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Ximenez

Mental Entangle

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So Mental Entangle costs 22.5pts per 1d6, and if you hit someone with it, they're trapped permanently unless they have a mental attack power of some kind. That makes it impossible for most characters to escape, and thus very unbalancing...but I haven't used it in a campaign. Am I missing something?

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It's still stupidly overpowered unless you load up your bosses with massive EGOs or some other way to be immune to the effect.

 

My Wednesday night group landed one on a lightning dragon and before he got his turn to even break out the 5 remaining heroes all landed massive shots (OCV 7-8 vs. DCV 0 = reliable eyeball shots and crits).

 

I'll have to re-read it, but if Mental Defense doesn't currently block some of the entangle I'm going to houserule that it does.  Otherwise this move will become THE move to deal with boss encounters.

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MD does provide some defense.  And why shouldn't an attack power have some effect?  As to the anecdote, a normal Entangle, transparent to damage, would have the same effect.

 

Maybe the Boss should direct some points to INT so he knows better than to attack half a dozen opponents all at once, and PRE so he can make some friends to come with him. 

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1 hour ago, Hugh Neilson said:

MD does provide some defense.  And why shouldn't an attack power have some effect?  As to the anecdote, a normal Entangle, transparent to damage, would have the same effect.

 

Maybe the Boss should direct some points to INT so he knows better than to attack half a dozen opponents all at once, and PRE so he can make some friends to come with him. 

 

Gotten disagree with your second line. A Boss by 'definition' is generally designed to take on strong opponents, if not half a dozen all at once. I certainly don't think a Boss is a Boss if he needs friends to help him battle.

 

However, there's certainly nothing wrong with creative tactics being used by players.

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1 hour ago, Tech said:

However, there's certainly nothing wrong with creative tactics being used by players.

 

I don't find this tactic creative as it will consist of spam mental paralysis until we automatically win all single-target super-boss fights.

 

One thing I've been pleasantly surprised with is that most of the D&D spells that I've converted that seem to be broken on their face (hypnotic pattern, banish, up-cast hold person on 5 people at once) are generally very expensive in HERO.

The active point system does a pretty good job in most scenarios for evaluating relative effectiveness.

 

Even standard entangle isn't bad since the first attack on you shatters it.  But Entangles transparent to damage are just nasty when they drop an enemy to 0 DCV and allow for a barrage of crits and eye-ball shots.

 

Time to review that mental defense bit.  The boss in question had 10 points of it and I probably short-changed him the opportunity to casually snap free.

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Turns out Mental Defense offers no protection at all against Mental Paralysis attacks.

 

"Mental Defense neither adds to the character’s
EGO for purposes of breaking out of, nor offers
any other protection against, Mental Paralysis."

 

I feel I'm going to have to house rule this now or it will become the only move that gets used against any opponent that is even moderately threatening.

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MD does not provide defence unless you buy it with an advantage.  That is a silly way to defend against this though: EGO (only to break out of Mental Paralysis) is cheaper, unless MD is of broad utility in your game.

 

Mind you, 22.5 points per 1d6.  What is the GM going to allow?  2 dive is 45 points, 3 is 67.  You aren't allowing more than that, surely?

 

EGO can be used for a breakout and can be pushed.  

 

15 EGO gets you 3d6 and, if I were you, I'd push it, so 5d6: 2 rolls to get out.  Then I'd spend a few points on making sure that didn't happen again.

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I think the problem is more the interaction between Mental Paralysis and Hit Locations than Mental Paralysis being blank-room OP. 

Unless it's an extremely powerful Mental Paralysis, it'll only be 2d6, 3d6 maybe.  A character with 15-20 EGO should blow out of that pretty easily, and is explicitly allowed to push their roll which gives a decent shot at doing so using casual EGO. 

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7 hours ago, Ximenez said:

So Mental Entangle costs 22.5pts per 1d6, and if you hit someone with it, they're trapped permanently unless they have a mental attack power of some kind. That makes it impossible for most characters to escape, and thus very unbalancing...but I haven't used it in a campaign. Am I missing something? 

For slightly above 66 AP, you get a 3D6 entangle with 3 Defenses. That is the result of applying 1 1/4 advatages to any attack power.

 

Meanwhile at a mere 20 EGO; the dragon rolls 4D6 for 2 END to break out:

" The victim uses EGO, not STR, to escape a Mental Paralysis. He rolls 1d6 per 5 points of EGO; this costs 1 END per 10 Character Points of EGO used, and he can Push his EGO for this purpose. He may use his Casual EGO (half of
his EGO) to break out of weak Mental Paralysis attacks effortlessly
"

As usual, pushing this End costing operation is an option.

