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Pow vs Pow versus MP vs MP redux


Tywyll

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Ok, so I was looking through the Power systems in BRP.

First off, its important to note that in BRP you need to win a contested POW vs POW test to get a chance to improve your POW, not any kind of power point test like in RQ3.

Wizardry-

Change-PvP

Control-PvP

Diminish-PvP

Enhance-PvP

Lift-PvP (or SIZ)

Teleport-PvP

Psionics-

Cryokinesis-ppvC

Emotion Control-ppvI

Empathy-PvP

Levitation-PvP

Mind Blast-ppvpp

Mind Control-ppvpp

Pyrokinesis-ppvC

Telekinesis-ppvSIZ

Telepathy-ppvpp

Sorcery-

Curse of Sorcery-PvP

Fury-ppvpp

Muddle-ppvpp

Pox-ppvpp

Summon Demon-PvP

Unbreakable Bonds-STRvpp

Super-

Diminish/Enhance Characteristic-ppvpp

Drain-ppvpp

So... what gives? Why do some powers work one way and other another? I realize that some of this may be artifacts of the system, but I'm trying to figure out what is a flaw and what is a feature you know?

As written, its /really/ hard for a Sorcerer to get POW, unless they have one specific spell (Summoning and binding demons doesn't count because you lose POW for doing that).

Wizardry seems to have the easiest time of it, and in fact, seems to be written most with the new rules about POW gain firmly in mind at writting.

Does anyone know why the systems are so dramatically different, even amongst themselves? It seems strange that Psychics can only potentially increase their POW if they are Empthic or Levitate the unwilling... but not by Mind Blasting. Ditto for Sorcerers Muddling a target not providing a potential check, but cursing them with an animal feature might.

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By using PP vs PP, magic will be more taxing. The more spells you cast, the less able you'll be to enforce your will upon your environment. Which is fine in a low-magic like CoC.

In a fantasy setting where spells are flung left and right, using PP for the resistance table will quickly gimp the wizards. Going for POW fits the bill better.

That my angle on it.

POW-gains could be awarded for using PP. I see no problem with that. After all, it is up to the GM to determine when and for what experience checks are dealt out.

The way the spells and their resistance-mechanics is mixed in BRP doesn't make perfect sense, me thinks. But it is a toolset. Your're supposed to do some work on your own:)

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Jason gave his reasoning behind the current BRP ones in another thread, quite a while ago. Something like "would resistance be harder if you were tired" differentiating between POW & PP contests, IIRC.

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Yeah, it kind of felt like there wasn't a real reason behind the decisions, but more artifacts left behind from earlier systems.

I can certainly see the argument that Wizardry, which is meant for high fantasy, should play different than CoC style magic (not that that is in BRP), but I'd only buy that if it were a conscious choice and I'm not sure that, with how some spells work one way and others work another, that it was such a choice.

That's interesting and I'll address that in my Monograph.

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Likewise have always used Pow vs. Pow for all tests. (And hence have had the occasional nasty surprise in other people's games when they use RAW!)

Really and truly this is because I came to RPGs from Dragon Warriors which used Magical Attack vs Magical Defence neither of which decreased through casting magic. Then I went on to SBIII which didn't have MPs or PPs so everything was Pow v. Pow anyway. Then to RQIII where any serious magician tooled up with MP storage devices and so MP vs. MP became Pow v. Pow anyway.

Al

Rule Zero: Don't be on fire

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First of all, we should check whether the part about POWvsPOW giving a POW increase chance does not include PPvsPP too. We have already spotted rules mistakes on this forum.

Page 92 explicitly states that only POW vs POW tests, not power points vs power points, count for POW gain rolls.

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I use POW vs POW for all tests. I don't want my casters constantly having to be misers with thie MPs just in case they get attacked with something that is a MP vs MP resistance.

Yeah, I feel that way too.

