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HKA (Ranged) vs. RKA (No Range) for AoE Attacks

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6 hours ago, Lucius said:

There seems to be difference of opinion as to what Skill Levels apply to something like a Ranged Power bought with No Range, or a normally not ranged power bought with the Range Advantage.

 

Does anyone have an actual relevant rules citation?

The No Range limitation on 6e1 p388 states "This -½ Limitation represents a Ranged power that doesn’t work at Range. The character can only use the power at HTH Combat range (i.e., within his Reach). In some cases, the special effects of a
No Range power dictate that the character actually has to touch the target of the power to affect him/ it; this does not change the Limitation’s value.
" This verbiage is very specific; nowhere within its text is there an indication that taking the No Range limitation automatically makes the power to which it is applied a HTH power wherein contact is required.  There is, however, an exception noted for SFX that require touch, in which case the need for touch/contact is heavily implied to be a -0 limitation placed on the power to make it HTH, since the language clearly states that the SFX requirement for touch doesn't change the No Range limitation's value.  Thus, unless touch is required, what you've got is a ranged power that's only usable at HTH combat distances/ranges ... but is still a ranged power (with a VERY short range).

 

We should also look at the Ranged advantage on 6e1 p344, which states "Powers that ordinarily have No Range can be used at Range if a character purchases this Advantage for them."  This verbiage is very specific; nowhere within its text is there an indication that adding the Ranged advantage makes the power to which it is applied a ranged power. Instead, it clearly indicates that powers with this Advantage can be used at range.  i.e. A HTH power bought with the Ranged advantage ... remains a HTH power ... that just happens to now be usable at range due to the advantage.  (If the cited verbiage had intended for the advantage to turn the HTH power into a ranged power ... it would have said that.  But that's not indicated, at all.)

 

As it pertains to skill levels:

Clearly the language for the No Range limitation does NOT state the power becomes HTH (unless touch is required, in which case there's a strong implication that touch SFX result in a HTH power) ... so ranged CSLs should continue to apply unless touch is required, in which case a prudent GM will likely go with the aforementioned -0 limitation for the avoidance of doubt.  Similarly, the language for the Ranged advantage does NOT state the power to which it is applied becomes ranged; rather the existing HTH power is simply usable at range ... so HTH CSLs should continue to apply.

 

6e1 p129 also informs us:

"If a Power has No Range, the character using it does not have to remain in HTH Combat range with the target to maintain the effect — he only has to be in HTH Combat range to use it. Once the Power takes effect, the character can distance
himself from the target (though in the case of Constant Powers, he still has to maintain Line Of Sight to keep the Power functioning). Activating or using a No Range power that would normally require an Attack Action to activate and/or use still requires that Attack Action.
"  This is very informative with regard to powers such as Change Environment, Darkness, etc. -- since they can still be maintained at range after being initiated within one's reach (i.e. No Range ... aka HTH Combat range ... despite not being a HTH power where contact is required) ... clearly demonstrating there's a ranged component to such powers that remains when the No Range limitation is taken on them.

 

Note that we're WAY down in the weeds here; it's almost splitting hairs. However, we're dealing with a fine point of RAW - i.e. a subtle yet important nuance in the application of the aforementioned advantage and/or limitation.  Thus, careful analysis of the word choices within RAW seems warranted to make sure we understand the actual meaning those word choices convey (as opposed to an ever-so-slightly different/wrong takeaway ... wherein the application of the Ranged advantage makes the power a ranged power -- which is something RAW doesn't actually state.) 

 

 

17 hours ago, LoneWolf said:

What really matters in a case like this is the special effect of the power.  If I have a death touch power which is bought as Drain Body with the limitation No Range that should be a HTH attack.  If I buy a lightsaber as a RKA  with the advantage Attack vs Limited Defense, No Range that is also a HTH attack. If I have a martial arts power bought as a Blast with the advantage AoE radius No Range that is also going to be a HTH attack.  The breath weapon I can see as a ranged attack.

 

In most cases a power with the limitation No Range is going to be a HTH attack.  There are some things due to special effect that may still be considered a ranged attack, but that is going to be fairly uncommon

I feel your second sentence is spot-on -- the death touch Drain is clearly a HTH attack and should be bought as such, since touch is required.  Your third sentence (lightsaber bought as a RKA) is one I'm struggling with, because I believe that should be bought as a HKA, not a RKA ... since it, too, requires contact between the saber's blade and the target. (i.e. I agree it should be a HTH attack ... but I take issue with buying it as a RKA, and if I were the GM I would require it be purchased as a HKA since it's HTH.)  Your example of a martial arts AoE Blast w/ No Range shouldn't necessarily be a HTH attack, as it could be a chi-based blast involving no physical contact -- in which case it remains ranged, not HTH ... or it could be a whirlwind kick (requiring contact/touch) affecting a radius .... in which case it's HTH and not ranged .... and should probably have a -0 limitation placed on it to make it HTH.

