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Sean Waters

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Sean Waters last won the day on September 14 2017

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  1. I say this as someone who has played Hero with figured characteristics and without: I prefer figured characteristics, on a purely instinctive level, but not having them makes much more sense. I think it makes characters a little harder to build, and is a slightly higher barrier to entry for new players who do not know where to pitch things. I think the cost of some of the characteristics is wrong and I think we could probably lose quite a few of the 'primary' ones in favour of skill bonuses - that might take some tinkering - but, overall, it is a step in the right direction.
  2. I'm still not clear whether the Mind Hop is still subject to the problems that normal Possession is subject to - specifically the link to the original body and what happens if that is damaged. In any event, even is that is a problem, you can imagine the scenario: She walked in to the room and was startled to see me handcuffed to a chair. Her confusion only lasted a moment though before it doubled and doubled again as her perspective shifted dizzily and she saw herself standing in front of her and she was handcuffed to the chair, only she was not herself any more. Also, I'm not sure if Mind Hopping gives you access to the subjects memories. Hmm. It does not say that it does not so maybe it does, but does that mean that the person you are possessing gets your memories? That would be an issue You could always buy it with the 'No memories' limitation and rule that neither party gets memories. Fascinating...
  3. 83 points:typo. Yeah, you could have 25/25 , make 15 of each resistant and that will cost you 65 points. The remaining 18 points goes on 6 Flash/Pow/Mental Defence. OR... you could have 10 RPD/RED and 12 PD/ED (hardened), then, when you know what your opponent uses as a main attack, become virtually invulnerable. The Tuneable Shields I suggested are not the most efficient build for general combat. Drop the last 3 slots and save 15 points. Split the remaining slots make half of each fixed.
  4. MD does not provide defence unless you buy it with an advantage. That is a silly way to defend against this though: EGO (only to break out of Mental Paralysis) is cheaper, unless MD is of broad utility in your game. Mind you, 22.5 points per 1d6. What is the GM going to allow? 2 dive is 45 points, 3 is 67. You aren't allowing more than that, surely? EGO can be used for a breakout and can be pushed. 15 EGO gets you 3d6 and, if I were you, I'd push it, so 5d6: 2 rolls to get out. Then I'd spend a few points on making sure that didn't happen again.
  5. 4 pages. Just saying. I mean I use it occasionally, but if it was not there, something similar would happen anyway. It is not needed for what it is used for and it is not a good way of doing what it is used for. I do not understand your point. The thing that I like about Hero is that I can build a 300 point character and it should be roughly the same in terms of utility as another 300 pint character, given certain common assumptions. I can break the system with the best of them, but I don't because I trust in the process. OK. It matters to me. I don't just make up villains, I cost them. Maybe I'm an idiot and in the vast minority, but I'm happy here and cosy and warm.
  6. Look, my point is this, and I think it is a good one: pretty much every reply to the 'PRE Attack Problem' is 'Well, don't do it then', in one form or another. If we are never going to use it, why have it? Just in case? Just in case of what? Just in case you forget how to GM properly?
  7. How much would that meteor cost in CP though? A player could not afford a Dinosaur Killer Power. I'm not the sort of GM that chucks attacks at players they can not handle unless the whole plot revolves around them being defeated and captured and then escaping again (and even when that is what I have been trying to do, the PCs have often foiled me, and more power to them for doing so). Of course a GM can do whatever they want, at least until they scare off all their players, but that isn't me. Well, not all the time. My point, which I feel I have made ineffectively, is that we have rules for PRE Attacks we are never actually going to use. No sane GM is going to use a 20d6 PRE Attack on the PCs or allow the PCs to have regular access to Dinosaur Killer levels of PRE Attack either. We already have rules for Surprise in and out of combat. We are never going to drive PCs (or Villains) mad with permanent terror, unless it is part of the plot anyway. We could probably replace the whole 4 pages with 3 short paragraph: If something unusual or unexpected happens, consider having the NPCs react in a way that you had not previously considered. This might include the PCs doing particularly well, or particularly badly, or a combination of factors that you just hadn't anticipated. Outcomes might include one or more characters/NPCs missing part or all of their turn, one or more characters/NPCs gaining a small bonus (+1 or +2) or something similar. It could even be something not directly combat related, like an NPC running away, switching sides or acting out of character, for instance pushing and haymakering all their attacks. Pay particular attention to Psychological Limitations when determining how an individual reacts. If you are stuck for inspiration, roll 3d6, then decide what to do. The roll is more of a meditation than an actual guide, but has the advantage that it makes the players think you are not just making it up as you go along.
