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TranquiloUno

Tactics by players, for players, against players

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I feel like this is probably been talked about before but my cursory googles for "Tactical Combat" and "Combat Tactics" with site:herogames.com/forums didn't produce anything obviously related. Some fun content from 2019 tho...

 

So, my question is, naturally rambly and multipart.

 

Premise: Hero has a pretty sweet tactical combat system. Particularly (IMHO) compared to most other mainstream RPGs. Some of them seem semi-supers specific but then also some of them seem semi-heroic specific.

 

Question 1: What are some of the more effective tactics folks have seen in Hero? Either group tactics, nastily effective builds\combos, or just individual stuff players have some up with?

 

Question 2: What are the most detailed\specific tactics that you have seen or have implemented in your games? Specifically for folks like RDU Neil who run primarily Dark Champions, Fantasy, and other less trad superhero material (or at least that's the impression I've received on the forums).

 

Question 3: What does "tactical combat" mean to you as a gamer? I'd read a bunch of forums and posts on this a while back and "tactical" often seemed to mean: There is terrain (ie, it's not a big empty room or field). There are more than one type of enemy, often mixing modes of attack (ranged, melee, casting). There is some "fighting to the goal" as opposed to my traditional "fighting to win" (ie, you need to stop the sacrifice or escape the air fortress before it explodes, killing everybody isn't gonna do it).

 

To me that...doesn't really seem "tactical". Players might need to create some tactics to address those situations but the tactics (as always: That I've seen, that I see talked about, that seem common, etc) but often it only goes so far as who to attack first\who to focus fire on first.

 

I know KS has a page about some basic tactics in Hero but I was wondering about the rest of you. Particularly for more modern guns n' stuff type games.

 

If this has been discussed before and there's a good link that would be neat to see too.

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The single most effective thing I've seen personally (not in my game) was from a group who was specifically wargaming with the system, sort of doing a HERO-version of Starfleet Battles.

 

At any rate, the grossly effective thing was EDM: usable against others, Area of Effect.

 

It was insanely ugly, and all three players had it, though there was some limiting factor (I'm afraid I don't remember what it was) that kept it from being spammed.

 

 

 

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This is one of the nastiest powers I ever saw, though it was very expensive.

 

Desolidification, Area of Effect & Increased Area, Usable Against Others, Personal Immunity, Reduced Endurance

 

Go ahead, shoot him with an attack.  It goes right through him.  "Aha," you think.  "I'll shoot him with my Affects Desolid attack!"  It goes right through him, with no effect.  You see, he's not desolid, you are.  To affect him with an attack, you need Affects Real World (+2) on your power.  But why would you buy that, since you don't normally go desolid?  You wouldn't!

 

But for him to affect you, he only needs the regular Affects Desolid (+1/2) advantage.  Or none at all, since he has to choose a special effect that will pierce his Desolidification.  And he might as well choose a special effect that he uses himself...

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I haven't played any "guns 'n' stuff" games for ages, but for superhero games some of the main things are:

 

* Clear out any innocent bystanders. This can be really dangerous.

* Use surprise attacks where possible. This includes attacks from the rear.

* Reducing opponents' combat values is good. This allows your heavy hitters to pound on them. There are a bunch of ways to do this, including the surprise attacks I mentioned before.

* Maintain control of the range at which you are fighting. Sometimes it's better to close in to your opponents, and other times it's better to fight them from a distance. Of course, your own character builds are relevant to this.

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1 hour ago, massey said:

This is one of the nastiest powers I ever saw, though it was very expensive.

 

Desolidification, Area of Effect & Increased Area, Usable Against Others, Personal Immunity, Reduced Endurance

 

Go ahead, shoot him with an attack.  It goes right through him.  "Aha," you think.  "I'll shoot him with my Affects Desolid attack!"  It goes right through him, with no effect.  You see, he's not desolid, you are.  To affect him with an attack, you need Affects Real World (+2) on your power.  But why would you buy that, since you don't normally go desolid?  You wouldn't!

 

But for him to affect you, he only needs the regular Affects Desolid (+1/2) advantage.  Or none at all, since he has to choose a special effect that will pierce his Desolidification.  And he might as well choose a special effect that he uses himself...

 

Your's and Mr. Bushido's responses are of good examples of both what I mean and don't mean.

