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Killer Shrike

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

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Just now, Doc Democracy said:

Are you really telling me to RTFM?!! ?

 

I guess I could stretch to that....but it is entirely against my principles...

 

Yup. The templates options in HD are quite strong. They were good in HD5e, and HD6e really doubled down on it to make it even better.

 

I made heavy use of them.

 

You can also do things like add an additional notes tab, label it as you like, and then put meta information on that tab...like so...

 

image.thumb.png.702581483486b72a31070ef339442154.png

 

Embed the content from that notes field via an HTML export template...

image.png.a672bd5bfc8c811e3cb955085e6295ab.png

 

Id cells in the rendered part of the output...

 

image.thumb.png.c450d49b8e5fa5ae7fd68ffc2ae936d1.png

 

and then apply the values in the notes field content into those cells via javascript...

 

image.png.deef78a659ca9b0e7b12d0b8a30112c9.png

 

HD is really a very good piece of software.

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9 minutes ago, Doc Democracy said:

Have you ever considered a position in the diplomatic corps?  ? 

 

My government service took the form of being a U.S. Marine; as a rule we had an institutional preference for direct and open communication and quickly clarifying uncertain situations. 

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2 hours ago, Sean Waters said:

Hmm.  I'm not sure I can get behind the idea that any power that is more than you need is surplus to requirements, at least if you mean what you seem to mean.

 

Very few actual characters built by players are ever going to buy a NND as their only major attack: it is going in a MP.  You also almost never see an Entangle outside a MP, or a Flash.  There are many other examples.

 

The problem with MPs is not the mechanic, as such, but the way it seems to be habitually used - to cover a wide range of bases to make characters effective in a wide range of situations because that is play-efficient rather than because that realises a concept.  A lot of example characters I have seen are guilty of that.  You get powers with really complex builds that are there for synergy rather than anything else or powers that are situational.  You'd never splash out on that particular power if you were paying full points.  Well, almost never.

 

Remember Starburst (I think that was his name, could have been Opal Fruit) from 1eChampions?  He had a MP with an attack, defence and movement power in it, IIRC.  He was damn interesting to run.

MP to cover a wide range of bases yeah that has become very popular in the later editions. If you look at the sample characters in CC, you would think that it’s almost mandatory! However,  I don’t think that that was always the case. So how did we get here? And more importantly, does it have to be that way?

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3 hours ago, Sean Waters said:

The problem with MPs is not the mechanic, as such, but the way it seems to be habitually used - to cover a wide range of bases to make characters effective in a wide range of situations because that is play-efficient rather than because that realises a concept.

 

This can be part of it.  Even if it's not the MP is just too damn good to pass up.

 

My wife's fire mage has Fire Bolt (single-target RKA AP), Fire Ball (AoE RKA), Flash, Mind Control, Teleport and AoE Life Support built into her multipower all for less points than the first two would cost alone.  She's substantially more useful in a larger variety of scenarios because of this.

 

I converted a friend's D&D Bard character this week and similarly used a MP (two actually) for his various instant and constant spells.  He got 18 spells for less than the cost of 4.

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44 minutes ago, Toxxus said:

My wife's fire mage has Fire Bolt (single-target RKA AP), Fire Ball (AoE RKA), Flash, Mind Control, Teleport and AoE Life Support built into her multipower all for less points than the first two would cost alone.  She's substantially more useful in a larger variety of scenarios because of this.

 

I converted a friend's D&D Bard character this week and similarly used a MP (two actually) for his various instant and constant spells.  He got 18 spells for less than the cost of 4.

 

Are there any overhead costs or other control factors required to be a magic user in your campaign? 

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13 hours ago, Killer Shrike said:

 

Did you read the entire post or just the preamble?

 

EDIT: to avoid a misinterpretation and hurting of feelings, I don't think what you think I meant is what I meant or what I said; the later half of what I typed explores my meaning thoroughly. I have the impression that your questions are formed from the first part of the post, and that the later part of the post clarifies my meaning sufficiently. If you did read the entire thing in depth and the questions you raise are still present, then I'm more than glad to answer them. Also, I added a footnote re: "exotic" which might provide further clarity.

 

Yep, I read through.  My responses tend to be either pithy or prolonged.  You had the pithy version, so...

 

First of all you have to look at what you were responding to, for context.  MPs are too cheap was the point Toxxus was concerned about because you get a raft of different things for relatively few character points, which in turn encourages that build behaviour behaviour.

 

Your response was, well you only need a few things for a well rounded character, but more options give you, well, more options.

 

You then start talking about vectors.  I’m not sure what you mean by that, despite your explanation, hence my comment about ‘if you mean what you seem to mean’.  I might have to jump about a bit here, but you end up saying you are not overly concerned if a character has 5 flavours of lethal attack, but you are more concerned about multiple vectors of attack.

