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Sean Waters

Indirect discussion

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Drifting further off topic

 

If they are narrativists then they want the game to follow a storyline' date=' and that means the GM can't use the full resources at his disposal.[/quote']

 

I doubt that "narrativist" means "wanting to placidly follow the storyline the GM has set out before them".

 

Therefore the GM character's attempts to eliminate the PCs may be sincere' date=' but he isn't.[/quote']

 

I think part of the problem here is that you think the GM's role is to "eliminate" the PC's. If the players are just trying to get a story out of the game, against all efforts of a GM who treats the whole thing as a fight to the death, then I can see how you would need rules to rein yourself in.

 

If, on the other hand, the GM's role is simply to provide realistic obstacles so that the PC's do not get to run around enacting whichever whim may take them, building NPC's on the same rules as the PC's (and vice versa) is not so unreasonable.

 

You have a curious definition of victory. I would not call being forced out of my home with some of my possessions a victory' date=' even if it helped make me a new friend.[/quote']

 

It was the GM who defined it as victory, and I agree; the vampire could not claim the manor as its home, it arranged through deceit and other dark arts (some, quite possibly, magical) to live there for a time so it could manipulate the authority of the local ruler and feast on the local inhabitants at its leisure. This arrangement was never (reasonably speaking) expected to be permanent, but the vampire certainly did want to milk the place for as long as it could, and wasn't about to be running away just because some weak adventurers (easily taken care of) showed up. Somehow, though, one pesky adventurer not only figured out that there was a vampire around, but who it was, and managed to prove it to the locals after gathering them all in a church where the vampire couldn't safely get to them; so, packing up its belongings (and some that, technically, had once belonged to the legitimate inhabitants of this manorhouse), it departed for better feeding grouns. Without, I must add, being in any danger of destruction, such as would usually be faced from any adventuring party strong enough to force its departure.

 

Well I wouldn't know about Paranoia since every time I tried to play it' date=' it was a total waste of time and nothing happened.[/quote']

 

Considering that this describes the typical outcome of a Paranoia mission (i.e., the group failed to achieve their objectives - or, for that matter, anything else), I would say that you had an inadequate grasp of the "point" of playing such a game. If specific end results are what you are after, then Paranoia is probably not for you; it's all about the fun along the way.

 

But as for Call of Cthulu and World of Darkness' date=' 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.[/quote']

 

If the GM's goals were determined by the NPC's goals, yes. But if the GM's goal is to terrify the PC's, imposing appropriate restrictions on Cthulhu is not "playing to lose".

 

Cthulhu doesn't get to automatically win, just like the PC's don't. NPC's have to play by the rules, too.

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Re: Indirect discussion

 

Because the GM is playing to lose in the first place so it doesn't matter. "Game Balance" is between the players' date=' 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.[/quote']

 

I play to lose, but I like the winners to know they've been kissed. :thumbup:

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Re: Indirect discussion

 

Typically, the GM is providing the players assistance in reaching their characters' goals, because their characters are the protagonists of the fiction that is being developed. However, that assistance is not just to mandate that realization, but to provide real-feeling (can't think of the right word, it's on the tip of my tongue) challenge so that the developed game/fiction features the characters striving to overcome obstacles towards their goal, introducing the gaming (as well as a strong narrative push, since conflict is known to well drive story) element.

 

A game like CoC may or may not have players who wish their characters to ultimately succeed, as did the rare Lovecraftian hero (the dream-worlds guy comes to mind); they may wish their characters to die or go insane upon reaching some level of initiation into the mysteries, in truer Lovecraftian form. So in that case the GM's purpose is to drive them deeper and deeper into the insanity and mythos, to the breaking point, providing dramatic and powerful opportunities for death and insanity.

 

Importantly, the players need - and both system AND GM must provide - the sense that they can change things and have an opportunity to overcome, as well as have a sense that failure can occur and that only through their efforts can they go further. This careful balancing of expectations is the same whether the players are forcing their characters towards their final tragedy or ultimate victory.

 

Coming back to the original question, the issue isn't so much that NPCs have "unlimited" points as much as the NPCs are there to challenge the PCs. As such, the GM is "allowed" by the system to create them in any way that enables this challenge process. Therefore he may create a 9000 point behemoth that simply cannot be matched by the PCs on a power level but perhaps has some achilles heel to be discovered (or any number of them for that matter, perhaps addressed via social or psychological means), or he may create a 5 point series of weaklings that the PCs will blast through like papier-machete to then realize their horrible mistake for another storyline.