They are both a way to solve the problem of fighting people\taking damage but they're just a single thing. 

It's definitely *A* tactic but it's...also not really a tactic? Like hitting something is a valid tactic. Using a single power.

Shooting a cool gun, even a really cool unique gun, is still basically, "shoot it". 

(Both very cool tricks that are both examples of things that I think Hero does well that other systems do not btw)

 

But I mean more like combo work.

 

The prime example of this to me is Coordinated Attacks in Hero.

That's a thing I remember reading in ICE Hero #500, I think, and it really struck me at the time as being a super cool feature of the system that I hadn't (still haven't really) seen in other games. Makes a ton of sense in supers games in particular.

 

Do I just throw a jab? Or save phase, to block, to beat their higher dex\lightning reflexes next phase type stuff.

 

Or I'm sure that something like Battlelords of the 30th Century has rules for suppressing fire but a lot of other rpgs don't and so that tactic can't even really be employed very well outside of a friendly GM. 

But does anyone ever do that kind of Hero gameplay? 

 

I was watching the first Avengers movie just recently and there were a bunch of examples.

 

Iron Man hits Captain America with his repulsors\unibeam (presumably a high DC EB with "Beam") so that Captain America can both deflect reflect it and then...uh...uses his own synergistic combat levels to Spread the deflected beam at the Chitauri.

 

I think my fave was Captain America giving Black Widow a boost so she can leap to a flying skysled which she then flys around for the next few scenes. A tactic evolved to respond to Captain A's request that she get to the top of Stark tower.

 

Or maybe Hawkeye targeting Loki with an (Double KB?) Explosion because he feels the skysled is more vulnerable or that by generating some KB on Loki he can blow him off the sled entirely and let the falling damage Stun him?

 

(In fact I think all the fights in that movie could be very specifically emulate in Hero\Champs with default rules, to include things like moving combat levels around in the middle of fights, but that's beside the point)

 

 

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, assault said:

I haven't played any "guns 'n' stuff" games for ages, but for superhero games some of the main things are:

 

* Clear out any innocent bystanders. This can be really dangerous.

 

Oh, interesting. Genre staple but never played that kind of scenario personally. Good example of a terrain oriented fight (there's a safe place to clear them to) with an alternate goal that just total combat victory.

 

What kind of stuff have players to resolve that sort of sitch tactically? 

 

1 hour ago, assault said:

* Use surprise attacks where possible. This includes attacks from the rear.

 

A classic! Always. Even IRL.

 

Especially IRL. ;D

 

1 hour ago, assault said:

* Reducing opponents' combat values is good. This allows your heavy hitters to pound on them. There are a bunch of ways to do this, including the surprise attacks I mentioned before.

 

Sure or I'd think of the Ultimates I think from Classic Enemies where...uh...Slick and Binder? both center their schtick around disabling other folks so their blaster\brick buddies can take advantage. Right? That's my memory of their general stats anyway.

 

Darkness vs Normal Sight by the wizard while the Infravision seein' elf runs in there.

Entangles in general. 

 

Do you see players setup to do that kind of thing much? And have you ever seen it implemented in...highly rigorous ways?

 

I don't know that *I* have. Not in any system. 

 

 

1 hour ago, assault said:

* Maintain control of the range at which you are fighting. Sometimes it's better to close in to your opponents, and other times it's better to fight them from a distance. Of course, your own character builds are relevant to this.

 

For sure. Definitely a classic here too. The various mixed enemies and\or mixed PC attack types.

 

I dunno if I've ever seen or run a running combat type deal. The battlemat-centric style of play seems to favor set piece stuff over run and gun. But maybe I've just never tried. ;D

 

 

 

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23 minutes ago, TranquiloUno said:

Sure or I'd think of the Ultimates I think from Classic Enemies where...uh...Slick and Binder? both center their schtick around disabling other folks so their blaster\brick buddies can take advantage. Right? That's my memory of their general stats anyway.

 

Darkness vs Normal Sight by the wizard while the Infravision seein' elf runs in there.

Entangles in general. 

 

Do you see players setup to do that kind of thing much? And have you ever seen it implemented in...highly rigorous ways?

 

I don't know that *I* have. Not in any system.

 

Any time you have a fast character (martial artist or speedster) and a heavy hitter (brick or blaster) in the same team, these kind of tactics become possible.

