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FLASH BOMB!*POOF*

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A have a magician character who wants to disappear in a puff of smoke.

 

It is just a standard flash bomb; he doesn't expect it to be foolproof as an effect or an escape. It's really as much character flare as it is effective power.

 

I don't care so much about the construct of the flash bomb - he's managed to spend a whopping 2CP for the power (1D6 Flash with limits) - but something occurs to me:

 

Technically, he can't throw the smoke bomb and escape - his attack ends his phase and he would have to wait for next phase to make a move.

 

How might you buy this ability for just a few points? Any way of doing it without getting too elaborate - with a combination power including running - invisible power effects? Teleport? (That would be wild - if my 125pt Pulp campaign had a character with Teleport. The other players would freak. :snicker: )

 

I suppose, if I apply HG's First Rule of Power Creation: "start with what effect you want", then a construct comes immediately to mind:

 

Invisibility, Instant (-1/2)

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I'm not certain that the effect would truly qualify (IMNSVHO) as Invisibility, especially if it works like most stage magic effects that I have seen. Also, if it is meant to emulate a pyrotechnic smoke effect, I think that buying it as Invisibility does a disservice to the character by constraining more unique future uses involving misdirection (eg: he tosses it into one hallway while going down another, etc).

 

Just my current $.02US.

 

-Carl-

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Here is a build 'stolen' from the character sheet of the Asian hero Silver Hawk, built as a slot from a VPP (gadgets) and as generated by Robert Dorf, circa 2009. Found on the Surbrook's Stuff character archive:

Smoke Bomb:  Darkness to Sight Group 2m radius; 1 Continuing Charge lasting 1 Extra Phase (-1 ½), 	IIF (-¼) Real Cost: 4, [1 cc]

 

The full character sheet can be found here:

http://www.devermore.net/surbrook/adaptationsasianaction/silver_hawk.html

 

-Carl-

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I'm not certain that the effect would truly qualify (IMNSVHO) as Invisibility, especially if it works like most stage magic effects that I have seen.

Why not? Please elaborate.

 

My rationale is, as I said, to start with the Hero Games rule of power building : start with the effect you want, (player wants to disappear and get away), then buy the abilities appropriately.

 

 

Also, if it is meant to emulate a pyrotechnic smoke effect, I think that buying it as Invisibility does a disservice to the character by constraining more unique future uses involving misdirection (eg: he tosses it into one hallway while going down another, etc).

 

Yes  but that's a different effect. So, he'd buy slots in a multipower.

 

Hey, darkness would make even more sense - and it would solve your multipurpose suggestion.

 

Oh. clsage beat me to it.

 

 

Of course, the downside to darkness is that, unlike Invisibility, he can;t activate it AND move in the same phase. Darkness takes two phases to complete an escape.

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This strikes me more as a Movement Power with a special effect-- there's at least one published example in the 5E Pulp line that I can think of. Teleport with Only To Places Character Could Go (-¼) and Must Cross Intervening Space (-¼) covers the effect of disappearing from one spot to another via misdirection. You can flavor it with Requires a Stealth Roll, No Non-Combat Multiple, etc., and even link it to Flash or Darkness as you like.

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Prometheus said:

Teleport with Only To Places Character Could Go (-¼) and Must Cross Intervening Space (-¼) covers the effect of disappearing from one spot to another via misdirection. You can flavor it with Requires a Stealth Roll, No Non-Combat Multiple, etc., and even link it to Flash or Darkness as you like.

 

 

Another version of the power mentioned above (or something like it) is displayed here:

 

http://www.devermore.net/surbrook/adaptationsassorted/theshadow.html

 

(From the ever useful Surbrook's Stuff website :hail: , character sheet credited to TR [doctorthirteen@corngolem.com])

 

Here is the power, pulled out:

Sudden Departure:  Teleport:  10", Only when no one is looking (-1/2), Only to areas accessible 	normally (-1/2), Requires a Stealth Roll (-1/2)

 

-Carl-

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I think I'm going to go with Invisibility. It is more true to the concept.

