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How would you adjudicate attacks damaging the Soul instead of the Body - mods state there is no rule so it has to be a house rule


indy523
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Ok so I want to have a campaign where you can attack someone's soul with mystical attacks as well as someone's body.  So as an example let us say there is a martial arts master with secret chi techniques that don't do any physical damage but attack the EGO of the target.

 

I was hoping to avoid the difficulty of using Drain to do this and just have an advantage that stated Attack does Ego Damage +xA where x is whatever the advantage should be in the campaign.

 

The way I want it to work is to use EGO as a substitute for BOD.  So the attack if a 1d6 killing attack does 1 to 6 body damage and 1d6 times that number in Stun.  So average of 3.5 and 12.15 or 4 EGO and 12 STUN.  Let us use that in the example.

 

The stun damage would work as normal it is 12 stun resisted by the defense of the attack (PD  most likely in this case).

 

The 4 EGO damages hits the character's EGO in the same way as BOD damage.  It is healed at REC per month and various psychological therapy can heal quicker the way surgery and nursing heal physical BOD.  At 0 EGO the target becomes a zombie unable to deal with life at -10 EGO they are a catatonic zombie and at double their EGO they die just as it works for BOD.

 

The one difference between this and a drain is that with a Drain the actual ego score is lowered but with an attack damaging BOD the character still has their normal BOD but it is reduced by the damage .  Actual BOD is not reduced.  One could argue this is the case for drains as well but Drains would reduce EGO for every effect there is.  In this case the EGO - EGO damage number might be used for certain powers or effects but not others.  Fore instance the damaged number would be used for someone attempting say mind control but not Possession because the Possession power has to overcome the soul itself so in that case the unharmed EGO is used for the resistance to the power.  After however the damaged EGO value might give reductions to Breakout rolls as the damage does make fighting off the possessing spirit.

 

Would this work or is there other factors that should be worked out or is this essentially how you would view a Drain vs EGO delayed healing to once a month to be?

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You are already into the house rules territory with is fine.  That actually makes it simpler since you don’t have to worry about coming up with a legal way to do this.  As long as you let you players know there is nothing wrong with a house rule.

 

The easiest way to handle it is to allow the advantage does body to be used for EGO.   So for a mental blast it would be a +1 advantage.  If you want to apply it to a RKA you need to first add the AVAD and then the Does Body/EGO for an additional +1 advantage.  Assuming the RKA goes against mental DEF.
 


If the attack is going up against its normal defenses it would be a +0 advantage, but would no longer do body damage.  
 

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I think you're overthinking it. Drain is in the RAW just so that you can attack Characteristics other than Stun and BODY.

 

BODY damage reduces the Actual BODY of the target in the same way EGO damage does. It's just that there are no alternate categories of Attacks that work off Actual BODY as there are with Mental Powers vs EGO. There are no consequences to having a lowered BODY characteristic outside the bleeding/dying rules. A lowered EGO score however....

 

The only similar situation is if a Drain reduces  the target to negative BODY. They are still bleeding out and will die if the Drain doesn't fade before they reach negative their normal BODY value. Negative EGO isn't deadly in itself though it does make you helpless and wide open to Mental Powers. You can act while bleeding out at the cost of an additional Body bled but at negative EGO you just stand there unable to act at all but perfectly healthy. One is heroically defiant, the other runs from frustrating to horrifying. Both are bad places to be.

 

Anything Drained to 5 Points/month(+2 3/4) is a very debilitating effect.  Reduced EGO is no worse than reduced  PRE or STR or SPD as far as crippling a character. Just crippling in different ways.

 

LoneWolf's method is perfect if you absolutely must avoid Drain. Any house rule which works for the campaign is all good.

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1 hour ago, Grailknight said:

The only similar situation is if a Drain reduces  the target to negative BODY. They are still bleeding out and will die if the Drain doesn't fade before they reach negative their normal BODY value. Negative EGO isn't deadly in itself though it does make you helpless and wide open to Mental Powers. You can act while bleeding out at the cost of an additional Body bled but at negative EGO you just stand there unable to act at all but perfectly healthy. One is heroically defiant, the other runs from frustrating to horrifying. Both are bad places to be.

