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MechaniCat

Maxima and Other Things

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I was wondering if anyone had any experience or advice on how to balance uneven Maxima with other things. Like for example what if I wanted to make two race packages be similarly powerful, and want to do this by giving a generous maxima to one (say, a high threshold for strength) and an ability to another (say, some amount of Shapeshift).

Does anyone have any useful guidelines to follow for that? Like maybe a converted cost for a race package having a higher maxima then other races, that I could then compare to the cost of a static ability?

 

For context I should probably discuss one of the more extreme cases of this that I want to do. So I'm creating a bunch of Race Packages for a setting I'm developing, and one of things I want to do is have one race with a maxima and characteristic cap for Body that is significantly higher than the other races due to the fact that the race cannot use normal defenses (this races cannot take resistant defense like everyone else, and has a lower DCV Cap) In practice I'd like this to amount mostly to flavor, with this race being able to tank attacks just like the other races but in a different way. (as an aside they would also have a healing acceleration of some kind so they heal all that BODY at the same rate as other races do)

 

I can always just use my best judgement, but whenever possible I like to take advantage of other peoples experience. That's part of Hero System's appeal to me, is the access to the knowledge and experience that led to the conclusion that a given ability should cost X amount of points (and why sometimes it shouldn't). It's kind of a shame to me that (the 6e source book) doesn't seem to have guidance for the sort of thing I want to do.

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It's going to be pretty tricky to balance mathematically.  You're going to have to trust your gut to a large degree because only you will have the level of campaign-specific knowledge to decide that.

 

Example:  Which stat is more important STR, DEX or INT.

 

STR:  Really depends on how often strength-based weapons are used and heavy objects are encountered.  If there are a host of monsters with str-based entangles then the value goes up.  If everyone is using magic wands and laser rifles it goes down.

DEX:  How important is it to go first to win the fights?  Is the most important aspect of combat offense, defense or resource management?

INT:   Are the most powerful players wizards?  Are there INT based devices and challenges that come up frequently?

 

I am interested to watch this thread though.  :)

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One way would be to say "Racial Templates (6E1 37) affect the Normal Characteristics Maxima".

Mind you, those are not entirely usefull things. Stuff like " -2 Dwarven legs: Running -2m" would be a negative modifier on NCM.

I honestly already asumed it would work that way, but I can not find a reference for it right now.

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If I understand the question correctly I think the system already balances packages by virtue of assigning them a cost.  HERO costs are already balanced around combat, that's why things like LS: Immortality is so cheap compared to a 12d6 Blast.

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Maxima are tough to deal with.  Applying a point cost to increase maxima can mean that a character has to pay points for increased but unused potential.  At one point in the game's history, characters would pay points equal to the cost of the Characteristic to increase the Characteristic Maximum for that stat.  So, for example, the dwarf package had +3 STR Maximum for 3 points.  But if the dwarf character only went to, say, 18 STR, they were effectively paying 11 points for that 18 STR (8 for the STR, +3 for the increased but unused potential), where a human would be paying 8 for theirs.  And if the dwarf and the human both went to 23 STR, they'd both be paying 16 points.  (10 plus 2 times 3 for the human, 10 plus 3 (for the maxima increase) plus 3 (for the additional STR) for the dwarf.) 

 

Probably the best way to do it is to offset an increase in one maximum by an equivalent points' decrease in another.  For instance, give a race a STR max of 24 (+4 points worth) but DEX max of 18 (-4 points worth).  

 

Or just enforce concept, with or without the system-enforced maxima.  If elves are supposed to be more dexterous than humans, let them go to a 23 DEX while the humans are limited to 20.  If a human has a higher DEX than 20, he might also have a Reputation: Insanely fast, for a human.  They both might or might not pay double for their points above 20.  

 

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7 hours ago, Christopher said:

One way would be to say "Racial Templates (6E1 37) affect the Normal Characteristics Maxima".

Mind you, those are not entirely usefull things. Stuff like " -2 Dwarven legs: Running -2m" would be a negative modifier on NCM.

I honestly already asumed it would work that way, but I can not find a reference for it right now.

