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GAZZA

Poisons and Diseases

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5th edition introduces the concept of a 10 point Life Support ability to be immune to all terrestrial poisons (and another for diseases).

 

This goes against the usual "absolute" philosophy of Hero, but in addition raises an ugly spectre. Some people build poisons as NND Does Body Gradual Effect attacks; others build them as Drains (possibly with the Gradual Effect limitation from HSA, not to be confused with the standard Gradual Effect limitation). (Personally I think Drains are better, since the AP limit is lower, there are less modifiers, and you can have poisons that make you weaker or slower instead of deader).

 

With the NND method, you can define the defense as "appropriate Life Support". That's fine. But what about the Drain method? Must that be NND as well? (Pointless, in my opinion, since Power Defense is less common than PD and ED - at the very least NND should be worth less). Is it a -0 limitation on Drain poisons that they "do not work vs appropriate Life Support"? (Or maybe -1/2, or whatever).

 

I guess what I'm getting at is this: if you prefer the Drain method for poisons (and diseases, incidentally), then presumably the defense against poisons is Power Defense (possibly with a limitation "only vs poisons"). This new method of creating poisons was available before 5th edition was published. Presumably there is some reason why it was abandoned in favour of the "older" method used by Fantasy Hero.

 

I'm just having a problem understanding why, I suppose. The Drain method is more elegant (as it allows targetting of other characteristics), less complicated (no No Normal Defense, Linked Attack Must Do BODY, Does BODY nonsense; at most, it might have an advantage to move the recovery time down the chart and a Gradual Effect to attack less often than once per phase; both kinds need Continuous and either Uncontrolled or Continuing Charges), and comes with a ready-made defense (Power Defense) rather than needing to tack something on to Life Support. Am I alone in thinking that this was the better way to go?

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Re: Poisons and Diseases

 

No, you aren't the only one that thinks there may be a better way of doing poisons and diseases in HERO. I'm sure some of the HERO gurus wuill be along later to give their opinions and suggest some good alternatives.

 

I think that the HERO system might use this method as a default because often a GM might not even want to stat-out a disease and/or poison, but just say that "it does so much damage per (time factor) to (whatever statistiques), until such and such happens", and a player can just say "but I' immune", without using such an esoteric Defense power.

 

I myself ran into this problem when I was tinkering with converting Shadowrun to HERO. Dwarves in that setting have bonuses to stats to resist poisons and diseases, and Trolls have such good physical stats as to be very hard to affect them with same. Now SR, being a cyberpunk setting, only with magic, is pretty gritty, and I didn't want to simply say that these two races were immune to poisons and diseases. So I came to a similar conclusion that, at least for a more gritty feel, that LS(poison and disease immunity) was a little too cheap for what it did.

 

And that is something you have to think about: for the superhero-genre, I actually think that it is reasonable to us the Life Support method. It that genre, you can make "dieseases" and "poisons" that aren't affected by the appropriate LSs, for the simple fact that the characters that developped it are supers, and there toxins and sicknesses go beyond the normal parameters of the LSs. Thoses should be built with Drains and the like so that Power Defense becomes the appropriate counter.

 

Heck, in other genres you could still have both ideas. the LSs apply to most diseases and poisons, but a few aren't stopped by that and you would need Power Defense (maybe with "only vs poisons and diseases"; -½). You just have to regulate the base damage, because if those Drains only do 1d6, suddenly 6 Power Defense can make you virtually immune to nearly anything out there. In the end the cost could be comparable to LS. ;)

 

In the end, the apprpriateness of the Life Support method will depend on genre, how the GM builds diseases and piosons for HIS campaign, and suspension of disbelief.

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Re: Poisons and Diseases

 

With the NND method' date=' you can define the defense as "appropriate Life Support". That's fine. But what about the Drain method? Must that be NND as well? (Pointless, in my opinion, since Power Defense is less common than PD and ED - at the very least NND should be worth less).[/quote']

NND is an advantage, and is worth less of an advantage on drains then on other attacks.

 

I guess what I'm getting at is this: if you prefer the Drain method for poisons (and diseases, incidentally), then presumably the defense against poisons is Power Defense (possibly with a limitation "only vs poisons"). This new method of creating poisons was available before 5th edition was published. Presumably there is some reason why it was abandoned in favour of the "older" method used by Fantasy Hero.

It doesn't make sense that power defense can stop all diseases and poisons. It does make sense that it can stop some of them, but not all of them. I don't agree that all poisons should be done as drains though. It makes sense for those that weaken you but not for those that kill you outright. The fact that you have power defense should have no effect on the idea that you can't be killed by snake venom, for example.

