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The Essence of Power Design...

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  • cryptosnark
    ...is just as Palmer has said; in-game effect and utility is a more important measure for any sort of cost than how difficult/advanced the required technology
    Message 1 of 6 , Nov 30, 2003
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      ...is just as Palmer has said; in-game effect and utility is a more
      important measure for any sort of cost than how
      difficult/advanced the required technology or power transfer may
      be in real or hypothetical life.

      You can see this with the "Fractional C Flight" modifier for
      "Flight." In reality, the power to fling yourself through the void at a
      goodly fraction of lightspeed, without a long-term acceleration or
      deceleration, and without smashing your poor body into a frozen
      blob of cellular jam, would take copious heaps of energy--
      immeasurably more than, say, that required to jump a bit higher
      or give off a bit of electricity with a touch.

      But for 99% of all foreseeable campaigns, the ability to zip
      through interplanetary space just isn't all that genuinely useful,
      though there's no doubt that it's a damn cool party trick.

      You can also see where I might not have been thinking entirely
      clearly on this topic... I suspect that "Longevity" may be
      overpriced for its actual *in-game* effects; I'm still trying to wrap
      my brain around the subject and find an appropriate mental
      yardstick.

      Cheers!

      SL
    • orionkidder
      Thank you! You are both most helpful. ... at a ... wrap
      Message 2 of 6 , Nov 30, 2003
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        Thank you! You are both most helpful.

        --- In deedsnotwordsd20@yahoogroups.com, "cryptosnark" <cryptosnark@y.
        ..> wrote:
        > ...is just as Palmer has said; in-game effect and utility is a more
        > important measure for any sort of cost than how
        > difficult/advanced the required technology or power transfer may
        > be in real or hypothetical life.
        >
        > You can see this with the "Fractional C Flight" modifier for
        > "Flight." In reality, the power to fling yourself through the void
        at a
        > goodly fraction of lightspeed, without a long-term acceleration or
        > deceleration, and without smashing your poor body into a frozen
        > blob of cellular jam, would take copious heaps of energy--
        > immeasurably more than, say, that required to jump a bit higher
        > or give off a bit of electricity with a touch.
        >
        > But for 99% of all foreseeable campaigns, the ability to zip
        > through interplanetary space just isn't all that genuinely useful,
        > though there's no doubt that it's a damn cool party trick.
        >
        > You can also see where I might not have been thinking entirely
        > clearly on this topic... I suspect that "Longevity" may be
        > overpriced for its actual *in-game* effects; I'm still trying to
        wrap
        > my brain around the subject and find an appropriate mental
        > yardstick.
        >
        > Cheers!
        >
        > SL
      • Palmer of the Turks
        ... For my games, I ll honestly never use it at all. Extended life span (or even significant non-magical aging of any kind for that matter) comes into play in
        Message 3 of 6 , Nov 30, 2003
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          On 30 Nov 2003, at 13:28, cryptosnark wrote:

          > You can also see where I might not have been thinking entirely
          > clearly on this topic... I suspect that "Longevity" may be
          > overpriced for its actual *in-game* effects; I'm still trying to wrap
          > my brain around the subject and find an appropriate mental
          > yardstick.

          For my games, I'll honestly never use it at all.
          Extended life span (or even significant non-magical aging of any kind for that matter)
          comes into play in maybe 0.001% of all RPG campaigns, in my experience.

          An average campaign MAY have a year pass in game. A good, long running one may
          pass a couple of years. But I have never seen, nor heard of, a campaign of any sort
          that played through more than 2 or 3 in-game years. The only exception (which I don't
          consider an exception) is campaigns that have a deliberate break with a very long
          (years) downtime segment... that doesn't actually get played. Just "It's been 5 years
          since the blahblahblah and you all have been sitting on your asses getting drunk."

