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Why NOT use a multipower for magic?

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On 5/20/2020 at 12:50 PM, massey said:

Multipowers give you versatility at the expense of raw power.  You get more moves, but each move is less effective overall.  They do allow you to take a grab-bag of situational powers that are really useful in certain circumstances, and that's cool.  But as far as raw effect goes, they aren't efficient.

 

Exactly.  The problem with multipowers has usually been the swiss-army-knife effect that occurs when slots are too cheap.  This is magnified in fantasy when certain powers (flight, telekinesis, teleportation) are undercosted.  In combat, warrior vs. mage can be fair.  Out of combat, the guy with access to supernatural powers that 98% of the population doesn't even understand can be a problem for the GM.  It's the VPP problem, only a bit less bad.

 

The good thing about multipowers is that they don't reward the mage whose only spell is 120 active point Tactical Nuke.

 

To mitigate some of the problems with multipowers in fantasy:

  • No ultra slots.
  • Link active points to number of slots somehow.  Base them on INT, or force AP to be some multiple of slots (or vice versa).
  • Require some minimum amount of common Limitations (usually -2).
  • Consider requiring multiple multipowers for different special effects or groups of powers.

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55 minutes ago, Old Man said:

 

Exactly.  The problem with multipowers has usually been the swiss-army-knife effect that occurs when slots are too cheap.  This is magnified in fantasy when certain powers (flight, telekinesis, teleportation) are undercosted.  In combat, warrior vs. mage can be fair.  Out of combat, the guy with access to supernatural powers that 98% of the population doesn't even understand can be a problem for the GM.  It's the VPP problem, only a bit less bad.

 

For what it's worth, this is really only a problem if your campaigns are D&D-esque with hard divisions between "people who magic" and "people who sword" and "people who bash," etc.

 

One of the biggest appeals to me of Fantasy HERO was that there is no baked-in assumptions like that.  I want a guy in heavy armor with a two-fisted war hammer who can toss off the occasional fireball or create a defensive ward-- no problem.  I want a wiry and stealthy corsair who relies on his 2" of Teleport and magical boons to his accuracy and a fistful of healing spells-- again, no problem.

 

However, it's not that it's _wrong_ to emulate something else: if you like the hard division between Mystics and Muggles, well that's good, too.  But there are already a few dozen systems that both do that and lack concerns for whether or not you should allow Multipowers.

 

 

 

55 minutes ago, Old Man said:

 

The good thing about multipowers is that they don't reward the mage whose only spell is 120 active point Tactical Nuke.

 

Agreed.

 

 

 

55 minutes ago, Old Man said:

Consider requiring multiple multipowers for different special effects or groups of powers.

 

 

I can get behind this.  None of my groups really do much with multi powers outside of various types of Foci: magic items, weapons, etc.  Never did.  I don't know why, except that they added a layer of "stuff to track" that really didn't appeal to many of us.  Hell, I'm the GM in all but one of them (which I still co-anchor from time to time), and _I_ don't use them much.

 

However, I say that I can get behind this particular idea because we do that very sort of thing with Elemental Controls (stop; I'm not trying to drag up that argument; I'm saying that you have a valid idea and offering a real-world example of agreement with the idea, full stop):  Different type of magic?  Different EC.

 

I think it's a great idea, personally, not just for concerns about run-away points, but to really drive home a _feel_ that X is truly different from Y.

 

 

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I always preferred ECs for magic.

