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Sean Waters

Indirect discussion

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Re: Indirect discussion

 

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

 

There's always a story going on. If the group wants to participate in the same story, they have to focus. I won't do the "everything that happens on screen is related to what I want the players to be doing" thing. Everyone has a story, many of them are in the middle of telling it, most of them aren't interested in babbling out the details to some random stranger who just walked up. Investigation is key. That and learning to spend their time on the case at hand, not just being led blindly astray by whatever new interesting story they catch the scent of. If they want to put everything together, they can, but it'll be easier if those elements actually belonged together in the first place. Provided with a surplus of interesting stories, the PC's will converge on what they all find most compelling.

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Re: Indirect discussion

 

Either way, a story's produced, don't mistake the terminology to imply that narrative = story. They are simply different emphasis in how that story is generated.

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Re: Drifting further off topic

 

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

 

I concede that I'm bringing up all these proof-of-concept "the rules of HERO can be constructed with its mechanics" builds to illustrate why we shouldn't need to use such builds, but I disagree about my ultimate purpose. I can see Hugh trying to show me that "changing HERO's default baseline" is a slippery slope, with the inevitable result being that it's all tossed away, but my rebuttal is basically "Yeah. It's a slippery slope. And you're not exactly at the top of the hill there yourself, either."

 

There seems to have been no excessive trouble with slipping, before; so, provided I get a good footing underneath me (maintain the same kind of balance as HERO's current default already possesses), I should be able to maintain the same level of stability as everyone else.

 

But even given all you said' date=' I'm not sure why you would allow an SFX advantage to accord an advantage of greater in very rough value of +1/4.[/quote']

 

You said yourself you weren't really following the discourse. I suggest going back and rereading some of it, in light of the new explanations. The information you seek should be in there. If you still aren't sure, ask me again and I'll toss out a few points from my list in hopes of stimulating discussion ;)

 

The non-balance in metagaming is not the same as non-balance in mechanics' date=' and I believe your statement basically supports that.[/quote']

 

I'm not quite clear on what you mean by "metagaming" here, so I can't address your statement, but I can offer a rephrasing of the point I was trying to make about compensating for imbalances inherent to the system:

 

Life isn't fair. In trying to make a game that imitates life, but also a game that is fair, we doom ourselves to failure before we even start. Often, the imitation of life takes priority, and we end up with an unfair game. We try to restore this ideal balance, and - in the process - we end up making the game less and less like life. HERO tries to make this conflict an advantage, by using its point-balance system to make the game "less like life" in ways that are "more like the desired game", basically mixing in a different ideal (such as "super-heroes").

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Re: Drifting further off topic

 

I concede that I'm bringing up all these proof-of-concept "the rules of HERO can be constructed with its mechanics" builds to illustrate why we shouldn't need to use such builds' date=' but I disagree about my ultimate purpose. I can see Hugh trying to show me that "changing HERO's default baseline" is a slippery slope, with the inevitable result being that it's [i']all[/i] tossed away, but my rebuttal is basically "Yeah. It's a slippery slope. And you're not exactly at the top of the hill there yourself, either."

 

There seems to have been no excessive trouble with slipping, before; so, provided I get a good footing underneath me (maintain the same kind of balance as HERO's current default already possesses), I should be able to maintain the same level of stability as everyone else.

 

I'm not sure how that's relevant to my point.

 

You said yourself you weren't really following the discourse. I suggest going back and rereading some of it, in light of the new explanations. The information you seek should be in there. If you still aren't sure, ask me again and I'll toss out a few points from my list in hopes of stimulating discussion ;)

 

Well, you've not directly answered it here or in that, to my understanding. I see nothing in your prior comments, either, consistent with stating that something that actually affords an ongoing advantage akin to a +1/4 or greater shouldn't also receive that as an Advantage in its write-up. You've stated that there are many vagaries around how often a conditional Advantage will come up, but that's nothing to do with something that is demonstrably going to be a consistent advantage.

 

I'm not quite clear on what you mean by "metagaming" here, so I can't address your statement, but I can offer a rephrasing of the point I was trying to make about compensating for imbalances inherent to the system:

 

Life isn't fair. In trying to make a game that imitates life, but also a game that is fair, we doom ourselves to failure before we even start. Often, the imitation of life takes priority, and we end up with an unfair game. We try to restore this ideal balance, and - in the process - we end up making the game less and less like life. HERO tries to make this conflict an advantage, by using its point-balance system to make the game "less like life" in ways that are "more like the desired game", basically mixing in a different ideal (such as "super-heroes").

 

I believe you were referencing that some players will succeed in terms of being able to maneuver conditions to their characters' liking, by being more suave and effective in communicating, and the like, all skills that are outside of the technical game itself, hence the term commonly used, "metagaming." Yes, metagaming does necessarily affect the game. I agree that HERO does not address this, most games of its era do not, and just saying this does create issues, basically which would include such as "true" game balance (not that I stated that explicitly in the quoted post but yes I would more or less agree with your premise on this, if I understand that properly).

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Re: Indirect discussion

 

Either way' date=' a story's produced, don't mistake the terminology to imply that narrative = story. They are simply different emphasis in how that story is generated.[/quote']

 

Given the context of what you were replying to, I took your response as "I used to lay the story elements out there and let the players pursue them if so inclined, but now I take a much stronger hand in narrating to the players."

 

Don't mistake me, I am willing to parade stories across the stage in front of the PC's, but at some point their choices (be these as "insignificant" as "where they want to go") will influence which story I am telling them.

 

The more proactive the players are, the more likely that this will be their story, and I can just narrate how the NPC's sit back in a druglike stupor and watch them (the PC's) parade by ;)

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Re: Indirect discussion

 

Given the context of what you were replying to, I took your response as "I used to lay the story elements out there and let the players pursue them if so inclined, but now I take a much stronger hand in narrating to the players."

 

Don't mistake me, I am willing to parade stories across the stage in front of the PC's, but at some point their choices (be these as "insignificant" as "where they want to go") will influence which story I am telling them.

 

The more proactive the players are, the more likely that this will be their story, and I can just narrate how the NPC's sit back in a druglike stupor and watch them (the PC's) parade by ;)

I was speaking more in terms of laying a setting and many possible hooks around but promoting none, as I took your approach to basically be, and as my former was, and in narrative of providing and promoting a more specific storyline (or rather set of stories, as with either approach). However, just as no one is purely one or the other sort of gaming behavior, of course there's lots of things that just grow out of the environment as well, and given players drive some action there's also individual ways in which their stories are developed. I don't look at it in any case as telling or narrating the story, as I think the story itself develops as much or more from the players, generally and depending, so it's primarily an enabling role even in a more narrative mode, the point being then to ensure that the direction the players give is more sharply focused via my surrounding events and characters into a story we are trying to tell. It also, specifically, has involved my creation and maintenance of a large theme for the campaign around which I had hoped and encouraged a specific larger storyline to develop (and in fact did). Basically the theme was the relationship between and among metahumans and "regular" humans, attempting a more interesting and mature take on the Marvel "X-thing", and this was well-responded to by players, who quite well drove that into a broad story arc that completed over 5 real years.

