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Killer Shrike

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

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32 minutes ago, massey said:

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.

 

This is a good summary of one of the challenges of Heroic games where you don't pay for gear.  I find the best way is to make sure that along the way each character has an opportunity to find things that help them with the roles they want that character fill.  In your example perhaps the GM introduces an NPC Cop buddy that knows John's predilection for punching criminal faces and gives him a pair of prototype weighted riot gloves which give him an extra +2d6 HA and some modest protection for his hands.  Now Bob has a lower chance to hit, but does a fair bit  more damage (albeit at melee range) while John is still a master of the pistol.

 

When you're managing a campaign the appearance of imbalance is almost as challenging as actual imbalance.  Players have to all feel that their character is competitive and brings something useful to the team.

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52 minutes ago, massey said:

 

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.

 

If and only if you're going out of your way to make him look that way. Otherwise, Bob gets the same gun John gets, and does the same damage at range. John hits more often at range, but Bob does more damage in melee.

 

Lucius Alexander

 

The palindromedary is playing in  a gritty police drama tagline.....

 

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9 minutes ago, Killer Shrike said:

 

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

 

You're saying that they were aware of the cost relationships and just changed things anyway?  I am not convinced.

 

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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.

 

 

We are with each other so far.

 

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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. 

 

 

Special effects and character backgrounds don't matter when you're talking about stress-testing the game mechanics.  The best technique for seeing if something is balanced is to try and push it to the breaking point.  "What happens if I do this?"  4th ed survived that much better than 6th does.

 

You don't have to worry about munchkins abusing End Reserve.  They saw the problem immediately and discarded it as an option.  The only people who will take it are those who don't realize the cost problems.  The players who are least aware of point efficiency are the ones who will pick the sub-optimal power sets. 

 

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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 cycle. 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 level unless it is taken at a level where it becomes an Advantage, and is rarely a good value unless you really commit to it as part of a larger scheme or more complex build. 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. 

 

There are 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. 

 

 

All of that is true.  Charges and Increased Endurance are not the same limitation.  The point of the comparison is that they are generally related to one another.  But yes, one or the other will be more or less limiting in different circumstances.  And of course, Increased End + End Reserve is still a bit more expensive.

 

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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 taking charges onto itself 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. 

 

 

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.

 

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. 

 

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

 

 

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

 

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 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. For my part I was content to just buff the power a bit to make it viable (to my own satisfaction) and moved on.

 

My point wasn't to say that people should be buying Increased Endurance and an End Reserve.  I'm not upset that my favorite character is now unusable.  I'm saying that is why it was costed that way to begin with.  My point is that many of the changes that were made to 6th are seemingly arbitrary.  You agree that they botched the costing of this power -- you just don't think it's an important issue.  I think that problem has been repeated with almost every change they made.

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8 minutes ago, Lucius said:

 

If and only if you're going out of your way to make him look that way. Otherwise, Bob gets the same gun John gets, and does the same damage at range. John hits more often at range, but Bob does more damage in melee.

 

Lucius Alexander

 

The palindromedary is playing in  a gritty police drama tagline.....

 

 

John can shoot people in melee too.

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1 hour ago, massey said:

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.

 

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.

 

At some point, John will run out of ammunition, or he'll roll a 17 or 18 and his gun will jam (part of the Real Weapon Limitation), or someone will Disarm John.  Bob can still punch.  

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16 minutes ago, Chris Goodwin said:

 

At some point, John will run out of ammunition, or he'll roll a 17 or 18 and his gun will jam (part of the Real Weapon Limitation), or someone will Disarm John.  Bob can still punch.  

 

You think those characters are totally balanced with each other?  Okay...

 

Bob and John are playing in a Star Wars game.  People get 3D6 RKA blaster pistols that never run out of ammo or jam.  Bob spends his 10 points on Strength...

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1 hour ago, massey said:

You're saying that they were aware of the cost relationships and just changed things anyway?  I am not convinced.

 

Yes, I'm saying that I believe Steve L. is and was aware of the relationships between frequency of use options, and changed the pricing.

 

If you are unconvinced you could ask Steve one or more rules questions directly to feel him out. He generally wont answer why questions, but he will answer what questions. So, you could simply present him with one or more what questions on this topic. It's also possible that he's already answered similar questions, which a search would turn up for you.

 

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Special effects and character backgrounds don't matter when you're talking about stress-testing the game mechanics. 

 

Ok, then. How about this: the restriction against what you demonstrate is directly stated in the game mechanics.