 

Just for grins, I dug up one of my more blatantly minimaxing Fantasy Hero multipowers:

 

13	40pt. necromancy multipower
		(-0.5)  requires a skill roll
		(-0.25) incantations
		(-0.25) gestures
		(-0.25) concentrate 1/2 DCV
		(-0.5)  full phase to cast
		(-0.25) not on holy ground
		
1u	37	Weaken: 3d6 suppress str, continuous, 0 end
1u	37	Strike Blind: 5d6 flash, 1 hex area
1u	39	Poltergeist: 26 str. telekinesis, affects whole object
1u	40	Pain: 4d6 ego attack
1u	37	Theft of Life: 1.5d6 xfr body to end (25), usable at range (+1/2)

1u	40	Dispel Magic: 11d6 dispel vs. any magic (+1/4)
1u	30	Detect Magic: discriminatory, analyze, ranged, targeting
1u	38	Animate Dead: summon 1x 85-point zombie (17),
		 expanded class: based on corpse (+1/4)
		 slavishly loyal (+1)
1u	40	Unlife Regeneration: 4d6 simplified healing
1u	40	Summon: 4x 50-point demon, slavishly loyal (+1)

1u	40	Seance Future: clairsentience, precognitive, audible only (-1/4)
1u	40	Seance Past: clairsentience, retrocognitive, audible only (-1/4)
1u	37	Feeblemind: 5d6 suppress int, 0 end
1u	40	Unlife: 12/8 force field, ipe, 0 end, not vs. silver weapons
1u	37	Strength of the Damned: 5d6 succor str, 0 end

1u	5	Shadow Walk: teleport 1" (2)
		  safe blind (+1/4)
		  megascale 1" = 1000 km (+1)
1u	37	Glimpse of the Abyss: aid 3d6 to end, fade 1/turn
1u	37	Possession: 6d6 mind control, telepathic (+1/4)
1u	40	Spirit Form: desolid
1u	40	Foul Gust: 35" leaping, accurate (40)

 

The moral of the story is no ultra slots.

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On 5/20/2020 at 1:51 PM, pawsplay said:

If you are going to allow a bunch of versatile super-mages as PCs, I think that does raise some questions about what else do you allow. Why shouldn't the fighter have a magical Multipower as well?

 

Why shouldn't the fighter have a magical Multipower as well?

 

There are no character classes in HERO.

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A similar conversation came up earlier this year, and I suggested a way to alleviate the perceived advantage of magic vs mundane items. The discussion can be found here. TLDR=make everyone buy everything as powers, just like in Champions. So spells, crazy maneuvers, rogue talents, barbaric rage, even armor and weapons, are all designed with powers. This may be a way to overcome the perceived imbalance. 

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17 hours ago, assault said:

 

Why shouldn't the fighter have a magical Multipower as well?

 

There are no character classes in HERO.

 

You're preaching to the choir. I was just noting that if wizards have more options, expect that most characters will be wizards, even if only part-time.

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HERO has no character classes, but campaigns often do--at least to the extent of making access to magic rare and unusual.  In particular, only overt wizards are likely to have access to the full range of powers in the book.  It's really hard to justify putting Force Wall in a rogue's inherent multipower, or Flight in a knight's.  Fantasy campaigns usually have a really limited subset of special effects available--magic, creature powers, maybe gadgets, maybe kung fu, maaaaybe extreme skill.  And it's very hard to give any of these to NPCs in anything other than high fantasy.

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Here’s something to consider. The other night I had a tournament battle with one son. I’ve been making up other competitors for the Valhalla scenario from NH 4th (Heroic MA game). My son had a Bojutsu guy. With his staff and 15 STR with his Smash (Offensive Strike) did 9D6*! * (I saw an optional rule that if you used a martial art that was based on Normal Damge weapons then they could exceed the Double the base rule. So Bojutsu guy could but Karate guy could not.) Not too shabby. 

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13 hours ago, Old Man said:

HERO has no character classes, but campaigns often do--at least to the extent of making access to magic rare and unusual.  In particular, only overt wizards are likely to have access to the full range of powers in the book.  It's really hard to justify putting Force Wall in a rogue's inherent multipower, or Flight in a knight's.  Fantasy campaigns usually have a really limited subset of special effects available--magic, creature powers, maybe gadgets, maybe kung fu, maaaaybe extreme skill.  And it's very hard to give any of these to NPCs in anything other than high fantasy.

