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Building a Light spell is harder than I thought

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Yeah, I tried those. :) Images doesn't seem to allow for a base effect of a single sense, only a sense group. (At least, HD doesn't permit it, and it's pretty good about enforcing RAW.) I remember a Limitation about affecting a single sense instead of a group, but that wouldn't change the AP.

 

 

It's the Limited Effect Limitation, -1/4.

"A Sense-Affecting Power with this Limitation only affects one or two Senses in a Sense Group, rather than the entire Sense Group."

 

The name is a little vague.  It gets lost among things like Limited Power and Limited Special Effect.

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I recently had to do up a light spell myself. (I'm putting together some stuff in the vein of the Fantasy HERO for Newbies thread.)

 

And yep, a giant PITA. Since I'm hoping to make the intro thing semi-official, or at least compatible with official material, I decided to do light as Images.  Yerrgh. Too expensive unless you kludge the whole damn thing with a tonne of limitations.

 

Much prefer it as Change Environment. It makes so much more sense to have a power designed to change the environment (and if the light conditions one is in aren't environment, what is?) than images.

 

I don't have my books handy, but am wondering if would CE be able to make use of penalty skill levels to offset darkness penalties? This  would make it much cheaper.

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It's the Limited Effect Limitation, -1/4.

"A Sense-Affecting Power with this Limitation only affects one or two Senses in a Sense Group, rather than the entire Sense Group."

 

Ah, I'd forgotten where I saw it. 6e1 160

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I thought you used Change Environment to light up an area. That the images build wasn't the way it's supposed to be built anymore.

When did that happen?

 

I don't have my notes, but I did once as an exercise go through several ways of creating light. Including Dark Vision, Usable by Others, Area Effect. As I recall, Images turned out to actually be the cheapest.

 

Lucius Alexander

 

The palindromedary says that shouldn't dissuade anyone from replicating the experiment and double checking Lucius Alexander's results, especially if he's not going to show his work.

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If you could use change Environment, it would end up being extraordinarily cheap in both active cost (important) and real cost.

 

Take for example +1 sight perception, area effect 16m.  That's 5 active points, and easily big enough.

 

I would suggest that "minor environmental effect" should be a Change Environment option - cover things like lighting up an area, starting fires, little incidental stuff that people try to build in Hero and it doesn't work well usually.  It should be dirt cheap, given the effect's limited combat impact.  Maybe 3 points.

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The standard build in Hero 6th, at least everywhere I've encountered it including Champions Powers, is the Images build:

 

Game Information: Images to Sight Group, +4
to PER Rolls, Area Of Effect (16m Radius; +¾)
(38 Active Points); Only To Create Light (-1).
Total cost: 19 points.
 
Which, fine, sure, it gets the job done but sure feels like an "official kludge" to me. GURPS ran up against a similar thing, with people trying to argue over how much energy you needed to Create with the Create power to generate enough light to see by. So they did an official kludge as well and made it a one-point perk.
 
My gut definitely says it should be a Change Environment power for all the reasons folks have listed above, and it was at least as far back as 4th edition, though to be fair Change Environment was super loosey-goosey back then.
 
CHANGE ENVIRONMENT
A character with this Standard Power can cause minor
changes in the environment. The character could, for
example, create light in a certain area, change the temperature,
or set up an intense (but non-damaging) magnetic field.
 
But also...
 
Change Environment cannot be used to duplicate existing
effects (like Darkness); moreover, it does not have any direct
effect on combat. However, Change Environment can be
used to affect Power Limitations or character Disadvantages
like Susceptibilities. At the GM’s option, Change Environment
can have a slight effect on combat (small minuses to
PER Rolls, OCVs, etc.), according to the special effect and
the exact circumstances.
 
Clear as mud, and essentially boiling down to "ask your GM..."

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FWIW, in my own game, I think I'll go back to the old ways:

 

Change Environment: +4 to PER rolls for Normal Sight, Area Effect (4m, +1/4), 10 active points

 

Even that's pretty steep, but a few handy limitations and it's in cantrip territory for a fantasy game, or you can go with the 16m line instead of the area and it's a flashlight.

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If you turn light into just a Change Environment "minor environmental effect" power rather than needing the perception roll offset, its a lot cheaper and more appropriate to the effect.  10 active points is a lot of power for just negating ordinary darkness.  It would have no effect on a darkness power, and would be very visible.

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If you turn light into just a Change Environment "minor environmental effect" power rather than needing the perception roll offset, its a lot cheaper and more appropriate to the effect.  10 active points is a lot of power for just negating ordinary darkness.  It would have no effect on a darkness power, and would be very visible.

 

I'm not sure how to stat that using 6e - there's no option that I recall for minor environmental effect. Might be an idiosyncrasy of the version though.

