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So working on some stuff, and got to thinking about this: How detailed do you like your write ups?  Do you want every single thing written up, with every single limitation, or do you prefer "simple" builds that get close enough

 

As an example

 

Electrical Blast: 12d6

 

or

 

Electrical Blast 6d6

+6d6 not vs grounded (flying, etc...) (-1)

+6d6 vs conductive (standing in water, etc...) -2

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2 hours ago, JmOz said:

So working on some stuff, and got to thinking about this: How detailed do you like your write ups?  Do you want every single thing written up, with every single limitation, or do you prefer "simple" builds that get close enough

 

As an example

 

Electrical Blast: 12d6

 

or

 

Electrical Blast 6d6

+6d6 not vs grounded (flying, etc...) (-1)

+6d6 vs conductive (standing in water, etc...) -2

 

The second one is a bit much but I see your point. As both GM and player, I like to write things out, but not to extremes. I would write out that attack as 12d6 EB but if I was feeling overly creative, I could touch a bit on the second part. There is a certain pleasure with writing villains out, even if you're the only one who's really going to see it as GM, simply because it's fun. As GM, I write out/stat out all my villains, if only because I like to express my creativity. If I'm using a minor villain who is a one-shot, then I will go with brief stats such as:

example: 10 Str, 14 Dex, 20 Con, 10 PD, 10 ED, 5 Speed, 40 Stun. CV 5, 8d6 EB.

 

It's not worth my time to write-out minor villains who the players will (most likely) never encounter again. Of course, there have been those exceptional times when the players say "I really liked that guy..."  That changes things; he'll get a write-up. :) 

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I prefer it straight-up and simple; there is an elegance to that,  let the GM judge the SFX decide if _he_ wants to add or subtract a DC or two based on the interaction of SFX and conditions.

 

There are reasonable exceptions, of course:  if you _insist_ it be souble damage under x conditions, then yes; include that.  If you _insist_ that it be half damage under Y conditions, then include that, too.

 

However, consider "electro-blast, 12d6: half damage against non-grounded targets."

 

It's just easier to read, and anyone playing him gets that "handful of dice" satisfaction.  Plus, its easier to scale up and down evenly, as your price-per-die is consistent.

 

Your way is equally valid; I dont want amyone to think i am suggesting otherwise.  I just have found that simplicity makes the whole thing more teachable.

 

 

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3 hours ago, JmOz said:

So working on some stuff, and got to thinking about this: How detailed do you like your write ups?  Do you want every single thing written up, with every single limitation, or do you prefer "simple" builds that get close enough

 

As an example

 

Electrical Blast: 12d6

 

or

 

Electrical Blast 6d6

+6d6 not vs grounded (flying, etc...) (-1)

+6d6 vs conductive (standing in water, etc...) -2

 

I want to see your vision of the character. Give me all the quirks and non-standard things which makes that character into your vision of the character.

 

Telling me "Electrical Blast: 12d6" is honestly something which I could think up of on my own by looking at the rule book. If I'm looking at your character, I'm not wanting to see "your character but dumbed down".

 

If your character really has Electrical Blast: 12d6, show me that. If your vision of the character is really something else, show me that something else. Maybe your "something else" will be the thing which sparks an idea which allows me to come up with something neat of my own. I don't want to be robbed of that potential to be inspired by your vision.

 

Just give me the Active Points and the Real Points: if what I see isn't exactly what I'd like to use, make it easy to tinker with it without having to do all the math again just to figure out what your starting point was. :) 

 

 

Now if you're doing basic characters for beginners, like the series on your website, I could see writing basic, dumbed down characters so your don't confuse or frustrate new players. There's absolutely a role for those kinds of characters, especially for convention play where you might be working with players who are completely unfamiliar with the system.

 

But that's really a niche market, unfortunately a niche market which isn't catered to enough, but still a niche market. Probably most experienced players are looking for something more.

 

 

Now if you're asking for the purposes of your basic character series, you might try giving the best of both. 

 

Write the character with the straight up Electrical Blast: 12d6.