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Re: Drifting further off topic

 

Considering that this describes the typical outcome of a Paranoia mission (i.e.' date=' the group failed to achieve their objectives - or, for that matter, anything else), I would say that you had an inadequate grasp of the "point" of playing such a game. If specific end results are what you are after, then Paranoia is probably not for you; it's all about the fun along the way.[/quote']

 

Take care of what he said - he said "nothing happened", not "the status quo was maintained at the end."

 

No game should feature "nothing" happening. It's not Seinfeld, after all. :D But seriously, even a Paranoia game should feature "stuff" happening and the sense that the characters "might" be successful on some small scale (and some games are played that way, to offset the ongoing grander repression and hopelessness of total success - bear in mind, too, that Paranoia does allow PCs to move up levels in power, so clearly there is some method of success and personal change); in the end, they may fail completely and in many games will never get further than they started, despite some illustory success along the way, but there is still a journey to be had, a tale to be told.

 

NPC's have to play by the rules, too.

 

Unless they are the so-called maguffin NPCs...

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Re: Drifting further off topic

 

Robyn/Hugh, I don't really follow the winding discourse at this point. Mainly because I am not clear on what Robyn is really getting at.

 

Robyn are you saying:

 

- that an actual game advantage to a power based on SFX should be freely given (meaning without mechanical write-up and without giving the PC points) even if it is on the order of what (you believe) the system would grant as a +1/4 (or better) Advantage?

 

- that you prefer to see that PCs all have points and would give points for SFX-based advantages, but in the end you are not using points to balance PCs, rather balancing them on a more qualitative basis?

 

- something in addition or in contradiction to the above?

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Re: Indirect discussion

 

Typically' date=' the GM is providing the players assistance in reaching their characters' goals, because their characters are the protagonists of the fiction that is being developed. However, that assistance is not just to mandate that realization, but to provide real-feeling (can't think of the right word, it's on the tip of my tongue)[/quote']

 

Realistic? :D

 

I have the same problem with "proverbial". Useful word, I often need it, but usually just can't remember it.

 

Coming back to the original question' date=' the issue isn't so much that NPCs have "unlimited" points as much as the NPCs are there to challenge the PCs. As such, the GM is "allowed" by the system to create them in any way that enables this challenge process.[/quote']

 

Is this made explicit within the system? Because it seems more of a "gaming philosophy" issue to me. For instance, I don't put NPC's there to challenge PC's; I put them there as logical outgrowths of the established details in my campaign world. I still expect that there will be challenge, but only because, in real life, challenge occurs - and my game is (in that respect) modelled after real life. The PC's can, in seeking to accomplish various things, learn the strength of those who would oppose them (part of which may appear to be the innate "difficulty" of something, if their opponents are not obvious about it), and decide what they will attempt to tackle based on a combination of what the objectives are worth to them and how challenging their objectives would be (to achieve). But they get that choice; they can change the world, and then there's nothing left to change (until/unless someone else decides to change it back, of course ;)), and apart from defending what they've got they can look at harder tasks. Or find out more about the world they live in, and find something else they would want to change. My point is, though, the players (who hopefully take into account their characters ;)) are just a few more tiny fish in a big pond. Noone is there to challenge them, specifically. They are free to make their own agendas, pursue or abandon their own goals, and define their own victory conditions. All this "challenge" and "worth their time" stuff can and will be made to happen by the PC's; all the GM has to do is provide them with enough possibilities.

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Re: Drifting further off topic

 

Take care of what he said - he said "nothing happened"' date=' not "the status quo was maintained at the end."[/quote']

 

True - and I could see even an "everyone dies, and is worse off than when they started" ending. But I still think that his description of "nothing happened" could be a perception limited by not seeing "anything that led to mission failure" as having counted.

 

Well, that was awkwardly worded.

 

I'm saying that, if his own idea of the game's purpose differed from those used by the GM (or, even, the rest of the group's?), this could very well account for him having looked at what would (by Paranoia standards) have been a typical mission (with lots of fun had by all! :D), and not seen as how anything "happened".