 

The Limitations section, which I quoted, and which is the same in 4e, 5e, and 6e, warns against taking powers to offset limitations on other powers. Under END Reserve itself there is an entry for Increased Endurance which indicates that a GM should closely monitor the interaction between that Limitation and Endurance Reserve, and should generally forbid it.

 

image.png

 

If you stress test a system by using it in a way that it warns you not to do, then all you've proved is the warning label was warranted and what you are trying to do is not a valid use of the system.

 

Quote

The best technique for seeing if something is balanced is to try and push it to the breaking point. 

 

Actually, that is not true. A way to find the breaking points of a system is to push against its spec to determine if it is feature complete and fulfills its formally stated requirements. 

 

To find balance on the other hand, you use the system as intended and designed under the conditions that it is engineered to operate within, within a standard deviation of its expected usage. Also, in a well designed system "balance" to the extent that it can be quantified ("working as intended within expected boundaries" perhaps), tends to lie towards the upper-middle of the system's overall capabilities rather than at the outer edges of it. 

 

You are confusing what would be called allowance and tolerance in my line of work.

 

Often the terms allowance and tolerance are used inaccurately and are improperly interchanged in engineering contexts. This is logical because both words generally can relate to the abstract concept of permission — that is, of a limit on what is acceptable. However, in engineering, separate meanings are enforced, as explained below.

 

A tolerance is the limit of acceptable unintended deviation from a nominal or theoretical dimension. Therefore, a pair of tolerances, upper and lower, defines a range within which an actual dimension may fall while still being acceptable.

 

In contrast, an allowance is a planned deviation from the nominal or theoretical dimension.

 

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"What happens if I do this?"  4th ed survived that much better than 6th does.

 

That has not been my experience.

 

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You don't have to worry about munchkins abusing End Reserve.  They saw the problem immediately and discarded it as an option.  The only people who will take it are those who don't realize the cost problems. 

 

Because the price was changed. 

 

So, my point is...the price may have been changed in 6e at least partially to discourage misuse, and your response is to say that point is invalid because the people who would misuse it do not in 6e because the price has changed. 

 

Surely you see the circularity of your logic?

 

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The players who are least aware of point efficiency are the ones who will pick the sub-optimal power sets. 

 

Well, or the players who try to model a concept rather than min max. 

 

Quote

All of that is true.  Charges and Increased Endurance are not the same limitation.  The point of the comparison is that they are generally related to one another.  But yes, one or the other will be more or less limiting in different circumstances.  And of course, Increased End + End Reserve is still a bit more expensive.

 

My point wasn't to say that people should be buying Increased Endurance and an End Reserve.  I'm not upset that my favorite character is now unusable. 

 

I'd be interested to see that "favorite character" and discuss it. I'm particularly interested to assess whether END Reserve was being used to dodge the Increased END limitation or as part of a coherent character concept.

 

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I'm saying that is why it was costed that way to begin with. 

 

You are assuming that it was costed that way to begin with. Unless you have direct evidence from the original game designers indicating that was their intent you don't know that any more than I know why Steve changed it in 6e. 

 

We can both posit what we think was going on in either case, but to state it as a fact is a bit strong without proof. To then further posit that as it was set forth by previous game designers is sacred, never to be changed by later editions doesn't hold much water. Which is to say, even if it was costed a certain way for a certain reason in a previous edition that doesn't make it inviolate to later alteration.

 

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My point is that many of the changes that were made to 6th are seemingly arbitrary. 

 

Arbitrary is an interesting word. In a more modern sense it means "random" or "on a whim", in its older usage it means "adjudicated" in the sense of an arbiter (ie a judge), from which the word is derived. In a technical context, we use it to mean, basically, an unspecified variable whose exact value in a given instance is unimportant.

 

I take it that you use it here to mean "on a whim". Correct me if I'm wrong.

 

Personally, if I were to grade 4e, 5e, or 6e on the basis of "whimsical randomness"...well, obviously my position is clear here, I think the disorder in the system is trending downward across those editions.

 

If I were to grade Steve L. on the basis of "whimsical randomness", to the extent that I'm familiar with him only through his works and his comments on these boards, I would put his "whimsical randomness" factor at a level so low that I might suspect him of being a Vulcan or android in disguise.

 

If you meant "arbitrary" in the more ancient sense of "as decided by a judge per their discretion", well then yes. The sole arbiter of what went into the rules made decisions per his discretion based upon his process and experience.

