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Steve

The Power Of Presence

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The other problem I have with RAW PRE attacks is they are too easy and low risk.  They do not really take any time and they have no penalty for doing badly.  This makes them a no-brainer for the savvy player and, for that matter, the savvy GM.  That means more rolls than are really necessary to make the game flow.

 

What if, for example, you had to declare the effect you were aiming for in advance?

 

If you roll really well (or they roll badly if you implement the defence roll idea) then you succeed at the declared level, but, even if you could have achieved a higher level, you are capped at what you were aiming for.

 

If you fail to achieve the level that you were aiming for you actually inspire the opponent and they get a bonus equal to 1 overall level  (only usable against you) for the remainder of the combat.

 

I think this would:

 

a) limit the sort of ridiculous over-effect that you sometimes get with PRE attacks and

b) create an element of risk for the PRE attacker

 

Of course if someone has 120 PRE to start off with then they may not have those worries, which means that the NPC is either there to make sure that PCs break or has been badly written in the first place.  It is easy to make something ridiculously powerful when you do not have to worry about points.  I'm just saying.

 

There are plenty of other things you could do to even them out: require the attacker to put his or her money where their mouth is , for example: make a PRE attack an action and require the attacker to be at 1/2 DCV - again that would make people think twice before popping off those PRE attacks, which is very much what I would be aiming for.

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1 minute ago, Sean Waters said:

What if, for example, you had to declare the effect you were aiming for in advance?

 

Don't you always have to declare this? I've always played this way.

 

The whole concept of "intent" is important with PRE as well as anything else. I'd never allow "I'm just rolling PRE to see what happens!"... no... it is "I'm dropping out of the black night sky, right in the midst of the mob, and doing my best scary voice to scare them into dispersing away and not chasing the injured mutant any more!"   Ok... that is the descriptive intent... PRE Attack in the mechanic... between GM and player, figure out any plusses/minuses to the number of dice... role for any added skill checks that could help (stealth and acrobatics to perfectly time the sudden appearance, etc.)   Then roll for it...

 

Now we are judging the result on what was expected, and logically agreed would be an a reasonable outcome.


And yes... all PRE attacks take a combat action/attack action, just like any other attack... at least in my games.

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12 minutes ago, RDU Neil said:

 

Don't you always have to declare this? I've always played this way.

 

.....

 

 

And yes... all PRE attacks take a combat action/attack action, just like any other attack... at least in my games.

 

 

Not, as I understand it, by the rules as written: you just declare that you are making a PRE attack and see what the result is: no roll to hit, automatic AOE, see how you do, no time taken, boom.

 

I'm quite sure that the way most people play PRE attacks is far more reasonable

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21 minutes ago, RDU Neil said:


And yes... all PRE attacks take a combat action/attack action, just like any other attack... at least in my games.

 

I totally agree with this!  It is one of my house rules.

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12 hours ago, Steve said:

Good grief. People are taking this way too seriously. I was only asking about how others treated PRE in their campaigns, if they used caps of some kind, not incite accusations against me as being some kind of killer GM.

 

This event took place in a campaign that has been running for almost three years now. My players know me, that I’m not out to screw them over. Sometimes they get overmatched, and even dying is not the end for their character, much like it is in the comics. I’ve had one PC die in the campaign, and he was later brought back during a time travel storyline where the PCs met the CU’s Archmage back before he died (and warned him of what was coming, saving his life). That death/resurrection was used as the excuse for that player to buy some new powers and abilities that wouldn’t have made as much sense otherwise.

 

Two PCs fled in the encounter against Takofanes and the remaining player has been turned into an undead horror. I gave the player a temporary bonus of 50 Points to use for buying undead powers, and I’m prepared to give him more to fit whatever concept he comes up with for his now undead supermage. I’m expecting he’ll come up with something quite awesome.

 

Dude, you don't need to defend yourself.  Frankly, I busted out laughing when I read your first post.  While I am neither a killer gm or a masochist type player, I do realize (as both a player and gm) that sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, sometimes you totally outclass the opposition, and sometimes you are totally outclassed.  It happens.  As long as you are honest and your campaign is overall fair and you and your group are having fun, no one else matters.  Do you!

