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Old 08-20-2021, 10:19 AM   #11
Prince Charon
 
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Default Re: [Powers / Psionics] Help with Uncontrollable

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Originally Posted by Anaraxes View Post
Or not. The player doesn't get to dictate what an Uncontrollable power does (kind of by definition).
No, but the GM does. I was expressing my understanding of how the power would work in the scenario presented, which specifically mentioned an attack.
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Old 08-20-2021, 10:42 AM   #12
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Default Re: [Powers / Psionics] Help with Uncontrollable

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Originally Posted by Tinman View Post
The above is all well & good and I agree with all you said.
However, do you have an opinion on if it should prevent free action or does it limit the player's maneuvers?
I am the GM & I'm trying to figure out my position on it & reading why yes or no is valuable to me.
Absent something like Compartmentalized Mind which would allow the player's character to take two Maneuvers at the same time, the character is under the control of the GM, not the player. Until the player makes a successful Will roll, he doesn't have any free actions or maneuvers to take for the character, the GM does.

The player whose character has Uncontrollable has no control over the character until he makes a Will roll bringing the character back under his control. He may not pick Maneuvers or Free Actions until then. The GM is in sole control of the character.

That said, the GM needs to play the character with some regard for the personality and character of the character. It's fine to say that the character resents a recent hurt from another PC and the power goes after him. It's not fine to have the power take after even an NPC because the character has always hated him, if the character hasn't been role-played that way (and if there's nothing about the hatred written down on the character's sheet). And on the gripping hand, if a character has been taken as an Enemy on the character sheet and the player has usually ignored it, the power may go to town on that Enemy just because it was so frustrated and now has the chance to cut loose.

Last edited by Curmudgeon; 08-20-2021 at 10:45 AM.
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Old 08-20-2021, 11:04 AM   #13
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Default Re: [Powers / Psionics] Help with Uncontrollable

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Originally Posted by Curmudgeon View Post
The player whose character has Uncontrollable has no control over the character until he makes a Will roll bringing the character back under his control. He may not pick Maneuvers or Free Actions until then. The GM is in sole control of the character.
Nothing in the entry for Uncontrollable on p116 of the 4e Basic Set indicates that to me. The GM is in control of the ability, but I don't see anything in that entry that says the GM takes over the entire character. That doesn't mean that I can't be mistaken, though, nor that something elsewhere might say that, so please quote what you saw that gave you that idea, or at least tell us the book and page.
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Last edited by Prince Charon; 08-20-2021 at 11:08 AM.
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Old 08-20-2021, 04:18 PM   #14
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Default Re: [Powers / Psionics] Help with Uncontrollable

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Originally Posted by Prince Charon View Post
Same. It would make no sense (IMHO) for the character to be paralysed by their power going uncontrollable unless there were a separate limitation or disadvantage that caused it.
It moreso doesn't make sense for a limitation to give utility (free maneuver)

Imagine also something like Uncontrollable on Flight : does it give you free Move maneuvers and fly you around in random directions, or is it only uncontrollable hovering?

This also isn't paralysis we're talking about: being forced to take certain maneuvers is basically just "I'm slowed to a step" and you can still do active defenses.

Uncontrollable utility really shines in cases where the abilities are attacking obvious enemies of a person while they're stunned: being forced to Do Nothing means you couldn't even take maneuvers to use your ability if you wanted to.
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Old 08-20-2021, 05:46 PM   #15
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Default Re: [Powers / Psionics] Help with Uncontrollable

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Originally Posted by Plane View Post
It moreso doesn't make sense for a limitation to give utility (free maneuver)
It's not a free manoeuver, though. The GM is controlling it, and the write-up in the book indicates that it should be treated as a separate being; 'playing it as though it were an entity of a prankish or hostile nature,' to quote the page.
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Old 08-20-2021, 06:38 PM   #16
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Default Re: [Powers / Psionics] Help with Uncontrollable

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Originally Posted by Prince Charon View Post
It's not a free manoeuver, though. The GM is controlling it, and the write-up in the book indicates that it should be treated as a separate being; 'playing it as though it were an entity of a prankish or hostile nature,' to quote the page.
I guess maybe I'm thinking of the "A harmful ability goes after obvious
foes first" approach to attack abilities.

