Power Talk: Discussing the Effectiveness of Effects

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jmucchiello
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Re: Power Talk: Discussing the Effectiveness of Effects

Post by jmucchiello »

Interesting topic, my mnm4 starting point doubling all the costs and then adjusting the powers so their costs can fall "in the cracks". Strength would cost 4 ppr but would Dexterity? No, probably only 3 ppr. Presence could be potentially just be 2 ppr to encourage flamboyance. (Let's not debate this here. I don't want to derail the thread.) Just bringing it up as part of a solution to PP granularity. Imagine if advantages could cost 1/2 or 3/2 PP.

I didn't read Affliction fully (I'm on my phone, not at my desktop). But could a solution be to up the resistance DC to 15 + rank?
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Re: Power Talk: Discussing the Effectiveness of Effects

Post by FuzzyBoots »

jmucchiello wrote: Sat Apr 04, 2020 3:36 pm Interesting topic, my mnm4 starting point doubling all the costs and then adjusting the powers so their costs can fall "in the cracks". Strength would cost 4 ppr but would Dexterity? No, probably only 3 ppr. Presence could be potentially just be 2 ppr to encourage flamboyance. (Let's not debate this here. I don't want to derail the thread.) Just bringing it up as part of a solution to PP granularity. Imagine if advantages could cost 1/2 or 3/2 PP.
Eh... I'm not such a big fan of that because it's giving me 1E flashbacks where all of the attributes had different costs (in part because they were doing the D&D thing where things like Strength also gave you attack bonuses). It was a bit of a mess.
jmucchiello wrote: Sat Apr 04, 2020 3:36 pmI didn't read Affliction fully (I'm on my phone, not at my desktop). But could a solution be to up the resistance DC to 15 + rank?
One of the suggestions that's been floated in the past is to at least do that and then make the first rank a "-1 to Affliction saves" like what Damage does. Since a third-degree Affliction is fight-ending, it should be on the same level as being incapacitated by damage, so at DC 15+rank, that would be fourth-degree.
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Re: Power Talk: Discussing the Effectiveness of Effects

Post by jmucchiello »

FuzzyBoots wrote: Sat Apr 04, 2020 4:18 pm
jmucchiello wrote: Sat Apr 04, 2020 3:36 pm Interesting topic, my mnm4 starting point doubling all the costs and then adjusting the powers so their costs can fall "in the cracks". Strength would cost 4 ppr but would Dexterity? No, probably only 3 ppr. Presence could be potentially just be 2 ppr to encourage flamboyance. (Let's not debate this here. I don't want to derail the thread.) Just bringing it up as part of a solution to PP granularity. Imagine if advantages could cost 1/2 or 3/2 PP.
Eh... I'm not such a big fan of that because it's giving me 1E flashbacks where all of the attributes had different costs (in part because they were doing the D&D thing where things like Strength also gave you attack bonuses). It was a bit of a mess.
One of the mnm4 philosophies I had was points balance effectiveness. If strength is better than dexterity rank for rank, it should cost more or should be less effective. The other philosophy was, "At the table, there's no difference between what a 3E character and a 4E character can do if you translate them rank for rank. So 3 ranks of Strength in 3E is 3 ranks of Strength in 4E and those ranks are equally effective in either game." IOW, only the character construction was changing, the rest of the rules were basically unchanged.

But, again, if you want to debate this, start a new thread.

