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I know most GMs don't like Power Frameworks, Especially VPPs.

 

But what is this difference of being more accepting of Gadgeteers that Mages that I notice? They can both be built Exactly alike power and skill and talent-wise, and the Gadgeteer will be much accepted, and be allowed to put some things in a VPP for which the Mage will be denied, for example. Ex: Power Defense 5 on a sonic generator, self-only on the belt clip that the gadgeteer quickly whips up. Vs a mystical hour glass activated by a Mage for PowDef 5 self-only.

 

Or a 5PD/ED resistant "force field" in the shape of a shield powered by electricity considered 'cool,' but not when the mage whips the exact thing out from his 'ring of defense'?

 

Why do the gadgets Seem more 'acceptable' than the magic tricks?

DC :)

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I haven't seen that personally, but if it's your experience, my first thought is that "gadgeteers" typically have more Limitations to their VPP as a logical consequence of defining it as "gadgets": Focus or available materials, Extra Time, RSR with appropriate technical Skills or Sciences, and the like. Such things can apply to magic, of course, but particularly in the comic-book genre they aren't considered necessary. "Super magic" usually functions like super powers, just with different SFX. Players may want a magical VPP so they can do whatever they want, whenever they want. That can be a genuine headache for a GM.

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6 hours ago, iamlibertarian said:

...Ex: Power Defense 5 on a sonic generator, self-only on the belt clip that the gadgeteer quickly whips up. Vs a mystical hour glass activated by a Mage for PowDef 5 self-only.

 

Or a 5PD/ED resistant "force field" in the shape of a shield powered by electricity considered 'cool,' but not when the mage whips the exact thing out from his 'ring of defense'?

 

(added emphasis mine)

 

In your examples, the mage is also using "gadgets;" they're just gadgets with magical SFX instead of technological. I agree with LL that I don't necessarily buy the premise that GMs generally don't like Power Frameworks; I think it depends on the GM, and maybe even more so on the player using the Power Framework and the speed and ease with which the VPP can changed.

 

However, in my experience, when I have seen what you describe, it's typically because a gadget-based VPP is a bit easier for the GM to plan around, often because it takes at least a bit of time to change. The VPPs that give some GMs heartburn are the ones that can be whatever whenever, as LL notes. Those tend to magic spells, not gadgets. I've never encountered a GM who would frown on a VPP of a wizard's magic items, but be fine with a VPP of technological gadgets, for example.

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Sorry to pile on, but my experience, not just in Hero, is that GMs & players alike are more blythely accepting of 'magic can do it' than 'tech can do it' (and a lot more accepting of both those than 'skill,' darring-do, courage and the like).  

 

In particular, I've often had GMs balk or at least look askance at a gadget granting Power Defense, so I was quite surprised by that example.

 

That said, and perhaps for that reason, many GMs might be more willing to allow a gadgeteer PC than a mage PC in the first place, precisely because they feel they can keep a tighter leash on the former.

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16 hours ago, Lord Liaden said:

I haven't seen that personally, but if it's your experience, my first thought is that "gadgeteers" typically have more Limitations to their VPP as a logical consequence of defining it as "gadgets": Focus or available materials, Extra Time, RSR with appropriate technical Skills or Sciences, and the like. Such things can apply to magic, of course, but particularly in the comic-book genre they aren't considered necessary. "Super magic" usually functions like super powers, just with different SFX. Players may want a magical VPP so they can do whatever they want, whenever they want. That can be a genuine headache for a GM.

 

It has been a while, but I have seen magic be poohpooh-ed when the super mage created exact duplicates of what a gadgeteer made, including limitations, while the gadgeteer was cheered on. Ok, I admit it, I created the mage, and copied some cool ideas off a gadgeteer from another gaming group.

 

But I have also seen gadgeteers create a gadget pool that allowed them to do just about whatever they want, whenever they want. Same headaches for the GM, but somehow still more...'accepted?'

 

Take Tony Stark. Massive gadgeteer. But he can do just about whatever he wants, whenever he wants, and then can also "Duplicate" making an army out of his gadgets.

