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All-or-Nothing Mental Defense


Rigel
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A player asked me recently about the idea of a character with some Mental Defense but the limitation that any damage or effect exceeding the Mental Defense gets to do full effect. In other words, you have 20 Mental Defense. So a 20 STUN Ego Attack does nothing to you. But a 21 STUN Ego Attack does the full 21 points of damage. I considered giving this a -1/2 limitation, since that's what Transform uses for All Or Nothing transforms.

 

What do you guys think (1) about allowing such a limited defensive power, and (2) the appropriate level of limitation modifier? Does the appropriate limitation depend on the level of the defense and expected power levels of the campaign? For example, would this limitation be worth less if it's 50 points of Mental Defense and worth more if it's only 10 points of MD?

 

I welcome the opinions of Herodom in congress assembled. Thanks.

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Re: All-or-Nothing Mental Defense

 

A player asked me recently about the idea of a character with some Mental Defense but the limitation that any damage or effect exceeding the Mental Defense gets to do full effect. In other words, you have 20 Mental Defense. So a 20 STUN Ego Attack does nothing to you. But a 21 STUN Ego Attack does the full 21 points of damage. I considered giving this a -1/2 limitation, since that's what Transform uses for All Or Nothing transforms.

 

What do you guys think (1) about allowing such a limited defensive power, and (2) the appropriate level of limitation modifier? Does the appropriate limitation depend on the level of the defense and expected power levels of the campaign? For example, would this limitation be worth less if it's 50 points of Mental Defense and worth more if it's only 10 points of MD?

 

I welcome the opinions of Herodom in congress assembled. Thanks.

 

The power levels of the attacks in the campaign will determine how often the "all or nothing" defense actually applies. On average, 6d6 will get through 20pts of defense about 50% of the time. And there are lots of mental powers that only cost 5pts per d6, so for those, 30 active points is the the 50% threshold for 20pts. I'd give it a higher limitation value, if it were in my campaign.

 

But first I'd warn the player he's most likely shooting himself in the foot. On full autofire. Then if he still wants to do this, I'd give it at least a (-1) limitation value, possibly more.

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Re: All-or-Nothing Mental Defense

 

I would not allow this, because it's likely to be an unfun mechanic to actually play. If I did allow it, I'd make it -2 if it's low enough that an average-DC-for-the-game mental blast will average more damage than his MD, -1.5 if it's between that and enough that an average DC Mind Control would go through it on an average roll, and I probably wouldn't allow more than that anyways but I'd probably give it a -1/4 to -1/2 past that point.

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Re: All-or-Nothing Mental Defense

 

Assuming a game where most mental powers are in the 12 DC range:

0-20: -2 limitation. This won't even block most Mental Blasts. It will block some Cumulative or heavily advantaged stuff, so it's not worthless.

21-41: -1 limitation. This will block Mental Blasts and some advantaged powers, but not the typical Mind Control / Mental Illusions.

42+: -1/4 limitation. And then it suddenly becomes a fairly minor limitation once it blocks most attacks.

 

To be more accurate, you could introduce intermediate levels (like -1/2 between 36-46 points). It does seem odd for a limitation to change value by how much the base power is, but it's the only accurate way I can think of doing it. If I had to set it as a static value, I would say -1, with a warning that it's not appropriate for defenses which are extremely high.

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Re: All-or-Nothing Mental Defense

 

This somehow reminds me of Dungeons and Dragons Magic Resistance, either you avoid the effect or you take it in full, barring a saving throw.

You might try putting it in a Force Wall so that the effect is All damage below a certain point is negated, then just limit it so that any effect beyond the defense is taken in full. The value of such a limit depends on the power level of the game and the DEF of the Force Wall.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Re: All-or-Nothing Mental Defense

 

I kind of like the idea. Some times limitations on powers are the most fun to play. I had a character that had physical absorption to growth. Sure it was probably more effective (and cheaper) to just buy the growth, but I liked playing out the limitation.

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