Jump to content

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

Sean Waters

Indirect discussion

Recommended Posts

Re: Indirect discussion

 

Gravity is not a noticeable attribute of most characters.

 

It does, on the other hand, affect them. It also affects their opponents. It has, in short, a game effect.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Re: Indirect discussion

 

You can "play any game" not using any formal system. My four year old does this all the time. The game is called "Let's Pretend". We could play that way as well. However' date=' as adults, we seem to wish more objective determination of events, so that subjective "I hit you - fall down" "No, you missed me" gets replaced with the more objective "My OCV is 7, and your DCV is 5. I rolled a 12, so I hit you."[/quote']

 

I don't see what this has to do with anything I'm saying. Please state your premises.

 

Under your system' date=' GlassMan need not pay points for abilities which are consistent with his special effects - he simply states his case, and the GM adjudicates that this is consistent with his SFX, so he gets it for free.[/quote']

 

This is incorrect. You are still reasoning from personal SFX, not general SFX - as I have shown, powers can be bought outside the character and still be useable by them, as well as affecting them. I have made no argument for personal abilities, only being affected by outside abilities. Powers that interact with other powers are not unusual in HERO.

 

You also leaped a gap in your logic there: you went straight from "making a case" to "GM grants ability", without taking into account the step where the GM considers the case. This step would allow for the possibility that a GM might decide the ability was not granted by any external power, or that the external power's criteria for qualifying SFX did not include the PC's SFX.

 

I have already stated that, if the GM is consistent in what players are made to pay for, everything will be fine. This bears repeating, for emphasis and to clarify that it applies on multiple levels; not just on the "use external powers to avoid the imbalance stemming from two PC's with identical SFX, one of whom receives the ability and one of whom does not, or both of whom do but only one paying points for it" level, but also on the level of where the GM uses external powers; you draw the line at your "defaults", but, having shown that the line could be drawn further along, I see no difference between drawing the line where you draw it and drawing the line a few steps earlier.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Re: Indirect discussion

 

It does' date=' on the other hand, [i']affect[/i] them. It also affects their opponents. It has, in short, a game effect.

 

So does every basic assumption in the game, but so long as everyone starts in the same place, i.e. they are all affected by the game mechanic or assumption in the same way, we are good and there is no need to pay points to be affected by gravity, or to have it affect you.

 

You pay the points to circumvent the base assumptions of the game, to buy flight to ignore at least some of the assumptions about gravity made in the game.

 

What you don't do in building 'Gravity Control Lass' and say that, because gravity is her friend and only does what she wants (i.e. that is how she defines the sfx of her powers), she can ignore it when it suits her.

 

You buy flight and define it as friendly gravity. But it still follows the rules for flight. The way in which the character perceives her own powers does not change the way they work in anything but mionor and balanced ways.

 

To drag this one kicking and screaming back on topic, if you buy an EB and make it NND, it does not become indirect, it does not gain reduced endurance and it does not become transdimensional: it becomes NND, and NND does not pass through anything but personal defences, not walls and not Force Walls.

 

Now gravity is not a power. You could build something like gravity as a power, but gravity is not a power, it is a game assumption, part of a baseline that the rest of the game works from. It is not general sfx, or if you want to define it that way, it still does not make it a power in disguise. Ah-ha, you may say, this proves my point!

 

I don't accept that. The fact that you can consider everything in the game world as a specialised sfx is irrelevant as there is no underlying build structure - you are trying to compare utterly different game concepts.

 

The species of sfx you define as 'personal' are the only ones that actually exist.

 

You quite possibly could, if you were insane enough, define everything in Hero as a build (the Earth as a base....hmmmm....) BUT that is not Hero - Hero does not do that. Sfx are seasoning, not the main meal.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Re: Indirect discussion

 

To drag this one kicking and screaming back on topic, if you buy an EB and make it NND, it does not become indirect, it does not gain reduced endurance and it does not become transdimensional: it becomes NND, and NND does not pass through anything but personal defences, not walls and not Force Walls.

 

I asked this question before and got no response so I'll ask it again. Once you decide to make all of your (ranged) NND attacks, and your thrown grenades Indirect so they can get past the barriers which should not be able to stop them, how do you then handle the barriers which should be able to stop them?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Re: Indirect discussion

 

I asked this question before and got no response so I'll ask it again. Once you decide to make all of your (ranged) NND attacks' date=' and your thrown grenades Indirect so they can get past the barriers which should not be able to stop them, how do you then handle the barriers which should be able to stop them?[/quote']

This is sort of what I mentioned somewhere else for Indirect but could also apply to NND. Perhaps there should be a division of application between delivering the attack vs the damage of the attack.

 

NND vs Delivery of the attack would have no effect on the defenses for the damage caused by the attack.

 

NND vs Damage of the attack would have no effect on the defenses for blocking the delivery of the attack.

 

Just An Idea

 

- Christopher Mullins

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Re: Indirect discussion

 

So does every basic assumption in the game' date=' but so long as everyone starts in the same place, i.e. they are all affected by the game mechanic or assumption in the same way, we are good and there is no need to pay points to be affected by gravity, or to have it affect you.[/quote']

 

Thank you. This is exactly the point I was making. I laid a lot of groundwork hoping Hugh would notice that his idea of where everyone (in every game) should start was equally as legitimate as anyone else's idea, but hadn't yet tried to make that point explicitly. Consistency is key: so long as everyone starts in the same place, and remains there while the game is playing out, balance shall be maintained.

 

The way in which the character perceives her own powers does not change the way they work in anything but mionor and balanced ways.

 

I would argue that "the way in which the character perceives her own powers" does not change anything (barring a mechanic somewhere that specifically ties the way they work to the way in which she perceives them).

 

To drag this one kicking and screaming back on topic' date=' if you buy an EB and make it NND, it does not become indirect, it does not gain reduced endurance and it does not become transdimensional: it becomes NND, and NND does not pass through anything but personal defences, not walls and not Force Walls.[/quote']

I asked this question before and got no response so I'll ask it again. Once you decide to make all of your (ranged) NND attacks, and your thrown grenades Indirect so they can get past the barriers which should not be able to stop them, how do you then handle the barriers which should be able to stop them?

