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Black Rose

Mental Powers and Cumulative + Effect Over Time

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I really love the Cumulative and Effect Over Time Advantages. I mean, a lot. They help simulate the slow buildup effect that I like to see in my preferred settings -- low-Active Point (if not low power level) Urban Fantasy, Espers (think Sense8 and Firestarter), and Champions (think a lot of Spiderman: Homecoming or the Netflix Marvel shows) -- in a way that just clicks visually for me. Write-ups working visually is important for me, and I dig "normals with powers" settings, if that makes sense.

 

I'm trying to figure out how best to simulate this kind of build that I see in a lot of published material; the Super Skill where Mind Control, Telepathy, or Transform is being used, but it's not really Mind Control, Telepathy., or Transform as you'd see it in a Four-Color setting Usually, this is done like so (nicked from the 5e Dark Champs genre book):

 

Reading The Opposition: Telepathy 8d6; 0 END (+½); Can Only Read Surface Thoughts (-½), Does Not Provide Mental Awareness (-¼), Extra Time (5 Minutes; -2), Instant (-½), Limited Range (6m; -½), Requires A Roll (Gambling; -½) plus Telepathy +6d6; 0 END (+½); Can Only Read Surface Thoughts (-½), Does Not Provide Mental Awareness (-¼), Extra Time (5 Minutes; -2), Instant (-½), Limited Range (6m; -½), Only To Achieve +20 “Target Cannot Detect Telepathy” Modifier (-½), Requires A Roll (Gambling; -½). AP/RC: 60/11 + 45/8 = 105/19

 

What I want to know from HEROdom Assembled is, if I tweaked the build thusly:

 

Reading The Opposition, Option 1: Telepathy 3d6; 0 END (+½), Cumulative (72 pts; +1); 20 Pts Of Effect Must Be Dedicated To “Target Cannot Detect Telepathy” Modifier (-X), Can Only Read Surface Thoughts (-½), Does Not Provide Mental Awareness (-¼), Extra Time (1 Minute; -1½), Instant (-½), Limited Range (6m; -½), Requires A Roll (Gambling; -½). AP/RC: 37/??

 

or other thusly?

 

Reading The Opposition, Option 2: Telepathy 3d6; 0 END (+½), Effect Over Time (4 effect increments, effect occurs every Minute, "locked out" until all effect increments accrued; +¾); 20 Pts Of Effect Must Be Dedicated To “Target Cannot Detect Telepathy” Modifier (-X), Can Only Read Surface Thoughts (-½), Does Not Provide Mental Awareness (-¼), Instant (-½), Limited Range (6m; -½), Requires A Roll (Gambling; -½). AP/RC: 34/??

 

I prefer the first build over the second -- it allows for quicker use on a weaker-willed opponent, and just feels "cleaner".

 

Just how much do you think "20 Pts Of Effect Must Be Dedicated To “Target Cannot Detect Telepathy” Modifier (-X)" is worth, in these cases?

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I note you're using 5e, so I'll stick to that instead of using 6e concepts to reply.

 

Several concerns:

  • Extra Time (1 Minute) is a LONG time to activate a power -- and my concern is as follows:
    • Per 5er p290 - "All powers with Extra Time are subject to being interrupted. At the GM's discretion, if the character is interrupted while activating the power -- for example, by taking STUN or BODY damage from, or otherwise being affected by, an attack -- then it may stop activating. A character must pay the full END cost for a power with the Limitation when he begins activating it, so he loses the END even if he stops activating it or is interrupted."
    • Is your combat going to last a minute?  If so, are you certain you won't be interrupted for a full minute of combat wherein you maintain LOS? If your answer to both is 'yes', then you're probably ok. If that's not the case, then you probably need to reconsider the Extra Time limitation -- since a prudent GM would almost certainly have you interrupted when using this power if you were being knocked around, stunned, etc. -- as it's tough to study much of anything when someone's doing large amounts of STUN to you and/or wounding you to the point that you're bleeding.  (A good GM would likely have you start your study of the opposition all over again in such situations; it's not like this is fire and forget poison at work.)
  • With a 3d6 Telepathy, you have a bit of a conundrum with keeping the target unaware of the Telepathy, regardless of whether you use Cumulative or a Damage Over Time approach:
    • Per 5er p119 - "The target of a mental attack can sense the source of the attack and knows what Power he's been attacked with. This identification occurs immediately for Ego Attack, Mind Scan, and Telepathy; for Mind Control or Mental Illusions it usually occurs after the Power no longer affects the character. Of course, a mentalist can buy a Mental Power with the Power Advantage Invisible Power Effects (versus Mental Senses); in this case the target would not be able to sense the source of the attack (but would know he'd been attacked with a particular Mental Power). A mentalist can prevent a target from knowing he's been attacked with a Mental Power by achieving a +20 effect on his Effect Roll.
    • Obviously, if you're only throwing 3d6 of Telepathy ... you will not be able to achieve +20 when you first land your Telepathy ... which will result in the target immediately knowing s/he's beein hit with Telepathy ... and that you are the source.  (i.e. Chicken/egg problem, here.)
    • To address this without any handwaving you likely need Invisible Power Effects ... for which you would pay +1/2 (where +1/4 makes the attack fully invisible so that the source is not known ... and another +1/4 keeps the target from knowing the Telepathy is taking place.  (i.e. You do away with the +20 mandatory effect requirement which you have spelled out as 20 Pts Of Effect Must Be Dedicated To “Target Cannot Detect Telepathy” Modifier (-X))
    • It's clearly an advantage for the target to be unaware of a Telepathy that's building on him/her ... and for you to use a low-diceage attack that grows over time, you're going to have to pay for that advantage.  (i.e. You don't get to take a mandatory effect limitation to make the power undetected  ... since it doesn't actually limit you and is, in fact, advantageous for you.  You could, however, take a mandatory effect limitation (such as EGO+10 or EGO+20) for something other than keeping the power undetected; that would actually be limiting.) 

