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dsatow

Attacking for presence attack

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I was just thinking (damn silicon valley traffic!), it's a common ploy of hero to demoralize thugs and witless minions by fire an attack which simply trims a few hairs off their head.  This is more than just using a obviously dangerous power to make a point.  It shows the hero can easily kill the thug or witless minion easily.  To me, the most immediate way to resolve this is to roll to hit the thug but purposely miss.  The player would roll to hit, for every 2 they exceed what they needed to hit by, they would get +1d6 to their presence attack (for a maximum of +7d6 if they had a 17- to hit and rolled a 3).  This bonus would be on top of the amount from using one's powers in an aggressive manner towards the thug which is a +1d6 - +3d6 bonus.

 

What do you think?

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Since such a PRE attack would affect all the opponents that perceived it, that rule would make PRE attacks too effective as a whole.

 

You'd need rules for single targets and also rules for what level of power disparity had to exist so heroes and villains didn't frighten their way to victory. Lightning Reflexes and OCV for the win!

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1 hour ago, Grailknight said:

Since such a PRE attack would affect all the opponents that perceived it, that rule would make PRE attacks too effective as a whole.

 

You'd need rules for single targets and also rules for what level of power disparity had to exist so heroes and villains didn't frighten their way to victory. Lightning Reflexes and OCV for the win!

 

The pre attack would only be against the targeted person, though a general pre attack might affect every one there.  You are right, this should only be against lower level targets.  Hrmmm.  Maybe just a straight bonus to the pre attack.  So if you hit by 5, that target would get your based Pre attack rolled +10.  Would that be too much?  I don't know about you guys, but my least impressive supers usually have a 15-20 PRE with the major villains up in the 30s or higher.

 

56 minutes ago, Duke Bushido said:

Honestly, for thirty years now, I have assumed that this was the definition of the "violent action" bonus. 

 

Actually, in my gaming circles, we usually define a violent action as any major effect, whether targeting a specific mook or not.  So, breaking through a wall would be a violent action and just firing at the mook would also count but was seldom used except maybe after the fact.

 

The idea you see a lot in anime/manga and frequently in comics is the one of a swordsman or gunman who cuts the hair of the target, totally demoralizing them.  This would be useful in a hostage situation or when fighting an obviously underclassed villain you rather not accidentally kill.  In game terms, the player is effectively turning a 0 phase action into an attack action for some benefit.

 

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Sure; I totally get where you're coming from.  It's simply that the variable bonus for "violent action" always, to me, seemed suitable to cover what you're suggesting: demonstrating clear and violent danger-- and ability to easily kill or injure your opponent was just on the high end.

 

Again-- to me.

 

 

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Hmm.  Always wondered about the 'violent' action bonus: a minion might think melting a bus with an energy blast is terrifying, a super villain might just think it is a challenge.

 

How about this:

 

Make an attack but do not actually apply damage.  No need to roll to hit.  For every 10 points of stun (or part thereof) and 1 point of Body that WOULD have got through defences, you get +1d6 on your PRE attack.  If NO damage would have got through defences, the target is unimpressed and you take a -2d6 penalty on the PRE attack.

 

That sort of addresses another issue I have with PRE attacks: there take no time and there really is no downside to using them.  This way you have to waste an attack, in effect.  Well, not waste exactly, but certainly forfeit causing actual damage.

 

It also allows you to apply different bonuses to different opponents with the same action. 

 

 

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27 minutes ago, Sean Waters said:

Hmm.  Always wondered about the 'violent' action bonus: a minion might think melting a bus with an energy blast is terrifying, a super villain might just think it is a challenge.

 

As above, for thirty years, I have thought that this was why more powerful characters had higher PRE and builds such as Presence Defense ("+ X Presence, only for defending against Presence Attacks" is just so cumbersome to type and to say, and it turns out that "PreD"  or "FD" fits right into the characteristics block, so....). 

 

 

 

27 minutes ago, Sean Waters said:

 

That sort of addresses another issue I have with PRE attacks: there take no time and there really is no downside to using them. 

 

You can house rule that they take an attack action.  My first GM did that, until we stopped using them to cow opponents and instead used that attack action to unload laser vision, heat rays, and a few grenades on the opponents instead-- which, by the way, cowed them equally as well, and sometimes for days at a time.  ;)

 

I have a co-GM that also runs his own campaign with another group (that I Wish I had time in which to do more that just put in a periodic "guest appearance"), and he rules that they take a half-phase, but not necessarily an attack action. 

 

More to the point: if you want them to take some bit of the available charted combat time,  you can still use the existing mechanic; just change the "takes no time" bit.  If you want them to go away all together, rule that they use an attack action.  Actually, that _can_ result in crazy-high-value presence attacks as well, for those players wishing to "get their money's worth" out of an attack action but not necessarily open with lethal force. 

