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19 hours ago, Duke Bushido said:

That is so foreign to my take and technique of character design-- the mandate to take it all and spend it all, every time-- that I am really going to have to think on it a bit (when I'm more clear-headed) before I can form a reasonably-objective opinion on it.

 

 

Just for curiosity, if no one else minds:

 

Who else builds characters that way?  Serious question, folks; no sarcasm or disdain or anything negative.  Just looking for a quick tally.  Thanks to any who reply, as always.  :)

 

You know.  I have been playing this since 1981 and I can never remember having quite enough points to buy everything that I wanted for any character...maybe I am just greedy...

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On 2/17/2019 at 6:45 PM, Duke Bushido said:

On the plus side, I finally get what you were talking about a couple of weeks ago during the COM flare-up when you mentioned it being a "point sink."  You came up with a Disadvantage to get points you didn't need and spent them on something you didn't want?

 

That's ---

 

well, I really do like you, and I _love_ discussing things with you in most cases, and accordingly, I try to make that respect come across when I post to your conversations.  Given my current condition, I can only hope that these things are coming across (I keep forgetting to Smilie) as I intend them to, and to help ensure that no negative comes out on this comment, I will simply state it thusly:

 

That is so foreign to my take and technique of character design-- the mandate to take it all and spend it all, every time-- that I am really going to have to think on it a bit (when I'm more clear-headed) before I can form a reasonably-objective opinion on it.

 

Just for curiosity, if no one else minds:

 

Who else builds characters that way?  Serious question, folks; no sarcasm or disdain or anything negative.  Just looking for a quick tally.  Thanks to any who reply, as always.  :)

 

 

I don't recall anyone deliberately starting out characters at less than the maximum allowed starting point of a campaign. I've seen people showing up for the first session having spent points on random things because they have no idea how to build a character and no one knew to offer to help. But not deliberately starting off less than the maximum allowed.

 

For Champions, I've most often played 4e. When putting together my idea for a 250 point character, my first pass at building a new one would generally end up somewhere around 325 points. Then the rest of character building is making a seemingly unending series of agonizing cuts and compromises in an attempt to get the character to 250 points...or whatever additional points from disadvantages I could talk the GM into allowing me at the beginning.

 

I don't think I've ever had any extra points lying around to throw into a "point sink". Ever.

 

But I've had characters who were colorblind, young, overconfident, or a large variety of other disadvantages which have provided some wonderful moments of gaming. I don't recall anything other than a momentary regret over a character having any disadvantage (though I admit I don't build characters who could die from simple exposure to Krytonite).

 

I have had GM's who were more generous in allowing things in the initial build than they were about spending earned experience later. So I'd always prefer to spend some points in the initial build to establish that a character has some ability in a certain area (whether power or skill) rather than counting on the GM allowing me to purchase what he might judge to be "an unrelated power or skill" later on.

 

As for spending earned experience, I try to not get in too much of a hurry to do that. My characters generally are competitive in damage output and defense either through the build or through use of combat maneuvers so I usually don't feel pressure to spend points to catch up there. And there's always the chance we'll end up doing something odd like spending months of real time on an outer space adventure and spending a large wad of points while the starship is in hyperspace on things like WF: Lightsaber, Starship Operations, KS: Alien Technology, and Combat Piloting along with getting an OIF Life Support belt would seem like a good time to quit being a cheapskate.

 

 

Having said all of that, I don't philosophically have anything against another player deliberately spending less than the maximum allowed points for a starting character as long as the character isn't going to be a burden to everyone else. If we have to carry him to the battle then shield him in the battle because he can't do anything at all in a fight, his character is probably in the wrong genre. But if he's a contributing character to the team, great, regardless of point totals.

 

I do think a new player might be robbing himself of some roleplaying opportunities by skimping on the disadvantages. They're there to give the GM a hook so he can interact with the character, immerse the player into the game, and give the player a unique moment in the spotlight from time to time. If a player isn't familiar with all the comic book tropes and doesn't have disadvantages, it could be difficult for him, from my perspective at least.

