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Body for everything


Sean Waters
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So, right, I was walking the dogs and thought, “why do we do characteristic rolls for Strength differently to all the other characteristic rolls?"

 

Do go check, but instead of 9+CHAR/5 it is roll STR/5 as damage and count Body.  I like that.  Very Hero.

 

So, that got me thinking, why don’t we do that for everything?  Stealth check?  DEX/5 + skill levels rolled as damage dice and count Body against a difficulty determined by the GM or the characteristics of an opponent

 

Example: Dexterity 15 character with +1 in Stealth rolls 4d6 and counts Body to sneak past the 10 Intelligence guard.  Use INT/5 (2) as the difficulty – should be easy in normal circumstances.

 

Then I went mad and thought, “Why not combat too?”

 

OCV 3 attack against DCV 4?  Roll 3d6 and count Body aiming for a result of 4 or more (so you’ll need at least one ‘6’).

 

This has the advantage of having a single ‘Hero’ mechanic that is unique (as far as I know) for everything.  There's more (good and bad), but I thought we'd go one step at a time...

 

Thoughts?

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I always thought the opposite, why isn't a roll vs roll check for STR?

 

But it works that way too.  The big difference really is that there's a much larger range of strength than other stats in the game.  You can have 60 STR but rarely does anyone have more than maybe 30 or 40 in another stat and usually in the 20s.  Probably +1 would better translate as +1 body to the roll though?

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46 minutes ago, Christopher R Taylor said:

I always thought the opposite, why isn't a roll vs roll check for STR?

 

But it works that way too.  The big difference really is that there's a much larger range of strength than other stats in the game.  You can have 60 STR but rarely does anyone have more than maybe 30 or 40 in another stat and usually in the 20s.  Probably +1 would better translate as +1 body to the roll though?

 

3d6 gives room for a lot of variability.  The difference between 30 STR and 10 STR is 20 points (or 16x stronger) or a difference of only 4 on the rolls so someone with 10 STR could beat someone with 30 STR in an armwrestle an uncomfortably large number of times.  They would generally lose but, realistically, they should have no chance.  Rolling Body gives a narrower range of results and it would take a near miracle of dice rolling to succeed, whereas with 3d6 it is over 9%.

 

Someone with a 20 STR can beat a 30 STR very occasionally (about 10% of the rolls) using BODY totals whereas on a 3d6 roll it is over 25% of the time.  

 

This is a pro or con, depending on your view, of extending the mechanic to the system generally.  The fact that most stats will be in a smaller range actually mitigates this as a problem as the numbers will generally be closer, but I'd rather my Daredevil Clone never fall to his death because he messed up on a straightforward  Acrobatics roll, despite having 16-.

 

The idea of +1 to the skill being +1d6 would work slightly better if skill categories were still 5 points per point rather than 4 (INT and PRE) or 6 (DEX).  +1d6 averages +1 point, it just leaves slightly more room for excellent or awful rolls and we know people like rolling lots of dice.  Still, to speed gameplay +1 skill = +1 Body works fine.

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The difference between 30 STR and 10 STR is 20 points (or 16x stronger) or a difference of only 4 on the rolls so someone with 10 STR could beat someone with 30 STR in an armwrestle an uncomfortably large number of times.

 

 

3 points is a huge swing on 3d6: that's the difference between an 8- roll (less than 10% success) and 11- roll (roughly 50% success).

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8 hours ago, Sean Waters said:

Thoughts?

 

If "count the BODY" became a core mechanic, I think it might drop Hero below a reasonable amount of variability in the dice.  For example, some folks already struggle with the fact that, in practical terms, you're likely to see fewer results with a 3d6 roll (most results will be between 6 and 15) than with, say, a d20 (where all results from 1-20 are equally likely).  Obviously, this is a bit of apples and oranges because one is a curve and the other is flat, but still... About 85% of the time, a 3d6 roll is only going to give you one of 10 results (with the middle of even that range coming up much more than the ends).

