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Killer Shrike

HS 6e is mechanically the best version of the rules; dissenting views welcome

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8 minutes ago, Killer Shrike said:

I would not do that sort of public dressing down.

 

was not talking about a dressing down, was talking about getting all the characters together and do a comparison of the various markers.  I think it is obvious when one character is dominant.  My guys are excellent team players, if they see for themselves how the numbers are, they will adjust stuff themselves, it will be a learning exercise not a correctional one.

 

10 minutes ago, Killer Shrike said:

Well, the genre by genre summary in the core rules does make some suggestions

 

Not enough for a neophyte GM...

 

10 minutes ago, Killer Shrike said:

Champions is not the Hero System.

 

But it is the best brand HERO owns.  If I were to deliver one game in the core rules as an example of a game HERO can deliver, then Champions would be it, and it would be a far more defined version of Champions than previous editions delivered.

 

11 minutes ago, Killer Shrike said:

Hopefully you don't feel like massey needs defending from me.

 

If it had been one voice, I would not have said anything, it just felt like a little bit of a dogpile was developing and I wanted to counter that, nothing personal to anyone.

 

Doc

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4 hours ago, Doc Democracy said:

was not talking about a dressing down, was talking about getting all the characters together and do a comparison of the various markers.  I think it is obvious when one character is dominant.  My guys are excellent team players, if they see for themselves how the numbers are, they will adjust stuff themselves, it will be a learning exercise not a correctional one.

 

I see. Well, excellent players make things easier.

 

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Not enough for a neophyte GM...

 

I've long argued that the Hero System is not an ideal "first game" for a rpg enthusiast. Neophytes are welcome, but probably would benefit from making their bones on simpler / more prepackaged games.

 

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But it is the best brand HERO owns. 

 

Well, most popular, developed, and recognizable certainly, so "best" in a marketing sense. 

 

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If I were to deliver one game in the core rules as an example of a game HERO can deliver, then Champions would be it, and it would be a far more defined version of Champions than previous editions delivered.

 

I agree; as I've said a few times recently in this thread and historically going all the way back to my earliest participation on hero related message boards in the 5e / 6e era. But the core rules should remain separate, and a integrated product should be offered in addition. Champions Complete finally came around, way too late. 

 

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KS not sure how much learning a prepackaged game is beneficial to the neophyte if he is interested in learning Hero. A prepackaged has all the balance (to what degree is always up to debate.) figures and hard coded. You still have to learn balance in the Hero system by playing the Hero system.

Edited by Ninja-Bear
Another thought

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Upstream people have advocated a prepackaged Hero system game. What I envisioned for a starter game as such would be something along the lines of The Western Shores sample game. It has a campaign guideline filled out with it. For a neophyte type game, this is extremely useful. You can see a vision put into practice for a game.  I would have some description of why certain things were chosen or not and I would have obligatory paragraph with maybe a sample of changing a write up to suit the GM/player needs.

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3 hours ago, Ninja-Bear said:

KS not sure how much learning a prepackaged game is beneficial to the neophyte if he is interested in learning Hero.

 

If a person who has never played a rpg before somehow became interested in learning the Hero System specifically, then either they know someone who already plays the Hero System or else something incredibly unlikely has taken place.

 

At any rate what I mean is I think that most beginners, new players about to play their first game, would generally be better off and more likely to get hooked if they were to play a more mainstream game in an established setting that expects less of players in the way of nuance and effort. Something easy to learn, something with less open ended / freeform progression, something more concrete, something with more players at or near their own level of experience.

 

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A prepackaged has all the balance (to what degree is always up to debate.) figures and hard coded. You still have to learn balance in the Hero system by playing the Hero system.

 

I think you misunderstand me. I don't mean that learning, say, D&D will help a player then turn around and somehow be good at using the Hero System. I mean that trying to enter the hobby with the Hero System as your first game is a tall order. If guided by an existing group of experienced players, then maybe. But spontaneously getting into the hobby by stumbling across a Hero System book in a book store, buying it, taking it home, and trying to convince your friends to play it with you? 

 

That's how I got started roleplaying, red box D&D bought off a bookshelf at I think Waldenbooks by some other kid in my middle school class. The same kid loaned me the Lone Wolf choose your own adventure book, and after I liked that invited me to try D&D red box with him and another kid in our class. There was a solo adventure in it, which I did first, and that was it. I was hooked. The Hero System came into my life about 6 years after that. Almost 35 years later from my first hit on the rpg crack pipe, I'm still at it. 

 

So I always ask myself...are there people out there today getting into the hobby in the same way? Spontaneously, not via bootstrapping from existing gamers? Maybe. But if so I'm pretty sure it is not via heavy crunch systems, generally speaking. 

 

Also, I think the Hero System (and GURPS and most universal game systems) is most compelling for GM's who like to make their own stuff who have gotten fed up with one or more other systems' inability to satisfy their needs in this area. Obviously for this type of convert, they must have first GM'd or played in at least one other system to have gotten fed up with systemic limitations enough to want an alternative such as the Hero System.

 

Related image

 

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KS I had that book at one time! 😁

 

Heres the thing I think you might’ve missed by my Western Shores example so let’s change it to Mob Rule from BBB. First and importantly if you agree that Heronis a Toolkit, then by definition I should be able to be kitted to a neophyte style game.  The villains and the Heroes from the BBB are fairly basic in design. What I was suggesting that Hero games could’ve put out a basic game or module if you will -Mob Rule in it it has campaign guidelines. It could have more advice pointed to the neophyte. For example they still could have Mindlock in it for a villain,  advice could be if this is your first time, consider not using her as Mental powers are a little more complex use.

