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Zakharov

How would I build... "collections of powers"

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Hello fellow HERO system fans!

 

I've got some familiarity with the system, but had a player pose an interest character concept that I'm scratching my head over how to build.

 

Effectively, the character will get their powers from various books, with each book containing a set list of powers. I figured that each "book" could be a Multipower. I know it's a no-no to combine frameworks, but how else would we be able to build this kind of character? I can always handwave it and have him swap them out as long as they are the same cost or something, but I figured there would be a more efficient way of doing it.

 

Thanks for the help!

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VPP would be my go-to as well. 

 

Barring that, a Multipower of Multiforms.  Each Multiform is identical to the base character other than that it replaces the Multipower with a different, book-appropriate, Multipower. 

 

Edit: Actually, no, I'm overthinking this.  Build it as a single big Multipower, add a Limitation to each slot stating it is in "Book X" and switching the MP to a slot in another book takes longer than normal. 

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I had an alchemist character once with a similar powerset, and used a VPP to do it. Just make the list of powers and then decide which are in which books, and have it only change between sessions.

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I agree with those saying VPP; it's what it was designed for.

 

With a little bit of customization to how/when powers can be "switched out"; as the default assumes you have every power imaginable and that switching is for individual powers that are 'active' in the Pool. An additional "can only choose from the list in the book" on the Framework itself at, perhaps -1/2, would restrict the player to a given Suite of Powers at a time. Then the standard limitations of how often an individual Power can be brought into the active Pool based on how you see any given Book being used (is switching out powers as simple as turning the page? probably as a 0 Phase Action, or does the character have to find the right page, and quickly read it's instructions (1/2 to Full Phase) actions...

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How is this envisioned to work, exactly?  For example:

 

 - how many books can he use at the same time?

 - how many powers from each book he is using can be used at the same time?

 - how many books can he carry around at any given time?

 - how many books does he have in total?

 

The best mechanic will depend on exactly how the powers work.

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15 hours ago, Zakharov said:

Effectively, the character will get their powers from various books, with each book containing a set list of powers. I figured that each "book" could be a Multipower. I know it's a no-no to combine frameworks, but how else would we be able to build this kind of character? I can always handwave it and have him swap them out as long as they are the same cost or something, but I figured there would be a more efficient way of doing it.

 

How different are the books? If they all have similar powers with different SFX, buy the Multipower with Variable Special Effects and call it good. Variable Advantage and Variable Limitation might work also.

 

You could also buy a large (200-300 point, depending on campaign limits) Multipower. Each book would be a collection of powers in a Fixed slot.

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10 hours ago, Doc Democracy said:

VPP is really the tool for this.  My concern as GM would be that the player wants a character with all the options, constantly wanting to be the best in every situation, making the rest of the team redundant.

 

This is exactly what happened to our group one time. Instead of even bothering w/ a character concept of some for, he just made a "spell" in his spell-book for each obstacle he could think of in the game then made it into a 300 point VPP and gave his character almost nothing else except two talents (not even stats!). The character ended up not only making every other character completely redundant (skills and powers-wise), but almost ended the entire scenario for the night in 5min real time. How? In a nutshell: desolidified thru all walls and went straight up to the rampaging monster inside the compound and commanded it to fall asleep. game over. Well, that was his plan, until the GM began explaining how something works and why he wasn't able to pull off some of the instant-miracle-fix-all-in-one-action things and he immediately would get completely frustrated because it did not immediately defeated an obstacle before him. At that point I ask myself, what would be the point of playing if I can just steamroll over anything/everything the GM creates? I get wanting to be better at somethings and finding creative ways of dealing w/ obstacles, but if with the wave of a hand I could just say "Doc Destroyer, sleep, I command you", and it works, it would be boring and pointless as heck to me.

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I think the easiest way would be with a VPP. I could have each book just contain a selection of powers and a side effect of the VPP being that they can only use those powers unless they swap out.

 

This was how the concept was relayed to me: 

 

"Each book would have some sort of a theme, and the powers available within would vary. So, for instance, I could have a book inspired by a desert traveller which would grant me some skill bonuses, survival powers and maybe some fire powers. Another one could be about archeology and give me a lot more skill bonuses. Maybe a warrior manual would give me martial arts."

To keep it balanced with the other characters, I don't think I'd allow more than a single book's powers to be accessible at once. I'd also probably have it so some in-game time would need to pass to swap them out, making choosing the one you want to use have some weight instead of being able to continually swap around powers in combat. It will also make my life easier as the GM!

