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massey

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Everything posted by massey

  1. Limitation: Looks like a dork while using it (-1/4 to -1/2, depending on how mean your fellow PCs are).
  2. If I could make a suggestion, it would be this. The fewer differences in game mechanics between character types, the easier it is to balance. If you have an entirely separate "magic system" that non-spellcasters never use, there's a good chance it's not going to be balanced properly. Yeah it'll feel different in play, but it'll be really wonky too. Mages will either be really awesome or they'll really suck. Instead, try things like this: 1) If you're going to allow basic equipment for free (i.e., costs money, not points), then also create some low level magic that only costs money. It can be more expensive than a normal tool, but a wizard shouldn't be paying points on something the fighter gets for free. Having the special effect of "magic" shouldn't suck all your points away. Bob the wizard's apprentice sets out on an adventure. He has a spellbook of entry-level magic. The Fire Bolt spell summons a flaming arrow, just like an archer could shoot. The Handy Rope spell conjures a rope with a grappling hook on the end. The Slip and Slide spell covers a 10'x10' area and requires Dex checks to walk across it, just like if you'd dumped a bucket of olive oil on the ground. Bob has a dozen spells or so in his spellbook, none of them that much different than a regular mundane effect. He trades the encumberance of carrying around all that crap for the requirement of making a magic skill roll. Should he really have to pay points on top of that? Probably not. Bob also has a wand of charm person. It makes targets friendly to you. The wand costs 100 gold to buy new, and comes with 10 charges. It requires a magic roll to use. The GM secretly decides that the wand makes a target friendlier by the exact same amount as if you had given them a gift worth 10 gold and made a persuasion roll. So it's really just a mundane ability with a magic special effect and a swapped skill roll. Finally Bob has a handful of one-use magic scrolls. These effects are more powerful, but are still rough equivalents to things you can do in a non-magical way. The Magic Ship scroll conjures a sailing vessel that lasts for one week (or month, whatever). The scroll just happens to cost the same amount as buying tickets for your group on a normal sailing ship. Yeah it's more portable (you could use it on a deserted island), but it's also like a gift certificate -- you might buy it and never use it. Scroll of Disarmed Dungeon sets off the first 5 traps in a dungeon. It costs the same as hiring a gang of local dimwits to run ahead of the party and try opening doors and chests ("Hey Dave, go see what's around that corner, okay?"). Depending on how creative you wanna get, you could simulate a lot of things a wizard does with equipment like that. All these things are either GM created or GM approved. The mage takes Power Skill: Magic, Weapon Familiarity: spellbooks, wands, scrolls, etc, and maybe a complementary KS for whatever type of magic he's using. Then he can buy combat skill levels with his preferred abilities. That's not much different than what a fighter would do. You've just let him change the special effect. 2) If you're gonna let one player do it, you should probably let other players do it too. If one guy takes a multipower, then it should be okay for other players as well. If Ricky the knight wants to have a set of "knightly abilities", such as an ED Force Wall only vs dragon breath (requires him to heroically hold up his shield in front of him), a blow where he shatters his enemy's weapon (dispel vs HKA), and a powerful rallying cry (+30 Pre, only to inspire the troops), well there's nothing really wrong with that. The wizard player didn't do anything worthy of reward by choosing to play a magical character. I think if you allow things like that, where non-magical characters don't feel like they're penalized, then players are more likely to pick them. This prevents the "everybody plays a mage" problem where everybody wants the cool powers and has to be a wizard to justify it.
  3. I understand that it might offend your sensibilities, but your original statement ("It's really hard to justify putting Force Wall in a rogue's inherent multipower, or Flight in a knight's") assumes that non-magical characters would be allowed a multipower of abilities. If a campaign is using "non-powered Powers" then I think this one is fine. I'd probably slap "no range" and maybe "only vs projectiles" on it and you're good to go. Remember that Force Wall does not equal Wall of Force. I think people are relying on a bunch of unspoken assumptions about how the game will work, and what will be allowed in it. Do characters have to pay points for equipment? Can characters purchase powers without a magic spell justification? Will any characters be allowed to use frameworks at all? Are you trying to copy a particular game system or setting? How you answer these questions will seriously affect how you view magic spell multipowers. Just keep in mind that if you treat characters differently, you're gonna have problems balancing them.
  4. 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.