 

Hero system is only as complex as you want it to be.

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53 minutes ago, Ninja-Bear said:

Hero system is only as complex as you want it to be. 

 

I was with you right up to this point. You are right, if you are talking experienced players and GMs. There are no training wheels though, HERO will allow you to make the most egregious decisions and mistakes. It does not hold your hand and provide a safe path through the wilderness until you know better.

 

For a neophyte, all the complexity is right up in your face from the get go.

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On 2/8/2019 at 4:54 PM, Chris Goodwin said:

Right now, I can look in the heroic genre boards, and in the first page of each see a half-dozen threads requesting Power builds.  One person asks in Fantasy Hero how to build a backstab power for their thief/rogue.  You don't -- even in 5th and 6th, and I double checked both editions -- need a Power build for that; just sneak up on your target outside of combat, and take him by surprise out of combat, for half Hit Location penalties and double Stun. 

 

I think the Deadly Blow talent is especially well suited to handling common Fantasy tropes like backstabbing (only when stealthed or attacking from behind while an ally is engaging opponent) or a paladin's smite (only vs. devils, demons, undead), etc.

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I will, now and forever, recommend Danger International as a low-crunch, complete game to introduce new players to Hero.  

 

Modern military, espionage, police, private detectives... you can even go modern horror, cyberpunk, post-apocalyptic, near future science fiction, alien investigation, etc.  

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It kind of struck me like a slap in the face why the Fantasy Hero Complete book I was so disappointed with is actually fantastic.

 

My players were all having me assist them with their character building and it wasn't improving over time.  Then I realized what it was.  They had looked over 6E1 and 6E2 and tilted.  It's just too much in-depth detail.

 

I had a couple of my players thumb through Fantasy Hero Complete and said "This is all you really need to get rolling."  There was palpable relief on their faces.

 

Lesson learned - I will get my Wednesday night table to buy this book.

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7 hours ago, Ninja-Bear said:

KS I had that book at one time! 😁

 

Heres the thing I think you might’ve missed by my Western Shores example so let’s change it to Mob Rule from BBB. First and importantly if you agree that Heronis a Toolkit, then by definition I should be able to be kitted to a neophyte style game.  The villains and the Heroes from the BBB are fairly basic in design. What I was suggesting that Hero games could’ve put out a basic game or module if you will -Mob Rule in it it has campaign guidelines. It could have more advice pointed to the neophyte. For example they still could have Mindlock in it for a villain,  advice could be if this is your first time, consider not using her as Mental powers are a little more complex use.

 

Hero system is only as complex as you want it to be.

 

Sure. So I'll be very explicit to clarify terms and what I mean by them.

 

When I say Hero System is not a good gateway game (i.e. way to get into the hobby) I mean very specifically the generic, setting-less full version of the rules and its various settingless / genreless core supplements. 

 

An integrated product with a cool setting, enough rules to play in that setting with all the dials and levers preset for that purpose, "powered by Hero System" type of game intended to lower the entry barrier and be more approachable, and supported by GM and player aids like adventures and splatbooks could serve as a gateway game just as similar prepackaged games do. In other words, the way the game was marketed pre-4e and the way in which most games are marketed. Branding, product packaging and presentation, and marketing historically being the weak links in the DoJ strategy, it didn't work out that way when they were at their peak ability to influence the market. 

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On 2/10/2019 at 2:06 AM, Killer Shrike said:

 

So...your position is that Steve L did not understand the relationship between END, END Reserves, Charges, and Increased END?

 

 

I said in my first post on the mechanics that I think Steve Long went with a very different philosophy of game design than the original guys.  And yes, a large part of what he did was in altering point costs for things that were roughly internally consistent with one another.  He changed one without changing others, despite the fact that their costs were basically linked together.

 

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So, for starters, applying increased END to get a large cost discount, and then buying an END Reserve to make that limitation not matter, veers into "not really limiting" territory. The rules are very clear that this sort of min maxing is not kosher..."a limitation that is not limiting is not worth any points", etc.

 

Next, what is the character concept that this is meant to model? Why are the character's abilities so taxing? What does the END Reserve power represent? What are the SFX?

 

If I'm the GM being handed this characters sheet, my "twinky munchkin" radar is already warming up. I'd want a rationale.

 

 

I think you're missing the point.  The point is that under 4th and 5th, it doesn't give you much benefit.  The cost breaks are roughly the same.  Taking x3 Endurance on your powers and then fueling them with an Endurance Reserve, you might as well just buy Charges because it costs the same amount.  That lengthy post I made shows the relationship in cost between the two limitations -- they are mirrors of one another.  But 6th edition changes the cost of one without touching the other.  Endurance Reserve sucks now.  It's far inferior to Charges.

 

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Let's say the player actually does have a concept that seems interesting and I'm convinced they really are trying to make an interesting character and not just trying to min max. Ok, then lets see if the mechanics that fit the desired effect line up.

 

In 5e, buying the 50 END Reserve costs 9 points less than in 6e, if I've done the math correctly (or, more precisely, HD has).

