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Centaurs - Should they have Extra Limbs?

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I was perusing through the 6E bestiary book and came across the entry for Centaurs. It's got two arms and four legs, but it wasn't built with Extra Limbs.

 

Whenever I see an entry for a creature with a tail, it's usually bought as an Extra Limb with Limited Manipulation.

 

Does this mean that having an extra pair of horse legs, presumably with extremely limited manipulation ability, doesn't then require paying for Extra Limbs?

 

Are extra legs not actually Extra Limbs?

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I guess the author just thought of the extra centaur legs as being a special effect of the additional running? In theory, any visible additional limb could be just a special effect of some other power and not an Extra Limb as defined by the rules.

 

But if I were writing up a centaur, I'd expect those legs to be used as extra limbs with limited manipulation at some point so I'd require Buying Extra Limb.

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I never built them with extra limbs, either. 

 

I tend to reserve that for those cases where the character gains something specifically from the limbs:

 

The running is because he's half horse, not because he has four legs.  Knock back resistance is because he's massive, not because of the legs, etc. 

 

I tend to use a distinctive feature: half horse / centaur and a phys lum: if horses don't fit, he doesn't either type build for them. 

 

Now those alien centaur-like critters who can use the forelegs as manipulating appendages (even if only clumsily so)?  They buy extra limbs. 

 

That help any? 

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Mostly what Duke just said, but also consider what advantage the extra two legs provides. 

Can they still walk if they lose a leg?  No. 

Can they still kick if they lose a leg?  No. 

Are they able to grab more people at once?  No. 

Can they hold more objects?  No. 

Do they need to buy more shoes?  Yes. 

 

They're not paying for Extra Limbs because they're not getting any benefits you'd expect to come from Extra Limbs. 

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I think my focusing on the legs in my original post is tilting opinions against a centaur paying for Extra Limbs. They're a special effect and thus not giving enough benefit to require an expenditure of character points.

 

However, if you instead look at a centaur as a horse with two arms and hands, that sounds more like a case for Extra Limbs. I guess it's a matter of how you view them.

 

Are the two horse legs the additions or the arms with hands? If the legs are the additions, paying for Extra Limbs is unnecessary. If it's the arms and hands that are the additions, then Extra Limbs seems like it would be needed.

 

So if you were building a horse that had a pair of arms as well as four legs, buying Extra Limbs would be reasonable.

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9 minutes ago, Steve said:

I think my focusing on the legs in my original post is tilting opinions against a centaur paying for Extra Limbs. They're a special effect and thus not giving enough benefit to require an expenditure of character points.

 

However, if you instead look at a centaur as a horse with two arms and hands, that sounds more like a case for Extra Limbs. I guess it's a matter of how you view them.

 

Are the two horse legs the additions or the arms with hands? If the legs are the additions, paying for Extra Limbs is unnecessary. If it's the arms and hands that are the additions, then Extra Limbs seems like it would be needed.

 

So if you were building a horse that had a pair of arms as well as four legs, buying Extra Limbs would be reasonable.

By default, HERO is anthropocentric.  Everyone starts with two legs, two arms, sight, hearing, speech, credit card, arithmetic skills, etc etc.  Not having something a normal bystander has is a Disadvantage. 

So a horse without arms has the No Arms physlim and thus has no arms, whereas a centaur (who has not suffered tragic accident in his backstory) does not have the No Arms physlim and thus has arms. 

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At first thought yes, but upon closer inspection with video replay, no.  All that the arms do is remove their "no fine manipulation" complication; they can't open a door with those hooves or anything.  Yes, they can hold you and kick you, but that's just the fine manipulation in play.  They're not getting anything out of their arms that they couldn't have done before, except being able to manipulate stuff better.  That's why I don't give a basilisk extra limbs, because they don't do anything or give the creature anything more.

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1 hour ago, Steve said:

I think my focusing on the legs in my original post is tilting opinions against a centaur paying for Extra Limbs. They're a special effect and thus not giving enough benefit to require an expenditure of character points.

 

However, if you instead look at a centaur as a horse with two arms and hands, that sounds more like a case for Extra Limbs. I guess it's a matter of how you view them.