          I think this very point came up back when 1.1 was new... *looks through archives*
          Yes, Shadow (what a surprise) was the one who commented on it (in his "Comments
          on every last power in 1.1 that I have anything to say about" emails, dated 29 April)
          I don't have the message number since I'm not using the website to search the
          archives (just my email client) but here's a paste of his comments.

          ==========

          Longevity: Ludicrously expensive. I have never understood why point-
          based games charge so much for this, which is purely color - how many
          campaigns have you been involved in where aging was a real issue?
          (GURPS finally wised up to this in their latest edition and made it
          MUCH cheaper.) Basically, being unaging is not that big a deal.

          Now, the "Self-Resurrection" enhancement is a whole 'nother kettle of
          fish. It obviously is very powerful. But if you want it be
          expensive, just make it expensive - don't feel you have to make
          Agelessness expensive to reduce the sticker shock of Self-
          Resurrection! (By the way, from a religious
          perspective, "Revivification" is a much better word.)

          ==========

          I agree with everything Shadow had to say on this topic... it's heinously expensive.
          One of my group's characters is a vampire, and her rather well written backstory had
          her being born in 803 CE (3 years into Charlemagne's reign), and becoming a vampire
          sometime before 830 CE (I can't remember exact dates, not that it matters much)
          So it's been over a thousand years since she was born. Even for 14 EP, she'd still be
          dead 300 years ago. 16 EP is atrocious just to have the ability to be born in dark-ages
          Italy for flavour.
          I could see MAYBE 4 EP for Agelessness as fair... 5 at the most. My chart would go
          EP - Age ratio
          1 - 1:2
          2 - 1:4
          3 - 1:8
          4 - 1:16 OR Ageless. If 1:16, then Ageless is 5 EP.

          In Fantasy terms, Half Elves and Halflings would have 1 EP, Gnomes and Dwarves
          would have 2 EP, Elves would have 3 EP, and in all cases end up with more years
          than D&D

          Race - Venerable Age - EP - New Venerable Age
          Human - 70 years - 0 - 70
          Dwarf - 250 years - 2 - 280
          Elf - 350 years - 3 - 560
          Gnome - 200 years - 2 - 280
          Half-elf - 125 years - 1 - 140
          Halfling - 100 years - 1 - 140

          ==============

          Self-Resurrection (I don't have any religious qualms about the name, but it is clumsy to
          say, plus I have an idea that could necessitate renaming it) IS definately cool however.
          The real question is... why does it have to be tied to Longevity? And why must it be
          mystical-ish in nature? And why does it require some physical substance left? Why
          could it not be highly variable - in the form of a "Pick and Choose your different
          qualities" power like Aura/etc?

          Things that could be variable:
          What is required to be left of the character to return?
          Where do they return?
          Automatic or outside intervention required?
          Is there a limited number of times they can return?

          The first item could vary from "intact body" ie, no missing limbs, just damage that
          could theoretically be healed from (naturally or with medical assistance) assuming it
          wasn't lethal to begin with (like being shot up with an uzi, or run through on a lance)
          "Relatively intact body" could be much the same, but some or all major organs/limbs
          could be missing/irreparably damaged and still qualify for returning... like Murphy was
          brought back(ish) in Robocop. He was shot through the brain (irreparably damaged
          organ).
          "Brain required undamaged" would be if the mechanism for return was transplanting
          the brain into a new body, or regenerating one around it, with the idea being that the
          brain IS the person. Alternately, it could be that the brain is the housing of the soul,
          and the mystic resurrection power of the soul still needs the soul to, er, exist.
          "Body fragment" would be the default... as long as some bit of the character remains,
          he can be regenerated from it.
          "Nothing" would be that the soul is not tied to the body, and can flit off by itself and
          regrow a body through it's own powers.

          Where do they return is fairly easy... I can see 3 options
          1: At site of death - The remains required specified regenerate themselves where they
          are. This would be coupled with "no outside intervention required". In theory, if the
          remains were moved from the site of death, then the regeneration would happen where
          it was moved to... so I guess this one would be better called "on location". In the case
          of "nothing" remains, the remains couldn't be moved to force a regeneration elsewhere.

