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Why NOT use a multipower for magic?


Panpiper
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Every time this conversation comes around, it ends the same way:

 

"Because I can break it,  it is impossible to use it in any way that isn't broken." 

 

 

Every _time_! 

 

Given the desire, I- and without a doubt the majority of the people here-  can break every single part of the rules: all nine hundred pages of them. 

 

Guess we should just throw the frikkin things away, because there is _clearly_ no unbroken way to use any of them. 

 

 

Fizbin, anyone? 

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3 minutes ago, Duke Bushido said:

Every time this conversation comes around, it ends the same way:

 

"Because I can break it,  it is impossible to use it in any way that isn't broken." 

 

 

Every _time_! 

 

Given the desire, I- and without a doubt the majority of the people here-  can break every single part of the rules: all nine hundred pages of them. 

 

Guess we should just throw the frikkin things away, because there is _clearly_ no unbroken way to use any of them. 

 

 

Fizbin, anyone? 

You wrote this more eloquently (and in fewer words-is shocked 😉) than I could. Now Lonewolf has some valid concerns but I don’t see why not take those into consideration and then work with it.

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1 hour ago, LoneWolf said:

The sample powers I put in the multipower were specifically designed to refute the argument that you could build a warrior for fewer points that could take out the wizard before he could act.  The second power is a little much and I probably not allow it myself as is.  The first power is based off of the classic D&D hold person, and the last one is a simple mind control. 

 

The Wizard has a 20 EGO and the sample spells all act based on EGO instead of DEX.  Most Wizards have a high ego so building spells like this helps keep them alive.  It also means that they can use mental combat skill for most of their spells.

 

The arguments that they were built specifically to target the typical warrior brings up another problem with using a multipower in FH.  When spells only cost 1 point I can afford to create a lot of spells specifically designed to deal with specific types of targets.  So vs your Ninja I use a 2d6 DEF 4 entangle 1 hex accurate, or maybe a 3 ½ D6 Drain INT uses OMCV vs DCV.  I also have a variety of standard spells in the pool, each with a different special affect.  So anything that has a vulnerability will be attacked with an appropriate spell. 

 

A multipower makes a wizard too versatile.  This is going to create a situation where the GM has a hard time creating encounters for the party without the wizard always having the right spell to take them out.  This introduces the caster vs martial disparity that is seen in other game.  The lack of this is one of the things that in my opinion is the strong points of FH.  Unlike say Pathfinder being a warrior does not mean your character is considered a low tier character.  A well-built warrior in FH can be just as powerful as a wizard.  Giving the Wizard a multipower when the warrior does not have access to this brings this into FH. 

You’re still missing the point. You’re designing a wizard against “typical” foes plus you’re using meta knowledge and and acting as if you have Card  Blanche when building said spells to prove a point. Example wizards have a high EGO and foes typically don’t so I’ll make the spells work against EGO to prove my point. See you’re using meta knowledge to take advantage of a game mechanic. Why should I allow you to take spells that affect MCV? If I use the Western Shores campaign out of the 20 plus dish spell colleges there is only one that uses mental combat. Btw if you want the ninja to get cheesy then for a few points I’m buying “Only a Ninja can kill a Ninja”. 

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It does not take a genius to figure out that most people are not trained in mental combat and usually have fairly week wills.  More often than not the wizard is a genius and is often trained in mental combat.  So how is it Meta gaming to take spells that take advantage of that fact?  The classic wizard is not usually that good in traditional combat.  Does that mean he cannot have effective spells?  By taking the +0 advantage uses OMCV vs DCV allows a wizard to be effective with his spells, but at the same time not being good with weapons.  This is one of the things I think that was a big improvement in 6th edition. In earlier editions the based on ECV was expensive and too powerful.    

 

The group I game with does not use published settings and has for the most part been gaming since the first edition of Champions came out.  As a consequence for the most part we design all our own spells.  That is actually what draws us to the Hero System.  If we wanted to simply pick a spell from a list we would use Pathfinder.

