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PhilFleischmann last won the day on February 2 2005

PhilFleischmann had the most liked content!

About PhilFleischmann

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    Mad Scientist
  • Birthday 07/30/1966

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    I was born at a very young age.

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  1. HERO sets the implied value of Mental powers (working with MCV) as a +1 Advantage - in other words, double the value of a normal Blast that uses OCV/DCV. And for that, in addition do going against rarer defensive stats, you also get Line-of-Sight range, but you lose the ability to do BODY damage. If we are to add another CV, that is intended to be even rarer - even less commonly defended against, such powers might then be costed at the equivalent of a +2 Advantage, or triple the cost of a regular Blast, or perhaps even more. In the case of Thaumaturgical Combat Value, and powers that would use it, this tripling of cost might not be necessary, because instead there are severe restrictions on using it. If you don't have a "hair from the target's head" or whatever, you can't use it, and you're left with using regular attacks with regular OCV/DCV. You could have it as an optional (naked?) advantage on a regular attack power "You can use TCV if you have an appropriate Thaumaturgical focus to use". Which is sort of like my initial suggestion "+X OCV with this power, Only if you have a hair from the target's head". The "+X OCV Only If" method is simpler, but it has the thematically inconsistent disadvantage that it still target's the defender's DCV - which is still modified by Dodge and other maneuvers and modifiers. If TCV is added to a FH campaign, you might think that all players will then immediately want and need to buy up their DTCV and whatever defenses may apply. But this is not necessarily the case. Thaumaturgy is rare and difficult, and complete strangers and enemies are highly unlikely to have access to the hairs on your head. And likewise, PC Thaumaturgists are not likely to have hairs from the heads of all the enemies they're going to encounter.
  2. It seems to me that AoE is all you need. Does the power continue to affect people if they leave the area? Will it affect any new people if they enter the area? As long as not both of those answers are yes, I'd just let it be a plain AoE, with no additional advantage needed. Once you're grabbed, you stay grabbed until you break out of it. A TK grab doesn't have to end at the end of the phase.
  3. The other use for it is for vehicle/base weapons, but I would not allow them to be fired at the same time unless each one was being manned by someone (or an AI). Like in the Millenium Falcon, when Han and Luke each manned one of the guns. And yes, if a character had some kind of two-weapon-fighting skill that applied to these weapons, then it would be possible for a single character to man more than one, or they could potentially use them as multiple attacks, subject to realism and common sense. If the two weapons are separated by more than the character's reach, then no. I suppose it might also be possible for a super-speedster to run around the ship firing all of the weapons in rapid succession. But note that all of these require characters' attack actions. You don't get to fire a thousand weapons just because you paid an extra 50 points. I remember an example (from 5th edition Star Hero, IIRC) of a star ship that had a life support system powered by an END reserve that cost a total of about 50 points or so, and had a back-up emergency life support system, in case something went wrong with the main one. The backup system wasn't as good, and only cost 25 points. But why would you pay 25 points for a worse backup system when you could just pay 5 point for an identical backup system? This is the perfect example of why I find the +5 to double exquipment rule problematic, if not outright broken. A backup system that's not as good as the main system is a valid concept and a common element in many genres, but the +5 rule discourages you from such builds. IMO, it would be better if the equipment doubler was an advantage (say +1/4), rather than an adder. That way, you're paying more for more powerful equipment, as it should be. And speaking of Life Support, suppose you have some limited life support equipment, after the Focus limitation and whatever other limitations it might have, it may well cost even less than 5 points! Why should you have to pay 5 points for a backup of something that cost less than 5 points?
  4. And neither do I. I was a bit surprised by it when I first read it, but it almost never came up in my games (as a player or as a GM), because pretty much everyone had all their attack powers in a multipower, so they could only use one at a time anyway. But yeah, if you paid full price for a Blast, Flight, and Force Field, you should be able to use them all at the same time, without any restrictions or Extra Time needed, or reduced DCV, or anything else. And if you paid full price for any three other powers, you should be able to use them all at the same time, even if they're all attacks. My only problem with it is a thematic/realism problem, not a rules problem or a balance problem. Technically, if the character paid the points, he can do it. I might not let him buy such a construct, but only for genre restrictions, not because the build is in any way problematic according to the rules - it's a perfectly fine build. OTOH, I've never actually run a Western Hero game. I would also let a character buy 2-shot Autofire as a nekkid advantage, requires two guns - one in each hand, to reflect such an ability.