  5. Just toying around here, but one way to do it might be to use modern day values for everything. I know that's not accurate, but to make it seem more "realistic" you could also assume that the average peasant is both flat broke (cap it at the US federal poverty line for a family of 4), and that they only get about 10% of that in "cash". The rest is taken care of with barter or things they do themselves. So Farmer John with his wife and 6 kids is still capped at $26K a year. That's not a lot, and really he only gets about $2,600 a year that he can spend on things. The rest isn't actually income, it's the food that he grows and the clothes that his wife makes, and the fact that he'll help you repair damage to your house if you do the same for him. So peasants would be really poor as far as what they could actually buy. Treating the family to a McDonald's meal would be a major expense. As long as they stay on the farm and just exist, they don't have to worry about it. They're considered to be self-sufficient (at a very poor level, anyway). But if they have to go buy a new plow or something, and they can't trade with the local blacksmith, their buying power is extremely limited. Then you just convert regular dollars into whatever fantasy money you like. If you want to go with the 3rd ed D&D system, 100 copper = 10 silver = 1 gold. If 1 silver piece equals 1 dollar (as suggested above), then an average sword would probably cost you 30 or 40 gold. A very high quality one might cost you 100 gold or more. I'm sure if you wanted to analyze the economics of this, it wouldn't quite work out right (it'll definitely fall apart when you look at building castles). But if all you want is an easy price system to use for adventuring gear and everyday things, and you need to justify why all the peasants are still poor, this might work okay.
  6. 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.
  7. Before reading Duke Bushido's answer, I'd have bet money that it said "Active Points". It may be somewhere under adjustment powers generally.
  8. Depends what kind of fantasy game you're in.
  9. I like even numbered perfect squares. 4 and 16 are both good.
  10. 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. Player 1 has 65 points to spend. He buys a 50 point Multipower and 3 ultra slots. 10D6 Energy Blast, 10D6 Flash vs Sight, 3D6+1 RKA. He's got some good all around moves, an attack for every situation. Player 2 has 65 points to spend. He buys a 13D6 Energy Blast. He has one move, and it's really good. His one move is better than any move Player 1 has. Now what about campaign limits? Doesn't matter unless Player 1 can also hit every campaign limit. Because even if Player 2 is limited to 10 dice, that just means he's got 15 points to spend elsewhere. Maybe he buys +2 OCV with his Energy Blast and +1 Speed (and an extra Stun or something). Player 2 still gets to be much more effective with his one trick.
  11. Why do you operate under the assumption that you are the GM? You are not my GM. I have never met you.
  12. Everything is up to the GM. I can say that no one can purchase more than a 10 Str if I'm the GM. Multipowers have never required a unifying theme. Elemental Controls did. Multipowers never have.
  13. I don't have any problem with cramming seemingly unrelated powers into a Multipower. "Magic spells" is good enough for me. I'm the guy who puts a "movement multipower" on almost every one of his characters. The Multipower pool itself doesn't have to have a defined special effect. It's purely a game mechanic. Multipower with ultra slots means I can only do one thing at a time, and so I get a cost break. That's the balancing aspect. Like you could have a Batman build where he has a Multipower where one slot is punch, one is kick, one is nerve strike, one is batarang, one is smoke pellet, one is grappling hook, one is spread cape wide and cast spooky shadow, one is retrocognition "crime scene analysis", and one is Summon batmobile. The important part is that you can only do one thing at a time. I'm also not persuaded that the chosen special effect doesn't look like spells from other games. The whole point of the Hero System is that you can make the power look and function the way you want it to. "That's not how it works in D&D" doesn't matter.
  14. Good lord you guys freak out over nothing. I'm sorry, but that is not a powerful character at all. That's a dead man walking. He's got a bunch of attacks, most of which aren't powerful enough to stop an opposing character. And when he takes his action, that means he can't raise his defenses that segment because he can no longer abort to Desolid. Phase 12, Dex/Ego 18 -- Example Mage character shoots at Ragnar the Skull****er with his 4 1/2D6 Mental Blast. He has to make his 14- skill roll. He succeeds. He then rolls ECV 6 vs Ragnar's ECV of 3. He hits. Ragnar takes 4 1/2D6 damage with no defenses. Example Mage rolls 16 Stun. Ragnar has a 20 Con. Phase 12, Dex 15 -- Ragnar the Skull****er goes. He charges forward and smashes the wand out of Example Mage's hand. Ragnar's 10 OCV with his battle axe and a -2 for disarm means he needs a 13-. Ragnar hits. He rolls 3D6+1 HKA to determine Body for the disarm (that's his axe damage). Example Mage holds on with a 10 Str. Ragnar disarms the mage. Phase 3, Dex 15 -- Ragnar goes again. Example Mage has no powers and can only abort to dodge. Ragnar needs a 10- to hit Example Mage when he's Martial Dodging. Example Mage has 3 rPD and nothing else. How long can he dodge Ragnar's axe? Ragnar is a 4 Speed. Example Mage is only a 3. You guys are really worried about this character? What's he going to do when there are 3 or 4 orcs standing there with bows? You think one can't run over there and grab him? All his stuff has gestures and incantations on it. As far as him lacking complications (or even a name), this is obviously not a complete character. It's a proof of concept example build. It's not supposed to be complete.
