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Sean Waters

Indirect discussion

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Re: Indirect discussion

 

I see it as one of those "effects appropriate to' date=' but not required by, SFX" abilities. I can name the SFX "my character is a deity", but this doesn't allow me to simply buy the power because I can think of an SFX that would justify it. SFX must be earned in-game. More often, they should (IMO) be [i']assigned[/i] (you receive the energy blaster from your allies; you do not get to choose what its SFX will be).

 

I think you misunderstand my statement. I was not areguing that our erstwhile Master of Magnetism ought to be permitted the ability to generate massive selective fluctuations in the magnetic field as a freebie granted due to common sense, but that this was an adequate SFX to explain the purchase of such an ability through standard expenditure of character points. I'm assuming, similarly, that if my character's SFX is control of fire, he still pays to have a Fire Energy Blast and a Fire Force Field, etc. If this is in error, your proposal is considerably broader than I had believed.

 

There it is' date=' he gets more (or less, depending on circumstance) powerful. Great efforts earn great rewards, albeit not (necessarily/always) in the XP sense ;)[/quote']

 

Thank you. With that straight answer, I can now be satisfied that you and I disagree as to the importance of ongoing game balance.

 

As a followup, assume that the "magnetic field" character was not part of the initial group of player characters, but rather is a replacement character created after the events which changed the magnetic field. Does this change his ability to freely access the benefits of his SFX, which render him considerably more powerful under these new conditions, or would this new character (unlike one who had experienced the change of the magnetic field in direct game play) be required to pay for his added efficiency, since he will possess it from the start of that character's play?

 

Glad we could entertain!

 

I suspect that I'm the one with a sense of humor, unless Hugh has been slyly interjecting wry comments into the exchange all along and I merely missed them, in which case I'm the one with no sense of humor :eek:

 

I'll leave that to the philosophers. I find many of your comments to date carry some humour, though I'm uncertain they are the ones you intended I find humourous :rolleyes:

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Re: Point-Counterpoint

 

This discussion is better than the SNL Weekend Update segments with Jane Curtin and Dan Aykroyd.

 

My only question is which one is which?

:D

 

Which one looks better in a rhinestoned bra? ;)

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Re: Point-Counterpoint

 

This discussion is better than the SNL Weekend Update segments with Jane Curtin and Dan Aykroyd.

 

My only question is which one is which?

:D

 

I just have no idea where they find the time!

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Re: Indirect discussion

 

I think you misunderstand my statement. I was not areguing that our erstwhile Master of Magnetism ought to be permitted the ability to generate massive selective fluctuations in the magnetic field as a freebie granted due to common sense' date=' but that this was an adequate SFX to explain the purchase of such an ability through standard expenditure of character points.[/quote']

 

I would have higher requirements than mere "expenditure of XP". Otherwise, we could all get anything we wanted merely by "choosing how to spend our XP", and obviously we - or at least many people in the game worlds - don't, so it is unrealistic to our world and (for many genres) the canon.

 

For instance, any "global" effect (that lasted) might need to satisfy "The Powers That Be", and maybe even strike some sort of bargain (to pay them off). Primarily, though, things get really confusing with all sorts of global effects all over the place, and it makes sense that some group of cosmic forces would have come together and agreed that they should pool their efforts to keep things simple.

 

Or is that borrowing too heavily from realism again? Since it justifies an in-character enforcement (is this a word?) of a balance of power, it may serve that purpose too. But then again, an in-character evaluation of "a balance of power" may not be the same as the GM's or the players'. But then again, if properly objective it may not matter :D

 

All of this is borrowing too heavily from my own game's metaphysics, so I'll stop there. Look for more of it in a few days, though.

 

I'm assuming' date=' similarly, that if my character's SFX is control of fire, he still pays to have a Fire Energy Blast and a Fire Force Field, etc. If this is in error, your proposal is considerably broader than I had believed.[/quote']

 

He would still pay (unless an external, etcetera), and I don't see a problem with such powers, but each GM's campaign may vary.

 

Thank you. With that straight answer' date=' I can now be satisfied that you and I disagree as to the importance of ongoing game balance.[/quote']

 

Well, if you'd asked the question straight . . . ;)

 

As a followup' date=' assume that the "magnetic field" character was not part of the initial group of player characters, but rather is a replacement character created after the events which changed the magnetic field. Does this change his ability to freely access the benefits of his SFX, which render him considerably more powerful under these new conditions, or would this new character (unlike one who had experienced the change of the magnetic field in direct game play) be required to pay for his added efficiency, since he will possess it from the start of that character's play?[/quote']

 

He would not be required to pay, but standard GM rules about "power level of characters joining the group" would apply. The player could certainly make a character that was advantageously positioned with the new magnetic field, but the GM would be within her rights to say "This character exists, but isn't anywhere near the PC group." and deny the player any right to play that character.

