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Use of Arcane(Power) Defense vs Magical-Based Shape Shift (A type of Illusion)

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In my game, one of my players is a magical construct that possesses Shape-Shift, with the Special Effect as a Magical Illusion build--as it is against Sight, Hearing, Mental, etc., worth 31AP.

I had a scenario where an oppositional NPC possesses a Pendant that provided 15Points of Arcane Defense.

Is there any means of either nullification or reduction against the AP used for the NPC trying to do a perception roll against in this scenario?

In other words, does the 15Points of Arcane Defense give any resistance vs the effectiveness for the Player's Shape Shift as built?  (Example:  Does this give some "bonus" against the NPC's perception to see the true identity of the Player, such as a bonus roll based on the point difference or what-not?)

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As Chris wrote, by RAW the Powers do not interact. Shape Shift doesn't really have a mechanic that negates it per se. Even if you see through a Shape shift used as a disguise, you don't see the true form of the user, you just know something's wrong. The Shape Shift would need to be Limited in some form to permit anything else.

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 What you have here is a GM call.


This is the same problem you run into with Drain, suppress, and a few other things:


Mechanics and special effects in Champions / HERO are intentionally separated.  They are also used to define each other.


That makes sense: you can't use a word to define itself; you have to use other words.  These things (mechanics and SFX) are purposely split apart here, so there will never be a problem.



Right up until Drain: Flight can remove the ability to fly from everyone in the room.  You know:  _everyone_.  The guy with the natural alien ability to fly.  The guy with the rocket pack.  The guy with the wings.  The guy that rides the ley lines across ancient trails of mana.  The alien that fills his float bladders with hydrogen.


They _all_ lose their flight because the _mechanic_ says so.


So I now have the power to destroy rocket packs, empty alien float bladders, rip wings off of falcon men, etc.  


And now I have to pick a special effect.  Well, my character is an alien parasite that has the ability to psychicaly drain away the metabolic functions that result in  flight energy.   Therefore, my target cannot provide chemical or photovoltaic energy to the cells that power his alien flight ability-


I mean wings

I mean gas bladders

I mean telekinetic self-lifting

I mean gravity manip-


Uh, magic ley line- no; jetpacks!  Definitely a parastic ability to destroy the metabolic process by which you control your rocket boots and-  crap!  Glider capes, too!


Wait!  What edition is this?  Is this an edition where I can take out swinglines with this, too?  And traceless ninja movement?  And keep the Flash from running up walls?




Tradition here is to "solve" this sort of conversation by suggesting some different SFX that can be better-stretched over the problem.  In this case gravity control, massive telekinetic powers. "Freakin' _magic_, Dude--!"


Yeah, well....  I don't want gravity control or ancient wizardry.  I want to be an alien parasite.



And the rules say I can.  I can be an alien parasite, and I can have Drain: Flight, and it can work metabolically, even against rocket boots and Bat grappling cannons, because the rules say special effects do not matter, really, so long as everyone is sort of cool with it, and  it is detectable by some number of senses (I think 2 or 3, depending on edition).


I picked Drain to highlight this because this is where it tends to be the most obvious: the unregulated clash of SFX, I mean.


It is a well-known, under-discussed problem, and it is created specifically by "build anything you want."  If what you want is kind of mismatched.....  Well, them's the breaks!


I don't remember if it was Champs I or Champs II,  but there have been attempts to solve the problem since 2e.  One of those supplements addressed the problem by offering alternative forms of Adjustment powers, such as replacing "Drain: Energy Blast" with "Drain: Firepowers."  


Alas, there wasn't too terribly much interest at least not in the growing shadow of the almost-immediately-after released 3e, which I do not recall having _any_ such options or discussion, but I never played 3e.,,I have only read it a couple of times, and even my most recent memories are stored in a very old brain.  ;)


I know it wasn't discussed in 4e, at least not the core rules, and not 4e's Western HERO (while a lot of folks used DI or JI or even Dark Champions as their template for Heroic games, we used 2e Champions and guidance from 4e Western HERO).  Possibly Fantasy HERO, where it wouod have been ideal for maybe eighty-million spells, but I have only read it a coyple of times, and I do not remember if it was in there.