 

Now, I’m assuming when you talk about ‘5 flavors of lethal’ you don’t mean 5 slots each containing the same KA, but in different colours – you mean 5 powers based on Killing Attack with different advantages, so, maybe:

 

1.     RKA

2.     HKA

3.     1 hex AoE RKA

4.     Radius AoE RKA

5.     No Range Modifier RKA

 

…something like that?

 

I think that your vectors are a red herring.  Being able to throw a normal or killing attack is far less of a problem than being able to throw an AoE Blast as well as a ‘normal’ Blast, for very little extra cost.  With the former, you are still targeting DCV of the target character and you have to guess which of the attacks is going to be more effective (Hint: the KA, over time), but with the AoE plus Blast combo you can hit high DCV targets and low DCV targets and it is usually pretty obvious which is which, at least after the first round of combat.

 

Similarly you say that each flavour of exotic attack is a vector – I’ve not seen a MP stocked entirely with Entangle or Flash variations – there will be something damaging in there too.  AVAD being a ‘vector’ is also problematic – having a multipower of AVADs, all presumably stopped by something different is again trying to be effective against everything, and, IIRC, frowned upon.

 

I can understand that impulse, I can, and I accept that some MPs are more effective than others, depending on what they are stocked with, but the problem that creates, to my mind, is the one-man team: I don’t really need anyone else because I can do it all – I have an answer to every situation.

 

You go on to say you are more worried by a character with multiple defence options than multiple attacks.  The reason that people want to build multiple defences is because of multiple attacks, especially if characters take a ‘Dial-A-Gun’ approach.

 

The point I’d make is that, in most cases, characters will be part of a team, whether PC or NPC.  The team should cover all the bases, or a good number of them – the individual characters, generally, shouldn’t.

 

That is not to say that the occasional versatile character should not appear, but it should not be the norm – and the relative cheapness of MPs encourages people to use them to cover any and all perceived weaknesses rather than, in some way, making them simply more interesting.  You’ve already made a substantial investment, why not chuck in, for very little more, a Missile Deflection (you only use it occasionally anyhow), or a Barrier (it is Fire and Forget) or a Teleport to overcome Entangles or a Flash or a Drain or a Healing or…well, why not have multiple MPs to give you a huge range of potential abilities, or, well, whatever, really.

 

The flip side is that MPs are point efficient, so you are not giving up much power (and if you play AP limits or maximum DCs, possibly none at all) for a whole raft of new shiny toys that do not necessarily encourage team play. 

 

In addition, especially in 6E where the base points for a build have increased, without the overall power levels necessarily having increased, the investment in a few MP slots is far less of a burden.

 

My comment was that the idea of MPs is not a bad thing mechanically, but as with most things in Hero, it is how you use them in practice, and the effect that has on the game.  It has been my experience that a clever player, or GM can justify more or less anything as being ‘in concept’, and some do.  I admit to doing all the things you are concerned about, and I would be surprised if you did not admit the same.

 

So, to circle back to the start, Toxxus raised a valid point: MPs are a cheap way to get extra powers and that means that to compete, most characters have one.  My point was not that they are too cheap per se but that price point does tend to encourage overuse, to the point where many character builds will have an MP or VPP.  Rather than making characters nuanced, it becomes an almost necessary part of every build.  I don’t agree that “A different way to look at it is, any more than you need of something is surplus to requirements.” Unless you are suggesting everyone ‘needs’ a MP packed with options.  Which would be bad.

 

Another way to consider this is that the existence of the MP reduces the need for players to make hard choices about powers.  Unless you are playing in a heavily CP restricted game with relatively high DC, Defence and Movement expectations, you can pretty much always afford the extra points for a few MP slots.  

 

Ultimately we are probably disagreeing on definitions and detail more than principle, but that is where you will find the Devil.

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13 hours ago, Killer Shrike said:

 

My government service took the form of being a U.S. Marine; as a rule we had an institutional preference for direct and open communication and quickly clarifying uncertain situations. 

 

Then again, in the military, people either have to do what you say you you have to do what they say, and hard feelings be damned.  I am unlikely to get upset about anything you say about me or my opinions or, if I do, I'll calm down before posting a reply: we have known each other for a very long time through these boards and I am definitely older and in some ways wiser.  It may not be a coincidence that Hero does not have a skill that is directly analogous to 'Diplomacy'.  I feel I ought to put a smiley face in there, but I'm not going to.

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11 hours ago, Ninja-Bear said:

One way I think you can balance things with MPs is that they can be used for utility -iow cover bases but they shouldn’t be as powerful as a dedicated power.

 

You can do this, at least to an extent, with campaign build guidelines: if you use Active Point caps on powers - and there are pros and cons to that - you can say that the entire cost of a MP has to conform to the cap, as if it was a single power, or you can come up with something along those lines if you feel the consequences of that would be too harsh.  Of course the rules on MPs are such that, as well as spectacularly making no sense, you can always buy two frameworks and have them add together to make a bigger power.

 

What?  No you can't!  Well, actually...