 

But in the comments, suggest a couple of the alternatives, explain why they might be useful alternatives (save points, play better in lower powered campaigns, whatever), then give a way to spend the saved points which makes sense for the character.

 

Like Static Shock, who would work well in a teen heroes campaign, has an Electrical Telekinesis. He could potentially delay his action until after his opponent has acted, TK to throw his opponent into the water or to the ground, then use his Electrical Blast during his next phase while it's powered up.

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Nope, this is not about the generics.  This was actually about a Universal Translator device, whether it should be divided into two (One for the reading, one for the speaking, or just one as the earpiece does speech, while the HUD display does the written)...but more to the point was that the thought regarding the one led me down a rabbit hole and curiosity about how others viewed it 

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Simple builds.  Complex, situation-specific tweaks are a royal PITA and IMO just tend to lead to more hassle and argument than they're ever going to be worth.

 

I've mentioned before:  I'd prefer to have 10-15% more points...but almost literally no limitations, or at least limitations with value.  Where they can be avoided.  (Rapid Attack...the HTH only or Ranged only is a limitation I'd ignore for this purpose, treating Rapid Attack (HTH) as a 5 point skill.)

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I think that you can leave off the modifier numbers on character builds and not only will nobody miss them, but people will appreciate the brevity.  They can look at the Hero Designer files to get the crunchy bits.  So you can do a build like

 

Energy Blast 8d6 vs ED (fire); Area Effect 2m Radius, Reduced END Cost ½ END

 

without the -1 and +¼ and so on.  That's a fair compromise between super simple and detailed.

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My question is more about how detailed the build should be compared to hand waving aspects.  The idea that if a blast is going to do more damage in a reasonably common situation (say underwater) then it should be written on a sheet, or that you just allow the special effect to carry the day and give it without it being on the sheet

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2 hours ago, JmOz said:

My question is more about how detailed the build should be compared to hand waving aspects.  The idea that if a blast is going to do more damage in a reasonably common situation (say underwater) then it should be written on a sheet, or that you just allow the special effect to carry the day and give it without it being on the sheet

 

I guess it will depend on how often the, "reasonably common" situation arises. If it doesn't have any effect 90% of the time, it probably doesn't need to be in the formal writeup (although it probably should be mentioned in notes). If it's showing up at least one scenario in four, it probably does need describing. Between those... well, if it's obvious enough to think of it during character creation, it should probably be written down in the notes.

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Simple builds that reflects the main idea that is understandable for the players is definitely my preference. Previously, I ran Champions at the local game conventions for the past few years where players would select pre-generated characters that I created across the DC and Marvel Universe. Some had played Champions before, and some were brand new to roleplaying in general. If I had attempted to use overly detailed character write-ups, the players would be turned off immediately and move on before they even started.

 

 

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On 12/10/2020 at 1:16 PM, JmOz said:

So working on some stuff, and got to thinking about this: How detailed do you like your write ups?  Do you want every single thing written up, with every single limitation, or do you prefer "simple" builds that get close enough

 

As an example

 

Electrical Blast: 12d6

 

or

 

Electrical Blast 6d6

+6d6 not vs grounded (flying, etc...) (-1)

+6d6 vs conductive (standing in water, etc...) -2

 

 

Of the UTMOST IMPORTANCE:

 

This is not a criticism.  Understand that _always_.  This is _NOT_ a criticism.

 

This is a visual aid to explain why I don't see the value of increasingly intricate build styles that have crept in since 4e and just continue to get more and more complicated without really adding any value to the game play.

 

So let's start:

 

EB 6d6 = 30

EB 6d6 @ -1 = 15

EB 6d6 @ 12 = 10

 

Total thus far:  30 + (30/2)+(30/3) = 55 pts.

 

On 12/10/2020 at 5:01 PM, Duke Bushido said:

However, consider "electro-blast, 12d6: half damage against non-grounded targets."

 

It's just easier to read, and anyone playing him gets that "handful of dice" satisfaction.  Plus, its easier to scale up and down evenly, as your price-per-die is consistent.

 

 

In addition to being easier to read and teach, it also yields this:

 

EB 12d6 @ --- what?  Let's say =1/4.

