Jump to content

Alternate mental powers structure


Recommended Posts

I wish I had my gaming group active and had the energy to run games these days, so I could playtest ideas.  Often when I suggest something new or alternate like this, I get jumped on with both hobnail boots and stomped for daring to question HERO SYSTEM AS WRITTEN like its heresy.  But sometimes, rarely, like with the KA rebuild idea, we have a nice, reasonable, thoughtful discussion as if we're all friends.  I'm hoping this can be one of those times.

 

At present the mental powers structures do not feel like they in any way remotely simulate mental powers in the source material its supposed to simulate.  Further, most mental powers are either overwhelmingly powerful or just worthless.  And it costs a bloody fortune to get effects that are routinely used in source material by everyone with that kind of power (like "they don't remember what happened").  And finally, the EGO+x formula makes doing major effects on a really pathetic willpower roughly the same as someone with strong will.  Since each step is 10, then the original EGO is kind of minimalized in impact.  The difference between 2 and 22 EGO is 20 points, then its just ten point blocks to get more powerful effects.

 

SO I have a potential suggestion that maybe we could discuss?

 

Instead of buying mental powers such as Mental Illusions or Telepathy as an energy blast, buy them as a transform.  Use the conceptual structure and cost framework of Transform rather than Energy blast

 

Mental powers still cost 5 points per d6, but instead of a flat roll for all effects, the cost per die for an effect adjusts how many dice you get to work with to get that result.

In other words, you buy 12d6, but a really powerful effect gives you fewer dice, and a really minor effect gives you more of that pool.  Then you roll to compare the total to the target's Ego (plus mental defense) and if you get more than their Ego, then you get the target effect.

 

The structure could look like this:

  • Trivial effects (do something you already would like to do, read surface thoughts, just locate a mind, etc); say 5 points per d6
  • Major effects (do something you're opposed to, read deeper thoughts, show something unexpected or out of context); 10 points per d6
  • Severe effects (turn someone into a complete puppet, read forgotten memories, etc); 15 points per d6


So if Joe Mentalist has 45 points of Telepathy, he can roll 9d6 to try for a trivial effect, or 3d6 for a severe one

 

Rolling greater an effect than the target's EGO results in success.  Rolling more than double their EGO allows success plus the target has no memory of the manipulation.
Breaking free of a long-term effect works, the same, but for every 5 points of effect you get past the EGO of the target, they are -1 to break free with EGO rolls over time.

 

To me that gives mentalists the power to do something really significant but simple, but be challenged to have a serious game effect, but still plausible.

 

If I can hash this out satisfactorily and make the math work, I want to use it for my fantasy hero setting; rebooting mental powers to be more effective and a better simulation

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 61
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Top Posters In This Topic

Popular Posts

I wish I had my gaming group active and had the energy to run games these days, so I could playtest ideas.  Often when I suggest something new or alternate like this, I get jumped on with both hobnail

Heretic.  HERETIC!  BURN THE HERETIC!!!   Oh yeah...social distancing.  Stupid pandemic...  Guess we're stuck with a semi-rational discussion instead...😉   What are the problems? 

For what its worth, there was zero animosity in anything I said, save my dislike for Combat Luck; that dislike was genuine.  What was also genuine was my empathizing with your frustration.  Thats why

Interesting.

 

Mental Powers would work differently under this system, whether better or worse depends on what you want to change.

 

You're losing one level of effect and i assume you'd want to do it on the low end so  the 5 points per die would cover what we currently haves as +0 and +10 grouped together leaving +20 and +30 as the two higher levels. Using that as a basis gives me some ideas.

 

Minor level uses will be much more effective and unlikely to be noticed. Mental Powers will be much nastier in noncombat role playing scenarios, especially those that just influence a decision rather than a continued action.

 

Major uses will easier versus 8-10 Ego targets, but will rapidly be outpaced by even slight increases in EGO or minimal EGO defense. An 18 EGO(or 13 EGO with 5 points of EGO Defense) will be difficult to influence in any ongoing manner. 

 

Severe uses will be about the same as they are now but even harder to make last.

 

I am assuming that EGO Defense works against the rolled effect and used 40 and 60 Active points as my breaks. I didn't put any thought into how Psyche Limitations would figure in as you gave no information one way or the other.

 

I solved this issue by making all the Mental Powers 2x Effect vs Normals, 1.5 Effect vs competent NPC's and normal vs PC's(leaving Mental Blast out of these adjustments). I found that makes Mental Powers very dangerous to NPC's and lets the PC's shine.

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Heretic.  HERETIC!  BURN THE HERETIC!!!

 

Oh yeah...social distancing.  Stupid pandemic...  Guess we're stuck with a semi-rational discussion instead...😉

 

What are the problems?  As I see it (and I've had also some thoughts about changing the system in the past, so there's at least one more of us that sees a similar issue).

 

 - In combat, they are either hugely effective (remove a target from the battle immediately) or useless.  They are too "all or nothing".

 

 - Out of combat, they can't achieve effects that seem trivial in the source material.

 

If I wanted to change the way mental powers worked in my game, I would probably start with assessing how the existing rules could toolbox me an answer.  So what existing tools can fix this?

 

Cumulative makes the powers simultaneously less immediate and more able to achieve a significant effect over time.  For a +1 advantage, instead of a 12d6 Mind Control, we can have a 6d6 Cumulative Mind Control with a maximum effect of 144 points.  So remove the other options.  These powers cost 10 points per d6, but are Cumulative (either to a 4x max roll limit, or simplified to just fully Cumulative, but a maximum effect seems reasonable).

 

Right now, when Telepath Queen uses her 12d6 Mind Control, she averages 42, dominating an average ego target (at least briefly), and maybe getting a +20 effect against someone with a 13 EGO and 5 Mental Defense, who readily makes the breakout roll, so...wasted phase.  But maybe she gets a lucky shot in, and the target is her thrall for the rest of the combat.

 

If she had 6d6 Cumulative, she averages 21 on a single attack roll.  So she spends a turn (wow -a whole 12 seconds) to get 63- 126 points of effect (3 - 6 Speed), more than enough to force any action from virtually anyone, who remembers it as entirely their own decision.

 

In combat, she rolls 21 and gets 16 past that target's defenses.  She needs two hits to slip 32 points past and get a minor effect (more with above average rolls) or 3 to get 48 points past and dominate the target.  A 12d6 Blast against 22 defenses slips 20 points of STUN in on average, KOing the target in three hits.  The Mentalist is no longer using "save or suck" d20 abilities.

 

BTW, this model also would mean you no longer get to play "cumulative games".  Consider a 1d6 Mental Power, Continuous (+1/2), 0 END (+1/2), Double Penetrating (+1), Cumulative (+1/2), +10 doublings (+2 1/2), for 30 real points. That's a 6,144 maximum effect.  Once you get one hit (possibly via Mind Scan), you will get 3.5 points on average (1 if they have Mental Defense, unless they double hardened it).  It will take over 5 hours to max out, but you can likely get by with a lot less than 6,144 points of effect.  Let's not even consider more doublings for 45 or 60 AP.  But you could make it pretty wide AoE...or Megascale AoE if you want to affect everyone on the planet.

 

12 hours ago, Christopher R Taylor said:

SO I have a potential suggestion that maybe we could discuss?

