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Doc Democracy

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Posts posted by Doc Democracy


  1. 4 minutes ago, GreaterThanOne said:

    Do you feel that as the campaign advances player's resent/ed the GM control over their Powers? I am leaning strongly towards this "Heavy Hand" approach as I believe it will allow them the most focus on their person. Especially if they don't actually know the Powers only the "effect". 

     

    I think the players do not really care about the heavy hand of the referee on the rules as long as they get some freedom in the use.  Most resentment comes when you have a stick that grants light but the referee does not allow them to use the stick as a mast “ because that is not how it was built”.  

     

    The players will only feel the GM controls the powers if you artificially constrain their narrative, allowing mechanics to define the powers rather than the narrative.


  2. Good stuff, as usual from Duke.  I am going to talk game set-up.  I think it is the missing bit from the rules.  Despite there being a raft of design advice on genres etc, there is absolutely nothing about actually putting a game together.

     

    You, as GM, need to sit down and think hard about how you want to constrain the system to get the game you want.

     

    I had a similar game, normal people with "one" superpower.  So, the bank teller got superspeed and the priest became invulnerable and the teacher got a death glare.  None of the players knew how I built the powers but we sat down and did a 20 questions before I built them where I asked some questions about what the power meant and what its limits might be.  In effect, we got on the same page narratively.  The mechanics that came later allowed me to manage use in game as to how it affected those around them. 

     

    I said "one" power because that was what I asked them for in a narrative sense.  In reality, most of the powers were an amalgam of game powers.  The priest did not mean for invulnerability to mean walking unscathed from a nuclear bomb or to be completely  unaffected by a rocket, he might be knocked out but nothing broke the skin.  The teacher did not want to instantly kill people with her death glare, she wanted to be able to make people fear death, feel death and THEN experience death.  The superspeed needed so much more than lots of running. 🙂 The mechanical details meant MUCH more to the players in game than the mechanical ones.

     

    If you want blessing and curse, you need to think of the downsides.  Why do the players not use the powers at every opportunity?  I say players deliberately because the narrative reasons why the characters would not use them often go out the window when players encounter problems in-game.  Are they painful to use?  I know that would make me (real person) loath to use them, a player is likely to consider a few STUN a minor consequence for the character.  So you need to make consequences real for the player. If it hurts to use, make the player roll a PRE roll to activate the power modified by how often it has been used recently and how heroic they are trying to be (truly heroic acts should not be prevented by a dice roll). 

     

    Again, explain to the players what you are trying to achieve and work through the narrative implications before building stuff.

     

    This kind of game can be deadly.  If one character has a death glare and most heroes and villains have no enhanced defences, many people will die.  After all that narrative work, players will be heavily invested in their character and will not want them to just up and die at random, you need to think of how you will provide some narrative defences for the player characters that does not break the internal reality.  In my game there were incredibly few killing attacks, like A Team style stuff where 10 guys with machine guns and an exploding truck did not result in multiple casualties.  A machine gun forced people to take cover and required rolls to advance on, even though the players knew the machine guns were not deadly, the characters did not.  In another game, I had a card that indicated to the players when we were in four colour scenes and when we were in graphic novel scenes.  In graphic novel scenes, killing attacks would kill, in four colour negative BODY simply meant a visit to the hospital and missing the rest of that scene.

     

    You, with your players can set the game to deliver the experience you want, you just all need to be on the same page before you start.

     

    Doc


  3. 2 hours ago, Ninja-Bear said:

    How common are Entangles? I’d say + 1/4.  And why exactly is this an Advantage? I think I know but ain’t sure.

     

    I think it is an advantage because he would be able to fire at those caught in entangles without worrying whether he might hurt or damage the person inside, the fact he can turn it on and off cements it as an advantage as he is not deprived of the chance to hurt someone or damage something else when he wants to.

     

    Doc


  4. It is amazing, given that I am confident I could pick up any supplement from any edition and use it in my 6th Edition game because the system is close enough that I could integrate on the fly.

     

    Obviously, us fans are invested in the rules and versions of the rules, the marketplace demands new product.  To that end, a company will repeatedly update, refresh and republish its rules, it needs to constantly produce money to stay in money and over time, a new edition is a more guaranteed money generator than anything else.

