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Inherent Discussion: How do you interpret it?

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Aren't Superman's powers drained by Kryptonite?  Can't your ability to breathe be taken away, for example if you are in a vacuum, or get punched in the solar plexus?  Can't your sight be taken away with a blindfold or smoke?  Is a strength-reducing drug cocktail going to work on someone whose strength works by touch telekinesis?

 

Yeah, like everything else in the Hero toolkit, adjustment powers are just a mechanic to represent various effects in the game world.  Drain doesn't mean leaking off power somehow, it means reducing the power temporarily through some means.  Poison, Weakonite, magical spell, the touch of the dread Fplhoog monster, whatever.  That doesn't make superpowers a commodity or fluid some taps into.

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On ‎3‎/‎11‎/‎2018 at 4:30 AM, Sean Waters said:

 

Aren't Superman's powers drained by Kryptonite?  Can't your ability to breathe be taken away, for example if you are in a vacuum, or get punched in the solar plexus?  Can't your sight be taken away with a blindfold or smoke?  Is a strength-reducing drug cocktail going to work on someone whose strength works by touch telekinesis?

 

So, in this one game I ran superpowers were an interaction between your genetic code and your ability to draw zero point energy from the Universal Matrix (the structure underlying all reality).  Thousands of years ago our planet was dosed with a virus that removed the cell bodies that could channel the zero point energy and replaced them with Mitochondria – sufficient to power the processes of life but not enough to manifest powers by gene interaction.

 

Recently the virtochondria have been reintroduced to some individuals, allowing them to manifest powers.  Their powers can be weakened by anything capable of disrupting their link between the Universal Matrix and their genetic code (or boosted by anything strengthening that link - do not forget an inherent power can not be Aided either).

 

I’ve long argued that all Adjustment powers should be required to have a well defined SFX that explains how they work.

 

You could build a Friction Field that logically reduces all movement, but if another character’s powers are based on negating friction they might be unaffected.

 

You would certainly get a cost break for this, but the point is it would be mandatory to have.

 

I actually think you and Sinanju are on the same page here, though I may be wrong. What feels "wrong" about adjustment powers comes from the divorcing of SFX from the mechanical power. When a "Drain Flight" works equally well vs. wings, tk thrust, boot-jets, and riding cosmic essence... that just feels completely wrong. The "power suppressing ray" or "power scanner" that somehow targets... well... what does it target?  That kind of thing makes no sense and really break verisimilitude.

 

Your point on needing well defined SFX is important, as it makes or breaks the use of adjustment powers. An "MGH steroid boost" to STR should not have any affect on Wonder Man, whose body is composed of Ionic Energy (to use a Marvel example)... but this requires a lot of prep on the GMs part to define which SFX work in their game.


I had a very similar McGuffin for powers in my game. It was called crystal-tech or crystech in its macro form, a kind of morphic crystalline structure that reacted to conscious thought, becoming a variety of different powers/power source. Originally was the justification for super-tech that defied physics/couldn't be easily reproduced, but over time, was discovered to be a manifestation of any underlying structure of the universe, more concentrated in some areas/planets than others, but existed at the molecular genetic level and was the source of all physics defying powers. (It was a manifestation of fifth dimensional energy, which was eventually discovered to be the source code of the universe, so manifesting powers was how a limited, three-dimensional being "hacked" the universe.) This kind of "universal SFX" in a way would justify a "drain" of kind, even though they were rare, and never universal or easy to come by, in my game.

 

It just needs to be recognized that sometimes the SFX separation from mechanics really undermines the rule and play levels of Hero games. 

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Our group doesn't use inherent.  It's just a GM ruling on whether a Drain makes sense vs that particular power.

 

Sean's example of Robot Dog is a great one.  Robot Dog doesn't have lungs, it never did.  It doesn't need to breathe.  It doesn't really make sense (in most circumstances) for a Drain vs Life Support to make the robot need oxygen.  Its default state should be not needing to breathe.  Same thing with Extra Limbs.  An alien lizard man with a prehensile tail shouldn't normally lose the limb when you Drain it.