 

If you like the drain method then run with it. Just throw on a -1/4 limitation that LS: Immunity will stop it completely. You can do the same thing with killing attacks.

 

Weakness Venom: 6d6 strength drain, can be negated by LS: Immunity to venoms: -1/4.

 

Snake Bite: 2d6 RKA plus 3d6 con drain, can be negated by LS: Immunity to reptile venoms: -1/4

 

if you don't mind that a poison [drain] can be stopped by power defense then you don't need the nnd on there. If you think only the LS should stop the drain then you do need the +1/2 nnd. It's as simple as that.

 

My personal feeling is that poison and disease should be it's own power, and that the defense should be a Con roll, with the harder the con roll being the more dangerous venoms. LS: Immunity will also negate the ability.

 

Poison: Poison damage recovers at a rate of REC per day. Each additional -1 to the Con roll costs 3 points.

 

Minor [stun damage]: 1d6 per 5 points.

Major [drain damage]: 1d6 per 10 points

 

Usable on more than 1 characteristic: 2 +1/4, 3 +1/2, 4 +3/4, 5 +1.

 

Insect Bite: 3d6 Minor Poison [stun]. Total cost: 15 active points.

 

Exhaustive Disease: 4d6 Major Poison, effects 2 characteristics [dex and end]: +1/4, -3 Con roll to negate: +9 pts. Total cost: 59 active points

 

Snake Bite: 6d6 Major Poison [body], -10 Con roll: +30 Total cost: 90 active points.

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Re: Poisons and Diseases

 

It doesn't make sense that power defense can stop all diseases and poisons.

Why not? What is it about power defense that you feel is "anti-poison"?

 

(And incidentally you can always make a drain NND if you feel that this is important).

 

The fact that you have power defense should have no effect on the idea that you can't be killed by snake venom, for example.

Again - why not? You seem to have some specific special effect in mind for power defense that is skewing your reasoning here. As an obvious counter example: Power Defense, Only vs snake venom would be a perfectly valid construct in a campaign where snake venom was (eg) a BODY drain.

 

If you like the drain method then run with it. Just throw on a -1/4 limitation that LS: Immunity will stop it completely. You can do the same thing with killing attacks.

Err, no. No way. :) I will simply throw out the immunity to poison and disease features of Life Support. I see no reason to have a perfect defense against poison in a system that does not allow a perfect defense against bullets or "frickin' laser beams".

 

My personal feeling is that poison and disease should be it's own power, and that the defense should be a Con roll, with the harder the con roll being the more dangerous venoms. LS: Immunity will also negate the ability.

Its own power? That seems completely unnecessary. Both are modelled well (I feel better by Drains than NND Killing Attacks, but I do not deny that the latter works for lethal poisons). There seems nothing about this "new power" description above that could not be simulated without a new power.

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Re: Poisons and Diseases

 

So wouldn't just be easier to say that you don't like the life support rather then how poisons are built? The LS has not changed between 4E and 5E [other then to get more expensive]. I could have been immune to diseases in 4E for only 3 points there. :)

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Re: Poisons and Diseases

 

Some poisons are Drains, some are RKAs. It depends on the effect. Also, the "linked attack must do BODY limit" talks about delivery system(poison dart, fangs etc). And it is very necessary in many cases, if the snake, for example, can't bite through your armor, then it can't poison you regardless of whether you built it as Drain, KA or whatever. So if I'm wearing plate mail, that little coral snake running around the ground just isn't a threat because he can't bite through all that steel. That's what the "linked attack must do BODY limit" is about - the delivery system.

 

Now, since some poisons are built one way(RKA), some are built another(Drain or even Transform for some of the more exotic effects or mind altering drugs) and on rare occasions you might even get something exotic that does something else, it's easier to have the "immunity to poison/disease" to fall back on. Otherwise, you would have to stat out every poison the characters would likely run into ahead of time and calculate what you would need to buy to be effectively "immune" to each of them. For instance, for poisons built on Drain, how much do you need to be immune to every venom on earth? 15 points? 30 points? Poison generally isn't common enough to warrant more than a 10 or 15 point expenditure, generally speaking. But if the Drain has to do 20 or 30 BODY to get the job done(remember, you have to go to negative your original starting BODY before you die), you could be looking at some huge Drains for the more fast acting poisons like you get in the adder family of snakes. There are snakes with venom that can kill a man in a few seconds(less than one turn). Even worse, if you later decide to include a more virulent poison than the ones you originally statted out, how do you make the PC who spent points to be immune to eveything immune to the new poison without giving away that you're about to use it somehow? And do you give him free points for your mistake? Or make him start setting aside experience toward something he thought he had already finished buying?

