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Is it wrong to power game?


Zarthose
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On 2/7/2021 at 1:53 AM, Zarthose said:

 I do feel it is an assumption to think everyone uses, or MUST use your definitions. Since there have been almost as many answers as posts, I feel I can conclusively say there is no solid defination of what is a power gamer, minmaxer or efficient builder.

 

On 2/21/2021 at 9:39 AM, Zarthose said:

  You seam to have completely missed my point, I'll try again.

 

Perhaps I am not giving you the answer you like?  Which is perfectly fine.  But words have meanings.

 

MinMax'ing is pretty apparent.  Spending points to squeeze the maximum value out of them. 

But MinMax'ing is not always the most "efficient" use of the points and I have seen a efficiency builds that far out perform ones where the player simply tried to get the biggest bonus from the points. 

 

But then Power Gaming is self apparent in the name, a power gamer does not care about character builds or points or anything, they only care about dominating the game.  By running rough shod over less forceful players at the table.  By deliberately misunderstanding intent.  And many other things.

 

But the words do have very easy and discernable definitions. 

If you ever have the misfortune to have a game destroyed by one you will know instantly what they are.

 

But I'm out. 

Have fun and enjoy your games.  

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Regarding Power Gaming, I could be mistaken but it is my experience that everyone has done it to some extent at some point.  I can comfortably say that I have been guilty of it.  

 

In my mind any character with a decent attack and the teamwork skill could be considered a power gamer.  Seriously, can anyone name a more effective way to spend 3CP to boost any characters offensive combat effectiveness with any attack at no end cost?  On the opposite side of the spectrum there are character builds which just don't work well in combat.  Consider a superhero with a weakness to bullets and low defenses and fairly light attacks.  It is only a matter of time before this combination becomes problematic.  I am not suggesting it is wrong to play such a character but if you want realism in your campaign it might be worthwhile to have a spare character design handy just in case...

 

Sometimes a player needs to balance the vision they have for a character with a set of requirements or guidelines that the GM feels is needed for the player(s) to be effective on a mission.  Conversely, sometimes the player needs to keep their character's abilities in check to ensure others can contribute meaningfully.  Part of the GM's role is to try to ensure that every character gets a moment in the spotlight even if they cannot be meaningful in every scene.

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Back when Hand to Hand Attack was 3 points per d6 my favorite build was Variable Advantage on HTA.  It was shockingly effective and fun to play.  Even just +1/2 was amazing.  I don't know as that really counts as powergaming though because my intent was not to break the game and dominate everyone.  It just was a really efficient build I stumbled on to.


The other I figured out was the recursive absorb or Drain/Aid.  Part of the points absorbed went into "increase absorb points" so it was infinite.  If you could get enough stuff to absorb or drain you could become Galactus, eventually.

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I think my worst case of power gaming (from decades ago when I was young and more stupid) was when Hero first introduced cosmic power pools. A GM running Fantasy Hero let me have such a pool for my mage. However I was VASTLY more conversant with the rules back then and my mind capable of crunching numbers very fast in my head. I ran roughshod through the game, pulling absolutely whatever I needed at the moment to defeat anything and everything. As far as I recall, there were no limitations taken on anything.

 

I have learned from my own experience the need to stem the power players. (VPPs are fine to a degree, but with restrictions, chief among them to me is that all powers are defined, written and approved before the game.) Now, I do let myself min-max, but I try to keep power levels within defined guidelines, and use my expertise (such as it is) more to squeeze more breadth out of the points, not more power.

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To the question of a VPP, I'm not sure I would take the identical stance of "all powers are defined, written and approved before the game", although that depends a lot on interpretation of the words.  What I look for is definition of the parameters of the VPP.  What can it do, and what can't it do?  Defining the VPP in those terms also assists in defining the limitation, if any, on its scope.

 

Even the comic book "Cosmic Power Pool" cannot truly do anything and everything.  I have never seen the Silver Surfer use a mental power, for example, or change his physical form.  We know he cannot change back to Norrinn Radd.

 

Part of that definition would ideally be the limits which prevent the character stepping on the toes of the other characters.

 

A VPP carries great power.  With great power comes great responsibility.  Part of that responsibility is to the game itself, and the enjoyment of everyone at the table.  To me, a defining trait of the Power Gamer is the casting aside of that responsibility.  The Power Gamer seeks power for the purpose of disrupting, not enhancing, the game.

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"What is Powergaming?"

 

If a Multipower requires Extra Time, or Concentration, or the like to change multipower slots (6e V1 p 405), that's a limitation on the Multipower reserve.

 

Blasting Betty has a 12d6 Blast which costs 60 points.

Dwayne Drain has a 6dd STUN Drain which costs 60 points.

Flexible Freida has a Multipower of 12d6 Blast and 6d6 STUN drain which costs 72 points.

Slow Steve has a Multipower of 12d6 Blast and 6d6 STUN drain, but it takes a full phase to change slots.  That costs 60/1.5 = 40 + 12 = 52 points.

