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Darkhope

Harpoon Gun build help

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I swear the search engine on this site is the worst. I hate to bother with a question that has already been asked. But I need ya’lls mastery of the system. 

 

Im trying to build a Harpoon gun in a post apocalyptic setting. (Think mad max meets death race.) The harpoon gun is attached to a cable hooked to a power supply. If the harpoon gun hits, you can flip a switch that channels the power through cable and harpoon and short out a vehicles electrical system so it goes dead. I was thinking a multipower with one recoverable charge? I’m having a problem building the second power, to short out the car. Any ideas?

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Off the top of my head:

 

You could drain or suppress the car's running, that's a classic. The car automatically recovers at some point so that option doesn't work if you're looking for something with a permanent effect.

 

You could do BODY damage to the car with the special effect being that it is damage to the electronics rather than to the tires and chassis. Kind of all or nothing though since if you don't total the car with one shot, it's still functional.

 

Alternatively, a 1d6 RKA Uncontrolled Continuous Penetrating would take down a car after a bit even if you didn't want something with a hell of a lot more kick.

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This might be cheating, but as a GM I'd allow it:

  • Harpoon Gun:  Ranged Killing Attack 2d6+1; 1 Charge (-2), OAF (-1) Real Cost: 9
  • Power Surge:  Dispel Vehicle Perk 9d6; 1 Charge (-2), OAF (-1), Linked (Harpoon Gun; -1/2) Real Cost: 6

Essentially the Power Surge ability targets the Vehicle Perk, treating it the same as the Summons power -- that is, rather than overcome the Active Point cost of the Vehicle itself, you're overcoming the cost of the Perk (AP/5).  It turns the Vehicle Perk off, denying the target the use of their vehicle until the vehicle can be restarted, which would require an unmodified Mechanics skill check.

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16 minutes ago, Thumper said:

This might be cheating, but as a GM I'd allow it:

  • Harpoon Gun:  Ranged Killing Attack 2d6+1; 1 Charge (-2), OAF (-1) Real Cost: 9
  • Power Surge:  Dispel Vehicle Perk 9d6; 1 Charge (-2), OAF (-1), Linked (Harpoon Gun; -1/2) Real Cost: 6

Essentially the Power Surge ability targets the Vehicle Perk, treating it the same as the Summons power -- that is, rather than overcome the Active Point cost of the Vehicle itself, you're overcoming the cost of the Perk (AP/5).  It turns the Vehicle Perk off, denying the target the use of their vehicle until the vehicle can be restarted, which would require an unmodified Mechanics skill check.

 

The rules from Champions Complete say:

 

Dispel affects only Powers. However, Characteristics, Skills, Perks, or Talents purchased as Powers might be Dispellable, depending on Special Effects. For example, a character’s own STR cannot be Dispelled, but a device that enhances his STR can be. Characters cannot Dispel Automata, Bases, Computers, or Vehicles, but can Dispel the abilities possessed by such objects.

 

So the rules specifically prevent players from purchasing a Dispel which shuts down the Vehicle perk. But having said that, it is an intriguing idea to use for that particular setting.

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13 minutes ago, archer said:

So the rules specifically prevent players from purchasing a Dispel which shuts down the Vehicle perk. But having said that, it is an intriguing idea to use for that particular setting.

Yeah, I was pretty sure it was cheating.  But sometimes the "correct" way to do something ends up just being an ugly, brutalist kludge that costs way more than the power is actually worth.  This felt genre-appropriate, elegant and appropriately priced for its real value.  By the rules, this would work:

  • Power Surge:  Major Transform 12d6 (Operating Vehicle into Inoperative Vehicle, Mechanics Skill Roll); 1 Charge (-2), OAF (-1), All Or Nothing (-1/2), Limited Target (Vehicles) (-1/4), Linked (Harpoon Gun; -1/4) Real Cost: 24 points

The problem here is that this is 120 AP power, which probably blows the lid off any power caps for the campaign.  You could reduce the dice, but with most vehicles (according to 6E2 196) having 13 to 25 BODY (average 20), you need to average around 40 BODY with the Transform for it to be worth having at all.  You could reduce the dice and drop All or Nothing, but a "surge of power that knocks out electrical systems" sure sounds like an All or Nothing effect, and not a gradual effect.  And given how easy it is to undo the Transform, I just feel this power is not worth it.

Another approach would require the GM to approve it, but is within the rules...if you use the optional rules for Vehicle Hit Locations from Ultimate Vehicle.

