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RDU Neil

Focus = Too Great a Price Break?

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Re: Focus = Too Great a Price Break?

 

No' date=' I'm sorry, but you're wrong. Check out limitations, specifically Limited Powers. The value of Conditional Limited Powers is totally dependent on how often the power doesnt work. Sure, it's only one way of measuring effectiveness, but it lays down the general principle for what all those -1/4s and 1-2s actually mean.[/quote']

 

Actually, YOU are wrong. As Treb has pointed out, a power that acts 14- works 90% of the time, but has a -1/2 limitation. By your logic, that should be the limitation for about 11- (62.5% chance of working). But every time the character fires off a shot, he has no way of knowing if it will work, so from that perspective, the limitation nearly always limits the power (not "always" - sometimes, infinite do-overs are possible). One could argue "limited power" makes all activation rolls a -2 (since the limitation always risks an unavailable power) and this would make as much sense as "all -1/2 limitations must make the power unavailable 1/3 of the time".

 

[Actually, I don't think it's easy for anyone to be "wrong" when we're talking about matters of popinion, but that's another story.]

 

Consider the Limited Power: Not in full daylight (-1/2). Does that mean the character should spend precisely 1/3 of his phases in full daylight? I don;t think so. It doesn, however, mean the character may have to make some choices. Do I step out into the light and reduce my range modifiers (but lose access to some powers) or should I stay back here, suffer the penalty to hit but keep access to those powers? Ideally, for a -1/2 limitation, I'd like to see the "daylight" issue make an appearance every three or so game sessions. OIHID is -1/4 - I'd like to see it crop up every 5 or so game sessions. That means "I hagve an issue related to OIHID", not "the character cannot achieve his Hero ID at all every 5th combat".

 

To the issue of OIF: Yes, comic book staples are available to remocve anyone's powers. But who loses their powers/has them unavailable more often? Iron Man through his armor, Hawkeye through his bow and arrows or Scarlet Witch, who has natural powers? It's a frequency thing. If, every time the characters are KO'd, some tripe is hauled out to remove all their powers, then you're penalizing the characters who DID NOT receive a point break, not just enforcing the limitations of those who did.

 

The issue of "Limitation X isn't worth Point Break Y" seems to crop up failry regularly. The answer always comes down to whether the GM is running the game in such a fashion as to make the limitation cause enough trouble to justify the point break. The argument comes in two flavours - how often I, or you, or whoever, think the problem should arise, and how difficult it is for the GM to meet this standard without robbing the game of its "realism" (ie every street thug has a chunk of Green Argonite). Foir my money, I don't see foci used in excess abundance in my games, nor do people say "I'm not taking a focus - that just hoses my character", so I'd say it's balanced. Now, I do hear players cringe in fear at even the thought of taking a single die of Unluck, so maybe that ought to be worth more.

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Re: Focus = Too Great a Price Break?

 

There has been a lot of discussion, and I feel a good consensus, on the topic of Limitations, and the fact that they are not created equal. One -1/2 Limitation is not nearly as limiting as another "canon" -1/2 limitation. (Say IAF vs. 14 or less activation as an example IMO).

 

To this point, I have two questions:

 

First, Has anyone out there "rewritten" the standard limitations in the book to better reflect the actual worth of the limitation in their games?

 

Second, specifically, does anyone but me feel that Focus is WAY too much of a price break? I mean, it may be my style of play, but the benefits of extra points to spend tends to FAR outweigh the occasional nuissance of not having access to a power. Again, this is anecdotal... but really bugs me.

 

Why not just give them the FOCI for free? They're more limited than real powers! ;)

 

We haven't changed limits/FOCI values. IAF's are practically unheard of though.

 

Yeah, OIF is a big price break. So's a -1/4 "not in red sunlight". Generally, they give you a bigger reward than they are a problem. Overall I think that's OK. One limit isn't usually a problem - it's when limit stacking comes in that it really becomes gross, like multiple advantages on a single power. The Kryptonian battlesuit that's an OIF, doesn't work under a red sun and has a 15- activation on a lot of powers gets ridiculous. Generally one "overall" limit per character should be enough. The tendency to make characters totally useless if a limit comes into effect can be a problem too - "OK, GL - you've lost your ring - what're you going to do?" - "I dunno - I've got straight normal stats without it and no useful skills! This blows! This is unfair!"

