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JohnBear

Source and rule book serious weakness

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21 minutes ago, Ninja-Bear said:

I started a Fantasy game once with my brother and he mapped out his dwarf going from a “Private” to a “General” with various skills needed for those ranks. I’ve never seen anyone do that before! 

Did he have Traveler books by chance? Their career options might just be a good fit for getting some ideas here...

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In my current campaign my son created a mage that uses battle magic.  Now all the magic in Nyonia is based on where you come from so I designed all the spells and how they work together.  I envisioned the battle magic as something someone would use to support an army, like artillery.  We had to 'retire' his character.  The magic and the character were just to powerful.  The rest of the players never complained (all folks I have played with for years) but I knew they had to be frustrated.  During at least two adventures the mage selected his best spell for the job and did a lot of damage to a lot of characters.  The last adventure the players ambushed (out of combat) a large band of brigands in a narrow space.  The mage used his big AoE and rolled max damage (2d6KA) - being surprised out of combat is really bad (2X stun and in that case it was 12 Body, 36 Stun X 2).

 

So my son and I talked about it and he saw the same problem as I did, so he created a warrior priest (good healing and some support spells to protect and help the entire party) and we had a good game reason for the two characters to be switched out.

 

I have also decided that no one can play a mage with battle magic ever again. 

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48 minutes ago, bluesguy said:

The last adventure the players ambushed (out of combat) a large band of brigands in a narrow space.  The mage used his big AoE and rolled max damage (2d6KA) - being surprised out of combat is really bad (2X stun and in that case it was 12 Body, 36 Stun X 2). 

That is why Military Training teaches everyone "do not stand close together uselessly. You are MG/Grenade/Fireball bait."

Traps like these are exactly why modern miltiary focuses so much on Scouting. One scout/vanguard force can detect (or trigger) the ambush just as well as the full army.

AoE's like these is why we use Multilayered defenses consisting of several strongpoints.

 

Of course it can make sense to retire that Character anyway, because you do not want to dig into modern Military tactic.

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3 hours ago, bluesguy said:

I have also decided that no one can play a mage with battle magic ever again. 

 

You can work around this - to a degree - by making sure there are scenarios where the battle mage needs the help of the party to function.  This is also why classic computer RPGs had roles like tank, dps, healer, crowd control.  Each person just has to be best at their schtick and everyone is happy.

 

During the last Saturday game I ran my wife's character (classic nuke-happy fire sorceress and the party's healer - last air bender type with healing water magic) were both hit by a 3d6 Entangle and it took them out of 75% of the fight.  Both had Gestures as limitations and low strength scores.  They had to sit there doing nothing while the tank (who got KO'd) and the DPS witcher sword guy fought there way back to them and hacked them free from the vines.

 

A later scenario involved fighting an archer on a desert drake and suddenly the melee guys who were so instrumental in the previous fight became painfully aware of their inability to attack at range while the air bender and fire sorceress rained armor-piercing death on the archer/drake duo at a range of 60m.

 

Make sure the healer gets to heal, the nuker gets to nuke and the roguishly handsome bard type gets to charm and deceive.

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4 hours ago, bluesguy said:

In my current campaign my son created a mage that uses battle magic.  Now all the magic in Nyonia is based on where you come from so I designed all the spells and how they work together.  I envisioned the battle magic as something someone would use to support an army, like artillery.  We had to 'retire' his character.  The magic and the character were just to powerful.  The rest of the players never complained (all folks I have played with for years) but I knew they had to be frustrated.  During at least two adventures the mage selected his best spell for the job and did a lot of damage to a lot of characters.  The last adventure the players ambushed (out of combat) a large band of brigands in a narrow space.  The mage used his big AoE and rolled max damage (2d6KA) - being surprised out of combat is really bad (2X stun and in that case it was 12 Body, 36 Stun X 2).

 

So my son and I talked about it and he saw the same problem as I did, so he created a warrior priest (good healing and some support spells to protect and help the entire party) and we had a good game reason for the two characters to be switched out.

