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Aprewett

Obsolete Ability

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5 hours ago, Aprewett said:

What happens in HQ when an ability becomes obsolete?

What can a player do with the points invested?

Why would it become obsolete?  I don't think I've ever seen that happen.

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3 hours ago, jajagappa said:

Why would it become obsolete?  I don't think I've ever seen that happen.

A relationship to a dead person might be fairly obsolete. "Companion of Kallyr" gets a lot less useful after the Battle of Queens.

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1 hour ago, Joerg said:

A relationship to a dead person might be fairly obsolete. "Companion of Kallyr" gets a lot less useful after the Battle of Queens.

And so, Jaranal remembered what Kallyr used to say: "keep always an extra dagger in your left boot". It felt like Kallyr was guiding Jaranal once more as she plunged the small dagger, her only weapon snatched from her left boot, into the bad man's eye.

There, that wasn't too hard. If it can be used to resolve a problem, it is an ability. This is the beauty of HeroQuest.

Edited by jrutila
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3 minutes ago, jrutila said:

And so, Jaranal remembered what Kallyr used to say: "keep always an extra dagger in your left boot". It felt like Kallyr was guiding Jaranal once more as she plunged the small dagger, her only weapon snatched from her left boot, into the bad man's eye.

There, that wasn't too hard. If it can be used to resolve a problem, it is an ability. This is the beauty of HeroQuest.

In my book, that was a stretch... and "summon nonexistent item from whole cloth" doesn't cover taking out enemy vision.

Heortling warrior would have done the same trick with a lot less of a stretch. Flower Arrangement would...

(Wait, did Janaral wear boots at all? Sandals are all the chique in the current depictions, unless people go barefoot.)

 

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30 minutes ago, Joerg said:

In my book, that was a stretch...

In my game, that would be perfectly reasonable. Yes, Kallyr is gone, but as @jrutila noted, it may be reflected in a memory of Kallyr's sayings, something that the character does because of Kallyr, possibly a dream visit by Kallyr's ghost, or an invocation for aid from the Pole Star (probably as an augment).

2 hours ago, Christoph Kohring said:

Obsolete ability? Ain't no such thing!?!

I'm not saying it couldn't, just want to understand the situation where it appears.

2 hours ago, Christoph Kohring said:

Points invested? Let bygones be bygones, sunk costs are sunk costs, etc...

I could see some relationships becoming dead ends, but then even those folk might have relatives, kin, colleagues where the ability might still come into use.

But points invested on abilities are invested. I don't see swapping those out.  But HQG is a game of creative use, which is why I find it hard to picture something totally obsolete.

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7 minutes ago, Aprewett said:

So, a secret identity ability. That is no longer relevant.

Were there any relationships implied by it?  E.g. Secret Heir of Sartar could simply evolve into Heir of Sartar - still a target for Lunar agents, or now a potential rival to the revealed Heir of Sartar.

Were there any relationships formed from it? E.g. Secret Feeder of the Crimson Bat becomes a possible Flaw as there may be those who know the secret identity.

Was it like Sureela in the Red Cow stories who might have the Secret Identity of Andarna the Peddlar who was known about in Jonstown? Could be as above - varied relationships formed because of it. Evolve the Secret Identity into something like Relationship to Anders Swenson of the Black Cat Inn, or into the associated occupation Peddlar of Jonstown.

Was the secret identity good or bad? If bad, evolve it into a new Flaw based on the characteristics.  If good, then transform it into a new ability such as Awareness of Stickpickers.

If the ability was simply a throwaway that never got used, then determine why it was created (e.g. spying on the Lunars) and evolve it into whatever its true purpose was supposed to be.

Quite a few different angles to take to make it relevant in some capacity - one of the nice flexibilities in my mind with HQG.

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Jajah nailed it: They don't become obsolete, they evolve into so.ething relevant to the new fictional context. The connection to Kallyr becomes a connection to her hero cult. The secret identity becomes an opportunity to leverage the super identity in mundane contexts.

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I'm also struggling to see how an ability becomes obsolete. In a supers game a secret identity once revealed might no longer be secret but the identity remains and how would such an event be treated in the sort of stories you are telling about supers? The player and narrator may need to have a chat about the sorts of things that the identity can do now. How did Matt Murdoch use his true identity to attack the Kingpin once it was discovered?

But remember Tools, Not Rules. If you and your player feel an ability has become obsolete and it is not enabling you to tell the stories you want to tell, in the way you want to tell them, then just do what makes most sense for the fiction. Change "secret identity" to "identity", Allow the player to remove the ability and move the points previously assigned to it a new ability. Keep the points aside for an undecided ability and uncover a new ability later, just as you can during character creation. I'd try and find a solution narratively rather than mechanically. Also agree around the table so other players don't feel like they are being disadvantaged.

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Moving points around between adventures is common in many Fate-based games, giving players the opportunity to decide which abilities they wish to highlight in play. 

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It will be interesting also that an ability that is no longer used will be reduce in value and the point used on other currently used. This will be interesting in long term campaign.

For example a warrior that has the pitfigther ability and no more pitfigths could reduce its value and use the points in some leadership ability.

 

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I tend to run games where the requirements of the fiction trump rules, which is one of the reasons HQ appeals to me so much (another is that I'm lazy and I don't like wrangling stat blocks as part of my game prep). I believe a player should always be able to trade in some or all of the points they've invested in an ability that is no longer useful to them for an ability that provides more opportunity to do cool stuff. This approach seems to fit perfectly with a game system that is all about collaborative story-telling rather than carefully balanced tactical resolution.

