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1 hour ago, Jagged said:

I am genuinely surprised to read you say that (is that a thing?). I bet if you asked Matt he could remember a few times he had gloriously successful PRE attacks.

 

I think we all agree with your assertion that they don't work when taken as a power but I don't agree with your analysis that we voluntarily nerf them. The way I remember them from our games, they got used when circumstances allowed the player to effectively double their attack due to bonus dice.  Isn't that "Rules as Written" ?

 

 

I don't want to take away the magic, but I can't remember ever having a villain pull a PRE attack on the Heroes, and that is not just when I'm GMing - you don't do that either.  That is because we are nerfing PRE attacks because we recognise that we would not want to deal with the consequences of Super Heroes involuntarily running away.  It would shatter our image of our characters.

 

Equally I think most of the PRE Attacks that the Heroes pull were prompted by the GM, either you or me.  Taking the magic away again, but if you get over about 6 dice the results are pretty consistent and you can more or less pre-determine the result by how many bonus dice you allow.  When the players have suggested them it is usually because something unusual just happened and they got in before the GM suggested it anyway.

 

I mean, the roll kind of was the magic to an extent, but like all magic it hid what was going on behind the scenes: the players were getting rewarded because they done good.

 

No, fine: you've convinced me.  Leave PRE Attacks in and we can game them so it doesn't seem too obvious that we are storytelling.  Poof!  The magic is back.

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Does it matter?  GMs have an infinite point budget.  I'll just write "Meteor Bonus" under its Discomplivantationages.       I do use it.  I use it on PCs, occasionally, even.  I don't

On the plus side, you'll be much closer and I can come 'round more often.   Almost all of my--   Aww, crap!  I totally forgot to go back and post this in Chris's House Rules thr

The "PRE Attack Problem" is not fundamentally different form the "Blast Problem," which is that if the player characters are built to take 12d6 Normal Attacks and I hit them with a 25d6 Blast, I will

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23 minutes ago, mallet said:

I agree with PRE attacks being overpowered in some cases and I also rarely use them in my games, but with the example Sean has above, with the 60 AP in PRE, and then all the bonuses to make it better, wouldn't that put it over the AP cap for the game? Just like if the in game CAP on OCV is 10, then it doesn't matter how many skill levels used, martial arts, etc... 10 is the highest a character can have in the game. Wouldn't that also apply to PRE attacks? If you have a 60 PRE (12d6) and that is the AP CAP for the game, then the character shouldn't be able to use the situational bonus dice to raise it above 12d6. Just like a Character with 10 OCV in a game with that as a CAP couldn't then use skill levels and MA maneuvers to raise his/her OCV to 12 or 14.  

 

If a Character already has a 60 PRE (with that being the in-game CAP), then he/she is considered to be so impressive already that breaking a car in half or giving a good speech, doesn't do anything extra to impress those around him, he/she is already as impressive as they are ever going to be, so no situational dice should add to the roll. 

 

This sort of illustrates the problem with AP caps.  AP caps were a strong suggestion in 4th edition, and they weren't so much a hard rule as a guideline to be used by the GM.  Over time, despite no material ever saying "you must do this!", they've sort of taken on a memetic rule presence.  There's no rule about whether a character at an AP cap can gain bonuses to take them above that.  There isn't.  That's up to the GM.  

 

As a GM, and a player brought this to me, I'd probably wonder why a player wants their character to have 60 PRE.  I'd probably have them tone it down to 50.  And situational bonuses are up to me the GM, anyway, but if a character can still get up to a 20d6 PRE attack, I'd let them.  

 

As a GM, for my NPCs?  See the asteroid thing I posted, above.  A GM can hammer the players with a 60 PRE, or 120 PRE, or 1,000,000,000 PRE.  Doesn't mean any of that is a good idea.  

 

Anything above PRE+30/PREx4 was always GM discretion-land, anyway.  I remember hearing house rules that if you got PREx10, they would die of a heart attack.  

 

...Maybe this is all a good argument for PRE having a cost of 2 per point?  