 

END5eA.png

END6eB.png

 

On the other hand, buying the characters END Characteristic up to 50 costs 7 points less in 6e than in 5e (8 cp vs 15 cp), and you also get to use your full Recovery.

 

So, either one could persist in attempting the old school approach of exploiting the undercosted END Reserve and be aggravated that it is now overcosted, or one could take a step back and realize that in 6e it is now more practical to just buy END directly for most characters most of the time.

 

END Reserve in 6e is not kidding around when it says right off the bat: "A character with Endurance Reserve has an independent source of Endurance that provides END to run Powers. Endurance Reserve can simulate the generator and batteries of a suit of powered armor, the “mana” in a  magical wand, the fuel in a jetpack, or any other ability where...". 

 

Mechanically it has been rendered more appropriate to modeling specific concepts rather than serving as an easily flogged way to skirt general Endurance issues.

 

I agree, personally, that the nerf was a bit heavy handed, but I don't believe it was accidental or a product of a lack of understanding on the part of Steve whose system knowledge and understanding is deep and whose decision making is usually thorough and deliberated. Apparently you have less regard for him than I do, and that's your prerogative, of course.

 

My point is that it didn't need to be nerfed -- before it was costed as close to correct as you can get.  There's no mechanical reason to take it now -- it's seriously overcosted in 6th.

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2 minutes ago, massey said:

My point is that it didn't need to be nerfed -- before it was costed as close to correct as you can get.  There's no mechanical reason to take it now -- it's seriously overcosted in 6th.

Not losing your Constant duration powers when you get Stunned/KO'd can be well worth a 1/4th surcharge on your END. 

Power X (60 AP worth), Costs END only to Activate (1/4), Persistent (1/4) is 90 real. 

Power X (60 AP worth), Costs END only to Activate (1/4) plus a reserve with 12 END and 3 REC is 80 Real for similar effect. 

 

My counter-question here is, given that END is no longer Figured, why would anyone want to buy END not in a reserve if the reserve was cheaper? 

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On 2/10/2019 at 6:31 AM, Ninja-Bear said:

Ok I’ll say the same thing as I did to Chris Goodwin. This isn’t the fault of the mechanics. 

 

First ive never seen a weapons list that didn’t have AP and real point listed. So I fail to see how using that info is good for Supers but then fails at Heroic level.

 

Second you said scour the lists. So you just let any published thing get used without looking at it?Would you allow that with any Power bought in Supers? You thinking Flying Dodge is bad how about I take the Aay of Two Brothers! 

 

Third if you players yer s are scouring (and it sounds like Power gaming) that’s a player issue not a game issue.

 

And Fourth yeah so they do find a ridiculous gun/ammo, does that mean that it’s available to the players?

 

Not trying to be snarky. I’ve found that the guidelines that a GM uses to help keep Supers balanced apply the same to Heroics level.

 

 

 

It isn't the fault of the game mechanics.  It's the fault of the game designers for believing that one system can balance heroics without regard to setting.  Some of the cost changes in 6th edition appear to be in response to complaints from people in heroic games.  I think either Killer Shrike or Hugh Neilson mentioned earlier that the cost of old Strength was a bigger problem in heroics than superheroics.  But even in heroics that's only going to apply in certain genres.

 

In a superheroic game, basically everything costs points.  Want to be strong?  Points.  Want to be able to fly?  Points.  Want to have a laser gun?  Points.  And since everything costs points, you can balance between everything.  But in a heroic game, you get free equipment.  Often that equipment negates the value of something you paid points for, or at least makes it less useful.  The mistake of the game designers is in not recognizing that fact.

 

Hero is a "build your own world" system.  Remember that awesome Sylvester Stallone movie, Over the Top, where he plays the arm wrestling truck driver?  Strength is a very important stat in Arm Wrestler Hero.  Strength and TF: 18 Wheeler are basically the only things that matter in that game.  But in Ghostbusters Hero, Strength is never used.  You just need a 10 to lug that equipment around.  Hero can be a universal system, but as soon as you get free equipment, the basic cost structure is thrown out the window.  And there's nothing that can be done about it because the system is marketed as being able to do any genre.  Strength is vitally important for Conan, not so much for Picard.

 

As far as ridiculous guns and ammo, yeah I'm talking about stuff that is available to the players.  As in, Bob the player went to the gun show last week and bought the ammo that he wants his character to use.  And he's prepared to pull out charts of ballistic tests that show why this ammo has three times the muzzle velocity and so he thinks he should get +1/2 D6 damage.

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I reckon that my take on points in heroic games often reflects how easily I regain my equipment (or reasonable facsimiles of).

 

If I have paid money for a focus driven killing attack and am captured then I expect to find my killing attack (in some form) available almost the minute I manufacture my escape.  If I have not paid points then the GM has very much less responsibility to see that I have what I need...

 

🙂

 

Doc

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7 hours ago, Doc Democracy said:

 

I was with you right up to this point. You are right, if you are talking experienced players and GMs. There are no training wheels though, HERO will allow you to make the most egregious decisions and mistakes. It does not hold your hand and provide a safe path through the wilderness until you know better.

 

For a neophyte, all the complexity is right up in your face from the get go.

Right, but with it doesn’t have to be  does it?  Thisnis a toolkit right?