 

With "count the BODY," we'd see even fewer distinct results. Instead of only 6 possible outcomes on each d6 (all equally likely), we'd have only 3 possible outcomes, and 2 of them would only come up 1 time in 6.

 

Part of what I like about Hero is that characters seem pretty competent, and that I as the player can gauge my chances of success pretty well (i.e., it's fairly predictable).  But I wonder if this approach would make characters seem too competent, and make results too predictable...

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6 hours ago, Christopher R Taylor said:

3 points is a huge swing on 3d6: that's the difference between an 8- roll (less than 10% success) and 11- roll (roughly 50% success).

 

<NITPICK>

An 8- roll is about 25% success, and an 11- roll is over 60% success...

</NITPICK>

 

I agree that it's a sizable swing, though.

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12 hours ago, Derek Hiemforth said:

 

If "count the BODY" became a core mechanic, I think it might drop Hero below a reasonable amount of variability in the dice.  For example, some folks already struggle with the fact that, in practical terms, you're likely to see fewer results with a 3d6 roll (most results will be between 6 and 15) than with, say, a d20 (where all results from 1-20 are equally likely).  Obviously, this is a bit of apples and oranges because one is a curve and the other is flat, but still... About 85% of the time, a 3d6 roll is only going to give you one of 10 results (with the middle of even that range coming up much more than the ends).

 

With "count the BODY," we'd see even fewer distinct results. Instead of only 6 possible outcomes on each d6 (all equally likely), we'd have only 3 possible outcomes, and 2 of them would only come up 1 time in 6.

 

Part of what I like about Hero is that characters seem pretty competent, and that I as the player can gauge my chances of success pretty well (i.e., it's fairly predictable).  But I wonder if this approach would make characters seem too competent, and make results too predictable...

 

 

That's a reasonable point, although I'm less enamoured of greater randomness.  The problem with a big spread of chance is that it discourages intelligent tactical play.  If I know I could get lucky then why bother spending a phase or two setting up an attack to improve the chance to hit: I might as well keep plugging away and hope the dice land right for me.

 

I think that a competent character should know whether they can do something, or not, or have a chance of success, the important bit there being 'or not'.  I think outcomes should be reasonably predictable.  Not too predictable, but also not too random.  I want to play in a world where Defender knows that he can't beat Grond in an arm wrestle so doesn't try or cheats.

 

There is a valid argument that there is a world of difference between simple tasks, like running or applying strength and complex tasks, like fighting or playing team sports and that the former are and should be more predictable because there are fewer interfering factors and complications.  Hero is not a simulation of reality though and whatever way we slice the salami, it is never going to be.  I'd rather most characters who are competent in combat buy skill levels and martial arts to make them less predictable in combat and perhaps have to trade off damage against a realistic chance of hitting rather than just swinging until the big guns inevitably roll a 7 (16% of the time).

 

There are also real advantages to having a single core mechanic in a gaming system.  It makes the game distinctive and easier to learn and play.

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On 11/23/2021 at 5:29 PM, Derek Hiemforth said:

 

<NITPICK>

An 8- roll is about 25% success, and an 11- roll is over 60% success...

</NITPICK>

 

I agree that it's a sizable swing, though.

 

But what Sean is saying is, it's nowhere NEAR big ENOUGH.  A 30 STR should basically never lose against a 10 STR;  the only excuse would be the 30 STR wasn't prepared.

 

But that's also easy:  assert it's not a roll.  The 30 STR wins.  Period.  STR is a bad Characteristic for this kind of comparison because it's NOT linear in one aspect.  DEX is linear.  EGO is linear.  PRE is linear.  STR is linear in damage...but not in lift, and that's the angle we think of here.

