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Christopher

Rules that make no sense, make the most sense

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The rule that a power costing END must have fx perceptible to more than one sense is not (situationally) context-dependent. It is an intrinsic part of the power regardless of whether or not the user is hiding in a crowd or standing alone in a set of villainous black armor. The power has visible power fx or it doesn't. The "obviousness" of the user is irrelevent.

 

As such, the telekinetic powers of the Force have no visible fx in the Hero System sense of that term. Force TK has IPE no matter what the situational context is. The important thing to realize is that Vader could easily use his Force TK from a hidden position, with nobody knowing what is causing the objects to fly around. That means his Force TK has IPE. The fact that he often chooses to step out and fight in the open does not suddenly render his Force TK "visible".

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The rule that a power costing END must have fx perceptible to more than one sense is not (situationally) context-dependent. It is an intrinsic part of the power regardless of whether or not the user is hiding in a crowd or standing alone in a set of villainous black armor. The power has visible power fx or it doesn't. The "obviousness" of the user is irrelevent.

 

As such, the telekinetic powers of the Force have no visible fx in the Hero System sense of that term. Force TK has IPE no matter what the situational context is. The important thing to realize is that Vader could easily use his Force TK from a hidden position, with nobody knowing what is causing the objects to fly around. That means his Force TK has IPE. The fact that he often chooses to step out and fight in the open does not suddenly render his Force TK "visible".

 

Of course it's context dependent.  The obviousness of the user is the whole point.

 

You could decide that the visual aspect of his Force TK was the slow, unsteady, floaty effect that they used in the movies.  It might require a raised hand or eyes closed in concentration.  But you don't have to -- it's obvious because the rules say it is obvious.  Can your character see?  Then you can tell who it is.  What it looks like is unimportant.

 

Player:  Who is using the power?

GM:  It's that guy over there, in the black cape and hood.

Player:  How can I tell?  He's standing in a crowd.

GM:  You can just tell.  It's definitely that guy

Annoying Player:  But how do I know that?

Exasperated GM:  Ominous theme music is playing and the camera focuses in on him.

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I'm pretty sure that when it comes to the visual fx of a power, only the obviousness of the power itself is at issue (the state of the user/wielder is a separate, orthogonal concern). The reasons behind making a power's fx visible by default in the game are myriad, but do not in themselves govern whether or not a power has them. In fact, I believe you may have it backwards. The concealed state of an attacker can not render a power concealed by some wierd transitive property, rather, a power will "give away" a concealed attacker by virtue of its (compulsory) flashiness.

 

If a character wants to be able to attack and not be obvious that they are doing so, they must be adequately concealed and the attack power must have IPE. Otherwise, it will be obvious to anyone within sense range of either the attacker or the perceivable fx of the power who is attacking and with what (assuming they recognize the fx). Other factors, like Indirect, can muddy the waters a bit, but Indirect isn't really meant to be a substitute for IPE.

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I'm pretty sure that when it comes to the visual fx of a power, only the obviousness of the power itself is at issue (the state of the user/wielder is a separate, orthogonal concern). The reasons behind making a power's fx visible by default in the game are myriad, but do not in themselves govern whether or not a power has them. In fact, I believe you may have it backwards. The concealed state of an attacker can not render a power concealed by some wierd transitive property, rather, a power will "give away" a concealed attacker by virtue of its (compulsory) flashiness.

 

If a character wants to be able to attack and not be obvious that they are doing so, they must be adequately concealed and the attack power must have IPE. Otherwise, it will be obvious to anyone within sense range of either the attacker or the perceivable fx of the power who is attacking and with what (assuming they recognize the fx). Other factors, like Indirect, can muddy the waters a bit, but Indirect isn't really meant to be a substitute for IPE.

 

But the power is obvious.  Objects are floating through the air.  A glowing field around them doesn't make it more obvious what is happening.

 

I agree that a concealed attacker doesn't make the power concealed.  If Darth Anonymous is standing in a crowded marketplace and uses his Force telekinesis to move an object, unless he has purchased IPE, the players will immediately be able to turn and identify him as the source of the effect.  Cinematically, they will turn their heads around, looking around them, and then will see him and realize that he's the one who did it.  In the real world you might have no way to connect the mysterious power with the source, but in the game it is easy to do so.

