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Armor Piercing Variation


Acroyear II
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I recently came across an article on Armor Piercing by Steve Perrin in an old issue of Adventurers Club. In the article he offers an optional way to use the Armor Piercing advantage in that instead of halving the defense of the target it only removes defense equal to the amount of BODY rolled on the damage dice.

 

Example: An 8d6 Armor Piercing Energy Blast does an average of 28 Stun and 8 BODY. Instead of halving the defense of the target, subtract 8 points of defense for the BODY rolled. Thus a character with a  defense of 27 is only lowered to 19 by this attack, but a character with only a defense of 13 is lowered to 5.

 

Hardened Defenses would negate this effect. x2 Armor Piercing would double the effect of the BODY rolled on that attack.

 

This advantage has the potential to seriously harm low defense characters, but also makes it less likely to seriously harm high defense characters (like Mechanon or the like), which does appeal to me. In a way, I think it does better reflect what Armor Piercing should do (i.e. blow through low defenses but have lower impact on high defense characters). However, I'm hesitant to implement this as a house rule in my campaign without first looking at all the possible ramifications.

 

Has anyone every used this optional Armor Piercing rule, and if so, how did it work out? Do you guys and gals feel this is a good option, or too unbalanced?

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Looks like a death sentence for low defense characters.  Extrapolating from your example,

 

Example: An 8d6 Armor Piercing Blast does an average of 28 Stun and 8 BODY. Instead of halving the defense of the target, subtract 8 points of defense for the BODY rolled. Thus a character with a  defense of 27 is only lowered to 19 by this attack, and takes 9 STUN but a character with only a defense of 13 is lowered to 5, and takes 23 STUN, 3 BOD.

 

The equivalent 10d6 Blast does an average of 35 Stun and 10 BODY. Thus a character with a  defense of 27 takes 8 STUN but a character with only a defense of 13 is lowered to 5, and takes 22 STUN.

 

At +1/2, AP would fare much worse, so 6e pricing assumed.  Why bother with AP, unless my goal is a bodycount for low defense characters?

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The APG I 113 has something very similar, the "Piercing" Adder (it's type is not clearly defined, but it works mostly like an adder).

Piercing works like Reduced Negation but for Defenses (instead of Damage Negation).

The price is 2 CP/1 Def for normal Defense and 3 CP/1 Defense for every other Defensse type (Resistant, Mental, Power, ...).

if combined with Armor Piercing Advantage, Piercing is applied before AP.

 

APG I 136 also list certain alternatives to the way Armor Piercing works right now. So you are not the first to see a propblem with the halving.

Among the alternatives is the idea that "The amount of defenses removed equals the normal body rolled on the dice".

A more predictable variant is "1 Defense per DC (ignoring the AP advantage itself)".

A third option is to just say "5 points per +1/4" or "8 points per +1/4" or whatever the GM thinks is fine for his/her game.

Of course you have to redesign hardened accordingly. The counter for the first two varriants has "10 points per +1/4 hardened"

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Lets see:

 

Assuming AP is still +1/2...

 

8d6AP Blast  = 60 points and does 38 Stun and 16 Body (for anyone with at least 8 defence)

12d6 Blast = 60 points and does 42 Stun and 12 Body.

 

Seems to me you are reducing the damage by 4 Stun and increasing it by 4 Body.

 

I'm going to say no...

Sounds like a great replacement for Killing Attacks

 

Lucius Alexander

 

Insert palindromedary tagline here

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The problem I have with these suggestions is that they take away the ability to hurt Bricks/High Def characters.

 

Dodge Monkeys are countered by AOE, High Def is countered by AP. If you reduce the effectiveness of AP how then do you deal with High Def characters? Your only remaining option is NND which comes with its own host of problems (has to have an immune defense, doesn't do BODY (at least not cost effectively) etc).

 

Look at the name: ARMOR Piercing. Its for attacks meant to be good at getting through armor.

 

at least thats my opinion.

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60 Poison gas: Killing Attack - Ranged 1d6+1, Attack Versus Alternate Defense (ED; Defence = Life Support (poison resistance or sealed systems; +1), Does BODY (+1) (60 Active Points) 6

 

That will hurt most high defence characters.

 

So will:

 

 

60 Shock: Drain BODY 6d6, Attack Versus Alternate Defense (ED; All Or Nothing; Electrical defences or electrical insulation; +0) 6

 

That one will hurt a lot.

 

Armor Piercing as it is halves defences.  

 

60 Titanium bullets: Blast 9 1/2d6, Armor Piercing (+1/4) (60 Active Points) 6

 

 

Or...

 

60 Mind Shredder: Mental Blast 3d6, Does BODY (+1) (60 Active Points) 6

 

So: 4.5 Body (no defences unless you have LS)/10.5 Body (no defences unless you have electrical defences)/9.5 Body (defences apply, but halves)/3 Body (mental defence applies).