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Re: Drifting further off topic

 

I'm not sure how that's relevant to my point.

 

You said that you thought I was arguing, in effect, that those builds would break the rules of HERO. My argument was that, while it is true that I wasn't posting these builds with the intention that they actually be used, my intent was not to show that they would break the rules of HERO. If anything, it was to demonstrate the opposite - that they would fit fully within the rules of HERO - and I used this to illustrate how Hugh's position was no less subjective than mine.

 

Well' date=' you've not directly answered it here or in that, to my understanding. I see nothing in your prior comments, either, consistent with stating that something that actually affords an ongoing advantage akin to a +1/4 or greater shouldn't also receive that as an Advantage in its write-up. You've stated that there are many vagaries around how often a conditional Advantage will come up, but that's nothing to do with something that is demonstrably going to be a consistent advantage.[/quote']

 

If by "demonstratably" you mean that the player has consistently shown their character will only use that ability in situations where it is most advantageous to them - i.e., when they will be guaranteed of receiving the benefit - I see no problem with this. There is still a choice, and the player is voluntarily restricting themselves with a "never uses ability at level of power paid for".

 

If you mean "abilities that are not dependent on SFX, or not dependent on other circumstances, for their frequency of application", the principle of simplicity (to name one off the top of my head) covers this. Why make things excessively complicated when balance can be maintained without it?

 

I have shown just a sample of how complicated things can be when we insist on adding to the characters' sheets every effect that they can consistently benefit from. I see the default HERO ruleset as equally arbitrary in comparison to the slightly modified rulesets such as I might use . . . and, as I suspect would be proven were we to do an audit of HERO groups, as many other groups already do use, advocacy to the contrary notwithstanding.

 

I believe you were referencing that some players will succeed in terms of being able to maneuver conditions to their characters' liking' date=' by being more suave and effective in communicating, and the like, all skills that are outside of the technical game itself, hence the term commonly used, "metagaming."[/quote']

 

Ahh yes, okay. I was wondering if perhaps you meant the effects on either side of that border, but that didn't quite seem to fit.

 

Yes' date=' metagaming does necessarily affect the game. I agree that HERO does not address this, most games of its era do not, and just saying this does create issues, basically which would include such as "true" game balance (not that I stated that explicitly in the quoted post but yes I would more or less agree with your premise on this, if I understand that properly).[/quote']

 

I tend to concur with RDU Neil on this matter, though I am not sure about his latest definition (how well the players "grok" the play experience). There are many levels on which game balance can be evaluated.

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Re: Indirect discussion

 

Basically the theme was the relationship between and among metahumans and "regular" humans' date=' attempting a more interesting and mature take on the Marvel "X-thing", and this was well-responded to by players, who quite well drove that into a broad story arc that completed over 5 real years.[/quote']

 

Speaking of X-things, I saw the 3rd X-Men movie tonight.

 

 

Disappointing . . . still, it's one way of ensuring there will never be a sequel :rolleyes:

 

Kill off all the main characters, or take away their powers. Sheesh.

 

 

 

 

:o . . . my Location should be "drifting, on a log, somewhere downstream from the original topic" :hush:

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Re: Indirect discussion

 

Speaking of X-things, I saw the 3rd X-Men movie tonight.

 

 

Disappointing . . . still, it's one way of ensuring there will never be a sequel :rolleyes:

 

Kill off all the main characters, or take away their powers. Sheesh.

 

 

 

 

Except of course that the cure didn't really work and most of the main characters were still alive. Magneto was already starting to get his powers back, and Xavier gave a resurrection excuse at the start of the movie. Jean and Scott may be dead, but that's about it. Although I expect Mystique won't be quite so in synch with Mags now.

 

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Re: Drifting further off topic

 

You said that you thought I was arguing' date=' in effect, that those builds would break the rules of HERO. My argument was that, while it is true that I wasn't posting these builds with the intention that they actually be [i']used[/i], my intent was not to show that they would break the rules of HERO. If anything, it was to demonstrate the opposite - that they would fit fully within the rules of HERO - and I used this to illustrate how Hugh's position was no less subjective than mine.

 

 

 

If by "demonstratably" you mean that the player has consistently shown their character will only use that ability in situations where it is most advantageous to them - i.e., when they will be guaranteed of receiving the benefit - I see no problem with this. There is still a choice, and the player is voluntarily restricting themselves with a "never uses ability at level of power paid for".

 

If you mean "abilities that are not dependent on SFX, or not dependent on other circumstances, for their frequency of application", the principle of simplicity (to name one off the top of my head) covers this. Why make things excessively complicated when balance can be maintained without it?

 

I have shown just a sample of how complicated things can be when we insist on adding to the characters' sheets every effect that they can consistently benefit from. I see the default HERO ruleset as equally arbitrary in comparison to the slightly modified rulesets such as I might use . . . and, as I suspect would be proven were we to do an audit of HERO groups, as many other groups already do use, advocacy to the contrary notwithstanding.

 

 

 

Ahh yes, okay. I was wondering if perhaps you meant the effects on either side of that border, but that didn't quite seem to fit.

 

 

 

I tend to concur with RDU Neil on this matter, though I am not sure about his latest definition (how well the players "grok" the play experience). There are many levels on which game balance can be evaluated.

While you've not directly answered, I take it you said in this post that it doesn't matter if a character gets an advantage every time he uses a power despite the fact he didn't pay for that. Then I would say that you are basically saying HERO is broken, in that then the values it affixes are of no consequence and add nothing to the actual play. Or, rather, perhaps not HERO, but the whole Modifier mechanic, that it could just as easily be chucked as far as points go and given as possible things a character could do with a power, and simply warn GMs to be careful if they do a lot of these.

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on a log again, drifting further downstream from the original topic ;)

 

Magneto was already starting to get his powers back' date=' and Xavier gave a resurrection excuse at the start of the movie.

[/quote']

 

I missed those two. Xavier's just went right past me, but I thought that closing scene with Erik was a final poignant touch where he tries to play chess, but can't because his traditional opponent (and best friend) is gone now.

 

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Re: Drifting further off topic

 

While you've not directly answered' date=' I take it you said in this post[/quote']

 

As a general rule, I try to avoid implications; if it hasn't been stated explicitly, please assume that it wasn't meant, and ask for clarification.

 

that it doesn't matter if a character gets an advantage every time he uses a power despite the fact he didn't pay for that.

