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Magic and Druids and Bears (Oh My!)


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Growth also increases mass appropriately, and provides most of the same mechanical benefits as Density Increase. I would have to do research to be sure, but I don't think bear meat is much denser than human meat they are mostly just bigger and furrier than us. However if I am wrong you could fairly easily Link Growth and Density Increase in a compound power, and simply list the total benefits of the "spell" in its description for ease of use.

Whoops! I meant 5 times more mass, not 5 times denser. I got ahead of myself there.

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Hi and thanks for all the replies! I didn't mean to leave this one hanging but I was travelling for work in between my last reply and now and then I got bogged down juggling power calculations.

 

So, not quite in chronological order but...

 

The problem with animal shapeshifters in FH is that, by and large, mundane animals are just not that fearsome. This bear is about as badass as a regular beast gets, and the best it can do is 2d6+1K with an OCV of 3 and a whopping rDEF of 4. Most starting FH warriors have that beat.

 

Admittedly, it may be better at melee than a druid's normal form, and if it's one of multiple forms the druid can toggle through (hawk, fish, stag, wolf) for movement and recon, then that's a lot more useful. But if this bear form is supposed to wade into melee on a regular basis it probably needs to be upgunned.

 

To be fair, if you compare the 3rd edition system of calculating Encounter CRs (where CR is roughly equal to Player Character level, and x2 creatures equals +1 CR) to the costs for Summon (where 25 CP equals 5 APs and x2 creatures equals 5 APs) you can estimate that a 175-point Standard Heroic Character is roughly equivalent to a 7th level D&D Character. Very few 7th level characters are afraid of bears anymore. Meanwhile a 50-point Skilled Normal (who is roughly equivalent to a 2nd level D&D character), is quite likely to be slaughtered by a CR 4 (roughly 100-point) Grizzly Bear.

To both of the above, I'm not worried about normal animals being not very scary at this point. The PCs are the equivalent of D&D 2nd level so a bear can be pretty nasty. And 2d6KA is actually pretty good as that is around what a two-handed sword can do. Highest strength in the party currently is 16 and one of them has a OCV of +4 (once you factor in the HTH +1 bonus, they have). Characters are created at 100CP and gain 20CP "per level" thereafter. There are also maxima and all powers are from a list.

 

For when they get more powerful, I'm creating upgraded versions of the druid wildshape power that let you progress. So the paths are:

Bear -> Great Bear -> Dire Bear

Hawk -> Eagle -> Great Eagle

Serpent -> Large Snake -> Giant Snake

 

I think it'll be fun if I can ever work out the balance and costs of everything! :/

 

Purchase increased knockback as a naked avantage. If the player wants to push is opponent away then he uses the naked advantage with his attack and that makes it more likely an opponent will fall over or be pushed back when struck.

 

If you want it always to be a feature of the strike, then simply buy the advantage on the attack.

 

If you are running a heroic campaign, Attacks which cause body also have a chance of causing Knockdown (FHC 186-186). Normal Damage tends to be significantly more likely to cause Knockdown (Normal Attacks typically only need 7 DCs to reliably cause Knockdown, Killing Attacks & Martial Maneuvers require 10 DCs).

 

The best way to increase the chance of causing Knockdown is to purchase Double Knockback (+1/2) as an independent advantage for the bear's Strength (as Doc Democracy also suggested) or to give them a Hand-To-Hand Attack with Double Knockback (+1/2); In either case, Added DCs will be prorated against the value of the advantage (see FHC 183). For example 15 STR will only add 2d6 Normal Damage to a 2d6 HA with Double Knockback (+1/2). You will need at least 4d6 of Double Knockback Normal Damage to reliably trigger knockdown.

 

Alternatives to the Knockdown rules include using the Trip maneuver (FHC 179), or the Legsweep Martial Maneuver (FHC 181).

Both of these replies confused me slightly. The FH 6e book says Knockback is seldom used with Fantasy games, but that KnockDOWN is. So I initially looked to see if there were a Double Knockdown power but no, it seems it really is only Knockback. Reading the rules, though, it seems to be intrinsically tied to the optional Impairing Wounds. I really don't want to use these. So should I basically just apply a rule that says "whenever a character takes more than half their Body they are knocked down". I presume that if I read "knockdown" for "knockback" in the power then I basically damage the amount of Body done for purposes of assessing if they suffer knockback. The trouble with that is that it doesn't represent what I want. Say the bear attacks a knight in platemail. The bear's claws do reduced penetration and even without that, it's pretty possible that the bear would fail to cause any Body damage to the knight. But the bear should still be able to knock the knight flat on her back.

