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Limitations 2: The singling.


Christougher
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Inspired by my initial thought of what RDU Neil's thread was about and something that was touched on by several in that thread.

 

Stacking limitations has its issues - too much bang for the buck, it it really worth that much, clutter on the sheet, etc.  I'd like to open this discussion in a different vein than the previous one and not muddy those waters.

 

I'm not suggesting reducing limitations to one; the book's limitations are fine, but you're only allowed to use (or get points from) one limitation per power.

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If you only get points from one limitation, then why would people take more then one limitation on a power? 

They would just take one limitation and call it a day. 

 

And if you do that, would you also want it to be that you only pay for one advantage on a power, even if it has multiple advantages on it?

 

Either way, I think this road leads to point creep in practice. 500 point start "Standard" superheroes, rather then the current 400 point, or the like. 

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6 hours ago, Christougher said:

Inspired by my initial thought of what RDU Neil's thread was about and something that was touched on by several in that thread.

 

Stacking limitations has its issues - too much bang for the buck, it it really worth that much, clutter on the sheet, etc.  I'd like to open this discussion in a different vein than the previous one and not muddy those waters.

 

I'm not suggesting reducing limitations to one; the book's limitations are fine, but you're only allowed to use (or get points from) one limitation per power.

 

I hope you're kidding.

 

Lucius Alexander

 

That's like saying I only get one palindromedary per tagline.

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A bog standard pistol is an RKA with OAF and Beam...bullets can't spread, and can't be bounced.

 

I get the idea you're after but this isn't the approach.  I'd argue for much stricter GM validation should Limitation Abuse be suspected.  ESPECIALLY in frameworks where the limitation may mean almost nothing.

 

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, unclevlad said:

A bog standard pistol is an RKA with OAF and Beam...bullets can't spread, and can't be bounced.

 

I get the idea you're after but this isn't the approach.  I'd argue for much stricter GM validation should Limitation Abuse be suspected.  ESPECIALLY in frameworks where the limitation may mean almost nothing.

 

 

If the Limitations mean almost nothing, why would stricter validation be appropriate?

 

Lucius Alexander

 

Can you validate my palindromedary parking ticket?

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9 hours ago, unclevlad said:

Sorry, when I think of  *GM* validation, it's approval, and/or discussion/adjustment.  Just because the rules might say it's technically allowed, doesn't mean the GM has to.  The rules are not, and must not be considered, perfect or without holes/flaws.

 

I'm sorry. I still don't get it.

 

Lucius Alexander

 

The palindromedary says it's still early....

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20 hours ago, Christougher said:

Inspired by my initial thought of what RDU Neil's thread was about and something that was touched on by several in that thread.

 

Stacking limitations has its issues - too much bang for the buck, it it really worth that much, clutter on the sheet, etc.  I'd like to open this discussion in a different vein than the previous one and not muddy those waters.

 

I'm not suggesting reducing limitations to one; the book's limitations are fine, but you're only allowed to use (or get points from) one limitation per power.

 

I was thinking about something similar, in that "only the largest Limitation counts"... in that an OAF, Charges, Beam attack... well, all that fall into the -1 for OAF, since the other limitations are of lesser value. It has its own problems.

 

What you are recommending it something closer to what Ron is talking about in Champions Now as well... essentially "pick the limitation that really reflects how this power plays out, and that you want to actually come up in play.

 

The big difference in thought process around limitation is "1. They are rules used to simulate some real world/pre-determined manifestation." vs. "2. They are story elements used to invite drama into the narrative."  The first one has the downstream effect of trying micro-deconstruct every aspect of a power/ability, either toward obsessive but abstract simulationist puritanism, and/or limitation stacking for point savings.  The second one has the downstream effect of removing a lot of detail and crunch that certain people like, and can, when done well, add variation and significance to play.