 

I think I'll allow the 'visible' lim on it. A huge cloud of smoke is a pretty obvious manifestation of invisibility, and therefore easily defeated.

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A version I did:

 

http://www.herogames.com/forums/topic/81253-dissecting-powers/?hl=pipkin

 

It leverages the character's Leaping ability

 

After writing this for someone new to Hero to explain something on a character sheet I'd made for him, it occurs to me that other new people may need help reading character sheets - and in the process of dissecting a given Power, much may also be explained about how Powers are built and how they work in practice.

I'm hoping others will be inspired to present Powers - simple builds as well as complicated - explain them point by point, and then describe how they work when used in the game.

I'm also hoping this will prove useful to those new to Hero. Yes, I have a lot of hopes.


My first example -

The Power as it appears on the character sheet:

8 2) Going out with a bang: (Total: 40 Active Cost, 8 Real Cost) Sight Group Flash 1 ½d6 (standard effect: 2 Segments), Area Of Effect (16m Radius Explosion; +¼), Trigger (Activating the Trigger requires a Zero Phase Action, Trigger requires a Turn or more to reset; +¼) (12 Active Points); 2 Charges which Recover every 1 Week (-2), No Range (-½), Limited Power Not against someone who has their eyes closed or turned away that phase (-½), Conditional Power Power does not work if wet (raining, Pipkin's been in water, etc) (-½), IIF (-¼) (Real Cost: 2) plus Darkness to Sight Group 2m radius, Trigger (Activating the Trigger requires a Zero Phase Action, Trigger requires a Turn or more to reset; +¼) (12 Active Points); 2 Charges which Recover every 1 Week (-2), Linked (Flash! Bang!; Lesser Power can only be used when character uses greater Power at full value; -¾), Conditional Power Power does not work if wet (raining, Pipkin's been in water, etc) (-½), Instant (-½), No Range (-½), IIF (-¼) (Real Cost: 2) plus Trigger (Activating the Trigger requires a Zero Phase Action, Trigger requires a Turn or more to reset; +¼), Invisible Power Effects (Fully Invisible; +1) for up to 5 Active Points of Leaping (6 Active Points); 2 Charges which Recover every 1 Week (-2), Linked (Flash! Bang!; Lesser Power can only be used when character uses greater Power at full value; -¾), Costs Endurance (-½) (Real Cost: 1) plus +5 with Stealth (10 Active Points); 2 Continuing Charges lasting 1 Turn each which Recover every 1 Week (-1 ½), Linked (Flash! Bang!; -½), IIF (-¼) (Real Cost: 3) 1

What it means:

8

This first number is the total number of Character Points spent to have the ability.

2)

I like to organize Abilities in lists. In this case I made a list, Gadgets, and this is the second gadget listed - that's what the 2 means.

Going out with a bang

I also like to give evocative names to Abilities; you will notice I have a quote or the like even for Skills. The basic names of game elements like Powers are deliberately kind of generic; the names you give them are what makes them specific and meaningful. Lots of characters may have a "Blast" power to blaze away at enemies in combat, but how many can say "Villain! Now you will face the cosmic power of my Stellar Photonic Blast!"

(Total: 40 Active Cost, 8 Real Cost)

This tells experienced players used to Hero Designer that this is a "Compound Power." That's when you combine several Powers to get the specific effect you want. This parenthetic Total means that all the Powers together add up to this number of Active and of Real Points. So when you use this Power, several things will happen at once - hopefully all too fast for anyone to react before it's too late!

Sight Group Flash 1 ½d6 (standard effect: 2 Segments), Area Of Effect (16m Radius Explosion; +¼), Trigger (Activating the Trigger requires a Zero Phase Action, Trigger requires a Turn or more to reset; +¼) (12 Active Points); 2 Charges which Recover every 1 Week (-2), No Range (-½), Limited Power Not against someone who has their eyes closed or turned away that phase (-½), Conditional Power Power does not work if wet (raining, Pipkin's been in water, etc) (-½), IIF (-¼) (Real Cost: 2)

This is the first full Power. I'm going to break it down.

