanced senses and most importantly, inherent stats still feel super. We might all have AR-15s, but the guy with a 40 STR 25/25PD/ED resistant and a base 8 OCV/8DCV is a GOD with those guns compared to the normals. Even if characters have access to free body armor and such, it is quickly and easily outclassed by paid-for powers.
    Ultimately, what tends to feel "no longer super" or "no longer powerful enough" are the damage dealing powers. They just don't feel super when the guy with the gun is doing essentially the same damage as blasting guy. There is only SFX as a difference.
    Essentially, the real world downsides (cost, weight, encumbrance, maintenance, ammunition, slowness to ready, etc.) are not appropriately modeled as the real world upside (high damage and rate of fire, etc.) are. 

    So, the question is... how do you make attack powers feel powerful in comparison to baseline equipment damage.
    1) A supers game can ramp up the AP limits of the supers, so that super powers are better than the baseline. I've done this, and found that yes, 600 point characters with 75AP levels do still feel super, because they ARE more powerful than baseline equipment.
    2) Start nerfing equipment and putting all kinds of limitations that more accurately reflect how equipment works (this could get unfun, very quickly)
    2) Provide a different level of effectiveness for powers, or those things that are "bought with points" (they at faster, more accurate, unencumbered, etc.) and make those things meaningful where it counts, in combat.
    * There is a completely valid reason why a Player/PC might want to pay points in the traditional way, not just use free equipment, but that is another discussion and can be addressed later in this thread.
  18. Thanks
    Killer Shrike got a reaction from Doc Democracy in HS 6e is mechanically the best version of the rules; dissenting views welcome   
    Um...well...there is.
    First off, you have Campaign Settings. There are various options available across 4 tabs.

    You can also make a custom template...

    When you make a new character you can choose a custom template...

    You can make one from scratch, or copy the builtin's and modify them...

    They are also extensible, meaning you can base a template on another template and patch over things in the base templates with variants.
    It's covered pretty extensively in the HD doc's, getting its own chapter. 

  19. Like
    Killer Shrike reacted to Ternaugh in 12mm D3 suggestions?   
    Bescon looks like they're using a modified version of the old Gamescience d3: http://www.gamescience.com/D3--3-Sided-Dice_c_11.html
  20. Like
    Killer Shrike reacted to Gnome BODY (important!) in HS 6e is mechanically the best version of the rules; dissenting views welcome   
    For me, it's that GURPS has one building block and a lot of exceptions where HERO has many building blocks but few exceptions. 
    I can look at a HERO character sheet and tell what everything does without looking anything up, since I know the base powers and the advantages and the limitations.  It took a while to get there, but now I've "learned HERO". 
    I can't look at a GURPS character sheet and tell what things do without looking them up, because each one-line entry needs a book-and-page lookup to find what the unique text of that ability or flaw is.  Unless I memorize every GURPS book, I've never "learned GURPS". 
  21. Like
    Killer Shrike got a reaction from Chris Goodwin in HS 6e is mechanically the best version of the rules; dissenting views welcome   
    Yeah, that makes sense to me. And the value to me from the Hero System as a toolkit is that I can use it for all of those things and other things, and thus I put a high value on mechanical considerations and configurable options. I also recognize that some people really prefer to engage with a game as a setting + specific rules bespoke to that setting and a certain "tone" baked into it. I get your argument that you preferred the pre-4e approach. If I placed a higher value on setting + rules and genre simulation etc, and less value on abstract reusable mechanics I would probably also prefer pre-4e.  
  22. Like
    Killer Shrike got a reaction from Brian Stanfield in HS 6e is mechanically the best version of the rules; dissenting views welcome   
    It's been many many years (I was in my teens back then, only a few years older than my own son is today), but I felt like GURPS made big promises and I really wanted to like it, but I recall having a feeling of diminishing returns...a kind of sense of systemic friction. I can't explain it any better than that...I found the idea of it compelling and wanted to like it, but there was no chemistry for me.
