On Wednesday, July 30, 2003, at 07:44 PM, Benedict Adamson wrote:
> HW allows a player to have almost anything as an ability. So, why
> creating characters with 'Ranged Combat (Javelin) 1W' when you could
> have a character with 'Glance of Death 1W'? A 'Glance of Death' is
> obviously better than a thrown javelin, right? Well, perhaps you are
> very innacurate with it. Or it only works if you are angry. Or it
> requires a complicated and easilly interrupted incantation. Or it
> requires inense, and difficult to achieve, levels of mental
> concentration. Or something. Although you can have almost any ability,
> the mere name of an ability does not make it powerful. What makes an
> ability powerful is having a large ability rating. Thus 'Glance of
> 1W' is about as powerful as 'Ranged Combat (Javelin) 1W'.
This really hits the nail on the head.
There's a sidebar in HQ entitled (if I remember correctly) 'Pompous Magic'. It describes how magic might have a very grandiose name but what it comes right down to is the victory level. If you get a marginal success with your 'Glance of Death', the foe suffers the same basic result as a marginal success with 'Throw Javelin'. Now, the special effect might be different but the *game effect* is the same. It's similar to Champions (and the other Hero systems, if you're familiar with them). A 12d6 energy blast is a 12d6 energy blast wether it's beams coming out of your eyes, flames coming out of your hands, or a lightning bolt coming from the sky. Most narrators will take the special effect into account and certainly have a fire power used against dry wood cause a fire while a wind power at the same level will not.
*That's* what makes the difference between abilities at similar levels.
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