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On 2/10/2019 at 7:28 AM, Doc Democracy said:

I'm reckoning that Massey is quite aware of power-gaming and I have seen him (just realised I am presuming male, apologies if misapplied!) round these parts long enough to think that he knows the tricks of the trade.  Players scouring books, for me, is a great sign of engagement with the system never mind the game at hand - there are some of mine that would not really be able to spot a good weapon among the dross.  

 

I also think that amid all of the little bits and pieces of change that might cause Massey pain, he has spent enough time thinking about the version that works for him.  He was not looking to game the system when comparing END with charges and END Battery just looking to find the pinch points and where the balance lay between them.  

 

I am pleased that he has put this effort in, it makes me think about aspects of the game that I tend to gloss over without thinking about too much, relying on HERO to have done a lot of the philosophising and balancing on my behalf.  While I am lazy and unlikely to change too much for my group, it is good to have those balances in my head.

 

Now, I disagree with the inability to have a good game based on HERO at heroic levels but there is obviously more work involved in getting there and applying the constraints necessary to get the game that you want as GM.  The strapline of "you can build anything" can be a nightmare for the GM who often has to say "not in my game!".  Even in supers there is the need to look hard - one of my players has just spent time learning the system and built his first character.  It is a nightmare of efficiency tweaks and trying to cover every base, feeling the need to hit every campaign limit and push past several of them. 

 

I do not want him to feel like I am punishing him but it does mean I am going to have to get all of the characters and publicly go through the balancing process I would usually do individually so that they can see the working parts.  I will be looking to strip away some of the cover all the bases and show how to explore the special role he will play in the group - extending his core talents to do the things only he will be able to do.

 

My feel for what Massey is telling us is that the 3rd edition patchwork of games did a lot of the work upfront of restricting player choice without it feeling like a restriction - the choices offered opened things up in the places they needed to be.  I think when you have the big books then there needs to be some real guidance for the players and gm on how to get the players and GM on the same page, working through one or two options of how to set up a game within HERO.  There is nothing that I remember seeing in the rules that would, over  couple of pages, lead the GM in setting up a game to get a very specific type of game, you know, actually using the toolkit to create a game that people could drop in and play.

 

Personally I love the direction that HERO has taken and am probably more extreme.  I think that I would have deconstructed even more of the black boxes until we had a real toolkit where every aspect was there to be used.  That would have been volume 2 for me.  Volume 1 would have been split into two parts - Champions (for the players) and How to create Champions (for the GM).  That first section of volume 1 would have presented the players with all they needed to build a superhero, with colour powers like Force Field and Force Wall and stuff, it might even have a range of characteristics (along with figured characteristics).  The second section would have shown the GM how those things were put together, from volume 2, to make the game.  It would have shown how to make STR (you buy lifting/throwing, add an element of damage, give some bonus PD and STUN) and cost it so that it works for that particular style of Champions.  I would then have a few online tools to help build (and print) rules for a game.  One or two templates would be fantastic but there would be a place for HERO to sell more game templates for all kinds of different games, possibly extended templates that could be printed as game rules (except that the GM would know how to dial up or down the various options to make it exactly the kind of game he wanted to play with his group).

 

That is my fantasy version of HERO....but how I got there from defending Massey I will never know.

 

Doc 

 

Thanks for the kind words.  Oh and I'm definitely a male. :)

 

In ages past I spent a lot of time trying to break the system.  I was basically king of the powergamers at our local store.  GMs from other games would tell their players that they were prohibited from asking me to help build characters.  But what I found was that 4th edition was really solidly put together.  Primary characteristics were good, and Elemental Controls needed to be watched like a hawk, but the basic cost structure of everything was great.  With 5th edition, a lot of potential abuses opened up.  It got really easy to break the game really fast.  6th went over like a lead balloon at our store, and when I looked at it I just saw the problems of 5th compounded.

 

Now, I don't have the free time that I did when I was in college, and I haven't really torn the system apart like I did with 4th and 5th edition.  But I see things that used to work that have been changed significantly, and prices changed for no real reason.

 

Regarding heroic games, a game master can balance them.  But a game designer can't balance it when he doesn't know if you're going to be playing Call of Cthulhu or Car Wars.  Changes to the game were made for presumably Fantasy Hero, but that's a genre specific thing.  Balance it for that and you unbalance it for something else.

 

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On 2/10/2019 at 9:27 AM, Hugh Neilson said:

 

Reverse engineering END Reserve is an exercise itself.  In our Supers game, my experience was that negative STUN was not that uncommon.  Most fights extend over more than a turn, so -10 to -19 still allowed characters to recover, and I saw some instances of characters assisting other characters to accelerate their recoveries.  Waking up with full END is then advantageous, but situational.  With END priced at 4 END per 1 CP, END in a reserve effectively has been priced with a +1/4 advantage, which seems appropriate to a situational benefit which only crops up every few sessions.  Note that it also keeps powers running while the character is KOd, granting a measure of the Persistent advantage.

 

I will also note that, in our games, being KOd and recovering was a lot more common than taking a recovery during combat (especially if I do not count "pretending to still be KOd so I can get enough END back to do something useful").

 

REC, on the other hand, is limited.  It does not recover STUN, but it does keep recovering that END reserve even if the character would not otherwise get recoveries.  It has a combined -1/2 effective limitation for that reason.  In some games, the fact that the Reserve is not subject to long-term END rules may also be beneficial.

 

Finally, most characters I see with an END reserve run some abilities from the reserve and some from personal END, so they get the benefits of both recoveries to their staying power.  They did not "buy REC twice".

