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Chris Goodwin

Real point caps?

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Re: Real point caps?

 

To me, Real Point caps are the least effective, because a character could have a power with high Active Points but with tremendous Limitations and it makes a highly convoluted power.

 

However, in one of my original ideas for a Dragonball HERO campaign, I had the idea of a Base Points = Real Points idea, with the Active Points being variable between the two.

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Re: Real point caps?

 

To me, Real Point caps are the least effective, because a character could have a power with high Active Points but with tremendous Limitations and it makes a highly convoluted power.

 

 

In addition, it can make for a highly disruptive result. The classic example would be a GM who caps a campaign's real point limit on offensive powers at 50. Now someone takes a Blast at 50 real points with Activation 8-. He spends a lot of time watching it fizzle, but the one time in four it actually works, it blows out 30 dice of damage, enough to demolish most opponents outright. That tends to turn combats into incredibly dicey procedures, where its more an issue of when the dice turn up than any decisions on anyone's part. Similar problems can arrise with a lot of Limitations. In others, the cost to benefit swings too high; its often not trivial to make an OAF quite the problem it should be anyway, but its weighted high because it can be a big problem; on the other hand if the OAF user is doing twice the damage anyone else is, even with those problems its probably overwhelmingly attractive.

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Re: Real point caps?

 

Real Point values can vary greatly in relation to the actual effectiveness of a power and would, as a result, be fairly useless. This is compounded by the fact that several non-combat powers are "unevenly" priced in relation to most other powers (claristience, complex sense builds, etc).

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Re: Real point caps?

 

Has anyone thought about capping Real Points spent per Power?

 

I think it would add variety to character builds, myself.

 

Yes; I've used this mechanic frequently, and it works well. Better than AP caps IMO. You just have to play traffic cop on bs Lims even more than usual due to the extra weight you are placing on the RC being below a certain limit.

 

 

In fact, you can use both mechanics in tandem for two distinctly different feels. For instance, in my MetaCyber setting I use AP caps on Cybernetics and Bioware (BodyTech) of 30 and 45 AP respectively, and Real Cost caps on MetaPowers (max starting RC of 30).

 

The net effect is BodyTech is much more base-lined -- its all in the same AP range. MetaPowers are all over the place and individualized, but stronger powers are by necessity more limited, while reliable powers are by necessity more modest in their potency.

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Re: Real point caps?

 

In one game we had an Real Point Cap of 30.

 

I felt that for those who used Frameworks they unbalanced the game, and those who didn't meshed well with things.

 

but games vary and it was a very short 3 Sesssion game, so I don't really think it got the full workout it needed to see if was unbalancing in the long term.

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Re: Real point caps?

 

In one game we had an Real Point Cap of 30.

 

I felt that for those who used Frameworks they unbalanced the game, and those who didn't meshed well with things.

 

but games vary and it was a very short 3 Sesssion game, so I don't really think it got the full workout it needed to see if was unbalancing in the long term.

 

Yes, you have to throttle the total RC on frameworks as well for it to work...this is what I use in MetaCyber for MetaPowers:

 

FRAMEWORKS

Power Frameworks are allowed within reason, but they are held to the same Real Cost cap as Powers.

ELEMENTAL CONTROL (EC)

Elemental Controls can have no more than 30 points, and the individual slots must have a Real Cost of 30 points or less each on a new character.

MULTIPOWER (MP)

Multipowers may have no more than 30 Active Points in their Reserve, and the total Real Cost of all slots cannot exceed 30 points on a new character.

VARIABLE POWER POOL (VPP)

VPP's get a small exception from the 30 point cap; they can have no more than 30 Pool and the Control Cost must be no more than 30 points (or a total of 60 points between the two at the GM's discretion) on a new character.

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Re: Real point caps?

 

I'm not fond of limits at all and try to avoid wherever possible. AP limits of some variant (DC limits) cannot be ignored, it just does not work. I really don't see how real point limits will enhance my game. They probably don't make it worse if used correctly, but even then they are not better. If you think different, give me a good example/reason.

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Re: Real point caps?

 

Basically depends on what you want.

 

To have a game where characters with restrictions can be more powerful than characters without, it works fine. It has to be policed heavily, though, and you have to make sure the Limitations come up as often as they should, more so than in other games. It does allow the ritual mage to pull off those mighty spells, for example, while still setting a reasonable cap for the game otherwise.

 

A way to avoid policing too much is to also have an AP cap. A game with an AP cap of 60 but an RP cap of 30 is telling players the limit on how powerful their characters can be, at what point they must take Limitations, and how much of a Limitation must be had at any given level. All with two statements.

