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Cassandra

How Many Focus Do Your Characters Use?

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My very first character was Shadow- a ninja. He had 4 major focus, his sword (hka), his throwing stars (eb), nunchucks (ha) and climbing claws (clinging). I’ve had one or two characters since then that had a focus of some sort averaging two per character.

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I often play at the heroic level, where it's the norm to have weapons and armor and other equipment.

 

But let me think back over my superhero characters:

 

Stormwalker only carried a Focus as such one time I remember, and it was a lent item for a special purpose. It was an enchanted can opener to help against a power armor character. As the son of a Thunder God, most of his abilities were innate.

 

I also made a character named Can Opener who was a robot, and either had no Focus or WAS a Focus depending on how you want to look at it.

 

Quetzelcoatl was a power armor character, so heavily focus dependent. Mostly the armor, but also a high tech bokken and other gadgets. He had a gadget pool, so at any given time he probably had four or five distinct Foci counting the armor.

 

My friend Mike drives a Ford Focus.....

 

Lucius Alexander

 

The palindromedary says a lack of focus is one of my major problems.....

 

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5 hours ago, Lucius said:

 

I often play at the heroic level, where it's the norm to have weapons and armor and other equipment.

 

But let me think back over my superhero characters:

 

Stormwalker only carried a Focus as such one time I remember, and it was a lent item for a special purpose. It was an enchanted can opener to help against a power armor character. As the son of a Thunder God, most of his abilities were innate.

 

I also made a character named Can Opener who was a robot, and either had no Focus or WAS a Focus depending on how you want to look at it.

 

Quetzelcoatl was a power armor character, so heavily focus dependent. Mostly the armor, but also a high tech bokken and other gadgets. He had a gadget pool, so at any given time he probably had four or five distinct Foci counting the armor.

 

My friend Mike drives a Ford Focus.....

 

Lucius Alexander

 

The palindromedary says a lack of focus is one of my major problems.....

 

 

Don't you mean a Ford Foci?

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23 hours ago, Ninja-Bear said:

Except the proper term is Grammer Nazis.

 

Unless his first name is Kelsey and he starred on Frasier, I think you mean Grammar Nazis.  :winkgrin:

 

9 hours ago, Lucius said:

My friend Mike drives a Ford Focus....

 

3 hours ago, Cassandra said:

Don't you mean a Ford Foci?

 

I'm guessing that he only drives one.  ;)

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As to the original question, my namesake character (Bolo) carried and used bolas.  Back then, I mistakenly thought they were spelled "bolo" (though looking online apparently that's a variant spelling).

 

Since I nearly exclusively GM Champions,  I could talk about the numerous supervillains I've drawn up.  Many of them have foci, sometimes relatively minor (Flash Defense goggles, team radios),  sometimes major (armored battlesuits).  Some teams have matching costumes that provide some Resistant Protection.  Accessible foci do get taken away, and both accessible and inaccessible foci occasionally get disabled in game.  (One PC has an EMP power that she once used to effectively disarm a battlesuited foe in one Phase.)

 

One of my favorite times that a character got his major focus taken away involved Foxbat.  A PC grabbed his Ping-Pong Ball gun.  (Not a major problem; Freddy had used 5 of his XP to double the number of Ping-Pong Ball guns he carried.)  The PC then ignored his own powers and tried using Foxbat's gun.  However, he didn't know how to select different rounds, so it was pretty much random which ball got fired.  Lots of fun.

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13 hours ago, Christopher said:

Ah, the one kind of Nazi not even Hitler likes!

 

Not entirely true.

 

rudolf-hess-200.jpg

 

This despicable human being is Rudolph Hess.

 

You may recognize the name as the man who edited Mien Kampf, if you're old enough that it was required reading in school.

 

 

That means that this man has the distinct honor of being the world's first Grammar Nazi.

 

 

Why do so many people want to be like Rudolph?

 

 

 

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Back in the day I used foci all the time.  Nearly every PC had at least a few powers linked to a focus.

 

Then the Breakable rule was introduced.  Now the guy in Power Armor takes a single point of Body, and WHAM he is POWERLESS.

