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Unlock Anything power

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2 minutes ago, tombrown803 said:

talk to the GM. He might allow it in this circunstance

 

He might...now if only I could find a game...I am trying to have a character set up in advance that will be generally accepted, without having the character sheet laughed at and given to the dog to pee on, lmao.

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5 hours ago, iamlibertarian said:

He might...now if only I could find a game...I am trying to have a character set up in advance that will be generally accepted, without having the character sheet laughed at and given to the dog to pee on, lmao.

I find that making a character to fit the campaign works far better than presenting a character in the hopes they'll work in the campaign.  If I were your GM and found during the character vetting process that you'd made the guy before knowing my guidelines, I'd be much more critical of the character.  If it got vetoed, I'd also be likely to force you through a group character brain-storming session so whatever replacement concept you brought had enough chefs stirring the pot that you couldn't be bringing another prefab. 

 

I'll also point out that it's a VPP, so:
- You can put down "Spell of Unlocking: Not sure how to build this, please help!" and use it as a get-to-know-the-gm conversation. 

- A number of GMs are very leery of letting fresh faces use VPPs because they've got an awful tendency to stall games in the hands of people not ready to whip something up by the time they need to show the write-up. 

- A 120+ AP VPP is going to be sending warning bells left and right, you really might want to be more conservative if you intend to submit this character before getting to know the GM. 

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6 hours ago, tombrown803 said:

talk to the GM. He might allow it in this circunstance

 

Personally...I'd never allow it.  I will consider skill levels that are OIAID or linked to a power, or possibly bought through a focus, but never bare levels in a VPP or multi.  It's free "oh I have 10 skill levels with ANYTHING for next to no cost!!!"  Taken to its extreme...

 

VPP, 15 Real points, 15 Control cost.  Don't need to change powers in combat, so you don't need half-phase, and don't need to blow off the skill roll.  In fact, you tack on Requires a Skill Roll, Gestures, and Incants as common limitations on the powers...so you get 2 skills with 6 levels each.  Any time you want, any skill you want.

 

You probably don't even need to separate this from your regular magic pool;  most skills are applicable outside combat, so you probably won't need a big attack power loaded and ready.

 

A secondary argument...I'd probably allow a MUCH simpler spell to deal with any purely physical lock, a la Knock.  But OP is trying to go far beyond that, to deal with all kinds of locks AND security implementations.  This should be HARD.  I would be more inclined to allow a spell to be constructed to target the features of the specific obstacle, which itself would require time and special senses to analyze.  And I'd still be disinclined to allow it...because I stopped supporting the "magic can do ANYTHING!!" approach.  Well, gee, why is everyone else there????

 

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

- A 120+ AP VPP is going to be sending warning bells left and right, you really might want to be more conservative if you intend to submit this character before getting to know the GM. 

 

And it's 120 BEFORE 0 END.  So it's 24 dice of Blast, all day, every day.

 

And remember, when you try to interpret a comic book character...

--writers don't care about points

--writers don't care about mechanics

--writers have absolute control over what their characters do, AND what happens to them

--writers don't care about balance 

 

Some characters are fairly easy to translate in a balanced manner...Beast, Cyclops, Colossus should be straightforward.  Others are fairly easy to interpret but are probably *obscenely* expensive...try to define Rogue's power-stealing, to the point where it matches the effects in the comics.  LARGE number of dice, you have to buy down the fade rate and buy up the recovery delay to VERY high levels, and probably buy multiple powers at once, which gets very expensive too.  And it's Transfer, not Drain, so that much more expensive.  And some characters are simply hard to define too, as they violate system rules in one form or another, or their powers are particularly nebulous and/or problematic...every comic book mage-type fits here.  Or, one of my favorite superhero book series is Drew Hayes' Super Powereds.  One of the characters is described as a damage absorber...any injury you do to her, she can absorb, literally.  THEN give it back to you, by touch.  She can absorb damage/injuries done to others as well, by touch.  HUGELY powerful.  The injuries are stored...they don't fade until they're given to someone else.  So she's also an incredibly powerful healer.  Also, she has basically no capacity limits, and almost no limits on the types of injuries.  It might be possible to define what she does, but IMO it'd take twisting the rules beyond comprehension.

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A couple more quick points...

 

--many GMs won't want to play at this kind of power level, as it's a lot more work for them, and it's very limiting in many ways.  Obstacles are hard to define, for example, because the characters have so many more workarounds available.    Or the GM has to contrive an excuse for why things won't work.  That's fine if used *sparingly* but it's very easy to overuse.