 

Whilst the rules specifically forbid slots in a MP adding to each other or slots in other frameworks and uses attacks as examples, it goes on to say:

 

A character may have two Power Frameworks, or two slots in the same Framework, that both add to or affect the same ability bought outside any Power Framework (or the same Combat or Martial Maneuver, or the like). For example, a character could have a Multipower slot of +10 PD, and a Variable Power Pool slot of +15 PD, that both added to his PD, since his PD is not in any Power Framework and the two powers are not adding to each other.

 

First of all how are the 10 and the 15 not adding to each other?  Secondly, why can't I buy 6d6 Blast in a slot in MP1 and the same in a slot in MP2 and, so long as I buy 1d6 Blast outside a framework, have them all add together, based on the same odd contortion of logic?

 

Anyway: AP caps.  Worth considering.

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Sean about the two MP working together, I believe back in 3rde there was a villain written up like that.  Also have you checked out Champions 5th genre book? I like how Aaron Allston used MPs to enhance the archetypes Basic Powers. He is another key though. He only allowed powers within their respective power sets. As with anything else in Hero, it can be abused! But should it stop you from using it altogether? I say no.

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20 minutes ago, Ninja-Bear said:

Sean about the two MP working together, I believe back in 3rde there was a villain written up like that.  Also have you checked out Champions 5th genre book? I like how Aaron Allston used MPs to enhance the archetypes Basic Powers. He is another key though. He only allowed powers within their respective power sets. As with anything else in Hero, it can be abused! But should it stop you from using it altogether? I say no.

 

I'm with you - my general approach is deregulation of the rules and regulation by the GM, where it is needed.  I just wish the rules avoided this sort of unnecessary confusion in, what I assume, is an attempt to avoid abuse.  Personally I think a little abuse, judiciously applied, can be quite refreshing.

 

I believe the rules should either ban adding powers in the same or different frameworks, or allow it, (with 'allow it' being favourite) maybe with a side bar to advise on ways to ameliorate the worst excesses. 

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On 2/14/2019 at 8:42 AM, Brian Stanfield said:

 

Yeah, I don't allow power frameworks in heroic level games unless it's something very specific, such as building a weapon with multiple functions (like the M203 grenade launcher). I've even toyed with the idea of a battle axe with a spike as a "multipower," but that is starting to push what I think is reasonable for a non-supers campaign. Otherwise heroic games start to look a little too video-gamey, like D&D has become.

 

Brian... what you and Chris Goodwin are talking about... that has just been always my experience with Heroic level games. Pre-4th and many years post-4th. I guess I just never ran into/dealt with players falling into the "over-engineering" side of HERO... i.e. they were always happy to just have a Stealth skill... not super-stealth invisibility. In fact, with my current game (modern espionage, but PCs are "better" than others) I've actually had to encourage a few of them to actually take a small power build to reflect their natural gifts, because I actually do want them pushing the limits in small ways. It would not be how I ran a traditional Danger International game, but part of what sets this particular game apart. 

What you say about heroic games feeling video-gamey... I totally get that when I play stuff like D&D... but I guess I've been lucky that hasn't spilled over into our HERO games... but then, we are all old and have old tendencies hard wired. 

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13 hours ago, Killer Shrike said:

Are there any overhead costs or other control factors required to be a magic user in your campaign? 

 

I require a -1 level of limitations or higher in most cases.  I prefer the standard magic user limitations of Incantation, Gesture, Extra Time (Full Phase), and Concentration.  However, I wanted to leave some other play styles open.

 

Ex:  My wife's fire mage has the classic Incantation, Gesture, Full Phase limitations on all of her powers.  If she's grabbed or smothered all of her magic is negated.

        Our resident Witcher has gestures and 2x endurance cost on everything.  Endurance gates his ability use pretty hard.

       The guy playing Udyr has a complex weave of limitations that I hoisted from the video game he's based on (cool downs, active/passive abilities, turning on one stance cancels the passive of the previous, but not the active - for 2 phases - etc.).  Building this right took me a couple of hours by itself.

        Our Dwarven Explosives expert has OAF, Expendable Foci that require a full phase to use.

       The 3rd to Last Airbender guy has gestures - both hands - and a couple other limitations that make it *feel* like a martial-arts-based magic system.

 

 

 

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6 hours ago, Sean Waters said:

I think that your vectors are a red herring.  Being able to throw a normal or killing attack is far less of a problem than being able to throw an AoE Blast as well as a ‘normal’ Blast, for very little extra cost.  With the former, you are still targeting DCV of the target character and you have to guess which of the attacks is going to be more effective (Hint: the KA, over time), but with the AoE plus Blast combo you can hit high DCV targets and low DCV targets and it is usually pretty obvious which is which, at least after the first round of combat.