 

Instead of buying mental powers such as Mental Illusions or Telepathy as an energy blast, buy them as a transform.  Use the conceptual structure and cost framework of Transform rather than Energy blast

 

Mental powers still cost 5 points per d6, but instead of a flat roll for all effects, the cost per die for an effect adjusts how many dice you get to work with to get that result.

In other words, you buy 12d6, but a really powerful effect gives you fewer dice, and a really minor effect gives you more of that pool.  Then you roll to compare the total to the target's Ego (plus mental defense) and if you get more than their Ego, then you get the target effect.

 

The structure could look like this:

  • Trivial effects (do something you already would like to do, read surface thoughts, just locate a mind, etc); say 5 points per d6
  • Major effects (do something you're opposed to, read deeper thoughts, show something unexpected or out of context); 10 points per d6
  • Severe effects (turn someone into a complete puppet, read forgotten memories, etc); 15 points per d6


So if Joe Mentalist has 45 points of Telepathy, he can roll 9d6 to try for a trivial effect, or 3d6 for a severe one

 

Rolling greater an effect than the target's EGO results in success.  Rolling more than double their EGO allows success plus the target has no memory of the manipulation.
Breaking free of a long-term effect works, the same, but for every 5 points of effect you get past the EGO of the target, they are -1 to break free with EGO rolls over time.

 

First, it's not 5 points per 1d6 if he either gets 9d6, 4.5d6 or 3d6, is it?  That 3d6 will typically bypass a low to average Ego, with a breakout roll of 11-, so 62.5% chance it does nothing.  5 points of Mental Defense and there's no longer the slightest hope.  Pop up to 12d6, and we have 4d6, or an average of 14.  Still need a good roll to bypass 5 points of mental defense, and the breakout is still  more likely than not in "wasted attack" territory.

 

I think, if you only want to make Ego more important, you go back to the older editions' system of multiplying EGO rather than adding points.  But when you need 3x EGO, a 15 EGO means virtual invulnerability to 12 DC attacks, at least at the high end.  Double EGO is still more than likely.  But your model keeps the "save or suck" aspect, which I perceive as the most significant issue.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote

I didn't put any thought into how Psyche Limitations would figure in as you gave no information one way or the other.

 

I would think that Psychological Complications would take effect in terms of how likely someone is to want to do something/believe something as well as breakout rolls.  The old "get control then they reject it because of their personal code or beliefs" thing.

 

Quote

But your model keeps the "save or suck" aspect, which I perceive as the most significant issue.

 

Yeah that is an issue.  If you buy 60 active points of an attack, you effectively can obliterate any normal person instantly.  4d6 KA will murder a normal person on an average roll, for instance.  12d6 blast will put a normal person into -20 stun instantly.  So by that basis a 60 active point mental power should take total control of a normal person on average following the Transform theory: if you can kill someone, you should be able to remake them.

 

So with that in mind, what's a better way of approaching the issue, that will carry out this goal?

Link to post
Share on other sites
14 hours ago, Christopher R Taylor said:

 Often when I suggest something new or alternate like this, I get jumped on with both hobnail boots and stomped for daring to question HERO SYSTEM AS WRITTEN like its heresy.

 

In the spirit of inclusiveness, I won't point out the number of times you've called me out for refusing to accept that the Champs III / 5e / 6e shapeshift rules are both horribly kludgy and completely unnecessary.  ;)  That, and, in spite of the fact that we rarely agree, I do appreciate the amount of thought that you usually put into your ideas.  :)

 

 

 

14 hours ago, Christopher R Taylor said:

 

we have a nice, reasonable, thoughtful discussion as if we're all friends.  I'm hoping this can be one of those times.

 

All times can be those times, so long as we can all accept that not all cows are sacred to all people.

 

Now forgive me for skipping the details of your suggested change: you've laid it out clearly enough, and Hugh has re-listed the relevant parts, so I'm going to skip straight to the conversation:

 

 

I don't think you're alone in being unhappy with the EGO powers rules.  I think the "+10" rule itself was the first attempt-- the first "coded into the rules" attempt, anyway-- to fix the problem.  Remember the early editions?  INT x1; INT x2; INT x3; etc?  Those early rules meant that your Mentalist was going to be very effective against "normals" at a lower power level, but was going to have to become an absolute specialist to have anything more than the most minor effects on supers.  As a correction, the +10 replaced the multiples.

 

I'd like to say it made a difference, but really, it only seemed to make a difference for NPCs. I have yet to see a supers player want to really emulate the source material super mentalists: incredibly mental powers; normal or even feeble physical stats.  They want the super Characteristics and defenses and movements, etc-- _and_ the high-level mental powers. Now I will say these characters _might exist_ in the source material, but not at such a high visibility that non-comicbook guys like me have ever heard of them.  I am passingly familiar with the X-man in the wheelchair with powers so strong they rotted away his hair or something.  I am familiar with the Spiderman villain who was just a _normal guy_ with lots of SFX and hypnodrugs witch which he created illusions (even the movie decided he needed powered armor.  Hunh? ).

 

I am more familiar with the pulps and the movie serials of the crazed hypnotists and mad swamis and fakirs-- all of whom were far less physically-impressive specimens than our hero, and accordingly had specialized in refining their craft to nigh-miraculous levels of effect.

 

 

With those source examples in mind, I think the current system _does_ work quite nicely for emulating those examples.

 

Still, it kind of fails in as much as it doesn't do what the players would like to do:  be powerful mentalists with SPD 5 or 6, enough resistant defenses to bounce machine gun fire, powerful blasts of energy from their eyes, and the ability to fly at Mach 6.

 

I can argue all day that the current system _does_ emulate nicely what it should emulate-- that is, examples from the source materials-- but really, if it doesn't let the player build the character he wants, then it really _doesn't_ succeed, does it?

 

My counter to that is, of course, that he "grow into the character he wants to be" using EP as the campaign progresses.

 

I won't, because I have learned over the years that this idea-- while it is pulled directly from the source material at the time I learned to play-- is popular almost exclusively in my groups (admittedly it's likely influenced by the fact that I taught the majority of my players how to play), and it anathema to most others who want to start out with demigods and perhaps build them up to legitimate godhood.  This is, of course, also valid.  It's not my own style, but if that's how another group has their fun, then they should be able to do it that way, correct?

 

 

Like Hugh, I have found "Cumulative" to be the solution to a lot of things: Aids, Drains, Transfers,....  and Mental Powers.

 

Just as an insight as to how my games have evolved to the point that I don't post builds:

 

I have always had an issue with Advantages, Limitations, and Adders.  I've always felt that if it's an Advantage, it should be able to apply to more than one Power or Power Type.  If it cannot do that, then it should be an Adder.  If an Adder can be applied to more than one power or power type, then it should be an advantage.  If something can only apply to _one specific power_, (my go-to example for this is Teleport "facing," which was a non-issue until someone thought it should be), then it should be assumed to be a basic part of the power, and characters may opt to apply a Limitation that deprives them of it.  (Thus, in my games, any Teleporter may choose to face any direction when he reappears, unless he has taken a Limitation that prevents that.)

 

It has lead to some minor power re-writes (Change Environment now affects a single "point," and is increased with the existing Advantage: Area of Effect), but nothing so drastic as to really change the game or even greatly alter the points totals.

