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Brian Stanfield

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  1. Like
    Brian Stanfield got a reaction from Doc Democracy in Why NOT use a multipower for magic?   
    Well, this is another good argument that has me thinking a lot more, lately, that all characters should be built with multi powers, some of which are limited by appropriate circumstances (weapons of opportunity, etc.), and let everyone build to concept without the argument over who pays points. Really, armor, weapons, equipment, etc., are all just special effects anyway, right?
  2. Like
    Brian Stanfield got a reaction from drunkonduty in New to Hero question   
    You're most welcome. You'll find that the forums are a great resource! You've got centuries of cumulatively applied experience to draw from. You'll also find that if you ask one question, you'll get 18 answers! The real problem will be narrowing down the choices that work for you. 
  3. Like
    Brian Stanfield got a reaction from Chris Goodwin in New to Hero question   
    You're most welcome. You'll find that the forums are a great resource! You've got centuries of cumulatively applied experience to draw from. You'll also find that if you ask one question, you'll get 18 answers! The real problem will be narrowing down the choices that work for you. 
  4. Like
    Brian Stanfield reacted to Chris Goodwin in Why NOT use a multipower for magic?   
    Even so, a warrior type is likely to have around 5-6 DEF armor, a sword and shield, maybe a couple of daggers, maybe a crossbow and 10 quarrels.  That... sounds not unlike a Multipower to me, for which they've paid no points.  Maybe STR 18 and 6-8 normal PD, for 11-14 total PD.
     
    The wizard type could have all of that stuff too, but why would they, when they have a flaming bolt spell that does 3d6 RKA, a mystic shield for 10 PD/10 ED, a gust of wind (TK, 10 STR, AoE, plus Life Support), and eyes of the cat (Nightvision), for which they did pay points.  Whether or not those are in a Multipower.  
     
    My point of view is that if you're specializing in weapons and armor, you're not paying points for them; in exchange, you're not building to CV/DC/DEF, but approaching it through character concept, Normal Characteristic Maxima, and Skills and Talents.  Whereas, if you're specializing in magic, you might be able to exceed "normal" DEF and DC on a regular basis, but that's a privilege for which you're paying points, again whether or not you're doing it through a Multipower.  
  5. Like
    Brian Stanfield got a reaction from Chris Goodwin in New to Hero question   
    The nice thing about low fantasy is that mundane weapons, STR minimums and CHAR maximums, etc., will make the damage doubling less of a problem. If you were going to play all-out animé fantasy with ten foot flaming swords or whatever, it's a lot harder to cap the damage. The magic that does exist in low fantasy is more ritualistic in nature, and is also inherently limited by extended time constraints, rituals, etc.
  6. Like
    Brian Stanfield reacted to jfg17 in Fantasy Hero Primer   
    Super-helpful to know about this example as I refine my plan. I bet that in doing this advance work, I'll learn most of what I need to run an initial game as well!
  7. Like
    Brian Stanfield got a reaction from jfg17 in Fantasy Hero Primer   
    Without going through the entire document again, I'm guessing it may be an Activation Roll for armor, which is a pretty common strategy for creating sectional armor that may sometimes "fail" to cover an attack. 
  8. Like
    Brian Stanfield got a reaction from jfg17 in Fantasy Hero Primer   
    I forgot to mention this before: pages 6-12 of the HERO System Basic Rulebook are an excellent introduction to the HERO System. Those 7 pages are a lot more useful than the "HERO in 2 Pages" document. It explains all the basic concepts, but also includes a guided tour through the character sheet, which I always find immensely useful for new players so they can become familiar with what they're looking at. 
     
    As @Duke Bushido said, the Resource Kit is perhaps the best summary/introductory document HERO ever did, but it's for 5e. Most of the material is the same, but if you're committed to 6e (as I am), then there is some potential confusion that might result from using it (such as the figured characteristics, etc.). What I did was basically create my own mini-version of it with my own "starter kit" for my new players, many of whom have never done RPGs before. I used my PDF of the Basic Rulebook and ripped pages 6-12 out and created a "HERO in 7 pages" document that is the backbone for my "starter kit." I give each player a folder with some character sheets, campaign-specific info, etc., and these 7 pages to orient them to the basics.
  9. Like
    Brian Stanfield reacted to Doc Democracy in stockpilable powers   
    I am wondering just how much of this needs to be thought through.
     
    This sounds like stuff you buy/find.  Essentially the GM can decide how many bits of this stuff can be found, or are found.  The player gets to use some skills to make this stuff into one use magical items. 
     