 

What it won't really do, ever, is enforce balance well, but then what mathematical restriction does?

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Re: Real point caps?

 

I'm not fond of limits at all and try to avoid wherever possible. AP limits of some variant (DC limits) cannot be ignored' date=' it just does not work. I really don't see how real point limits will enhance my game. They probably don't make it worse if used correctly, but even then they are not better. If you think different, give me a good example/reason.[/quote']

 

In our case it's an interesting venture into a game where Character's are normal with a very low level single Power that sets them apart from humanity.

 

To clarify on the specifics - you got 30 Real Points of Powers period.

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Re: Real point caps?

 

In our case it's an interesting venture into a game where Character's are normal with a very low level single Power that sets them apart from humanity.

 

To clarify on the specifics - you got 30 Real Points of Powers period.

 

Yeah; if I recall correctly that was the limit I set for unusual abilities in Demon Hunter: FBI as well.

 

 

Also, I use the same basic principle taken one step further (into "fixed" costs) in a lot of my Package designs for abilities that are supposed to be interchangeable so that I can genericize and / or automate such Packages. The MetaCyber Tubers for instance; each of their "genetic advantage" slots cost exactly 10 points, allowing me to generate a random package. The same basic idea shows up in my Fantasy Packages; all of the "Basic" Packages are exactly 55 points, allowing me to treat them interchangeably in "Composite" Packages such as the Bladesman or the Sea Reaver (ad infinitum). I also use a fixed Real Cost like this for things like the Domain Package Granted Powers so that I can standardize costs across all Domains, and so forth.

 

 

The simple fact is, neither Real Cost nor Active Points are a universally 100% accurate measure of effectiveness, and further caps are an imperfect and unreliable means of attempting to achieve balance and can also (likely will) skew point spreads by pulling people up or down to an artificial baseline. The problem also scales up, so that the degree of imperfectness grows as the points involved get larger.

 

Personally, I don't use hard caps at all in higher powered games at all; I don't use them for standard supers for instance (I use my preferences / eyeballing synergy / vetoing brokenness instead). However for lower point games they are a useful approach, particularly during character creation, in both communicating and enforcing the intended feel and scale of a campaign. Basically, when used as a design tool to help express the intended tone and feel of the campaign / setting rather than as a poor substitute for GM judgment / discretion, they have a purpose.

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Re: Real point caps?

 

Personally' date=' I don't use hard caps at all in higher powered games at all; I don't use them for standard supers for instance (I use my preferences / eyeballing synergy / vetoing brokenness instead). However for lower point games they are a useful approach, particularly during character creation, in both communicating and enforcing the intended feel and scale of a campaign. Basically, when used as a design tool to help express the intended tone and feel of the campaign / setting rather than as a poor substitute for GM judgment / discretion, they have a purpose.[/quote']

 

I agree on the higher powers games.

 

There are now 3 incarnations of the 30RP Game (as I'll refer to it). The original denied Frameworks altogether - you picked A Power. As that game progressed over a decade it became a very high powered game and all caps were removed and ignored.

 

Incarnation 2 allowed Frameworks, and I felt at the low end it stuck it was very unbalancing - but we also had two players not suited to the game style we were aiming at.

 

Incarnation 3 just started. We'll see what happens going forward.

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Re: Real point caps?

 

I honestly think it would be less disruptive than most people are worried about here. The fact is, real points give you the truest sense of the actual power of an ability over time in a game. Sure, that 15% chance when the 30D6 blast works it's spectacular, but the other 85% of the time it does nothing and as a result is not particularly useful. One of the troubles with building a magic system is that in other systems spells are based on their actual results, not their possible, potential, maximum results. In hero if you could, thoretically do something gigantic, that's what the spell is based around: spell roll, END/mana cost, etc.

 

I toyed around with the idea of using real cost as mana cost and magic skill roll modifiers for spells a while but it struck me as too variable and difficult to control in a campaign.

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Re: Real point caps?

 

I honestly think it would be less disruptive than most people are worried about here. The fact is' date=' real points give you the truest sense of the actual power of an ability over time in a game. Sure, that 15% chance when the 30D6 blast works it's spectacular, but the other 85% of the time [i']it does nothing[/i] and as a result is not particularly useful. One of the

 

 

At least in combat (and remember, itsnot 15%, its 25%) the problem is that likely it does the job as well or better than it having worked a hundred percent of the time would; at least in Champions, a single 30D6 blast is more dangerous to a target than four 10D6 blasts in the vast majority of cases because of a combination of the Defenses involved and the likelyhood at least one recovery will have rolled around in the time frame when four blasts landed (about eight phases worth of attack). That's a quirk specific to damage, but other, similar problems apply to other sorts of abilities with Limitations; if you're getting more total power out of the effect, often the fact that applying the power is more troublesome doesn't really balance them.

