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Old 08-17-2010, 03:24 PM   #1
umbros
 
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Default [DF] Backstabber powerup from DF11

The Backstabber powerup contains a Hard technique called "Disappear", The first level of Backstabber gives you 6 pts in this technique for Stealth -5. So this technique must default to Stealth -10. So far so good. But the descriptive text says that the Basic Penalty (DF 2 p11) of -5 to Stealth to disappear is negated for someone with the first level. So "Disappear" should be Stealth -0. Is this errata, or am I missing something?
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Old 08-17-2010, 03:33 PM   #2
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Default Re: [DF] Backstabber powerup from DF11

Quote:
Originally Posted by umbros View Post
The Backstabber powerup contains a Hard technique called "Disappear", The first level of Backstabber gives you 6 pts in this technique for Stealth -5. So this technique must default to Stealth -10. So far so good. But the descriptive text says that the Basic Penalty (DF 2 p11) of -5 to Stealth to disappear is negated for someone with the first level. So "Disappear" should be Stealth -0. Is this errata, or am I missing something?
You're missing that -10 +5 = -5

The FIRST -5 of the penalty implies that there's more penalty. That's the -5 for ANYWHERE but brush or shadowy tunnels, or encumberance, or being surprised, etc etc. It's almost always at least -10 (because in brush or shadowy areas the PCs often get surprised instead of do the surprising, and you can't buy up the technique to cover the situational modifiers.
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Old 08-17-2010, 03:48 PM   #3
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Default Re: [DF] Backstabber powerup from DF11

That's what I missed. (The -5 for the lack of bushes or shadows to hide in.)
I assumed that all situational mods were applied to the technique after the fact and not built in. So the Backstabber should get a +5 Bonus if he does his thing in Shadowy tunnels or bushes or whatever? Seems wonky to me.

Does the "Disappear" technique appear anywhere else but DF 11 and in Action 3?

Last edited by umbros; 08-17-2010 at 03:51 PM.
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Old 08-17-2010, 05:08 PM   #4
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Default Re: [DF] Backstabber powerup from DF11

No?

OK.

The base "Vanish at the start of combat and reappear behind someone" thing is -5. The Backstabber has bought off that -5, and only that -5, and can't buy off any of the other penalties.

In an ideal situation - shadowy tunnels, ambushing the other guy, no encumberance, etc etc, the back stabber is rolling at a total of +5, it breaks down as:

-5 Vanishing
+5 Backstabber
+5 Ambushing
+0 SHadowy tunnels.

Worst case scenario is being surprised somehow in a featureless plain with bright lights:

-5 Vanishing
+5 Backstabber
-5 Surprised!
-5 Not brush or shadowy tunnels

for a total of -10 (not counting encumberance).

The backstabber can be said to have +5, but that JUST offsets the -5 for Vanishing.
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Old 08-17-2010, 05:22 PM   #5
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Default Re: [DF] Backstabber powerup from DF11

The backstabber can buy off other penalties, though. The text says so explicitly.

I don't understand why they didn't list it as being bought up from Stealth-5 (default) to Stealth+4 (With Backstabber 3). The way it's written seems wrong.
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Old 08-17-2010, 05:26 PM   #6
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Default Re: [DF] Backstabber powerup from DF11

Disappear canonically defaults to Stealth-10, per p. 16 of Action 3. This assumes the base -5 plus another -5 in miscellaneous penalties. The maximum removable penalty is -10. Recording this as a technique that defaults at -10 is purely a notational convenience that makes this clear.