 

Nowdays I take OIHID. 

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As few as possible, mainly as a holdover from my Mutants and Masterminds days where GMs rarely if ever invoked the drawback.  If they're not making it a limitation, I shouldn't be taking the discount for it. 

I also refuse to put a combat-important power like defenses or my only attack in a Focus, since that just means I risk having to sit out a scene if the drawback ever comes into play.  It's the same reason I shy away from power loss and vulnerability. 

 

Though that may change shortly, since I just trivialized a boss fight by shredding his armor.  Will be interesting to see if our GM starts picking on other people's focuses. 

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On 12/11/2018 at 3:51 AM, Gnome BODY (important!) said:

As few as possible, mainly as a holdover from my Mutants and Masterminds days where GMs rarely if ever invoked the drawback.  If they're not making it a limitation, I shouldn't be taking the discount for it. 

I also refuse to put a combat-important power like defenses or my only attack in a Focus, since that just means I risk having to sit out a scene if the drawback ever comes into play.  It's the same reason I shy away from power loss and vulnerability.  

 

Though that may change shortly, since I just trivialized a boss fight by shredding his armor.  Will be interesting to see if our GM starts picking on other people's focuses. 

I think the intention with Foci or Power loss is to invest the points you get into skills/other powers you can use while the Limitation is in effect. I tend to fall into the trap where I buy more powers with the same limitations.

 

As for breaking Power armor:
It is a option to build stuff like Power Armor as "Only in Alternate Identity". Or a indestructible Focus. It was kind of a GM oversight to not do so to begin with. Happens :)

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My big time hero Valiant purchased two foci with experience points. I used foci for two minor utility powers: Flash Defense sunglasses and a literal lucky coin. My attack powers had the restrainable limitation, which is kind of like having an accessible focus. Certainly I had my offense shut down often enough by entangles that I considered buying it off, but I actually like having signature vulnerabilities. In Valiant's case, his Kryptonite was being restrained and his lack of any power defense. One of Valiant's best role-playing moments came when his normal blaster tactics were denied to him by the power-draining device stuck to his chest. I felt very heroic when he was able to rip it off by pushing his normal human strength and then managed to put it in on his evil V'hanian double. I suppose there's fun to be had getting your focus back, but that assumes you have some skills and abilities without the focus.

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On 12/10/2018 at 6:43 PM, phydaux said:

Back in the day I used foci all the time.  Nearly every PC had at least a few powers linked to a focus.

 

Then the Breakable rule was introduced.  Now the guy in Power Armor takes a single point of Body, and WHAM he is POWERLESS.

 

Nowdays I take OIHID. 

 

Another reason not to progress past 4th edition!!!!!

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On 12/11/2018 at 3:43 AM, phydaux said:

Back in the day I used foci all the time.  Nearly every PC had at least a few powers linked to a focus.

 

Then the Breakable rule was introduced.  Now the guy in Power Armor takes a single point of Body, and WHAM he is POWERLESS.

 

Nowdays I take OIHID. 

Uh, NOPE.

 

If you take a single point of damage past defenses (wich are based on Active Points and/or the defense powers), a single power is lost.

Complete loss of all powers in one attack requires something like Defenses + Body damage in one attack.

 

At least that is how it is in 6E and the 5E book I have.

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On 12/12/2018 at 4:10 AM, Christopher said:

Uh, NOPE.

 

If you take a single point of damage past defenses (wich are based on Active Points and/or the defense powers), a single power is lost.

Complete loss of all powers in one attack requires something like Defenses + Body damage in one attack.

 

At least that is how it is in 6E and the 5E book I have.

Single point of Body might be a good clarifier.

And the text for Breakability between Champions 3e and Champions 6e are nearly identical in function.   (I remembered a player writing up a Foci killer slot on his gun.  Area Effect, Penetrating back in the mid-80s...)

And yea, similar text for 4th & 5th.   (1st & 2nd do mention how many defenses breakable foci have, but don't go into the details)

 

Now, did most of the GMs and myself pay much attention to breakable foci?  Not really

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On 12/10/2018 at 6:43 PM, phydaux said:

Back in the day I used foci all the time.  Nearly every PC had at least a few powers linked to a focus.