 

60/ (1+ 0.25) = 48 pts.

 

If you want the Full Meal Deal-- the potential 18d6, go with a simple build Limitation like "1/2 damage v Non Grounded; 1/2 damage v non conductive."  Wrap that all up into a -1/2 (though let's be fair; most of us would likely limit it more than that).

 

End up with 90 /(1.5) to get 60 pts.

 

Now, it's true:  you have the potential to drop to 1/4 damage should you be attacking a flying character made of rubber; I am not blind: I see the differences in the builds.

 

_However_, there is a trade off of sorts:  you've still got roughly 9d6 worth of potential damage when you meet either one of those situations:  character is made of wood, but standing in a lake?  Check.    When you encounter both situations, you get the full 18 dice.

 

Let's say we want to keep it right to the original 55 points spent:  Drop it to 17d6 for an Ap of 85; RC of 57; or 16 dice for an AP of 80, RC of 54.

 

_OR_

 

we take the 18d6 / AC 90 and realize that we allowed a -1 and a -2 on the individual conditions, so it's not unjustifiable to assign a -1 to the simplified build (or possibly a fraction higher, since the penalty-- going to 1/4 effectiveness) is more severe.  That gives us this:

 

90 / (1+1) = 45 RC.

 

Yes: better pricing, but remember also that the potential drawback (1/4 effectiveness) is also more severe.

 

But no matter what you go with, you end up with a cleaner, more digestible build.

 

 

Now as I said:

 

 

On 12/10/2020 at 5:01 PM, Duke Bushido said:

 

Your way is equally valid; I don't want anyone to think i am suggesting otherwise.

 

 

 

So again:  I am not saying that there is a single thing wrong with your build.  You asked for opinions, and I am giving you mine, period.   :)

 

 

 

 

 

 

On 12/10/2020 at 7:08 PM, unclevlad said:

Simple builds.  Complex, situation-specific tweaks are a royal PITA and IMO just tend to lead to more hassle and argument than they're ever going to be worth.

 

 

 

I tend to agree: the complex "I can possible have 18 dice in play" build still costs 55 points.  The simpler one-- though with a slightly higher drawback- weighs in at 45 points.  Again:  if that level of crunch is, to you, an important part of the feel of the character, then by all means, _go for it_!  It's your guy, after all.  You are, however, paying ten more points to enjoy that.

 

 

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On 12/12/2020 at 11:36 AM, JmOz said:

My question is more about how detailed the build should be compared to hand waving aspects.  The idea that if a blast is going to do more damage in a reasonably common situation (say underwater) then it should be written on a sheet, or that you just allow the special effect to carry the day and give it without it being on the sheet

 

But the problem is that frequency now becomes a bone of contention.  Mind, I agree that you *don't* want to use SFX to drive damage shifts very often *at all* IMO.  And some of this is just the wildly variable effectiveness involved, when you construct the power like this.  Because the tack-ons are as large as the base.  So the character ranges from OMG!! to Why do we bother keeping you around, you're useless!!  when the extra damage doesn't kick in.  One of the things this creates is that the GM has to adapt disproportionately to this one character.

 

Situational limits can too easily become the daywalker vampire problem.  The classical vampire problem is, yeah, the vampire PC totally kicks ass at night, but he's literally only available half the time.  The daywalker variant is, the vampire can walk around, but loses a LOT of his powers doing so.  So he goes from supers level to talented normal level at best.  Again, some of this is connecting SO much damage to the conditions, so a construction problem, but it's going to exist.

 

Now, if things are clear-cut, that can be OK, but may have to be monitored.  Say it's Increased END:  The player always uses it on the opening 12...knowing he's got an immediate Recovery that'll offset the entire END cost?  Dubious, because he's using an artificial constraint in the rules to make the limitation meaningless too much of the time.  Or if the extra damage has to come from an END reserve, or charges.