 

YMMV

 

 

 

 

27 minutes ago, Sean Waters said:

It also allows you to apply different bonuses with the same action

 

 

It really seems to me that it's just the reverse way of doing the same thing: traditional builds where "been there; done that" powerful characters have higher PRE and Presence-defending builds and mere mortals are intimately acquainted with their paper-like durability yields the same effect.  And don't forget that Reputation, on either side, affects the outcome not just because of who one or more of the characters are, but because of who knows what about the character and who or what the character is reputed to be. 

 

And I get the feeling I am the only GM who has allowed one person or a small portion of a group to be targeted by a PRE Attack.  There is nothing in the rules (at least, not in any of the editions I pull from) that mandates everyone within eyeshot is affected.  What happened to the blaise New Yorker?  

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Slightly off-topic:

 

I've always felt that there should be an equal bonus for receiving a violent action (assuming you can shrug it off).  If the enemy lobs a grenade at you, and you swallow it and burp, that's imPREssive.  If the enemy mooks unload a hundred rounds of machine gun fire at you, and you're reduced to an unidentifiable bloody mess on the floor, and then the next phase you regenerate, and your parts fuse back together and you stand up and smile - that's imPREssive.  These should also be worth bonuses to a PRE Attack.

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1 hour ago, PhilFleischmann said:

Slightly off-topic:

 

I've always felt that there should be an equal bonus for receiving a violent action (assuming you can shrug it off).  If the enemy lobs a grenade at you, and you swallow it and burp, that's imPREssive.  If the enemy mooks unload a hundred rounds of machine gun fire at you, and you're reduced to an unidentifiable bloody mess on the floor, and then the next phase you regenerate, and your parts fuse back together and you stand up and smile - that's imPREssive.  These should also be worth bonuses to a PRE Attack.

 

Agreed.

 

However, I think that familiarity breeds contempt: if you are used to seeing someone bounce tank shells off their chest or crush a medium size family car to a 1m cube by main strength, you will be less impressed that if you are seeing it for the first time.  You'll be less impressed if you can do that, or something similar, yourself.

 

Duke makes the point that is what differing levels of PRE are for, and I can see that, but, at the same time can see a character that would be seriously swayed by, say, Unearthly Beauty, being largely unmoved by Unholy Violence.  I can see a Normal and a Super both jumping at a sudden noise in a haunted house.  

 

To me, you are only going to be MORE imPREssed (to borrow your witty typesetting) by a violent action if it is actually a threat to you.  I mean, a Normal decides to PRE attack a Maelstrom (from the rule book) as a complete Hail Mary.  They snap off a chair leg, use it to smash a computer monitor and roar defiance.  It is a violent action, but is it really going to add 2 dice to their PRE attack against Maelstrom?  I'm thinking not.  Maelstrom has 15 PRE, so the extra dice could make a big difference, but the only way that PRE attack is actually going to slow him down is if he has to catch his breath from laughing too much.

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6 hours ago, PhilFleischmann said:

Slightly off-topic:

 

I've always felt that there should be an equal bonus for receiving a violent action (assuming you can shrug it off).  If the enemy lobs a grenade at you, and you swallow it and burp, that's imPREssive.  If the enemy mooks unload a hundred rounds of machine gun fire at you, and you're reduced to an unidentifiable bloody mess on the floor, and then the next phase you regenerate, and your parts fuse back together and you stand up and smile - that's imPREssive.  These should also be worth bonuses to a PRE Attack.

 

 

I get the feeling,  based on what I've read in this thread thus far, that I've always been way too open, because I have always allowed the target to soak an attack completely unphased to be a PRE Attack in its own right, or a modifier to one the target makes in the next phase:

 

You unload your entire magazine into the berzerker' s kidneys; bullet's glance of, whizzing away in every direction.  He turns to look at you, serious annoyance on his face.  "I'm sorry; did you say something?". The he turns to you and raises the chunk of Oldsmobile he's been using for a club... "

 

When it becomes a 'you _know_ you're outclassed and screwed' situation, yep.  That modifies a presence attack right there.... 

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I've always felt that Presence Attacks should require something imPREssive to even attempt. 

Color Item walking in the front door and yelling "Freeze!"?  Nobody's going to!  No PRE Attack opportunity. 

Bat-Dude crashing through the skylight?  Sure, that'll spook the thugs but Laugho isn't impressed.  Roll against the thugs only. 

Superb Man triumphantly hurling the shattered remains of the Prank-Bot at Laugho?  That oughta impress him.  Roll against all the foes. 