 

 

That leads to this:

 

I have found Cumulative to be an _excellent_ workaround for lots of "how do I make this more effective without having to dump eleventy-nine points into it?" problems.  Cumulative, and a bit of patience-- you didn't get them this Phase, but next Phase they will be yours!  :D

 

And as for controlling runaway "cumulation:"

 

There are lots of ways to do that, too.  There is the built in limits of Cumulative, but if you feel that is not tightly-controlled enough, consider this still-experimental option I am currently playing with in a fantasy game:

 

The character is required to spend Sway (sorry: in this current fantasy game, "Sway" is the user's ability to influence magic and bend it to his will.  For supers, think "END."  Sway isn't exactly END, but this is the model we are running right now, so it's the medium in which I have to test this idea) to cast his spells, and Sway costs-out in a fashion like END: the more dice he wishes to cast, the more Sway he must put forth.

 

_However_, on cumulative spells, he must continue to exert Sway for the previous dice as well any additional dice he wishes to add at his next opportunity.  He must exert the Sway for all dice until the final effect is achieved.

 

Moving that to an END model, let's take four dice of Mind Control, which the 4e and beyond cost at 2 END, if I remember correctly.  So the Mentalist spends 2 END to use his Mind Control, but if he is looking to accumulate it, he must continue to spend that 2END even as he spends the 2 additional END for his next roll.  If he wishes to go higher still, then he must still maintain that 4 END and spend 2 more, etc.

 

 

I'm not saying that this is a _must do_ thing; it's something I'm currently play testing because I was curious to see what effect it would have on the game.

 

Still, it's a valid control over anyone intentionally "buying low" then upping his cumulative limit, etc, if that should become a problem in your game it (for what it's worth, it's not a problem in my game; I was looking to build a magic system that made "big" magic extremely difficult and extremely tiring while making "small" magic relatively common).

 

 

At any rate, 

 

I have now tossed it out there.

 

In summation:

 

Go, Cumulative!  You can do it!

 

 

:D
 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote

I won't point out the number of times you've called me out for refusing to accept that the Champs III / 5e / 6e shapeshift rules are both horribly kludgy and completely unnecessary.

 

I have no memory of this, are you sure I'm the person you're thinking of here?  I don't recall even discussing shapeshift at any point on this board.  But I'm getting old and my memory isn't what it used to be.

Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Christopher R Taylor said:

Yeah that is an issue.  If you buy 60 active points of an attack, you effectively can obliterate any normal person instantly.  4d6 KA will murder a normal person on an average roll, for instance.  12d6 blast will put a normal person into -20 stun instantly.  So by that basis a 60 active point mental power should take total control of a normal person on average following the Transform theory: if you can kill someone, you should be able to remake them.

 

So with that in mind, what's a better way of approaching the issue, that will carry out this goal?

 

I don't typically measure the effectiveness of a power based on what it can do to a 2 DEF, 8's across the board, 16 STUN normal.  I measure it based on effectiveness in situations where the character can either win or lose, depending on how effective his powers are.  When will Our Hero use his psychic powers on Nellie Normal and not have several phases to spend on the attempt?

 

In any case, neither your nor my approach is going to make it easy for Captain ControlFreak to get Nellie Normal to hand over her boss's top-secret files.  Under my model, his 60 AP 6d6 Cumulative, 144 point max effect will require several attempts to get past Nellie's 8 EGO and passionate loyalty to (or dread fear of) her boss (+30 effect) with her thinking she was just persuaded it was the right thing to do (+20), not psychically manipulated.  58 will take3 phases, and a fourth will mean 84 effect, so -5 to her breakout roll.

 

Under your model, he gets 4d6 to beat Nellie's EGO of 8 + 20 so she thinks it was ultimately her decision = 28, which is four more than he can ever roll. 

 

So my better way of approaching the issue is to make mental powers cost 10 points per d6, and be cumulative to 4x maximum roll, by default. 

 

1 hour ago, Duke Bushido said:

I'd like to say it made a difference, but really, it only seemed to make a difference for NPCs. I have yet to see a supers player want to really emulate the source material super mentalists: incredibly mental powers; normal or even feeble physical stats.  They want the super Characteristics and defenses and movements, etc-- _and_ the high-level mental powers. Now I will say these characters _might exist_ in the source material, but not at such a high visibility that non-comicbook guys like me have ever heard of them.  I am passingly familiar with the X-man in the wheelchair with powers so strong they rotted away his hair or something.  I am familiar with the Spiderman villain who was just a _normal guy_ with lots of SFX and hypnodrugs witch which he created illusions (even the movie decided he needed powered armor.  Hunh? ).

 

Well, there's the Martian Manhunter (much better known with multiple appearances on Supergirl) - basically Superman with mental powers.  Psylocke, the mentalist ninja. 

 

And how hard is it in Hero?  A few more slots in the Multipower don't cost that much.

 

Many source material Supers have no apparent rDEF either.

 

1 hour ago, Duke Bushido said:

I have always had an issue with Advantages, Limitations, and Adders.  I've always felt that if it's an Advantage, it should be able to apply to more than one Power or Power Type.  If it cannot do that, then it should be an Adder.  If an Adder can be applied to more than one power or power type, then it should be an advantage.  If something can only apply to _one specific power_, (my go-to example for this is Teleport "facing," which was a non-issue until someone thought it should be), then it should be assumed to be a basic part of the power, and characters may opt to apply a Limitation that deprives them of it.  (Thus, in my games, any Teleporter may choose to face any direction when he reappears, unless he has taken a Limitation that prevents that.)

 

I consider an Advantage to make each 5 points in the ability more useful, while an adder just (well) adds an ability to the power.  The question of what the default should be, what savings should be available for losing some default abilities and what it should cost to add to the default is a separate issue.

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote

I don't typically measure the effectiveness of a power based on what it can do to a 2 DEF, 8's across the board, 16 STUN normal.

 

Me either.  But comparing the effectiveness of powers between each other against similar targets is a valuable tool for determining how to construct things.  So you compare how much of a total effect you get from most effects against a normal person.  Other powers should be able to achieve the same kid of thing against that level of character.  Then you compare to heroic characters, then you compare with superheroes.  Are these builds roughly equivalent in effect?  Then they are pretty consistently made.  If not, then there's a problem.

 

Compared to other powers, mental powers almost never achieve what others will against equivalent targets.  Mind Scan is one of the very few.

 

Quote

Go, Cumulative!  You can do it!

 

I don't think slapping cumulative on things solves the problem for a couple of reasons, not the least of which... this does not in any remotest sense simulate the source material.  Neither Professor Y from the Unnatural Y-Men nor The Crimson Creeper from 1930s pulp spent ten minutes slowly powering up their mental assault on victims until it worked.

 

Another major problem with mental powers as presently constructed is the all or nothing aspect even if it hits.  I don't mean "it either is too good on some or nothing on others" I mean the "if you didn't get enough for your target effect YOU GET NOTHING and have to like it, phase-waster" effect.

Link to post
Share on other sites

 

2 hours ago, Christopher R Taylor said:

Another major problem with mental powers as presently constructed is the all or nothing aspect even if it hits.  I don't mean "it either is too good on some or nothing on others" I mean the "if you didn't get enough for your target effect YOU GET NOTHING and have to like it, phase-waster" effect.