  8. I don't want to take away the magic, but I can't remember ever having a villain pull a PRE attack on the Heroes, and that is not just when I'm GMing - you don't do that either. That is because we are nerfing PRE attacks because we recognise that we would not want to deal with the consequences of Super Heroes involuntarily running away. It would shatter our image of our characters. Equally I think most of the PRE Attacks that the Heroes pull were prompted by the GM, either you or me. Taking the magic away again, but if you get over about 6 dice the results are pretty consistent and you can more or less pre-determine the result by how many bonus dice you allow. When the players have suggested them it is usually because something unusual just happened and they got in before the GM suggested it anyway. I mean, the roll kind of was the magic to an extent, but like all magic it hid what was going on behind the scenes: the players were getting rewarded because they done good. No, fine: you've convinced me. Leave PRE Attacks in and we can game them so it doesn't seem too obvious that we are storytelling. Poof! The magic is back.
  9. I think it is page 35 of the first book and they are called guidelines not limits, but this is Hero. 5 points in one thing is supposed to be roughly as useful as 5 points in another thing. I think I've demonstrated that PRE bucks that trend by a serious margin. Page 35 again? ...and a nice big PRE attack only needs to go off once. I made it pretty clear they were typical values for my game. Also page 35 again, and the sample superhero characters in the second book. Also I can pretty much negate most mental powers with 3 levels in EGO rolls.
  10. I know it was a long post, but it started with: Anyway, this is not some esoteric loophole, this is a core rule that has been here since the start and clearly anticipates PRE Attacks that do hit PRE+30 or more. It is all well and good saying that I shouldn't use it - and I've been pretty clear that I don't, and for good reason, but is anyone using it? If not, what the hell is it doing taking up space in an already huge rule book? Hero combat takes long enough as it is. We don't need another free attack that everyone might as well pop off at the start of combat. Look, if everyone has 20 PRE then they get a 4d6 PRE attack, which is 14 points, average. They are going to need at least another 2 dice of bonuses to get to PRE level on a similar opponent, and then all they get is to go before the opponent which I think is of limited utility anyway, in most cases, and that is assuming all the enemies aren't doing defensive PRE attacks to cancel out even that minor advantage. You'd need 5 bonus dice to get a half phase hesitation and, if the enemy are doing the same all you've done is waste the first five minutes of the session. You'd need 12 dice, that is 8 bonus dice to get PRE +20 and that is pretty much never happening unless you are clearly so much better than the enemy that you have to wonder why the fight is in the scenario to start with. I'm trying to come up with reasoned arguments and, not having a go at you, Ninja Bear, but I'm not getting reasoned responses, I'm getting sentiment. What need do PRE attacks actually fulfil? What makes them a useful game mechanic instead of either a waste of time and energy or a completely overpowered monstrosity. No one seems to be using the damn things as they are written, we all voluntarily nerf them because we know instinctively that not doing so is a short road to madness. I simply do not see the point. They are a rule (that takes 4 pages) that, at best, fills a niche, and even then it is a niche in a corner in a room that is rarely used. I can think of many better uses for those four pages, not the least of which is making the book thinner.
  11. I'm just not sure that people who are naturally likeable are also naturally brave or naturally terrifying, but PRE does all of those things. I think that we can be situational brave when we are dealing with things we are expecting or trained for and I think your examples demonstrate that perfectly. You are a volunteer firefighter and have run into burning buildings, but I assume that is because you have the training and expectation that you are going to do that, and the support of others in your worthy endeavour. In a RPG I'm not going to make the heroes subject to a PRE attack by a burning building to go in and save someone, because what I don't want is to describe in dramatic detail how they hesitate outside until the screams stop. You have a Psy Lim about Heights but that has nothing to do with PRE as such. Having a high PRE won't help you there, or it would not in Hero. If the mechanic was that you could voluntarily accept situational PRE attacks when confronted with heights, I'd be fine with that, because you have decided in advance that your character will react a bit randomly in that situation. Finally the Haunted House: if that were a situational PRE Attack then either everyone would run out, or your PRE was low. PRE Attacks affect everyone equally. How they react is then determined by their own PRE. I don't get the impression you would be built with a low PRE, given that you run into burning buildings. I do think PRE Attacks lack nuance and elegance. If I have a 60 INT or EGO, STR, CON, or a 30 DEX, it might be unusual, but it isn't going to break anything. If I have a 60 PRE, however... I'm not against a well thought out system for determining how characters in the game should react to certain situations, but I don't think this is is.