 

This is true of all things where human decision making determines what is produced. In the end, each decision made by the people whose job it was to make them is essentially arbitrary in that sense. For instance, every scene that went into a movie you like was decided "arbitrarily" by the director and / or editor(s). Every note that went into a song you like was put there arbitrarily by the songwriter and / or musician. And so on. You can agree or disagree as to what made the final cut, and each creator if directly asked may or may not be able to or want to discuss the rationale behind the decisions they made, and some decisions may very well have been made consciously and deliberately while others were made intuitively or even randomly or by accident. But in the end, with the exception of a live performance or showing, everything left in the published product was left there by decision to not take it out and is therefore deliberate to some extent.

 

I've thus far found your attempts to demonstrate that changes were made for no reason to fall short. Even when I don't agree with the outcome of where Steve ended up, I don't think he ended up there without some reason. In some cases I know the reason because I was semi-active in the community during the time 6e was happening. In other cases, I can only guess at the reasons. But my default position is not to assume it was done "just because" or "ego of the game designer".

 

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You agree that they botched the costing of this power -- you just don't think it's an important issue. 

 

True. I think it is the equivalent of moving the cigarette lighter in my car from the right of the ash tray to the left of the ash tray and put a independently hinged flap over it. I'm not a smoker, don't let people smoke in my car, and the only thing it gets used for is to plug in electronic devices in which case the flap gets in the way. So while it might be more or less convenient to me that its predecessor, I don't care that much and I removed the flap as well and now never think of it.

 

Quote

I think that problem has been repeated with almost every change they made.

 

Well, by all means, keep surfacing those changes that you disagree with for discussion.

 

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1 hour ago, Lucius said:

 

If and only if you're going out of your way to make him look that way. Otherwise, Bob gets the same gun John gets, and does the same damage at range. John hits more often at range, but Bob does more damage in melee.

 

 

 

And of course, Bob can not only draw his fists faster than John can unlimber his gun, he is far less prone to losing them or running out of ammo than is his partner.

 

Admitted odd-man-out here:

 

My personal opinion is that "balance" is a farce, as it changes depending entirely on the angle from which it is viewed.  The only "perfect balance" I ever strive for is the feedback that indicates all the players are equally happy (perfectly balanced happiness?  We probably can't tell without a mechanic in place) with the game at each stage of progression.

 

 

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27 minutes ago, massey said:

 

You think those characters are totally balanced with each other?  Okay...

 

Bob and John are playing in a Star Wars game.  People get 3D6 RKA blaster pistols that never run out of ammo or jam.  Bob spends his 10 points on Strength...

 

Yeah and now Bob is toting the heavy blaster doing 4D6 RKA that most folk can’t carry.  ?

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7 minutes ago, Duke Bushido said:

 

 

And of course, Bob can not only draw his fists faster than John can unlimber his gun, he is far less prone to losing them or running out of ammo than is his partner.

 

 

But if Bob is punching and John is shooting, Bob may well run out of END faster...

 

Lucius Alexander

 

The palindromedary says determining balance is apparently not easy.....

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3 minutes ago, Lucius said:

 

But if Bob is punching and John is shooting, Bob may well run out of END faster...

 

Lucius Alexander

 

The palindromedary says determining balance is apparently not easy.....

 

 

True.

 

See?  There just is no balance.....

 

Though John could train really hard and put reduced END on his STR....

 

Then Bob spends similar points and becomes a quick-draw artist.....

 

 

It's just a fallacy.  There is no balance.  I am sorry.

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Killer Shrike said:

 

Yes, I'm saying that I believe Steve L. is and was aware of the relationships between frequency of use options, and changed the pricing.

 

If you are unconvinced you could ask Steve one or more rules questions directly to feel him out. He generally wont answer why questions, but he will answer what questions. So, you could simply present him with one or more what questions on this topic. It's also possible that he's already answered similar questions, which a search would turn up for you.

 

 

Ok, then. How about this: the restriction against what you demonstrate is directly stated in the game mechanics.

 

The Limitations section, which I quoted, and which is the same in 4e, 5e, and 6e, warns against taking powers to offset limitations on other powers. Under END Reserve itself there is an entry for Increased Endurance which indicates that a GM should closely monitor the interaction between that Limitation and Endurance Reserve, and should generally forbid it.

 

image.png

 

If you stress test a system by using it in a way that it warns you not to do, then all you've proved is the warning label was warranted and what you are trying to do is not a valid use of the system.