 

For me, half the fun is character creation, as long as I have hope of eventually playing said character. But just like gadgeteers, when I create mages, especially super mages, I have fun duplicating in magical form what gadgeteers create scientifically. Change the GPS device into a tracking device? I create a mystical tracking bug...say, a lodestone (magnet) I have to Summon a spirit first for, bind that spirit to that lodestone, then throw that lodestone at the target and hope I hit (as opposed to just casting a simple Clairvoyance spell).

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3 hours ago, Opal said:

Sorry to pile on, but my experience, not just in Hero, is that GMs & players alike are more blythely accepting of 'magic can do it' than 'tech can do it' (and a lot more accepting of both those than 'skill,' darring-do, courage and the like).  

 

Never be sorry for piling on...when I ask a question, it is to get as many viewpoints as I can. I want to know if *I* am the one being unreasonable.

 

 

3 hours ago, Opal said:

 

In particular, I've often had GMs balk or at least look askance at a gadget granting Power Defense, so I was quite surprised by that example.

 

I am glad to hear that my experiences are all that there is out there.

 

3 hours ago, Opal said:

 

That said, and perhaps for that reason, many GMs might be more willing to allow a gadgeteer PC than a mage PC in the first place, precisely because they feel they can keep a tighter leash on the former.

 

Key word is 'feel,' I think. They can require as many limitations on a magic vpp as they do on a gadget vpp, or require fewer lims on a gadget vpp as they would a magic vpp.

 

I know frameworks give GMs headaches, and vpps even more than multipowers. I just happen to love playing Dr. Strange types, more for role-playing purposes than anything else. Sure, Dr. Strange can reverse time, create mystic shields and blasts, but what is Really cool, is when he can, nonchalantly, Summon a chilled mug of beer into Thor's hand, then after Thor drinks the beer, almost thoughtlessly refill the mug. 😆 And he has a cloak that not only lets him fly, but also reaches out to defend him. And he can create portals to elsewhere. For me, and for my characters, I don't need any particular power to be very powerful, but the variety of things which can be done...enchants me (I know, groan). Compare that to playing a version of The Hulk. Watch bullets bounce off, and then SMASH. I like character with depth...not in their history, which Bruce Banner/Hulk has, but in the Play.

 

Another example: A fantastic gadgeteer like Batman is Much more interesting to me than Robin, who is nothing more (to me) than an acrobat with combat skills.

 

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10 hours ago, Derek Hiemforth said:

In your examples, the mage is also using "gadgets;" they're just gadgets with magical SFX instead of technological. I agree with LL that I don't necessarily buy the premise that GMs generally don't like Power Frameworks; I think it depends on the GM, and maybe even more so on the player using the Power Framework and the speed and ease with which the VPP can changed.

 

I am hoping that you are correct, and that my experiences are just that: mine. And that I don't always find that bias in my future.

 

Quote

 

However, in my experience, when I have seen what you describe, it's typically because a gadget-based VPP is a bit easier for the GM to plan around, often because it takes at least a bit of time to change. The VPPs that give some GMs heartburn are the ones that can be whatever whenever, as LL notes. Those tend to magic spells, not gadgets. I've never encountered a GM who would frown on a VPP of a wizard's magic items, but be fine with a VPP of technological gadgets, for example.

 

I have, but like I said, I am glad to hear that is my limited experience. Though I have seen several gadgeteers who could change their gadgets as fast as a mage can change their spells. Changing their gadgets with a Skill Roll in a phase. But Personally, I like creating/playing what you would call a magical gadgeteer. For example, rather than casting a simple Clairvoyance Spell, I like to have that pre-magiced sliver of mirror with a god's symbol on it for which I have to pray to that god (OAF Fragile + Incantation) and hope that he hears and responds (requires a roll) which sometimes fails (adds to the story), but still sometimes gives the GM a headache, because I just discovered the bad guy's lair and plans, and communicate that to the rest of the team 😆

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56 minutes ago, iamlibertarian said:

Key word is 'feel,' I think. They can require as many limitations on a magic vpp as they do on a gadget vpp, or require fewer lims on a gadget vpp as they would a magic vpp.

