RQ6: Heroic Abilities

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RQ6: Heroic Abilities

Postby Lemnoc » Sun Jul 15, 2012 12:41 am

Loz, Am I missing them, or have Heroic / Legendary Abilities been removed from RQ6?

If gone, why? :?
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Re: RQ6: Heroic Abilities

Postby Prime_Evil » Sun Jul 15, 2012 3:04 am

Lemnoc wrote:Loz, Am I missing them, or have Heroic / Legendary Abilities been removed from RQ6?

If gone, why? :?
Loz mentioned elsewhere on this board that he was never very keen on them, i suspect because they introduce a mechanic similar to feats in the d20 system.

Speaking personally, I'm a bit ambivalent towards them - on the one hand, they do add a small amount of complexity and are potentially open to abuse, but on the other hand they make it possible to differentiate between veteran characters who focus on martial prowess. I suspect that they may be worth emphasizing in games where magic is rare and characters tend to concentrate on mundane skills - the way that Tactical Actions are modeled in Historia Rodentia might be a useful model here.
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Re: RQ6: Heroic Abilities

Postby Lemnoc » Sun Jul 15, 2012 3:35 am

Prime_Evil wrote:I'm a bit ambivalent towards them - on the one hand, they do add a small amount of complexity and are potentially open to abuse, but on the other hand they make it possible to differentiate between veteran characters who focus on martial prowess. I suspect that they may be worth emphasizing in games where magic is rare and characters tend to concentrate on mundane skills - the way that Tactical Actions are modeled in Historia Rodentia might be a useful model here.
Yes, exactly. Exactly. They seem to be a good way to emulate a Conan style character of amazing martial ability. But, as you say, they're ripe for abuse. Seems like they should exist as options, like the various Magic disciplines, for campaigns of different flavors—in this case Lo or No Magic style play.

A couple of nagging questions, though:

1) This used to be something players would spend their Hero points acquiring. I see Hero points are also gone, which used to be a way to reward excellent play. So, what's the analog? Is there an analog?

2) How might one convert players with characters who actually already have Heroic Abilities to RQ6?
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Re: RQ6: Heroic Abilities

Postby Harshlax » Sun Jul 15, 2012 5:43 am

Lemnoc wrote:
Prime_Evil wrote:I'm a bit ambivalent towards them - on the one hand, they do add a small amount of complexity and are potentially open to abuse, but on the other hand they make it possible to differentiate between veteran characters who focus on martial prowess. I suspect that they may be worth emphasizing in games where magic is rare and characters tend to concentrate on mundane skills - the way that Tactical Actions are modeled in Historia Rodentia might be a useful model here.
Yes, exactly. Exactly. They seem to be a good way to emulate a Conan style character of amazing martial ability. But, as you say, they're ripe for abuse. Seems like they should exist as options, like the various Magic disciplines, for campaigns of different flavors—in this case Lo or No Magic style play.

A couple of nagging questions, though:

1) This used to be something players would spend their Hero points acquiring. I see Hero points are also gone, which used to be a way to reward excellent play. So, what's the analog? Is there an analog?

2) How might one convert players with characters who actually already have Heroic Abilities to RQ6?
I would suggest having a look at the Mysticism rules for ways to give supranormal abilities to characters in a way that doesn't have to appear "magical" in setting if that is an issue.

In terms of rewarding play as in player's behaviour instead of in-character actions, maybe give one-use luck points that don't regenerate, to either the player or the party pool? If its in-character actions, various in-game consequences are of course available, including status with cults etc, bonuses to interaction tests etc.
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Re: RQ6: Heroic Abilities

Postby Prime_Evil » Sun Jul 15, 2012 9:24 am

I've been thinking about the situation and I think I understand why some folks don't like Heroic Abilities much. Each of them is a special exception to the rules and therefore reduces the streamlined elegance of the system. Although I think that they add something in return, I can understand this perspective.
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Re: RQ6: Heroic Abilities

Postby alex_greene » Sun Jul 15, 2012 10:36 am

There was some similar debate in the World of Darkness of White Wolf: what happens to Merit dots that can no longer apply to a character who becomes a supernatural, such as Unseen Sense (which was only available to mortals) and, say, Strong Stomach to a vampire or a Promethean (the undead do not eat, so have no need for this, and the Created already possess this innately).

The answer: you lose the points. Nothing replaces them. Deal with it.

I think it was either Justin Achilli or Matt McFarland who said it best, something about "Oh hey, I just lost my Strong Stomach Merit but suddenly I can speak Farsi."