 

Both rolls count like "normal damage" (i.e., count the body like you would on a normal damage attack).

 

Mental defense does not add to that by default:

" Mental Defense neither adds to the character’s EGO for purposes of breaking out of, nor offers any other protection against, Mental Paralysis. Characters can apply a -½ Limitation, Mental Defense Adds To EGO, to Mental Paralysis. That means Mental Defense adds to EGO, point for point, in calculating the EGO a character may exert to break free"

 

Entangle is known to have some abuse potential. One of the APG's actually discusses weak entangles with the sole purpose of lowering the targets DCV.

This set of modifiers might even require a warning label.

Allowing Metnal Paralysis in the game without having the boss design account for it was a mistake. You now know it and can remove it or account or it.

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4 hours ago, Toxxus said:

Turns out Mental Defense offers no protection at all against Mental Paralysis attacks.

 

"Mental Defense neither adds to the character’s
EGO for purposes of breaking out of, nor offers
any other protection against, Mental Paralysis."

 

I feel I'm going to have to house rule this now or it will become the only move that gets used against any opponent that is even moderately threatening.

 

There is an optional Limitation for Mental Paralysis, "Mental Defense Adds To EGO" (-½). You might require that Lim be mandatory for any MP used in your games.

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I missed that EGO can be used like STR to break out of a Mental Entangle. I couldn't resist doing the math...a person with 10 EGO, pushing to 20, has a 15.8% chance of escaping a 3d6 Mental Entangle on the first roll. It might be cheating to let someone push repeatedly, but it will get you there. And a 15 EGO pushing to 25 has a 37.8% chance. That doesn't seem quite so unreasonable.

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On 2/22/2019 at 8:41 AM, Tech said:

 

Gotten disagree with your second line. A Boss by 'definition' is generally designed to take on strong opponents, if not half a dozen all at once. I certainly don't think a Boss is a Boss if he needs friends to help him battle.

 

However, there's certainly nothing wrong with creative tactics being used by players.

 

A "Boss Fight" is a videogame concept in my view.  There is no requirement that it transition neatly to an RPG.  If I were designing an opponent to take on the entire team, I would want it to be someone unique and memorable, so I would design that opponent specifically for the group in question.  Some abilities are very useful against a single target, others against multiple opponents. 

 

In a Supers game, as Sean notes, we are looking at a 3d6, 3 DEF mental entangle.  Any Master Vilain who is intended to take on a team which includes a mentalist should reasonably have some defenses against mental attacks, which may include a pretty high EGO and a decent mDCV.  I do like requiring "mDef reduced Mental Paralysis", whether it adds to EGO or reduces Entangle BOD by 1 per 5 mDef.

 

In a Fantasy game, I don't often see 12 - 13 DCs, so we should be looking at lower DCs, maybe 2d6, 2 DEF.  If we are up into high dice, how would that Dragon weather 13d6 of Mental Illusions that he has won the battle and can now go back to sleep (again, 0 DCV)?

 

20 hours ago, Sean Waters said:

Mind you, 22.5 points per 1d6.  What is the GM going to allow?  2 dive is 45 points, 3 is 67.  You aren't allowing more than that, surely?

 

EGO can be used for a breakout and can be pushed.  

 

15 EGO gets you 3d6 and, if I were you, I'd push it, so 5d6: 2 rolls to get out.  Then I'd spend a few points on making sure that didn't happen again.

 

I generally view Pushing as limited to truly heroic actions, but if you are frozen in place with six enemies bearing down on you, that seems like it would create the appropriate, desperate rush of adrenaline.

 

If, however, you want the ultimate litmus test of any power's acceptability in any campaign, use it against the players and then ask if they think that is a power which should be allowed in this game.

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On 2/23/2019 at 5:07 PM, Hugh Neilson said:

There is no requirement that it transition neatly to an RPG.

There is also no reason it does not translate.

 

And this was about the reason why it did not translate in this case. Heroes "no absolutes" rule can get in the way a bit here, for the beginner GM.

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On 2/23/2019 at 5:07 PM, Hugh Neilson said:

If, however, you want the ultimate litmus test of any power's acceptability in any campaign, use it against the players and then ask if they think that is a power which should be allowed in this game.

That is definitely the ultimative test.