     

    Beyond that, most writers began as fans and want to see their vision of the game immortalised in an edition - they want to show everyone else their vision of the game. In the olden days this was an issue - the rules were printed and bought, and if a new edition came out, it was impossible to get enough copies of older editions for a new group (and there was no ebay to scour).  Today, there is ready access to the text of EVERY edition.  Everyone can play the edition they most enjoy and access those rules for any players in their group that wants them.  There are no edition cops who will swoop down on you to confiscate illegal rulesets and to punish BadWrongFun.

     

    We should, now, be able to watch new editions with interest, choose to change our games in the light of that edition (or not) and to ponder the merits of old versus new without the heat, there is nothing at stake beyond personal opinion.  New editions HAVE to change things if they are to be worth producing - I would be SEVERELY upset if I bought 7th edition and it was essentially a word for word rehash of ANY previous edition.  I have them all...

     

    Doc


  5. Hmm.  Been watching this closely but I have to now say that, until Kickstarter resolve their issues with their staff, I will no longer be supporting any Kickstarter based projects.

    https://www.currentaffairs.org/2019/09/kickstarter-to-workers-and-project-creators-drop-dead

     

    Earlier in the dispute, workers asked folk not to boycott Kickstarter, I think that my conscience will not allow me to support a company fighting it's workers.

     

    Personally, I need to get better at doing that consistently.  Was going to post this in the Kickstarter forum but I don't support enough projects for it to be particularly relevant there, but the dispute may harm the viability of future projects.

     

    Doc


  6. 1 hour ago, archer said:

     

    If he buys an advantage on an EB, that advantage exists all the time, even if that advantage is somewhat limited in some way. He has to pay END for that advantage because it exists all the time, he can't switch it on and off.

     

    You don't allow naked advantages?

     

    4 minutes ago, Gnome BODY (important!) said:

    I do question the idea of "only functions against this specific game construct", though.  Are you and he sure he's not looking for Only Against Inanimate Objects or Only Against Nonliving? 

     

    His energy blast has the special effect of a cloud of summoned imps attacking a foe. This would be concentrating on ensuring they helped someone out of entangling materials.  It does mean that I need to take care with how I build manacles etc or provide some in game latitude.  It makes narrative sense, just musing on how much it would/should cost.

     

     


  7. One of my players wants to be able to “switch on” an advantage on his EB, ‘only against entangles”.  Obviously this would limit the effect of a power but becomes an advantage because of context.  I am thinking +1/2, though might be persuaded on something different.  Any thoughts?

     

    Doc


  8. I lived in Tennessee for two years and throughout that time I saw adverts for a well known battery where a toy rabbit beats a drum.  The strapline was "Still going...."

     

    I laughed every time because I imagine an advertising executive sitting at his desk wondering how he can get away with an ad campaign that essentially says that "this battery goes like a bunny".

     

    I have no idea if that phrase means the same in the US as it does in the UK, but it still makes me laugh.


  9. 8 hours ago, Lord Liaden said:

     

    It really depends on how the general public reacts to the incidents, and Trudeau's mea culpa. I've been watching man-on-the-street interviews to try to glimpse the tone of people's reactions, and it's a pretty wide spread. I've seen white people who expressed being offended at his actions and are considering changing their vote, even supporting Trudeau's resignation. And I've seen people of color saying yes, it was a mistake, but it was long ago, and Trudeau repudiated and apologized for his actions, so we should move on. And everything in between.

     

    Only way to tell if the images may have made a lasting impact, is on election day.

     

    A lot of truth in that.  I think people should be judged on their actions.

     

    If someone has done something wrong in the past and spent a significant amount of time since then acting better then it probably shows that they have learned something and is probably a better person for it.  Who better to understand the actions than someone who has done them himself and knows where it came from.  It does mean a lot of positive action subsequent to the negative one.

     

    If someone has done something wrong in the past and spent a significant amount of time since then acting as if it never happened and their first reaction when confronted with the bad behaviour is to deny it and say they would never have acted that way, and there has been nothing since to demonstrate any significant change of mind or positive action contrary to the wrong thing in the past, then they have probably not learned or changed, they have simply learned to better hide their worse personality aspects from those who would think they were wrong.

     

    Personally I think Trudeau is more likely to belong in the former category, and there is a supreme court judge who probably firmly belongs in the latter.

     

     

    Doc


  10. I may have said it before but, if someone wanted to do a seventh edition, they could do worse than making a truly electronic version of the rules.  Even if they did not change any of the system (though like any HERO player there are LOTS of things I would (and in my own games do) change) they could find a market for a system that seamlessly utilises the technology that almost anyone has to hand.