In porting to RQ6, you lose your Heroic / Legendary Abilities. If your character's focus was geared about those abilities and Hero Points, tough.
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Re: RQ6: Heroic Abilities

Postby Loz » Sun Jul 15, 2012 12:35 pm

Yes, Heroic Abilities have gone. So have Hero Points - at least in the way Legend/MRQII uses them.

Neither Pete nor I liked Heroic Abilities. They were a throwback to the Legendary Abilities of MRQ1 and we felt kind of obligated to keep them in MRQII to maintain continuity. But we never liked them, rarely used them, and so dropped them for RQ6.

I did use them in my Hawkmoon game, but god, they were unbalancing. Obviously, if you love them to bits, its easy enough to introduce them back in using Legend's rules.

As for Hero Points, these are now Luck Points and are a function of POW. They regenerate every game session, are not dished-out by the GM, and aren't used as a 'Heroic' currency. Otherwise they function in the same way as Hero Points.
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Re: RQ6: Heroic Abilities

Postby Prime_Evil » Sun Jul 15, 2012 1:11 pm

Loz wrote:Yes, Heroic Abilities have gone. So have Hero Points - at least in the way Legend/MRQII uses them.

Neither Pete nor I liked Heroic Abilities. They were a throwback to the Legendary Abilities of MRQ1 and we felt kind of obligated to keep them in MRQII to maintain continuity. But we never liked them, rarely used them, and so dropped them for RQ6.
I've always assumed that Heroic Abilities would only really come into their own in Legend if you're running a high-powered campaign, so I haven't had an opportunity to use them much for PCs. I can sympathise with your point of view, even though they can be useful for giving the major villains a bit of a power boost without pumping up their skills to ridiculous levels.
Loz wrote:I did use them in my Hawkmoon game, but god, they were unbalancing. Obviously, if you love them to bits, its easy enough to introduce them back in using Legend's rules.
I agree that there are issues with the way that Heroic Abilities are implemented in Legend, but I don't know that I'd toss them out entirely - the basic concept is fine even if the implementation doesn't quite work. Personally, I'd be tempted to tone them down and them make a bit cheaper to acquire. I'd be tempted to make Hero Points the currency that is spent to "activate" Heroic Abilities in the same way that Magic Points are the "currency" used to cast spells. In fact, I'd be tempted to rework them to enable characters who concentrate on mastering non-magical skills to perform cool stunts related to their area of expertise from time to time. These stunts should have a cinematic flavour, allowing skilled adventurers to bend the rules of the game in ways that reflect "action movie realism". However, from a rules perspective they shouldn't be more powerful than equivalent spells. One of the issues with Legend (and many other fantasy roleplaying games) is that spellcasters get all of the awesome toys and adventurers who concentrate on martial prowess or stealth or interpersonal skills get very little in the way of awesome abilities as the campaign progresses. Legend could potentially use Heroic Abilities to redress this balance. RQ 6 doesn't really need them as it has mysticism instead!
Loz wrote:As for Hero Points, these are now Luck Points and are a function of POW. They regenerate every game session, are not dished-out by the GM, and aren't used as a 'Heroic' currency. Otherwise they function in the same way as Hero Points.
The RQ 6 mechanic for Luck Points are elegant but the intention behind them does seem to be a bit different to that behind Hero Points in Legend
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Re: RQ6: Heroic Abilities

Postby Harshlax » Sun Jul 15, 2012 3:24 pm

And of course there are the Gifts from the Cults & brotherhoods section. It is left open to the GM how people acquire gifts...
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Re: RQ6: Heroic Abilities

Postby Lemnoc » Sun Jul 15, 2012 4:38 pm

Prime_Evil wrote:I've been thinking about the situation and I think I understand why some folks don't like Heroic Abilities much. Each of them is a special exception to the rules and therefore reduces the streamlined elegance of the system. Although I think that they add something in return, I can understand this perspective.
I can understand it, too. Maybe most problematic thing about them is they are "Always On," to borrow a term from Hero Games. Everything else is subject to loss, erosion or fatigue.
alex_greene wrote: Nothing replaces them. Deal with it.

If your character's focus was geared about those abilities and Hero Points, tough.
I don’t think this is actually a helpful strategy to convince players to port from one system to another.