 

However there might still be scenarios where this breaks down. See this thread:

Allowing Healing in a Superheroic Game accidentally lead to killing attacks/dealing damage past defenses becomming acceptable. Wich affected the entire game negatively for the GM.

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On 2/23/2019 at 9:07 AM, Hugh Neilson said:

 

A "Boss Fight" is a videogame concept in my view.  There is no requirement that it transition neatly to an RPG.  If I were designing an opponent to take on the entire team, I would want it to be someone unique and memorable, so I would design that opponent specifically for the group in question.  Some abilities are very useful against a single target, others against multiple opponents.

 

6 hours ago, Christopher said:

There is also no reason it does not translate.

 

And this was about the reason why it did not translate in this case. Heroes "no absolutes" rule can get in the way a bit here, for the beginner GM.

 

Sure - but it needs to translate.  In a videogame, every fifth opponent can be a different Boss with similar mechanics, just scaled up as the players' power has increased.  Same character, (maybe) a new picture.  In an RPG, the Boss can be specially designed for the PCs.  That includes allowing each PC to be effective in some way, while preventing anyone being overwhelming.  Powers that impact a single target in an overwhelming way are problematic when a single opponent is the challenge - either the power is ineffective entirely or it ends the battle.

 

Practically, an opponent which can battle an entire team in one game may be helpless in another (e.g. the opponent has no defenses against mental attacks so is helpless against a team with a mentalist).  Magneto is an example of the "boss villain" in the X-Men.  He became much more potent when the All-New X-Men included two characters with significant metal in their bodies - you would think he was tailor-made, but his powers predated that new lineup by a considerable amount. That said, prior to being revitalized in New X-Men, he tended to lead a team, not fight the entire team on his own. 

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On 2/22/2019 at 2:17 PM, Christopher said:

Entangle is known to have some abuse potential. One of the APG's actually discusses weak entangles with the sole purpose of lowering the targets DCV.

This set of modifiers might even require a warning label.

Allowing Metnal Paralysis in the game without having the boss design account for it was a mistake. You now know it and can remove it or account or it.

 

The issue really comes down to timing.  Being able to break out of the entangle isn't the issue since it will be re-applied the next round - or at least is likely to be.

 

The boss being DCV 0 while most of the characters take a phase to bash it senseless isn't alleviated by the boss breaking loose and then being paralyzed again for a 2nd phase of bashing.

 

In heroic settings, even big bad boss types can be quickly subdued by a series of eyeball strikes while they are DCV 0.  x5 stun multipliers really hurt.

 

In D&D 5e they gave their big boss types Legendary Resistance typically usable 3x per day to automatically succeed on a saving throw so they wouldn't be instantly destroyed by a save-or-suck spell.

 

I may have to do something similar along the lines of a triggered mental blast of 5d6 when paralyzed.

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Between boss fights and mental entangles, I would be hard pressed, as anGM, as to which one Inwould toss out of my game first. I admit I will occasionally use a boss fight, I don’t like them much. I like the idea of Mental Entangle even less. Perhaps it’s ancase thatnI tend to run heroic level exclusively, and generally have a low weirdness threshold in my games, that I am feeling most of 6th edition’s bulk is for theses dye cases, only seen in some obscure silver or Bronze Age comic once or twice.

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4 hours ago, Toxxus said:

 

The issue really comes down to timing.  Being able to break out of the entangle isn't the issue since it will be re-applied the next round - or at least is likely to be.

 

The boss being DCV 0 while most of the characters take a phase to bash it senseless isn't alleviated by the boss breaking loose and then being paralyzed again for a 2nd phase of bashing.

 

This would be the same for any Entangle that takes no damage from attacks.  Although breaking free with casual STR is more likely for many opponents, higher dice for a physical Entangle are easier to apply.  How many dice of Mental Paralysis do the PCs toss around?  At 45 points for 2d6, 2 DEF, a bit of extra EGO, only to break free from Mental Paralysis could go a long way.  A 20 EGO, +20 only for casual EGO rolls, translates to a 50% chance to break the Entangle with casual EGO.  Buying up mDCV so the attack is less likely to hit would also help - what is the character's mOCV? For some creatures, perhaps a Mental Damage Shield would be in order.

 

I'd expect anything which is supposed to be a threat for the entire team to have defenses against every team member's schtick attacks.

 

4 hours ago, Toxxus said:

In heroic settings, even big bad boss types can be quickly subdued by a series of eyeball strikes while they are DCV 0.  x5 stun multipliers really hurt.