          2: Near location - this one only really works for Nothing remains, and allows the body
          to reform within a certain distance of the point of death. This is helpful if you die by
          falling into an incinerator... On Location would revive you still in the incinerator (and
          thus you'd die again), but Near Location would let you leave the incinerator itself and
          come back in the broom closet nearby instead. This option could be applied to other
          remains forms, representing the (basically) dead body (at least, once there's enough of
          one) being animated by the resurrecting force to move to a preferable location. That
          wouldn't help with the incinerator though.

          3: Specific location - this one is the key to how I was seeing non-magical Self-
          resurrection happening. Ever played System Shock? If not, here's the relevant part.
          In each floor, there's a Resurrection Machine. Once you fix it, you're set. If you die
          anywhere on that floor, the maintenance robots gather your remains and bring them
          back to the machine, which then resurrects you to full and perfect health. This can be
          done infinitely... this makes suicide bomber tactics quite valid and useful in some
          situations. In this case, the specific location is the resurrection machine. Or it could
          be some similar analogue like a clone vat lab or whatnot. In a mystical version, it
          would be the lich's inner sanctum or the vampire's coffin or whatnot.
          Unless remains are "nothing" or some real good explanation is given, this choice
          would require "outside intervention" to operate - you couldn't be brought back until your
          friends recovered your brain intact and brought it back to the lab to transplant into one
          of your brainless clone backups for instance.

          Automatic or outside intervention required?
          Even though it's 2 things, I see 3 versions.
          Automatic - the resurrection process happens by itself. The character will return from
          the dead automatically given time.

          Intervention required - normally goes with "Specific location". This means that some
          outside force has to actually do something to revive the character. In the System
          Shock example, the intervention is bringing them back to the machine. A mystic
          intervention could be "read this scroll over my corpse" or such. Actually, I just read a
          novel with a perfect example of this. The character keeps his life outside of his body, in
          a magical egg that he leaves in safekeeping with a friend. Later on, he gets killed. The
          friend becomes aware of this, and proceeds to recover his corpse and then cracks the
          egg over the body, which brings him back to life. Mind you, his throat is still slit, but
          the magic of it lets him live anyways and heal fast to boot. Basically, any case where
          someone else (can be anyone, really) has to actually do something to initiate the
          regeneration process falls under this

          Special Intervention Required - This is a subset of the above. All the same details
          apply, except that only a limited number of people can actually perform the intervention
          for whatever reason. Perhaps the resurrection scroll must be read by a Catholic
          Bishop, or another mage. Or only 6 scientists in the world actually know how to do the
          brain transplant properly to put the old brain in the new clone... and the only one who's
          friendly was just kidnapped by the villain who wants to have his own clone supply.
          Basically, if someone or something specific and fairly uncommon or rare is required,
          this is it.

          Finally, the last option is "How many times?"
          Can you revive an infinite number of times (like System Shock allows)? Do you only
          have a limited supply of clones or resurrect scrolls? Can you buy/grow/scribe more?
          Do you have Nine Lives? Or is your life-egg a one shot only deal?

          ==============
          Er, yeah, that was a lot.

          Other overpriced power opinion: Unusual Physiology: Breathing.
          In a nutshell, I think the cost for all types should be flat out halved.

          4EP for filtration is very expensive, especially when you can duplicate that effect with
          mundane realworld technology (namely, a gas mask) already.
          I'd rate it at 2 EP (equivalent to a feat) because (at least the way I run it) Night-vision
          goggles (the light amplifying ones aka passive, not the ones that see infrared and have
          their own IR lamp on them to illuminate invisibly aka active) grant you the equivalent of
          the Low-Light Vision feat as long as they're equipped. So you can spend 2 EP on a
          feat to have Low-Light all the time, or you can spend a couple thousand bucks and
          have 3 pound goggles that do the trick, but don't cost EP/feats.