I think he was being a bit unclear by referring to vectors of attack instead of methods of defense.  As I understand it, he was getting at what you mention here:

6 hours ago, Sean Waters said:

Similarly you say that each flavour of exotic attack is a vector – I’ve not seen a MP stocked entirely with Entangle or Flash variations – there will be something damaging in there too.  AVAD being a ‘vector’ is also problematic – having a multipower of AVADs, all presumably stopped by something different is again trying to be effective against everything, and, IIRC, frowned upon.

Where the character has a way to threaten many defenses and some AOEs or mental attacks to ignore DCV, so they're always threatening a weakness. 

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

I think he was being a bit unclear by referring to vectors of attack instead of methods of defense.  As I understand it, he was getting at what you mention here:

Where the character has a way to threaten many defenses and some AOEs or mental attacks to ignore DCV, so they're always threatening a weakness. 

 

That's really where the absurd cost effectiveness of the MP damages the game, imo.

 

You can easily afford an AP for the heavy armor targets, Single Hex Accurate AoEs for the DCV monsters, large area AoEs for clearing hordes of trash mobs, OMCV based attacks to hit otherwise impervious enemies, etc.  And usually you can get all of that and more for less than the price of just buying two attack powers.

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12 minutes ago, Toxxus said:

That's really where the absurd cost effectiveness of the MP damages the game, imo.

 

You can easily afford an AP for the heavy armor targets, Single Hex Accurate AoEs for the DCV monsters, large area AoEs for clearing hordes of trash mobs, OMCV based attacks to hit otherwise impervious enemies, etc.  And usually you can get all of that and more for less than the price of just buying two attack powers.

It's more to do with the constraints on offense, in my mind.  If you have a Multipower with 5 attacks each 60 AP, you could instead have afforded a Multipower with a 15d6 Blast and a 10d6 AOE Blast.  I'd imagine the latter to be more useful, just due to larger numbers. 

But you're commonly forbidden to exceed certain offensive caps to keep offense balanced between characters in the same campaign.  So people who want more offensive power have to go broad. 

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1 minute ago, Gnome BODY (important!) said:

It's more to do with the constraints on offense, in my mind.  If you have a Multipower with 5 attacks each 60 AP, you could instead have afforded a Multipower with a 15d6 Blast and a 10d6 AOE Blast.  I'd imagine the latter to be more useful, just due to larger numbers. 

But you're commonly forbidden to exceed certain offensive caps to keep offense balanced between characters in the same campaign.  So people who want more offensive power have to go broad. 

 

Yes, that's a pretty common campaign restriction.  Nobody wants to deal with 6d6k AP guy in a Fantasy Hero game just because he came up with a way to afford it.

 

I think I could get the costs where I like them by just forcing all multipower slots to be variable instead of fixed.  That would at least make a broad multipower array somewhat painful point-wise.

 

There was a flat divider approach I saw somewhere that is also pretty close to what I'm after.  Basically the players do the spells/powers as singlets and whatever Real Cost they end up with they divide it again by 3 or 4 but no power frameworks are allowed.

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18 hours ago, Ninja-Bear said:

So how did we get here?

 

There was no option for "selectable" as an adder to power Advantages, so quite often, in the early days, if you wanted to be able to toggle a particular Advantage off and on, you wrote two versions of the power (or three, or four) and stuck them in an ultra and called it good. 

 

Then came "variable advantage," but even then, it wasn't the most cost-effective way to toggle on or off a single Advantage. 

 

We saw a huge drop in multipower use when we house ruled "selective" as an additional +1/4 for any advantage. 

 

Nowadays, we really only see them for characters with radically different power groups: movement and offense, for example. 

 

I think if we did away with elemental control, we'd see even more, as multipower would be the best choice (and in 6, is the only choice) to simulate a character who can manipulate a single ability in multiple ways:  for example, a person who can do "just so much" with his telekinetic ability, and so he has to decide how much of this potential to use for flight,  for his force field, and for his ranged PD attack. Next phase, he doesn't need to fly, so he allocates that potential elsewhere. 

 

We tend to use EC for that sort of thing, but a (non ultra) MP is a good second choice. 

 

That sort of thing. 

 

MP grew more and more popular starting with the more mathy of us: "free points," as it were: the same exact complaint so many had about EC. 

 

 

18 hours ago, Ninja-Bear said:

 

 

And more importantly, does it have to be that way?

 

It doesn't.  De-stress the need for points shaving, and create alternatives for the same effect. 

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7 hours ago, Sean Waters said:

Then again, in the military, people either have to do what you say or you have to do what they say, and hard feelings be damned.  I am unlikely to get upset about anything you say about me or my opinions or, if I do, I'll calm down before posting a reply: we have known each other for a very long time through these boards and I am definitely older and in some ways wiser. 

 

I'll grant you are older, but I'd be interested in a system to quantify wisdom if you have one.

 

Anyway, we have indeed "known" each other for many years virtually, and you may or may not realize it but you're on my short list of people whose opinion on this game I most respect. 

