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Dependence: A useless Catagory of Disads?


Jhamin
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I've been thinking about the disadvantage Dependence lately. Most of the disadvantage catagories are very flexible and allow for modeling a wide range of effects. What can you actually model with Dependence other than dying within five seconds of losing something?

 

If I need to be constantly immersed in Salt Water or I die, then Dependence works fine. If I need to bathe in salt water every 24 hours or I die, that "feels" like a dependence to me, but according to the rules it isn't worth any points at all. (I think you ought to get points for having that kind of a crimp on your lifestyle in a non-salt water based game) If I take it as a physical limit it is then worth points but it just seems to violate my sense of how things ought to be in Hero system.

 

I feel that needing to constantly have something or else should be worth more than the 5 or 10 points dependence currently gives you and needing something every 5, 10 or 24 hours ought to be a dependence that is worth 5 or 10 points.

 

It just seems like the current cost structure is geared so heavily to short term losses as to make the disad pretty hard to use. Notice how few writeups seem to use it compared to the other catagories of disadvantages.

 

Thoughts?

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Re: Dependence: A useless Catagory of Disads?

 

One thing you could consider is getting more mileage out of the Weakness and Incompetence effects by making them cumulative, i.e. 10 points for -2 on SRs or -6 on Chars, 15 pts for -3 or -9, etc. I also might consider increasing the value of the time increment field by 5-10 point, but no more.

 

FWIW ($0.02) :)

 

John T

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Re: Dependence: A useless Catagory of Disads?

 

This is one of those can't fix it situations. If the cost along the time chart is adjusted to allow long term effects to be worth points, then those with short term effects will begetting way to many points. But if you don't, those with long term effect won't get any points at all.

 

The thing about long term effects though, is that they become a lot like eating and sleeping then. If you've got the time to eat three meals a day and catch 6-9 hours of sleep (whether or not you actually have to do either) then squeezing in a salt water bath for an hour shouldn't be a problem (and hence not worth points). The way Dependance works, if you only take so much damage/effect per day, it might actually take you longer to die from lack of the depencance than you will of hunger/thirst or sleep deprevation.

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Re: Dependence: A useless Catagory of Disads?

 

This is one of those can't fix it situations. If the cost along the time chart is adjusted to allow long term effects to be worth points, then those with short term effects will begetting way to many points. But if you don't, those with long term effect won't get any points at all.

 

The thing about long term effects though, is that they become a lot like eating and sleeping then. If you've got the time to eat three meals a day and catch 6-9 hours of sleep (whether or not you actually have to do either) then squeezing in a salt water bath for an hour shouldn't be a problem (and hence not worth points). The way Dependance works, if you only take so much damage/effect per day, it might actually take you longer to die from lack of the depencance than you will of hunger/thirst or sleep deprevation.

Yeah, I'll buy that, though food isn't an ideal example; takes longer to die from that than lack of water or sleep.

 

John T

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Re: Dependence: A useless Catagory of Disads?

 

Then should the difficulty of getting your "fix" have more of an effect that the frequency rules normally allow?

 

Bathing in salt water is pretty easy, but if you have to sleep in a cyclotron every night or your ears bleed, then that week long stay in dinosaur valley starts getting pretty uncomfortable.

 

And anyway, if I need to drink water every day in a campaign where no one else does, that aren't I dependent on it?

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Re: Dependence: A useless Catagory of Disads?

 

This is one of those can't fix it situations. If the cost along the time chart is adjusted to allow long term effects to be worth points, then those with short term effects will begetting way to many points. But if you don't, those with long term effect won't get any points at all.

 

The time chart is meant for powers with active point ranges in the 30-90+ range. As disads are measured from 5-25, maybe a compression of the time chart is appropriate?

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Re: Dependence: A useless Catagory of Disads?

 

It does seem "off" to me. I made a zombie character once with a dependancy on brains in 4th ed. I basically had to have the character eat brains once every 12 hours -- the only way I could figure that was workable is if he kept monkey's brains in a sack with him all the time.

 

When you're talking about, you know, something like, eating brains, that tells me that even once a week, that's a major hassle to deal with.

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Re: Dependence: A useless Catagory of Disads?

 

I think Dependence is already appropriate as is. If you think about it, very few characters in the comics have this Disad (The Submariner needing water every 24 hours and Flash constantly needing food are among the few I can recall off hand). The baseline Dependencies are pretty obviously modeled on needing food or water; they're just less common or needed more often. If you ask me avoiding negative effects from your dependence on "Needs Immersion in Water Every 24 Hours" by carrying a canteen at all times isn't much of a Disad. And in a game system where most combats last less than 30 seconds of game time, needing Chemical X every 12 hours is hardly any inconvenience at all.

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Re: Dependence: A useless Catagory of Disads?

 

its not going to net you much in the way of points at longer times because its not going to be useful as a drama element in combat scenarios.