 

IMO, limits should be like some of the other point giving/point saving things in the game - disadvantages, EC's, etc. They should be there due to the concept, not shoehorned into it to save pts, which unfortunately often becomes the case. "Hmmm...my electrical gun probably wouldn't work underwater, I'll put that down..." should be the case much more than "Hmmm...in order to keep this butch attack I need to shave some more points...I need to find another limit to put on - OAF isn't enough yet..."

 

Overall limits should be part of the whole "concept bonus" idea, and sometimes it messes with you, and hopefully makes for better stories as a result. Would Superman be less interesting to read without Kryptonite, would Shazam be less interesting without OIHID, would Hawkeye be a total lame-o if he could just throw out all kinds of weird attacks without needing a bow and arrows? I think so. Why not get them some points out of it?

 

There is a discrepancy in how limiting things often are. If I could go back in time to the inception of Champions, one of the things I might like to try out is doing limits in 1/8 increments instead of just 1/4, or even making the whole thing decimal based - "-.1 limit", etc. In practice, it hasn't been too big a problem for us as long as the GM keeps a handle on it.

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Re: Focus = Too Great a Price Break?

 

Why not just give them the FOCI for free? They're more limited than real powers! ;)

 

It is a bit ironic to argue on one thread that "free gear" is OK, and on another that focus saves too many points... :nonp:

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Re: Focus = Too Great a Price Break?

 

FWIW... i tend to agree with hugh's benchmark...

 

it all comes down to the GM's promise to his players.

 

When he tells them a cost he is promising them it will be worth that and no more. if things play out differently, thats a problem.

 

if your players do not see X as a freebie too-good-to-pass-up deal getting away with something, and people of other types don't complain about it being cheap you are probably enforcing the limitations at least harshly enough for your crowd.

 

if your players at the same time do not see x as too bad to consider, to much trouble for its worth, and so forth, you are probably not enforcing the lim too much for your crowd.

 

if both are true, you are probably doing well enough for your crowd.

 

now, whats "enough for your crowd" might vary greatly from my crowd or hugh's crowd, but thats really not worth worrying over all that much... IMO that is.

 

And BTW, i had the same unluck phobia. part of it derives from the lack of specificity of unluck. I think some players read it as "Gm has carte blanche to hose me" and avoid it in favor of more precise limitations and disadvantages. A kind of "the devil you know" thing.

 

I didn't worry overmuch as i always required a limitation called "Steve is my GM" be taken anyway, to reflect the shenanigans i planned for them.

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Re: Focus = Too Great a Price Break?

 

If I could go back in time to the inception of Champions, one of the things I might like to try out ...

 

Along this route (and assuming sticking with loan sharking methodology) my choice for a different take would be...

 

Universal limitation!

 

One limitation uber alles.

 

Basically, UL is generated by making two choices, frequency of the problem occuring and range of severity when it occurs. Choose these two, look at a chart and get a lim value or a disad pts back.

 

Now, is your lim that you take a -3 to hit when attacking things mostly colored blue? Is it that your power bolts don't work vs wood? is it that on holy days your powers cost double end? or is it that fire attacks make you tired?

 

Doesn't matter... those are all the SFX of the problem whose value is defined by the agreed upon by player and GM frequency and severity range.

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Re: Focus = Too Great a Price Break?

 

No, I'm sorry, but you're wrong. Check out limitations, specifically Limited Powers. The value of Conditional Limited Powers is totally dependent on how often the power doesnt work. Sure, it's only one way of measuring effectiveness, but it lays down the general principle for what all those -1/4s and 1-2s actually mean.

 

A -1 power works at 100% effectiveness 50% of the time. A valid alternative is that it is 50% less effective 100% of the time. Every other option should fit somewhere between these two extremes. Saying that a power should have 'some type of difficulty' means that anyone with a Conditional Power is suddenly getting sold short: while their power fails to work entirely, other people just get 'some type of difficulty'. It's one thing to disagree with the view point that Foci are costed over generously, but your assertion here runs totally in the face of the underpinning mathematics (flawed though it certainly is) to HERO Advantages and Limitations.