 

Then the Breakable rule was introduced.  Now the guy in Power Armor takes a single point of Body, and WHAM he is POWERLESS.

 

Nowdays I take OIHID. 

If the power armor is central to the character and they don't want it breaking, why didn't they buy it as Unbreakable?  Even Durable is generally just as good.  And both are free. 

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One of the PCs in my current Champions campaign has an EMP power, bought as an AoE RKA, Penetrating, only vs. Electronic Foci.  It's been a useful attack for her - she once used it to shut down a battlesuited foe in one Phase.  (I don't know if it's RAW, but I remove the highest AP power first, then the next highest, etc.  And since the character had all of her attacks in a Multipower, and that was highest AP, all it took was 1 BODY to shut down all of the foe's offensive abilities.)  Sure, I could have called the OIF Unbreakable, but IMO that's a dick move for a GM unless it's something like a unique magic item or something similar.

 

Of course, it didn't take long for foes to learn she did that, so EM shielding slowly but surely became more common.  Many battlesuit defenses started getting Impenetrable added, and some foes with electronic OAFs got an EM-resistant force field (Resistant Protection 6 rED, Impenetrable, Only vs. electromagnetic effects).  Not everybody has that protection, but enough did that the EMP is not her first go-to attack any more against tech-related enemies.

 

Regarding the 1 BODY = 1 lost Power thing, if a character has multiple independent foci and no Impenetrable defenses, and is hit with a Penetrating AoE RKA, would each focus lose a power, or would the character only lose one power regardless?  I'm thinking of a VIPER agent with a blaster rifle, helmet with IR and radio, and a force field belt.  Logically, it seems to me each focus would take the hit separately (so he might lose his radio but keep his IR, but also loses the blaster and force field) since none of the foci are shielded.  At least, that's how I've been doing it.

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I think there is some serious amount of missasumptions and miss-applications regarding the Focus rules in the room. Especially when breakabiltiy is concerned. I think we should clean that up before we continue:
" A Breakable Focus has PD and ED equal to the (Active Points/5) of the largest power bought through the Focus; the minimum PD/ED is 3 (unless the GM rules otherwise). For instance, a gun with a Blast 10d6 has a PD/ED of 10; if the gun also had 50 points in Flight and 20 points in Life Support, its PD/ED would still be 10. A Breakable Focus that provides PD or ED to the character in any way (such as Resistant Protection or other Defense powers) can use whichever defense is higher (its own or the one it provides to the character) to protect itself from damage; the defenses never add. (If a Breakable Focus has two or more Defense Powers, calculate its PD/ED from the largest of the Defense Powers, not by adding them together.) A Breakable Focus doesn’t normally possess exotic defenses such as Power Defense, though it does if it provides such a defense or the defense is bought specifcally for it (usually with a -2 Limitation; characters can also buy ordinary defenses, like PD or Resistant Protection, for Foci using this Limitation)."


So a Power armor is at least as resistant to damage as it makes the wearer. Wich can be rather important:
" Any Focus that provides defenses to a character is automatically hit by any attack that hits the character based on a successful Attack Roll (or that hits the Area in which the character is standing, in the case of powers with the Area Of Effect Advantage). (Defenses on a Required Roll that don’t “activate” wouldn’t be hit by an attack they don’t provide protection against.) Of course, the Focus gets its PD/ED or the defense it provides to the character (whichever is higher) against the attack. (To speed game play, and avoid breaking Foci on a regular basis, GMs may choose to ignore this rule. In such a case, Foci are only hit and damaged by attacks that specifcally target them.)"