 

Are the two horse legs the additions or the arms with hands? If the legs are the additions, paying for Extra Limbs is unnecessary. If it's the arms and hands that are the additions, then Extra Limbs seems like it would be needed.

 

So if you were building a horse that had a pair of arms as well as four legs, buying Extra Limbs would be reasonable.

 

 

Ha!  When you put it that way, it rather makes sense, doesn't it?  :lol:

 

 

I'm _not_ claiming this is "the rules" or even remotely officially-endorsed.  Just want to put that right up front. ;)

 

The way I have always looked at is from the point of view of a completely unbuilt character: the character sheet itself.  If I pick up a blank character sheet, with just the default Tens, etc--  put at name on it and declare it to be an NPC, it is an absolutely valid (if particularly unexceptional) character.   He has all the "normal person" abilities for someone with his everything-is-or-isn't-on-the-character-sheet.

 

Make sense so far?

 

I want to deviate from this.  I want to be stronger: I buy STR.  I want to run faster: I buy Running.  Any ability that the base character does _not_ have, but I want _my_ character to have-- that ability I have to pay for.

 

I want to be seven feet tall.  I buy nothing: I declare I am seven feet tall.  I want to be able to _grow_ to seven or nine or whatever feet tall, I buy Growth.  Why?  Because Growth has other stuff besides just being tall.  In game terms, being tall adds _nothing_ to the base character.

 

The base character has two limbs with which he can perform fine manipulations of objects.

The centaur does, too.  He doesn't have to pay for this.

 

He can run faster than the base character, so he has to pay for that.  However, his additional legs (and second heart, and third and fourth lung, and extra kidneys, bladder, and whatever other extras you get when you jam a man hip-deep into a horse's neck) don't provide him any leg-specific benefit, so there's no need to pay for those, either.  No need to buy legs that don't really add anything.  Don't need to buy arms that don't really add anything.  No need to pay for a tail that's mostly just a stump with long hair, right?  

 

Now suppose you _do_ want the extra legs to add something: you declare that your centaur is harder to knock over because of his four-legged stance.  You don't buy extra limbs.  You buy Extra DEX: only for --- however you want to do it.  Or maybe buy some "knockdown resistance" or something along those lines.  However, anyone can buy this build, with or without extra limbs, so your centaur doesn't really need the limbs to make that happen, either.

 

 

I'm going to stop.  I'm pretty sure I'm making this harder than it needs to be.   :rofl:

 

 

 

 

Duke

 

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17 hours ago, Steve said:

Whenever I see an entry for a creature with a tail, it's usually bought as an Extra Limb with Limited Manipulation.

This makes sense for apes. But does it also apply to cats and dogs? Or Horses?

The tail is hardly able to do anything.

 

And as for horses legs: They are inherently fragile. A horse can die if it breaks one leg. Like human, it requires a prostesis to move at all:


Unlike cats and dogs, it also does not retain most of it's ability to move:

 

 

So a horse get's next to no redundancy from those extra legs.

Indeed, a better name for this Power might be Redundant Limbs.

This Power gives you the ability to stave off grabs and strong limited entangles, because you got more limbs to fall back on.

 

A cat loosing her tail would loose her racial bonus to balancing. Wich is somewhere between Power Loss and Complication.

While most cats, dogs and other small animals would get a reduced movement rate/complication for loosing one of their 4 limbs.

But horses are pretty much done if they so much as break a legbone.

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12 hours ago, Killer Shrike said:

I would expect them to, but wouldn't lose sleep over it if they did not.

Well, let's run a thought experiment.  Two players show up to your game at the last minute with centaur characters.  One centaur has Extra Limbs, the other does not.  There is, for some contrived reason, not enough time to rework anything. 

How do you make Extra Limbstaur's Extra Limbs matter?  What benefit does Extra Limbstaur gain in this game that Normal Limbstaur does not receive? 

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On 3/16/2019 at 11:45 AM, Gnome BODY (important!) said:

Well, let's run a thought experiment.  Two players show up to your game at the last minute with centaur characters.  One centaur has Extra Limbs, the other does not.  There is, for some contrived reason, not enough time to rework anything. 

