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Elemental Controls


Pteryx
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All of the powers within an Elemental Control can be used simultaneously, assuming the character can carry the END cost. That's not usually possible with a Multipower. It's functionally the same as buying all the powers straight -- that is, not having them in a framework at all. It's supposed to be means of giving a cost break for a well-conceived, internally logical character conception.

 

Personally, I seldom use them.

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Commonly, a player wanting a bunch of attack powers, only one of which will be used at a time, would take a multipower. It is, as you've noted, much cheaper.

 

An EC is used for powers that are all used at the same time. Let's say, for example, that I want to build a Human Torch clone. I could make a multipower for attack powers and an EC for other powers (in my campaign, anyway - some GM's don't like multiple frameworks as a rule). Let's assume I only want one attack.

 

So I might buy the following EC:

 

30 EC: Fire Powers

30 +24/+24 Force Field, 1/2 END

30 20" Flight, 0 END

30 12 d6 Energy Blast

30 4" Rad change environment, -5 PER IR vision, +/- 5 temperature levels (+1/4 to go either way) 1/2 END

 

Now I can heat up the area around me, fly, raise my force field and fire my EB all at the same time.

 

Say, instead, Sparky has a 60 point Multipower with several attacks, including his EB, and Change Environment. If he wants to use his EB, he has to shut off the Change Environment - that's the cost of saving all those points.

 

Sparky could buy a Multipower with some other attacks (an RKA, an AP blast, a Transform that melts metal, what have you) and use these with his EB as a multiple power attacl. For reasons I can't fathom, he can't use two attacks in the EC as a Multiple Power Attack.

 

[Mind you, looking at that rule, it's under the note "general rules and guidelines for using EC's" which GM's can modify as they see fit. With that OFFENSIVE "powers must cost END" rule.]

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Originally posted by Hugh Neilson

With that OFFENSIVE "powers must cost END" rule.

Never have understood the logic behind that one. One of the design philosophies of Champions was that defenses cost half as much as attacks (would the real world worked like that). Now, for the most part, the powers that don't use END are Defenses and ehanced senses. That means that Elemental controls usually have movement and attack powers, bought at almost half price, while defenses are full price.
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Originally posted by McCoy

Never have understood the logic behind that one. One of the design philosophies of Champions was that defenses cost half as much as attacks (would the real world worked like that). Now, for the most part, the powers that don't use END are Defenses and ehanced senses. That means that Elemental controls usually have movement and attack powers, bought at almost half price, while defenses are full price.

 

Agreed. sigh And why is it that a Force Field costing 0 END is OK, but Armor is not? For that matter, why is Healing OK, but Aid illegal!

 

On seeing this is under the "as a general rule" provision,I'm inclined to interpret this more as a caution than a hard and fast rule, but then I was going to handwave it where the power logically fit the EC anyway.

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Most inherently 0 END powers are Constant/Persistent and I wondered if that was the reason for excluding them. Something to do with the new rule about Draining one EC power Drains all the others and a conceptual problem with Draining Clinging or Armour, perhaps? This leads to some illogicalities, though, as others have noted.

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Frankly, I never liked EC's to begin with. They were just a bogus way to save points and benefited certain character conceptions far more than other conceptions. With the "drain one drain all" feature, and the no 0 end powers, I think EC's have finally been neutered enough to be in balance.

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Originally posted by Hugh Neilson

Sparky could buy a Multipower with some other attacks (an RKA, an AP blast, a Transform that melts metal, what have you) and use these with his EB as a multiple power attacl. For reasons I can't fathom, he can't use two attacks in the EC as a Multiple Power Attack.

One probable explanation and one reason for you:

Probable explanation: It's part of the 5th edition crusade to remove all utility and sense from elemental controls. No naturally no END powers in there and "we all go down together" from Drains make no sense either and seem to be there just to punish elemental control users - no MPA's could be motivated by just the same urge.

 

Reason: Folks might get multiple attack powers in an EC with an eye toward using them together all the time, effectively getting one big attack (and maybe in effect around campaign active point caps too) for a little more than half price.

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Originally posted by Crimson Arrow

Most inherently 0 END powers are Constant/Persistent and I wondered if that was the reason for excluding them. Something to do with the new rule about Draining one EC power Drains all the others and a conceptual problem with Draining Clinging or Armour, perhaps? This leads to some illogicalities, though, as others have noted.

 

If you don't feel it should be drained the same way, it should not be in the EC. Is Clinging not a Spider Power for Spider-Man, such that a power that drains Spider Powers would drain it away?

 

Actually, there is technically no rule against an EC power buying "inherent", although this seems well outside the spirit of the rules and should be ruled against IMO.