 

High defence characters are never invulnerable or unkillable.

 

Also, if you don't want unkillable characters, don't try to build them/don't allow them.

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No, hang on, 6d6 does 21 damage.  Body is now 1 point = 1 point, so 21 halves to 10.5, doesn't it?  Or am i supposed to halve it again?  Anyway, still an unpleasant surprise, although probably not instantly fatal for most superheroes.

 

I have done it wrong though, because AVAD should be +1 and also requires 'Does Body'.  You could get rid of the AVAD (unless you have at least 19 Power Defence, you still take some Body, or recalculate it this way:

Drain BODY 3d6, Attack Versus Alternate Defense (ED; All Or Nothing; +0), Does BODY (+1) (60 Active Points)

 

That averages what you said :)

 

You could also do this:

 

52 Fibrillate: Drain BODY 1 1/2d6, Attack Versus Alternate Defense (ED; All Or Nothing; +0), Reduced Endurance (0 END; +1/2), Constant (+1/2), Uncontrolled (First aid or defibrillation or healing or regeneration; +1/2), Does BODY (+1) (52 Active Points) 0

 

 

Basically you put the target's heart into arrhythmia, simulating a heart attack.  That really worries people.  Only does 2.75 Body on average, but KEEPS doing it.

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Wouldn't that be more around a -1 1/2 (-1 for two steps up the defense table, -1/2 for NND) and also totally useless (as everyone and his dog start at 2 ED).

Sorry, should have been 'Electrical powers or insulation'.  I forgot to change it in HD.  My bad.

 

It starts as a power defence (uncommon) and I'm assuming electrical powers are 'rare', so it is only one step on the chart, all or nothing making it -0 overall.  Unless, as usual, i've done something appallingly wrong.  Well, I'm always doing appallingly wrong things, I meant in designing the power.

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No, hang on, 6d6 does 21 damage.  Body is now 1 point = 1 point, so 21 halves to 10.5, doesn't it?  Or am i supposed to halve it again?  Anyway, still an unpleasant surprise, although probably not instantly fatal for most superheroes.

 

Oh, you're right! I forgot that BODY is now 1 CP = 1 BODY in 6E. Never mind. :)

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I recently came across an article on Armor Piercing by Steve Perrin in an old issue of Adventurers Club. In the article he offers an optional way to use the Armor Piercing advantage in that instead of halving the defense of the target it only removes defense equal to the amount of BODY rolled on the damage dice.

 

Example: An 8d6 Armor Piercing Energy Blast does an average of 28 Stun and 8 BODY. Instead of halving the defense of the target, subtract 8 points of defense for the BODY rolled. Thus a character with a  defense of 27 is only lowered to 19 by this attack, but a character with only a defense of 13 is lowered to 5.

 

Hardened Defenses would negate this effect. x2 Armor Piercing would double the effect of the BODY rolled on that attack.

 

This advantage has the potential to seriously harm low defense characters, but also makes it less likely to seriously harm high defense characters (like Mechanon or the like), which does appeal to me. In a way, I think it does better reflect what Armor Piercing should do (i.e. blow through low defenses but have lower impact on high defense characters). However, I'm hesitant to implement this as a house rule in my campaign without first looking at all the possible ramifications.

 

Has anyone every used this optional Armor Piercing rule, and if so, how did it work out? Do you guys and gals feel this is a good option, or too unbalanced?

 

Too unbalanced.

 

The same effect can be generated from creating a Defense Drain power, but will cost more.  And Defenses are drained at half the normal rate (unless that's been changed in 6th)  So a 2D6 Armor Bane attack could drain a maximum of 12pts or 6pts of Defense (12/2).  Follow that up with your Armor Piercing attack and watch the opponents go down quickly!

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  • 2 weeks later...

I did use a variation similar to this... What I did was treat AP as normal halving defenses up until the point that they (in the case of normal attacks) were twice the number of DC (dice) of the attack, at that point, they would subtract no more from the defense. For example, in the case of an 8d6 attack, it would halve defenses up to 16, and subtract 8 from those greater. So a def of 4 would go to 2, but a def of 20 would go to 12. Worked pretty well for us...

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My general approach is to compare to a similar power, so if 8d6 AP equals 12d6 normal attack (pre-6e +1/2 advantage), that 8d6 AP blast rolls a average of 28 STUN and 12d6 averages 42. 

 

Against a 4 defense, AP gets 26 STUN past defenses and normal gets 38.

 

Against a 16 defense, AP gets 20 STUN past defenses and normal gets 26.

 

Against a 20 defense, AP gets 16 STUN past defenses and normal gets 22.

 

Since the normal attack will average at least 6 stun more past any typical defense level, why would anyone choose to use an AP attack?