 

7 hours ago, Sean Waters said:

It may not be a coincidence that Hero does not have a skill that is directly analogous to 'Diplomacy'.  I feel I ought to put a smiley face in there, but I'm not going to.

 

I'm ok with that; I tend to distrust people who "smile too much". In all seriousness, I did not mean to offend with terseness; I assumed that your long-demonstrated thick skin and long familiarity with my communication style would be sufficient for you to take me at face value in asking a clarifying question. So, apologies, and in future I'll refrain from posting if I don't have the time to be less direct / terse. 

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9 hours ago, Sean Waters said:

Yep, I read through.  My responses tend to be either pithy or prolonged.  You had the pithy version, so...

 

First of all you have to look at what you were responding to, for context.  MPs are too cheap was the point Toxxus was concerned about because you get a raft of different things for relatively few character points, which in turn encourages that build behaviour behaviour.

 

What I was responding to was this:

 

On 2/13/2019 at 12:33 PM, Toxxus said: 

One thing I'm concerned with is multipowers.  It just makes additional abilities/tricks TOO cheap.  It's essentially a 90% discount on each additional item.  Basically you get 9 additional options for the price of 1 additional option.

 

I don't like that every character has one, but if they don't get one they're basically playing the "build your character" game poorlyWould you like 8 fewer moves than the other players for the same cost?  Congrats - you've....succeeded?

 

This is a "Quantity" argument...i.e. a "more is always better" argument.

 

Quote

Your response was, well you only need a few things for a well rounded character, but more options give you, well, more options.

 

My counterpoint was, there is also a "Quality" argument as well as a "Sufficiency vs Redundancy" argument. 

 

Having options is generally good, but at a certain point you reach diminishing returns. Enough is as good as a feast. At a certain point, even among many options, some will prove to be go-to / high applicability and others will prove to be rarely or never used / low applicability.

 

Context matters, as it always does. In some campaigns more finely grained options may be needful, in others more basic builds focusing on core functionality might be better, and in others a compromise between different considerations may be good enough. The threats faced in-game determine which strategy is more optimal. 

 

For instance, consider silverware. You might get a full silverware set with multiple types of forks, spoons, pie cutters, butter spreaders, etc...the whole shebang. Or you might get 1 type of fork, 1 type of spoon, 1 type of knife. Or you might get a spork. If you are trying to host a formal dinner for the Queen then the full silverware set with all the bits would be appropriate; but if you've decided to abandon any pretense at healthy living and are digging into a KFC  "famous" bowl the spork is more appropriate. For the vast majority of situations, the 1-of each type approach is sufficient to the need, perhaps supplemented with a few extras such as a companion set of steak knives.

 

I can sense your rejoinder..."but with a MP or VPP you can have ALL of those things". Which is true to a point. However not for free. With the VPP, obviously, there are overhead costs / a premium. With an MP there is a very small premium, trivial for ultraslots, but high opportunity cost. Each slot in the MP is in competition with every other slot in the MP that fills a similar role to itself.

 

In a vacuum it is difficult to measure this hidden cost, but for each given character using an MP an analysis can be done to derive the "wastage" cost of overlapping slots compared to a version of the character lacking the MP and focusing on a singular ability of that type. In the context of the campaign that character will be in, the degree of usage each slot gets in practice factors in to this; if there are say 3 similar slots in an MP and one of them is used 80% of the time, another is used 6% of the time, and the last is used 4% of the time, then 20% of the cost of the first slot, 94% of the second slot, and 96% of the third slot is essentially wasted...a flexibility tax, or an insurance paid in advance against possible future need depending on how you want to think about it. In some cases the points are worth it, and in other cases a thinned down version of the character is more efficient.

 

Quote

You then start talking about vectors.  I’m not sure what you mean by that, despite your explanation, hence my comment about ‘if you mean what you seem to mean’.  I might have to jump about a bit here, but you end up saying you are not overly concerned if a character has 5 flavours of lethal attack, but you are more concerned about multiple vectors of attack.

 

A vector is a magnitude and a direction, in math speak. In my line of work "vector" is used to mean a direction of attack (or a single dimension array...or a form of graphics...or situationally other things...people like me like that word I guess).

 

You see it pop up in other places as well, such as "disease vectors" or in piloting airplanes "what's your vector, Victor?". It's a way to say "there are many approaches that could be taken to take action on something, but which one is to be or was taken in a specific instance"

 

So, in Hero terms, non-lethal is normal damage and non-lethal defense is non-resistant PD / ED and Damage Reduction (etc), lethal damage is killing damage and lethal defense is resistant defenses such as rPD / rED, DEF, resistant Damage Reduction (etc), and everything else is "exotic"...as in out of the ordinary. 

 

Quote

Now, I’m assuming when you talk about ‘5 flavors of lethal’ you don’t mean 5 slots each containing the same KA, but in different colours – you mean 5 powers based on Killing Attack with different advantages, so, maybe:

 

1.     RKA

2.     HKA

3.     1 hex AoE RKA

4.     Radius AoE RKA

5.     No Range Modifier RKA

 

…something like that?