  5. Let's back up a bit. What is the whole Attack roll mechanism for in HERO? It's to decide whether an attack hits, for those attack forms that have a chance of missing. We know from real life that bullets, fists, arrows, swords, knives, thrown rocks, baseball bats, etc., don't always hit their targets. And when we imagine magic/sci-fi elements also being used as attack forms, we assume that they don't always hit their targets either. And we observe from real life that the chance of hitting a target depends on the ability of the attacker to aim his attack accurately, as well as the difficulty the defender is to hit, taking into account many factors, such as size, speed of movement, dodging, visibility, etc. So for HERO, we have two values you reflect this: OCV and DCV. And these govern all attacks, determining the probability of hitting... unless... ...we decide that there are some types of attacks that are targeted in a fundamentally different way. All these real-world attacks we're familiar with are physically targeted in a way we call "aiming". But what if some other attack form doesn't use physical aiming? It seems to me that there are three possibilities: Either (1) these attacks always hit their target, or (2) all targets are equally easy to hit, but different characters have different levels of accuracy with these attack forms, or (3) characters with these attack forms may have different levels of accuracy, and targets are not necessarily all equally easy to hit. And we need to make this decision for each different type of targeting method we want to include in the game. For Mental Powers, HERO has decided on option 3 - so there is a separate CV called MCV (or ECV) and we further divide this into OMCV and DMCV. But HERO didn't have to come to that decision, and if you don't like it, you're free to change it for your games. You can say that mental attacks always hit the target mind (option 1) - which kind of makes sense. If you're thinking about someone's mind, you don't "miss" and wind up thinking about the space one foot to the left of his head, or about the mind of someone standing nearby, or whatever. Or you could choose option 2, and say that mental attacks use an attack roll based on the attacker's MCV, against a defending target of 3 "DCV" - all minds are equally accessible to mental attacks. There are (at least) three considerations to take into account when deciding which of the three options to use for a given targeting form: Realism - Does it make sense for these attacks to miss sometimes, or should they always hit? Game Balance - If Mental powers always hit, then they probably need to cost more than they currently do, and will this cause non-mentallists to become obsolete? And Game Rules Structure - Which of the three options makes for the best default form of the power? Then we can apply Advantages and Limitations to modify it. Like if you want a mentalist with an attack so powerful that it does indeed always hit. Or even attacks which are physically aimed and use OCV/DCV by default could be modified to automatically hit, with a sufficiently-costed Advantage, and thematic justification. IMO, the targeting of Mental Powers does indeed feel realistically different than physical aiming. And I find that the MCV system (or subsystem) works well. Thaumaturgical targeting - through the magic principles of contagion and sympathy, IMO, feels fundamentally different from both physical aiming, and mental "aiming". Now it could be an automatic hit (option 1) as long as there are sufficient restrictions on it so that it doesn't dominate the game (unless you specifically want an all-thaumaturge game). Like needing a hair from the target's head, or some similar inconvenient form of preparation. If you come across a giant and he starts attacking you immediately, he's not going to politely bend down and let you pluck a hair. Likewise, if you encounter a dragon, and you have some "mystic clay" with you, it's probably going to take at least five minutes minimum to make a voodoo doll that actually resembles the dragon enough for your attack spell to work. And the dragon is not likely to give you those five minutes. So with those kinds of restrictions, automatic hits might work. However, it might me more interesting and "realistic" to use option 2 - reflecting the your voodoo doll constructing skill, for example. And even option 3 - the full-on TCV (OTCV/DTCV) to reflect that some creatures that are simply more or less susceptible to sympathetic magic, for various reasons. And there might yet be another form of targeting that is fundamentally different from all of the above (CV, MCV, TCV), but I can't think of any at the moment. But there is one other attack form that applies even in the real world: poison. If the target's food/drink is poisoned, then no attack roll is required. It automatically has its effect if the poison is consumed. And the same would presumably be true of fantasy potions and similar substances. And of course note that throwing a pill into someone's drink from across the room is physical aiming - OCV vs the DCV of the cup's opening. There is no "PCV" required here. However (again), if we really wanted to, we could break down the existing CV's even further, for example by having an ROCV and a HOCV, for Ranged and Hand-to-Hand attacks. After all, just because you're very accurate with your fist doesn't mean you're as accurate with a thrown rock, or vice-versa. But we probably would all agree that this would add too much complication to the system. So all physical aiming is represented in OCV, regardless of whether it's ranged or hand-to-hand.
  6. Oh, and one other thing, somewhat relevant to Western Hero, regarding the penalties of Multiple Attacks: Coming in guns-a-blazin' is rather dangerous against multiple opponents, due to your reduced DCV, but it might still be a viable move in a "cinematic" sense, because it can be combined with a Presence Attack, so that all your opponents hesitate, or spend their phases dodging or diving for cover (which they might do anyway, even without a Presence Attack). Likewise, if you're the hero with a significantly higher SPD and DCV than these mooks. And Combat Luck, and whatever else a PC hero has that NPC fodder don't.