 

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50 minutes ago, Chris Goodwin said:

 

As @Jagged pointed out above, it, along with all of the other X, X+10, X+20, etc., mechanics were originally X, X times 2, X times 3, etc.  It was a lot harder, if someone bought a few points worth of PRE or EGO, to affect them.  

 

If you're looking at it from the standpoint of the GM, then yes, a villain with 60 PRE and situational bonuses to their PRE attack can in theory wipe out all of the PCs.  But from the standpoint of the GM, you can drop an asteroid on them at any time and kill everyone.  

 

You can choose to wipe them out with whatever you've got, but remember that if you're making the game not fun for your players, they'll leave.  

 

You could as easily give that 60 PRE villain 120 PRE, or a thousand, or a million PRE.  As a GM, don't do that.  ("Doctor, it hurts when I do this!")  The players are a lot more constrained.  

 

How much would that meteor cost in CP though?  A player could not afford a Dinosaur Killer Power.  I'm not the sort of GM that chucks attacks at players they can not handle unless the whole plot revolves around them being defeated and captured and then escaping again (and even when that is what I have been trying to do, the PCs  have often foiled me, and more power to them for doing so).

 

Of course a GM can do whatever they want, at least until they scare off all their players, but that isn't me.  Well, not all the time.

 

My point, which I feel I have made ineffectively, is that we have rules for PRE Attacks we are never actually going to use.  No sane GM is going to use a 20d6 PRE Attack on the PCs or allow the PCs to have regular access to Dinosaur Killer levels of PRE Attack either.

 

We already have rules for Surprise in and out of combat.  We are never going to drive PCs (or Villains) mad with permanent terror, unless it is part of the plot anyway.  We could probably replace the whole 4 pages with 3 short paragraph:

 

If something unusual or unexpected happens, consider having the NPCs react in a way that you had not previously considered.  This might include the PCs doing particularly well, or particularly badly, or a combination of factors that you just hadn't anticipated. 

 

Outcomes might include one or more characters/NPCs missing part or all of their turn, one or more characters/NPCs gaining a small bonus (+1 or +2) or something similar.  It could even be something not directly combat related, like an NPC running away, switching sides or acting out of character, for instance pushing and haymakering all their attacks.  Pay particular attention to Psychological Limitations when determining how an individual reacts.

 

If you are stuck for inspiration, roll 3d6, then decide what to do.  The roll is more of a meditation than an actual guide, but has the advantage that it makes the players think you are not just making it up as you go along.

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Look, my point is this, and I think it is a good one: pretty much every reply to the 'PRE Attack Problem' is 'Well, don't do it then', in one form or another.

 

If we are never going to use it, why have it?

 

Just in case?  Just in case of what?  Just in case you forget how to GM properly?

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15 minutes ago, Sean Waters said:

How much would that meteor cost in CP though?  A player could not afford a Dinosaur Killer Power.  I'm not the sort of GM that chucks attacks at players they can not handle unless the whole plot revolves around them being defeated and captured and then escaping again (and even when that is what I have been trying to do, the PCs  have often foiled me, and more power to them for doing so).

 

Does it matter?  GMs have an infinite point budget.  I'll just write "Meteor Bonus" under its Discomplivantationages.  

 

4 minutes ago, Sean Waters said:

Look, my point is this, and I think it is a good one: pretty much every reply to the 'PRE Attack Problem' is 'Well, don't do it then', in one form or another.

 

If we are never going to use it, why have it?

 

Just in case?  Just in case of what?  Just in case you forget how to GM properly?

 

I do use it.  I use it on PCs, occasionally, even.  I don't hit them with 20d6 PRE attacks, though, any more than I'd hit them with a 20d6 Energy Blast, out of the blue, or put them up against a 100 STR brick.  

 

But sometimes, you do have a brick character get hit by a truck, just to show how tough he is.  I think that in this case, a high PRE attack can certainly do that as well.  