As far as DF is concerned, techniques don't even exist. The note showing how the power-up was built is just there for GMs who want to improvise. As such, it uses the canonical technique from Action 3 rather than a special DF version that defaults at Stealth-5. That way, the extra -5 from encumbrance, lack of cover, etc. is built in. I could have created a variant that started at Stealth-5 and went up to Stealth+5, but that would have been troublesome, as you'd never actually use Stealth+5; at most, you can wipe out penalties enough to use full Stealth. Also, it would mean two techniques with the same name and different defaults.
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Old 08-17-2010, 05:27 PM   #7
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Default Re: [DF] Backstabber powerup from DF11

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ulzgoroth View Post

I don't understand why they didn't list it as being bought up from Stealth-5 (default) to Stealth+4 (With Backstabber 3). The way it's written seems wrong.
Because Stealth+4 implies that you might sometimes roll vs. Stealth+4. You never do. Most utility techniques that remove penalties are normed to the maximum penalty they can erase, not to some midpoint value, to avoid any confusion about whether you ever get a net bonus out of buying up the technique. This is also why, say, Close Combat (Two-Handed Sword) defaults to Two-handed Sword-8, even though a bokken or jo is Reach 1 and only ever has -4. If we said it ranged from -4 to +4 instead of -8 to 0, then somebody somewhere would interpret that as letting a bokken or jo strike at +4 in close combat . . .
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Old 08-17-2010, 08:27 PM   #8
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Default Re: [DF] Backstabber powerup from DF11

Forgive me for being dense :)

So the Thief with Stealth-18 (w/o Backstabber) would roll against:

13-unencumbered in shadowy conditions
-1 to -4 for encumbrance
-5 if ambushed
-5 in well lit conditions
+5 if ambushing

worst case: well lit, extra heavy encumbrance, and ambushed; Stealth-(-1)(impossible)
best case: unencumbered, in the shadows, and ambushing Stealth-18

The same Thief with Backstabber:
18-unencumbered in shadowy conditions
worst case: well lit, extra heavy encumbrance, and ambushed
(BS 1) 4- Stealth 18-5-4-5= 4
(BS 2) 6- Stealth 18-5-4-5+2= 6
(BS 3) 8- Stealth 18-5-4-5+4= 8
best case: unencumbered, in the shadows, and ambushing; Stealth-18

Does this look right?
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Old 08-17-2010, 09:11 PM   #9
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Default Re: [DF] Backstabber powerup from DF11

Comparing Action 2 p37 to DF 2 p11, The rules for "Death from the Shadows" and "Backstabbing" are identical.

"Disappearing" on p37 of Action 2 is different because it allows the character to vanish during combat instead of only at the beginning at base penalty -10 to stealth instead of -5.

The Backstabber text refers to it only being used when the fight starts.

So... Can you disappear at the beginning of a fight, back stab, throw down a nageteppo for concealment, vanish again, then back stab once more? That is if you made all the rolls?

If you can't do it during combat then you shouldn't have the extra -5 from the "Disappearing" rule, it should only be -5 base like Death from the Shadows or Backstabbing.
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Old 08-18-2010, 12:35 AM   #10
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Default Re: [DF] Backstabber powerup from DF11

There's a basic -5 to do this trick at all, plus a bunch of possible extra penalties, including those from being ambushed, having encumbrance, and having no cover . . . and, if you have Action 3, vanishing mid-fight. The basic power-up nukes the first -5, which always applies. The successive levels each erase -2 of those other penalties. There's nothing strange or secret here:
  • Normal Guy Backstabbing: Always Stealth-5, plus lots of other potential penalties.
  • Backstabber 1 Guy Backstabbing: Always full Stealth, plus lots of other potential penalties.
  • Backstabber 2 Guy Backstabbing: Always full Stealth, plus lots of other potential penalties reduced by -2.
  • Backstabber 3 Guy Backstabbing: Always full Stealth, plus lots of other potential penalties reduced by -4.
That's it – nothing else. The crucial observation is that no amount of Backstabber will ever let you roll above Stealth. It only ever strikes penalties. It can't result in a net bonus.

Whether you use the neat trick from Action 3 is up to your gaming group. If you have that supplement, go ahead. It's really more a modern action-movie trope, but it's probably fine for DF. However, it's just an extra -5 penalty for an additional trick, which isn't treated differently from any of the other possible penalties.
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