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Zephrosyne

Curious about an Armor Piercing optional rule

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I was wondering about the Armor Piercing optional rule in the Advanced Player's Guide 1 (pgs. 136-137).  Specifically, the option that alters the Advantage to where instead of reducing a target's defenses by half, each application of the Armor Piercing Advantage would reduce the target's defenses by a set amount of points (e.g. 5 or 8 or 10 or whatever).  If you were using the optional rule, how many points of defense would you allow to be negated by a single application of the Armor Piercing Advantage?  If your answer varies based on the power level  or genre of the campaign, please feel free to elaborate.  Thank you.

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20 minutes ago, Gnome BODY (important!) said:

Half of whatever I expected the average DEF of a villain to be, of course.  Or actually probably around half of that, since I disagree with the 6e decisions to slash the price of Armor Piercing and cripple Hardened. 

 

I both agree and disagree with the price cut to armor piercing.

 

The part of me that agrees finds it WAY to powerful against high-def opponents.  To the point that every player at my table has picked up at least 1 armor piercing attack.  That alone tells me it is too good.

 

The part of me that disagrees has mapped out a spreadsheet of with and without armor piercing damage against targets at various defense levels and finds that the math precariously hangs between 1/4 and 1/2 in terms of effectiveness.

I certainly don't want to expand on the math pain of the system by charging 1/3 or 3/8 for the advantage level.

 

It feels too strong at 1/4 and too weak at 1/2.

 

Ex:  8d6 AP vs 12d6 using old +1/2 advantage level

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

DEFENSE / 8d6 AP stun / 12d6 stun (ignoring body for this example)

DEF 10  = 23 vs. 32

DEF 15 = 20 vs. 27

DEF 20 = 18 vs 22

DEF 25 = 15 vs 17

DEF 30 = 13 vs 12  (break even point DEF 28)

DEF 35 = 10 vs 7

DEF 40 = 8 vs 2

 

It's very weak in this state.  Maybe slightly more useful for smashing down walls and bank vaults, but for hero vs. villain combat it's only going to be better against bricks and only by a small amount.

 

Ex:  9d6+1 AP vs 12d6 using new +1/4 advantage level (32.5)

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

DEFENSE / 8d6 AP stun / 12d6 stun (ignoring body for this example)

DEF 10  = 27.5 vs. 32

DEF 15 = 24.5 vs. 27

DEF 20 = 22.5 vs 22 (break even point DEF 20)  --> This is TOO early.  It makes it better in most situations and MUCH better against tanks.

DEF 25 = 19.5 vs 17

DEF 30 = 17.5 vs 12 

DEF 35 = 14.5 vs 7

DEF 40 = 12.5 vs 2

 

 

 

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31 minutes ago, ScottishFox said:

I both agree and disagree with the price cut to armor piercing.

...

It feels too strong at 1/4 and too weak at 1/2.

The reason I oppose the change is the behavior it exhibits at higher Advantage totals.  Take for example Blast 8d6 AoE 1" (+1/2) compared to Blast 6d6 AoE 1" (+1/2) AP (+1/2).  https://anydice.com/program/1729e

The parity point here is DEF 14.  Anything above that, the AP version of the power performs better. 

 

AP is weakest when it's the only Advantage applied to a power, and even then at the +1/2 pricing it's not much worse than a vanilla attack.  Mix it with any real quantity of other Advantages that don't directly impact damage and it's a no-brainer held back only by Hardened.  Dropping it to +1/4 and crippling Hardened by splitting it just made AP an auto-include on anything with other Advantages. 

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I wouldn't use this idea but I would say probably a factor of the active point limits (if any) of the campaign, like 1/10th or 1/5th, something like that.  So if you have a 60 AP limit, it cuts by 6 or 12.