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1 hour ago, Zephrosyne said:

 

Dude, you don't need to defend yourself.  Frankly, I busted out laughing when I read your first post.  While I am neither a killer gm or a masochist type player, I do realize (as both a player and gm) that sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, sometimes you totally outclass the opposition, and sometimes you are totally outclassed.  It happens.  As long as you are honest and your campaign is overall fair and you and your group are having fun, no one else matters.  Do you!

 

This is always the problem using characters someone else has written: they may have made sense for the purpose they were intended for, but probably less so when someone is trying to play them out of intended context.

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6 hours ago, Sean Waters said:

I usually treat PRE attacks as ridiculous and ignore them.  When was the last time you saw a hero type character in a comic just run away screaming?  I'm pretty sure none of The Avengers will be depicted just giving up when they encounter Thanos in Infinity War.

 

It does not make good cinema and it does not make good gaming.

 

For that matter, when was the last time you saw goon level characters surrender just because Captain America showed up?   Might happen if there is just the one, or Cap does something spectacular like take down their superpowered leader with his first hit, but I'd call that role playing rather that build a specific mechanic for it.

 

Actually, I have an Avengers comic where goon level characters surrender just because Cap showed up. All he said is "I advise you to give up" (or something like that.) Trying to find that particular comic is not something I care to try, though.

 

IMHO, it does make good cinema & gaming; it just depends on how it's used in a campaign. You don't see it that way and we can respect that. However, me and my players have loads of fun, including roleplaying the effects of a PRE attack. Again, it depends on the GM, players and campaign.

 

Thanos will get hefty minuses to any PRE attack for going against their Psychological Complications while they try to save Earth. :)

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4 minutes ago, Tech said:

 

Actually, I have an Avengers comic where goon level characters surrender just because Cap showed up. All he said is "I advise you to give up" (or something like that.) Trying to find that particular comic is not something I care to try, though.

 

IMHO, it does make good cinema & gaming; it just depends on how it's used in a campaign. You don't see it that way and we can respect that. However, me and my players have loads of fun, including roleplaying the effects of a PRE attack. Again, it depends on the GM, players and campaign.

 

Thanos will get hefty minuses to any PRE attack for going against their Psychological Complications while they try to save Earth. :)

 

You can prove anything with comics :)  It does not happen often though, because it would be boring: a whole book of people surrendering to CA is not interesting to draw or read, except as a one-off spoof, maybe.  The film would be awful, however you slice it.

 

The problem with a game is that if you have 35 PRE then you are going to use it because you spent points on it, which either means frequent surrenders or rebuilds of goons/large miscellaneous penalties to the PRE attack to overcome your ace card: games do not run like scripts.

 

I am pleased that you enjoy PRE attacks but then so do I: I just don't use them as the rules allow because, if you do, they are silly and disruptive.  They, or something like them, have a place in games, but it is all about context.  I do not like them as they are because: 

1. I do not think that the rules emphasise the context as much as they should

2. I do not see any downside to using them as written - it is like a free extra attack

3. The results of a high roll can be extremely disruptive - much more so than a lucky damage roll

4. Players tend to hate being told their characters have just soiled themselves

 

Thanos may well get minuses for trying to shoo away heroes defending Earth but:

1. Not all the Avengers will have the same level of dedication

2. He also gets a lot of bonuses from having The Infinity Gauntlet, which is widely accepted as an Ultimate Weapon

3. He's Thanos: as a teenager he fell in love with the physical embodiment of death.  It is safe to say his PRE would be off the chart.

4. Thanos (in GotG) cows Ronan into silence, at least until Ronan gets an Infinity Stone and believes himself a match for Thanos: Ronan probably has a lot of PRE - Thanos has a lot more.

 

That last bit is the thing though: is it actually a PRE attack or just a sensible way of dealing with someone who holds all the cards?  If a bunch of goons are robbing a bank and a team of superheroes turn up, they are not going to surrender, or not likely - they would maybe change their goal from profit to survival and try to fight clear/run away, but, again, that is not PRE, it is sense.  If the same thugs had equipment they thought could take down superheroes, or superpowered leadership, they would not be worried, at least not enough to change plans.