As for affliction, wouldn't it be easier to just make all "damage" affect all resistance rolls. Aside from the problem that this just makes the swing toward lower defs higher resistances bigger. But keeping track of -3 tough, -1 will, -2 fort (because -1 to afflictions should affect all will/fort saves, shouldn't it?) could get tedious.
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squirrelly-sama
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Re: Power Talk: Discussing the Effectiveness of Effects

Post by squirrelly-sama »

jmucchiello wrote: Sat Apr 04, 2020 5:25 pm
FuzzyBoots wrote: Sat Apr 04, 2020 4:18 pm
jmucchiello wrote: Sat Apr 04, 2020 3:36 pm Interesting topic, my mnm4 starting point doubling all the costs and then adjusting the powers so their costs can fall "in the cracks". Strength would cost 4 ppr but would Dexterity? No, probably only 3 ppr. Presence could be potentially just be 2 ppr to encourage flamboyance. (Let's not debate this here. I don't want to derail the thread.) Just bringing it up as part of a solution to PP granularity. Imagine if advantages could cost 1/2 or 3/2 PP.
Eh... I'm not such a big fan of that because it's giving me 1E flashbacks where all of the attributes had different costs (in part because they were doing the D&D thing where things like Strength also gave you attack bonuses). It was a bit of a mess.
One of the mnm4 philosophies I had was points balance effectiveness. If strength is better than dexterity rank for rank, it should cost more or should be less effective. The other philosophy was, "At the table, there's no difference between what a 3E character and a 4E character can do if you translate them rank for rank. So 3 ranks of Strength in 3E is 3 ranks of Strength in 4E and those ranks are equally effective in either game." IOW, only the character construction was changing, the rest of the rules were basically unchanged.

But, again, if you want to debate this, start a new thread.

As for affliction, wouldn't it be easier to just make all "damage" affect all resistance rolls. Aside from the problem that this just makes the swing toward lower defs higher resistances bigger. But keeping track of -3 tough, -1 will, -2 fort (because -1 to afflictions should affect all will/fort saves, shouldn't it?) could get tedious.
I talked about some of these ideas in the relevant effect posts. Damage lowering affliction resistance doesn't really do much to help affliction on its own, it just makes Damage more useful and just turn damage into a requirement for affliction builds.

I am also against upping the price of abilities and making them unequal. The real reason they have inflated prices for some is that they needlessly added fighting and split Sex between two abilities.
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Re: Power Talk: Discussing the Effectiveness of Effects

Post by Doctor Malsyn »

The real reason they have inflated prices for some is that they needlessly added fighting and split Sex between two abilities.
Size and skill?
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jmucchiello
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Re: Power Talk: Discussing the Effectiveness of Effects

Post by jmucchiello »

squirrelly-sama wrote: Sat Apr 04, 2020 6:58 pm I am also against upping the price of abilities and making them unequal. The real reason they have inflated prices for some is that they needlessly added fighting and split Sex between two abilities.
I don't understand the resistance to making them unequal. The alternative is disconnect them from defenses and offenses completely (as HERO 6E did).

All cost 1 PPR (Stamina is removed completely. Use Fortitude for environmental effects.)
Str - athletics + lifting only (want damage? buy it)
Aim - NEW ranged combat (Replacement for Ranged Attack advantage)
Agl - Stealth, Acrobatics (not used for Dodge)
Dex - Sleight of Hand, Vehicle (not used for Ranged Combat skill or Ranged attack bonuses)
Fgt - close combat (Replacement for Close Attack advantage; Not used for Parry)
Int - Expertise, Investigation, Technology, Treatment
Awe - insight, perception, Initiative* (Not used for Will)
Pre - Deceive, Intimidate, Persuade

Dodge, Parry, fort, will, toughness - base is 0. buy @ 1 ppr. Toughness can be purchased directly.

* Yes, I moved Initiative. Sue me.

Yes, this means Int is the biggest bang for the buck. Does that matter? Int skills rarely swing a combat directly.
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squirrelly-sama
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Re: Power Talk: Discussing the Effectiveness of Effects

Post by squirrelly-sama »

Doctor Malsyn wrote: Sat Apr 04, 2020 7:51 pm
The real reason they have inflated prices for some is that they needlessly added fighting and split Sex between two abilities.
Size and skill?
Because it ruins the flow and makes the system more clunky, things are divided into their groups and those groups have shared properties such as pricing and growth. It's like having random skills cost more or less, or having advantages that cost more or less, streamlining these things is important is important to making sure the whole thing runs fast and smooth without too much complicated maths or number crunches.

