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Old 04-03-2012, 01:03 AM   #11
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Default Re: [PU4, PP] Mental Defense Only vs. Malediction-Proof

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You're right. Game-machanically, your argument is simple and completely convincing. Malediction-Proof DR works against and only against Malediction. Therefore, it doesn't work against any attack enhanced with Mental Defense Only. Q.E.D.

However, if the character concept requires a large amount of DR against all the damaging psychic attacks, then the most natural candidate among the abilities listed in Psionic Powers will be a high level of Psychic Armor (which is actually a Malediction-Proof DR), rather than Psionic Shield (which is actually a limited Mind Shield). Psychic Armor is a typical "mental defense", so supposing that Mental Defense Only attacks should ignore this mental defense seems unintuitive, even if it's what follows from the RAW.
Psychic Armor is Force Field Enhanced DR, only vs a psi source, and maledictions, so it's still effective for everything it was effective against before. But yes, there is a "New Threat" here with damage coming in on the Mind Shield level.

It means more points, yes, but if you really have an aversion to Mind Shield, throw a +50% Cosmic on your Psychic Armor to protect against attacks with the Mental Defense only Enhancement, should be fair enough. Then you get the DR for 2.5 points per, but don't get all the wonderful mental bolstering in contests (or other benefits) that Mind Shield provides.
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Old 04-03-2012, 01:09 AM   #12
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Default Re: [PU4, PP] Mental Defense Only vs. Malediction-Proof

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Side question: If a Mental Defense Only attack is thrown on a inanimate object, does it inflict damage ignoring the object's DR? Or does it pass through the object harmlessly?
I think it would damage anything without a Mind Shield as if it had Cosmic, Ignores DR. There is no mention of change in effects or damage types etc. For +250% I doubt they're pulling targets off the table!
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Old 04-03-2012, 07:42 AM   #13
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Default Re: [PU4, PP] Mental Defense Only vs. Malediction-Proof

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Psychic Armor is a typical "mental defense", so supposing that Mental Defense Only attacks should ignore this mental defense seems unintuitive, even if it's what follows from the RAW.
Is your argument here that you think the name is misleading? I'm sort of having problems tracking what your complaint is.

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It means more points, yes, but if you really have an aversion to Mind Shield, throw a +50% Cosmic on your Psychic Armor to protect against attacks with the Mental Defense only Enhancement, should be fair enough.
Mental Defense Only is Cosmic: Irresistable Attack with a limitation on it ("Treats Mind Shield as Cosmic DR") which seems to be ~-15%. Unless you want that DR to be Cosmic against everything, I'd apply Cosmic Defense with a limitation on it (only vs Mental Defense Only attacks, -40% if I had to eyeball it) - that way it's not Cosmic DR vs Everything. So about +30% instead of +50%.
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Old 04-03-2012, 08:47 AM   #14
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Default Re: [PU4, PP] Mental Defense Only vs. Malediction-Proof

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I think it would damage anything without a Mind Shield as if it had Cosmic, Ignores DR. There is no mention of change in effects or damage types etc. For +250% I doubt they're pulling targets off the table!
Agreed. It fits well with the concept of a pyromancer who can burn anything, except entities with strong will. So he burns grass easily, most enemies with some effort, but can't do a thing against an enemy monk.
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Old 04-03-2012, 12:23 PM   #15
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Default Re: [PU4, PP] Mental Defense Only vs. Malediction-Proof

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I think it would damage anything without a Mind Shield as if it had Cosmic, Ignores DR.
Pretty much. The enhancement is simple and straightforward: Roll damage and subtract Mind Shield (not DR). If you lack Mind Shield, whether because you're a typical human or because you're a tasty baked potato, you don't have any protection against this attack.

Note that this enhancement is totally unbalanced in a world where hardly anyone has Mind Shield. But that should be blindingly obvious. :)
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Old 04-03-2012, 07:48 PM   #16
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Default Re: [PU4, PP] Mental Defense Only vs. Malediction-Proof

I like Psionic Powers much. I use it for my campaign and I introduce abilities in it to new players, for simplicity's sake, like this:
  • "Psychic Armor is a type of mental defense. It works against any damaging psionic attacks."
  • "Psionic Shield is another type. It gives a bonus to resistance rolls to non-damaging telepathic threats."
To those players, declaring "Too bad, this enemy's attack ignores your DR from your Psychic Armor, because he's bought 'Mental Defense Only' enhancement" will sound unreasonable. I, as a GM, know that there's game mechanics behind the scenes -- Psychic Armor ability is actually a modified Damage Resistance advantage and Mental Defense Only attack is unstoppable by DR -- but my players don't always know the mechanics.