 

Good players will use them. Mediocre players will just pair off with their opponents and fight their own battles.

 

You see it in wargames too, when there are multiple players on each side. All else being equal, the side that has a plan and works together will tend to beat the one where everyone just does their own thing.

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In general, the most effective tactic I've noted when it comes to the management and conservation of one's actions is to half-move using cover … and hold the other half Phase until the very end of the Segment right before the character's next Phase comes up. This provides the following tactical advantages:

  • Allows movement toward a target to reduce range mods or close for HTH with that target ... or away from the target to add range mods to the opposition
  • Harnesses the benefits of cover
  • Allows the held half Phase to be used defensively if needed (instead of Aborting)
  • Allows Breakfall to be used to get back on one's feet (thereby preserving DCV) at any time while the half Phase is held (assuming the character is knocked down and not Stunned/Unconscious), while retaining the held half Phase if the roll succeeds
  • Allows one to take a half Phase to get up if knocked down, thereby preserving DCV
  • Allows one to attack immediately after an opponent has performed an attack action, thereby precluding the opponent from Aborting to avoid the inbound attack
  • Minimizes the gap between one's own attack action (after which one cannot Abort) and the ability for one to take a defensive action
  • Allows one to take back-to-back actions, if needed (for example -- if two attacks in quick succession might bring about the end of the fight)

The above is especially true of higher-DEX and SPD characters. The scoot-and-shoot-from-cover tactic is also stupidly effective in Heroic level Dark Champions games, where maneuvering and cover matter a lot more due to the lethality of firearms, knives, clubs, and the like.

Having an odd number of meters for a full move also games the above tactic to maximum effect, as it gives one a 1m longer half-move without having to buy 2x as much of the movement to get it. (That's the Goodman School of Cost Effectiveness applied to catch the round. As a reminder, the Goodman School of Cost Effectiveness was taught within the early editions of the game, so application of its principles are a legit part of the game, too!)

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@Surrealone: how strict are you about having to declare what you are holding your action for? In other words, is it enough to get to cover and then declare, "I'll wait until I see an opening"? Or do you have to make a more specifically delineated declaration, as the rules always suggest (as in, wait until your opponent comes into view, etc.)? Your tactic is very effective, but I always get called out for not actually declaring what I'm holding for, so I'm never allowed to sit and wait while also holding an action.

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4 hours ago, Brian Stanfield said:

@Surrealone: how strict are you about having to declare what you are holding your action for? In other words, is it enough to get to cover and then declare, "I'll wait until I see an opening"? Or do you have to make a more specifically delineated declaration, as the rules always suggest (as in, wait until your opponent comes into view, etc.)? Your tactic is very effective, but I always get called out for not actually declaring what I'm holding for, so I'm never allowed to sit and wait while also holding an action.

You're also explicitly allowed to just wait for a lower DEX. 

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In terms of tactics, Strike Force had a few examples that the team came up with.

 

Aaron wanted his players to use tactics like they did in superhero comics, so he made a bad guy team with super tight tactics, code words for moves, etc.  The players learned and made their own up.  I mean X-men has the Cannonball Special where Colossus picks up Wolverine and heaves him into combat (move through).   A lot depends on the team makeup.  Strike Force had a couple of teleporters, so they took advantage of that.  

 

One character in my Chicago Watch campaign was a gadgeteer/martial artist who had only one superpower: he could swap positions with people as a teleport (his name was Castle).  He had a move with the brick where the brick would set up a haymaker on him then swap with the target so they'd be in the line of fire when the haymaker hit the next segment.  It took some timing but was really effective when it worked.

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15 hours ago, TranquiloUno said:

 

Your's and Mr. Bushido's responses are of good examples of both what I mean and don't mean.

They are both a way to solve the problem of fighting people\taking damage but they're just a single thing. 

It's definitely *A* tactic but it's...also not really a tactic? Like hitting something is a valid tactic. Using a single power.

Shooting a cool gun, even a really cool unique gun, is still basically, "shoot it". 

(Both very cool tricks that are both examples of things that I think Hero does well that other systems do not btw)

 

But I mean more like combo work.

 

 

It's tough to give good examples of tactics in Hero, because so much of it will be dependent on what powers you have.

 

Anyway, here are some nasty power combinations.