 

--building a character at 600 points is going to be quite different from starting from, say, 400, and gradually adding on.  The latter is going to be much more organic;  you take what feels right at the time.

 

So rather than build full sheets, build concepts.  Perhaps build partial sheets to get an idea if something's workable.  Recognize that some concepts just don't work as well in a point-buy system that tries to keep things balanced.  D&D mages are not balanced at high levels;  that's a standard refrain.  And a 500 point Hero is high level.  It's because magic is that "I can do anything" capability so it generally *needs* boundaries to be workable.  

 

--GMs are going to be very leery about a boatload of blanket limitations.  You have, for example, gestures, incants, and focus.  That's a total of -3/4.  How often should the GM deny you by slamming one or more of those....Darkness to Sound kills incants (in D&D), an Entangle to kill gestures, take the focus away.  The more you put onto these....especially when it's often not a functional limitation (you can buy your Armor with this to have an effectively larger VPP, for example), the more the GM *has* to enforce the limiting aspect.  A corollary here is, it can become selfish...the focus is on you to the detriment of everyone else, too much of the time.  Typically this happens with Complications..a DNPC 14- can be an example.  If the other PCs have to frequently react to support you while dealing with this, it's something that gets old REALLY fast.  When you've got such a huge amount of your character sheet impacted by these limitations, that pretty much has to be the case.  The focus isn't on the goup, it's all about you.

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9 hours ago, iamlibertarian said:

 

But I want the character to be able to unlock Any lock. Small chest, small combination lock built into a wall, briefcase lock, etc. If it is not possible or too difficult, so be it, but I at least have to ask...

 

The D&D version is just Drain (Suppress) PD, Only to defeat locks (-1). It is resisted by Arcane Lock but pretty much just works automatically against a mundane lock. 6D6 with plenty of limitations should be both effective and cost-efficient.

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

I find that making a character to fit the campaign works far better than presenting a character in the hopes they'll work in the campaign.  If I were your GM and found during the character vetting process that you'd made the guy before knowing my guidelines, I'd be much more critical of the character.  If it got vetoed, I'd also be likely to force you through a group character brain-storming session so whatever replacement concept you brought had enough chefs stirring the pot that you couldn't be bringing another prefab. 

 

All good points. But here is my thought. I am building it in Designer, so of course my plan would be to sit through a game watching, and speaking with the GM about guidelines, make changes as appropriate, and then submit it before the next game for approval, with being created in Designer allowing such corrections to be made (relatively) easily..

 

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

I'll also point out that it's a VPP, so:
- You can put down "Spell of Unlocking: Not sure how to build this, please help!" and use it as a get-to-know-the-gm conversation.

 

Very good point. I would/will probably do that for things I cannot resolve. But by coming here for advice, I at  least cut back on the number of those the busy GM will have to do that with.

 

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

- A number of GMs are very leery of letting fresh faces use VPPs because they've got an awful tendency to stall games in the hands of people not ready to whip something up by the time they need to show the write-up. 

 

Having played Hero System in the past, I design my characters with the thought in mind that pretty much all the characters can use the VPP for a pre-approved spells to avoid that problem. I even create the powers in the VPP with several power levels ahead of time in case the character wants to lower the RC and power level of the spell, just to avoid these delays.

 

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

- A 120+ AP VPP is going to be sending warning bells left and right, you really might want to be more conservative if you intend to submit this character before getting to know the GM. 

 

Also a good point. However, for *this* character I would only submit her for games built for that level in the first place. Should I be lucky to find a game (its been years) I have characters created of different types for various levels of play.

The reason I don't wait to find a game to do character creation is *because* it has been years since  I could find a game, and I enjoy character creation almost as much as I do playing the game. :)

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2 hours ago, unclevlad said:

And it's 120 BEFORE 0 END.  So it's 24 dice of Blast, all day, every day.

 

In a 600 point game, the bad guys would have the same, and this *specific* character has that level. She is certainly not being created to fit a low level game. (Plus, I take specific limitations on most of her spells to make them less effective, and call them her 'Ritual version' of those spells, because if she casts a spell without using that version, it can force her to Accidentally Change into a version of herself which is good for nobody, especially her, lol.)

 

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1 hour ago, unclevlad said:

A couple more quick points...

 

--many GMs won't want to play at this kind of power level, as it's a lot more work for them, and it's very limiting in many ways.  Obstacles are hard to define, for example, because the characters have so many more workarounds available.    Or the GM has to contrive an excuse for why things won't work.  That's fine if used *sparingly* but it's very easy to overuse.

