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[Hero 5th] Handling Focii, Dispel, Suppress, and Balance?

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April 7, 2005 6:03:52 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.super-heroes (More info?)

All,

I'm about to start up a new Supers campaign, based on 250 free points
and 100 disadvantage points (total 350 towards "cool stuff"). We
probably won't play for about another month, based on everyone's
schedule.

I have one player who wants to stick pretty much everything in his
Power Suit, Utility Belt, Helmet, and Gun. He really loves Iron Man and
wants to do a similar concept. Most of the powers are in everything
except the suit. The suit is his armor ... and his stats.

I've never had a character want to put all their stats and powers in a
focus. On the one hand, it makes total sense. Without the suit, he is
totally normal with only inventor skills. I don't mind the stats all
going in the suit. On the other hand, it sorta smacks of powergaming.
Is it even legal? I think it is but I haven't had time to look it up in
the 5th Edition book.

Anyway, last night I was just flipping through my 5th edition
supplement, Champions, the one on world-building and campaigns. It
mentioned that in a 350 point game, about 100 points in foci was OK but
more than that really really makes the character more powerful and
flexible than the others. I don't want to feel compelled to always try
to go out of my way to put him in a bad situation regarding his suit,
but he has everything in it. So, he is pretty effetive.

How would you handle this, within the realm of letting him play the
"normal techie with power armor" concept? How do Dispel and Suppress
powers work on a focus with several things in it? I think I recall that
Supress or Drain powers and stuff like that would affect it as a whole.
However, I don't recall the way that'd work on a Focus since the points
arent really linked.

So, sometime before this weekend, I need to investigate the legality of
all of it, even though I've been running a 4th edition game and playing
in a 5th edition one, this hasn't come up. Most of the players (self
included) tend to play Science Heroes or Mutants or Spellcasters or
what-not, so big focus reliance hasn't been an issue.

What would you recommend?

Lewis
Anonymous
April 8, 2005 2:02:17 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.super-heroes (More info?)

On 7 Apr 2005 14:03:52 -0700, lewis@lwb.org wrote:

>All,
>
>I'm about to start up a new Supers campaign, based on 250 free points
>and 100 disadvantage points (total 350 towards "cool stuff"). We
>probably won't play for about another month, based on everyone's
>schedule.
>
>I have one player who wants to stick pretty much everything in his
>Power Suit, Utility Belt, Helmet, and Gun. He really loves Iron Man and
>wants to do a similar concept. Most of the powers are in everything
>except the suit. The suit is his armor ... and his stats.
>
>I've never had a character want to put all their stats and powers in a
>focus. On the one hand, it makes total sense. Without the suit, he is
>totally normal with only inventor skills. I don't mind the stats all
>going in the suit.

I do:

STR: Theres no serious problem with the suit having servomechanism
that do the lifting and punching for you.

DEX: If your suits DEX is higher than your own DEX that means you
must not be controlling the suit. It must be controlling itself and
taking you along for the ride. Which brings up the question...why are
you going? You just build a robot, have a lot more internal room, and
control it by remote radio link. If he starts talking about
"targeting computers", point out to him that those are skill levels,
not DEX.

CON: CON is your personal physical suffering threshold. So unless
the suit is injecting drugs into you to boost your ability to take it
(and such a mechanism should have appropriate limitations associated
with it), the suit is not going to boost your CON.

BODY: Is your own body's durability. In order to increase it, the
suit would have to increase your physical size or the density of your
flesh, or do something like making your bones more flexible and
strong at the same time. While it isn't impossible for such a
technology to exist in comic books, it doesn't combine terribly well
with a suit of power armour.

INT: Pretty much the same thing as CON and BODY. The suit can lift
for you. It can't think for you. Even if it has a onboard computer
that can think, that intelligence wouldn't be your intelligence and it
would be thinking in addition, not for you. Oh, and incidentally if
there was a drug or device that could increase your intelligence or
constitution, it would be psychologically very habituating.

EGO: A suit could conceivably have a psychic "amplifier" in it, but
only if the character was specifically a mentalist. Otherwise any
mental defenses the character would have should just be bought
at mental defense.