 

For me that difference between zero EGO and Zero BOD is what is important.  I would for these attacks at least like to have no distinction.  The Does EGO damage advantage would put the target in jeopardy at zero and they would begin bleeding if nothing else stops it, spiritual bleeding.  The ability to stop it might be calm words, reminding the person who they are etc.  I would like them to still take damage after reaching zero just like BOD.  Once you drain a stat to zero even a Drain BOD, that's it there is no more stat to drain.  But for normal attacks one can still keep doing damage and at negative BOD the target dies.  The Does EGO damage attack would be the same way.  You can keep pummeling the soul till its grasp on the body is no more and the target dies.

Also with a Drain BOD if it is bought down to 5/month there is noting that can be done short of dispel or suppress that would bring the BOD back.  You don't heal quicker because the doctor gives you a wonder drug and you are getting bedrest in a hospital.

 

Beyond that Drain is limited to 5 per month no matter what the target's recovery is.  In this case a high recovery will heal you quicker and I think EGO would be the same with this system.

 

I think however the attack has nothing to do with doing BOD but changing the target from BOD to EGO.  So if it is a martial arts technique then you buy it as a Naked advantage.  The attack still does STUN damage which a drain would not do but just targets EGO instead of BOD but in the same way.  Maybe this is a +1 advantage but in a campaign where these attacks and thus defenses against them are the norm I would say it is +1/4A and maybe +1/2A in normal super campaigns but I am still not certain of that.

 

The reason I want to get away from Drains is that they can be useful in this campaign as they are but they are different than an attack that directly hits the soul.  That is the justification of this.  The Spirit can be attacked and thus one could attack a ghost with this since as a spirit they have no Stun or BOD, just EGO.  I don't know.  If I can fit it into the rules of the game I do but this seems different enough to me to warrant its own rules.

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Honestly, all you really need to do is to come up with a mechanic and Characteristic to "heal" this Spirit Characteristic (or EGO; whichever it is that suits you).

 

From that point on, damaging and recovering is the same as Body and Recovery.  You might also consider a DEF of some sort akin to PD and ED (I use MD in my games-- essentially turning the Power "EGO Defense" into a Characteristic).

 

These are essentially campaign-specific rules / mechanics, and for what it's worth, I enjoy them immensely as part of "selling the feel" of the game at hand.

 

Once you have that mechanic in place, simply declare "vs Body" or "vs EGO / Spirit" as part of the SFX of the power.

 

Don't overlook the importance of having some sort of DEF Characteristic and some sort of Recovery Characteristic for this!  If you don't, then you can bet that your Players will quickly figure out the huge leg-up they can get from this option.

 

I still use an older edition, with Primary and Figured Characteristics, and creating these sorts of new Characteristics and mechanics is something that I rather enjoy (to the point of making EGO Defense and Presence Defense actual Base-Zero Characteristics), and ultimately, it's just a lot cleaner than creating Advantages, Limitations, etc to apply to a Power.

 

 

Alternatively, you could use some sort of variation of Based on ECV-- with the damage going to EGO as opposed to BODY.  Your call, of course.

 

 

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1 hour ago, Duke Bushido said:

Problematically, Spirits, Souls, etc-- 

 

don't actually have a BODY score.

 

I believe the OP is looking for a way to "kill" those things that mimics the traditional damage-dealing of the in-place damage v BODY system.

 

 

 

I'm getting the same vibe.

 

I just feel that Drain is the way to go. You don't need to create a new mechanic to deal with an edge case when an existing one has it covered.

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Even something Desolid still has a BODY score.  It's not the "physical body'"  it can be the effort needed to disrupt it.  That said, I agree that thematically BODY damage isn't quite right.

 

But that brings up a point:  would an intelligent ghost, with an EGO score, be attackable by this means...even tho it's desolid?  One could argue it either way.

 

If you're not using a drain, then you're using an AVAD...which might be worse, as to do 'real' damage you'd need to add the equivalent of Does BODY.  It makes no sense for your attack to target PD when it's targeting something insubstantial.

