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Midas

Looks more dangerous than he really is.

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I was thumbing through an old RQ module (Duck Tower) and one of the encounters is a chaotic with the ability to seem deadly in combat (90% about a 12CV by my guess). When the characters really fight him they discover that his CV is really a 3 (25%).

 

A general "look dangerous" is easy enough in the traditional "Lotsa PRE or a minor mind control build" but this is too specific for that. Maybe a small mental illusion?

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Re: Looks more dangerous than he really is.

 

Well, you can't tell a person's fighting ability just by looking at them, but body language can give you away. if you look impressive, you can get away with a lot. High PRE and Acting skill would be way I go.

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Re: Looks more dangerous than he really is.

 

Well' date=' you can't tell a person's fighting ability just by looking at them, but body language can give you away. if you look impressive, you can get away with a lot. High PRE and Acting skill would be way I go.[/quote']

 

For people not familiar with Runequest, Chaos grants boons to its followers. So this is really a benediction from "on high."

 

Interesting idea...buy the skill as a talent?

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Re: Looks more dangerous than he really is.

 

I was thumbing through an old RQ module (Duck Tower) and one of the encounters is a chaotic with the ability to seem deadly in combat (90% about a 12CV by my guess). When the characters really fight him they discover that his CV is really a 3 (25%).

 

A general "look dangerous" is easy enough in the traditional "Lotsa PRE or a minor mind control build" but this is too specific for that. Maybe a small mental illusion?

I'd call it a Special Effect, but if you want to cost it out, how about Reputation?

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Re: Looks more dangerous than he really is.

 

Reputation is more of a 'history", not a "first time encounter" and is itself just a form of Limited Presence.

 

I'd just go with a well defined Limited Presence (it doesn't sound like it would help him with most Interaction Skills).

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Re: Looks more dangerous than he really is.

 

Reputation is more of a 'history"' date=' not a "first time encounter" [/quote']

I disagree, could be both.

 

Imagine pulling up to you local convenience store. In the parking lot there is a motorcycle, parked. Man you have never seen before is sitting on it, bearded, no helmet, full leathers, Glock on his hip. You've never seen him before. But the Rep for the class, "bikers," is going to inform your opinion about him.

 

Agree, it's a very limited Presence.

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Re: Looks more dangerous than he really is.

 

Maybe Striking Appearance' date=' where the striking thing is his apparent combat ability?[/quote']

That would work. Can't rep you yet.

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Re: Looks more dangerous than he really is.

 

Hmm. I suspect it is more of a role playing challenge for the GM than anything else. A Presence attack (or some sort of limited mind control, perhaps) would technically stop people attacking him for a while, but, unless this is a PC, what you have to deal with is the players. Start PRE attacking them and you are going to wind up with it being obvious, especially as you would need a LOT of PRE for someone to just LOOK dangerous i.e. not get bonuses from environmental factors, overt violence, and such.

 

It is not that difficult, after all you have the advantage of being able to describe what the PCs see and feel.

 

"As you make to leave the bar, you see a tall man half hidden in shadows, watching you. He is not doing anything in particular and you have not seen him before, but you feel the hairs rise on the back of your neck. There is something indefinable telling you that he would be a dangerous man to cross. He half smiles and turns back to his drink..."

There you go. That is probably the literal truth of what you are after. Buy him with +20 PRE 'Only to appear dangerous (-2)' if you like, but whatever the mechanical build the important thing is that you need to decide WHY you want him to appear dangerous - how does that help the story - and then communicate that to the players. Avoid giving them any opportunity to test how dangerous he is. Description and psychology are as important to the GM toolbox as anything you will find in the rule book. More so, in fact.

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Re: Looks more dangerous than he really is.

 

I once thought about making a "fake growth" charatcer. Basically a "Pufferfish" who gets bigger, but not thougher or stronger.

 

For example, colosal size gives you 30 PRE among the other modifiers. If somebody could "puff" himself up to Colosal Size without affect weight, STR or toughness he would jsut buy +30 PRE, Only until enemy realises he only puffed himself up.

 

Another way that only works if you make heavy use of Analyze Martial Arts:

Images vs. Analyze Martial Arts.

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Re: Looks more dangerous than he really is.

 

Role playing. This is not a character that a player will play, so it is all down to how you describe the character. Arguably we ought to base our descriptions on the PRE of the thing we are describing, but it still comes down to how the character is described because that, ultimately, dictates how the players react, far more than anything you can roll. I mean, if you have Acting and high PRE, and the GM rolls a 3 for the character , he (or she) can not TELL the players what to feel, she (or he) has to be subtler than that. GMs have to role play too, arguably more than players do.

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Re: Looks more dangerous than he really is.