 

The point of having the "catch all" immunity was, I think, to remove the guesswork. In the past, you could buy immunity to certain poisons or diseases but you had to buy each one separately and trying to buy immunity to everything was just impossible.

 

Finally, remember that Power Defense can apply to things that are not poisons or drains. In a fantasy world, for instance, a Slow spell might be written up as a SPD Drain. So now the character buying power defense to be immune to poison is also highly resistant to certain types of spells. And, I believe that power defense would apply to all adjustment powers - which would include Aid spells and possibly Healing as well(I don't have the book in front of me because I'm at work, so I'm not sure of that nuance but I imagine someone else on these boards can come up with it). I suppose you could buy Power Defense with a limit - but you would have to determine on a campaign by campaign basis how much the limit was worth and how many points the character needed to buy to be immune to all diseases and poisons. Buying a straight 10 point Life Support power is just much easier.

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Re: Poisons and Diseases

 

I see no reason to have a perfect defense against poison in a system that does not allow a perfect defense against bullets or "frickin' laser beams".

 

 

You can be immune to bullets. It just takes more points than Immunity to Poisons does. Most bullets are only about 2-3 D6 or RKA. So 18 points of Resistant DEF will make you immune to the BODY and you can buy your PD and/or Damage Reduction to blunt off the STUN to nothing or almost nothing, even against a max roll. It's more expensive, but it CAN be done. And then bullets are more common than poisons anyway so it's much more valuable to be immune to bullets.

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Re: Poisons and Diseases

 

It's also an open question as to whether LS ever protects against powers belonging to a character. It's life support - not a defence power. It protects against a special effect - in much the same way that desolid protects 100% against bullets.

 

The simplest solution is that LS: terrestrial disease means you never get a cold (or AIDS or Marburg Fever or whatever) even if you spent a week rolling in old patient samples. It protects you not one whit when Germlad sneezes on you unless he bought his attack with a limitation that excludes that LS - that's pretty typical for NNDs, for example.

 

If you really go out of your way to be specific that your character's "disease attack" can only inflict real, terrestrial diseases, well maybe - though in that case I'd expect it to have an effect delayed by days to weeks.

 

In short, don't confuse special effect "disease" with power (Drain or RKA, NND, does body, or whatever).

 

cheers, Mark

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Re: Poisons and Diseases

 

It's also an open question as to whether LS ever protects against powers belonging to a character. It's life support - not a defence power. It protects against a special effect - in much the same way that desolid protects 100% against bullets.

 

The simplest solution is that LS: terrestrial disease means you never get a cold (or AIDS or Marburg Fever or whatever) even if you spent a week rolling in old patient samples. It protects you not one whit when Germlad sneezes on you unless he bought his attack with a limitation that excludes that LS - that's pretty typical for NNDs, for example.

 

If you really go out of your way to be specific that your character's "disease attack" can only inflict real, terrestrial diseases, well maybe - though in that case I'd expect it to have an effect delayed by days to weeks.

 

In short, don't confuse special effect "disease" with power (Drain or RKA, NND, does body, or whatever).

 

cheers, Mark

Yeah, but you know it does work as defense and always had. LS: Immune to high heat allows you to be immune to NND heat attacks. Same with cold, or anything else. It's easy to say LS shouldn't be a defense but it has been for 24 years so far. :)

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Re: Poisons and Diseases

 

It also sometims just comes down to dramatic sense .. If a character has LS: Immune to Poisons (because they are a Robot) then you could just rule that no matter how the Poisons is constructed it just doesn't work on the robot.

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Re: Poisons and Diseases

 

OK, I say you can't be immune to bullets. "Most bullets are X" is begging the question: there is nothing preventing my bullets doing more damage than your defenses can handle (or have enough Armour Piercing, etc). Desolidification? Affects Desolidified.

 

One of the major features of the Hero system is that it doesn't have this "absolute" defense. Of course in any given setting you can say, "No disease does more than X dice of damage" and thereby set the amount of Power Defense that is necessarily to be immune to diseases - but if you don't do that for Energy Blasts and RKAs, why do it for diseases or poisons?

 

As far as whether it would have been better to simply say I don't like Life Support: Life Support isn't the issue. I don't like the way that poisons and diseases are built as No Normal Defense. Poisons and diseases vary in potency; using an "all or nothing" mechanic is counter intuitive (IMHO) when building them with Drains - which was introduced in HSA1, after FH pioneered the NND Does Body method - allows Power Defense to eliminate some, none, or all of the attack depending on how powerful it is: exactly the way most normal attacks like EB and RKA and so forth work.