 

 

In my experience taking a recovery happens far more frequently than waking up from being unconscious.  How frequently one happens versus the other will definitely affect how valuable you see it as being.

 

It seems pretty clear that you're a fellow "gear head" when it comes to Hero, and that 6th edition relied on a lot of your point analysis.  You are always around to chime in with why a change in the edition was made.  I think the problem is that there wasn't a competing view of point analysis back when the game was being written.  And I think a lot of the analysis was incomplete.

 

Earlier you mentioned that the costs of combat skill levels (and thus skill levels in general) was based upon taking a Multipower with a slot for each possible use.  Skill levels were priced accordingly.  However, the real problem with this is that should only establish the upper limit of pricing.  X should be no more expensive than Y, because you can build it that way too.  But that doesn't mean that Y should be the cost.  You have to look from different angles at other competing builds.  Plus, at the end of the day, you also have to ask yourself "are people buying this power a lot".  There's an economic analysis as well.  And you also have to question if the normal character is going to be able to take advantage of the maximum flexibility that something offers.  Will a character with +2 overall skill levels (now 12 points, then 10 points) really be adding to his OMCV, particularly if he doesn't have mental powers?  Should it be priced for Captain Everypower?

 

Regarding END, I haven't done the math on it, but I think you haven't looked at alternative builds.  If the bonus for buying an End Reserve is that you've still got End when you wake up, it's probably more point efficient to buy extra Recovery with "only applies when recovering from unconscious" (which should be at least a -1, probably closer to a -2 given that post 12s are far more common than waking up in the middle of a fight).  Let's say you were going to spend 25 points on your End Reserve (and remember you'd be buying up your Recovery anyway, to get back Stun), how is that better than buying up your normal End and then taking an extra +20 Recovery only when waking up?  When you awaken, you'd have enough End to get you to the post 12.

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21 minutes ago, massey said:

 

Thanks for the kind words.  Oh and I'm definitely a male. :)

 

In ages past I spent a lot of time trying to break the system.  I was basically king of the powergamers at our local store.  GMs from other games would tell their players that they were prohibited from asking me to help build characters.  But what I found was that 4th edition was really solidly put together.  Primary characteristics were good, and Elemental Controls needed to be watched like a hawk, but the basic cost structure of everything was great.  With 5th edition, a lot of potential abuses opened up.  It got really easy to break the game really fast.  6th went over like a lead balloon at our store, and when I looked at it I just saw the problems of 5th compounded.

 

 

 

Funny you should say that.My recollection is that I could build a planet busting missile for under 25 pts under 4th, and can do no such munchkinry under 5th or 6th.

 

Lucius Alexander

 

In any edition, I can have a palindromedary tagline

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Just now, Lucius said:

 

Funny you should say that.My recollection is that I could build a planet busting missile for under 25 pts under 4th, and can do no such munchkinry under 5th or 6th.

 

Lucius Alexander

 

In any edition, I can have a palindromedary tagline

 

Pfft.  Last time I tried I could do it for like 1 point in 5th.

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33 minutes ago, massey said:

 

It isn't the fault of the game mechanics.  It's the fault of the game designers for believing that one system can balance heroics without regard to setting.  Some of the cost changes in 6th edition appear to be in response to complaints from people in heroic games.  I think either Killer Shrike or Hugh Neilson mentioned earlier that the cost of old Strength was a bigger problem in heroics than superheroics.  But even in heroics that's only going to apply in certain genres.

 

In a superheroic game, basically everything costs points.  Want to be strong?  Points.  Want to be able to fly?  Points.  Want to have a laser gun?  Points.  And since everything costs points, you can balance between everything.  But in a heroic game, you get free equipment.  Often that equipment negates the value of something you paid points for, or at least makes it less useful.  The mistake of the game designers is in not recognizing that fact.

 

Hero is a "build your own world" system.  Remember that awesome Sylvester Stallone movie, Over the Top, where he plays the arm wrestling truck driver?  Strength is a very important stat in Arm Wrestler Hero.  Strength and TF: 18 Wheeler are basically the only things that matter in that game.  But in Ghostbusters Hero, Strength is never used.  You just need a 10 to lug that equipment around.  Hero can be a universal system, but as soon as you get free equipment, the basic cost structure is thrown out the window.  And there's nothing that can be done about it because the system is marketed as being able to do any genre.  Strength is vitally important for Conan, not so much for Picard.

 

As far as ridiculous guns and ammo, yeah I'm talking about stuff that is available to the players.  As in, Bob the player went to the gun show last week and bought the ammo that he wants his character to use.  And he's prepared to pull out charts of ballistic tests that show why this ammo has three times the muzzle velocity and so he thinks he should get +1/2 D6 damage.

Just because everything costs points in Supers, that causes automatic balance? We’ve had threads on how Point Caps are only so useful. Biggest build that can throw off a game is having a pure mentalist against non-mentalists. If by concept Most Heroes shouldn’t have any type of Mental Defense (unless the game is a bunch of mentalists) EGo Blast is nasty among other mental powers.