 

As it happens, in this specific case I did not mean that ;):P

 

If one of the heroes takes x2 Stun and Body to bacterial SFX, and my villain only uses his attack with bacterial SFX against that hero, the villain is effectively getting x2 Stun and Body (twice the effect) every time he uses that power. He has still paid for an attack that can be used at any time; the fact that he chooses to ignore its utility at other times does not change the many circumstances under which it would not have any effect greater than he paid for it to have.

 

How much this applies to your point depends on what you meant by "demonstratably". If you meant that the player would seek out circumstances where their powers (including SFX) interacted with other powers in such a way that they would always enjoy an edge in contests, this is "basic tactical thinking" (and another level of evaluating game balance). If you meant that the player would refuse to use that power when it only provided a level of effect they had paid for, I see no problem with this. Even when combined, so that PC's try to avoid circumstances under which they would choose not to use the power, thus avoiding the (self-imposed) drawbacks of not being able to use it at all, I see no problem with it, provided the PC's attempt to create and maintain such circumstances is not automatically successful.

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Re: Drifting further off topic

 

If the SFX of other Energy Blasts receive a different Advantage (of equivalent value) for free' date=' am I then favoring [i']those[/i] SFX?

 

As I have noted throughout, I don't believe this approach to be impossible. I do believe it imposes a considerable addition of work and responsibility to the GM. The GM needs to essentially complete the design of each character in order to add these balanced, SFX based advantages and limitations. In the standard game, that is the players' job. In my view, from the perspective of player or GM, that shift of work is not desirable.

 

As well, it provides for an arbitrariness on the part of the GM. If my powers SFX cry out for advantages that total +1, and my teammates' powers SFX leave one hard pressed to come up with benefits that even total +1/4, what happens? I see three possibilities. First, my character doesn't get all the abilities his SFX and common sense scream out that he should have. Thus, we're back to the gameplay flying in the face of common sense, and the purpose of your modification to the rules has not been met. Second, the second character gets equivalent benefits grafted on, despite the fact that these are poorly supported, if at all, by common sense and SFX. Again, this fails to meet the purpose of your modification. The third possibility is to maintain the purity of your vision, allowing each character those benefits justified under common sense by the character's SFX - no more and no less - which unbalances the game by providing more benefits to the first character than are received by the second character.

 

I suppose this could be rebalanced by giving the second character more points to compensate for having less freebies, but then why didn't we just give them both more points to accurately model their abilities under the SFX and common sense rules? And what if the second player now builds a bunch of abilities that cry out for freebie advantages under the SFX/common sense rules. This leads me back to my belief that blending the SFX/common sense approach with the points approach is unstable at best.

 

As well, it is complicated by the fact that there is an inherent subjectivity in the term "balance". What the GM considers balanced may or may not be considered balanced by each player.

 

Let's restrict the analysis for illustrative purposes. We'll limit the discussion to two advantages, say Indirect (+1/2) and Armor Piercing (+1/2). We'll further assume from the outset that these are considered "balanced" - of equal utility - by the GM. One of his players' SFX simply cry out for AP, and the other's for Indirect, so these are the "inherently balanced" free SFX advantages applied. Likely, their circumstances are restricted so they don't always have the advantages, but assume further that the frequency is also perfectly equal, and thus balanced.

 

Under the default system, the player has some ability to impose subjective balance. Assume, unlike you, that I believe that Indirect (+1/2) is highly effective, and maybe even underpriced, but that Armor Piercing (+1/2) is not that beneficial, and really not worth near its cost. Under the standard system, I as a player will not purchase Armor Piercing, foregoing the benefit because I don't consider it worth the cost. I will, at least if my power suite justifies it, purchase Indirect, because I consider it a very valuable ability.

 

Under your system, if you assign me the Indirect advantage, I'm thrilled. Asign me AP and I feel I'm ripped off, especially compared to the guy who got Indirect. You have removed some control of the point economics, and control of my character design, from me.

 

Take your approach further (MUCH further), and we eventually get to the game where the player defines the personality of his character, and is then randomly assigned his stats, skills, powers, etc. This could be by random dice (Villains & Vigilantes) or arbitrary GM assignment of powers/power suites. A couple of steps further and the GM just drafts the characters from whole cloth and hands them out to the players. To stress again, this is a LONG WAY further along than your proposal.

 

The Hero System permits the player to precisely define his or her character exactly the way he or she envisions and desires that character to be defined. To me (and, I believe, many other Hero gamers), this is among the best features of the Hero System, if not the #1 top feature. Your approach detracts from that feature, even if only slightly, and weakens one of (IMO) Hero's greatest strengths. It moves character design (slightly or less slightly) out of the control of the player.

 

I would much rather define my character's abilities and build in those benefits and limitations these ought logically to have than pick more imprecise mechanical abilities, apply my SFX, and rely on the GM's vision of SFX, comon sense and balance matching my own so precisely that the freebies assigned will match my vision of the character.

 

But wait, you say, I can just buy all of those abilities, defining my character's abilities as precisely as I wish. Ah, but if I do so, then one of two things must occur under your model. The first option is that my character is perfectly defined and, as such, there are no freebies you can logically assign. Thus, my character loses ground since everyone else gets freebies and my character does not. Second, you will assigfn freebies nonetheless, preserving balance. But since my character was already perfectly designed (in my view), you have added abilities which do not fit in with my vision of the character, detracting from the precision of my modelling of my character's abilities.

 

There is, I suppose, a third option. You can look at my character and say "change these advantages/adders/whatever to have a 0 point cost - +0 advantage, etc. - as my RobynSenses say these are the automatic outgrowths of your SFX". Now my question may well be "all my advantages are natural outgrowths of my SFX so should they all be free?" But more to the point, we're back to the question of why you couldn't simply increase the points available to each character to make them better able to precisely model all the advantages of their abilities mandated by SFX and common sense.

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Re: Drifting further off topic

 

As a general rule, I try to avoid implications; if it hasn't been stated explicitly, please assume that it wasn't meant, and ask for clarification.

 

 

 

As it happens, in this specific case I did not mean that ;):P

 

If one of the heroes takes x2 Stun and Body to bacterial SFX, and my villain only uses his attack with bacterial SFX against that hero, the villain is effectively getting x2 Stun and Body (twice the effect) every time he uses that power. He has still paid for an attack that can be used at any time; the fact that he chooses to ignore its utility at other times does not change the many circumstances under which it would not have any effect greater than he paid for it to have.

 

How much this applies to your point depends on what you meant by "demonstratably". If you meant that the player would seek out circumstances where their powers (including SFX) interacted with other powers in such a way that they would always enjoy an edge in contests, this is "basic tactical thinking" (and another level of evaluating game balance). If you meant that the player would refuse to use that power when it only provided a level of effect they had paid for, I see no problem with this. Even when combined, so that PC's try to avoid circumstances under which they would choose not to use the power, thus avoiding the (self-imposed) drawbacks of not being able to use it at all, I see no problem with it, provided the PC's attempt to create and maintain such circumstances is not automatically successful.