 

This all seems very awkward and innacurate for what I want which is: "when the bear hits you, you go prone." That is the power I want to give the bear.

 

Yes... yes I did. I'm so glad somebody appreciates my horrible sense of humor.

 

Your assumption would be incorrect, the original poster claimed that the 130-point bear form is greater than the character's point total... although to be fair that information was buried pretty much right in the middle of the paragraph, and the OP hasn't stated how many points our intrepid heroes are being built on.

100CP starting and rising to 200CP by the time they are "10th level". There are skill and characteristic maxima.

 

Bearform (115 Character Points in the most expensive form) (23 Active Points); OAF (-1), Spell (-1/2), Costs Endurance (Only To Change; -1/2), Extra Time (Full Phase, -1/2), Requires A Magic Roll (Skill roll; -1/2), Gestures (Requires both hands; -1/2), Incantations (-1/4), 2 Continuing Charges lasting 1 Hour each (-0) Total Cost: 5

 

And here is the bear form:

 

 

VAL...CHA...Cost...Total...Roll......Notes

30....STR.....20...30......15-.......HTH Damage 6d6 END [6]

10....DEX.....0...10......11-.......

20....CON.....10...20......13-

15....BODY....5...15......

10....INT.....0...10......11-.......PER Roll 11-/14-

10....EGO.....0...10......11-.......

10....PRE.....0...10......11-.......PRE Attack: 2d6

 

9....PD......3...9.............9 PD (4 rPD)

9....ED......3...9.............9 ED (4 rED)

3....SPD.....10...3.................Phases: 4, 8, 12

5....REC.....1...5

30....END.....2...30

30....STUN....5...30

12....RUN......0...12m................END [1]

2....SWIM.....-1...2m................END [1]

2....LEAP.....-1...2m................2m forward, 1m upward

 

CHA Cost: 62

 

Cost...POWERS

12.....Claws HKA 1d6 (3d6 w/STR) (15 Active Points); Reduced Penetration (-1/4) - END=1

4.....Bite HKA 1 point (2d6+1 w/STR) (5 Active Points); Reduced Penetration (-1/4) - END=1

12..... Thick Fur Resistant Protection (4 PD/4 ED) - END=0

10.....Powerful Double Knockback (+1/2) for up to 30 Active Points of STR (15 Active Points); Extra Time (Full Phase, -1/2) - END=1

6.....+3 PER with Normal Hearing and Normal Smell - END=0

5.....Tracking with Normal Smell - END=0

4.....Charge Running 8m (8 Active Points); Increased Endurance Cost (x3 END; -1) - END=3

 

POWERS Cost: 53

 

Base Pts: 115

Exp Required: 0

Total Exp Available: 0

Exp Unspent: 0

Total Character Cost: 115

Thanks for the example. Very helpful. My own bear has now come out as follows:

Medium Bear: 

Str 	20
Dex 	10
Con 	15
Int 	8
Ego 	5
Pre 	12

OCV  	4
DCV  	4
OMCV 	2
DMCV 	2
Spd  	2

PD	6	+4
ED	3	+1
REC	4	+0
END	20	+0
BODY	18
STUN	40

Bite HKA 1d6	
Claws HKA 1d6	
	Reduced Penetration 
	HTH Limitation	
	Double Knockdown
+2 PER with Smell/Taste
Cold Resistance
	Safe Environment (Cold)
	Damage Negation (Cold)
	  Reduce Damage Classes by 2
	  Only works against Cold  -½
	
Chunky Mutha’ (-2m Leaping)	-1CP
Very Limited Manipulation	-20CP

Grand Total: 51CP
As cost is based around the most expensive form at a rate of 1CP per 5CP of the form, then a starting character in my game would pay 20CP for the above power. They would also pay the same if I basically increased its stats and powers to nearly double the cost so long as I kept it below the 100CP mark. That doesn't sound right. A regular bear costs 20CP. A super-bear with much more strength, damage resistance, natural attacks, would cost... no more? That can't be right. Furthermore, everytime this character gets more powerful, they have to pay more for this power which is becoming increasingly less useful as it gets outpaced in power level. Again - this can't be right.
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The problem with animal shapeshifters in FH is that, by and large, mundane animals are just not that fearsome. This bear is about as badass as a regular beast gets, and the best it can do is 2d6+1K with an OCV of 3 and a whopping rDEF of 4. Most starting FH warriors have that beat.