    I think that the key bit of the character sheet is a bunch of Knowledge Skills to represent the magic runes known.  I would also give him a Carve Rune skill possibly based on Dex Int or EGO depending on whether the carving is more about knowledge of the rune, manual dexterity or force of will.
     
    So.  When the player finds this stuff (and the availability is in the GMs hands) he gets to roll and spend some time carving.  I would say that he makes an KS to see how powerful the crystal is and that the carving roll is modified by the active points (-1 per 10 is the usual) of the effect being sought.  If it is carved correctly the player has a one use magic item.  If he has five and throws them, he may win this encounter but will have none for later encounters.
     
    Doc
  10. Haha
    Brian Stanfield got a reaction from Spence in Simple Combat for Newcomer   
    For what it’s worth, there are a lot of playing aids in the downloads area. I mean a lot! See if there’s anything you like that you could use as handouts. Or get ideas to create your own handout. [Name redacted] is such a nerd that he actually owns a laminator to create player aids as laminated cards to have on hand each game session as [name redacted]’s players learn the game. 
     
     
     
  11. Like
    Brian Stanfield reacted to pawsplay in Why NOT use a multipower for magic?   
    I've paged through the literature, and in my view, literary wizards who can use a sword are more common than those who cannot. Most fantasy literature treats wizards first and foremost as adventurers, mentors, or villains. Garion from the Belgariad uses one, the Grey Mouser, Lythande, some versions of Merlin, Gandalf, most of the wizards in Vance's Dying Earth, and Harry Potter. In movies you can add the evil wizard from the Golden Voyage of Sinbad and the kid from Dragonslayer. Wizards who don't use swords include the old wizard in Dragonslayer, Radaghast the Brown, Skeeve, the conjuror from Krull, Schmendrick.... largely old people and comic relief characters. Almost any character that springs to mind when you say "wizard," with the exception of Raistlin, uses a sword.
  12. Haha
    Brian Stanfield reacted to dmjalund in Third Edition Renaissance   
    I am imagining an ugly superhero/villain called Power Creep
  13. Like
    Brian Stanfield reacted to Duke Bushido in Third Edition Renaissance   
    Did you get Endurance Battery sussed out?
     
    I'm finally off work (seven day week this week, it seems) and will be hanging out here for a few minutes, just in case you'd like a rephrasing or anything.  For my money, it was one of the cheesiest bits of the early editions-- scratch that!  It was one of the easiest things to make cheesy if the GM wasn't looking.  I found basing it on Endurance Reserve to be far superior.  I'd still use some of the concepts of Endurance Battery to model certain things, if the player felt they were more in line with what he was after, but by and large, Reserve was the more reliable starting point.
     
     
     
     
    It's not cheap, and it's2e ( in Champs III, specifically), for small dice attacks, consider adding "Piercing."  Like 6e's Damage Negation, this was 2e' "Defense Negation."
     
    The 3e version is the Advantage Armor Piercing, and helps  a lot when you're wielding small DC attacks.
     
     
     
     
    Somehow, it kind of skips 3e.  It's in Champs III, skips the 3e rules set, and appears again in later editions.  Weird.
     
    If you're interested, the 2e version reads thus:
     
    Penetration Attack
    This is a +x~ Power Advantage that allows an at- tack to automatically do some damage no matter what the defenses of the target are. The attacker rolls his dice normally and applies them against the target's defenses, but no matter how high the target's defenses are, the target will take a minimum of 1 point of effect for every 1 "BODY" rolled on the dice.
     
    Example:
    Penetrator has a 7D6 Penetrating Energy Blast. He attacks Tank and does 23 STUN and 6 BODY. Tank has an ED of 30 and would normally bounce all of the attack, but the Penetration on the attack causes Tank to take a minimum of 6 STUN from the attack.
     
    Penetration Attack can be applied to the STUN of Normal Attacks, to the BODY of Killing Attacks, to the Power lost from Power Destruction or Power Drain, and any other effect that presents the total of the dice against a target's defenses. Penetration At- tack may not be used with Flash Attacks or any other attack that applies the "BODY" of the attack against a target's defenses. Targets with Hardened Defenses ignore the penetration effect of Penetration Attacks.
    Penetration Cost: + 1/2 Advantage.
     
    Comment
    This power is handy for massed fire from agent blasters or other attacks. Some damage from each hit will "leak" through. The characters will never be able to ignore an agent's attack, they always have the chance to take some damage. A mass of agents with Penetrating blasters can be very dangerous to bricks and to other targets with high defenses.
     
