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Can this be done x 2


sindyr
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As many of you know by now, I like to understand the edges of a system, so I ask some questions that help define it.

 

And by the way, asking questions here is not in place of simply reading the core book, but in addition to.

 

Anyways, I have 2 questions:

 

There's something that occurred to me may be an issue with the way the system works. Or maybe not. That's why I am asking.

 

With Hero System, you buy your mechanical effects. In reverse, this means that if you don't buy an effect, you don't get it, even if it "makes sense" in game. Right?

 

But that's not my question. My questions is this: If you Summon a decent quantity of napalm over an area, and then strike a match and toss it, does the napalm not burn? After all, you paid for the power to Summon napalm, not for the 15d6 AoE Fire RKA?

 

In case that was a poor example, please read through my words to the underlying issue: Do we prevent things from happening in the game reality that make sense because points weren't purchased? If a hero for some reason is unable to use his powers, but a baddie's gun is at his feet, does the GM have to unrealistically prevent the character the picking it up because he hasn't paid for it?

 

The way I figure it, either the character is limited to only affecting the world via his purchased abilities, despite the reality of the game world, or the player can simply do an end run around some costs by careful use of in world options.

 

Is my point of questioning make sense? Do I either have sacrifice fidlity to the internal logic of the game world or a balanced mechanic point economy? I can't see a way to have both?

 

Second question. In a past game, we had a girl named Heidi, who could permanently Freeze things (not cold, stasis). She also had an ability to create a communion between herself and willing participants, and once the communion was established, all the people in it could not only mind talk, but have each other's powers for the duration of the communion.

 

So, for example, if Heidi Communed with 4 other people, that meant that each of the could use Heidi's Freeze power all at the same time all independantly. It's as if they gained an independant version of that power during the communion, while Heidi still had it as well. And of course, during Communion, they could ALL freeze baddies independently.

 

In this game also was the ability to make an effect permanent by spending a possibility point. So this is what Heidi did. She linked up with someone who had a power she wanted (and was willing), which gave her temporary access to tthat power. She then used the Freeze ability to Freeze that power's existence within her, so that even after the Communion dropped, she retained the power.

 

By this method, she started to accumalate many different powers. By the end of the game, she had dozens of powers that worked exactly like those she had copied them from.

 

I cannot imagine how this could be possible in Hero System. Heidi effectively granted herself in game (she was an NPC baddie by the way, but I do believe strictly that anything an NPC can do, so can a PC.) the equivalent of extra CP by copying other people's powers.

 

And I don't think even a VPP will do - a VPP would require a LOT of advantages in order to mimic her use of other people's powers - and she didn't just copy the type of power, but the precise level of power. So she can't copy for example a 15d6 EB and wind up with a 10d6 after paying VPP penalties. Also, I can't just give her arbitrarily more CP to start with since she started at the same power level at the same time as the PCs.

 

Is this something that the Hero system by defintion does not permit - that there is no way to build this ability, because the point of Hero System is "conservation of CP, CP can neither be created nor destroyed" kind of thing?

 

Thanks

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Re: Can this be done x 2

 

I'm having difficulty imagining any game system where the 'free' accumulation of power was ever going to work for even a small minority of games. There are a couple of characters in the 'Heroes' TV series who can do this sort of thing, but turn it loose on a player and they will do things that script writers assiduously avoid because it overbalances the apple cart.

 

In short, no, you can't add power infinitely and with no cost to characters in Hero.

 

*sigh* Well, you can...

 

UBO transform. Give another character transform and they then transform you so that you have a copy of their power. I'm not even going to show a build because I'd never allow it. It can be done, I just can't imagine ever wanting to. It would be boring.

 

As to summon napalm, well, napalm is a triggered explosive so you ARE summoning a 15d6 AoE triggered Explosion.

 

The idea is to have fun playing the game though. If you enjoy powers that can destroy with little or no defence then you can use Hero to do that, but I can't imagine it is much fun - what you can do to others they can generally do to you, and they only have to get a PC once.

 

You can UAA TP opponents into the sun if you like - it is certainly buildable - but, like I say, it is also boring. Unless you enjoy your combats almost instantaneous and horribly deadly, why would you want to?

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Re: Can this be done x 2

 

With Hero System' date=' you buy your mechanical effects. In reverse, this means that if you don't buy an effect, you don't get it, even if it "makes sense" in game. Right?[/quote']

 

In general, yes. I'll cover the "general" part below.

 

But that's not my question. My questions is this: If you Summon a decent quantity of napalm over an area' date=' and then strike a match and toss it, does the napalm not burn? After all, you paid for the power to Summon napalm, not for the 15d6 AoE Fire RKA?[/quote']

 

There's an important core maxim in Hero system. "Does nothing, costs nothing". So if you want to burn things up, you can't "summon napalm". Napalm is a special effect, not a power. To "summon napalm" you specify how much you want to summon and how hot it's going to get. Then you buy that - in this case, a whole heaping of fire RKA (probably not 15d6 though: that'd instantly incinerate a fully-sealed main battle tank).

