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Light Effects

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5th Edition

How much illumination does Images only for light produce? Do you need to buy the entire area it covers? Flashlights have no AoE and no range...does a light spell only need to exist in one hex?

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This is a strange thing.  Light existing in a hex means that folk many hexes away can see what is in the hex.  The light you produce in a hex (by its nature) does not stay in place - it moves and allows you to see well outside the hex.  Producing light therefore is a special effect of something else in game mechanics.  I don't like the use of images as a way of producing light, it seems the wrong way round in HERO terms.  And because of this, it doesn't really work well.  My direct response would be that, if you buy Images, only for light, then you do indeed need to buy the entire area it covers.  If you buy your light spell with only one hex, then you will not be able to see further than the hex you bought. If you lean on SFX to say that the SFX of light allows the light to travel and you can see further away than you purchased then you are getting significant added effect on the very thing you purchased in the first place.  I would be more content with using a 1D6 STUN only blast with light SFX to provide light....that way at least the lean on SFX is to the side of the main power rather than the exact same thing...though this solution would be purchasing a completely different effect to deliver the desired result.

 

In HERO you are supposed to reason from effect.  The effect I am trying to produce is to allow everyone in an area to be able to see better (in effect, to stop them being affected by the environmental effect of being in darkness).  I much prefer to use Change Environment to provide skill levels to cancel out the effect of darkness on perception rolls and CV, providing people within that area to fight and see things.  The special effect is an area of light.  The downside of that special effect is that people in the darkness, well outside the area of effect you purchase in Change Environment, will be able to see you and target you.

 

Doc

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Yeah. Change Environment is not supposed to grant bonuses, which is a rather arbitrary ruling and one I don't agree with.  Personally, I think the best way to model light is using the Change Environment model to grant +PER to sight as normal darkness is mechanically represented by -PER penalties to sight.

 

Images only for light is to me a very awkward construct and basically a handwave. It is however the official way to do it. Personally, I just rely on common sense for this kind of thing...I don't really care what the mechanical representation is per se, I consider the intensity of the light source and distance from the light source and assess a lighting conditions PER penalty (including -0) the same as I would for an ambient light source.

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22 minutes ago, Killer Shrike said:

Yeah. Change Environment is not supposed to grant bonuses, which is a rather arbitrary ruling and one I don't agree with.  Personally, I think the best way to model light is using the Change Environment model to grant +PER to sight as normal darkness is mechanically represented by -PER penalties to sight.

 

I think I would get round that by saying that the Change Environment was not providing bonuses, it would only counter penalties due to extant environmental conditions which are being remedied by the Change Environment power. 🙂

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From the comments above, my own elsewhere, and others scattered across the board, I think Steve Long is the only person using Images to model flashlights, torches, etc. 

 

I don't generally write up flashlights, etc, because they become ( by methods of comparing AP) stupidly powerful in a hurry.    :lol:

 

More when I have a proper keyboard (since I just accidentally deleted the entire potential write up and am not doing that again with two thumbs),  but generally it's something I just don't write up: we all know how they work, and we'd give flashlights and torches away like the common cold in any Heroic genre. 

 

 

 

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I remembered this document I wrote up a looooong time ago (5e era) as a response to someone on these boards complaining about flashlights...

 

http://www.killershrike.com/GeneralHero/HEROEquipmentDebunk.aspx

 

Kind of entertaining reading for me...blast from the past.

 

____

 

The way I do it in my current 6e campaign is a total handwave...flashlights are Equipment paid for in gear pools for flat points depending on the kind and quality of the flashlight. Their effect is simply stated without mechanical definition, and I file all argumentation about it under the category of "Don't Care". To wit, some examples:

 

Tactical Xenon Flashlight Attachment: (Provides Sufficient Illumination To See A 1 hex Area Within 10m When Attached Weapon Is Pointed At It); OIF Arrangement (Under-barrel Mount; -3/4)
Real Cost: 1

 

Flashlight - Mini: (Concealment + 2 when not in use; Provides Sufficient Illumination To See A 1 hex Area Within 5m)
Real Cost: 1

 

Flashlight: (Provides Sufficient Illumination To See A 1 hex Area Within 10m)
Real Cost: 2

 

Cop-style Flashlight: (+1D6 Hand Attack, Provides Sufficient Illumination To See A 3 hex Area Within 20m)
Real Cost: 5

 

Here's a case from back when I still bothered to write it up as Images:

 

High Powered Lantern: Sight Group Images, +/-4 to PER Rolls, Area Of Effect (16m Radius; +3/4); Only To Create Light (-1), OAF (-1), Set Effect (-1), No Range (-1/2), 1 Continuing Charge lasting 1 Day (+1/4)
Real Cost: 10

 

The extra detail never really came up in actual play so at some point I just dispensed with it.