    As for the idea of Power Creep / OCV v DCV etc--
     
    the early editions _all_ had a screwy view of DEX with regards to Supers.  There is an example character sheet in 2e that is used to highlight "appropriate" Characteristics (It's Crusader's sheet, if anyone was wondering).  It points out his DEX of THIRTY-THREE and simply says "A good DEX."  It called lower values on everything else all kinds of superlatives, but a 33 was mere a "good" DEX.  Yes; I am an early editions devotee, but I'm not such a fanatic as to think that made any sense at all, particularly in light of the Heroic level games demonstrating that 20 was borderline superhuman and very rare.
     
    The only real options you've got are to either accept that every Tom, Dick, and Window Washer is superior in every way to an Olympic Gymnast, or manually crank that down until it makes sense.
     
     
  14. Like
    Brian Stanfield reacted to Duke Bushido in Third Edition Renaissance   
    Sorry, N-B:
     
    Similar to your "third shift brain," this is the time of year where my job becomes a 12-14 hours / day, 6 days  / week thing.  it's also, from what I gather in snippets around the board, also considerably more physical than most of the regulars here do for a living.  Accordingly, I'm _pooped_!    
     
    My game guidelines...
     
    I'm going to blame this on fuzzy brain, but I sincerely don't quite understand what you're asking there..
     
    Starting heroes:
     
    It really depends on the plan and the theme, at least at the start.  I'd give it about an even split between 200 and 250, though those numbers aren't exclusive.  I've done a considerable amount at 300, and quite a few at 125-150.  Still, 200 and 250 are easily 2/3 of the supers games over the decades.
     
    A couple of things I'd like to add to that:  I've _never_ required anyone hit those totals exactly.  I've never required anyone even come close, if they (and I, of course) were happy with the character they had built.  (Seriously:  the old Red October board was probably the first time in my _life_ I'd ever heard the term "points sink" as it relates to Champions / HERO.  It baffled me for _days_ afterward).  Hell, I've even been known to handicap one or two particular individuals and bonus one or two others over the years.
     
    Why?  Why the bonuses and handicaps and lack of strict adherence to max point totals?
     
    Remember that I started out as a player in a 1e group.  Even when I bought my first 2e, I was still a player; the GM was using my 2e for six months or so before I really felt I was ready to give it a try!        One thing I learned early on-- and one of the reasons I tend to get all roll-y eyed and saddle burred when I run across discussions on "balance" and "points" and "mathematical balance"-- is that points don't balance _crap_.  They don't.  They just _don't_.
     
    We can "prove" it on paper, but disprove it over and over again at a gaming table.  The fact is that I can sit down with a group of six players and tell them to spend _exactly_ 300 points on a new character.  There would be _one_ player who's character could easily slaughter everyone else even if they worked as a team (and clean the blood with their desiccated corpses) and at least one who couldn't fight his way out of a wet paper death trap.  Or a wet paper romantic entanglement.  And everyone else would fall at various points in between.
     
    They all spent the same number of points, right?  We've proven that balances them, right?   Yeah!  _Riiight_....  (wink wink; nudge nudge)
     
    I could go on and on about that, but I won't, because it's late, and I'm tired.
     
    i've mentioned this before, but for whatever reason, all of my groups since the very first have really enjoyed _growing_ their characters, so we tend to be quite happy starting in that range.  We also tend to retire characters when they "get grown."   Think about it like a book series you really enjoyed: you really got behind the characters and their struggles, but it wasn't just the story of _one particular struggle_.  That would get really boring, really fast.  There was a series of struggles, and because each time the character succeeded, you knew what he could handle, another of the same struggle wasn't as interesting.  The author knew that, too.  To keep you reading, each struggle got just a little harder; each opponent became a little more powerful.  Sometimes the author even highlights that with a quick re-vist to an early-model scenario, which our heroes handle almost on autopilot, unthinkingly, without even breaking stride as they head to their _real_ objective....  We've all seen it; read it; whatever.  These scenes in movies and such are almost always played _for laughs_, the protagonist has gotten so much better, more skilled, more powerful.  He's grown.  A lot.
     