 

Now we come to the "general" part. That doesn't mean that napalm doesn't burn. If, in the course of the fight, you come across a big ol' tank of napalm, there's nothing stopping you tipping it out and setting it on fire. You can even cart it away with you, if the GM allows, for later burning of things. There's no contradiction. The trick here is to realise that by placing the napalm where you have access to it, the GM has already provided the points to pay for its effect and he has an unlimited pool of points.

 

Basically if you want the power to burn stuff up, you buy a burn-y power. You don't buy "napalm" because "napalm" isn't a mechanic. You can no more summon "napalm" to attack with than you could summon Proust's longing for the simplicity of childhood and strike your villain down with that.

 

In case that was a poor example' date=' please read through my words to the underlying issue: Do we prevent things from happening in the game reality that make sense because points weren't purchased? If a hero for some reason is unable to use his powers, but a baddie's gun is at his feet, does the GM have to unrealistically prevent the character the picking it up because he hasn't paid for it?[/quote']

 

See the point above. If the gun is there, pick it up and use it. Don't, on the other hand, try "summoning a gun" as a power. Buy HKA. You can buy your "gun" without the focus limitation if you can always summon a new one, you can tinker with the mechanics that define how you interact with your "gun", but gun remains a descriptor, not the power. Mechanically, it'd work the same if your power was summoning and throwing angry mutant lobsters.

 

The way I figure it' date=' either the character is limited to only affecting the world via his purchased abilities, despite the reality of the game world, or the player can simply do an end run around some costs by careful use of in world options.[/quote']

 

Yep, that's called tactics. Happens all the time. The dividing line is what the character him/her/itself can do, as opposed to the effects of the universe. So napalm burns, guns can kill, your character's girlfriend can walk out on him and hook up with another hero. But if your PC - himself - wants to burn something, shoot someone or steal another hero's girlfriend, you're going to have to buy EB, RKA or mind control, or else roleplay your way to a point where you can get your hand on those things.

 

Second question. In a past game, we had a girl named Heidi, who could permanently Freeze things (not cold, stasis). She also had an ability to create a communion between herself and willing participants, and once the communion was established, all the people in it could not only mind talk, but have each other's powers for the duration of the communion.

 

So, for example, if Heidi Communed with 4 other people, that meant that each of the could use Heidi's Freeze power all at the same time all independantly. It's as if they gained an independant version of that power during the communion, while Heidi still had it as well. And of course, during Communion, they could ALL freeze baddies independently.

 

Simple enough: Mindlink to do the talking thing, power usable by others, Line Of Sight Not Needed advantage.

 

In this game also was the ability to make an effect permanent by spending a possibility point. So this is what Heidi did. She linked up with someone who had a power she wanted (and was willing)' date=' which gave her temporary access to tthat power. She then used the Freeze ability to Freeze that power's existence within her, so that even after the Communion dropped, she retained the power. [/quote']

 

Again, not a problem. Use Persistent. This is, of course, going to be expensive.

 

By this method, she started to accumalate many different powers. By the end of the game, she had dozens of powers that worked exactly like those she had copied them from.

 

I cannot imagine how this could be possible in Hero System. Heidi effectively granted herself in game (she was an NPC baddie by the way, but I do believe strictly that anything an NPC can do, so can a PC.) the equivalent of extra CP by copying other people's powers.

 

And I don't think even a VPP will do - a VPP would require a LOT of advantages in order to mimic her use of other people's powers - and she didn't just copy the type of power, but the precise level of power. So she can't copy for example a 15d6 EB and wind up with a 10d6 after paying VPP penalties. Also, I can't just give her arbitrarily more CP to start with since she started at the same power level at the same time as the PCs.

 

Is this something that the Hero system by defintion does not permit - that there is no way to build this ability, because the point of Hero System is "conservation of CP, CP can neither be created nor destroyed" kind of thing?

 

This, OTOH, you can't do, and a damn good thing, too. There is no way to award yourself extra character points just because you have a cool special effect. Another core Hero system maxim is that you pay for what you get and you get what you pay for. I have played a character who can duplicate other people's powers, but he could only do so up to the point that he could afford to purchase. That's still a powerful ability, but it is not (in hero system) a gateway to limitless power.

 

As GM, you can build this NPC by giving her sufficient points to cover any likely combination of powers: the mechanic is the same as that used by PCs even if the magnitude of the effect is not. It's not necessary for players to see behind the curtain: if she can duplicate every power they know about, then she can "duplicate any power" as far as they are concerned. But points are the heart of the system. Any power where you say "points don't matter" or "the magnitude of the effect doesn't matter" is not going to be modelled in Hero system.

 

cheers, Mark

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Re: Can this be done x 2

 

By the way, the coping of powers things is relativly simple (but expensice), a large VPP with Cosmic and only powers apropriate for F/X on the control cost. Now she might not be able to do all at once, but in play you won't notice the difference...

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Re: Can this be done x 2

 

With Hero System' date=' you buy your mechanical effects. In reverse, this means that if you don't buy an effect, you don't get it, even if it "makes sense" in game. Right?[/quote']

 

Yes and No. I refer you to the "Power" skill, first.