 

Same problem, and - if you want to be consistent - same solution. What that solution is, though, is still under debate ;)

 

Now gravity is not a power. You could build something like gravity as a power' date=' but gravity is not a power, it is a game assumption, part of a baseline that the rest of the game works from.[/quote']

 

So game assumptions are okay, you say? Arbitrary. You're drawing a line and saying "we only have to account for game effects that can be built as powers to a certain extent, past that there isn't any need".

 

Hugh and yourself seem to be united by the principle that your baseline is somehow special, since it's automatically declared to be balanced but nothing else ought to be considered.

 

The fact that you can consider everything in the game world as a specialised sfx is irrelevant as there is no underlying build structure

 

But there could be - and, if there were, how would this be any less balanced than the existing game?

 

The species of sfx you define as 'personal' are the only ones that actually exist.

 

You misunderstood me; I was not defining SFX as "personal", but powers.

 

Even assuming you understood this point, your argument would still be unconvincing: anything which, in the past, has ever been bought as Independent (and the user then died*) is now an "external" power.

 

*edit: and didn't subsequently come back to life ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Re: Indirect discussion

 

I've realized that I took out one of the Conversation powers' modifiers that should have been there still:

 

Let's just talk, okay?: Naked Advantage (conversational tactic), IPE (subject is unaware of power being used or having affected them), defense is not listening or XOR RSR INT(Exclusive OR, Requires INT Roll; if speech is persuasive target must FAIL their INT roll to defend against effect, if speech is not persuasive then target must MAKE their INT roll to defend against it), plus

 

Note - if the persuasiveness of a speech is determined by a roll, neither party may choose to voluntarily forgo/fail their roll.

 

Things were lookin' hard against Balloon Head. His funky foam had coated me and my partner, hardening in moments to hold us still. For a split sec I thought we were doomed there - then, when the adrenalin poundin' through my skull quit hammerin' away and got quieter some, I could hear him faintly cursing, and below that, cracking like a glass floor bucklin' slowly under the weight of an overweight, lunatic supervillain. Ice Master must 'ave caught him at nearly the same time, and now Balloon Head was trying to melt his way to freedom.

 

Cranin' my neck around real hard, I was able to break free of the foam up there and get a good look at the funky brainiac himself. Accidental injection with some mystery new viral agent had swollen his head, and some say his ego along with it. He claimed it gave him fantastic super-intelligence, but to me it just looked like he had a case of super-cancer. Currently toppin' the famous noggin was a fancy lookin' helmet, all shiny chrome and weird antennae sticking off in every which direction. We still didn't know what it did yet, but Balloon Head was boastin' that it was the key to showin' everyone in the city what a real genius he was, and we couldn't take the chance that one of his crackpot schemes might actually work.

 

So here we were, dressed up in dried-up marshmallow sauce and waitin' to see who got loose first. It looked like Balloon Head had the lead on us, but I had a secret weapon he didn't know about - see, he may have been a genius, but I knew how to use my head. Ticklin' my teeth with my tongue, I found the right spot and set off the laser that came from my nostrils. Never know when you're goin' to need a weapon that goes straight down, I always say. I managed to cut free my gun bag and one hand before the battery ran out.

 

Things might have gone quite a bit differently then, but we'll never know, because that was the moment Balloon Head decided to reveal the true purpose of his new baby. Some kind of ray shot out from one of the antennae on his hat, and lanced out to hit me directly in the forehead. From then on, the only thing goin' through my mind was Balloon Head's voice sayin' "Kill Ice Master . . . kill Ice Master . . . " over an' over again, like some kind of broken record. It filled my thoughts: I tried to shake 'em loose, but soon the only thing in my head was the one thing I could have sworn I would never do:

 

I had to shoot my partner.

 

But through all this, there was still a single tiny part of me that held itself apart. I couldn't do nuthin', and I knew if I tried it'd become just like the rest of me, but I could still whisper in my mind's ear, if ya know what I mean? So when my hand plunged down into the gun bag, it bypassed several fine choices before it settled on the handle of the meanest barrel you'll ever lay eyes on. Pullin' it out, I could see Ice Master's eyes get as wide as saucers, and with good reason - as he well knew, a single shot from this baby could go through his ice, Balloon Head's instant plaster, his own sweet body, and still have enough oomph left in it to take on three chargin' elephants and leave a hole in a Mack truck.

 

It took all my strength to raise this whopper to eye level and hold it steady, aimed straight at my partner's head. As my finger closed on the trigger I said "Sorry, baby. This is how it has to happen, Icy."

 

I had no strength left in my arms but at that moment it didn't matter, nothing mattered except the roarin' cough echoing in my ears and the shriekin' pain that came from my left arm being torn off as the weapon backfired. See, on a good day this gun can kill in one shot, being the perfect tool with which to carry out the maniac's orders. But on a bad day . . . well, let's just say that I wasn't goin' to be able to fire any more shots. I told you. Ole cancer boy over there may a genius, but I know how to use my head.

 

Speakin' of heads, the guy with one like an overripe swollen tomato was screamin' at me, askin' about what the hell I was doin', or somethin' like that. The pulsing from his ray combined with the poundin' of blood in my ears as it pumped out of me, and I felt like I was just barely keepin' my head above the water when another wave of pain washed over me, and it all started goin' dark. The last things I heard were the sounds of a million mirrors shatterin', as Balloon Head broke free of the last ice, and his triumphant voice goin' "Never mind, then; I'll do it myself!"

 

Some days, you just can't win.

 

Lots more tension that way. Even when you know the outcome is unpredictable, you don't always get to choose which way it'll go.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Re: Indirect discussion

 

I asked this question before and got no response so I'll ask it again. Once you decide to make all of your (ranged) NND attacks' date=' and your thrown grenades Indirect so they can get past the barriers which should not be able to stop them, how do you then handle the barriers which should be able to stop them?[/quote']

 

In my view, you purchase Indirect with limitations that it cannot circumvent certain barriers. In the case of Indirect, I'd be inclined to simply pick a level between +1/4 and +3/4 that has the same base level of benefit, rather than have the advantage limited. For example, IIRC, +1/4 always starts at the same place and fires the same way, but does not originate on the character physically. +1/2 starts where the character wants and fires away from him. +3/4 starts anywhere and fires in any direction.