Then what we need is a system which allows the player to choose a lesser effect based on the original effect. Let's say your an evil mentalist who wants that cop aiming his gun at you to redirect it to his own head. This is something he is definitely against. He fails to make that effect but does have him in a basic Mind Control.  He may decide to forget it and eat the bullet aimed at him. Or he could instead redirect the cop"s aim to a part of his body which won't instantly kill him. Or redirect his aim to your partner in crime (a brick who is rather ticklish, and bullets make him tickle), someone he wouldn't mind shooting. All without a second roll.

 

Should this be hardwired into all mental powers? Or an advantage to redescribe in case of partial success?

Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Christopher R Taylor said:

 

Me either.  But comparing the effectiveness of powers between each other against similar targets is a valuable tool for determining how to construct things.  So you compare how much of a total effect you get from most effects against a normal person.  Other powers should be able to achieve the same kid of thing against that level of character.  Then you compare to heroic characters, then you compare with superheroes.  Are these builds roughly equivalent in effect?  Then they are pretty consistently made.  If not, then there's a problem.

 

I would say, rather, that comparing their in-game effects on relevant targets is worthwhile.  Will the hero be able to slaughter, KO or dominate a normal with that target having little or no hope of avoiding the effects?  Can they take out an opponent comparable to themselves?

 

The challenge of comparing mental powers, and adjustment powers, used on normals, heroic characters and Supers, to KAs and Blasts is that Normals, Heroics and Supers scale up their ability to withstand normal and killing damage, but not mental powers.  Plenty of Heroic and Superheroic PCs have no mental or power defense and several stats in the 10-13 range.  Very few have 2-3 PD and ED, no rDEF, 20-25 STUN and 10 BOD.

 

I would also suggest mental powers have far more out of combat utility, so it is quite appropriate that they have less in-combat utility, as compared  to a flashy power whose sole purpose is to KO or kill.

 

2 hours ago, Christopher R Taylor said:

I don't think slapping cumulative on things solves the problem for a couple of reasons, not the least of which... this does not in any remotest sense simulate the source material.  Neither Professor Y from the Unnatural Y-Men nor The Crimson Creeper from 1930s pulp spent ten minutes slowly powering up their mental assault on victims until it worked.

 

10 minutes is 100 phases for a 2 SPD character, so about 150 - 200 phases for the Crimson Creeper, or 200 - 300 for Professor Y.

 

4.5d6 Cumulative Mind Control will achieve 16 points of effect on a typical roll, so it takes CC 4 attacks to achieve 64 points of effect on a thug with 10 EGO.  That's enough to make him pull out his gun, put it in his mouth and pull the trigger, and believe it was his own idea if, by sheer luck, he survives. 

 

Our Super with 6d6 can achieve 21 per attack, or over 100 in a turn if he has a typical 5 SPD.

 

2 hours ago, Christopher R Taylor said:

Another major problem with mental powers as presently constructed is the all or nothing aspect even if it hits.  I don't mean "it either is too good on some or nothing on others" I mean the "if you didn't get enough for your target effect YOU GET NOTHING and have to like it, phase-waster" effect.

 

You mean like hitting the target with a campaign-standard attack that puts a few STUN and BOD past defenses, which does not impede the target in any way during his next phase?  That is, YOU GET NOTHING except getting closer to taking that opponent out of the fight.

 

And YOU GET NOTHING rolling 4d6 of effect to try to get what would have been an EGO+30 effect that he will forget or think was his idea.

 

Attack powers do not typically one-punch any credible opponent in Hero.   It's not cinematic.

 

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
14 minutes ago, Hugh Neilson said:

You mean like hitting the target with a campaign-standard attack that puts a few STUN and BOD past defenses, which does not impede the target in any way during his next phase?  That is, YOU GET NOTHING except getting closer to taking that opponent out of the fight.

 

And YOU GET NOTHING rolling 4d6 of effect to try to get what would have been an EGO+30 effect that he will forget or think was his idea.

 

Attack powers do not typically one-punch any credible opponent in Hero.   It's not cinematic.

 

True to a point, but that regular STUN and BODY damage is cumulative with what others involved in the combat inflict. This is not so of Mental Powers as things stand. Something else to change in the rework I guess?

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote

You mean like hitting the target with a campaign-standard attack that puts a few STUN and BOD past defenses, which does not impede the target in any way during his next phase?  That is, YOU GET NOTHING except getting closer to taking that opponent out of the fight.

 

No, more like "I try to knock out my target with my blast" and instead of doing some damage to the target past their defenses you did no damage at all because you didn't do enough to knock them out.  Its not the same or equivalent to damage at all.

 

Like Steriaca noted, there needs to be some lesser effect if you didn't quite get what you want, not ZERO effect.  OK I cannot get Grond to put on a tutu and dance for me, but maybe I can get him to shuffle in place a moment or hit me in a rhythmic manner.

Link to post
Share on other sites

In 3rd edition the effects of Mind Control began at the target's Ego value and then increased by the target's ego per increased level of effect (instead of ten.)  In 4th edition they changed to the current system

 

I would be curious to know why they switched it.  It provides a strong incentive to boost your Ego even if you have no mental powers.  Using a point system mental defense (along with power defense) seems to be something that gets neglected in many builds. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
6 minutes ago, foolishvictor said:

In 3rd edition the effects of Mind Control began at the target's Ego value and then increased by the target's ego per increased level of effect (instead of ten.)  In 4th edition they changed to the current system

 

I would be curious to know why they switched it.  It provides a strong incentive to boost your Ego even if you have no mental powers.  Using a point system mental defense (along with power defense) seems to be something that gets neglected in many builds. 

 

I think that it made mental powers very weak. Assume a strong-willed normal (18 EGO). To get to EGO+20, an attacker would need to roll 38. To get to EGOx3, he would need to roll 54. That's a lot harder (assuming a 12d6 Mind Control, which is typical for standard superheroic campaigns).

Link to post
Share on other sites
35 minutes ago, foolishvictor said:

In 3rd edition the effects of Mind Control began at the target's Ego value and then increased by the target's ego per increased level of effect (instead of ten.)  In 4th edition they changed to the current system

 

I would be curious to know why they switched it.  It provides a strong incentive to boost your Ego even if you have no mental powers.  Using a point system mental defense (along with power defense) seems to be something that gets neglected in many builds. 

 

I

7 minutes ago, IndianaJoe3 said:

 

I think that it made mental powers very weak. Assume a strong-willed normal (18 EGO). To get to EGO+20, an attacker would need to roll 38. To get to EGOx3, he would need to roll 54. That's a lot harder (assuming a 12d6 Mind Control, which is typical for standard superheroic campaigns).

 

It also made them absolute. There were no Breakout rolls allowed in those editions so if you were controlled you were controlled for as long as the Mentalist maintained the power.

Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, Christopher R Taylor said:

 

Me either.  But comparing the effectiveness of powers between each other against similar targets is a valuable tool for determining how to construct things. 

 

I one-hundred percent agree with this.  Back in the early days, before we started seeing supplements with things like "breaking out of prison cells" and "ripping cars in half," etc, it was _necessary_, just to have an idea of how much power made certain things possible.  Sure, we could grab a number out of the air, but without putting any thought into it, you might find that the drywall you want to burst through to surprise your opponent will require you to do three or four move-throughs.  :lol:

 

Oops.