And I guess when I've been playing without using Fatigue for so long (CoC and Stormbringer) it didn't seem fair that warriors don't tire from lugging heavy metal armor and weapons into combat all day, but mages, who already can't cast much to begin with, wuss out so quickly.

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Yeah, I feel that way too.

And I guess when I've been playing without using Fatigue for so long (CoC and Stormbringer) it didn't seem fair that warriors don't tire from lugging heavy metal armor and weapons into combat all day, but mages, who already can't cast much to begin with, wuss out so quickly.

I have a couple monsters that are designed to terrify mages, these do attack a characters power points. However, I allow both POW vs. POW and pp vs. pp to both allow the chance of a POW gain roll. After all, I personally believe that pp vs. pp is worse than POW vs POW, so why shouldn't it be rewarded?

Rod

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I have a couple monsters that are designed to terrify mages, these do attack a characters power points. However, I allow both POW vs. POW and pp vs. pp to both allow the chance of a POW gain roll. After all, I personally believe that pp vs. pp is worse than POW vs POW, so why shouldn't it be rewarded?

Rod

See, personally I think that is the way it ought to be. Spirits, ghosts, undead... those sorts of things might attack 'current power points'. There is a certain sense to that that rings true for me. It also adds to their fear factor. But your average spell slinging I don't think should reduce the effectiveness of your caster.

Though I agree with you on letting ppvpp give checks!

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I typically use POW vs. POW (or sometimes MP vs. POW) if it is magic vs.

nonmagic - i.e. a spell cast against someone who tries to resist the effects

"naturally".

But, if it is a magic vs. magic issue, i.e. spell vs. counterspell, I'll do

MP vs. MP.

For Psionics, I use POW vs. POW everytime. I want it to be a "raw" power

contest. However, depending on how many pp are used, a bonus might be

conferred for pumping up the power.

-V

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In (Gloranthan) RQ2/3, Rune Lords had the ability that they resisted magic with the POW not their Magic Points, which made them harder to overcome.

If you don't have that distinction, then it's pretty much the same whichever method you use, as long as you are consistent.

I'd use PP vs PP, personally, as it makes using PPs into a tactical balancing act - can you afford to weaken yourself by using magic?

Simon Phipp - Caldmore Chameleon - Wallowing in my elitism since 1982. Many Systems, One Family. Just a fanboy. 

www.soltakss.com/index.html

Jonstown Compendium author. Find my contributions here

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Which to me makes even less sense...

Why does 'being lucky' make you more susceptible to magic/insanity/woojoo?

"Being lucky" (having a high POW / reserve of pp) doesn't make you more susceptible to magic/insanity/woojoo - but riding that luck (i.e. spending pp as fate points and thus reducing your reserves for resisting malign powers) DOES.

Now, whether that specific linkage between powers & fate / luck is appropriate to the specific setting and / or style of game the GM is running is another question - but it's certainly a plausible way of handling things.

Cheers,

Nick

Edited by NickMiddleton
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"Being lucky" (having a high POW / reserve of pp) doesn't make you more susceptible to magic/insanity/woojoo - but riding that luck (i.e. spending pp as fate points and thus reducing your reserves for resisting malign powers) DOES.

Now, whether that specific linkage between powers & fate / luck is appropriate to the specific setting and / or style of game the GM is running is another question - but it's certainly a plausible way of handling things.

I don't agree. Fate points ala how they are used in BRP are a metagame mechanic. The player is allowed to choose how lucky the PC is, and nothing the PC does has any effect one way or the other. Character's cannot, in most settings, make a conscious choice to 'Ride their luck' and have it effect reality ("I'm going to luckily kill this villain now!"). Therefore the idea that choosing to do so weakens their resistance to magic doesn't hold up.

Which is why its odd if you don't decouple pp and fate points... for one, mages shouldn't be less lucky than anyone else (though I realize the mechanic was created expressly to give non-mages something to do with pp) and its strange that someone is /really lucky/ and then passes out.