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Re: Drifting further off topic

 

Robyn are you saying:

 

- that an actual game advantage to a power based on SFX should be freely given (meaning without mechanical write-up and without giving the PC points) even if it is on the order of what (you believe) the system would grant as a +1/4 (or better) Advantage?

 

- that you prefer to see that PCs all have points and would give points for SFX-based advantages, but in the end you are not using points to balance PCs, rather balancing them on a more qualitative basis?

 

- something in addition or in contradiction to the above?

 

A combination of the first and part of the second, with an addition for the first:

 

I believe that what the system enforces without the use of powers, and what the system insists that PC's buy as powers, is workable because it maintains a point balance on both those levels, and fits "common sense". Shifting the border a few inches one way or another, between those two, will still produce a balanced final product, provided the shifts are balanced (balanced, offset by balanced, equals balanced).

 

If we do that (shifting the border [edit: in the direction I'm describing]), we effectively redefine what is considered "baseline" and what must be "a power"; at that point, of course we're going to be assigning "for free" Advantages that would have cost points in the original product - but it doesn't matter, because at that point we're no longer using the original product! Effects which would have required points in the original product, are now on the "baseline" side of the border.

 

I need a word (better than "product") to signify HERO's default "which effects lay on what side of the border".

 

In addition to the points-enforced balance, I acknowledge that there are already (in the default HERO product) effects which require no points, and as such are not balanced by the points. Game balance, inasmuch as various individuals within a playing group with to pursue this, must be enforced by other means (if at all; I've seen several effects within typical games that, as far as I can see, are not balanced and evoke no outraged need for balance from the players or GM).

 

I would not "give points" for SFX-based Advantages; nor would I take them away for SFX-based Limitations. The key here is to keep writeups to a minimum (though not to eliminate them entirely), on both sides of the border:

  • On the "pay for this" side of the border, we have Modifiers that would normally appear on the character sheet, but for the commonality and magnitude aren't worth the space they take up, nor the time to write them down. So, instead of making character sheets longer every time something new occurs to us, we simplify: existing powers interact with other powers.

  • On the "freebie" side of the border, we have Naked Advantages (UAA) that only manifest when the situation (and SFX of the power they are affecting) match. To (again) simplify, we try to find the fundamental rules that apply (in physics, to reality, by "common sense", etcetera), shrinking the list of "freebie" effects that we consult and apply.

Normally, to give some power an Advantage, one would need to use Transform; but Transform does so permanently. The NA's (UAA) can apply as infrequently as once, and then cease affecting that power when the moment is past.

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Re: Drifting further off topic

 

 

 

I think part of the problem here is that you think the GM's role is to "eliminate" the PC's.

 

Hardly. Quite the reverse. The GM's role is to provide a challenge which will then be overcome by the PCs...quite often by eliminating it. In short, to play to lose.

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Re: Drifting further off topic

 

True - and I could see even an "everyone dies, and is worse off than when they started" ending. But I still think that his description of "nothing happened" could be a perception limited by not seeing "anything that led to mission failure" as having counted.

 

 

Mission failure? We were never assigned a mission. Nothing happened. The GM thought it would be funny to not let us find the briefing room. He was wrong. Oh, I suppose he executed 5 of my clones for trying to find it or trying to be wacky, or really, for doing anything, but I found it difficult to care. I can't remember what happened in the second session, but it certainly didn't involve any kind of mission. I think we may have eaten lunch in the cafeteria. For our third try a different GM just put our characters into a room and told us to wait. They stared at each other for 15 minutes and then we switched games.

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Re: Drifting further off topic

 

Hardly. Quite the reverse. The GM's role is to provide a challenge which will then be overcome by the PCs...quite often by eliminating it. In short' date=' to play to lose.[/quote']

 

But it only counts as "playing to lose" if the GM's desire (quite apart from how other considerations force her to play) is to eliminate the PC's.