  15. For a PC character, you've got Fladnag the wizard. He's an okay warrior, definitely a secondary fighter in the party. He took a bunch of odd skills that nobody else has (ancient lore and the like). He's also got LS: Aging. He looks really old, but he still moves like a much younger man (in other words, he moves like a guy who has his own stats). Fladnag has a bunch of Contacts from people you normally can't get Contacts with. Elf kings, treants, wood sprites, etc. He's also got Danger Sense, Discriminatory, only versus magical and/or ancient things. And he's got KS: "Stuff I made my danger sense roll about". So when a giant fire demon appears, he can be like "that's a giant fire demon, we should all run." He's got a handful of low tier magic spells, including some Talents that he buys with Costs End and Requires a Skill Roll (Eidetic Memory, Bump of Direction). He's got a really high Presence and Ego. He might also have several heavily limited magic spells that well exceed the normal campaign limits that he's cleared with the GM ahead of time. 30D6 Dispel vs mental powers, limited range 4", OAF staff, 1 charge, recovers once a week, costs end, x5 endurance. "Be free from this foul spell!!!" Again, each of these are limited enough that they probably wouldn't all fit in the same multipower. It's probably cheaper to buy them separately. Later in the game, he buys Follower: Cool magic horse. At the end of the campaign, he reveals that he had a cool magic ring the whole time, but he doesn't tell anybody what it does or when he got it. I think this would be a perfectly playable character, and would not require you to write down every spell in some Magic Compendium game book.
  16. 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.
  17. 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?
  18. I don't have the Champions Complete book, but I can answer generally. Penetrating has existed in Champions for a long time, and I don't think they've changed it. The Penetrating advantage helps to ensure that a little bit of damage always gets through, past your target's defenses. So when you roll the dice, you count the "Body" (though this is misleading in the case of killing attacks). So let's say you have a 4D6 attack, Penetrating. You roll a 1, a 3, and two 5s. The '1' on the die counts as zero Body. The 3 and the 5s each count as 1 Body. If you had any 6s on the dice, those would count as 2 Body. However much Body you rolled, that's how much damage will get through your target's defenses, at a minimum. The type of damage that gets through is the kind the attack normally deals (killing attacks do Body damage, normal attacks do Stun damage, Drains... umm, do drain damage, etc). So Bob has a 4D6 Killing Attack, Penetrating. His target has 20 resistant Defense. Bob rolls crappy on the damage, rolling 4D6 and getting four 2s on the dice. Well, each of those still counts as one Body (1 is zero, 2-5 are 1, 6 is 2). So the attack does 8 normal Body, which the target shrugs off easily with 20 resistant Defense. But is also counts as 4 Penetrating Body, so some damage still gets through. The target takes 4 Body past defenses. If the attack was a normal attack, they'd take 4 Stun past defenses. If it was a Strength Drain, they'd lose 4 points of Strength.
  19. I have debated eliminating killing damage completely for 4 color games. What we consider "killing" attacks might be better represented by either the Armor Piercing advantage, or by 3rd edition's Piercing, which just removed X amount of Def from the target (or both). So let's say Batman has 20 PD. The Joker grabs a tommy gun, 7D6 Energy Blast, Armor Piercing, 8 points Piercing, Autofire x5. He shoots at Batman and hits 3 times. The 8 points Piercing lowers Batman's PD to 12. Batman isn't hardened, so it's reduced again to 6. The Joker will inflict about 1 Body and 15 Stun per hit past defenses to the Caped Crusader. Visually, Batman is grazed by the bullets and it hurts a lot, but he's okay. His costume is torn and he's bleeding. A normal person hit by such an attack would full damage from each attack. Even a tough normal person (8 PD) would have all that stripped away. On the other hand, Superman (40 PD, hardened) gets reduced to 32 PD and the bullets still bounce harmlessly off of him.