Well, I'm back then to assuming you really advocate no change in the system as you don't really advocate granting advantages of substantive nature for free.

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Re: Drifting further off topic

 

Well' date=' I'm back then to assuming you really advocate no change in the system as you don't really advocate granting advantages of substantive nature for free.[/quote']

 

I was disagreeing with the "every time" interpretation. Advantages of substantive nature can be freely granted provided that they are limited by circumstance.

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Re: Drifting further off topic

 

I was disagreeing with the "every time" interpretation. Advantages of substantive nature can be freely granted provided that they are not limited by circumstance.

So then an ongoing advantage tantamount to a +1/2, just for instance, may be freely granted. In this case, what meaning does the Advantage system have?

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Re: Drifting further off topic

 

So then an ongoing advantage tantamount to a +1/2' date=' just for instance, may be freely granted.[/quote']

 

I misstated that . . . would have caught it, but I was replying to Hugh.

 

I'll fix the typo.

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Re: Drifting further off topic

 

The GM needs to essentially complete the design of each character in order to add these balanced' date=' SFX based advantages and limitations.[/quote']

 

No, you're looking at this in a reversed order. The GM applies "common sense" for SFX, and takes note every time an Independent Advantage or Limitation applies.

 

If the GM is in the habit of planning ahead to match up the villain's strengths and weaknesses with the PC's, there will be nothing new here. It's really not as much extra work as you make it out to be.

 

As well' date=' it provides for an arbitrariness on the part of the GM. If my powers SFX cry out for advantages that total +1, and my teammates' powers SFX leave one hard pressed to come up with benefits that even total +1/4, what happens? I see three possibilities.[/quote']

 

If one SFX cannot conceivably provide benefits matching those required for another, there are two possibilities. First, the GM is violating consistency by creating Independent NA's that apply more to some SFX than others. The obvious solution is to only provide Independent NA's for some of the "common sense" effects, and require the rest to be paid for. This is what I've been emphasizing all this time: balance through consistency ;)

 

The second possibility is that the SFX simply suck, and few people will use them (or, the people who do will be less powerful than those who don't). This is realistic, in the "life isn't fair" sense described above. More on this below.

 

The third possibility is to maintain the purity of your vision' date=' allowing each character those benefits justified under common sense by the character's SFX - no more and no less - which unbalances the game by providing more benefits to the first character than are received by the second character.[/quote']

 

I think you continue to misunderstand what I am advocating here. The idea is not anything resembling a "purity"; it is a mixed system.

 

Let's restrict the analysis for illustrative purposes. We'll limit the discussion to two advantages' date=' say Indirect (+1/2) and Armor Piercing (+1/2). We'll further assume from the outset that these are considered "balanced" - of equal utility - by the GM.[/quote']

 

That's next to irrelevant, isn't it? The HERO System obviously considers those to be "balanced", or it wouldn't have priced them accordingly. The GM may be able to reprice powers, but this is a universal change, right? The core book doesn't suggest that players should be charged different prices for powers (or given different values for Modifiers) based on how valuable each player thinks it would be to them - or based on how convincingly the player tells the GM that this is what they think.

 

The Hero System permits the player to precisely define his or her character exactly the way he or she envisions and desires that character to be defined.

 

It does not, however, permit them to define their environment, or any of the other powers they will be interacting with. It allows them to bend (and even break) some of the rules, but with absolutes such as Invulnerability barred, there are some rules (such as damage) which they cannot absolutely prevent.

 

I would much rather define my character's abilities and build in those benefits and limitations these ought logically to have than pick more imprecise mechanical abilities' date=' apply my SFX, and rely on the GM's vision of SFX, comon sense and balance matching my own so precisely that the freebies assigned will match my vision of the character.[/quote']

 

In a game where the GM waves his hand and says "anything goes", this may very well be acceptable. But in a game where the GM will not permit just any character, sky the limit, imagine whatever SFX you please - you do need to conform with the GM's vision of SFX and common sense. Just because you can imagine a ray-gun-toting character, doesn't mean the GM will actually allow you to have a ray gun. Even if there are ray guns, access to them may be beyond the character's means.

 

Other people have ray guns, and some of them are shooting at you. Zap! Zap! Their weapons are more effective than yours, but everyone is built on the same points. Are the weapons Independent (which gets pretty expensive), or did their scientists research a new type of weapon which works off a new energy SFX, and buy the Independent AOE "boost" to laser damage? Or an Advantage for the ray? A whole lot cheaper that way. And, if you manage to defeat those enemies, you can take their ray guns! Now you have access to that power. Zap! Zap!

 

The GM can tell you, if you inquire, whether a given Advantage will be received for some SFX. You can ask about circumstances, in which case they tell you what is likely to happen, or you can ask about effects, in which case they tell you what's available that can produce that effect, and under what circumstances it will.

 

Or maybe the GM won't tell you. After all, your character doesn't know everything. And this means there's still something to learn! Isn't that exciting? The game will be so much more fun that way.

 

But wait' date=' you say, I can just buy all of those abilities, defining my character's abilities as precisely as I wish.[/quote']

 

You may buy some of them - specifically, those not already covered by the Independent NA's.

 

But since my character was already perfectly designed (in my view)' date=' you have added abilities which do not fit in with my vision of the character, detracting from the precision of my modelling of my character's abilities.[/quote']

 

Your vision of what should happen doesn't match up with reality. See this? This is me not caring.

 

We're talking the game reality, but regardless: your character is sometimes going to be more effective than expected. You don't get a choice in this - and, realistically speaking, you shouldn't. You fire a heat ray. Your target, made of water, has a Vulnerability (x2 Stun and Body) to it. Or maybe he didn't receive points for that Disadvantage, because the reasoning for it logically covered all characters/objects made of water. Maybe it was just a Naked Vulnerability (and yes, I know this isn't book legal). Does it matter? You still did more damage. Or maybe it was a Naked Advantage (power boost; this is book legal), only on heat ray SFX. Does it matter? You still did more damage, and you still didn't pay for it.

 

Disadvantages that should apply across the board - do characters get points for them? I don't know about you, but Kaja has a Susceptibility to kinetic energy (when delivered, abruptly, in large doses). The damage he takes is proportionate to the kinetic energy his body absorbs. Should he receive points for this? Or is the Disadvantage merely applied to everyone with a physical body, and regarded as part of the baseline?

 

The decision to include some effects in the baseline, and require others to be taken outside of them, is driven by game balance. This balance is determined by consistency.

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Re: Indirect discussion

 

Except of course that the cure didn't really work and most of the main characters were still alive. Magneto was already starting to get his powers back' date=' and Xavier gave a resurrection excuse at the start of the movie. Jean and Scott may be dead, but that's about it. Although I expect Mystique won't be quite so in synch with Mags now.