 

if they wanted it to represent roleplaying issues of more normal dependencies, they would have cut the price for "longer durections" by making them 1 pt per time level instead of 5 or maybe 2 pts per time level.

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Re: Dependence: A useless Catagory of Disads?

 

Hmmm. I guess that is my point then.

 

This is really a combat-only disad. All the other disadvantage catagories can be made to be applicable in or out of combat. As far as I can tell this is the only one that can't.

 

The fact that it shows up in less than half a dozen writeups among the hundreds that have appeared in 5th edition books seems to imply a lack of flexability.

 

Hero is legendary for its flexability, so why isn't there more wiggle room here? Or is this one of those things we need to mention for 6th edition?

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Re: Dependence: A useless Catagory of Disads?

 

As for characters who need something weird every few hours, Off the top of my head:

 

Flash - Eats all the time

Earth 2 Flash - Speed Drug

Submariner - Salt Water every 24 hours

Superman - The red sun (admittedly pretty common in his campaign)

Jack of Hearts - Special chamber to balance his energies

Green Lantern - His recharging lantern

Iron Man - Artifical Heart recharger (recent issues, or did he buy this off yet?)

Blade (Movie Version) - Anti-hunger serum

Jem'Hadar - Ketracel White

 

..and I'm sure many more

 

The need for something regularly, but not constantly does seem to come up often enough to warrent inclusion.

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Re: Dependence: A useless Catagory of Disads?

 

As for characters who need something weird every few hours, Off the top of my head:

 

Flash - Eats all the time

Earth 2 Flash - Speed Drug

Submariner - Salt Water every 24 hours

Superman - The red sun (admittedly pretty common in his campaign)

Jack of Hearts - Special chamber to balance his energies

Green Lantern - His recharging lantern

Iron Man - Artifical Heart recharger (recent issues, or did he buy this off yet?)

Blade (Movie Version) - Anti-hunger serum

Jem'Hadar - Ketracel White

 

..and I'm sure many more

 

Superman needs a yellow sun or he loses his powers gradually. I wouldn't call that a dependency; it's not life threatening. Green Lantern must recharge his focus. That's not a dependency. Some of these are plot devices more than actual dependencies. And considering that there are literally hundreds of supers in comics and fiction, it's clearly not a common Disad.

 

The need for something regularly, but not constantly does seem to come up often enough to warrent inclusion.
You're describing food and water. Should a PC get extra points because he likes breakfast, lunch and dinner every day like most people?
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Re: Dependence: A useless Catagory of Disads?

 

MY OPINION:

 

As for characters who need something weird every few hours, Off the top of my head:

 

Flash - Eats all the time

 

This went on for quite a while in his book, and is in the cartoon, so I buy that one. At the same time, I can't recall a single instance where it actually was a disadvantage, rather than just something he did in low-stress times.

 

Earth 2 Flash - Speed Drug

 

Not sure what you're talking about here. Like Barry Allen and Wally West, Jay Garrick received his powers in an accident, and his involved a chemical, but he was permanently changed. Hourman took Miraclo pills, but that's a limitation on his powers, not a Dependency.

 

Submariner - Salt Water every 24 hours

 

It's Aquaman who had a 24 hour clock for "water or death" (or was that 1 hour?). It was loosened in the Peter David days ("It's not a clock - 1 second to fine and 1 second after dead - I'm in Seattle and it's been raining all day, moron"). The only times I've seen Subby complain, he was hit by heat attacks, which strikes me as a susceptibility that does ddrain damage with an unusual recovery condition.

 

Superman - The red sun (admittedly pretty common in his campaign)

 

The yellow sun/living solar battery thing is his SFX, not a disadvantage or limitation.

 

Jack of Hearts - Special chamber to balance his energies

 

That one's somewhat valid, but he doesn't just die if he doesn't rebalance - he explodes.

 

Green Lantern - His recharging lantern

 

Even "every 24 hours" doesn't seem that common, and now it's less frequent than that (Burnout 17-?). I'd call the old 24 hour recharge more a limitation on the ring's powers than a dependence. Early GL: OIF Power Ring; Restrainable (if you can keep him from the battery for 24 hours or drain its charge - likely not even -1/4).

 

Now that Kyle stores his battery in an extradimensional space so it's always available. and can command the ring remotely, it's an IIF at most.

 

Iron Man - Artifical Heart recharger (recent issues' date=' or did he buy this off yet?)[/quote']

 

Iron Man's had a heart condition for years, with variable comics effects. I recall he needed a recharge every few hours some years ago as part of this. Maybe I'd call that a dependence.