 

Mission failure? We were never assigned a mission. Nothing happened. The GM thought it would be funny to not let us find the briefing room. He was wrong. Oh' date=' I suppose he executed 5 of my clones for trying to find it or trying to be wacky, or really, for doing anything, but I found it difficult to care. I can't remember what happened in the second session, but it certainly didn't involve any kind of mission. I think we may have eaten lunch in the cafeteria. For our third try a different GM just put our characters into a room and told us to wait. They stared at each other for 15 minutes and then we switched games.[/quote']

 

Dude . . . you were given, like, the three basic scenarios from the core book. Finding the briefing room is often a mission unto itself - and surviving the debriefing is a real killer! Eating lunch in the cafeteria is a perfect opportunity to spot traitors and "accidentally" dump someone into the food vats. A typical team of troubleshooters wouldn't have lasted 15 minutes guarding an empty room - they would have been pointing guns, accusing traitors, and stabbing each other in the back within five.

 

I think your GM was the only one who understood Paranoia, and just didn't explain it to the group well enough (or they weren't "into" the spirit).

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Re: Drifting further off topic

 

Mission failure? We were never assigned a mission. Nothing happened. The GM thought it would be funny to not let us find the briefing room. He was wrong. Oh' date=' I suppose he executed 5 of my clones for trying to find it or trying to be wacky, or really, for doing anything, but I found it difficult to care. I can't remember what happened in the second session, but it certainly didn't involve any kind of mission. I think we may have eaten lunch in the cafeteria. For our third try a different GM just put our characters into a room and told us to wait. They stared at each other for 15 minutes and then we switched games.[/quote']

 

Not paranoia (and those were classic paranoia bits), but...

 

I had the opposite problem in my Freedom Patrol game - among my players were a duo who loved to roleplay office hours, low-key headquarters humor, and domestic soap-opera. It was extremely hard to tear them away from it and get them to go on missions. It didn't just drive me crazy, it drove the other players (who liked melodrama and soap-opera elements - as did I) absolutely off their rockers. Those two just about had to be dragged kicking and screaming into the field. Over time one of them left and the other became more interested in the main event and the fascination with paperwork and procedure turned into an intermittent gag between major scenes. At that point it served to give us some in-jokes (like his custom of gleaning "intelligence data" from tabloids, and the groups standard MIB attire), which was amusing enough, but given the opportunity those two would have absolutely loved a whole session based on "find the briefing room."

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Re: Drifting further off topic

 

But it only counts as "playing to lose" if the GM's desire (quite apart from how other considerations force her to play) is to eliminate the PC's.

 

Not with me. If I throw a chess match by deliberately handicapping myself, I may have achieved the objective, but my objective was to lose the game. Now, too be sure, it isn't necessary to lose every time, but it's my responsibility as GM to make sure that the other side's victories outweigh their defeats.

 

Finding the briefing room is often a mission unto itself

 

Whatever. I guess since I'm a loser in real life I just don't find being a total loser in a game all that funny. But then, I don't find Road Runner cartoons funny either.

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Re: Drifting further off topic

 

Whatever. I guess since I'm a loser in real life I just don't find being a total loser in a game all that funny. But then' date=' I don't find Road Runner cartoons funny either.[/quote']

 

Paranoia isn't for everyone. I found I liked the idea of the game more than the game itself. Wasn't for me, either.

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Re: Drifting further off topic

 

Not with me.

 

That's certainly fair. It may not make a good argument for how the game should be for every group (as a rule), but I think you presented a decent case with the "DBZ escalation" prevention theory, so we can probably drift back towards the topic now.

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Re: Drifting further off topic

 

Paranoia isn't for everyone. I found I liked the idea of the game more than the game itself. Wasn't for me' date=' either.[/quote']

 

I liked reading the books just for their parody and satire value. I even bought several old books, though they've been out of print for an insane length of time, just to read them. Then, thinking about it, I decided to steal some setting material :eg:

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Re: Drifting further off topic

 

Hardly. Quite the reverse. The GM's role is to provide a challenge which will then be overcome by the PCs...quite often by eliminating it. In short' date=' to play to lose.[/quote']

 

A quote from a GM Past:

 

Designing a scenario where the characters will be killed is easy. Designing a scenario where they truly believe the characters are going to be killed, and having them, using their own resources, win a hard-fought victory - THAT is hard!

 

Very true, in my opinion.

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Re: Drifting further off topic

 

A combination of the first and part of the second, with an addition for the first:

 

I believe that what the system enforces without the use of powers, and what the system insists that PC's buy as powers, is workable because it maintains a point balance on both those levels, and fits "common sense". Shifting the border a few inches one way or another, between those two, will still produce a balanced final product, provided the shifts are balanced (balanced, offset by balanced, equals balanced).