 

I miss the old Piercing advantage from Champions 3 which was a straight off the top reduction of defenses by a point value.  You bought levels of piercing, so 1 level reduced the target's resistant (appropriate defense) by 1

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15 minutes ago, Christopher R Taylor said:

I wouldn't use this idea but I would say probably a factor of the active point limits (if any) of the campaign, like 1/10th or 1/5th, something like that.  So if you have a 60 AP limit, it cuts by 6 or 12.

 

I miss the old Piercing advantage from Champions 3 which was a straight off the top reduction of defenses by a point value.  You bought levels of piercing, so 1 level reduced the target's resistant (appropriate defense) by 1

 Actually, Piercing is in the Advanced Player's Guide (pg. 113) except that it is a Power not an Advantage.  Although, by the description, it seems like more of an Adder than a Power.  Although, I do think it is a bit overpriced when compared to Armor Piercing, at least as a +1/4 Advantage.

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Gnome Body, I have to admit that while I definitely prefer 6th Edition to any other Edition by far, the pricing change to Armor Piercing as well as Hardened no longer applying to Penetrating are questionable. 

Scottish Fox, that's an interesting spreadsheet.  Thank you for sharing.

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5 hours ago, Christopher R Taylor said:

 

I miss the old Piercing advantage from Champions 3 which was a straight off the top reduction of defenses by a point value.  You bought levels of piercing, so 1 level reduced the target's resistant (appropriate defense) by 1

 

Chris, you might want to check “Piercing” in the Advanced Player’s Guide 1, page 113😉.

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7 hours ago, Zephrosyne said:

 Actually, Piercing is in the Advanced Player's Guide (pg. 113) except that it is a Power not an Advantage.  Although, by the description, it seems like more of an Adder than a Power.  Although, I do think it is a bit overpriced when compared to Armor Piercing, at least as a +1/4 Advantage.

 

I read too fast and ended up skipping your comment, consequently repeating what you stated, Zephro. I apologize. 

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2 hours ago, Christopher R Taylor said:

I agree that piercing in the APG is probably too expensive for what it does.  Also, due to its very nature, its going to be most useful in low end campaigns, because knocking 10 PD off a 60 PD Grond won't really help much.

It's mostly badly priced. 

Everything other than RDEF Piercing is overpriced, but RDEF Piercing is significantly more efficient per point of BODY damage than adding dice to your KA.  The downside of RDEF Piercing is the much lower STUN yield. 

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The problem with AP is that it doesn't scale well across different power levels.  The +¼ advantage works fine if you are playing a lower level campaign, and is particularly appropriate when you want to boost the effectiveness of a handgun or a sword without adding extra DC which would be conceptually unreasonable.  But against the large defenses you find in a high level campaign AP becomes much too cost effective.

 

I can understand wanting to break up Hardened so that it isn't the catch-all defense, but given Hero's general concept that the defense should be cheaper than the attack I was surprised that it happened, especially in light of the AP repricing.

 

I don't play a lot of cosmic level campaigns, so the AP cost hasn't been a huge issue for me.  When I need a character to be tougher without having defenses that are implausibly high, I have turned to Damage Negation - usually based on the general toughness (for a character like Wolverine) or massive size.  The prevalence of Damage Negation has resulted in a corresponding increase in Negation Reduction but because they are adders instead of advantages, there is less of a scaling problem.

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16 hours ago, Christopher R Taylor said:

I wouldn't use this idea but I would say probably a factor of the active point limits (if any) of the campaign, like 1/10th or 1/5th, something like that.  So if you have a 60 AP limit, it cuts by 6 or 12.

 

I miss the old Piercing advantage from Champions 3 which was a straight off the top reduction of defenses by a point value.  You bought levels of piercing, so 1 level reduced the target's resistant (appropriate defense) by 1

 

Piercing RKA:  (Total: 5 Active Cost, 2 Real Cost) Killing Attack - Ranged 1 point (5 Active Points); Limited Power Does no damage: only counts for armor penetration (-1), -2 Decreased STUN Multiplier (-1/2), Linked (To actual damaging power; -1/2) (Real Cost: 2)

 

Following the above pattern, you can create it for any damaging power.