 

Yes: there is always handwaving, but suppose your players have done something bad-- completely by accident.  During the attempt to thwart Doctor Sinister, one hero missed with his patented Lightning Gun and struck the very vault in which the Nogoodium Serum is stored!  Did the blast penetrate?  Has the serum been destroyed-- or worse!  Vaporized, even now wafting out into the air which our heroes are breathing?!

 

Sure-- you can plot device this.  But if it's not actually part of the plot-- it's something that just straight-up happened, and you want to make a fair call, well... what do you do?

 

You compare things you understand in the real world and look at analogies in the game.  You know what this vault is proof against small arms fire, look up an appropriate gun, and figure the vault needs at least X total DEF and BODY, glance at the hero's sheet and see that- whew!  There's no chance he can penetrate it with a single shot.  Lucky us!

 

 

Sure, there's the "how quickly can he drop a normal thug" thing and "can he accidentally KO himself" thing and "how quickly could a thug drop him" thing--

 

No matter what, there are many, many reasons why I endorse and use this very tool with regularity.

 

And evidently, Christopher and I aren't the only ones:

 

1 hour ago, Hugh Neilson said:

 

I would say, rather, that comparing their in-game effects on relevant targets is worthwhile.  Will the hero be able to slaughter, KO or dominate a normal with that target having little or no hope of avoiding the effects?  Can they take out an opponent comparable to themselves?

 

 

 

 

5 hours ago, Christopher R Taylor said:

Compared to other powers, mental powers almost never achieve what others will against equivalent targets.

 

I am not being picky here; I need some elaboration.  Mental Powers are not like "other powers," save perhaps EGO Attack, which is a straight up damage dealer that works pretty much like other damage dealers.  Beyond that, for example, Telepathy or Mind Control-- aren't trying to achieve the same thing as damage dealers: 4 dice of Killing Attack can liquify a guy; 4 dice of Energy Blast can mess him up pretty bad, but no amount of dice of Telepathy or Mind Control can do those things.  Sure, enough dice of Mind Control can make him jump into the 4dKilling machine and liquify himself, but even then, it's not the same thing.

 

That being said, I think you can see that I do not understand what it is you are saying with this statement, and would appreciate some elaboration.

 

Thank you in advance.   :)

 

 

 

 

5 hours ago, Christopher R Taylor said:

I don't think slapping cumulative on things solves the problem for a couple of reasons, not the least of which... this does not in any remotest sense simulate the source material.  Neither Professor Y from the Unnatural Y-Men nor The Crimson Creeper from 1930s pulp spent ten minutes slowly powering up their mental assault on victims until it worked.

 

Hugh pointed it out in great detail, but at SPD 5, the character will have two Phases in five seconds.  He will have 3 in eight seconds.  If he gets enough effect in his first attack to order "Wait!" then he can get five Phases in 12 seconds.  If the cumulative total of five Mind Control rolls isn't enough, then it might be time to examine the build.

 

Wheelchair psychic man is precisely the sort of build I mentioned above:  incredibly powerful, with great smoking wads of dice, because that's all he spent his points on.  He even took the "legs don't work" Disadvantage to get more points for his mental powers.  I accept that this is a source-material example of a high-powered Mentalist.

 

I'm pretty sure that the Power to Cloud Men's Minds was nowhere near as powerful as Do My Bidding or You Are My Slave, but more "fear me" or "forget my face."  Additionally, it was used against normals-- way less dice and way less radical results.

 

 

 

 

5 hours ago, Christopher R Taylor said:

Another major problem with mental powers as presently constructed is the all or nothing aspect even if it hits.  I don't mean "it either is too good on some or nothing on others" I mean the "if you didn't get enough for your target effect YOU GET NOTHING and have to like it, phase-waster" effect.

 

It's kind of like Iron Man, when looked at another way.  In the first movie (the good one), he flies to a village in the desert and confronts a horde of men armed with machine guns.  The villagers were (rightly) terrified of the guys with machine guns, because machine guns versus normals gets really, really ugly (10-shot autofire of 3.5D6 RKA versus a 2 non-resistant PD and 8 to 10 BODY?  Yeah; bad stuff there).

 

Iron Man, however, was not the normal villager, and bullets left machine guns and hit him by the handsful and then spe-yanged off to who knows where.  There is a point in Defenses where, even if you hit, you have absolutely no effect.  This is pretty normal in Champions games (somewhat less so at Heroic levels, with the exception of several fantasy games).

 

This doesn't turn the machine gun attacks into "phase-waster" attacks, though.  It just means that they are useless against Iron Man.

 

Put another way, Defenses are a normal part of Champions, up to and including the character's native PD.  These are all deducted from the attack, and if there is no damage left, then that attack had no effect.   The Defense for Mental Powers is EGO (and, for some folks, EGO Defense, unless that's been eliminated or rebranded as "EGO: only for boosting EGO against the effectiveness of Mental Attacks, -1/2.  I don't keep track anymore).

 

If you don't have enough points on your dice to overwhelm that 'defense,' then you have no effect.  That's a perfectly normal part of every attack in the HERO System: overwhelm or circumvent defenses to gain an effect.

 

 

Now, all that being said, we could look at remodeling mental "combat" such it deals damage as normal:  Something to the effect of doing actual "points" of EGO Damage, and when the EGO gets to-- say Zero-- the target is now "EGO Dead" to you, and you can supplant your will in place of his--

 

and now I wish I hadn't said that, as the current drive to standardize and fold-in whenever possible, regardless of the logical reaches required, means that just may come to pass.  :(

 

 

Then we can replace "break out rolls" (which you don't get versus STUN or BODY Damage) with "EGO Recovery" or something, and as he recovers, your control slips and you can only make more and more agreeable "suggestions" to him until he is fully healed and you are no longer in control.

 

 

No; that was a serious suggestion.  It would work, and when it fails to work, it fails to work for reasons that we are already comfortable with:  my damage didn't exceed his defenses; my damage wasn't enough to knock him out; etc.

 

However, EGO Defense will likely become much, much more common, as will high EGOs even when they don't really make sense, just to guard against being "chipped away."

 

 

Ultimately, though, it doesn't do what it is that I _think_ you are wanting:  You cannot _immediately_ dominate another human being with a small investment of dice.

 

interestingly enough, it _does_ open up more "like the other combat powers" options, like Amor Piercing and NND.  Though really, you're the GM, so what's stopping you from doing that now?  I bet no one in your game has bought his EGO as Hardened or as Resistant.  ;)  Decide that these are viable in your game, and where you were once attacking EGO: 12 you are no attacking EGO: 6.  Declare a "killing" option if you want.  It's your game, ultimately.

 

 

 

 

1 hour ago, Grailknight said:

 

True to a point, but that regular STUN and BODY damage is cumulative with what others involved in the combat inflict. This is not so of Mental Powers as things stand. Something else to change in the rework I guess?

 

 

Or is that not something that you let characters do with Coordinated Attacks?  I do, with the idea that they are pooling their efforts to gain control over one mind.  The rest falls down to how well they handle it (it's better if they decide one guy is "in charge" and the others are working to reinforce the given command(s).

