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I would like to see a set of "benchmarks" for combat skill levels, similar to the stat range benchmarks for "normal", "exceptional", "legendary" and "superhuman".  What is a "superhuman" number of combat skill levels?  I'd humbly suggest that, for example, having 10 skill levels with all combat would be "superhuman".  That is, no human, even a legendary one, should be so skilled as to have that many all-combat skill levels.  

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2 hours ago, megaplayboy said:

What is a "superhuman" number of combat skill levels? 

There is no such thing.

There is only a Superhuman level of total DC and CV's.

 

Counting how much of that is raw Stats and how much of that is CSL is really not that helpfull.

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18 hours ago, Christopher said:

There is no such thing.

There is only a Superhuman level of total DC and CV's.

 

Counting how much of that is raw Stats and how much of that is CSL is really not that helpfull.

That's my point. I think there should be.  If an OCV stat of 10 is the "max" stat for a Legendary human, then it follows that a number of combat skill levels which exceed 10(or thereabouts) should reasonably be considered superhuman as well.  

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2 hours ago, megaplayboy said:

That's my point. I think there should be.  If an OCV stat of 10 is the "max" stat for a Legendary human, then it follows that a number of combat skill levels which exceed 10(or thereabouts) should reasonably be considered superhuman as well.  

 

I totally get what your are saying megaplayboy. Below is what I came up with for my current Heroic "cinematic modern action" campaign, called Secret Worlds. The intent is for PCs and others to be "special" in their level of skill and ability (maybe a weird ability that can be explained away by science... almost) but not really superhumans. (Jason Bourne meets X-Files). 

I'm not even sure I'd keep it this way if I really work on it over time, but it is a starting place for the campaign world. I certainly wouldn't say it has to apply generically across HERO games.

 

Character Combat Skill Classes 

“Be not afraid of greatness. Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and others have greatness thrust upon them.”  

 -- Twelfth Night, Act 2, Scene 5 

 

Secret Worlds characters, particularly Specials, are most often both superior in natural ability and highly trained. This combination makes them very dangerous combatants. Below are lists of mechanics along with a "descriptor" that gives a sense of how the character would be perceived by others. 

 

Stat Level: OCV and DCV (Reflecting natural ability and combat experience) 

  • Normal = 3 

  • Athletic = 4 

  • Talented = 5 

  • Natural = 6 (A person twice as good as normal without any particular training) 

  • Prodigy = 7 

  • Phenom = 8 

  • Peerless = 9 (A person three times better than normal without any particular training)  

OCV and DCV should be considered separately. A character could be a Prodigy in avoiding attacks (7 DCV) but only slightly better than normal in attacking (Athletic 4 OCV), if that matches the character concept. PCs are limited to Prodigy levels or below w/o GM permission. 

 

Skill Levels: (Reflecting Training with a weapon/attack maneuver/group of maneuvers.) 

  • Untrained: No Weapon Fam, -3 OCV w/weapon, base OCV for basic HtH maneuvers 

  • Trained: Weapon Fam, minimum martial maneuvers, but no levels.  

  • Skilled: Trained, +1-2 with a single maneuver  

  • Advanced: Trained, +1-2 CSLs with a small group of attacks 

  • Expert: Trained, +1-2 with a small group of attacks AND +1-2 PSLs with a group of attacks or other combination  

  • Veteran: Trained +3 levels with a group of attacks AND +2-3 PSLs, or other combination 

  • Master: Trained, +4 CSL with group of attacks AND +3-4 PSLs, or other combination (but no more than 5 CSL with any one attack) 

  • Legendary: 5 or more CSLs AND 5 or more PSLs with a group of attacks, and no limits to how they are combined on any one attack 

Skill Levels and Stat Levels should be thought of combined to establish the character concept. e.g. A Skilled Normal, or a Trained Prodigy, etc. 

 

Combat Class: The combined total of OCV (including PSLs) vs. DCV is important for game balance and sets a characters Combat Class. A character with both medium to high stats and skill levels will quickly out-strip most other combatants.   

Choices that can stack to affect the final Combat Class of a character are: 

  • Weapon Familiarities & Weapon Elements 

  • Martial Arts maneuvers 

  • OCV/DCV 

  • CSLs & PSLs 

  • Combat Related Skills (Defense Maneuver and Rapid Attack, Analyze Style, etc) 

 

Combat Class Evaluation: Each PC will be evaluated as to the extent they are "better than normal" with the following criteria. 