 

I would probably define this as AVAD, versus Ego Def, Does BODY, with either OECV vs. DECV or OCV vs. DECV (which'd be another advantage).  But, in addition to the recovery issues Duke mentioned (altho Healing that targets EGO is within the rules)...one thing this'd do would be to flash a honkin' big warning sign:   NEED SOME EGO DEF!!!  Which might make a mentalist even harder to play.  Unless this "soul attack" is seriously rare.

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There may be more recent rules about this; I don't know.  But so far as I know, the most recent rules about these things are the supplemental rules in 4e's Horror HERO.  Prior to that there is a brief discussion in AC and I _think_ in the 4e rules themselves (but I am not certain on that last one) specifying both the creation of things and characters completely lacking in certain characteristics, and that spirits one-hundred percent have no BODY score.

 

It's essentially what the Automaton "Takes No STUN" thing grew out of.  Of course, 5 and 6e, I have no idea-- that may not be around anymore.

 

 

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I'm reminded of the old Mayfair DC Heroes game, which had 9 stats, 3 each for physical, mental and mystical/soul attributes.   One was the targeting stat, the second the damaging stat and the third the resistance stat that took the damage.

 

The best approach may include new stats and powers that work the way you want them to work, but that's also the most "game redesign" approach.

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Eh-

 

I think a middle ground can be reached where Spirits / souls continue to use the BOD stat, but rename it to something more appropriate (as they don't actually have bodies to damage).  After that, when designing an attack, as part of declailring SFX, the character building the power declares if this spell /weapon /special Kung Fu attacts BODY or Spirit.

 

That's assuming the need for either type of attack is relatively similar in the campaign, of course.  Beyond that, devise an appropriate DEF (recommending EGO Defense made into a characteristic and- again, assuming roughly similar applicability, ciwted to match current defenses.  This would allow the option to purchase Killing Spirit Attacks that would apply to Resistant Spirit Defense, etc.

 

Moreover, with 6e and the equal pricing across the biard and abokition of figureds, no one suffers any undue cost burden or "bonus" for not havibg to buy BODY, etc.  They are buying it, but it's "Soul" now.  They atent buying PD, but they are buying "Spirit Defense," etc.

 

For my money-again, assuming a roughly equal in-game demand for "kills flesh" and "kills spirit"- this is just the simplest way to go: everything is already in the system; you just rename a couple of things for flavor.

 

However, it should be noted that I am a complete idiot and may have misunderstood this from the get-go.    :)

 

 

(nite: you _may_ consider soubling the cost of Spirit Defense relative to PD/ED, as a Spirit will not need to buy either.  If you are in the "all points are equal" camp, anyway.)

 

 

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On 10/17/2021 at 10:26 PM, unclevlad said:

Even something Desolid still has a BODY score.  It's not the "physical body'"  it can be the effort needed to disrupt it.  That said, I agree that thematically BODY damage isn't quite right.

 

But that brings up a point:  would an intelligent ghost, with an EGO score, be attackable by this means...even tho it's desolid?  One could argue it either way.

 

 

The rules for spirit in the 4th edition that the mods say was in an almanac but I remember them being a separate splat book but either way those rules said a spirit was like an AI.  It had no physical stats.

 

Only DEX, EGO, INT, PRE, SPD, I guess in 6th edition  its OCV and DCV could be either CV or MCV combat value but I think in 4th it was MCV.  These were the only statistics a spirit had because it had no physical body thus it could not have STR, CON, PD, ED, REC, STUN or BOD.

 

In that system the only wat to kill a spirit was to drain its EGO to zero and even then that did not kill just sent it back to the afterlife I think.

 

I am envisioning an attack that can do EGO damage to kill by affecting the spirit.  I have rules worked out which I will post in another thread just as an FYI but it requires two advantages, one Does Ego which is +1/4A only because it does not change the defense or CV of the attack only the stat that takes the damage and the other is Affects Desolid at a minimum of +1/4A for Affects Desolid (Spirits only).