          By the same reasoning, I'd have UP: Breathing - Filtration be 2 EP, because you can
          emulate it mundanely with a gas mask.
          Air Supply is useful, but not as useful as, say, Darkvision IMO, or Danger Sense, both
          of which cost only 3 EP. The circumstances it would come up are minimal, much like
          Pressure Adaptation, and it can also be emulated conventionally (SCUBA gear)
          although less conveniently than a gas mask. Not to mention, 6 EP is the equivalent to
          a strong ability like Cause Unconsciousness, Hypnosis, Instant Evolution and Time
          Mastery

          Thus I feel 3 EP would be a fair price for it.

          Now that I look at it, Digest Anything is also seriously overpriced (base 6 EP)
          considering that UP: Consumption - Need Not Eat At All also costs 6. (also a shade
          high IMO, I'd say 5 EP would be more fair, and the GM inside me is saying "no more
          than 4 EP!" esp. since a Ring of Sustenance duplicates it)
          I see "still needs to eat, but can eat anything" as definately weaker than "don't need to
          eat at all". It's possible to get stuck where you can't eat whatever is handy (concrete
          walls and steel doors are rather hard to chew when one is imprisoned) and still starve.
          I'd price it at 3 or 4 EP, max.

          And then you have Need Not Breathe, which I feel is a good "basic" power at 4 EP...
          it's still less useful than a lot of other 4 EP powers IMO (especially since a lot of
          combat gasses are contact as well as inhalation), but definately has it's uses.

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        • Palmer of the Turks
          ... Scott s the rules man, since it s his game. I m just the Independent Consultant Number Cruncher, but His Worship finds me useful on occasion.
          Message 4 of 6 , Nov 30, 2003
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            On 30 Nov 2003, at 18:14, orionkidder wrote:

            > Thank you! You are both most helpful.

            Scott's the rules man, since it's his game.

            I'm just the Independent Consultant Number Cruncher, but His Worship finds me useful
            on occasion.


            ====================
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          • The Shadow
            ... through archives* ... his Comments ... emails, dated 29 April) Gee Palmer, you don t sound very appreciative of my labors. :) And while making use of
            Message 5 of 6 , Dec 1, 2003
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              > I think this very point came up back when 1.1 was new... *looks
              through archives*
              > Yes, Shadow (what a surprise) was the one who commented on it (in
              his "Comments
              > on every last power in 1.1 that I have anything to say about"
              emails, dated 29 April)

              Gee Palmer, you don't sound very appreciative of my labors. :) And
              while making use of them, too! Tsk. :)

              On the topic, yes, I think many point-based designers (including
              Scott) confuse *in-game difficulty* of attaining immortality (which
              should be extreme, given what a motivator it is - especially for
              villains) with *how much it should cost*.

              In almost any actual campaign, agelessness is just a cool bit of
              background color, perhaps to justify having oodles of skills.

              I did once outline a campaign that was intended to stretch over
              centuries (though it never got off the ground). But of course, all
              the PC's would have been immortal by default in that case, so the
              costs would have cancelled out.

              Immortality has a real effect only in a campaign that lasts decades -
              and mortal characters will be retiring in that amount of time
              anyway. What kind of advantage is it to say, "OK, I'm still around
              while my teammates' kids are now heroes"? If they're too weak to
              effectively adventure with you, you're out of the game... if they're
              on par with you, you've gained nothing.

              And anyway, aging confers benefits to mental stats as well as
              penalties to physical ones... so in such a campaign, the immortal
              actually loses out in some respects!

              The Shadow
            • The Shadow
              Forgot to mention... This is one issue that M&M got right. They have it as a simple feat called Immunity: Aging . The Shadow
              Message 6 of 6 , Dec 1, 2003
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                Forgot to mention...

                This is one issue that M&M got right. They have it as a simple feat
                called "Immunity: Aging".

                The Shadow
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