 

 

16 hours ago, dmjalund said:

if using the attack will trigger a Damage Shiield, then it should be HTH, otherwise it is probably Ranged.

Spot-on. This is another item that should absolutely be considered when choosing whether something should be bought as a HKA or a RKA.

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On ‎12‎/‎22‎/‎2017 at 1:14 PM, Surrealone said:

 

 

Note that we're WAY down in the weeds here; it's almost splitting hairs.

 

Yep. And way down into subjective interpretations and guesswork.

 

Nothing you cite is as definitive as you make it out to be. Arguing "if the rules meant what you say they meant, they'd have said so explicitly" is just exactly as valid as counter-arguing "Well if the rules meant what YOU say they meant, they'd have said so explicitly."

 

But I appreciate the work you put into it and I think you probably made the best possible case for your position. It certainly made me think, but it didn't make me think it's persuasive.

 

Lucius Alexander

 

The palindromedary goes into the kitchen to use something at range

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11 hours ago, Lucius said:

Nothing you cite is as definitive as you make it out to be. Arguing "if the rules meant what you say they meant, they'd have said so explicitly" is just exactly as valid as counter-arguing "Well if the rules meant what YOU say they meant, they'd have said so explicitly."

 

But I appreciate the work you put into it and I think you probably made the best possible case for your position. It certainly made me think, but it didn't make me think it's persuasive.

Happy to oblige.  My approach was based on not adding any words to what's written in RAW; I simply parsed what was already there, in text, as that is inherently definitive (hence 'RAW') ... and also avoids guesswork (because you don't have to guess at the words on the page or what they literally mean).  If you don't the per-definition meanings of the literal word choices within RAW are persuasive, then the only fair way for you to make a judgment call is to also look at the counter-argument's supporting evidence within RAW and weigh the two against one another.

 

To that effect, can you show us supporting evidence (with RAW citations, as above) that clearly indicate:

  1. the application of the Ranged advantage makes the advantaged power become a ranged power (not a power usable at range, but an actual ranged power); and
  2. the application of the No Range limitation makes the limited power become a HTH power (not a ranged power usable at HTH ranged, but an actual HTH power with touch being required)?

 

If so, let's see those citations ... so we can make that unbiased judgment call together. I did my part; so I'm looking to you to present the other side -- because I, myself, don't actually see support in RAW for the counter-argument ... but I'm open to it if it's there and I've simply missed it.

 

In either case the preponderance of evidence should prevail ... at least, in an unbiased environment/mind (much like in a court) ... right?

 

9 hours ago, Brian Stanfield said:

If only there was some way to ask the person who wrote the rules for a clarification . . . .

If only that person were perfect ... with complete/perfect recall of exactly what he meant years ago when RAW was initially codified -- such that there was no potential for retroactively assigning meaning to things upon further thought.

 

I bring this up not to be a jerk, but to point out that Steve Long is human ... and subject to altering what he originally meant upon further review.  This means that not even Mr. Long can be relied upon to give perfect clarity to his own intent 5+ years ago; he can only render his opinion, today, of what he thinks he meant.  Thankfully, Mr. Long is (as I understand it) an attorney by trade/training -- so he knew when he wrote the rules that word choices mattered ... and chose them very carefully to presumably codify his meaning/intent while also creating RAW that would withstand the test of time (similar to how I contract is supposed to).

 

More important: Mr. Long has provided a few clarifications in the past that actually contradicted language in RAW -- without there being an errata update. This, I submit, is proof of human fallibility rearing its head ... and is evidence that even clarifications provided by Mr. Long need to be inspected/questioned/scrutinized ... and/or taken with a grain of salt.

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38 minutes ago, Surrealone said:

To that effect, can you show us supporting evidence (with RAW citations, as above) that clearly indicate:

 

I'm not claiming to be able to produce a definitive and unambiguous citation for either position. I'm just pointing out that neither can you. However

 

38 minutes ago, Surrealone said:

 

  1. the application of the Ranged advantage makes the advantaged power become a ranged power (not a power usable at range, but an actual ranged power); an

 

With regard to the above statement, I can point out that "a ranged power" and "a power usable at range" are actually two different ways of saying the exact same thing, and would be so understood, I assert, by the great majority of native English speakers. If your argument hinges on asserting that two phrases that are effectively synonyms mean something different from one another, you may not choose to call that "guesswork" but I have to say that no, your "parsing" really is not at all "simple."

