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Old 07-26-2008, 03:35 PM   #1
cmdicely
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Default [Powers/Thaumatology] Rethinking ST-based

Powers introduced (and Thaumatology reprinted and made significant use of, in the context of enchanted weapons as powers/characters) a variant of the Melee Attack limitation called Melee Attack (ST-based) which, in short, added a +100% enhancement to an attack with the Melee Attack limitation to allow certain innate attacks to have their effect enhanced by the characters inherent ST-based swing or thrust damage.

There seem to be a few problems with this modifier: Both Powers and Thaumatology recommend restricting its use because it is more efficient than Striking ST. Because it stacks on top of base thrust or swing damage, it can't be used to model, e.g., enchanted weapons that have less than base thrust or swing damage, as many smaller weapons might if their enchantments don't include damage bonuses. And, since it requires the Melee Attack limitation, you can't build muscle power ranged weapons with it.

As I've been thinking about how to put together a fantasy campaign using Powers as the basic model for magic (both spellcasting and modelling enchanted items), and because weapons are no small part of that, I thought it would be good to have a way of building ST-based attacks that was both better balanced and more general. What I've come up with is the following revised and new modifiers, which I think together provide a more balanced and general way of modelling muscle-powered attacks (ranged or melee) as advantages:

Modified

Melee Attack
The Cannot Parry option is now -10%, rather than -5%. New options include Fencing Weapon (+0%), the attack is treated as a Fencing weapon as described on p. 404 of the Basic Set, Unbalanced (-5%), which means that the attack cannot parry on the same turn that it has been used to attack (just like a weapon with the 'U' modifier in its parry rating), and Unready (-5%), which means that the attack becomes unready after being used to attack (just like a weapon with the double-dagger notation on its ST rating). An attack must have either Unbalanced or Cannot Parry in order to take Unready.

Limited Use
An attack with this modifier can have very fast (2 second) or ultrafast (1 second) reloads. These multiply the base value of the limitation by 1/4 (very fast) or 1/8 (ultrafast). [Note that, for Limited Use/1, this is equivalent to the same amount of Takes Extra Time, halved to account for the fact that the extra time does not need to be immediately before the next use of the attack.]

New

(Attack modifier) ST-limited (-10%)

Your ability's effect is limited by your ST, just like a muscle-powered melee or ranged weapon (with appropriate gadget limitations, your ability might be a muscle-powered weapon). To determine your attacks statistics:

  1. Choose the Maximum ST that the power can use (the attack's ST will be 1/3 this value if it is a Melee Attack, or equal to the selected Maximum ST otherwise), and choose whether the attack will be based on swing or thrust damage (ranged attacks should almost invariably be based on swing damage). Subtract the base thrust or swing damage, as appropriate, for the chosen Maximum ST from your abilities total damage, this gives you the damage bonus (or penalty) the ability provides. For example, an ST-limited attack with a 4d base damage, based on swing damage and Max. ST of 18 (3d swing), would do Swing+1d damage.
  2. If your ability is a ranged attack divide the calculated 1/2D and Max after all other modifiers are applied by the Max ST chosen for the attack to get the range multipliers for the attack. E.g., a ranged attack with a range of 50/100 before applying this rule, designed for a Max ST of 10, would have a range of 5/10.
  3. If your attack is a ranged attack, choose whether effective ST is fixed (like a crossbow) or limited by your current ST (like a bow). In the fixed-ST case, the statistics of the attack are always figured with the attack's ST [so you always will get maximum effect], but you cannot use the attack at all when you have less than the attack's ST, unless you have taken Limited Use with a reload modifier; in that case the time it takes to reload the weapon depends on both the base time and your current ST (and possibly available equipment), just as for a crossbow.
(Attack modifier) Thrown Weapon (-35%)
The attack must be thrown at the target and later recovered; this is essentially a form of Limited Use/1 (Slow Reload). This modifier must be accompanied with appropriate gadget limitations.
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Old 07-26-2008, 10:01 PM   #2
Adelus
 
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Default Re: [Powers/Thaumatology] Rethinking ST-based

Odd... I always thought that ST-Based had too many advantages inherent in it to make it anything but an enhancement. Interesting, though.
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Old 07-26-2008, 10:57 PM   #3
David Johnston2
 
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Default Re: [Powers/Thaumatology] Rethinking ST-based