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I've seen several characters in campaigns that didn't use the maximum allowable points. Most of these were 5E, and it makes more sense if I explain that the GM was determined to apply every disadvantage. He would develop villains that had attacks to match every vulnerability used, and didn't plan anything as a campaign because there was always a 'hunted' rearing its ugly head. Some of the players started to develop their characters with fewer overall points to avoid having susceptibilities or vulnerabilities or addictions or anyone hunting them. In play, you'd be hard pressed to figure which characters had done this and which had not.

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6 hours ago, Chris Goodwin said:

In the BoH PDFs (and the DrivethruRPG ones) I think 1e and 2e are reversed.  The one they have as being 1e has the black and white cover, but is called "Revised Edition" and is copyright 1982.  It's fairly similar to 3e.  The one they list as 2e is quite a bit different; it has no edition marking of any kind and lists its copyright date as 1981.

 

The 1981 book with the wraparound color cover (Gargoyle, Flare on the back) is definitely 1st edition, and the 1982 Revised book with the grayscale cover (and speed chart on the back) is 2nd edition.  My .zip files from the BoH identify them correctly, but maybe something was corrected early on? <insert wild speculation here> ?

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Duke, one question/clarification.  You mention playing with a lot of different players, and also teaching them.  To what extent is your experience based on players you did not teach?

 

As you note, we game like our group games.  One guy reads the rules and teaches everyone else generally lends to everyone playing "his way".  Similarly, the group evolves a dynamic even if everyone independently reads the rules (e.g. our group never had an issue with killing attacks because it was pretty much an unwritten rule they were not used against living targets).  I think many early Champions players drew their build styles largely from published characters (from the 1e sample characters onwards).

 

Playing with 100 players who all learned Hero from you would, I expect, result in much less diversity of build and play styles than playing with 20 players drawn from other groups, who had their own distinct Hero experiences forming their play and build styles before they met you.

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I haven't found Multipowers to be too cost effective.  Generally I tend to use them for one of two things.  1)  A different "flavor" of power that isn't any more or less effective (like different types of arrows), and 2) uncommon powers that are used in special circumstances.

 

One of the things almost every one of my characters has is a Movement Multipower.  My trained martial artist characters end up with something like this:

11 point Multipower

1u -- +5" of Running

1u -- 11" of Swinging (defined as conveniently placed light poles, signs, etc, basically super-parkour)

1u -- +5" Swimming

1u -- +7" Superleap

 

I'm a bit OCD and so I like my "primary" movement characteristics to be all the same.  I'll have 11" of Running, Swinging, and Superleap.  They're all odd numbers so they round up for the half-move.

 

Now it's pretty point efficient, but obviously not quite as efficient as just buying one form of movement and using only that.  For most cases, pure Running or pure Superleap will be more efficient.  And Flight or Teleport will be more effective if you pay a slight cost premium.  But I think that shows that the Multipower is fairly well balanced.  More useful that the most efficient build, but not as powerful as the more expensive option.  You're only going to be using one movement mode each phase, so why should you pay full price for each one?  While this is a low cost example, it's not that different from the standard 60 Active Point Multipower with 4 different attacks in it.  All of the attacks are roughly "equally good", and you're paying a premium for versatility.

 

 

Then you've got the Utility Belt model.  These are situational powers that don't really define your character, and you won't be using them often, but they are nice to have.  Darkness with continuing charges for a "smoke bomb".  Flash pellets.  Batarangs.  Entangles.  These abilities are usually relatively low in Active Points and are situational.  They might be extremely useful in one specific scenario, but your character isn't built around maximizing their effect.