 

Yes, that would be an example of 5 flavors of lethal damage. It could be 5 slots in a multipower, it could be Variable Advantage, the 1 hx and radius RKA's might be condensed into a single option (or one or the other taken), the RKA and no range RKA might be condensed into a single option (or one or the other taken).

 

Some of the effects that is trying to capture are clearly about ACCURACY (NRM, 1hx), and sufficient accuracy might be attained in other ways (OCV, CSL's, PSL's). 

 

And so on. 

 

In a vacuum, having those options makes a character look more capable on paper, and in some circumstances gives them an edge. However a character with 1 KA with higher total effect may be as or more effective in most situations. 

 

The counter argument here is "but once you've hit the damage cap for the campaign, the only option left is to sidegrade, and thus the attack MP with similar slots is better". Yes, that's generally true. However that isn't the fault of the MP, it is one of the many unpleasant side effects of damage caps, and one of the reasons I don't use them.

 

Quote

I think that your vectors are a red herring.  Being able to throw a normal or killing attack is far less of a problem than being able to throw an AoE Blast as well as a ‘normal’ Blast, for very little extra cost.  With the former, you are still targeting DCV of the target character and you have to guess which of the attacks is going to be more effective (Hint: the KA, over time), but with the AoE plus Blast combo you can hit high DCV targets and low DCV targets and it is usually pretty obvious which is which, at least after the first round of combat.

 

Yes, the ability to apply different advantages to an attack is useful, and MP is great for that. For a character who's concept justifies an ability of that sort, MP is compelling. 

 

There are some alternatives.

 

Variable Advantage does work for some characters to achieve a similar effect. The classic problem with Variable Advantage is that the AP to cover the modifier results in lower dice of effect, but this can often be worked around.

 

Naked Power Advantages can be used to apply specific advantages to a base effect. This requires some finesse, but it is doable.

 

Working backwards from intent, I want a point target attack option and a AoE attack option could be two separate abilities altogether such as a gun and grenade combo. Concept matters here, obviously. 

 

However, generally speaking, an MP tends to be the most efficient and direct way mechanically to accomplish that sort of effect, and if it is in-concept then it's a great purpose-built mechanic for an "array of powers, only some of which can be active simultaneously". But it's not the end all be all final word on good character design and certainly IMO doesn't warrant the statement "if they don't get one they're basically playing the 'build your character' game poorly" as put forth by @Toxxus.

 

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Similarly you say that each flavour of exotic attack is a vector – I’ve not seen a MP stocked entirely with Entangle or Flash variations – there will be something damaging in there too. 

 

I think you misunderstood me...I would not be overly concerned by a player handing in a MP full of Entangles per se (though, obviously, it depends on specifics...an Entangle BOECV and a Entangle vs STR, and an Entangle vs DEX, etc would fall under my multiple vectors of attack red flag).

 

The character handing in an MP with a Flash, an Entangle, a KA, a Blast, an Ego Attack, an NND vs Life Support, and a KA AVLD/AVAD FD on the other hand would be much more concerning to me.

 

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AVAD being a ‘vector’ is also problematic – having a multipower of AVADs, all presumably stopped by something different is again trying to be effective against everything, and, IIRC, frowned upon.

 

And I would frown on it. AVAD vs FD and AVAD vs PowD are two separate vectors.

 

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You go on to say you are more worried by a character with multiple defence options than multiple attacks. 

 

I'm pretty sure that I did not actually say that.

 

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I can understand that impulse, I can, and I accept that some MPs are more effective than others, depending on what they are stocked with, but the problem that creates, to my mind, is the one-man team: I don’t really need anyone else because I can do it all – I have an answer to every situation.

 

I'm not sure if you are responding to something I said or just ruminating, but I'm not sure what impulse you are referring to.

 

I don't have a problem with MP's, and I use them all the time in character builds. They are a good game mechanic.

 

I was not responding to MP's in general, but specifically to Toxxus's bit of text I quoted.

 

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That is not to say that the occasional versatile character should not appear, but it should not be the norm – and the relative cheapness of MPs encourages people to use them to cover any and all perceived weaknesses rather than, in some way, making them simply more interesting.  You’ve already made a substantial investment, why not chuck in, for very little more, a Missile Deflection (you only use it occasionally anyhow), or a Barrier (it is Fire and Forget) or a Teleport to overcome Entangles or a Flash or a Drain or a Healing or…well, why not have multiple MPs to give you a huge range of potential abilities, or, well, whatever, really.

 

The flip side is that MPs are point efficient, so you are not giving up much power (and if you play AP limits or maximum DCs, possibly none at all) for a whole raft of new shiny toys that do not necessarily encourage team play. 

 

In addition, especially in 6E where the base points for a build have increased, without the overall power levels necessarily having increased, the investment in a few MP slots is far less of a burden.