 

I used to argue that Hero was two games. The Character Creation game... usually a mental game of creative "what if" to plumb what "technically" could be done with the rules, in a vacuum.  Then there is the "Actual Play" Game at the table, with dice rolled and stories told... and that they are different games, often at odds with each other. Ron specifically states in Champs Now that the first game should not exist, it is not the point, keep PCs simple and get to the table and start rolling dice. Let them develop "in play."

 

There are some fundamental "philosophy of gaming" issues going on here, which makes these questions difficult to answer.

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It seems to me that what this and other threads are heading towards is list of prepackaged powers that you choose from with minimal to no modification.  If that is what you want there are a lot of game systems that do that.  The big draw to the hero system is to be able to build anything you want.  These proposals seem to limit this.

 

The hero system gives us a basic framework to work with.  Without that framework each GM will have to do all the work themselves.  As a GM if I see a character has an OAF and 6 charges on a RKA I don’t have to worry that much and checking the math is easily done.  That gun should also cost less than one with 16 charges. 

 

As to the being too much bang for the buck there is a point of diminishing returns with the current system. Past a certain point you have to significantly increase the value of the limitation for it to be worthwhile. A -1 limitation on a power cuts the cost by 50%, but a -2 only gives you an additional 17% reduction.  Adding an additional -1 limitation cuts the cost by an additional 8%, and going to a -4 limitation reduces the cost by another 2%.  Beyond this you gain almost nothing for each additional limitation.   

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Side Note

Building a character to concept may end up with several flavor limitations that on their own don't warrant a -1/4 limitation. However, if they were combined together they might be worth that -1/4 limitation.

 

Hero currently tends to favor the all or nothing approach. Perhaps some sort of paragraph explaining that the GM is encouraged to group flavor limitations to grant a -1/4 which might then encourage the player to flavor their character even more.

 

I think we need the existing method that exists to give that consistency and guide to what various powers/advantages/limitations are worth vs one another.

But there should be freedom to combine or change those values as needed for the specific campaign.

And there are even examples of this in some GM tips stating that some genre/setting limitations may be worth more or less depending on the campaign.

Power limited Only in Darkness may be worth -3/4 in standard campaigns, but might be worth only -1/4 in a "Mole People" campaign which is an underground civilization.

 

The GM needs to decide this as it stands so perhaps more guidelines on how to do this effectively may be worthwhile.

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I think there has always been malleability in the rules in that they say a limitation that does not limit is worth no points, regardless of what the book says.

 

If you accept that the GM can reduce or increase the value of a particular limitation then it is actually a pretty small step from where we are to a single limitation adjudicated by the GM (with reference to the guidance) as to its value.  

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Doc, I would say that this feeds the debate.  Some see "this is pretty similar to how we do things now, so why not just make the change?".  Others see "this is pretty similar to the way we do things now, so why change the wording to get no real change to the game?"

 

I also question why this would only apply to limitations.  We expect cost of abilities to be adjudicated (6e finally came out and said "if it doesn't give the character an in-game advantage, it's nor worth any points").  Complications could be reduced to "you have to write up a background that has enough story hooks to satisfy the GM".  Really, why should Hunteds and DNPCs cost points - will there be no adversaries or bystanders if no one takes these complications?

 

Do we see some issues now with limitation stacking?  Sure.  Is the solution to negotiate the value of every aspect of the power that could prove limiting in play en masse, rather than one limitation at a time?  I'm not sure that fixes anything,

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This proposal feels like a solution in search of a problem.  I say that because given the presence of a GM who has final adjudication rights regarding his/her game, there just isn't a problem to be solved.  Now if we lacked GMs, then we'd be missing a solution to a number of imperfections in the game system, but as it stands, today, the GM -is- the solution to certain issues.

 

Because it's not broken, I don't think there's anything to fix/address on this front...

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5 minutes ago, Surrealone said:

This proposal feels like a solution in search of a problem.  I say that because given the presence of a GM who has final adjudication rights regarding his/her game, there just isn't a problem to be solved.  Now if we lacked GMs, then we'd be missing a solution to a number of imperfections in the game system, but as it stands, today, the GM -is- the solution to certain issues.