With regard to your 'Effect Over Time" build ... to my knowledge there is not an official Effect Over Time advantage within 5er?  I believe Damage Over Time first showed up for the 5e world in Digital Hero #47 back in January 2008. That particular version is WAY too cheap for what it does, so it would surprise me if any GM would run with it.  The cost of Damage Over Time in 6e is substantially higher -- probably to address how broken its original incarnation really was. If you're going to use any version of Damage Over Time I would suggest using the 6e version.

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Reading The Opposition, Option 1: Telepathy 3d6; 0 END (+½), Cumulative (72 pts; +1); 20 Pts Of Effect Must Be Dedicated To “Target Cannot Detect Telepathy” Modifier (-X), Can Only Read Surface Thoughts (-½), Does Not Provide Mental Awareness (-¼), Extra Time (1 Minute; -1½), Instant (-½), Limited Range (6m; -½), Requires A Roll (Gambling; -½). AP/RC: 37/??

 

 

That one would be my approach.  I agree with the IPE model, though.

 

Reading The Opposition, Option 1a: Telepathy 3d6; 0 END (+½), Cumulative (72 pts; +1); IPE (+1/4), IPE  Target Effect is Invisible to Target (+1/2)*, Can Only Read Surface Thoughts (-½), Does Not Provide Mental Awareness (-¼)**, Extra Time (1 Minute; -1½), Instant (-0)***, Limited Range (6m; -½), Requires A Roll (Gambling; -½). AP/RC: 48/11

 

* IPE is from my 6e version of a similar power.  I had a 5e version, but can't find posts that old.

 

** Not in 6e, but this looks like 5e.

 

*** I don't believe it can be both "instant" and "cumulative".

 

But I do have to ask why not:

 

 

Reading The Opposition, Option 1b: Telepathy 1d6; 0 END (+½), Cumulative (48 pts; +1 1/4); IPE (+1/4), IPE  Target Effect is Invisible to Target (+1/2)*, Can Only Read Surface Thoughts (-½), Does Not Provide Mental Awareness (-¼)**, Extra Time (1 Turn; -1 1/4), Instant (-0)***, Limited Range (6m; -½), Requires A Roll (Gambling; -½). AP/RC: 17/4

 

5d6 per minute, and considerably cheaper; the 48 point max is comparable to your 52 (with the 20 devoted to "target does not notice")

 

or

 

Reading The Opposition, Option 1c: Telepathy 1d6; 0 END (+½), Cumulative (96 pts; +1 1/2); IPE (+1/4), IPE  Target Effect is Invisible to Target (+1/2)*, Can Only Read Surface Thoughts (-½), Does Not Provide Mental Awareness (-¼)**, Extra Time (Full Phase; -1/2), Instant (-0)***, Limited Range (6m; -½), Requires A Roll (Gambling; -½). AP/RC: 20/6

 

Let's get this show on the road - every phase I average 3.5 (assuming I hit and make my roll).

 

Clearly not a combat power, but I find "non-powered powers" build with cumulative mental powers can be really nice constructs.  Like a Bard with a slow-acting area effect Mind Control, the Gambler above, etc.

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