 

I have also decided that no one can play a mage with battle magic ever again. 

 

Sounds a bit like the problem may have been the spell construction. I would think that Army Cooperation spells would need a way for others to direct the impacts, either generals, or Forward Observers. I would see that extended range would be effective.  Also  I would think that there would be a premium on Communications Spells. Also force walls and such to control the flow of battle. Dropping a force wall to block a change, then dropping a custom AOE "Half Circle" to annihilate the bl;ocked chargers without harming the wall.  

 

On the other hand you resolved it well, and the problem was noted by both parties and it was a good solution.

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4 hours ago, Toxxus said:

This is also why classic computer RPGs had roles like tank, dps, healer, crowd control.  Each person just has to be best at their schtick and everyone is happy.

 

Original RPGs also boxed their PCs into roles.  That is where classes came from and still serve the purpose, except there has been a heavy overlap and the introduction of multiclassing. 

 

With a game like Hero, the GM has to define roles and restrictions before chargen. 

 

 

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16 hours ago, Spence said:

 

Original RPGs also boxed their PCs into roles.  That is where classes came from and still serve the purpose, except there has been a heavy overlap and the introduction of multiclassing. 

 

With a game like Hero, the GM has to define roles and restrictions before chargen. 

 

 

 

Not necessarily.  I've found that often, particularly with players coming to HERO from other game systems, that the players are often more than happy to consign themselves to the roles / archetypes from the game systems that they're used to playing.  It takes some time to get them to start thinking more creatively and step "outside the box".  This can be helpful to a point, making what the players spend experience points on reasonably predictable; but it can also be detrimental and frustrating at the same time, since they'll rarely spend points on anything that doesn't increase their combat values (OCV, DCV, skill levels, martial arts, etc.) or even get creative with them (build a special "sword tricks" maneuver rather than just getting yet another +1 OCV 2-point CSL).  Without guidance and encouragement to get creative, a lot of the interesting stuff you can do with HERO is simply lost/missed.

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44 minutes ago, Pegasus40218 said:

 

Not necessarily.  I've found that often, particularly with players coming to HERO from other game systems, that the players are often more than happy to consign themselves to the roles / archetypes from the game systems that they're used to playing.  It takes some time to get them to start thinking more creatively and step "outside the box".  This can be helpful to a point, making what the players spend experience points on reasonably predictable; but it can also be detrimental and frustrating at the same time, since they'll rarely spend points on anything that doesn't increase their combat values (OCV, DCV, skill levels, martial arts, etc.) or even get creative with them (build a special "sword tricks" maneuver rather than just getting yet another +1 OCV 2-point CSL).  Without guidance and encouragement to get creative, a lot of the interesting stuff you can do with HERO is simply lost/missed.

 

I don't even allow 2pt. levels in my campaign and require a pyramid scheme of sorts to moderate the costs.

I basically max players out at two levels at each tier (2x 3pt, 2x 5pt, 2x 8pt, etc.) so that they can't cheese out and take +8 OCV with their go-to attack for the same cost as +2 with all HTH combat.

 

There are many things I prefer with HERO (hell, I converted all of my D&D tables to HERO tables), but for some players the rigid class structure prevented them from going too crazy.

 

It oddly feels like the difference between not stealing the money because it's in a locked box vs. not stealing the money because it's the wrong thing to do.

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Our group doesn't really play Fantasy Hero, but I think my comments apply generally to Hero.

 

The game works best when the players and GM have an agreement on the expected power scale, and everyone sticks to it.  You can build a character that is too powerful for the game, and throw everything off.  You can also build a character who is too weak for the game, and that's just as harmful (it's basically the exact same problem, in reverse).  If you expect the PCs to be running around at about OCV/DCV 8 and Spd 5, then the guy with a 15 OCV and 8 Speed is really unbalancing.  Of course, so is the guy with a 3/3 and Spd 2.  "I'm just playing my character", he says, ignoring the fact that the GM is having to go out of his way to not kill the character, or make him feel useless.