 

 

Kinda.  Even a black bear also has 23 STR, 8 PD, 6 ED, 18 CON, 12 Body, and 34 Stun.  So they are really burly, as good or better than a big warrior on the team.  A full Kodiak has 30 STR, 10 PD, 9 ED, 22 CON, 20 Body, and 44 Stun.  That's way tougher than any warrior.  They aren't very bulletproof, but they can mangle someone horrendously, and the Druid in normal druid form isn't nearly as powerful or tough.  And I'd argue the rPD is low on these bears, they can take serious attacks without much harm.  Its tough to get even a rifle to harm them with a head shot.

 

In general, I agree that animals aren't scary in Fantasy Hero, for the most part, but that's mostly due to PCs getting 150+ starting points....

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As cantriped pointed out in the last line of his response, the tools the game gives you to render an opponent prone are Trip and Legsweep manoeuvres. Like most things in HERO, ignore the title of the power/manoeuvre/characteristic and focus on the effects they have in game.

 

You can use two manoeuvres at the same time (like Strike and Trip). There are penalties to doing so but you can buy levels to offset that.

 

What you are doing is spending points to ensure that your bear, on every strike has the opportunity to trip (that is, render its opponent prone)....

 

Doc

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As cantriped pointed out in the last line of his response, the tools the game gives you to render an opponent prone are Trip and Legsweep manoeuvres. Like most things in HERO, ignore the title of the power/manoeuvre/characteristic and focus on the effects they have in game.

 

You can use two manoeuvres at the same time (like Strike and Trip). There are penalties to doing so but you can buy levels to offset that.

 

What you are doing is spending points to ensure that your bear, on every strike has the opportunity to trip (that is, render its opponent prone)....

 

Doc

Okay. So would I build the power like the following:

 

Big Paws
15CP    HKA 1d6
  -¼    Reduced Penetration 
  -¼    No Knockdown
+3CP    CSLs that offset the -1OCV, -2DCV for Trip
I'm still a little confused about OCLs and how to add them to a power. I'm pretty sure the above is not right, but I can't find where or how to add a maneouvre to a power.
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Okay. So would I build the power like the following:

 

Big Paws
15CP    HKA 1d6
  -¼    Reduced Penetration 
  -¼    No Knockdown
+3CP    CSLs that offset the -1OCV, -2DCV for Trip
I'm still a little confused about OCLs and how to add them to a power. I'm pretty sure the above is not right, but I can't find where or how to add a maneouvre to a power.

 

 

Just buy the bear the maneuver "takedown" or "legsweep" and leave it at that.  It isn't important to specifically tie it to the claw attack.  The bear can just knock somebody down when it wants to.

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Just buy the bear the maneuver "takedown" or "legsweep" and leave it at that.  It isn't important to specifically tie it to the claw attack.  The bear can just knock somebody down when it wants to.

 

Sorry, I appreciate the suggestion but in this case that's not what I want to do. I specifically want the bear to have a tactical choice it has to make - bite or claws. I really want to have the claws knock people over. Is there no way in Hero to make a power that knocks people over?

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Of course there is.  The game mechanic is called knockback.  Since this is a heroic campaign and knockback is normally not appropriate, you could limit it to knockdown only.  That means you roll for knockback as normal, and if you get any, the guy just falls down.  That's how the mechanic is normally used.  Just give the bear something like a 9D6 normal damage paw attack.  On average you'll get 9 Body, you'll roll an average of 7 for the knockback, which will then knock the guy over.  If you use a killing attack you can still roll for it, but you roll an extra D6 to reduce knockback, so you'll want something that averages a higher Body roll.

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If you wanted to more or less guarantee a knockdown, you could give the attack the Double Knockback Advantage.  Normally it's +1/2 but you could reduce the cost; make it a custom Double Knockdown for +1/4, which would double the attack's BODY damage for purposes of calculating Knockdown only.

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I seem to recall a "Red in Tooth and Claw" martial arts style in one of the books that was used for animals . . . I don't know if there was a throw or trip manuever in it.  (For that matter, I'm not even sure if it was used for animals or was simply inspired by them.)

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Okay, back to Serious Business again...

 

Just buy the bear the maneuver "takedown" or "legsweep" and leave it at that.  It isn't important to specifically tie it to the claw attack.  The bear can just knock somebody down when it wants to.