 

Of course, this is countered by the fact that there are a million ways to skin a cat in Hero.  This is good because cats suck.  But it causes problems because somebody could take a power called "remove tail" that is defined as Drain vs Extra Limb, tails only.  That's perfectly legal, and logically it should apply to the alien lizard man.  But now he's gone and bought it inherent, so your power doesn't work even though it should.

 

--

 

To me, Inherent shouldn't be an advantage that players purchase.  It should be a case by case ruling by the GM, given the assumptions of the game.

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For some of the more common special effects, the GM should generally come up with what is going to be allowed in the game.

 

If you've got Superman, you should probably know how Kryptonite works in your game.  Now, there are a lot of ways to built a Superman character.  You could slap a -1/2 limitation on all his powers "not in presence of kryptonite".  And then kryptonite can be really common because it becomes an environmental effect.  Or maybe "kryptonite" is just the justification for someone taking a Drain with a +2 advantage "vs all stats and powers with a kryptonian special effect".  Then Superman doesn't need a limitation or a susceptibility at all.

 

Poisons?  Are poisons an NND Killing Attack?  Are poisons a Drain?  Are they a Transform?  It's really up to the players and the GM to hash out a way for them to be built for that specific campaign.  So to buy "immunity to poison", you've got Life Support, Power Defense, and potentially a lot of other weird methods.  You don't really know how somebody might build their "poison attack".  What if Bob just buys a 4D6 HKA with the special effect of "poisoned blade"?

 

Inherent is the same type thing.  It doesn't really make sense for Angel Guy's wings to disappear when he gets hit with Drain Flight, except of course that that very thing happens in comic books all the time.  Decide what you want to see in your game and go from there.  But that's why I wouldn't make people purchase Inherent.  The Hero System is almost infinitely flexible, and you can do anything with it.  But that doesn't mean you should be allowed to do anything in any given campaign.

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Here’s my question. When Drain and inherent comes up with wings and extra limbs, why is the assumption that those being drained disappear? (I haven’t come up with a really good or even some what good sfx for what happens to drain extra limb. Not like Drain flight is gravity pull and you aren’t losing your wings.)

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On 3/12/2018 at 7:29 AM, RDU Neil said:

 

I actually think you and Sinanju are on the same page here, though I may be wrong. What feels "wrong" about adjustment powers comes from the divorcing of SFX from the mechanical power. When a "Drain Flight" works equally well vs. wings, tk thrust, boot-jets, and riding cosmic essence... that just feels completely wrong. The "power suppressing ray" or "power scanner" that somehow targets... well... what does it target?  That kind of thing makes no sense and really break verisimilitude.

 

Your point on needing well defined SFX is important, as it makes or breaks the use of adjustment powers. An "MGH steroid boost" to STR should not have any affect on Wonder Man, whose body is composed of Ionic Energy (to use a Marvel example)... but this requires a lot of prep on the GMs part to define which SFX work in their game.


I had a very similar McGuffin for powers in my game. It was called crystal-tech or crystech in its macro form, a kind of morphic crystalline structure that reacted to conscious thought, becoming a variety of different powers/power source. Originally was the justification for super-tech that defied physics/couldn't be easily reproduced, but over time, was discovered to be a manifestation of any underlying structure of the universe, more concentrated in some areas/planets than others, but existed at the molecular genetic level and was the source of all physics defying powers. (It was a manifestation of fifth dimensional energy, which was eventually discovered to be the source code of the universe, so manifesting powers was how a limited, three-dimensional being "hacked" the universe.) This kind of "universal SFX" in a way would justify a "drain" of kind, even though they were rare, and never universal or easy to come by, in my game.

 

It just needs to be recognized that sometimes the SFX separation from mechanics really undermines the rule and play levels of Hero games. 

 

No, I think you're right. I hate the *generic* power-draining gag. Your example is exactly right: The "drain flight" power or "power suppressing ray" rubs me the wrong way. A *specific* SFX affected specific (SFX-related) powers is another matter. If you have Mighty TK (tm) and you can just reach out and grab someone in flight and hold them in place, or keep them grounded, I've got no problem with that. You're physically restraining them from moving, regardless of their means of flight. If you can point a raygun/wand/your finger at anyone with flight powers (of any kind) and turn that power off for 20 minutes...I have a serious problem with THAT.