 

My comment was that the idea of MPs is not a bad thing mechanically, but as with most things in Hero, it is how you use them in practice, and the effect that has on the game.  It has been my experience that a clever player, or GM can justify more or less anything as being ‘in concept’, and some do.  I admit to doing all the things you are concerned about, and I would be surprised if you did not admit the same.

 

We have no disagreement here. If there is no "concept" enforcement, and an MP is allowed as a grab-bag of abilities, then it is quite efficient. 

 

However, there are other viable ways to build characters not using an MP, and an MP with just a bunch of overlapping slots of "same basic thing with a different modifier applied" is not that concerning to me overall. I am more concerned by a character with multiple vectors of abilities than I am by a character with lots of options all within the same vector.

 

If it helps to use a synonym, replace "vector" with "dimension". A character with 5 flavors of killing attacks (in an MP or not...but lets be honest almost certainly in an MP) and no other viable attacks is, if you like, a single dimensional character. 

 

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So, to circle back to the start, Toxxus raised a valid point: MPs are a cheap way to get extra powers

 

Yes.

 

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and that means that to compete, most characters have one. 

 

I've not seen this to be true. Some characters have one (or more), but I wouldn't say most, at least not in the campaigns I've been in / ran.

 

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Another way to consider this is that the existence of the MP reduces the need for players to make hard choices about powers. 

Unless you are playing in a heavily CP restricted game with relatively high DC, Defense and Movement expectations, you can pretty much always afford the extra points for a few MP slots.  

 

So, one thing that occurs to me is VPP vs MP. I found over the years that my players who desired flexibility more frequently wanted a VPP than an MP. In some cases I allowed it, in other cases I talked them down to an MP or EC or combination (the classic MP active powers, EC passive powers) and occasionally some alternative way to get what they wanted. Because I'm comfortable with VPP's at the table, assuming the player is able to not become a bottleneck during play, it's possible that it causes a meta displacement in my personal experience. 

 

I can't do it right now, but I'll make an effort to sift through characters from past campaigns and count metrics for no-framework, and each type of framework and see if I notice a pattern.

 

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Ultimately we are probably disagreeing on definitions and detail more than principle, but that is where you will find the Devil.

 

I think we're disagreeing because you seem to think I was speaking against MP's in a broad context, when in actuality I was speaking specifically against the "more slots is always better, you are self-gimping if you don't take an MP with a lot of slots" position put forth in the specific bit of text I quoted, and my general point was if the slots have high overlap (a bunch of variants of the same basic thing) then there is redundancy and a character with one good option rather than multiple variants of that option can be as effective in most situations. 

 

https://i.imgur.com/tBeGelg.mp4

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27 minutes ago, Killer Shrike said:

However, generally speaking, an MP tends to be the most efficient and direct way mechanically to accomplish that sort of effect, and if it is in-concept then it's a great purpose-built mechanic for an "array of powers, only some of which can be active simultaneously". But it's not the end all be all final word on good character design and certainly IMO doesn't warrant the statement "if they don't get one they're basically playing the 'build your character' game poorly" as put forth by @Toxxus.

 

I may have been slightly overstating things to make a point, but if you're using fixed slots you get 9 powers for the cost of 2.

 

Unless they are stupidly redundant you get a huge boost to your characters effectiveness compared to any other hero who has 2 or more powers.  I guess it would be possible to have Mono-Power-Man out damage you by having a character with 1 offensive ability compared to your 9.

 

But Mono-Power-Man is also much less useful in a variety of different scenarios.

 

In classic D&D / Fantasy War Games there is a bit of a rock-paper-scissors thing going on with abilities / spells-vs-saving-throw-type / mobility vs armor / etc.  Having the ability to have 9 abilities on call vs. the 2 of a non-MP-build of the same caliber is almost always better.  Only the hypothetical Mono-Power-Man who plays in a capless environment (kinda rare, imo) fares better.

 

So, I stand by the quoted text as being essentially true even if it won't hold up to a formal scientific dissection nor become one of the laws of HERO gaming.  :)

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6 hours ago, Toxxus said:

I may have been slightly overstating things to make a point, but if you're using fixed slots you get 9 powers for the cost of 2.

 

Unless they are stupidly redundant you get a huge boost to your characters effectiveness compared to any other hero who has 2 or more powers.  I guess it would be possible to have Mono-Power-Man out damage you by having a character with 1 offensive ability compared to your 9.

 

Lets define terms...what do you mean when you say effective?

 

When I say effective I mean from the perspective of results.

 

In a campaign setting where most encounters are settled by conflict and conflict is primarily resolved by killing those you are in conflict with, a big component of character "effectiveness" from the perspective of results is going to come down to how well a character kills opponents and resists being killed themselves.