PRE: No problems here. It's perfectly believable that someone would
be more confident and charismatic in a suit of armour that gives them
awesome powers and looks cool.

COM: Doesn't really apply.

PD/ED: Isn't that what Armor is for?

SPD: Same as DEX.

REC: Suits often have their own REC so they can recharge their own
energy reserves. But a suit generally isn't going to rest for your
body any more than it will think for you.

END: Same as REC

STUN: Stun is your ability to remain conscious as you take a
physical pounding. The suit doesn't increase this, except indirectly
(by absorbing damage instead of you).


On the other hand, it sorta smacks of powergaming.
>Is it even legal? I think it is but I haven't had time to look it up in
>the 5th Edition book.
>
>Anyway, last night I was just flipping through my 5th edition
>supplement, Champions, the one on world-building and campaigns. It
>mentioned that in a 350 point game, about 100 points in foci was OK but
>more than that really really makes the character more powerful and
>flexible than the others. I don't want to feel compelled to always try
>to go out of my way to put him in a bad situation regarding his suit,
>but he has everything in it. So, he is pretty effetive.
>
>How would you handle this, within the realm of letting him play the
>"normal techie with power armor" concept?

Discourage him from buying anything except STR and PRE
with the armour limitation. Remind him that characters like Tony
Stark are smart and capable in or out of their armour and the reason
for that is because without a capable pilot, any combat vehicle is
useless.
Anonymous
April 8, 2005 2:07:59 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.super-heroes (More info?)

lewis@lwb.org wrote:
> I've never had a character want to put all their stats and powers in a
> focus. On the one hand, it makes total sense. Without the suit, he is
> totally normal with only inventor skills. I don't mind the stats all
> going in the suit. On the other hand, it sorta smacks of powergaming.
> Is it even legal?

Sure, so long as the focus is actually a limitation. Of course, if
you're not careful, it can easily result in a character who can
overshadow other PCs.

Some suggestions for dealing with an all-gadget guy:

Enforce limits like damage caps or rule-of-X guidelines. That way, the
character may be more flexible than other PCs, but at least he won't
have more raw power.

Encourage the character to spend the extra points on skills rather than
combat powers, to reflect his gadgeteer nature. Alternately, encourage
him to spend the extra points on "redundant" powers (e.g., buy two EBs
with different special effects, so that it's harder to counter them with
specialized defenses, instead of buying two completely different
powers).

Make the power limitation count. Have the bad guys attack or restrain
his gadgets. Run an occasional "secret ID" encounter, where the hero
must either find a way to use his gadgets discreetly or do without them.
It's probably a good idea to warn the player of this, so that he can
make a backup plan for that kind of situation.

Set up scenarios where the villains take advantage of his limitations in
more subtle ways. For example, a supervillain might use stolen or cloned
versions of his gadgets for a classic "impersonate the hero" story. Be
careful, though: Some players find that cliche disproportionately
annoying, and others will actually revel in it (because they get extra
spotlight time out of it).
--
Bradd W. Szonye
http://www.szonye.com/bradd
Anonymous
April 8, 2005 2:17:09 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.super-heroes (More info?)

lewis@lwb.org wrote:
>> I don't mind the stats all going in the suit.

David Johnston wrote:
> I do ....
>
> DEX: If your suits DEX is higher than your own DEX that means you
> must not be controlling the suit ....

Or the suit pumps you full of DEX-enhancing drugs, or the strength-
enhancing waldo mechanisms can respond to stimuli faster than your
muscles can, or the suit is wired right into your nervous system.

> If he starts talking about "targeting computers", point out to him
> that those are skill levels, not DEX.

That's a bizarre thing to say for an effect-based game.

> CON: CON is your personal physical suffering threshold. So unless
> the suit is injecting drugs into you to boost your ability to take it
> (and such a mechanism should have appropriate limitations associated
> with it) ....

How is focus not an "appropriate limitation"?

> BODY: Is your own body's durability. In order to increase it, the
> suit would have to increase your physical size or the density of your
> flesh, or do something like making your bones more flexible and strong
> at the same time ....