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There is a third type of Multipower that I've seen, and that's the Martian Manhunter "grab bag of awesome abilities" method.  He's got Invisibility, Desolidification, a 20/20 Force Field, Teleportation, Retrocognition, and as many other "ruin the GM's scenario" type powers as he can cram in.  The problem here isn't with the Multipower though.  It's with the specific powers and how they interact with the game.  Something like Desolid or Invisibility can be extremely powerful, or sometimes not that important at all depending on how the campaign is set up.

 

Just like Telepathy can be either totally useless or a complete campaign wrecker, depending on what the GM lets you pull from Lowly Agent's mind.  A whodunit mystery will probably be pretty boring unless the GM remembered the Telepathy and accounted for it.  Cramming lots of those powers into one character increases the chances that the GM isn't prepared for one of them.  But again, that's a problem with how they interact with the campaign, not a problem with the construct itself.

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1 hour ago, massey said:

There is a third type of Multipower that I've seen, and that's the Martian Manhunter "grab bag of awesome abilities" method.  He's got Invisibility, Desolidification, a 20/20 Force Field, Teleportation, Retrocognition, and as many other "ruin the GM's scenario" type powers as he can cram in.  The problem here isn't with the Multipower though.  It's with the specific powers and how they interact with the game.  Something like Desolid or Invisibility can be extremely powerful, or sometimes not that important at all depending on how the campaign is set up.

 

 

I take the level of player abuse to be based primarily on whether the GM came up with that race and list of racial powers or whether the player came up with that race and list of racial powers.

 

For example, if the GM comes up with Kryptonians and throw them at the team then a player later wants to play a Kryptonian character, to me, that's not at all like a player coming up with a ridiculous list of powers and saying his character has all of those linked powers because they're part of his "alien heritage" from an unknown group of aliens who have never before been part of the GM's campaign.

 

The GM is certainly well within his rights to deny letting a player use a Kryptonian or to insist that the player tone the Kryptonian powers down. But if the GM didn't want "Kryptonian powers" to be a thing in his campaign, he shouldn't  introduce Kryptonian powers himself or let a player introduce them.

 

The Martian Manhunter and his "Martian powers" works as a character because he isn't a PC in a RPG. The author conveniently has the character forget to use whatever powers the character needs to forget in order to get the story to turn out in a certain way and to unfold at a certain pace. But you can't ever depend on players to forget their characters have multiple powers which would let them skip through to the end of an adventure without going through all the difficult and confusing parts.

 

 

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8 minutes ago, archer said:

 

I take the level of player abuse to be based primarily on whether the GM came up with that race and list of racial powers or whether the player came up with that race and list of racial powers.

 

For example, if the GM comes up with Kryptonians and throw them at the team then a player later wants to play a Kryptonian character, to me, that's not at all like a player coming up with a ridiculous list of powers and saying his character has all of those linked powers because they're part of his "alien heritage" from an unknown group of aliens who have never before been part of the GM's campaign.

 

The GM is certainly well within his rights to deny letting a player use a Kryptonian or to insist that the player tone the Kryptonian powers down. But if the GM didn't want "Kryptonian powers" to be a thing in his campaign, he shouldn't  introduce Kryptonian powers himself or let a player introduce them.

 

The Martian Manhunter and his "Martian powers" works as a character because he isn't a PC in a RPG. The author conveniently has the character forget to use whatever powers the character needs to forget in order to get the story to turn out in a certain way and to unfold at a certain pace. But you can't ever depend on players to forget their characters have multiple powers which would let them skip through to the end of an adventure without going through all the difficult and confusing parts.

 

 

 

We've had a guy play a Martian Manhunter ripoff in a game before without it being a problem.  Of course, there were also Kryptonians in that game, so it was pretty high powered.  When you're looking at balancing a game, you've got several things to consider.

 

1)  Is it thematically appropriate?  No matter the power level, it's probably not cool to bring in a knock off from your favorite anime, Super Fluffy Bunny Power Team Go! when everyone else is making characters for Call of Cthulhu.