  20. I am not an expert in contagious diseases by any means. The last biology class I had was in 10th grade. But I'd guess that there are a few break points that NYC is on the wrong side of. Not just population density, but also the prevalence of mass transit, how close people stand to each other, high numbers of elevators, the number of people you interact with on an average day, etc. I'm also wondering if the amount of virus you get exposed to affects how sick you get. In NYC, you've got millions of people cramming themselves onto dirty subway trains, they stay packed in for long periods of time, then they go to office buildings and cram into elevators (with people coughing on the buttons). Then they take the subway home again and go home to their 4 roommates in their tiny apartment. Compare that to Dallas, where people drive to their jobs alone in their F-150 trucks, where most jobs are not in high rise buildings, then you drive back home and live in your big suburban house with your family. Suppose that just breathing and talking, an infected (but not yet sick) person has a 5% chance of passing the virus to a person standing within 5 feet after 5 minutes of time. Joey New Yorker probably interacts with 40+ people a day that closely. That means on average he's infecting two new people each day during the 10 days or so that he's contagious but not yet sick. On the other hand, Big Tex probably only interacts with 3 or 4 people outside of his immediate family.that closely. On an average day he's not spreading the infection. Once these guys get sick, they go to the hospital and they quit infecting people (except maybe hospital employees). Without a shutdown, the virus would spread completely out of control in NYC. In Texas, it might just kinda fizzle out. Now obviously you're going to have pockets where the average doesn't hold true. There are extremely social people in Texas who interact closely with a lot of people. And there are introverts in New York who never go out and don't take the subway. So you can't completely ignore the problem in rural areas. But the different average lifestyles are going to seriously affect how the virus spreads.
  21. As with most questions of "how do I do this" in Hero, the answer is to build it exactly how you want it to work. How do you visualize the power functioning in game? If you never have any intent to jump in front of a bus and smash it to a dead stop so it doesn't crush a baby stroller, then you don't need to worry about that aspect of invulnerability. In games where combat is much less common, then maybe invulnerability is a cool trick rather than a power all on its own. I can imagine some '70s TV show themed game (where everybody's powers have to be portrayed in a really low budget way) where "invulnerable" only means that you're bulletproof, and you can stick a fork in an electrical socket and be safe. 10/10 armor, some Life Support, and 10" Gliding only to protect against falls might be enough. Some quirky special use powers (+30 Str only to hold up collapsing objects, 3D6 Minor Transform only to use self as component of machine or structure (so you can repair a downed power line by holding each end and letting it flow through you)) might be fun.
  22. I don't think his point is well thought out. Everything is localized somewhere. It's not like we're talking about taking 5 factories that are spread out around the world and replacing them with one super-factory in Tennessee. I'm talking about replacing factories on a one-for-one basis. As it is, I can't think of a disaster scenario where only the United States is affected and the rest of the world is fine. Regardless, we have to look at China as a potential bad actor. We've always known they're that way, with industrial espionage and a total lack of protection for IP (as well as human rights abuses, etc). But that was balanced by the advantages that come with closer relations. We were hoping that they would start instituting reforms and become more westernized. I'm not sure that has happened. It's probably time to reassess our policies.
  23. Depends what your goal is. I think the United States needs to make a strategic decision to bring key manufacturing centers back onto US soil. It doesn't matter if they're 100% crewed by robots, it's becoming clear (to me anyway) that we need that stuff under our physical control. Employment is a secondary concern, but still important. You'd create some amount of jobs here by moving factories back, even if it wasn't as many jobs as you'd have had back in the '50s. As always, these issues are incredibly complex.
  24. Oh yeah, without a doubt. A lot of it is going to depend on how serious the economic consequences of Coronavirus happen to be. If we just rack up a bunch of government debt, but by next year the economy has mostly recovered? There probably won't be that much motivation to change things. It would be easy enough for people to chalk it up as a once-in-a-lifetime natural disaster and just move on. But if we've got 30% unemployment and people are losing their houses? If half the restaurants in town are shut down forever? There might be a lot of people hunting for jobs who'd be chomping at the bit to work at a factory or something like that. The bigger the impact from this virus, the more changes we're going to see one way or the other. I'm normally all about free trade, but this is potentially becoming a national security issue. It doesn't make sense to have such glaring vulnerabilities, all in the name of cheap junk.
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