 

One other thing to keep in mind is that any character can be defeated.  I can build a wizard who can defeat a warrior, but I can also build a warrior who can defeat a wizard as long as they are built using the same rules.  Allowing the spell caster to use a multipower and not giving the same advantage to the warrior breaks that.  That is why I object to using multipowers for magic.  If you wanted to run a campaign where any character could use a multipower that may be a different story, but one where only one type of character has access to a framework is inherently unfair.  That is the whole basis of my objection. 

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Well, there is the assumption that mental combat is allowed. 

 

That's a pretty big step right there, when most any fantasy world-builder knows from the get-go just how lopsided that's going to be. 

 

I can't speak to very many fantasy hero experiences away from my own table: HERO GMs, at least in these parts, are more scarce than oyster turds, but there are a few.  Most of them run Champions, but there are a few of us that do other things. 

 

I have never played in a Fantasy HERO game where mental combat of any kind was allowed outside wizard-to-wizard.  Mostly because magic is defined as...  Magic?  Is that the word I want?  Yeah; magic, as opposed to Psionics. 

 

Things like "to use these techniques, your and your opponent's consciousness travel to a spiritual plane where you control the free-flowing energies with but a thought, tearing away at each other's psyche's and souls with vast discharges of the powers that build and destroy infinite comsoses across endless time... 

 

Wait-  that guy's not magic, and he doesn't have the right set of spells. 

 

"your consciousness travels to an alternate realm--a spiritual plane where you sit, all alone, bored as Hell, while your teammates do their very best to protect your corporeal form from the charging hordes....." 

 

Seriously:  before deciding to screw the build by playing with the meta, find out what the meta _is_.  Most GMs have found all kinds of blossoms amongst the dickweeds. 

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Folks, I don't think LoneWolf (and apologies, LoneWolf, if I'm getting this wrong) is suggesting abusive powers be allowed. They are simply using extreme examples to help illustrate a point - to whit that an MP gives great flexibility. With said flexibility one can have powers that target every conceivable weak point. AND that doing so only for spell casters gives spell casters an inherent advantage.

 

As for me, I'd like to point out that this is HERO; we don't have to have distinct "wizards" and "fighters." There's no reason a barbarian can't learn some animal summoning spells (Conan did in... I want to say Beyond the Black River) or a graduate of Hogwarts can't learn to use an uzi. 

 

Now I wonder if spell MPs would facilitate easier mixing of fighter & wizard traits or inhibit it? 

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1 minute ago, Panpiper said:

I certainly would allow an archer to build a quiver as a multipower. I could be talked into a multipower for a funky martial artist with Wuxia abilities. The caveat however would be that the slots all be appropriate and thematic. I suppose if a wizard was held to a similar caveat...

 

Yeah, that's fair.

 

It comes down to the type of game you're after. My current mood, after some years of running high level Pathfinder, is for oh so low fantasy. So low... "You want what? METAL weapons? OUT!" But I admit I might be having a bit of a (over)reaction. :-P

 

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49 minutes ago, drunkonduty said:

Folks, I don't think LoneWolf (and apologies, LoneWolf, if I'm getting this wrong) is suggesting abusive powers be allowed. They are simply using extreme examples to help illustrate a point - to whit that an MP gives great flexibility. With said flexibility one can have powers that target every conceivable weak point. AND that doing so only for spell casters gives spell casters an inherent advantage.

 

As for me, I'd like to point out that this is HERO; we don't have to have distinct "wizards" and "fighters." There's no reason a barbarian can't learn some animal summoning spells (Conan did in... I want to say Beyond the Black River) or a graduate of Hogwarts can't learn to use an uzi. 

 

Now I wonder if spell MPs would facilitate easier mixing of fighter & wizard traits or inhibit it? 

I get that Drunk on Duty that Lonewolf wasn’t necessarily for cheesy builds. However his logic was with multipowers I can get a discount and therefore I can buy a lot of cheesy powers. See that’s not a good point against multipowers. If the build is super cheesy MP cost why should it be ok just because you’re spending a few more points at regular cost? Again why can’t a wizard buy a MP of reasonable spells so he can buy other skills? Or at the very least since he’s saving some points, buy the powers at -1 roll per 20 pts and then he doesn’t have to buy up his Magic Roll to ridiculous levels?  