2)  Is it outside of accepted campaign norms?  There's nothing particularly wrong with having a 9 OCV.  But if the group average OCV/DCV is a 4, then it could easily cause problems.

3)  Do any of the powers provide shortcuts that the GM did not anticipate?  "Detect Bad Guy" could be fine in some games, but unbalancing in others.

 

There's nothing wrong with the Martian Manhunter, and nothing wrong with playing him.  There are plenty of characters with a broad set of different powers.  But it's worth pointing out that it may not work for some GMs, some campaigns, and some storylines.  The Lord of the Rings doesn't work as an adventure if you've got a long range teleport.  A Multipower potentially lets you have several of these abilities, the better to find the thing the GM didn't anticipate.

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18 minutes ago, massey said:

 The Lord of the Rings doesn't work as an adventure if you've got a long range teleport. 

 

 

I'd also note that Lord of the Rings doesn't work as an adventure if you've got access to giant eagles which can fly you to your volcano destination without trouble.

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4 minutes ago, archer said:

 

I'd also note that Lord of the Rings doesn't work as an adventure if you've got access to giant eagles which can fly you to your volcano destination without trouble.

 

Well, Gondor didn't have any particular concept of the idea of air superiority.

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Just now, Chris Goodwin said:

 

Well, Gondor didn't have any particular concept of the idea of air superiority.

 

Yeah, this is the same justification I have for why superheroes don't just end World War II.  The idea of people with powers is so new, that nobody quite gets what they're really capable of.  Also, Superman can't see his own character sheet.  It's always gotta be a little spooky the first time you get hit with a bigger bomb.

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2 minutes ago, Chris Goodwin said:

 

Well, Gondor didn't have any particular concept of the idea of air superiority.

 

Who needs Gondor at all?

 

In theory as soon as Gandalf tells Frodo, in Frodo's own living room, that the ring has to be taken to Mordor, Frodo could have remembered the story of Bilbo flying on the eagles.

 

Frodo reminds Gandalf who then summons the eagles. They get to Mount Doom before the Nazgul are hot on Frodo's trail and before Saruman deploys his army.

 

Everything is over before it begins.

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22 minutes ago, massey said:

 

Yeah, this is the same justification I have for why superheroes don't just end World War II.  The idea of people with powers is so new, that nobody quite gets what they're really capable of.  Also, Superman can't see his own character sheet.  It's always gotta be a little spooky the first time you get hit with a bigger bomb.

 

They also don't know what Germany and Italy have in the way of super-assets to stop them. Sending Superman in might have been a great idea. But the original version of Superman didn't fly and no one knew for sure whether Germany might have had twelve of their own Ubermen to stop him. Though I think in the DC comics universe (in at least one of the reboots) that the war in Europe ended in 1943 because of superhero intervention.

 

And much of the time the Allies didn't have a good idea where Hitler was. He was recording his radio broadcasts which were airing at a later time and were announced as being given in some random city while Hitler was really someplace else (or later just hiding in a bunker someplace else). Recording stuff for the radio then rebroadcasting it was such as new technology that it didn't occur to many people that it existed, much less that Hitler was using it frequently. The History Channel had an interesting show talking about that but I can't for the life of me remember the name of it.

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17 minutes ago, archer said:

 

Who needs Gondor at all?

 

In theory as soon as Gandalf tells Frodo, in Frodo's own living room, that the ring has to be taken to Mordor, Frodo could have remembered the story of Bilbo flying on the eagles.

 

Frodo reminds Gandalf who then summons the eagles. They get to Mount Doom before the Nazgul are hot on Frodo's trail and before Saruman deploys his army.

 

Everything is over before it begins.

 

14 minutes ago, Ninja-Bear said:

Well if I recall correctly the Nazghul had dragons that could fly?  Sauron could’ve been looking to the air too for all we know.

