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Active Points Limits and Characteristics (5th ed revised)

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When using active points limits for a campaign this would count against characteristics as well, correct? For instance if I have a 90 active point limit I can't have more than a 30 dex, correct? Page citations preferred all input welcome.

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It's really up to you, as GM, whether to put this inclusive limit.  For me, it depends on the type of game I'm running.  I've ran a few games where I set an active point limit on powers only, and one where I actually set different max limits on individual characteristics.  I also am a fan of setting a max amount of total advantage modifier for any given power, Usually +2 or +2 and a half. 

 

If you want to keep your game manageable for a long time, I'd put more limits on things.  The Hero system is a lot of mental work on remembering a ton of stuff simultaneously, the less work you have to do, the more you will enjoy running, and so, the longer you are likely to continue running.  50-90 points max, depending on overall character points, for everything is a good range of maximum for low to mid powered games.

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On 7/30/2019 at 12:36 PM, Vindicus said:

When using active points limits for a campaign this would count against characteristics as well, correct? For instance if I have a 90 active point limit I can't have more than a 30 dex, correct? Page citations preferred all input welcome.

Since you're asking this here, I'm assuming you're the GM for this game.  If not, you should be asking your GM instead of us since your GM's position is the one that matters to your game. 

 

Don't just blindly apply caps.  Consider what the intended benefit of the cap is and reason based off that if a particular thing should be capped.

Will a character having 10 CV cause problems?  Then don't let people buy 30 DEX.  Will it only cause problems if their attack powers are at the 90 AP cap?  Then make them pick one or the other.  Is CV 10 the campaign baseline?  Then 30 DEX is perfectly fine. 

 

Be particularly careful with what you do with noncombat powers and with Advantages that don't directly modify the accuracy or damage of a power. 

Invisibility to Sight, Hearing, and Smell groups with No Fringe is enough to give you headaches.  So is a simple N-Ray Vision or Spatial Awareness.  Both of those are available well under 90 AP but can merit disallowing on the grounds that you don't want to deal with them. 

A 18d6 0 END Energy Blast is 135 AP, but it's not any more powerful than a 18d6 Energy Blast and an Endurance Reserve built to last indefinitely.  Strict application of caps forbids the former but allows the latter, when there's no harm in allowing both if you'd allow either. 

 

 

I can't say I agree with Advantage or Limitation caps.  Instead, I'd advocate a "simple explanation" mandate.  If the player can't explain in one or two sentences what the power does without resorting to game terminology, they need to simplify it.  That's all I find is needed to keep things fluid in play. 

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4 hours ago, Parallaxus said:

It's really up to you, as GM, whether to put this inclusive limit.  For me, it depends on the type of game I'm running.  I've ran a few games where I set an active point limit on powers only, and one where I actually set different max limits on individual characteristics.  I also am a fan of setting a max amount of total advantage modifier for any given power, Usually +2 or +2 and a half.

 

I've never really heard of setting a campaign limit on how many advantages you can put on a power. Some of the more interesting powers I've seen have been 10 base points with a crazy amount of advantages on it so the power does something unique and unexpected.

 

 

 

To get back to the original question, if you put a limit on powers but not characteristics, you're just encouraging players to buy characteristics rather than powers. That's fine if that's what you want. But you do need to be aware of how the typical player would react because a PC with 38 DEX and a 17d6 energy blast can be every bit as disruptive as a PC with a 22d6 energy blast that the PC typically uses 5d6 of to spread and increase the OCV of the attack so he very rarely misses.

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On 7/30/2019 at 12:36 PM, Vindicus said:

When using active points limits for a campaign this would count against characteristics as well, correct? For instance if I have a 90 active point limit I can't have more than a 30 dex, correct? Page citations preferred all input welcome.

 

I assume you have looked at the guidelines in the table on page 28 of FRED.

As most of the other have said, limits and caps are at the discretion of the GM, and the guidelines in the table are just that guidelines.

 

If you want people to give you their opinions, we would need to know what kind of campaign world you are planning to run.  Point values for a street level game and a high powered game are very different.

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We had some smart creative people in our group, a handful of which liked to try to be overpowered or unbalanced (game breaking) in some way.  When we got one guy building a 1d6 hand attack with knockback and an extremely high amount of autofire, the way the rules worked allowed him to smush anything he punched down into the ground, and we had another guy wanting to use his version of "real life" rapid fire smart bombs, but he made the character speed 11 with the bombs being autofire x25, (and those were the two tamest things on the team, I won't even say what I did with my character), I decided to put caps on advantages when I ran.  Even something as simple as a "special" sword, 1d6 or 2d6 killing with 3+ levels of penetrating is potentially unbalancing. 

 

So there's why.

Going over them on a case by case basis is a better option, but my group would have just gone back to the drawing board to build something else to try to make combat ridiculous and impress the rest of the group.  I saved myself a lot of trouble by just setting a 2 and a half maximum total advantage on any power in a 375 pt game.

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Sounds like powergamer players. I think the "real life" rapid fire smart bombs could have also been built (within campaign limits):

 

12d6 Explosion.

 

The damage is because of all the autofiring smart bombs, much like how speedsters define their superfast rapid-fire punch as: +5d6 HA.

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19 hours ago, Parallaxus said:

We had some smart creative people in our group, a handful of which liked to try to be overpowered or unbalanced (game breaking) in some way.  When we got one guy building a 1d6 hand attack with knockback and an extremely high amount of autofire, the way the rules worked allowed him to smush anything he punched down into the ground, and we had another guy wanting to use his version of "real life" rapid fire smart bombs, but he made the character speed 11 with the bombs being autofire x25, (and those were the two tamest things on the team, I won't even say what I did with my character), I decided to put caps on advantages when I ran.  Even something as simple as a "special" sword, 1d6 or 2d6 killing with 3+ levels of penetrating is potentially unbalancing. 