 

I actually used this kind of thing a lot in a couple of Shadowrun campaigns. My players never caught on that NPCs acting like they were powerful and dangerous didn't necessary equal those NPCs being powerful or dangerous. Mixed with the general deadliness of the game being significantly higher than they were used to, and they thought they were swimming with Great Whites that were actually closer to barracuda. Of course, it didn't help that trying to balance Shadowrun encounters can be like playing pinball on a rollercoaster during a 9.0 earthquake.

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Re: Looks more dangerous than he really is.

 

levels in CV with a saving throw activation

 

opponents may make an ego roll at -3 to not be effected by those levels -1/2

 

Now that is genius: they fight at a disadvantage because they think they ought to! Practical psychology. I like it a lot.

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Re: Looks more dangerous than he really is.

 

Now that is genius: they fight at a disadvantage because they think they ought to! Practical psychology. I like it a lot.

 

And it works as a common fiction device too. Our hero goes in, knowing he's the underdog, and (usually) gets his tail handed to him the first two times. Then he gets a Can of Spinach and finds out that the antagonist hadn't won the earlier battles, he'd lost them.

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Re: Looks more dangerous than he really is.

 

I was thumbing through an old RQ module (Duck Tower) and one of the encounters is a chaotic with the ability to seem deadly in combat (90% about a 12CV by my guess). When the characters really fight him they discover that his CV is really a 3 (25%).

 

A general "look dangerous" is easy enough in the traditional "Lotsa PRE or a minor mind control build" but this is too specific for that. Maybe a small mental illusion?

 

I'm just not getting it. How does he "seem deadly" in combat? What is the game effect in the original and what effect are you trying to produce?

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Re: Looks more dangerous than he really is.

 

I'm just not getting it. How does he "seem deadly" in combat? What is the game effect in the original and what effect are you trying to produce?

 

OK, to back up, in Runequest, worshipers of Chaos get a "gift." It can be incredibly useful (giant strength), just weird (extra toes), or a miserable complication ("No legs, can only move around by crawling"), determined very definitely randomly.

 

In this case, the gift was "Looks like he has a CV of 12*."

 

What I'm trying to do is figure the point cost of said gift.

 

It isn't a skill that he controls consciously, so it isn't acting, though it might be a talent, one that doesn't require a skill check (it just *is*).

 

Sean's idea of just roleplaying it out works, but "Contact: Referee is also my PR guy" is even harder to calculate. ;)

 

 

*RQ uses a D% system, and his real to hit is 25% (about a CV 3) but he *looks* like he should have a 90% chance to hit.

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Re: Looks more dangerous than he really is.

 

Is this going to be used for a PC or an NPC, as I would probably have a bit of a different approach.

 

What you really need to do is decide what effect 'looking like you are good in combat' will have. There are likely to be positives (increased PRE/Striking Appearance for when people avoid attacking you because they think you will beat them) but also complications (people either shunning you because you appear to be dangerous or seeking you out because they want to test themselves - perhaps Distinctive Features, Hunted, SOcial Complication, Unluck or Negative Reputation).

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Re: Looks more dangerous than he really is.

 

Is this going to be used for a PC or an NPC, as I would probably have a bit of a different approach.

 

What you really need to do is decide what effect 'looking like you are good in combat' will have. There are likely to be positives (increased PRE/Striking Appearance for when people avoid attacking you because they think you will beat them) but also complications (people either shunning you because you appear to be dangerous or seeking you out because they want to test themselves - perhaps Distinctive Features, Hunted, SOcial Complication, Unluck or Negative Reputation).

 

Hmnn, Striking appearance with a Distinctive Features rebate?

 

To expand, it is really more of a thought experiment: "How could you simulate this in HERO?" In the module, there are no "random" encounters, but the ref is given about 20 encounters that can be placed either randomly or preset. The character is part of a band of chaotic adventurers explorers might encounter at Duck Tower. So he's not really even an NPC, just an encounter in an outdoor dungeon.

 

@Lucius: Not just to danger sense, but a general images? With a couple of minor (-0) limitations: Not verses somebody too clueless to understand the danger, not vs somebody who is well aware of this particular Gift of Chaos?

 

@Christopher. Very good question. It depends, I think, on how you and your players do combat. Is it more like extreme Call of Cthulu, where savvy players spend as much time as possible rooting around for every last clue, or more like old school DnD, where just a general layout and a few perception rolls are all that happens before combat?

 

While I was typing this I had a thought (OK, so much for this year's allowance). How to do this in Amber. Ref: "OK, after a few probes and feints, this guy seems to be way above your skill level. Do you want to try a different tactic?" :straight: Seems kind of a cheat in Amber, though.

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