OIHID or Focus are not "Conditional Limited Powers." They are their own unique and individual Limitations. It defies both common sense and genre conventions for a typical Obvious Inaccessible Focus such as powered armor to be totally non-functional 33% of the time for the same -½ Limitation as the 90.7% probability of functioning for a 14- Activation. Kindly explain why OIF should be penalized more than 3.5 times as often (33% vs. 9.3%) for the same value as a 14- Activation Limitation?

 

Additionally, each stacked Limitation provides a proportionately smaller price break. A 100 AP Power with a -1 Limitation gets a 50 point price break, but the second -1 gets it only an additional 17 point discount and the third only 8 more points. By your method it should only function 12.5% of the time while costing 25% of the full price. That's not only illogical but patently unfair.

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Re: Focus = Too Great a Price Break?

 

Hey, if the GM is too lazy to incorporate Hunteds and DNPCs into the game they are free points also. The GM has to step up.

 

"Obvious/Inobvious" is too subjective and needs to be changed. My awesome mystic wand looks like a pinwheel (A Pinwheel from Hell!) Is it obvious or inobvious? Depends on the viewer. Starts to sound like we should have Distinctive Features for stuff. Maybe gear should be designed like vehicles. Or even Followers.

 

"Accessible/Inaccessible" is a little clearer but still too binary. Could you take your foci to the movies? Could you carry it onto a plane, especially post 9/11? Would it have to go in the trunk if you took a cab? Does your girlfriend get pissed that you keep leaving your Steamertrunk of Lethality in the middle of her living room? It's way more than just GRABable or no. Vincent Vega got shot in Pulp Fiction because he didn't take his Glock to the can with him. Sounds like we need Physical Limitations for stuff, more than just Bulky.

 

In a "radiation accident" one of my players was hired by a movie studio to become in real life their cinema star Ronin. The gig came with a suit of high-tech armor, absolutely free. However they had cameras mounted all over the suit (Watched,) anyone could find out the suit's capabilities by watching the movie or reading the press releases (everything was an Obvious Focus, also Reputation and Distinctive Features) and everyone thought he was actually Michael J. Fox, the actor who starred in the movie! The suit was gifted to the player at no point expense, but it wasn't free.

 

If foci-wielders in your game don't piddle their drawers when anyone with TK shows up, the GM is being way too kind. Firing pins don't work well around magnetic powers, let alone sensitive electronics. The cheaper the players make their powers, the easier they are to Suppress.

 

If you wargame, Focus is a gravy disadvantage. The more role-playing that sneaks in the less broken it gets.

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Re: Focus = Too Great a Price Break?

 

It is a bit ironic to argue on one thread that "free gear" is OK' date=' and on another that focus saves too many points... :nonp:[/quote']

 

1) Gear rarely comes close to the AP or DC effectiveness of actual powers.

 

2) It is actuallY EASIER to GM access to "free gear" than it is to try and bend a story around "Have a hosed the Foci guy enough in the last six adventures?" Basically, gear doesn't define the character (rarely) so not having it is just part of the story... but losing a power that is critical to "who the character is" causes all kinds of bad blood, even if it isn't conscious.

 

3) It is the control issue, again. Essentially, the OAF means that "control of the power" is out of the players hands roughly half the time. So... while a character CONCEPT drives the use of OAF (I get my powers through a magic sword) the CONCEPT does NOT really fit a "Half the time my magic sword doesn't quite work" i.e. the amount of control the player is willing to give up doesn't match the -1 limitation that the book says it should.

 

4) This generates an issue of having to alter the canon to fit the CONCEPT... which is fine, but can be difficult for the player to understand.

 

Something generic in terms of a limitation... like Tesuji pointed out above (I think it was him) would make sense. The limitation is clearly based on "how much control are you willing to give up to the GM!" So a magic sword could have 0 limitation or -1... but the player would have a clear understanding of what they were choosing.

 

This is another issue with Hero as a system, not a game. It requires not only a lengthy learning curve of the mechanics... but it also requires an ongoing meta-discussion on gaming philosopy and play style about the How and Why those mechanics are used as they are. Because each mechanic is open to an infinite number of interpretations, it is a lot of work to make sure that players and GM (and players to players) are thinking the same thing when looking at what is written on a character sheet. That level of ambiguity is just as much a detriment to playability as the flexibility is a boon.