 

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3 hours ago, Doc Democracy said:

I much prefer to use Change Environment to provide skill levels to cancel out the effect of darkness on perception rolls and CV, providing people within that area to fight and see things.

 

This is my approach as well.  I never liked the use of Images for this.

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5 hours ago, Killer Shrike said:

If you are the GM, it's up to you. 

 

When I use Images to model light, I personally do include AoE. 

Ditto. 

 

And, where appropriate (ie, it actually matters). I do an explosion-style lessening of the effect toward the edges of the area. 

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

Very important related question: 

Do you actually want to track light radii?  If the answer is no, then just assign an arbitrary cost for "Makes light" and call it a day. 

 

We do you use a map and minis for our game, so tracking the radii could matter. 

 

I like the explosion idea, and that certainly makes the most logical sense (though the brain bending nature of the light spell in D&D has twisted our ability to accept light that doesn't travel beyond a radius).

 

I guess I want to built a light effect for my player that makes sense. Light is already expensive, more so than it 'ought' to be (5 points for night vision is way cheaper than +4 Per Images to Sight+AoE). Now, the player wants the spell to be illusions and the occasional light spell, which I'm cool with, so it's okay to charge the full value. I just don't understand from the examples how it is supposed to work in Hero. 

 

Oh, and I am the GM. 

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well,  D&D 3.5 (the players handbook sitting next to my desk) says the light spell sheds bright light in a 20 foot radius and dim light for a further 20 foot radius.

 

So buying light that affects a radius is exactly what you should expect.  😄

 

In HERO you buy images which has a radius.  Within that radius the Images make it look as if that area is well lit.  Outside that area the light does not reach (or the images do not change).  The core mechanic of images works because it is changing how other people see things and the ways that impacts everyone are quite clear.  It is because the power is called Images that causes a mental disconnect.

 

If he wants to be able to create illusions as well as light then it is simpler to do it all within Images as a power.

 

 

Doc

 

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Guest Usagi

Flashlight:  Nightvision, Usable Nearby (+1) (10 Active Points); OAF (-1), 1 Continuing Fuel Charge lasting 6 Hours (-0) Real Cost 5 points

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38 minutes ago, Usagi said:

Flashlight:  Nightvision, Usable Nearby (+1) (10 Active Points); OAF (-1), 1 Continuing Fuel Charge lasting 6 Hours (-0) Real Cost 5 points

 

That works if you choose to allow it as the GM, but per RAW....

 

Generally, characters should not apply Advantages
to Senses or Sense Modifiers
. However,
the GM may allow this if he feels it’s a good way
to create an interesting power construct, won’t
unbalance the game, and satisfies his common
sense and dramatic sense.

 

 

 

 

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Guest Usagi
12 minutes ago, Killer Shrike said:

That works if you choose to allow it as the GM, but per RAW....

I'm pretty sure if you're making players pay more than 5 points for a dumb flashlight, then you're a jerk.  I mean, that's not RAW, but I feel its the spirit of the RAW.  Hence this build, which is more about reflecting the real utility of the power in points that slavishly adhering to the rules.

 

I mean it's a flashlight.  Anything below 400 points its $3, no points, and over 400 points chances are pretty decent that in 99 out 100 heightened circumstances (as per your article, which I dug) a flashlight is basically just a special effect of Nightvision, which is already of fairly limited utility in games where it isn't essentially ubiquitous.  If you're playing Dark Champions and spending lots of time skulking about at night, you've probably got Nightvision, and if you're playing Champions, the villains are often decent enough to commit their crimes in broad daylight (so everyone can appreciate the time and effort they put into their costume, I'd guess) and typically live in brightly lit lairs, like normal people.

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3 hours ago, Usagi said:

I'm pretty sure if you're making players pay more than 5 points for a dumb flashlight, then you're a jerk. 

 

I don't care one way or the other how you do it, as the opening sentence's "That works if you choose to allow it as the GM," would seem to indicate. I was just pointing out the rule. Welcome to the boards, and have a nice day.

 

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7 hours ago, Usagi said:

I'm pretty sure if you're making players pay more than 5 points for a dumb flashlight, then you're a jerk.

 

Just for the record, I don't find name-calling or denigrating other posters (directly or indirectly), especially those who routinely provide helpful and cogent comments, a positive contribution to the Boards. 

 

Sorry if that is tactless, but I cannot think of any nicer way to say it in the time I am willing to invest.

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8 hours ago, Usagi said:

I'm pretty sure if you're making players pay more than 5 points for a dumb flashlight, then you're a jerk.  I mean, that's not RAW, but I feel its the spirit of the RAW.  Hence this build, which is more about reflecting the real utility of the power in points that slavishly adhering to the rules.