Again, it sounds like you're arguing from causes rather than effects,
which is inappropriate for power-construction systems like HERO. If the
end result of the suit's effects are similar to extra BODY, then that's
how you model it in HERO.

> INT: Pretty much the same thing as CON and BODY. The suit can lift
> for you. It can't think for you ....

Why not? Again, there are superdrugs and other fantasy nervous-system
enhancers that work just fine for this.

> EGO: A suit could conceivably have a psychic "amplifier" in it, but
> only if the character was specifically a mentalist ....

Because ...?

It looks like you're applying arbitrary limitations and outright
ignoring a lot of "plausible" comic-book pseudoscience.
--
Bradd W. Szonye
http://www.szonye.com/bradd
Anonymous
April 8, 2005 3:56:22 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.super-heroes (More info?)

On 7 Apr 2005 14:03:52 -0700, lewis@lwb.org wrote:


>Anyway, last night I was just flipping through my 5th edition
>supplement, Champions, the one on world-building and campaigns. It
>mentioned that in a 350 point game, about 100 points in foci was OK but
>more than that really really makes the character more powerful and
>flexible than the others. I don't want to feel compelled to always try
>to go out of my way to put him in a bad situation regarding his suit,
>but he has everything in it. So, he is pretty effetive.
>
>How would you handle this, within the realm of letting him play the
>"normal techie with power armor" concept? How do Dispel and Suppress
>powers work on a focus with several things in it? I think I recall that
>Supress or Drain powers and stuff like that would affect it as a whole.
>However, I don't recall the way that'd work on a Focus since the points
>arent really linked.

Well, quite apart from my artistic objections, an important thing to
consider is that every time an attack penetrates the suits defenses,
it will lose a function. If he put everything into the suit, then
screwing up his stats because he's taking damage isn't just a good
idea, it's pretty much mandatory. This will help cut him down to size
in fairly short order during a serious fight.
Anonymous
April 8, 2005 6:34:16 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.super-heroes (More info?)

On 7 Apr 2005 14:03:52 -0700, lewis@lwb.org wrote:

>I have one player who wants to stick pretty much everything in his
>Power Suit, Utility Belt, Helmet, and Gun. He really loves Iron Man and
>wants to do a similar concept. Most of the powers are in everything
>except the suit. The suit is his armor ... and his stats.
>
>I've never had a character want to put all their stats and powers in a
>focus. On the one hand, it makes total sense. Without the suit, he is
>totally normal with only inventor skills. I don't mind the stats all
>going in the suit. On the other hand, it sorta smacks of powergaming.
>Is it even legal? I think it is but I haven't had time to look it up in
>the 5th Edition book.
>
>Anyway, last night I was just flipping through my 5th edition
>supplement, Champions, the one on world-building and campaigns. It
>mentioned that in a 350 point game, about 100 points in foci was OK but
>more than that really really makes the character more powerful and
>flexible than the others. I don't want to feel compelled to always try
>to go out of my way to put him in a bad situation regarding his suit,
>but he has everything in it. So, he is pretty effetive.


Steve Long (who wrote the rules) has stated many times that starting
with 5th edition he really wanted GMs to be responsible for play
balance. He no longer wanted the rules to try to be responsible for
it. The GM has to be willing to say "No" if something is out of
balance. Those guidelines above make sense, but it's up to you to
make the final call.

However, just to start out: Standard battlesuits are no longer
generally considered a "focus" worth a -1/2 limitation (OIF).
Instead, battlesuits are generally played as "Only In Hero ID" which
is only worth a -1/4 limitation. That will knock off a bunch of
points right there.
Anonymous
April 8, 2005 7:59:06 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.super-heroes (More info?)

On Fri, 08 Apr 2005 02:34:16 GMT, quester@infionline.net (Harold
Groot) wrote:

e the final call.
>
>However, just to start out: Standard battlesuits are no longer
>generally considered a "focus" worth a -1/2 limitation (OIF).
>Instead, battlesuits are generally played as "Only In Hero ID" which
>is only worth a -1/4 limitation. That will knock off a bunch of
>points right there.