 

But I'm more exercised over the common trope of someone's powers not just being suppressed, but STOLEN. Not only do I not have them anymore, now YOU have them. It's absurd. It's like all the nonsense on the Flash tv show about stealing someone's speed. How do you do that, exactly? Well, apparently, it's possible because the Speed Force (tm) comes from a giant invisible cable. You just unplug it from Barry and plug it into yourself! Or something.

 

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On ‎3‎/‎12‎/‎2018 at 1:39 PM, Ninja-Bear said:

Here’s my question. When Drain and inherent comes up with wings and extra limbs, why is the assumption that those being drained disappear? (I haven’t come up with a really good or even some what good sfx for what happens to drain extra limb. Not like Drain flight is gravity pull and you aren’t losing your wings.)

Probably because of the Leech/Beast example I used from the X-Men movies setting precedent for that sort of SFX for the Drain?

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53 minutes ago, sinanju said:

But I'm more exercised over the common trope of someone's powers not just being suppressed, but STOLEN. Not only do I not have them anymore, now YOU have them. It's absurd. It's like all the nonsense on the Flash tv show about stealing someone's speed. How do you do that, exactly? Well, apparently, it's possible because the Speed Force (tm) comes from a giant invisible cable. You just unplug it from Barry and plug it into yourself! Or something.

 

 

Yeah... there are a lot of tropes from classic Silver Age (and some Bronze) that weren't really logically thought through. Pretty simplistic, "What if Batman had Superman's powers????" kind of thing... dramatic cover, silly story, sells issues... and the concept sticks for years, until the overall readership stops buying into it, etc.

 

Now the Speed Force, when it was introduced, Post Crisis, when Wally took over from dead Barry, it was one of those first attempts to say, "How exactly does he move so fast without... burning up his clothes, himself, etc, or experiencing massive wind resistance, or killing anyone he happens to be carrying at those speeds, etc." Whether you buy into that concept or not, that is the personal audience/reader choice, but it does establish a clear "external" power source where simply being physically faster than other humans just couldn't explain the near-cosmic levels of speed. You actually CAN unplug a DC speedster from their power source... so it is at least internally consistent, whether or not you buy it as a viewer.

 

But ultimately... adjustment powers being mechanical instead of SFX based is, I think, the crux of the issue, and why inherent is probably, as Sean noted, not really necessary or appropriate for Hero. Instead, the weight is on the GM to make internally consistent SFX decisions about what works, and when. Like, if in a GM's world, all psionics works in the same way, and it is known that a particular subsonic tone disrupts a crucial function of a mentalist's brain and suppresses the power... then I'd buy it that rooms in the criminal justice system could be built with such audio devices, etc. But again, it requires thought and consistency in GM judgement to make it work, not just a simple game mechanic.

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On 12/03/2018 at 4:23 PM, massey said:

....

 

Of course, this is countered by the fact that there are a million ways to skin a cat in Hero.  This is good because cats suck.  But it causes problems because somebody could take a power called "remove tail" that is defined as Drain vs Extra Limb, tails only.  That's perfectly legal, and logically it should apply to the alien lizard man.  But now he's gone and bought it inherent, so your power doesn't work even though it should.

 

....

 

 

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6 hours ago, sinanju said:

 

No, I think you're right. I hate the *generic* power-draining gag. Your example is exactly right: The "drain flight" power or "power suppressing ray" rubs me the wrong way. A *specific* SFX affected specific (SFX-related) powers is another matter. If you have Mighty TK (tm) and you can just reach out and grab someone in flight and hold them in place, or keep them grounded, I've got no problem with that. You're physically restraining them from moving, regardless of their means of flight. If you can point a raygun/wand/your finger at anyone with flight powers (of any kind) and turn that power off for 20 minutes...I have a serious problem with THAT.