 

Aerial dogfights over Mount Doom would have been pretty cool.

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I saw the first episode of Tanks. It covers the history of military tanks. Can’t remember the first guy who came up with the concept of a land shop, but his idea predated WWI and saw no production because his superiors couldn’t understand what the Tank could be used for. That seems to be a common thought about any new technology military or civilian.

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3 minutes ago, Ninja-Bear said:

Well if I recall correctly the Nazghul had dragons that could fly?  Sauron could’ve been looking to the air too for all we know.

 

Also whose to say the Eagles would’ve just went to Mount Doom while Sauron was alive? They are free will creatures remember.

 

Mount Doom wasn't where Sauron lived in that era, it was just his former workshop. Barad-dûr was 10-30 miles away, according to which map resource you choose to believe.

 

As far as the eagles being free will creatures, couldn't have hurt to ask. They voluntarily rescued the group in the Hobbit without even being asked to intervene. The eagles weren't like the Ents who were totally divorced from the events of the world and who had to have their faces shoved in the fact that they wouldn't be left alone just because of their neutrality.

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55 minutes ago, Ninja-Bear said:

I saw the first episode of Tanks. It covers the history of military tanks. Can’t remember the first guy who came up with the concept of a land shop, but his idea predated WWI and saw no production because his superiors couldn’t understand what the Tank could be used for. That seems to be a common thought about any new technology military or civilian.

 

Jefferson Davis as Secretary of War for the United States evaluated repeating rifles for purchase for the US Army. He turned it down because he didn't see the use in putting a hell of a lot of bullets in the air in a short period of time. All that he saw was that being able to shoot quickly might encourage soldiers to "waste bullets".

 

I think that was highly ironic given that at the Battle of Gettysburd that Custer's well-equipped regiment stopped the entire Confederate cavalry dead in its tracks for a couple of hours and kept the Confederates from hitting the Union forces from behind during Pickett's Charge.

 

I'd love to see an alternate history written where President Jefferson Davis has the random thought that if it were to come to war that the South would be outnumbered...then sends a delegation and buys the Sharps Rifle Manufacturing Company and the couple of other manufacturers and moves them lock, stock, and barrel to Atlanta before hostilities break out.

 

Harry Turtledove! Paging Harry Turtledove! Please report to your typewriter ASAP!

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51 minutes ago, Ninja-Bear said:

And Bormir was corrupted by being close to ring, what would’ve happen to the Eagles if they came close? Obviously we’ll never know. 

 

Gwaihir, Lord of the Eagles as the Lord of the Ring...I think they could have done worse.

 

Anyway...multipowers

 

Multipower The One Ring (OIF, not very breakable)

1) Invisibility sight group (gestures to activate, 0 END, only if your character writeup has under 400 points not counting the One Ring...sorry Tom Bombadil) plus Mind Link to Sauron

2) Mind Link to Sauron (empathic impressions so a lesser level than when the Invisibility slot is in use, this slot is always on if no other slot is in use)

3) Mind Control (only upon bearers of other Rings of Power, only if your character writeup has over 400 points not counting the One Ring)

4) Desolidification (0 END permanent), Invisibility sight and sound groups (0 END temporarily permanent aka 5 centuries) and Regeneration from death  (all powers trigger upon death, only if your name is Sauron and you made the One Ring. 1 recoverable charge).

 

Carrying the One Ring gives you a vulnerability to Morgul-blades if your character has complications which are generally considered to be positive character traits such as "cheerful", "innocent", "trusting", "code of the hero", etc. If I wrote that up, it'd be a low-level cumulative transform.

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Back to Multipowers. Massey’s movement MP. It’s not over powered and well it’s ingenious. I would’ve never thought of it. The thing is, his reasoning for it, like keeping all movement powers at 11” to get the rounding, is too metagamey for me.  To me it’s an example of mechanical build fine but concept- not so much. Of course that’s a IMO of course.

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