 

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45 minutes ago, Ninja-Bear said:

I get that Drunk on Duty that Lonewolf wasn’t necessarily for cheesy builds. However his logic was with multipowers I can get a discount and therefore I can buy a lot of cheesy powers. See that’s not a good point against multipowers. If the build is super cheesy MP cost why should it be ok just because you’re spending a few more points at regular cost? Again why can’t a wizard buy a MP of reasonable spells so he can buy other skills? Or at the very least since he’s saving some points, buy the powers at -1 roll per 20 pts and then he doesn’t have to buy up his Magic Roll to ridiculous levels?  

 

 

It's not JUST the existence of MPs (again, LoneWolf, apologies if I'm getting this wrong) it's "MPs only for spells" that LoneWolf is worried leads to unfairness. I share his concern. 

 

If we were to go with something like  Panpiper's theoretical Wuxia game, where you have MPs for all sorts of wild and wacky high fantasy shenanigans, I suspect LoneWolf would have no problem with the inherent balance implicit in the campaign guidelines. I know I wouldn't.

 

As you point out, there's many other ways to unfair builds. They need policing too.

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1 hour ago, Ninja-Bear said:

I get that Drunk on Duty that Lonewolf wasn’t necessarily for cheesy builds.

 

Ditto.

 

I'm pretty sure we _all_ get that, and got it immediately.  

 

 

1 hour ago, Ninja-Bear said:

However his logic was with multipowers I can get a discount and therefore I can buy a lot of cheesy powers. See that’s not a good point against multipowers.

 

Agreed again.  Not only is it not really a good argument, it's become the standard argument:  "Let's do some math and demonstrate why this is a horrible idea."

 

We can all do the math.  If we GM (and I get the feeling that the majority of us here who still play actually _are_ GMs, but I freely admit and accept that I'm completely wrong here), we not only _can_ do the math, but probably _have_ done the math, and done it _several times_ over the years.  If there are problems, and we're still allowing multipowers anyway, there's a better-than-good-chance that either 1) we've already got things in place that prevent those problems or 2) we haven't found these hypothetical issues to actually be problems.

 

Or, as N-B puts more succinctly:

 

 

1 hour ago, Ninja-Bear said:

If the build is super cheesy MP cost why should it be ok just because you’re spending a few more points at regular cost?

 

 

 

1 hour ago, Ninja-Bear said:

Again why can’t a wizard buy a MP of reasonable spells so he can buy other skills? Or at the very least since he’s saving some points, buy the powers at -1 roll per 20 pts and then he doesn’t have to buy up his Magic Roll to ridiculous levels?  

 

 

 

These are also valid ideas.  Here's another:  the character sheets we've all seen list at least ten maneuvers that all characters get _for free_.  The typical fantasy magic user has lower STR and DEX than his beefier two-fisted, weapon-wielding counterparts.  These ten things are useless to him, unless your campaign features a lot of beating up small children (which any wizard you ever created could, at any point in his career, do better than Voldemort ever did; I guarantee it).  Even then, the bigger beefy guys are going to do it better.

 

No one bats an eye.  So what?  You _chose_ to play a character for whom STR x 1.5 meant less than three normal dice.  Boo-hoo.  You _chose_ to play a character who's OCV is so low you declare "I dodge!" and the party clown says "Yes!  That will more than double your OCV!"  So what?  You _chose_ that!

 

Why would you chose that if you weren't trading off for something else?  At full price, you're not going to be able to start with any spells that really justify such a deal:  I built a character in such a way as to make those maneuvers effectively useless, but it would be wrong of me to invest the points that I might have put there in some other form of utility?  _Then_ we have a problem?   "Hey, if I shank my STR, DEX, CON, and maybe gank my SPD just a bit, I can still potentially have three whole spells to start with!"

 

"Nope.  That would be wrong.  Cut those spells in half, and pay more for them.  _Then_ it's fair."

 

 

1 hour ago, drunkonduty said:

It comes down to the type of game you're after. My current mood, after some years of running high level Pathfinder, is for oh so low fantasy. So low... "You want what? METAL weapons? OUT!" But I admit I might be having a bit of a (over)reaction. :-P

 

 

 

Low Fantasy is my preference, too, specifically _low powered_ Low Fantasy, but I've run games across the whole spectrum.  In the end, it's more about what concessions you and the players are willing to make to each other to get some reasonable trade-off of the game you all want to play.  But yes: your point is totally taken.