 

So there's why.

Going over them on a case by case basis is a better option, but my group would have just gone back to the drawing board to build something else to try to make combat ridiculous and impress the rest of the group.  I saved myself a lot of trouble by just setting a 2 and a half maximum total advantage on any power in a 375 pt game.

If everything coming from a particular player is abusive, then the solution is to deny them the right to make characters.  Not necessarily by booting them from the group since they might be a fine player if they don't have an over-optimized character, but by having the GM make their character based on non-game-mechanic descriptions.  They might not be as abusive under an Advantage cap, but that's just putting a ceiling on the abuse instead of solving the root problem.  Or maybe they're just not the right people to be playing HERO with. 

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I've found a +2 Advantage cap to eliminate the worst offenders.

 

The most common stacker problems I've run into are things like:

* NND, Does Body, Constant + others on a low DC killing attacks

* Cumulative, Increased Maximum, on 4d6 Dispel to a ridiculous level (almost 200 AP)

* Low dice transform with constant, fully invisible power effects

* Mental Paralysis - Which is just Entangle with enough advantages on it that it turns any villain into a DCV 0 pinata.  I tend to run Fantasy Hero so this means head shots & instant death/KO.

 

Ultimately the character creation is VERY sand boxy and characters have to be somewhat corralled or they will come up with serious campaign destroying cheese. 

Usually, good players won't do this, but there are some that find breaking the mechanics of any game system part of the game. 

 

HERO isn't an easy fit for players who want to break the game mechanics.

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11 hours ago, ScottishFox said:

Usually, good players won't do this, but there are some that find breaking the mechanics of any game system part of the game. 

 

HERO isn't an easy fit for players who want to break the game mechanics.

 

Unfortunately, more and more RPG gamers are more interested in seeing if they can break the game rather than trying to play it. 

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Characteristic generally fall under AP Guidelines (STR for instance, as it directly effects Damage Classes, generally falls into this category).

 

There is nothing that explicitly states Characteristics fall under Active Point Guidelines, as there are usually a separate set of Characteristic Guidelines that are laid out with any other guidelines.

 

A best practice is set the following three Guidelines for a campaign:

Characteristic Ranges (included defense ranges, and CV ranges after all bonuses are accounted for)

Active Points

Damage Classes

 

not all Advantages are damage related, which is where separating DCs and APs comes in handy; a game may set Active Points at 80 but Damage Classes at only 12.

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40 minutes ago, Spence said:

Unfortunately, more and more RPG gamers are more interested in seeing if they can break the game rather than trying to play it. 

The problem is people without the basic social skills to understand that snapping the game over their knee is ruining the fun of everyone else playing. 

Having a good powergamer in the group is a great thing, just so somebody there can say "An AoE Penetrating KA is going to break all the focuses of whoever it hits, GM are you sure?" or point out to the group that Mister 60 PRE is going to obliterate any encounter he makes a Presence Attack in unless the GM spikes EGO and PRE values to the point nobody else can Presence Attack meaningfully. 

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

The problem is people without the basic social skills to understand that snapping the game over their knee is ruining the fun of everyone else playing. 

 

I find it more to be a product of players that were contaminated by so called "computer/console RPG's".  I still haven't found one that is actually a RPG anywhere near a TTRPG.  Generally all the electronic versions boil down to "kill it" and "scoop up power-up/cheats" until you run out of pre-planned/pre-programmed encounters. 

 

Coming from that, it is no wonder that most translate over as munchkins and other game breakers. 

 

It takes a lot of time and effort to break that conditioning.  An established group of gamers can absorb and "retrain" one with effort. But get a few in the same group or try to start a new group and they can be deal breakers. 

 

Sad but seen more and more these days. 

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34 minutes ago, Spence said:

I find it more to be a product of players that were contaminated by so called "computer/console RPG's".  I still haven't found one that is actually a RPG anywhere near a TTRPG.  Generally all the electronic versions boil down to "kill it" and "scoop up power-up/cheats" until you run out of pre-planned/pre-programmed encounters. 

 

Coming from that, it is no wonder that most translate over as munchkins and other game breakers. 

 

It takes a lot of time and effort to break that conditioning.  An established group of gamers can absorb and "retrain" one with effort. But get a few in the same group or try to start a new group and they can be deal breakers. 

 

Sad but seen more and more these days. 

That's a starting point for the behavior, but if sitting them down and talking to them doesn't put them on the path to shaping up, it's indicative of issues with the player or the group.  There's plenty of reasons for a player to be making broken characters. 

Particularly prevalent in my group is people not understanding the rules and therefore not understanding why the thing they want to play is bad for the game.  Notable cases have been "That character does 14d6 so I'll do that much, that character has 10 CV so I'll have that much, that character has 30 DEF so I'll have that much", "Attacks do 12d6 so my speedster has 12 DC attacks.  And SPD 12, of course, you're not a speedster otherwise", "Is 45 PD enough (for this 12 DC game)?", "UBO 16 Simultaneous 15 DEF Force Field Man", "Invisible Guy with 60 STR AoE 1 Hex", and most recently "I apply my Martial Arts to my Killing Attack and do 6d6!".  All it's taken to resolve most of these has been a quick chat with the player, explaining why this thing is a problem.  The fact that these players aren't willing to invest the effort to learn the system is aggravating me, but at least they don't cling to the problems they cause. 

 

And to be fair to players, there's a lot a group can do wrong.  Taking a hostile tone is going to frame it as "Established group oppressing me the new guy".  Badly explaining why the behavior is undesirable is going to make the player hesitant to correct it.  Badly explaining what the undesirable behavior even is is going to make it impossible for the player to correct it.  So on and so forth. 

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