Ah, I found the rules. APG I 16 has this:
" Some campaigns, such as many Fantasy Hero
and Star Hero games, feature multiple sentient
species or races. Some GMs like to vary the Characteristic Maxima for different races. Tis allows
some races to buy Characteristics to a higher limit
without doubling the cost, or lowers the doubling
threshold to make it harder for some races to
increase their Characteristics. For example, maybe
dwarves can have CON up to 23 and elves can
have INT up to 23 before the doubling takes effect,
but elves can only have CON 16 before doubling
sets in.
Since there’s no guarantee how many points
each character will spend on each Characteristic,
there’s no way to create a uniformly balanced
method of applying this sort of change. Many
GMs try to “balance” the effect by imposing an
equal amount of “upgrades” and “downgrades”
to each race, or by applying downgrades in some
other proportion to upgrades. For example, if
elves can have up to INT 23 without doubling (a
possible savings of 3 points), then perhaps they
can only have STR 17 before doubling (a possible
extra cost of 3 points)

"

 

But basically it is what we discussed already.

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Interesting, I personally don't bother with hard Maxima in my games but I do impose a soft cap at the normal levels (ie: 20 for characteristics, 8 for PD/ED, etc).  I allow players to exceed Maxima based on race out of the gate and also over time as the game evolves without penalty so long as it conceptually makes sense.  I'm also super lazy when comes to things like prefabs and editing templates to have different Maxima although I have done it in the past.

 

I like the idea of characters being able to attain Legendary status given enough time and experience.  I'm not a low fantasy junkie by any stretch of the imagination though so YMMV ;)

 

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5 hours ago, Christopher said:

Ah, I found the rules. APG I 16 has this:

Since there’s no guarantee how many points
each character will spend on each Characteristic,
there’s no way to create a uniformly balanced
method of applying this sort of change. Many
GMs try to “balance” the effect by imposing an
equal amount of “upgrades” and “downgrades”
to each race, or by applying downgrades in some
other proportion to upgrades. For example, if
elves can have up to INT 23 without doubling (a
possible savings of 3 points), then perhaps they
can only have STR 17 before doubling (a possible
extra cost of 3 points)

 

 

This simply leads to players who want certain characters to pick certain races.  An Elven Wizard, who needs high INT, and does not use STR for much, would be advantageous.  This can encourage concept - if elves are naturally weaker than other races, but smarter and therefore better at magic and worse at mundane combat, would they not logically gravitate to magic?  Players would  be more likely to choose elves when they want a high INT, low STR character, thus ensuring that elves tend to be very intelligent and not very strong, as the campaign intends.

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This was the concept i was going for  for The Lupines project, though trying to use Hero designer has been ... difficult.  However as much as I want to create a 0 Point Package, it looks like it will cost some, because of all the enhanced senses, and extra ground movement at 1/5 end, even if they have a STR maxima of 15. (They tend to be light and weedy, but can take a punch). 

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On 1/17/2019 at 12:57 AM, Hugh Neilson said:

 

This simply leads to players who want certain characters to pick certain races.  An Elven Wizard, who needs high INT, and does not use STR for much, would be advantageous.  This can encourage concept - if elves are naturally weaker than other races, but smarter and therefore better at magic and worse at mundane combat, would they not logically gravitate to magic?  Players would  be more likely to choose elves when they want a high INT, low STR character, thus ensuring that elves tend to be very intelligent and not very strong, as the campaign intends.

That is a problem with changing the Caps - soft or hard -  regardless how you do it.

It does not mater if it is "Racial Templates affect NCM", Shadowruns Species/Stat table, Warhammer Fantasies Starting Stat Table or the +2/-2 Modifiers in D&D.

 

So tell that to Mechani Cat, it is his goal.

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Whether that is a flaw or a feature depends on the desired campaign structure.  If the goal is to have races which are differentiated by being inclined to different skills and professions, this is a benefit, not a problem, with the model.  PC Elves appear in the role the campaign intends that Elves in general occupy.

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4 hours ago, Scott Ruggels said:

What about reducing the defaults? Instead of tens across the board, the package starts with one or more stats at say, six, and then has an NCM at 16? Would that work? 

I do not see why you would do that? You can increase the Maxima without needing to change the starting value.

And changing the starting values only means you have to also make certain to balance those +/- calculations as well.

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More than I expected. O=

Let's get to it.

