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Old 08-18-2020, 12:16 AM   #1
Join Date: Aug 2018
Default redesign ideas for Fire Elementals and GURPS Powers

B88 initially mentioned that Elementals were a specific class of spirits under the Specialized limit for Spirit Empathy.

B102 Aura mentions "sheath of flame surrounding a fire elemental" and to consult Body of Fire on B262

B262 lists that under Elemental Meta-Traits (for creating "elemental creatures") though this is to represent being composed of the element and not necessarily a spirit.

B263 had the "Spirit" meta-trait and there is certain overlap: "Doesn't Breathe" is in both (just "Oxygen Combustion" limitation for fire) and both have Immunity to Metabolic Hazards. You can combine Diffuse and Insubstantiality so that's a non-issue.

M76 doesn't use either meta-trait though it seems to have adopted SOME elements of both. Mostly Body of Fire (double damage) some IQ/HT/DX penalties and notably DOES have ST and merely "No Fine Manipulators" instead of "No Manipulators" so they can punch/kick just not use tools with their paws. The elements borrowed from Spirit just seem to be Doesn't Eat/Drink/Sleep.

Given that M27 says "Elemental Spirit Spells" I'm going to assume that Spirit Empathy works on them even if they lack things like Insubstantiality/Invisibility from the Spirit trait (which perhaps we should rename "Generic Spirit Template" to indicate other types exist?)

P129 Heat/Fire mentions "direct elemental control (Elemental and Super)" and since it came out April 2006 it couldn't be incorporated into Feb 2006 Magic. Applying this to some of the abilities could make them cheaper and open up more interesting versatility with them.

P176 has "Special Rules for Elemental Powers" which sound interesting to apply here if you wanted to give Talent to a Fire Elemental: "a bonus equal to Talent on all rolls to resist his element in any form, mundane or powered – but Talent acts as a penalty whenever he must resist the
opposed element" (which I think refers to P31 Opposing Foci).

This would help build upon their underwhelming Weakness (Water). It's great that water can (gradually) kill them, but until it does, it doesn't seem to manifest in other ways. Using SREP+Talent could be like +1 to the HT roll against Heat (B434) and -1 to the HT roll against Cold (B430) for example.

OTOH you might well have a reversed take on it (inherently generating heat makes it hard to suffer from cold and easy to get overheated) in which case you could flip which roll gets the bonus or penalty?

The 1st one is suggested under P176 "Out of Your Element":
in hot environments, Cold/Ice abilities might be subject to the penalties to HT rolls under Heat (p. B434).
Whichever interpretation, to apply this requires more info as Temperature Tolerance (B93) explains, nonhumans can center their baseline 55 degrees ( anywhere, not just between 35 and 90 (62.5±27.5).

This is one thing that probably gets ignored in a lot of racial templates, and when you do see TT it usually won't explain in what direction the advantage is extending it. B456/B458 give a level to wolves/lions which tells us so we know these races get a HT bonus (11 for lions, 12 for wolves) to their span of 55 resulting in 66/67, but we still don't know what the span actually is, which would be important to know when you have species moving outside their average climates.

Getting back to OOYE, this helps avoid situations like "the fire elemental is walking under an ocean taking 1d/min but he still burns any fish he touches for 2d" because you could consider that a -10 ability which prevents his Aura from working.

That might knock out his DR if you had DR (Ranged Attacks) representing burning up bullets (they don't do much to Diffuse creatures though) but probably shouldn't knock it out if his DR was Fire-Only because if he actually gets attacked by Fire underwater, it's probably going to be burning water out of the way which would prevent that water from impeding the DR.

The elemental power modifier having an effective "Accessibility" per OOYE is kind of a way around the "Always On" nature of some powers. But that is legal, since we've seen Invisibility (Always On by default) gain effective switchability via making it only accessible when Insubstantial (for spirits) so that trick could work to exploit the AO limitation for other abilities with exceptions.

Hard to think what a "put out" fire elemental might actually look like though. There must be something solid under there (magic particles?) since they can exert ST (unlike Body of Fire)

One place where "Opposing Foci" is cool is specialized interactions between certain powers.

For example: two forms of Corrosion Attack (P140 Water Blade and P144 Acidic Blood) are Heat/Fire, so both would bypass the DR 10 that a Lesser Fire Elemental has. Due to that, neither could presumably actually deplete that DR.
These Sample Abilities don't actually have Power Modifiers in them which is kind of interesting. You would assume they're intended to be combined with them, given the book. I would normally consider reworking them from their base costs but P136 has this funny note:
When buying them, there’s no need to note all the details. Just record the ability’s
name and cost as you would for a meta-trait.
That could make >100% abilities a lot cheaper (it sounds like they're suggesting applying power modifier to the "metatrait" cost, which would identical resemble Multiplicative Modifiers if enhancements were the only modifiers used to construct the metatrait. It's usually a mix though, which is different.

OTOH this would make many <100% abilities more expensive, since the discount you're getting from a power modifier on a metatrait is less than if you applied the modifier to the base ability value. Only if an ability was already near minimum cost (-80%) could this result in saving more points.
Water Blade is opposing foci (generic acid is not) so there could be interesting options other than ignoring the DR (which any non-heat/fire attack can already do)

P167 Power Parry" covers clashing Innate Attacks, P168's 2nd bullet cites "Opposing Powers" on P21. This wouldn't be an option for a raw advantage, but by having Elemental Water v Elemental Fire, you can use these rules.

This isn't an option for attacks that take more than a second. There doesn't seem to be any difference between "free" attacks (like Burning Aura) or "attack maneuver" attacks (like Melee Corrosion) in terms of ability to power parry. Nor does Range/Reach seem to matter, at least with defending yourself.
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