 

Basically, I do not understand the reasoning behind making all poisons or diseases "all or nothing". The default rules assume that this is going to be the case - either you are buying NND Does Body attacks, or a Drain with either a limitation that makes the appropriate life support negate it or a NND for the Drain. I don't feel this simulates poisons and diseases very well, and I don't feel that there is justification here to make these attacks fundamentally different in nature from normal attacks.

 

But as always, YMMV.

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Re: Poisons and Diseases

 

Two Things:

 

First, most of us DO actually limit the amount of say, EB that any character can have. Power balance, if nothing else, requires you to set upper limits on things.

 

Second, the more important matter, is the idea of why defenses don't "blunt" a disease, why it must be all or nothing. I would argue a few reasons why such a mechanic is necessary:

 

First, how do you build someone who actually IS immune to a disease then - not mostly immune like you do with 75% damage reduction, but completely immune. There are a lot of diseases out there that you can only get once before you become immune to them(chicken pox for example). Colds too(it's just that there are a TON of bugs out there that can cause cold like symptoms). Or how do you build someone who can carry a disease but for some reason never develops any of the effects? You get people who are carriers of a lot of diseases. Immunity lets you do this in a way that Power Defense, for example, generally wouldn't - unless your power defense was much higher than normal, even then it might not be enough.

 

Second, diseases and poisons tend to be all or nothing things. If you are subjected to a lethal poison, for example, you either survive and generally have no after effects, or you don't survive at all. Your survival, in games terms, would be based on the damage the poison does, how much STUN and BODY you have, and how fast you can REC the damage done to you. A disease like the Plauge may not kill one person because his REC can stay just enough ahead of the disease that it can't quite finish him off(yes, I know, technically, you aren't supposed to REC and take damage on the same phase, but we're dealing with a whole day of phases and common sense dictates that you should get RECs while fighting the disease, otherwise, once you were knocked out, you could never wake up until after you got well). In short, your constitution(note no cap, I'm not referring to the game stat per se here) and your immune system fight an all or nothing battle with the poison or disease. They determine whether the disease can kill you, how fast you recover, or even if you are sick at all. Power defense(with limits) might work for some things, but not all.

 

Third, a "perfect" defense is needed for these things because, unlike bullets or knives, there actually are humans with what amount to "perfect" defenses against some diseases or poisons. Everyone will take some damage from a bullet. No human is immune to getting a .38 slug in the belly. But there ARE people who can carry a virus around without ever getting it or who have developed enough immunity that they can drink a cup of a particular poison without being hurt(not many I admit, but they DO exist).

 

Fourth, again, because different poisons/diseases are logically built with different powers, the defenses against them could easily end up requiring you to spend a lot of points to get something that just isn't useful enough to justify the expenditure. And it would require you to have a chart of all the common poisons laying around to set the apporpriate levels of those defenses. So having the LS is a matter of convenience and clarity as well.

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Re: Poisons and Diseases

 

Hmmmm.... Diseases and poisons. Slow acting damage classes, though there are a handful of (extremely rare) fast poisons.

 

Are we going to model these realistically? A lot of RPG diseases aren't like anything seen in the real world. For those, go with whatever you want.

 

Speaking typically here: Both poison and disease injure you slowly and the effects last a long time. Both rarely kill. Disease is more of a "you get it & it's always the same"; poison is "you get more of it & it's worse".

 

"Immunity" is typically defined as never knowing you were exposed. For poisons, I'd think you would never be immune to a high enough doseage. Not true for diseases - if you are immune, you are immune (again, speaking typically!).

 

For both of these, the source of immunity is body chemistry. No one is immune to "disease"; no one is immune to "poison". There are too many types. That means if you are talking about total immunity, you are talking about Champions-type games (NOT reality).

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Re: Poisons and Diseases

 

Since this is a game and I tend not to play "Hospital Hero", I don't care to model these things in detail. I'd rather go with cinematic descriptions, use the SFX to determine the effects, etc. I already think the cost for total LS is too high for what you get in-game.

 

But since we're talking about it, I'd say disease is NND (if you're immune, you're immune) and poison is resisted by PowD (too much will affect you, even if you have an iron constitution).

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Re: Poisons and Diseases

 

I just view the LS Immunities the same way I view the LS Safe Environments: by default they protect against, "normal," or, "environmental," instances of the poisons/diseases (and I retain full right to decide such criteria), but usually will not work against a specific Power bought by a character (though again I reserve the right to impose some differences due to interaction of SFX). However, NNDs can define their exception as characters with these Immunities, and other attacks--such as AVLDs, Drains, etc.--can take a Limitation (usually -1/4) stating that they do not work against targets with the appropriate Immunities. This makes it easy.