 

Lucius Alexander

 

This is a tagline including a palindromedary but it is not a palindromedary tagline.

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2 hours ago, Lucius said:

 

I'm not claiming to be able to produce a definitive and unambiguous citation for either position. I'm just pointing out that neither can you. However

 

 

With regard to the above statement, I can point out that "a ranged power" and "a power usable at range" are actually two different ways of saying the exact same thing, and would be so understood, I assert, by the great majority of native English speakers. If your argument hinges on asserting that two phrases that are effectively synonyms mean something different from one another, you may not choose to call that "guesswork" but I have to say that no, your "parsing" really is not at all "simple."

Fair.  But in this case, I do believe I have the preponderance of evidence on my side.  To your point of synonyms - words that are synonyms have similar (but not exactly the same) meanings.  That's important because we're discussing a fine point within the delta between synonyms.  (i.e. Synonyms aren't precise enough for the discussion ... since the entire realm of the discussion exists within the space representing the difference between synonyms ... which is what I was driving at when I said we're almost splitting hairs, above.)

 

 

2 hours ago, dsatow said:

Personally, I think its best to defer to a higher authority than Mr. Long on this, which is, the GM.  How the GM wishes to interpret this case will be correct for their game.  

I tend to agree: this is why we have GMs.

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13 hours ago, Surrealone said:

I bring this up not to be a jerk, but to point out that Steve Long is human ... and subject to altering what he originally meant upon further review.  This means that not even Mr. Long can be relied upon to give perfect clarity to his own intent 5+ years ago; he can only render his opinion, today, of what he thinks he meant.  Thankfully, Mr. Long is (as I understand it) an attorney by trade/training -- so he knew when he wrote the rules that word choices mattered ... and chose them very carefully to presumably codify his meaning/intent while also creating RAW that would withstand the test of time (similar to how I contract is supposed to).

 

More important: Mr. Long has provided a few clarifications in the past that actually contradicted language in RAW -- without there being an errata update. This, I submit, is proof of human fallibility rearing its head ... and is evidence that even clarifications provided by Mr. Long need to be inspected/questioned/scrutinized ... and/or taken with a grain of salt.

 

No worries, I was just being needlessly snarky. I actually love these "almost hair splitting" discussions. Some people complain about Steve Long's legalistic writing style, but I think it's actually fairly useful for writing rules since he most definitely chooses his words intentionally and with an eye towards nuance. His judgments, even when he appears to contradict RAW, are always enlightening, at least in my experience. A revealed inconsistency may point towards a "spirit of the law" situation rather than a "letter of the law" pronouncement, and as has been pointed out (and is always emphasized in the rules), it's the GM's call, and if it doesn't fit, change it so that it does. 

 

Thats why why I find these rules debates so much fun. And I also agree with your approach here, so please don't think I'm being a jerk as well.

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On 12/20/2017 at 2:03 PM, LoneWolf said:

Most attack powers are usable at range so there are many times you will use no range when the power is not AoE.  With Blast you use HTHA instead, but other attacks delivered by touch will use not range.  Let’s say you are creating something that weakens its opponent with a touch.  That would be a Drain STR with the limitation No Range. 

 

I don't see why you have to "With Blast you use HTHA instead". I can easily think of powers where you use Blast, no range, such as a cold touch. HTHA makes no sense in that attack - your STR won't make the cold any more/less cold.

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In reality HTH attack is the power blast with a required limitation. In earlier editions it did not exist as a separate power.  Notice that the base cost of the power is exactly the same as blast (5 pts).  This kind of supports the idea that taking a limitation on a power can change the nature of the power.

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On 12/27/2017 at 9:03 AM, LoneWolf said:

In reality HTH attack is the power blast with a required limitation. In earlier editions it did not exist as a separate power.  Notice that the base cost of the power is exactly the same as blast (5 pts).  This kind of supports the idea that taking a limitation on a power can change the nature of the power.

 

Okayyyyy.... :think:

 

I'm aware of the power construction. This didn't answer "HTHA makes no sense in that attack - your STR won't make the cold any more/less cold."

