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Old 05-30-2012, 08:11 PM   #1
Sunrunners_Fire
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Bullhead City, AZ
Default [Build Advice] Innate Attack: Toxic

I call upon the experience and knowledge of the hivemind! (hehe)

Okay, so ... I'm writing up an alien species template for a science-fiction campaign; specifically I'm trying to model a complex poison and its' giving me fits! (I mostly blame this on my brain being stubborn about working properly.) I'm going to do this step-by-step over multiple posts.

[Step 1]
Teeth (Sharp Teeth) [1] ... they have sharp teeth!
Immunity to Mnemi Toxins [1] ... they are immune to their own stuff!

... done!

[Step 2] Really popular at parties. "Would you please spit in my cup, good sir? Or maybe nibble on my fingers?"
Toxic Attack 1
Modifiers: Cumulative, +400%; Cyclic (1 Second) (2 Cycles), +100%; Follow-Up (Sharp Teeth), +0%; Side Effect (Ecstasy; Secondary), +70%; Side Effect (Euphoria), +80%; Accessibility (Terran Mammals), -...%; Blood Agent, -40%; Damage Limitation (No Wounding), -50%; Partial Dice (Per Level) (+4), +1

What I think this does: Bite! If DR isn't penetrated, nothing happens. If DR is penetrated, victim takes 4 phantom damage every second for two seconds (so the second it is bitten and the second afterwards) that only counts towards determining the penalty for resisting the side effect. 1st second, attempt to resist side effect at -2. 2nd second, attempt to resist side effect at -4. Bite again! Same deal, but 3rd second (bite 2's first second) the penalty is -6 and the 4th second (bite 2's second second) penalty is -8. If victim fails its' resistance, it is incapacitated while having a really good time.
  • Cumulative is taken from Affliction, and is intended to model that the toxin builds up with multiple bites and becomes harder and harder to resist. Is there a more appropriate modifier?
  • I'm not sure what Accessibility (Terran Mammals)'s value should be, though I know it should be at least -20% and probably higher. Your opinion on the limitation value?
  • Damage Limitation (No Wounding) isn't technically available for Toxic Attacks, but the poison doesn't hurt them ... and slapping Cosmic (Can purchase "Damage Limitation (No Wounding)") on it feels silly; though I can do so easily enough if it seems necessary.
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Old 05-30-2012, 08:50 PM   #2
starslayer
 
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Default Re: [Build Advice] Innate Attack: Toxic

don't give it toxic as a damage type; give it small piercing with no wounding and blood agent.
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Old 05-30-2012, 09:00 PM   #3
vierasmarius
 
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Default Re: [Build Advice] Innate Attack: Toxic

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sunrunners_Fire View Post
[Step 2] Really popular at parties. "Would you please spit in my cup, good sir? Or maybe nibble on my fingers?"
Toxic Attack 1
Modifiers: Cumulative, +400%; Cyclic (1 Second) (2 Cycles), +100%; Follow-Up (Sharp Teeth), +0%; Side Effect (Ecstasy; Secondary), +70%; Side Effect (Euphoria), +80%; Accessibility (Terran Mammals), -...%; Blood Agent, -40%; Damage Limitation (No Wounding), -50%; Partial Dice (Per Level) (+4), +1

What I think this does: Bite! If DR isn't penetrated, nothing happens. If DR is penetrated, victim takes 4 phantom damage every second for two seconds (so the second it is bitten and the second afterwards) that only counts towards determining the penalty for resisting the side effect. 1st second, attempt to resist side effect at -2. 2nd second, attempt to resist side effect at -4. Bite again! Same deal, but 3rd second (bite 2's first second) the penalty is -6 and the 4th second (bite 2's second second) penalty is -8. If victim fails its' resistance, it is incapacitated while having a really good time.
  • Cumulative is taken from Affliction, and is intended to model that the toxin builds up with multiple bites and becomes harder and harder to resist. Is there a more appropriate modifier?
  • I'm not sure what Accessibility (Terran Mammals)'s value should be, though I know it should be at least -20% and probably higher. Your opinion on the limitation value?
  • Damage Limitation (No Wounding) isn't technically available for Toxic Attacks, but the poison doesn't hurt them ... and slapping Cosmic (Can purchase "Damage Limitation (No Wounding)") on it feels silly; though I can do so easily enough if it seems necessary.
I don't think you need Cumulative for this. Damage is already "Cumulative", and Symptom is based on total damage done. Side Effect, of course, is based on the damage per hit, so it might make sense to have its penalty based on the accumulated damage... except that the target is already rolling every Cycle to resist the effect.