Sight Group Flash

"Flash" is the Power used to temporarily disrupt someone's senses. This name is used even if, for example, the Power is a deafening sound that leaves people unable to hear or a radio signal that jams radar. In this case, "Sight Group Flash" means it disrupts normal Vision and also similar Powers like the ability to see infrared or ultraviolet. Flash need not be a bright light or loud sound, either; something like pepper spray could be a Flash attack. In this case, however, it's a bright light from flash powder going off. I actually gave individual names to the constituent Powers of this Compound Power, but the "export template" did not print them out. This one is "Flash! Bang!" (I think I was going include a Flash vs Hearing and changed my mind to save points.)

1 ½d6 (standard effect: 2 Segments),

"Standard Effect" is a rule that lets you avoid the random effect of rolling dice and just take a standardized result. In this case, it means the Flash will blind someone for only two seconds.

Hero Designer does not usually print Base Cost and it doesn't appear on most Character Sheets anymore (I seem to recall it was common in previous editions.) But so you know: Base Cost is determined generally by what Power you buy, and how much of it. In this case, one and a half dice of Flash that effects the Sight Sense Group costs 8 Base Points.

Area Of Effect (16m Radius Explosion; +¼),

This is an Advantage. It defines the Power as effecting not one target, but an entire area, in this case, a radius of 16 Meters. It also defines it as an "Explosion" which means it is most powerful at the center and less so at the edge; so from 8 to 16 meters away, people are only blinded for a single second. Area Of Effect is an Advantage with a lot of options, and the value of it depends on the options chosen; see rulebook for details. The +1/4 means that the Active Cost is increased by one quarter of the Base Cost: so if this were the only Advantage (it isn't) since the Base Cost is 8, the Active Cost would be 10.

Trigger

Trigger is an Advantage that lets you prepare a Power beforehand and then use it instantly. Basically, it means using this Power does not take up one of your actions in combat because it either happens automatically when the circumstances are right (for example, someone steps on the tripwire) or can be set off very quickly and easily. In this case, a pre-prepared charge of flash powder can be pulled out of a secret pocket and ignited simply by tossing it to the ground or giving it a sharp twist (the latter might singe your fingers but not enough to matter.)

(12 Active Points)

8 Base Points, with 2 Advantages totalling +1/2, equals 12 Active Points. This goes into the total of 40 Active Points for the entire Compound Power.

2 Charges which Recover every 1 Week (-2)

Obviously you can't have an unlimited supply of these packets. But I admit that the “1 week” recovery was partly because I was scrambling to fit the points budget of a standard character. Normal Charges recover on a daily basis. This is a Limitation, and the -2 measures how much cheaper it makes the Power; see rulebook for details on how Limitations work.

No Range

The packet is too light to be thrown effectively. You're always standing at ground zero. But see next Limitation....

Limited Power Not against someone who has their eyes closed or turned away that phase

Limited Power is the “catch-all” Limitation; you always have to specify what it means. In this case, someone not looking at the character is not blinded by the light. Of course, that also means they're not looking. I'm assuming that you'll close your OWN eyes to avoid being blinded!

Conditional Power Power does not work if wet (raining, Pipkin's been in water, etc)

Conditional Power is another sort of “catch-all” that means the Power only works, or doesn't work, in certain conditions. So don't go swimming and then expect this to work.

IIF

A possibly annoying bit of jargon to a new player, this references a Limitation that's so common every experienced Hero player knows the acronym. It means “Inobvious Inaccessible Focus” and means the Power is associated with a physical object or substance – that's what “Focus” means. Inobvious means onlookers probably won't spot it even in use and inaccessible means it's not normally possible for someone to grab it away. It COULD be taken away if you're restrained and searched, however.

(Real Cost: 2)

The cost in real character points of the Power. Part of the total Real Cost of 8 for the entire Compound Power.

Plus

Another clue you're looking at a Compound Power. In this case I neglected to do what I usually try to remember to do; I try to Bold the "Plus" to make it clear where one Power ends and the next begins.