 

The Indirect we want for a grenade allows it to circumvent barriers at any point between attacker and target (the +1/2 level if unlimited), but the barrier must not be sealed at the top, and it must be possible to throw over it. I'd set that at +1/4 (ie less than the +1/2 unlimited effect) as a gut feel.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Re: Indirect discussion

 

In my view' date=' you purchase Indirect with limitations that it cannot circumvent certain barriers. In the case of Indirect, I'd be inclined to simply pick a level between +1/4 and +3/4 that has the same base level of benefit, rather than have the advantage limited. For example, IIRC, +1/4 always starts at the same place and fires the same way, but does not originate on the character physically. +1/2 starts where the character wants and fires away from him. [/quote']

 

In this case it's half way between +1/2 and +1/4. So that would be, what, a +3/8? Of course since it's going to be a standard part of all ranged NND attacks, we might as well just add it to the cost of NNDs. Saves a line on the character sheet.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Re: Indirect discussion

 

Thank you. This is exactly the point I was making. I laid a lot of groundwork hoping Hugh would notice that his idea of where everyone (in every game) should start was equally as legitimate as anyone else's idea' date=' but hadn't yet tried to make that point explicitly. Consistency is key: so long as [i']everyone starts in the same place[/i], and remains there while the game is playing out, balance shall be maintained.

 

Your approach does not, in my view, MAINTAIN everyone in the same place. If one character pays 15 points for a 2d6 RKA (OAF bow and arrow, 16 charges) and receives a form of Indirect automatically ('cause that's how gravity interacts with bows and arrows) and the second pays 30 points for a 2d6 RKA (OAF Handgun, 16 charges) and gets no automatic Indirect, the characters are no longer remaining in an equal place. Both spend 30 points, but one received an advantage the other did not.

 

This is not Sean or I setting a specific baseline as the Best Baseline There Could Be. It is me (I can't speak for Sean) saying that, under my model, the same number of points should move two characters the same distance from the baseline. In some cases, that's hard to measure - is 15 points spent on Flight equivalent to =5/=5 Armor? Good question.

 

But when two abilities cost the same, and one can do precisely everything the second does, and more, [eg. one is Indirect and the other is not] then the first ability is superior (moves the character further from the baseline) at the same cost. This violates the model that each character starts at the same baseline, and has the same points to spend, enabling his character to move the same distance from the baseline.

 

You asked

 

I don't see what this has to do with anything I'm saying. Please state your premises.

 

of

 

You can "play any game" not using any formal system. My four year old does this all the time. The game is called "Let's Pretend". We could play that way as well. However' date=' as adults, we seem to wish more objective determination of events, so that subjective "I hit you - fall down" "No, you missed me" gets replaced with the more objective "My OCV is 7, and your DCV is 5. I rolled a 12, so I hit you."[/quote']

 

The Hero system, like most gaming systems, quantifies objectively the effect a character's abilities have and the manner in which their use is resolved. However, your model starts adding advantages to abilities based on their special effects and descriptions, regardless of whether those advantages are reflected in their mechanical writeup.

 

So, instead of "My OCV is 9, and your DCV is 12. I rolled a 10, so I miss." We get "Well, regardless of these mechanics, as indicated in the writeup, my character's ZapGun is super-accurate, and has gyroscopic tracking mechanisms, so it should add OCV to offset your Dodge, so I should hit." No, you shouldn't. If you want gyroscopic tracking mechanisms that add OCV to offset a Dodge, PAY THE POINTS and buy limited OCV levels only to offset bonuses to DCV gained from dodging.

 

The Hero System is based on powers purchased with mechanics in order to replicate the effect, including special effects, of the ability you wish to emulate. Both mechanics and special effects are important to this process. You don't buy a 6d6 Energy Blast - you define what that 6d6 Energy Blast represents. More properly, you decide the ability you wish to create, then select the mechanics which best emulate that ability.

 

If you buy a 6d6 Energy Blast defined as "unstoppable death ray that never misses", you have not used the mechanics in a manner appropriate to simulate the desired ability. The solution to that problem is NOT to construct the ability in slipshod fashion, then argue "Well, it should have these mechanics, so I should get them for free". It is to use the mechanics which best emulate the Unstoppable Death Ray that Never Misses (likely including killing attack, NND Does BOD, line of sight and Accurate). You want a 6d6 RKA NND Does BOD Accurate, shell out the 360 points. Don't spend 30 on a 6d6 Energy Blast that clearly doesn't achieve, mechanically, the power your SFX describes and then ask to be granted extra power you didn't pay for.

 

Similarly, a hand grenade logically can bypass certain barriers by using the special effect of tossing it up and letting gravity pull it back down. It also explodes and inflicts damage. Thus, you purchase an attack (likely a killing attack) which is explosive (a +1/2 advantage) and has a modified version of Indirect to achieve the goal (at a price determined by the GM - I like +1/4 as set out above). You don't purchase "Change environment - clutter surroundings with fragment of exploded grenade", then claim "Well, its SFX are a hand grendae, so I should get a 2d6 Indirect Killing Explosion to go with that, free of charge". You figure out what you want that grenade to do, open up the book (this is a crucial step, by the way), read the powers and modifiers, select the ones which are best suited to simulate the very specific effect you are looking for, calculate the point costs and VOILA! You have your power.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Re: Indirect discussion

 

In my view' date=' you purchase Indirect with limitations that it cannot circumvent certain barriers. In the case of Indirect, I'd be inclined to simply pick a level between +1/4 and +3/4 that has the same base level of benefit, rather than have the advantage limited.[/quote']

 

There's also a problem mechanically with Limiting an Advantage, though I have read that logically it should be possible and balanced. It's about the only option, anyway, since Limitations can't be bought Naked.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Re: Indirect discussion

 

In this case it's half way between +1/2 and +1/4. So that would be' date=' what, a +3/8? Of course since it's going to be a standard part of all ranged NND attacks, we might as well just add it to the cost of NNDs. Saves a line on the character sheet.[/quote']

 

Another approach would be to say it has all the attributes of +1/2, so that's X points (let's say 20 on the basis we want to apply it to a 40 point power). We then look to the limits and assess how significant they are, like any other Limited Power limitation. Let's say we decide it's -1/2 (my example of dropping back to +1/4 implies I decided it's -1 on a gut feel, I suppose). So that's 20/1.5 = 13 points.

