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Chris Goodwin

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Chris Goodwin last won the day on April 1

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About Chris Goodwin

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    of the Elemental Plane of Hydrogen
  • Birthday 04/03/1970

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    : Hillsboro, Oregon, USA
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    Monkeys, stacking things on top of other things
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    No soap, radio
  • Occupation
    Doing the same thing, getting different results

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  1. The hilarity ensues from my long post of theory wank crossposted with this.
  2. I've got a guess, and I'm coming at this from a different direction than my usual "unofficial Hero System historian" one. I once wrote a retro-clone of Steve Jackson's The Fantasy Trip. I was doing very little design, mostly trying to re-express the original game in my own terms, with enough rules changes that it wouldn't trigger any copyright issues. (I know, you can't copyright rules, only the text.) I was doing a good bit of reorganizing, and a lot of seeing everything that was in TFT. I discovered something pretty neat in the process. Not just superficially, but at the DNA level, TFT is a direct ancestor to Champions and the Hero System. I mean, superficially, sure, but not just that. The other parent was, of course, Superhero 2044 and Wayne Shaw's house rules for designing powers in there. (Thanks, Wayne.) Looking at those two games together, I can almost mentally hear how the conversations went. "We're playing on hexes, so of course we're going to use hexes." "I think TFT has not quite enough stats; S2044 has a number of... weird ones. Let's organize this, see what we've got, and what we need." "Hey, superhero comics mostly do a lot of punching and blasting, but not a lot of slicing and dicing" (and here someone is looking over their glasses at Wolverine). "Yeah, but I still can't figure out Superhero 2044, so let's start with TFT." TFT's stat scale is more or less on a par with that of GURPS, probably closer to Hero's Characteristic Rolls than the stat values themselves. The very basic six stats pulled from D&D, of course. Strength, Intelligence, Wisdom, Dexterity, Constitution, Charisma, back in the day, but since we're organizing the system, let's organize them so the groupings make sense. Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Intelligence, Wisdom, Charisma. Hit points? Yeah, let's look at those. We'll scale our hit points to the same level as the other stats. Playtesting shows that if we use hit points at this scale, and weapons or other attacks that do 1-3d6 of damage, we're seeing results all over the place. All right then. How about some form of nonlethal damage? Let's tweak numbers. If we scale our nonlethal damage at something like Strength + Constitution, and use Hit Points for lethal damage, how does that look? Easy. The Hulk and The Thing will be almost impossible to put down. So let's tweak those. Half Strength + Half Constitution? Too low. Basic Hit Points should probably figure into that somehow... So now our nonlethal damage works pretty well... we roll dice, subtract that from nonlethal damage capacity, and maybe roll this different set of dice to subtract from hit points... (Cue a lot of discussion, a lot of late night pizza and beer, a lot of waking up at night in a cold sweat... I mean, we only got a small dose of this in SETAC. They were staring into the unfiltered abyss of balancing Normal and Killing Attacks...) Okay, but shouldn't nonlethal attacks do some hit points? How about one per die? Okay, but hey look, I just rolled a bunch of 6's on this damage roll. Shouldn't those hit harder? Yeah, okay, but then 1's ought to not hit as hard. ------------------------------------------------------------------------- The above imagined conversation happened in my head at first over about ten seconds, then over about the two months or so I was writing the retro-clone. I mean, the first thing I wanted to do was add nonlethal damage, and there are only so many ways to do that. Later, on the Facebook group (when I was still on Facebook), Bruce Harlick more or less confirmed to me that yes, they were playing a lot of TFT in those days. I don't imagine there were direct lifts, but I mean, when you're playing a lot of one game, and designing another, it's pretty natural that there's going to be some filtration.
  3. Would a deck of cards (or two) work?
