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Limitation: "Only versus ego entangles" questions.


Panpiper
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A power can be written up in multiple ways.  But a character in the game, not the player should be able to describe the power without having to use game terms.  The classic example that is used in the book is lightning bolt.  That could be written up using a number of powers including RKA, BLAST or even something more exotic.  But a character in the game should be able to describe it so that another character can understand it.  Put it another way you should be able to describe any power in a way that a person not familiar with the Hero system  (or any other game for that matter) can understand it.

 

 

When was the last time you heard someone outside of the Hero gaming community describe a gun as a ranged killing attack?   
 

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That's all fine @LoneWolf, but when you are building a character you can't just write down on the character sheet, "carries a big gun". If you don't  write down RKA, etc., your GM has to  do it for you. Furthermore, when defining powers and limitations, it really helps when you can be precise. I've been in situations where I left things to the GM's discretion and not had it happen in five years of gameplay! To that end, I find when defining the 'mechanics' of a power, it is very helpful to refer to actual 'mechanics', instead of stuff that is 'not' mechanics. The 'chrome'  in my opinion is usually best for titling powers and adding in notes.

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1 hour ago, Grailknight said:

Billy Clubs for Missile Deflection goes back to 1st Edition and is common in Genre with various swords and clubs.  The most common SFX are speed and skill. I hardly see how this power can't pass any any litmus test.

Missile deflection versus All is what he has. 😁 So that includes Energy Beams and Bullets.

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I don't think anyone is arguing against defining the power mechanically.  I, and I think Lonewolf, argue that you start with the plain English description, and build the power from that, not start with a mechanic.

 

That "wild spirit that yearns to be free" description doesn't sound like it is limited to Mental Paralysis attacks.  Additionally, even the discussion started with "I want a mechanic that's less expensive to make me more resistant to mental entangles and nothing else".

 

Maybe my character has Sharp Claws.  What does that mean?  An HKA?  An AP HKA?  A Penetrating HKA?  An AP Penetrating HKA? 

 

In a four-colour Supers game, maybe it's an AP Hand Attack, or just a Naked AP on STR.  A Killing Attack is a mechanic which could be a reasonable choice for many SFX, while most of those SFX could also be simulated with other mechanics.

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31 minutes ago, LoneWolf said:

A power can be written up in multiple ways.  But a character in the game, not the player should be able to describe the power without having to use game terms.  The classic example that is used in the book is lightning bolt.  That could be written up using a number of powers including RKA, BLAST or even something more exotic.  But a character in the game should be able to describe it so that another character can understand it.  Put it another way you should be able to describe any power in a way that a person not familiar with the Hero system  (or any other game for that matter) can understand it.

 

 

When was the last time you heard someone outside of the Hero gaming community describe a gun as a ranged killing attack?   
 

Not necessarily even in game a character may not know how he does what he does. A cartoon example is from Avengers: Earths mightiest heroes. Thor says he uses magic. Iron Man scoffs as there is no such thing as magic and Black Panther saysthat what Thor calls magic Iron Man would call Other Dimensional Energy.

 

And to your other point taken but I’m hard pressed to find a game that I played that attacks weren’t killing unless specified.

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How a power works, and how the character thinks it works may be totally different.   I have no problem with a character now knowing the source of their power, but often in those cases there are people in the game who do know how it works.  You should be able to describe a power in the game without using game mechanics.  

 

While a gun may be defined as a ranged killing attack in the game, how many people in the real world refer to it as such?   When someone is killed with a AK-47 the news does not say Man killed with 2d6 5 shot autofire RKA, it says man killed with an assault rifle.  
 

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Ok Lonewolf ask any body what happens when you shoot a Pistol. A good portion will say the Target was shot. And that’s all the information that you’ll get. Is that flood enough for you? How are you supposed to know then what damage (mechanic)  is done? (Yes I know 99.9% of pistol in game will be RKA). But with Hero, a pistol doesn’t have to be an RKA. It can be a Drain with a really long return rate.

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The word gun or pistol is a legitimate description that does not rely on game terms.  The point is a character (not the player) should be able to discuss any power or skill being used in the game without using game terms unless the game mechanic uses a commonly understood term.  Personally I find it breaks the roleplaying when characters start throwing around game mechanics in game.  

 

I wrote up a proof of concept character for another thread that did not name or fully define his spells and half the people on the thread jumped all over me for doing so.  It was never intended as a playable character but none the less I got a lot of criticism over it, and was told by multiple people that no way they would allow such a cheesy poorly written character in their games.  
 

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You know, I recall reading years ago (I believe in Adventurers Club) advice that GM's not allow players to buy up defenses against whatever weird thing the characters faced last week since allowing that just encouraged players to dump their earned character points into eventually becoming invulnerable to everything the GM might want to use against them.