 

Very much so. Becauses when you're dealing with a VPP, you're prettymuch dealing with feelings.  The VPP can be whatever you want, really, but how the GM or they player feels about the F/X is going to vary from person to person.  One GM may feel like, oh, a gadget pool is NBD, gadgets can only do so much, the player who feels differently about gadgets (well of *course* I can rig up something from an iv bag and a salt shaker to turn the petrified mayor back!) will get his feelings hurt, while the D&D-acccustomed player & GM, will go, "stone-to-flesh, well duh, sure" for the magic pool.   Another GM may feel like "magic pool?  NP, anti-magic field (20d suppress) any time it annoys me, likewise, EC, MP, 'unified' lim, whatever, NP...  

 

56 minutes ago, iamlibertarian said:

I know frameworks give GMs headaches, and vpps even more than multipowers. I just happen to love playing Dr. Strange types, more for role-playing purposes than anything else. Sure, Dr. Strange can reverse time, create mystic shields and blasts, but what is Really cool, is when he can, nonchalantly, Summon a chilled mug of beer into Thor's hand, then after Thor drinks the beer, almost thoughtlessly refill the mug. 😆 And he has a cloak that not only lets him fly, but also reaches out to defend him. And he can create portals to elsewhere. For me, and for my characters, I don't need any particular power to be very powerful, but the variety of things which can be done...enchants me (I know, groan). Compare that to playing a version of The Hulk. Watch bullets bounce off, and then SMASH. I like character with depth...not in their history, which Bruce Banner/Hulk has, but in the Play.

One thing I do to re-assure GMs when I bring in a VPP is to have a goodly list of sample powers handy, particularly any squirrelly stuff you plan on, like NNDs and Desols & the like that need a 'counter,' if you pin down the counter ahead of time, that'll smooth things in play.

 

One interesting observation I had playing early on, BTW, at first I very much wanted to play characters who did cool stuph, who went desolid while attacks passed through them, or selected from a big MP (no VPP yet) or whatever, and thought, having not played one, that the basic brick would be boring.   But, no, it turns out being able to do cool stuph is not nearly as cool as to still be conscious and have your next phase available to actually do said cool stuff.  And, it also turns out, there's no end of cool stuff the brick can do with just STR and any environment less sterile and featureless than empty space.  In play, bricks get to be creative, cool, and awesome, it's only in chargen that they're a bit meh.

 

(That said, my eponymous favorite character totally has a VPP.)

 

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10 minutes ago, Opal said:

One thing I do to re-assure GMs when I bring in a VPP is to have a goodly list of sample powers handy, particularly any squirrelly stuff you plan on, like NNDs and Desols & the like that need a 'counter,' if you pin down the counter ahead of time, that'll smooth things in play.

 

Totally! I have said elsewhere that half the fun for me is character creation (as long as I have at least a hope of playing that character in the future). So I like to have Many "spells" created for the character ahead of time. It also helps the pace of the game if the spells/powers are already figured out. In fact, I like to create the same powers at different power levels for the same pacing reason (Blast Major 20D6, Blast Medium, 10d6, Blast Minor 5d6 as an example).

 

10 minutes ago, Opal said:

 

One interesting observation I had playing early on, BTW, at first I very much wanted to play characters who did cool stuph, who went desolid while attacks passed through them, or selected from a big MP or VPP or whatever, and thought, having not played one, that the basic brick would be boring.   But, no, it turns out being able to do cool stuph is not nearly as cool as to still be conscious and have your next phase available to actually do said cool stuff.  And, it also turns out, there's no end of cool stuff the brick can do with just STR and any environment less sterile and featureless than empty space.  In play, bricks get to be creative, cool, and awesome, it's only in chargen that they're a bit meh.