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I believe there already are rules that reduce the effectiveness of repeated PRE attacks.  You can't just keep smashing things and expect the target to be equally stunned each time.

 

And presence attacks need to be available even without "violent action" - it's sometimes a function of the character's leadership and inherent impressiveness.  Like if Captain Patriot is trying to calm down a rioting mob of civilians.

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Unless the rules have changed, they _are_ available without violent action.  Violent action provides a _modifier_ to the presence attack.  Reputation can provide a modifier.  A soliloquy can provide a modifier.  Related use of presence attack provides a modifier.  Familiarity with the opponent provides a modifier in my games, but I don't think that's ever been officially stated anywhere.   

 

Still, it's like reputation: 

 

I _know_ Captain Clockwork, and he just can't bring himself to throw that cargo truck at us.  It's too much risk, and he won't do it. 

 

I mean, this has been a fun conversation, but for my money, unless you want to change the "takes no time" element of the mechanic, everything proposed thus far is already covered. :)

 

 

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3 hours ago, PhilFleischmann said:

And presence attacks need to be available even without "violent action" - it's sometimes a function of the character's leadership and inherent impressiveness.  Like if Captain Patriot is trying to calm down a rioting mob of civilians.

Shouldn't that be going through the social system? 

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3 hours ago, Duke Bushido said:

I mean, this has been a fun conversation, but for my money, unless you want to change the "takes no time" element of the mechanic, everything proposed thus far is already covered. :)

 

Well, that is what I think this forum should be used for, interesting rules discussions with points and counter points.  That and maybe recipe arguments ;)

 

22 hours ago, Sean Waters said:

How about this:

 

Make an attack but do not actually apply damage.  No need to roll to hit.  For every 10 points of stun (or part thereof) and 1 point of Body that WOULD have got through defenses, you get +1d6 on your PRE attack.  If NO damage would have got through defenses, the target is unimpressed and you take a -2d6 penalty on the PRE attack.

 

That sort of addresses another issue I have with PRE attacks: they take no time and there really is no downside to using them.  This way you have to waste an attack, in effect.  Well, not waste exactly, but certainly forfeit causing actual damage.

 

It also allows you to apply different bonuses to different opponents with the same action. 

 

This is interesting, but a lucky roll might be overly impressive and the extra damage roll might slow the game (especially with players who have a hard time counting pips or in games where large amounts of dice are thrown).  Maybe using average stun and body for the attack and using the total body or total stun/10 past defenses (whichever is higher) for the bonus dice.  This would replace the +1d6 to +3d6 for violent action which I always thought was a little too small of a range of bonus dice for presence.

 

BTW: for everyone replying to this thread, THANKS!  The conversation has given me a lot to think about.

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9 minutes ago, Sean Waters said:

I don't like the PRE attack mechanic: it is like an AOE Instant specific command Mind Control that costs no END.  I genuinely feel that it is more of a GM call than an important mechanic.

 

It should either be scrapped or SERIOUSLY developed.

I've said this before and I'll say it again.  HERO needs to develop a social system. 

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23 minutes ago, dsatow said:

 

Well, that is what I think this forum should be used for, interesting rules discussions with points and counter points.  That and maybe recipe arguments ;)

 

 

This is interesting, but a lucky roll might be overly impressive and the extra damage roll might slow the game (especially with players who have a hard time counting pips or in games where large amounts of dice are thrown).  Maybe using average stun and body for the attack and using the total body or total stun/10 past defenses (whichever is higher) for the bonus dice.  This would replace the +1d6 to +3d6 for violent action which I always thought was a little too small of a range of bonus dice for presence.

 

BTW: for everyone replying to this thread, THANKS!  The conversation has given me a lot to think about.

 

Yes, true, but I would argue that if PRE is anything is is psychological.  I'm happy with a lucky 'overly impressive' roll.  Sometimes you panic.   You would not normally, you do not know why this time is different, but something is.

 

I find myself arguing against me. Ha. 

 

OK, here is my problem with PRE attacks: generally I do not like the idea.

 

We were playing DnD once, Slave Pits Of The Undercity, IIRC, S1? and the party had a run of great luck. Three or four criticals in a row and even the non-criticals caused serious damage.

 

The DM decided that the defending orcs became terrified and fled, abandoning their posts and making the first bit easy.

 

THAT seemed like a decent use presence: sometimes it all just works out and you ride the wave.  Being able to decide when the waves arrive just seems wrong.  Hmm.  Not even that: you do a good enough  job of set-up, fine, if the plan works it is all far easier than it would have been.  However, the idea that a character, even a superheroic character, can just turn up an demand surrender - and get it - seems distressing and wrong.

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