 

Attacker’s OCV -  

Target’s DCV is 

Chance to Hit 

6 

99% 

5 

98% 

4 

95% 

3 

91% 

2 

84% 

1 

74% 

0 

63% 

-1 

50% 

-2 

38% 

-3 

26% 

-4 

16% 

-5 

9% 

-6 

5% 

 

Ranged Attack Comparison Examples:  

  1. A Trained Normal firing at close range against Normal Defender = 63% chance to hit a non-specific area. 

  1. A Trained Normal firing at close range against a Normal Defender = .5% chance to hit with a "head shot" (-8 modifier) needing a "3" to hit. 

  1. A Master Prodigy firing at close range against a Normal Defender = 99%+ chance to hit a non-specific area. 

  1. A Master Prodigy firing at close range against a Normal Defender = 63% chance to hit with a "head shot" (-8 modifier) without PSLs. 

 

Difference of "6": Compare a PC's best attack to the Combat Class where they have a 6+ advantage (99% chance to hit).  These odds must be considered closely to evaluate campaign balance. 

 

Per Attack: Remember that a Combat Class is referring to a specific attack or group of attacks. A character could be a Veteran Athlete with Small Arms, but only a Trained Athlete with knives, and an Untrained Athlete with nunchaku.  

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3 hours ago, megaplayboy said:

That's my point. I think there should be.  If an OCV stat of 10 is the "max" stat for a Legendary human, then it follows that a number of combat skill levels which exceed 10(or thereabouts) should reasonably be considered superhuman as well.  

 

Well, the 6e Characteristics Maxima Table gives the suggested max OCV / DCV of 8 for "maximum normal capability". Of course in the Hero System characters can go over maxima by paying double by default, but one could posit 10 CV as an expected extreme value for a supposedly "normal" / non-superhuman character. 


Of course, with OCV / DCV the more broad CSL's tend to start making more sense than going over NCM, but their cost tends to be sufficient curb in typical heroic level campaigns. A GM could also implement a To Hit Maxima of say 14- on a heroic level campaign rather than try to cap CSL's / CV, disincentivizing players from over-buying if they wanted to tone down cinematic play in favor of more realistic play.

 

But a concerned GM might want to put some limits on CSL's if they were worried. I would suggest that if you put caps on Martial Arts Damage Classes, double the # of MADC you would allow and there's a reasonable limit for higher order CSL's.

 

If you want a more mathic approach, 4 over campaign average is the "sweet spot" for CSL's on a 3d6 bell curve. It doesn't matter what the campaign average is, a character with 4 more than that is very accurate or very hard to hit relative to the campaign. 5 would be the extreme outer edge; +5 DCV is the equivalent of a permanent Martial Dodge and +5 OCV is the equivalent of ignoring Martial Dodge, for instance.

 

In my personal experience, in heroic games the best curb on characters is simply keeping the total character points available low; this beats all caps and limits and restrictions for effectiveness. In superheroic games I follow a more Darwinistic approach. CV is intrinsically "balanced" in as much as particularly high values face diminishing returns pretty rapidly; each increment purchased provides less value than the increment before it and more than 4 more than your target is largely a waste. 

 

Also, in superheroic games, or games where characters can have custom powers or gear such as grenades (etc), AoE's (particularly one hex AoE Accurate) have to be taken into account in your CV considerations; characters with a lot of OCV are not necessarily more accurate than a character with a lower OCV + AoE, and characters with a lot of DCV are not more difficult to hit than a character with a lower DCV vs AoE. The presence of AoE in the campaign reduces the importance of CV and the absence of AoE enhances the importance of CV. The GM controls how much AoE is prevalent in the campaign. 

 

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5 hours ago, megaplayboy said:

That's my point. I think there should be.  If an OCV stat of 10 is the "max" stat for a Legendary human, then it follows that a number of combat skill levels which exceed 10(or thereabouts) should reasonably be considered superhuman as well.  

Note quite.

If the "Superhuman Level" is OCV 10, then 2 CSL on top of 8 OCV or 8 CSL on top of 2 OCV would both hit it.