 

And that right there is the crux of the issue. Ambiguity.

 

Free equipment - no ambiguity, it is entirely in the hands of the GM

 

Power with no limitations - no ambiguity, this is max player control

 

Power with limitations - now we are in the weeds of ambiguity... who has control and when... by how much? When does this cause friction and break down the story trying to be told? What level is the GM comfortable with exerting control? What level of control is the player willing to give up?

 

To me, the Focus lims as stated are examples of "in the book" rules that push the game play into an unpleasant... unfun... friction of control issues. (In fact almost any time limitations that hit -1 or greater start to become an issue... but again, this is play style rubbing up against canon rules.)

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Re: Focus = Too Great a Price Break?

 

If you wargame' date=' Focus is a gravy disadvantage. The more role-playing that sneaks in the less broken it gets.[/quote']

 

This is completely opposite my experience.

 

Role playing and good story often mean that a focus is NOT the focus of the story... thus rarely should be an issue in play.

 

A wargame is just that... I set up things tactically, to take rules advantage of one power vs. another power... thus all my villain teams would have at least one TK (whether the story and role playing made sense for that) and one Tech-Breaker with their 1d6 RKA, AE, Double Penetrating, Only vs. Foci attacks... etc.

 

Wargaming... it is a piece of cake to handle foci, because you mathematically hose them 50% or 33% or whatever. Role playing and story don't necessarily work that way at all. A story my work to allow a player to have a powerful artifact... and then the story may never really go in the direction of taking that artifact away... so as a GM, I have to go AWAY from role playing and story to create an event specifically to hose the foci player... even though it really doesn't fit the story or flow organically from the unfolding events.

 

Shoehorning an event into a game in order to threaten Capt. Focus is not role playing. That is exactly what I would consider wargaming.

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Re: Focus = Too Great a Price Break?

 

I wonder a few things...

 

how far apart are we all on "enforcement" in games we run?

 

For those GMing games where players have foci, lets say their primary attacks are OAF or OIF, how may times in the last dozen sessions of play have they been denied the use of the weapon in a significant way?

 

How does this compare to other -1 limitations? Or, perhaps it would be fair to ask, how many other -1 limitations than OAF are in use at all by your PCs?

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Re: Focus = Too Great a Price Break?

 

I wonder a few things...

 

how far apart are we all on "enforcement" in games we run?

 

Very far apart in my case.

 

As far as I'm concerned, the points don't matter in superhero games (i.e., the only games where someone would buy a focus). The characters are built to concept, not budget.

 

So I 'enforce' such things only to the extent that I feel they should come up in the storyline. No more, no less.

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Re: Focus = Too Great a Price Break?

 

 

How does this compare to other -1 limitations? Or, perhaps it would be fair to ask, how many other -1 limitations than OAF are in use at all by your PCs?

 

This is the big question. Good one. I would bet that most players would balk at putting on most other -1 limitations (or combinations their of...) but don't blink at the OAF.

 

The CONCEPT of the OAF makes sense, so they just go with what the rules say (-1) without stopping to think what that really means. Other limitations that equal or add up to -1... those tend to make the player stop and say, "Do I REALLY want my power only activating on a 8 or less"

 

Again... IMO... trying to enforce an OAF for the full -1 is usually a major headache... doesn't fit the flow of the story... and generally allows the player to get more than they paid for. YMMV, but I dislike the advesarial relationship that Focus enforcement can create.

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Guest Champsguy

Re: Focus = Too Great a Price Break?

 

Very far apart in my case.

 

As far as I'm concerned, the points don't matter in superhero games (i.e., the only games where someone would buy a focus). The characters are built to concept, not budget.

 

So I 'enforce' such things only to the extent that I feel they should come up in the storyline. No more, no less.

 

I've got to spread rep around before giving it to you again.

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Guest Champsguy

Re: Focus = Too Great a Price Break?

 

The CONCEPT of the OAF makes sense, so they just go with what the rules say (-1) without stopping to think what that really means. Other limitations that equal or add up to -1... those tend to make the player stop and say, "Do I REALLY want my power only activating on a 8 or less"

 

8- is a -2 limitation.