 

I have to agree with that sentiment to a large extent. If one player starts doing that, all the players will have to start doing that or suffer in comparison.

 

I don't have a problem with players dumping some of their earned character points into bumping up their PD, ED, or even EGO. But bumping up EGO with the limitation that the extra EGO only works against whatever the player was irked to be confronted with last week...no. 

 

And I'm saying that as someone who is a huge believer in the player defining what the character concept is rather than the GM doing it on the player's behalf. But character concept aside, the GM has a responsibility to make sure the game doesn't become unbalanced by a player who wants her character to become invulnerable to everything on the cheap.

 

If you're Invulnerable Man, maybe you have an excuse to slowly become invulnerable to any attack that you once got hit with. But the vast majority of players aren't running Invulnerable Man.

 

2 cents

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50 minutes ago, archer said:

You know, I recall reading years ago (I believe in Adventurers Club) advice that GM's not allow players to buy up defenses against whatever weird thing the characters faced last week since allowing that just encouraged players to dump their earned character points into eventually becoming invulnerable to everything the GM might want to use against them.

 

Well, I disagree with this advice. Just because it was written somewhere in pre-internet days does not make it any more official than an opinion in a post here.

 

I could invest 15 points of  XP into more resistant PD/ED, 5 points into each of mental, power and flash defense, up to 40 points in life support, etc., and I wouldn't be even 'close' to invulnerable to everything. Now, what if I took all those points and just poured it into attack power and OCV? Which do you think would be more imbalancing? Never mind the fact that the VAST majority of games never get even close to having 70 XP spent.

 

I find most GMs are so terrified of power gamers that they turn into virtual tyrants when it comes to how people build characters. That is a serious fun killer. My habit is as long as a player has put obvious effort into having a personality, motive and backstory context for their character, I'll let them do pretty much whatever they want with their XP, with the 'exception' of buying up their attack power, which I will judiciously allow. That said, I will also tweak player character builds to better fit a game I have planned, which is a GM's prerogative.  If a character is too powerful for a group, I will tone them down. If they are too weak, I will tone them up. In fact with me, a smart power player is best advised to turn in a weak character, as I as GM am perfectly willing to play with gratuitous limitations and other tricks when toning up a weak character.

 

In the example of this post, I spent 3 character points to get one single solitary extra die to roll defensively in unusual circumstances. That allows me to break out of a special attack in two or three turns rather than be out of the game for the rest of the fight. This is hardly game breaking or my character becoming invulnerable to the attack.  Do you honestly think that me retiring from the gaming table if a particular bad guy decides to target me, constitutes a good gaming experience for anyone? If not, please do not rain on my parade.

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6 hours ago, Hugh Neilson said:

 

So long as you forgive me for discussing the manner in which mechanics are used to bring conceptual abilities to life in Hero, and don't simply stand alone.

I swear like Cheshire Cat and some of the other original characters were built this way. I need a defense power-check. Now how do I justify it? Crusader’s Shield ? No problem. Him having jump boots only to gain altitude because he has gliding? Well..... 

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On 7/26/2020 at 2:54 PM, Hugh Neilson said:

I don't think anyone is arguing against defining the power mechanically.  I, and I think Lonewolf, argue that you start with the plain English description, and build the power from that, not start with a mechanic.

 

 

I do this, as do a number of people with whom I play.  However, a number of other people with whom I play tend to make lists of what they want their characters to be able to do ... and things they don't want to affect them ... and then build around that conceptual list.  The former is akin to writing up a backstory extemporaneously and then adding powers based on what one wrote ... while the latter is akin to deciding one wants to build a brick and then listing out the aspects of that brick followed by layering in the backstory afterward."

 

Both approaches work.  Both are fair game. Neither is better than the other.  Different strokes for different folks.

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9 hours ago, LoneWolf said:

The word gun or pistol is a legitimate description that does not rely on game terms.  The point is a character (not the player) should be able to discuss any power or skill being used in the game without using game terms unless the game mechanic uses a commonly understood term.  Personally I find it breaks the roleplaying when characters start throwing around game mechanics in game.  

 

I wrote up a proof of concept character for another thread that did not name or fully define his spells and half the people on the thread jumped all over me for doing so.  It was never intended as a playable character but none the less I got a lot of criticism over it, and was told by multiple people that no way they would allow such a cheesy poorly written character in their games.  
 

Ok, I think I’ve misread your intent. I thought you were requiring the character to be able to fully explain the Power.  It is nice to have a description instead of just the mechanic. I.e. I lift my axe over my head for a mighty swing instead of I do an Offensive Strike.