 

 

Even then, the discussion is done to death to the point that I usually don't even chime in any more.  My chain only gets yanked when someone says "well that's how it is in D&D, so _obviously_ that's how it has to be in your game, too.

 

Screw D&D.  If I wanted to play D&D, I wouldn't have thrown it away thirty-odd years ago.  It was crap then, and from browsing and skimming over the years, it has become crap with high production values.  So what?

 

 

 

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It occurs to me that one way to deal with the issues raised is to decree as GM, "No combat spells allowed." Mages learn magic to do OTHER THINGS. A "wizard" is a wise man (or woman). He KNOWS things that most people don't. That means lots of interesting knowledge skills, and spells that let him learn things (Detects, Mindscan, etc). It doesn't necessarily mean he flings bolts of arcane energy to smite his opponents.

 

If a mage wants to learn, say, staff skill in order to be able fight with the staff he probably carries anyhow, then great. Ditto with a bow, or even a sword. (Gandalf used a sword, as I recall). Or whatever. But his spells simply don't apply themselves to combat situations. Why? You're the GM. You tell me. Maybe magic requires time and concentration that is unavailable in a combat situation. Maybe a lot of things.

 

But a mage who can start a fire with magic in the middle of a blizzard or a rainstorm doesn't necessarily have the ability to generate a fireball that would have an effect in combat. A wizard who can probe the deepest thoughts and most sacred memories of a willing subject, or a captured opponent, doesn't necessarily have the ability to give him a good mental whack in the middle of melee. And so forth.

 

That doesn't mean a wizard can't be useful to an adventuring party, or even help them with combat. Maybe he casts buff spells on his teammates every morning. Or heals them after the battle is over. Or uses his uncanny knowledge in numerous ways to help them achieve their goals. But when orcs (or whatever) come leaping out of the bush wielding weapons, he won't be throwing fireballs and lightning bolts or clubbing them into unconscious with his mind. With his staff? Maybe. But not his mind.

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The spells I used were refuting Ninja-Bear’s statement that he could build a warrior that can take out a wizard before he could act for less points.  I even admitted some of the spells were cheesy and I would probably veto it in a game I ran.  But other are straight up standard spells.  A 9d6 Mind Control is a pretty basic spell.   Even without using abusive spells I can still have Dozens of spells geared to overcome specific challenges.  For tough opponents I have an AP RKA, for those that are hard to hit I have an area of effect.  For those that have a low STR I have a standard entangle, to reduce the effectiveness of a dangerous opponent I have a flash.  I could keep going and list a lot more spells, but I think made my point.

 

My whole argument against using a multipower for magic is the imbalance it creates between characters.  It is only fair that if  you allow a power framework for one type of character you should allow it for all. 

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Remember that you have to compare spells to things other than attacks.  15 points of Wealth is pretty awesome.  If you're making the wizard pay more points than that for his utility spells, there's probably something wrong.

 

It doesn't cost that much to get a handful of cheap followers.  That's nice if you have some kinda goes first Ego Attack, but what if 5 other dudes run over and stab you with spears?

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3 hours ago, drunkonduty said:

 

 

It's not JUST the existence of MPs (again, LoneWolf, apologies if I'm getting this wrong) it's "MPs only for spells" that LoneWolf is worried leads to unfairness. I share his concern. 

 

If we were to go with something like  Panpiper's theoretical Wuxia game, where you have MPs for all sorts of wild and wacky high fantasy shenanigans, I suspect LoneWolf would have no problem with the inherent balance implicit in the campaign guidelines. I know I wouldn't.

 

As you point out, there's many other ways to unfair builds. They need policing too.

And why is it unfair? Concern for abuse yeah that with anything in Hero. Really this is the only thread where I heard that getting spells cheaper is unfair.

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11 hours ago, LoneWolf said:

The spells I used were refuting Ninja-Bear’s statement that he could build a warrior that can take out a wizard before he could act for less points.  I even admitted some of the spells were cheesy and I would probably veto it in a game I ran.  But other are straight up standard spells.  A 9d6 Mind Control is a pretty basic spell.   Even without using abusive spells I can still have Dozens of spells geared to overcome specific challenges.  For tough opponents I have an AP RKA, for those that are hard to hit I have an area of effect.  For those that have a low STR I have a standard entangle, to reduce the effectiveness of a dangerous opponent I have a flash.  I could keep going and list a lot more spells, but I think made my point.

