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Small Humanoids and Bonuses


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Hello Herodom,

 

I've started to muck about again with Fantasy Hero cause my one son is interested in running a game. (Using FHC). Now Halflings are supposed to get a +2 DCV and +2 Stealth because of size (also because this is an artifact of Shrinking pre 6th.) 

 

But I question whether the character needs to pay for it or it should be a Metagame rule. I can see if the game was with 4 halflings and the only other creature was also an evil one however were using Kobolds and Goblins which are also halfling sized. To me (maybe over thinking it) but two people of the same height shouldn’t get a size bonus.

 

Thiughts?

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For halflings I've general considered it as more then just  "size" bonus, but rather a natural/special ability.

 

Logically being smaller would only, maybe, make someone harder to notice visually and even then only if they are not moving. Eye's have evolved to notice motion much more then size, shape, etc... Just like you can easily notice a tiny fly moving by, or a bird swooping by even dozens of meters away. it is the motion that captures our attention, not the object itself. And we often do not notice someone who is motionless even if they are very close to us, the whole "Oh! I didn't see you there!" when you walk into a room and didn't notice the full sized person sitting quietly on the couch, or in the corner of the room, or standing right behind you. 

 

Also just being smaller doesn't mean that someone wouldn't make just as much or more noise then a regular sized person. A halfling in chainmail, with a backpack, sword and other adventuring gear would make almost as much noise as a normal sized human in chainmail, with a backpack and a sword, and a lot more noise then a normal sized mage only wearing robes and a few cloth pouches. And if you do think that the relative sizes of the characters does effect the noise they make, then it should scale based on relative sizes of the opponents. So then a Human would have +4 to Stealth when dealing with a Frost Giant or Dragon, and a Halfling might have +6 vs a Frost Giant or Dragon, etc... 

 

So, if you are trying to be more realistic, I wouldn't include this on the sheet or make them pay for it or anything, as then this would be a bonus all characters would get based on the size difference between them and the opponent when trying to use Stealth.

 

But, I've never really wanted to do that as it doesn't simulate the source material, so I use the +2 Stealth and just consider it a special ability feature of the race that they are just naturally sneakier and more silent then other races, regardless of size. And in the Hero System, any ability that deviates from the "base template" either costs points or gives points, so they have to pay for the ability. 

 

As for the +2 DCV that is much the same. You can either treat it as a pure/logically "size" bonus, in which case it would not be effective vs other beings of the same size, so it shouldn't be paid for or even on the character sheet.  A tiny Pixie might get +4 to hit a Halfling because it is so much larger then them, and a Frost Giant might have -6 to hit a halfling because it is so much smaller then them. But that is just base combat rules that apply to relative sizes of all characters fighting different size opponents.  So no cost and nothing needs be written on the character sheet. 

 

Or you can say it is a natural/racial special ability so that Halfling are naturally harder to hit and it doesn't matter what the size of their opponent is for this bonus to work. In this case they can have the +2 DCV and it works no matter the relative size of their opponents. This would be an addition to any other natural, combat rules related size bonuses that effect every character in the game. And in such a case they would pay character points for it. 

 

So it comes down to whether you consider those abilities to be purely sized based, in which case points shouldn't be spent on them and they shouldn't even be on the character sheet as they are just normal combat and skill roll modifiers based on the relative size of the characters.

 

Or are they  natural racial special abilities in which case the character should pay points for them and work in addition to all the other size related  combat and skill modifiers. 

 

 

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While I agree that having a +2DCV bonus against a humanoid of the same size doesn't seem logical, I think you have to look at this relatively.  'Human-sized' is just the reference point.  Smaller creatures are harder to hit, but larger creatures are easier to hit.  To a hobbit, a regular-sized human is 'big' and so in a fight between the two, you could either say the human is at -2DCV or the hobbit is at +2DCV to balance the size difference.  But since the game is referenced to human-sized characters, we say the hobbit has a +2DCV.  That does feel a little wonky when two hobbits brawl, but remember it is relative to a human-sized opponent.

 

I think the character should pay for the +2DCV, because it is a distinct bonus in combat.  Of course, at the same time they should take a Physical Complication: Small Stature (Infrequent, Slightly Impairing).  The size template covers all this.  I think the +2DCV should always apply to ranged attacks, but if you wanted to put a limitation on it for melee "only vs. creatures larger than self -¼", that would be pretty reasonable.  For even smaller characters (say a pixie) that would nominally get a +4 DCV due to size relative to a human, you might modify the limitation to "Only +2 DCV per size level difference between pixie and opponent in melee".

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4 hours ago, Ockham's Spoon said:

While I agree that having a +2DCV bonus against a humanoid of the same size doesn't seem logical, I think you have to look at this relatively.  'Human-sized' is just the reference point.  Smaller creatures are harder to hit, but larger creatures are easier to hit.  To a hobbit, a regular-sized human is 'big' and so in a fight between the two, you could either say the human is at -2DCV or the hobbit is at +2DCV to balance the size difference.  But since the game is referenced to human-sized characters, we say the hobbit has a +2DCV.  That does feel a little wonky when two hobbits brawl, but remember it is relative to a human-sized opponent.

 

I think the character should pay for the +2DCV, because it is a distinct bonus in combat.  Of course, at the same time they should take a Physical Complication: Small Stature (Infrequent, Slightly Impairing).  The size template covers all this.  I think the +2DCV should always apply to ranged attacks, but if you wanted to put a limitation on it for melee "only vs. creatures larger than self -¼", that would be pretty reasonable.  For even smaller characters (say a pixie) that would nominally get a +4 DCV due to size relative to a human, you might modify the limitation to "Only +2 DCV per size level difference between pixie and opponent in melee".