[/quote']

 

Well, there's always room for an X-Factor spinoff. :eg:

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Re: Drifting further off topic

 

If one SFX cannot conceivably provide benefits matching those required for another' date=' there are two possibilities. First, the GM is violating consistency by creating Independent NA's that apply more to some SFX than others. The obvious solution is to only provide Independent NA's for [i']some[/i] of the "common sense" effects, and require the rest to be paid for. This is what I've been emphasizing all this time: balance through consistency ;)

 

And how does the player know which of the benefits his SFX which, by virtue of common sense, OUGHT to apply, will be granted by you for free, and which must be purchased with points? We are now back where we started with certain things my powers ought to do not working, and common sense once again thrown to the winds. If anything, we are worse off in that, even if I can perfectly map out all of the abilities my powers ought logically to grant, I now have to guess which of those abilities my character should pay for, and which will be granted for free.

 

The second possibility is that the SFX simply suck' date=' and few people will use them (or, the people who do will be less powerful than those who don't). This is realistic, in the "life isn't fair" sense described above. More on this below.[/quote']

 

In other words, your proposal changes the balance in favour of certain special effects (those that, based on your arbitrary decision guided by "common sense" get the most benefits) and against others (those which, again based on your arbitrary decision guided by "common sense", get the least benefits). Why not just tell us which SFX you want in the game rather than bribe those who take them with free advantages? You're the GM - put the ground rules for your game on the table.

 

That's next to irrelevant' date=' isn't it? The [i']HERO System[/i] obviously considers those to be "balanced", or it wouldn't have priced them accordingly

 

If I, as a player, think an ability is overpriced, it is my choice whether or not to pay that price. Your system removes my ability to choose which advantages I will pay the freight for and replaces it with your "common sense" arbitrary decisoon of what advantages I will receive. Give me the points, and I'll spend them on abilities I consider to have value.

 

It does not' date=' however, permit them to define their [i']environment[/i],

 

Sure it does. Change Environment is a legitimate power.

 

or any of the other powers they will be interacting with. It allows them to bend (and even break) some of the rules' date=' but with absolutes such as Invulnerability barred, there are some rules (such as damage) which they cannot absolutely prevent.[/quote']

 

With a bit of creativity, you can get pretty much any ability desired. The bigger issue is whether the GM is prepared to allow that ability. In some cases, such as where it would be game-breaking or out of genre, the GM should deny that ability.

 

The GM can tell you' date=' if you inquire, whether a given Advantage will be received for some SFX. You can ask about circumstances, in which case they tell you what is likely to happen, or you can ask about effects, in which case they tell you what's available that can produce that effect, and under what circumstances it will.[/quote']

 

I'd rather have a document to select from the various SFX choices. Or do you prefer a player to ask about each possible SFX in turn to compile such a list?

 

Or maybe the GM won't tell you. After all' date=' your character doesn't know everything. And this means there's still something to learn! Isn't that exciting? The game will be so much more fun that way.[/quote']

 

We can go one step further, can't we? Let's just play in a structure where only the GM knows any of the rules. Go aheead, build my character for me - I don't know the rules. Don't tell me any rules, just tell me what happens. Hey, why don't you also define my personality by die roll parameters and roll to see what I do. Drop me an email to let me know what happens in the game - clearly, you don't need me there. Don't you think the game will be so much more fun that way?

 

You may buy some of them - specifically' date=' those not already covered by the Independent NA's.[/quote']

 

So I need that list in order to design my character. Just what Hero needs - more character construction rules!

 

Disadvantages that should apply across the board - do characters get points for them? I don't know about you' date=' but [b']Kaja[/b] has a Susceptibility to kinetic energy (when delivered, abruptly, in large doses). The damage he takes is proportionate to the kinetic energy his body absorbs. Should he receive points for this? Or is the Disadvantage merely applied to everyone with a physical body, and regarded as part of the baseline?

 

The baseline for taking damage is quite nicely defined already. If you wish to depart from that baseline, you pay points, or perhaps receive them. You can certainly change the baseline (all characters could start with stats of 20 and the resulting derived figured characteristics, for erxample, or +30 PD armor) but, one again, all characters possess these baseline abilities, and can either pay points to enhance them, receive points for reducing them, or remain at the baseline. If, on the other hand, male characters get an automatic +10 PD Armor, you have changed the baseline for only some characters. Absent an offsetting advantage for female characters, the game will skew to males. With such an advantage, I suspect certain character types will skew to one or the other gender. Either way, the balance has changed.

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Re: Drifting further off topic

 

And how does the player know which of the benefits his SFX which' date=' by virtue of common sense, OUGHT to apply, will be granted by you for free, and which must be purchased with points?[/quote']

 

I'd rather have a document to select from the various SFX choices.

 

So I need that list in order to design my character. Just what Hero needs - more character construction rules!

 

I think one of the problems here is that you take it for granted that a player will know everything, or be able to find out easily enough. Then you criticize the proposal for flaws that only existed when you created them to preserve your preconceptions!

 

Please separate your personal sense of "how HERO ought to be played" from my proposal before responding again.

 

We are now back where we started with certain things my powers ought to do not working' date='[/quote']

 

Just because you (as the player) think your powers "ought" to do something, does not mean I (as the GM) agree with you. Since the GM has veto power, and players do not, you are no worse off than you have always been.

 

The rules may technically allow you to build any combination of mechanics and SFX, but there is no rule stating that the GM must accept in her campaign any build which is book legal.

 

and common sense once again thrown to the winds.

 

Is is that I have thrown away common sense, or that I would throw away what you see as common sense?

 

In other words' date=' your proposal changes the balance in favour of certain special effects (those that, based on your arbitrary decision guided by "common sense" get the most benefits) and against others (those which, again based on your arbitrary decision guided by "common sense", get the least benefits).[/quote']

 

Why do you expect me to accept what you say about "arbitrary" here? Please clarify whether you have accepted my points about every decision (including that of the game designers) being arbitrary.

 

If anything' date=' we are worse off in that, even if I can perfectly map out all of the abilities my powers ought logically to grant, I now have to guess which of those abilities my character should pay for, and which will be granted for free.[/quote']

 

Between "needing" a list to create your character, and your consistent focus on benefits to the exclusion of drawbacks, I am beginning to suspect that the ability to metagame, by selecting strictly for the most favorable powers, is what you truly find important here. Again, please separate your personal feelings about "how HERO ought to be played" from my proposal before critiquing it; point out potential flaws, if you see them, but do not debate as if a given style of play (out of many legitimate styles) is simply taken for granted.

 

Or do you prefer a player to ask about each possible SFX in turn to compile such a list?