 

So it seems there's some confusion over what I'm asking about. I'll see if I can clarify a little. What I'm looking for is a way to compare Maxima to something with an assigned cost, such as a 2d6 KA which is 30pts, if I remember correctly. Having a +10 STR Maxima/Cap for a race Template has no assigned cost. It's ?pts vs 30pts. So other than feeling it out there's no foundation/guidelines to know if giving beastman 2d6 KA (for claws perhaps) is roughly equivalent to giving a dwarf +10 STR Maxima/Cap.

Moving maxima/caps around in equal measure is straightforward enough, but doesn't help if you want to balance a maxima change with something that isn't also maxima.

 

Chris Goodwin - So it sounds like how that old system worked, is that you'd be paying in advance for the maxima you would have paid for. i.e. pay for half of the extra three points now, and then pay for the other half when you actually "have" them. Which sounds terrible in most instances. but on the other hand if I take that idea of costing what you would have paid, and then compare it to something else you would have paid then it works out a lot better. If one race can get +10 STR (10 Maxima for 10pt), then one might argue that is equivalent to a race that can learn a 2d6 Blast for 10pts. Then both races have an equal "cost of potential". Mind you the assumption being made there is that only that race can learn that 2d6 Blast. Other races might be able to learn magic or the like, but that would involve hoops that the "Blast" race wouldn't need to jump through.

 This helps a fair bit actually. Though it doesn't help if I want a race to HAVE a thing and balance it with another race that CAN HAVE a thing.

 

I actually also like the idea of characters being able to obtain legendary status sentry0 and actually intend for the game to have a D&D style power curve over time (You starts as some punk killing goblins and if the gods smile upon you, you eventually become the mystical level 20, and start going toe to toe with said gods). This is part of how the example I first gave is meant to work. Most characters will eventually have massive rPD (like 20-30 maybe) that prevents all but the most powerful of blows because the normal cap for BODY is something like 30. They're surviving on that defense. But our "can't take Resistant Defense" fellow, has a different trick up his sleeve. Like the Undead, he just doesn't care about all those holes in him with his BODY of 150. Which is also means that the higher maxima/cap is guaranteed to be used, because the character wouldn't be able to function if it wasn't. (mind this isn't supposed to limit the race too terribly. Could be the Wizard just never misses a day at the gym.)

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Under the old rules most package deals also reduced the maximums on other stats.  Most of the times the net cost of the racial maximums were 0.   For example elves had reduced maximum on CON and BODY to pay for the cost of INT and EGO.  Also disadvantages from the package deals did not count towards your point cost they just reduced the cost of the package deal.  So most package deals cost around 5-8 points.  So if played a race that had a package deal cost of 5 points you still had another 145 points to spend.  The package deal may have given you 10-15 points of stuff, but that did not count towards your maximum.

 

Not saying it was a better way, just stating how it was. 

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6 hours ago, Christopher said:

I do not see why you would do that? You can increase the Maxima without needing to change the starting value.

And changing the starting values only means you have to also make certain to balance those +/- calculations as well.

 

Changing the Starting value, one again molds, or shapes the Race, to certain strengths or weaknesses, and yes, it may be cribbing points, but it keeps the costs near Zero.  One can make some fairly radical changes for certain conceptions, which I don't see a problem with.  Everything is a trade off.

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First of all: if you're talking about Normal Characteristic Maxima, that is, the idea of charging double cost for anything over a certain limit, this is simply a bad idea and should be abandoned, period. It's a flintmobile.

 

Just set hard caps and floors for Characteristics based on type, so you don't get a 30 STR Pixie or a STR 3 Ogre, and don't worry too much about "balancing" them. The Pixie has to pay for the Flight Power, but shouldn't have to pay extra for "access" to the Flight Power. If Human max DEX is 20 and Elf max dex is 23, and a Human and an Elf both have DEX 18, they should both pay the exact same points - because in point of fact they have the exact same DEX! Trying to impose costs for changed maxima will lead to violating one of the principles of Hero, that you get what you pay for and pay for what you get.

"

If you're still not convinced and still want to find some way to measure and assign points to "Potential" characteristics, I can only point you to the prior editions' use of the the Age Disadvantages. If you do the math, you can find out what each age category's total Maxima difference was, and divide that by the point value of the Disadvantage. I once did this and seem to recall that it consistently came to a 1 to 7 ratio.