 

Another thing with an Obvious Focus is that, for most of them, when they get taken away in combat, they can be used by the villains. That doesn't happen with any other set of powers.

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Re: Focus = Too Great a Price Break?

 

This is the big question. Good one. I would bet that most players would balk at putting on most other -1 limitations (or combinations their of...) but don't blink at the OAF.

 

Again... IMO... trying to enforce an OAF for the full -1 is usually a major headache... doesn't fit the flow of the story... and generally allows the player to get more than they paid for. YMMV, but I dislike the advesarial relationship that Focus enforcement can create.

 

If the players don't blink at the OAF, why is that? Something that can be taken away with a simple move, not to mention TK.

 

I've never had any PC's rely on a OAf as a primary power/defense. Never. I've not seen any PC's who did so more than a game before the error of their ways caught up to them in a hurry. A side item, somethign ok but not essential, maybe. What's especially adversarial about enforcing focus limitations than having villains make any other plot to harm or discomfort heroes?

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Re: Focus = Too Great a Price Break?

 

OAFs are very vunerable. They can be taken away, broken, used against you, etc all with a simple move available and pretty obvious to anyone. There are times when the character will be without them due to circumstance. Its never taken anymore shoehorning than I think is normally required to make a limitation. Its actually felt more natural. I couldn't tell you the number of times I've been without my foci due to role playing in the course of the campaign. I've rarely had my innate powers stripped. That, IMO, requires shoeshorning. The GM has to plan something specifically to take away your powers. Any Agent can attempt a disarm.

 

I haven't noticed any more adversarial relationship created by Focus than any other Limitation. The player choose to get it of his own violation. He should expect to see it enforced and applied reasonablly to his character. If you want a gun that is never broken, taken away, misplaced, etc. Don't get the limitation, or get a lesser one. Call the "gun" a sfx. I've had players whine about limitations though, including things like Activation Rolls "I didn't think you were going to make me roll it when it was really important!" "It isnt' cool my power doesn't work now" etc. I'd think that would be a problem with player, not the limitation. Being purely "mechanical" such as activation doesn't absolve the gm of the responsbility to enforce it. OAF is just a more story oriented limitation.

 

I've found most power gamers don't get OAF because its such a limitation. They load up on smaller Limitationsthey think should almost never logically come up. All this is in my experiece of course. The question was about a specific Gm and campaign and when it comes to that, if you feel you don't the hassle, change it! Hero is flexible enough to handle it and if it makes your game more enjoyable, balanced or make more sense for you and your group should do it.

 

RDU Neil, as an aside (and this is a not a "If you don't like, leave it!" thing) but you seem to be overall pretty unhappy with Hero System for various reasons. Have you tried any of the newer systems out there like M and M or Godlike?

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Re: Focus = Too Great a Price Break?

 

There is a point about the accessibility of Foci that I would like to raise: it isn't just a matter of the Focus being "taken away" in a combat situation, but of all the other circumstances under which a character can legitimately expect not to have access to it. OIF power-armor guy is going to have a tough time taking a shower with his tin suit on. OAF storm-hammer guy will have to put his mallet down when he wants to grab or lift something, or do any fine work that requires two hands. IIF power-ring guy may have to remove his ring when he goes through an airport metal-detector, or if the cops arrest him in his secret ID. There are usually opportunities for the GM to exploit the inherent restrictions of a Focus outside of combat, if one keeps the SFX of the Focus in mind.

 

I'm one of those who has never had a problem with most of the Focus Limitations as they're costed, although at times they might seem a little less (or more) limiting than some other Lims of the same price. The differences are IME usually not so dramatic that they would warrant going from, say, -1/2 to -1/4; it's more of a "-3/8" situation, a minor distinction which the rules don't allow for. However, I'm pretty comfortable with a Focus Limitation value that's in the ballpark rather than precisely matching what I think the value should be in my game. That said, I've sometimes reduced the savings for an OAF from -1 to -3/4, when the SFX of the Focus makes it unlikely that the character will ever need to be without it out of combat.

 

This may be a slight tangent, but the element of Foci that I've had the most difficulty swallowing is Durability not making any difference in the points charged. The rules don't really give you much to work with in terms of how to deal with an Unbreakable Focus, while a Durable one has no mentioned drawbacks vs. a normal Breakable Focus.