 

This is an issue for any DCV 0 target.  Damage Reduction, rather than more defenses, can make a difference.  Perhaps Dam Red that only applies to high STUN multiples...?

 

4 hours ago, Toxxus said:

In D&D 5e they gave their big boss types Legendary Resistance typically usable 3x per day to automatically succeed on a saving throw so they wouldn't be instantly destroyed by a save-or-suck spell.

 

Sounds like a mechanic to solve a problem with a mechanic.  "We made the spellcasters too powerful - let's add a mechanic to make them useless in this encounter."  Single target spells are powerful only against single targets, so let's make the single targets immune so the spells are never really that useful.

 

Reminds me of why Armor Piercing felt useless for many editions.  8d6 AP sounds pretty good compared to a 12d6 Blast, until every enemy with above average defenses shows up Hardened - wouldn't do to let AP get past those high defenses.  So, useless against high defense targets and not as good as a normal attack against low defense targets.

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28 minutes ago, Scott Ruggels said:

Between boss fights and mental entangles, I would be hard pressed, as anGM, as to which one Inwould toss out of my game first. I admit I will occasionally use a boss fight, I don’t like them much. I like the idea of Mental Entangle even less. Perhaps it’s ancase thatnI tend to run heroic level exclusively, and generally have a low weirdness threshold in my games, that I am feeling most of 6th edition’s bulk is for theses dye cases, only seen in some obscure silver or Bronze Age comic once or twice.

 

I don't recall seeing Hold Person or Hold Monster in any comics that did not have "Dungeons and Dragons" licensing.  Isn't that Mental Paralysis?

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9 minutes ago, Hugh Neilson said:

 

I don't recall seeing Hold Person or Hold Monster in any comics that did not have "Dungeons and Dragons" licensing.  Isn't that Mental Paralysis?

Yes, it would be. I play D&D, but I don’t run it. 

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Personally, if you know your players have that kind of power, you should prepare the major villains to deal with it.  I had a player with mental paralysis and in general the major villains had large egos.  But then again, by concept, my major villains with grandiose plans will not have a 15 EGO, but more like a 28 to 33 EGO.  It was still an effective attack and would incapacitate agents for the entire combat and standard villains for a couple of phases.

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4 hours ago, Hugh Neilson said:

Sounds like a mechanic to solve a problem with a mechanic.  "We made the spellcasters too powerful - let's add a mechanic to make them useless in this encounter."  Single target spells are powerful only against single targets, so let's make the single targets immune so the spells are never really that useful.

 

Reminds me of why Armor Piercing felt useless for many editions.  8d6 AP sounds pretty good compared to a 12d6 Blast, until every enemy with above average defenses shows up Hardened - wouldn't do to let AP get past those high defenses.  So, useless against high defense targets and not as good as a normal attack against low defense targets.

 

Let me set the stage a little bit.  I've co-opted two tables of D&D players to play Fantasy Hero.  They are loving the flexibility and the increased options of HERO combat and they are simply blown away by how you can build almost any character concept you can come up with.  Character building has largely been them giving me the ideas they want and me building the initial character with them customizing skills and making tweaks as we progress.

 

One player had a level 11 bard and is a long time D&D player.  So what I did was build the character as close to what he had as I could get including a variation of the spell slot system.  One of those spells.... Hold Person.... which I forgot to restrict to humanoids when I built it... so it is effectively Hold Monster.  It is 2d6 mental paralysis and fits inside the 50pt active point cap we currently have.

 

I am fine with how effective it is against most fights which involve 4-12 enemies where having one or two of them locked down isn't a major swing.  But being able to paralyze the Lightning Dragon and trivialize and encounter that was otherwise deadly to them caught me off guard.  The creature has tons of resistant defense, mental defense, power defense, etc.  It's designed to be tough.  But the mechanics of entangle are easily abused due to timing.

 

I actually like the Legendary Resistance mechanic because it means you have to wear the creature down with "failed saving throws" before you disable it.  This, imo, isn't terribly different from having to wear it down by doing body/stun damage.  Stopping the creature with several good hits - fine.  Stopping the creature with a single overpowering hit - not cinematic nor dramatic.

 

The player's ability is good and I want it to contribute to the team's success.  Not either guarantee a win nor be completely ineffective.

 

My current thought is to model the Legendary Resistance as something along the lines of a 5d6 mental blast triggered by being mentally entangled and a slightly higher blast triggered by being physically entangled with 3 charges.

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