 

Lucius Alexander

 

The palindromedary says seriously, though, you're better off ditching Normal Characteristic Maxima. Or you could get that 30 STR Pixie showing up, and it would be perfectly legal.

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19 hours ago, MechaniCat said:

So it seems there's some confusion over what I'm asking about. I'll see if I can clarify a little. What I'm looking for is a way to compare Maxima to something with an assigned cost, such as a 2d6 KA which is 30pts, if I remember correctly. Having a +10 STR Maxima/Cap for a race Template has no assigned cost. It's ?pts vs 30pts. So other than feeling it out there's no foundation/guidelines to know if giving beastman 2d6 KA (for claws perhaps) is roughly equivalent to giving a dwarf +10 STR Maxima/Cap.

Moving maxima/caps around in equal measure is straightforward enough, but doesn't help if you want to balance a maxima change with something that isn't also maxima.

I don't feel there's any fair way to price the NCM point, just because if the stat isn't above the normal NCM it becomes wasted "points".  Also everything Lucius said. 

 

If you're really intent on differentiating races by characteristics, why not give characteristic bonuses from race template that apply after NCM calculations?  So an elf has +5 DEX, and that gets added after the character pays points, including NCM points, for their other points of DEX. 

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22 hours ago, MechaniCat said:

So other than feeling it out there's no foundation/guidelines to know if giving beastman 2d6 KA (for claws perhaps) is roughly equivalent to giving a dwarf +10 STR Maxima/Cap.

2D6 KA is 6 DC or 30 AP. That is not even close to 10 STR. So I do not think I get what you are trying to do yet.

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On 1/19/2019 at 4:38 PM, Christopher said:

2D6 KA is 6 DC or 30 AP. That is not even close to 10 STR. So I do not think I get what you are trying to do yet.

I'm trying to nail down some guidelines or generalized rules to find out how comparable those things are (assume we're talking +10 to STR Maxima or STR Hard Cap).

I was just throwing some stuff out there, but you say those things aren't comparable? would that be because we're equating +10 STR Maxima to +10 STR?

That +10 STR Maxima is worth 10 AP and +10 STR is also 10 AP which is 20 AP less then 2d6 KA?

Just looking for your reasoning.

 

I could see an argument that +10 STR Maxima should be worth something like 8 points (10 STR, 10 AP; 1/4 Limitation: might not be used) or something like that.

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23 minutes ago, MechaniCat said:

I could see an argument that +10 STR Maxima should be worth something like 8 points (10 STR, 10 AP; 1/4 Limitation: might not be used) or something like that.

The problem I have is that the increased maxima is either always worth points (it gets used) or never worth points (it goes unused) for a given character.  This directly contradicts the idea of getting what you pay for. 

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58 minutes ago, Gnome BODY (important!) said:

The problem I have is that the increased maxima is either always worth points (it gets used) or never worth points (it goes unused) for a given character.  This directly contradicts the idea of getting what you pay for. 

 Which is why I like the old style package deals, where, you get a whole raft of items, all at a discount, because like the old days of buying albums, you got some stuff you didn't need, but on the whole, it was a good shortcut for a character build. 

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3 hours ago, Gnome BODY (important!) said:

The problem I have is that the increased maxima is either always worth points (it gets used) or never worth points (it goes unused) for a given character.  This directly contradicts the idea of getting what you pay for. 

And yet we ask the Elf to buy Longevity at the 4pt level. How often does that come up? Or +2 to Conealment for Halflings but you must buy full Concealment anyways to use it. (I have a fix for that.)

 

You get what you pay for us a good Principle however it  isn’t immutable.

 

Hopefully this doesn’t come out too harsh. Not my intention.

Edited by Ninja-Bear
Apologies

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14 hours ago, Ninja-Bear said:

And yet we ask the Elf to buy Longevity at the 4pt level. How often does that come up? Or +2 to Conealment for Halflings but you must buy full Concealment anyways to use it.

I disagree with both those, actually. 

Longevity should be free unless NND Longevity attacks are reasonably frequent (IE, going to come up).  Any benefits from living long, such as knowledge, should be bought normally with the "very old" SFX.  Even if NNDs are in the equation, 1 point is about all I'd support it costing. 

The +2 to Concealment should come with a mandatory purchase of Concealment so it actually works.  Or just be replaced with a mandatory purchase of Concealment. 

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