 

 

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43 minutes ago, Tom Cowan said:

well. you could make a 'clap' of 'thunder' type of attack for your brick. that may use STR

 

I would simply say the higher your STR, the more D6 of Blast (no range) would be allowed or simply that the effect of your massive STR hitting someone sounds like/is thunder (already had a character like that). I'm sure that there are many possibilities to use a HTHA. I may be misunderstanding what LoneWolf meant by "With Blast you use HTHA instead, but other attacks delivered by touch will use not range" which seemed to indicate that you must use HTHA (which is why I replied etc etc).

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You do not have to use HTH attack for any particular power.  In many cases it does make sense to use it that way, and if both the player and GM are satisfied with how the power works that is all that really matters.  In other cases it does not make sense to use HTH attack for the power.  If you check my earlier posts what I am saying is when you apply a modifier to a power it can change the nature of the power.

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This is a very interesting discussion to me which I have explored before back in 5e.  There seem to truly be two distinctions between an attack that is HTH and one that is Ranged.  The first is obviously the attack can be used at greater than HTH distances.  The second is that the attack adds to a character's STR.  Let's take some examples and compare and then I will make my pitch for a whole new Advantage (Adds to STR).

 

Blast: Blast is natively usable at range and does not add to STR per the RAW.

Hand Attack: Hand Attack natively adds to STR but is only usable at HTH distances.  It natively gets a -1/4 limitation, HTH Only (which I take to be a watered down No Range Limitation).

Killing Attack - Ranged: RKA is natively usable at range and does not add to STR (sounds exactly like Blast above).

Killing Attack - HTH: HKA natively adds to STR and is only usable at HTH distances.  It does not get the -1/4 limitation that Hand Attack gets.  In 6e they even opened it up so that you aren't limited to the 2x HKA effect (which further supports its comparison with HA).

 

To me this is important because you have essentially robbed HKA of the same treatment that HA receives.  That doesn't fly in my opinion, they should both be the same.  To rectify this I instituted another Advantage in 5e (which essentially could be used in 6e since the rules really haven't changed)

 

Adds To STR: This Advantage grants the additional Damage Classes that the Character's Strength Provides to the power.  It is a +1/2 Advantage and only applies to powers which do either Normal or Killing Damage.  The Character pays END for both the power and Strength when using it.  You could further expand the advantage so that it adds to other powers (e.g. Adds to Telekinesis, etc.)

 

What difference will this make?  It will unify the rules for the powers above making a Blast or RKA natively ranged and not adding to STR and HA or HKA natively non-ranged and adding to STR.  If you want to start monkeying from there you are free to do so.  This has the effect of taking away the "HTH Only" Limitation that HA currently receives but rightly so IMHO.  It also works with current Advantages and Limitations (Ranged is +1/2 and No STR Bonus is -1/2).

 

The other option is to allow characters to buy the HTH Only Limitation on HKAs to unify them with Hand Attacks but I think the way that I have suggested better balances for gameplay.  Of course this also brings up another question.  Why not just buy an attack as additional STR and limit it down to Strikes Only?  It is cheaper that way.  I know they did a lot in 6e to better balance STR by removing figured characteristics but with the Damage Classes being based on 5 points it still leaves STR pretty powerful.  I would lobby for an increase in the cost of STR to 2 CP per point but I guess that is just me meddling with things unnecessarily.

 

Your thoughts? 

 

 

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19 minutes ago, Deadman said:

Hand Attack: Hand Attack natively adds to STR but is only usable at HTH distances.  It natively gets a -1/4 limitation, HTH Only (which I take to be a watered down No Range Limitation).

...

Killing Attack - HTH: HKA natively adds to STR and is only usable at HTH distances.  It does not get the -1/4 limitation that Hand Attack gets.  In 6e they even opened it up so that you aren't limited to the 2x HKA effect (which further supports its comparison with HA).

 

To me this is important because you have essentially robbed HKA of the same treatment that HA receives.  That doesn't fly in my opinion, they should both be the same.

I believe the -1/4 limitation you're referencing on HA is a remnant of trying to show/justify how they arrived at HA's NEW/INCREASED cost in 5e (over what HA cost in 4e) -- nothing more.  As a result, I tend to feel that HA should be unified with HKA in terms of NOT having the limitation.  I take this stance because:

  • HKA's never had that limitation in any version (6e, 5e, 4e, etc.) -- and if it's not broken, let's not 'fix' it like someone tried to do with HA in 5e
  • HA was the new kid on the block (in 4e) costing 3CP per die with a minimum purchase of 6CP worth of HA.
  • HA's cost was changed in 5e to 5CP per die with a mandatory -1/4 limitation as you pointed out -- which then works out to 4CP per die (i.e. this is the 5e cost increase for HA -- with the new 'show our work/thinking' mentality that appeared in 5e text rearing its head)

i.e. It's pretty clear to me where the discrepancy was introduced (5e ... with HA) ... so I prefer to fix the glitch that was introduced ... by simply saying HA has a cost of 4CP per die ... and doing away with the mandatory limitation garbage that's got you scratching your head.  I prefer this because trying to take that mandatory limitation and apply it to HKA seems like perpetuation of the glitch ... and flies in the face of HKA handling since the power was initially crafted.  (If you think about it, HKA changed little across the years ... until the nerf bat was taken to the STUN lottery in 6e.)

