# Request for comments: House rule 6th Find Weakness

## House Rule: Find Weakness Idea   5 members have voted

1. ### 1. How is this idea for Find Weakness playable in your eyes?

• Thumbs Up (mostly ok)
1
• Thumbs Down (problematic, explain in comments)
3
• Needs more work (Clarify in comments)
1

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So this is me, trying to get my GM and PC halves to a compromise.  It brings back the concept of piercing and adds more value to hardening/impenetrable defenses.

FIND WEAKNESS

3,5,8 Character Points for an 11- roll, Cost: 3,5, or 8 Character Points dependent on level; +1 to roll per +2 points

Find Weakness allows you to erode a target’s defenses slowly.  Each time you make your find weakness roll, you subtract one from the appropriately declared defense of the target.  Find weakness also allows you to determine the relative strength and type of defense (resistant, non-resistant, hardened, and impenetrable).  Exact numbers are not given, but you can determine if the defense is weak (less than 5 typically) or strong (more than 10 typically).  You can also determine if there is a change in defense, an increase or a decrease, but not by how much.  Even though the character  may not know by how much a defense increases or decreases, they can make educated guesses based on if the defense went from weak to strong or vice versa.  A person who makes a successful find weakness check can determine if the target has no defenses (0).

Using a Find Weakness roll requires a discriminatory targeting sense such as sight and a half phase.  The discriminatory targeting sense is used to determine the defenses. Any ability which affects your targeting sense also affects this skill roll.  Each roll of Fins Weakness only affects one defensive power at a time.  Find weakness is a precision combat skill and thus does not work with attacks defined as general body damage such as area of effects.  There is no limit to the number of find weakness rolls.  All find weakness effects fade if, in a single turn, the character is not able to take a find weakness against the target.  This does not mean the character must take a find weakness roll during this time, just that the character has the option to take a roll during this time.  Being unconscious for a turn, losing sight of the target, etc. will all cause the find weakness to fade.

You may not buy Find Weakness at the familiarity level; the minimum cost is 3 points for a single attack.  At the 5-point level, you are buying find weakness for a group of related attacks.  At the 8-point level, you are buying find weakness for all attacks.

Normally, find weakness will not work against hardened nor impenetrable defenses.  If your GM allows it, you may find weakness against hardened or impenetrable defenses.  In these cases, for every 2 you make your roll by against non-resistant defenses(or 3 you make your roll by against resistant defenses), you subtract 1 extra point of defense against the attack.  Find weakness works before any advantage on the power takes effect (e.g. Armor Piercing).  You may never find weakness on a defense such that you take the defense below 0.

This is by design.  It should be vague enough that the character does not know exact defenses but allows the character to not waste skill rolls on dead or nearly dead defenses.

This prevents cutting defense by half but still makes the skill useful.  Because it’s a slow but never ending progression, a character can still be very competent and devastating in the longer run.

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Cost:  Base skill gives 11- roll;  3 points for single attack, 5 points for group, 8 for all.  +1 to roll for 2 points.

What it is:  determine target's defenses, find flaws to bypass them

Requirements:  discriminatory targeting sense

Effect:  Make roll exactly;  make by more, reduce defense by.......

Limitations:

Cuz right now things are tangled up.

Anyway...how would this work on a mixed defense...a target that has, say, 20 Def, 10 normal, 10 resistant?  If I'm firing a normal attack, I clearly don't care about the distinction, so I want to reduce the normal because each roll will work a whole lot better.  What if I've got the Resistant as Impenetrable, but not the normal?  What if I have it as impermeable?  Think a classic force field, with the normal defense being the character's personal toughness.  What defenses exist...especially if this is cumulative?   Can it work against a defense bought with invis power effects?

I would NOT allow the option of applying this to hardened/impenetrable.  Either say it is, with the lowering effectiveness, or don't.  I don't generally like "with GM permission" unless there's clear guidance as to why the GM should allow it.