  12. OK, here is a detailed note of why I don’t like PRE Attacks, and it is pretty much all down to game balance and effectiveness. I also don’t like the fact that it is a way for the GM to force the characters to act in a way that is not heroic. I don’t particularly care if players use it against NPCs, but it is massively aggravating if an encounter that took a couple of hours to prepare is over before the first PS12 because of a lucky roll. In any event, my players don’t build characters to take advantage of the PRE Attack rules, at least not by buying PRE at AP limits. I suspect they know how I’d feel about that. My yardstick of combat effectiveness is the Blast. If a power is significantly better than a Blast in combat (unless it is only in highly specialised and unusual circumstances) then it is overpowered to my way of thinking. In a typical superheroes game, the way we play it, you might expect a 12d6 Blast costing 60 points which costs 6 END to use and you need to succeed in a roll to hit before you can cause any effect on the target. Blast is ranged and is subject to range modifiers, affects a single target, works against normal defences and costs END. It takes a half phase action to perform and ends your phase when you use it. The only way to increase the damage output is if you either have skill levels, the use of which is a trade off with OCV and/or DCV or if you Haymaker (which costs you an extra segment and combat penalties) or Push (which costs a lot of END or have ranged Martial Arts. The latter would probably fall foul of damage caps so I’m going to ignore that one. An opponent can abort to a defensive manoeuvre to try and avoid a Blast. In our games you can expect most characters will have normal Defences in the region of 24ED&ED and typically hit on an 11 or 12. They might have 30 to 50 Stun and 20 to 25 CON. This means that they can expect an average of 18 Stun and 0 Body through Defences, causing around 10m of KB and not being enough to Stun most characters. The hit rate is between 62 and 75% and it usually takes 2 to 5 (but far more often 3 or 4) hits on target to take down an opponent, depending on tactics and other considerations. If you Push and Haymaker, you can do 18d6, which is 63 stun and 18 Body, or 39 Stun and 0 Body through Defences with 22m of KB, on average. That is enough to Stun almost any opponent and KO just under half of opponents, but leaves you at a significant temporary disadvantage and the attack still has to hit. In a one on one fight, a Pushed attack that you Haymaker could end it in one hit, but it may not, and if it does not, then you are in some trouble. Also combats are rarely one on one, more usually team on team of mega villain on team. OK. PRE attacks. For 50 points you can have PRE 60, which is cheaper than a 12d6 Blast. I could have gone for 70 PRE of the same price but, that is the same AP, so we will use that. PRE 60 gets you 12d6 PRE Attack. It costs no END. PRE Attacks affect everyone they are intended for so long as the intended target can hear and/or see the PRE Attack. There are no range modifiers and the power is effectively a large selective AoE. The attack automatically hits all the intended targets. There are no defensive manoeuvres you can abort to, to avoid a PRE attack and cover and concealment generally do not help. You can Haymaker a PRE Attack. Requires the GM to agree but what doesn’t: it is allowed on the face of it. The effect is immediate, does not allow a Breakout Roll (although the GM can optionally allow an EGO roll to partially reduce the effects, which, frankly, is the sort of weak rule there is just too much of), lasts significantly longer than most combats at higher levels of effect and takes no time and does not end your phase. This also means that you can make a PRE Attack out of your normal phase, before anyone else acts, no matter how much faster than you they are. Most of our PCs will have a PRE of 15 to 20. A PRE Attack with 60 PRE gets you 12d6, but there are usually situational modifiers. These can be positive or negative but let us assume that the attack is being used sensibly. Many Villains will have a reputation. Even a Negative Complication (Maims Opponents Defeated in Combat, say) can add to your PRE Attack. Say we get a couple of dice from that. Then there is violent actions. If someone has spent 50 points on PRE, they are probably going to use it in a tactically astute way, so maybe another couple of dice there. Then there is appropriate situation. Certainly if the villains are attacking they might get some of that. In Combat loses you a die. I think a well prepared PRE Attack will get you 2 to 4 extra dice, without being unreasonably generous, lets say 3 on average. Haymaker gets you 4 more,19 dice of effect, or an average result of 66 to 67 points of effect. Even without the Haymaker, it is 15 dice - on average 52 or 53 points of effect. Against a Hero with 20 PRE, that is over PRE + 30 Effect. PRE +30 If the total on the Presence Attack dice at least equals