 

 

Actually, that is not true. A way to find the breaking points of a system is to push against its spec to determine if it is feature complete and fulfills its formally stated requirements. 

 

To find balance on the other hand, you use the system as intended and designed under the conditions that it is engineered to operate within, within a standard deviation of its expected usage. Also, in a well designed system "balance" to the extent that it can be quantified ("working as intended within expected boundaries" perhaps), tends to lie towards the upper-middle of the system's overall capabilities rather than at the outer edges of it. 

 

You are confusing what would be called allowance and tolerance in my line of work.

 

Often the terms allowance and tolerance are used inaccurately and are improperly interchanged in engineering contexts. This is logical because both words generally can relate to the abstract concept of permission — that is, of a limit on what is acceptable. However, in engineering, separate meanings are enforced, as explained below.

 

A tolerance is the limit of acceptable unintended deviation from a nominal or theoretical dimension. Therefore, a pair of tolerances, upper and lower, defines a range within which an actual dimension may fall while still being acceptable.

 

In contrast, an allowance is a planned deviation from the nominal or theoretical dimension.

 

 

That has not been my experience.

 

 

Because the price was changed. 

 

So, my point is...the price may have been changed in 6e at least partially to discourage misuse, and your response is to say that point is invalid because the people who would misuse it do not in 6e because the price has changed. 

 

Surely you see the circularity of your logic?

 

 

Well, or the players who try to model a concept rather than min max. 

 

 

I'd be interested to see that "favorite character" and discuss it. I'm particularly interested to assess whether END Reserve was being used to dodge the Increased END limitation or as part of a coherent character concept.

 

 

You are assuming that it was costed that way to begin with. Unless you have direct evidence from the original game designers indicating that was their intent you don't know that any more than I know why Steve changed it in 6e. 

 

We can both posit what we think was going on in either case, but to state it as a fact is a bit strong without proof. To then further posit that as it was set forth by previous game designers is sacred, never to be changed by later editions doesn't hold much water. Which is to say, even if it was costed a certain way for a certain reason in a previous edition that doesn't make it inviolate to later alteration.

 

 

Arbitrary is an interesting word. In a more modern sense it means "random" or "on a whim", in its older usage it means "adjudicated" in the sense of an arbiter (ie a judge), from which the word is derived. In a technical context, we use it to mean, basically, an unspecified variable whose exact value in a given instance is unimportant.

 

I take it that you use it here to mean "on a whim". Correct me if I'm wrong.

 

Personally, if I were to grade 4e, 5e, or 6e on the basis of "whimsical randomness"...well, obviously my position is clear here, I think the disorder in the system is trending downward across those editions.

 

If I were to grade Steve L. on the basis of "whimsical randomness", to the extent that I'm familiar with him only through his works and his comments on these boards, I would put his "whimsical randomness" factor at a level so low that I might suspect him of being a Vulcan or android in disguise.

 

If you meant "arbitrary" in the more ancient sense of "as decided by a judge per their discretion", well then yes. The sole arbiter of what went into the rules made decisions per his discretion based upon his process and experience.

 

This is true of all things where human decision making determines what is produced. In the end, each decision made by the people whose job it was to make them is essentially arbitrary in that sense. For instance, every scene that went into a movie you like was decided "arbitrarily" by the director and / or editor(s). Every note that went into a song you like was put there arbitrarily by the songwriter and / or musician. And so on. You can agree or disagree as to what made the final cut, and each creator if directly asked may or may not be able to or want to discuss the rationale behind the decisions they made, and some decisions may very well have been made consciously and deliberately while others were made intuitively or even randomly or by accident. But in the end, with the exception of a live performance or showing, everything left in the published product was left there by decision to not take it out and is therefore deliberate to some extent.

 

I've thus far found your attempts to demonstrate that changes were made for no reason to fall short. Even when I don't agree with the outcome of where Steve ended up, I don't think he ended up there without some reason. In some cases I know the reason because I was semi-active in the community during the time 6e was happening. In other cases, I can only guess at the reasons. But my default position is not to assume it was done "just because" or "ego of the game designer".

 

 

True. I think it is the equivalent of moving the cigarette lighter in my car from the right of the ash tray to the left of the ash tray and put a independently hinged flap over it. I'm not a smoker, don't let people smoke in my car, and the only thing it gets used for is to plug in electronic devices in which case the flap gets in the way. So while it might be more or less convenient to me that its predecessor, I don't care that much and I removed the flap as well and now never think of it.