 

For instance, if one character killed a bad guy, and the other character killed another identical bad guy with equivalent effort, then it is not relevant from an effectiveness standpoint in that instance if one of the characters had 4 other ways to kill the bad guy that they didn't use. If most of the bad guys to be killed are killable by the character with the one way to do all that killing, then that character is mostly as effective as the character with 5 ways to do all that killing, and if the simple character with only one way to do all that killing is able to have a higher damage output than the fancy killer with 5, it shifts again. In a game that favors killing opponents DPS (damage per second) is king, and how a given character achieves their maximum DPS is only circumstantially relevant.

 

So, given two characters A and B, assuming both A and B are equally survivable to keep it simple, A has a MP with various attacks, B has one attack + other offensively enabling abilities. Then we look at the typical opposition characters A and B can be expected to face during actual play.

 

We now have two choices...we can either let A and B progress through actual play and accrue actual data as to which is most effective, or we can theory craft / analyze and try to guess which will be more effective.

 

To do it empirically we would just set up the campaign and run it, recording our observations until we were satisfied and then concluding with some findings. There would of course be probabilistic vagaries, but over a long enough timeline that should even out. There would of course be differences in player skill and circumstance, but assuming we had taken steps to control for that somewhat (not given A to a noob, and B to an expert or vice versa, not deliberately thrown opposition into the mix to bias towards A or B, etc), it should even out enough to draw some conclusions.

 

To do it theoretically, we would have to take into account the nature of the two characters, the campaign guidelines / caps / imposed limits, and the nature of the typical opposition as they are presented and run by a particular GM, and allow for vagaries of probability. We would have to get specific to "run the numbers". 

 

There are also some meta considerations such as "character concept validity" but I'm willing to lump that into "imposed limits" and call it a push.

 

In some cases with the variables set just so, A or B may prove to be more effective overall. In other cases, in a different context, the outcome may be different. 

 

I am comfortable talking about this at the theory crafting level, but I've also played and run enough games over a long enough period of time to have seen multiple cases of swiss army knife characters vs bread and butter fundamentals characters side by side and to draw empirical observations from that experience. And my conclusion from that is, "it depends". MP's are good. But so are other options within the system. MP based builds can be very competitive, but so can other builds. In a vacuum MP's bring a lot to the table, in actual play a lot of other factors apply. 

 

Now I acknowledge that you don't want to dissect or argue about it, and I acknowledge that while a statement like "I...essentially true...won't hold up to a formal scientific dissection" is like fingernails on a chalkboard to someone like me, you mean it in the sense of "agree to disagree" or "useful rule of thumb" or "personal red flag based upon my experience". Which is all good, for me. 

 

I feel compelled to add smiley faces so people don't interpret me as being hostile when I am trying to be friendly. So...

 

image.png.aa7803ca2dc8274e9cd02857cba1d696.png

 

 

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9 hours ago, Toxxus said:

That's really where the absurd cost effectiveness of the MP damages the game, imo.

 

You can easily afford an AP for the heavy armor targets, Single Hex Accurate AoEs for the DCV monsters, large area AoEs for clearing hordes of trash mobs, OMCV based attacks to hit otherwise impervious enemies, etc.  And usually you can get all of that and more for less than the price of just buying two attack powers.

 

What about characters with hybrid defenses? 

 

In other words, vs "High DEF Guy" attacks that hose DEF are particularly effective vs that character by design. Vs "High DCV Guy", DCV hosers are particularly effective vs that character by design. Vs. mooks that threaten via numbers, AoE attacks are particularly effective vs them by design. Vs. "Conventionally Invulnerable Man" mental attacks are particularly effective by design. Etc. This is a "rock paper scissors" approach to the game.

 

However, it isn't the only way to build opposition individually, or assemble encounters collectively. Vs "Combination Of Various Defenses Guy" nothing is particularly effective or ineffective. Similarly, a "balanced" encounter with a cross section of challenges changes the consideration of effectiveness.

 

And then of course, there is character concept. If you allow a character to just take whatever ability for metagame reasons into their MP, then sure. If you make players justify why it makes sense for their character to have such an ability, what it represents, how it is covered by their concept then the situation is somewhat different. If you aren't a concept guy, if you resist metagame decision making by the players with metagame thinking of your own (I don't want one character to have this many threats, or I don't want one character to step all over other characters niches), the situation is somewhat different.

 

Ultimately, MP's and what goes into them is under the GM's control.

__

 

If there is some option available in any game and you find that ALL or almost all of your players want it then one of the following two things is true:

 

Either:

1) the option as written and / or how you allow it to be used in the game is overpowered / too good

2) an observational bias among the group causes them to believe that 1 is true

 

If it is 1, then as the GM you can either adjust how you allow it to be used, or you can house rule, or both. If it is 2 (or you think it is), then as the GM you can present more broad spectrum challenges / situations to the players to provide more data to draw empirical evidence from. If it really is 2, then over time the observational bias will expand and the meta will shift. If you think it's 2 but it turns out to be 1, then you have more data to draw on to house rule / adjust your usage.

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