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Originally posted by Gary

Frankly, I never liked EC's to begin with. They were just a bogus way to save points and benefited certain character conceptions far more than other conceptions. With the "drain one drain all" feature, and the no 0 end powers, I think EC's have finally been neutered enough to be in balance.

 

Now how do we deal with UltraVersatile Man whose multipower allows him to buy 5 powers for the price of 2? This benefits characters with multiple attacks far more than it benefits those with a suite of related powers from all areas. In my view, the "drain" feature accomplished the balance goal adequately.

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Originally posted by Jeff

One probable explanation and one reason for you:

Probable explanation: It's part of the 5th edition crusade to remove all utility and sense from elemental controls. No naturally no END powers in there and "we all go down together" from Drains make no sense either and seem to be there just to punish elemental control users - no MPA's could be motivated by just the same urge.

 

I can buy into the linked drains, but I view this more as any attack that drains a power in the EC also drains an equal amount from the base EC points. There is a play balance issue.

 

On the other hand, maybe drains against powers in a multipower (or VPP) should also drain the multipower (or VPP) pool, for the same reason of balance. Overall, I think 5e has really gone out of its way to demotivate the EC and push people more to multipowers and VPP's. These were commonly more point-effective anyway.

 

Originally posted by Jeff

Reason: Folks might get multiple attack powers in an EC with an eye toward using them together all the time, effectively getting one big attack (and maybe in effect around campaign active point caps too) for a little more than half price.

 

I can see some logic to the MPA rules, although the campaign points cap issue can also be abused with a single EB in your EC, and a multipower of attacks to tack on (Only powers in the SAME EC cannot combine per FREd p 204). A VPP also gets around the campaign point limits with a little creativity (eg. 60 pt VPP, 12d6 EB with -1 limits and a 12d6 flash with -1 limits - these can multiple power attack). If there's a problem here, I think it's not so much EC's as MPA's in general.

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Originally posted by Hugh Neilson

Now how do we deal with UltraVersatile Man whose multipower allows him to buy 5 powers for the price of 2? This benefits characters with multiple attacks far more than it benefits those with a suite of related powers from all areas. In my view, the "drain" feature accomplished the balance goal adequately.

 

Multipowers have the very real limitation that only one power could be used at full power at the same time. With an EC, every power can be used at the same time at full effect which is a very significant advantage when you put defenses and movements there.

 

Instead of EC's which force all powers to have virtually the same active point level, I would rather have a separate "drain one drain all" limitation that you can place on a suite of powers. This way, you can stick a 10 pt power in the same "framework" as a 50 pt power and still save points.

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Originally posted by Gary

Multipowers have the very real limitation that only one power could be used at full power at the same time. With an EC, every power can be used at the same time at full effect which is a very significant advantage when you put defenses and movements there.

 

Agreed and that's why the MP costs less.

 

Originally posted by Gary

Instead of EC's which force all powers to have virtually the same active point level, I would rather have a separate "drain one drain all" limitation that you can place on a suite of powers. This way, you can stick a 10 pt power in the same "framework" as a 50 pt power and still save points.

 

It would be called "limited power". You can take your suite of EC powers at 50 AP, and buy your 10 point power with "drained at same pace as EC". It's not going to halve the cost of the power, though, unless drains are very common.

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Re: Elemental Controls

 

Originally posted by Pteryx

Is there anything that an Elemental Control can do that a Multipower can't do cheaper and with fewer restrictions and drawbacks? I'm not sure what the point of Elemental Controls is, mechanically... :( Could somebody please explain? -- Pteryx

 

Like many people said, ECs usually are for movement and defense powers, while MPs are for attacks. Truth be told, all powers closely linked by special effects logically should belong in a EC, there is no reason other than "it's most cost effective this way" to put some in a EC and some in a MP.

 

Frameworks are a polemical issue in HERO. There is this interesting theory that Frameworks are more of a game balance thing anyway. That is because most Characteristics (notably STR) are just too cheap. You kind of need Frameworks so power-based characters aren't too disadvantaged next to char-based characters.

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Originally posted by Hugh Neilson

Agreed and that's why the MP costs less.

 

 

 

It would be called "limited power". You can take your suite of EC powers at 50 AP, and buy your 10 point power with "drained at same pace as EC". It's not going to halve the cost of the power, though, unless drains are very common.

 

My personal preference as GM would be to not allow EC's at all and only allow "limited power" if a player wants that type of framework.

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I think EC is a way to reward characters who are really built with a consistant theme. With that in mind, I tend to be pretty strict when I see one as a GM. I will not allow an EC unless (the player can convince me) that all of the powers really do fit well together. In a real game I probably wouldn't allow some of the examples I have seen in the books, for that matter.