    Later when I picked up the Hero System, it was the opposite; I have a couple of handfuls of crystal clear memories of various moments of my life, and I kid you not that one of them is me standing there in the store skimming through the Powers section and having my mind blown. 
    A couple (more than 2, less than 3) years later, after I was already far lost to the Hero System, I actually did play a few sessions in a GURPS WildCARDS campaign, but I did not enjoy it at all. I don't remember much about it other than constantly trying to resist the urge to talk about how the Hero System did this or that better than GURPS. I didn't enjoy it and was glad that it didn't catch on with the group. I was then able to talk them into trying supers with the Hero System which became the Justice Incorporated campaign which ran for a good stretch of...something like 14-18 months of nearly every other week sessions. So all's well that ends well.
  23. Like
    Killer Shrike got a reaction from Brian Stanfield in HS 6e is mechanically the best version of the rules; dissenting views welcome   
    Sure, but citing a rules exploit such as buying powers with high levels of Increased Endurance to then turn around and buy an END Reserve to offset the impact to the character as the proof of a supposed imbalance undermines the strength of the argument. 
    The rules in 4e, 5e, and 6e have been of one voice on that subject; I don't know if 3e or earlier versions were as well or not, but the versions of the game I've used for the last ~30 years all clearly state the following right up front in their "Limitations" chapter:
    4e (100): 
    All Limitations are governed by a very easy rule:
    A Limitation that doesn't limit the character isn't worth any bonus!
    This rule is universal. For example, a character can't get
    a Limitation for a Power that doesn't work against magic if
    there is no magic in the campaign - a Limitation must be
    limiting if the character wants to receive any points. GMs
    should also examine Powers that can compensate for Limitations
    put on other Powers.
    5e and 6e use nearly identical wording.
    At least partially because of the prevalence of END Reserve in earlier editions being exploited to offset END costs in the way that massey cites rather than for conceptual reasons flew in the face of that precept, in 6e steps were taken to discourage that exploit.
    At the same time other changes were made to address the inefficiency of END as a characteristic that made people sometimes turn to END Reserve not as an exploit but for lack of a more legitimate option.
    So, as I've indicated several times on the subject of END Reserve, I agree in spirit that as a power taken unto itself in a vacuum, it was nerfed too hard to the point of not really being viable even for most of it's legitimate use cases. But rather than assume the game designer did not understand the nature of END and the various modifiers and workarounds to it, I assumed that they did understand it and that if they made a change to one part of an interconnected tangle, they may have made adjustments to other parts of the tangle in an attempt to tune the system. Which turned out to be true. 
    I also took pause to consider why the changes were made; were they made for no reason on a whim or were they made deliberately? In this case, as is usually the case with Steve, it is clear that it was done deliberately for reasons that are not known to me directly but which I can infer and reason about myself.
    Now, in some cases I agree with Steve's possible reasons for change and agree with the changes he made, in other cases I agree with the possible reasons and do not agree with the corresponding changes, and in other cases I don't agree with the reasons but can live with the changes, and finally the cases where I don't agree with the reasons or the outcome. (++, +-, -+, --). But, even when I strongly disagree with both the possible reasons and the outcomes, I don't presume that his position is one of ignorance or incompetence.
    I am able to disagree with someone on something and still respect them. For instance, I disagree with massey's position on this specific thing, but I still respect him / her. I can challenge their position on one point, agree with them on another, and regardless of either hang out and pal around and focus on the things we do share and agree on, such as rpgs.
    Me too. I really appreciate massey going thru and raising concrete talking points. I respect his position and his prerogative to like or dislike things in the rules.
    The thing that set me on a more aggressive footing was the opening jab that the game designer did not understand a very basic fundamental of the game that same game designer has worked on and with for literally decades. It's like suggesting that Leo Fender did not understand the relationship between bass and treble or that von Braun did not understand the relationship between thrust and gravity or that Kubrick did not understand the relationship between the perspective of a camera and the perspective of a viewer. Ad hominem positions irritate me. We should be able to talk about the pros and cons of editions of game systems (or any work of art) without coloring them by disrespecting the people behind them.