 

Often, GM's will also allow an effect that makes sense to be used once (or even once in a blue moon) without points being paid because it makes sense for the power, but more frequent use will require the character pay the points.

 

Finally, special effects often grant minor advantages and drawbacks. For example, I might well allow your electrical EB to be used to jump start a car, even though you didn't pay for such an ability. But I might also leave you tied waist-deep in water with a number of innocent bystanders and impose the "makes sense" consequences if you choose to fire up your electrical blast and force field, even though you took no limitations related to water. Neither should be frequent events in game - if they are, abilities and limitations should apply.

 

The real issue here is that the player and the GM should be considering the logical ramifications of the desired power, and applying the appropriate abilities and limitations to simulate the power envisioned, not selecting a mechanic and then applying an SFX at random.

 

But that's not my question. My questions is this: If you Summon a decent quantity of napalm over an area' date=' and then strike a match and toss it, does the napalm not burn? After all, you paid for the power to Summon napalm, not for the 15d6 AoE Fire RKA?[/quote']

 

You should be paying for the effect of the power. Summoning napalm sounds, to me, like the SFX of a 15d6 AoE Fire RKA, Triggered by a match. So pay for the 15d6 AoE Fire RKA, Triggered by a match.

 

In case that was a poor example' date=' please read through my words to the underlying issue: Do we prevent things from happening in the game reality that make sense because points weren't purchased? If a hero for some reason is unable to use his powers, but a baddie's gun is at his feet, does the GM have to unrealistically prevent the character the picking it up because he hasn't paid for it?[/quote']

 

The traditional answer is that the character (in a game where equipment is purchased with points - the question is irrelevant in a game where equipment is not paid for with points) can pick up and fire the gun. Lacking the appropriate weapon familiarity, he will take an OCV penalty. Lacking appropriate skills, he will be unable to maintain it, and may not even be able to reload it. But picking up the gun does not cost character points - it's a logical thing he can do. If he wants to retain the gun long-term (eg. strap it to his belt and carry it from scenario to scenario), he is making it a part of the character, and now he must pay points for it. Different GM's have different rules of thumb for how long the gun can be carried without being required to pay for it. Some would require it be left behind at the end of the scene. Others would permit it to be carried until the end of the scenario.

 

Is my point of questioning make sense? Do I either have sacrifice fidlity to the internal logic of the game world or a balanced mechanic point economy? I can't see a way to have both?

 

As GM, you control the "real world". If I wanted that character to have no access to the weaponry of the villains while he was de-powered, he would face villains with natural powers, or rubber science focuses that attune to the wielder's bio-signature. If I want him to have the choice of picking up an unfamiliar weapon, then I'll put them in the scenario.

 

An example of the tradeoff between GM and player control of the environment. A high STR character can lift and throw heavy objects. If Brick wants to toss that Cadillac parked in the street, as GM, I am within my rights to tell him it takes an attack action to grab and lift the Caddy, and a second to hurl it at the target, with a -4 OCV penalty because it is unbalanced and non-aerodynamic, offset by a +2 OCV bonus because it is large, and his DCV is halved due to the encumbrance of the Caddy. I was also entitled to decide whether there were any parked cars to begin with.

 

If, however, he bought "10d6 Energy Blast - OIF, Objects of Opportunity", then he is entitled to lift and throw as a single attack action, with no OCV or DCV penalties. I am also obligated, in my view, to ensure Objects of Opportunity like the parked Caddy are available as often as any other character's obvious inaccessible focus is available.

 

Second question. In a past game' date=' we had a girl named Heidi, who could permanently Freeze things (not cold, stasis). She also had an ability to create a communion between herself and willing participants, and once the communion was established, all the people in it could not only mind talk, but have each other's powers for the duration of the communion.[/quote']

 

Sounds like a Transform, a Mind Link, her powers are Usable By Others and she has a Power Mimicry variable power pool. Powerful concepts.

 

So' date=' for example, if Heidi Communed with 4 other people, that meant that each of the could use Heidi's Freeze power all at the same time all independantly. It's as if they gained an independant version of that power during the communion, while Heidi still had it as well. And of course, during Communion, they could ALL freeze baddies independently.[/quote']

 

Usable by X others simultaneously. And she needs a big VPP to make this work.

 

In this game also was the ability to make an effect permanent by spending a possibility point. So this is what Heidi did. She linked up with someone who had a power she wanted (and was willing)' date=' which gave her temporary access to that power. She then used the Freeze ability to Freeze that power's existence within her, so that even after the Communion dropped, she retained the power. ']

 

In Hero, she would spend character points - ie experience points - to acquire permanent access to the power, even after the Communion dropped. This mechanic simply becomes the backstory justifying her Stasis/Mind Link character spending XP to acquire a firebolt and an Electrical Shield.

 

Heidi might want to consider a framework, such as a Variable Power Pool or Multipower, to allow her to access these various powers one or a few at a time, but at a considerably reduced cost. This provides another approach. She can simply use the Variable Power Pool with a control cost limitation of "only powers of people she has previously Mind Linked with" rather than "Only powers of people she is presently Mind Linked with". This allows her to access any powers she has ever been able to access in this fashion with no future xp expenditure.