 

--A Multipower with Desolid in one slot, and Density Increase in the other.  Then take N-Ray Vision and some Flight outside the Multipower.  Go Desolid, and then fly through the ground, looking up with N-Ray at your target.  Now you can come up behind him and hit him by surprise.

--Tunneling + N-Ray + Ego Attack.  The "Mind Mole" character is tough to deal with.  Go down into the Earth and park.  Now you can look up at your target and blast with impunity.

 

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2 minutes ago, massey said:

Tunneling + N-Ray + Ego Attack.  The "Mind Mole" character is tough to deal with.  Go down into the Earth and park.  Now you can look up at your target and blast with impunity.

That’s just flat out mean!

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In general terms, I have a few suggestions.

 

--Always have one attack that is just pure dice.  Lots of advantages can be nice, but most of the time raw damage will be your most effective option.  Or at least it's a great fallback.

--Low damage special attacks with Area Effect can really inconvenience a group, setting them up for your heavy hitters.  A 4D6 Area Effect Radius Flash vs Sight can cut people's DCVs in half (but it won't affect everyone -- that's why your brick attacks the people it did affect).

--One of the most efficient character designs you can have will be to have a primary attack, a secondary attack vs a different defense, a movement power, and defenses to keep you from being Stunned by an average hit.  Add in a sensory power (radar, spatial awareness, etc), and the 4 to 5 most common skills your GM asks for (in my experience, Breakfall, Deduction, Stealth, Systems Operations -- but yours may differ).  Then take maybe one special defense at about 1/3 of your PD and ED (mental defense, power defense, etc), and a 3 point combat skill level with your main attacks.

--Hold your action on Segment 12, wait until your target has acted, and then Haymaker.  At the very least you'll make them abort to dodge on Segment 1, which costs them their next phase.  They were probably going to recover most of the Stun you would have done on post-12 anyway.

--Learn the Speed chart, particularly if you have a higher Speed.  Look to see when you will have an extra phase over your opponent.  That's your chance to try something risky/ultra aggressive.  Or to bait the other guy into doing something risky/ultra aggressive.

--If you have an attack that can do a good amount of knockback, aim your target at a very solid wall or obstacle.  Sometimes the wall will do more damage than your fist.

 

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52 minutes ago, massey said:

 

It's tough to give good examples of tactics in Hero, because so much of it will be dependent on what powers you have.

 

For sure, lotta variability!

 

That's why I was curious about actual in-game tactics in specific games\characters if folks had any examples.

Less general possible tactics you COULD do in Hero and more like...stuff specific players\GMs in specific games have pulled off, refined, successfully implemented, etc.

 

Combo abilities, fastball specials, Coordinated Attack\Team ups Hero-style.

 

ETA: OR tactics (I guess I mostly mean team tactics but any non-single-action stuff would be interesting) that you as a GM\Ref have used against the players successfully (or tactics they've used to counter your tactics) for that matter.

 

 

Quote

 

Anyway, here are some nasty power combinations.

 

--A Multipower with Desolid in one slot, and Density Increase in the other.  Then take N-Ray Vision and some Flight outside the Multipower.  Go Desolid, and then fly through the ground, looking up with N-Ray at your target.  Now you can come up behind him and hit him by surprise.

--Tunneling + N-Ray + Ego Attack.  The "Mind Mole" character is tough to deal with.  Go down into the Earth and park.  Now you can look up at your target and blast with impunity.

 

 

Heh. I'd first heard of this years ago as a mentalist that stayed in his apartment and just Ego Blasted\Mind Controlled enemies from there when his friends needed him to.

 

Definitely liking the nasty power combos for sure tho! :)

 

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1 hour ago, Christopher R Taylor said:

In terms of tactics, Strike Force had a few examples that the team came up with.

  

Aaron wanted his players to use tactics like they did in superhero comics, so he made a bad guy team with super tight tactics, code words for moves, etc.  The players learned and made their own up.  I mean X-men has the Cannonball Special where Colossus picks up Wolverine and heaves him into combat (move through).   A lot depends on the team makeup.  Strike Force had a couple of teleporters, so they took advantage of that.  

 

One character in my Chicago Watch campaign was a gadgeteer/martial artist who had only one superpower: he could swap positions with people as a teleport (his name was Castle).  He had a move with the brick where the brick would set up a haymaker on him then swap with the target so they'd be in the line of fire when the haymaker hit the next segment.  It took some timing but was really effective when it worked.

