Re: Re: Augmenting to Augment?

From: joshua neff <joshua_neff_at_...>
Date: Thu, 2 Dec 2004 07:56:10 -0800 (PST)

In your "fanboyish" fervor, you're ascribing qualities to HeroQuest that simply don't exist. All RPG rules are, in the end, subject to GM & player fiat, because there is no RPG book that will literally stop a group or person from changing rules or interpreting rules to suit the group's or person's whim. And there are no HeroQuest cops to say, "Hey, you *can't* play that way. Stop now or we'll resort to deadly force."

So, if you hate the augmenting rules as written, you can change them and there's nothing no one can do about it. Which is exactly how all games, D&D to Rolemaster to Vampire to Sorcerer, work.

You're also getting really worked up over hypotheticals. Have you actually witnessed the HQ rules being taken advantage of by players to support the kind of play you seem so worried about? Have you actually seen a GM abuse his or her authority with HQ and refuse what seemed to you to be a suitable augment for no good reason? Or are you just worried that it *could* happen? If so...sure, it *could* happen. A lot of things *could* happen, but why work yourself into a frenzy about it until it *does* happen.

Disruptive players or GMs *could* ruin *any* game run with *any* rule system. Don't worry about it. You're currently playing in Mike's online game, right? Are you having fun? So, what's the big deal?

> Howdy Mike. There's a lot here, and a lot you've
> covered. I'll try to
> be as concise (yeah, right) as I can in my reply so
> perhaps my points
> will be clear(er).
> My understanding of the situation thus far is that
> most people on
> this list propose that a PC can automatically
> augment another PC's
> action whenever they want with no penalty or
> repercussion (and that
> this is implicitly supported in the HeroQuest text
> if not flat out
> written down in there somewhere). The only caveats
> to this rule are
> that the character must be in the same vicinity and
> the GM must
> *approve* of the augment. The primary debate seems
> to be whether a PC
> can add one, more than one or as many augments as
> can fit in Santa's
> sleigh to another PC's action.
> I don't like that. I think it's a "loophole" that
> could be open to
> manipulation on either the Player or the GM's part.
> As rules go, I
> don't like loopholes. They bug me. I don't like GM
> fiat in regards to
> the rules either. To me, GM fiat is not an answer.
> It doesn't "solve"
> the problem, IMO. So, saying "a good GM would never
> let this happen",
> doesn't satisfy me, even if it *is* true.
> That said, this "loophole" still bugs me.
> A) Because it's inconsistent with the rest of the
> ruleset. It doesn't
> follow either the spirit of AP lending nor does it
> follow the rules
> of other characters in the game supporting the PC in
> simple contests.
> HeroQuest is one of the most consistent rulesets
> I've ever run or
> played. I love it for that. Running across this
> inconsistency (which
> may just be interpretation, not necessarily "canon")
> is like finding
> out my supermodel girlfriend used to be a man. It's
> just one of those
> things that's going to bug me. And it's going to
> continue to bug me
> until I can make peace with it.
> B) Because there's no easy way to address this issue
> in play. Which
> leads to more inconsistency, IMO. Most groups play a
> game (from D&D
> to Risk to Monopoly) with a few tweaks. I understand
> this. But most
> groups can describe those tweaks in a couple of
> sentences or less.
> More than that and it ceases to become a "tweak"
> IMO. This "tweak" as
> it has been described doesn't really address the
> issue and further
> it's so open to interpretation (on the GM's part) as
> to be more of a
> suggestion and less of a rule. Which doesn't fly,
> IMO, with one of
> the most consistent and elegant rulesets I've ever
> read, played or
> cuddled fondly into the wee hours of the morning.
> The solution proposed, as I see it, is basically:
> "Just be aware that
> it's there, keep players from doing it and stick it
> to them when they
> think they have their bases covered." I'm not so
> sure that's a
> rule "fix" as much as it is a footnote from Robin's
> Laws.
> It's also easy to read in a number of different
> ways. Had I not
> played in your game now for quite a while, I
> would've had a "night-
> and-day" misconception of how you run a game. Which
> is why I think GM
> fiat pretty much shoots itself in the foot. In the
> hands of a good
> GM, it's great. It works like bacon on a griddle. In
> the hands of
> anyone else, it's a disaster. It's like being caught
> between Roseanne
> Barr and Jack Black doing the lambada. Which is just
> not how
> HeroQuest works, in my myopic, fanboy universe.
> HeroQuest had
> *rules*. I didn't ever *have* to watch out for some
> arcane feat
> combo. Or worry about Player X pulling some weird
> wording out of the
> Glue spell to justify it working on a Crawling
> Jello. HeroQuest had
> real, honest-to-Orcus rules. Just like Monopoly or
> any other game.
> That's why I love it with a fiery, monkey passion
> that melts all
> gummi bears within 30 yards.
> I think (and this is just my opinion, mind you) that
> offering a
> player the choice of acting as a follower in a
> contest or offering a
> variable augment is just less open to manipulation
> on both the part
> of the GM and the other players. It's a hard and
> fast rule. There's
> no room for anyone reading that statement to wiggle
> it in any way.
> Otherwise, here's how I think it's still open to
> "abuse".
> In *most* HQ games, the players get to call what
> ability is going to
> be used in a contest. Most times, the players even
> set the nature
> (and content) of a contest. It would be easy for a
> couple of players
> to "band together" and assure that, say, the mage
> never takes combat
> damage or the fighter never takes a hit from magic.
> All they have to
> do to "game" the system is just make sure they're
> out front on the
> declaration (which they usually are anyway, IME).
> *Most* contests,
> IME, are called by the player. Most of the time,
> players determine
> what type of contest (simple/extended) they want it
> to be, again IME.
> Players always determine what they'll use in a
> contest. It's an
> easily argued extrapolation of that rule to say that
> Jimbo the
> Fighter gets to use his skill at fighting because
> he's standing
> behind Penicilla the Mage. The GM can argue that
> Jimbo can only
> support Penicilla. But, once we've gone down that
> path, I might as
> well be playing d20...
> My point being that the more a GM tries to "rope
> players in" or
> isolate them (when they don't want to be isolated),
> the more the GM
> will just look like a jerk. It would also amount to
> the GM just
> taking potshots at the players when their pants are
> down. IME, that's
> the lonely road that GM fiat leads us to. I've
> rarely seen it work
> out any other way.
> It's also worth mentioning that this doesn't *have*
> to be a couple of
> players. What's to stop a single player from using
> his followers as
> main contestants and then having his PC sit back and
> *never suffer
> any consequences for failure*? Other than, of
> course, the trail of
> dead followers in his wake. If followers only cost a
> hero point why
> can't I have a whole slew of them as minions? Why
> can't I just waltz
> through any contest without a scratch? A 5w3 Dragon?
> Pshaw. I'll have
> Bobo the Hobbit Slave fight him. I'll support with
> my Big Stick of
> Justice 19. No, we'll do a simple contest... What?!
> Bobo lost?
> Complete Defeat? Well, guess he's dead... I'll come
> back when I have
> more followers...
> Granted all this assumes a level of gaming, and
> knowledge of, the HQ
> system that I've never witnessed acting in
> conjunction (even among
> the most min-maxing players). It also assumes that a
> player is acting
> maliciously and disruptively, which would ruin any
> game. Just because
> it hasn't happened in one of your own games doesn't
> make

=== message truncated ===

--joshua m. neff                 

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