You have X ability ranks so you spend Y points, not you bought X strength, Y Dex, N stamina, etc and then do multiple multiplications and add those together.

You can get most of the abilities to line up if Fighting gets dropped and agility is subsumed into Dex. Pick pocket can be an expertise and acrobatics just a feat to use Dex for athletic checks since the two skills overlap so much.
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Re: Power Talk: Discussing the Effectiveness of Effects

Post by jmucchiello »

That doesn't solve the cost of Presence. It is just too expensive at 2 ppr.
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Re: Power Talk: Discussing the Effectiveness of Effects

Post by squirrelly-sama »

jmucchiello wrote: Sun Apr 05, 2020 3:57 am That doesn't solve the cost of Presence. It is just too expensive at 2 ppr.
On my phone all day, can't type up every little thing. Pre would basically need new skills or require some restructuring with other skills. If you need 4 skills, you need one to decieve and hide intent, one to read others intentions, one to inspire emotion like fear or loyalty, and one to convince others to perform actions.
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Re: Power Talk: Discussing the Effectiveness of Effects

Post by jmucchiello »

Reading others' intentions already exists, it's called INSIGHT. And it is an awareness skill. Social sending aka presence is different than social reading aka awareness.

Presence is the interaction ability. Every human interaction can be characterized as deception, intimidation or persuasion. (Or instruction, but that's an Intellect skill) When a GM says make a Presence check, it is perfectly reasonable to ask why Deceive, Intimidate or Persuade would NOT apply because all interaction is covered by those three verbs.

Additionally, most people should never be good at all three methods of interaction. Such a super charismatic person should be extremely rare.

Presence just costs too much.
Because it ruins the flow and makes the system more clunky, things are divided into their groups and those groups have shared properties such as pricing and growth. It's like having random skills cost more or less, or having advantages that cost more or less, streamlining these things is important is important to making sure the whole thing runs fast and smooth without too much complicated maths or number crunches.
Foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of.... I refuse to believe that changing the costs of abilities so that they varied would make the game "harder" or more "complicated". The cost of Dexterity doesn't come up during game play except character gen. And most people perform chargen using HeroLab or a spreadsheet, hiding the terrible math that would STR is 4 PPR and AGL is 3 PPR. This isn't rocket science. This isn't even 4th grade mathematics. If you can multiple by 2 you can multiply by a number found in a list.

And if you use a paper character sheet, the multiplier would be right there on the sheet, plain as day.

The whole point of a point by system is the achievement of balance. Sacrificing balance for simpler math implies you should not bother with balance at all. Why not make all powers have a consistent PPR at that point? Because that is a foolish consistency.
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Re: Power Talk: Discussing the Effectiveness of Effects

Post by RainOnTheSun »

jmucchiello wrote: Sun Apr 05, 2020 9:03 am Reading others' intentions already exists, it's called INSIGHT. And it is an awareness skill. Social sending aka presence is different than social reading aka awareness.

Presence is the interaction ability. Every human interaction can be characterized as deception, intimidation or persuasion. (Or instruction, but that's an Intellect skill) When a GM says make a Presence check, it is perfectly reasonable to ask why Deceive, Intimidate or Persuade would NOT apply because all interaction is covered by those three verbs.

Additionally, most people should never be good at all three methods of interaction. Such a super charismatic person should be extremely rare.

Presence just costs too much.
Since you brought up changing the cost of abilities, have you considered the opposite? Deception, Intimidation, and Persuasion cost too little?

As you said, every human interaction can be characterized as one of those three skills. Pretty broad, don't you think?
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Re: Power Talk: Discussing the Effectiveness of Effects

Post by squirrelly-sama »

jmucchiello wrote: Sun Apr 05, 2020 9:03 am Reading others' intentions already exists, it's called INSIGHT. And it is an awareness skill. Social sending aka presence is different than social reading aka awareness.