 

But I'm more exercised over the common trope of someone's powers not just being suppressed, but STOLEN. Not only do I not have them anymore, now YOU have them. It's absurd. It's like all the nonsense on the Flash tv show about stealing someone's speed. How do you do that, exactly? Well, apparently, it's possible because the Speed Force (tm) comes from a giant invisible cable. You just unplug it from Barry and plug it into yourself! Or something.

 

 

I agree entirely but would argue that we need to be able to represent that mechanically rather than relying on individual DM interpretation, otherwise certain SFX are 'inherently' more powerful than others without there being cost consequences.  We all seem to agree that there needs to be a logical connection between the SFX and how the power works mechanically and vice versa.

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6 hours ago, Sean Waters said:

 

I agree entirely but would argue that we need to be able to represent that mechanically rather than relying on individual DM interpretation, otherwise certain SFX are 'inherently' more powerful than others without there being cost consequences.  We all seem to agree that there needs to be a logical connection between the SFX and how the power works mechanically and vice versa.

 

I think this is a bigger convo than just inherent (and would love to have that conversation) but in this instance could you give an example of what you are talking about?

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On ‎3‎/‎9‎/‎2018 at 4:06 PM, Surrealone said:

 

 

I have an Invulnerability-themed mutant brick who has 30pts of Power Defense (defined as Immutability) bought within his Unified Power (mutant powers) set ... which is 'inherent', 'hardened', and 'impenetrable' ...

This fine with one exception.  Inherent advantages and unified power limitation should be mutually exclusive.  If your power is inherent and cannot be drained then it won't drain when other powers are drained.

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8 hours ago, indy523 said:

This fine with one exception.  Inherent advantages and unified power limitation should be mutually exclusive.  If your power is inherent and cannot be drained then it won't drain when other powers are drained.

 

Inherent means it can't, itself, be drained. Unified means it goes down when another grouped power is drained.

 

So Inherent + Unified means the only way to drain it, is to drain something grouped with it, THEN it is reduced at the same time.

 

Lucius Alexander

 

The palindromedary watches with interest...

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2 hours ago, Lucius said:

 

Inherent means it can't, itself, be drained. Unified means it goes down when another grouped power is drained.

 

So Inherent + Unified means the only way to drain it, is to drain something grouped with it, THEN it is reduced at the same time.

 

Lucius Alexander

 

The palindromedary watches with interest...

 

1 hour ago, Christopher R Taylor said:

I would personally disallow a power to be part of unified if its inherent, because it can't be drained by definition, so would not be negatively impacted by the unified limitation.

 

You are both approaching the same issue from different angles.  I would say ask the player how they envision this working.  I see four options (maybe there are more):

 

1.  I get a limitation that changes nothing in-game - clearly  no limitation

 

2.   Any adjustment targeting the other powers drains this one too, but targeting this one has no effect at all.

 

3.   Any adjustment targeting this power still adjusts all of the other unified powers, but not this one.

 

.4.  It works normally - remove "inherent" advantage

 

Point value for 2 and 3 need to be assessed.  #2 could be a limitation only on the cost of Inherent as it does not affect anything else.

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2 minutes ago, Hugh Neilson said:

 

 

 

3.   Any adjustment targeting this power still adjusts all of the other unified powers, but not this one.

 

I didn't think of that!

 

Lucius Alexander

 

The palindromedary says I need to adjust my thinking

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5 hours ago, Lucius said:

 

Inherent means it can't, itself, be drained. Unified means it goes down when another grouped power is drained.

 

So Inherent + Unified means the only way to drain it, is to drain something grouped with it, THEN it is reduced at the same time.

 

Lucius Alexander

 

The palindromedary watches with interest...

 

While as a GM you have the right to rule that way and perhaps that is correct, I am not sure.

 

What I suggest to you is that no player would ever buy the inherent advantage in that fashion because it would be a waster of 25% of the base cost in points.  If the power can be drained by affecting other powers then the advantage has no real benefit.

 

Personally I would not allow this for the same reason other advantages and limitations that are at odds are not allowed.  IF you have Life Support Do Not Need to Breathe you are barred from having the complication 2x damage from suffocation.  By clever manipulation of limitations and advantages a savvy player could probably find a way to avoid the UP limitation by that.  But that's just me.