 

Now you will rightly point out that PRE rules deal with this with modifiers, and they do, to an extent, but that assumes PRE totals in (at most) the 15-30 range: much more than that and the PRE dice swamp any modifiers.  I think that something like a PRE/morale mechanic has a place, but I also think it needs to have better rules.

 

If people treated PRE like other characteristics and some characters maybe had 60PRE (like a character might have 60 STR) then everyone would need to up their PRE game to the point that they would think that the whole human world smelled of diarrhoea.   PRE is an attack and a defence, it is AOE selective no roll to hit and no real range mods.  It is an insane bargain, and the only reasons it does not tip over more games is because the people running and playing in them have more sense than that and largely ignore the rules as written and play their own version i.e. use PRE attacks infrequently and for the purpose of game drama.

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In my game PRE attacks are used often by the players and at times by the villains (especially Supervillains).  I do require that the player state what they are going to say before they roll their PRE attack.  If they have Oratory they can roll that ahead of time to add the appropriate dice to the roll.  I do use the table to determine if there are any additional dice to add into the roll.  In my game the players often use PRE attacks as a way to stop a fight with a bunch minions after killing the leader.  In one case the characters were dealing with a large number of bandits and one of the characters had stunned the leader with an excellent hit.  The player got to move before the Stunned character and decided "I am taking a called shot for his head", which resulted in the bad guy's head being separated from his body.  In the next phase the character could move he picked up the head and said "Surrender or run away otherwise we will kill you".  He made a great PRE attack and at least 1/2 the bandits gave up and the rest ran for the hills.  Good thing too because the players had some wounded characters and if they had been pressed by the bandits the PCs might have lost the fight.

 

On the flip side Black Paladin used a PRE attack on the players to cause them to hesitate long enough for him to trigger his NPC death trap ;-)...  That caused a bunch of characters to act outside the plan they had for taking out Black Paladin and his cohort ....

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1 hour ago, bluesguy said:

In my game PRE attacks are used often by the players and at times by the villains (especially Supervillains).  I do require that the player state what they are going to say before they roll their PRE attack.  If they have Oratory they can roll that ahead of time to add the appropriate dice to the roll.  I do use the table to determine if there are any additional dice to add into the roll.  In my game the players often use PRE attacks as a way to stop a fight with a bunch minions after killing the leader.  In one case the characters were dealing with a large number of bandits and one of the characters had stunned the leader with an excellent hit.  The player got to move before the Stunned character and decided "I am taking a called shot for his head", which resulted in the bad guy's head being separated from his body.  In the next phase the character could move he picked up the head and said "Surrender or run away otherwise we will kill you".  He made a great PRE attack and at least 1/2 the bandits gave up and the rest ran for the hills.  Good thing too because the players had some wounded characters and if they had been pressed by the bandits the PCs might have lost the fight.

 

On the flip side Black Paladin used a PRE attack on the players to cause them to hesitate long enough for him to trigger his NPC death trap ;-)...  That caused a bunch of characters to act outside the plan they had for taking out Black Paladin and his cohort ....

 

Yes to all of this. Great examples of exactly how PRE Attacks would be used and play out in our games as well.

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Very interesting, hearing about how people use PRE Attacks differently.  Lots of great perspectives on it.

 

I don't use PRE against PCs in our superhero game, I figure they're heroes and that kinda stuff just won't work on them.  I'd reconsider that if we were doing a fantasy campaign or the characters were noobs.

 

Generally, the players will whip out PRE Attacks on goons, and even then it's typically when it has become obvious to the bad guys that they're losing.  I tend to give all my henchmen a bit of PRE defense, because I figure a guy doesn't sign up to follow a supervillain unless he's a bit of a zealot himself.  I've had a couple of less-than-scrupulous characters use PRE Attacks on Normals.  But, again, I find the concept of PRE Attacks between supers to be silly except in extreme circumstances.  A surprise first encounter with a God-King qualifies, I think. 

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Interesting thread this one.  I think I like the reversion to the multiples as an easy solution to avoiding mega-results.

 

Personally, I think players need the odd total defeat somewhere in their history, I think it is useful to have a boogie man where running in, fists blazing not only doesn’t work but isn’t even an option.  

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