Re: Augments and Hero Points

From: Benedict Adamson <badamson_at_...>
Date: Mon, 29 Apr 2002 10:47:49 +0100

orlanthumathi wrote:
> In our group we have got into the habit of spending Hero Points on
> augmentations that don't work or could potentially have double effect.
> This at times has unbalanced the game, and myself and the other
> narrator in the group are considering banning this. Predictably the
> players are reluctant to let go.

In what way is this 'unbalancing'? Sure, the character acquires an advantage from the augmentation, but that in itself does not win the contest. Most importantly, the player spent a Hero Point to get that advantage. Hero Points are valuable, so if a player spends one, why shouldn't it have a reasonably large effect?

Also, what is the worst thing that can happen? Either the players will win the contest, or they will not. The contest should have been set up so the players have a reasonable chance of winning, otherwise there is no point in running it as a contest; the Narrator would have been better cutting straight to the next part of the story ('You are ambushed by trolls and taken to their caves...'). Part of the preparation of the episode is deciding what will happen if the players win, so why should a Narrator be bothered if the players happen to win that contest? Or even, every contest?

> Has anyone else had simmilar problems with Hero Points being spent here?


> Is there an obscure rule that prohibits the expenditure for augments?

I think not.

> Should Hero Points be limited to heroic acts?

No. And what is a heroic act, anyway? Easy enough to decide for my Vingan, with her taste for flashy acrobatics and tactic of directly attacking the Big Evil Bad Guy. But what about a snivelling Enlo or an Ernaldan matchmaker?

Perhaps there is a philosophical problem here. HW is more about creating a shared story than simulating a game world or being a confrontation between the players and the Narrator. This means it is important for the players to have some explicit control over the course of the story. Expenditure of Hero Points in contests is the game mechanic for doing this. They give the player a means for explicitly saying 'it is important for *me* that X happens, so it *will* happen'.

Part of the advice to new HW Narrators has always been 'learn to say yes'. That is, allow players to have what they want more than you might have done in the past.

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