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House rule for Dispels and Suppress


Mr. R
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MP 45 points

2d6 RKA 0 End Gestures SE

10d6 Dispel 0 End Gestures SE

 

You are battling a mirror image of yourself and you recognize the beginnings of the KA spell, so you cast your dispel to block it.  You roll your 10d6 and fail.  In fact you will fail 90% of the time.  Why?  Simple Math.  You have to roll higher than the active points in a power to dispel it.  This means on 10d6 you have to roll 45!  The average on 10d6 is 35!

 

I used this https://anydice.com/

to generate a 10d6 curve and 45 points is a 3.9% chance.  This is like 16- 18 on 3d6.  This makes dispel functionally useless.  

 

My proposal: The dispel works against the base points of the spell.  So in the case above an average roll of 35 will dispel as will at least 30 points.  

 

Is this feasible?  An other suggestions?  

 

I ask because dispel is a classic fantasy trope and I want it and suppress  used as viable tactics ( classic one mage dispels while the a friend attacks)

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Yeah I have the same basic problem with dispel you do: the active points to equal a power of the same cost means you almost never will succeed.  This to me seems to negate the purpose of a dispel; its meant to stop or eliminate powers, but the way its built, it has almost no chance of doing so to an equal power.  So you're always using it against weaker powers.  It seems like the active cost of a dispel should have a decent, average chance of dispelling a power of the same active cost.

 

I mean, how often does dispel even come up in your game?  The way its structured now, its very limited in its value.

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This is the House Rule I've used for Dispel in various settings...works for me but YMMV:
 

DISPEL (5e & 6e)
DISPEL DICE OF EFFECT + DICE ROLL
When used as per the rules, Dispel suffers from point disparities which generally result in a Dispel ability either being very narrowly defined and corner case, or so encumbered by advantages that the dice of effect are too low to be reasonably capable of affecting equivalently pointed target abilities.
Due to this lack of teeth, Dispels are rarely ever actually taken by player characters, unless their cost can be subsumed into a Multipower or Variable Power Pool, and in general Dispels tend to go unused during play as they hardly ever work vs creditable opponents.
This house rule allows a reasonably defined Dispel with some degree of Expanded Effect to still be viable vs abilities with equivalent Active Points.
Dispel grants a base effect equal to the number of dice the character has in Dispel, plus the roll. Thus a 6d6 Dispel confers +6 points of automatic effect, while a 12d6 Dispel confers +12 points of automatic effect, and so on.
ABORT TO DISPEL
Even though Dispel has a defensive use (countering attacks before they can take effect), the Power is not flagged as a "Defensive" ability, and is flagged as an "Attack". The rules more generally allow a character to Abort to a defensive action, but does not allow characters to Abort to an attack. It has been a long standing house rule of mine that a character can abort to a Dispel if it would protect them from harm.
A character with a relevant Dispel can Abort to Dispel an incoming attack that would harm them.
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OK some analysis:

 

The thing is, bare Dispel works well: on average you're going to get exactly the active cost or better on average that you paid for the dispel.

 

ACTIVE                AVG

COST      DICE    ROLL

   10         3d6       10

   20         7d6       24

   30        10d6      35

   40        13d6      45

   50        17d6      59

   60        20d6     70

 

Its when you start adding modifiers to it that things get odd.  

 

+¼ Advantage

ACTIVE                AVG

COST      DICE    ROLL

   10         2½d6    9

   20         5d6      17

   30         8d6      28

   40        10d6     35

   50        13d6     45    

   60        16d6     56

 

+½ Advantage

ACTIVE                AVG

COST      DICE    ROLL

   10         2d6        7

   20       4½d6     16

   30       6½d6     23

   40       8½d6     30

   50        11d6      38

   60        13d6      45

 

Now, this happens with damage too; a 60 active point blast with penetration is 8d6 (28 average stun) or with armor piercing is 9½d6 (33 stun) with damage instead of 12d6 (42 average stun).  That's usually not a problem because the advantages increase effect on the target, such as halving defenses. 

 

But dispel is all or nothing; it works or it does not, and modifiers don't increase that effect.  You can buy armor piercing, for example, but it doesn't do anything unless the target has power defense.  So advantages just strip down power and you get less and less effect.  In a fantasy campaign, for example, you're going to tend to have fairly broad advantages on dispel, such as "affects all magic" which will strip down the effect of dispel significantly and making it fairly weak.