  4. Here it is... With the Usable On Others with Differing Modifiers rules, it's possible for characters to have Powers that no one has paid points for! Usable On Others with Differing Modifiers is a GM option to start with, but it works really well for certain builds. Someone pays for the ability to grant the Power, but that's not the same as the Power itself. The Power would have its own writeup as it is used, which would have its own -- implied -- point cost, but no one actually pays that cost -- and if they did, they wouldn't have the ability to grant the Power, only the ability to use it! (I once asked a rules question of Steve Long whether the recipient of a granted Power could pay the points for it and keep the power; his response was, essentially, "That's up to the GM.") The Differing Modifiers rules as a modification to Usable On Others came about in the 4th edition supplement, HERO System Almanac. But their origin? First edition Fantasy Hero, in the form of the Create effect. Admittedly, the Create effect specified that the created effect had to be a magic item with the Independent Limitation. But no such requirement exists as part of the Differing Modifiers rules. In fact, Independent is gone from 6th edition entirely as a Limitation. Differing Modifiers is also given as an option in FH 6e (maybe 5e as well) for creating magic items, explicitly to be specified for magic items by the GM for no Limitation value. (For disclosure's sake I should point out that FH 6e doesn't state that the Usable On Others rules are used when creating magic items, only that they are "similar to" the Differing Modifiers rules on 6e1 p. 359. Which was a slight misconception on my part in earlier threads, but that doesn't invalidate my point.) There's no specific requirement for a Differing Modifiers granted effect to be built with a Focus. If it is built in this way, and if the granting process meets a certain set of GM-specified parameters, then it's a magic item. The wording of Independent has been pretty sloppy over the editions, but the thing it uniquely does is makes the points spent on it a permanent investment. (In FH 1e, and 4th and 5th editions, it also specifies that an Independent effect need not be bought through a Focus or magic item, that it can be tied to person or a place.) In most of its appearances it specifies that using it disconnects the effect from its creator, and that the effect can continue working while the creator is unconscious or dead. But! We already have a Modifier that allows an effect to continue while the originator is unconscious… that being Persistent. (We have a Limitation that has been worth -1 to -2, depending on the edition, and it automatically grants Persistent?) By the way, there's nothing in Independent that prevents Dispel from working on the Independent Powers, nor Drain nor Suppress... I'm going to digress slightly. Consider the lowly firearm. Whichever make, model, caliber, and so on, that you want, but at its simplest let's say 2d6 RKA, OAF, 10 shots. In most Champions campaigns, in any edition, you can find a generic "thug" writeup that has that on its list of Powers; in most modern, non-superheroic campaigns, you can find it on the list of mundane equipment for which PCs don't pay points. (Substitute a mundane 1d6 HKA, OAF sword, in fantasy campaigns.) Either way… who created that OAF Firearm? The factory, yeah, but it would be ridiculous to claim that the "creator" or originator of the firearm had to invest points in it (unless that was specified in Limitations), or that its RKA is somehow tied to the points in it. It can certainly be used after its last wielder's, or creator's death, regardless of whether they paid points for it or not. (I haven't ever seen a writeup of any firearm that used the Independent Limitation.) Getting back on target (no pun intended), I'm going to throw out a statement that may very well be heretical. The "connection" between a caster and their spell, or an enchanter and their created magic items, is no more inherent than that of the thug's OAF firearm, to… anyone. It's certainly a reasonable conclusion to come to, and it was certainly implicit and in some cases explicit in the way FH 1st edition presented it, but that's also where Persistent first appeared. The FH 1e supplements Magic Items and The Spell Book both suggested a GM-permission Advantage called Permanency (which would be Inherent, in current editions), for items that are truly permanent, as in things like the One Ring, Mjolnir, and the like -- anything handed down by the gods or whoever. In conclusion: It's possible for someone to have a Power for which no one has paid points (through UOO with Differing Modifiers). There's nothing inherent about any Focus (regardless of genre) that causes it to stop working when its creator dies. There's nothing inherent to a Focus (regardless of genre) that ties it to its creator except by implication and GM decision. The GM should specify, in any Fantasy Hero campaign, whether and how a spell is connected to its caster, whether and how a magic item is connected to its creator, and whether or not characters pay points for their magic items (and, if so, whether they pay permanently or not). Don't worry, Duke, I'll have more to say about Independent in another post.
