HQ rules seem "fluffy"

Discuss Freedom City, Paragons, Wild Cards, or your own campaign settings here.
Locked
stebroad
Bystander
Bystander
Posts: 24
Joined: Fri Apr 27, 2012 12:22 pm

HQ rules seem "fluffy"

Post by stebroad » Mon May 14, 2012 5:18 pm

Hi All,

I was just wondering why the rules for headquarters seem so vague?

For example, I can purchase features such as Grounds, a Power System, a Gymnasium, a Living Space, or a Combat Simulator, but there's nothing that describes what these do (in game terms) or why I would want to have them, other than they give my HQ character. Similarly, having a Laboratory or a Library may be required for certain skill checks, and might provide some benefits to those skill checks, but it doesn't get more specific than that.

Any thoughts?

Thanks,
Stephen

FuzzyBoots
Cosmic Entity
Cosmic Entity
Posts: 9719
Joined: Sun Aug 05, 2007 10:15 am
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Contact:

Re: HQ rules seem "fluffy"

Post by FuzzyBoots » Mon May 14, 2012 6:54 pm

I think they're vague specifically because headquarters are not built-in as an integral part of the game, at least not the ones purchased by EP. As for the advantages, most of them basically exist to avoid the "No Tools/Resources" penalty for skill checks and/or for flavor. If the GM doesn't intend there to be a possible mechanical advantage, I'd say that the player should get the feature for free.

stebroad
Bystander
Bystander
Posts: 24
Joined: Fri Apr 27, 2012 12:22 pm

Re: HQ rules seem "fluffy"

Post by stebroad » Mon May 14, 2012 9:16 pm

Two points -

First, what about villainous HQs? If the players are going to be storming the secret lair of Doctor BadGuy, then said HQ becomes a major setting of the game. Thus the rules should be "crunchy" enough to support that scene.

Second, anytime a player has to spend a PP or EP on something, that thing's effect should be definable in game terms. That's just good RPG design.

Don't take this as whining; I actually love M&M and think that 3e is much better than 2e. However if anyone from Green Ronin is reading, know that I'd love it if you guys would release a sourcebook on Headquarters/Lairs that goes into a little more depth, giving them the same rigor found throughout the rest of the game.

Thanks,
Stephen

SilvercatMoonpaw
Cosmic Entity
Cosmic Entity
Posts: 10068
Joined: Sun Aug 27, 2006 8:57 am

Re: HQ rules seem "fluffy"

Post by SilvercatMoonpaw » Tue May 15, 2012 6:52 am

There's a supplement from Misfit studios on the subject:

http://www.rpgnow.com/product/50696/Better-Mousetrap (2e, I think I read somewhere it's going to be updated for 3e at some point)

Thakowsaizmu
Zealot
Zealot
Posts: 1279
Joined: Sun May 18, 2008 12:28 am
Contact:

Re: HQ rules seem "fluffy"

Post by Thakowsaizmu » Tue May 15, 2012 10:57 am

stebroad wrote: Second, anytime a player has to spend a PP or EP on something, that thing's effect should be definable in game terms. That's just good RPG design.
I think perhaps you don't understand the design of the game, in this case.
♀♥♀
百年如石、一點如漆

FuzzyBoots
Cosmic Entity
Cosmic Entity
Posts: 9719
Joined: Sun Aug 05, 2007 10:15 am
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Contact:

Re: HQ rules seem "fluffy"

Post by FuzzyBoots » Tue May 15, 2012 11:45 am

stebroad wrote:Second, anytime a player has to spend a PP or EP on something, that thing's effect should be definable in game terms. That's just good RPG design.
{nods} And, in this case, it gets you a small benefit just like most equipment that you spent that 1 EP on, namely here correct tools for the things like the laboratory and the library (technically speaking, you can't Take 20 on a Knowledge check without reference materials of some sort) or the benefit of having a gym or a swimming pool for when you choose to use it (if nothing else, the latter can likely be used as leverage for organizing killer pool parties among the superhero crowd). There's not a specific bonus involved, for the most part, no more than you get a specific bonus out of owning a cell phone or art supplies.

stebroad
Bystander
Bystander
Posts: 24
Joined: Fri Apr 27, 2012 12:22 pm

Re: HQ rules seem "fluffy"

Post by stebroad » Wed May 16, 2012 9:05 am

FuzzyBoots wrote:...it gets you a small benefit..., namely here correct tools for the things like the laboratory and the library...
Yes, however in the case of the Library I feel the use of the terms "various Knowledge skills" and "certain Expertise skill checks" (p. 177) is too vague (note that in 3e there are no longer Knowledge skills).
FuzzyBoots wrote:...or the benefit of having a gym or a swimming pool for when you choose to use it...There's not a specific bonus involved...
IMO, if there's no bonus (i.e. it just gives your HQ character) then you should not have to spend points to get it. If you spend points, it should have some bonus
For example: using the Gym before going out crime fighting gives you some sort of a bonus on your first combat of the evening (similar to the way Pathfinder treats a whetstone - if you use it to sharpen up your weapon before combat, you get a damage bonus on your first successful attack).
Another example: not having a Power System means that opponents who cut the power supply to your HQ disable (in game terms: Nullify) all electrical features of your HQ (e.g. Defense Systems, Computer, Communications, etc.). Cutting the power supply requires the invaders successfully pass the appropriate Technology & Expertise checks, etc.

That's crunchy.

User avatar
kenseido
Cosmic Entity
Cosmic Entity
Posts: 21184
Joined: Wed Jul 25, 2007 8:57 am
Location: Kyle, Texas
Contact:

Re: HQ rules seem "fluffy"

Post by kenseido » Wed May 16, 2012 9:25 am

Its dangerous to say "no bonus" on a Feature. Just because you don't see a bonus today, doesn't mean it won't come up.