 

 

Well, by all means, keep surfacing those changes that you disagree with for discussion.

 

 

 

Sigh.  I think you're assuming bad faith on my part, and that's not warranted.  As I said earlier, 6th edition went over like a lead balloon here.  We're still playing a mixture of 4th and 5th, so whatever cost changes were made here haven't affected any of my characters at all (favorite characters or not).  And I haven't built a character who used an End Reserve in about 20 years.

 

The entire purpose of posting the Increased End + End Reserve breakdown was to show why End Reserve was priced the way it was in 5th edition and earlier.  It was to illustrate the cost relationship between End Reserve and Charges.  I was attempting to walk the reader through the process, showing why that power was priced as it was.  I took a lot of time to show the relationship, how one was approximately the same as the other.  That it was costed in such a way that even if you are trying to abuse it, it doesn't really gain you anything.  I thought I had illustrated it sufficiently for everyone to understand.

 

You want to know how I know they didn't do the math?  Because there's the big warning on page 206, that you posted above, telling GMs that they should watch out for it because it can result in "unbalanced, overly powerful characters".  But it was an inefficient use of points, even in 5th edition.  It's a definite waste in 6th.  They're warning people against something that sucks.

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On 2/11/2019 at 5:12 PM, massey said:

Sigh.  I think you're assuming bad faith on my part, and that's not warranted. 

 

Not at all. I am assuming a bias on your part, as I have a bias. 

 

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As I said earlier, 6th edition went over like a lead balloon here.  We're still playing a mixture of 4th and 5th, so whatever cost changes were made here haven't affected any of my characters at all (favorite characters or not).  And I haven't built a character who used an End Reserve in about 20 years.

 

Well, 6e went over well in my group, we played it, END Reserve and it's deficiencies were identified early, we patched it, and moved on.

 

So, relevant to discussion around changes to the power from 5e to 6e, its impact, and so on...I speak from a position of actual experience. 

 

You can of course discount my experience or tell me that it worked because I made it work, which in this case is entirely true...I house ruled it. 

 

But to make me ignore the results of my actual experience on the subject in favor of accepting your position on the topic requires a certain burden of proof. Just as my position requires some burden of proof to change your mind.

 

I feel like I've risen to the occasion and presented my point of view to a reasonable level.

 

To me, it seems that we meet in the middle at least partially; we both agree that the power as it is in 6e is suspect from a cost per effect perspective. We disagree on the degree of significance, and apparently on what does and does not constitute a correct and intended use of the rules around the interaction between Increased Endurance and Endurance Reserves. I feel that my interpretation is consistent with the rules as written, given that the rules are very explicit on that interaction, and that this interpretation has not changed from 4e to 5e to 6e.

 

If, in the end, you find my argument unpersuasive and I find yours unpersuasive, we can agree to disagree on the matter and move on to other talking points.

 

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The entire purpose of posting the Increased End + End Reserve breakdown was to show why End Reserve was priced the way it was in 5th edition and earlier.  It was to illustrate the cost relationship between End Reserve and Charges.  I was attempting to walk the reader through the process, showing why that power was priced as it was.  I took a lot of time to show the relationship, how one was approximately the same as the other.  That it was costed in such a way that even if you are trying to abuse it, it doesn't really gain you anything.  I thought I had illustrated it sufficiently for everyone to understand.

 

I understood your point, or given that I summarized my understanding of your point and you did not dispute it, I assume that I did.

 

I will point out that it is possible for someone to disagree with you for reasons other than a lack of understanding. 

 

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You want to know how I know they didn't do the math?  Because there's the big warning on page 206, that you posted above, telling GMs that they should watch out for it because it can result in "unbalanced, overly powerful characters". 

 

There are warnings all over the book about how things interact, things the GM should consider carefully, things that are explicitly not meant to work together. This is not a collective failure to "do the math" but rather clear communication of the expected usage and intent of the game mechanics.

 

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But it was an inefficient use of points, even in 5th edition.  It's a definite waste in 6th. 

 

If you want to start a separate discussion of "was Endurance Reserve costed properly in 5th edition", I'd be game to post on that thread. 

 

From a 6e perspective, as I keep agreeing that I think END Reserve is overcosted (though "waste" is further than I would go), there's not much more to say on that bit.

 

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They're warning people against something that sucks.

 

The "warning" is in regards to a specific interaction between a limitation and a power that directly offsets that limitation, consistent with the overall design of the rules for limitations, and consistent with the overall approach of the rules to give guidance on things that require or benefit from GM discretion.