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Re: Poisons and Diseases

 

As a quick aside...

The delivery system method of poisons has bugged me in small ways for years, ever since one of my players pointed out a wee touch of logical inconsistancy involved....

 

it goes a little something like this...

 

you buy your poison as a KA, NND, Does Body, only if linked attack does body.

Right?

makes sence, that's how poisons work.

 

Except they become hideously expensive.

OK... I can buy that... they're nasty.

 

Except...

(and here is the problem)

The initial KA MUST do body for the poison to work.

Which means the attack has already done Body to the target.

Which kind of invalidates the NND does Body... except as a VERY expensive way of making the poison All or Nothing.

I mean... why not buy the poison as a heap of extra DC's for the KA with the limits (Only if the base KA inflicts Body) and (not vs appropriate immunity)

 

This question was posed to me back in the late 80's, and to this day I can't come up with a good way to refute it.

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Re: Poisons and Diseases

 

Well, I would say first that you don't buy all poisons with the same powers, so you can't always stack +X DC onto the original attack. You need separate defenses for each, because they don't always work the same way or have the same intended effect. Also, even you use Killing Attack for both the delivery system and the poison, they could still be built completely differently and so wouldn't truly stack. For example,

 

Blow Dart:1/2D6 penetrating RKA - always does a point of BODY because it ignores most defenses but is only a 15 point power.

 

On the other hand the Poison itself could be many more dice, but how many dice do you need if you tack on Penetrating dice? Well, if I have 20 resistant DEF and 20 BODY. Let's see, another 5D6 of RKA built as penetrating will roll 17 BODY, against my 20 DEF, ok, so I get 5 more BODY because it's penetrating and I just spent another 112 points. If I make it 4D6 RKA NND, I get 14 BODY if they don't have the defense. So it actually IS cost effective to spend the "extra points" on NND. And really, it's not that accurate to "stack" extra dice of something on top of something else when they have completely different special effects. Things with completely different special effects get Linked. But they are separate powers. In the case of the BlowDart and the Poison above, other than both being RKAs they have nothing in common. Different physical states, different modifiers to each power.

 

Also, you answered part of the question yourself, poisons are meant to be all or nothing things and NND represents such an attack better than other builds. And the idea is to have things be built consistently. Energy attacks are generally EB or RKA, for example.

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Re: Poisons and Diseases

 

As a quick aside...

The delivery system method of poisons has bugged me in small ways for years, ever since one of my players pointed out a wee touch of logical inconsistancy involved....

 

it goes a little something like this...

 

you buy your poison as a KA, NND, Does Body, only if linked attack does body.

Right?

makes sence, that's how poisons work.

 

Except they become hideously expensive.

OK... I can buy that... they're nasty.

 

Except...

(and here is the problem)

The initial KA MUST do body for the poison to work.

Which means the attack has already done Body to the target.

Which kind of invalidates the NND does Body... except as a VERY expensive way of making the poison All or Nothing.

I mean... why not buy the poison as a heap of extra DC's for the KA with the limits (Only if the base KA inflicts Body) and (not vs appropriate immunity)

 

This question was posed to me back in the late 80's, and to this day I can't come up with a good way to refute it.

Because they are two seperate effects and attacks - one could be a knife the other poison-x. And because without the NND (of AVLD) the second attack applies against DEF normally, thereby reducing it's own damage and it may or may not do anything depending on the Dmg Roll or other factors.

 

If Power 1 is bought Penetrating it Always does body, Power 2 (the poison) may not be bought with Penetrating and may do nothing to the defender. NND Bypasses the defenses the first attack already had to penetrate. That's why.

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Re: Poisons and Diseases

 

I think the key here is that poison is not usually built to apply to one single weapon or Power; typically it is its own construct and may be applied to any (well, any that make sense) weapon. Some weapons (like the nice blowdart example given above by Mike W, or like a greatsword vs. a dagger since the sword is much more likely to get past defenses) may be more efficient delivery mechanisms than others.

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Re: Poisons and Diseases

 

Two Things:

 

First, most of us DO actually limit the amount of say, EB that any character can have. Power balance, if nothing else, requires you to set upper limits on things.

And most of us limit the amount of defense you can have as well, so that hardly seems relevant.

 

First, how do you build someone who actually IS immune to a disease then - not mostly immune like you do with 75% damage reduction, but completely immune.