 

The exception to this is if I am running an all out, four-color Superhero adventure. In this case I encourage all of my players to use ECs and MPs anywhere they might possibly make sense. Hey. If all the players are using them, and all the NPCs are using them, then what the heck?

 

With the above in mind, I usually ignore the rules about End only powers, and even Special Powers. I'll even allow Frameworks withing Frameworks if it seems to really make sense. For example, I have a magic system in which wizards cast from a VPP. Some of the spells (shapeshifting, etc.) really make sense as VPPs or MPs. So I let a VPP spell be memorized by placing it in a VPP spell memorization pool.

 

For heroic games, I use Frameworks to put together my specific campaign system using Hero as a meta-system. For example, my ongoing fantasy campaign is relatively low powered, but I want characters to be able to play psionicists (who have to buy each of the powers they can use separately). So I allow all psionic powers to be bought using (a single) EC pool. I even allow powers to be moved into or out of the EC as the character progresses, so that the character isn't penalized more as (s)he becomes more powerful ("I've made my EC bigger, so why is it suddenly twice as hard to learn a new power?").

 

If you don't let Frameworks be abused (by monitoring them pretty carefully), they can really help your game, and help you put together the setting and system that you want.

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Hi Pres:

 

I allowed my players to forgo the "powers that inherently cost 0 END" limitation of EC. Boy did I get bit hard. Three out of four PC ended up with EC and one character has two little ones. On hindsight, I think I needed to really enforce the concept of the EC more and I MIGHT have been ok. Can you say an EC full of defensive powers defined as comming from a single power suit? Ouch. :(

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Originally posted by JohnTaber

[bI allowed my players to forgo the "powers that inherently cost 0 END" limitation of EC. Boy did I get bit hard. Three out of four PC ended up with EC and one character has two little ones. On hindsight, I think I needed to really enforce the concept of the EC more and I MIGHT have been ok. Can you say an EC full of defensive powers defined as comming from a single power suit? Ouch. :( [/b]

 

To me, it looks like the problem is EC concept more than power restrictions. I'd talk to the players and see if they're prepared to be reasonable. If not, I guess the VIPER agents next time show up with "Defensive Suit" EC's. If you can buy it, so can they!

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Originally posted by JohnTaber

Hi Pres:

 

I allowed my players to forgo the "powers that inherently cost 0 END" limitation of EC. Boy did I get bit hard. Three out of four PC ended up with EC and one character has two little ones. On hindsight, I think I needed to really enforce the concept of the EC more and I MIGHT have been ok. Can you say an EC full of defensive powers defined as comming from a single power suit? Ouch. :(

Ya. Enforcing the concept is key, END, 0 END, or no END. If you do that, you should be fine without the no no-END restriction, and you're sure to come to grief using EC's anyway if you don't.

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Originally posted by Hugh Neilson

If not, I guess the VIPER agents next time show up with "Defensive Suit" EC's. If you can buy it, so can they!

 

Yeah! On a related issue, my group had a rotating-GM super hero game, and we decided on some pretty loose House Rules. One of the other players decided to give his character a power suit, with all of the powers in it Independant, just so he could buy a buttload of powers cheaply.

 

So when I came up as GM, I scared the crap out of him, but having an NPC steal his power suit. After all, he decided to take the Limitation. The Limitation means you can permanently lose the power (which he almost did, by the way--great adventure!). Soon after, he decided to re-build the character. :)

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The problem with the conception argument for EC's is that it rewards certain conceptions over other conceptions. It gives a huge savings to energy projectors, and nothing to most martial artists.

 

Is anyone really going to argue that the Human Torch is a much better conception than Batman and deserves to save oodles of points? :rolleyes:

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Originally posted by Gary

The problem with the conception argument for EC's is that it rewards certain conceptions over other conceptions. It gives a huge savings to energy projectors, and nothing to most martial artists.

 

Is anyone really going to argue that the Human Torch is a much better conception than Batman and deserves to save oodles of points? :rolleyes:

Who says energy projector powers are more suitable for Elemental Controls than martial arts related ones? I didn't. I base it on how well the powers fit together, and whether they match the concept of the character well or not. I wouldn't allow the Martial Arts themselves to go in an EC (they are skills--and already pretty good cost-wise), but a Martial Arts Elemental Control like, say:

  • Missile Deflection
  • Damage Reduction, Concentrate
  • Leaping
  • RKA: Shuriken

wIth appropriate Advantages/Limitations, a good description, and other skills, etc., which fit well? Why not?

 

It just so happens that a heck of a lot of Batman's powers go right into a Multipower, if not a Variable Power Pool, anyway; that is Framework enough, if you ask me.

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