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Old 06-10-2009, 07:46 PM   #31
the_matrix_walker
 
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Default Re: Allies: Free Points amplification?

Just to get back to a comment on the OP,

The point amplification trait is an important point of concern. As I recall, the first time I read the 4th Ed Characters book, I was surprised by the listing in the Frequency of Appearance box.. Allies that are worn, implanted etc.... this just struck me as an invitation to abuse!
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Old 06-11-2009, 11:48 AM   #32
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Default Re: Allies: Free Points amplification?

Allies should never "go bad" or whatever . . . the player is paying points for what's overall a beneficial relationship with an NPC. Tampering with that assumption is squarely in "evil GM" territory. I agree with those who feel it runs counter to the spirit of the rules. I'd even argue that it runs counter to the letter of the rules.

That said, Allies are people, with all that implies. They can have off days. In the terms defined on pp. B560-561, an Ally reacts better than Neutral on average . . . but that could mean "Poor 10% of the time, Neutral 70% of the time, and Good 20% of the time." Anybody who reads Allies as having a permanent Good, Very Good, or Excellent reaction to their PCs, and therefore being de facto stooges, has also misread the spirit and possibly the letter of the rules.

Finally, Allies aren't "like PCs," "extensions of PCs," or anything else under player control. They're GM-created and -controlled characters. They should be about as useful as any other NPC who averages better-than-Neutral reactions. Again, that's the spirit of the rules. Treating Allies as something like PCs sans players, or as PCs shared with the GM, is missing the point.

I would say that an Ally designed and controlled by the player, and that always has a Good or better reaction and goes along with the PCs' plans, is surely worth a lot more points. I'd call that the equivalent of Cosmic, +100% on Ally, probably on top of the +50% for Minion.
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Old 06-11-2009, 02:04 PM   #33
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Default Re: Allies: Free Points amplification?

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Originally Posted by Kromm View Post
Allies should never "go bad" or whatever . . . the player is paying points for what's overall a beneficial relationship with an NPC. Tampering with that assumption is squarely in "evil GM" territory. I agree with those who feel it runs counter to the spirit of the rules. I'd even argue that it runs counter to the letter of the rules.

That said, Allies are people, with all that implies. They can have off days. In the terms defined on pp. B560-561, an Ally reacts better than Neutral on average . . . but that could mean "Poor 10% of the time, Neutral 70% of the time, and Good 20% of the time." Anybody who reads Allies as having a permanent Good, Very Good, or Excellent reaction to their PCs, and therefore being de facto stooges, has also misread the spirit and possibly the letter of the rules.

Finally, Allies aren't "like PCs," "extensions of PCs," or anything else under player control. They're GM-created and -controlled characters. They should be about as useful as any other NPC who averages better-than-Neutral reactions. Again, that's the spirit of the rules. Treating Allies as something like PCs sans players, or as PCs shared with the GM, is missing the point.

I would say that an Ally designed and controlled by the player, and that always has a Good or better reaction and goes along with the PCs' plans, is surely worth a lot more points. I'd call that the equivalent of Cosmic, +100% on Ally, probably on top of the +50% for Minion.
Well, what you describe seems mostly like a minion to me. For example, a mech, piloted by the character, is canonically a minion (for +0% due to it's IQ 0), and could be controlled and designed by the player, never disagrees with him (after all, it has no personality), and goes along with all his plans, even if they are suicidal.
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Old 06-11-2009, 02:39 PM   #34
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Default Re: Allies: Free Points amplification?

Also, while I understand the GM creating most allies, vehicles and some minions probably should be player created (after all, if the mad scientist build the robot, he should know what it can do). Likewise, the player should have a pretty good say in what type of starship he wants, if ally rules are used to make it.
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Old 06-11-2009, 06:45 PM   #35
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Default Re: Allies: Free Points amplification?