 

Apparently I'm out of Likes for the day. This is great! Thx!

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54 minutes ago, massey said:

In general terms, I have a few suggestions.

 

 

--If you have an attack that can do a good amount of knockback, aim your target at a very solid wall or obstacle.  Sometimes the wall will do more damage than your fist.

 

 

I once spent an entire combat running across the map (as the only non-ranged\non-mentalist on the team on a pretty large map) so I could finally, eventually, at last, Double KB some chump in to a very stout wall 2" behind him.

I think it was something like 18d and then another 24d from the KB. There were some other good double KB incidents but that's the one I remember most.

 

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13 hours ago, Brian Stanfield said:

@Surrealone: how strict are you about having to declare what you are holding your action for? In other words, is it enough to get to cover and then declare, "I'll wait until I see an opening"? Or do you have to make a more specifically delineated declaration, as the rules always suggest (as in, wait until your opponent comes into view, etc.)? Your tactic is very effective, but I always get called out for not actually declaring what I'm holding for, so I'm never allowed to sit and wait while also holding an action.

Most GM's adhere to RAW, wherein there is no strict requirement to call out what you're holding for. Part of this is just plain old RAW adherence, but part of it is that it tends to make scenes a bit more cinematic, I think.

Per RAW on 6e2, p20 (italics, underline, and bold added by me for emphasis):
"A character may choose not to act when his DEX indicates that his Phase begins. He may wait until a lower DEX or until some event occurs ("I wait until he strikes"; I wait until he comes around the corner"). This is known as Holding an Action (or delaying or reserving a Phase). A character may Hold his Action until a later DEX in one of his Phases or until a later Segment. … <snip> A character may perform a Half Phase Action and then Hold a Half Phase. The character is considered "ready" and may perform the Held Half Phase Action later."

Notice the use of 'or' meaning you can either just wait for a lower DEX (and when you get there, you can even continue to wait again if you want) … or … you can wait until some event occurs.  There's more RAW on the cited page as well that states:
"With the GM's permission, a character can Hold his Action "generically", without declaring any sort of precondition for acting, and then may perform whatever Action he wants to whenever he wants to." It sounds to me like your GM isn't allowing that.  However, per the above RAW, you can state "I hold my action until DEX 10" and when DEX 10 occurs, you could say, "I continue to hold my action until my normal DEX in the next Segment" … and then when the next Segment arrives … you can keep on repeating.  It'll probably annoy the heck out of your GM (and, if so, expect him/her to eventually rule on it) … but technically, per RAW, it's legal even if you don't have GM permission to hold generically (because holding until a specific DEX on a given Segment is not the same as holding generically; it's actually constrained/tied to a given DEX).
 

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

You're also explicitly allowed to just wait for a lower DEX. 

This was spot-on.

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Another tactic I like:
Drain X followed by attacking something affecting X.

My favourite use of this is with a Mentalist -- specifically because EGO is not considered a defensive stat/power and, thus, is not subject to the halving rule when affected by an Adjustment Power like Drain. As a reminder, there is no cap on the amount you can Drain … and as another reminder, a character with 0 EGO must make a successful EGO roll each Phase to act (failure means s/he can initiate no actions of his/her own). In addition, at 0 EGO, characters follow any orders given to them unless they make successful EGO rolls … and absent orders, will follow their Psychological Complications. This is awesome when multiple conflicting orders are barked at a character, as the character will try to do them all unless s/he makes his/her EGO roll!

 

Example:

Psychic Crush (low dice, fully-IPE EGO Drain built as a Damage Over Time effect) followed by Mind Thrust (Mind Control) or some other mental power once the DoT has run its course.

 

This works very well in low point games where dice caps are low -- allowing one to achieve better mental effects than would otherwise be achievable thanks to the lowering of the EGO stat.  It will easily fit within the dice caps … and NPCs tend to have no or low Power/Mental Defense as well as low EGO. The tradeoff, however, is time … but since this example uses a DoT that's IPE, the mentalist can spread it around early in the scene, then attack when the timing is right in order to maximize effect.