 

My whole argument against using a multipower for magic is the imbalance it creates between characters.  It is only fair that if  you allow a power framework for one type of character you should allow it for all. 

 

Your argument is ignoring a few relevant points.

  1. 9d6 Mind Control is 45 points. The game mechanics may be simple, but it is a very powerful spell, butting up against (or exceeding) heroic campaign limits.
  2. Fighters may have access to constructs the mage does not (pushing, haymaker, martial arts, etc).
  3. Depending on how the magic system is designed, the mage may not have access to all of their spells simultaneously. My Vancian system, while it uses a Multipower, still requires wizards to memorize their spells in advance and restricts how many spells can be memorized at once. Charm Person (the above-described Mind Control) would take an hour to memorize and take up a substantial portion of most caster's spell pool.
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I've been following this thread and I have to say, you're not discussing the rules or balance. 

 

You are discussing setting/genre convention preferences as if they were rules.  This with a heavy dose of D&D class restrictions.

 

I have seen MP's used by warrior types with the slots being special swordsmanship maneuvers making them every bit as effective as a mage.  At least in close combat.

 

The real issue here is if you are going to limit warriors to be semi-"realistic", then you have to do the same (somehow) with the magical types.  It is not that MP's inherently unbalance anything.  It is imposed restrictions on one type of character has nerf'd them when compared to the other. 

 

If the intention is to restrict non-magicals to real world (or near real world) levels, then magical builds will either not exist or they will be overpowering. 

 

MP's are a normal and easy way to build spells.

MP's are also a great way to build combat abilities for warriors.

 

Artificially limiting one use does not mean the other use is suddenly broken.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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In answer to the original question, I'd say that multipowers are great if your character is looking at having a wide variety of spells that have a similar active point cost.  If you want a fireball spell, and a lightning bolt spell, and an invisible wall spell, etc, and you plan on using them one at a time?  Then multipowers rock.  That's what they're for.  But if you are planning on duplicating other game systems, then why not just play those games instead?  The Hero System lets you play characters you couldn't in other game systems.

 

Let's say that Jarak the Necromancer is going to be the campaign's big bad guy.  He knows many ancient arts and is an extremely lethal opponent.  He's got a library of spellbooks and a moldy old castle.  So how do we build Jarak?  Just go through the book and give him every necromancy spell?  Nah, no need for that.  Jarak is a skilled swordsman, so he's got good physical stats and several combat levels, like a PC fighter.  He's got magic that lets him command the dead, so we give him several different Followers, one of whom is a powerful vampire (who he enslaved off-camera), then a bunch of low-power skeletal minions.  He's got an array of odd knowledge skills.  His castle has a mystic pool in the catacombs beneath it, where Jarak can communicate with the spirits of the dead (Clairsentience sight and hearing with extra range -- the dead show him things -- OIF immobile, extra time 1 hour for the ritual).  And he's got two actual "magic spells".  One of them is a death curse, a slow acting Body Drain, Continuous, Invisible.  It takes effect over the course of about a week, so it's not that great in combat.  He generally uses it to assassinate high ranking people, which he can then deny.  The other is a campaign-oriented ritual to summon the god of the dead (or its avatar).  It has a load of limitations on it (week long casting time, requires the blood of 100 virgins, etc), and hopefully he never actually gets to cast it.  Oh, and maybe he's got a magic ring that allows him to change into a raven.

 

So we've got our big bad necromancer.  He makes sense in his game world.  You can tell a story around him.  It's easy to see why he's so feared.  But most of his "magic" doesn't require any kind of spells.  He's got some items and a bunch of skills, and maybe a couple of odd powers (LS: Aging and LS: Poison) that a normal person wouldn't have.  But there's no reason this guy would ever be interested in a multipower.  His "Death Curse" and "Summon Avatar" spells are going to be of vastly different active point levels, with probably very few similar limitations.  It's cheaper to just buy them separately.

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