  7. I wouldn't allow a two-gun attack to be a Combined Attack if the character didn't pay points for those guns. And even if he did, it still doesn't sit right to me that two different bullets, from two different guns, use the same hit roll, so that either they both hit or both miss. The Two-Weapon Fighting skill is certainly available, and various other similar options. And if I may, allow me to take a shot (no pun intended) at rephrasing the earlier question: Please explain in what possible way hitting somebody with two 50-point attacks is an advantage over hitting somebody with one 100-point attack?
  8. One thing that might be useful here, but doesn't exist (yet) in HERO AFAIK, is an advantage "Does not require a hit roll, automatically hits". As long as I have this hair from your head, my spell will always hit you - no Dodge, no Dive for Cover, no range modifier, no concealment, etc. The closest thing we have to that is One Hex Accurate + No Range Modifier, which allows you to target a DCV 3 hex instead of a character that may have higher DCV and be dodging or whatever. But even that is subject to possible circumstance modifiers, such as low visibility or obstacles. And with the general principle of HERO, there then needs to be some kind of special defense against this "NNDCV". If you don't allow a OTCV and DTCV, then there should be some other means of protection from thaumaturgical forces.
  9. That's pretty neat! I've never rally liked the idea of gods getting their power (or forms or values or personalities - or even existence!) from worshippers. It's not the kind of world I want to run, but I wouldn't mind playing in it. In my world, the gods are what they are, and they have their power because they are gods, not because they are worshipped. They don't need to be "fueled" by people's prayers, rituals, and sacrifices. And yes, on those very very very very rare occasions when the manifest before mortals, they can assume different forms to suit the needs of the moment and to evoke the proper reaction. But the worshippers' beliefs do not determine the gods' forms. If you happen to believe that Cardile, god of nature, has green hair and beard that looks like leaves and vines and grass, then maybe he'll make himself look like that should he ever decide to appear to you. But that doesn't mean it's what he really looks like in his usual form. Of course, this has little effect on religion, since the gods don't make personal appearances. No mortal truly knows what any given god *really* looks like, and different cultures may depict them in different ways, and may even give them different names. But none of that changes who the gods really are, or their powers or their goals or what they want mortals to do.
  10. For mental powers. Is a fireball a mental power? It a hair from a person's head a mind? It's fine if that's the way you want to run your game. And it's also fine if you want all mental powers to use normal OCV and DCV. And instead of my suggested +OCV Based on Contagion, you could also make the fireball Based on MCV, which would also be a valid build. It would seem a bit unusual to me, but if it works for your game, fine. And like I said before, I wouldn't even object to playing in such a game. OK, so the dragon's breath might miss the guy with high DCV, but the magic fireball will likely hit him because of his low ACV? If the magic spell creates something in the physical realm (such as fire) to damage a target, is it magic, or something in the physical realm? What about a telekinetic spell that picks up a nearby rock and hurls it at the target? Is that magic, or in the physical realm? Why does a character use DCV against a rock thrown by an arm, but ACV against a rock thrown by TK? In most of the source material I'm familiar with, a wand is aimed similarly to a gun - the straight line of the wand can be extended in a straight line toward the target, the straight line of the gun barrel can be extended in a straight line toward the target. And the character's OCV determines how accurately he can aim. If ACV means nothing more than "It's magic" then it seems a bit arbitrary. What counts as magic and what doesn't? But as long as you can work out the answer to that question, it's perfectly fine to use in your game. However, if we're specifically talking about targeting throw Contagion, or other similar principles (Sympathy, etc.), then yes, that might warrant a separate CV. But it might not apply to all magical effects, and maybe shouldn't be called "Arcane Combat Value". Maybe it's Contagion Combat Value, but that's not a very good name, and it should probably be broader than that, like "Voodoo Combat Value" or whatever you call that particular style/school of magic. Thaumaturgical Combat Value? TCV? That works. But if you can use your thaumaturgy to telekinetically pick up rocks and throw them at opponents, that seems more like a thaumaturgical connection to the rocks, rather than to the target. So maybe this particular spell should use OCV/DCV. Or if you have a spell that can be used "plain" or thaumaturgically, then it works with OCV/DCV, but if you have a hair from the target's head, then you can use TCV - which presumably is an advantage, because your TCV might be higher than your OCV, and your target's TCV is likely lower than his DCV. And likewise, a character (likely someone with some magical nature, if not an actual spellcaster) can have a higher than average DTCV. This can represent his inherent uniqueness, that he metaphysically "divorces" himself from the hair you plucked from his head. There may be various "magical" creatures, fey, for example, that might have very high DTCV, while having relatively low OTCV, or perhaps no actual spells at all.
