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Old 08-17-2020, 09:36 AM   #1
AlexanderHowl
 
Join Date: Feb 2016
Default Strange Interactions [Basic/Powers]

One of the strangest aspects of the Symptoms enhancement is that it can allow people to gain advantages. For example, you could have the allowing ability:

Toxic Attack 1 point (Aura, +80%; Cosmic, Irresistable Attack, +300%; Melee, C, -30%; No Signature, Mundane, +25%; Symptom, -2/3 HP, Insubstantiality (Always On, -50%; Projection, -50%), +200%; Symptom, -2/3 HP, Invisibility (Affects Machines, +50%), +600%; Symptoms, -2/3 HP, Mute, +25%) [13]. Notes: The character produces a toxic aura that literally drives their victim's soul from their body. Until they heal sufficiently, they are insubstantial, and they are invisible and mute (even to other insubstantial entities), meaning that they find it difficult to ask even other insubstantial entities for assistance.

Potentially, Symptoms could give any advantage, even social advantages like Wealth. What is the weirdest Symptoms that you have seen on an Innate Attack?
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Old 08-17-2020, 10:00 AM   #2
awesomenessofme1
 
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Default Re: Strange Interactions [Basic/Powers]

Quote:
Originally Posted by AlexanderHowl View Post
Potentially, Symptoms could give any advantage, even social advantages like Wealth.
This is not true. Symptoms are described as being based on the equivalent enhancements for Affliction, and the Advantage enhancement explicitly limits you to physical or mental advantages.

I'd say the weirdest part of Symptoms is that incapacitating Symptoms aren't allowed, but Disadvantage (Quadriplegic) is totally fine.
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Old 08-17-2020, 11:55 AM   #3
Plane
 
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Default Re: Strange Interactions [Basic/Powers]

Quote:
Originally Posted by awesomenessofme1 View Post
Symptoms are described as being based on the equivalent enhancements for Affliction

the Advantage enhancement explicitly limits you to physical or mental advantages
Isn't there a way around that though? P63 introduces the Social enhancement for Modular Abilities (B63: an exotic ability you can classify as either mental or physical) so if you did Affliction (Advantage: Enhanced Modular Abilities) then perhaps you could get social advantages that way?

Use of the Social enhancement has to be worked out with GM though (doesn't everything?) with an example given of how "record alteration" could be limited to particular traits.

IMO if you had "Cosmic Power" version of Modular Abilities then you could just call this "reality rewriting" to justify it. Maybe some variant of Cosmic enhancement should be required for certain social advantages though.

Like for example if you want to remove a social disadvantage ("you're no longer my enemy") or add one ("you're now my ally") you're effectively rewriting NPC minds, so that sort of thing should probably involve some kind of resistance roll...

B20 Dominance sounds like a good thing to consult for this idea. Here we have a means of FORCIBLY creating allies if you have points available, but you MUST take the minion enhancement for the ally (per B38 this actually doesn't cost anything extra though if they have Slave Mentality, which Dominance afflicts indefinitely on your victims unless you die)

Where you could differ from Dominance though is the necessity of buying the 'special powers' enhancement for ally, if you didn't want to create contagious allies.

"“Special Abilities” (because he can create new servitors for you)." appears to assume that (since you pass on a racial metatrait to your servitors) Dominance is part of the racial trait you pass on. Meaning any servants can also use Dominance to create their own (creating a tree hierarchy of servitude: even if you don't buy Allies of Allies as your own Allies, you can command your ally to command them, thus controlling them indirectly)

One hole here is that the idea of a master (with advantage Dominance) creating inferior copies (B140 disadvantage: Infectious Attack) doesn't seem to be present.

That's one idea I would like, because that way you could pass on a lower-value version of your racial template, and lower-value allies are cheaper.

If your allies are not able to create Slave Mentality allies via Dominance, this limits the hierarchy you can construct (indirect control) but it also limits the potential of your servants to become masters, which can be a good thing.

Lower-value servants (gaining racial templates with Infectios Attack [-5] instead of Dominance [+20]) would be cheaper to keep as allies, so if they improved in power it would cost fewer character points to keep control of them, and prevent them from going on "create more vampires" sprees.