 

As to "sucks", I think Hawaiian Pizza sucks, but I recognize that it is my opinion and that I'm personally free to abstain from eating it and to abstain from telling people who like it what I think of their disgusting ill-advised and nonsensical choice of pizza style.

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1 hour ago, Killer Shrike said:

 

I'd be interested to see that "favorite character" and discuss it. I'm particularly interested to assess whether END Reserve was being used to dodge the Increased END limitation or as part of a coherent character concept.

 

 

My favorite character was in a concept game where we had unlimited points.  We told the GM what we wanted and he built the characters for us.  It was in a mixed Marvel/DC world where we were playing descendants of the original heroes.  Not an End Reserve in sight.  That's why I said I wasn't here trying to save a beloved character.

 

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You are assuming that it was costed that way to begin with. Unless you have direct evidence from the original game designers indicating that was their intent you don't know that any more than I know why Steve changed it in 6e. 

 

We can both posit what we think was going on in either case, but to state it as a fact is a bit strong without proof. To then further posit that as it was set forth by previous game designers is sacred, never to be changed by later editions doesn't hold much water. Which is to say, even if it was costed a certain way for a certain reason in a previous edition that doesn't make it inviolate to later alteration.

 

 

Hugh Neilson (who has posted quite a bit above) was, I believe, part of the crew who helped make the changes that lead to 6th edition.  He posted his own commentary a page or so back.  I think we've got evidence in this very thread of "what they were thinking".

 

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Arbitrary is an interesting word. In a more modern sense it means "random" or "on a whim", in its older usage it means "adjudicated" in the sense of an arbiter (ie a judge), from which the word is derived. In a technical context, we use it to mean, basically, an unspecified variable whose exact value in a given instance is unimportant.

 

I take it that you use it here to mean "on a whim". Correct me if I'm wrong.

 

Personally, if I were to grade 4e, 5e, or 6e on the basis of "whimsical randomness"...well, obviously my position is clear here, I think the disorder in the system is trending downward across those editions.

 

If I were to grade Steve L. on the basis of "whimsical randomness", to the extent that I'm familiar with him only through his works and his comments on these boards, I would put his "whimsical randomness" factor at a level so low that I might suspect him of being a Vulcan or android in disguise.

 

If you meant "arbitrary" in the more ancient sense of "as decided by a judge per their discretion", well then yes. The sole arbiter of what went into the rules made decisions per his discretion based upon his process and experience.

 

 

I said earlier that Steve Long didn't follow the original design philosophy that was present in 4th edition and earlier.  I stand by that 100%.  Now he doesn't have to, he bought the game.  He can do with it what he wants.  But as a result, what we've really got are two different systems layered on top of one another.  In that sense, it's "arbitrary".  I'll give you an important example.

 

In 4th edition and earlier, the question was often proposed "How do you make a dragon who can do a claw/claw/bite?"

 

The answer was "buy it a higher Speed".  I don't know if you can find one of the 4th ed FAQs around anymore, but that was the answer that was always given.  In 5th edition and later, we got the Rapid Attack maneuver.  We got Multiple Power Attack.  We got the ability to use multiple martial art maneuvers as part of the same action.  This was a fundamental change to the nature of the system.  Some players really liked these changes, and some players didn't, but it was a clear difference from the "1 phase = 1 action" mentality that preceded it.

 

The 5th edition multiple martial art maneuver rules were so broken that we just had to say "no, that's ridiculous".  Too many legsweep/grab/nerve strike/joint break combos.  The Hero System took a sharp turn towards increasing offensive firepower.

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2 hours ago, massey said:

 

You think those characters are totally balanced with each other?  Okay...

 

Bob and John are playing in a Star Wars game.  People get 3D6 RKA blaster pistols that never run out of ammo or jam.  Bob spends his 10 points on Strength...

 

Bob has a blaster.  John has a blaster.  Everyone has a blaster!

 

At this point, it's Bob's choice to spend those points on his STR, and John's to spend his on CSLs.  

 

But if it were my Star Wars game, I'd probably limit the free blasters to 2d6. 

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22 minutes ago, Killer Shrike said:

 

Not at all. I am assuming a bias on your part, as I have a bias.

 

Well, 6e went over well in my group, we played it, END Reserve and it's deficiencies were identified early, we patched it, and moved on.