 

Further, many magic systems require some kind of additional point expenditure by the character for buy in.  Some require a separate magical Skill per "school" of magic.  Some require a Talent or a Perk.  It's not impossible that a wizard might have to spend 30 points up front before buying a single spell.  

 

Out of fairness, if I the GM have gated off magic to that degree, I'm not going to feel too bad about limiting Powers, including Multipowers, for other "classes", or denying them completely. 

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1 hour ago, Chris Goodwin said:

 

Further, many magic systems require some kind of additional point expenditure by the character for buy in.  Some require a separate magical Skill per "school" of magic.  Some require a Talent or a Perk.  It's not impossible that a wizard might have to spend 30 points up front before buying a single spell.  

 

Out of fairness, if I the GM have gated off magic to that degree, I'm not going to feel too bad about limiting Powers, including Multipowers, for other "classes", or denying them completely. 

 

Traditionally, wizards/mages/whatever have always been rare. If just anybody can learn magic and use it easily, that's certainly a viable campaign environment, but it doesn't fit historical model (where mages, real or imagined, were rare) or mythology or fiction. If that kind of Xanthian "Everybody has magic!" campaign is what you're after, go for it.

 

But most campaigns are going to have relatively few mages. And as Chris said, if you're gating off magic to that extent, giving mages access to Multipowers isn't unreasonable.

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On May 18, 2020 at 1:44 PM, massey said:

 if you are planning on duplicating other game systems, then why not just play those games instead? 

 

Preach!

 

 

 

 

Quote

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.

 

 

If I could find a thumbs-up, I'd stick it here.

 

:)

 

 

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3 hours ago, sinanju said:

 

Traditionally, wizards/mages/whatever have always been rare. If just anybody can learn magic and use it easily, that's certainly a viable campaign environment, but it doesn't fit historical model (where mages, real or imagined, were rare) or mythology or fiction. If that kind of Xanthian "Everybody has magic!" campaign is what you're after, go for it.

 

But most campaigns are going to have relatively few mages. And as Chris said, if you're gating off magic to that extent, giving mages access to Multipowers isn't unreasonable.

Good point. Besides The Witcher though what other examples in other genres have a wizard/magic-user?

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No; that's a gross over-simplification, leading to the inaccurate interpretation that you are not welcome to do whatever you want in HERO.

 

We are at that point where we are stating that because something exists or is already modeled in other systems is _not_, in _any_ way, indicative of what we "must" do in Fantasy HERO.

 

I mean, I thought an emphatic "Screw D&D!" implied that playing it wasn't being suggested as an actual alternative.

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12 minutes ago, Ninja-Bear said:

I see we’re back to Fantasy Hero were we claim that you can have a game you want BUT if you try to play a game that has some touchstones to that other game then you shouldn’t play Hero System.

 

The limitations of other games do not apply here.  If you want to include them you can, but do not pretend that it's the default setting.

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21 hours ago, Old Man said:

HERO has no character classes, but campaigns often do--at least to the extent of making access to magic rare and unusual.  In particular, only overt wizards are likely to have access to the full range of powers in the book.  It's really hard to justify putting Force Wall in a rogue's inherent multipower, or Flight in a knight's.  Fantasy campaigns usually have a really limited subset of special effects available--magic, creature powers, maybe gadgets, maybe kung fu, maaaaybe extreme skill.  And it's very hard to give any of these to NPCs in anything other than high fantasy.

 

I’ve been thinking about this, and I disagree.

 

it’s difficult to justify putting a superhero style Force Wall special effect in a rogue’s multipower, sure.  But I’ve seen Captain America’s shield built as a Force Wall before.  Surely we have to leave open the possibility that a player might use the Force Wall power construct to describe something rogue-y.

 

What if Fast Eddie the thief can swat arrows and crossbow bolts out of the air with his sword?  He’s so good he can defend himself and those near him.  But he doesn’t build it with Missile Deflection (he doesn’t want the chance of blowing an OCV roll).  So he buys it as a 12 PD Force Wall.  There’s nothing inherently wrong with that.

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