Another reason is: even if they did regain some independence, they would have less incentive to use Infectious Attack since that doesn't allow them to create allies for themselves.

One idea I had for this is to make Dominance a 25-point ability which has Infectious Attack [-5] as a prerequisite. Then basically allow a monster to just have Infectious Attack in their racial template, and have them buy Dominance OUTSIDE of the racial template so that it is not passed on to those you infect.

If that were allowed then you could create minions but those minions wouldn't be "Dominators" themselves inherently, only "Infectors". This is a good match for how in some vampire lore you have "wild vampires" on the lower tier who can create more beasts, but who fail to establish dominance/hierarchies (it's chaos) compared to when "master vampires" expertly convert their victims.

This doesn't mean "infectors" created couldn't eventually learn to be dominators themselves. You could for example give a master vampire who wanted to teach his infectors how to be dominators Affliction (Advantage: Dominance) to temporarily give them the ability to afflict Slave Mentality via their Infectious Attack and buy those they infect as allies.

Once the Affliction duration is up though (Dominance disappears) it's a little unclear what would happen though.

Like for example, what happens if you have Shapeshifting (Racial template with dominance) and you're a "temporary vampire" who buys vampire minion allies, but then you revert back to human form and no longer have the Dominance advantage?

Does that merely mean you can't create allies (use the Dominance variant of Infectious Attack to afflict Slave Mentality and gain freedom to spent CP to force alliances instead of RPing them) or could it also mean that you actually LOSE your allies?

I'm thinking it could work both ways depending on if you wanted to have those points-for-allies as part of your racial template or not.

One thing I'm unclear about with B83-B84 is whether or not you can modify the value of those racial templates over time.

Like for example: I'm a ST 10 human who shapeshifts into a werewolf, the racial template adds +10 ST so I have ST 20 in werewolf form.

If I want to be a ST 30 werewolf two ideas come to mind:
1) buy ST +10 [100] in my human form: I'm a ST 20 human who becomes a ST 30 werewolf
2) buy ST +10 [90] in my alternate form: I'm a ST 10 human who becomes a ST 30 werewolf

That seems fair enough, but what happens if you can't afford the character points?

The controversial idea would be if you wanted to acquire disadvantages to pay for your advantages (ie "new werewolf form is IQ-5")

The problem there being it could encourage shifting points around, which begins to resemble Morph.

As a result, probably the only disadvantages allowed for an Alternate Form should be whichever ones you start off with. Racial Templates should only be able to gain advantages (or lose disadvantages) via spent points, and not through voluntary assumption of disadvantages.

This would be consistent with Power-Ups Perks where if you consent to acquire a disadvantage, you don't get points in exchange for it. Points in exchange for disadvantages (ie static value) are usually just at creation.

There are some exceptions to that of course. B140 suggests that for Infectious Attack for example:
the GM should consider making infected PCs pay points
for supernatural racial templates gained this way. If they cannot afford
such a template, the GM is free to balance its point cost with supernatural
drawbacks
One fuzzy area for allies though, is 0-point allies, as B37 describes:
Allies built on no more than 100% of the PC’s starting points may also be Dependents (see p. 131). Add the cost of Ally and Dependent together, and treat the combination as a single trait: an advantage if the total point cost is positive, a disadvantage if it is negative.
B131 discounts could reasonably make an ally cheaper, but you probably should have to pay at least 1 point to get the benefit of an ally...

I'm thinking that if using "gaining Dependent Allies in play" that perhaps when merging it into a single trait, rather than just totalling them up (which can result in negative value: players won't want to take extreme dependency if it's not saving/gaining them points) another way to do it might be to treat "Dependent" as a "Temporary Disadvantage" for reducing the value of Ally.

This way you always have a positive cost, so you always have to pay for the ally, but there is still an incentive to take extreme degrees of Importance/Frequency for your Dependents since it would reduce Ally cost by a greater %.

- - -

There is another dilemma here too. The 90% cost of standard racial templates when using Shapeshifting is incentive to purchase Allies via improving your template, rather than purchasing allies outside the template and ALWAYS having them.