 

Btw I ran across Aaron Allston’s own campaign guidelines and he has his players give both a description and the mechanic of attack. That’s just a fwiw.

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2 hours ago, Ninja-Bear said:

I’m flummoxed of all the grief it seems that Panpiper is getting to spend a few points to special in one area. He didn’t ask for anything gamebreaking and (unless he says otherwise) is cool with the ability being spent and not being used again. A character defining ability.

 

I would have reacted to his original question of how much of a limitation is appropriate to ask for but since he'd already gotten advice on that and he had already gotten a response from his GM, I didn't see a point in chiming in on that aspect of the conversation.

 

For clarity's sake, I was reacting to his statement of, "We won the fight, but the mentalist got away, so my character's power is growing/adapting itself to fight the last fight, in the grand tradition of militaries everywhere.  I do expect to encounter the mentalist again, likely soon."

 

It might be a grand tradition of militaries everywhere but it isn't a grand tradition in my Champions games. I deliberately try to not turn my Champions games into an arms race between players and the GM. I mean it's fine if the players and GM want to take a few baby steps down that slippery slope in their game. But I also don't see any problem with pointing out that it is a slippery slope. We're having conversations about the HERO system and its applications in actually playing games. And frankly, Panpiper was the one who brought up his motivations for asking the question so I don't see why you should be flummoxed if we politely discuss his motivations and whether we think it's a good idea for the GM to grant his request. ;) 

 

 

Now I'll go out on a limb and get controversial

 

I understand the motivation: he didn't find the encounter to be fun so he's spending character points to try to keep the next gaming session against that opponent from not being fun as well.

 

But frankly as an outside observer, the game not being fun is something better addressed by a conversation between the player and the GM about how much he didn't find the session to be fun rather than spending character points to specifically protect himself from a future gaming session not being fun. 

 

If a GM sees a player feeling he has to spend character points in order to protect himself from having future gaming sessions not be fun, that should be a big red flag to the GM. A GM should use a villain very sparingly when having that one villain appear is irksome to the player(s).

 

If it were the GM asking the question of how to handle it, I'd recommend finishing out the story arc but have the villain primarily use his other powers and use hirelings of various sorts so various players aren't sitting there for 15-20 minutes at a time with nothing to do because the villain has a highly effective (remove player from the game) attack that he uses over and over.

 

A GM can always build a villain who is massively "unfair" or massively un-fun to play against. Or have the villains always behave in a massively un-fun manner (like the GM who has every villain turn every encounter into a hostage situation). A player shouldn't have to spend character point to counter the un-fun parts of the game...and the GM shouldn't make him feel obligated to do so.

 

 

Now to give some completely unsolicited advice:

 

I've had a couple of heroes built with "Hates mentalists" or "Hates enemy mentalists" which gives a convenient excuse for the character to work to develop mental defenses. That "drawback" also tends to give you an excuse to disobey of Mind Control commands easier and an excuse for targeting enemy mentalists first. If you don't like losing control of your character from time to time, I highly recommend that psych complication. It's also easier to work that into roleplaying than many other complications so enjoy it when you get the opportunity.

 

In general, if you get a second crack at some villain and you know it's going to happen, I'm a big fan preparing to kick the guy's butt. Have the team gadgeteer whip up something to flash the villain's targeting senses. Have everyone on your team target the enemy mentalist during the first phase, even if it isn't convenient. Use some detective work to track him down and ambush him when he isn't ready and isn't with his team. You don't have to play fair: the guy's a mentalist after all.

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26 minutes ago, Ninja-Bear said:

The fact of the matter Archer is that Panpiper asked a question for a specific build for a specific situation and people are acting like it’s a game Detroit game request-hence flummoxed. 

And he has an answer from his GM, so the thread is free to turn to other purposes. 

 

It is also entirely reasonable to ask questions regarding intent and SFX in a build discussion.  I know I'd be right pissed if my free spirit whatsit turned off when the opponent used a mental paralysis based on Mind Control instead of Entangle despite being the exact same thing narratively.  That'd be a failure case for anyone who gave me advice. 

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12 hours ago, Gnome BODY (important!) said:

And he has an answer from his GM, so the thread is free to turn to other purposes. 

 

It is also entirely reasonable to ask questions regarding intent and SFX in a build discussion.  I know I'd be right pissed if my free spirit whatsit turned off when the opponent used a mental paralysis based on Mind Control instead of Entangle despite being the exact same thing narratively.  That'd be a failure case for anyone who gave me advice. 

Yes it’s reasonable to ask reasonable questions however that is’t what’s happening. He was getting advice from Job’s friends. 

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