 

 

1 hour ago, Christopher R Taylor said:

 

No, more like "I try to knock out my target with my blast" and instead of doing some damage to the target past their defenses you did no damage at all because you didn't do enough to knock them out.  Its not the same or equivalent to damage at all.

 

You're not doing damage at all.  I know that you understand that; I simply feel it is worth pointing out that not only is there a different effect with these powers, it is an entirely different mechanic-- one which I unapologetically feel offers a nice balance for being able to control someone else's character for a bit, but that's not exactly the point here, is it?  :lol:

 

It is an entirely different mechanic.  I can't pretend to know _why_ an entirely different mechanic was chosen, but I suspect it was to drive home the feeling of "this works in a different fashion from doing damage."  Again: I don't know.  I may _never_ know. It doesn't matter, ultimately, because the important part here is that it is clearly not intended to work the way damage works.  Further, it models source material mind guys: they dump oodles of points into it if they want big effects; lots of points into it if they want rapid but moderate effects.

 

 

1 hour ago, Christopher R Taylor said:

 

Like Steriaca noted, there needs to be some lesser effect if you didn't quite get what you want, not ZERO effect.  OK I cannot get Grond to put on a tutu and dance for me, but maybe I can get him to shuffle in place a moment or hit me in a rhythmic manner.

 

First, hats off to the "hit me in a rhythmic manner."  :lol:   That was funny.

 

Moving on:

 

Why?  Why must there be participation trophy?  You tried your power and it was insufficient.  I wouldn't expect Grond to nurse a cracked rib if my shotgun failed to penetrate his defenses.  I would (after running away really, _really_ quickly, mind you ;) ) get a much larger gun or try something else entirely.

 

Same with the mental powers: get a bigger one, or try something else.

 

 

Seriously, Christopher:  I am game to participate in hashing out a new method of using Mental Powers; I will play with that for _days_, so long as we are all having a good time with it.  However, I won't be easily persuaded that the system we have now is broken simply because having a big effect requires a big expenditure; that is something that I think is _right_ with the bulk of this system.

 

 

 

30 minutes ago, foolishvictor said:

In 3rd edition the effects of Mind Control began at the target's Ego value and then increased by the target's ego per increased level of effect (instead of ten.)  In 4th edition they changed to the current system

 

I would be curious to know why they switched it.  It provides a strong incentive to boost your Ego even if you have no mental powers.  Using a point system mental defense (along with power defense) seems to be something that gets neglected in many builds. 

 

2 minutes ago, IndianaJoe3 said:

 

I think that it made mental powers very weak. Assume a strong-willed normal (18 EGO). To get to EGO+20, an attacker would need to roll 38. To get to EGOx3, he would need to roll 54. That's a lot harder (assuming a 12d6 Mind Control, which is typical for standard superheroic campaigns).

 

 

I touched on that in my first post:  I think the 4e change was done to address what was a serious inequality with Mental Powers.  Today's "EGO + 10" requires far less dice to get the same effect _on supers_.  Or _on heroic_.  Or, dare I say it so bluntly, on Characters With Names.

 

Let's say The Mighty Crime Puncher has an EGO of 16.  To get EGO +X levels, his attacker needs to roll 17, 26, 36, and 46.

 

To get early edition's EGO x X levels, his attacker needs to roll 16, 32, 48, and 64.

 

The differences become even more obscene when two Mentalists are dueling it out:

 

Say the target has a 25 EGO.

 

The 4e+ rules mean that the attacker must roll 26, 35, 45, and 55.

 

The Early Editions rules mean that he must roll 25, 50, 75, and 100.

 

I suspect (but don't know, unless Harlick is willing to spill the beans) that this change was made to address the very sort of issue that Christopher is wanting to address.

 

In fact, that may well be the simplest answer:  reduce the "per level" adder.  Say you need EGO +5 instead of +10.  Then you'd go EGO+1, EGO +5, EGO +10, and EGO + 15.

 

Or drop the levels-- eliminate the lowest, and let that first layer of EGO +1 be the level that was once EGO +10; EGO +10 would then equal what was EGO +20.

 

Or combine the two:  1/2 EGO would equal what was EGO +1.  EGO +1 would equal what was EGO + 10.  EGO +5 would equal what was EGO + 20-- and so on and so forth.

 

  Though I understand my long rambles and discussions don't really demonstrate it, I am pretty conservative about making changes to the rules-- I really study on them and play them extensively, and even then, I keep them as minor as I possibly can.

 

So let me offer this minor adjustment in place of every other suggestion or "what if" that I've made thus far:

 

At the consolation prize level-- determined by the GM-- say 3/4 EGO or even EGO, period-- the attacker gains a minor benefit-- perhaps a +1 OMCV against the same target, or the target simply loses the urge to attack the mentalist-- perhaps the target is even _briefly_ Stunned-- one Phase, perhaps-- something that gives a very minor boon that makes it easier to bop the target the next Phase, with the goal of filling up the cumulator.

 

That's relatively minor, and addresses everything short of "I want to subjugate his soul with 4d6 of Mind Control!"

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote

Hugh pointed it out in great detail, but at SPD 5, the character will have two Phases in five seconds.  He will have 3 in eight seconds.  If he gets enough effect in his first attack to order "Wait!" then he can get five Phases in 12 seconds.  If the cumulative total of five Mind Control rolls isn't enough, then it might be time to examine the build.

 

See, that's just it though. I exaggerated how long it takes (in an apparently vain attempt at humor), but there's no support whatsoever in the source material for someone having to hit the target over and over and over to get the effect they want.  Sometimes the effect (like hypnotism) takes Extra Time to accomplish but there's no "give me a few more shots guys and I'll have the monster under control!"
 

The goal, for me at least, is to accurately simulate the source material, and cumulative does not do that.  There's a place for cumulative, but using it as the kludge to fix some of the problems does not accomplish that goal.

 

Quote

Why?  Why must there be participation trophy?

 

Well reverse that: why must it be all or nothing?  What does that simulate?  Does that make for a superior gaming experience?  Is it like we see in comics, etc?  Should we make Blast and Flash work the same way?  OK you want to blind them how many segments?  Oops, too bad, you didn't get a good enough roll, your flash has no effect at all.

 

From what I can see so far, the system I outlined seems to be intriguing at least, but the cost structure doesn't give satisfactory results.  So is the problem with the idea or with the pricing?

Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote

I am not being picky here; I need some elaboration.

 

Okay I'll go into more detail, I was trying to safe space and time.  This has to be another post to handle the issue properly

 

First off, we all appear to agree on a basic principle:
 

Quote

I would say, rather, that comparing their in-game effects on relevant targets is worthwhile.  Will the hero be able to slaughter, KO or dominate a normal with that target having little or no hope of avoiding the effects?  Can they take out an opponent comparable to themselves?

 

In other words, you compare different powers to each other based on their effects against a variety of powers.  How well does this attack effect an ordinary person, a capable person, a hero, a superhero?

 

We know what a 60 active cost 12d6 blast will do with an average hit:

 

against a regular person

2 ED, 16 STN = unconscious at -24 Stun.  They aren't getting up any time soon; out of the fight (Killing attack will deal enough body to put them to -4 and bleeding to death)

Against a heroic character

Roughly 8 ED including armor, and about 25 STN = -9 Stun, they're crawling around looking for their mouthpiece (KAs are harder to decide, since armor is an issue, but they'll take at least 5 Body on average, in most games)

Against a superhero

Roughly 12 ED including armor, and about 35 STN = 5 Stun left, and stunned/dazed (KA kind of impossible to judge, but likely to take some body damage at least).