However, there is 100% cost for template if using P75 "Once On, Stays On" for Shapeshifting.

This would remove incentive for buying Allies as part of your template: why not just buy them as a non-template advantage and ALWAYS have them as your ally instead of only functioning as allies when you're shapeshifted?

The only incentive would be (as I suggested above) if it came with "Dependent" obligations you wanted to avoid (for example, no penalization for bad roleplaying if you let Dependent-only-while-shapeshifted die)

For "pure Ally" situations it's a problem though. You can also see it with this:

If you buy an Ally as part of your default (say human) racial template (ie it is "swapped out" and unusable in your Alternate Form) then since B84 specifies "the difference in cost between your native template and that of your Alternate Form" points you spend improving your native template would reduce the DIFFERENCE in cost with your "alternate template", which would reduce the value of Shapeshifting. The net effect is that although you spent character points and this increases how strong you are in your native form, the reduction in value of Shapeshifting means as an overall character your point value does not rise at all.

This means there isn't any incentive to buy allies as part of your native (human) template either, unless you for some reason wanted to keep your point total low (one reason might be to lower your value as a Sacrifice, Thaumatology has one formula for calculated energy-via-murder based on point total of sacrifice) but usually players are going to want to get point total high as possible unless they're trying to get into campaigns where GM cuts off high totals (in which case they're probably not going to want to spend character points at all, or seek out ways to lose character points by failing fright checks or gaining Corruption)
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Old 08-17-2020, 12:10 PM   #4
Plane
 
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Default Re: Strange Interactions [Basic/Powers]

(cont)
I think there are two possible fixes to the dilemma, because we should want the possibility of characters spending points on allies only usable in native form or only usable in altered form.

1) require Allies to be bought with a cosmic enhancement like +50% usable in all forms (I think I saw that somewhere in PU4) otherwise they're considered part of a racial template and locked to that form
2) allow Allies to take a limitation like "only in native form" or "only while shapeshifted"
3) treat "Not My Ally" as an inverse Temporary Disadvantage which applies both to the 15 point base and any extra points you spend on Alternate Form. This includes the 80% cap on how many points you can save. This is basically Temporary Disadvantag: Shutdown

I'm thinking 3 is probably better, since in theory if you had very cheap Shapeshifting it could be entirely paid for by -10% discounts on Allies, and then you could just get cheap allies and never shapeshift and never lose the allies.

That's actually a concern for a lot of abilities though.

Like for example if you have "Only While Insubstantial" on Regeneration and you're ALWAYS insubstantial anyway (whether due to limitation or choice to remain so) then it's like free points on regeneration, and you're only ever going to suffer as a result of it if someone forces you into substantial form against your will.

I'm wondering if one solve for that would be to remove "only while using advantage" as a limitation for other advantages, and instead codify that as "temporary disadvantage: no advantage" as limitations on the used advantage.

The balance of the latter approach is then the 80% savings cap of Temporary Disadvantages prevents the abuse of getting a 10% discount to high-expense abilities while using stuff you might always want to use anyway.

You might "always want to use" your alternate form if it's just better in every way than your native form, for example. I think that's why the 90% > 100% increase if you can't be forcibly reverted from it.

If you never want to revert then you're paying 15 points for nothing, but if we were to allow "only while shapeshifted" discounts on other abilities, that's a problem if it saves more than 15 points.

So instead of allowing that, such abilities should instead be bought as part of the racial template, rather than getting benefits.

As for abilities NOT usable in alternate form (ie "I can create vampires, but they only function as allies when I revert to human form, not when I am still a vampire" as conceptually weird as that sounds) one idea that comes to mind is purchasing such alliances as "Alternative Advantages" (1/5 cost of lesser ability)

Why that seems more balanced than allowing "accessibility: only in my native form" is for the same reason: if you're never forced to use Alternate Form (that only happens if there are limitations like Uncontrollable applied, it can even become a disadvantage) then you might just spend 15 points on "shapeshifting I never plan to use" to get discounts on your allies.