 

I am of the "reason from effect" school (yes, I know, this is ambiguous :rolleyes:) for HERO character creation. I can see no good reason a player would need to have that information to create their character, and if they tried to acquire it I would warn them against powergaming. If they have an idea for a character, they already have an effect in mind. The only reason they would need to worry about "common sense" interacting in unexpected (undesirable is not a legitimate objection here, unless it fits a specific "moment of fulfillment" vision the player has) ways is general experience that their idea of what is sensible does not match up with most other people's ideas; if they are already in the "common" group, they have every reason to expect that an unknown person will be as well.

 

Why not just tell us which SFX you want in the game rather than bribe those who take them with free advantages?

 

You presume, incorrectly, that I actually want certain SFX in the game. Furthermore, if bribery were the goal, why would I be stressing so strongly (albeit, apparently, to no effect) that the freebies must be balanced?

 

You're the GM - put the ground rules for your game on the table.

 

But if I did that, there would be no exploration. Again, you overlay my proposal with your own preconceptions about how a game should be played.

 

Sure it does. Change Environment is a legitimate power.

 

I meant in the sense of game effects which are not traditionally built as powers, though with the rest of my sentence directly continuing "or any of the other powers" I can understand how you would interpret it that way.

 

With a bit of creativity' date=' you can get pretty much any ability desired. The bigger issue is whether the GM is prepared to allow that ability. In some cases, such as where it would be game-breaking or out of genre, the GM should deny that ability.[/quote']

 

Emphasis on should; the GM is certainly free to be more strict in denying abilities.

 

Don't you think the game will be so much more fun that way?

 

I'm guessing you missed the Paranoia references :P

 

The baseline for taking damage is quite nicely defined already.

 

I suspect you've missed the point entirely here. Your counter-examples, if indeed they were intended as such, talk numbers and defenses instead of addressing what is (already) a part of the default baseline: taking damage from physical (kinetic) impacts. Whether the taking of damage is modified in basic frequency and effectiveness, or not, is irrelevant - you only got there by ignoring (and walking right past) the question of the fundamental mechanic it modifies. If there is no damage, PD is meaningless. The taking of damage must be addressed before we can even consider the balance of modifications to it.

 

Absent an offsetting advantage for female characters' date=' the game will skew to males. With such an advantage, I suspect certain character types will skew to one or the other gender. Either way, the balance has changed.[/quote']

 

I really don't see this sort of thing as unbalanced, actually, on principle: take something besides gender, like (for example) species. Trolls make more effective fighters than elves. Elves make more effective wizards than trolls. Elves will likely become more effective in their lives if they seek to make their professional careers as wizards, and trolls will likely become more effective in their lives if they seek to make their professional careers as fighters. This comparison is only for the two species, of course (the introduction of other species can render these two comparatively average), but my point remains:

 

Just because the exact benefits/drawbacks differ from group to group, resulting in individuals that are better or worse depending on situation, doesn't mean that game balance is lacking.

 

(For the sake of comparison, I point out that this is already the case with most campaigns; most players have not built their characters to be absolutely identical, and even then, an audit would probably reveal that many groups boast characters with at least one unique ability/drawback apiece.)

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paddling away from the previous lack of topic

 

Just what Hero needs - more character construction rules!

 

Tell me about it :ugly: What does it say about 5ER that the first chapter is 346 pages long but chapters 2-8 combined only take up another 246?

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Re: Drifting further off topic

 

I think one of the problems here is that you take it for granted that a player will know everything' date=' or be able to find out easily enough. Then you criticize the proposal for flaws that only existed when [i']you[/i] created them to preserve your preconceptions!

 

Please separate your personal sense of "how HERO ought to be played" from my proposal before responding again.

 

What the game rules "ought to be" falls to the center of any discussion of game rules. Your proposal is based on the belief that abilities (whether some or all, whether positive or negative) that a power ought, by "common sense", to possess ought to be granted as a matter of course, with no point cost, and not statted out on the character sheet. My belief is that these abilities, in general, are better statted out than left to the discretion of the GM.

 

Just because you (as the player) think your powers "ought" to do something' date=' does not mean I (as the GM) agree with you. Since the GM has veto power, and players do not, you are no worse off than you have [b']always[/b] been.

 

Your premise began with the theory that powers ought to have the benefits common sense would logically apply to their sfx. That being the case, it seems reasonable to believe that GM and player ought logically to agree on what common sense dictates.

 

The GM has veto power to state "I do not want that ability in my game". Well and good. I can then decide that, since the character cannot be modelled in accordance with the way I envision him, I will choose to play a different character. Under your approach, I only find out whether my character will match my vision in the course of the game, as I work to discover your unique vision of "common sense".

 

Is is that I have thrown away common sense' date=' or that I would throw away what [b']you[/b] see as common sense?

 

You started with the assertion that any attribute the power might logically have, based on common sense, ought to be allowed at no point cost. You then say that the balance mechanism is to only allow some of those abilities where there are a lot of them. For those abilities common sense says the ability should have, but which you do not add to the ability at no point cost, you are back where you started. You have sacrificed not only my view of what common sense would allow the power to do, but also your own.

 

Under the base system, agreement that common sense should enable the power to have that ability, and that the ability will not be game-breaking, enables the playert to pay the points and buy the ability. Common sense suffers somewhat for balance.

 

Under the perfect "common sense" model, the power has all attributes common sense would grant, and balance is sacrificed in the interest of common sense, as each character receives these add-on's as a freebie.

 

Under your model, as I'm seeing it develop, both get compromised, on a more or les arbitrary/GM Whim basis. At least the first two apporaches are consistent (points are paid for every benefit, or all logical benefits are granted free of charge). Hybridizing the two sacrifices that consitency as well.

 

The decision of which abilities shall be modelled under the "should logically be" approach (for the sake of common sense) and which should be modelled with points (for the sake of balance) is, based on your comments, making the system more arbitrary. While I agree there can be some level of arbitrariness attributed to every decision, your system moves significantly further towards the arbitratry, a,d away from the consistent and predictable, in my view.

 

Between "needing" a list to create your character' date=' and your consistent focus on benefits [i']to the exclusion of[/i] drawbacks, I am beginning to suspect that the ability to metagame, by selecting strictly for the most favorable powers, is what you truly find important here. Again, please separate your personal feelings about "how HERO ought to be played" from my proposal before critiquing it; point out potential flaws, if you see them, but do not debate as if a given style of play (out of many legitimate styles) is simply taken for granted.

 

If common sense dictates my power should have a certain effect (eg. fire uses up oxygen, and starts flammable materials on fire). I would ideally wish to design my fire powers to have these effects.

 

Under a points based system, I know I should look to statting these issues out, at least with a discussion with my GM whether he considers "starts a fire" to be a -0 limitation, or something that bears a point cost. I know, however, that if I want my fireblast to continue burning the target after the phase in which I attack, or that it should explode outwards, not strike with pinpoint accuracy, that these attributes need to be statted out on my character sheet.

 

Under a perfect common sense approach, I know these abilities fall under common sense. These are things that fire does.