In fact, I don't think it was addressed again until Steve brought out a variant of the idea as an optional rule for one of his editions.  I could very well be wrong (I own and have never read both of the 4e HERO System Almanacs, for example.  There are some things I haven't read- I hope to live long enough).


Which brings us back to the beginning: this is squarely into GM territory.


As others have pointed out, there is not mechanical interaction between the two powers you mention.


_however_, if you feel that the special effects _should_ cause an interaction of some sort, or if your player _wants_ (or even believes) there should be an interaction, then get together with that player, and ultimately the whole group, as you are potentially setting a precedent that can have long-lasting effects in your games now and going forward into other ones.


If you see an interaction--  for example: "I cast detect magic."


This character _is_ a magic.  I will definitely detect them with this spell.  I might not detect a character; I might just say "yep.  That illusion right there? Definitely magic."


If the character _is_ an illusion and someone casts "dispell illusion," what happens?  Does the character become invisible?  Become a single flicker of magical energy?  Take STUN damage?  Fall unconscious?  Suffer BODY damage?  Just disappear for a while?


Are you Dispelling the character's total points, or just their BODY score?


Yes, that is technically a function of Drain: BODY, but if you allowed a spell that targets a special effect (in this case, "Magic," then you and your players have to be prepared for this spell to affect anything with the SFX of "Magic."



Anyway, I am dictating this to my copilot, who is looking a bit annoyed, so I guess I am done for now.












Edited by Duke Bushido
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On 2/2/2024 at 11:21 PM, Chris Goodwin said:

Ordinarily and per RAW, no.  The GM can always permit it, however.  6e1 pages 278-279 discuss it further.


Just out of curiosity, could there be a limitation be used here? "Affected by Magic/Power Defense" or something? It sounds like it should...

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4 hours ago, Sketchpad said:


Just out of curiosity, could there be a limitation be used here? "Affected by Magic/Power Defense" or something? It sounds like it should...




Excellent question, Sir!


I guess it would boil down to the exact nature of the character and what those conditions do to him.


If, going from the original text, the character _is_ a magic illusion, then it stands to reason that "suppress magic" or the like would somehow affect him.


There are now two questions that would have to be answered (assuming everyone is willing to have the character actually be affected, because this is deep into "no-rules-for-that" territory):


Question One is "how is the character affected?"   No real reason for us to declare anything; that is for the player and GM to work out.  For me, I would say "it diminishes your existence (if I allowed it, I mean.  Not that I wouldn't, but it isn't in my game, so my approval is irrelevant).


The much harder question, I think, is where does one apply the Limitation?  By the rules, a character can "just be."  If he wants to be a robot, then he is; no charge.  If he wants to be a cyborg dolphin, then "he just is."  As before: no charge.


So we can't put it directly on "being a magic illusion," as he (so long as the GM is okay with it) "just _is_" a magic illusion.


It stands to reason that he can buy his powers and abilities with this limitation- he isn't _required_ to (unless the GM says otherwise), but certainly it would work in with several concepts.


What about his Characteristics?  To my thinking _at the moment_ (meaning that first blush inspired by an excellent question; I haven't done any deep thinking on it just yet) is that putting a limitation on each and every characteristic is the closest approximation of affecting the character's actual existence or ability to "just be."


I can only answer for myself, obviously, but if the question came up and I, as GM, decided that the character _should_ be so affected, that is probably how I would do it: apply the Limitation to every characteristic individually.


Thus, when someone rolls say 20 points worth of suppress magic, each Characteristic would drop by twenty Character points--  that is probably uglier in 6e that in all the editions before, honestly, given the new pricing.  And of course, when the suppression is removed, he is right as rain again.  If that took his EGO to zero or lower, I might rule that, from his perspective, he blacked out, and it is as if he had leaped forward in time with no memory or awareness of the rime that has passed.



Still:  that was an awesome question!  Thanks, Sketchpad!





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