 

You can do that with all the various types of attacks like Flash, Drain, etc.  OK

 

Now lets do it with Mental attacks, each at 60 active points.

 

Mind Blast

Regular person: -5 Stun

Heroic Character: 4 Stun left, stunned

Superhero: 14 stun left, probably stunned but they are most likely to have MD which would negate about 5 points or more.

Conclusion: significantly less effective, but roughly the same results; two are out of the fight temporarily at least, one is damaged but probably stunned.  Probably acceptable but maybe too high a point cost at 10/d6?

 

Mind Control/Telepathy/Mental Illusions/Mind Scan

Regular person (8 EGO): EGO+30 effect

Heroic Character (11 EGO): EGO+ 20 effect

Superhero (13+ EGO or higher plus likely MD) : EGO+20, if MD, then EGO+10 most likely

 

So against regular joes, you can reliably get EGO+30 on an average roll and get them to do pretty much anything you want, but they'll break free very soon

Against anyone else you're likely to get them to go along with reasonable commands, but they'll break free almost immediately.

 

Is this equivalent?  You can take someone normal completely out of the fight with the average attack with other powers.  How much control/illusion etc should you get from that effect?  Is +30 for a few phases enough, or should it be more potent, and/or forgotten afterward?  In other words, what is the equivalent mental effect of putting someone instantly down to "recover every minute" and out of a fight with one shot on an average roll?

 

I'm basing this again on the Transform principle; the logic of Transform went "if you can kill someone, then you ought to be able to make them into anything you want for that cost".  If you can knock someone out completely, what should you be able to do with that cost using mental powers?  And does the ruleset at present accomplish this goal?  Are the costs and effects proper based on that principle?

Link to post
Share on other sites

I would argue that "If you can kill someone you can make them into something else for that cost" is only sort of on-point.

 

Making someone stand still?  Probably.

Making someone attack an ally?  Well, now you are tying up two people for the price of killing one.

 

 

I see this discussion as a mechanical attempt to fix a problem we haven't actually defined.  The problem: What does a mental attack *do*?

 

Does it make the target stop fighting?  For how long?

Does it make the target do what you want them to?  For how long?  Are they a slave for weeks and months now now or does it last for an action or two?

Does it make the target spill their secrets?  How closely guarded can those secrets be?  Can you get everything they know or pull one fact at a time out of them?

etc

 

I also think that lots of "big" mental power effects are actually Transforms but people keep trying to stretch mind control or telepathy to simulate them.  I would argue that part of the issue is that most of the classic mentalists in fiction had multipowers to do all the stuff they can do, but we tend to confuse the slots with each other when writing them up

In my mind, the Shadow had a Mental Transform to wipe his face (or some other event) from a target's memory & was not using mind control (the Hero System Power) to create that permanent effect.  He had other powers in his "Cloud Men's Minds" multipower to do the other stuff he is famous for.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote

In my mind, the Shadow had a Mental Transform to wipe his face (or some other event) from a target's memory & was not using mind control (the Hero System Power) to create that permanent effect.  He had other powers in his "Cloud Men's Minds" multipower to do the other stuff he is famous for.

 

Or, just a shapeshift defined as "clouds men's minds" through hypnosis.  They thought he looked different, and the game mechanic is "shapes face to look different".  Which is more or less the approach the Alec Baldwin movie took.

 

I think there is something to what you are saying but if we take that thought too far, there's no point in having any Mental powers like Mind Control because its all better simulated with other stuff.

Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, Christopher R Taylor said:

 

Or, just a shapeshift defined as "clouds men's minds" through hypnosis.  They thought he looked different, and the game mechanic is "shapes face to look different".  Which is more or less the approach the Alec Baldwin movie took.

 

I think there is something to what you are saying but if we take that thought too far, there's no point in having any Mental powers like Mind Control because its all better simulated with other stuff.

 

True enough, if you take this sort of discussion far enough the entire Hero System turns into 4 powers: Make, Break, Change, Move. (and people would argue that change and move should have been combined)  Which I don't think we actually want. :)

I do stand by the idea that mind control/telepathy/Mental Illusions are short-term powers for tactical effects.  They should let you do something *right now*, their effects should wear off quickly, and the target may or may not realize anything odd happened depending on how skillfully the powers were used.  "These aren't the Droids you are looking for" style effects don't need to last longer than the interaction, and I think the existing rules are basically fine for that.

"Punch your Friend" style attacks, as I've mentioned, are harder to do but end up really inconveniencing multiple targets if they work, so maybe it's OK that they are harder?  On the other hand I used to have a mentalist PC that loved running into those seething "everyone hates everyone" villain teams held together by a powerful leader *because* it was so easy to get them to attack each other.  It was kind of what they wanted to do anyway.

 

"Jump off this building" for non-flying guys *should* be hard, but then again doing the right kind of knockback with a blast has the same basic effect, so maybe it shouldn't be *too* hard.

 

"I Mind Control you so well you are now my slave" type powers In my opinion are really more Transforms than Mind Control rolls with a lot of dice.  Hero tends to shove everything that imposes long term changes other than death into the Transform power, so I'm thinking that is where adding a new mental complication "Totally Loyal to MindGuy: Very Common, Total" should also be.

 

 

As I think about this more, it may come down to campaign limits.  If we wanted to make bullets deadlier in a specific game, we would do so by limiting Resistant Def, not by making Killing Attacks cheaper or having them inflict more damage. I wonder if we are unintentionally heading that way in this discussion?

If you want mental attacks to be powerful, is the solution to limit how much Ego everyone has and maybe shift what you can do with an Ego+10 or an Ego+20 result?

Link to post
Share on other sites
20 hours ago, Christopher R Taylor said:

 

No, more like "I try to knock out my target with my blast" and instead of doing some damage to the target past their defenses you did no damage at all because you didn't do enough to knock them out.  Its not the same or equivalent to damage at all.

 

Like Steriaca noted, there needs to be some lesser effect if you didn't quite get what you want, not ZERO effect.  OK I cannot get Grond to put on a tutu and dance for me, but maybe I can get him to shuffle in place a moment or hit me in a rhythmic manner.

 

At present, mental powers are all or nothing by default, while damaging attacks are cumulative by default.  A cumulative mental ability is no longer all or nothing by default.  It gets the target closer to being controlled, memories read or seeing what you want them to see.  They are not impaired when you are part-way there. Neither is a character at 1/3 of his normal STUN and BOD.

 

19 hours ago, Grailknight said:

It also made them absolute. There were no Breakout rolls allowed in those editions so if you were controlled you were controlled for as long as the Mentalist maintained the power.

 

I recall breakout rolls in the earliest editions.  Duke would know for sure since he still runs with those rulesets.

 

15 hours ago, Christopher R Taylor said:

 

See, that's just it though. I exaggerated how long it takes (in an apparently vain attempt at humor), but there's no support whatsoever in the source material for someone having to hit the target over and over and over to get the effect they want.  Sometimes the effect (like hypnotism) takes Extra Time to accomplish but there's no "give me a few more shots guys and I'll have the monster under control!"