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When the changes that became 6e were being discussed, I suggested the concept of Light Levels (similar to Temperature or Wind levels). Normal human visual range was from 4 to 6, with each step removed from that giving a -1 to Sight perception rolls. Change Environment could have affected the light level (adding or removing a penalty), but could not have given a bonus. I can't remember what I priced it at, but 3 points sounds reasonable (same as a Temperature level, and more than a -1 to Perception for one Sense Group).

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I'm not sure how to stat that using 6e - there's no option that I recall for minor environmental effect.

 

 

No, it was just a proposal I had, something to add to the power.  Very minor effects like lighting a fire, a light source, heating water, cooling an object, etc.

 

Normal human visual range was from 4 to 6, with each step removed from that giving a -1 to Sight perception rolls. Change Environment could have affected the light level (adding or removing a penalty), but could not have given a bonus. I can't remember what I priced it at, but 3 points sounds reasonable

 

 

The concern I'd have is to get 4 levels that's 12 points base, which is even more expensive than Images. For a light its just kinda spendy.  Maybe 1-2 points a level, its not like you're having significant game effect.

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The concern I'd have is to get 4 levels that's 12 points base, which is even more expensive than Images. For a light its just kinda spendy.  Maybe 1-2 points a level, its not like you're having significant game effect.

 

A -1 to Perception rolls (for one Sense Group) is 2 points. I'll argue that being able to increase or decrease a penalty should be worth more. I also note that the active cost of the current method is much higher, and the relative real cost of each option will depend on how many Power Modifiers are applied (since Limitation stacking is inefficient).

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Personally, I hate using Images to create Light...

However if you run numbers comparing Images to Create Light versus using Change Environment to Create Light you end up with:

 

​Standard Light:​  Images (Sight Group) (+4 to PER Rolls) (22 APs); Only To Create Light (-1). ​Cost:  ​11 points.

 

Nonstandard Light:​  Change Environment (+4 to Sight Group PER Rolls) (12 APs). Cost:​  12 points.

 

The total cost is basically the same for a basic, "no frills" light power. Both are constant powers which create light in a 2m area.

 

Granted, there are several disadvantages to being forced to use Images, such as higher endurance cost, advantages "costing more", and other limitations being "worth less" (which are all reason why I dislike it...). However, to be entirely fair... Rules as Written, the ​Nonstandard Light​ power simply grants anyone within it's area the listed bonus to Perception, regardless of what they are using it to perceive, and doesn't grant anyone outside it's area a bonus to perceive the effected area. Whereas the Standard Light power actually works more or less like you would expect it to, it makes the affected area easier to perceive, regardless of the perceiver's position relative to it. Eventually I came to the conclusion that (at least for projects I am inclined to publish) it wasn't worth rocking the boat.

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Most of the material on KS's site is for 5th edition, and his few 6th edition write ups (almost all contributed by eepjr24) are... less than accurate from both a rules stand point and as D&D conversions.

 

For example, the "Dancing Lights" spell you linked is so wrong on so many levels that I actually find it offensive. It only creates 1 light source per casting, not 4. It doesn't list its PER Roll modifier (or more accurately... it doesn't provide one). It isn't possible to have Images to Normal Sight as the base effect without taking Limited Effect (which it didn't). The Spell Effect isn't Mobile (Dancing Lights can be moved independently of one another).

 

The "Light" Spell suffers from similar problems. No PER Roll Modifier. Doesn't have Limited Effect. Has both Set Effect and Only To Create Light. Doesn't actually stick to moving targets. Can be used at standard Range (​Light is a touch spell...).

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The "Light" Spell suffers from similar problems. No PER Roll Modifier. Doesn't have Limited Effect. Has both Set Effect and Only To Create Light. Doesn't actually stick to moving targets. Can be used at standard Range (​Light is a touch spell...).

 

Light has a really weird range. It has to be cast on an object next to the caster, but then it can be carried around.

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Most of the material on KS's site is for 5th edition, and his few 6th edition write ups (almost all contributed by eepjr24) are... less than accurate from both a rules stand point and as D&D conversions.

 

For example, the "Dancing Lights" spell you linked is so wrong on so many levels that I actually find it offensive. It only creates 1 light source per casting, not 4. It doesn't list its PER Roll modifier (or more accurately... it doesn't provide one). It isn't possible to have Images to Normal Sight as the base effect without taking Limited Effect (which it didn't). The Spell Effect isn't Mobile (Dancing Lights can be moved independently of one another).

 

The "Light" Spell suffers from similar problems. No PER Roll Modifier. Doesn't have Limited Effect. Has both Set Effect and Only To Create Light. Doesn't actually stick to moving targets. Can be used at standard Range (​Light is a touch spell...).

 

Ah, thanks for the info. I didn't know that the 6th edition stuff had those issues. I don't do 6th myself, and usually just consider Killer Shrike's stuff a reliable source.