If I have "takes extra time" on my attack and it's slow to use anyway then this would give me a lot of increased output...
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Old 08-21-2021, 02:02 AM   #17
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Default Re: [Powers / Psionics] Help with Uncontrollable

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Originally Posted by Plane View Post
I guess maybe I'm thinking of the "A harmful ability goes after obvious
foes first" approach to attack abilities.

If I have "takes extra time" on my attack and it's slow to use anyway then this would give me a lot of increased output...
Unless the uncontrolled ability can't respond to changes in the situation any faster than the character would be able to.

I'm surprised that the posts here are so split on the question (though it looks like a lot of that is Curmudgeon's posts). To me, it's a complete no-brainer that the character is free to do whatever he wants while his power jerks him around. If it makes you feel better, imagine that that problematic sentence reads "A harmful ability might go after obvious foes first". Personally, I would ignore that altogether.

An Uncontrollable ability might be many things - subconscious impulses, sure, but it might be a possessing demon, or a curse. If the ability has the Spirit PM, it might be a completely separate, free-floating spirit doing mischief - obviously that wouldn't affect the character's own ability to do stuff.

It could be an energy beam that fires from the character's hand(s), in which case it wouldn't attack an obvious foe unless the character just happened to have his hand pointed that way - not likely.


On the other hand, Uncontrollable is probably most commonly used to represent inexperience and lack of skill, and I like to imagine it in those circumstances as a sort of impulse control issue. In situations where the character has reason to consider using the ability, but for whatever reason realizes that is not a good idea to do it then (or in that way), that would be a good time for those conflicting impulse to make it go off. In the case of Uncontrollable limitations that are justified that way, it makes sense for the character to need to Concentrate - he started to use it, thought better of it, but couldn't restrain himself in time. In that case, it would probably go off a bit less often, so I wouldn't give him any extra limitation value to compensate for losing his actions.

Just as an aside, I've always thought that Uncontrollable should have been called Irrepressible. Then Uncontrollable could have been used for abilities whose options couldn't be controlled - which mode an AA ability is in, how powerful a Variable attack is, etc.

Last edited by transmetahuman; 08-21-2021 at 02:06 AM.
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Old 08-21-2021, 04:18 AM   #18
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Default Re: [Powers / Psionics] Help with Uncontrollable

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Originally Posted by Prince Charon View Post
Nothing in the entry for Uncontrollable on p116 of the 4e Basic Set indicates that to me. The GM is in control of the ability, but I don't see anything in that entry that says the GM takes over the entire character.
This is what I thought too. I understand people who think it would result in "free" maneuvers.

However, the limitation is only worth [-10%] if non-destructive. Compare that to the disadvantage On The Edge [-15] (B.146). It looks to me that Uncontrollable could easily give you that disadvantage or worse Berserk (do all-out attacks) against the player will.

It's one thing to involuntarily set fire to one's hotel room, but to not be able to flee the fire because the power is still attacking things seems like a suicide modifier.
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Old 08-21-2021, 07:25 AM   #19
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Default Re: [Powers / Psionics] Help with Uncontrollable

I'll chime in with my agreement that the character would be free to act when they lose control of their abilities. The power acts on its own, and not necessarily to the benefit of the PC, otherwise it would not be a limitation. If it is e.g. Telekinesis, random things nearby might rattle or fly off shelves.
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Old 08-21-2021, 07:30 AM   #20
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Default Re: [Powers / Psionics] Help with Uncontrollable

I've always treated it that way (it doesn't take up an action) and I've been pretty brutal with it in the past with players. I had one player who could read minds involuntarily and she bought that up to Reflexive as soon as she could about 12 sessions later. It's worth the points it gives back in almost all cases.
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