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3 hours ago, Zakharov said:

"Each book would have some sort of a theme, and the powers available within would vary. So, for instance, I could have a book inspired by a desert traveller which would grant me some skill bonuses, survival powers and maybe some fire powers. Another one could be about archeology and give me a lot more skill bonuses. Maybe a warrior manual would give me martial arts."

 

This will complicate things. Skills are considered to be Special Powers, which can only be placed in Power Frameworks with GM permission. There are builds for a, "Skill VPP" for characters that know a large number of skills, but those are usually intended for Background Skills or Languages, not combat skills like Martial Arts. Multiform is probably the least problematic option here.

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If he's the GM and the general concept has been approved anyway, why not just use a VPP, when it's the kind of situation it's designed for? Multiform can certainly work, of course, and might even end up more cost-efficient depending on what a VPP Pool and Control Costs end up needing to be to cover all the bases.

 

Edit: Thinking about Multiform got me thinking about a Kamen Rider build, and raised a point that could easily apply with powers-form-a-book: What about having a vehicle in some but not all of a Multiform's slots? For a Rider I was thinking that it could be justified by saying it still exists but advanced forms are too powerful/physically strong/etc. to use it safely, but for powers obtained from a book it could be some kind of force/energy projection, a Summon in game terms perhaps. Does it sound legit?

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14 hours ago, Zakharov said:

I think the easiest way would be with a VPP. I could have each book just contain a selection of powers and a side effect of the VPP being that they can only use those powers unless they swap out.

 

This was how the concept was relayed to me: 

 

"Each book would have some sort of a theme, and the powers available within would vary. So, for instance, I could have a book inspired by a desert traveller which would grant me some skill bonuses, survival powers and maybe some fire powers. Another one could be about archeology and give me a lot more skill bonuses. Maybe a warrior manual would give me martial arts."

To keep it balanced with the other characters, I don't think I'd allow more than a single book's powers to be accessible at once. I'd also probably have it so some in-game time would need to pass to swap them out, making choosing the one you want to use have some weight instead of being able to continually swap around powers in combat. It will also make my life easier as the GM!

 

The VPP makes sense.  Each book is a configuration of the VPP, and it can be changed only with some down time.

 

I would not say it has to be limited to a single book - he could have three books, each with a small number of abilities, or a single book with several higher-cost abilities.  But the books must be designed in advance, approved and ready to go.  Part of that is a tradeoff for allowing skills, and other relevant Special Powers, in the VPP.

 

The character will presumably end up very versatile, and once he knows what he is facing will be very customizable to deal with it.

 

11 hours ago, Zakharov said:

I've built with multiform before, but I'm a little confused on how you would do this with that power... time to hit the books I suppose.

 

Multiform would simply be a base form (either with no books or with a "default book" configuration.  Each additional form would reflect a different book or combination of books.  Unless the character is gaining most of his abilities from the books, and they are locked in an "each book maxes out his points" model, I'd likely stick with VPP.

 

Of course, the extreme would be a VPP, only for Multiform, so he could configure his Multiform with each use :)

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16 hours ago, Zakharov said:

"Each book would have some sort of a theme, and the powers available within would vary. So, for instance, I could have a book inspired by a desert traveller which would grant me some skill bonuses, survival powers and maybe some fire powers. Another one could be about archeology and give me a lot more skill bonuses. Maybe a warrior manual would give me martial arts."

To keep it balanced with the other characters, I don't think I'd allow more than a single book's powers to be accessible at once. I'd also probably have it so some in-game time would need to pass to swap them out, making choosing the one you want to use have some weight instead of being able to continually swap around powers in combat. It will also make my life easier as the GM!

 

I like your player's concept. I agree with you, VPP does seem like the best route. I would also make the time to switch something that needs to be done out of combat.

 

I would sit down with the player before hand and express my concern that the concept has the potential of overshadowing the other PCs and ask them what things we could do to make sure that everyone still had fun. I would come to the table with some ideas, but ultimately I want the player to choose to self-limit so they have buy-in on what they are playing. Treating players with respect and dignity FTW.

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I'd treat it as a multiform, with a charge, focus, concentration, and activation time based on his reading immersion speed. The multiform would allow him to have skills based on concept.

 

Don't let him get away with speed reading.  He should need to total immerse himself in the book.  So say an hour minimum to 5 hours probably.  He should also explain in what circumstances would he leave the persona.  Does his power disappear when he sleeps (non-persistent)?  After a day?  Can he immediately go back to the same form without re-reading the book?  Does he forget one character when he reads another character?

 

As the saying goes, "With great power comes great limitations." or something like that.

 

 

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