 

If desired, the GM could use this to maintain a roughly equal level of power among the player characters, by ruling that those who previously were powerful enough to join the group, but were made more powerful by the changes (i.e., were built on the same points+XP but had additional power through the magnetic field), were now powerful enough to join another group, and that they did that instead.

 

Part of the rewards are to characters in the world, and part is to players; if you were involved, you reap the whirlwind, but if you jump in later, you haven't earned the right (via, for example, experience) to alter a given balance of power (such comparisons can be made so many ways, though).

 

I'll leave that to the philosophers. I find many of your comments to date carry some humour' date=' though I'm uncertain they are the ones you intended I find humourous :rolleyes:[/quote']

 

I was also trying to entertain the poor lurkers who were trying to follow our long, technical, and potentially dry/boring discussion :)

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Re: Indirect discussion

 

I would have higher requirements than mere "expenditure of XP". Otherwise' date=' we could [i']all[/i] get anything we wanted merely by "choosing how to spend our XP", and obviously we - or at least many people in the game worlds - don't, so it is unrealistic to our world and (for many genres) the canon.

 

Magnetism Master might logically begin the game with the ability to manipulate magnetic fields. It seems a reasonable ability for a character based on magnetism to possess. As to spending xp, I'm generally open to reasonable character development. Here in the real world, we don't get to choose our physical or mental statistics, economic strata or disadvantages either, yet in Hero we select each for our characters.

 

These are commonly not what our CHARACTERS would select. Much though RockMan would love the ability to change to his original human form, his player has no intention of spending XP on a power enabling him to do so. And, of course, XP spending should be guided by the same principals which guided the spending of starting points.

 

Presumably, it isn't your intent to grant with one hand the automatic and point-free benefits which common sense dictates the character's existing powers and SFX ought to grant, and with the other hand deny that same character the ability to purchase powers his sfx would logically accommodate, if not demand, using his points. I trust you will correct me if my presumption in this regard is inaccurate.

 

For instance' date=' any "global" effect (that lasted) might need to satisfy "The Powers That Be", and maybe even strike some sort of bargain (to pay them off). Primarily, though, things get [i']really[/i] confusing with all sorts of global effects all over the place, and it makes sense that some group of cosmic forces would have come together and agreed that they should pool their efforts to keep things simple.

 

This presumes a setting where such cosmic forces hold some form or sentience or proto-sentience, and where their desires are incapable of beong frustrated by those of the player characters. This will not encompass every setting.

 

Or is that borrowing too heavily from realism again?

 

That depends on the reader's personal philosophies and religion.

 

Since it justifies an in-character enforcement (is this a word?) of a balance of power' date=' it may serve that purpose too. But then again, an in-character evaluation of "a balance of power" may not be the same as the GM's [i']or[/i] the players'. But then again, if properly objective it may not matter :D

 

So we have merely traded one variety of common sense (where nothing is free, but you may purchase those abilities your SFX logically make available) for another (where some SFX get some abilities for free, based on common sense, but cannot purchase certain abilities reasonably justified by their SFX). I'm not seeing a huge improvement in a global sense.

 

He would not be required to pay' date=' but standard GM rules about "power level of characters joining the group" would apply. The player could certainly [i']make[/i] a character that was advantageously positioned with the new magnetic field, but the GM would be within her rights to say "This character exists, but isn't anywhere near the PC group." and deny the player any right to play that character.

 

How is that any different than repricing these excessively powerful abilities such that they could not be paid for by a character at the power level appropriate for the character? The only difference I perceive is that a character who lucks into such an enhancement in play is permitted to become, and remain at, an inappropriate power level for the group. I don't see that as an improvement.

 

If desired' date=' the GM could use this to maintain a roughly equal level of power among the player characters, by ruling that those who previously [i']were[/i] powerful enough to join the group, but were made more powerful by the changes (i.e., were built on the same points+XP but had additional power through the magnetic field), were now powerful enough to join another group, and that they did that instead.

 

"Sorry, old chaps - I know we've guarded each other's lives these past months, but now that I'm more powerful, I'm joining a group of strangers who are tougher than you. Oh, and don't forget to kick out our friend whose powers have been reduced. I'm sure you'll coincidentally bump into a couple of new colleagues who are more at your level. Pip Pip!"