Quote:
Originally Posted by cmdicely

There seem to be a few problems with this modifier: Both Powers and Thaumatology recommend restricting its use because it is more efficient than Striking ST. Because it stacks on top of base thrust or swing damage, it can't be used to model, e.g., enchanted weapons that have less than base thrust or swing damage, as many smaller weapons might if their enchantments don't include damage bonuses. And, since it requires the Melee Attack limitation, you can't build muscle power ranged weapons with it..
There's no need for such a thing. You just go with the damage of the weapon.
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Old 07-26-2008, 11:22 PM   #4
Bruno
 
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Default Re: [Powers/Thaumatology] Rethinking ST-based

Quote:
Originally Posted by David Johnston2
There's no need for such a thing. You just go with the damage of the weapon.
However, you end up paying for those damage dice "twice", according to a certain perspective, which annoys the heck out of a fair sized category of people.
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Old 07-27-2008, 10:15 AM   #5
naloth
 
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Default Re: [Powers/Thaumatology] Rethinking ST-based

Quote:
Originally Posted by cmdicely
[/u]Melee Attack
The Cannot Parry option is now -10%, rather than -5%. New options include Fencing Weapon (+0%), the attack is treated as a Fencing weapon as described on p. 404 of the Basic Set, Unbalanced (-5%), which means that the attack cannot parry on the same turn that it has been used to attack (just like a weapon with the 'U' modifier in its parry rating), and Unready (-5%), which means that the attack becomes unready after being used to attack (just like a weapon with the double-dagger notation on its ST rating). An attack must have either Unbalanced or Cannot Parry in order to take Unready.
Ok, so it's -5% Unbalanced or -10% Cannot Parry. I like that since with Cannot Parry being -5% there's really no room for Unbalanced.

Unready at -5% seems fair too.

It seems that fencing weapons get a number of benefits and relatively few drawbacks. I would call "special weapon rules +5%" and wrap in the option to do fencing weapons, lassos, whips, sais, staves, and other weapons that have a slight perk.

Right now I've been treating lasso/whips as a special case of 1-4 w/Cannot Parry as a 0% explanation, but it comes out the same if you at +5% for the special rules and increase the value of Cannot Parry as a limitation.

Quote:
[b]Limited Use
<snip>
Fast Reload seems to be good enough. Single fire projectiles are about the only thing that need any more of a break and you can take "Takes Extra Time" or shave the time with skills (Fast-Draw). Of course, I wouldn't have an issue with a flat -5% for an extra second or -10% for 2 extra seconds as limitations on a single fire weapon.

Quote:
(Attack modifier) ST-limited (-10%)
This seems overly complicated compared to using Increased/Reduced Range and possibly a "Can be Parried/Blocked" modifier.

Quote:
(Attack modifier) Thrown Weapon (-35%)The attack must be thrown at the target and later recovered; this is essentially a form of Limited Use/1 (Slow Reload). This modifier must be accompanied with appropriate gadget limitations.
I don't like how this is packaged. As a generic modifier it's pretty hampered, though I can see it fitting very specific situations.
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Old 07-27-2008, 10:40 AM   #6
cmdicely
 
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Default Re: [Powers/Thaumatology] Rethinking ST-based

Quote:
Originally Posted by David Johnston2
There's no need for such a thing. You just go with the damage of the weapon.
I'm not sure I understand this objection. If I want to build a gadget that models, say, a magic dagger that is enchanted to ignore DR, but still has normal dagger damage (thr-1 imp), how would I do it under the RAW in Powers and Thaumatology? You can't buy it as an Innate Attack with Melee Attack (ST-based), because the smallest possible Innate Attack is 1 point, and the damage adds to thrust. You can't do it with the rules for Modifying ST-based Damage under RAW, because that's limited to unarmed attacks.

OTOH, under the version I propose, its pretty straightforward. Since a dagger is a melee weapon with Min ST: 5, the Max ST is 15, which has thrust 1d+1, so thr-1 for that ST is just 1d. So you have:

Innate Attack 1d imp [8] with Cosmic (Ignores DR) +300%, Melee Attack (C) -30%, ST-based (ST: 15) -10%, and appropriate Gadget Limitations. (You'd probably want to also design the thrown attack and make them Alternative Attacks, which you can do under my proposal; note that the RAW don't support ST-based ranged attacks as powers at all.)