The only time it makes sense for fate points to weaken one's resistance to powers is if magic were somehow tied to fate/luck and that everyone in the setting has some unconscious ability to manipulate reality. That, in itself, could be a really cool setting, but is hardly the default. While I applaud the idea of fate points, I think their implementation needs some work.

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Therefore the idea that choosing to do so weakens their resistance to magic doesn't hold up.

Err, it's a game mechanic; in fact, an interpretation of several interrelated game mechanics - if you don't find that interpretation plausible or suited to the settings or style of game you prefer to play, fine, but your antipathy for the idea doesn't make it fundamentally wrong or inappropriate or any less logical in any absolute sense.

Cheers,

Nick

Edited by NickMiddleton
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Err, it's a game mechanic; in fact, an interpretation of several interrelated game mechanics - if you don't find that interpretation plausible or suited to the settings or style of game you prefer to play, fine, but your antipathy for the idea doesn't make it fundamentally wrong or inappropriate or any less logical in any absolute sense.

First, I don't have any antipathy for the idea. I firmly support the idea of Hero Points ala MRQ. So please don't put words in my mouth.

My opinion has no influence on whether or not the mechanic makes sense. No, the illogical nature of the effects of the mechanic (specifically its interrelation with several other mechanics) is what makes it less logical. The 'reality' that the game mechanic is, in all other areas of the system, trying to model makes it less logical and inappropriate to most settings.

Or to put it another way since you didn't address my concerns with this response, I'll restate them:

1) How does one (a person, the character rather than the player) 'choose to be lucky'?

2) Why do lucky people risk passing out?

BRP is fundamentally simulationist, and is probably the first real simulationist system. Hero Points in MRQ makes no bones about the fact that they are narrative controls given over to the hands of the player to do as they see fit. This mechanic, which posits itself halfway in between simulation and narrativism due to those interrelated mechanics, loses any since of internal logic because it tries to straddle those two styles of play without providing a plausible justification for how or why it works the way it does (i.e. it fails to answer the above two questions).

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You know, I've tried four draughts at a reply to this...

First, I don't have any antipathy for the idea. I firmly support the idea of Hero Points ala MRQ. So please don't put words in my mouth.

"Antipathy" as in the opposite of "sympathy" - and I was saying you were not sympathetic to the idea that using luck makes it harder to resist spells (i.e. combining the fate point rules as written and resisting spells as current pp vs. current pp). If that is an incorrect interpretation of what you meant then my apologies. I don't see any point in further discussion between us on this digression as we clearly have irreconcilably different views of the BRP system.

Regards,

Nick Middleton

Edited by NickMiddleton
typo!
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1) How does one (a person, the character rather than the player) 'choose to be lucky'?

I don't like the POWx5% as a measure of Luck, personally.

In my opinion, LUC should be a characteristic and LUCx5% should be a Luck Roll. That way, you could be magically weak but lucky or magically powerful but unlucky.

There are rationales that say that powerful people are in tune with the cosmos and hence are lucky, but I don't particularly agree with that.

2) Why do lucky people risk passing out?

Presumably by spending PPs as Fate Points.

RQM has Hero Points which act in the same way. I'd prefer that mechanism, or have Fate Points as a separate entity rather than using PPs.

BRP is fundamentally simulationist, and is probably the first real simulationist system.

To be simulationist you have to have something to simulate. Since Luck is largely subjective and cannot be measured in any meaningful way, except perhaps by rolling dice, BRP has to use its own subjective rules. The same applies to using Magic or Psionic Powers - we don't have them in measurable ways and so have to pretend to know how they work.

Hero Points in MRQ makes no bones about the fact that they are narrative controls given over to the hands of the player to do as they see fit. This mechanic, which posits itself halfway in between simulation and narrativism due to those interrelated mechanics, loses any since of internal logic because it tries to straddle those two styles of play without providing a plausible justification for how or why it works the way it does.