There are two answers. The trite one is "you build them somewhere other than Hero". :)

 

However, if you want to say that "no disease in this campaign will exceed more than 10 dice of Drain", you simply buy 60 points of Power Defense with appropriate limitations. Expensive? Yes, but that is buying you complete immunity to some poor saps 100 Active Point power, so I think that's fair.

 

There are a lot of diseases out there that you can only get once before you become immune to them(chicken pox for example). Colds too(it's just that there are a TON of bugs out there that can cause cold like symptoms).

You can simulate that with a limitation on the power, if you wish.

 

Or how do you build someone who can carry a disease but for some reason never develops any of the effects?

Considering that Life Support: Immune to disease doesn't give you that power, this question is seems a bit misdirected. However, I'll take a stab at it: basically, you buy your defense (Life Support if you must, Power Defense if you will) with a limitation such that it doesn't make you able to avoid "Sticky" effects, though it does protect you from the damage. So you're still contagious, but not harmed.

 

You get people who are carriers of a lot of diseases. Immunity lets you do this in a way that Power Defense, for example, generally wouldn't - unless your power defense was much higher than normal, even then it might not be enough.

"Only vs diseases" should be at least a -1 1/2 limitation on Power Defense. You can get 60 Active Points for 24 real points that way. I have no problem with charging someone 24 points to negate a 100 active point Drain.

 

Let me put it another way. Consider the Life Support: Immune to intense heat ability. Nobody would say that this gave you any defense at all against a flame based Energy Blast. You need ED for that. Right?

 

As a "flavour" ability, I don't see an issue with LS: Immune to diseases (though I think it is overpriced). If all it does is mean that you never catch a cold, or even herpes, then fine. But I draw the line when you want to use that to negate a super powered disease that I'm paying points for. It's too cheap for that. I'd have the same problem with a 10 point Life Support option "immune to electricity"; if you want it to mean that you can work with high voltages and not risk getting shocked, fine, but you're not going to convince me that it helps you against my Energy Blast defined as a lightning bolt.

 

Now, granted you can argue that a character should probably buy ED (perhaps with an appropriate limitation) to protect against even "powered" versions of these abilities: and I would agree with that. I'd even go a step further and say that if you do, and since most powered attacks are going to exceed the damage that most environmental conditions are going to impose, you could do away with the need for Life Support immunities in this way.

 

I'm not necessarily advocating going that far. Radiation, for example, or vacuum, are not really problematic to me. They might be to someone else, and if they want to build those with Drains (for Radiation) or some sort of RKA (for vacuum), more power to them.

 

Second, diseases and poisons tend to be all or nothing things. In short, your constitution(note no cap, I'm not referring to the game stat per se here) and your immune system fight an all or nothing battle with the poison or disease. They determine whether the disease can kill you, how fast you recover, or even if you are sick at all. Power defense(with limits) might work for some things, but not all.

(forgive the edit; this is already getting quite long).

Power Defense with a special effect of "high constitution"?

 

We are arguing about how to represent something in game terms. There's no right answer here.

 

In real terms, some people get sicker than others - we agree on that. Of course you can argue that this is a difference of REC. And I'd even go so far as to say that if you want to go that route, you could buy extra REC "only to recover from diseases/poisons".

 

However, a similar argument could be used to jettison PD and ED from the game. Just buy a lot of STUN and BODY, and appropriate Regeneration and REC. This is not done, though - the current system allows some attacks to bounce, and other attacks to get through in a weakened form. I don't see why poisons or diseases cannot be more or less virulent in the same way that bullets can have more or less kinetic energy and lightning can have more or fewer volts.

 

To put it another way: creating the NND approach and the corresponding Life Support defense is, to all intents and purposes, creating a new mechanic to handle poisons and diseases. In my opinion, Drains and Power Defense already handle poisons and diseases just fine. So why create the new mechanic?

 

And of course the central dispute is that this opinion - that drains do the job adequately - is not unanimous. I'm fine with that, too. I have what I consider to be logical reasons as to why I think Drains are better (the most cogent being that I can have a poison that makes you weak, instead of or in addition to making you dead) - but reasonable minds can certain disagree on this.

 

Third, a "perfect" defense is needed for these things because, unlike bullets or knives, there actually are humans with what amount to "perfect" defenses against some diseases or poisons.

OK, let's look at this in detail. Firstly, note that no normal human in the Hero System will have this immunity. Why? Because normal humans can't buy Powers. A GM might, however, create an appropriate talent, so that's OK.

 

Secondly, while certainly some humans have immunity to certain poisons or diseases, other humans are merely resistant to certain poisons or diseases. There are people that still catch colds, but have only mild symptoms. You can certainly argue that REC accounts for this, but in my opinion it is at least equally valid to suggest that Power Defense can also do so (and a sufficient amount of Power Defense will give the immunity to any given Drain based poison or disease).