How do you make Extra Limbstaur's Extra Limbs matter?  What benefit does Extra Limbstaur gain in this game that Normal Limbstaur does not receive? 

 

1) Well, if it were my campaign, I would have a Centaur package deal / template defined the way I want Centaurs to be defined. Also, I get involved with my players when they make their characters, they don't just walk in and sit down with a piece of paper and start playing. So two different players would not walk in with differently defined centaurs, or whatever.

 

2) Its the player's job to make their character's abilities matter. The rules say "Extra Limbs have no direct effect on combat, but characters can use them to perform maneuvers not possible to ordinary humans", which is entirely circumstantial to events in play. Thus it would come down to circumstances and situations a character might find themselves in where having 4 legs and two arms allows them to do something a normal-limbed person can't do as well or at all. Extra Limbs Inherent costs 6 points; a veritable drop in the well (and if limited manipulation is allowed, the cost comes back down to 5). Figuring out a way to make 5-6 points matter over the course of a campaign should not strain most players.

 

3) Either Extra Limbs should not be a Power unto itself at all (which I would be ok with) as it is usually just a SFX for other abilities and should therefore be dropped from the rules, or having more than 4 limbs requires a Power. If EL were dropped from the rules, I would not bat an eye...I would even go so far as to say dropping the power from the rules entirely seems sensible to me. However, as they are in the rules and survived other similar constant-body-shape-definition things like being permanently big or small, for the sake of consistency I would lean on the side of actually making characters with more than the typical arrangement of limbs purchase the power.

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29 minutes ago, Killer Shrike said:

 

1) Well, if it were my campaign, I would have a Centaur package deal / template defined the way I want Centaurs to be defined. Also, I get involved with my players when they make their characters, they don't just walk in and sit down with a piece of paper and start playing. So two different players would not walk in with differently defined centaurs, or whatever.

 

2) Its the player's job to make their character's abilities matter. The rules say "Extra Limbs have no direct effect on combat, but characters can use them to perform maneuvers not possible to ordinary humans", which is entirely circumstantial to events in play. Thus it would come down to circumstances and situations a character might find themselves in where having 4 legs and two arms allows them to do something a normal-limbed person can't do as well or at all. Extra Limbs Inherent costs 6 points; a veritable drop in the well (and if limited manipulation is allowed, the cost comes back down to 5). Figuring out a way to make 5-6 points matter over the course of a campaign should not strain most players.

 

3) Either Extra Limbs should not be a Power unto itself at all (which I would be ok with) as it is usually just a SFX for other abilities and should therefore be dropped from the rules, or having more than 4 limbs requires a Power. If EL were dropped from the rules, I would not bat an eye...I would even go so far as to say that seems sensible to me. However, as they are in the rules and survived other similar constant-body-shape-definition things like being permanently big or small, for the sake of consistency I would lean on the side of actually making characters with more than the typical arrangement of limbs purchase the power.

 

 

I agree, getting things coordinated and on the same page is important.  And some abilities the player does have to initiate use of. 

 

This doesn't actually address the question, though.  When do you draw the line and look Normal Limbstaur's player in the eye and say "Extra Limbstaur can do that, but you can't."? 

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

I agree, getting things coordinated and on the same page is important.  And some abilities the player does have to initiate use of. 

 

This doesn't actually address the question, though.  When do you draw the line and look Normal Limbstaur's player in the eye and say "Extra Limbstaur can do that, but you can't."? 

 

I would look both of the players in the eye and say...here's the package,  both of you can either take it or play something else. If the pkg had EL, then they both have EL. If the pkg did not have EL then neither would have EL.

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14 minutes ago, Killer Shrike said:

I would look both of the players in the eye and say...here's the package,  both of you can either take it or play something else. If the pkg had EL, then they both have EL. If the pkg did not have EL then neither would have EL.

So you're refusing to address the question, then. 