For example, a group of villians invades your HQ and one of them is a fire elemental. Now that "useless" swimming pool becomes extremely helpful.
-----------------------------
Kenseido's Menagerie of Characters

BedLlama
Firebrand
Firebrand
Posts: 854
Joined: Wed Jul 29, 2009 3:40 pm
Location: Toronto, Ontario

Re: HQ rules seem "fluffy"

Post by BedLlama » Wed May 16, 2012 9:27 am

I think that you're looking at HQ feature the wrong way. The reason you pay a single EP (which is essentially a fifth of a power point) for a swimming pool is because every now and then that might be relevant. You might end up sheltering an aquatic guest, or have a battle in your base that includes a water controller. You pay for amenities not because they give you some sort of crunchy mechanical benefit, but rather because without paying for them the GM has the right to squash a plan that involves using a resource that nobody's character sheet explicitly includes. M&M isn't a system that lends itself well to 'crunch', but if you must think in those terms, consider HQ amenities as 1/5th of a power point to nix uncompensated GM fiat (ie, no bonus Hero Points) in a very specific circumstance.

SilvercatMoonpaw
Cosmic Entity
Cosmic Entity
Posts: 10068
Joined: Sun Aug 27, 2006 8:57 am

Re: HQ rules seem "fluffy"

Post by SilvercatMoonpaw » Wed May 16, 2012 9:31 am

I say if you want crunchy rules for HQ features go for it.

King Snarf
Paragon
Paragon
Posts: 3495
Joined: Wed Nov 09, 2005 12:01 am
Location: Upper Darby, PA (Near Philly)
Contact:

Re: HQ rules seem "fluffy"

Post by King Snarf » Wed May 16, 2012 2:12 pm

At the very least, you can use the features of your HQ to grant a bonus on various interaction skills. "You have a pool?!? OMG!!!"
Arriba Flight es muy macho!

Visit my blog! http://teentemplars.blogspot.com

Visit my author page!

stebroad
Bystander
Bystander
Posts: 24
Joined: Fri Apr 27, 2012 12:22 pm

Re: HQ rules seem "fluffy"

Post by stebroad » Wed May 16, 2012 6:59 pm

BedLlama wrote:...The reason you pay a single EP (which is essentially a fifth of a power point) for a swimming pool is because every now and then that might be relevant...
I see your point. You're saying that the cost is nominal, because the goal is to get the player to enumerate the features of the HQ so as to create a platform upon which players can later exercise their creative license to influence the story.

However if that's the case, then why charge any points at all? The players could just give the GM a list of features of their HQ.

The reason an RPG charges points for something, whether it's powers or HQ features or advantages or whatever, is to prevent clever players from taking it all, on the off chance that something might come in handy at some future point. Putting it in economics terms, points are how the GM rations character benefits. Having to pay for something forces the player to make choices. But a choice only makes sense if the available choices have value in game terms. Things that do not should be free (and therefore up to the player whether to get it or not). So a defense system should cost points, whereas a big swirling letter "A" on the roof of the Avengers building should be free.

And while on the subject, what's the deal with size? According to the rules, you pay more for a larger HQ, but there's nothing that indicates how a 'Colossal' HQ differs from a 'Diminutive' one, other than this vague reference:

"...although you're not going to have a lot of room for extras!"

What's that supposed to mean? Do features have a size requirement? At what point do I need to move from 'Miniscule' to 'Fine' and so forth?

Sorry to sound so whiny. I really do enjoy the game. :)

BedLlama
Firebrand
Firebrand
Posts: 854
Joined: Wed Jul 29, 2009 3:40 pm
Location: Toronto, Ontario

Re: HQ rules seem "fluffy"

Post by BedLlama » Thu May 17, 2012 2:40 am

stebroad wrote:Putting it in economics terms, points are how the GM rations character benefits. Having to pay for something forces the player to make choices. But a choice only makes sense if the available choices have value in game terms.
Don't think of PP as point rations, and more of a rough estimate of a character's power. You get more than enough to build a mechanically effective character, so instead of trying to optimize characters it's better to just build to concpet and fill in or trim points until your PP ends up at the limit. If something isn't ever supposed to effect gameplay, then it's perfectly OK to pay nothing and just say that you have it, but if there's a possiblity of it coming in to play at some point you have to pay for it. Some headquarters features might be obviously supperior to others from a crunchy point of view (libraries or computers) for the same cost as features like swimming pools or gyms, but a fifth of a power point is as low as you can possibly pay for something in M&M. Since your goal isn't to eek out the most out of every power point, any build should be able to afford at least a couple of flavourful but not particularily useful abilities to round out your character's fluff.

King Snarf
Paragon
Paragon
Posts: 3495
Joined: Wed Nov 09, 2005 12:01 am
Location: Upper Darby, PA (Near Philly)
Contact:

Re: HQ rules seem "fluffy"

Post by King Snarf » Thu May 17, 2012 4:51 am

stebroad wrote:[
"...although you're not going to have a lot of room for extras!"
As far as features, use your judgment. You're not going to be able to fit a hangar into, say, a 1 bedroom apartment (unless you bought the dual size feature). Also, extras could also mean in this case NPCs. Say your hero is trusted with hosting refugees from a disaster. A larger headquarters means more people are going to be able to cram in, and the more people you cram in the more goodwill your hero gets.
Arriba Flight es muy macho!

Visit my blog! http://teentemplars.blogspot.com

Visit my author page!

Locked