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2 hours ago, indy523 said:

 

While as a GM you have the right to rule that way and perhaps that is correct, I am not sure.

 

What I suggest to you is that no player would ever buy the inherent advantage in that fashion because it would be a waster of 25% of the base cost in points.  If the power can be drained by affecting other powers then the advantage has no real benefit.

 

Personally I would not allow this for the same reason other advantages and limitations that are at odds are not allowed.  IF you have Life Support Do Not Need to Breathe you are barred from having the complication 2x damage from suffocation.  By clever manipulation of limitations and advantages a savvy player could probably find a way to avoid the UP limitation by that.  But that's just me.

Perhaps Inherent + Unified together become something different. Unified as a limitation must have some affect or would not be allowed (unless as a +0 limitation). Inherent as an advantage must have some affect or would not be allowed (unless as a +0 advantage). Applying Unified to a power eliminates advantages from Inherent, and applying Inherent to a power eliminates disadvantages from Unified; the two modifiers applied together wouldn't change the cost of the power they were applied to, but could define the nature of that power's relationship to other powers in the build.
An alien birdman might apply both modifiers (as +0 advantage/limitation) to Extra Limbs (Wings), and then apply Unified to the flight, HA (wing buffet), EB (wind burst), and resistant protection (wing shield). If some adjustment power with appopriate SFX were to target one of the unified powers, it would affect all of the unified powers with the exception of the Extra Limbs, because the wings are inherent and won't shrink away and vanish.
An winged mutant might have an almost identical build, but leave inherent off the Extra Limbs (Wings). If some adjustment power with appopriate SFX were to target one of the unified powers, it would affect all of the unified powers and the wings would shrivel up and go away.
The alien birdman would be more expensive build than the mutant (by a few points). The two character's differing reactions to the adjustment powers would be logical, and inherent would make sense as the difference between the two.

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Why do the wings have to shrivel up and go away?  The Drain could simply make them so weak they cannot be used for any purpose, or remove their connection to the brain, so they cannot be directed and hang limp.  They are still there, but the power is Drained.

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22 minutes ago, Hugh Neilson said:

Why do the wings have to shrivel up and go away?  The Drain could simply make them so weak they cannot be used for any purpose, or remove their connection to the brain, so they cannot be directed and hang limp.  They are still there, but the power is Drained.

No reason, I just like the visual.

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Actually, this is an issue with Unified Power.

 

Which is more limiting:

 

(a) eight powers which are all drained whenever any one is?

(b) two sets of four powers, with each group drained whenever any power in that group is, but not when powers in the other group are?

(c) four sets of two powers each, with each power drained whenever its paired power is, but not when powers in the other pairs are?

 

The likelihood of any individual power being drained rises the more powers are Unified, yet the limitation does not. 

 

As I noted, point values for options 2 and 3 would need to be assessed.  Maybe the limitation should be on the other powers (for being drained whenever the Inherent power would be drained).

 

Or maybe the player should just take a Complication - "Susceptibility:  These Powers subject to negative Adjustment when a negative Adjustment targets the inherent power"

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2 hours ago, Hugh Neilson said:

Actually, this is an issue with Unified Power.

 

Which is more limiting:

 

(a) eight powers which are all drained whenever any one is?

(b) two sets of four powers, with each group drained whenever any power in that group is, but not when powers in the other group are?

(c) four sets of two powers each, with each power drained whenever its paired power is, but not when powers in the other pairs are?

 

The likelihood of any individual power being drained rises the more powers are Unified, yet the limitation does not. 

 

As I noted, point values for options 2 and 3 would need to be assessed.  Maybe the limitation should be on the other powers (for being drained whenever the Inherent power would be drained).

 

Or maybe the player should just take a Complication - "Susceptibility:  These Powers subject to negative Adjustment when a negative Adjustment targets the inherent power"

 

Assuming that the points are set up appropriately (i.e. divisible by 4), the net effect should be the same among all three options over time.  If you're talking about a single attack, you'd get a progressively greater effect but less chance that the particular power you wanted to reduce was affected for the last two options.

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