    There comes a point when the struggles required to challenge the character either stop being the kinds of things we enjoyed using the character for:  my own two-and-a-half decades character Martin Power was an absolute _blast_ when he was "just" a nice-looking, well-mannered brick with surprising intelligence.  He was popular enough with the rest of that particular supers group that my own friends would constantly veto me retiring him, even when it got to the point that _I wasn't enjoying him anymore_.  Seriously.  He went from being just a stand-up guy with lots of muscles to being involved in a secret intergalactic war in space and the accidental upheaval of the major First-World governments.  I _hated_ it toward the end.  Not because the GM wasn't good, or because the group wasn't _great_, but because the challenges had become so hokey and so far beyond the scope of where I wanted the character to go  (imagine that you wanted to write a book, and you wrote it, and it was exactly the book you wanted to write, with all the loose ends tied up, but you are contractually obligated to write _nine more books_ about the same character.).
     
    Anyway, there comes a point where you get the character to where you wanted him to end up.  There comes a point when your satisfaction is _complete_ with that character.  There also comes a point right after that where the threats and menaces have to be so over-the-top in order to remain plausible threats that they strain your willing suspension of disbelief.
     
    It's time to let that character go, too.
     
    And we do it, willingly and happily.   
     
    Because we enjoy that character growth (and generally longer campaigns), it's actively not fun for us to "start out" with 400 or 450 or 600 or whatever-the-new-normal-is points.
     
    No: I'm not denigrating it.  I'm just explaining how I feel about it and why.  Don't read anything into that.
     
     
    As far as "low power" goes--- well, just like everything else, that's going to really depend on the over-all build of the character-- the whole package: powers, skills, characteristics, focus, specialties, and personalities.  I've had characters and players with characters that start out as low as 6d6N and grow it up from there.  Had a few that started with 4d6N with a few really creative advantages that gave them some surprising effectiveness for a mere 4d6.  Granted, it wasn't often, and they often had to go to great lengths to stack the deck in their favor for peak effectiveness, but that in itself was a kind of fun for us.  
     
    _Typically_, though, a starting character will have a primary attack somewhere between 8-14d6, usually 10-12, and grow it from there.  Those that start on the low end of the scale tend to have a single heavily-disadvantaged "hold out weapon" of some sort, just to make sure they can pack a punch when they are in serious trouble.
     
    By the time they are grown--- who knows?  Depends on the flavor of the campaign.  About the time we're throwing around 30DC with regularity, things tend to start heading for wrapping up the campaign, at least for the higher-end characters, in some fashion, and I think the absolute highest we've ever gotten to before we all had to admit we were sort of ready for a new story and fresh characters was mid-forties on DCs.  (seriously:  these games tend to run for _years_ at a story).
     
     
    In the last ten years or so, we don't have the time we used to.  We still start low, but consider ourselves lucky to get a character into the twenties on DCs before being ready to try on something else.
     
     
    I don't know if any of that was helpful (or remotely interesting) to you, but I hope so.
     
    Good night.
     
  15. Like
    Brian Stanfield reacted to Shoug in Why NOT use a multipower for magic?   
    It's worth mentioning that many classless systems actually do have classes in the form of specialization. They're classless only in name, encouraging you to find your class organically over time rather than choose at the start.
  16. Thanks
    Brian Stanfield reacted to Spence in Why NOT use a multipower for magic?   
    Absolutely.  But you actually reinforce Brian S's point.  Gandalf was most definitely a Wizard.......that routinely demonstrated the combat prowess of a elite warrior with both sword and stave.  Something that cannot be done easy or well in the class/level games.  Not that class/level games are bad.  They are written to serve a purpose and IMO do it well.  A game like Hero just allows people to play outside that box. 
  17. Like
    Brian Stanfield got a reaction from jfg17 in Fantasy Hero Primer   
    By the way, this fits just as well in your other discussion about basic combat rules. I used the same approach as most everyone described, using the Basic Rulebook in order to minimize the technical shit-ton of information a new person has to sift through. This is truly a problem I deal with regularly as I'm teaching complete newbies to the HERO System, as well as some who are completely new to roleplaying in general.
  18. Like
    Brian Stanfield got a reaction from Spence in Why NOT use a multipower for magic?   
    Someone brought up Gandalf a few pages ago as an example of an overly powerful wizard, and I forgot to point it out then: we almost never see him actually use magic! It's been too long since I've read the books, but the movies show him use magic maybe 4 times that I can think of off the top of my head. We also see him in a lot of combat with his staff and a sword. So he is a perfect example of a character with no class. (Heh. Makes me think of my favorite Fat Albert joke: you're just like school in the summertime . . . no class). 
     