 

I mean it's a flashlight.  Anything below 400 points its $3, no points, and over 400 points chances are pretty decent that in 99 out 100 heightened circumstances (as per your article, which I dug) a flashlight is basically just a special effect of Nightvision, which is already of fairly limited utility in games where it isn't essentially ubiquitous.  If you're playing Dark Champions and spending lots of time skulking about at night, you've probably got Nightvision, and if you're playing Champions, the villains are often decent enough to commit their crimes in broad daylight (so everyone can appreciate the time and effort they put into their costume, I'd guess) and typically live in brightly lit lairs, like normal people.

 

I see both sides of the question.  As KS' article notes, this is only an issue in games where equipment is paid with points.  In a typical Heroic game, they can buy flashlights (or torches), guns and nightsticks (or swords and bows), kevlar vests (or plate mail) and anything else on the market with the enough money, and maybe the right contacts.

 

I'd also ask what the price is to naturally create the same light.  As KS points out, a player who pays for the ability to light up a dark area would rightly expect to get benefits from those points commensurate with the value of other things the points could have been used for.  If everyone else can see in the dark for free, why does one character have to pay points? 

 

This can be an issue on many fronts in Heroic games - why should the CatMan pay 7 points for his 1/2 d6 KA Claws, Restrainable, when his buddies just buy a 1 1/2d6 Sword with money?  His claws can't even compete, so he probably has to shell out money for a weapon as well.

 

Flip that around - my character has vast wealth.  Why can't he pay an expert in Martial Arts cash to train him up, and get maneuvers, skill levels, etc. for money without spending CP?  That seems like as valid a means of obtaining Martial Arts training as suddenly spending 15 xp and backfilling that he has spent a lot of time at the local dojo, especially if we accept that money can buy lots of other things that would otherwise cost CP.

 

Finding the line which is considered fair (and, more importantly, fun) by all the players is the challenge.

 

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1 hour ago, Hugh Neilson said:

Flip that around - my character has vast wealth.  Why can't he pay an expert in Martial Arts cash to train him up, and get maneuvers, skill levels, etc. for money without spending CP?

Because the game says no you can't, that Martial Arts is a skill and not equipment, and that skills have to be paid for in character points, and training time (done off screen mostly, or via montage moments in game).

 

As GM, you could say, ok, you learned how to Martial Dodge without paying points for that ability. Now, can everyone now Martial Dodge? No?

 

Everyone can pick up a flashlight. Everyone could learn how to Martial Dodge. Not everyone learns to Martial Dodge. Not everyone has the ability to make there right hand glow.

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1 hour ago, steriaca said:

 

Because the game says no you can't, that Martial Arts is a skill and not equipment, and that skills have to be paid for in character points, and training time (done off screen mostly, or via montage moments in game).

 

As GM, you could say, ok, you learned how to Martial Dodge without paying points for that ability. Now, can everyone now Martial Dodge? No?

 

Everyone can pick up a flashlight. Everyone could learn how to Martial Dodge. Not everyone learns to Martial Dodge. Not everyone has the ability to make there right hand glow.

 

The game says that, in a superheroic game (or any game where the switch is set to "equipment costs character points"), you have to pay points for a flashlight.  The issue is that some gamers don't like not being able to pick up whatever gear they want, whether at the local Wal-Mart or looting their enemies' gear, and they argue that "realistically", they should be able to pick up that gear and keep it, so why are you making it "unrealistic" with character points?

 

Well, "realistically" and in-genre, pretty much every Avenger has had combat training from Captain America.  Many have commented on it and/or demonstrated some level of martial arts (including Tony Stark).  But I don't get to pick up all my teammates' skills, no matter how much time we spend training towards that goal, until I shell out the xp.  Isn't that just as "unrealistic" as not being able to strip off the Titanium Man's armor after he's defeated and use it myself?

 

Nowhere does it provide any requirements or rules for training time.  It does indicate that a base with a training facility is a good justification for learning things from teammates, and that "training" is a special effect.

 

Why can't everyone learn Martial Dodge?  We have clearly defined it as something which can be taught, and something which can be learned.  The expenditure of CP indicates that the character put some effort into learning Martial Dodge, and is required before the character may learn Martial Dodge by RAW, but spending points for that flashlight, or to retain Titanium Man's armor, or own a Sherman tank, is also required by RAW in a game where equipment is paid for in CP.

 

Personally, I like the concept of "everyman equipment", so anyone can likely lay their hands on a flashlight in a modern, first world campaign.  Only the one who paid CP is likely to have it with her when the team is accidentally transported to prehistoric times, or just happens to need a flashlight because the power went out in the UNTIL base they were debriefing at, and that flashlight is much less likely to be damaged in a rockfall or run out of battery power at an inopportune moment.

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