 

The reason Active Point limits work is you don't end up, in parctice, getting more raw power; you get points to divert to something else, but its often, if not usually less useful than more of the same would be.

 

There's certainly a point that this gets more complicated away from the superhero genre, but I think its still fundamentally true about combat applications even away from that.

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Re: Real point caps?

 

Yeah I get you, I'm just saying if I had a gun that worked 25% of the time I'd not consider it powerful even if it killed the target outright every shot that actually fired. With an 8 Speed (!!) you'd still only have 2 reasonable shots a turn, that's not as disruptive as it might seem initially.

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Re: Real point caps?

 

Yeah I get you' date=' I'm just saying if I had a gun that worked 25% of the time I'd not consider it powerful even if it killed the target outright every shot that actually fired. With an 8 Speed (!!) you'd still only have 2 reasonable shots a turn, that's not as disruptive as it might seem initially.[/quote']

 

Like I said, really can't agree; I'd expect its very inconsistency to make the problem worse, not better; the fact you never know if its going to come up as a GM makes planning things a massive pain: do I put things out that can occasionally take that or not? If not, and the person gets lucky on his activation, the combat becomes a cakewalk as he blows core opposition away early on; if I do and he has bad luck, he and his teammates get eaten for lunch.

 

Not good.

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Re: Real point caps?

 

Like I said, really can't agree; I'd expect its very inconsistency to make the problem worse, not better; the fact you never know if its going to come up as a GM makes planning things a massive pain: do I put things out that can occasionally take that or not? If not, and the person gets lucky on his activation, the combat becomes a cakewalk as he blows core opposition away early on; if I do and he has bad luck, he and his teammates get eaten for lunch.

 

Not good.

 

Depends entirely upon the intent. You are assuming that no one would ever possibly want to play something inherently fluky or circumstantially effective, etc.

 

And also, there's a matter of degrees; you seem to be making your case around extremes and ignoring the granularity in between.

 

 

All that aside, if you question the validity of the very concept of Limitations, I seriously wonder why you play the HERO System at all as the concept of a final cost modified up or down from base effect based upon the presence or absence of Limitations is very central to its architecture.

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Re: Real point caps?

 

Like I said' date=' really can't agree; I'd expect its very inconsistency to make the problem worse, not better; the fact you never know if its going to come up as a GM makes planning things a massive pain: do I put things out that can occasionally take that or not?[/quote']

 

Just out of curiosity, do you allow Killing Attacks in your game? I'm guessing from these and other comments that you at least modify them, but I haven't seen a post that says so specifically.

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Re: Real point caps?

 

Depends entirely upon the intent. You are assuming that no one would ever possibly want to play something inherently fluky or circumstantially effective, etc.

 

 

People want to play a lot of things, but that doesn't make it a good idea from a game point of view.

 

 

And also, there's a matter of degrees; you seem to be making your case around extremes and ignoring the granularity in between.

 

 

More modest cases have more modest problems, but that doesn't make the problem any less present, it just makes it less severe.

 

 

All that aside, if you question the validity of the very concept of Limitations, I seriously wonder why you play the HERO System at all as the concept of a final cost modified up or down from base effect based upon the presence or absence of Limitations is very central to its architecture.

 

I question whether they're capable of doing the job by themselves, for good reason. Champions 1st had nothing like Active Point limits or the like, and one of the first lessons most groups learned was that point costs were not even close to enough to prevent this sort of problem from occurring. Conceptually limitations are a valid idea, but I don't think expecting them to do the heavy lifting here is going to work.

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Re: Real point caps?

 

Just out of curiosity' date=' do you allow Killing Attacks in your game? I'm guessing from these and other comments that you at least modify them, but I haven't seen a post that says so specifically.[/quote']

 

Does it help to tell you that I'm almost certainly the source of the x3 fixed stun multiple rule option from FRED? :)

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Re: Real point caps?

 

People want to play a lot of things, but that doesn't make it a good idea from a game point of view.

 

 

 

More modest cases have more modest problems, but that doesn't make the problem any less present, it just makes it less severe.

 

 

 

I question whether they're capable of doing the job by themselves, for good reason. Champions 1st had nothing like Active Point limits or the like, and one of the first lessons most groups learned was that point costs were not even close to enough to prevent this sort of problem from occurring. Conceptually limitations are a valid idea, but I don't think expecting them to do the heavy lifting here is going to work.

 

You have an interesting perspective, and I wish you much luck with it.

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