 

Cannot disagree with you. She is the only character I am working on at this level.

 

Quote

--building a character at 600 points is going to be quite different from starting from, say, 400, and gradually adding on.  The latter is going to be much more organic;  you take what feels right at the time.

 

Again, cannot disagree.

 

Quote

So rather than build full sheets, build concepts. 

 

The only reasons I build ahead of time are: 

1) I haven't found a game in years. So character creation is the only fun I get to have with the game at the moment.

2) Since I haven't been able to find a game in years, character creation is a way for me to understand and remember the rules so I will be at least somewhat ready to play on the off chance I ever find a game.

 

Quote

 

--GMs are going to be very leery about a boatload of blanket limitations.  You have, for example, gestures, incants, and focus.  That's a total of -3/4.  How often should the GM deny you by slamming one or more of those....Darkness to Sound kills incants (in D&D), an Entangle to kill gestures, take the focus away.  The more you put onto these....especially when it's often not a functional limitation (you can buy your Armor with this to have an effectively larger VPP, for example), the more the GM *has* to enforce the limiting aspect.  A corollary here is, it can become selfish...the focus is on you to the detriment of everyone else, too much of the time.  Typically this happens with Complications..a DNPC 14- can be an example.  If the other PCs have to frequently react to support you while dealing with this, it's something that gets old REALLY fast.  When you've got such a huge amount of your character sheet impacted by these limitations, that pretty much has to be the case.  The focus isn't on the goup, it's all about you.

 

I fully expect that the 'bad guys' will learn her limitations with frequent exposure, just like they would for any member of the team. So I am not worried about that.

 

I would also fully expect that even if I find a game, on the off chance it happens to start at the 600pt level, other characters would have all those same issues, so there would be balance. And I don't take, for example, DNPCs like that, personally. Like in this character's case, she has one husband who is frequent and has a few useful skills, and two children who are infrequent, and Someday will have useful kills, but not now. And their home is about as safe as it can get (for the power level of the game). The husband is only 15pts, and the kids Together are only 10. The GM can throw them into them  mix easily or not, as the GM sees fit. 

Believe me (or not, lol) at least in the past when there was a game to be had, I learned how to both build and play characters that will Not take away from everyone else's fun, as long as we are all around the same power level.

 

For example, here is a type of spell I like to create (with the RED END being taken out of the VPP) just for fun.

"Aid Battery (Recharge Batteries - Ritual):  Aid 6 1/2d6, Any END Battery (+1/2), Reduced Endurance (0 END; +1/2), Delayed Return Rate (points return at the rate of 5 per Minute; +1), Delayed Return Rate (points return at the rate of 5 per Minute; +1) (156 Active Points); One Use At A Time (-1), One Use At A Time (-1), Only Restores To Starting Values (-1/2), Requires A Roll (Skill roll; -1/2), Extra Time (Full Phase, -1/2), Requires A Roll (Skill roll; -1/2), Limited Power Only END Batteries, not all END (-1/4), Extra Time (Delayed Phase, -1/4), Concentration (1/2 DCV; -1/4), Limited Power Only Magic (6E1 410) (-1/4), Concentration (1/2 DCV; -1/4), Limited Power Only Magic (6E1 410) (-1/4)"

 

And she doesn't even have an END Battery. This is to help the other characters do Their thing. So I don't like to make characters who the game becomes all about them.
 

Again, I realize, if I even find a game, it will be highly unlikely to be able to find one of this power level, much less be able to slip her in as my first character. I am just having fun building her in the meantime, and appreciate all the great advice on how to get her right :)

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1 hour ago, unclevlad said:

A couple more quick points...

 

And, I Am taking your advice and taking the Red END 0 out of the VPP and building it specifically into the spells for which it is appropriate. It is a lot of work, one of the few things that takes more work in Designer than if it were on paper I think (but will be worth it in the end - no pun intended).

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As GM and player, I can tell you that just having

 

3 Minor Transform 1d6, Constant (+1/2) (7 Active Points); Gestures, Requires Gestures throughout (-1/2), Incantations (Requires Incantations throughout; -1/2), No Range (-1/2)

 

Or

 

4 Dispel 1d6, Constant (+1/2), Cumulative (384 points; +2) (10 Active Points); Gestures, Requires Gestures throughout (-1/2), Incantations (Requires Incantations throughout; -1/2), No Range (-1/2) 

 

would be enough for most GMs.  Most GMs aren't gonna sweat the small stuff and price out a lock on a door.  In the end, the GM will just think "Did the BBG put fail safes on the door to prevent this?"  So Dr. Destroyer might have done something to protect his vault of tech secrets, but not the janitor's closet or his minion's locker room.