 

Rather than mutilate the entire skills system, why not try building a system to accommodate the *rare* Skill STR vs STR test?  There are no STR skills..BECAUSE it's a screwy characteristic.  At least in part.  It's also got major uses anyway.  So just build something for the isolated STR vs. Str contest...tug of war, I try to lift, you try to keep it on the ground, etc.  The simplest solution would seem to be, make it an *extended* contest.  Winner is first to 3 net successes.  So A,B,A,B is back to neutral...each needs 3.  A,A,B,A,A is a win for A.  Now even that +1 difference becomes significant, and a 4 point difference...well, there's little chance of the underdog winning.

 

Also, you're NOT making a "STR check" when making a damage roll, so IMO your entire premise is ungrounded.

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5 hours ago, unclevlad said:

 

But what Sean is saying is, it's nowhere NEAR big ENOUGH.  A 30 STR should basically never lose against a 10 STR;  the only excuse would be the 30 STR wasn't prepared.

 

But that's also easy:  assert it's not a roll.  The 30 STR wins.  Period.  STR is a bad Characteristic for this kind of comparison because it's NOT linear in one aspect.  DEX is linear.  EGO is linear.  PRE is linear.  STR is linear in damage...but not in lift, and that's the angle we think of here.

 

Rather than mutilate the entire skills system, why not try building a system to accommodate the *rare* Skill STR vs STR test?  There are no STR skills..BECAUSE it's a screwy characteristic.  At least in part.  It's also got major uses anyway.  So just build something for the isolated STR vs. Str contest...tug of war, I try to lift, you try to keep it on the ground, etc.  The simplest solution would seem to be, make it an *extended* contest.  Winner is first to 3 net successes.  So A,B,A,B is back to neutral...each needs 3.  A,A,B,A,A is a win for A.  Now even that +1 difference becomes significant, and a 4 point difference...well, there's little chance of the underdog winning.

 

Also, you're NOT making a "STR check" when making a damage roll, so IMO your entire premise is ungrounded.

 

Hand me my can opener, I need me some worms.  Strength is only pseudo-exponential.  The lift capacity certainly is, but the damage doesn't mirror the force that you can apply, it follows a linear path, because of reasons, apparently.

 

Or is it?

 

There's two ways of looking at it: either Strength is not a typical feature of Hero or it is, and if it is then 30 DEX is 16x as Dexy as 10 DEX.  Come on Eileen.

 

Looked at another way, maybe 3d6 damage is twice as much damage as 2d6 damage.  Hero uses threshold values for defences to complicate, or possibly simplify, things.  That means that if you fire off a 2d6 Blast it is unlikely to get any damage through 10 defence but 3d6 is likely to get some through and 4d6 is likely to get disproportionately more through.

 

There's actually pretty good evidence of this in the damage tables if you look up the muzzle energy of weapons and compare it to the damage values, but then there's the falling table, which is linear and winds up with 30d6 damage for a terminal fall, which is silly.  That should be the sort of damage really impressive high END conventional weapons are delivering.  If someone falls out of an aeroplane they do not leave a crater.  The maximum falling damage on Earth should be 16 to 18 dice normal, or around 5d6+1 to 6d6 killing, based on the kinetic energy of a 100kg object at around 50-55 m/s.

 

The problem, I think, is that Hero is not consistent and that is unhelpful.  Look in the Equipment Guide and you'll find a 1MT nuke doing, amongst other things, 20d6RKA and 20d6Body drain.  Why?  That's an average of 70 Body Damage/Drain.  It is unnecessary overkill.  Don't get me wrong, it is going to be a lot of damage, but that's too much.  A 1MT blast should be doing damage around 52DCs, a small nuclear blast in the kiloton range around the low 40s.

 

That would make damage consistent with the exponential nature of Strength and, possibly, imply that 5 more points of anything is about a doubling of ability.  That kind of works with both the 9+Char/5 and the Body dice thing in that they both take a big dip in your chance of winning if your opponent is even a bit better than you, but I still maintain 3d6 tails off too slowly and gives too high an initial chance of success.  Bear in mind, in most cases, the heroes will be the best there is at what they do.  We probably don't want a minion Viper Agent with a lucky roll successfully grappling Taurus even for a phase or two.