 

Because it's not broken, I don't think there's anything to fix/address on this front...

I don’t think that having just one limitation is the solution however there is a problem. Certain weapons (more so than straight up powers) seem to have a fairly long list of limitations to so that they are “realistic” and the point is, do we really need several small -1/4 limitations that never really come up versus one bigger limitation? Can we just get by with Real World limitation for a pistol instead of beam, doesn’t work under water, may not work if dirty (I swear that those are two different limitations), etc?  Seriously how many players would argue that their realistic gun should be able to fire in space because the GM/Book didn’t put on the limitation not in space? There should be a balance of granularity and not being completely anal about limitations. 

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10 minutes ago, Ninja-Bear said:

...there is a problem. Certain weapons (more so than straight up powers) seem to have a fairly long list of limitations to so that they are “realistic” and the point is, do we really need several small -1/4 limitations that never really come up versus one bigger limitation? Can we just get by with Real World limitation for a pistol instead of beam, doesn’t work under water, may not work if dirty (I swear that those are two different limitations), etc?  Seriously how many players would argue that their realistic gun should be able to fire in space because the GM/Book didn’t put on the limitation not in space? There should be a balance of granularity and not being completely anal about limitations. 

No, you can't really get by with just one limitation while maintaining the level of granularity Hero offers.  As an example of why, let's use your example.  Would your Real World limitation preclude a common firearm from firing in space?  If your answer is 'yes' then I have to call BS, because modern ammunition contains oxidizers that allow it to fire under water, in space, etc.  And there, sir, exists an example of the pitfalls of vague, non-granular limitations (i.e. one person thinks it means one thing, while a more or differently-informed person thinks it means another)...

 

Thus, if you want that 'Does Not Work In Space' limitation, you should receive it … and then we're back to the GM having to rule as to whether that's worth any points (since, you know, his game might not involve going into space).

 

Again, the GM is the existing solution to whether limitations are appropriate to the campaign setting … based on whether they will or won't come into play (and, if so, how often).  And there's nothing wrong with granular lists of advantages or limitations if they serve to define a power properly.  After all, the entire point of eliminating some powers (from previous versions ... like say, Force Wall) and then using advantages/limitations to achieve the same result with a more generic power (a la Barrier) … was to simplify the toolkit without any loss of granularity.  What you propose … is to chuck a large amount of granularity out the window.  A GM is certainly welcome to do that, but a lot of folks play this game precisely because it offers a level of granularity not seen in most RPGs.

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4 hours ago, Surrealone said:

Would your Real World limitation preclude a common firearm from firing in space?  If your answer is 'yes' then I have to call BS, because modern ammunition contains oxidizers that allow it to fire under water, in space, etc.  

 

You know, this sounds like the ammunition is a naked advantage, allowing a weapon that never used to be usable under water or in space to do so.  ?

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6 hours ago, Hugh Neilson said:

Do we see some issues now with limitation stacking?  Sure.  Is the solution to negotiate the value of every aspect of the power that could prove limiting in play en masse, rather than one limitation at a time?  I'm not sure that fixes anything,

 

I think that there is a lot of focus on “negotiating the value of every aspect” rather than running through a decent narrative description of the power and coming up with a value for it.

 

I think it would move players away from looking at what limitations they think they could live with to reduce the cost of their powers and onto a better visualisation of what the power actually is.  Ultimately I think it should make the game more accessible to folk who don’t want to be bothered with knowing each and every limitation and don’t want to attend the Goodman School of Effectiveness nor feel that they are paying more than their more point conscious fellows.  It would also probably improve the readability of character sheets.

 

doc

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3 hours ago, Doc Democracy said:

 

You know, this sounds like the ammunition is a naked advantage, allowing a weapon that never used to be usable under water or in space to do so.  ?