 

Let's look at this differently.  If I have a Force Field, I can define it as looking like anything I want.  If I want a fiery body like the Human Torch, that is fine.  That can be what my Force Field looks like.  But I can't burn anyone with it unless I buy it as a Damage Shield, or other similar construct.  I can wrestle a baby snowman and my fire will just move out of the way or something.  I am still protected, I still get the benefit of my powers, but I don't get new powers for free simply due to creative power construction.  This sort of "game logic" has always existed in Champions.  It might hurt your head, you may not like seeing it, and in your campaign you might decide that you don't want to see that -- if a player buys certain types of powers then you might require that he buy other related powers as well.  But that's in your campaign.  The game rules don't require it.  Similarly, a flying character doesn't have to leave a fiery trail or have wings.  You can see him floating there.  There doesn't have to be an obvious means of how it happens.  It doesn't have to make sense in real world physics.  It is clear that he is flying.

 

My long-winded point is this:  A power can be "invisible" by normal real world definitions, and still be "visible" in game terms, as long as it gets none of the benefits of IPE.

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Of course it's context dependent.  The obviousness of the user is the whole point.

 

You could decide that the visual aspect of his Force TK was the slow, unsteady, floaty effect that they used in the movies.  It might require a raised hand or eyes closed in concentration.  But you don't have to -- it's obvious because the rules say it is obvious.  Can your character see?  Then you can tell who it is.  What it looks like is unimportant.

 

Player:  Who is using the power?

GM:  It's that guy over there, in the black cape and hood.

Player:  How can I tell?  He's standing in a crowd.

GM:  You can just tell.  It's definitely that guy

Annoying Player:  But how do I know that?

Exasperated GM:  Ominous theme music is playing and the camera focuses in on him.

Simply awesome. I love this and have been in this situation before.

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But the power is obvious.  Objects are floating through the air.  A glowing field around them doesn't make it more obvious what is happening.

 

My long-winded point is this:  A power can be "invisible" by normal real world definitions, and still be "visible" in game terms, as long as it gets none of the benefits of IPE.

I think you may be a bit too fixated on the notion of obviousness. The rules don't have much to say about what constitutes "obvious", except perhaps in the section on Focii, where it becomes an actual game term. END-costing powers are not merely supposed to be "obvious", they must be perceptible by normal Senses. The rules have quite a lot to say about what constitutes a Sense, what the "normal" senses are, and how they work. A power must be perceptible (I try to stay away from the word "visible" because that is restricted to the Sight sense group for the purposes of this discussion) to those things which the Hero System defines as a Sense. Objects floating through the air are visible, yes, but the power that is making them float may not be, and if not, it requires IPE.

 

If a character could ever use his END-costing power in such a way that you can't tell he is using it, then it must have IPE. And by being able "to tell he is using it", that means perceptible to normal senses (at least one, usually more) even/especially if/when you can't perceive the user or the target. You can think of this as a subject-verb-object chain: the attacker is the subject, the power is the verb, and the target is the object. IPE relates exclusively to the verb in this analogy, and it doesn't matter how visible or "obvious" the subject or object are. If the verb itself isn't perceptible to normal senses, then it must be bought with IPE. There are too many ways for an observer to misinterpret objects simply floating in space: perceptible power fx are meant to eliminate such situational ambiguity.

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I think you may be a bit too fixated on the notion of obviousness. The rules don't have much to say about what constitutes "obvious", except perhaps in the section on Focii, where it becomes an actual game term. END-costing powers are not merely supposed to be "obvious", they must be perceptible by normal Senses. The rules have quite a lot to say about what constitutes a Sense, what the "normal" senses are, and how they work. A power must be perceptible (I try to stay away from the word "visible" because that is restricted to the Sight sense group for the purposes of this discussion) to those things which the Hero System defines as a Sense. Objects floating through the air are visible, yes, but the power that is making them float may not be, and if not, it requires IPE.

 

If a character could ever use his END-costing power in such a way that you can't tell he is using it, then it must have IPE. And by being able "to tell he is using it", that means perceptible to normal senses (at least one, usually more) even/especially if/when you can't perceive the user or the target. You can think of this as a subject-verb-object chain: the attacker is the subject, the power is the verb, and the target is the object. IPE relates exclusively to the verb in this analogy, and it doesn't matter how visible or "obvious" the subject or object are. If the verb itself isn't perceptible to normal senses, then it must be bought with IPE. There are too many ways for an observer to misinterpret objects simply floating in space: perceptible power fx are meant to eliminate such situational ambiguity.

 

I think I've explained myself pretty well on this.  I don't think you and I are ever going to agree.