 

Now, I'm not sure what precise point value is most appropriate. There are some things that +1/4 Indirect that always fires 1' away from my body can do which lobbing a grenade cannot (for example, if I'm less than 1' away from your Force Wall globe, it can fire from a point your wall can't block it), so I'm not convinced that utility is between the two. I think it's similar in utility to that +1/4 - better in some areas and worse in others, but again that's a gut feel.

 

But now we're discussing how to price it, not the methodology which would be used to build it.

 

If the utility is low enough, it becomes a +0 advantage/-0 Limitation (also known as an advantage or limitation arising from SFX alone).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Re: Indirect discussion

 

Your approach does not' date=' in my view, MAINTAIN everyone in the same place. If one character pays 15 points for a 2d6 RKA (OAF bow and arrow, 16 charges) and receives a form of Indirect automatically ('cause that's how gravity interacts with bows and arrows) and the second pays 30 points for a 2d6 RKA (OAF Handgun, 16 charges) and gets no automatic Indirect, the characters are no longer remaining in an equal place. Both spend 30 points, but one received an advantage the other did not.[/quote']

 

You'll get this with any two characters, though. Being the same distance from the baseline will not mean that everyone has also gone the same direction. The second does not get Indirect, but if they get an Advantage of equivalent value with the same frequency, you have game balance.

 

Circumstantial Benefit: Naked Advantage on Variable Advantage for AP matching the campaign limit; Activation Roll (handwave: decided by GM, taking into account considerations of common sense and game balance) very low; Side Effect: Variable Limitation; Activation Roll (handwave: decided by GM, taking into account considerations of common sense and game balance) very low

 

Note that there is a large window where no Variable Advantage will apply, but neither will any Variable Limitation; this is because SFX will so rarely contradict the mechanics of a power.

 

The handwave is there because this is actually more balanced than a die roll! For example, let's say a large Limitation value is given for an 8- roll, and the player proceeds to roll straight 7's or lower over the course of the campaign. Have they received any drawback to their power? No. None at all. But if the GM takes responsibility for maintaining game balance, they can use their control (over which SFX the group is exposed to) to ensure that the Limitation is limiting precisely as often as it ought to be. Unexpected revelations may temporarily disrupt this, but because the GM has power over what the PC's encounter, the balance can soon be restored.

 

The Hero system' date=' like most gaming systems, quantifies objectively the effect a character's abilities have and the manner in which their use is resolved. However, your model starts adding advantages to abilities based on their special effects and descriptions, regardless of whether those advantages are reflected in their mechanical writeup.[/quote']

 

This is not correct. You may be able to build the game effect with Indirect as well as the method I suggested (to wit, interaction between powers), but this does not mean that it must be done that way. I specifically stated that the effect of the attack only extended to placing it above someone else - at which time the Gravity power (something I actually wrote up, you may have noticed) takes over, just like every other power interaction in HERO.

 

When one PC punches a villain in the gut, sending them flying at an angle to some point where they're in sight of someone behind the force wall that this PC couldn't get behind - and this PC's teammate then punches the villain again, sending him flying into the person hiding behind the force wall, the impact generating enough force to knock that person sideways and out from behind the protection of the force wall - do we forbid that effect because the first PC did not pay for the ability/power? Of course not - and it's because powers are allowed to interact!

 

In the course of playing HERO, we allow game effects to benefit our characters, even though those effects are not written out in their "mechanical writeups". True, we could insist that each such benefit be paid for as the mechanical ability that would best fit the effect that improved their situation in game, but we don't. Do you think we should?

 

So' date=' instead of "My OCV is 9, and your DCV is 12. I rolled a 10, so I miss." We get "Well, regardless of these mechanics, as indicated in the writeup, my character's ZapGun is super-accurate, and has gyroscopic tracking mechanisms[/quote']

 

This is irrelevant, unless the GM has given gyroscopes a Naked set of offensive CSL's (only for offsetting Dodge).

 

The solution to that problem is NOT to construct the ability in slipshod fashion' date=' then argue "Well, it should have these mechanics, so I should get them for free".[/quote']

 

You can argue all you like. If, however, the GM is not offering an external power that does what you want, what you are likely to receive is an explanation of what sort of power (of the type you have paid for) would not include the "obvious" effects.

 

Don't spend 30 on a 6d6 Energy Blast that clearly doesn't achieve' date=' mechanically, the power your SFX describes and then ask to be granted extra power you didn't pay for.[/quote']

 

Don't fail to pay for your teammates, either, and then ask to be granted extra power (to defeat your enemies) by working with them. (The "reasons" heroes have for working together shouldn't matter; after all, they are Allies of each other, shouldn't they have to pay for that effect? It can be replicated with mechanics, so why isn't it?)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Re: Indirect discussion

 

It should be noted, Hugh, that although the points I had in mind were not overlapping with the thread I intended to start, I did (in my latest post) borrow some material from my notes for that thread in order to criticize some of the points you raised in your replies. Since that diminishes the amount of (new) material which I could use in the planned thread, I'm willing to siphon the rest of it off to be used in the posts here, and expand this discussion. On the other hand, out of respect for the people still discussing Indirect (which we, with this chain of replies, are not, Sean Waters' efforts notwithstanding), I will propose that we move this discussion to a new thread anyway.