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Also, while I understand the GM creating most allies, vehicles and some minions probably should be player created (after all, if the mad scientist build the robot, he should know what it can do).
Perhaps in general terms, but the GM is still within their rights to say "No, sorry, Super-Robot-Buddy-9000 will need the Maintainance and Restricted Diet (Plutonium Fuel Pellets) disadvantages. And his eye-lasers have Unreliable, since you haven't worked the glitches out." An Ally actually built or designed by a PC may allow the player to specify exact stats a bit more, but it's still the GM designing things.
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Old 06-11-2009, 07:36 PM   #36
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Default Re: Allies: Free Points amplification?

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Allies should never "go bad" or whatever . . . the player is paying points for what's overall a beneficial relationship with an NPC.
Unless they're, you know, under the magical or psionic control of another NPC. You can do this with a PC too, but it's logistically more difficult because it requires one of the PLAYERS to keep a secret about having been "altered."

-Max
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Old 06-11-2009, 07:59 PM   #37
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Default Re: Allies: Free Points amplification?

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Originally Posted by sjmdw45 View Post
Unless they're, you know, under the magical or psionic control of another NPC. You can do this with a PC too, but it's logistically more difficult because it requires one of the PLAYERS to keep a secret about having been "altered."
As someone who spends a great deal of time in such an "altered" state, I'd have to say that it's both easier for the GM and less obnoxious for the players to do this to a PC as opposed to an Ally.

I do, however, tend to make my own Allies/Dependents when I take them as a player. I usually do so to ease the burden from the GM. I do put the same amount of effort into the Ally as the character. Most of the time the GM takes the Ally's sheet, gives them a once-over and generally accepts them. There have been a few cases when the GM says, "that's great, but I do need to make a few adjustments. But, thanks for all the hard work. Do you have them in GCA format."
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Old 06-12-2009, 05:42 AM   #38
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I do, however, tend to make my own Allies/Dependents when I take them as a player. I usually do so to ease the burden from the GM. I do put the same amount of effort into the Ally as the character. Most of the time the GM takes the Ally's sheet, gives them a once-over and generally accepts them. There have been a few cases when the GM says, "that's great, but I do need to make a few adjustments. But, thanks for all the hard work. Do you have them in GCA format."
That's pretty much how we do it in our group as well. For myself, I usually have as strong of a character concept for any Allies/Dependents as I do for my PC, including the relationships between the PC and their Allies/Dependents. The GM still gets the final call, as with the PC itself, before play begins.
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Old 06-12-2009, 09:20 AM   #39
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Default Re: Allies: Free Points amplification?

Players in any campaign can get involved with the world design aspect of the game - creating areas, populating them with NPCs with backgrounds and agendas, filling in history of the campaign world etc.

It's considered a little unusual, though, and I think it requires a not-entirely-common relationship between the GM and the players, plus a GM with the right temperament and players with the right temperament. It's probably more common in groups where players GM their own games (either for other groups, or for that group, either in parallel or in series, etc etc).

I certainly let players write up their own Allies and Dependants, but it's CLEAR between the player and me that "I am letting them write a part of the campaign world because we're cool like that and my campaign world has room for it", and not "I am letting them fill in this other part of their character sheet which happens to live on its own piece of paper".

IE, the player is performing a GM function, not a player function.
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Old 06-12-2009, 02:20 PM   #40
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I certainly let players write up their own Allies and Dependants, but it's CLEAR between the player and me that "I am letting them write a part of the campaign world because we're cool like that and my campaign world has room for it", and not "I am letting them fill in this other part of their character sheet which happens to live on its own piece of paper".

IE, the player is performing a GM function, not a player function.
That's pretty much how it is with us. We don't make such a stark distinction between "player" and "GM"; we're all "members of the gaming group", telling the story together and using the rules to resolve events. The GM is more of a "rules referee" and "'player' of the rest of the setting", while the players run the PCs, who are the primary characters of the story. It's all heavily interactive and cooperative, especially on the story side, while the rules side is used, as I mentioned, to resolve character actions and events.
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