 

For a while I tried experimenting with unusual character builds.  Desolidification, Invisibility, Darkness, Missile Deflection, Images, Shrinking, etc.  The characters had little traditional offense or defense, but instead had one cool power that they relied on all the time.  The problem with these characters was that every single battle, I was putting the GM in an all-or-nothing position.  Either there was an opponent who could see through my invisibility/hit my desolidification/penetrate my illusions/hit my DCV, or there wasn't.  If a bad guy could see me/hit me, I went down.  If he couldn't, then I was effectively invincible.  Typical combat in Hero has a sort of "whittling down" effect, but this didn't.  It wasn't fair to the GM, who had to decide when he was designing the scenario whether I was going to get dropped in the first few phases or if I'd stay up to the end.  It wasn't fair to the other players, because they were playing in a more traditional way and they ended up taking more damage because most villains couldn't touch me (so they'd focus on the people they could see/affect).  And it wasn't fair to me, because ultimately it wasn't all that fun to play.

 

This all goes towards building characters who fit the themes and standards of the campaign.  Anything that is too out of whack is going to lessen the fun.  +8 OCV with sword thrust is awesome, until it pushes the GM to start raising DCVs.  Then the other players get forced into an arms race, and that isn't necessarily what they want.  That's why the players and the GM should discuss campaign standards.  How high does my OCV need to be, to be an average swordsman?  How much to be a great swordsman?  How much to be the best in the world?  How good are we supposed to be in this campaign?  The game itself has very few real world benchmarks, so it's hard to know how good something is without discussing it with others first.

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The big difference between Hero and, say, D&D is that you let people build what they like (within campaign boundaries) and then the GM builds adventures around them rather than building the adventures and the party building around it.

 

So in Hero if you have no healer or "tank" or whatever, meh.  The GM can fix that with his adventures. An NPC joins in, the adventure never really requires a thief's skills, whatever.  While you CAN do this in other games, in Hero its by default and design, because the focus is on customization and making whatever you most desire to play rather than what the game needs.

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10 hours ago, Toxxus said:

 

I don't even allow 2pt. levels in my campaign and require a pyramid scheme of sorts to moderate the costs.

I basically max players out at two levels at each tier (2x 3pt, 2x 5pt, 2x 8pt, etc.) so that they can't cheese out and take +8 OCV with their go-to attack for the same cost as +2 with all HTH combat.

 

There are many things I prefer with HERO (hell, I converted all of my D&D tables to HERO tables), but for some players the rigid class structure prevented them from going too crazy.

 

It oddly feels like the difference between not stealing the money because it's in a locked box vs. not stealing the money because it's the wrong thing to do.

 

Funny you should take this approach.  I had the same idea (though I wasn't planning on dropping the 2-point CSLs) -- not allowing a player to have more than 2 CSLs of a given type (other than 10 point All Combat CSLs); I just hadn't decided whether or not this would actually prevent or at least slow down the "arms race".  I'm really hoping it encourages a little more diversification / exploration of the options available in the system while keeping things relatively well-balanced.  Did implementing this scheme have that impact in your games?

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12 hours ago, Pegasus40218 said:

 

Funny you should take this approach.  I had the same idea (though I wasn't planning on dropping the 2-point CSLs) -- not allowing a player to have more than 2 CSLs of a given type (other than 10 point All Combat CSLs); I just hadn't decided whether or not this would actually prevent or at least slow down the "arms race".  I'm really hoping it encourages a little more diversification / exploration of the options available in the system while keeping things relatively well-balanced.  Did implementing this scheme have that impact in your games?

 

I've found that it helps, but as some others have pointed out - when you set the caps that becomes the standard value for the envelope pushers.

 

What really helped was building out a variant of the Combat Effectiveness Calculator from Adventurer's Club #3.

 

With a total max value for offense, defense, crowd control and movement I was able to force the players to choose from aspects they wanted to excel in since the point cap wouldn't allow them to excel at everything.