 

What say you?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Re: Indirect discussion

 

I asked this question before and got no response so I'll ask it again. Once you decide to make all of your (ranged) NND attacks' date=' and your thrown grenades Indirect so they can get past the barriers which should not be able to stop them, how do you then handle the barriers which should be able to stop them?[/quote']

 

Of course there's another problem. If I start buying all of my NNDs with indirect to get past the barriers which should not be able to stop them' date=' then won't they now be getting past the barriers which should stop them? My indirect gas attack can now ignore your air filters because it appears right inside your bunker.[/quote']

 

Well' date=' no, because an NND is going to be stopped by things you define - mechanically or as sfx, and air filters would do the trick (although I'd require mechanics to back up the sfx i.e. the purchase of LS: extended breathing). Even if you are not buying with NND you can build the power with a limtiation - cannot pass through airtight barriers, worth -1/4 to -1/2, or even -1 or more if the gane is set in space.[/quote']

 

I'd never ignore you, David, you know that! :)

 

I did not cover the aspects of grenades, but that is less of aproblem as there are different levels of indirect so it is a more customisable advantage without having to add limtiations into the mix, and I think the problem is less likely to occur there.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Re: Indirect discussion

 

It should be noted' date=' Hugh, that although the points I had in mind were not overlapping with the thread I intended to start, I [i']did[/i] (in my latest post) borrow some material from my notes for that thread in order to criticize some of the points you raised in your replies. Since that diminishes the amount of (new) material which I could use in the planned thread, I'm willing to siphon the rest of it off to be used in the posts here, and expand this discussion. On the other hand, out of respect for the people still discussing Indirect (which we, with this chain of replies, are not, Sean Waters' efforts notwithstanding), I will propose that we move this discussion to a new thread anyway.

 

What say you?

 

Don't worry on my account, I'm really enjoying the nicely structured argument, and can I just commend both you and Hugh for keeping it polite? Too often these sorts of things get awfully tense and a bit personal. You are both presenting cogent points without feeling the need to descend into abuse of the other side of the argument (or at least, if you are feeling it, you are resisting heroically) :D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Re: Indirect discussion

 

This is sort of what I mentioned somewhere else for Indirect but could also apply to NND. Perhaps there should be a division of application between delivering the attack vs the damage of the attack.

 

NND vs Delivery of the attack would have no effect on the defenses for the damage caused by the attack.

 

NND vs Damage of the attack would have no effect on the defenses for blocking the delivery of the attack.

 

Just An Idea

 

- Christopher Mullins

 

I did note your original response and meant to comment positively on it, Christopher, but forgot to go so in all the excitement. I think this sort of division can work well with indirect, although I'm less certain as to the application to NND shown here.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Re: Indirect discussion

 

Don't worry on my account' date=' I'm really enjoying the nicely structured argument,[/quote']

 

My concern is also for the lurkers who may be dissuaded from trying to follow this thread when new posts don't always mean new discussion of Indirect, and checking for replies may entail sorting through posts. The occasional input from people who haven't spoken up before, convinces me that there are people still reading this, and they haven't all wandered away already ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Re: Indirect discussion

 

My concern is also for the lurkers who may be dissuaded from trying to follow this thread when new posts don't always mean new discussion of Indirect' date=' and checking for replies may entail sorting through posts. The occasional input from people who haven't spoken up before, convinces me that there [i']are[/i] people still reading this, and they haven't all wandered away already ;)

 

I'd best get a response to this in quickly then, just to confound the lurkers further :)

 

Thank you. This is exactly the point I was making. I laid a lot of groundwork hoping Hugh would notice that his idea of where everyone (in every game) should start was equally as legitimate as anyone else's idea' date=' but hadn't yet tried to make that point explicitly. Consistency is key: so long as [i']everyone starts in the same place[/i], and remains there while the game is playing out, balance shall be maintained.

 

My pleasure :) I think we are as one on this point.

 

 

I would argue that "the way in which the character perceives her own powers" does not change anything (barring a mechanic somewhere that specifically ties the way they work to the way in which she perceives them).

 

Whereas I would argue that sfx is all about how a character (and of course other characters) perceives her own power. Mechanics are the way in which players perceive powers, and sfx are the descriptive labels that we give to those mechanics. A player COULD play Hero without sfx, but the character could never truly exist without them.

 

 

So game assumptions are okay' date=' you say? Arbitrary. You're drawing a line and saying "we only have to account for game effects [b']that can be built as powers[/b] to a certain extent, past that there isn't any need".

 

Hugh and yourself seem to be united by the principle that your baseline is somehow special, since it's automatically declared to be balanced but nothing else ought to be considered.

 

I'd argue that our baseline is what the game itself defines in terms of 'abritrary' rules and what it defines in terms of other rules, i.e. gravity is defines by a further rule-set, not by a constructed power build. the arbitraryness exists, but it is not of our making :)

 

 

You misunderstood me; I was not defining SFX as "personal"' date=' but [i']powers[/i].

 

Even assuming you understood this point, your argument would still be unconvincing: anything which, in the past, has ever been bought as Independent (and the user then died*) is now an "external" power.

 

*edit: and didn't subsequently come back to life ;)

 

I think this is a confusion of terms rather than of our central theme. Sfx can exist for powers and they can be seen to exist for 'game rules' (which I am defining as in-game effects defined by the system but not built as powers). The difference is that the sfx of the game rules is embedded in the game rule, the sfx of powers is user defineable. Sfx are essential for powers, but game rules define form and function as a piece. Now my original post declared that only 'personal' (or 'power') sfx exist. I acknowledge that sfx can be seen to exist in game rules*, but the important point, to me, is that in neither case does the sfx do anything other than give us a vocabulary to interact with the power, or game rule. Mechanics may spark our reason, but sfx fire our imagination. They are not at all unimportant, but they fulfil an entirely different function to powers and game rules, and I would say that neither should substantially trespass on the other's domain.

 

*arguably game rule sfx are not sfx - if you define sfx as something that overlays a mechanic to describe it - as the mechanic and the description are as one with game rules. I also acknowledge that this is semantics, and not really a central issue.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Re: Indirect discussion

 

I'd best get a response to this in quickly then' date=' just to confound the lurkers further :)[/quote']

 

I'll reply to your first point because it has nothing to do with what I was discussing with Hugh, and your second point because, by then, the lurkers will have been fooled into thinking the chain has disappeared ;)

 

Waittaminute . . . :think:

 

Whereas I would argue that sfx is all about how a character (and of course other characters) perceives her own power.

 

I think that there's a great deal of room for "how the power works" that is expressed by SFX, but noone knows about. My viewpoint on the character's perception is that their understanding of how their powers work will not necessarily be accurate, or even anywhere close to that (nor would they need to take a Disadvantage to reflect their understanding possibly being less than entirely correct).

 

I'd argue that our baseline is what the game itself defines in terms of 'abritrary' rules and what it defines in terms of other rules' date=' i.e. gravity is defines by a further rule-set, not by a constructed power build. the arbitraryness exists, but it is not of our making :)[/quote']

 

This is true, and a very good point. One that occurred to me after my post, and I was pondering it for a while, but I decided that it (like all of the other points I've been thinking of after my post ;)) could be saved for a future reply.