     

    If you start with HERO Designer and think about what would be needed for a player and what would be needed for a GM to play and run the system at the table rather than design a character, you could probably come up with something very cool.  I am not sure what ability HERO might have to use some of the images and animations from Cryptic but being able to actually see your character come alive, to activate powers, to get sound effects.  There are lots of cool enhancements that could be there, even for a game designed to be played face to face at a table.  If it could then drop things into virtual tabletops like Roll20 to be used, you potentially plug into an online community.

     

    Previous posts have demonstrated that the HERO community is a mature one - most folk that play the game know how they want to play and are unlikely to pick up small game refinements in a new edition, they may not even want a new edition as the books they have deliver all they need (or all they KNOW they need 🙂).  Game companies need a constantly buying audience and there is only so much HERO can do to add to what they already have available in the traditional way of things.  D&D feeds off a constant influx of new players buying rulebooks, HERO does not have that core influx and so it should be thinking of doing something different.  Superheroes are SO visual, they derive from a drawn rather than a written medium and they would be ripe for gaming in a more visual way. 

     

    Of course, if noone wants to hear my flights of technical fancy, there are a few dozen pages of changes to the rules I could re-hash.  😄

     

    Doc


  11. 12 hours ago, Cassandra said:

     

    So if you're character is put in a coffin they just die?   You don't want to give them a chance to escape?

     

    I am quite interested in why you think doing this as a power gives a victim a chance to escape where the mundane use of environmental stuff does not.  I agree that making the whole thing an escape from an Entangle makes it far more straightforward but it might also rob it of some colour. 

     

    Doc


  12. 15 hours ago, assault said:

    I'd suggest a more moderate approach, where "Everyman" equipment is treated like "Everyman" skills. The most important thing to remember is that if you don't pay points for something, the GM can take it away at any time. (Break it, steal it...)

     

    And this is the point where paying points is of value.  If you rely on "free" kit then the GM has narrative control over that kit.  If you get hit with a flame blast and the GM wants to remove your access to the cellphone, then he can say that the heat causes it to fritz out and may indicate when you might get access to it again.  If you pay points and use the focus limitation to make it cheaper then you cede a little bit of narrative control and bring the functionality within the rules.  If you simply pay for it then you should expect to have the functionality at all times - you have narrative control.  With a weapon bought with a focus, you may be disarmed but expect the GM to provide you with access to it when you escape.  If the weapon was given to you as kit from a patron then when it is removed from you there should be no expectation that you will ever get it back.

     

    Doc


  13. 15 hours ago, JackFlash said:

    What I mean is, like. Say I have a concept for a low level speedster who tops out at 40 mph. How many hexes would I need to hit that? Exactly how fast is 9"?

     

    Low level indeed.  Lets give him SPD 5.  40mph is roughly equal to 60kph, or 1000m per minute, or about 200m every 12s.  You know that flat out running is twice normal movement, so you need to buy enough movement to move 100m every 12s.  At SPD 5 that works out to 20m a phase, or 10". 

     

    So 40mph is what a SPD 5 character can attain with 10" running at non-combat velocity. 

     

    Doc


  14. He is asking why this is something that needs to have points spent on it.

     

    Personally the only reason for it, in my head, is that, if you get the hit roll necessary, then it all happens without a hitch, the ground is not too rocky, noone stumbles across you during the digging, etc. My biggest concern is that a normal person, if they push their STR will roll 4 sixes (8 BODY) one time in a thousand or so and spring free from this grave.  More often they will roll 6 BODY or more.  I can definitely see normal folk escaping, even 2D6 gives 4 BODY one time in 36.  A heroic character will have more damage and likely may be allowed to push that.

     

    Doc


  15. On 9/18/2019 at 4:06 AM, JackFlash said:

    Like, this guy runs at 6"/12" but he also has a running skill that adds +3" for a total of 9" but that just means that they run, like, sixty feet in twelve seconds, right?

     

    Like Archer says, it means he runs 9" in every action phase (one phase for each point of Speed characteristic).  I think for superheroes that SPD 4 is often the low end of the range, so 36" in 12s.  In HERO, up until 6E, inches were used instead of metres for table top gaming purpose.  Each inch is 2 metres, so the character can run 72m in 12s while retaining all his combat effectiveness.  If he sprints and drops any thoughts of defending against attacks then he can double that to 144m in 12s which blows away every Olympic sprinter.

     

    Agreed, it is not hugely superheroic but it did not use very many points to get there.  It is pretty cheap to get to huge speeds.