Perhaps you could switch that, so the target only rolls to resist once (when it first takes damage) and then compares its resistance roll to an updated penalty as "damage" builds up. For example, a HT 10 human rolls 8, just enough to resist the base attack (4 damage = -2 HT). The next second, damage increases to 8 (-4 HT), making his initial resistance roll a failure. That feels like a clunky fit though, and I'm not sure what enhancement value is appropriate, so I'd personally just drop the Cumulative Side Effect. Rolling at -2 every second is harsh enough.

Using No Wounding as a sort of "Phantom Damage" is something I've considered, and don't have a problem with. However, I've heard other folks suggest making Phantom Damage a -25% limitation instead. After all, No Wounding normally wouldn't accumulate at all, making it fine for Side Effect but useless for Symptom. As Phantom Damage, it builds up in the victim's system for the purpose of the Symptom. Presumably it dissipates at the same rate the body heals, though there should reasonably be other ways to treat it - "First Aid" could suck out some of the toxin, while an Antidote spell or poison could flush it from the system.

Another option, if folks don't like the Phantom Damage angle, is to make it a Fatigue attack instead of Toxic. This would be more expensive, but is more obvious in how it interacts with the victim. If the poison is harder to recover from than simply resting for an hour or two, make it a Hazard like Dehydration (the poison must be flushed with lots of water) or Freezing (sweating helps the body purge it). Or make a new one with a similar mundane countermeasure.
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Old 05-31-2012, 09:41 AM   #4
Sunrunners_Fire
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Bullhead City, AZ
Default Re: [Build Advice] Innate Attack: Toxic

Quote:
Originally Posted by starslayer View Post
don't give it toxic as a damage type; give it small piercing with no wounding and blood agent.
I'm not sure what the advantages to doing so would be?

Quote:
Originally Posted by vierasmarius View Post
I don't think you need Cumulative for this. Damage is already "Cumulative", and Symptom is based on total damage done. Side Effect, of course, is based on the damage per hit, so it might make sense to have its penalty based on the accumulated damage... except that the target is already rolling every Cycle to resist the effect.

Perhaps you could switch that, so the target only rolls to resist once (when it first takes damage) and then compares its resistance roll to an updated penalty as "damage" builds up. For example, a HT 10 human rolls 8, just enough to resist the base attack (4 damage = -2 HT). The next second, damage increases to 8 (-4 HT), making his initial resistance roll a failure. That feels like a clunky fit though, and I'm not sure what enhancement value is appropriate, so I'd personally just drop the Cumulative Side Effect. Rolling at -2 every second is harsh enough.

Using No Wounding as a sort of "Phantom Damage" is something I've considered, and don't have a problem with. However, I've heard other folks suggest making Phantom Damage a -25% limitation instead. After all, No Wounding normally wouldn't accumulate at all, making it fine for Side Effect but useless for Symptom. As Phantom Damage, it builds up in the victim's system for the purpose of the Symptom. Presumably it dissipates at the same rate the body heals, though there should reasonably be other ways to treat it - "First Aid" could suck out some of the toxin, while an Antidote spell or poison could flush it from the system.

Another option, if folks don't like the Phantom Damage angle, is to make it a Fatigue attack instead of Toxic. This would be more expensive, but is more obvious in how it interacts with the victim. If the poison is harder to recover from than simply resting for an hour or two, make it a Hazard like Dehydration (the poison must be flushed with lots of water) or Freezing (sweating helps the body purge it). Or make a new one with a similar mundane countermeasure.
I went with Side Effect rather than Symptom because Symptom (Ecstasy) isn't valid and because Symptom potentially lasts quite a bit longer than Side Effect does.

Switching it to a Fatigue Attack may work ...