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1 hour ago, Toxxus said:

What really helped was building out a variant of the Combat Effectiveness Calculator from Adventurer's Club #3.

 

Wait... did you post your variant? Maybe I missed that post in this thread? I'd be interested in seeing that. (Got to remember to dig out that AC#3 tonight when I get home.)

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15 minutes ago, RDU Neil said:

 

Wait... did you post your variant? Maybe I missed that post in this thread? I'd be interested in seeing that. (Got to remember to dig out that AC#3 tonight when I get home.)

 

I haven't posted my variant, but it runs along the same lines.  Offense, Defense, Mobility and Variability (number of different types of attacks) all add to an effective combat score which is capped.

 

I move the cap a bit each time we cross a certain threshold of character points and let the players decide where they will advance.  Once a character is at the campaign cap they have to either hoard points or expand in non-combat aspects.

 

This has pleasantly lead to most characters taking on a role or two and expanding into areas they wouldn't if they were allowed to keep advancing their combat abilities.

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Just now, Toxxus said:

 

I haven't posted my variant, but it runs along the same lines.  Offense, Defense, Mobility and Variability (number of different types of attacks) all add to an effective combat score which is capped.

 

I move the cap a bit each time we cross a certain threshold of character points and let the players decide where they will advance.  Once a character is at the campaign cap they have to either hoard points or expand in non-combat aspects.

 

This has pleasantly lead to most characters taking on a role or two and expanding into areas they wouldn't if they were allowed to keep advancing their combat abilities.

 

Well, I'd like to see it, if/when you decide to post it. I don't necessarily feel like I have to force my players to expand. Usually their request is, "I really think my character should have Conversation in his skill set based on how we've been playing him" and I'm like "Sounds good! You have it!"  In fact, had a player set a character aside last night, because he wanted a more combat oriented character for the type of scenarios being planned. Rather than just "get better at fighting" with one character, who, in his mind, was not that kind of guy, he wanted to move to a character who WAS that kind of guy. The personality, history and Story of the character drives how they are built, not just "I've got some points? Let's spend 'em!"

 

Very different play styles, but having a way to calculate "combat wise... how do the PCs all stack up with one another" is a good idea.

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Sorry late to the game.

 

In the last fantasy game I run, I made everyone buy everything with points.  The idea was, it was a Xena/Hercules style game.  So weapons, magic or what not, that you would commonly have, needed to be bought with points or you would lose them between episodes.  Treasure was never defined as X gold pieces but as X xp worth of generic treasure (about 1 pt per player for the big treasure at the end).  If the player wanted to be rich, they simply bought wealth.  If they wanted a magic weapon, the treasure haul would have the weapon amongst the items and the player would buy it with xp.  Fighters could have multipower pools defined as anime style attacks.  I dislike power pools, so not even the villains had them.  Sadly, that game died mainly due to my fault of being unprepared and a bad work situation, but the treasure idea worked well IMHO.

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In the Original Ninja Hero, Aaron Allston stated the idea of having ranges and each character could have one max and the rest in range. So there could be only one Speed 5 say and the rest 3-4 in a 3-5 spread. I’ve always used this in my games. 

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On 3/14/2019 at 2:17 PM, Ninja-Bear said:

In the Original Ninja Hero, Aaron Allston stated the idea of having ranges and each character could have one max and the rest in range. So there could be only one Speed 5 say and the rest 3-4 in a 3-5 spread. I’ve always used this in my games. 

Aaron Alston was a very wise man.

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On 3/14/2019 at 9:50 PM, dsatow said:

Sorry late to the game.

 

In the last fantasy game I run, I made everyone buy everything with points.  The idea was, it was a Xena/Hercules style game.  So weapons, magic or what not, that you would commonly have, needed to be bought with points or you would lose them between episodes. 

The Xena and Hercules settings are definitely more on the Superheroic Level.

It would also run a Star Wars game more like Superheroic.

GA's Andromeda and Star Trek also tend more towards the Superheroic imho, but it is more of a fringe case. Most aciton movies also tend towards this area of the spectrum.

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