 

It matters to me. I'm trying to create classes with interesting tactical decisions here. I want a bear that has a choice of a bite attack or big swiping claws. The latter of which has a good chance of knocking people prone.

 

Of course there is.  The game mechanic is called knockback.  Since this is a heroic campaign and knockback is normally not appropriate, you could limit it to knockdown only.  That means you roll for knockback as normal, and if you get any, the guy just falls down.  That's how the mechanic is normally used.  Just give the bear something like a 9D6 normal damage paw attack.  On average you'll get 9 Body, you'll roll an average of 7 for the knockback, which will then knock the guy over.  If you use a killing attack you can still roll for it, but you roll an extra D6 to reduce knockback, so you'll want something that averages a higher Body roll.

 

I still have unanswered questions on that, though. Firstly, that's way more damage than I would like it to do and secondly, it depends on actually being able to damage the opponent. In the scenario I gave earlier of Bear vs. Knight, there's a strong chance the bear wont be able to do Body damage to the plate-armoured knight, but it should still be able to knock the knight flat on his back. So that's why the below isn't working for me:

 

If you wanted to more or less guarantee a knockdown, you could give the attack the Double Knockback Advantage.  Normally it's +1/2 but you could reduce the cost; make it a custom Double Knockdown for +1/4, which would double the attack's BODY damage for purposes of calculating Knockdown only.

 

My reading of the Knockback / Knockdown rules indicate that the attack has to actually successfully do damage and it also depends on the Impairing Wounds optional rules which I don't really want to use as I don't want critical hits.

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My reading of the Knockback / Knockdown rules indicate that the attack has to actually successfully do damage and it also depends on the Impairing Wounds optional rules which I don't really want to use as I don't want critical hits.

 

 

OK first part: no, you just have to hit.  The damage is separate from knockback; you do impact and send them flying based on how hard you hit, not how much they felt it.  It might be harmless but knock them down.

 

The second part: its in the same section of the optional rules, but none of the optional rules are tied together.  Think of them as switches you can turn on or off for a campaign, or dials you can select and turn up to the degree you want: this much impairing, this much bleeding, none of knockback, etc.  You pick what you like and plug it in.

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It matters to me. I'm trying to create classes with interesting tactical decisions here. I want a bear that has a choice of a bite attack or big swiping claws. The latter of which has a good chance of knocking people prone.

 

 

 

Martial Arts:  Bear Handed Fighting

 

Claw Swipe -- Takedown, 3 pts

Bear Hug -- Martial Grab  3 pts

Bite -- Killing Strike  4 pts

 

 

There.  Now you've got options.

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I see two options here, neither overly difficult:

 

First, buy the bear the Legsweep maneuver and call it "Swiping Claws". This attack gives the bear +2 OCV, -1 DCV, inflicts normal damage based on the bear's STR + 1DC (or let him add 1DC to his claw killing attack, if you prefer) and knocks the target prone. Whatever mechanic you use for his bite, call that "Bite".

 

Second, use the Knockback rules, but use them as Knockdown (noted in a 6e example power as a -0 limitation on doing Knockback).

 

For grognards like me, NOTE: Knockdown is an option under impairing/disabling wounds on p 112 of 6e V2, outside the Knockback rules.

 

You want the Knockback mechanic a few pages later. You can use it as written on all attacks in your game. You can allow it only for attacks that purchase "does knockback". You can vary the rule such that targets are not sent flying backwards, but instead are knocked prone if they would have taken any knockback. And attacks especially good at knocking targets back, or down, can buy "double knockback".

 

Note that the Knockback calculations are based on BOD before applying defenses - Sir Knight can be unscratched, but still knocked prone.

 

Don't like 2 meters per point of the knockback roll? Make it smaller. Or just make it "any knockback means knocked prone - no one moves from the space they were in".

 

By the way, the normal tactical choice in Hero would be whether the Bear swipes with his claws (killing attack), snaps down with his bite (different killing attack), bashes with his paws (normal attack), attempts to Grab, or Trip, or Disarm his target, or uses any of a variety of other maneuvers, possibly including purchased Martial maneuvers like legsweep, or even combines his attacks (multiple attack; combined attack). Hero combat is already all about tactical choices.

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I made a bear character, using the polar bear in the Bestiary as an archetype and giving it Red in Tooth and Claw, and my problem was that it wound up doing _too much_ damage (this is for a supers game with a 12 DC cap).