Loz wrote:Yes, Heroic Abilities have gone. So have Hero Points
Thank you for the explanation! :)

I had glossed over the Mysticism section, but I do certainly see potential there.
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Re: RQ6: Heroic Abilities

Postby alex_greene » Sun Jul 15, 2012 5:29 pm

Lemnoc wrote:
alex_greene wrote:Nothing replaces them. Deal with it.

If your character's focus was geared about those abilities and Hero Points, tough.
I don’t think this is actually a helpful strategy to convince players to port from one system to another.
You forget the players and Games Masters who will begin with RQ6, and who won't have heard of Legend or perhaps the other systems so they will begin with a game which doesn't have Hero Points or Heroic Abilities.

And it's so easy to port from any other system to RQ6 if you just leave out the Hero Points and Heroic Abilities. Your characters can still make legends without that mechanic. Looks like RQ6 just took the choice out of your hands. Sure, they did it with a smile but it's still just the same as my words in the post I made above.
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Re: RQ6: Heroic Abilities

Postby Deleriad » Sun Jul 15, 2012 5:54 pm

Personally I've never found them that overpowering and you can see elements of them in the combat style benefits and the cult gifts etc.

And as a side note, they're actually activated through MPs so they're not "always on."

One of the things I didn't like about Heroic Abilities is that they are paid for using Hero Points so in order to gain a heroic ability you have to carefully husband your hero points by not putting yourself into situations where you need to spend them. So they stop players from spending Hero Points.

If you wanted them in RQ6 then I would keep the skill and characteristic requirements and require them to be learnt through play rather than spending hero points.

If you wanted a bit more sophistication I would then say that any time a Heroic Ability is gained then to gain a new Heroic Ability using the same skill or characteristic, then skill has to be increased by 20% and the characteristic has to be increased by 1.
E.g. Say you get "swashbuckling swordsman" heroic ability (combat style with sword 90%, DEX 15).
Later on you want to learn "big ass swordsman" heroic ability (combat style with sword 90%, STR 15) then the requirements become (combat style 110%, STR 15).

So basically the heroic abilities can become something a bit like mysticism in that they represent the perfection of skills and physical abilities without having to use a mysticism framework.
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Re: RQ6: Heroic Abilities

Postby DrBargle » Mon Jul 16, 2012 12:21 pm

Deleriad wrote: If you wanted a bit more sophistication I would then say that any time a Heroic Ability is gained then to gain a new Heroic Ability using the same skill or characteristic, then skill has to be increased by 20% and the characteristic has to be increased by 1.
E.g. Say you get "swashbuckling swordsman" heroic ability (combat style with sword 90%, DEX 15).
Later on you want to learn "big ass swordsman" heroic ability (combat style with sword 90%, STR 15) then the requirements become (combat style 110%, STR 15).
I really like that idea - it does stop the problem that a character gets to a skill level threshold and then - BOOM - loads of things become available. However, if I ever ran a game where the PCs survived long enough to be gaining Herioc Abilities, learning them would involve a serious quest, which itself would limit the opportunity for them to unbalance the game.
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Re: RQ6: Heroic Abilities

Postby soltakss » Mon Jul 16, 2012 3:37 pm

Deleriad wrote:Personally I've never found them that overpowering and you can see elements of them in the combat style benefits and the cult gifts etc.
In fact, I found them quite insipid and weak, compared to some of the stuff in my games.

I like them, personally, even the permanent ones, but didn't like the way they were used in MRQI. The methods of gaining them were better in MRQII and Legend, though.

It's a shame that RQ6 doesn't have them as any RQ game needs a simple way of getting/describing special abilities like these.
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Re: RQ6: Heroic Abilities

Postby Loz » Mon Jul 16, 2012 5:47 pm

It's a shame that RQ6 doesn't have them as any RQ game needs a simple way of getting/describing special abilities like these.
Mysticism and cult gifts replace the Heroic Abilities to a very large extent.

Things like these should be earned rewards, not something one simply purchases with enough points of whatever type, in the same way as buying new clogs. With RQ6, mystics study long and hard to gain mastery over themselves and their environment. Cult gifts are awarded to those who have served the cult diligently and achieve a certain level.

I've never thought that Heroic Abilities were especially necessary. They were definitely a nod to D&D 3+ where feats and abilities became a very common part of character advancement. Prior to that, I don't recall RQ ever having issues with non-magical power advancement. D&D's third edition clearly created a new trope leading to players expecting the same kinds of entitlement in other games. That isn't to say its bad: if Heroic Abilities appeal to you and work for you, that's wonderful and use them far and wide.