Wich means neither 2 nor 8 CSL are any realiable figure to go by. Indeed no count of CSL (short of 10 I guess, because then the total must be 10+) would allow a classification.

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On ‎3‎/‎10‎/‎2019 at 5:16 PM, Christopher said:

Note quite.

If the "Superhuman Level" is OCV 10, then 2 CSL on top of 8 OCV or 8 CSL on top of 2 OCV would both hit it.

Wich means neither 2 nor 8 CSL are any realiable figure to go by. Indeed no count of CSL (short of 10 I guess, because then the total must be 10+) would allow a classification.

No.  I don't agree with that.  There can be a meaningful distinction between "natural/innate" OCV and combat skill.  Just as one can have a superhuman stat and one can have a stat based skill level/roll regarded as "superhuman".  

The OCV level listed in the guidelines is for the OCV "stat", it doesn't indicate an absolute cap on OCV level.  The question is, what number of skill levels would be "average", what number would be "exceptional", what number would be "legendary" and what would be "superhuman"?  It matters, because there are definitely "human" characters in various campaign settings running around with a LOT of CSLs.  

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The Guidelines actually say "the typical range of characters' base Combat Values".  I can interpret "base" to mean "characteristic", but I think the better interpretation is the level at which CV will typically be at (i.e. no Dodge, skill levels where they would normally be applied).  Otherwise, we create a setting where there is no real guideline for CV as we can just ramp up indefinitely with skill levels.

 

What a "highly trained normal" can do has never been precisely defined.  We have had characters with 35+ DEX and 7+ SPD defined as "trained normals" in various publications, although perhaps not since 5e set a bar for "superhuman".

 

I would tend to agree that, if there is a cap on how good someone can be naturally, there is also a limit on how far training can take them.  No matter how much I practice, I am never going to come close to Bruce Lee - that's not just innate ability, but limits on how far training can take a person.  Or, perhaps, it is simply a cap on the extent to which training can enhance one's innate ability.

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On ‎3‎/‎10‎/‎2019 at 3:00 PM, Killer Shrike said:

In my personal experience, in heroic games the best curb on characters is simply keeping the total character points available low; this beats all caps and limits and restrictions for effectiveness.

 

Yeah... I made this mistake with the current campaign, as I had just two players, and wanted them to be two of the absolute best in the world... the John Wick's of the game... so when I brought in more players, even toning down points a bit for them... there are still too many points going around in some ways. We've got a good group and that helps, but not even trying to min-max, skill levels can get out of hand.

 

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7 minutes ago, Hugh Neilson said:

What a "highly trained normal" can do has never been precisely defined.  We have had characters with 35+ DEX and 7+ SPD defined as "trained normals" in various publications, although perhaps not since 5e set a bar for "superhuman".

 

If I recall, this was the "Sean Fannon" effect during 4th Edition days... and I hated his supplements because his power levels were just absurd compared to most other published materials. I never used published sources "as is" and modded them for my games, but his were always so far outside the curve.

 

7 minutes ago, Hugh Neilson said:

I would tend to agree that, if there is a cap on how good someone can be naturally, there is also a limit on how far training can take them.  No matter how much I practice, I am never going to come close to Bruce Lee - that's not just innate ability, but limits on how far training can take a person.  Or, perhaps, it is simply a cap on the extent to which training can enhance one's innate ability. 

 

This is why I separated my internal character descriptions as I did, above... there is the innate ability and there is the training... both need to be considered. I do think the next step is to factor both and say "A combined CV of X (from natural talent or training or both) puts you at a defined Character Class (or whatever you call it). Certain Character Classes are acceptable in a game, other aren't... or whatever your campaign finds acceptable.

 

Maybe what HERO needs is guidelines about judging a character around 3 axis.

 

Active Point (AP Caps)

Damage Classes (DC Caps)

CV Class (combined CV and Skill Levels)

 

maybe a fourth axis is Flexibility... to incorporate the discussion going on about Multi-powers in that thread?

 

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1 hour ago, RDU Neil said:

Maybe what HERO needs is guidelines about judging a character around ... AP Caps

AP caps flat don't work as a balancing mechanism. 

Take the guy with a 12d6 blast, 0 END cost.  90 AP.  Take the guy with a 12d6 blast and an END reserve large enough to spam this blast forever.  Cost depends on his SPD, but this doesn't breach 60 AP.  Both have roughly equal power and utility.  Why is the former banned but the latter permitted? 