 

Im really missing the point about free equipment throwing off cost structure. The equipment is shown with Act Pt and Real Pt , (again any published list that I’ve seen) so you have the same information available to you to make a decision if it’s allowable or not as would be in a Supers game. Different games and genres emphasize certain elements and disminish others that is why a campaign guidelines are more useful cause they tell a player not only what to spend points on but also not what to spend points on and what is expected or reasonably expected. In a martial arts game, I buy martail arts. When I updated Firefist (a villain from the Hand group) for a “super” martial arts game, I made sure that his Ego attack wasn’t unreasonable because the heroes had no mental defense. If I play in a Mentalist campaign, bet your bottom dollar that I’m going to buy Mental Defense!

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6 minutes ago, Ninja-Bear said:

Just because everything costs points in Supers, that causes automatic balance? We’ve had threads on how Point Caps are only so useful. Biggest build that can throw off a game is having a pure mentalist against non-mentalists. If by concept Most Heroes shouldn’t have any type of Mental Defense (unless the game is a bunch of mentalists) EGo Blast is nasty among other mental powers.

 

Im really missing the point about free equipment throwing off cost structure. The equipment is shown with Act Pt and Real Pt , (again any published list that I’ve seen) so you have the same information available to you to make a decision if it’s allowable or not as would be in a Supers game. Different games and genres emphasize certain elements and disminish others that is why a campaign guidelines are more useful cause they tell a player not only what to spend points on but also not what to spend points on and what is expected or reasonably expected. In a martial arts game, I buy martail arts. When I updated Firefist (a villain from the Hand group) for a “super” martial arts game, I made sure that his Ego attack wasn’t unreasonable because the heroes had no mental defense. If I play in a Mentalist campaign, bet your bottom dollar that I’m going to buy Mental Defense!

It really isn't MDEF that makes Ego Attack better than standard attacks.  60 AP of Blast against 20 DEF is ~22 damage.  60 AP of Ego Attack against 0 MDEF is ~21 damage.  60 AP of NND Blast is ~21 damage.  The damage math fits. 

The advantage Ego Attack has is that MDCV is generally massively lower than standard DCV, so the mentalist rarely misses. 

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36 minutes ago, Ninja-Bear said:

Just because everything costs points in Supers, that causes automatic balance? We’ve had threads on how Point Caps are only so useful. Biggest build that can throw off a game is having a pure mentalist against non-mentalists. If by concept Most Heroes shouldn’t have any type of Mental Defense (unless the game is a bunch of mentalists) EGo Blast is nasty among other mental powers.

 

Im really missing the point about free equipment throwing off cost structure. The equipment is shown with Act Pt and Real Pt , (again any published list that I’ve seen) so you have the same information available to you to make a decision if it’s allowable or not as would be in a Supers game. Different games and genres emphasize certain elements and disminish others that is why a campaign guidelines are more useful cause they tell a player not only what to spend points on but also not what to spend points on and what is expected or reasonably expected. In a martial arts game, I buy martail arts. When I updated Firefist (a villain from the Hand group) for a “super” martial arts game, I made sure that his Ego attack wasn’t unreasonable because the heroes had no mental defense. If I play in a Mentalist campaign, bet your bottom dollar that I’m going to buy Mental Defense!

 

Let's say we're designing an RPG.  Everything will be balanced with points.  As long as everything costs points, it should theoretically be possible to balance it.  But what happens when not everything costs points anymore?  How are we (as game designers) supposed to know what will be valuable in the abstract?  How are we supposed to know what GMs will make available to players for free, when it's supposed to be for all genres?

 

We can't know the answer.

 

So we say "man, Strength is really good.  It lets you hit people hard, and do damage.  And it lets you lift objects, and it adds to something called 'figured characteristics'.  As we've got it designed now, Strength might even be too good.  It should probably be more expensive.  Or maybe we should just get rid of these figured characteristic things."  And if you're judging its value in a game where everything is paid for with points, you might be able to get pretty darn close to its real value.  But... when equipment becomes free, that all goes out the window.

 

Bob and John are playing in a gritty police drama game.  Both want tough characters.  Bob buys +10 Strength for his character, giving him a 20.  He's a big, burly Sylvester Stallone looking cop.  He can punch for 4D6, which is really good.  His primary method of dealing with crooks will be punching them, and he's paying points to be able to do that effectively.  John wants to play a Mel Gibson from Lethal Weapon type.  He's not that big, but he buys +5 OCV with his D6+1 RKA 9mm.  He spends the same 10 points.  His primary method of dealing with crooks will be shooting them.  He gets his gun for free, so he spends points to be ultra accurate with it.  Each character has a 4 DC attack as their primary option in combat.  Assuming a base 11- chance to hit, Bob will have that base 11-.  But John will have a 16- chance with his attack (which is just as strong).

 

John will be much more effective than Bob, unless the GM goes out of his way to make Bob more effective.  When that happens, it isn't the game system making them equal.  It's the game master intentionally skewing things in Bob's favor.

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3 hours ago, massey said:

I said in my first post on the mechanics that I think Steve Long went with a very different philosophy of game design than the original guys.  And yes, a large part of what he did was in altering point costs for things that were roughly internally consistent with one another.  He changed one without changing others, despite the fact that their costs were basically linked together.

 

And I responded to that first post in detail, and on that statement particularly.