  • Power Surge:  2D6 NND RKA (Defense is Power Defense, +1/2), Does BODY (+1); 1 Charge (-2), OAF (-1), Linked (Harpoon Gun; -1/4) plus +6 OCV to offset Placed Shot (Engine System) penalty Real Cost: 24 points

The way this one works is first you must hit with the Harpoon, then make a second placed shot to hit the Engine System of the Vehicle (-6 OCV), but with a bonus to offset the penalty so its just a normal shot.  This ensures that if you hit, you hit the Engine.  If the engine is shielded (i.e. has Power Defense) this does nothing, but otherwise the Engine takes 2D6 BODY with no DEF.  That's likely to Impair the engine, potentially shutting the whole thing down.  More importantly, it's 75 AP for the NND RKA, so it hopefully won't blow a power cap.  This build also has the advantage that if you decide to be evil and shoot a person with the harpoon, you can electrocute them too.

 

Still think the Dispel Perk design is more elegant and has the more realistic cost for a one shot, all or nothing power that shuts a vehicle down.

 

36 minutes ago, Doc Democracy said:

What about using Stretching and the Mechanics skill, based on a focus? The mechanics is used simply to disable the car's electrics...

That's innovative, but I've never really thought of Mechanics as a skill usable in combat.  I generally assume a base time of 1 hour for a Mechanics check, so in my games you'd be starting with a -15 Time Chart penalty and it'd just get worse from there. I'm also not sure I'm cool with using Mechanics to substitute for what is clearly an Attack.

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1 hour ago, Thumper said:

 

That's innovative, but I've never really thought of Mechanics as a skill usable in combat.  I generally assume a base time of 1 hour for a Mechanics check, so in my games you'd be starting with a -15 Time Chart penalty and it'd just get worse from there. I'm also not sure I'm cool with using Mechanics to substitute for what is clearly an Attack.

 

I can't say I'm comfortable with substituting Mechanics for an attack.

 

But having said that, engines are pretty delicate things and it takes a hell of a lot less to screw one up than it does to repair one. The non-mechanics in the repair shop at the dealership where I used to work wore clip-on neckties because they had to lean over engines to look inside them as the customer described what was wrong with the car and they didn't want to get choked to death if the tie got caught in one of the mechanisms. One day, one of the shop foremen had his clip-on tie ripped off his neck and twisted into one of the belts. Stopped the engine almost instantly as the knot hit one of the pulleys.

 

On the other hand, while working at a dealership I drove a 4 cylinder car with only one functioning cylinder for several months while I saved up enough money to get the car repaired. So maybe engines are hardy as hell and almost impossible to break. What the hell do I know about it? :D

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2 hours ago, Thumper said:

Mechanics to substitute for what is clearly an Attack

 

It is not doing STUN or BODY, it is not actually breaking anything.  I am presuming here this is for use on kit not bought with points (you could disallow it versus such vehicles as the systems are better protected, more robust or so non-standard that the harpoon does not reach them.

 

I suggested Mechanics as, while the system does not provide for damaging vehicles in this way, the skill does actually involve doing stuff to mechanical systems.  This is brute force Mechanics and has one job, to disable the electronics.  I would not think that shorting the electrics was a long job, so much less of a time penalty.  The attack would be the grab action on the vehicle, the mechanics roll simply to see if the harpoon struck a vulnerable spot...

 

The more I think about it, the better it might work.  The success value of the Mechanics roll would provide a penalty to anyone trying to fix it....

 

Doc

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3 hours ago, Thumper said:

Power Surge:  Major Transform 12d6 (Operating Vehicle into Inoperative Vehicle, Mechanics Skill Roll); 1 Charge (-2), OAF (-1), All Or Nothing (-1/2), Limited Target (Vehicles) (-1/4), Linked (Harpoon Gun; -1/4) Real Cost: 24 points

 

Power Surge:  2D6 NND RKA (Defense is Power Defense, +1/2), Does BODY (+1); 1 Charge (-2), OAF (-1), Linked (Harpoon Gun; -1/4) plus +6 OCV to offset Placed Shot (Engine System) penalty Real Cost: 24 points

 

It's interesting that both come out to 24 points - that suggests we're getting similar effects for a similar cost.  The second could be made marginally cheaper if the Limited Target limitation were added.

 

Either we need GM oversight to allow dispelling a perk (clearly against the actual rules of the game) or to allow a high AP power (AP caps being set by the GM, and actually being something Steve Long, at least, did not consider part of the game when he wrote 6e) with high damage classes (DC caps most definitely being part of the game in Steve Long's view). 

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Wow you guys are amazing. I see several possibilities I have to think about. Luckily I don’t believe in power caps so the high point powers could work. It’s a super game anyway, radiation fallout has genetically altered humans over the hundreds of years and they are 250pts. Thank you so much guys, very helpful!

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I built this for a device that gets slapped onto a car (a fetish from a Shaman) but you can probably modify it to suit your needs.