 

Especially true if you also happen to enjoy Bricks in stories, making them in other gaming systems (like Paladins in AD&D) and so on. Personal tastes :)

 

 

10 minutes ago, Opal said:

(That said, my eponymous favorite character totally has a VPP.)

 

 

Same, lol.

 

I would also be interested in your take on my other Thread...I wish I could remember what Title I gave it, but it is the one where I asked about different starting levels for Supers campaigns, 400-vs-500-vs-600. In it I mentioned something to the effect of I don't mind starting at a lower level, like Tony Stark creating his first powered armor in a cave, but I also want to Eventually be Tony/Iron Man with a much more advanced suit, with AI assistance and backup, and able to Duplicate into a small army like in Iron Man 3. But campaigns never seem to last long enough for that growth to happen, so yeah, sometimes I like to start at the 600 level, which is *still* less powerful than Iron Man at the time of his death, but I also know that power level is twice the headache for GMs.

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As a GM, and by that I mean I have much more experience as a GM in hero than a player, I don't like (and generally disallow) VPP's that have very short periods needed to change the powers because they interrupt play, not because of the things they produce. Players need to be expert in the rules, good with math and not try questionable things for those to work at all. 

 

If you come to me with a VPP that has defined powers that you switch out quickly (i.e. no creating new things on the fly that I have to spend game time checking) I don't care if it's magic, skill, gadgets, cosmic energy, "the void" or whatever else that powers it, you are not interrupting other players and my flow and I am good.

 

Personally as a player, I enjoy playing both gadgeteers and mages although because of genre I have a lot more experience with mages than gadgeteers. In the games I have been a player in Hero I have not seen the discrimination you have experienced but have no doubts in some groups it would go one way or the other depending on what had caused the GM pain in the past.

 

- E

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11 minutes ago, eepjr24 said:

As a GM, and by that I mean I have much more experience as a GM in hero than a player, I don't like (and generally disallow) VPP's that have very short periods needed to change the powers because they interrupt play, not because of the things they produce. Players need to be expert in the rules, good with math and not try questionable things for those to work at all.

 

If you come to me with a VPP that has defined powers that you switch out quickly (i.e. no creating new things on the fly that I have to spend game time checking) I don't care if it's magic, skill, gadgets, cosmic energy, "the void" or whatever else that powers it, you are not interrupting other players and my flow and I am good.

 

I *always* come with a handy list of prepared spells/powers that the GM can easily look over before gaming/accepting the character, with the entire point being good pacing of the game. I never, ever create a true Cosmic VPP. If I have a thought for a power necessary to the scenario, I *might,* during a break in the game, create it for GM approval, but even then, I have Designer with me so that I can both create it quickly for approval and have the math done and "is it legal" stuff done by Designer itself.

 

11 minutes ago, eepjr24 said:

 

 

Personally as a player, I enjoy playing both gadgeteers and mages although because of genre I have a lot more experience with mages than gadgeteers. In the games I have been a player in Hero I have not seen the discrimination you have experienced but have no doubts in some groups it would go one way or the other depending on what had caused the GM pain in the past.

 

Agreed! But I am glad my personal experiences are not 'all-that-is.'

 

 

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Since I ran two long playtest campaigns in which most of the characters were mages with honkin' big Multipowers, and a few had small VPPs, I can assure you that not all GMs feel that way!

 

But GM tastes differ. My Dark Champions PC Repairman had a small Gadget Pool, only change out of combat in his Base, and only for "realistic" technology. My GM said he still found it a headache to plot around, and he'd never allow VPPs again.

 

I don't think I'd ever allow a PC with a big VPP, magic or otherwise, because I wouldn't want the game to bog down while the player calculates new Powers. But I now like the group to have one character with a small VPP. At least for supers. It gives me some assurance that I can design situations without worrying whether the PCs can actually handle them -- if they are clever at thinking of just the right little Power to get them through to the main conflict. I've never seen it be a Win Button, but I've seen it be a Don't Immediately Lose Button. And very often an Oh That's Just So Cool Button.