 

Things don't have to be perceptible in a "real world" sense to be perceptible in a "game rules" sense.  There are zero ways for an observer to misinterpret objects floating in space if you do not purchase IPE (unless they fail a perception roll of course -- just because they have the ability to perceive it does not mean they are paying the least bit of attention).

 

Example 1 -- With IPE:

 

GM:  There is an object floating in the air.

Player:  What is holding it up?

GM:  You don't know.

 

Example 2 -- Without IPE:

 

GM:  There is an object floating in the air.  Someone is holding it aloft with the Force.

Combative Player:  How can I tell that?  Is it glowing?

GM:  No.

Combative Player:  Then how can I tell it's the Force?  My character thinks that there must be a reverse gravity field here.  Anything other than the Force.

GM:  No.  Your character knows that it is the Force.

Combative Player:  But how do I know it?  It isn't glowing or anything.  I don't have any special senses.  I shouldn't be able to tell what is holding it up.

GM:  Your character knows that it is the Force because I told you.

Combative Player:  But...

GM:  Lose 5 XP.

 

--

 

In the end, we are talking about a narrative game.  We are not talking about real life.  Everything your character "sees" or "hears" is determined based upon what other human beings tell you.  It doesn't make any difference if the fake superpower that the fictional character is using is described as glowing red, or green, or has no appearance at all.  In every situation, the GM has to tell you "XYZ happens, and then you see this."  Invisible Power Effects allows the use of powers to stay secret.  That is its purpose, so that you can't tell that the person is doing anything unusual.  If it isn't IPE, then you can tell the person is doing something.  It doesn't matter if it glows or not, you can just tell that it's him.

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Zslane, I think you're conflating invisible and unnoticed in this instance.

 

If X has a power with the sfx of "floating objects suspended by an unseen force" then it may or may not be IPE.

 

The determining factor is how the power reacts with your DCV mechanically.

 

If you are always at reduced DCV, then it's IPE. If your DCV is only reduced by surprise, stealth, flash or darkness then it's a normal power.

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And it also has to be obvious, the source has to be readily perceivable, as does the target/effect.

 

If someone can sit and drink tea without the power effect being noticed at the source, then there is some type of obfuscation going on. I'm not talking about the invisible kind, either.

 

 

WHAT’S PERCEIVED
As a general guideline, characters define what
their Powers look and sound like. “Perceivable”
can mean many things, from the perceptibility of
the actual power itself (for example, a blue energy
beam that projects from the character’s hands
and hits the target) to just the source of the Power
being perceivable (for example, few characters can
perceive a bullet in flight, but they can all see the
gun, hear the shot, smell the gunpowder, and see
the bullet hole in the target). However, unless the
GM rules otherwise, a character who can perceive
a Power can determine the following about it:

 

Activity: that the Power is being used

the Source: which character, device, or the like
is using the Power (or in other words, is the
“source” of it, or who/what is “generating” it)

 

the Target: which character, object, or area is
the target of the Power (if it has a target)

the Path: which direction the Power is traveling
or being projected along (if applicable)

the Special Effect: the special effect of the Power
(e.g., that it’s a Fire Bolt, a weapon or device of
some sort, a spell, a martial arts stunt...)

the Intensity: the approximate intensity of the
Power (he can’t tell how many dice or Active
Points it has, but it’s usually obvious that, for
example, a Blast 12d6 is “stronger” or “more
powerful” than a Blast 8d6)

the Target Effect: the effect of the Power on
the target (e.g., it’s injuring him, it’s supposed
to injure him but isn’t having much effect, it’s
turning him into a frog, it’s weakening him...)

the Source Effect: the effect of the Power on

the character or object using it, if any (e.g., he’s
suffering painful “feedback” [in game terms,
the power has a Side Effect], he’s becoming
tired as he maintains it [it’s a Constant Power
that costs END])

 

The GM has the final say on how perceivable a
Power is, and what characters can perceive about
it, based on common sense, dramatic sense, game
balance, and other factors.

 

And if the extent of knowing who is doing it, is the GM saying "because I told you it was" with no other explanation is a GM I won't play with again after I pack my stuff up and walk out.

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And if the extent of knowing who is doing it, is the GM saying "because I told you it was" with no other explanation is a GM I won't play with again after I pack my stuff up and walk out.

This. Powers have to be percievable by multiple SENSES and how senses work are outlined in the rules. Because I told you so is not really in keeping with the rules and would be pointlessly annoying.

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And it also has to be obvious, the source has to be readily perceivable, as does the target/effect.