 

It's that "provided they're balanced" issue that comes apart in the end. If you allow one SFX an advantage for free, and a second character with the identical mechanical power, but different special effects, does not benefit from that advantage, nor from any other advantage of more or less equal balance, the characters are no longer balanced.

 

You note we've had five editions to date. Very true. Many of the changes made between them have been intended to move closer to that elusive "perfect balance" under the default conditions. Moving the default conditions means we get to start the balancing process once again, from scratch.

 

If we do that (shifting the border [edit: in the direction I'm describing])' date=' we effectively [i']redefine[/i] what is considered "baseline" and what must be "a power"; at that point, of course we're going to be assigning "for free" Advantages that would have cost points in the original product - but it doesn't matter, because at that point we're no longer using the original product! Effects which would have required points in the original product, are now on the "baseline" side of the border.

 

Baseline implies the same rules for everyone. For example, "Energy Blasts are not Indirect unless they pay for the advantage" is a baseline. Any character wanting his Energy Blast to be Indirect pays points for that ability.

 

An alternative baseline could certainly be "All Energy Blasts are Indirect automatically." This creates balance issues - the EB has just received extra functionality at no extra cost. But it remains a baseline - it is a default that applies to all Energy Blasts.

 

"Some Energy Blasts get Indirect for free and some do not" is not a baseline. The same power gets different levels of functionality for different people based on the GM's perception of "common sense" [or, less politely, the GM's whims].

 

In addition to the points-enforced balance' date=' I acknowledge that there are [i']already[/i] (in the default HERO product) effects which require no points, and as such are not balanced by the points. Game balance, inasmuch as various individuals within a playing group with to pursue this, must be enforced by other means (if at all; I've seen several effects within typical games that, as far as I can see, are not balanced and evoke no outraged need for balance from the players or GM).

 

Poe Tay Toe Poe Tah Toe, but...

 

There are minor SFX variances commonly applied in game. You refer to them as requiring no points. I refer to them as falling below the +1/4 de minimis. T

 

hese advantages [or limitations] are so minor as to fall below the (arbitrary, to be sure) +1/4 [-1/4] value. They are therefore applied at the +0 [-0] value. If they should turn out, in play, to have a value which approaches other effects which carry a +1/4, or -1/4, value based on the frequency with which they arise, combined with the magnitude of their effect when they do arise, then they have been mis-valued at 0, and the character should pay (advantage) or recover (limitation) points based on the corrected magnitude of the value of the modifier.

 

If you want certain SFX of energy blasts to receive the Indirect advantage for free, then you favour such SFX. Players selecting these SFX gain extra benefit at no extra cost. Don't be surprised when those SFX become more prvelant, and SFX granting no freebies become less common.

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Re: Drifting further off topic

 

If you want certain SFX of energy blasts to receive the Indirect advantage for free' date=' then you favour such SFX.[/quote']

 

If the SFX of other Energy Blasts receive a different Advantage (of equivalent value) for free, am I then favoring those SFX?

 

But wait, I thought I was favoring the other SFX. Hrm . . . maybe it's just a Variable Effect distance from the baseline (same distance, different direction).

 

Players selecting these SFX gain extra benefit at no extra cost. Don't be surprised when those SFX become more prvelant' date=' and SFX granting no freebies become less common.[/quote']

 

The very existence of SFX granting no freebies would be an imbalance by the rules of consistency I have described. I see no problem with PC's seeking out SFX that grant them an advantage for whatever situation they happen to be in at the time - this is, as I previously explained, basic tactical thinking. Except that it's not a matter of figuring out the system (which grants an advantage to rules-lawyers), it's a matter of common sense - this levels the playing field, providing game balance. For virtually any system (and especially one as complex as HERO), there's a learning curve - but with mechanics that perfectly model common sense, any player can start playing and immediately grasp the implications of whatever action their characters are contemplating. For this reason, they may opt to use SFX which have not been previously shown (in the game) to have any special benefit - and could receive it anyway (they might not, but through such experimentation, they would learn more about the game world).