 

The reason I wish to do it this way is to have attacks that leave the body in a state of catatonia or a coma but do not harm the physical form thus leaving it ripe for possession etc.  The idea is that the Soul has a Soul EGO and a BODY EGO.  The Soul is the EGO of the spirit and is only damaged by drains.  The BODy EGO represents the souls ability to hold onto the Body.  Thus a demon for instance could attack a person doing EGO damage to BOD EGO which works just to remove the hold of a person on their body.  The soul or spirit retains its EGO power. 

 

The campaign will have a strong spiritual occult motif.  This is the reason for a need for separate rules.  It fits the concept of the game.

 

The upshot is that you can have a martial artist for instance that learns Occult Techniques which allow him to merely touch a target such as Jutjitsu or Tai Chi strike which does stun to the body but does EGO damage and not BOD damage.  The technique requires a naked advantage for Does Ego+/14A and Affects Desolid Spirit +1/4A.  The upshot is the martial artist can fight spirits as well as humans with the technique.

 

The other thing is that I want it to heal back like the BOD heals back not at whatever the Drain says.  So it is REC a  month but with certain things like resting in a monastery with chanting or listening to new age mood music while resting it can be twice as fast etc.  Also there can be psychic surgery and therapy that helps to heal back giving recoveries the way medicine and doctors visits can.  You don't get this with drains and everything about how one recovers is defined by the person doing the drain.  That is not what I want.

 

The current rules just don't reflect how I envision the occult campaign.  I tried to fit it in but it does not work.

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On 10/18/2021 at 7:02 PM, Grailknight said:

Does the Power envisioned do STUN and EGO or is it an Attack on EGO only?

 

The power has an advantage that is +1/4A Does Ego all this does is change the BOD damage to EGO damage.  It still does whatever stun it did before, it still is defended by whatever defense it was before PD, ED, MD whatever.  It still is OCV vs DCV or whatever value it was before.  The only change is the SOUL or a creature is struck not the body.  The attack however still stuns as before. 

 

To hit a target the attack also requires at a minimum Affects Desolid Spirits only +1/4A for a total +1/2A.  This reflects that in order for the power to take affect it must be able to attack the spirit of a target so either way it has to affect desolid spirits.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I still use an older edition, with Primary and Figured Characteristics, and creating these sorts of new Characteristics and mechanics is something that I rather enjoy (to the point of making EGO Defense and Presence Defense actual Base-Zero Characteristics), and ultimately, it's just a lot cleaner than creating Advantages, Limitations, etc to apply to a Power.

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If Spirit is a ubiquitous thing in your game and all of characters and most NPCs have a spirit score, it would be worth just duplicating the physical stats with new names and treating that as the 'Spirit' of the character.

 

For example Body would become Spirit, Constitution could be used as is or could become Resilience, Defence (PD/ED) could be Spiritual Defence, Stun could be used as is or could become Energy.

 

Basically you just have a new set of stats in addition to the existing ones and use those for Spiritual attacks and such.  The cost would be the same as the equivalent physical stats and you can buy powers to affect Spirit in the usual way and at the usual cost.

 

Effectively it would be a sort of new character that is 'linked' to the physical one.  You might want to have a separate pool of character creation points for Spirit.

 

If it is a thing that only a few characters in the game have then it would be best to use existing mechanics as suggested above.

 

 

 

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Body is not merely physical presence, its life force.  You can "kill" a machine by breaking its physical form, but you can also kill a person by doing zero physical harm to it, and attacking its will to live and soul in their Body.

 

Remember, Hero is special effects-driven.  The mechanics are how it happens in game terms (meta), and the special effect is how it looks and behaves in the game.  Blast is blast, whether electricity, fire, or sonic.  The mechanics do x, but that doesn't define the why or how.  You define that.

 

"Kill" a ghost?  Do body to it until it doesn't have Body any longer.  How does this work?  That's where special effects come in.

 

Now, if you want to create a different sort of mechanic, an option is to build a physical limitation, defining how and when they "die" outside of body damage.  Something like "dies if EGO drained to 0" or similar.

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