 

My view on it is that HERO is a toolkit. Linus Torvalds' view on Unix noted something very similar;

 

Unix, on the other hand, comes with a small-is-beautiful philosophy. It has a small set of simple basic building blocks that can be combined into something that allows for infinite complexity of expression.

 

This, by the way, is also how physics works. You try and find the fundamental rules that are supposed to be fairly simple. The complexity comes from the many incredible interactions you get from those simple rules, not from any inherent complexity of the rules themselves.

 

By examining the HERO system, we can figure out the fundamental rules that were used to build every advanced rule in it. That's when we truly become able to use it as a toolkit, and customize the sample operating system that came with it while still retaining the balance part.

 

__________________

Quotation taken from "Just for Fun" (The Story of an Accidental Revolutionary), by Linus Torvalds and David Diamond.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Re: Indirect discussion

 

You'll get this with any two characters' date=' though. Being the same distance from the baseline will not mean that everyone has also gone the same [i']direction[/i]. The second does not get Indirect, but if they get an Advantage of equivalent value with the same frequency, you have game balance.

 

This requires every player to build abilities with free advantages that are mnore or less equal. This seems, to me, a far more difficult undertaking than simply paying for the advantages and drawbacks you wish your abilities to have. It is considerably more subjective, and places considerably greater power, responsibility and work in the hands of the GM.

 

Note that I'm not saying this CAN'T be done. I am saying that, if you're not going to use the point system to address the mechanical advantages and drawbacks of the character's abiloities, but rather rely on his descriptions and SFX, you may as well not bother using the points at all. Simply allow each character to have whatever abilities he or she is envisioned as having by the player, regardless of point costs, and balance it all out in play. You will need to write up the powers mechanically to determine END, AP and effects of adjustment powers, for example, but why track the character's total points if it means nothing? There's not a lot of benefit holding each character to an arbitrary point limit (200 + 150 disad's, say) if, based on SFX, some characters will receive mechanical benefits for free which other characters must pay for.

 

Let's assume, for whatever reason, you still want to use the points. Effectively, by giving Character A an extra ability for free due to his SFX, you add to Character A's total points. If every character receives equal extra abilities so they are in balance, why not just give every character a higher point base to begin with and let them build their abilities in full. You could even mandate that X points should not be spent on initial character design, but should be held in reserve to pay for those things the character "should have" which you forget until they arise in play.

 

Note that there is a large window where no Variable Advantage will apply' date=' but neither will any Variable Limitation; this is because SFX will so rarely contradict the mechanics of a power.[/quote']

 

This depends on how accurately the power has been constructed. Had your grenade or bow and arrow been built with a limited form of Indirect, such that it could shoot over barriers as you wish, your SFX would contradict the mechanics less frequently than if you leave off that advantage.

 

For your approach to balance, each character must leave off an equal value of abilities his or her powers should, by nature of their SFX and descriptions, have been purchased to accurately model the ability.

 

The handwave is there because this is actually more balanced than a die roll! For example' date=' let's say a large Limitation value is given for an 8- roll, and the player proceeds to roll straight 7's or lower over the course of the campaign. Have they received any drawback to their power?[/quote']

 

Try and make 10 sequential 8- rolls. While your example is possible in theory, it will not happen in practice.

 

This is not correct. You may be able to build the game effect with Indirect as well as the method I suggested (to wit' date=' interaction between powers), but this does not mean that it [b']must[/b] be done that way. I specifically stated that the effect of the attack only extended to placing it above someone else - at which time the Gravity power (something I actually wrote up, you may have noticed) takes over, just like every other power interaction in HERO.

 

As noted above, I'm not saying you can't do this. I'm saying it eliminates any benefit of tracking character points. I'm saying it changes the game from "design and play your character with points" to "design and play your character with descriptives", making a less objective game. And I'm saying it places more responsibility and work on the GM to move things closer to balance, and likely reduces balance in general.

 

When one PC punches a villain in the gut' date=' sending them flying at an angle to some point where they're in sight of someone behind the force wall that this PC couldn't get behind - and this PC's [i']teammate[/i] then punches the villain again, sending him flying into the person hiding behind the force wall, the impact generating enough force to knock that person sideways and out from behind the protection of the force wall - do we forbid that effect because the first PC did not pay for the ability/power? Of course not - and it's because powers are allowed to interact!

 

The powers are not interacting. The characters are. If the second PC did not pay for any power which inflicted knockback, he would not now be able to say "Hey, my MegaBolt should be able to push the villain out beyond his force wall by virtue of his SFX. I forgot to put "does knockback" on it, but I should get it for free because of my SFX."

 

In the course of playing HERO' date=' we allow [i']game effects[/i] to benefit our characters, even though those effects are not written out in their "mechanical writeups". True, we could insist that each such benefit be paid for as the mechanical ability that would best fit the effect that improved their situation in game, but we don't. Do you think we should?

 

I think that any ability which has a sufficiently common benefit of sufficient magnitude should be paid for. I also think any limitation which arises with sufficient frequency and causes a sufficient drawback should return points to the character. This presumes that both benefit and limitation are apart from the baseline. In the case of a benefit, something that a character who has the same mechanical abilities, but a different SFX, could not do. In the case of a limitation, something that a character who has the same mechanical abilities, but a different SFX, could do.

 

This is irrelevant' date=' unless the GM has given gyroscopes a Naked set of offensive CSL's (only for offsetting Dodge).[/quote']

 

If I read this correctly, you're now arguing that SFX should be used to justify advantages the power otherwise would not have, but only if they are, mechanically, advantages. Adding other powers, skills, etc. is precluded. That's even more arbitrary. Let's change that from OCV levels that only work with my gyroscopically balanced gun to "AE: Accurate - must hit target's DCV with no bonuses arising from Dodge instead of DCV 3". Now it's an advantage and I should get it for free, as it naturally arises from my SFX interacting with the environment, which environment includes other characters who choose to dodge.

 

You can argue all you like. If' date=' however, the GM is not offering an external power that does what you want, what you are likely to [i']receive[/i] is an explanation of what sort of power (of the type you have paid for) would not include the "obvious" effects.