 

 

This same sort of one-two combo also works well draining PRE (again, not a defensive stat/power and, thus, not subject to halving rule)… followed by PRE attacks.  In fact, if you can muster an AoE PRE Drain (rather than a DoT) within your point caps  … it can be ridiculously effective. Similar to EGO, a character with 0 PRE must make a successful PRE roll each Phase to act offensively or remain in the face of anything threatening (if s/he fails, s/he flees).

 

Example:
Fear (moderate dice fully-IPE AoE PRE Drain) followed by Vampiric Majesty (Aid to one's own PRE) [or a violent action, perhaps] combined with a PRE attack

 

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Ran into an interesting combination lately, wizardly sort  became invisible to sight, smell/taste, and active sonar. Hovers 20m over the conflict and uses a change environment to create a small tornado. Change environment lowered PER rolls and increased the wind speed to exacerbate this. Even when he used a power, the PER roll was, at best, at -8. Used attacks with indirect to make it more difficult to spot where he would be, and when someone did locate him all projectile based ranged attack forms were at -10.

Unfortunately, the wizard was a lousy shot and because the range modifier was based on the distance from the wizard to the attack's source combined with the distance of the attack's path to target, he ALWAYS missed.

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Back in 4th edition, you could build a 2d6 Energy Blast (NND, autofire, affects one hex) very cheaply as a focus and give it to a character with really high DEX (or skill levels) and effectively hit any target with 8-10 dice of NND damage every phase. I thought that was very abusable. Sonic Auto-Projector - the defenses are being deaf, the target having no internal body structure to disrupt (such as its body being made of undifferentiated plasma, chemicals, goo, jello, random swamp grass, etc.), or the target being unconscious.

 

Transforms are subject to abuse because you can make someone non-sentient or your devoted slave. So they're great as a GM to have the players face something unique or nasty. Not so great as a GM if you let a player have a pain-in-the-butt Transform that you have to deal with him spamming.

 

One really good Transform scenario is someone who unexpectedly gets a fully invisible, uncontrollable, continuous, AoE Transform which turns people around her into low-level superbeings (30-50 character points of powers). The players will have to deal with at least several dozen people being given superpowers (if she was a college student, for example, perhaps her boyfriend, some of the players' DNPCs, members of the team's fan club, some sorority sisters, frat boys from a party, her pot dealer, a teacher, the Starbucks barista, etc.), figure out a way to trace the "epidemic" back to its source, then cure her and everyone else whether they want to be cured or not (optional on whether the PCs manage to find them all). For a longer version of the scenario, the person with the Transform power could be kidnapped and forced to use her power for some criminal organization or could go into business for herself providing superpowered goons for the rich and ambitious. Or she could end up giving 30-50 point upgrades to existing villains.

 

Another Transform scenario, which I've never seen written up anywhere, is Dead Body Girl whose specialty is Transforming lamps into dead mutilated human bodies. Generally she's hired like an international hitman to go and plant a dead body on someone to frame him/her for murder. Then she arranges for the police to be tipped off so the target is arrested. Even if the target is found eventually to be not guilty, many times his life is ruined and he's broke from lawyer fees. This is a good one to run against someone who is needed out of the way for even a short period of time to miss an important meeting, ruin his company's share prices, ruin a corporate merger, stop a wedding. etc. Proving a dead body isn't really a dead body when it looks like a dead body even under a microscope is outside the skill set of most police forensic units. (Sometimes she dresses to match the look of the body she's going to leave behind and allows people see her alive so the "dead hooker in his bed" angle goes down better. Other times she'll just create the dead body under the shed where it'll be found. Some customers want something specific, others want her to be creative or do something unique. Most leave it up to her.)

 

Extra-dimensional travel which is useable against others is very powerful. You just permanently get rid of your target when you hit because most beings cannot cross through dimensional barriers. (sorry wrote this before I read the thread and saw it'd already been mentioned). Similarly, other movement powers which are useable against others are powerful. You could megascale flying and take your target out of the atmosphere, megascale tunnel someone deep into the earth, megascale swimming someone out into the middle of the Atlantic, megascale running so he can freeze to death in the Arctic (or slam him into a barrier at hyperspeed), etc.

 

I've always wanted some hero to use a megascale Leaping on others as an area of effect to clear bystanders out of danger. I mean, just one kilometer would move bystanders out of the vast majority of superhero fights. And the mental image I have of civilians leaping in all directions is hilarious.