    Agreed. That's true of all universal toolkits. Some take more effort than others, but all of them rely on some amount of craftsmanship on the part of the GM or the GM and player collaboration to make a playable campaign with.
    I've never experienced a problem with this in any game, but I've always been willing to say "No" and then follow it up with "because..." and then give my reasons. If a player disagrees, they are free to not play or start their own campaign where what they want is allowed, or maybe I'll start another campaign that incorporates their idea if it is cool (several of the campaign settings I put together were exactly that...responding to things the players wanted to do that weren't appropriate to whatever system we happened to be playing when they decided they wanted to do it). Sometimes I'll run an "anything goes" thing and let people get it out of their system.
    In the Hero System or other universal system, there is a clear separation between the theoretical capabilities of the system vs the concrete subset of those capabilities that are available in a given campaign setting. Most players understand this very basic idea, and the ones that don't either learn or I suggest they might be better off in a different group of players.
    It's never been a problem for me. 
    Yes, and that was my counterpoint to massey and others earlier in this thread; supers or high point level play is no different from heroic or low point level play in this regard. An individual GM may be more familiar with the tropes and exploits typical for a particular style of play and thus makes those decisions tacitly while it requires effort from them to do so in for a style of play they are unfamiliar or uncomfortable with or unfond of.
    For instance, I have little interest in romance style games or games that focus on touchy-feely relationships between characters. That's not what I'm into rpg games for, have zero feel for what it takes to run a game like that, and would be uncomfortable doing so. I don't disrespect the people who do like that sort of play, it just isn't for me. I don't assume that just because I personally don't have any experience with tuning a system to support that type of play and no insight into how it might be done, that it can't or shouldn't be done, or that people who claim to do it are somehow incorrect in their approach. 
    Put simply, my lack of experience in a given area does not make me assume that I know more than the people who profess experience with it. Instead I reflect on the Dunning–Kruger effect and recognize it as an opportunity to listen and consider possibilities.
    I would not do that sort of public dressing down. You know your group and their tolerance for things, but one thing I learned from leadership training is you either privately address individuals on their mistakes or shortcomings, or you get the other members of the group to apply peer pressure to normalize the problem individual. 
    If you try to split the middle and reproach or obviously single out an individual in front of their peers, it has a tendency to backfire or not work out as intended.
    In the case of a particularly notable power gamer, if I've decided to keep them on and try to curb their tendencies, then out of the blue I'll let them make their twink character for the next campaign. I tell them flat out "my job is to challenge your character; so if you build a character like this you understand that I will ramp up the obstacles and opposition your character faces, right?" If they persist, I'll then do that, scaling a villain or antagonistic group or series of challenges accordingly to deal with that specific character.
    The group as a whole, the non-twink players, will be taken aback and alarmed at this development, and recognize due to how things play out, that the ramping up is a response to the problem character. The problem player, rather quickly, usually comes to realize that everything is relative. Level of effect X vs level of effect Y. It doesn't matter if X is low if Y is low, and it doesn't matter if X is high if Y is high. The other players then do the work of exerting pressure on the problem player to curb their excesses. Group vs problem player tends to work out better than creating a me vs problem player or a me vs group dynamic. 
    It also helps to just sometimes say, this next campaign will be short, but you can play whatever you want. Or do a fight club for the more min max prone players...make your bad ass and bring it to the arena. No roleplaying, just go player v player and see who can make the most ridiculous beater on 500 points, or 750 points, or whatever (or epic level, or whatever scale the game system being used measures power in). Let people get it out of their system. It's fun at first, but quickly gets old and people tend to settle back down into more characterful characters.
    Well, the genre by genre summary in the core rules does make some suggestions, and the genre books themselves are obviously all about that, and the setting books take that further and offer a selected set of options arranged in a way the game designer(s) of that setting think are appropriate for it.
    This is pretty typical of universal systems. 