Presence is the interaction ability. Every human interaction can be characterized as deception, intimidation or persuasion. (Or instruction, but that's an Intellect skill) When a GM says make a Presence check, it is perfectly reasonable to ask why Deceive, Intimidate or Persuade would NOT apply because all interaction is covered by those three verbs.

Additionally, most people should never be good at all three methods of interaction. Such a super charismatic person should be extremely rare.

Presence just costs too much.
Because it ruins the flow and makes the system more clunky, things are divided into their groups and those groups have shared properties such as pricing and growth. It's like having random skills cost more or less, or having advantages that cost more or less, streamlining these things is important is important to making sure the whole thing runs fast and smooth without too much complicated maths or number crunches.
Foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of.... I refuse to believe that changing the costs of abilities so that they varied would make the game "harder" or more "complicated". The cost of Dexterity doesn't come up during game play except character gen. And most people perform chargen using HeroLab or a spreadsheet, hiding the terrible math that would STR is 4 PPR and AGL is 3 PPR. This isn't rocket science. This isn't even 4th grade mathematics. If you can multiple by 2 you can multiply by a number found in a list.

And if you use a paper character sheet, the multiplier would be right there on the sheet, plain as day.

The whole point of a point by system is the achievement of balance. Sacrificing balance for simpler math implies you should not bother with balance at all. Why not make all powers have a consistent PPR at that point? Because that is a foolish consistency.
Okay, number 1. This is a thread about effects and this conversation is already dragging on too long and off topic with discussion about abilities, skills, and the prices there of. I was answering it so far with my thoughts to be polite but if you want an in-depth discussion you should just make a dedicated thread for it.
Number 2, this seems to be a hot button topic for you since your posts seem to be getting more argumentative to defend your stance with, what to me, reads like a harsh tone. If you want to debate about it that's fine, but if this continues on here I feel like it's going to to go nowhere but the two of us shouting at each other in the middle of an unrelated thread.
Number 3, this is also not a necessarily a thread about designing a new version of MnM, at least not redesigning abilities and skills. Pricing structures vs effectiveness are a bit closer to on topic though.

Consistency, theming, and mirroring are important for various reasons when it comes to designing game systems, or really anything. It's one of the things that's somewhat annoying about effects is that there's not a lot of that going on and a lot of it becomes cobbled together without a second thought. We have effects with different prices, we have effects with different elements such as action time maintenance costs ranges and areas, we have effects with wildly different ranking structures. A lot of this was necessary, Effects are all very different in what they set out to do and how useful what they do is. However this gives the entire section a very unpolished look and a frustrating level of, not really complexity but that's probably the closest word that makes it somewhat awkward to deal with for veteran players who still have to occasionally check back up again for how to even build an effect for quite a few that aren't fairly standard and simplified like Damage, Affliction, Move Object, and the like. To new players it looks like a giant mess of new and conflicting information that tends to serve as one of the bigger hurdles to get over before they even start, like seeing some sort of Gordian knot of connecting wires you need to untangle before you can even turn on a console to game.

MnM, 3e at least, is basically marketed as being an easier, simpler, and quicker game than other TTRPGs while still maintaining some level of mechanical fidelity that lacks in the almost pure RP systems like Fate. Keeping things consistent is an element of that, people are more willing to add or subtract to the more nebulous effectiveness of the things when compared to others within a group than have a more tangible element of one of them be out of sync. When you have everything just be anything without any sort of internal consistency things just look daunting and and become tedious to keep track of and design. Sure an image of polish and sleekness doesn't seem like it should have priority over something like a mechanical benefit but sanding off such rough edges is a necessity. For one it makes easier for new players to get into a system, for another it allows for more efficiency when a more veteran player uses it, and lastly it generally keeps a system on track making it easier to determine designer intentions as well as where and how it's possible to add other things in either through expansions or homebrew. If you want to add a new Ability score in DnD (such as with the Honor and Sanity optional rules) you know you just have to roll for it exactly the same as the rest. If you want to create a new Effect in MnM you wouldn't really know where to start.