As a player?  What would scare the HECK out of me is that this is an assassin's dream.  It's an ambush power, more than a straight combat power.

Still, I start from the position that this is a poor idea from the start.  Decreasing defenses is the same as increasing damage conditionally.  That needs to be factored into the cost...or, be quite expensive, as it is with CSVs.  I'm very worried about the ambush aspect, where the ambusher can have 2-3 phases to turn the target's defenses into Swiss cheese.

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Anyway...how would this work on a mixed defense...a target that has, say, 20 Def, 10 normal, 10 resistant?  If I'm firing a normal attack, I clearly don't care about the distinction, so I want to reduce the normal because each roll will work a whole lot better.  What if I've got the Resistant as Impenetrable, but not the normal?  What if I have it as impermeable?  Think a classic force field, with the normal defense being the character's personal toughness.  What defenses exist...especially if this is cumulative?   Can it work against a defense bought with invis power effects?

Ahhh, I was wondering if I should make that more clear.  The idea is that you must be able to see the obvious layered defenses.  So the skill rolls would be per defensive power.  If you wore armor (OIF resistant), have PD, and had more resistant define as a force field, each obvious power would need to be known and to be rolled for separately.  If you have an invisible power, then you don't have a discriminatory sense to detect the defense so it would not be affected.  I don't see how impermeable would affect your defenses in such a way to stop find weakness.

So I updated the original post about the need to sense the defense.

I would NOT allow the option of applying this to hardened/impenetrable.  Either say it is, with the lowering effectiveness, or don't.  I don't generally like "with GM permission" unless there's clear guidance as to why the GM should allow it.

I am trying to create a house rule for all my games.  This just says I can disallow it for a genre if I want.  For heroic games, I don't think it should work for hardened/impenetrable defenses.  For supers, I'll allow it.

Still, I start from the position that this is a poor idea from the start.  Decreasing defenses is the same as increasing damage conditionally.  That needs to be factored into the cost...or, be quite expensive, as it is with CSVs.  I'm very worried about the ambush aspect, where the ambusher can have 2-3 phases to turn the target's defenses into Swiss cheese.

The original version halved defenses.  The 5th version halved one defensive power at a time.  To be honest, an ambush situation is just a bad situation for the target all around.  From 1/2 DCV and 2x damage,  I think your defenses dropping is probably the least of your worries.

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What's the mission statement here?  I don't know what your personal goals for this revision are, and without knowing them I can't say anything constructive.

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6 minutes ago, Gnome BODY (important!) said:

What's the mission statement here?  I don't know what your personal goals for this revision are, and without knowing them I can't say anything constructive.

I am trying to create a generic house rule for all HERO games in 6th ed. for find weakness.  To be honest, for all my "fixes", I am almost rewriting Hero 6th.

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9 minutes ago, dsatow said:

I am trying to create a generic house rule for all HERO games in 6th ed. for find weakness.  To be honest, for all my "fixes", I am almost rewriting Hero 6th.

And to what end?  What's the proposed benefit of making the house rule, or the problem you intend to solve, or the new feature you're trying to add that was clearly missing?

If you've succeeded, what should the success look like beyond "Find Weakness exists again"?  What should your version do that a straight port of 5th ed's wouldn't?

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1 minute ago, Gnome BODY (important!) said:

And to what end?  What's the proposed benefit of making the house rule, or the problem you intend to solve, or the new feature you're trying to add that was clearly missing?

If you've succeeded, what should the success look like beyond "Find Weakness exists again"?  What should your version do that a straight port of 5th ed's wouldn't?

Well, the player side of me (thus empathetic to players who want Find Weakness), would like to build the characters with Find Weakness.  The concept of being a martial artist who finds holes in a person defenses is an interesting ability.  The ancient master who after a couple of phases unleashes devastating attack.  The boxer who is on the defensive and then finds the hole in his opponents defenses to win the match.  AP as find weakness seems like a cop out in truth.  So a desire to make a character that feels the way you want rather than force a kludge.