 

One character has a 60-point Energy Blast. Another character has a 60-point Flash. Another character has 60 points in Enhanced Sense. Which of these characters is best?

 

Each of them can do something the others can not; they have different powers, but the points ensure game balance. Each of them will be more effective in some situations than the others, and it is to their interest to seek out situations where their powers are useful while avoiding situations where they would be useless. The same goes for Advantages, whatever their source; just because the effects are different, does not mean game balance has been disrupted.

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Re: Drifting further off topic

 

If you allow one SFX an advantage for free' date=' and a second character with the identical mechanical power, but different special effects, does not benefit from that advantage, nor from any other advantage of more or less equal balance, the characters are no longer balanced.[/quote']

 

True, but I've said as much; I even built that back in reply #113. My argument has been that, if a character with the identical mechanical power but different SFX benefits from any Advantage (even the same one) of equal power/utility, the Advantages are balanced; I also included some criteria for circumstances to restrict frequency, but why complicate things?

 

You note we've had five editions to date. Very true. Many of the changes made between them have been intended to move closer to that elusive "perfect balance" under the default conditions. Moving the default conditions means we get to start the balancing process once again' date=' from scratch.[/quote']

 

You acknowledge, then, that the default conditions are not kept balanced?

 

This is good. I was trying to cover both bases before, since you could have believed that the baseline was balanced (and this would have meant we could analyze the system, figure out what rules it obeyed to ensure that balance, and use those rules to create our own [balanced] baseline), but now I can focus on the "arbitrary" elements.

 

Game balance has already been compromised, and abilities are priced such that buying them will be a corrective measure for this imbalance; but if we acknowledge that we are accepting some level of imbalance, the question merely becomes where we (as a group) feel comfortable with compromising it.

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Re: Indirect discussion

 

Realistic? :D

 

I have the same problem with "proverbial". Useful word, I often need it, but usually just can't remember it.

 

No, I was looking for the word "visceral."

 

Is this made explicit within the system? Because it seems more of a "gaming philosophy" issue to me. For instance, I don't put NPC's there to challenge PC's; I put them there as logical outgrowths of the established details in my campaign world. I still expect that there will be challenge, but only because, in real life, challenge occurs - and my game is (in that respect) modelled after real life. The PC's can, in seeking to accomplish various things, learn the strength of those who would oppose them (part of which may appear to be the innate "difficulty" of something, if their opponents are not obvious about it), and decide what they will attempt to tackle based on a combination of what the objectives are worth to them and how challenging their objectives would be (to achieve). But they get that choice; they can change the world, and then there's nothing left to change (until/unless someone else decides to change it back, of course ;)), and apart from defending what they've got they can look at harder tasks. Or find out more about the world they live in, and find something else they would want to change. My point is, though, the players (who hopefully take into account their characters ;)) are just a few more tiny fish in a big pond. Noone is there to challenge them, specifically. They are free to make their own agendas, pursue or abandon their own goals, and define their own victory conditions. All this "challenge" and "worth their time" stuff can and will be made to happen by the PC's; all the GM has to do is provide them with enough possibilities.

 

I would term challenge loosely and say that it basically fits as you say, though in this case it's a simulationist-based as opposed narrative-based challenge, which is much as I used to do. Essentially, though, I will assume that your world would not be one designed such that the PCs faced no challenges, that they could simply resolve any situation in moments and dash off to the next (unless of course the challenge is "how do you deal with a world with no challenges!" :D ), thus I group that in the same general category - your NPCs will, in this case more born of situational reasons and the need for verisimillitude, be a challenge and thus designed at various power levels (some likely overwhelming, some insubstantial, others more or less equal).

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Re: Indirect discussion

 

Essentially' date=' though, I will assume that your world would not be one designed such that the PCs faced no challenges, that they could simply resolve any situation in moments and dash off to the next[/quote']

 

Since the campaign's description specified that PC's would start out weaker than the average person, I believe this is an accurate assessment :)

 

(unless of course the challenge is "how do you deal with a world with no challenges!" :D )

 

Sounds like the subject of an interesting WWYCD! :D

 

Of course, one might argue that this is already the case in every WWYCD, and the question is implicit but ignored ;)

 

your NPCs will' date=' in this case more born of situational reasons and the need for verisimillitude, be a challenge and thus designed at various power levels (some likely overwhelming, some insubstantial, others more or less equal).[/quote']

 

Exactly. The players will, ideally, seek out a level of challenge that they feel confident about taking on and would feel proud of overcoming.