 

8   "Gremlins"  10d6 Mind Control, Machine class of minds [50 Active], 1 continuing charge of 5 minutes which never recovers (-2.75), Only versus combustion vehicles (-1), Set Effect: "Do not start" (-.5), No Range (-.5), Beam (-.25), Physical Manifestation (-1/4)
 

- Ernie

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13 hours ago, archer said:

One day, one of the shop foremen had his clip-on tie ripped off his neck and twisted into one of the belts. Stopped the engine almost instantly as the knot hit one of the pulleys.

 

On the other hand, while working at a dealership I drove a 4 cylinder car with only one functioning cylinder for several months while I saved up enough money to get the car repaired. So maybe engines are hardy as hell and almost impossible to break. What the hell do I know about it? :D

 

 

Life-long gear head and wrench bender here (it's lucrative, given everyone else on the frelling planet decided to dick around with computers all day ;) ).

 

First and foremost, I like both eepjr24's option and the "dispel the perk" option the best.

 

So "why?" is next, right?

 

Because what you are describing is butt-bendingly annoying to do with an RPG.  RPGs, at their very best, simulate people and the actions of people.  We all love HERO, and we all want to keep touting the universality of it, but it breaks all to bits when you try to simulate an actual real-world phenomenon.  That's because it's not built to do it: it's built to simulate people.  "Well then how would you do this with people?" I hear dozens of voices simultaneously not asking.  Perhaps even thousands!

 

With people, it's pretty straight-forward: do a high-level NND and STUN damage them to unconsciousness.  Do a Mind Control.  Do a Drain: INT.

 

None of those will work with cars.  They work for people because they exploit a very basic, universally-accepted aspect of people:  they can be knocked out; they can be intellectually nullified in some way ( slow-roasted pork shoulder works for me ;)   ). 

 

Neither of those translates well to cars.  It's weird how complicated the builds have to be to affect cars built by the game rules, when what you want to do is so _ridiculously easy_ to do to a real car (especially a Chrysler!  Man, the damage you can wreak with a half-charged 20v battery in one of those things).

 

 

 

The solution to your problem, though, is remarkably easy, and extremely simple-- so simple that us HERO fans tend to miss it all together, because there's nothing we like more than seeing just how many modifiers we can stack into a single build.  The problem is that we're looking at it the wrong way: we're looking for a power that affects what we already have in game-terms.

 

The solution goes back to a really _great_ discussion we had a while back.  I've been searching for it for a bit, and came up dry (with any luck, LL will pass by: his search-fu is...  well, it's just mystical, it is.  And most of all, I wish I could remember who first floated the suggestion, because he deserves to be slapped with the credit stick a few more times.  :D

 

The solution isn't in the power build that affects the car.  The solution is in the way you build the car.   The original discussion, if I remember correctly, was about vampires or some such "unholy thing" taking damage because they were on consecrated ground.  (Don't quote me, but I seem to recall that was the gist of it).  There was, of course, considerable discussion of just how to build "Holy Ground" and what sort of attacks (and modifiers- _never_ forget them!  Mandatory!  MANDATORY!   :rofl:   ) would provide the desired results and how much they cost and then how much was the cost for the ability to consecrate ground, and was a T-form or a Change Environment that lasted for a thousand years and what undid it and since it was a power a vampire could buy "Dispel" or "Suppress" and rub his groin all over Saint Sampson's holy tombstone-----

 

Anyway, it was a fun conversation.  The best part, though, was the simplicity of what I thought was the absolute _best_ answer.  Do _not_ credit me for this (unless you hate it.  If you hate it, by all means blame me and leave the creative genius who came up with alone so that he can do more great things), but the answer was this simple:

 

There is no attack inherent in Holy Ground.  There is no power to make Holy Ground-- and priest gives a blessing: boom!  Holy Ground.

 

There is a default Disadvantage / Complication ("Disadplication," for simplicity's sake   ;)   ) inherent to the unholy monster:  Vulnerable to Holy Ground: Xd6 per T, where T is the amount of time that passes before the beastie suffers damage yet again.

 

 

You've got the same thing going on with cars and electricity-- I mean the _exact_ same thing.   Any car that does not have a points-and-condensor ignition (for what it's worth, the last non-motorcycle one on the road was the original "Chevy Luv" pick-up, built and imported by Isuzu.  The original body style.  By the time the actually became a tiny bit stylish, they weren't using points and condensers anymore.  By the mid-eighties, everything had at least a control box, even before full-fledge computers) and is not a compression-fired diesel (all "big truck" diesels, and pick-up truck diesels beginning with the Cummins era of pick-up trucks) have this Disadplication: vulnerable to electrical surges.  You then, as GM, decide that rather than assigning a "damage" effect, you assign the debilitation: engine stops running.