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2 hours ago, Gnome BODY (important!) said:

This doesn't actually address the question, though.  When do you draw the line and look Normal Limbstaur's player in the eye and say "Extra Limbstaur can do that, but you can't."? 

 

I say that any time Average Joe Centaur wants to try to carry things with his legs, and any time he wants to manipulate the environment with his legs, beyond kicking or nudging things (e.g. things a typical human wearing shoes could do with their feet).

 

When Average Joe Centaur wants to move down the dungeon corridor holding a tower shield in his left hand, a bastard sword in his right hand, and a lantern on one front hoof, I tell him, "You try, but you're wobbling too much to keep the lantern on your hoof" or at best, "This setup is super awkward for you. You're at half DCV and any time you do anything athletic like running or fighting, you'll have to make a DEX roll."

 

When Extra Limbs Larry says he wants to do the same thing, I remember that he paid points for the ability to have more than the usual number of manipulatory appendages, and I say, "Okay, your extensive training allows you to carry the lantern on your hoof and move more or less normally." If Limby McHandsy here wants to sit on his haunches and use his front legs to turn dials on a stereotypical dungeon puzzle, whilst keeping his weapons in his hands . . . you know what? Once again, he's paid for that ability, so the answer he gets is, "Okay, you look really silly doing it, but it works." When Two-Hands Tony tries it, he discovers that he just doesn't have the coordination to do that.

 

Edit: I wouldn't let a centaur have Extra Limbs without "Limited Manipulation"--with just one hoofed digit on that limb, you are NOT going to have the dexterity of a hand with four jointed fingers and an opposable thumb.

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4 hours ago, Gnome BODY (important!) said:

 

How do you make Extra Limbstaur's Extra Limbs matter?  What benefit does Extra Limbstaur gain in this game that Normal Limbstaur does not receive? 

 

This _is_ an interesting dilemma.   :lol:

 

Now keep in mind I'm not this hard-hearted; this answer is _only_ because I am willing to adhere to your postulation that there is no time to change anything, which I assume implies also a complete inability to hold the game from starting for ten minutes or so.

 

In precisely the situation that you propose, the benefit for Limbtaur (forgive me; it's easier to pronounce in my head without the "s") is that he has five points to spend for an in-game pick-up of a skill, Perk, maneuver, or normal attack DC that the "regular" centaur didn't get because I'm going to shoot down the EL and rebate it to him.  He'll need to spend it in-game or after the game, given the situation that we can't change it now.

 

 

That said, realistically, I can't give you an answer because campaigns vary widely, even within genres.  For example, I can run Sci-Fi, but I might be running near-future or a Firefly type thing.  I might be running Traveller HERO.  I might be running a multi-galaxay-spanning space opera.  Each of those comes with different "liberties" for character creation.  In a millions-of-races environment, it's not uncommon for me to allow characters to design up their own race for the character, so long as the final character is submitted for GM approval well before game time so we can go over any changes I might require.  Should two "centaur-like" aliens be presented, one with EL and one without, I'd discuss the situation with _both_ players on hand, and see what we work out.  Are they the classic "stuff two-thirds of a guy into three-fourths of a horse" centaurs, both of them?  (This would of course make them of the same race.)  If yes, then the EL has to go and those points can be spent somewhere else.  If EL is important to the player, perhaps he is a centaur-like race, different from the other, with "swing appendages" that do double-duty.  Or perhaps he honest-to-goodnes has four arms to go with four legs, or his tail is prehensile.  Either way, he's different from the other guy.

 

Perhaps he was attempting to use EL to model a combat maneuver in which he held a foe in a grab with both hands and rained blows upon him with his fore hooves.  In this case, again, I would lead toward him refunding the EL and creating an attack or maneuver to simulate that ability.

 

 

Change genre: 

 

Let's go to Fantasy-- the most likely place to find a centaur (Well, least likely at my table: centaurs and Tolkien elves.  Ugh.  )  Most of my campaigns that feature multiple sentients--- well, like most GMs, I design the basic character / template for that race; players can build from there.  Again, GM has final approval of all characters, and again-- well before game time, in case changes need to be made.