 

But I'll repeat the relevant parts of that long post here for convenience:

 

On 2/4/2019 at 10:10 AM, Killer Shrike said:

I agree that there was a ripple effect of recosting END. Interestingly enough, we house ruled Endurance Reserves in 6e to make them more viable as they do seem to be subpar in 6e; Panpiper first brought it to my attention early on and we worked out some tweaks that brought its utility up without recosting it. A write up of it is here for the interested: http://www.killershrike.com/HereThereBeMonsters/Paradigm_HouseRules.aspx#EnduranceReserve6e

 

However, I suspect we have a different way of looking at things in general. To my eye, the increased ease of getting enough END to fuel a character's abilities means that fewer characters should feel the need to want to take Reduced Endurance (a pretty commonly used modifier in the supers campaigns I participated in over the years) or an Endurance Reserve, or seek to build powers using Charges for purely meta reasons where perhaps the concept doesn't quite match up with the mechanics used to model it.

 

As far as characters buying up cheap END and then applying Increased Endurance to the their powers...the long standing precept that limitations that don't limit characters are not valid applies here. A GM can and should veto players trying to milk points from limitations that don't really limit their characters; this is HS GM 101 level stuff.

 

On 2/4/2019 at 10:10 AM, Killer Shrike said:

Changes to non-orthogonal aspects of a system do have side effects (sometimes predictable, sometimes surprising) on other aspects of a system. However, not all aspects of a system are non-orthogonal to each other, and in a well factored (but likely very limited) system it is possible to have high orthogonality where nearly all components are self contained. 

 

It would be more accurate to say something like "END is the fundamental resource used by the game to limit a given character's frequency of use of their various abilities, rather than using an X / per day or strict action economy or cool-off model such as is done in some other games. Options that allow characters to limit the frequency of use on an ability in a different way (or remove the END based limit altogether) are priced comparatively to the standard cost of END. Changing the standard cost of END or its supporting elements such as REC would therefore call into question the pricing of all END related and END equivalent options".

 

Progressing down that path, one possible perception is that change is bad and wrong, and someone changing something "fundamental" can't possibly conceive of the possible repercussions or take action to prevent them and therefore should not change anything. The old saws "if it ain't broke don't fix it", "it works well enough, don't #@(% with it", and "that's how we've always done it" are often trotted out at some point in discussion about such changes...and sometimes they are even appropriate and pragmatic depending on the risk vs reward of tinkering. 

 

However, it is also possible to adjust multiple non-orthogonal (i.e. interrelated) parts of a system as part of an overall re-balancing or refactoring to keep them in tune with one another. If you take your car or other mechanical device to a good mechanic for instance, they might just replace one part and call it done, but they also might run some diagnostics and adjust a few things to tune the machine as a whole. Game mechanics are no different; sometimes a simple repair is all that is needed or warranted, other times a more holistic approach is called for.

 

Now, I did not play 6e as extensively as I did 4e and 5e, but in the time I spent with 6e I did not notice an issue with the frequency of use options other than by the book END Reserve not being viable. It all trundled along nicely, and we had a mix of characters using END and Charges for various abilities.Your mileage may vary. 

 

Put simply I did not encounter the issues you suggest are present in this area; but I'm willing to hear more about your 6e experiences or horror stories, or just a point break down establishing that the costs of Charges, etc are out of whack in 6e due to changes to END costing.

 

 

Quote

I think you're missing the point.  The point is that under 4th and 5th, it doesn't give you much benefit.  The cost breaks are roughly the same.  Taking x3 Endurance on your powers and then fueling them with an Endurance Reserve, you might as well just buy Charges because it costs the same amount.  That lengthy post I made shows the relationship in cost between the two limitations -- they are mirrors of one another.  But 6th edition changes the cost of one without touching the other. 

 

I didn't miss your point at all, I chose to focus on a central flaw undermining it in the abstract. 

 

However, I'll be more specific here.

 

What you were trying to demonstrate, as I understand it, was that x3 END Blast plus END Reserve to offset the limitation is 40 points in 6e and 31 points in 5e, while a x4 Charges Blast is 25 points in either. From which you draw the conclusion that a player should not buy the Increased END / END Reserve and instead should take the Charge based version in 6e. Ipso facto, you believe that this demonstrates a disconnect between Increased END, END Reserves, etc in 6e, and by extension reflects a lack of understanding of the nature and intent of those game elements by the game designer, and by further extension this serves as an example of pattern of the game designer making changes to the system that they did not understand the nature and ramifications of.

 

So, if I've understood your point correctly (and please correct me if I have not), there are numerous holes in that position.

 

The most obvious of which, the axiomatic failure, is the assumption that it is or was valid in 6e or pre-6e to take a x3 END power and then take an END Reserve for the purposes of making that not matter, and thus for purely min max considerations Charges would be equally suitable and whichever happens to be cheapest is the correct path.

 

This is directly counter to the intent of limitations, which are present to model character concepts, and which directly state that GM's should monitor the usage of a power taken to mitigate the limitations on other powers and whether that causes the mitigated limitations to be invalid (not worth any points back).

 

The character concept of the character in question and the sfx of their abilities should dictate which is more appropriate to the character when it comes to Increased Endurance or Charges, and if an END Reserve is wanted for the character it should similarly be defined per the character's concept and sfx. 

 

Thus it is a flawed argument to begin with. You begin with the premise that the game designer doesn't understand the system, and then attempt to prove it via an example that demonstrates a lack of understanding of the game system (vis a vis Limitations, sfx, and reasoning from effect) on your part. 

 

However, fine, if we want to cede that there is a character concept and sfx at play in which either Increased END + END Reserve or Charges are equally appropriate for that character, I'll drill down a bit on the mechanics.