 

 

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24 minutes ago, Chris Goodwin said:

occasionally,

 

4 pages. Just saying.  I mean I use it occasionally, but if it was not there, something similar would happen anyway. It is not needed for what it is used for and it is not a good way of doing what it is used for.

 

24 minutes ago, Chris Goodwin said:

Does it matter?  GMs have an infinite point budget.  I'll just write "Meteor Bonus" under its Discomplivantationages.  

 

 

I do not understand your point.  The thing that I like about Hero is that I can build a 300 point character and it should be roughly the same in terms of utility as another 300 pint character, given certain common assumptions.  I can break the system with the best of them, but I don't because I trust in the process.

 

OK.  It matters to me.  I don't just make up villains, I cost them.  Maybe I'm an idiot and in the vast minority, but I'm happy here and cosy and warm.

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1 hour ago, Sean Waters said:

Look, my point is this, and I think it is a good one: pretty much every reply to the 'PRE Attack Problem' is 'Well, don't do it then', in one form or another.

 

If we are never going to use it, why have it?

 

Just in case?  Just in case of what?  Just in case you forget how to GM properly?

 

We use PRE attacks all the time, and yes, there are times it is used on the PCs... moments when they are surprised and shocked outside of normal circumstances, a huge power is demonstrated, etc. I've often found it useful to get across my point as a GM... "The PC knows, whether they player agrees, that they are outclassed and in great danger" or whatever. Forcing a lost 1/2 phase or full action can be a very effective way of "attacking" the PCs in a cinematic way that isn't just damage dealing.

 

My only issue with PRE is that it is one stat, and only one stat, for all non-damage dealing/social combat. It probably is too cheap for the "always hits, area effect, mind control" it theoretically could be... but just because it MIGHT be abused doesn't mean I'm going to throw out one of the favorite mechanics at the table. 

 

Personally, I'm working on building a "social martial arts" based on PRE for attacking vs. EGO for defense, that breaks PRE down based on the various PRE skills. Like there is a Charm maneuver and a Persuasion maneuver, etc. To give those PRE skills more heft and make the PRE attack less "all encompassing."  Not sure how it will work, but we'll see. 

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2 hours ago, Sean Waters said:

 

4 pages. Just saying.  I mean I use it occasionally, but if it was not there, something similar would happen anyway. It is not needed for what it is used for and it is not a good way of doing what it is used for.

 

 

I do not understand your point.  The thing that I like about Hero is that I can build a 300 point character and it should be roughly the same in terms of utility as another 300 pint character, given certain common assumptions.  I can break the system with the best of them, but I don't because I trust in the process.

 

OK.  It matters to me.  I don't just make up villains, I cost them.  Maybe I'm an idiot and in the vast minority, but I'm happy here and cosy and warm.

 

I'm with you on looking at the points.  My point is that, if you're the GM, you can overload the PCs with anything.  20d6 of -- it almost doesn't matter what -- is going to wreck most PCs that are built to output and respond to 12d6.  Having a villain with a 12d6 <any> Attack that can get up to 20d6 is going to wreck them.  Whether that's a Presence Attack or an Energy Blast or even a Stun Drain.  And if you're a GM looking at a villain with 60 PRE, making a Presence Attack against a bunch of PCs, thinking "I've got 8d6 from situational modifiers," and laying 20d6 on them...  

 

This is my point.  It's not necessarily that Presence Attacks are bad because a 20d6 Presence Attack can wreck them; it's that anything that's 20d6 that you throw against PCs built for a 12d6 game, is going to wreck them.  As the GM, you've got an unlimited "wreck the players" budget, if that's what you want, so if you're out to wreck the players, it doesn't matter where you spend that.  And if you're not out to wreck the players -- and I'm assuming you're not, and I'm further assuming the general "you" -- then you can pull back that PRE attack, some.  

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4 hours ago, Sean Waters said:

Maybe I'm an idiot and in the vast minority,

 

On the plus side, you'll be much closer and I can come 'round more often. :D

3 hours ago, RDU Neil said:

Personally, I'm working on building a "social martial arts" based on PRE for attacking vs. EGO for defense, that breaks PRE down based on the various PRE skills. Like there is a Charm maneuver and a Persuasion maneuver, etc. To give those PRE skills more heft and make the PRE attack less "all encompassing."  Not sure how it will work, but we'll see. 