    I say this to point out that I think we're trained to see "classes" when they quite probably aren't actually there in the literature and media. Gandalf is just a really old, wise guy who's good at lore and has picked a lot of life skills. Just like anyone else, really. We've all been Dungeons & Dragons-ified to some degree. The more good examples we can remember, the better we can break that convention!
  19. Like
    Brian Stanfield got a reaction from massey in Why NOT use a multipower for magic?   
    Someone brought up Gandalf a few pages ago as an example of an overly powerful wizard, and I forgot to point it out then: we almost never see him actually use magic! It's been too long since I've read the books, but the movies show him use magic maybe 4 times that I can think of off the top of my head. We also see him in a lot of combat with his staff and a sword. So he is a perfect example of a character with no class. (Heh. Makes me think of my favorite Fat Albert joke: you're just like school in the summertime . . . no class). 
     
    I say this to point out that I think we're trained to see "classes" when they quite probably aren't actually there in the literature and media. Gandalf is just a really old, wise guy who's good at lore and has picked a lot of life skills. Just like anyone else, really. We've all been Dungeons & Dragons-ified to some degree. The more good examples we can remember, the better we can break that convention!
  20. Like
    Brian Stanfield got a reaction from Chris Goodwin in Why NOT use a multipower for magic?   
    One of the things I devised in a long, complex magic system (which I won't rehash here, but resembles what Chris Goodwin wrote earlier) is a Multipower associated with the wizard's spell book. They could "prepare" their slots via study and skill rolls, and if they ever wanted to change what they had available they'd have to study again and do their skill rolls. This was devised mostly as a buffer against the "just the right spell available for every possible situation" type of problems. Just another bit of gristle to chew on. 
  21. Like
    Brian Stanfield got a reaction from Chris Goodwin in Fantasy Hero Primer   
    I was the same way when I came back to HERO System after 25 years. I jumped from 3e to 6e and my mind was blown. I've found that the 6e HERO System Basic Rulebook is a really good, concise introduction to the rules. It's also what the Complete books are based on, but I use the Basic Rulebook for my new players because it is genre-neutral and doesn't get hung up on setting or genre specific rulings. And it's much less intimidating at 130 pages.
  22. Like
    Brian Stanfield got a reaction from Chris Goodwin in Fantasy Hero Primer   
    By the way, this fits just as well in your other discussion about basic combat rules. I used the same approach as most everyone described, using the Basic Rulebook in order to minimize the technical shit-ton of information a new person has to sift through. This is truly a problem I deal with regularly as I'm teaching complete newbies to the HERO System, as well as some who are completely new to roleplaying in general.
  23. Thanks
    Brian Stanfield got a reaction from Scott Ruggels in Why NOT use a multipower for magic?   
    Someone brought up Gandalf a few pages ago as an example of an overly powerful wizard, and I forgot to point it out then: we almost never see him actually use magic! It's been too long since I've read the books, but the movies show him use magic maybe 4 times that I can think of off the top of my head. We also see him in a lot of combat with his staff and a sword. So he is a perfect example of a character with no class. (Heh. Makes me think of my favorite Fat Albert joke: you're just like school in the summertime . . . no class). 
     
    I say this to point out that I think we're trained to see "classes" when they quite probably aren't actually there in the literature and media. Gandalf is just a really old, wise guy who's good at lore and has picked a lot of life skills. Just like anyone else, really. We've all been Dungeons & Dragons-ified to some degree. The more good examples we can remember, the better we can break that convention!
  24. Like
    Brian Stanfield got a reaction from Ninja-Bear in Why NOT use a multipower for magic?   
    One of the things I devised in a long, complex magic system (which I won't rehash here, but resembles what Chris Goodwin wrote earlier) is a Multipower associated with the wizard's spell book. They could "prepare" their slots via study and skill rolls, and if they ever wanted to change what they had available they'd have to study again and do their skill rolls. This was devised mostly as a buffer against the "just the right spell available for every possible situation" type of problems. Just another bit of gristle to chew on. 
  25. Like
    Brian Stanfield reacted to Steve Long in MYTHIC HERO: What Do *You* Want To See?   
    Hopefully there will be lots of other customers who share your enthusiasm!
     
    While there is a lot more material in EMMA than I ever expected there to be -- 130,000 words so far, mostly consisting of 1-2 line entries defining terms for "magic" or "guy who uses magic" or various related subjects -- I don't think I'm likely to get as far as The EMMAnator.   Though I suppose if I ever want to tackle subjects like Alchemy or Voodoo in-depth, they might qualify. But I have so many other projects to deal with I'm not sure I'll ever get that far.
     
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