Huhn. But if you get them that way, then they no longer have systems
malfunctioning every time they get hit. Maybe that's why they do it
that way now. After all, Iron Man didn't have that much problem with
his gear getting knocked offline.
Anonymous
April 8, 2005 11:26:52 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.super-heroes (More info?)

On Fri, 08 Apr 2005 03:59:06 GMT, rgorman@telusplanet.net (David
Johnston) wrote:

>On Fri, 08 Apr 2005 02:34:16 GMT, quester@infionline.net (Harold
>Groot) wrote:
>
>e the final call.
>>
>>However, just to start out: Standard battlesuits are no longer
>>generally considered a "focus" worth a -1/2 limitation (OIF).
>>Instead, battlesuits are generally played as "Only In Hero ID" which
>>is only worth a -1/4 limitation. That will knock off a bunch of
>>points right there.

>Huhn. But if you get them that way, then they no longer have systems
>malfunctioning every time they get hit. Maybe that's why they do it
>that way now. After all, Iron Man didn't have that much problem with
>his gear getting knocked offline.


I think it's more a matter of "How often does the focus get taken away
from the character?"

Even an inaccessable focus should be taken away from time to time.
But with most PCs in battlesuits the answer to the question above is
"Never". Since it's generally being played as less of a limitation,
it's generally worth only the smaller amount.

That doesn't mean that it is suddenly unbreakable. That's a call for
the GM to make. It is quite within the spirit of the rules for the GM
to use both the -1/4 limit value (for a focus that never gets taken
away from the player) and the rules on powers breaking if the suit
defenses are exceeded. If the PC in question is that much more
effective than the others, I'd certainly be playing it that way.

Under the "focus" discussion in 5th edition it mentions "A true hero
(i.e. most PCs) should always be able to do something useful or heroic
even without his focus." With the character in question putting
essentially EVERYTHING through the focus, this is not the case. It is
violating the spirit of the game. The player needs to understand that
RPGs are not identical to comics, so just because something exists in
comics does not mean that players can automatically do it.
Anonymous
April 8, 2005 12:28:14 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.super-heroes (More info?)

On Fri, 08 Apr 2005 07:26:52 GMT, quester@infionline.net (Harold
Groot) wrote:


>
>
>I think it's more a matter of "How often does the focus get taken away
>from the character?"
>
>Even an inaccessable focus should be taken away from time to time.
>But with most PCs in battlesuits the answer to the question above is
>"Never".

Really? I've attacked PCs when they haven't had their suit handy. In
fact it's a lot easier than many other more compact inaccessible foci.


>
>Under the "focus" discussion in 5th edition it mentions "A true hero
>(i.e. most PCs) should always be able to do something useful or heroic
>even without his focus." With the character in question putting
>essentially EVERYTHING through the focus, this is not the case. It is
>violating the spirit of the game. The player needs to understand that
>RPGs are not identical to comics, so just because something exists in
>comics does not mean that players can automatically do it.

The truth is, it doesn't really exist in the comics either. The
typical battlesuit character may not be able to kick Batman's ass when
he's out of the suit, but he can usually pound a typical thug or two
unless he's a Fabian Stankowicz who is incompetent in or out of his
suit.
Anonymous
April 25, 2005 6:01:48 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.super-heroes (More info?)

<lewis@lwb.org> wrote in message
news:1112907832.802651.10410@l41g2000cwc.googlegroups.com...


[battlesuit hero]
> So, sometime before this weekend, I need to investigate the legality of
> all of it, even though I've been running a 4th edition game and playing
> in a 5th edition one, this hasn't come up. Most of the players (self
> included) tend to play Science Heroes or Mutants or Spellcasters or
> what-not, so big focus reliance hasn't been an issue.
>
> What would you recommend?


Don't allow focus limitations on powers. Instead give the points back as
disadvantages,

Say a normal 300 point hero is 100 base + 150 disad + 50 exp. The battle
suit version would have his disads be the battlesuit. (ie a 12d6 oaf EB
would be 60 points instead of 30, but he'd get a 30 point disad). Innate
heros would have 100 points of assorted enemys and hunteds and
susceptibilities and psych lims. Tha battle suit hero would get 100 points
of disad for his battle suit (accounting-wise it's a phys lim).
!