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Combat Value Regulation


The Main Man
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For some time I've pondered how my fellow HEROphiles regulate OCV, DCV, OMCV, and DMCV as well as how you reconcile them with Combat Skill Levels, Penalty Skill Levels, and Martial Maneuvers.

 

Usually I can only seem to declare a maximum value for them, but that always seems overly simplistic. Like if I have DCV to max, should I count Dodge? It's free, so perhaps not. Then what about Martial Dodge? From there, what about other Martial Maneuvers?

 

How does everyone else manage them in a fair manner?

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Re: Combat Value Regulation

 

I generally assume that all players will avail themselves of martial manoeuvres. If one is purchasing multiple manoeuvres, it amounts to a fairly expensive multipower that is self limiting, and if everyone has it, then it is power neutral, just design the opposition appropriately. A GM I play with came up with what I think is perhaps the most brilliant way to handle the quantity of other levels applicable in combat. Using 6th edition where Dex is (IMO) an overpriced stat at 2 points per, one is only allowed as many extra levels as one's dex stat divided by three. So someone wanting the maximum allowable levels is forced to pay a very high number of points to push their OCV/DCV to that point, which does tend to balance out. The other player(s) may have seven levels to my four, but I've got 30 extra points invested in damage and defence.

 

The above is for levels that can directly boost OCV/DVC. Penalty skill levels tend to be permitted in addition to that within reason. So someone could buy sufficient range levels to give them full OCV at long ranges. Typically such characters have also bought max dex and max levels as well, and in my experience, do not imbalance at all. The one thing that 'does' need to be looked at very carefully is penalty levels for hit locations. Four such levels are allowed, permitting accurate placement out of combat (sniping), but with a penalty still of four remaining in combat, it is rare to see a called shot being used there.

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Re: Combat Value Regulation

 

Personally, I don't count Dodge/Martial Dodge into DCV Level maximums for a campaign - I consider giving up an action the trade off for 'pushing' your DCV beyond the suggestion campaign averages or maximums.

 

If you spend your entire time Dodging, you're not doing anything else...

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Re: Combat Value Regulation

 

I generally use caps and maxes. So OCV is capped at 12 (you cannot purchase more than 12 base OCV) and caps at 16 (no matter what combination of Base + CSL + Maneuver + Modifiers can get you higher than 16). I then have base DCV at around the same level, but MAX DCV is 3 points higher (12/19 in the above example). This means that when dodging (for instance) a maxed OCV is still -3 to hit a maxed DCV, and where you get that is up to you. With this everyone knows what they will possibly be up against so they can decide exactly how important OCV/DCV/CSL's are to their concept. It also keeps dodge as a viable maneuver that is worth giving up an action for in almost all cases (unless you are a LOW DCV vs capped OCV). This, IMHO, helps to manage Martial Artists. They can get to the max a bit cheaper than others (with the appropriate maneuvers) but they cannot innately gain more than anyone (A non martial artist could buy OCV/DCV 12 and 4 CSL's and hit the same numbers without a single martial art. MA's just get to have lower OCV/DCV and rely more on maneuvers which feels right to me.)

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Re: Combat Value Regulation

 

Usually I can only seem to declare a maximum value for them' date=' but that always seems overly simplistic. Like if I have DCV to max, should I count Dodge?[/quote']

 

Like Panpiper, I assume everyone will take maneuvers and martial maneuvers, so I just build that into the difficulty of each encounter. I ignore maneuvers (and martial maneuvers) when setting limits. If you buy martial maneuvers, then you get to be just a little bit better than anyone who didn't. That seems fair, and also matches the "flavor" of martial arts in every genre I've tried.

 

So I set a base CV+CSL limit, and that's it. All maneuvers are assumed to be there, and players are assumed to buy up their stuff to withing +1 to +2 of that cap. (If not, then they should have a good reason to be incompetent in combat.)

 

PSL for combat are different. I tend to only allow them for certain things (only part of equipment, for example) or only for non-combat things (such as time modifiers for skill use). Or I disallow them completely for starting characters. This simplifies character creation, and allows some easy and cheap in-game advancement.

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Re: Combat Value Regulation

 

I guess I have a much different take on this subject than most. Both combat resolution as well as the more general plot conflict resolution in ANY role playing game boils down to a game of rock paper scissors (lizard spock). Everything has a counter. Back to the HERO OCV/DCV debate, High DCV can be countered by an attack with some form of AOE (like 1 hex accurate - example: Heat Vision). For an unlimited approach like this to work though you have to think of each aspect of a combat in real world terms FIRST and then figure out the best HERO mechanic to model that aspect SECOND (reason from effect - where have I heard of that concept before?.....). Example: a real world flurry of punches & kicks can certainly be converted 'literally' via the basic combat rules using multiple attack. If that's the ONLY method allowed it of course puts a premium on high OCV and/or penalty csl's. It could also be modeled literally via an advantage like autofire (still dependent on high OCV). Or it could be looked as a single complete action/ability and modeled as such - buy a HA with AOE 1 hex that just happens to look like a flurry of punches & kicks. So what's the defense in this last case? Block should still be allowable and is now not facing a seemingly impossible OCV to beat. Dive For Cover is another (which also works vs. the first two methods as well).

 

The combat maneuvers in HERO (even including everything from the Martial Arts books) are not the end-all-be-all of choices for combats. There are other options available. The above ability could even be allowed for a non-Powered campaign if it's just treated as a super-skill.

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Re: Combat Value Regulation

 

I don't have hard caps from a mechanical standpoint, but soft caps from a sfx standpoint. Basically I tell my players that if they can justify to me why their character should have a 12 OCV based on their power set, then that is fine. Start with the average joe on the street with a 3 CV and work up from there. That high CV might come from a combination of athleticism, practice, and special gear, it might come from telekinetic guidance, or psychic insight, or time manipulation, etc. (If they want an always-hits type of attack I try to steer them toward AoE Selective.)

 

I will also mention to the players a couple of aspects of really high OCVs though. First, with the bell curve, once you have +3 OCV advantage over the average DCV, you are going to hit most of the time so further points spent on OCV will have diminishing returns. (Conversely if your character is going to attack at range most of the time, you might want a couple extra levels in OCV to offset range penalties.) Second, HERO is a pretty well balanced system by and large. So consider the 10 points it would cost to raise your OCV & DCV by +1 could be spent on +5 PD/ED instead or +2 DC with an attack. That is pretty significant. Not that they should buy the extra PD/ED or DC instead (it has to fit the sfx after all) but just to give them a feel for the impact of spending 10 points in any combat-related ability.

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