 

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Actually, in 1e an HKA could have unlimited additions from STR.

 

That was changed when 2e added in the "doubling rule".  2e also added Spreading a(n energy) blast, but did not extend spreading to other attacks, such as the RKA.

 

I don't think anything changed in 3e.

 

4e brought us the 3 point/1d6 Hand Attack, but I don't believe it made any changes to KAs.  It also brought us the 4 point +1 DC for martial maneuvers, didn't it?

 

5e expanded Spreading to other attacks, including RKA, and made HA a Blast with a mandatory -1/2 limitation (BTW, doesn't that mean Hand Attacks can be spread to hit multiple targets, or to enhance OCV?  It's a Blast, and Blasts can be spread, right?).

 

6e reduced the limitation to convert a Blast to an HA to -1/4 and removed the doubling limit on HKAs (but then suggested putting it back as a house rule).

 

How about this?

 

HA is not a limitation on Blast.  It is a limitation on STR.  At the -1/4 level, it removes all functions other than those which enhance the results of combat maneuvers, either for Martial or non-Martial maneuvers (oh look, 4 points per 1d6, the adder for martial arts).  At -1/2, it only enhances direct, normal damage.

 

HKA is removed.  RKA is renamed "Killing Attack".  Like other attacks, it is Ranged by default.  You want a no range KA, you buy "Killing Attack, No Range".  You want more dice because you are strong?  Buy more dice, with Unified Power to your STR.

 

"But Hugh", you cry, "What about weapons, like swords and clubs?" 

 

So what?  In Supers games, no one buys a weapon with a STR MIN, so who cares?  In other games, gear is pre-constructed and acquired with cash, so just give the weapon the same stats it had before.  It does not matter that a Sword is 5 DC KA, No Range, + 5 DC, required 5 STR above STR 8 for each additional DC used, when the player is not paying for the sword anyway.  Slap the actual mechanics in an appendix somewhere and get on with the game.

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I've done it once and it worked well where I bought a staff as +15 strength, 0 end, OAF, limited manipulation.  The staff could be used as a lever or pry bar to open doors.  Used to help hold a person in a grab. etc.  It works better in 6th since sixth breaks figured from stats.

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3 minutes ago, dsatow said:

I've done it once and it worked well where I bought a staff as +15 strength, 0 end, OAF, limited manipulation.  The staff could be used as a lever or pry bar to open doors.  Used to help hold a person in a grab. etc.  It works better in 6th since sixth breaks figured from stats.

 

Sure, but you didn't put a STR min on it, cap its total STR exertion at 30 (requiring a STR of 23 to add that 15) or limit its 15 STR to add no more than the user's base STR (or base STR - 8), did you?  And without all those nuances, it worked well, it seems.

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4 minutes ago, Hugh Neilson said:

 

Sure, but you didn't put a STR min on it, cap its total STR exertion at 30 (requiring a STR of 23 to add that 15) or limit its 15 STR to add no more than the user's base STR (or base STR - 8), did you?  And without all those nuances, it worked well, it seems.

 

It worked well enough, did not unbalance the game, and was acceptable to the GM.  Your mileage may vary, but again, I had no problem with it.

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dsatow, it seems perfectly reasonable to me.  If I were GM, I'd either want it limited to not add to damage, or clear that you would not exceed DC caps in the game, but using it to reinforce an existing hold is the only combat application you note, and I'd have no problem with that even if the staff did not add to HTH damage.

 

My comment is that it worked well enough without a bunch of fiddly bits to make it more "realistic", whatever that means in a cinematic RPG.  Simply adding STR for limited purposes did the trick.  If it could enhance damage, I'd probably cap the limitation for its restrictions at -1/4 (certainly less limited than a Hand Attack).  If it could not, a significant limitation would be appropriate, given the main use of STR in most games is HTH damage. 

 

And if it could let feeble Aunt May leverage her 5 STR to shift a 1,000 kg boulder (shifting it should be easier than lifting it, but 1,000 kg for a 20 STR is still a lot), that's an unrealism I can live with in my games.

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