 

Dean Shomshak

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One thing I have seen is that gadget pools tend to be smaller and used more for utility.  Magic pools tend to be larger and are usually the main combat ability of the mage.  When this occurs the mages get more scrutiny because it is more visible and affects the game more.  If I have a 30pt pool chances are I am not putting in too many attacks in it, and those I do are usually less of a problem.  If on the other hand I have a 60pt pool that allows me to put most attacks in it.  The GM becomes conditioned to double check the mages spells, where the gadgeteer gets a pass.

 

Take Batman vs Doctor Strange.  Batman may have a couple of small weapons maybe a club or boomerang but probably won’t have a phaser or other powerful weapon.  Doctor Strange on the other hand will have all sorts of attacks and can tailor his attacks to target any vulnerability the target has.  

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(tongue in cheek) As everyone knows, gadgeteers and mages are the same thing. The mage pulls out his wand and says, "Taste the fire of volcanus, villainous one!" whereas the gadgeteer pulls a blaster and says, "Eat hot photons, martial slime!" 

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The differences I usually see are in the use of Power Modifiers. Gadgets are usually foci and often uses charges etc. Magic generally uses concentration, gestures and uses END etc. Gadgeteers are more relatable because their powers are quantified more in our grounded real world experience where Magic users require more imagination and a suspension of disbelief than can be difficult for some people to wrap their heads around, especially on the fly. Magic's reach can also be broader than Gadgets, with a Gadgeteer having to focus his talent on a narrower path and Magic user able to pull a wider diversity because "... it's magic!".

 

The typical issue with VPPs, particularly powerful or versatile ones is of course it's seen as a cheat sometimes that the player can circumvent the GM's carefully orchestrated plotting and plans by whipping up a gadget or spell during a session that the GM wasn't prepared for. Or it leads to at the table theory crafting that can slow the game down as players or the GM has to deal with a random element suddenly tossed into the game. What can be said about those other than it's a pain but if you as a GM aren't prepared for, then you should limit or ban VPPs beforehand or learn how to take a wild card on the fly and not take it personally. There are so many tools within the system that you can adapt to changing situations pretty elegantly.

 

For my table, I prefer to have the players be sure to have a good list of pre-designed Gadgets or Magic spells/rituals/whatever and allot them one-ten minute OOC break per session for at the table theory crafting. Or if it's one of those things that is a regular occurrence (say a weekly or biweekly game), give them two-three tokens which they can use to get quick theory crafting break (per month) of sessions to encourage limited monkeying around. Or if it's a really bad habit require the spending a precious XP to buy an extension beyond the once a game break. I'm sure there's many other solutions, just have to be creative and flexible about these things. On the character side, I frequently keep a couple of agents or a low-powered adjunct character handy with a hard counter to a specific VPP just to throw in as a road bump if need be. Can't always do it, you've got to know your timing and can't be a dick about it but if you find you're in a situation where you to throw a bump in the path of the players, it's much more organic to have a sudden reinforcement show up and well, throw a spanner in the works.

 

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On 4/2/2021 at 7:57 AM, Tech said:

(tongue in cheek) As everyone knows, gadgeteers and mages are the same thing. The mage pulls out his wand and says, "Taste the fire of volcanus, villainous one!" whereas the gadgeteer pulls a blaster and says, "Eat hot photons, martial slime!" 

 

What's New with Phil & Dixie

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3 hours ago, Tech said:

 

I was wondering if someone would catch that. :)

 

I have had the distinct pleasure of meeting and talking to both Phil and Kaja when I was working security at local cons (Portland area). Good folks as the saying goes.😀

Sorry, did not mean to derail the thread further.

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But what is this difference of being more accepting of Gadgeteers that Mages that I notice?

 

To the extent this takes place, its probably due to the idea that gadgeteers are creating something the GM is familiar and comfortable with: they can understand the limitations and concepts of technology because they're around it in real life.  They can place absolute limits on it: you cannot do that with tech in my game.  But with magic, its likely they are uncomfortable with it conceptually, feeling it has no limits and can be abused more, plus its unknown and unfamiliar.

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