 

Lucius Alexander

 

House of the Palindromedary

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To the original question, what about making it like Piercing - rather than "for +1/4, knock off X defenses", make it "for +1/4, knock off 1 DEF per DC (before AP) of the attack"?  Although this is a lot like piercing.

 

As to the pricing, AP was virtually useless as a +1/2 advantage.  In a 12 DC game, a target might have 24 defenses.  A normal attack rolls 42 - 24 = 18 STUN.  An 8d6 AP attack rolls 28 - 12 = 16 STUN.  On higher defenses, AP could be useful - but the characters with high defenses typically hardened them, so AP becomes useless again.

 

At +1/4, it is viable.  Now we have 12d6 normal vs 9 1/2d6 AP (average roll 33.5) so 21.5 past those 24 defenses.  A slight advantage offset by the possibility of significantly lower (9.5) damage if the target's defenses are Hardened.

 

If we price every advantage on the basis that it may be stacked with a bunch of other advantages, no advantage will be cost-effective.  Synergies need to be evaluated separately.

 

To this example:

17 hours ago, Gnome BODY (important!) said:

The reason I oppose the change is the behavior it exhibits at higher Advantage totals.  Take for example Blast 8d6 AoE 1" (+1/2) compared to Blast 6d6 AoE 1" (+1/2) AP (+1/2).  https://anydice.com/program/1729e

The parity point here is DEF 14.  Anything above that, the AP version of the power performs better.

 

Sure.  And how hard is it, typically, to hit most average to high defense targets?  A 24 defense target will take 28 - 12 = 16 damage from that 8d6 attack (or 21 - 12 = 9 if it's Accurate instead of 1" radius, so the villain can't just grab a hostage to persuade you not to use the AoE on him, and you don't do massive property damage with every attack*).  He'll take 42-24 = 18 damage from a normal attack, and can't reduce that with hardened defenses.

 

* Great - you stopped the villain who was fleeing with the priceless painting/scientific maguffin device/ plans we need to figure out the Doom Star's weakness/Mayor he was kidnapping/Lindbergh baby/whatever - is that a win when you also did 8d6 AP to the item he was carrying?

 

The repricing of AP was a good change, IMO, not a poor one.  I do agree that the cost of advantaged defenses is excessive, although I also see the problem of "well, if it's +1/4 to prevent AP, Penetrating and Damage Negation, I should not have to pay +1/4 to only prevent AP".  Simple solution?  Suck it up - we could also remove the advantage(s) entirely.  What limitation would you allow for "extra defenses, only to reduce damage from AP attacks"?  I bet it's not -3 **

 

For 20 defenses, Hardened costs +5 points.  +20 defenses, only against AP attacks needs a -3 limitation for equal cost.

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19 minutes ago, Ockham's Spoon said:

The problem with AP is that it doesn't scale well across different power levels.  The +¼ advantage works fine if you are playing a lower level campaign, and is particularly appropriate when you want to boost the effectiveness of a handgun or a sword without adding extra DC which would be conceptually unreasonable.  But against the large defenses you find in a high level campaign AP becomes much too cost effective.

 

Let's do the math.  If DCs are doubled and typical defenses are doubled, what happens?

 

We established above that 12d6 normal and 9 1/2 DC AP will get 18 and 21.5 past 24 non-hardened defenses.

 

Let's go a bit more than double

25d6 will average 87.5 STUN - 50 defenses = 37.5 STUN past defenses, and 20d6 AP averages 70 - 25 = 45 STUN past defenses.  An extra 7.5 STUN at that power level is probably about as meaningful as 3.5 at the 12 DC level.

 

Absolute costs are really effective at higher power levels - for that 25d6 game, damage reduction starts looking really good, since the cost of shaving off a percentage of damage past defenses is static.

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6 minutes ago, Hugh Neilson said:

 

Let's do the math.  If DCs are doubled and typical defenses are doubled, what happens?