The GM side of me notes that halving on a roll is just too effective.  And multiple halvings is worse.  It makes it difficult to create villains without all of a sudden all villains having lack of weakness for no other reason than to prevent PCs cutting their defenses in half multiple times.  I don't know about you, but I dislike targeting players when creating villains(basically making villains that target the players inefficiencies).  There is a small part of me who wants a villain with find weakness, but it doesn't speak up very often.  This is mainly because supervillains don't need to watch out for things like point totals.

So the goal here is to reintroduce find weakness to players without the problems of the older versions of find weakness, keeping the feel of piercing defenses, while keeping the mechanics fairly clean.

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11 hours ago, dsatow said:

I am trying to create a generic house rule for all HERO games in 6th ed. for find weakness.  To be honest, for all my "fixes", I am almost rewriting Hero 6th.

I would say that if you really liked Find weakness pre-6th then just House Rule it back in.

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9 hours ago, dsatow said:

Well, the player side of me (thus empathetic to players who want Find Weakness), would like to build the characters with Find Weakness.  The concept of being a martial artist who finds holes in a person defenses is an interesting ability.  The ancient master who after a couple of phases unleashes devastating attack.  The boxer who is on the defensive and then finds the hole in his opponents defenses to win the match.  AP as find weakness seems like a cop out in truth.  So a desire to make a character that feels the way you want rather than force a kludge.

This seems unnecessarily intricate for that effect.  "STR +10, Only for combat, Only against enemies character has already spent [time period] fighting this combat" seems like a much cleaner method of doing comeback strikes or "now I know how to fight you" ability.  No messy tracking of exact margins of success and cumulative modifiers and the GM having to remember to apply those things, just add 2d6 to your punch/kick/grab/escape because your martial artist knows how best to do so now.  Adjust base power as needed for whatever attack you're using (or switch to CSLs to fit anything), change the numbers and add other Advantages/Limitations such as 0END or No KB as desired.  Alternatively, do something similar with an Aid construct.

I'll note that I really don't like reducing defenses because that leads to nasty memory issues and speed issues.  Did the GM reduce their defense against your attack?  By the right amount?  Only against your attack?  You probably have to remind them of the exact amount (you are keeping track, right?) anyways.  And then they have to do subtraction instead of you doing a bit more addition, so that's slower, and there's the general cognitive load of all this, and it's just a big mess at the table.  Far far easier on the GM if you just roll more dice when appropriate and tell the GM the damage number that they do the same thing with as anything else.

10 hours ago, dsatow said:

The GM side of me notes that halving on a roll is just too effective.  And multiple halvings is worse.  It makes it difficult to create villains without all of a sudden all villains having lack of weakness for no other reason than to prevent PCs cutting their defenses in half multiple times.  I don't know about you, but I dislike targeting players when creating villains(basically making villains that target the players inefficiencies).  There is a small part of me who wants a villain with find weakness, but it doesn't speak up very often.  This is mainly because supervillains don't need to watch out for things like point totals.

I agree that the old version of FW was powerful, but I don't think this is much weaker in theory.  A fairly comparable investment into this version should get better results over an extended fight, since you can retry indefinitely with no penalties and you're making linear progress.  Also, you could double-tap FW on your first Phase and get a pretty hefty amount of defense reduction for the entire fight, which is very tempting if you're starting on P12 and most of the STUN you put out by attacking would be post-12'd away anyways.  It's not like you have to worry about the FW turning off either, being unable to use it for a full Turn is such a long time that any enemy capable of eluding you for that long is either outright immune to your FW and just didn't have that Invisibility or whatever on at the start or has such a mobility edge that they can leave or take all the Recoveries (and probably attacks) they want in total safety and thus you're not winning anyways.

