Wednesday, March 7, 2012

OGG HERO House Rules: Aborting to a Defensive Action

My Old Gaming Group (OGG) has been enjoying a renaissance of HERO gaming in the supers genre, and there have been a flurry of e-mails about rules clarifications and house ruling. If not obvious in our past post, or in this one, let me just say that in terms of gaming preferences:
  • we play at a high power level
  • we are concerned with both tactical combat and character roleplaying
  • we place a high premium (at least when running Champions) on the mechanics and dice rolls speaking for themselves despite story directions for adventure or character plotline

The most recent e-mail discussions covered the classic Aborting to a Defensive Action maneuver.

Page 361-362 of 5th ed revised: Aborting an Action: "A character may perform more than one defensive Action wihle Aborting - such as Aborting to Dodge and activating a Defensive Power - provided they are not mutually exclusive."

This means you can abort to reallocate a multipower, activate a force field and missile deflect, allocate levels to missile deflect, then perform the missile deflection.

I am not sure that we want to do this, because it makes levels a lot more powerful, as well as multipowers, but the bad guys will have it too, so it is kind of balanced.  This could make a character with a bunch of levels very dangerous.

For example, if Musashi puts all his levels into location and damage to hit an agent in the eye with his tetsubo on phase 12 so he can get a massive presence attack for having the guy's head spiked on a 4 inch by 4 inch piece of steel.  On phase two, a villain who is unimpressed by the action flies up and tries to spike him with a move through.  He pulls ahead to block, reallocates all of his levels to OCV and blocks.  Even though he might not have a high enough speed, he can continue to block because he has a lot of levels.

This makes aborting very defensively powerful, but since you cannot pull ahead past your next phase it still has limitations.  It will force people to be a lot more judicious with reserved actions - reserve your action until an opponent makes a move, then be sure you attack them on that same phase.

Subsequent replies generally went like this:

The one down side I see is that it makes combat LESS lethal, which in turn means combats take longer, which in turn means role playing is shortened, since combats already take long enough.  You better have a massive OCV when attacking guys, because you can be sure they are going to block you, or you HAVE to wait till they go in the phase you act so they cant abort to a block.

So ultimately:

It makes multipowers and levels way too tough.  If you can abort to reallocate a multi, I would buy everything as ultra slots, have a 150 point multi with Attacks and defenses, have some def outside the multi, time a massive attack to go on dex count 1 of a phase, abort the second the next segment comes to apply ridiculous defenses.  The points I save on the slots I would use to buy extra speed only to abort phases.

Imagine a character with 6 speed (9 with the limitation) doing this with maybe a 210 point multipower.  you could easily make this powerhouse in High powered game, have a 60 pd/ed hardened force field, and a 28d6 EB at 0 End - not a lot of drawbacks there.

I think we should stick with the old way.  That way there are consequences to level allocation and to multipower allocation.

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That's my side of things. Let me know what you think, my friend.

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