Despite what you say in your posts not everyone uses Herolab, several of the big posters here and on at Ronin labs still pencil it out iirc. Jab still occasionally has issues where you can see where he either flubbed a bit of math or forgot to change something from the last template he used. It's also not a perfect solution for replacing knowledge of the system and costs yourself since even while I have it I tend to mentally do math to plot out some characters when away from my computer and an idea strikes me. That's not even getting into when the system simply doesn't want to do certain things or something goes wrong and it spits out something obviously incorrect. A couple of my favorites that they still haven't fixed despite my numerous reports over the years are that they still add defensive roll protection bonuses all the time even when it's arrayed or how having both normal Growth and cosmetic growth on a construct just hits it with a -5 to toughness. I also remember how their 64 bit update broke a lot of people's other updates and made them not reinstall(Turns out it was because some people had their system installed outside of the default location which was where the updates go by default and you cant change directory folders paths to point them elsewhere. I had to mess around until I found that out myself.)

While something that only effects the building aspect may seem minor, being that you only build a character once then play them after all it sort of underestimates just how how big a thing building characters is for MnM. I know my self and Jab focus on it much more than the game play aspect, and honestly even those who play the game very often tend to have a lot of builds, often much more than they ever play. It's just how the community is and what the system tends to attract. Part of what a lot of people like about MnM is that you can build just about anything, and any idea for a super hero, super villain, wizard, mecha pilot, magical girl, etc can be usually be made and often will even by newbies. I remember when I first started out and how I spent a while just building MnM character sheets for cartoon characters I liked, such as the Mane Six from MLP or the characters of Madoka Magica. They were all terrible, filled with errors, and made in an excel spread sheet which also got the math wrong but I still remember it fondly.

Polish is important as well, some of the more frustrating issues with 3e is how little the system was given and how made the whole thing seem clunky. Explanations for core mechanics only explained once in a specific power, rules about mechanics that are mentioned but never explained, powers just left pretty much as is from previous previous version, effects not lining up compared to each other despite how they should be similar, effects that really should just be a single effect with some modifiers instead spread across half a dozen unique ones. Costs that appear arbitrarily inflated or deflated that don't line up with anything to explain why. Random and arbitrary limits on effects or other stats in the name of "realism" despite the premise of the system basically being a one size fits all mold for super heroes which covers a wide variety of genre and tropes. That last one especially, there is a LOT to unpack for it in the effect section but it appears in a lot of other sections. Why does a gun do less damage than a bow? Why is toughness the only resistance you can't purchase directly? Why are the Sleight of Hand DCs set so freaking high? Why does athletic checks for speed let you do a check to get a rank of the power but leaping requires the power otherwise it's just using math, determining the angle of the jump, the speed at which you approach the jump, and and then getting an answer that's often pointless precise given how distance is often measured in ranks not feet? Did they actually change their mind literally halfway through designing the skill? Game, why do you do this? I'm not asking because I'm angry I'm asking because I'm confused. And also angry.

But yeah, in short; Consistency is important to designing a system. It makes it more easy for new users to learn, more efficient for veterans to use, more attractive to potential customers, easier to design around and unpack for further modifications, and helps avoid frustrating mistakes like leaving out information or having multiple different systems in place to achieve the similar things. Also pattern recognition please the lizard brain while breaking out of formation makes lizard brain angry.
jmucchiello
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Re: Power Talk: Discussing the Effectiveness of Effects

Post by jmucchiello »

I apologize if I seem overly argumentative. I'm sure we are all a bit frustrated and stir crazy due to real world concerns.

I still would prefer a point value system where there are no arbitrary hand wavings of "Yeah, we know these 8 things are not all worth 2 points each but we're going to give them the same cost to streamline the math."