 

My, that's the kind of characters I want to play as "heroes".

 

Part of the rewards are to characters in the world' date=' and part is to [i']players[/i]; if you were involved, you reap the whirlwind, but if you jump in later, you haven't earned the right (via, for example, experience) to alter a given balance of power (such comparisons can be made so many ways, though).

 

I don't see a character being luckily in the right place at the right time having earned much of anything. Then again, I also never liked the various D&D "randomly power you up or doom you" items either. I guess it comes back to playstyle once again.

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Re: Indirect discussion

 

As to spending xp' date=' I'm generally open to reasonable character development.[/quote']

 

Hrm . . . back to what the criteria of "reasonable" are, then.

 

Presumably' date=' it isn't your intent to grant with one hand the automatic and point-free benefits which common sense dictates the character's existing powers and SFX ought to grant, and with the other hand deny that same character the ability to purchase powers his sfx would logically accommodate, if not demand, using his points. I trust you will correct me if my presumption in this regard is inaccurate.[/quote']

 

With the other hand, yes. Not with the same hand. It's not part of the same principle; it's a different principle. Kind of, you know, like any system that involves compromise. With a system that contains multiple elements, you have to evaluate their balance with a combination of them. With a system that only contains a single element, you can't contradict or go outside that element: your freedom, and flexibility, is restricted.

 

A character can think to himself, "I'm capable of firing laser blasts from my fingertips, and I have figured out from this that I must be able to control light, so maybe I can suck all the light out of this area, instead of emitting it!", but maybe his reasoning led him to a false conclusion. Maybe his level of control over his powers just isn't enough to master that particular trick yet. Maybe there's still something else he needs to figure out first (not necessarily another power, but not reflective of control either). There are all sorts of possibilities, but the fact remains that an ability can be appropriate to SFX, without that SFX alone assuring the player that such an ability can be taken (if that were the case, the PC should take a VPP for "all such effects"! or use the Power Skill skill).

 

The only difference I perceive is that a character who lucks into such an enhancement in play is permitted to become' date=' and remain at, an inappropriate power level for the group. I don't see that as an improvement.[/quote']

 

Or, if they become weaker, they remain there. Until such time as such things change, of course. Do you expect that the PC's would be totally unmotivated to investigate such changes and reverse them? The world is not merely a painted stage, for the players to trample all over; it is a living, breathing entity in its own right, and it will trample all over them if they treat it as something that cannot change on its own and will only react to whatever the PC's do.

 

"Sorry, old chaps - I know we've guarded each other's lives these past months, but now that I'm more powerful, I'm joining a group of strangers who are tougher than you. Oh, and don't forget to kick out our friend whose powers have been reduced. I'm sure you'll coincidentally bump into a couple of new colleagues who are more at your level. Pip Pip!"

 

My, that's the kind of characters I want to play as "heroes".

 

Those who were already part of the group, would not have to re-justify their position. It is the independents, loners, and freelance agents who, looking to join a group, would pick one of their own power level (or, failing that, the group might decide to reject new applicants, based on not wanting to be overshadowed by their new sidekicks).

 

Of course, if the other players are comfortable with the idea, and their characters are too, the GM can consider whether this satisfies any other elements in their personal meta-system.

 

I don't see a character being luckily in the right place at the right time having earned much of anything.

 

This isn't about characters, actually; as I said, part is to characters.

 

But part is to players.

 

The players were involved with the game; their (character's) rewards, and consequences, are justified.

 

I guess it comes back to playstyle once again.

 

True, and as I said, HERO could use more flexibility in that respect.

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Re: Point-Counterpoint

 

Glad we could entertain!

 

I suspect that I'm the one with a sense of humor, unless Hugh has been slyly interjecting wry comments into the exchange all along and I merely missed them, in which case I'm the one with no sense of humor :eek:

I think he's had a few but that doesn't mean you don't alos have a sense of humor.

 

I would say you're Jane and he's Dan.

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Re: Point-Counterpoint

 

I just have no idea where they find the time!

PS - now, think about this, a lot of us will be, God willing, retiring not only someday but around the same time. So just imagine these exchanges among a whole bunch of us sitting at home with NOTHING to do but surf the net (and play games)!? :eek:

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Re: Point-Counterpoint

 

At a quick glance' date=' for a second, I thought your avatar was John Travolta. :straight:[/quote']

 

It is moments like these that I regret turning avatars off by default in my forum viewing preferences :(

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