 

We established above that 12d6 normal and 9 1/2 DC AP will get 18 and 21.5 past 24 non-hardened defenses.

 

Let's go a bit more than double

25d6 will average 87.5 STUN - 50 defenses = 37.5 STUN past defenses, and 20d6 AP averages 70 - 25 = 45 STUN past defenses.  An extra 7.5 STUN at that power level is probably about as meaningful as 3.5 at the 12 DC level.

 

Well I stand corrected.  Thanks for the analysis.

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13 hours ago, Gnome BODY (important!) said:

You're missing the point by focusing on the other advantage applied to the power. 

 

I'm looking to your specific example, and the drawbacks to the suggested build.

 

8d6 AP does not stack up well against 12d6 normal damage.  Under your example, you can hit a hex, so that's a nice bonus.  Even so:

 

On 8/16/2019 at 3:10 PM, Gnome BODY (important!) said:

The reason I oppose the change is the behavior it exhibits at higher Advantage totals.  Take for example Blast 8d6 AoE 1" (+1/2) compared to Blast 6d6 AoE 1" (+1/2) AP (+1/2).  https://anydice.com/program/1729e

The parity point here is DEF 14.  Anything above that, the AP version of the power performs better.

 

I can have an 8d6 Accurate blast that will roll an average of 28 and pass an average of 4 damage through to a 24 DEF target.  If I make it 6d6 AP, I get 9 STUN past defenses to that same target, assuming he did not harden his defenses - if he did, I get nothing.

 

Now let's compare to a Blast AoE Accurate (+1/2), NND (+1; Hardened Defenses).  That's 4 1/2d6, for an average of 16 past defenses.  Pretty sweet - way better than that 6d6 AP, or even a 7d6 AP 1 Accurate blast with AP at +1/4 (average roll 24.5 - 12 = 12.5 past defenses).  Does that mean NND is under-costed too?

 

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I have a related question.  I didn't expect anyone to be old enough to remember the old piercing advantage, but since someone mentioned it, I will ask.  I can't remember how it worked in terms of points piercing = point cost.  Was it a flat point cost, or was it an advantage/adder like stuff is now where it added a fraction of the overall active points on?  I tried googling the old rules on it, but can't find them anywhere.

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Piercing was a Power

It cost 2 points per 1 normal defense; 3 points per 1 resistant defense, power defense, and ego defense; 5 points per 1 flash defense

It cost END and hardened defenses stopped piercing

 

The cost was too high but the way I used it the price didn't matter; it was a variant on enchantments for weapons in Fantasy Hero.  A sword with 3 points of piercing is pretty impressive when you generally don't see any rPD over 8.

 

EDIT: I should modify that.  The price was too high for most Champions games, but maybe even too low for heroic level games.

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2 hours ago, Hugh Neilson said:

I don't recall the exact cost but it was a flat cost to reduce defenses by 1.

Dug out the book:

 

Quote

Piercing costs 2 points per 1 point of normal defense Pierced, 3 per 1 point of Resistant Defense, Power Defense, or Ego Defense Pierced and 5 points per 1 point of Flash Defense Pierced.

So it would get a bit more complicated today with resistant power and ego defense, but something similar to what Lucius built could emulate it pretty easily. 

 

- E

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30 minutes ago, Christopher R Taylor said:

Champions III was super innovative, it introduced shapeshifting, duplication, suppress, detection, damage reduction, healing , transform, and multiform into the game.  Also, it adapted the long-term drain "Destruction" power from Fantasy Hero into Champions.

 

I miss 4th edition.  Perfect balance of crunch and playability. If Hero Designer had a 4th edition option I'd be using that rule set now.

 

Separating Transfer into a linked Aid and Drain just took a power that was intuitively understood and turned it into several lines of crunch.

 

The fact that Grab has SIX pages and change and the equivalent maneuver in D&D's 5th edition player handbook is less than a single page is very telling.

 

The champions 4th edition hardcover was both visually great and a good balance between too many and too few rules.

 

I feel old and nostalgic.  😐

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