 

Along comes Efficient Ernie and helps Betty re-draft to buy a Multipower of 12d6 Blast and 6d6 STUN drain, but it takes a full 25 years to change slots.  That costs 60/8 = 7.5 so 7 + 12 = 19 points.  Much better.  Then she buys a second identical Multipower for another 19 and spends 34 points on Skill Levels to use Combined attack and extra END and REC.  She can use both the Blast and the Drain as a combined attack, probably with better CV, and she paid the same points as Freida.

 

I will suggest that Steve and Ernie are "powergaming" in the negative context of that term.  I will also suggest that the limitation is properly applied to slot costs, not the pool cost.

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By contrast, I would call ruthlessly exploiting a flaw in the system "powergaming". 

 

It's like aggressively taking advantage of a loophole in the tax system.  Steve Long has often said, when asked why we should not take advantage of some exploit or another, "because you are building a character, not preparing a tax return".

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8 hours ago, Hugh Neilson said:

"What is Powergaming?"

 

If a Multipower requires Extra Time, or Concentration, or the like to change multipower slots (6e V1 p 405), that's a limitation on the Multipower reserve.

 

Blasting Betty has a 12d6 Blast which costs 60 points.

Dwayne Drain has a 6dd STUN Drain which costs 60 points.

Flexible Freida has a Multipower of 12d6 Blast and 6d6 STUN drain which costs 72 points.

Slow Steve has a Multipower of 12d6 Blast and 6d6 STUN drain, but it takes a full phase to change slots.  That costs 60/1.5 = 40 + 12 = 52 points.

 

Along comes Efficient Ernie and helps Betty re-draft to buy a Multipower of 12d6 Blast and 6d6 STUN drain, but it takes a full 25 years to change slots.  That costs 60/8 = 7.5 so 7 + 12 = 19 points.  Much better.  Then she buys a second identical Multipower for another 19 and spends 34 points on Skill Levels to use Combined attack and extra END and REC.  She can use both the Blast and the Drain as a combined attack, probably with better CV, and she paid the same points as Freida.

 

I will suggest that Steve and Ernie are "powergaming" in the negative context of that term.  I will also suggest that the limitation is properly applied to slot costs, not the pool cost.

 

I'll echo what Duke said in the other thread - the impact of Extra Time to change MP slots is a real eye-opener!  I would strongly suggest that GMs apply the same halving of Limitation value that applies when taken on Constant/Persistent Powers that only require the Extra Time to activate (6E1 375), since time to change slots is not the same impact as needing Extra Time every time a particular slot is used.  With Extra Time applied to the slots (at half value for only applying to reallocating the MP, -1/4), Slow Steve becomes 60 + 5 + 5 = 70 points.  Doesn't seem so bad.  Even better, Efficient Ernie's rebuild of Blasting Betty would no longer be efficient at all, with each MP being 62 points, or 124 points total - paying 4 more points than a character who just bought both powers outright.

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12 minutes ago, Duke Bushido said:

Thanks, rravenwood, but I can't take credit for that.  First, I don't remember who pointed it out specifically, but even arriving to the conclusion was the end result of input from several people.

 

 

I'm going to say I don't think it was me, but the group I was in during the 4th edition days noticed the exact issue. 

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4 hours ago, rravenwood said:

 

I'll echo what Duke said in the other thread - the impact of Extra Time to change MP slots is a real eye-opener!  I would strongly suggest that GMs apply the same halving of Limitation value that applies when taken on Constant/Persistent Powers that only require the Extra Time to activate (6E1 375), since time to change slots is not the same impact as needing Extra Time every time a particular slot is used.  With Extra Time applied to the slots (at half value for only applying to reallocating the MP, -1/4), Slow Steve becomes 60 + 5 + 5 = 70 points.  Doesn't seem so bad.  Even better, Efficient Ernie's rebuild of Blasting Betty would no longer be efficient at all, with each MP being 62 points, or 124 points total - paying 4 more points than a character who just bought both powers outright.

 

The issue is largely resolved once we limit the slot cost, rather than the pool cost, but I agree the effect is "extra time to activate".

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On 2/28/2021 at 7:49 PM, Duke Bushido said:

Thanks, rravenwood, but I can't take credit for that.  First, I don't remember who pointed it out specifically, but even arriving to the conclusion was the end result of input from several people.

 

 

Sorry, it was clear in my own mind, but I seemed to have failed my Communications roll... My "eye-opener" comment was an attempt to simultaneously refer to and express agreement with something you wrote in the "VPP -1/4 limitation; All powers must be predesigned" thread - namely:

Quote

Love it, Hugh!
<snip>
[...] take your trophy, because you have done something I haven't seen in a long time:  you have shown a whole new way to rules lawyer a power build I have never seen before.

 

On the bright side, at least I didn't inadvertently insult your ancestors back to the Nth generation or anything like that... :winkgrin:

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