It does because Hero Points are not just related to Luck. I use them in a similar way to Plot Points in Mythic Russia, allowing you to change the plot slightly by spending Hero Points. I also allow players to reroll dice rolls by using a Hero Point. This does not change reality but instead allows them to influence what happens around them.

(i.e. it fails to answer the above two questions)

If you are Lucky then you should be able to ride your luck, trying to use your Luck in everyday situations. Eventually your luck will run out. Those two phrases in themselves give a mechanism for using Luck. You can use Luck until you run out of some commodity that drives Luck. I would use Luck Points, stopping when LPs reach zero, then allowing them to regenerate to the LUC Characteristic. With 0 LPs you don't pass out, you just can't use your immense Luck.

I am aware that this uses house rules and doesn't really answer your comments on using PPs as Fate and also that this is diverging rapidly from the original point.

Simon Phipp - Caldmore Chameleon - Wallowing in my elitism since 1982. Many Systems, One Family. Just a fanboy. 

www.soltakss.com/index.html

Jonstown Compendium author. Find my contributions here

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In my opinion, LUC should be a characteristic and LUCx5% should be a Luck Roll. That way, you could be magically weak but lucky or magically powerful but unlucky.

I think the problem is that POW being Luck is a hang-over from Gloranthan RuneQuest, where POW is one's mana, power, influence on the world, magic and representation of the amount of attention the gods gave you (your spiritual and mental influence).

For me this works well for Gloranthan RuneQuest and helped define the world and theme, but added to the issues some have where the rules are closely bound to the game world. Although I like to carry this theme over into other genres.

For other genres, there are traces of the original intentions for the definition of POW, however they don't always apply as well to those genres.

I think this is why POW also partially took over from CHA when APP was used. In some human cultures, Mana (the original meaning) and Charismatic influence are seen to be closely related or the same thing. For the original Polynesian meaning see: Mana - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Here are some snippets from RQ2 that show why high POW added to skill bonuses, and are examples of what the authors understood POW to be. If the you have the RQ2 rules, there are many more examples in the character creation section:

Extremes of high and low POW influence the attack since POW is a measure of how the character relates to the Universe. If the gods are with a character his chances of hitting are better because he is "in tune" with the flow of things.

Occasionally the gods give hints to those they love.

Uniquely amongst the abilities, POW is a handicap for this ability. Too much POW builds an aura about a character which is hard to ignore, even if he tries to be inconspicuous.

I think these are examples of why some players still preferred RQ2 over RQ3, because some of this world definition was lost in RQ3.

PS: It looks like I have graduated from being a junior member. Time for me to go and hatch as a Beaked warrior. :)

Edited by dragonewt
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I must admit that if I were to run any BRP straight I would not tie any form of Fate/Hero Points to POW unless I were specifically writing a world background based around it. The obvious potential case of this being Ringworld where genetic engineering for luck has POW written all over it.

The POW*5 mechanic for luck has also often been one of those things that I've seen new players balk at. Basically it confuses character luck (character a being luckier than character B) and player luck with dice rolls. I've come to realise that 99% of the time in the past when I have called for a luck roll it's really been about player luck not about character luck so I've happily excised character luck from my games.

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If two people are walking down a street, and one person finds a coin that the other misses, is that person lucky or just more observant (or both)?

Back to POW vs POW versus MP vs MP;

I like to use MP vs MP (in most games) as the way I play magic is that MP is similar to Fatigue or Endurance. If a mage's power is low, so is their resistance.

It is not unusual in games for a mage to have many sources of POW/MP to draw upon (POW crystals, Fetch, Wizard's staff, etc...), and so I would assume that a typical mage of high power would be able to cast spells using other sources of MP and so continuing to resist with their full MP until those external sources are depleted.

There are many examples in fiction where a mage fails to resist due to having used up their magic. Conversely, there are examples of using POW to resist. So the choice would depend on the flavour of a game's world and the balance that magic has in it. This would ultimately be defined by the type of magic that is being emulated and/or personal tastes of the GM and group.

Edited by dragonewt
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