 

This is a powerful and complex ability, so it is an expensive and complex build. If I were building such a character as a PC, I'd probably either go the VPP route, or keep some points unspent to acquire powers on an ongoing basis.

 

I cannot imagine how this could be possible in Hero System. Heidi effectively granted herself in game (she was an NPC baddie by the way' date=' but I do believe strictly that anything an NPC can do, so can a PC.) the equivalent of extra CP by copying other people's powers.[/quote']

 

How did she accumulate "possibility points"?

 

And I don't think even a VPP will do - a VPP would require a LOT of advantages in order to mimic her use of other people's powers - and she didn't just copy the type of power' date=' but the precise level of power. So she can't copy for example a 15d6 EB and wind up with a 10d6 after paying VPP penalties. [b']Also, I can't just give her arbitrarily more CP to start with since she started at the same power level at the same time as the PCs.[/b]

 

Did she? It sounds like either some mechanism existed to prevent her becoming rapidly more powerful than the rest of the PC's, or the powers she had resulted in her rapidly becoming more powerful than the rest of the PC's.

 

This is another example of a "sounds good on paper" character. How fun is it for the other PC's to play in a game with Heidi, who can do anything your character can do, plus much, much more? Such a character sounds like it IS much more powerful than the other PC's.

 

As Sean says, while it's possible to build (I like his UBO Transform mechanic), the issue of whether it should be allowed probably has to take precedence over whether it can be constructed.

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Re: Can this be done x 2

 

as others stated, make napalm is actually in hero terms the same area attack you mention, thats the GAME MECHANIC POWER you purchase, with a small limitation for "requires ignition" perhaps as simple as "takes extra action" kind of thing. make napalm is the sfx not the game system element.

 

The copy other's powers is doable in hero system *but* not with the meta-issue of "without costing extra points". the purpose of the points is to assign a comparative value based on effectiveness and as soon as you start asking for extra powers wqithout extra points, you break that designgoal.

 

you might as well be asking for math to work as normal but 2+2 to equal 5 or for hot to be cold, as you are asking for something to go against the purpose. if my 350 pt pc/npc can copy all your abilities but costs out to the same points, then you have just said "the costs dont matter" and if the costs dont matter why bother with them?

 

But a large enough vpp with instant changes will do the trick. However, the cost would be prohibitive if your game puts pcs on a budget. however if you want your pcs to be able to copy anyone's powers, why have them built on a budget?

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Re: Can this be done x 2

 

I think something Synd keeps missing is the "reasoning from special effects" aspect of Hero.

 

If I give my character a power to summon napalm over an area, I could just as easily have him pour acid, or mail order in an airlift of man eating termites.

 

Special effects have no point cost or mechanic. If you wanted that power, you would buy a 15d6 aoe rka, and say you summoned napalm. Buying it as a summon, or a change environment would theoretically give you the ability to strike a match and cause the damage, but it is against the rules because your direct intent is not changing the environment, it's causing damage.

 

If a player had a power to summon water, and found herself in a universe where water was explosive then yes she could cause damage without having spent points. If a player could transform objects into random substances then if it randomly became an explosive she'd cause damage, perhaps to her own detriment.

 

The only reason to buy a power like that with the intent to cause damage is to cheat points.

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Re: Can this be done x 2

 

So basically, if you have a summon power, you can summon anything that doesn't conflict with another power... You can summon barbed wire, but it can't Entangle people. You can summon a steel wall, but it can't protect you with PD/ED/Def the way a Force Field would. You can summon Napalm, but it's not going to be able to be lit.

 

There are some problems I see coming straight for me with this - which I guess are just how the Hero System works.

 

I have a character called the Architect, whose power is to be able to make stuff from nothing - walls, barbed wire, cars, napalm. In order to REALLY be able to do this in game, I the *player* have to know during the character building process all the different ways I need to buy various mechanics to equal this overall ability. But if I leave one out, say I don't buy an RKA, then suddenly either I can bring into being being anything except napalm, or I can bring napalm into being, but the darn stuff doesn't light. Both seem to be cognitive disconnects.

 

I understand from the point of view of the Hero System, that's Working As Intended - but that is zero comfort to the player (or GM) when it comes up.

 

Of course, for people who want powers that do not correspond neatly one-to-one with the mechanics listed, you could just make everyone buy VPPs, but that seems a little cheesy. Want a Speedster, while making sure that nothing is left out, buy a VPP. Want someon who controls Fire? VPP. A summoner? VPP. Heck, even a simple energy projector that wants to use his blast to shoot a hole in the road ahead of a truck in order to stop it may find the mechanics don't let him because he never bought Entangle for his Energy Blast character - he shoulda purchased a VPP. A VPP seems to be the only way to make sure that you can employ the mechanics to live up to the vision. But if everyone is being better served by VPPs, the system itself seems flawed to me, even if it is Working As Intended.