 

If we instead use the 6e +1/4 advantage, the normal attack is 10d6 (rolls 35) and we get:

 

Against a 4 defense, AP gets 26 STUN past defenses and normal gets 31.

 

Against a 16 defense, AP gets 20 STUN past defenses and normal gets 19.

 

Against a 20 defense, AP gets 16 STUN past defenses and normal gets 15.

 

Now the AP attack will average 1 stun more past defenses higher than twice its dice, assuming they are not hardened.  Is that enough to justify using it?  Maybe, but it seems a pretty minimal benefit for opponents it affects, knowing there are some that will not be affected.  Why would anyone Harden their defenses?  Just buy 1 more point and you get the same benefit against AP attacks, plus it works against other attacks.

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My general approach is to compare to a similar power, so if 8d6 AP equals 12d6 normal attack (pre-6e +1/2 advantage), that 8d6 AP blast rolls a average of 28 STUN and 12d6 averages 42. 

 

Against a 4 defense, AP gets 26 STUN past defenses and normal gets 38.

 

Against a 16 defense, AP gets 20 STUN past defenses and normal gets 26.

 

Against a 20 defense, AP gets 16 STUN past defenses and normal gets 22.

 

Since the normal attack will average at least 6 stun more past any typical defense level, why would anyone choose to use an AP attack?

 

If we instead use the 6e +1/4 advantage, the normal attack is 10d6 (rolls 35) and we get:

 

Against a 4 defense, AP gets 26 STUN past defenses and normal gets 31.

 

Against a 16 defense, AP gets 20 STUN past defenses and normal gets 19.

 

Against a 20 defense, AP gets 16 STUN past defenses and normal gets 15.

 

Now the AP attack will average 1 stun more past defenses higher than twice its dice, assuming they are not hardened.  Is that enough to justify using it?  Maybe, but it seems a pretty minimal benefit for opponents it affects, knowing there are some that will not be affected.  Why would anyone Harden their defenses?  Just buy 1 more point and you get the same benefit against AP attacks, plus it works against other attacks.

Yes, that is true in a superheroic campaign, we primarily only used it in heroic and almost exclusively with killing attacks...

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Referring to the OP and confessing up front the lack of ballistics knowledge I have, my understanding of AP ammunition is that it tends to be harder and pointier: it will generally do no more (or often less) damage to unarmoured or lightly armoured targets, but better penetrate armour, at least armour that is not specially hardened against AP ammunition.

 

It is probably better to just buy 'hardened' for Mechanon's already high defences and call that good, if you do not want people to be able to shoot holes in it.

 

It is possibly worth remembering that Hero is a generic system.  Traditionally we have simply done damage and defence with (in the main) PD and ED.  Now we have Damage Negation too.  It seems to me that it would be quite a good idea to build armour with damage negation, at least in part.  It can still have PD and ED, but sprinkle a little DN in too and you have a ready way to make AP ammunition – Reduced Damage Negation as a 2 point adder per ‘level’.

 

This only works, of course if you commit heresy and tell players how to build certain things – in this case armour.  I personally do not see that as a bad idea.  One of the issues I have with Hero if I’m not playing superheroes where anything goes is that it is bloody expensive to come up with an all-purpose bit of equipment sometimes.  Say, for instance, I want something like a fireproof suit, well, there are so many ways to build a fire attack it can be very difficult to cover all the bases: someone is going to come up with an AVAD attack against flash defence or some such.

 

Good build guidelines allow both GM and players to have realistic expectations of the way that particular game will work, and not have to spend all their time second guessing.  That is not to say that the guidelines always apply – they are guidelines, not strict rules – but there should be a very good reason for contravening them agreed with the GM in advance.

 

Back to armour: build it as –

 

3rPD 3rED (9 points)

3ED 3ED (6 points)

2 Physical Damage Reduction and 1 Energy Damage Reduction (15 points)

 

That is 30 points.

 

AP ammunition would be built with Reduced Damage Negation.  So a 2d6 Physical RKA (6 DCs) becomes 4 DCs and does 1d6+1 killing, averaging 1 or 2 Body through defences.

 

Make it a 1 ½ d6 PRKA with 2 levels of reduced damage negation and it does 5DCs against defences, ignoring the damage negation for 1 point less.  That averages an extra 1 point of Body through defences.  Sounds about right.

 

You can still use AP and Hardened too, of course, but it is worth considering the options.

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Yes, that is true in a superheroic campaign, we primarily only used it in heroic and almost exclusively with killing attacks...

 

Was there ever a point where the results would differ (ie defenses were more than double the DC's)?  The modification caps the benefit of AP, which to me makes it less useful.  It has lost utility against targets with higher defenses, but gains nothing against targets with lower defenses, so it either leaves it just as effective (defenses never exceed twice the DC's of the attack) or less effective (against higher defenses).  Since AP gets the real bang for the buck against higher defenses, this makes AP much less useful, as I see it.