So how does an ability become obsolete? In my mind, it happens when a player goes to their GM in between sessions and says that an ability isn't as fun or useful as they thought it would be. At that point, the player and GM should put their heads together and come up with a solution. No hard and fast rules need apply. Maybe the GM allows the player to reduce the "obsolete" ability to 13 and start a new ability at 13 plus any points left over from the old ability. Maybe they just take the old ability away and allow the player a free new ability at 13. Or the points in the old ability are split between it and the new ability. I don't think there's a right answer here - each GM knows what feels right for them and their players.

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38 minutes ago, Shawn Carpenter said:

In my mind, it happens when a player goes to their GM in between sessions and says that an ability isn't as fun or useful as they thought it would be. At that point, the player and GM should put their heads together and come up with a solution. No hard and fast rules need apply.

Yes, that's really the key point - if it's not fun or interesting for the player, move on!  And HQG provides lots of ways to make shifts easily.

Nothing worse in an RPG than a character you no longer like.

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On 8/27/2019 at 8:27 PM, Joerg said:

A relationship to a dead person might be fairly obsolete.

Not really, the meaning just gets changed. Companion of Kallyr would still be valid, but would be looking for revenge, would add flavour to future actions and so on. Someone might attack members of the clan that fought Kallyr, for example, because of the Companion of Kallyr ability.

 

On 8/27/2019 at 12:07 PM, Aprewett said:

What happens in HQ when an ability becomes obsolete?

I would just rename it, or leave it as it is.

So, Orlanth 17 (Initiate +1)  might become Orlanth 17 (Wind Lord +1) or Orlanth 17 (Apostate +1) or Orlanth 17 (Excommunicate +1). You would still retain your memories of Orlanth but couldn't use it in the same way as before.

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All is as said above.  My "Love for My Mother 1M13" has become "Love for My Dead Mother 1M13".  No less love, no less important, but it motivates me in different ways, including perhaps occasional melancholy, a Flaw.

!i!

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5 hours ago, Ian Absentia said:

All is as said above.  My "Love for My Mother 1M13" has become "Love for My Dead Mother 1M13".

1M13 means 261. You probably meant 13M, i.e. 33. Writing it as 13M1 is also understandable, I guess?!!

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2 hours ago, Christoph Kohring said:

1M13 means 261. You probably meant 13M, i.e. 33.

No, he wrote it right. It's just that his love for his mother can move mountains,  literally. 😅

2 hours ago, Christoph Kohring said:

Writing it as 13M1 is also understandable, I guess?!!

Yeah, there's an implied one after the M we dont usually state. If we were being super rigorous,  we could start abilities with the also-mplied M0, but that would confuse more than it would clarify,  methinks.

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Glug. Brain and fingers not work right. 🤦‍♂️ I'll stick with the 261 to save face, though.

[Come on, guys, this is my mother, not my Typing M261 skill.]

!I!

[Edit: On the other hand, I now have an ability with which I can kick Harrek's ass, so put the bear-shirt on notice.]

Edited by Ian Absentia
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Oddly enough, Aprewett, I just had something like this come up in my Gloranthan HQ game and it made me think of this thread! 

A hero had a running enmity with an NPC that they had sunk development points into to raise to a pretty respectable level (those Anmangarn really know how to get their hate on). The long-standing rivalry ended when the NPCs "friends" goaded him into ambushing the PC and then stood back and watched the fun.

With her rival dead, the PC was left with an Ability that she'd sunk a lot of points into that no longer had any application. We discussed ways to address it and came up with these options:

  • Transfer the hatred to the NPCs clan or bloodline (this didn't work in this instance, because the NPCs clan didn't like him anymore than the PC and the PC actually had good friends among them).
  •  Transfer the points invested from the obsolete ability to a similar ability. This didn't work for her because she'd sunk enough points in it that it would have been jarring to suddenly have another relationship plunge from the irritating to the level of bloodlust.
  • Start a new Ability that can be traced back to the obsolete Ability. This is what we settled on. She came up with the idea that the experience had left her more resistant to provocation, so we started a new Ability (Thick Skinned) for her at 13 plus the points she'd invested in the hatred Ability.

The end result is that one Ability that no longer has any real value in play has been replaced with another of equal value that the player is already having fun with - and fun is the name of the game!

I'm sure there are different approaches that work better for other folks, but this sort of collaboration works well for me and my group. I hope you find this helpful!

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On 9/3/2019 at 3:05 PM, Shawn Carpenter said:

Start a new Ability that can be traced back to the obsolete Ability. This is what we settled on. She came up with the idea that the experience had left her more resistant to provocation, so we started a new Ability (Thick Skinned) for her at 13 plus the points she'd invested in the hatred Ability.

The end result is that one Ability that no longer has any real value in play has been replaced with another of equal value that the player is already having fun with - and fun is the name of the game!

I'm sure there are different approaches that work better for other folks, but this sort of collaboration works well for me and my group. I hope you find this helpful!

I think that is a smart choice. It's worth bringing up in the new core book as a discussion point (over a rule).

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Thanks, Ian! 

I agree that this is an issue that doesn't merit (or benefit) from a hard-and-fast rule. There are lots of ways to approach an Ability that a player isn't getting enjoyable use from and the narrator and player should choose what works best for the situation. That sort of flexibility as both a GM and player is the main reason I love Heroquest.

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