 

As for Powerloss, Multipowers, VPP's and Unified powers:
" When an attack hits a Breakable Focus, each attack that penetrates the PD/ED of the Focus and does BODY damage destroys one of the powers bought through the Focus. Te amount of BODY done is unimportant — one power is destroyed whether the attack did 1 BODY or 15. Te GM should determine which power is destroyed; usually it’s the largest one in the Focus or one chosen randomly. Te special effects of the attack or the Focus may help the GM decide which powers are affected. For this purpose, a Multipower counts as one power (with Active Points equal to the value of its reserve, +1 point for each slot); and a Variable Power Pool counts as one power (with Active Points equal to the value of the points in its Pool). All the powers with the Unifed Power Limitation bought through the same Focus count as one power (with Active Points equal to the value of the Active Points in the largest power, +1 point for each additional power); A Focus is destroyed when it loses all of its powers, or when any single attack against it does two times (2x) its PD/ED in BODY, at the GM’s option.
If a Focus provides a Defense Power, that power should be the last one lost by damaging the Focus; it only goes away when the Focus is destroyed. In the case of a Focus which has multiple Defense Powers, once the non-Defense
Powers are all removed due to damage the GM should treat the weaker ones as non-Defense Powers themselves, removing them one by one when further attacks penetrate the Focus’s PD/ED. Te GM decides in which order they’re lost
"
So by default you only loose one Focus power per attack, regardless of Body it did past defenses.

That you could loose the entire focues requires 3 times the PD/ED in body damage. And the GM allowing it.

It does indeed go from highest to lowest AP power. With defenses tending to go last. And on a tie, GM decision or randomization.

Multipowers, VPP's and Unified Power (I did not had those on my screen either) count as one Focuspower for all Focus Calculations and Focus Damage. With MP and Unified counting has "highest AP power +1 AP per slot/power".

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1 hour ago, Christopher said:

I think there is some serious amount of missasumptions and miss-applications regarding the Focus rules in the room. Especially when breakabiltiy is concerned. I think we should clean that up before we continue:

(snip detailed quotes)

 

To clarify - is all of that to say that I am misapplying damage to foci?  Because reading over what you posted, I don't believe I am.

 

Regarding powered armor / battlesuits, the first time Maker used her EMP against War Nun, since the powered armor's Resistant Protection wasn't Impenetrable, the Penetrating BODY damage took down War Nun's Multipower.  Her defenses were still active, as was her flight, IR vision, etc.

 

The next time Maker faced off against War Nun, the supervillainess had spent XP to add Impenetrable to her armor.  (That's what I meant by EM shielding.)  Because of this, Maker's EMP didn't work against War Nun at all.

 

Similarly, Maker had used her EMP early in the campaign to disable robotic drones used by VIPER's Professor to commit crimes.  (These Flyer Bots are bought as bare-bones robot Followers with separate Computer brains and a fairly large "plug-and-play module" VPP, so each weapon, added defense, added mobility, and other Powers is on a separate plugged-in OIF or OAF.)  After Maker handily trashed a few Flyer Bots, the Professor created an EM Shielding module (which adds a handful of Impenetrable rED), which, if plugged in, keeps the Flyer Bots from immediately losing Plug-and-Play Powers to Maker's EMP.

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Just now, BoloOfEarth said:

To clarify - is all of that to say that I am misapplying damage to foci?  Because reading over what you posted, I don't believe I am.

I did not quote you because I do believe you let it work by RAW too. This was a general clarification for everyone.

 

2 minutes ago, BoloOfEarth said:

The next time Maker faced off against War Nun, the supervillainess had spent XP to add Impenetrable to her armor.  (That's what I meant by EM shielding.)  Because of this, Maker's EMP didn't work against War Nun at all. 

 

Similarly, Maker had used her EMP early in the campaign to disable robotic drones used by VIPER's Professor to commit crimes.  (These Flyer Bots are bought as bare-bones robot Followers with separate Computer brains and a fairly large "plug-and-play module" VPP, so each weapon, added defense, added mobility, and other Powers is on a separate plugged-in OIF or OAF.)  After Maker handily trashed a few Flyer Bots, the Professor created an EM Shielding module (which adds a handful of Impenetrable rED), which, if plugged in, keeps the Flyer Bots from immediately losing Plug-and-Play Powers to Maker's EMP.

Both cases seem proper application of the rules.

But both cases could also be a cautionary tale against allowing Penetrating RKA's. Because then everyone has to start a armsrace (or armor race?) to disable the option running too rampant.