 

So if that effect was true of damage, it would be as if none of the advantages actually increased impact and instead was stuff like Variable Special Effect, Reduced END Cost, and Increased Range.  You'd just do less damage to your targets and it wouldn't feel like it was ever worth advantages.

 

The problem here is that Dispel acts like an attack, but isn't really.  It acts like a defense too, but its aggressive; it targets and takes effect as Shrike noted.  So its a hybrid that is neither fish nor fowl and the rules don't work precisely on Dispel.

 

The trick is to find a way to combat that effect, without making it too effective.

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5 points would give you 1½d6 Dispel, 6 gives you 2d6, so here's both:

 

ACTIVE                AVG

COST      DICE    ROLL

   5          1½d6     5

   6            2d6      7

 

+¼ Advantage

ACTIVE                AVG

COST      DICE    ROLL

    5           1d6       3

    6          1½d6     5

 

+½ Advantage

ACTIVE                AVG

COST      DICE    ROLL

   5            1d6       3 

   6            1d6       3

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Maybe a philosphical question, but is Dispel an offensive power or a defensive one?   

That's still doctrine in Hero, right, that defenses cost less?

 

In the opening example, it's being used defensively, sorta like block or missile deflection, I guess, but it could be used other ways.

 

Maybe the point /is/ to dispell weaker powers, making it a show-off offensive power?  The FH Lich or whole-team-fighting ubervillain waves it's hand and just *poof* a power you were counting on is gone.

 

Admittedly very different from Dispel Magic in D&D, where magic is wildly overpowered and Dispel is a rare check on that power, but in Hero, magic is just another F/X, and Dispel negates powers you paid for fair & square.

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Dispel is really limited in its utility in Hero in one way, though.  Dispel my force field and I can turn it right back on next phase.  Dispel my flight and I fall a phase, but I'll be going again.  Casting time is not usually an issue.  I think that's why dispel never really gets used.  When's the last character you saw in a book, let alone built, that has Dispel?

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I have been going out of my way to not comment in this thread-- mostly because, as I noted in the last thread, I will bend, break, ignore, and otherwise scoff at a rule if it causes any sort of "reduces the fun" issue.  As such, I don't weigh in often on "I'd like to fix X" threads: in my own experience, most people are looking for something closer or at least sort of justifiable in RAW than some of the things I do.  ;)

 

Don't get me wrong: I like to stay as close to the rules as possible, just for consistency, but then sometimes there really is just something away from the rules that works much, _much_ better for my and my group.

 

 

This particular comment:

 

1 hour ago, Christopher R Taylor said:

Dispel is really limited in its utility in Hero in one way, though.  Dispel my force field and I can turn it right back on next phase.  Dispel my flight and I fall a phase, but I'll be going again.  Casting time is not usually an issue.  I think that's why dispel never really gets used.  When's the last character you saw in a book, let alone built, that has Dispel?

 

 

is precisely what changed my mind about adding my own "solution" into the mix.

 

 

Because I _agree_.  Dispel is extremely limited, and the points / return investment ratio discussed above just keeps driving that point home.

 

 

Fixed both of them a long time ago, at least for our groups, with a simple change that violates the rules, but works great for us, as well as adding "cost appropriate" utility for Dispel.

 

We ignore AP and target the RP.

 

Done.

 

 

It stands as reasonable (again, without my own circles) simply because "well, you took three Limitations on that power; obviously it's not as "good" or "robust" as some other power; it makes sense it's easier to dispel than a power with no limitations.  You've added nine advantages to that power of yours.  Your power is so significantly intense-- so much more so than any similar power ever before-- that it makes sense it would be harder to dispel.

 

 

Looked at another way, all Limitations come with a mandatory -0 "Easier to Dispel."  Not "easy to dispel," mind you, but "_easier_ to dispel.  You can take Easy to Dispel if you want, but it also comes with that "easier to dispel" at -0.

 

All advantages come with a +0 Harder to dispel.  You don't even have to write it down: buying an additional advantage makes it harder to dispel.   Likely there are no quibbles here, because applying against the AP already does that very thing; it's only spelled out because its reverse was spelled out a couple of sentences ago.