10 hours ago, dsatow said:

So the goal here is to reintroduce find weakness to players without the problems of the older versions of find weakness, keeping the feel of piercing defenses, while keeping the mechanics fairly clean.

You've reintroduced FW, but I don't feel you've removed the problems with FW.

I can't speak for feel.  I'm perfectly fine with "this +4 damage is because the attack pierces defenses" but that's a purely subjective stance.

The mechanics are absolutely not clean, unfortunately.  Way too much small math and tallying going on to be clean.

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2 hours ago, Gnome BODY (important!) said:

I'll note that I really don't like reducing defenses because that leads to nasty memory issues and speed issues.  Did the GM reduce their defense against your attack?  By the right amount?  Only against your attack?  You probably have to remind them of the exact amount (you are keeping track, right?) anyways.  And then they have to do subtraction instead of you doing a bit more addition, so that's slower, and there's the general cognitive load of all this, and it's just a big mess at the table.  Far far easier on the GM if you just roll more dice when appropriate and tell the GM the damage number that they do the same thing with as anything else.

This is actually what I am looking for with an RFC (Request for comment):  Problems with implementation.  Complexity and tracking is a problem.  Perhaps, changing it to single number of defense penetration per character would be an easier figure to remember.  Then its a straight value for the player or GM to remember.  When I first thought of this, I did not think this would be any worse than multiple drains to multiple defenses but I can see your point.

2 hours ago, Gnome BODY (important!) said:

I agree that the old version of FW was powerful, but I don't think this is much weaker in theory.  A fairly comparable investment into this version should get better results over an extended fight, since you can retry indefinitely with no penalties and you're making linear progress.

The key here was extended fights to delay the linear progress making it a battle of attrition, but I can see your point.  Especially if a character got really lucky.  So a trailing effectiveness feature needs to be built into the power.  Maybe a penalty to the roll based on previous rolls.

2 hours ago, Gnome BODY (important!) said:

Also, you could double-tap FW on your first Phase and get a pretty hefty amount of defense reduction for the entire fight, which is very tempting if you're starting on P12 and most of the STUN you put out by attacking would be post-12'd away anyways.  It's not like you have to worry about the FW turning off either, being unable to use it for a full Turn is such a long time that any enemy capable of eluding you for that long is either outright immune to your FW and just didn't have that Invisibility or whatever on at the start or has such a mobility edge that they can leave or take all the Recoveries (and probably attacks) they want in total safety and thus you're not winning anyways.

The 1 turn limit is based on the unconsciousness rules since you can be considered "heavily dazed" between 0-9 negative stun.  If an enemy can elude your attacks for that long, you generally have other tactical issues to think about.  But the mobility brings up a point to mind (not about maintaining the FW but in concept).  Without the aid of super powers, should you really be able to maintain FW when you are say over 100 m away (a football field's distance)?  Should you really be allowed to make find weakness rolls at a great distance if you can't see details.  At some point you can't make enough details to reliably do find weakness and that point is beyond the range of just seeing the target.

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5 hours ago, Ninja-Bear said:

I would say that if you really liked Find weakness pre-6th then just House Rule it back in.

I like the concept but not the implementation.  Thus the RFC to try and figure out a better way of doing this.

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Sadly, no other votes?  Oh well, two votes doesn't tell me if I am going in the right direction or not.

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1 hour ago, dsatow said:

Sadly, no other votes?  Oh well, two votes doesn't tell me if I am going in the right direction or not.

Oh, right, you had a poll.  Here, let me make that a three way tie instead of a two way tie.

I think if your group doesn't have issues tracking Adjustment Powers you should be at a play-testable state already, only maybe needing to fine-tune the effectiveness and find a way to keep it from making long fights mean 0 DEF foes.  You know your group better than I possibly could, of course, and it's your group's opinions that count most.

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My vote was thumbs down. I vote to port the 5e version verbatim.

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