    Part of it is probably perspective based; I was not the player of Champions the Superheroic Role Playing Game and then had Hero System the universal toolkit forced upon me. I came to the Hero System BECAUSE it was a universal toolkit. I was tired of having to teach players a new rules system every time I wanted to run something. I was tired of having to use a published setting or try to pull the game system out of a setting to use in a setting of my own. I was tired of having to try to reverse engineer game elements from existing abilities in a given game system to extend that game system with new abilities. In short, I had developed a desire for a toolkit over several years, and the Hero System Rulebook was published and fell into my lap. I had already checked out a friends copy of GURPS and it didn't quite do it for me...I liked the idea of it but the mechanics felt wrong to me. The Hero System on the other hand was "love at first read". It had some flaws, but I found them charming at the time or could overlook them. The sexy outweighed the crazy, so to speak. 
    I have used the Hero System to run superheroes on many occasions, including a few long running campaigns, but from the beginning I was using it to run other kinds of settings, to do things that weren't commercially available to us, or just to do my own spin on things. I also very early on started using the Hero System to run games for published settings that I just didn't like the rules for. Shadowrun was the first, if I recall correctly, because I loved the setting but hated the mechanics. It may have been RIFTS though, for the same reasons. It all happened in a tight time frame so I can't remember anymore which one was technically my first attempt at using HS as a "system replacement", but the RIFTS attempt crashed and burned after a couple of sessions while the Shadowrun attempt was more successful and we played one off games using it off and on for a year or so. This was all highschool era, for me.
    Anyway, what I'm trying to get at is perhaps there is some truth to the axiom "systems attract systems-people". I am a systems-person and thus place a high value on mechanics and options and tools. And I understand that some people are consumers and prefer finished products. I don't understand people who think something less functional is intrinsically better than something that is more functional. It might be subjectively better for them and their limited application of it. But the less functional thing is objectively worse in the larger scheme than the more functional upgraded version of that thing. 
    If someone were to say "Champions III was a better roleplaying game for people who want to play in a 4-color superhero universe", I would not agree or disagree because I have no experience using it. They might be right. They might not. I would not and have not argued that 6e is better for that purpose (it may or may not be, but I lack the experience to form an opinion). 
    Me too.
    Champions is not the Hero System. The Hero System is not Champions. They are not synonymous terms, though many seem determined to use them synonymously.
    Superheroes is a genre.
    Champions Universe is a setting in the superhero genre.
    There is a conception of "Champions!" as a brand of superhero game comprising a superhero setting (The Champions Universe) and game rules bundled together as a playable integrated game with a line of supporting products.
    Historically, the rules were surfaced in Champions 4th edition (BBB), but still integrated into one book of setting and rules. The rules were then spun off as a separate genre-neutral settingless product called the Hero System Rulebook. Genre and settings books other than superheroes were then printed without rules and referred to the Hero System Rulebook for their rules. 
    Champions had no special relationship or ownership over the rules in an objective sense. In a financial sense however, it was the most popular and monetarily successful line of products. In a popularity / market share sense, it was clearly dominant compared to other Hero Games related products, including the Hero System as a thing unto itself. 
    In 5th edition, we see the core rules published first, and Champions as primarily a genre book (which should have been called Super HERO to follow the genre book naming convention), and the Champions Universe product line offered as setting. This is logical and organized. 6th edition followed this trend.
    The problem is, the Champions player base in general was not into this formalized approach. For the most part they wanted an integrated product offering the Champions Universe setting with setting specific rules. They did not care, in general, about the other things you could use the game system for, and did not want to sift through options not  relevant for the one setting they wanted to play in. Some of them were vocal about it, others voted with their dollars. Why DoJ didn't release such a simplified integrated product, I don't know.
    But going the other way and making the core rulebook a Champions product again is not the way to go, in my opinion. Something like Champions Complete should have been published much earlier than it was, in the 5e era, and the 6e version of it should have launched with or slightly ahead of the generic settingless 6e core that we did get. Again, IMO.