 

 

Yes; there is still the "I can turn it back on" thing, but now the wizard with the dispel doesn't have to waste so many points to make sure he can get enough dice to annoy you a little bit.   Of course, if your spell or power or whatever is "costs END to activate," or "activation roll" or some such thing, that could get amusing.  :lol:

 

If you've built a Blast spell of some sort and have taken enough Limitations that your spell only costs 12 pts for 4d6, then your opponent only needs to roll a result of 12 to dispel it.   If you've added enough advantages that your blast costs 32 pts for 4d6-- well, likely nothing has actually changed, really.

 

 

It's worked really well for us, and solved a pair of problems: you don't have to pay near as much to get a better result from a power without a lot of built-in utility.

 

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By itself dispel actually works well.  The real problem is that to be of any real use it needs the + ½ advantage to be able to function the way it should in a Fantasy Hero game.   The base dispel will be able to overcome 1.16666… point per point spent.  That works out to a 45 point dispel will on the average take down a 52 point power.  When the + ½ advantage is factored in it drops down to .77777… points per point spent.   So you end up needing to spend 1.3 points per point you want to dispel. 

 

One solution would be to require all spells to take a mandatory – ¼ limitations spell.  Basically you are applying the Unified Power Limitation to spells.  That would allow a character to buy dispel spell and be able to affect any spell with the limitation.  That would mean if a character wants to overcome something besides spells he would either need to purchase a separate dispel or apply the + ½ advantage to his dispel. 

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I have tried to offset this effect by making "magical spells" a +¼ category; dispel is assumed to primarily target spells, so its not as expensive to do so.  But you still run into the cost offset problem where the average effect of a given active cost dispel won't have any effect on equal active cost target.  It's fairly close, so I can live with it, but its still going to take a slightly better-than-average roll.

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Before I continue, let me state up front and clearly that I am not quibbling with you.

 

(At least, not yet.  :rofl:  )

 

I am merely curious as to the thinking behind this statement; I'd like a better understanding of what you're saying here.

 

2 hours ago, LoneWolf said:

 it needs the + ½ advantage to be able to function the way it should in a Fantasy Hero game.   The base dispel will be able to overcome 1.16666… point per point spent.  That works out to a 45 point dispel will on the average take down a 52 point power.  When the + ½ advantage is factored in it drops down to .77777… points per point spent.   So you end up needing to spend 1.3 points per point you want to dispel. 

 

What is it you are saying here?  Yes; I get the math.  I am, however, unable to see the problem that you are reconciling.

 

 

Thanks.

 

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Dispel is 3 point per die, which on the average will take care of 3.5 points of active cost.   The problem is as it is written up that dispels a single power like blast.  At this point a dispel will even on a slightly low roll dispel a power of equal active cost.  That allows for dispel magic to function as Mr. R seems like he wants it to.  Adding the advantage that allows it to dispel any single spell raised the cost to the point where that is no longer the case.  My suggestion will allow dispel to function in the way he seems to want it in the simplest way without really changing the rules that much.

 

To me the best way to handle campaign specific problems is on the character instead of changing the rules.  By requiring spells to take a – ¼ limitation that solves the problem on the character purchasing the spells, instead of requiring a modification of the rules. 
 

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I have never seen Dispel used to stop an attack power.  But I have let mages "block" an incoming attack with their own attack spell (using the standard block maneuver), which still has the wizard duel flavor although the special effect is a little different.

 

Where Dispel is more useful is turning off defensive spell.  Yes, the enemy mage can just turn it back on, but that requires at least a half phase action, and if the PC team is acting like a team, the other party members will attack the enemy mage as soon as those defenses are down.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 6/12/2021 at 9:28 AM, LoneWolf said:

 

 

One solution would be to require all spells to take a mandatory – ¼ limitations spell.  Basically you are applying the Unified Power Limitation to spells.  That would allow a character to buy dispel spell and be able to affect any spell with the limitation.  That would mean if a character wants to overcome something besides spells he would either need to purchase a separate dispel or apply the + ½ advantage to his dispel. 

 

 

I like this.  I may though just make it a -0 limitation that is one of the house rules to the game.  Add only roll versus base points and dispel becomes extremely viable again!

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If you are going to reduce the effectiveness of a power the character purchasing it should pay less.  Most magic systems require certain limitations, but they normally do reduce the cost of the spell.  This really should be no different than requiring a character to take requires a skill roll. Purchasing a spell detect magic should be cheaper than the talent mage sight (detect magic).  

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