But with RQ6 we found other ways of managing such powers and I feel Heroic Abilities are, therefore, largely redundant.
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Re: RQ6: Heroic Abilities

Postby soltakss » Tue Jul 17, 2012 12:01 pm

Loz wrote:I've never thought that Heroic Abilities were especially necessary. They were definitely a nod to D&D 3+ where feats and abilities became a very common part of character advancement. Prior to that, I don't recall RQ ever having issues with non-magical power advancement. D&D's third edition clearly created a new trope leading to players expecting the same kinds of entitlement in other games. That isn't to say its bad: if Heroic Abilities appeal to you and work for you, that's wonderful and use them far and wide.
We used Heroic Abilities in our RQ2/3 campaigns, where characters gained special, abilities through magical/HeroQuest/whatever means. They were always ad hoc abilities, though, and didn't fit into a framework.

Legendary Abilities provided such a framework and are useful.
Loz wrote:But with RQ6 we found other ways of managing such powers and I feel Heroic Abilities are, therefore, largely redundant.
Other ways of doing things are always good. I look forward to seeing RQ6 once I have emptied my rather small piggy bank.
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Re: RQ6: Heroic Abilities

Postby Prime_Evil » Tue Jul 17, 2012 2:32 pm

soltakss wrote:We used Heroic Abilities in our RQ2/3 campaigns, where characters gained special, abilities through magical/HeroQuest/whatever means. They were always ad hoc abilities, though, and didn't fit into a framework.

Legendary Abilities provided such a framework and are useful.
I tend to agree - although I think the way that they that Legendary / Heroic Abilities are currently implemented in Legend is a bit clumsy. It does feel as though they have been tacked on as a bit of an afterthought....
soltakss wrote:I look forward to seeing RQ6 once I have emptied my rather small piggy bank.
At least you have a piggy bank! :D
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Re: RQ6: Heroic Abilities

Postby Lemnoc » Wed Jul 18, 2012 12:49 am

Loz wrote:Things like these should be earned rewards...

But with RQ6 we found other ways of managing such powers and I feel Heroic Abilities are, therefore, largely redundant.
Having looked over the sections on Mysticism and Cult Gifts, I believe you are right. And there is now a framework for adding in other legendary abilities.

It's good to have this design philosophy described by the Philosopher Designer.
Prime_Evil wrote:I think the way that they that Legendary / Heroic Abilities are currently implemented in Legend is a bit clumsy. It does feel as though they have been tacked on as a bit of an afterthought....
Likely what makes them feel this way is they are purchased, as Loz said, and not earned as a result of in-play associations. This actually cuts against the grain of building characters and relationships, and—without control—could lend itself to some fairly isolated and arrogant play: "Looka me, I can do anything!"

I'm overall impressed w/ the comprehensive integration of RQ6. Most of the questions that have plagued this forum have been addressed, although this does come somewhat at the expense of being a bit rules heavy. You can't really "wing it" or gloss it when there is an actual "official" rule somewhere that describes the play and sanctions the method; that's a bit of a double-edged sword for those who like loose, light play. It's additionally a bit of a marvel of organization and presentation. There are a couple of play aids, single-page collections of useful stats, that really make this book shine. Well done, I say.
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Re: RQ6: Heroic Abilities

Postby Loz » Wed Jul 18, 2012 2:57 am

I'm overall impressed w/ the comprehensive integration of RQ6. Most of the questions that have plagued this forum have been addressed, although this does come somewhat at the expense of being a bit rules heavy. You can't really "wing it" or gloss it when there is an actual "official" rule somewhere that describes the play and sanctions the method; that's a bit of a double-edged sword for those who like loose, light play. It's additionally a bit of a marvel of organization and presentation. There are a couple of play aids, single-page collections of useful stats, that really make this book shine. Well done, I say.
Thank you!

I do disagree about the winging-it view though. The rules are no more or less prescriptive than Legend (and, in some places, much looser). We do encourage GMs to make some up-front decisions, and try to guide them, without being blatant about it, towards their own, individual interpretations. But there's certainly a lot more in RQ6 than Legend. As we've said, this is the game we originally wanted MRQII to be...

Oh, and our website now has the GM's Pack available, which contains a ton more play aids and two scenarios to get everyone started...
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Re: RQ6: Heroic Abilities

Postby flyingcircus » Fri Aug 03, 2012 6:46 pm

And why is RQ6 being discussed on a Mongoose forum anyhow, shouldn't you discuss this on their forums? :o
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