Incorrect.  Modern cartridges are made to fit specific caliber modern weapons … and will fire under water and in space.  That's just part of how they are.  Now if you produced some kind of self-contained cartridge for a muzzle loader (which normally doesn't take cartridges ... and will NOT normally fire under water or in space when loose powder, a bullet, and a primer are used) … THAT would be a naked advantage allowing a weapon that never used to fire under water or in space … to do so.

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6 hours ago, Surrealone said:

IncorrectModern cartridges are made to fit specific caliber modern weapons … and will fire under water and in space.  That's just part of how they are. 

 

Not incorrect, I said that "sounds" like a naked advantage because you said modern ammunition.

 

I'm British, we don't grow up immersed in gun tech or see adverts for this kind of stuff. I don't actually care to be honest.

 

In my games, I tend toward superheroes and away from detailed weaponry or martial arts styles. It is powers and heroic intent that wins the day....maybe that is why I am looking more favourably on this kind of idea. Focussing on detailed builds draws my prot-gods back into real-world mundanity.

 

Doc

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8 hours ago, Doc Democracy said:

In my games, I tend toward superheroes and away from detailed weaponry or martial arts styles. It is powers and heroic intent that wins the day....maybe that is why I am looking more favourably on this kind of idea. Focussing on detailed builds draws my prot-gods back into real-world mundanity.

I play both heroic and super-heroic games.  When gaming at the heroic level, equipment tends to matter and guns are quite lethal. However, even at the super-heroic level, it is largely the advantages and limitations that define a power. 

 

Let's boil it down to brass tacks.  If you do this for limitations then it should also be done for advantages -- because the same logic applies to both, and the approach should be consistent for both.  And since you're all about super-heroic play, just try making a Mental Entangle in 6e without a list of advantages/limitations if you have any doubts on this topic.  And note: that's just to make the basic Mental Entangle -- onto which someone then might need to lump additional advantages (IPE, for example) and limitations (charges, only works when X, etc.) to take that Mental Entangle and make it fit properly into the overall character concept. 

 

In fact, Mental Entangles are great examples of why having only 1 or 2 advantages/limitations (or even a blanket cap on max number or value of advantages/limitations) just doesn't make much sense to me : with only 1-2 of either, the Entangle power could no longer be properly defined into a Mental Entangle AND something with advantages/limitations that gel it into the character's concept...

 

P.S. Sure, I get that this topic started ONLY about limitations, but again, the logic applied to dumbing down limitation lists also applies to advantage lists, and I firmly believe that if you run with dumbing things down, you need to do it to not only what affects the divisor of a power's costs, but to that which affects the multiplier of a power's costs, too -- just to be consistent in how you dumb down the math. 

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On ‎9‎/‎17‎/‎2018 at 8:51 AM, RDU Neil said:

 

 

I used to argue that Hero was two games. The Character Creation game... usually a mental game of creative "what if" to plumb what "technically" could be done with the rules, in a vacuum.  Then there is the "Actual Play" Game at the table, with dice rolled and stories told... and that they are different games, often at odds with each other. Ron specifically states in Champs Now that the first game should not exist, it is not the point, keep PCs simple and get to the table and start rolling dice. Let them develop "in play."

 

 

Ron is mistaken.

 

Lucius Alexander

 

The palindromedary also says it's a mistake to think characters can be created in a vacuum.

 

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I would say, rather, that the game Ron wishes to play has a different design and focus than Hero.  A game where we keep the PCs simple and just get to the table could be a good game.  A game with both a character creation and an at the table component can also be a good game.

 

Seems like D&D in its earliest incarnation had a "get to the table and play" focus.  Roll dice for stats, pick a race and a class (there's the extent of your customization), pick a name (optional:  he may not live long enough for it to matter) and start slinging dice.

 

As that game evolved, more customization (and more "character creation game") grew into it.  It does not seem like there is a hearty appetite for games that go back to that level of character uniformity in the interests of character simplicity, but maybe I just don't notice those games because I like the greater customization options.  Hero chose, long ago, to be the system where you can "design any character you can imagine", which means customization options.

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