 

FWIW I run Foci Durability according to the guidelines for Expendable Foci: normal Breakable Foci are relatively easy to replace once the character is in an environment where that can happen, like a laboratory or gunshop; Durable Foci require much more time or effort, specialized skills and equipment, money or rare materials, etc. Unbreakable Foci, on those occasions when they are broken (which should be no more than once or twice in a campaign IMO) require unique materials and/or individuals to repair or remake, and the quest to repair it should be the focus of a story arc within the campaign.

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Re: Focus = Too Great a Price Break?

 

I don't go out of my way to enforce lims - I just keep them in mind for potential exploitation. When I do choose to exploit a lim it is either for story purposes, or it became up as a situational issue. I'd say my players run into a situational issue in terms of foci and costumes and identities one game in three. The exception is when I see the rare charactersheet that I consider an exploitation, meaning the player is being a dink. Then I'll exploit the character's lims with ruthless glee. As it is, my players are more interested in role playing and characterization than miracles of mechanics, and as such, I don't sweat the points too much. I'm more interested in the concept.

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Re: Focus = Too Great a Price Break?

 

But for most powers' date=' that is actually an *advantange*: Invisible Power Effects. A Focus should always be obvious, unless you buy IPE. At least, that's my understanding of it, unless Foci use some strange alternate rule :)[/quote']

 

I think you'll find that IPE will just prevent it being obvious that the power emanates from you. You can buy IPE for the power and not the source but not the source and not the power: otherwise the rules wouldn't define any focus as inobvious. This would have to be the case otherwise you could not buy an obvious focus with invisible power effects: the very invisibility of the power effects would make the focus inobvious - in this case you'd buy IPE at half value so the source remained visible.

 

Incidentally, did you know that inobvious is a made up word? :)

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Re: Focus = Too Great a Price Break?

 

RDU Neil, as an aside (and this is a not a "If you don't like, leave it!" thing) but you seem to be overall pretty unhappy with Hero System for various reasons. Have you tried any of the newer systems out there like M and M or Godlike?

 

Puh-leeeze! Get over yourself, Nexus. One doesn't come on to a board about a system to sing the praises of what works... you come on to discuss the critical elements that crack under certain pressures, seem incongruent or otherwise don't work up to expectations.

 

No system is perfect... and the focus is on what doesn't work... not what does. No game system will ever meet my need perfectly... I don't expect them to. I simply asked... in this instance... if anyone else had similar experiences, concerns... and roughly half the folks did. That's all I wanted to konw. It was Hugh and Supreme Serpent that decided to make personal attacks.

 

I'm always surprised when someone like you... who constantly praises the Tool Kit aspect of Hero... gets all up tight when someone discusses different ways to use, interpret and build with that Tool Kit.

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Re: Focus = Too Great a Price Break?

 

Puh-leeeze! Get over yourself, Nexus. One doesn't come on to a board about a system to sing the praises of what works... you come on to discuss the critical elements that crack under certain pressures, seem incongruent or otherwise don't work up to expectations.

 

I didn't say any different.

 

No system is perfect... and the focus is on what doesn't work... not what does. No game system will ever meet my need perfectly... I don't expect them to. I simply asked... in this instance... if anyone else had similar experiences, concerns... and roughly half the folks did. That's all I wanted to konw. It was Hugh and Supreme Serpent that decided to make personal attacks.

 

1. I didn't say the system was perfect. Its not. I could dig up some quotes for you when I've said as much.

 

2. No, but I thought perhaps another system might meet them better. That's why there's different systems on the market, to meet different tastes. Its not an insult. It was an attempt to make what I thought was a helpful suggestion.

 

3. When did I imply you were making personal attacks or did anything wrong?

 

 

I'm always surprised when someone like you... who constantly praises the Tool Kit aspect of Hero... gets all up tight when someone discusses different ways to use, interpret and build with that Tool Kit.

 

Dude, calm down. Like I said, I wasn't saying "Hero, love it or leave it. You didn't seem to happy with the system. I can't recall a thread where you've said anything positive about it (not that you haven't, just I haven't seen it). I was trying to helpful. Hell, man there's crap I don't like about Hero and don't agree with. When exactly did I say you were wrong for wanting to change something or asking about it? I didn't. Go back and read the post again. All of it. I said if you don't think this is right for you game, change it. I've said it more than once in threads you've started I'm actually agreeing with you, but if you weren't apparently so damn determined to be my "enemy" over a silly damn game maybe you would see that.