 

My task as GM is merely to make a wide range of options available. From there on, the players (in a sort of "natural selection") are free to demonstrate what level of challenge they are comfortable with, by seeking out the available possibilities.

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Re: Drifting further off topic

 

A combination of the first and part of the second, with an addition for the first:

 

I believe that what the system enforces without the use of powers, and what the system insists that PC's buy as powers, is workable because it maintains a point balance on both those levels, and fits "common sense". Shifting the border a few inches one way or another, between those two, will still produce a balanced final product, provided the shifts are balanced (balanced, offset by balanced, equals balanced).

 

If we do that (shifting the border [edit: in the direction I'm describing]), we effectively redefine what is considered "baseline" and what must be "a power"; at that point, of course we're going to be assigning "for free" Advantages that would have cost points in the original product - but it doesn't matter, because at that point we're no longer using the original product! Effects which would have required points in the original product, are now on the "baseline" side of the border.

 

I need a word (better than "product") to signify HERO's default "which effects lay on what side of the border".

 

In addition to the points-enforced balance, I acknowledge that there are already (in the default HERO product) effects which require no points, and as such are not balanced by the points. Game balance, inasmuch as various individuals within a playing group with to pursue this, must be enforced by other means (if at all; I've seen several effects within typical games that, as far as I can see, are not balanced and evoke no outraged need for balance from the players or GM).

 

I would not "give points" for SFX-based Advantages; nor would I take them away for SFX-based Limitations. The key here is to keep writeups to a minimum (though not to eliminate them entirely), on both sides of the border:

  • On the "pay for this" side of the border, we have Modifiers that would normally appear on the character sheet, but for the commonality and magnitude aren't worth the space they take up, nor the time to write them down. So, instead of making character sheets longer every time something new occurs to us, we simplify: existing powers interact with other powers.

  • On the "freebie" side of the border, we have Naked Advantages (UAA) that only manifest when the situation (and SFX of the power they are affecting) match. To (again) simplify, we try to find the fundamental rules that apply (in physics, to reality, by "common sense", etcetera), shrinking the list of "freebie" effects that we consult and apply.

Normally, to give some power an Advantage, one would need to use Transform; but Transform does so permanently. The NA's (UAA) can apply as infrequently as once, and then cease affecting that power when the moment is past.

I think you're really arguing, in effect, that things like Naked Advantages break the rules of HERO, which others might agree with, if from a different vantage points.

 

But even given all you said, I'm not sure why you would allow an SFX advantage to accord an advantage of greater in very rough value of +1/4. The non-balance in metagaming is not the same as non-balance in mechanics, and I believe your statement basically supports that. HERO is very strong on trying to stay away from the metagame, something I agree is a problem in many respects even if it has some positive effects as well.

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Re: Drifting further off topic

 

Not with me. If I throw a chess match by deliberately handicapping myself, I may have achieved the objective, but my objective was to lose the game. Now, too be sure, it isn't necessary to lose every time, but it's my responsibility as GM to make sure that the other side's victories outweigh their defeats.

 

Finding the briefing room is often a mission unto itself

 

Whatever. I guess since I'm a loser in real life I just don't find being a total loser in a game all that funny. But then, I don't find Road Runner cartoons funny either.

Interesting, not found of Road Runner myself. Although I would still like to try Paranoia.

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Re: Indirect discussion

 

Since the campaign's description specified that PC's would start out weaker than the average person, I believe this is an accurate assessment :)

 

 

 

Sounds like the subject of an interesting WWYCD! :D

 

Of course, one might argue that this is already the case in every WWYCD, and the question is implicit but ignored ;)

 

 

 

Exactly. The players will, ideally, seek out a level of challenge that they feel confident about taking on and would feel proud of overcoming.

 

My task as GM is merely to make a wide range of options available. From there on, the players (in a sort of "natural selection") are free to demonstrate what level of challenge they are comfortable with, by seeking out the available possibilities.

I used to run heavily that way but have tended towards a much stronger narrative approch, relative to that, these last few years. I think partly because our group is more attentive/interested that way.

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