Take the guy with a 12d6 blast, Indirect.  >60 AP.  Take the guy with a 12d6 blast and a handful of CSLs for bouncing it.  Cost again varies, but fits in 60 AP per power.  Why is the former banned but the latter permitted? 

Take the guy with a 12d6 blast, Affects All Desolid.  90 AP.  Why should he have to cut that down to 8d6 just because he has better performance in rare edge cases? 

It goes on and on and on. 

 

The problem is that AP measures both power, which is desirable to numerically constrain, and utility, which makes no sense to numerically constrain. What would be better is a discourse on "effective DCs" based on certain advantages like AoE or AP that really do increase the power of an attack. 

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

AP caps flat don't work as a balancing mechanism. 

Take the guy with a 12d6 blast, 0 END cost.  90 AP.  Take the guy with a 12d6 blast and an END reserve large enough to spam this blast forever.  Cost depends on his SPD, but this doesn't breach 60 AP.  Both have roughly equal power and utility.  Why is the former banned but the latter permitted? 

Take the guy with a 12d6 blast, Indirect.  >60 AP.  Take the guy with a 12d6 blast and a handful of CSLs for bouncing it.  Cost again varies, but fits in 60 AP per power.  Why is the former banned but the latter permitted? 

Take the guy with a 12d6 blast, Affects All Desolid.  90 AP.  Why should he have to cut that down to 8d6 just because he has better performance in rare edge cases? 

It goes on and on and on. 

 

The problem is that AP measures both power, which is desirable to numerically constrain, and utility, which makes no sense to numerically constrain. What would be better is a discourse on "effective DCs" based on certain advantages like AoE or AP that really do increase the power of an attack. 

 

By saying "3 Axis" I meant none of those criteria stand alone. You look at the AP of a character, AND the DC of a character, AND the CV Class of a character... and all together they paint a better picture. I think AP is a good measuring stick, if it is not the ONLY measuring stick. You don't have to call them "Caps" or use caps at all... just that AP is "one of the criteria of a character" is all.

 

In fact my "3 axis" comment was an approach for exactly what you are suggesting... the effective DCs... whatever name we want to give it. The idea being that someone who buys a 90 AP power, and someone who buys a 60 AP power plus levels to make it more effective, would be more even compared because we are taking into account all the factors, not just one.

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2 hours ago, RDU Neil said:

Maybe what HERO needs is guidelines about judging a character around 3 axis.

 

Active Point (AP Caps)

Damage Classes (DC Caps)

CV Class (combined CV and Skill Levels)

 

maybe a fourth axis is Flexibility... to incorporate the discussion going on about Multi-powers in that thread?

 

This is why was trying so hard to hunt down a copy of Adenturer's Club #3.

 

The combat rating system breaks down character power levels in 3 simple steps:

An offensive rating that adds OCV, DCV, DC and Number of Attacks (to account for situational flexibility).

A Defensive rating that adds PD, rPD, ED, rED, Misc defenses (flash, power, etc.), total STUN and points in Invisibility / Deflection

A Mobility rating that adds maximum half-phase movement (how far you can move & still attack), Speed and oddly Acrobatics.

 

It's a good starting place for rough estimates.

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1 minute ago, Toxxus said:

 

This is why was trying so hard to hunt down a copy of Adenturer's Club #3.

 

The combat rating system breaks down character power levels in 3 simple steps:

An offensive rating that adds OCV, DCV, DC and Number of Attacks (to account for situational flexibility).

A Defensive rating that adds PD, rPD, ED, rED, Misc defenses (flash, power, etc.), total STUN and points in Invisibility / Deflection

A Mobility rating that adds maximum half-phase movement (how far you can move & still attack), Speed and oddly Acrobatics.

 

It's a good starting place for rough estimates.

 

I have all the Adventurer's Clubs... I'll have to dig that one out. Haven't looked at 'em since the '80s or whenever they came out.

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On 3/12/2019 at 3:53 PM, Gnome BODY (important!) said:

Take the guy with a 12d6 blast, 0 END cost.  90 AP.  Take the guy with a 12d6 blast and an END reserve large enough to spam this blast forever.  Cost depends on his SPD, but this doesn't breach 60 AP.  Both have roughly equal power and utility.  Why is the former banned but the latter permitted? 