 

Maybe I'm missing something - how would a 2d6 AP killing attack attack affect, say 6 rPD + 6 PD?  How would that stack up against a 3d6 KA?  I'm assuming pre-6e rules, and that this is a reasonable Heroic game defense and attack, of course.  Feel free to sub in more appropriate norms for your game.

 

Specifically, in my example, AP would normally reduce this to 3rPD and 3 PD.  That's 6 points, so half the DC's.  If the target instead has 9rPD + 6 PD, how does the subtraction version work?

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Actually, that was the whole point of the modification. Which is to say, I wanted AP attenuated at higher levels.

 

Was there ever a point where the results would differ (ie defenses were more than double the DC's)?  The modification caps the benefit of AP, which to me makes it less useful.  It has lost utility against targets with higher defenses, but gains nothing against targets with lower defenses, so it either leaves it just as effective (defenses never exceed twice the DC's of the attack) or less effective (against higher defenses).  Since AP gets the real bang for the buck against higher defenses, this makes AP much less useful, as I see it.

 

Maybe I'm missing something - how would a 2d6 AP killing attack attack affect, say 6 rPD + 6 PD?  How would that stack up against a 3d6 KA?  I'm assuming pre-6e rules, and that this is a reasonable Heroic game defense and attack, of course.  Feel free to sub in more appropriate norms for your game.

 

Specifically, in my example, AP would normally reduce this to 3rPD and 3 PD.  That's 6 points, so half the DC's.  If the target instead has 9rPD + 6 PD, how does the subtraction version work?

Actually, that was the whole point of the modification. Which is to say, I wanted AP attenuated at higher levels. In the case of your 2nd example, the DC of the attack is 6, and therefore it will halve anything up to 12 rPD, so it would still have the resistant PD down to 4.5 (5 rounded). What I really wanted in the heroic game was a limit to the amount of penetration that could be achieved with a single application of AP... If you applied it twice then you would halve up to 4*DC. It really doesn't make much a difference on very low end Heroic like low fantasy, but is more useful at a middle level like Dark Champions (keeping an AP rifle from piercing a tank for example). Now with the advent of penetrating, I almost never allow the simple AP, and tend to go with piercing as the mechanic to achieve the effect I want.

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Actually, that was the whole point of the modification. Which is to say, I wanted AP attenuated at higher levels.

 

Actually, that was the whole point of the modification. Which is to say, I wanted AP attenuated at higher levels. In the case of your 2nd example, the DC of the attack is 6, and therefore it will halve anything up to 12 rPD, so it would still have the resistant PD down to 4.5 (5 rounded). What I really wanted in the heroic game was a limit to the amount of penetration that could be achieved with a single application of AP... If you applied it twice then you would halve up to 4*DC. It really doesn't make much a difference on very low end Heroic like low fantasy, but is more useful at a middle level like Dark Champions (keeping an AP rifle from piercing a tank for example). Now with the advent of penetrating, I almost never allow the simple AP, and tend to go with piercing as the mechanic to achieve the effect I want.

 

Tank armour will be hardened anyway, so AP is ignored, and a sniper rifle should never be built in such a way that it can pop a cap through tank armour (i.e. with multiple levels of AP to overcome hardening).  You are usually better off looking at build before changing any of the rules.

 

Presumably you want an AP round to be more effective than a normal round against personal armour, otherwise there is no point to it, really.  The same bullet will not go through tank armour if the bullet and tank armour are built the right way.  In fact I'd probably build most tank armour to include Damage Negation vs small arms fire, which prevents you from having to have ridiculously high defences overall.  Damage Negation basically ignores AP in any event.

 

I appreciate that is just one example that you give, but it seems to me that you can do what you want with good campaign design rather than a new set of tools.

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Tank armour will be hardened anyway, so AP is ignored, and a sniper rifle should never be built in such a way that it can pop a cap through tank armour (i.e. with multiple levels of AP to overcome hardening).  You are usually better off looking at build before changing any of the rules.

 

Presumably you want an AP round to be more effective than a normal round against personal armour, otherwise there is no point to it, really.  The same bullet will not go through tank armour if the bullet and tank armour are built the right way.  In fact I'd probably build most tank armour to include Damage Negation vs small arms fire, which prevents you from having to have ridiculously high defences overall.  Damage Negation basically ignores AP in any event.

 

I appreciate that is just one example that you give, but it seems to me that you can do what you want with good campaign design rather than a new set of tools.

True enough, the initial question prompted me to give an answer based on what we USED to do, or did at one point in a campaign. Presently, I don't even use AP, and prefer penetrating. Also, yeah, a Tank wasn't the best example, but the point was made nonetheless....

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