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Re: Focus = Too Great a Price Break?

 

OK

 

First limitations are not balanced.

 

Take, for instance, activation rolls. If you apply them to a power you roll every phase to see if they work. It is sad if your 14- EB doesn't work, but it is only one shot in 11, so no real biggie. Mind you the limitation works the same for constant powers, and losing one of them one time in 11 could be fatal...say flight, just as you're trying to pull out of a dive, or suddenly your force field goes off and you find you have no resistant defences...

 

So: 1 - let's not pretend this is a science.

 

Second, there's been much reference to the conditional/limited power guidelines. These are guidelines AND they only reflect powers that either do or do not work, and with reference to other limtations, like activation, they don't do that well. The system is erring on the side of caution: you get less for your money if you buy a generic limitation rather than a Hero-hand-crafted version.

 

So: 2 - let's not pretend this is a science (I know I've already done this one but it is a biggie)

 

Finally the focus limitation is not simply a question of how often the power works. Looking at it that way is daft as it utterly fails to take into consideration that a focus is a limitation that can be effected by outside factors, most often the villains. They can attack you when you haven't got it, or they can steal it or whatever: a villain can not control when a power with an activation roll works, or effect the number of charges a power has or changethe increased END cost, but they can darned well effect your focus. Failing to acknowledge that is missing the point of the limitation, which will, of course, make it look like a bargain. 'Internal' limitations can be controlled by the character, 'external' limitations, like focus, are controlled at least in part, by the game world. That's why 'not in intense magnetic fields' is worth a limitation - they hardly ever occur - until the villain finds out that they screw up your main attack....

 

So: 3 - look at limitations in the round, don't 'focus' on just one aspect of them.

 

Pun intended, obviously (and accessably). Which means it only cost me half the points :D

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Re: Focus = Too Great a Price Break?

 

First limitations are not balanced.

 

Take, for instance, activation rolls. If you apply them to a power you roll every phase to see if they work. It is sad if your 14- EB doesn't work, but it is only one shot in 11, so no real biggie. Mind you the limitation works the same for constant powers, and losing one of them one time in 11 could be fatal...say flight, just as you're trying to pull out of a dive, or suddenly your force field goes off and you find you have no resistant defences...

 

I think they're balanced one to another, at least reasonably well. If I don't have my OIF: Blaster Gauntlet, I won't waste a phase trying to fire it, only to see those triple sixes come up.

 

"Firebolt's force field is down! I've got to get Grond's attention before he pulps poor FireBolt. I'll fire the MegaBlast!" Two 5's and a 6 later, it's Grond's phase...and he's not distracted by that small fizzle *pop* sound the Megablaster just made....Poor Firebolt!

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Re: Focus = Too Great a Price Break?

 

There's one "acid test" I generally use to determine if something (a power, a limitation, a disadvantage, a perk, whatever) is "too good" for what it costs you:

 

Does it become the "must have" that every character concept finds a way to incorporate it?

 

In my experience, the Focus Limitation does not meet that standard, so it isn't "too good".

 

For example, in the current campaign I'm in, there are 5 characters (counting mine) and 2 of the 5 have Foci as part of their write-ups: my character (the gadgeteer) and the power armor wearer.

 

For that matter, I can't think of a single Power, Advantage, Limitation, Framework, Disadvantage, or Perk in HERO that is so good everyone automatically finds a reason to have it in their character concept.

 

All Limitations may not be created equal, but none of them stand out to me as "too good" / "broken".

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Re: Focus = Too Great a Price Break?

 

Complete aside, but interestingly enough activation works per phase, according to the rules. In fact mathematically, it makes no difference how often you roll (every phase, every attack, evey turn, every day) SO LONG AS you use the same interval every time: over time you'll have the same total percentage of time you can't use the power.

 

Mind you it would be very different in approach if you knew you had your EB that worked consistently all day even though it was on a 8- activation.

 

Could be an interesting concept for a character: loads of 8- powers, never sure what he's going to be able to do that day....

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