 

 

Then let's set the rest of that discussion aside, since ultimately we agree on this point.  I was attempting to show how it was costed correctly before, and it's not now.  And I think it's indicative of a larger pattern.

 

4 minutes ago, Chris Goodwin said:

 

Bob has a blaster.  John has a blaster.  Everyone has a blaster!

 

At this point, it's Bob's choice to spend those points on his STR, and John's to spend his on CSLs.  

 

 

Yeah.  And one choice is clearly a lot more effective than the other.  That's part of what I've been arguing -- heroic point balance isn't possible because too much of it takes place in a vacuum.  You're basically trying to balance an incomplete system where the game designer doesn't know what will be added later.

 

Thus, they shouldn't change the point costs of the complete system (i.e., at superheroic levels) to benefit some versions of the partial system.

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4 hours ago, massey said:

 

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.

 

First off, because I would look sideways at "+20 REC, only when unconscious" and ask why, exactly, he recovers so quickly from being KOd but not at other times, as I expect most GMs would.  If I am at -19 STUN, and have a 12 REC, normally I would get a PS 12 taking me to -7, then wake up with 5 STUN and 5 END on my first phase of the turn.  Under your model, I end up with 13 STUN and END on the first phase of the turn.  Better, but not a gamewinner.  If I spend 6 END per phase on my main attack, I am not making it to PS 12.

 

As to the CSL's, I am not convinced as to the pricing at the higher end, for similar reasons.   But I question why someone with limited abilities to augment is buying overall skill levels in the first place.  Skill level pricing is already pretty wonky, and always has been. For 5 points, you can add +1 to any one PRE based roll.  Why not buy +5 PRE instead?  That's a mechanical flaw which has existed since 1e, so if 6th did not get levels "exactly right", the question is whether it improved on the old model, had no real impact, or was detrimental.  I'm not seeing the case for "detrimental".

 

3 hours ago, Lucius said:

 

If and only if you're going out of your way to make him look that way. Otherwise, Bob gets the same gun John gets, and does the same damage at range. John hits more often at range, but Bob does more damage in melee.

 

 

Why doesn't Bob draw his baton?  I am assuming both Bob and John have the required WFs to use standard police gear.  Bob can also drag out a wounded teammate a lot better than John can, and more easily breaks the Grab of the punk who's grappled him so it's easier for his buddy to stab him.  Bob also has a big advantage if a fight breaks out on a plane, when he and John are undercover, or in any other circumstances where they can't walk around with guns.  And Bob does not have to fill out a report every time he "discharges" his fists.

 

In games where we are making STR practically useless, I would expect the GM to tell Bob's player that STR is basically useless in this game, just as I would expect a GM to tell John's player his character does not have to pay for KS: 1950''s baseball trivia unless it is actually going to be relevant in-game.

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2 hours ago, Duke Bushido said:

 

My personal opinion is that "balance" is a farce, as it changes depending entirely on the angle from which it is viewed. 

 

 

Ah,  yet another point we agree on. 

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25 minutes ago, massey said:

 

Hugh Neilson (who has posted quite a bit above) was, I believe, part of the crew who helped make the changes that lead to 6th edition.  He posted his own commentary a page or so back.  I think we've got evidence in this very thread of "what they were thinking".

 

Let's be clear - there was no "design by committee" of 6e.  Steve invited some Board posters to the "SETAC" with the clear statement that this group existed to discuss ideas he was grappling with and wanted to chat about, not discuss any ideas he did not put forward for discussion and shut up when he had what he needed from the discussion.  I recall some of Steve's comments from those discussions, but that would be what he chose to share in the course of the discussion.  I recall the comment that the END in an END reserve has advantages over END in other forms, which I agree with.  What would you charge for "END keeps going when you are KOd and is still there when you recover"?  That's what the END in a reserve does.  I'd suggest the recovery likely should be cheaper, as it only recovers that reserve END (even though it does recover the END when you would not otherwise get a recovery), before I would suggest that the END is overpriced.

 

14 minutes ago, massey said:

Yeah.  And one choice is clearly a lot more effective than the other.  That's part of what I've been arguing -- heroic point balance isn't possible because too much of it takes place in a vacuum.  You're basically trying to balance an incomplete system where the game designer doesn't know what will be added later.

 

Thus, they shouldn't change the point costs of the complete system (i.e., at superheroic levels) to benefit some versions of the partial system.