 

Assuming you don't use the "double the base DCs only" rule (and the critters in the Bestiary are not written that way), a polar bear's Offensive Strike with its claws is a 5d6 HKA. They're killing machines.

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I'd avoid the attack maneuvers, stick with knockdown, shove, and that kind of thing if you're going to use martial arts with Kung Fu Poley.

 

The problem with that is that the non-killing attacks are too weak! For the supers genre anyway, which is the one I was doing it for. With his claws and teeth, he's a butcher. Without them, he's barely doing anything.

 

In the fantasy genre, though, things would probably be different.

 

EDIT: check out what happens if you give an elephant Red in Tooth and Claw (Tusk and Hoof?). Holy crap. 

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I'm about ready to give up on this whole thing and just make up some stats and completely handwave a cost for this thing.

 

Knockback just doesn't work for what I need. Bite - damage only. Claws - person goes prone. That is all I want. And I specifically don't want anything more than that included. So I'm just making something up for this. I'll just add 2CP to the cost or something and say the target is prone. I don't think it will work very well, but I've spent hours and hours reading, re-reading rules trying to create this one power and failing. Aside from the knocking people prone, Multiform confuses the living Hell out of me. The costing makes no sense to me at all. The original character is built on 100CP. I could create a multiform of a mouse, a sloth, or a giant grizzly all at wildly differing stats - anywhere from 1CP to 99CP, and the cost of the power would still be 20CP. It makes no sense to me that it is always the same. I still don't get increasing stats through experience either. The more and more powerful the character's original form gets, the less and less useful this bear form power gets, and yet its cost increases every time they improve the non-bear form. I found the following in the book on the subject:

 

If a character spends points with the intention of increasing the “strength” of (points used

to build) the forms he can change into, each

1 Character Point he spends on Multiform

increases the points in the most expensive form

by 5 Character Points. Tht effct cascades down,

increasing the points in every other form by 5 as

well (assuming that’s appropriate and desired —

some forms might, and should, stay exactly as they

are, without ever improving, over the course of

a character’s career). Th alternate forms do not

have to take additional Complications to balance

out the new points received.

Spending Experience Point

I've read that four times, I still am no closer to understanding it.

 

I'm also lost when it comes to putting limits on how many times a day the character can turn into the bear. I want it to be twice a day given that it is FAR more deadly than their normal form in combat. I've added the twice a day charges value of -1½ so the real point cost is now 8CP. I think that may be the only part of this that I have understood and got right!

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I'm about ready to give up on this whole thing and just make up some stats and completely handwave a cost for this thing.

 

Knockback just doesn't work for what I need. Bite - damage only. Claws - person goes prone. That is all I want. And I specifically don't want anything more than that included. So I'm just making something up for this. I'll just add 2CP to the cost or something and say the target is prone. I don't think it will work very well, but I've spent hours and hours reading, re-reading rules trying to create this one power and failing.

Then what you want is Knockdown.  From Fantasy Hero Complete p. 186: 

 

Knockdown

In regular Fantasy Hero campaigns, attacks cause Knockdown instead of Knockback. Roll for Knockback as described; any positive result simply Knocks Down the target in his current location instead. Impairing or

Disabling wounds also result in Knockdown.

 

If you want to be more sure of the attack causing Knockdown, buy either additional dice with the Only For Causing Knockdown Limitation, or buy it with the Increased Knockback Advantage, which also affects Knockdown.  

 

But this is literally the mechanic you want, and it is the default setting for Fantasy Hero campaigns.  Please also see Christopher Taylor's explanation in post #42 above.  

 

Knockback vs. Knockdown:  This is an either-or switch.  A campaign either uses Knockback or it uses Knockdown.  The vast majority of Champions (superhero) campaigns use Knockback.  The vast majority of Fantasy Hero campaigns use Knockdown.  They use the same basic mechanic; only the result is different.  You would use Increased Knockback to improve the attack's chances of knocking the target down.  Some targets are better able to resist Knockdown (or Knockback).  Neither is dependent on the use, or the lack, of Impairing and Disabling wounds, although based on power level and genre, most campaigns that use Knockdown would use Impairing and Disabling, and most campaigns that use Knockback would not.  But you don't need to use Impairing and Disabling just because you want to use Knockdown.  The rules specify that receiving an Impairing or Disabling wound also causes Knockdown, but using the one is not a prerequisite, dependency, or necessity for using the other.  

 

That having been said: yes, you want to use Knockdown.  And you would use the Increased Knockback Advantage to improve an attack's chances of causing Knockdown.  

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