PU4 discusses general enhancement and doesn't mention to special enhancement. Malediction-Proof is one of the special enhancements for DR, so I wanted to know the designer's intention about whether Malediction-Proof works or not. If the designer supposes Mental Defense Only to be a sort of conditional Cosmic Irresistible, that's okay. I'd reserve it for a new enemy with "new threat", as the_matrix_walker suggested.
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Old 04-03-2012, 08:36 PM   #17
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Default Re: [PU4, PP] Mental Defense Only vs. Malediction-Proof

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I like Psionic Powers much. I use it for my campaign and I introduce abilities in it to new players, for simplicity's sake, like this:
  • "Psychic Armor is a type of mental defense. It works against any damaging psionic attacks."
  • "Psionic Shield is another type. It gives a bonus to resistance rolls to non-damaging telepathic threats."
To those players, declaring "Too bad, this enemy's attack ignores your DR from your Psychic Armor, because he's bought 'Mental Defense Only' enhancement" will sound unreasonable. I, as a GM, know that there's game mechanics behind the scenes -- Psychic Armor ability is actually a modified Damage Resistance advantage and Mental Defense Only attack is unstoppable by DR -- but my players don't always know the mechanics.
And they don't have to!

Without Malediction, attacks will not have a psi/spell like manifestation they had with it, they will be more like a beam, or a gout of flame or whatever the root of the attack is, and will inflict crushing or burn or toxic or whatever the modified attack form did. Unlike Malediction, range and targeting style are not modified by Mental Defense Only.

It's special armor ignoring properties won't be apparent to them at all if they're not wearing normal armor, and their DR that protects them from PSI damage wouldn't have come into play with that attack form anyway. Based on the original manifestation (or whatever the new one is, as it's distinct from Malediction) your players should not expect Psychic Armor to have an impact in most cases.

And since it's your game, you can just not use it or say by GM Fiat Malediction proof works on it because you say so!
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Old 04-03-2012, 09:38 PM   #18
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Default Re: [PU4, PP] Mental Defense Only vs. Malediction-Proof

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Based on the original manifestation (or whatever the new one is, as it's distinct from Malediction) your players should not expect Psychic Armor to have an impact in most cases.
Sorry, but that's untrue. Psychic Armor is DR with the +50% version of Malediction-Proof. It protects the character from psionic "spell-like" damaging effects as well as electrokinetic beam/telekinetic bullet/other "attack-like" attacks. See the descriptions on p. 14 and p. 25 in Psionic Powers.

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And since it's your game, you can just not use it or say by GM Fiat Malediction proof works on it because you say so!
Of course, but making a new limited version of Mental Defense Only that is blockable with Malediction-Proof DR requires determining point cost. "In your game, you can game in any way you like, so don't ask here" is not an answer to me.
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Old 04-03-2012, 09:48 PM   #19
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Default Re: [PU4, PP] Mental Defense Only vs. Malediction-Proof

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Regardless "Malediction-Proof" Protects against Maledicitions, regardless of if it is an enhanced Innate Attack or an Affliction. A very specific Penetration Modifier.

"Mental Defense only" Uses Mindshield instead of DR and is a Penetration Modifier that specifically cannot be combined with Malediction.

I fail to see how they could interact.
TMW sums it up as well as I could have.

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To those players, declaring "Too bad, this enemy's attack ignores your DR from your Psychic Armor, because he's bought 'Mental Defense Only' enhancement" will sound unreasonable.
Sorry to hear that. I trust in your ability as GM to handle the situation, of course. Personally, I would suggest simply not adding any bad guys with such attacks. You'll note that none of the attacks in GURPS Psionic Powers use that enhancement.

After all, before PU4 came out, it would have already been possible for an evil psi to make an attack that bypassed Psychic Armor. Something like Toxic Attack 1d (Cosmic, Irresistible Attack, +300%; Long-Range 1, +50%; Telepathy, -10%) [18] -- call it "Telepathic Blast." Such a thing would've blown right past Psychic Armor, which was designed to protect against the types of attacks found in GURPS Psionic Powers. There will always be some weird way of creating abilities that can get around any given specific build.

So if you do decide to add attacks with Mental Defense Only, why not just stipulate that such attacks must also take the -10% limitation, "Affected by Psychic Armor"? That's a simpler way to handle it that may be less likely to confuse your players. Or just call it a 0-point feature of Psychic Armor, which is already pretty expensive to begin with.
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Old 04-03-2012, 10:33 PM   #20
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Default Re: [PU4, PP] Mental Defense Only vs. Malediction-Proof

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Sorry to hear that. I trust in your ability as GM to handle the situation, of course. Personally, I would suggest simply not adding any bad guys with such attacks. You'll note that none of the attacks in GURPS Psionic Powers use that enhancement.
Thank you for your thoughtfulness. In real gameplay in my group, I'll never describe like "Your enemy has bought a newly introduced enhancement Mental Defense Only" at the game table so that there will be no problem. I'm good at coming up with pseudo-scientific babble that sounds like justifying the DR-bypassing effect (in Japanese. Sorry I'm not native in English so I can't write down examples right now).

Again, when I choose to introduce Mental Defense Only in my game, I'll probably treat it like a powerful "villain" trait that impose a "new threat" to the PCs, as the_matrix_walker suggested previously. I usually don't use Cosmic Irresistible (either for PCs or for NPCs), opponents that ignore DR will be useful as a formidable challenge.
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