It'd be like having Insubstantiality and "Allies who are only my allies when I am substantial". Enough -10% discounts and eventually you could pay for Insubstantiality with it and just never use it... This is not a problem with Alternative Abilities though.

It's different if you're discounting stuff like Invisibility (Accessibility: Only While Insubstantial) because in that case you have to deviate from an established norm (substantiality) to use an advantage.

That seems to be the in-vogue alternative to buying Link+10% when designing switchable abilities on the cheap...

Link+20% pricing seems off since in theory B108 Selectivity +10% would allow you to turn Link off if you wanted to use stuff solo. That's the same price but gives you the freedom to flip OTHER enhancements on and off too.

I'd either want to boost cost of Selectivity (+15% ... or maybe scale somehow based on how many enhancements you buy?) or reduce the cost of Link+20...

If we applied Selectivity +10% to the value of enhancements instead of the advantage (ie treat it as "Switchable for Enhancements: enhanced enhancements" that's what would make most sense to me, because there's limited value for example in being able to switch Accurate 1 +5% on and off.

That also is a lot more versatile since then you can buy selectivity for some enhancements and not others, rather than all-or-nothing.
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Old 08-17-2020, 02:56 PM   #5
AlexanderHowl
 
Join Date: Feb 2016
Default Re: Strange Interactions [Basic/Powers]

In general, it is easier just to deny targets their senses and their mobility. By the way, you would need to somehow reduce Basic Move to 0, as well as adding the Quadriplegic disadvantage, as that is a requirement for Quadriplegic. Strangely enough, you cannot use Symptoms to reduce Basic Move, Basic Speed, FP, or HP, as they are only impacted by permanent reduction in attributes and cannot be targeted by afflictions.
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Old 08-17-2020, 05:10 PM   #6
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Default Re: Strange Interactions [Basic/Powers]

Quote:
Originally Posted by awesomenessofme1 View Post
This is not true. Symptoms are described as being based on the equivalent enhancements for Affliction, and the Advantage enhancement explicitly limits you to physical or mental advantages.
I think it was PK who said that Cosmic +50% can be used to allow social traits on Affliction. While it would demand GM oversight, I'd say the hugely build-a-bear traits all need that already (Affliction, IA, Binding, etc).

One of the biggest places I pay attention to is afflicting Enemy and the Evil Twin version. That itself isn't an issue, but I find some players seem to assume 'enemy of my enemy is my ally' which isn't guaranteed unless they take Ally (Summonable via Affliction).

Quote:
Originally Posted by AlexanderHowl View Post
In general, it is easier just to deny targets their senses and their mobility. By the way, you would need to somehow reduce Basic Move to 0, as well as adding the Quadriplegic disadvantage, as that is a requirement for Quadriplegic. Strangely enough, you cannot use Symptoms to reduce Basic Move, Basic Speed, FP, or HP, as they are only impacted by permanent reduction in attributes and cannot be targeted by afflictions.
I had honestly just assumed you could target them with Disadvantage and price it accordingly. I personally wouldn't allow for an affliction that directly reduces FP, HP, ER, etc directly, though, and instead would recommend some sort of Alternate Form or HA variant. (Actually, ER might be fine...)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Plane View Post
Like for example if you want to remove a social disadvantage ("you're no longer my enemy") or add one ("you're now my ally") you're effectively rewriting NPC minds, so that sort of thing should probably involve some kind of resistance roll...
I'm not sure that would be done with social traits on a specific target. For that kind of thing I think I'd look at Mind Control, Puppet, and Modular Abilities to be able to 'switch' Ally forcibly to that NPC. But it could be done with Affliction via Delusion, which is absolutely RAW viable (and only -15%).

As for the actual question at hand, I had an FP attack once that gave Sessile (I don't remember the cut off). The flavor was I could forcibly make people rest. Another thought that I haven't done yet is combining Cyclic with Symptoms because you can't put Cyclic on Affliction. Probably the silliest idea I've seen is using Symptoms with Unkillable 2 to save someone and take advantage of the fact you'll come back to consciousness before you fully heal Symptoms off. Combine with RoF and/or Cyclic to make certain it works.
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