 

As for points-and-condensor engines:  It's _possible_ to drop one with a large electrical surge, but it's really, really unlikely.  Generally an "overage" of power in the ignition system is shunted to ground and nothing happens.  If you get really, _really_ luck, you can arc the points enough to stop them from moving or blow the condenser (essentially a capacitor).  newer compression-fired diesels (big trucks since the seventies; pick-ups since the Cummins era (say early 90s: close enough for a game) don't have an ignition system.  All those electrical gadgets and gee-jaws are entirely for passenger comfort.  You lose the alternator, the gauges, the lights, all that-- but the engine keeps running-- unless your truck happens to have an electric fuel pump, in which case fuel flow stops, and so does the truck.

 

Older compression-fired trucks big trucks tended to have mechanical fuel pumps; turning off the key actually moved a solenoid that closed off fuel flow (ever notice how when they shut down they always seemed to just starve out instead of turn off?  It was also the reason drivers tended to leave them running: any loss of fuel pressure behind that solenoid-controlled valve meant running the risk of loosing fuel prime every time you shut the truck off. ).   The worst thing that's going to happen to a vehicle of this type if you attempt to overload the electrics is the loss of all the instrumentation, lights, and creature comforts, with the added possibility that if you fry the ignition switch or the relay controlling the solenoid, you might not be able to turn the truck _off_ until it's out of fuel.

 

 

But man do I digress.

 

 

The ultimate upshot of this is that, while the vehicle rules as-is don't account for it, modern vehicles have a Disadplication which game characters can take advantplication of:  Vulnerable to electric overload in the ignition system.

 

 

Now go build a spear with a large capacitor, because at this point it's just a special effect.

 

 

 

Duke

 

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10 hours ago, Duke Bushido said:

There is a default Disadvantage / Complication ("Disadplication," for simplicity's sake   ;)   ) inherent to the unholy monster:  Vulnerable to Holy Ground: Xd6 per T, where T is the amount of time that passes before the beastie suffers damage yet again.

Pretty sure you meant:

  • Susceptibility:  On Consecrated Ground (1d6 per Segment, Uncommon) Total cost: 20 points

Other than that, I mostly agree with your point, though I think there should be a halfway point.  I dislike the idea of "a priest gives a blessing and boom!  Holy Ground."  What defines a priest?  What defines a blessing?  In a polytheistic fantasy world, that could get very complicated and could lead to annoyingly clever PCs declare any battleground on which they are fighting vampires blessed, which seems abusive.  Or at least would bump the Susceptibility up to a Very Common.

Personally, I handle this specific issue with a dirt-cheap Spirit Transform and that abuses two GM's option in Transforms:

Quote

1) As an option, the GM may allow the [Spirit] Transform to work against PRE instead of BODY, using PRE to represent the strength of a character’s Spirit.

2) In the case of objects that cannot be said to have “BODY” per se (such as the writing on a page), the GM can simply assign the object a BODY of 1, or rule that any use of an appropriate Transform on the object automatically succeeds.

A location can be considered a Base.  Bases have a lot of BODY, which makes Transforming them a pain in the ass, but what they don't have is a lot of PRE.  In fact they have no PRE.  Thus a GM could declare a location (Base) has 1 virtual PRE representing its spiritual quality.  Since "Consecrated" is a purely cosmetic difference with no inherent game effect, you can build the ability like so:

  • Consecrate: Cosmetic Transform 1d6 (Unconsecrated Thing into Holy Thing, Defilement); Extra Time (5 Minutes, -2 1/2), Gestures (-1/4), Incantations (-1/4), Concentration (1/2 DCV; -1/4) Total cost: 1 point

Anyone who has this power can waves his hands around making the sign of the cross or whatever, says some prayers, put in a few minutes of pomp and circumstance, and boom!  Holy Ground.  Or Water.  Or Sword.  Or whatever.  After all, essentially all objects have 0 PRE, so this ability can never fail to transform them.  Then you build all your Evil Creatures Born In The Heart Of Hell with:

  • Susceptibility: On Consecrated Ground (1d6 per Segment, Uncommon) Total cost: 20 points
  • Susceptibility: Holy Water (Instant 3d6, Uncommon) Total cost: 15 points
  • Vulnerability: Holy Weapons (2 x STUN, Uncommon) Total cost: 10 points

To get back on subject, I think a very reasonable middle ground would be to give Vehicles a Complication:

  • Physical Complication:  Electrical Discharge Causes Breakdown (Infrequently; Fully Impairing) Total: 20 points

And then to build Darkhope's harpoon gun as:

  • Harpoon Gun:  2D6 Physical RKA 2d6; 1 Charge (-2), OAF (-1) plus 1D6 Penetrating Energy RKA (+1/2); 1 Charge (-2), OAF (-1), Linked (Physical RKA, -1/4) Total cost: 12 points

Then simply define the Special Effect of the Energy RKA as "Electrical Discharge."  Then if the harpoon is used against something other than a vehicle (which would be metal as **** and entirely in-keeping with the genre), the electrical discharge actually does damage  (as it should), but isn't responsible for the heavy lift of shutting down the vehicle.

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