  11. +3 OCV with Fireball Spell, OAF Expendable (possibly difficult to obtain): a hair from the target's head (or presumably a similar bit of the target's body, in case he's bald, or is of a species that doesn't have hair) Season to taste.
  12. Right. Very good question and a worthy topic of discussion. I don't have a whole lot to add, but in my games, I prefer to keep defenses low, and the characters wear minimal armor, because it's just not practical or realistic for adventurers to explore the countryside in plate armor, despite what a certain other well-known RPG would have you believe. These are adventurers, not soldiers. If you know in advance that you're marching into battle today, you put on the best armor you can acquire and stand side-by-side with your army and face the enemy army. If you're traveling over land from one village to the next, or following the ancient map to the site of the hidden ruins, you aren't going to be wearing your armor the whole time, even when a band of brigands or a raiding party of orcs ambush you en route. And they're not going to politely announce themselves and then wait for you to put on your armor before engaging. So yeah, you might get injured, maybe even seriously. That's what Healing is for. As your party's experience increases, those with healing spells (or skills) get better and better at this. Maybe the big tough shirtless barbarian of the group buys himself some Damage Reduction to reflect his epic toughness - he can still be hurt, and still might need healing, but he is more likely to survive a fight than when he started out as a 75+75. But if you've got some magic armor 10 PD/10 ED, you can take a casual walk through the ranks of the orcs armed with regular swords and not take a single BODY. That doesn't make sense to me, and it doesn't match the source material (at least that I'm familiar with). Likewise with the wizard who can cast a 10 PD/10 ED armor spell on himself. And it works both ways. I expect players to have low defenses, and I don't throw enemies at them with defenses they can't get through. (Except once, which was an error on my part. I sent a "rock demon" at them, that was supposed to be a fairly weak monster, but its rock-like hide was so thick that it was very difficult for them to damage it at all. That one combat took way longer than I had intended. I learned my lesson.) But getting back to the topic of how "epic" characters grow from starting ones, I like to visualize the epic version of a character while I'm making the starting character. It's nice to have a plan for what that character will eventually become (one hopes). And yes, the plan can change. Thanks to this being HERO and not something else, a starting 75+75 character can have a pretty good array of abilities. Think about what you'd buy for the character if he was 100+75, or 125+75, or 150+75, etc. Buy all those little convenient things you wish you could have afforded when he started. The main example that comes to mind for me is a wizard-type character of mine. He started with a good array of useful spells, but as a much more experienced wizard, he no longer has "Detect Magic", but instead has "Sense Magic" - if you bring a magic item into his presence, or a person under some magic spell approaches him, or pretty much anything like that, he knows instantly. Your invisibility spell will not hide you from him. If you've been mind controlled, or cursed, or transformed, he knows, and might be able to help. All the spells that were difficult to cast when he was younger, are much easier now - buy off the Concentration, Increased END, Extra Time, etc. It doesn't have to be increased DCs and increased defenses.
  13. Or course there's a difference. Super strength and normal strength are both targeted with OCV-vs-DCV. There's not a separate SSOCV and SSDCV. That's the whole issue of this thread.
  14. I don't see any reason why a combat spell with a physical effect on a physical target should be targeted by anything other than OCV vs DCV. And if it's a mental effect on a target's mind, then it can use MOCV vs MDCV. Calling upon one's attunement to arcane forces allows you to create some phenomenon (say, a ball of fire) which can be used to attack an enemy. Yes, but aiming that fireball in the right direction is the same skill as throwing a rock in the right direction. And if for some reason it wasn't, then what exactly constitutes the target's "Arcane Defensive Combat Value"? Especially if the target has no such arcane attunement. You throw a magic fireball with the same accuracy as you throw a bottle of burning oil or shoot a flamethrower. And how hard you are to hit with a magical fireball is no different than how hard you are to hit with a Molotov cocktail or a flamethrower. Yes, of course you can run your games however you like, and if an ACV works for you, great! And I would have no problem playing in such a game. Though at some point, I would probably start to wonder how magical fire differs from non-magical fire, or how magical lightning differs from non-magical lightning, or how a magical hailstone differs from a normal hailstone, or how a magically summoned creature attacking differs from the attacks of the same creature if it hadn't been magically summoned.
  15. And how many of those societies did not have a hereditary monarch and something akin to a feudalistic class of nobles? I'm certainly not an expert on all history everywhere, but as I understand it, Classical Athens had a hereditary king. The dynasties of China had - well, as soon as you say the word "dynasty", you've got a hereditary king. And of course, you use the word "empire" to describe many of these, which means an emperor. Correct me if I'm wrong, but emperors are not elected. Norman England had a king and lesser nobles. The Holy Roman Empire had a king and lesser nobles. The Vikings had a king - though I guess he would have been called a "jarl". Like I said in my first post on this thread: not all hereditary monarchies are the same.
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