:considers:
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Old 05-31-2012, 02:04 PM   #5
kirbwarrior
 
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Default Re: [Build Advice] Innate Attack: Toxic

Just a side note, they don't need to be immune to a poison that can't affect them (unless they are a terran mammal).

Why only one cycle? Tack on a couple more, make it last five seconds, and this attack becomes very powerful.
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Old 05-31-2012, 03:38 PM   #6
Sunrunners_Fire
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
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Default Re: [Build Advice] Innate Attack: Toxic

Quote:
Originally Posted by kirbwarrior View Post
Just a side note, they don't need to be immune to a poison that can't affect them (unless they are a terran mammal).
No, they aren't terran-style mammals; that their toxins interact with terran biochemistry at all is worrisome to scientists on both sides. Their toxins are intended to interact with critters using weir biochemistry (in which it typically induces agony, paralytic seizures and heart attacks within susceptible targets).

A species-wide immunity to the Mnemi's rather nasty toxins are necessary for them to survive being animals first before becoming sapient (and for them to continue surviving being sapient).

Quote:
Why only one cycle? Tack on a couple more, make it last five seconds, and this attack becomes very powerful.
As the Mnemi are a sapient technological species, I don't want them to consider their bites/toxins as anything more than a useful backup weapon when their actual weapons aren't available to them. While they can be somewhat scary in unarmed combat (compared to humanity), it isn't their preferred method anymore than martial arts are our preferred method of killing. They like guns just as much (if not more!) than we do.
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Old 06-01-2012, 07:36 AM   #7
whswhs
 
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Default Re: [Build Advice] Innate Attack: Toxic

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sunrunners_Fire View Post
A species-wide immunity to the Mnemi's rather nasty toxins are necessary for them to survive being animals first before becoming sapient (and for them to continue surviving being sapient).
I don't think that's true. There are lots of animals that are toxic to their own species without immunity, all the way down to honeybees. They deal with this by having limitations on the sting or bite response to conspecifics. If they have parental behavior, the infants may lack the means of biting, may not produce the toxin, or may produce only a low dose.

Or you could say that being bitten with low doses is a standard experience, and that young who miss out on it grow up tragically not immune.

If spitting in the drink causes the effects, by the way, I think it's a digestive agent as well as a blood agent. You might want to check how the two are worded.

Bill Stoddard
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Old 06-01-2012, 09:47 AM   #8
Sunrunners_Fire
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Bullhead City, AZ
Default Re: [Build Advice] Innate Attack: Toxic

Quote:
Originally Posted by whswhs View Post
I don't think that's true. There are lots of animals that are toxic to their own species without immunity, all the way down to honeybees. They deal with this by having limitations on the sting or bite response to conspecifics. If they have parental behavior, the infants may lack the means of biting, may not produce the toxin, or may produce only a low dose.

Or you could say that being bitten with low doses is a standard experience, and that young who miss out on it grow up tragically not immune.
True. I have been imagining it as an element of their saliva (and to a lesser degree their fluids and waste though I wasn't going to stat that up as an attack), which makes the below interesting:

Quote:
If spitting in the drink causes the effects, by the way, I think it's a digestive agent as well as a blood agent. You might want to check how the two are worded.
Where do I find the digestive agent modifier?
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Old 06-01-2012, 12:53 PM   #9
whswhs
 
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Default Re: [Build Advice] Innate Attack: Toxic

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sunrunners_Fire View Post
True. I have been imagining it as an element of their saliva (and to a lesser degree their fluids and waste though I wasn't going to stat that up as an attack), which makes the below interesting:

Where do I find the digestive agent modifier?
You know, I thought there was one, but I'm not seeing it. You'd think there would be, as it's one of the categories in Campaigns, along with blood, contact, and respiratory agents.

I'm not sure what would be a suitable modifier. It inherently bypasses all defense, like Respiratory Agent; on the other hand, it's a lot easier for people to resist swallowing than to resist inhaling. I might call it a 0% modifier on Toxic Damage, but I don't have a solid argument for that.

Bill Stoddard
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Old 06-01-2012, 01:28 PM   #10
lexington
 
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Default Re: [Build Advice] Innate Attack: Toxic

Why would an alien species evolve to produce a toxin that is only dangerous to a limited spectrum of animals on another planet?
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