Funny, at this point, the 1 PP for all abilities I wrote up above (completely off the cuff at the time) is starting to gain traction in my preference for solving this issue. It only fails because I wanted easy compatibility (during game play) with 3E. I bring it up only because I have an addendum, to avoid people needing to spend 5*PL points in defenses, they should start at PL and be allowed to be adjust up and down at 1ppr. One of the annoying parts of the system is defense and PL restrictions add a certain burden to PP usage. This would make the defenses part of PL restrictions less "costly."

Last stab at mixed ppr costs for abilities: If you were new to the game, and were told, Str costs X, Agility cost Y, etc. You would have no reservations about this. You might even look at what STR does in comparison to AGL and think, yes, those costs make sense. It is only because you are used to 2 ppr for all abilities, 1 ppr for all defenses, 1/2 ppr for all skills, 1 ppr for all advantages, and random ppr for powers, extras, and flaws, that you think changing it would be an issue. I'm sure after a month of working with the new system, anyone who makes characters frequently, would grok the changes and be doing the math in their head as flawlessly as they were doing it before.

IOW, yes, consistency is good in systems design. But it should not be favored over making the system a good as it could be.

Ironically, I have a blogger site that is still all private where I suggest how mnm4 might be written and now I want to switch it all to the 1ppr for all version. Thanks for making me think.
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Re: Power Talk: Discussing the Effectiveness of Effects

Post by jmucchiello »

RainOnTheSun wrote: Sun Apr 05, 2020 12:15 pm Since you brought up changing the cost of abilities, have you considered the opposite? Deception, Intimidation, and Persuasion cost too little?

As you said, every human interaction can be characterized as one of those three skills. Pretty broad, don't you think?
Interesting, and the total opposite of several others in this thread who stated they would not like the idea of some skills have different costs. I'll think about this because I had not even considered different costs for skills.

I'll point out that in my changes, I took the most annoying skill Technology and created more gateway advantages for it: Demolitions, Security Systems, etc. This way someone who is good at explosives is not automatically MacGuyver with jury-rigging any system and an expert hacker who can crack any security system. This is cheap in my changes because I've doubled the cost of everything (PL 10 starts with 300 PP) and thus not all advantages cost 2 PP, some can cost just 1 or as much as 3. "Attractive cost 1 PP for +2 circumstance bonus. You can add a +1 bonus for 1 PP up to a maximum of 4 PP for a +5 bonus." And 4 PP is the same cost as 2 ranks of attractive in vanilla mnm.
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Re: Power Talk: Discussing the Effectiveness of Effects

Post by Doctor Devious »

Woodclaw wrote: Tue Jan 07, 2020 6:23 pm A bit of thread necromancy here.

As a professional translator, Comprehend is a power that is near and dear to me... when I'm not pissed off by it.
Unfortunately, the problems of Comprehend are actually something that has way deeper roots than this game, they go all the way to the beginning of fiction itself. If you look at any kind of fiction, it's extremely rare for characters to hit any kind of language barrier. Why? Because it would be extremely problematic for the audience to handle it. For example, try to imagine reading one of the issues of Wolverine set in Japan and having the actual dialogue written in proper Japanese. It would be really cool for a one-shot deal, but it would drive most of the audience nuts in the long run.
In general, Comprehend is a "silent game killer", because it gave the PCs access to additional information that the GM rarely consider while working on the story. As a result, the notes to the power are designed to make most of these extra sources unreliable or flat-out useless, which is actually against the underlying narrative of the genre and the power. Even without going full Tolkien (the animals of the Middle Earth display normal levels of intelligence), usually animals, plants and machines seem able to provide a host of information.
I raise your zombie!
There was an great TV series many, many years ago called "Shogun", where a bunch of Europeans are imprisoned by some Japanese folks at the start of the tale. The japanese dialog, of which there is a lot, is not translated or subtitled. Intentionally. You were meant to feel as confused as terrified as the prisoners were: being shouted at in a language they didn't know, with the fear that this could and did (occasionally) escalate to execution.
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