 

However, a few caveats:

I am not 100% certain about the EMP shielding module. I think it should have entirely replaced the normal armor vs EM attacks. You do not get to add Defense Powers on Foci and Penetrating does "Penetration damage or anything that got past defenses, wichever is higher". So a low ED, Impenertable might have let more damage through the other way.

While a Robot is not a Focus, "Take no STUN" (wich I asume those had) does work very similar to teh Focuspower loss.

 

Nor am I 100% certain Penetrating should work that way against Foci.

1 Guarnateed body against a Character is 1/20th of the damage needed to defeat someone at 10 base Body.

1 Guaranteed body against a Focus would be 1 Focuspower lost.

That is quite a differenec ineffects.

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9 minutes ago, Christopher said:

Both cases seem proper application of the rules.

But both cases could also be a cautionary tale against allowing Penetrating RKA's. Because then everyone has to start a armsrace (or armor race?) to disable the option running too rampant.[/quote]

 

True.  But you can have the same thing happen if, for instance, a lot of PCs buy AP attacks -- foes may get Hardened armor to compensate.  Or vice versa -- after a few villains use Drains against them, the PCs buy Power Defense.  It's just the way things go, and why characters get XP.

 

9 minutes ago, Christopher said:

However, a few caveats:

I am not 100% certain about the EMP shielding module. I think it should have entirely replaced the normal armor vs EM attacks. You do not get to add Defense Powers on Foci and Penetrating does "Penetration damage or anything that got past defenses, wichever is higher". So a low ED, Impenertable might have let more damage through the other way.

 

Not sure what you mean by "You do not get to add Defense Powers on Foci" -- isn't a power armor's Resistant Protection exactly that?  Or are you saying that Defense Powers on Foci don't stack with non-focus-based Defense Powers?  (So if the Flyer Bot has 8 rPD / 8 rED Resistant Protection - not Impenetrable - and adds a 6 rED Resistant Protection, Impenetrable, Costs END, only vs. EM damage force field, it can only use one or the other - because I don't think that's the case.  I think it would have 8 rED vs. non-EM attacks, and 14 rED vs. EM attacks.)  Or are you saying something else entirely?

 

9 minutes ago, Christopher said:

While a Robot is not a Focus, "Take no STUN" (wich I asume those had) does work very similar to teh Focuspower loss.

 

Actually, Flyer Bots are not bought with Take No STUN.  In their case, I use STUN Damage taken to reflect system faults and non-fatal temporary damage to various key systems. 

 

9 minutes ago, Christopher said:

Nor am I 100% certain Penetrating should work that way against Foci.

1 Guarnateed body against a Character is 1/20th of the damage needed to defeat someone at 10 base Body.

1 Guaranteed body against a Focus would be 1 Focuspower lost.

That is quite a differenec ineffects.

 

True as to it (possibly)  being quite a difference in effects. 

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On 12/19/2018 at 8:16 PM, BoloOfEarth said:

True.  But you can have the same thing happen if, for instance, a lot of PCs buy AP attacks -- foes may get Hardened armor to compensate.  Or vice versa -- after a few villains use Drains against them, the PCs buy Power Defense.  It's just the way things go, and why characters get XP. 

I think we might have a disconneect here.

1D6 KA, Penetrating has a way beter change to get "1 BODY past defenses" then 1D6 KA, AP.

 

One will deal 1 Body on a 3 or more, regardless what defense the enemy has.

The other is still stopped by 12 resistant PD.

 

On 12/19/2018 at 8:16 PM, BoloOfEarth said:

Not sure what you mean by "You do not get to add Defense Powers on Foci" -- isn't a power armor's Resistant Protection exactly that?

And the Focus "Power Armor" get's to use the rDefenses it provides the wearer, or the "Focus AP derived defenses", not both.

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On 12/10/2018 at 9:43 PM, phydaux said:

Back in the day I used foci all the time.  Nearly every PC had at least a few powers linked to a focus.

 

Then the Breakable rule was introduced.  Now the guy in Power Armor takes a single point of Body, and WHAM he is POWERLESS.

 

Nowdays I take OIHID. 

Jumping in late to this but I’m not sure that’s how easy it is to Break something in the rules.

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