 

Under your approach, I have to guess which of these effects you will allow as a freebioe and which should be paid for. If I am wrong, there are substantial adjustments required to my character (if I am told beforehand), or my character fails, in practice, to operate in the manner I wanted him to operate when I designed him, and his powers don't work in the manner my common sense would dictate.

 

You presume' date=' incorrectly, that I actually [i']want[/i] certain SFX in the game. Furthermore, if bribery were the goal, why would I be stressing so strongly (albeit, apparently, to no effect) that the freebies must be balanced?

 

If you don't want certain SFX, say so rather than penalizing the player who, knowingly or unknowingly, decides on SFX you dislike.

 

You keep stressing they must be balanced, but you're not demonstrating any means of how that gets accomplished. To the extent you have suggested a balancing factor, it has only been at the expense of weakening the assertion that common sense should prevail by only allowing some of the common sense results, and not all of them.

 

But if I did that' date=' there would be no exploration. Again, you overlay my proposal with your [u']own[/u] preconceptions about how a game should be played.

 

If the results arise from common sense, there should be no need to explore them. This started as a discussion of whether a hand grenade should be granted the ability to circumvent a barrier byt being lobbed over it and letting gravity handle the rest due to common sense, or whether the grenade ought to pay for a variation of indirect. Do I need to explore whether there is gravity in your game world, and whether physical objects, tossed up, also fall down?

 

I'm guessing you missed the Paranoia references :P

 

As the game lacks any appeal for me, I ignore the Paranoia references. If your goal is to create complete uncertainty in the players as to the actual mechanics of the game and their characters, then you are correct that we disagree on how the game should be played. Why not just build a chart which rfandomly determines the outcome of each action?

 

Applying "common sense" to Paranoia lacks that common sense.

 

Just because the exact benefits/drawbacks differ from group to group' date=' resulting in individuals that are better or worse depending on situation, doesn't mean that game balance is lacking.[/quote']

 

That depends on how you balance matters. If I have two game species, one of whom gets 15 points of freebies based around melee combat, and the other 15 points based on the ability to breathe water, we have a theoretical balance. Points have been equated.

 

If I now tell you this will be a game of desert nomads, where finding enough water to drink will be a significant challenge, which character has the clear advantage? I want to know that backdrop in advance. I will neither select the aquatic race, nor design an aquatic character, if the game will render such a character useless. I do consider it a GM responsibility to assess each character in light of his campaign. That means veto of inappopriate powers/abilities as discussed previously. That veto should extend not only to veto of powers which would be game-breaking, but also to powers which would have no utility in the planned game.

 

Typical fantasy characters should not carry handguns, and should be advised of such if that shows up on their charaxter sheet. By the same token, they will derive no benefit from a suite of skills based around the carfe, maintenance, design, construction and use of handguns, and these points, if appearing on a character sheet, should be cheerfully refunded, another exercise of GM veto. Allowing a character who will be useless in the game is not, in any way, superior to allowing one who will break the game.

 

By the same logic, if you have decided a certain SFX will have crippling limitations and minimal benefits, due to "common sense", I feel you do your game a disservice in not advising a player who has selected those SFX that he should reconsider.

 

Overall, I feel we are at an impasse. You think your approach is a magnificent improvement. I do not. Neither of us will persuade the other. It's probably time to playtest your idea. Let us know how the game goes - the practice will undoubtedly depart from both our theories.

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Re: Drifting further off topic

 

What the game rules "ought to be" falls to the center of any discussion of game rules.

 

I wasn't speaking of "game rules" when I spoke of "how HERO ought to be played", I was speaking of "style of play".

 

Your proposal is based on the belief that abilities (whether some or all' date=' whether positive or negative)[/quote']

 

Do you mean this paranthetical aside to indicate that you do not care what I believe, or that you think my belief does not care whether it is some or all?

 

If the latter, it would certainly explain a lot of your responses. Why? Because such an interpretation of what I am saying would be completely inaccurate.

 

Your premise began with the theory that powers ought to have the benefits common sense would logically apply to their sfx.

 

True, but I did not advocate that every benefit a power "ought to have" be implemented in this fashion.

 

That being the case' date=' it seems reasonable to believe that GM and player ought logically to agree on what common sense dictates.[/quote']

 

I disagree with "that being the case, it seems reasonable". Yes, the GM and player ought logically to agree on what common sense indicates (note that I do not, here, say "dictates", unlike you), but this is because such sensibility is "common"; conversely, that belief is no longer reasonable after one experiences that their sensibilities are at odds with most other people's.

 

The GM has veto power to state "I do not want that ability in my game". Well and good. I can then decide that' date=' since the character cannot be modelled in accordance with the way I envision him, I will choose to play a different character. Under your approach, I only find out whether my character will match my vision in the course of the game, as I work to discover your unique vision of "common sense".[/quote']

 

False . . . you can describe the effect you envision your character as having, and the GM can tell you whether this will take place (and, if so, at least a general estimate of how often; and, though not including any "to be discovered" circumstances, give you an idea of which conditions would not be conducive to the desired effects). I covered all this back in reply #167:

 

The GM can tell you, if you inquire, whether a given Advantage will be received for some SFX. You can ask about circumstances, in which case they tell you what is likely to happen, or you can ask about effects, in which case they tell you what's available that can produce that effect, and under what circumstances it will.

 

Or maybe the GM won't tell you. After all, your character doesn't know everything.

 

Your assumptions seem to presume an irrational, capricious GM. If this is the sort of GM you regularly play with (or are), clarify this and reword your objections as "This would never work in my games."

 

You started with the assertion that any attribute the power might logically have' date=' based on common sense, ought to be allowed at no point cost.[/quote']

 

False. I did not start with, nor have I ever supported, the idea that any attritute a power might have ought to be free.

 

I have been flexible about which attributes can be moved across the border, but game balance has always been openly given as of primary importance: just because you can choose (as GM) which attributes move across the border, does not mean that anything (without limits, specifically those of game balance) should go across.

 

You then say that the balance mechanism is to only allow some of those abilities where there are a lot of them. For those abilities common sense says the ability should have' date=' but which you do not add to the ability at no point cost, you are back where you started. You have sacrificed not only my view of what common sense would allow the power to do, but also your own.[/quote']

 

I disagree - and I criticize your Absolutist view of gameplay, which has blinded you to the concept of compromise (which you use only in the "violated" sense). It is no sacrifice to make an already unrealistic system more realistic; improvement need not achieve perfection to be worthwhile.

 

While I agree there can be some level of arbitrariness attributed to every decision' date=' your system moves significantly further towards the arbitratry, a,d away from the consistent and predictable, in my view.[/quote']

 

Not just the decisions made during gameplay; the default baseline for the system was arbitrary, and your decision to accept it was also arbitrary: you didn't see the underlying rules that ensured the game balance of this baseline, did you?