(One thing my original proposal does leave out for modeling melee weapons is any consideration of Parry modifiers; one idea to deal with that: bonuses are treated as the one-weapon form of Enhanced Parry -- a 5 point separate ability that doesn't need link -- and a penalty is a limitation of -2% for -1 and -5% for -2. So you'd add the -2% version above to get an better "dagger".)
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Old 07-27-2008, 11:08 AM   #7
cmdicely
 
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Default Re: [Powers/Thaumatology] Rethinking ST-based

Quote:
Originally Posted by naloth
It seems that fencing weapons get a number of benefits and relatively few drawbacks. I would call "special weapon rules +5%" and wrap in the option to do fencing weapons, lassos, whips, sais, staves, and other weapons that have a slight perk.
That sounds good.

Quote:
Fast Reload seems to be good enough. Single fire projectiles are about the only thing that need any more of a break and you can take "Takes Extra Time" or shave the time with skills (Fast-Draw). Of course, I wouldn't have an issue with a flat -5% for an extra second or -10% for 2 extra seconds as limitations on a single fire weapon.
I prefer generality and need at least very fast to get something to work like a bow, but it certainly wouldn't be unreasonable to limit it as you suggest.

Quote:
This seems overly complicated compared to using Increased/Reduced Range and possibly a "Can be Parried/Blocked" modifier.
This doesn't replace Increased/Reduced range and the existing modifiers for parrying and blocking; it takes an attack ability with whatever of those applies and lets its performance be constrained based on the user's current ST.

Quote:
I don't like how this is packaged. As a generic modifier it's pretty hampered, though I can see it fitting very specific situations.
Well, its designed to fit the very specific situation of making gadgets that deliver an attack by being thrown as a weapon. The "generic form" is Limited Use/1 (Slow Reload). This is just a variant where the time isn't fixed, so much as imposed by the need to recover the device from wherever you threw it.
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Old 07-27-2008, 01:21 PM   #8
naloth
 
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Default Re: [Powers/Thaumatology] Rethinking ST-based

Quote:
Originally Posted by cmdicely
This doesn't replace Increased/Reduced range and the existing modifiers for parrying and blocking; it takes an attack ability with whatever of those applies and lets its performance be constrained based on the user's current ST.
I misunderstood before, but I think I got it now. The usefulness caps at a fixed ST so if weapon is capped at ST 12 (min ST4) and the owner hands it to his ST18 friend it doesn't increase the effectiveness of the weapon. It's still treated as though it's ST12, right?

As a -10% limitation, it should hamper the intended user somehow. In general I would consider this a 0% feature. My reason is that if it's not a gadget it won't ever be used by anyone else. If it is a gadget, the user is limiting the effectiveness for any opponent that takes the weapon away and uses it.
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Old 07-27-2008, 03:13 PM   #9
younglorax
 
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Default Re: [Powers/Thaumatology] Rethinking ST-based

Quote:
Originally Posted by cmdicely
If your ability is a ranged attack divide the calculated 1/2D and Max after all other modifiers are applied by the Max ST chosen for the attack to get the range multipliers for the attack. E.g., a ranged attack with a range of 50/100 before applying this rule, designed for a Max ST of 10, would have a range of 5/10.
If I'm reading that correctly, the stronger you are, the shorter your projectile flies. That seems fishy.
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Old 07-27-2008, 04:19 PM   #10
cmdicely
 
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Default Re: [Powers/Thaumatology] Rethinking ST-based

Quote:
Originally Posted by naloth
As a -10% limitation, it should hamper the intended user somehow.
It does: it makes any effect that reduces the user's effective ST reduce the effectiveness of the attack. Normal Innate Attacks don't have that drawback.

Quote:
Originally Posted by younglorax
If I'm reading that correctly, the stronger you are, the shorter your projectile flies. That seems fishy.
No, the higher the ST required to get full effect from the power, the smaller the range multiple is, but the range multiple times the rated ST will always be whatever the range is you bought for the power before applying the ST-based limitation.

The lower the ST you have when you use the power, the less the range is when you use it (unless you take the crossbow-like fixed-ST option, in which case your current ST affects whether you can use [if not reloadable] or reload [if reloadable] the attack, not the effect the attack has when used.)
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