 

As I said, the GM must make decisions as to what freebies will, and won't, be awarded. Such decisions are unlikely to lack subjectivity, or even an arbitrary character. They are even less likely to be perceived universally as lacking these issues. By paying for the mechanical advantages your abilities ought to have by virtue of their sfx, this arbitrariness and subjectivity are eliminated. "Why can his EB arc over the wall and mine can't" is answered, under your model, with "Because I, the GM, have so decided. It is consistent with MY vision of his, and your, SFX. If you don't like it, too bad." Under my model, it is answered with "Because he has paid the points for Indirect to accomplish this and you have not.", perhaps followed by "I agree it's a logical ability of your power - do you want to add it now and we'll work out a points rebalance after the game?" Note that my model does not require the GM to invent some offsetting benefit for the other character, whose player has accurately modeled his abilities and paid the freight for what his character can do.

 

Don't fail to pay for your teammates' date=' either, and then ask to be granted extra power (to defeat your enemies) by working with them. (The "reasons" heroes have for working together shouldn't matter; after all, they are Allies of each other, shouldn't they [i']have to[/i] pay for that effect? It can be replicated with mechanics, so why isn't it?)

 

Your teammates may or may not be around, and may or may not assist you. If you want someone more reliable, in both senses, consider a Summon or a follower. It always bothers me when villains get disad's like "Slavbishly Loyal to Binder", yet the character to whom they are slavishly loyal to is not required to buy them as a follower. Really, he should be. But then, this would just add a line to Binder's sheet, and some xp to pay for it. NPC's get unlimited points, so they can add any abilities they "ought to have".

 

Don't worry on my account' date=' I'm really enjoying the nicely structured argument, and can I just commend both you and Hugh for keeping it polite? Too often these sorts of things get awfully tense and a bit personal. You are both presenting cogent points without feeling the need to descend into abuse of the other side of the argument (or at least, if you are feeling it, you are resisting heroically) :D[/quote']

 

Why thank you. As a membert of the "tact-challenged", it's nice to hear something like this now and again.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Re: Indirect discussion

 

This requires every player to build abilities with free advantages that are mnore or less equal.

 

Actually, the idea is to not have to build them any way - at all. During play, as appropriate, the Advantages are applied.

 

Simply put, it's a build to justify the application of "common sense". It "justifies" this by countering the one good argument against it: game balance - and it counters that argument by using the point system to ensure that balance.

 

This seems' date=' to me, a far more difficult undertaking than simply paying for the advantages and drawbacks you wish your abilities to have.[/quote']

 

I think "wish" requires some sort of conscious awareness, if not outright knowledge, of the advantages and drawbacks a power might have.

 

if you're not going to use the point system to address the mechanical advantages and drawbacks of the character's abiloities' date=' but rather rely on his descriptions and SFX,[/quote']

 

But what if I am using the points? I see power builds all over the place that only take effect upon certain SFX or story elements; there's certainly plenty of prior precedent for that.

 

If every character receives equal extra abilities so they are in balance' date=' why not just give every character a higher point base to begin with and let them build their abilities in full.[/quote']

 

In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice, there is.

 

Before the game, we can be certain that we built the power accurately. In actual play, however, we are usually proven wrong ;)

 

You could even mandate that X points should not be spent on initial character design' date=' but should be held in reserve to pay for those things the character "should have" which you forget until they arise in play.[/quote']

 

This is one way of handling it, yes.

 

For your approach to balance' date=' each character must leave off an equal value of abilities his or her powers should, by nature of their SFX and descriptions, have been purchased to accurately model the ability.[/quote']

 

Incorrect - they need only maintain consistency in which abilities are implicitly or explicitly included. If the GM has established a consistent set of external powers, balance will naturally result.

 

Note that, if the GM has not established a consistent set of external powers, the lack can be made up during play. Noone will notice the absence of effects that would not have applied yet anyway.

 

Try and make 10 sequential 8- rolls. While your example is possible in theory' date=' it will not happen in practice.[/quote']

 

But "sequential" is not the theory - a player would be rolling many other dice, for many other reasons, in between Activation Rolls for any given power (especially over multiple sessions). If the low rolls just happened to occur on those Activation Rolls, but the overall rolls were higher, would this be statistically impossible?

 

By the way, I've seen players who are just lucky - it doesn't matter whose dice they roll, because all the dice like them. In practice, statistics are a matter of averages, and will easily be broken with very small sets ;)

 

As noted above' date=' I'm not saying you can't do this. I'm saying it eliminates any benefit of tracking character points. I'm saying it changes the game from "design and play your character with points" to "design and play your character with descriptives", making a less objective game.[/quote']

 

I would say it's rather excessive to claim that this eliminates any benefit; but then, you do seem to be conflating "mix a little bit of common sense with the mechanics" with "toss the mechanics out the window".

 

And I'm saying it places more responsibility and work on the GM to move things closer to balance' date='[/quote']

 

I don't think many GM's would say that their "common sense" has created a lot more work for them.

 

The powers are not interacting. The characters are.

 

So now it's not "mechanics", but "story"? Interesting.

 

If the second PC did not pay for any power which inflicted knockback' date=' he would not now be able to say "Hey, my MegaBolt should be able to push the villain out beyond his force wall by virtue of his SFX. I forgot to put "does knockback" on it, but I should get it for free because of my SFX."[/quote']

 

He can say it if he likes; however, he only actually receives that effect if the GM has instituted a Naked "does knockback" Advantage as an external power. Note, also, that if the GM does so, consistency demands that other characters with qualifying SFX not be permitted to take that Advantage on their powers!

 

If I read this correctly' date=' you're now arguing that SFX should be used to justify advantages the power otherwise would not have, but only if they are, mechanically, advantages. Adding other powers, skills, etc. is precluded.[/quote']

 

Not precluded, no; you asked for OCV levels to offset Dodge, and I pointed out the only class of external powers that would provide this. If you want something else, you look for an external power that provides that.

 

The same reasoning applies as for building powers. Reason from effect: if you don't get what you want exactly how you want it, you take the existing build anyway.