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Killer Shrike's site is a wonderful trove of ideas and concepts. In the 5th edition era his site was an invaluable resource, but he sort of fell off the face of the earth after 6th edition came out. Most of the site was never updated to 6th edition, and being the rules lawyer that I am, I don't trust anyone's work without auditing carefully first... Hell, even I make mistakes and have to come back and correct them later.

 

Light has a really weird range. It has to be cast on an object next to the caster, but then it can be carried around.

I am of the opinion that a D&D-like Light​ Spell should be built more or less as follows:

LightImages to Sight Group (+4 PER), Area of Effect (4m Radius; +1/4), Half END (+1/4), Uncontrolled (+1/2), Usable As Attack (Recipient Can Go Anywhere; +1 1/2) (77 APs); No Range (-1/2), Only To Create Light (-1). Cost:  31 points.

Notes: Costs 3 END per Phase (paid upfront as per Uncontrolled). UAA makes this power No Range to Grant, but it takes No Range anyway because the target themselves shines, and it sticks to a moving target... because technically speaking, you're granting them the ability to produce light at No Range and then forcing them to use it. I've excluded common spellcasting limitations because those vary by campaign, and would muddy the up the build. However, Gestures (-1/4), Incantations (-1/4), and Restrainable (-1/2) would reduce the cost to 22 points.

 

Naturally, this is not the 15-30 APs most people expect of a Cantrip. Light​ is so expensive because Hero System makes you pay for what you actually get. I can't tell you the number of stories I've heard regarding all of the shenanigans players have pulled off with the Light ​spell. It is a truly valuable utility spell that mitigates one of the biggest obstacles in dungeon crawling, darkness (and the need to carry consumable, and often fragile light-sources).

In D&D this spell can be cheaper because the casting system doesn't rate spells just on how powerful they are, but also based on when the designers want players to gain access to them, and how often they want player to be able to cast them... Character's need access to Light right at the beginning of their careers, and they ​need to be able to cast it frequently. Therefore it was made a 0th level spell. Also, nobody is gonna want to blow a 4th level spell slot for Light​ when they can cast Empowered Fireball instead, even if the two spells are equally powerful on paper and similarly useful depending upon the circumstances.

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Light goes on a focus, just build it as an OIF (useful nearby focus) and now you don't have to worry about range or anything.  Its like giving someone your flashlight; they control the focus, they control the power.

While its true Light goes on any given object, and therefore it could technically be represented with a Focus of Opportunity. The Spell normally allows you to force objects to shine, including objects carried/owned/bought by your enemies, and that strikes me as being outside the bounds of what Foci of Opportunity were intended to be used for. Foci of Opportunity are generally intended to be Personal, because it typically represents an ability to use a mundane object in an unintended/impossible way. Besides that, aren't there clarifications in the 6th edition core rulebooks specifically discouraging the use of the Universal Foci rules to gain the benefits of Usable By Others (and by proxy Usable As Attack) without paying for it on powers intended to be used on others?

 

CC/FHC doesn't actually say anything of the sort... but I know I've read such somewhere. Regardless it seems a highly abusive to expect to gain the benefits of a +1 1/2 Advantage from taking a -1/2 limitation.

 

Also that brings up the point that my previous build can be used on People, not just objects. Since pretty much every enemy is going to have some object or another which can be targeted, Only On Objects is likely only a -1/2 Limitation. If you apply Only On Objects to Light​; change cost to 26 points, or 19 points with casting limitations.

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Killer Shrike's site is a wonderful trove of ideas and concepts. In the 5th edition era his site was an invaluable resource, but he sort of fell off the face of the earth after 6th edition came out. Most of the site was never updated to 6th edition, and being the rules lawyer that I am, I don't trust anyone's work without auditing carefully first... Hell, even I make mistakes and have to come back and correct them later.

 

I am of the opinion that a D&D-like Light​ Spell should be built more or less as follows:

LightImages to Sight Group (+4 PER), Area of Effect (4m Radius; +1/4), Half END (+1/4), Uncontrolled (+1/2), Usable As Attack (Recipient Can Go Anywhere; +1 1/2) (77 APs); No Range (-1/2), Only To Create Light (-1). Cost:  31 points.

Notes: Costs 3 END per Phase (paid upfront as per Uncontrolled). UAA makes this power No Range to Grant, but it takes No Range anyway because the target themselves shines, and it sticks to a moving target... because technically speaking, you're granting them the ability to produce light at No Range and then forcing them to use it. I've excluded common spellcasting limitations because those vary by campaign, and would muddy the up the build. However, Gestures (-1/4), Incantations (-1/4), and Restrainable (-1/2) would reduce the cost to 22 points.