 

 

There's no support in the source material that the mentalist is not striking multiple times with their imperceptible mental attack either.  Often, the target is portrayed as reacting slowly,  not immediately. Does Prof X, in the movies, appear on scene and Magneto simply surrenders.  Or even the Toad or the Blob immediately surrenders?  They are no more strong-willed than an average person, as I see them.  I do see mentalist in the source material taking some time while the target attacks other team members, still trying to break through those mental defenses.

 

15 hours ago, Christopher R Taylor said:

The goal, for me at least, is to accurately simulate the source material, and cumulative does not do that.  There's a place for cumulative, but using it as the kludge to fix some of the problems does not accomplish that goal.

 

By your "accurate simulation of the source material", it seems like mental powers are instantly and absolutely effective against all but the strongest of wills.  Not only do I not see that as essential to the source material, I see it as creating a very poor game.  "OK, guys, get out there and distract Magneto and his Brotherhood while the Mentalist turns one of them against his allies every phase." 

 

The mental effects do not accumulate as quickly because not everyone is using mental powers.  But the Blast does not have nearly the same benefits out of combat, so why would the mental power be equally effective in combat AND provide a heap of out of combat benefits as well? 

 

An accurate simulation of the source material does not really present mental powers as being all that effective in combat, does it?  Provide me with the source material examples of instant domination in combat time, rather than in conversational time where the mentalist has the opportunity to spend multiple phases.

 

15 hours ago, Christopher R Taylor said:

Well reverse that: why must it be all or nothing?  What does that simulate?  Does that make for a superior gaming experience?  Is it like we see in comics, etc?  Should we make Blast and Flash work the same way?  OK you want to blind them how many segments?  Oops, too bad, you didn't get a good enough roll, your flash has no effect at all.

 

I find Flash closer to Entangle.  It inconveniences the target, perhaps greatly, often only slightly.  Blast does work the same way.  ZZZZAAAPP!  He takes 20 STUN past defenses.  He is otherwise 100% completely unaffected and can retaliate, entirely unimpeded, on his next phase.  You need to reduce him to 0 STUN - as long as he has 1 STUN, he keeps chugging along.

 

15 hours ago, Christopher R Taylor said:

From what I can see so far, the system I outlined seems to be intriguing at least, but the cost structure doesn't give satisfactory results.  So is the problem with the idea or with the pricing?

 

From what I see of your proposed system, it makes it pretty much impossible to achieve higher-end effects while remaining an all or nothing proposition.  Maybe you can put Captain Controller (60 AP mind control, your system) in a mock combat with some other Supers to show us how you envision it working, because all I see from your example is "12d6 will pretty much always get a minor effect; 6d6 has a pretty fair shot at getting past EGO for a moderate effect, but they will know their minds were violated; 4d6 might get someone with EGO a touch above average to do something really undesired, but for sure he will know what caused it".  That does not sound like the source material, or what you are suggesting your system actually does.

 

And no, I do not think reliably dominating a 13 EGO target for 60 AP is appropriately priced.  That works only if all higher-point characters scale up their EGOs or Mental Defense rapidly, at the same pace as defenses and STUN.  If they do, then they are still likely immune to significant effects from mental powers.

 

I am not seeing how your system solves the problem, but maybe I am not understanding your system, hence that "system in use" example I request just above.

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

As I see it, the problem with Mental Powers and effectiveness is mostly centered around their utility/uselessness against low tier characters such as Normals and competent NPC's. The solution that works for me is not to change the +10 tier system but to set modifiers as part of the Campaign Guidelines.

 

So, any non-Super NPC will take 1.5x vs Mental Powers(Changed from my first post as I looked up my notes) except Mental Blast. Using 45(high end Fantasy/Street supers), 60(typical Supers) and 75(higher powered Supers) Active Point Powers gives us this breakdown.

 

45 AP gives 31.5 x1.5 for a 47 or 48 point effect on average. So using 48 you get +40 vs your typical NPC, +35 against your typical competent NPC and +30 against your really special NPC at 18 EGO or who have some Mental Defenses. This is pretty effective against your typical NPC, you easily get +20 EGO with -3 to 4 on the breakout so you have a good chance of holding them  for 5 minutes or so. I'd consider this equal to a 45 AP Blast or KA due to the greater utility of Mental Powers.

 

60 AP gives 42 x 1.5 for a 63 point effect.  NPC are going to be controlled easily for up to 6 hours or more on +10 EGO effects, an hour or so on +20's and 1- 5 minutes on +30's. And that's assuming fire and forget on the part of the mentalist. If the power is maintained then breakout odds become very low. I'd consider this equivalent to the "instant kill" a 60 AP EB or KA inflicts. Also making the target forget their action or believe that they did it of their own accord becomes a viable adder.

 

75 AP gives 52.5 for a 78 or 79 point effect. At this point the NPC is pretty much clay for the mentalist to mold as they see fit. Any effect short of +30 will last a day or more or they can be made to commit heinous acts and black them out or made to believe they did it on their own.

 

1 hour ago, Hugh Neilson said:

I recall breakout rolls in the earliest editions.  Duke would know for sure since he still runs with those rulesets.

 

Breakout rolls came in 4th with the change to the +10,+20,+30 model of Mental Powers.

 

1 hour ago, Hugh Neilson said:

And no, I do not think reliably dominating a 13 EGO target for 60 AP is appropriately priced.  That works only if all higher-point characters scale up their EGOs or Mental Defense rapidly, at the same pace as defenses and STUN.  If they do, then they are still likely immune to significant effects from mental powers.

 

No, it makes those Characters who have 13 EGO and no Mental Defense weak to Mental Powers. I wouldn't expect to see the majority of the PC's at this level, but in the context of NPC's:

 

60 AP Energy Blast or Killing Attack will leave them unconscious and bleeding out if the KB doesn't finish them.

 

60 AP Entangle will hold them until someone frees them.

 

60 AP Transform will turn them into whatever the user specifies in 2 shots and has a non-negligible chance to do it in one.

 

60 AP Flash will affect them identically(mechanics wise) to any other target. The effects are actually less severe in actuality.

 

So, aside from the squick factor(this can be very real concern in a social game so I don't discount it) that is associated with Mental Powers, why should they not be capable of taking out an NPC, not a PC, in one use like these other Attack Powers?

 

 

Another thing to consider in this discussion is are we talking combat or everyday effectiveness? You may not need a system adjustment at all if the only situations you're worried about are role playing scenes. Just give Mental Powers the same 2x Effect in a Non-Combat surprise scenario as you would a blow to the back of the head or a chloroform rag and you're good for a lot of the source material examples.

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote

At present, mental powers are all or nothing by default, while damaging attacks are cumulative by default. 

 

This is a misunderstanding of cumulative.

 

Cumulative stacks over time until reaching the desired result (like transforming a cat into a fencepost)

 

All or nothing either works as intended or fails to have any effect at all (like trying to mind control someone into giving you their cake, and failing to roll high enough so they just get angry at you for trying to mind control them)

 

The word you're looking for here is perhaps "incremental" (you do some damage each blast).

 

I don't want mental powers to automatically be cumulative, I want them to have some minor effect when they don't achieve their maximum roll.  That's an entirely different principle.  Making them cumulative does not address that issue.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...