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13 hours ago, Scott Ruggels said:

Spells like this can easily countered with a verbal password and a door bar. It’s just expensive in payroll. 

 

This is where we get into what, precisely, the spell can do.  If it causes all the tumblers to fall into place, the computer system to open up the door, whatever, then it must do so by either determining the password or circumventing it, and moving the door bar.  In d20, you can certainly write down "the spell will not intuit verbal or written passwords, nor will it remove the bar from a door".  In Hero, we should be able to build an "unlock anything" spell that can unlock anything, including locks governed by verbal passwords and barred doors.

 

Put a dozen armed guards behind the door, and now it's open and you have a new problem that unlocking things is not going to solve, of course.

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Seriously folks?  In a 600 point game, the ability to open locks and bypass security systems is not a big deal.  It doesn't need to be a 100+ point power.  In a game where people can smash through walls, kick tanks into orbit, fly to other galaxies, turn invisible, and control minds, you think a GM will be concerned over somebody who can open locks?

 

Here's the answer -- build it however you want to.  I think a 6D6 Dispel vs Body, only vs locks and security systems (-2) should work fine.  Buy it Indirect and Area of Effect if you want to.  That way you can blast locks on the other side of a door, or something contained within a wall.  It doesn't matter exactly how the GM imagines the lock working -- if it's a physical object, it's got Body.  Barred doors or whatever may simply have more Body than the power can effect.  It's not going to clear away a collapsed tunnel because you just don't have enough dice.  

 

I'd buy it that way and tell the GM "this spell opens locks, just like Knock in D&D".  If he thinks that's too powerful, I'd question whether I wanted to be in that game.

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massey, he doesn't want "open any lock."

 

He wants to bypass any form of security system, no matter how sophisticated, no matter the nature.  And do it with a finger snap, pretty much.  Sure, systems can be bypassed...but that's talking what kinds of rolls, how many, and taking how long?  With what kinds of support tools?  

 

How tough a Security Systems roll would you make breaking into a highly classified lab doing highly dangerous and/or highly illegal work?  How many layers of security would it have?  Me...it'd be pretty high.  So to crack it that fast, without the usual support tools implicit in skills use...that's at least making the roll by 5, wouldn't you say?  So we're talking mimicking a 23- skill roll, maybe a 25-?  And potentially both security systems and lockpicking simultaneously.  So someone who wanted to build a Master Thief would be sinking HOW many points into doing this?  And those are dedicated *character* points.  

 

I suspect some of this is that it's rare to build the master thief as a PC.  The security system has to be handled;  until it is, the story is likely stonewalled.  If the PCs aren't gonna be involved in the solution, then there's no need to elaborate on the complexities.  That doesn't mean they're not there.  If you allow the complex security system, then it's a lot easier to say that a universal bypass to any and all security systems *should* be expensive, especially as a simple action.  Heck, if it's just broken up into its parts, from a power perspective it's less of a problem. 

 

It's also not simply the power.  It's the degree to which this character can hog the spotlight, and the degree to which he can use his pool to duplicate *hundreds* of points in skills.  So it's not just what it's doiing, but what it represents.  

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I'm sort of with massey in this. However, the GM & campaign determines whether this is acceptable or not. Sure, we can compare it to our various campaigns but that's not needs to be done. It really needs to be built dependent on what kind of game and what kind of character is allowed in the game. Without knowing that, it's really hard to make a judgment call on how to build this: is everyone built on 100 base, 200, 500? We don't know. If this is a game where arch mages roam the street, that's a different color of character and game vs one where the total character cost is, say, 150 pts or 250 pts.

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3 hours ago, unclevlad said:

massey, he doesn't want "open any lock."

 

He wants to bypass any form of security system, no matter how sophisticated, no matter the nature.  And do it with a finger snap, pretty much.  Sure, systems can be bypassed...but that's talking what kinds of rolls, how many, and taking how long?  With what kinds of support tools?  

 

How tough a Security Systems roll would you make breaking into a highly classified lab doing highly dangerous and/or highly illegal work?  How many layers of security would it have?  Me...it'd be pretty high.  So to crack it that fast, without the usual support tools implicit in skills use...that's at least making the roll by 5, wouldn't you say?  So we're talking mimicking a 23- skill roll, maybe a 25-?  And potentially both security systems and lockpicking simultaneously.  So someone who wanted to build a Master Thief would be sinking HOW many points into doing this?  And those are dedicated *character* points.  