Darkness to Sight Group, 2m radius

The name for this Power is "Smoke." Besides the flash, there's a cloud of smoke created. It doesn't need the Area Effect Advantage because Darkness, by default, covers an area; in this case, it was bought to cover a 2 meter radius. Darkness creates an area that blocks certain senses or sense groups; there could be Darkness to Hearing (silence field) or Darkness to Mental Group (psionic camouflage)

The Advantages and Limitations are mostly the same as for Flash! Bang! With two exceptions. One is the Limitation “Linked.” Linked says that a Power can only be used at the same time as another Power. In this case, Smoke is linked to Flash!Bang! Because you can't get the cloud of smoke separate from the flash. The other exception is the Limitation “Instant.” Applied to a Power that might normally last a while, Instant means it only lasts for one of the character's phases. So the cloud of smoke only lasts long enough for the character to take a single action.

Trigger (Activating the Trigger requires a Zero Phase Action, Trigger requires a Turn or more to reset; +¼), Invisible Power Effects (Fully Invisible; +1) for up to 5 Active Points of Leaping (6 Active Points);

Yeah, this could get confusing. This is a “Naked Advantage” in other words, an Advantage bought separately from the Power it modifies. Actually it's two Advantages, both for Leaping. Enough Advantage has been bought to modify 5 Active Points of Leaping, which equals a 5 meter leap from a standing start or 10 meters with at least a short run. Trigger makes it a “free movement” that doesn't cost an action, and Invisible Power Effects means it's silent (probably covered by the “Bang!”) and otherwise undetectable, that is, no one will observe that the character has left the small cloud of smoke. When it clears, everyone says “Where did he go?!” I did make one error I think on this Power; it has the Limitation “Costs END” when I think a Naked Advantage is supposed to cost ENDurance anyway (and thus can't take a Limitation for it.) Oops...

+5 with Stealth

The character already has Stealth. This gives a +5 to sneak away. Note that the Charges in this case say “Continuing Charges” and have a lower Limitation value. That's because the +5 lasts for a whole Turn, not just a single Phase. Hopefully that's long enough to finish your disappearing act and get away clean – the whole point of this complex Compound Power build.

And finally,

1

The last number is the END cost. This ability costs all of 1 ENDurance point.


So, how does it work when you use it?

First, you announce out of character that you're using the Power - “I'm going out with a bang!” or “I'm making my Great Escape!” or whatever you decide to call it. This doesn't have to be on your “turn.” You may have to make a DEX roll if timing is important, say if someone has announced they are attacking you and you want to try this before they hit.

Everyone within 16 meters is blind for a segment; everyone in 8 meters is blind for 2 segments. Note that some people have Flash Defense and won't be effected, and others may use different senses. So don't try this against Daredevil and expect it to work as well.

A cloud of smoke appears where you are. It will last until the end of your phase if you did this during your phase, or the end of your next phase otherwise. So, from 4 to 8 seconds.

You immediately move up to 5 meters without anyone noticing. (Even Daredevil was probably confused by the POP of the flash powder igniting.) If you could have had a running start, were already moving, etc. make that up to 10 meters. It could also be up to 5 meters straight up, if there's anything up there to catch with an Acrobatics roll or a roof to leap onto. They usually don't expect that. Note that this is optional: you CAN set off the flashbang and just stand there, if for some reason you want to.

If it was your phase and you had not taken an action yet, you may immediately start Running at your Full Movement. Long gone by the time the smoke clears you hope.

You get a +5 to Stealth Rolls for the next 12 segments – probably 4 of your phases, if I remember the character's SPD right. That's useful if you plan to take that Full Move since that's a penalty to your Stealth Roll!


Lucius Alexander

Watch me pull a palindromedary out of a hat

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Wow. This is essentially teaching them their powers while teaching them the mechanics of power creation at the same time.

 

Not for my players. They would say "I don't care what a naked advantage is, that's math"

 

I write up descriptions but I'll keep it to one paragraph that describes the essentials in "in-character" terms.

 

 

However, I do like your use of Trigger to cast the smoke bomb. That means I could go back to using Darkness, which is even more true to the power concept than Invisibility.

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