 

I know that all of this is probably heresy, but I think it needs to be said, especially because I keep hoping I have something wrong here.

 

Another example - you are want your character to be able to teleport small objects anywhere with 500 feet, including into closed boxes and other places you can't see. You buy the teleport power, with appropriate modifications. The later, when you are in a car chase being chased by the bad guys, you tell the GM youare pulling out your matchbook, striking a match, and teleporting it into the gas tank of the car chasing you.

 

Apart from hand wavey kludging, like "A gust of wind blows it out beofe you TP it" or (fudging) "ummm... their gas tank just happens to have a hardened force field around it." you are forced to do one of two things - say "OK, the car goes boom" giving the player a free use of RKA with AoE; or say "the rules do not permit that, no matter that there's no good reason within the story why you couldn't do that..."

 

Guess he should bought the VPP instead of TP too.

 

Am I alone in thinking this is crazy? Or does Hero permit after all the TPer to blow up the chase car by using only the TP of a lit match?

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Re: Can this be done x 2

 

I think something Synd keeps missing is the "reasoning from special effects" aspect of Hero.

 

 

The only reason to buy a power like that with the intent to cause damage is to cheat points.

 

For me, it's not about cheating the mechanic, but respecting the truth of the story reality, and making sure that the system doesn't do violence to the integrity, authenticity, and internal logic of the game world in order to preserve balance.

 

On the other hand, maybe in the Hero System, balance and mechanical justification trumps things making sense in the story world.

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Re: Can this be done x 2

 

For me, it's not about cheating the mechanic, but respecting the truth of the story reality, and making sure that the system doesn't do violence to the integrity, authenticity, and internal logic of the game world in order to preserve balance.

 

On the other hand, maybe in the Hero System, balance and mechanical justification trumps things making sense in the story world.

 

When an ability is modeled incorrectly, that's not a system problem, it's a build problem. If an ability, modeled correctly, is too expensive for the PCs to purchase, again, that's not a system problem; that's PC power being limited to the levels agreed upon by the Players and GM. Given enough points, and a GM willing to allow the builds, and even the PC who from a Special Effects point of view infinitely duplicates the powers of others is easy enough to build (a big enough Multiform, for example, will do it). Whether a GM will allow that is his business.

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Re: Can this be done x 2

 

Another example - you are want your character to be able to teleport small objects anywhere with 500 feet, including into closed boxes and other places you can't see. You buy the teleport power, with appropriate modifications. The later, when you are in a car chase being chased by the bad guys, you tell the GM youare pulling out your matchbook, striking a match, and teleporting it into the gas tank of the car chasing you.

 

Apart from hand wavey kludging, like "A gust of wind blows it out beofe you TP it" or (fudging) "ummm... their gas tank just happens to have a hardened force field around it." you are forced to do one of two things - say "OK, the car goes boom" giving the player a free use of RKA with AoE; or say "the rules do not permit that, no matter that there's no good reason within the story why you couldn't do that..."

 

Guess he should bought the VPP instead of TP too.

 

Am I alone in thinking this is crazy? Or does Hero permit after all the TPer to blow up the chase car by using only the TP of a lit match?

In our game this would be a case to use the Power Skill (in this case a TP Skill) and roll to use our power in a different way than it is bought. If we make the roll, we use the Active pts in the TP to build a different power. For this one time. The Gm says "yup, you have matches so make an attack roll to hit the gas tank." Play continues from there. If we want to continue 'porting matches into gas tanks, next time we might not have any matches on us. We'll have to pay the points and buy the power.

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Re: Can this be done x 2

 

F...

 

On the other hand, maybe in the Hero System, balance and mechanical justification trumps things making sense in the story world.

 

HERO helps a GM achieve balance and sense in his story world through the use of its mechanics.

 

More often than not, a change to those mechanics (without first fully understanding them as written) in the name of 'game sense' ends up causing far more problems than it solves.

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Re: Can this be done x 2

 

When the power is modeled incorrectly' date=' that's not a system problem, it's a build problem. If a [u']power[/u], modeled correctly, is too expensive for the PCs to purchase, again, that's not a system problem; that's PC power levels being limited to the levels agreed upon by the Players and GM. Given enough points, and a GM willing to allow the builds, and even the PC who from a Special Effects point of view infinitely duplicates the powers of others is easy enough to build (a big enough Multiform, for example, will do it). Whether a GM will allow that is his business.

 

OddHat summed it up better than I.

 

(I might replace the word power to ability in a couple of places though ;) )

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Re: Can this be done x 2

 

HERO helps a GM achieve balance and sense in his story world through the use of its mechanics.

 

More often than not, a change to those mechanics in the name of 'game sense' ends up causing far more problems than it solves.

 

Well, just offering another side, if a character should reasonably be able to do X but hasn't been built with that power, the GM can always use Power Skill or just GM fiat and let the character do X in that scene; afterwords, if X is going to be repeated, it's rarely much trouble to go back and tweak the build to allow the character to do X again.

 

The GM can always make his call in his campaign.

 

And if a player whines that his character just isn't powerful enough, the GM is free to kick him down a well. Shouting "HERO" is optional.