the target’s PRE +30, the target is cowed. He may surrender, run away, or faint. He is at 0 DCV, and will nearly always follow commands. Against a Hero with 15 PRE, you only need a slightly lucky roll to get PRE +40 (or against pretty much anyone if you allow Haymaker). PRE +40 At the GM’s option, if the total on the Presence Attack dice at least equals the target’s PRE +40, the target experiences the same combat effects as a PRE +30 attack, but the effects on his mind and/or personality are much more severe: mind-blasting horror; sanity-wrenching revelations; awe so strong it inspires fanatical devotion; fear so intense it breaks even the most hardened man. The effects last at least an hour, at that level, and may affect the character for the rest of his life, according to the rules. Cthulu generally is not that harsh to players, and they go in expecting to come out mad. The rules do allow that a target might make an EGO roll to mitigate some of the effects, but it is not clearly explained how that works and at the EGO +30 level, any EGO Roll would be at -3 (-5 at EGO +40). Again, assuming PCs to have 15 to 20 EGO, that is a roll of 12- or 13-. With the penalties, more than half the targets will fail the EGO Roll on average, so even if you don’t melt the brains of every PC, you have crippled the team as a fighting unit with one no-consequence attack. For another comparison, try building something like a PRE Attack using Mind Control and see how far you get. Now if you think that is all fair and balanced, I have a bridge I want to sell you. If any other power or ability were as powerful as this then either everyone would have it or everyone would have substantially more defences against it, but there seems to be an unspoken agreement we will autonerf it, and ignore the horror it could bring because, well, because of reasons. Probably. Oh, look – a distraction!
  13. Batman is terrifying, but still gets attacked by thugs on a regular basis. The fact that Superman bounces bullets off his chest does not stop people shooting him with them, and they are probably the two greatest examples of PRE and Reputation amongst the Heroes of DC. Similarly, Hydra never surrender when Captain America shows up. They might say 'Oh no, it is Captain America', but they still fight him. Getting an opponent to hesitate or gaining a minor bonus for your first attack, that is fine and IIRC, your character maxed out at about 30 PRE. The problem is though that PRE Attacks are a lot nastier than that and can be absolutely monstrous while well within most campaign guidelines. I don't like using them against PCs and you and the others only use them when it seems right, because you are naturally fair and decent people. If you actually read the rules though, and apply them as intended (and by 'intended' I just mean 'allowed'), well, see below...
  14. ...no more than you'd need PRE to explain why firefighters run into a burning building when everyone else runs out. It is what they do, and what they are equipped to do. Also, because it is there, sometimes the Heroes run away too.
  15. Lucius, it is not how I habitually use PRE attacks as I suspect you can deduce, but it is one of the consequences of PRE attacks. One of the expected consequences, right there in the rules. The fainting, not the reek of ammonia. Another is that characters have to spend more on PRE than they probably would otherwise to make sure it does not happen, not because that is how the character is envisaged, but because PRE is a defence to PRE atatcks. Just because none of the PCs have Flash Defence it does not make it unfair or inappropriate to occasionally chuck in a villain with a Flash Attack but, in my experience, players are much more sanguine about their players being blinded for a couple of segments than they are about them running away from a fight when they did not want to, because they can understand their character getting pepper sprayed, they can't understand their character acting in a cowardly manner. It can damage their relationship with their character. That means it is a mechanic that I don't like to use as a GM in case it works too well. Speaking of the mechanics of PRE Attacks, they are awful and there is really no downside to using them. By unspoken agreement in our group players don't use PRE attacks unless something spectacular has just happened, like KOing the strongest villain in a couple of phases and in that situation I'd probably just role play the rest of the villains making a break for it anyway, no mechanic needed. Moreover they don't really represent anything we see in comics or movies or any other source material. Goons rarely surrender. Doesn't make for a fun scene if it is just AmazoWoman rolling up, issuing threats and everyone moving on to the next scene. There are not any other powers in Hero that can stop a fight before it has even started. To that extent, if nothing else, it is completely unbalanced and shouldn't be there.
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