For me both would be pretty much the same. I do not see a basis to treat and judge them differently.

In 5E and earlier, Endurance Reserve could be used as a partial cost saving measure.

But in 6E it is just a different and more granular approach to 0 END, Charges, or the like. And I treat it as such. I asume RDU Neil would have done the same.

 

I also want to remind you that the AP is caps by default are also a bit higher then DC Cap*5. Standart has:

12-14 DC but 40-80 AP.

12 DC, 1/2 End (+1/4) at 75 AP; That would be both below the AP and DC caps.

Edited by Christopher

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I saw one balancing tip where AP caps are only considered against base cost + advantages that increase damage output (Armor Piercing, Area of Effect, Autofire, etc.) and not to advantages that usually have a much lesser effect on combat (reduced END, Indirect, etc.).

 

But my new HERO players are math tilted as it is so I keep it simple with a hard AP cap.

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Sorry, late to the game but I used to do limits on levels in heroic games.  I don't do that anymore mainly because I haven't run heroic level games in a while.

 

The rule basically was you may not have more than 2x the levels as the next higher cost (a pyramid scheme).  So you could buy 1 2 pt point level, or 1 3 pt level and 0-2 2pt levels, or 1 5 pt level, 0-2 3 pt levels, 0-4 2 pt levels).

 

With my current batch of players, I probably wouldn't implement it, mainly because they only buy a few levels and I generally run 6th, which makes buying levels for only OCV less attractive.

 

 

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19 hours ago, Toxxus said:

I saw one balancing tip where AP caps are only considered against base cost + advantages that increase damage output (Armor Piercing, Area of Effect, Autofire, etc.) and not to advantages that usually have a much lesser effect on combat (reduced END, Indirect, etc.).

 

But my new HERO players are math tilted as it is so I keep it simple with a hard AP cap.

 

That evolved into Damage Class caps, I think.

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41 minutes ago, Hugh Neilson said:

 

That evolved into Damage Class caps, I think.

 

It's part of the advice on 6E2 Page 283 called Only Count Certain Advantages and is specifically geared towards active point caps only applying to the advantages that are considered to increase the raw power of abilities and references 6E2 Page 98.

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4 hours ago, Toxxus said:

 

It's part of the advice on 6E2 Page 283 called Only Count Certain Advantages and is specifically geared towards active point caps only applying to the advantages that are considered to increase the raw power of abilities and references 6E2 Page 98.

 

Thanks - I thought the reference was to older editions' commentary :)

 

Reading p 283 in context, and knowing Steve has indicated he does not like AP caps, that section seems more like a grudging acceptance some people will use AP caps anyway, so here is some damage control for those games.  P 98 is a discussion of which advantages should count in determining DCs, so the AP cap as modified to "only count certain advantages" seems like it should be remarkably similar to a DC cap.

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Chris Goodwin I pulled out the BBB and under Power levels in GM section it tell the GM to choose a Range and a Maximum for Attack, Defense and Skills. But I quote “ you tell them how much Power their characters may have in the campaign-period.” Strong suggestion ? Sounds more like a Mandate!

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3 hours ago, Ninja-Bear said:

Chris Goodwin I pulled out the BBB and under Power levels in GM section it tell the GM to choose a Range and a Maximum for Attack, Defense and Skills. But I quote “ you tell them how much Power their characters may have in the campaign-period.” Strong suggestion ? Sounds more like a Mandate!

 

To be more specific: 

 

Quote

In these lines, you tell your players how much raw Power they can take in their super-powers and Skills. Under "Beginning Range," you tell them how much Power their characters may have when they begin the campaign. Under "Maximum," you tell them how much Power their characters may have in the campaign - period.

 

It tells the GM to mandate it, but it doesn't mandate that the GM mandate it.  Page S22: 

 

Quote

It's possible, of course, to play a Champions campaign without any limits on the power level of the characters. However, such a campaign will likely sport grossly unbalanced characters: some will put all their points in a single omnipotent attack, or an impregnable defense. It will be impossible for the players designing their PCs to know what is considered a "good defense" or "a great strength."  Hence it is usually a good idea to set limits the amount of damage each character can do, and the defenses each character can have. You will also limit each character's SPD and DEX.

 

Boldface mine.  

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