 

However, High Fantasy has _some_ leeway, and I have let characters design their own races (with a rather sharp "no Tolkien Elves, no centaurs" policy laid out, but let's assume I've decided to allow centaurs), much like my way-out space opera stuff.   In this case, the same basic principles apply: if you're both going to be "real" centaurs, you don't need the EL, and you can rebate that back to buy off a Disad or spend elsewhere.

 

 

So in summation:

 

Given the constraints imposed in your initial question, and assuming it's a "real" centaur, and I can't hold the game for a re-work, I advise the player that EL is misspent points which he can re-assign on the fly if he so desires (with my approval on the re-spend) unless he truly has one or more limbs in addition to the six-and-a-tail of the traditional centaur.

 

For more realistic situations (funny: "realistic" when talking about a role-playing game!  :rofl:  )

 

However, the situation itself has a teeny, tiny chance of ever actually happening, since as the GM, in _most_ cases, I tend to build the races myself so as to avoid this very sort of situation.

 

(probably not the answer you were expecting from the guy who so vehemently defended the idea of the one-armed adventurer who wasn't automatically penalized for having one arm, but it's the most truthful-to-me answer I can give you).

 

3 hours ago, Killer Shrike said:

 

1) Well, if it were my campaign, I would have a Centaur package deal / template defined the way I want Centaurs to be defined. Also, I get involved with my players when they make their characters, they don't just walk in and sit down with a piece of paper and start playing. So two different players would not walk in with differently defined centaurs, or whatever.

 

 

Precisely this.  Honestly, I think for the most part we _all_ do this, and for precisely that reason.  And of course, to make sure no one shows up with game-breaking new races like "centaurs with 22 OCV/DCV and Running 80" or something like that.

 

3 hours ago, Gnome BODY (important!) said:

I agree, getting things coordinated and on the same page is important.  And some abilities the player does have to initiate use of. 

 

 

Both of these are extremely valid points: as you say, getting things coordinated:  that's everyone's job, of course, but it is a primary responsibility of the GM, and one of the biggest steps he can take, since he designs the bulk of the world, is to design the races that dwell within it.  This significantly reduces the potential that one or more of those races has the potential to run roughshod through that world, and more importantly: to give a clear definition to what those races are, so that no one is surprised by what one of those creatures is or is not in this particular world.

 

And yes: sometimes players have an idea that differs from the GM, and they should not hesitate to bring it up.  However, they should also understand that the GM may already have a specific idea in mind for a particular item / creature / setting and the players should be willing to accept that in order to have the ability he wants, he may have to make a character that is somehow different from the character he envisioned-- see the Centaur / Centaur-like discussion above) or that his idea may be disallowed (or perhaps uneccessary to achieve his goal ) _for this game_.  There will be other games, and good GMs tend to take note of what does and does not interest their players.

 

 

This has been fun.  I've got to get supper going for the kids.   :)

 

 

 

Duke

 

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8 minutes ago, dmjalund said:

Adding OCV and DCV to kick manoeuvres to indicate he is far better balanced due to extra legs than a human would be

 

Absolutely.

 

But in this case, he still doesn't have to buy EL.  Claiming these bonuses are due to his four-legged stance is little more than defining SFX for the bonuses themselves.

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10 hours ago, Gnome BODY (important!) said:

So you're refusing to address the question, then. 

 

On the contrary, I addressed the question of how to manage the situation of a character with EL and a character without EL on two different Centaurs in the same game by saying "don't allow it to happen in the first place". 

 

As Mr. Franklin once said, "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure".

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18 hours ago, Christopher said:

This makes sense for apes.

 

Sorry, can't resist...monkeys have tails, apes (chimpanzees, bonobos, gorillas, orangutans, gibbons, and humans) do not.

 

Many parents of small children know this thanks to the immortally annoying lyrics to an obnoxious Veggie Tales song:

 

If it doesn't have a tail it's not a monkey
Even if it has a monkey kinda shape
If it doesn't have doesn't have a tail it's not a monkey
Well maybe we could catch it on the tape
If it doesn't have a tail it's not a monkey if it doesn't have a tail it's not a monkey it's an ape
 

 

 

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