 

Naturally, this is not the 15-30 APs most people expect of a Cantrip. Light​ is so expensive because Hero System makes you pay for what you actually get. I can't tell you the number of stories I've heard regarding all of the shenanigans players have pulled off with the Light ​spell. It is a truly valuable utility spell that mitigates one of the biggest obstacles in dungeon crawling, darkness (and the need to carry consumable, and often fragile light-sources).

In D&D this spell can be cheaper because the casting system doesn't rate spells just on how powerful they are, but also based on when the designers want players to gain access to them, and how often they want player to be able to cast them... Character's need access to Light right at the beginning of their careers, and they ​need to be able to cast it frequently. Therefore it was made a 0th level spell. Also, nobody is gonna want to blow a 4th level spell slot for Light​ when they can cast Empowered Fireball instead, even if the two spells are equally powerful on paper and similarly useful depending upon the circumstances.

 

I'm still attached to the Earth, via the bonds of gravity as well as a certain sentimental fondness for the planet where I still keep all my stuff. I just moved away from the Hero System after the last Here There Be Monsters campaign I ran (which is all 6th edition), and roleplaying in general. This is due mostly to changing life circumstances (kids, job, other hobbies, a sort of pervasive lack of available free time), as well as a shift in appreciation towards more narrative games. I also drifted away from posting on these forums as I was doing increasingly less Hero System related gaming but also because many of the people I enjoyed collaborating or trading posts with also drifted away, though some remain.

 

Also these forums have themselves experienced some vicissitudes over the years and there were times when I would have posted but the site was experiencing difficulties or I could no longer find some old post I wanted to reference and had no desire to rehash old ideas all over again without aid of just referring back to a thread that already covered the same ground. And of course, after the couple hundreth thread on how to model a vancian magic system or quibbling over how to do magic missile or light or whatever, my attention wanders. There is some kind of existential limit on how many times a person can cover the same intellectual ground and remain interested in it; some ideas in this domain have been so often re-tread over the years that I just no longer am inspired to spend energy or time on treading that same ground once more. Jadedness, ennui, operational fatigue, "been there, done that, figured it out, moved beyond it"; call it what you will...I just don't have anything new to say on the subject and don't care to keep repeating myself. 

 

I still love the Hero System in general, and I spent more years playing it than any other game system if measured pound for pound, ounce per ounce of games run and time spent...over two decades of time of actively using the rules for a wide variety of genres and campaigns and occasional one offs. 

 

As far as 6e vs 5e, the differences in the editions is not very large for the most part. In the large majority of cases taking a 5e effect and simply re-expressing it in 6e terms is simple, and in many cases results in a more or less identical write up. Occasionally there is a more effective 6e way to approach a problem, but the 5e way is still a viable one; after all the Hero System is the way of many ways to model the same idea. The situations where a 5e approach is no longer viable at all and an entirely new 6e way of approaching the problem is required are pretty seldom, but generally easy to navigate when encountered. Pretending that 5e material is irrelevant to the current mores of the system or of no value when looking for ideas that are re-usable or mine-able for a 6e game isn't really warranted, in my opinion. 

 

As to the content contributed by others, I don't generally editorialize that material unless invited to. The material presented is intended to be used or not as people see fit; though no one has ever accused me of having insufficient ego, I don't take the position that my material or opinions on how things might be done is more important than that of other Hero System aficionados. Rather I post people's material when asked to as a service to the community. I wouldn't post contributions that I were offended by, or were disinterested in, or that were of low overall quality, or if it would just take me too much time to get it into a format friendly to the site (such as content in the form of word docs). Otherwise if someone has a body of work they want to share and they want to use my site as the platform from which to do it, and it doesn't take more time than I have to give to it, I post it for them.

 

If you or others disagree with a given contributor's material, you are welcome to take it up with them; if they take your feedback to heart and submitted altered versions of their material I would do my best to get their contributions updated and pushed out to the site in a timely fashion. 

 

As to eepjr24 specifically, he did a lot of work for the betterment of the site by going through the thousands of hero game effects that were corrupted when my site got hacked by a malicious injection attack some years ago that forced me to purge all of the effect names and notes. This took weeks of labor on his part, and was an amazingly generous thing for him to spend his time on. I did mildly edit some of his material such as his Soldier package to provide an example of a different way to lay out abilities and to offer more configurable options to allow broader re-use, and the magic system write up of his Warlock system (embedded in the package) to tune it up a bit, but by and large I posted it exactly as he submitted it without editorial interference. In all our dealings, eepjr24 struck me as a very reasonable and well-meaning person eager to use the Hero System and still in the honeymoon phase of his enjoyment with the game. Perhaps if you sought him out with constructive criticism, a useful collaboration or positive feedback loop could be established between you, and it is not inconceivable that he might submit updates or new content more to your liking. 

 

 

 

You are also welcome to provide me with your own versions of things that you feel are more correct or relevant and if we come to an accord I will add your stuff to the site as time allows. ;)

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