 

Blade (Movie Version) - Anti-hunger serum

 

Haven't seen the movie, so I could be off on this, but I'd call it a tradeoff of the regular need to eat. Depending on its frequency, and whether he needs to eat ordinary food as well, it could even be a point of "reduced need to eat"

 

Jem'Hadar - Ketracel White

 

That's another "real" one. Seems to me they were able to ration it to strech it out for an extended period. Then in other episodes, pulling the tube killed them in short order.

 

..and I'm sure many more

 

You are way more sure than I am, I think. But reasonable people can differ reasonably.

 

The need for something regularly' date=' but not constantly does seem to come up often enough to warrent inclusion.[/quote']

 

The "near-constant" dependence is covered well by the rules, though it seems more an NPC limitation than a PC one. A PC needs to be well rounded, where some NPC's can get away with glaring shortcomings. An alien species dependent on some bizarre substance is more workable than a PC - in fact, such an achilles' heel would often be the plot device to defeat an otherwise overwhelming enemy.

 

As for the less frequent ones, I'm not convinced these couldn't be handled by a physical limitation. "Must bathe in salt water every 24 hours" or "requires heart medication daily" in order to stay alive seem like infrequent, greatly limiting to me. But only if the campaign is such that there is a real risk of the issue becoming a problem for the character. It can't be worth as much as, say, "Inability to Breathe Air" generates for a typical Atlantean.

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Re: Dependence: A useless Catagory of Disads?

 

RE: Earth 2 Flash. I believe he's refering to the "modern" Earth 2, not the pre-Crisis Earth 2. The Flash from the "modern" Earth 2 takes a drug.

 

And yes, the scare quotes are supposed to indicate that I was disappointed with the graphic novel.

 

Ahhhh...Earth THREE (for those of us with a grasp of history, anyway)

 

I'd see this more as a focus for his Speed powers than a Dependence. Maybe also Charges depending how long each one lasts, and whether he would commonly run out.

 

Speaking of history, for Hero this time, anyone remenber The Dash and his END Pills?

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Re: Dependence: A useless Catagory of Disads?

 

Actually, I'm surprised no one's mentioned this to dat, but why not toast Dependence in favour of Susceptibility? I take "3d6/phase if out of salt water for 24 hours+". How common will that be, and how much damage will I take, determines how many points the disadvantage is worth.

 

And before I get "that's not common enough to merit any points", consider the Green Argonite susceptibility...

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Re: Dependence: A useless Catagory of Disads?

 

Ahhhh...Earth THREE (for those of us with a grasp of history' date=' anyway)[/quote']

 

/annoying fanboi on

 

Well, it was called Earth 3 (the home of the Crime Syndicate) under PreCrisis continuity... It first appeared PostCrisis in the "graphic novel" Earth Two. Although if you want to get REAL technical the good Lex Luthor decided that the JLA's earth was "Earth Two"...

 

/annoying fanboi off

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Re: Dependence: A useless Catagory of Disads?

 

You're describing food and water. Should a PC get extra points because he likes breakfast, lunch and dinner every day like most people?

 

If everyone needs food and water, but I need food, water, and Plutonium isn't that worth something?

 

And a plot device that is an intergral part of my character should probably show up a character sheet.

A plot device that makes on character's life harder but does not bother other characters ought to be worth points.

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Re: Dependence: A useless Catagory of Disads?

 

Yeah, I'll buy that, though food isn't an ideal example; takes longer to die from that than lack of water or sleep.

 

John T

 

Trust me on this one... lack of sleep won't kill you, but it can mess you up in other, very serious ways (which can result in death). But I've never heard of anyone dying from sleep deprivation alone.

 

Mags

- has Sleep Apnea, so knows what she'd talking about...

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Re: Dependence: A useless Catagory of Disads?

 

My speedster Skedaddle, needs to eat frequently or she takes damage from her body burning itself up for energy. She carries powerbars and the like, in every pocket of her suit, usually enough to sustain her for one day.

 

It's dangerous for her if she gets captured, trapped or ends up someplace where she can't get more munchies. I think this is well worth the points and, like any other Disad, it's up to the GM to bring it into affect.

 

 

I think the current set up for the Dependancy Disad is meant only for "need to have now" dependancies, or the occasional ones that cause greater harm. And alien who needs to breathe a certain chemical to survive, for instance, or a superbeing that is dependant on light to exist.

 

I agree with the idea of longer-term dependancies being taken as Physical Disads instead. That's a good option.

 

 

Mags

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Re: Dependence: A useless Catagory of Disads?

 

It was my understanding that prolonged lack of sleep was fatal, but it took something like two weeks of NO sleep at all, which is very hard to accomplish. As I mentioned in another thread, I have fallen asleep while marching.

 

On the other hand, I've read of people sufferring from insomnia who have gone years without sleep. I suppose it's possible that whatever abnormality prevents them from sleeping also grants Life Support: Need Not Sleep.

 

I can tell you this much for certain: a person can easily survive on grossly inadequate amounts of sleep.

 

Zeropoint

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