 

For a character with +4 (a characteristic equivalent to 20) against a character with +5 (a characteristic equivalent of 25) the 'normal' skill roll means you need a 10 or less to draw and a 9 or less to win i.e. the chance goes from 50% to 37.5%.  For the Body dice thing, well, truth be told I have not worked out the formula, but I have created a big spreadsheet with 100 rows of Xd6 and you'd draw about 35% of the time and win about 10% of the time.  If I'm arm wrestling someone twice as strong as me I would not expect to win over 1/3 of the time and if I'm playing darts with someone twice as dextrous as me ditto.

 

Obviously there's no easy measure of Dexterity in the same way there is of Strength or damage, but if we assume that hero is, or should be, consistent then +5 = x2, so STR checks would not be an outlier, they would work the same way as everything else.  Funnily enough the way we measure intelligence in the real world, with IQ (flawed as that is) is not a straight line, so INT in the game probably does (roughly) equate to intelligence in the real world if you just multiply the score by 10.

 

The other big advantage of this approach is that you don't need to have silly point totals*: the1MT nuke in the equipment guide costs over 5500 real points.  You COULD build a character that could  survive a nuke of this size but the costs would be prohibitive. 20d6 killing is 300 points.  For 375 you could be strong enough to punch so hard that the entire planet would take knockback.  The source material is littered with characters who can not just survive a nuclear bomb but remain conscious in the blast.  The only realistic way you could build that in Hero is with some sort of cheat, like instant resurrection.

 

I appreciate that Hero is not a simulation but that is no reason that it can't be based on (comic book) realistic principles and be internally consistent. 

 

A substantial degree of predictability is a necessary part of almost everything people actually do, and so should also be a feature of any game seeking to be intuitive.  I mean chess is entirely predictable and it's not boring because of that, is it?  It's boring because the pieces don't have force fields and energy blasts.

 

 

*Well, not quite so silly.

 

 

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10 hours ago, Ninja-Bear said:

@Sean Watersdis you happen to see an article several years back where Entangle could be used for other Characteristics and resolved as if the characteristic was STR? So Slick could have his Entangles work against DEX instead of Strength. I could see the merits of this BTW.

 

I did not but it sounds interesting.  I will try and find it. 

 

A problem with more ways you can be attacked though is the necessity of more defences.  Grond doesn't worry about entangles because 90 STR but if he had to worry about DEX entangles he'd either have to accept being helpless a lot of the time or have an awful lot of DEX.  Or teleport.  The problem is that attacks are always cheaper in Hero than defences, especially with power frameworks in the mix, so the greater the variety of attacks the harder it is to build an effective character.  Not so much of a problem with a team but it makes an effective solo opponent awfully difficult to build.

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The main reason STR is linear cost and exponential is that the setting of Champions needs to have The Hulk and The Thinker in the same world, without Hulk paying 9000 points just to lift stuff.  At the Heroic level the stats stage extremely well together, but in Champions it kind of gets out of control.  But it still works anyway

 

however, you do bring up a good point: someone so smart they can think their way out of anything should have more than, say, 25 or 30 INT.  It should take 60 INT to be Mr Fantastic (or MCU movie Tony Stark).  It should take 60 Ego to be Professor X or Phoenix.

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1 hour ago, Christopher R Taylor said:

 

however, you do bring up a good point: someone so smart they can think their way out of anything should have more than, say, 25 or 30 INT.  It should take 60 INT to be Mr Fantastic (or MCU movie Tony Stark).  It should take 60 Ego to be Professor X or Phoenix.

 

Your are right: strength has a big range because each increment continues to be useful. Extra damage is always good (at least until you become One Punch Man), there's not much point in extra intelligence of you are already rolling 17-.  Unless the GM is applying huge penalties just so you can feel like spending the points was worth it, you are never really going to need more than 30 INT.