 

BTW:  valuing these limitations is also a huge issue.  What's the value of any defense...absorption, Def, Negation, Reduction...only versus one energy type?  Typically -1/2 unless it's rather uncommon.  That's 6E1 167 speaking.  Or on 6E1 383, many of the Limited Powers are very narrow.  Only in Daylight is -1/4.  Doesn't work in darkness is -1/2.  So what IS the value of that "not versus grounded targets"?  Probably NOT!!! -1.

 

OH, and BTW, as a GM, do you require the player to state how much of that blast is being used?  If the target *is* grounded in ways the character didn't expect...oh well, blow off those extra dice.  But not the END expenditure.

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I do my complexity in different ways than what you were setting up.  This is something I'm starting to develop for grins...the cornerstone is a conceit of mine to keep a character's mass normal, even if you do some crazy other stuff, and figure out how to interpret that.  So, this one is based on combining "Growth" and APG's alternate desolid, which is essentially Density Decrease.  3 levels of that --> 1/8 mass, whereas the Growth --> 8x mass.  Net?  Normal mass.

 

69    Plasma form: (Total: 87 Active Cost, 69 Real Cost) (7 END to activate)

--Desolidification (APG, 3 levels), Costs Endurance Only To Activate (+1/4); Cannot Pass Through Solid Objects, Does not improve defenses (-1/4)*

--+2 to opponents' sight perception (-6 Active Points); Linked (Desolidification) (Real Cost: -4) +

--Reach +1m (1 Active Points)+

--Energy Damage Reduction, Resistant, 50% (30 Active Points); Costs END (Only Costs END to Activate; -1/4)

--Physical Damage Reduction, Resistant, 50% (30 Active Points); Costs END (Only Costs END to Activate; -1/4)

--LS  (Safe in High Pressure; Safe in Low Pressure/Vacuum; Self-Contained Breathing) (Real Cost: 13)

* Alternate Desolid only gives +1 PD/ED per level, so not improving the defenses is far less significant than standard desolid.

+ The Reach is the only thing that remains.  Most of the Growth benefits don't make sense here;  many of the disadvantages get cancelled too.  So what remains is, much easier to see due to size, and the reach.  OH, and the Running;  I'll include that later.  Work in progress. :)   Extra Leap too;  fits with the lower density.


47    Blast 11d6 (vs. ED), Variable SFX (Limited Group of SFX; +1/4), Reduced Endurance (1/2 END; +1/4) (82 Active Points); Linked (Plasma form; -1/2), Variable Limitations (requires -1/2 worth of Limitations; -1/4) - END=3

 

And this is one way to build a complex Blast.  The variable limitations will typically be from Beam, Limited Range, and Reduced Penetration;  the limited group of SFX is TBD yet, but it'd be clarified.

 

And then there's this, as I mentioned in another thread:

VPP:  5 Real, 6 Active.  No skill roll, 0 Phase to change;  HAs and HKAs ONLY (-1/2 to be conservative).  11 points.  What does it mean?  A 1 pip HA is 2 points;  6 active means  you can put anything from 0 to +2 advantages, you can make it Red Pen if you want.  The HKA can't have advantages and it'll cost END, but you get a DC out of it.  Either can be any SFX you can talk your GM into within the scope of the power.

 

So I should qualify...not necessarily simple. :)  Just particular types of complex.
 

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Making an assumption on the original post, I think JmOz is talking about how do you like your write-ups, not write-ups for someone else. fdw3773 is right at making simple builds at conventions but I'm (again) assuming JmOz meant 'for you personally'. Personally, I like making my hero & villain write-ups pretty detailed most of the time; it's fun for me. No one else is going to be running my villains when I'm GM'ing or my heroes when I'm player.

 

If he's talking about what someone else is going to use, simpler is better.

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  • 1 month later...
On 12/10/2020 at 12:16 PM, JmOz said:

So working on some stuff, and got to thinking about this: How detailed do you like your write ups?  Do you want every single thing written up, with every single limitation, or do you prefer "simple" builds that get close enough

 

As an example

 

Electrical Blast: 12d6

 

or

 

Electrical Blast 6d6

+6d6 not vs grounded (flying, etc...) (-1)

+6d6 vs conductive (standing in water, etc...) -2

 

Simple unless it calls for it for some odd reason.

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