 

This is, by the way, an important point - players do not get to choose whether an external power that would (according to its own criteria) apply, does apply. Just like they don't get to decide that they aren't going to be affected by the villain's RKA, just because it would be inconvenient for them under the circumstances ;)

 

As I said' date=' the GM must make decisions as to what freebies will, and won't, be awarded. Such decisions are unlikely to lack subjectivity, or even an arbitrary character.[/quote']

 

Congratulations!

 

You've just described the HERO system :)

 

They are even less likely to be perceived universally as lacking these issues.

 

I disagree - George MacDonald and Steve Peterson came up with an arbitrary baseline (that nonetheless made sense to them, and any playtesters they tried HERO out with before publication), and we've only gotten up to 5th Edition (Revised) by now. Playtesting (and change of editorial "hands") has refined the system somewhat, but I suspect that the system is still generally perceived to have "balance" in the baseline of freebies ;)

 

By paying for the mechanical advantages your abilities ought to have by virtue of their sfx' date=' this arbitrariness and subjectivity are eliminated.[/quote']

 

By paying for the baseline too, one can eliminate even more arbitrariness and subjectivity. If you choose not to question the arbitrary decisions made by the game designers as to the system's "working example" (it would hardly sell copies if HERO was a true toolkit, providing the mechanics with which to build a game world but not demonstrating that it was possible and showing how playable the default was without doing the work of building your own baseline), you have little ground for faulting those who choose to accept a different level of arbitrary and subjective decisions.

 

Note that my model does not require the GM to invent some offsetting benefit for the other character' date='[/quote']

 

I don't see it as strictly necessary to invent anything, actually. Common sense will dictate whether or not a given benefit (or detriment) is appropriate; all the GM needs to decide is whether or not this effect will be represented with an external power.

 

Also, it is not strictly necessary for both characters to receive equal benefit during play; just that such benefits be available. For example, one character chooses to fight near the cliffs, and get the chance to throw/kick his opponents off. Another character chooses to fight away from them. One character is deliberately and actively seeking out circumstances where the Gravity power might apply; another is avoiding them. Likewise, one character inflicts an extra Xd6 damage on his opponents every now and then by making them fall to the ground below; the other character has no chance of this.

 

This follows the Disadvantage model; you suffer drawbacks in return for more points' worth of extra abilities. In a game where everyone takes the maximum permitted value of Disadvantages, this won't matter much, but in a game where taking less than that is permitted - and someone does - the PC who took more (value in) Disadvantages than another will probably have more abilities, and their attacks may be more powerful; but this will not matter, because they sought it out and receive the (occasional) drawback to balance their benefits.

 

NPC's get unlimited points' date=' so they can add any abilities they "ought to have".[/quote']

 

Why should NPC's get unlimited points? Wouldn't this disrupt game balance? It could, so why do you so casually handwave it? Why can't the same principle be applied to Player Characters?

 

Note - I am not suggesting that the same principle should be applied to PC's. Just trying to point out that, without a rule to justify its selective application, your decision to apply it to NPC's but not PC's is arbitrary (and I haven't seen you post anything in this thread that would explain this).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Re: Indirect discussion

 

 

 

Why should NPC's get unlimited points?

 

Because the GM is playing to lose in the first place so it doesn't matter. "Game Balance" is between the players, so that it won't be so easy for one player to overshadow the others or for the players to one-up each other quickly into Dragonball Z territory, neither of which would be good for the game.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Re: Indirect discussion

 

Because the GM is playing to lose in the first place

 

For what purpose?

 

Are the players all presumed to be Gamists, such that the entire point of the game is them winning?

 

Also, win-win situations are not impossible: in one scenario I can recall, which in fact I was discussing just recently with the GM, the leader of our party "won" (because he followed clues and took things in an unexpected direction, thus uncovering a vampire and forcing it to flee from the mansion, leaving the inhabitants alone), and the vampire won, in that it retreated with some valuables and a new undead servant.

 

My character lost. She was the undead servant.

 

I, though, had fun, because it was a fun game. In that sense, I "won" too. In that sense, I suppose we're all Gamists.

 

Some players have fun when their characters undergo suffering, such as insanity (Call of Cthulhu) or angst (World of Darkness). There are also genres such as Paranoia, where the PC's will almost certainly fail their mission, if they ever figure out what said mission even is ;)

 

Can HERO be used for these genres? If so, is the GM still "playing to lose"?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Re: Indirect discussion

 

For what purpose?

 

Are the players all presumed to be Gamists, such that the entire point of the game is them winning?

 

 

You seem to be confusing "gamist" with "munchkin". If anything the case is the opposite. If they are narrativists then they want the game to follow a storyline, and that means the GM can't use the full resources at his disposal. He must play to lose at least until the climax, and the climax is usually the victory of the protagonists, unless the GM is only doing a oneshot and likes the taste of tragedy. If they are roleplayers, then the characters must survive in order to roleplay and be developed at least until the players are ready to end the campaign. Therefore the GM character's attempts to eliminate the PCs may be sincere, but he isn't. Now, admittedly in a pure gamist game, the GM may play to win, and therefore actual "balance" with the NPCs may matter so that the GM is competing on near-equal terms, win or lose, but how many of us are all that pure?

 

Also, win-win situations are not impossible: in one scenario I can recall, which in fact I was discussing just recently with the GM, the leader of our party "won" (because he followed clues and took things in an unexpected direction, thus uncovering a vampire and forcing it to flee from the mansion, leaving the inhabitants alone), and the vampire won, in that it retreated with some valuables and a new undead servant.

 

You have a curious definition of victory. I would not call being forced out of my home with some of my possessions a victory, even if it helped make me a new friend.

 

 

 

 

Some players have fun when their characters undergo suffering, such as insanity (Call of Cthulhu) or angst (World of Darkness). There are also genres such as Paranoia, where the PC's will almost certainly fail their mission, if they ever figure out what said mission even is ;)

 

Can HERO be used for these genres? If so, is the GM still "playing to lose"?

 

Well I wouldn't know about Paranoia since every time I tried to play it, it was a total waste of time and nothing happened. But as for Call of Cthulu and World of Darkness, yes, the GM is playing to lose in those games 99 times out of a hundred. If he wasn't, it would be dead easy to have Cthulu step on the player group a minute into the game.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...