 

Almost all of my--

 

Aww, crap!  I totally forgot to go back and post this in Chris's House Rules thread!

 

Sorry, Chris.  :(

 

 

At any rate, most of my non-supers campaigns use EGO as the target for Presence Attacks.  It just makes more sense to me: presence is your force of Personality; Ego is your strength of will.  It just feels more right.

 

Why not my supers games?  Well for one, I get way more EGO: 10 characters in Supers than in any other genre.  Don't know why, but the bulk of my supers players seem to think that Captain UltraRighteous and Miss Victorious Leader should be as influenceable as any other schmoe on the street.  That, and a lot of them have drifted in and out from other groups that use PRE and PRE Attack as-is.  Even so, though: I don't use presence attacks much (outside of Horror or Occult), but I _do_ use them, and even my regular players have a nasty habit of making EGO: 10 supers.  (sometimes, when I'm really frustrated with them, I think just how inexpensively I could build a mind-controlling villain....  Not that I would, mind you!)

 

That doesn't happen as often at my non-supers games, because most people who aren't already HERO-familiar will instead look for "that particular game" instead of a HERO-based version of it, and my regular players are aware of the PRE vs EGO rule (you know: the same people who _won't_ buy a little PRE for PRE vs PRE rules!  Maddening!)

 

Another exception is my Horroresque games-- well, some of them, anyway, where there are one or more custom damage-tracking characteristics against which PRE-Attacks are directed as a form of sanity or spiritual damage.  (and of course, there are recovery rules as well.  I ain't Lovecraft).  I instituted -- sorry.  Not derailing this thread; my apologies.  _That_ can go into Chris's House Rules thread, when I find it again.  :D

 

 

 

Duke

 

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On 2/22/2019 at 1:22 PM, Sean Waters said:

Look, my point is this, and I think it is a good one: pretty much every reply to the 'PRE Attack Problem' is 'Well, don't do it then', in one form or another.

 

If we are never going to use it, why have it?

 

Just in case?  Just in case of what?  Just in case you forget how to GM properly?

 

The "PRE Attack Problem" is not fundamentally different form the "Blast Problem," which is that if the player characters are built to take 12d6 Normal Attacks and I hit them with a 25d6 Blast, I will wreck them. "Well, don't do it then" is in fact the perfect solution to the Blast Problem, and is also the perfect solution to the "PRE Attack Problem"

 

And we might as well ask about the rules for the Power Blast, "If we are never going to use it (defining "use it" as "wreck the player characters with an overwhelming Blast they're not built to handle)" then why have it?"

 

We have it because it's a good and useful Power. We have PRE because it is a good and useful Characteristic.

 

Just in case we'd like to , you know, play Hero System in a fun and reasonable way.

 

Lucius Alexander

 

I could unleash a Killer Palindromedary on the player characters, but why would I do that?

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11 minutes ago, Duke Bushido said:

 

Another exception is my Horroresque games-- well, some of them, anyway, where there are one or more custom damage-tracking characteristics against which PRE-Attacks are directed as a form of sanity or spiritual damage.  (and of course, there are recovery rules as well.  I ain't Lovecraft).  I instituted -- sorry.  Not derailing this thread; my apologies.  _That_ can go into Chris's House Rules thread, when I find it again.  :D

 

 

Found it.  I had to search a bit for it myself. 

 

Hopefully @Sean Waters will indulge us this much.  I did sort of help derail his thread...  :)

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We appear to have abandoned talking about Levels, combat or otherwise, in favor of another iteration of the Presence Wars. I guess I can contribute to the threadjacking at this point.