    Hopefully you (and massey themselves) don't feel like massey needs defending from me. The essence of debate is the cycle of statement and rebuttal. As long as we don't get to the level of "uh huh!" and "nuh uh!", one of us making a statement that supports our position, which is then constructively dissected by those of opposing viewpoints is productive.
    If a point stands or is found to be true, the opposing side cedes the point. If a point turns out to be unsupported, then the side who presented it cedes the point. In the end hopefully we are all willing to modify our positions based upon the valid points raised by the opposing position.
    Some of course, won't be swayed in the slightest.
    But I think some of us are reasonable enough to adjust our thinking based upon valid points counter to what we initially thought. Otherwise we're just doing this:

  24. Like
    Killer Shrike reacted to Pegasus40218 in Experiences teaching people Hero Game system   
    I've had similar experiences with my weekly group.  My group fluctuates between 4 and 6 players and for the past several years, we've generally been playing D&D or Pathfinder with the occasional foray into Call of Cthulu, Pendragon, Alternity, and my rare attempts to run HERO (I've tried running Fantasy HERO and Champions). 
    Generally speaking, the forays into HERO have not gone well.  Only one of the players in my group seems to want to expend any effort on character backgrounds.  Since most of our games with other systems (which I don't run) have been "canned" adventures, they don't think about backgrounds and complications as ways to craft story.  With canned adventures, your characters goals and motivations don't matter much.  The story is X, and regardless of anything you do, the story WILL BE X.  So, from their perspective, complications don't *really* matter, they're just a way to get some extra points.  In the Champions game I ran, one player built a rock-monster brick (similar to the Thing from the Fantastic 4) named Rocky.  I kept asking for background material, and from this player about all I got to work with was the following:
    1.  Character has amnesia following his "creation" event.  (player chose to sell back intelligence points at creation so was starting off with an INT around 6)
    2.  Character remembers he used to be a cop.  In fact, his parents were both cops (though he didn't remember their names).
    3.  He was running in the park when a chemical truck over-turned and he was caught in the spill and sucked into the ground.  A few hours later he emerged as what he was.
    That's it...so, I told my group if they didn't come up with backgrounds, I'd create backgrounds for them.  Over the course of play, this character gradually had some of his memories return.  He remembers he used to have a partner...That partner never let him drive the car.  Sometimes, the partner was a real jerk and made him ride in the back seat...on and on...Ultimately, the big reveal:  he had been the dog in a K-9 unit.  That part, at least, was fun for the group.  If you got a player with a sense of humor, I highly recommend having some fun with any amnesiac characters they create if they're willing to play along.  Unraveling that little mystery was fun for me, and the players.
    And YES, they do tend to want to build combat monsters.  I didn't have the 18 DCV character in my game -- mine was a DCV 14 character who got there through a combination of CSLs and combat maneuvers.  As a relatively green GM (and I still consider myself green), I didn't spot the problem until I encountered it in play (when implementing "effectiveness caps" I didn't know everything that I should include in that calculation...an area that's still a little muddy for me).  I tried to talk to the player about toning it down a bit (campaign average was supposed to be about 5 for OCV and DCV with a max of 7 IIRC), and he staunchly refused to modify the character.  (Rough quote:  "I'm not going to make it easy for you to hit my character!"...didn't want it to be easy, just wanted it to be possible without having to resort to AoE attacks or building opponents specifically to deal with his character -- which would pretty much mow down everyone else in the group.)
    I think the key is figuring out the effectiveness caps you want and making sure you know everything that goes into them and where you're willing to make trade-offs.  For example, are you willing to have a character exceed the DCV cap by one or two in exchange for reduced OCV or damage on the same character?  The risk here, is that you KNOW the players are going to buy up whatever they traded off as soon as they get some XPs.
  25. Like
    Killer Shrike reacted to Hugh Neilson in Experiences teaching people Hero Game system   
    You can role play, investigate and negotiate in a d20 game, and you can build a dungeon crawl/combat centric game in Hero.  That's not a system issue.
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