 

I suspect some of this is that it's rare to build the master thief as a PC.  The security system has to be handled;  until it is, the story is likely stonewalled.  If the PCs aren't gonna be involved in the solution, then there's no need to elaborate on the complexities.  That doesn't mean they're not there.  If you allow the complex security system, then it's a lot easier to say that a universal bypass to any and all security systems *should* be expensive, especially as a simple action.  Heck, if it's just broken up into its parts, from a power perspective it's less of a problem. 

 

It's also not simply the power.  It's the degree to which this character can hog the spotlight, and the degree to which he can use his pool to duplicate *hundreds* of points in skills.  So it's not just what it's doing, but what it represents.  

 

Let me give you my perspective on this.  For several years, I played in a Justice League level game.  We started back in 4th edition with 375 point characters, and by the end of the campaign, we were probably pushing 700 real points.  Every character was min-maxed to the extreme, so our actual effective point value was probably 1500+ points by the end.

 

Breaking into a secure lab?  Virtually every character on the team could do that with their eyes closed.  Our Martian Manhunter knock-off could go Invisible and Desolid and fly right into it (using N-Ray Vision to see where he needed to go).  Or he could shapeshift into the lead scientist and walk right in like he owned the place.  Our telepath could read the minds of the people in the lab from his couch.  He wouldn't even need to get off his butt.  He could control the security guards into turning off the cameras and propping the doors open.  Our bricks could just smash through the walls and take anything they needed.  Our Flash character could do like Quicksilver in Days of Future Past and zip through any open doors without guards even seeing he was there.  Our shrinker could drop to microscopic size and ride the electrical currents through the wiring of the base.  Our wizard could just open a portal and walk inside.  Heck, our team had a satellite base with Star Trek style transporters.  Every person on the team could just appear inside the base any time we wanted.  Moreover, none of these characters chose powers with the idea of "sneaking into a secure base".  These abilities came as a byproduct of their other powers.

 

Of course, not every game is a JLA level epic adventure.  But in a superhero game, sneaking into the lab is only going to be the focus of the game in very rare circumstances.  In most cases, it's not the primary challenge, it's not even a secondary challenge.  It's something you do in a few minutes while Bob gets up to use the bathroom, and Dave is ordering a pizza for the group.  The real story comes later.

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Interestingly, nearly the identical subject came up on the Fantasy Hero sub-forum:

And we got what may be the most straightforward and elegant (or "kludgy," depending on your perception) suggestion yet:

  

12 hours ago, Grailknight said:

Time to use one of the go to kludge powers.

 

So, Extra Dimensional Movement, Usable as an Attack, Variable SFX with only vs Restraints is the what I'm coming up with here. 

 

Banish that lock or barrier to Chaos while leaving everything around it untouched.

 

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  1. In general, no lock created by the GM is easily passable if the GM wants it not to be easily passed.  If this is a magical game or if Dr. Destroyer is protecting his tech vault, you can expect that the locks look like something Jack Kirby would have drawn and have something like 50 pts of power defense and a security systems roll of 30-.  It would be hardened against teleport and desol and extra d-travel, be air tight, and have sub-atomic land mines. 
  2. In a race against a GM, the player will lose.  After all, the players are limited in points while GMs are not.

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On 3/10/2020 at 11:28 AM, unclevlad said:

massey, he doesn't want "open any lock."

 

He wants to bypass any form of security system, no matter how sophisticated, no matter the nature.  And do it with a finger snap, pretty much.  Sure, systems can be bypassed...but that's talking what kinds of rolls, how many, and taking how long?  With what kinds of support tools?  

 

I want to bypass any form of security system IF the character has enough power to do so.

 

On 3/10/2020 at 11:28 AM, unclevlad said:

How tough a Security Systems roll would you make breaking into a highly classified lab doing highly dangerous and/or highly illegal work?  How many layers of security would it have?  Me...it'd be pretty high. 

So to crack it that fast, without the usual support tools implicit in skills use...that's at least making the roll by 5, wouldn't you say?  So we're talking mimicking a 23- skill roll, maybe a 25-?  And potentially both security systems and lockpicking simultaneously.  So someone who wanted to build a Master Thief would be sinking HOW many points into doing this?  And those are dedicated *character* points.  

 

Except she would not be 'picking a lock' or using 'security system skill' to do so. Your own suggestion of mind control electronics shows that those skills and rolls are not needed -directly-. There is a roll of course, and the INT (in place of EGO) of the dice is based on the sophistication. But IF you have enough dice, Poof, you are through. Though security skill Might be complimentary to the Spell.

 

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