  5. Fantasy Hero Complete in fact includes, electronically at least, 18 sample PCs (in PDF, RTF, and HDC formats!), a starter adventure (the Val of Stalla), 24 monsters, the Kingdom of Grishun setting, and five maps (kingdom, city, town, countryside, and dungeon). So we pretty much have the Fantasy Hero starter set! The only thing it doesn't include is the dice. $20 for book + PDF, $10 for PDF only; both of those include the adventure, setting, PCs, monsters, etc. We pretty much have the Fantasy Hero starter set!
  6. Oh, it's perfectly clear. I have a good bit to say, and between this thread, the points for magic items thread in Fantasy Hero, and the Western Hero equipment thread in main system discussion, not to mention a number of threads over the years I really want to compile up a post where I lay out my complete thinking on it. For my part, I've generally thought of Foci, magic item or not, superheroic or not, pretty similarly. A lot of it goes back to first-gen, where in Champions, the reasons Batman doesn't pick up a tommy gun and become Captain Thompson, rapid fire blaster of bad guys, are two-fold: because that's not how it's done in the comics, and because he didn't pay points for the tommy gun. I'm on my phone right at the moment, and the seasonal change is hitting me maybe a bit harder than usual (and maybe some other things are too), but I'll owe you a post. The general you, not just you, Duke. By this weekend I should have something.
  7. Whoa. I just recently had this idea. I mean, dragons love gold. And the only thing they love more than gold is, more gold. And the way to more gold is investments. Right? That hoard doesn't do any work sitting in a cave where adventures can come and loot it. Better to have it circulating via interest-bearing loans. If you can get fractional reserve in play, so much the better!
  8. For the most part, in Hero, we don't really care whether our target dies, as much as we care whether our target is "out". Whether that's dead, unconscious in GM-discretionland, unconscious by 1 and staying down, whatever. For genres where the primary attack type is Killing, we can pretty much get all of that from Hit Locations plus sectional defenses. It's not laid out for you right in front, and it's not a Champions-style or even D&D-style slugfest. You have to take advantage of cover, you have to Brace & Set when you can, you have to use CSLs, and most importantly you have to have a team. I'm aware of how... vociferously... IRL gun enthusiasts discuss the... vast differences between, let's say, a 10mm round and a .40 S&W... and, I mean, is there really?
  9. This was one of the suggestions I made during SETAC... and while I didn't particularly care for the idea that much myself, it was roundly, and unanimously, slapped down by everyone else in the group.
  10. They likely didn't pay points for it as a giant club. In fact, it probably doesn't appear anywhere, except as an implied thing that was sitting there in a construction site.
  11. I'm not quite sure what you're asking, but I'll give it a shot. (No pun intended...) Why aren't the guns in Western Hero built with Powers? In Western Hero, and most "heroic" level campaigns (Fantasy Hero, Pulp Hero, etc.), "mundane" equipment for the setting doesn't cost points. It's treated more or less like equipment in any other game. There's no edition change; really, it's more of a power level toggle. All the way back to the first non-superheroic Hero System game (Espionage!) in fact. If it was something special within the setting -- for instance, a magic item in a fantasy game -- it's very probable that it would cost points and would be built with Powers. We've got at least two threads going on in other parts of the forums talking about almost this very issue, and some participants (meaning me) can't seem to make up their minds about it. Except not really, it just gets into deep theoretical system discussion. The general rule, though, is that in non-superheroic genres, mundane equipment doesn't cost points and often isn't statted up with Powers.
  12. But... see... I tried to find a meme from The Matrix to fit... Anyway, for any iteration of UOO, the only character who has to pay points is the grantor. And they don't pay points for the granted Power; just the ability to grant it. No one pays points for the granted Power! What if... hear me out... Someone creates a Focus... and no one pays points for it? It would last for a scene or two, maybe to the end of the session...? Okay, let's say a brick picks up an I-beam, and smacks a villain with it. GM thinks a sec, and says it's +2d6 and an Area Effect Line, and then the villain gets smacked, and then everyone forgets about it... Who paid the points for that? I mean, I know I'm saying pretty much the exact opposite of what I was saying on that Fantasy Hero thread, but... do you see what I'm saying?
  13. Why does fantasy have to have those particular tropes? Magic I'll give you, but elves'n'dwarves? Why do they have to be there?
  14. In V&V I usually rolled something like Animal Powers (crustacean) with Flame Blast and Psionic Power. I know for sure I rolled crustacean powers more than once.
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