     

    As for where things sit on the character sheet, there are plenty of different views and styles of character sheet out there.  As with many things on the boards, opinions differ. 😁

     

    Doc


  16. 12 hours ago, ScottishFox said:

     

    Since this is the same legislature that is ignoring the lawful results of the Brexit vote there's no moral high ground to be had.

     

    Also, I don't like that guy and he is most definitely NOT like the hulk.

     

    I would contest that the legislature is ignoring the results of the referendum, it has talked about nothing else for almost three years.  The problem is that the Government failed in its job to deliver a policy that the legislature could agree to.

     

    That slim majority for a referendum was followed by a General Election where the Conservatives were elected promising to honour the referendum by delivering a "smooth and orderly departure".  Labour promised a deal that protected the economy and jobs.  Nobody stood on leaving without a deal that the Conservative party swung hard toward when the Conservatives lost their small majority in that election.

     

    Personally I think the General Election was the last test of the opinion of the electorate.  Boris exemplifies the swing to no deal and does not represent the manifest will of the electorate for a deal.

     

    Doc

     


  17. I have been known to fudge the odd roll or damage for dramatic effect but my players know that I will not avoid a TPK if their gameplay "deserves" it. 

     

    My last TPK was in the Sunless Citadel adventure for D&D 3.5, the party had ground their way through all the politics above and entered the dark druid's lair beside the Gulthias Tree.  It is a great story but they were now focussed on bearding the druid (though they had not quite worked out that is what he was) they ignored the numerous rooms with books and stuff in it and even avoided the recipes of weedkiller that I had also put in there to make their life easier.

     

    In the final battle with what were obvious undead, the cleric failed to try a single turn and they went for a straight head on battle.  I captured them first when they could have been killed, gave them a second chance and they still made the same mistakes.  They all died.

     

    I then gave the players a choice of semi-revenant characters, their original character after it had been rescued from the Gulthias Tree - a wooden man (with some damage resistance and a weakness to fire) - or new characters with abut 90% of the XP of the original.  Half of them went for something new, half for their originals.

     

    I think the players need to know you are willing to wipe the floor with them to give adventures that element of risk and danger that you need to make decisions relevant.  All I need now is to believe that doing this encourages them to learn a better way! 🙂

     

    Doc


  18. Yeah, or you might simply buy N-Ray vision with enough levels to counter range penalties and the limitation, only what nearby cameras can see.

     

    I would give night vision benefits for free if there are such cameras in existence.  Of course, this gives the character an absolute power, it would not matter the security levels or relative disconnectedness of the cameras to anything else (which might be what you are looking for) or you might also add that it requires a skill roll that you might only require as a GM when there are well protected systems.

     

    Doc


  19. 3 hours ago, drunkonduty said:

     

    Maybe Create Water only condenses water from the air in the immediate vicinity. Although, if that were the case there'd be a limit on it, which there isn't.

    Maybe the spell conjures water from elsewhere in the world and distills it in the process.

     

    As for saving drought stricken areas, yeah, it's the bomb. Better living through magic and all that.

     

    I think all of this means that the GM needs to think through what it means to live in a world where there is magic.  In such a world is a drought purely meteorological or does it mean that there are magical forces at work that might take against those who counter their drought?  Are there competing divine forces at play?  Obviously the odd little creation of water to ameliorate the edge of the drought for people is overlooked but a concerted effort to counter the effects of the drought might find that certain divine magics are blocked or drought-beating clerics might find themselves subject to the personal attention of divine messengers who want this to stop.

     

    So many stories can come from players thinking that they can exploit magical abilities without thinking through the metaphysical consequences.  I think I would refrain from countering magical abuse with scientific explanations...

     

    🙂

     

    Doc


  20. On 8/26/2019 at 5:19 PM, Christopher R Taylor said:

    William Munny crouches by the door of the tavern and is worried about ambush from the men he chased out of the room earlier.  He does a Presence Attack to try to cow them: 

     

    “Any man I see out there, I'm gonna kill him. Any sumbitch takes a shot at me, I'm not only gonna kill him, but I'm gonna kill his wife. All his friends. Burn his damn house down!”

     

     

    My favourite stand down quote from Clint was in The Outlaw Josey Wales when bounty hunters come looking for him...

     

    Bounty hunter #1: You’re wanted, Wales.
    Josey Wales: Reckon I’m right popular. You a bounty hunter?
    Bounty hunter #1: A man’s got to do something for a living these days.
    Josey Wales: Dyin’ ain’t much of a living, boy.

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