 

As a player, I'd want all that gritty realism of size differences rather than flat bonuses.

 

As a GM, I'd rather not have the extra "size difference" stuff to remember every combat. :D 

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In my game different races (i.e. they are in fact different races) have different templates which are applied when the characters are created.  The equivalent of halflings have lower strength (starting and max), higher dexterity/DCV/SPD (starting & max), and a special ability to basically disappear (i.e. chameleon like invisibility - if they have something to hide against and you take your eye off of them, they basically disappear).  And yes all of that is factored in when the characters are created, so a halfling starts with the same number of character points as everyone else, but has a pre-allocated amount to pay for their special quirks.

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2 hours ago, bluesguy said:

In my game different races (i.e. they are in fact different races) have different templates which are applied when the characters are created.  The equivalent of halflings have lower strength (starting and max), higher dexterity/DCV/SPD (starting & max), and a special ability to basically disappear (i.e. chameleon like invisibility - if they have something to hide against and you take your eye off of them, they basically disappear).  And yes all of that is factored in when the characters are created, so a halfling starts with the same number of character points as everyone else, but has a pre-allocated amount to pay for their special quirks.

 

Racial packages with pre-allocated points is how I have approached it in the past as well.  Curiously, in D&D, I saw lots of player pick non-human races for the free racial abilities, but in Hero non-human races weren't as popular once they had to pay for those abilities.

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I'd say pay for it ala old school racial package templates (4th edition, for example) so that character balance is maintained.  It's an important concept for HERO that you pay for what you get.

 

image.png.2c2572c493654f7c39e095873913358c.png

 

They didn't specifically have the always on persistent shrinking, but you can add that in easily enough.

 

They didn't get the stealth bonus either, but they started with 3 points in it as a cultural package option.

 

image.png.68c268347e9d5fd88c88cf66647e8fbd.png

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ScottishFox here’s the rub as it is for Stealth. By RAW, the +2 Stealth cannot be used as is because the bonus cannot be added to an 8- or 10- level. So a character must  buy Stealth at 3 pt to use it.  To me that’s slightly annoying because you cannot just slap on Halfling Package if you don’t intend to to buy Stealth. Now an argument can be made, who isn’t going to buy Stealth? As A PC even? But as noted, the Hero System is get what you pay for so if you don’t want Stealth your paying for something you don’t want. I figure the best way is to ignore RAW and just allow this to add to Everyman skills as normal.

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  • 2 weeks later...

  While the rules state that no skill levels can affect a familiarity it does state that the GM can assign skill modifiers to a familiar skill easier.   So the halflings could have a bonus to stealth  as part of a racial package deal and apply it to the everyman stealth that all characters get. At that point it would be classified as a power not a skill level even though the cost is the same. 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Two things.

 

Size is relative. Yep, it’s more work when it comes up, meaning, most of the time, you’re fighting human or larger opponents and the halfling gets all applicable bonuses, but should they encounter something their own size, zip. Those are gone. Yes, to reiterate, more work, but it’s work you can easily prep for and honestly makes way, way more sense.

 

Second. This is HERO. There’s a whole cereal box full of nothing but really weird tattoos of how to do things, including giving all halflings a super skill/special ability/power that lets them cloak out. However, it may be far easier to say “All halflings by their nature have stealth.” And done. Because I’ve never, ever, seen one without it. Even their barbarians have stealth for heaven’s sakes.

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Ah, this smacks of when I faced something similar with D&D 3.5. There was a stealth bonus or penalty due to size, and suitable Attack bonus's or penalty's as well. If you were larger, you were easier to hit. Smaller, harder.

The core it worked off of though was the relative nature of size. If I'm a human sized person, and you are a gnome sized person, You're harder to spot. I'm not looking at knee level most of the time. If You're a gnome and I'm a Kobold, you aren't harder to spot. I'm used to looking where most people's knees are. In that system one's AC often had a subnote of how it compared to the average human, should they try to hit you and so on. As much for your personal understanding as ease of use for the GM.

HERO, you have a few options with. You could set it up as a racial ability for Halflings to be gaining stealth and DCV and so on. Or, you can work to implement a Campaign scale rule, where depending on Comparative sizes, OCV, DCV, And Perception modifiers go up and down. The scale of that is up to you. The easy question to check for which you are wanting is just, "Do I think Halflings are sneaky because they are halflings, or because they are small? How about Goblin's? Does the reverse apply with Ogres? How about Giants?"

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I've never liked the size modifiers for DCV outside of ranged combat.  For ranged combat you have a smaller target so I can see it being harder to hit.  In melee combat unless the size difference is extreme it's much more relative to movement speed than anything else.

 

If I go to step on an earthworm it doesn't get +12 DCV for being 1 inch long making it nearly impossible for me to hit it.  I'll hit it 100% of the time.  Same for an ant.  Now if it is very small AND fast then its a problem (small flies for example).

 

For the sake of balancing realistic *feel* without introducing too much additional crunch to the game we've settled for:  Size alters DCV vs. ranged attacks/spells, but not melee attacks.

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On 9/16/2020 at 7:22 PM, dmjalund said:

Your feet

 are considered area affect attacks against worms

 

Back in the 80s when we nerds were more willing to crunch we limited the shrinking bonuses to the size of the weapon you're being attacked with.  Anything smaller than my fist counts as the size of my fist, etc.  This lead to characters using larger surface area weapons (shield bash, for example) to deal with tiny opponents.

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