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  1. From the very beginning of the Hero System, it's been possible to "sell off" Characteristics and Movement - even selling Running back to 0 if you want a totally lame character. It's also always been possible to take Disadvantages, which are now called Complications. Both concepts were always part of Hero. The first concept, the "sell-back," has expanded, and it is now possible for example to sell back sight or some other sense, rather than taking blindness as a "Physical Complicaton." Such a sell-back would be recorded on the sheet more like a "Negative Power" and is not put in the section for Complications. Remember that, it's important. Meanwhile, I have grown increasingly unhappy with the way Hero handles Complications. And I think a lot of what is wrong comes down to what I call the "Frank-Yen-Pound" problem. Not because it frankly gives me a yen to pound on something (although sometimes it does) but because, like an incompetent banker trading several currencies "at par," we often treat things as being of equal value when they're not. To put it another way, if I built part of a house according to the metric blueprints and a carpenter "helping" me built other parts using the same plans but treating "meters" as "feet" I would not have a well-built house. I think it might, frankly, give me a yen to pound on the carpenter. I don't think many experienced Hero players honestly believe that a 10 pt Disadvanage or Complication is the equal and opposite of a 10 pt Power. That, I think, is why the attitude took root and grew that one should always "max out" possible Disadvantages; the perception was that taking less than the maximum meant a weaker character. The current edition (6th) carries the assumption so far that it gives the impression the maximum is actually mandatory; you have to get deep into the book before even finding out that it is possible to take less than maximum Complications, or even none at all. There is something ironic - and to my mind, symptomatic that something is wrong with the way we're doing things - in the fact that the near universal response to such an "un-Complicated" character would be, "But, but, a character who doesn't have any weaknesses will be too weak!" I don't understand why, if a 10 pt Complication is not the equal and opposite of a 10 pt Power, it should be worth 10 pts. To reduce it to a tautology, if it's not worth 10 pts, then it's not worth 10 pts. Conversely, if it is actually worth ANYTHING, then it's not worth nothing. Under the last two editions, Complications that exceed the maximum are worth no points. Taking Complications up to the maximum rewards the player, because those Complications are over-valued; taking Complications over the maximum punishes the player, because those Complications are undervalued. But some character concepts may call for more Complications, and other concepts call for fewer. So why use them? Complications serve several purposes. SOME of them for example really are worth the points, and the value assigned to them compensates the player in much the same way the value of a sell-back does. Unluck I consider the ideal example of this kind, because it obviously really is the equal and opposite of Luck. Others serve as plot hooks or aids to the Game Operations Director. Dependent Non-Player Characters are an example. Or to tie the character into their world and define a place in the setting. An example is how a Hunted can establish a backstory linking the character to an important person or organization. And finally Complications can serve to define the character itself in important ways. Psychological Complications often exist largely to answer the question "what is this character like?" Many Complications of course serve more than one purpose; Superman wouldn't be Superman without kryptonite, it ties into his origin story, and it is a potentially debilitating hindrance. But I think most of these purposes can be served in other ways. Starting with my most recent Turakian Age campaign, I'm not using Complications. I AM using Negative Powers. I'm thinking of converting my earlier-and-still-ongoing Turakian game too. I'm posting this partly so you will all have a clue where I'm coming from (I have already referenced this decision in a thread). I am also aware that I am not the only one to abandon the use of Complications, I have read of others doing so. Mostly I think what I'm doing is a good idea and want to encourage others to follow my lead, but also that it is NOT such a wonderful idea that it can't be improved and expanded upon by the exceptionally brilliant group of people who use this forum. I intend to post more later, about specifics of implementation etc, but it's well past midnight already and I've been composing this message for a long time tonight. Lucius Alexander Uncomplicated palindromedary tagline
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