 

Thirdly, while I wouldn't be prepared to bet millions of dollars on it, I doubt there are any normal humans that have complete immunity to all terrestrial diseases and poisons.

 

Fourth, again, because different poisons/diseases are logically built with different powers, the defenses against them could easily end up requiring you to spend a lot of points to get something that just isn't useful enough to justify the expenditure.

In my opinion, virtually all poisons and diseases can be constructed with Drain (possibly multiple things need to be Drained, but that's not a problem). While you might be able to come up with a corner case of such an affliction that didn't, in all probability such a disease or poison would be sufficiently unusual to require another defense.

 

About the only category of diseases or poisons that I would suggest might not be best simulated with Drains would be something along the lines of a disease that destroyed your fertility, or a poison that left you crippled, or something. You would be better simulating these with Transform... which of course Power Defense works against.

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Re: Poisons and Diseases

 

you buy your poison as a KA, NND, Does Body, only if linked attack does body.

Right?

makes sence, that's how poisons work.

 

Except they become hideously expensive.

OK... I can buy that... they're nasty.

 

Except...

(and here is the problem)

The initial KA MUST do body for the poison to work.

Which means the attack has already done Body to the target.

Which kind of invalidates the NND does Body... except as a VERY expensive way of making the poison All or Nothing.

I mean... why not buy the poison as a heap of extra DC's for the KA with the limits (Only if the base KA inflicts Body) and (not vs appropriate immunity)

That's absolutely brilliant. I never thought of that.

 

You are of course completely correct. Since damage of any kind is simply a special effect, you most certainly could define a poison as something like:

 

1d6 RKA, no range (-1/2) [15 Active, 10 Real] "Stinger"

+6d6 RKA, gradual effect (if you like), only if first 1d6 does BODY, etc.

 

I've never seen anyone suggest that before. I still prefer my Drain method - I really like the idea of being able to simulate weakness rather than just death - but I'd say that this method is still superior to mucking about with NND.

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Re: Poisons and Diseases

 

Arrgh...

Thats what I get for trying to throw that in a quick post and hoping folk would see the dilemma....

 

Yes, I know and have used all of the above arguements, and in fact build poisons for my game thatway... but I run almost exclusively Heroic games these days, so it makes little difference.

 

Now, in a superheroic game, the points y'all make are just as valid... but don't HAVE to be.

 

One can buy an attack with additional limited dice, assuming that the attack doesn't exceed campaign limits in regards to damage, power level, or points.

 

the attack in question was for, IIRC, a venomous high powered projectile of some sort... I want to say an alien bioweapon built as a multipower (which is why the question arose)

say a straight 2d6 RKA with +2d6 RKA, only if body is inflicted from initial 2d6, doesn't work versus Immunity to poison.

 

Now...

This fits into a 60 AP multipower.

To build it according to the commonly held wisdom, just the 2d6 RKA poison comes out to 90 active points.

For no real in play advantage.

Because either way.... if the initial 2d6 RKA does body, then the second will too... and conversely, if the initial attack bounces, than the second will be harmless

And build wise, its reaLLY NO different than taking say a 2d6 RKA electrical attack with +2d6 RKA (doesn't work versus grounded targets).. both are attacks that have a limiteds increase in power against a subset of potential targets.

the NND does body construct, while it works in substance, really does make poisons hideously expensive without always conveying the appropraite amount of additional utility one expects to see from a power of that point cost.

 

honestly... which would scare you more as a player?

a 1d6+1 Penetrating RKA, with a linked 2d6 RKA, NND Does Body poison (total Ap = 120)

or a 6d6 RKA?

More GM's are willing to let the first one slip past easier than the second, because most GM's recognize that poison is overcosted... but effect wise, I'd have to say INE that the 6D6 RKA is gonna be doing a LOT more harm most of the time.

unless, of course, you play in a game with fairly high resistant defences where no one buys hardening

 

lets see if THIS post prompts the kind of discussion I'm after (For the record folks... I've been playing and running HERO since the early 80's... I know almost all of the official party line answers)

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Re: Poisons and Diseases

 

That's absolutely brilliant. I never thought of that.

 

You are of course completely correct. Since damage of any kind is simply a special effect, you most certainly could define a poison as something like:

 

1d6 RKA, no range (-1/2) [15 Active, 10 Real] "Stinger"

+6d6 RKA, gradual effect (if you like), only if first 1d6 does BODY, etc.