 

First off Increased Endurance powers vs Charges powers is a difficult thing to measure in a vacuum, because the impact of each is determined by the frequency of expected usage within an adventuring day (or whatever increment the GM allows for Charges to reset).

 

In my experience 4 Charges per day would be more limiting than x3 END in practice, because I don't allow my players to do a fight rest fight rest 15-minute adventuring day, and I don't usually do 1 big combat per game session. Most sessions involve a series of encounters or obstacles of varying difficulty.

 

It also depends on what power Charges are applied to; a 4 Charge Blast would be nearly useless the way I run my games unless the blast effect were very high relative to the campaign, while a x3 END Blast would be more likely to be used more than 4 times per time Day (or time increment until Charges reset). However a 4 Charge Transform or 4 Charge Teleport might be sufficient to the typical need. Instant Attack powers meant to be part of the character's typical repertoire vs other abilities that are more situational are more impacted by a low number of Charges.

 

The Charges modifier is relatively uninteresting unto itself at its most basic configuration as an X per day mechanic unless it is taken at a level where it becomes an Advantage. However, it is a platform for other options that extend the utility of Charges considerably. By comparison, Increased Endurance only varies in multiple and offers no further utility for modeling a concept. Clips, Continuous Charges, Fuel Charges, Boostable Charges, Recoverable Charges, etc, provide interesting and useful options to model a variety of concepts.

 

So, right off the bat, the comparison between x3 END Blast and x4 / Day Blast at 25 points for either, in both 6e and pre-6e, doesn't make much sense. The Charge based version is almost certainly worse than the x3 END version unless the GM runs a very abbreviated adventuring day. How much worse is not really quantifiable as it depends on circumstances in game and variations in the adventuring pace of individual groups.

 

However, if it were me and my character and I was picking one or the other from a min max perspective, I would tend to prefer the x3 END power because I the player can mitigate that during game play, while I the player have less influence over how many challenges the GM might throw at me where I would want to use the power in a given adventuring day. 

 

On the other hand as a GM, if I'm making opposition for the PC's to face, most NPC's have a shelf life of one encounter; they are mostly disposable. As the # of encounters a non-recurring NPC will participate in is generally one, a small number of Charges sufficient for one typical encounter makes my life easier as I don't have to track END for them, and is not very limiting to the NPC. Significant NPC's might be a different matter, depending on how I intend to use them. If I as the GM dispense with concept and just go with mechanics, and am determined to min max the opposition to pack the most punch per point, then Charges are great for me and unfair to the PC's. This is not new to 6e, its the nature of the asymmetrical impact of symmetrical mechanics on characters that appear in nearly every scene vs those who appear in only one.

 

There are also other comparisons that can be made going the other way, Reduced Endurance vs larger numbers of Charges, that also often math out oddly

 

This is indicative that vanilla Charges and their costing is and have been problematic, particularly in the middle ranges vs the extremes. If I remember correctly, @Sean Waters and others have done work in this area deconstructing Charges. I'm content in this context to just say that the costing of Charges is woolly and subject to a greater degree of complexity than Increased Endurance and Reduced Endurance. 

 

You might then say, ah ha! And that's where my example of END Reserve as an alternative to Charges comes into play. However, a better example to establish or disprove your point from a purely mechanical standpoint (vs conceptual / sfx) would be to model a particular sfx such as a fuel cell using both END Reserve and Charges, OR to go after the mechanical differences between a set of powers each taking Charges on themselves vs each power working from a shared END Reserve, OR by extension of that go after the application of Charges to a FRAMEWORK such as a MP or VPP vs the utility of an END Reserve only usable by powers in that framework. This is where the real impact of changes to END Reserve's pricing and its utility for modeling legitimate character builds in an elegant way bear out.

 

It isn't your argument I object to, but rather the way you are trying to argue it. 

 

Quote

Endurance Reserve sucks now.  It's far inferior to Charges. My point is that it didn't need to be nerfed -- before it was costed as close to correct as you can get.  There's no mechanical reason to take it now -- it's seriously overcosted in 6th.

 

I can only say that I agree that Endurance Reserve was nerfed too much / is no longer viable / is more for concept than effect / etc so many times and in so many different ways.

 

But, I'll say it one more time: I agree that END Reserve in 6e is overcosted

 

To my mind it is a pimple on the ass of the system, niche and corner-cased, easily dealt with, and not a major talking point. Obviously it seems to have more weight in your eyes. 

 

As to whether it needed to be nerfed or not, I also agree. I think it did need to be adjusted a bit in line with changes made to END the characteristic, but a mild tweak.

 

The blurb under the "LIMITATIONS" subheader for END Reserve does have an entry for Increased Endurance which clearly calls out that "GM's should be wary of...should usually be forbidden", and that should have been sufficient to communicate the intent to block that particular exploit.

 

Presumably, there were other reasons for END Reserve's costing changes that are unknown to me; maybe they are math based, maybe they are based in a desire to disincentive the abuse of the power. Perhaps someone knows if Steve has ever given any indication into his reasons or if someone has reverse engineered the build to derive the underlying reasoning in the costing.

 

I took steps to correct it in my own campaigns and moved on. However, if END Reserve is a barrier to you accepting 6e in its entirety, then so be it. 

Edited by Killer Shrike
expounded on PC vs NPC impact of Charges

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