 

Flash as a damage shield can be a nasty surprise for someone who is in hand to hand combat.

 

Gadgeteers can produce a lot of effects to help a team if the gadgeteer is willing to blow his phases doing it. A suppress movement gadget used on an opponent could help the brick teammate get in close when he couldn't otherwise. A Darkness bomb could set up a teammate who has vision powers. What gadgets would be useful really depends a lot on the powers of the other teammates and whether the gadgeteer knows in advance who his opponents are.

 

Opponents with a high DCV can be a pain in the butt. Bricks need to pick up large objects which can be used as an area of effect attack against those opponents. It's a classic but a lot of brick players either forget or try their luck at punching for a couple of phases before they resort to hitting the martial artist with a dump truck.

 

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As far as tactics go, some combats are "for fun" and some are "for your life or for the fate of the world". When the GM is throwing a fun scenario at you, each person on your team can each face off against one of the supervillains and you slug it out. When the fate of the world is on the line or you're facing a casual killer, you fight "dirty" (aka not like a super Boy Scout).

 

1) The team chooses to either "take out the toughest opponent on the opposing team first" and everyone attacks him or "chooses to avoid engaging the toughest opponent and instead picks the person on the opposing team who's most likely to go down if hit, everyone attacks him, then when he's goes down everyone targets the weakest opponent still standing."

 

So if you're fighting Superman, Batman, Green Arrow,  Plastic Man, and Wildcat, that's roughly the order of how tough they are as opponents. If you think you can take down Superman by everyone attacking him with their first phase, that might be a good idea since he's a lot more dangerous than all the others put together. But if you don't think the whole team working together can take Superman down in one phase, you start off at the opposite end of the list and everyone makes sure Wildcat goes down then Plastic Man then Green Arrow, etc. so the opposing team doesn't get to use those people's phases against you.

 

Mentalists and gadgeteers are generally the most fragile opponents, some will have significant high-powered forcefields or hugely armored costumes but many don't.  I recommend taking down mentalists first because they can seriously screw up your game plan, whether through bypassing most of your defenses or controlling your team in some manner. Ranged blasters are generally in the middle as far as being fragile goes. Bricks are the ones with the highest defenses, BODY, and STUN. Bricks who are highly mobile are much more dangerous than bricks who aren't (think of Superman who can race you to the ends of the Earth as opposed to the Thing who has to take the subway just to get to Brooklyn).

 

Adapting that strategy to gun fights, you might want to take down the person firing anti-tank rounds which can blow up your cover first then move on to the person firing area effect RPG explosives then on to people with automatic weapons then on to random opponents who are stumbling out of their beds with handguns. Alternatively, if the anti-tank weapon is firing from a bunker which you can't effectively attack at the moment, maybe you pull back around a corner to shelter from the anti-tank weapon as much as possible and start off killing the random opponents before they get organized and under cover.

 

You have to gauge each combat on it's own. A human-normal strength and fairly low DCV opponent who has most of his powers through an OAF (aka Sniper Guy) might be easier dealt with by taking away the OAF than by knocking him out if he has high defenses and superhuman levels of BODY and STUN.

 

2) One PC makes one of the bad guys fall down through a martial arts maneuver. While he's down and at 1/2 DCV, all the other PC's attacks that bad guy until he's knocked out.

 

Martial arts maneuvers which make the opponent fall or which gives you bonuses to disarm or takeaway what your opponent is holding can be very valuable to a team, many times they're more valuable than maneuvers which simply add damage or OCV. Opponents being on the ground is always good. Opponents are going to have OAF to take away or be holding the magic McGuffin which everyone on your team is trying to get.

 

3) Having a code word for Area of Effect attacks being launched is a good idea if teammates are in the area. They'll know to close their eyes against a Flash or dive for cover against other attacks. It's also a good idea to try to knockback opponents into an area when you know your teammate is going to go for an area attack.

 

4) Keep an eye out for incidental cover. Sometimes you can move so that you can fully engage your target but obstruct the line of sight for the other team's ranged attacker (stepping partially behind a car, mailbox, etc.)

 

5) Pay attention to which direction your character is facing since it's easy to lose track in a chaotic battle and have your back toward several of the enemy. Someone is going to take advantage of that at some point. And of course you should try to take advantage of enemies who have their backs toward you and try to maneuver the fight so that your opponent has his back toward your teammates.