 

I've never seen anyone suggest that before. I still prefer my Drain method - I really like the idea of being able to simulate weakness rather than just death - but I'd say that this method is still superior to mucking about with NND.

thanks... you got your post in while I was copmposing and eating pizza.

To be perfectly fair, the cedit goes to one of my old long time players who was one of my mental sparring partners... we spent a lot of idle time coming up with weird ways to apply the rules

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Re: Poisons and Diseases

 

I think the biggest challenge is that poison and disease require some method of getting inside the target to be effective while the game system is modelling external effects only.

 

An inhalent or aerosol delivery of chem/bio material is the classic NND. Contact poison is another. However, internal poisons are a different matter, as are most diseases, since they require some way of getting inside the target before they have any effect.

 

damage of Xd6 is worth a set amount of points. That makes sense. Limiting this effect (damage over time, etc.) also makes sense. The question is, does the cost associated with bypassing armor outweigh the reduction in utility of a no range, blood agent?

 

So let's look at drain:

1/2d6 Drain BODY, Continuous +1, 0 END +1/2, Uncontrolled +1/2 (1 day or antivenin), NND +1/2 (LS: Immunity), Fade per day +1 1/2, (25 Active Points); Grad Effect 1 hour -1 1/4, Linked: Must be delivered into the target's circulatory system -1/2, Living creatures only -1/4, (8 Real Points).

As compared to:

12d6 Drain BODY, 0 END +1/2, NND +1/2 (LS: Immunity), Fade per day +1 1/2, (420 Active Points); Grad Effect 1 day -1 3/4, Linked: Must be delivered into the target's circulatory system -1/2, Living creatures only -1/4, (120 Real Points).

They both do the same thing, but one is much cheaper, and arguably much more appropriately priced than the other. Here's the RKA Version:

1 pip RKA, Continuous +1, 0 END +1/2, Uncontrolled +1/2 (1 day or antivenin), NND +1 (LS: Immunity), Does BODY +1, (25 Active Points); Grad Effect 1 hour -1 1/4, Linked: Must be delivered into the target's circulatory system -1/2, Living creatures only -1/4, No Range -1/2, (7 Real Points).

The Drain version does a total of 12d6 Drain BODY, resulting in a loss of 42 CP of BODY or 21 BODY. The RKA version results in a loss of 24 BODY. I think I prefer the drain version for the recovery rate of 2.5 BODY per day, but every poison/disease would be different (some faster, some slower, some just like damage ala necrotizing poisons (e.g. brown recluse)).

 

Now, my interpretation of Continuous + Gradual Effect is that the effect is applied at an interval defined by the Grad Eff. Otherwise the power is even more grim since after one hour has passed the target will then start taking damage every phase. Considering how much cheaper the power is than buying a big lump and spreading it over a day it seems reasonable to limit it in this fashion for -0 Limitation if necessary.

 

This doesn't change how NND works, which may be to some people's dissatisfaction. However, what you could allow as part of the poison/disease NND spec is that a CON roll defines the effect for each interval. So, if the base effect is 1d6 per hour, roll CON and have every 2 points of success reduce the damage from 3 and every 2 points of failure add (to a min/max of 1/6). You could conceivably then allow characters to by +1 vs. poisons or +1 vs. diseases for 1 pt each. This doesn't allow them to be immune (they will take a minimum of 1 point per cycle) but they will suffer less of an effect. If defining a poison based on a 1pip attack, divide the total damage by 3 to get the number of rolls that need to be made.

 

More potent poisons can either require more rolls, because they do more damage based on the gradual effect interval, or increase the base damage per CON roll (by doubling the base 1 pip effect). You can approach this 1 one of two ways from a build standpoint.

  1. Just double the cost of the poison to reflect the increased effectiveness (or triple it if it is 3x as effective).
  2. Or consider the poison a piece of equipment (it comes from a gland, no), and apply the +5 point doubling rule. (this is ultra munchkin and a bit over the top unless the poison sacks are hanging on the outside of the character).

Option 1 seems the best way to go, and would be quite effective. You could argue it from a multiple power attack point of view that it isn't one big power but multiple doses. Built in this fashion, it would be less likely to violate any active point limit.

 

This costing for poisons/diseases seems much more reasonable to me and better reflects their utility/point ratio. We can't escape that it is a damaging type power that can transcend the toughest armor if delivered properly. Even if Ranged were applied to it, you would still have to get around someone's defenses by shooting them in the eyes, mouth, or an open wound. Whether that limitaiton is -1/2 is certainly in question, and definitely shouldn't be less than that, but a -1 might be even more appropriate.

 

Whew. Okay, this was supposed to be a quick post. Now look what you've done!

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