 

I've already posted examples of Vulnerabilities that will prevent a power from being utterly consistent, so I won't address that. What I do find interesting is your perception that my proposal moves towards the arbitrary and away from the predictable. Those two terms are not quite opposite. I have documented how the proposal is no more arbitrary than the existing baseline (in that it is possible to figure out the underlying rules for the default baseline, and use those exact rules to contruct a new baseline), but predictability is a new term, and more revealing (I think) of your deepest objections to the proposal than mere arbitrariness was.

 

It has been my experience that I have common sense: when I bring something up, everyone else at the table (or, indeed, outside of gaming) is in agreement with me. I have common sense. Had it been my experience, however, that any such point I raised were generally met with dissension and "How can you possibly think that?", I would then have two conclusions:

 

1) There's no such thing as "common sense", because obviously I have it ;)

and, 2) Everyone's reasoning is equally arbitrary, it bears no relationship to any logic I can agree with.

 

If it seemed to me that people, in general, were arbitrary; I would then have serious reservations about relying on those same people being sensible about what was possible. I would gravitate to the gaming system that offered me the most control, objectively speaking; a way to ensure that the most important decisions were made in a way that was balanced by some neutral, uncaring, and most of all non-arbitrary measure.

 

In the case of HERO, mathematics.

 

I have to question, Hugh, whether your view of this proposal as moving away from predictability is revealing of prior experience that you cannot predict what other people will find sensible.

 

Under your approach' date=' I have to guess which of these effects you will allow as a freebioe and which should be paid for.[/quote']

 

Again, you are simply incorrect here. You may always ask the GM - the typical results will be given to you, it is only the exceptions which might not be thoroughly disclosed.

 

If you don't want certain SFX' date=' say so[/quote']

 

Your presumption that there are certain SFX which I don't want in the game is just as incorrect as your earlier presumption that there are certain SFX which I do want in the game.

 

decides on SFX you dislike.

 

I must ask that you cease these insinuations that I "like" or "dislike" various SFX. They are false, and cast an inappropriate personal light on the discussion.

 

You keep stressing they must be balanced' date=' but you're not demonstrating any means of how that gets accomplished. To the extent you have suggested a balancing factor, it has only been at the expense of weakening the assertion that common sense should prevail by only allowing some of the common sense results, and not all of them.[/quote']

 

Incorrect again. Just because only some of the obvious implications of common sense are made external (as Naked Modifiers), does not mean that those implications which were not made external will be disallowed.

 

I do not see this partial externalization as "weakening" common sense, because I am not starting out from either end of the spectrum; I am starting out from the default baseline (which is not, itself, at one end of the spectrum), and measuring from that position, common sense has actually been strengthened. It has not been strengthened as much as it conceivably could be, but then, it couldn't be without disregarding game balance - and, as I have previously shown on many occasions (most notably in this very thread), game balance is extremely important to me. It's just not the only thing that's important to me. I don't see it as necessary to choose only one between "game balance" and "common sense"; I can implement a system that supports them both.

 

If the results arise from common sense' date=' there should be no need to explore them.[/quote']

 

Do your players start out knowing everything about your game world? Every group of NPC's, every secret, every SFX?

 

Players will not be able to foresee every possible interaction if the GM does not tell them; and their GM won't tell them, if said GM wishes to preserve some modicum of secrecy for the surprise!

 

This started as a discussion of whether a hand grenade should be granted the ability to circumvent a barrier byt being lobbed over it and letting gravity handle the rest due to common sense' date=' or whether the grenade ought to pay for a variation of indirect. Do I need to explore whether there is gravity in your game world, and whether physical objects, tossed up, also fall down?[/quote']

 

Certainly! It is the typical result (and the GM will tell you this) - but if something does not behave in the expected manner, you know there must be unknown factors interfering with it - and common sense (not "knowledge of how the system works") is what will guide you to identifying them!

 

As the game lacks any appeal for me' date=' I ignore the Paranoia references.[/quote']

 

I constructed those few paragraphs in the style of a Paranoia briefing. Your response incorporated some of the same words, but none of the style, hence my observation.

 

If your goal is to create complete uncertainty in the players as to the actual mechanics of the game and their characters' date='[/quote']

 

I have no preference regarding the mechanics, actually. It is specific interactions for all cases which I allow for concealing from the players, though not completely (this is specifically counter-indicated in my earlier posts), and considering that we already have this in the existing games (where players do not know the exact Vulnerabilities and such of the villains until, for example, they actually try to unleash a fiery EB against a given villain).

 

then you are correct that we disagree on how the game should be played.

 

But you misunderstand when you say I am correct - I do not disagree with you on how the game should be played, I disagree with you that there even is a "how the game should be played"!

 

If I now tell you this will be a game of desert nomads' date=' where finding enough water to drink will be a significant challenge, which character has the clear advantage?[/quote']

 

Since the aquatic character will not exist (at least, not in a traditional "living" state) in that setting, the GM would be within their rights to rule that the species was unavailable for player characters (do I hear an echo of "common sense" in [my words] there?). This does not mean that the species are unbalanced.

 

I want to know that backdrop in advance.

 

I certainly do not see any problem with this. Typical conditions should* not be concealed from the players (and, logically, I see no grounds for it).

 

*YMMV, of course, depending on play style ;)

 

By the same token' date=' they will derive no benefit from a suite of skills based around the carfe, maintenance, design, construction and use of handguns, and these points, if appearing on a character sheet, should be cheerfully refunded, another exercise of GM veto.[/quote']

 

Agreed, though its place as "play style" is formally noted, and I assume you would leave the skills there (only reducing their cost to zero).

 

Allowing a character who will be useless in the game is not' date=' in any way, superior to allowing one who will break the game.[/quote']

 

Part of this is GM responsibility - if the skills are legitimate for their character, that expenditure of points can be taken into account when the GM is planning adventures. Though it's still up to the player to find a way to use the skills they paid points for, the GM must make those ways available in the game. As GM's, we can look at the character sheet and say "I don't see any way those skills will be useful for my currently planned adventure, let me suggest some new skills that would be." (and, in the process, give them clues about what the currently planned adventure is), or we can look at the character sheet and say "Hrm . . . I may need to think a bit, but I'm sure the group will find they have a need for your special talents."

 

I also find the former distasteful because it indicates a GM who can't change his mind about what will happen during an adventure, and may railroad PC's through it.

 

By the same logic' date=' if you have decided a certain SFX will have crippling limitations and minimal benefits, due to "common sense",[/quote']

 

If the SFX's limitations and benefits do not balance out, they should not be made external. (This is not a matter of play style; it is simple fact for the proposal I am advocating.)

 

Overall' date=' I feel we are at an impasse.[/quote']

 

Hopefully my corrections will remove from your interpretation the aspects that you found most problematic.

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