 

It may be helpful to think of all characteristics as exponential in nature so 30 INT isn't 50% better than 20, it's 400% better.

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"So, right, I was walking the dogs and thought, “why do we do characteristic rolls for Strength differently to all the other characteristic rolls?"

 

Makes sense to me, Strength is a complicating stat to still have around. Now that all the all the other stat calculations are gone, Strength's calculations should go too.  

Strength could go into strength based skills and nothing else.   Not sure what? 

Damage should be bought as damage and never come from a stat.  Super Strength is just another special effect now that we are removing all the other calculations.  Make MA much simpler.  

    

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I feel you, but Str. breaks the game.  And, it is usually not what is really happening in the situation.    Str. could still used to break grabs and entangles. 

Strength and using strength is not the same thing.  Isn't that the entire point of MA.  A zero strength toon with skills can kick a 20 Str. Toon into the ground.  In RL, 100lb power lifter can pick up as much or more than 200lb lifters who are "stronger" but less skilled.  I feel there is some argument for strength skill rolls over raw strength.   

Muscle bound is another example of strength without ability to do damage.   

Also, The hulk Strength does not come from his muscles, he is not strong from muscles.  He is Superpowered from radiation.  Controlling the radiation that gives him the damage, throw and carry powers.    

Zero range TK  from  radiation powers. :)

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20 hours ago, Christopher R Taylor said:

Strength having nothing to do with dealing damage violates pretty much everyone's sense of reality and logic, though.  I can, with some effort overcome the EXTREMELY OBVIOUS connection between Dex and CV, but strength is a change too far.

 

True. But...

 

What if Strength was the ability to apply force? You can lift stuff. You can bend stuff. You can tear stuff apart.  You can maintain an almost unbreakable grip.

 

It doesn't mean you can do a lot of damage with a punch though, not unless you've already got hold of the thing you are punching.

 

That would need you to punch fast, not just hard. Same with throwing stuff. That's a function of momentum.

 

So. Strength costs a point per point and you can lift heavy stuff with it, and apply serious damage to anything you can get a grip on.

 

Want to do damages in combat though, you need another power. Hand to hand damage.  That costs 4 points per point and allows you to hit hard without previously grabbing the target.

 

How far you can throw stuff is based on the lower of Strength and HtH Damage.

 

Sort of doubles the cost of Strength but doesn't really.

 

More complicated, but this is Hero. When has that every scared us?

 

Sort of like there's no problem putting your hand in a press so long as it isn't there when it hits the base plate.

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Sure, but the examples of very very strong beings that cannot also hit really hard are extremely rare.  The source material being simulated shows that if you're really huge and swole, then you hit like a freight train.  So the system reflecting that means that if you are able to lift heavy things but hit like a flea means you took limitations on your STR.  And that's across all genres, that huge strong cowboy can punch out a horse.  That burly orc can slap your face off.

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15 hours ago, Christopher R Taylor said:

Sure, but the examples of very very strong beings that cannot also hit really hard are extremely rare.  The source material being simulated shows that if you're really huge and swole, then you hit like a freight train.  So the system reflecting that means that if you are able to lift heavy things but hit like a flea means you took limitations on your STR.  And that's across all genres, that huge strong cowboy can punch out a horse.  That burly orc can slap your face off.

 

Miracle Man, who is probably stronger than Superman, has, and I quote his wife, muscles like a ballet dancer.

 

Not the point though. I agree that being able to lift a lot and being able to hit hard go hand in hand in source material across genres, but, apart from the occasional glass jaw for comedic purposes, all those burly types can also take a lot of damage, yet we don't, at least any longer, feel the need to bundle extra PD and Stun in with high Strength.


I imagine that almost everyone with high Strength would also buy decent punch damage (at higher cost for greater utility) but it would be interesting to have a significant number of high Strength/low speed types relying on grab and rend/crush rather than punches and kicks because that's how their abilities work best.

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