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Re: Can this be done x 2

 

Well, just offering another side, if a character should reasonably be able to do X but hasn't been built with that power, the GM can always use Power Skill or just GM fiat and let the character do X in that scene; afterwords, if X is going to be repeated, it's rarely much trouble to go back and tweak the build to allow the character to do X again.

 

The GM can always make his call in his campaign.

 

And if a player whines that his character just isn't powerful enough, the GM is free to kick him down a well. Shouting "HERO" is optional.

 

Sure, as aylwin13 also pointed out, the Power Skill is a great tool.

 

I was primarily speaking about the idea of breaking from established mechanics at character creation, not during game play.

 

I agree that during a game the GM can and should rule as he wants. He just has to deal with the consequences of major rule changes on a regular basis. Players can eventually lose their trust in the GM/player contract.

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Re: Can this be done x 2

 

So basically, if you have a summon power, you can summon anything that doesn't conflict with another power... You can summon barbed wire, but it can't Entangle people. You can summon a steel wall, but it can't protect you with PD/ED/Def the way a Force Field would. You can summon Napalm, but it's not going to be able to be lit.

SUMMON the hero power is not intended to be a gimme all effects, but as a filler for areas otherwise lacking. Any objects you summon WILL behave as they normally would. for both sides. A summoned roll of barbed wire would lay there.

 

Now if you want to summon that barbed wire AND wrap it around someone, then thats a POWER and it can be drawn up several ways.

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I have a character called the Architect, whose power is to be able to make stuff from nothing - walls, barbed wire, cars, napalm. In order to REALLY be able to do this in game, I the *player* have to know during the character building process all the different ways I need to buy various mechanics to equal this overall ability. But if I leave one out, say I don't buy an RKA, then suddenly either I can bring into being being anything except napalm, or I can bring napalm into being, but the darn stuff doesn't light. Both seem to be cognitive disconnects.

to be able to cause most or all the efects of being able to make "anything" out of "nothing, in hero, yes you would indeed likely need a vpp.

 

However, the power skill allows some flexibility.

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I understand from the point of view of the Hero System, that's Working As Intended - but that is zero comfort to the player (or GM) when it comes up.

well, if you are looking for a game with a lot of freeform on the fly power definition and use, HERo is really not the system for you as its design from effect and detail oriented mechanics and design do not intrindically lend themselves to it.

 

if you want to alter the system some, adding to the power skill capabilities and removing some of its limitations, as discussed under that skill, is a likely way to go.

]

Of course, for people who want powers that do not correspond neatly one-to-one with the mechanics listed, you could just make everyone buy VPPs, but that seems a little cheesy. Want a Speedster, while making sure that nothing is left out, buy a VPP. Want someon who controls Fire? VPP. A summoner? VPP. Heck, even a simple energy projector that wants to use his blast to shoot a hole in the road ahead of a truck in order to stop it may find the mechanics don't let him because he never bought Entangle for his Energy Blast character - he shoulda purchased a VPP.

speedster works without a vpp, so does fire guy, and rules for blasting the road causing holes, driving over rough terrain and potential crashes if one tries are all by the book standard, no need for an entangle.

 

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A VPP seems to be the only way to make sure that you can employ the mechanics to live up to the vision. But if everyone is being better served by VPPs, the system itself seems flawed to me, even if it is Working As Intended.

Again, the power skill and lifting some of its lims may be a better approach for all the power stunt kind of things you wish.

]

I know that all of this is probably heresy, but I think it needs to be said, especially because I keep hoping I have something wrong here.

its not really heresy. a search will likely yield lots of discussion on the point.

]

Another example - you are want your character to be able to teleport small objects anywhere with 500 feet, including into closed boxes and other places you can't see. You buy the teleport power, with appropriate modifications. The later, when you are in a car chase being chased by the bad guys, you tell the GM youare pulling out your matchbook, striking a match, and teleporting it into the gas tank of the car chasing you.

the general rules are something you come up with as a nifty idea the gm will allow, once maybe even twice, likely requiring a power skill roll to succeed, but if its something you want to do frequently and reliably, you need to pay points for it, if it is significant.

 

Your example could just as likely be "i teleport this brick into his heart, killing him" and that EFFECT is a potent RKA with a variety of lims and advantages, not "teleport. teleport is the SFX, the reason behind the rka, not the hero power bought to enable that move.

 

]

Apart from hand wavey kludging, like "A gust of wind blows it out beofe you TP it" or (fudging) "ummm... their gas tank just happens to have a hardened force field around it." you are forced to do one of two things - say "OK, the car goes boom" giving the player a free use of RKA with AoE; or say "the rules do not permit that, no matter that there's no good reason within the story why you couldn't do that..."

agreed, which means the player and the gm need to put a lot more up front chargen focus so that "the things he can do and i will want to do" are addressed beforehand.

 

And again, a general sense of things is to allow things like that once, maybe even twice, often with skill rolls, but if it is something the player wants his character to do more often then it is supposed to be paid for.