 

6) If you're having trouble dealing with an opponent, hold your phase until after an opponent has attacked during a segment. Because he's already acted, he can't abort to block, dodge, or dive for cover and you'll know whether he can missile deflect or not. It really cuts down on his possible responses.

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A code word to swap opponents is useful, in case people are carefully matched.

Ones for letting the party know if someone is a particular target but they don't want to let the target know (like how stores have a code for call the police that sounds mundane)

A code for telling everyone to avoid a certain attack (like a super huge flash that requires everyone to close their eyes) that won't tip off the enemy is good

A code for telling everyone to now attack a given target all at once without warning is useful

 

Here are the code phrases from Strike Force for examples:

  • Air Lift: emergency evac, fliers grab everyone and bug out
  • Blue-Dot: I'm about to use a flash attack
  • High Guard: take a high aerial position for recon or sniping
  • Medic: we need medical attention here
  • Mustard: I'm about to use an NND (gas) attack or they're about to use one
  • Napalm: I'm about to use an explosion attack or they're about to use one
  • Nuke Him: kid gloves are off -- use your most powerful attack and don't hold back
  • Peeping Tom: scan the target with all your extra senses and detects
  • Pigeon: target is a weakling, restrain yourself
  • Pop-Tart: evacuate civilians from the area
  • Ripoff: steal accessible foci
  • Shield: someone bulletproof protect me!

Here are the maneuvers from Strike Force for examples:

  • Blind Swing: a brick not engaged with a villain begins a haymaker.  A teleporter grabs a target and ports him into the path of the swing as its going to hit
  • Delta Vee: A teleporter with martial arts waits until a fast-moving villain is moving past a hard surface, ports to him and martial throws him into the surface
  • Express Train: Used only on very tough opponents.  A teleporter grabs a flier.  The flier grabs a villain and flies them very high into the air, then dive bombs toward the ground.  Just before impact, the flier lets go and the teleporter jumps them to safety
  • Jackhammer: Everyone turns on one target and piles on to them with an attack
  • Sandwich: two flying bricks converge on the same target from opposite sides and coordinate for crunchy combined knockback damage (note this can also be done with ranged attacks)
  • Tangler: Use an area effect attack entangle on a target (the Strike Force version had them do it at zero range, entangling themselves as well as the target) and everyone jackhammers them

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If you have Mind Scan, here's a tip:  scan villains the first time when you have them in line of sight.  That way, at that time you'll have no penalties for number of minds in the area (you're scanning one mind); once you've Scanned them you'll have familiarity with their mind, and can get a familiar mind bonus for next time you scan them.  If there's a teleporter in the group, scan them and maintain the scan as long as you can.  Buy levels with your Ego Roll so that when they do teleport, you're less likely to lose the Mind Scan.  

 

Here's one I've wanted to try: when the villains are in an area doing their crime, back off and let them steal the thing.  Then follow them.  Mind scan their teleporter as above, if necessary.  Once they're away from the city, preferably closer to their own base, then show up and start pounding on them.  Alternately, follow them and engage over an unpopulated area. 

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During our Fantasy HERO games on Saturday's the team has worked out some synergies based on their relative strengths.

 

Whenever an opponent is difficult to hit due to DCV the team will use the following tactics:

1-  Fire witch flashes the opponent so the rest of the team can actually hit the target.

2-  The spirit-shaman-tank (Udyr) will run in and grab the opponent with turtle shell running.

3-  If there are adds (Lts or minions) the group AoE's the tank and surrounding targets until the tank is in trouble.

4-  If there aren't any adds they focus higher damage single target shots on the blinded and grabbed target.

 

Recently using Mind Control to counter-control a mind-controlled ally.

 

Last week this went hillariously wrong as the fire witch poorly worded her command.

1-  Big Bad:  Witcher guy - kill your friends!

2-  Fire Witch:  Don't kill my friends!

3-  Witcher guy:  If I have to kill my friends and I'm also controlled to not kill any of the Fire Witch's friends then the only valid target is.... The Fire Witch.  DIE!!!!

 

Against anything with high damage output the team will usually hold their phases until the big bad attacks.

1-  The target dodges or blocks.

2-  The rest of the party dog piles the big bad - often with haymakers.

 

 

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