 

One of the character concepts I've been kicking around is The Whisper, built with "PRE inoffensiveness" so to speak. I sold off all his normal PRE and bought it back as PRE, Defense Only (-1). So, for no points invested, I started off with 20 points of PRE for defending against PRE attacks. I then invest a mere ten points, bringing his defensive PRE level to 40. While his Interaction skills are horrid, he doesn't scare easily.

 

I bring this up because PRE Defense is a decent ability to have when facing off against the likes of Doctor Destroyer or Takofanes, and it doesn't cost very much, especially if you limit it even more to resist Fear-based PRE attacks.

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7 hours ago, Sean Waters said:

Look, my point is this, and I think it is a good one: pretty much every reply to the 'PRE Attack Problem' is 'Well, don't do it then', in one form or another.

 

If we are never going to use it, why have it?

 

Just in case?  Just in case of what?  Just in case you forget how to GM properly?

I never said don’t use it. I said use it in a reasonable and fun manner! I mean I can buy 4D6 HKA and 60 STR which would yield what 8D6 HKA? Or maybe XDM UAA instead? 

 

Lucius beat me too it!

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I've always... I mean, I think always since 1st/2nd Edition... used EGO as the defense to PRE attacks. Either that was an old original rule, or we houseruled it way back when I was 14 and I've played it and taught it that way ever since. It just never made sense that 

3 hours ago, Duke Bushido said:

It just makes more sense to me: presence is your force of Personality; Ego is your strength of will.  It just feels more right.

 

This, totally.

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On 2/22/2019 at 8:14 AM, Sean Waters said:

I think it is page 35 of the first book and they are called guidelines not limits, but this is Hero.  5 points in one thing is supposed to be roughly as useful as 5 points in another thing.  I think I've demonstrated that PRE bucks that trend by a serious margin.

 

 

Page 35 again?

 

 

As you note, they are not caps, but guidelines.  There are also a lot of discussions of other things which have guidelines, like DCs.  None on AP guidelines.  And your second reference is to abilities for which the guidelines set out require we fall well short of the AP guideline - which should override the other?  In a game with 60  AP attacks and 60 AP defenses, it seems pretty obvious combats will never end.  Would we ever consider +30 to a single skill (60 AP) or +15 levels with PRE skills (60 AP) to be reasonable?

 

I think 5 points of ED is roughly equal value to a +1d6 Blast, but the ED won't defend against a punch, and will more than neutralize that +1d6 Blast.

 

If we took out every ability which, if used inappropriately, could break the game, what would be left?  I'm not sure we would even have four pages.

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On 2/22/2019 at 5:15 PM, Sean Waters said:

 

No, fine: you've convinced me.  Leave PRE Attacks in and we can game them so it doesn't seem too obvious that we are storytelling.  Poof!  The magic is back.

Hey! Don't start pulling at that thread, the whole thing will come apart. I hear a knocking at the door, its the Union of NPCs and they want to talk to us about some missing Post-Segment 12 Recoveries ?

 

 

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Just a note on Sean's PRE Attack example. Even if the GM allows a PRE Attack to use Haymaker (questionable in my opinion) that would negate several of your complaints about PRE Attacks. The Haymaker Maneuver takes a Half Phase Action (one might even argue it would be considered an Attack Action ending your turn) and the PRE Attack wouldn't effect anyone until the end of the next Segment. If a villain really wants to pose and posture at -5 DCV potentially leaving himself open to multiple attacks that could disrupt the PRE Attack from even happening, well, okay? My point is mentioning Haymaker in your analysis seems not well reasoned.

Applying Push is also highly questionable in my opinion. 

You point out that PRE Attacks can take place out of turn sequence, but then give examples that require them to be taken during your turn to get bonuses from your actions. You complain they are instantaneous but then apply Haymaker which would make it not so.

You complain there is "no reason" for every character to not "pop off" a PRE Attack the first round of combat even though repeated PRE Attacks suffer penalties.

 

None of these points in themselves negate your concern of 60 points worth of PRE being superior to 60 points of Blast, but your comparison would look more intellectually honest without inflating your numbers in those ways and acknowledging the penalties involved as openly as you acknowledge all the bonuses you award yourself.

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