 

So adding free equipment is what breaks the balance?  If I spend points on the ability to survive in space and we play a Street Levels Super game that never goes into space, was my Life Support balanced with the player who spent the same points on a better CV and higher defenses?  Buying +10 dMCV has little impact if I never face an opponent with mental attacks.  Free equipment does not cause, or change, that. 

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2 minutes ago, Hugh Neilson said:

 

First off, because I would look sideways at "+20 REC, only when unconscious" and ask why, exactly, he recovers so quickly from being KOd but not at other times, as I expect most GMs would.  If I am at -19 STUN, and have a 12 REC, normally I would get a PS 12 taking me to -7, then wake up with 5 STUN and 5 END on my first phase of the turn.  Under your model, I end up with 13 STUN and END on the first phase of the turn.  Better, but not a gamewinner.  If I spend 6 END per phase on my main attack, I am not making it to PS 12.

 

 

Special effect?  "Round 2, Fight!"

 

Mine is much better, because I wake up a full phase earlier.  You aren't getting up on your first phase, you're getting up on your second.  I can take another recovery if I want (so I'm getting to my feet at the same time as you) and then I've got 25 Stun and End.  That's probably plenty of End to get me to the next post-12.

 

Quote

As to the CSL's, I am not convinced as to the pricing at the higher end, for similar reasons.   But I question why someone with limited abilities to augment is buying overall skill levels in the first place.  Skill level pricing is already pretty wonky, and always has been. For 5 points, you can add +1 to any one PRE based roll.  Why not buy +5 PRE instead?  That's a mechanical flaw which has existed since 1e, so if 6th did not get levels "exactly right", the question is whether it improved on the old model, had no real impact, or was detrimental.  I'm not seeing the case for "detrimental".

 

Let's agree that 6th edition didn't really improve things.  Overall I think the changes were poor, but I agree that things weren't perfect before.

 

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Why doesn't Bob draw his baton?  I am assuming both Bob and John have the required WFs to use standard police gear.  Bob can also drag out a wounded teammate a lot better than John can, and more easily breaks the Grab of the punk who's grappled him so it's easier for his buddy to stab him.  Bob also has a big advantage if a fight breaks out on a plane, when he and John are undercover, or in any other circumstances where they can't walk around with guns.  And Bob does not have to fill out a report every time he "discharges" his fists.

 

Sure.  But which character do you think is going to be the most effective overall?

 

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In games where we are making STR practically useless, I would expect the GM to tell Bob's player that STR is basically useless in this game, just as I would expect a GM to tell John's player his character does not have to pay for KS: 1950''s baseball trivia unless it is actually going to be relevant in-game.

 

The point is you shouldn't try to balance costs because of Fantasy Hero (or other heroic games that only use a part of the system).

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5 minutes ago, massey said:

The point is you shouldn't try to balance costs because of Fantasy Hero (or other heroic games that only use a part of the system).

 

Fantasy Hero is a different game from Champions.  Both of these are different from the toolkit HERO System.  I say this regardless of edition.

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4 minutes ago, Hugh Neilson said:

 

Let's be clear - there was no "design by committee" of 6e.  Steve invited some Board posters to the "SETAC" with the clear statement that this group existed to discuss ideas he was grappling with and wanted to chat about, not discuss any ideas he did not put forward for discussion and shut up when he had what he needed from the discussion.  I recall some of Steve's comments from those discussions, but that would be what he chose to share in the course of the discussion.  I recall the comment that the END in an END reserve has advantages over END in other forms, which I agree with.  What would you charge for "END keeps going when you are KOd and is still there when you recover"?  That's what the END in a reserve does.  I'd suggest the recovery likely should be cheaper, as it only recovers that reserve END (even though it does recover the END when you would not otherwise get a recovery), before I would suggest that the END is overpriced.

 

 

Good enough for me.  Shows which way his thoughts were going.  And I think it's very different from the reasoning in 4th and before.

 

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So adding free equipment is what breaks the balance?  If I spend points on the ability to survive in space and we play a Street Levels Super game that never goes into space, was my Life Support balanced with the player who spent the same points on a better CV and higher defenses?  Buying +10 dMCV has little impact if I never face an opponent with mental attacks.  Free equipment does not cause, or change, that. 

 

Yeah, those problems exist in any game.  But that's something to be addressed at the individual GM level, not at the publication level.  You don't change point costs for the genres that only use half the book.

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Just now, Chris Goodwin said:

 

Fantasy Hero is a different game from Champions.  Both of these are different from the toolkit HERO System.  I say this regardless of edition.

 

Not really.  But it should be.

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