]

Guess he should bought the VPP instead of TP too.

possibl but more likely a multipower does the trick.

 

you seem to keep thinking along a line of BUY a POWER then get all its potential sfx imaginings for free, and that i think where the problems arise.

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Am I alone in thinking this is crazy? Or does Hero permit after all the TPer to blow up the chase car by using only the TP of a lit match?

 

see above - and read power skill some,.

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Re: Can this be done x 2

 

So basically' date=' if you have a summon power, you can summon anything that doesn't conflict with another power... You can summon barbed wire, but it can't Entangle people. You can summon a steel wall, but it can't protect you with PD/ED/Def the way a Force Field would. You can summon Napalm, but it's not going to be able to be lit.[/quote']

 

Actually, Summon is typically used to summon creatures or characters, perhaps calling up a demon or creating a semi-independent lion made of emerald energy. It is not commonly used to Summon objects.

 

A steel wall could be built as a Force Wall or Entangle. Napalm is an attack, not a summon. The system really needs a good Create Object power, probably the one Steve did in Digital Hero. Well, 6e is coming...

 

There are some problems I see coming straight for me with this - which I guess are just how the Hero System works.

 

I have a character called the Architect, whose power is to be able to make stuff from nothing - walls, barbed wire, cars, napalm. In order to REALLY be able to do this in game, I the *player* have to know during the character building process all the different ways I need to buy various mechanics to equal this overall ability. But if I leave one out, say I don't buy an RKA, then suddenly either I can bring into being being anything except napalm, or I can bring napalm into being, but the darn stuff doesn't light. Both seem to be cognitive disconnects.

 

I understand from the point of view of the Hero System, that's Working As Intended - but that is zero comfort to the player (or GM) when it comes up.

 

Highly versatile characters should consider variable power pools. But, as with most games, these more complex options are best used by experienced players. I've played in, and run, games where the characters are viewed as "in progress" for at least a period of time after startup to get the bugs out. You forgot something key to the character? Let's rewrite and get it in there. In the meantime, we'll assume he has it for now. In some cases, maybe that means the character gets an "advance" on future xp. In others, it may mean needing a rewrite to get the key abilities into the character and stick to, or at least close to, starting points.

 

Of course' date=' for people who want powers that do not correspond neatly one-to-one with the mechanics listed, you could just make everyone buy VPPs, but that seems a little cheesy. Want a Speedster, while making sure that nothing is left out, buy a VPP. Want someon who controls Fire? VPP. A summoner? VPP. Heck, even a simple energy projector that wants to use his blast to shoot a hole in the road ahead of a truck in order to stop it may find the mechanics don't let him because he never bought Entangle for his Energy Blast character - he shoulda purchased a VPP. A VPP seems to be the only way to make sure that you can employ the mechanics to live up to the vision. But if everyone is being better served by VPPs, the system itself seems flawed to me, even if it is Working As Intended.[/quote']

 

The VPP is best used for highly versatile characters. The problem is that you seem to want every character to be highly versatile. And the EP should be able to blast the road ahead of the truck - the truck itself needs a level road on which to travel effectively, and taking that away brings the truck's limits into play.

 

Another example - you are want your character to be able to teleport small objects anywhere with 500 feet, including into closed boxes and other places you can't see. You buy the teleport power, with appropriate modifications. The later, when you are in a car chase being chased by the bad guys, you tell the GM youare pulling out your matchbook, striking a match, and teleporting it into the gas tank of the car chasing you.

 

Apart from hand wavey kludging, like "A gust of wind blows it out before you TP it" or (fudging) "ummm... their gas tank just happens to have a hardened force field around it." you are forced to do one of two things - say "OK, the car goes boom" giving the player a free use of RKA with AoE; or say "the rules do not permit that, no matter that there's no good reason within the story why you couldn't do that..."

 

How would I handle that? Well, first you will need to roll to hit the gas tank, of course. It's moving at a pretty rapid pace. Second, gas tanks rarely actually explode in real life - it may not be as effective as he's hoping. But overall, it seems a reasonable use of his Teleport ability and SFX, so I'd probably let him do it if he rolls well enough to "hit" the gas tank. If he wants to keep doing this regularly, then maybe he should pay some points for the ability to demolish gasoline-powered vehicles in the future.

 

If we're playing a game where equipment is free, a typical Heroic campaign, I have no issue with the character carrying matches and using the environment to his advantage. And that's all this really is. His buddy may well be carrying a submachine gun that cost no points - why should the matches cost points? If he's a Super, I might ask him where he keeps that matchbox in his skintight spandex costume. Joe PI could, in genre, have matches on his person. Superman doesn't, so he should pay a few points for the ability. But it's probably a very limited Change Environment (Ignite Flammable Materials), not a 15d6 Explosion, OIF Gas Powered Engine of Opportunity.