 

If someone can sit and drink tea without the power effect being noticed at the source, then there is some type of obfuscation going on. I'm not talking about the invisible kind, either.

 

 

 

And if the extent of knowing who is doing it, is the GM saying "because I told you it was" with no other explanation is a GM I won't play with again after I pack my stuff up and walk out.

 

If you find yourself identifying with the role of "combative player", then I would smile and wave goodbye.

 

In a pseudo-mystical game setting like Star Wars, "you sense that this is true" is a perfectly valid answer.

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And it also has to be obvious, the source has to be readily perceivable, as does the target/effect.

 

If someone can sit and drink tea without the power effect being noticed at the source, then there is some type of obfuscation going on. I'm not talking about the invisible kind, either.

 

 

 

And if the extent of knowing who is doing it, is the GM saying "because I told you it was" with no other explanation is a GM I won't play with again after I pack my stuff up and walk out.

 

OK, I concede that this example does not satisfy the Source Effect requirement. It does not necessarily mandate IPE because the effect can be achieved with acting, sleight of hand, ventriloquism. or other means but these all will give you an opposed Perception roll at the very least. Without one, you'd have every right to call the GM on it.

 

It does meet every other point, even SFX and Source. Let the GM keep some mystery in hand here and trust that it will be revealed when the time is right.

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If you find yourself identifying with the role of "combative player", then I would smile and wave goodbye.

 

In a pseudo-mystical game setting like Star Wars, "you sense that this is true" is a perfectly valid answer.

 

Only if the GM is an asshole.

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IF we are going to say that Jedi/Force TK does not need IPE then what do we now do with characters like Green Lanterns and Starman with clearly glowing TK?  Do they now qualify for an additional Visibility Limitation? If not, I see a damn good argument for it.

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Only if the GM is an asshole.

 

Language, son. 

 

IF we are going to say that Jedi/Force TK does not need IPE then what do we now do with characters like Green Lanterns and Starman with clearly glowing TK?  Do they now qualify for an additional Visibility Limitation? If not, I see a damn good argument for it.

 

I don't see why.  If we are treating Jedi/Force TK the same as any other power, why wouldn't we do the same for GL?  A perception roll is a perception roll.

 

Of course if you wanted to take a limitation for extra visibility, knock yourself out.  The point is that what the power looks like does not necessitate it following particular game mechanics.

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I did, and I disagree with you.

WHAT’S PERCEIVED

As a general guideline, characters define what

their Powers look and sound like. “Perceivable”

can mean many things, from the perceptibility of

the actual power itself (for example, a blue energy

beam that projects from the character’s hands

and hits the target) to just the source of the Power

being perceivable (for example, few characters can

perceive a bullet in flight, but they can all see the

gun, hear the shot, smell the gunpowder, and see

the bullet hole in the target). However, unless the

GM rules otherwise, a character who can perceive

a Power can determine the following about it:

 

Blah, blah, blah....

 

The GM has the final say on how perceivable a

Power is, and what characters can perceive about

it, based on common sense, dramatic sense, game

balance, and other factors.

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I'm not your son. You aren't Steve Rogers.

 

 

 

You think your dad is Captain America?  Nope.  You see, Obi Wan never told you the truth about your father.

 

And you really need to let go of whatever issue you have with me.  I see it in every thread you post in with me.

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That last paragraph is a helpful annotation intended, I think, to provide guidance to GMs of non-supers genres where flashy power fx which are unambiguously preceivable by multiple senses is not the norm. Some other means of conveying the original intent of the rules becomes necessary because of a shift in genre conventions. I suppose Star Wars, being space opera and not strictly speaking superheroes, would not carry the implicit assumption that END-costing powers must have easily visible power fx (I'm sorry but the "its obvious that it is Telekinesis because all characters in the game universe knows what Force TK is" doesn't quite cut it). I would argue that the Star Wars Force TK example is not really a case of re-interpretation of the standard visible power fx rules (and, by extension IPE), but rather a genre-specific relaxation of it as a compulsory element on all END-costing powers.

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You think your dad is Captain America? Nope. You see, Obi Wan never told you the truth about your father.

 

And you really need to let go of whatever issue you have with me. I see it in every thread you post in with me.

I don't know what's been going on in other threads, but calling someone you are arguing with "son" is pretty dang condescending.

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I think it's hilarious that all the arguments for Jedi TK not requiring IPE can be applied to Invisible Girl/Woman using her "Invisible Force Field" Powers.

 

Think about that for a moment. :P

 

Why do you think that?

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