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Re: Can this be done x 2

 

When an ability is modeled incorrectly' date=' that's not a system problem, it's a build problem. If an ability, modeled correctly, is too expensive for the PCs to purchase, again, that's not a system problem; that's PC power being limited to the levels agreed upon by the Players and GM. Given enough points, and a GM willing to allow the builds, and even the PC who from a Special Effects point of view infinitely duplicates the powers of others is easy enough to build (a big enough Multiform, for example, will do it). Whether a GM will allow that is his business.[/quote']

 

Is this *any* different from saying "the system is working as intended, if your power doesn't seem to work the way the world logical consistency would demand, then either you built it wrong, and so should suffer, or it's too expensive and it's more imprtant that you don't get power you didn't pay for even if that makes the game world stop making sense in some ways?"

 

I'm being deadly serious - with the guys who can create stuff, for example - one would imagine that creating napalm, or even basic gas, is not hard *from a story point of view*, if the mechanics forbid it do you just decide not to care that suddenly the truth of the gameworld doesn't add up, because the mechanics and point totals are more important?

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Re: Can this be done x 2

 

Sindyr, part of the problem seems to be that you want all characters to be able to do all things. In a standard 350 point game my energy blaster will typically have 2-4 attack powers, flight and a force field. They might also have some enhanced senses and maybe some flash defense and power defense. The rest of the points will be spent on characteristic, skills, talents and perks. If he wants to stop a truck by blowing a hold in the road he attacks the ground and if the amount of BODY rolled is high enough there will be a hole that at very least the driver of the truck will have to avoid. Making the hole doesn’t need to be a separate power.

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Re: Can this be done x 2

 

Is this *any* different from saying "the system is working as intended, if your power doesn't seem to work the way the world logical consistency would demand, then either you built it wrong, and so should suffer, or it's too expensive and it's more imprtant that you don't get power you didn't pay for even if that makes the game world stop making sense in some ways?"

 

I'm being deadly serious - with the guys who can create stuff, for example - one would imagine that creating napalm, or even basic gas, is not hard *from a story point of view*, if the mechanics forbid it do you just decide not to care that suddenly the truth of the gameworld doesn't add up, because the mechanics and point totals are more important?

 

If the character as conceived is overpowered by the standards of the game being played, is that a reasonable character to bring into the game? Perhaps my concept is Captain Karma. CK is such a great guy that nothing bad ever happens to him, and he always succeeds at everything he tries. The universe rearranges itself to suit him. Nice concept, but not much for "struggle". CK does not fit in most games.

 

If it makes sense that creating napalm, or even basic gas, is not hard *from a story point of view*, then he should be built *mechanically* to permit him to create napalm, with the effects creation of napalm would have. If it is too expensive for the character to pay for the *mechanics* of all the abilities he should have *from a story point of view*, then the character is too powerful for the game. At that point, I perceive two options:

 

(a) The campaign shifts to suit the character - everyone gets more points to bring them to the level Master Creator needs to adequately suit his power level. Now all the characters are, again, balanced against one another.

 

(B) The character shifts to suit the campaign - Master Creator gets the same points as everyone else, and the concept must either be restricted from the player's original vision, or a concept more suited to this game's power level must be selected. Now all the characters are, again, balanced against one another.

 

If the characters are not balanced against one another, the game becomes Master Creator and his Amazing Friends (or his Much Less Amazing Friends, or his Comic Relief Sidekicks). Unless your players want to play the second fiddle characters, that's not going to be a fun game all around.

 

There is a third - everyone gets the points they need for their concept. If that means one character rides a bicycle and throws baseballs at his enemies, and the other can call up mythological deities to do his bidding, so be it - the GM needs to balance this disparate power levels in a manner that all players can enjoy.

 

 

Hero is a very crunchy system, made to use points to achieve at least some semblance of balance. Perhaps you want a system which is looser, and more of a "storytelling" system where you simply have a few notes about the powers the character is capable of manifesting, and you describe their effects. There's nothing inherently wrong with such a game. But it isn't the Hero system's objective.

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Re: Can this be done x 2

 

I'm being deadly serious - with the guys who can create stuff' date=' for example - one would imagine that creating napalm, or even basic gas, is not hard *from a story point of view*, if the mechanics forbid it do you just decide not to care that suddenly the truth of the gameworld doesn't add up, because the mechanics and point totals are more important?[/quote']

 

You are asking “Why can’t a character create Napalm?” when the question should be “If the character wants to create Napalm how do I build that power?”

 

Does that make sense?

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Re: Can this be done x 2

 

Is this *any* different from saying "the system is working as intended' date=' if your power doesn't seem to work the way the world logical consistency would demand, then either you built it wrong, and so should suffer, or it's too expensive and it's more imprtant that you don't get power you didn't pay for even if that makes the game world stop making sense in some ways?"[/quote']

 

I'm not clear on how you read that from my post. If an ability is not working as the internal logic of the game world would suggest, then it's the job of the GM to resolve that situation. This could mean a quick GM ruling, a re-write of the power, etc. If the GM feels the power is unbalanced, it's his call as to what to do about it. If the point cost of the power is too high for the campaign (a separate issue), again the GM can decide whether to allow it anyway (giving more points to the character) or to ask the player to adjust the build accordingly.

 

"Punishing" the player is a sign of bad GMing. It has noting to do with the system itself.

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