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iamthedave

Aberrant RPG - Poison

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The poison power bugs me.

The idea of being able to kill someone by creating some sort of deadly poison seems to be what this thing is there for; it's a non-combat combat power (onset time for poison effects). The problem I see is that under its rules you need 3 successes per lethal damage. To get 7L, that means you need a minimum of 16 successes (assuming quantum 5 so 5 automatic successes).

I don't really see this as an anti-nova power; but it's not even much use against baselines. It only seems really good if you aim for stun attack damage. Or am I missing something?

Anyone else tweaked or had fun with the Poison power?

I'm not really complaining about it not being broken, it's just I think of stuff like snake toxins - some of which are close to 99% likely to kill you without antidote - and I can't see a way to reflect that in the poison power without making the Nova STUPIDLY overpowered (seems a bit overkill to go to quantum 5 to get your poison doing something, might as well just get quantum bolt).

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The key is to use it for diseases, better still Poison+Area. If you want to destroy a country's ecology, you can.

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Also, poison is supposed to be a more subtle attack. Sure, you can load up your quantum sacs with a hit of 'distilled lovechild of King Cobra and Portuguese man-o-war', but remember that even deadly venoms tend to take time to kill, especially a man-sized target. That'd be represented by them doing Bashing damage-over-time. 3 health levels isn't great, no. 3 health levels per 3 second turn means that most human beings will be dead or dying in 10-12 seconds. Remember also that it takes a nova with Adaptability, Health or really high Mega-Stamina to just shrug off the Poison power, at ST's discretion. The direct-damage effect bypasses most forms of soak.

For me, the Poison power comes into its own when it's used with subtlety. There's more than just damage you can do with it. An insidious hallucinogenic, a nasty disease as Courier suggests, some sodium pentathol to get people talking. You can poison, disease OR drug people with this power. Get a Range or Area extra with it for that Plaguebearer motif. Quite frankly, it's awesome.

On the other hand, if you want a 'death touch' sort of power, just go for Disintegrate, make it touch range only, and do huge amounts of Aggs to everyone in reach.

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Does poison deal damage over time though? All the power says is that it has an onset time. It says nothing about recurring health level loss.

It bugs me that it's extremely hard for a quantum 5 Nova to outdo a venomous snake or a box jellyfish. Hardly very godlike, or world-shaking, which is the sort of power you're meant to be wielding at quantum 5.

Maybe the burning extra? 0_o

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Um... Don't you roll Stamina/M-Stamina + Poison, then add Quantum as auto succs? Seems to me that you could get quite a nasty result with Q2 or 3, and normal soak rules don't apply.

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I've always used the power as a 'pick your poison' type of effect, either the power always infects the same disease or toxin (typhoid mary) or you choose on the attempt (Mr. Horseman, the man himself...Pestilence!!)

Then upon success, the victim was subject to the RL (or IG if a made up disease) symptoms and effects, just like they had otherwise contracted, injested or been injected with it.

With subtle use, this power can have a significant impact on a game, especially if it is something contagious...imagine an ebola outbreak at LAX or O'Hare.

Yes the power as written is completely FUBAR, but with a little common sense it becomes the most under utilized IMO.

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Actually, I'd have to agree with Ravi and Courier and Forge. Look at it from the subtle, disease perspective. 5 auto successes from Quantum automatically at minimum makes a disease exponentially more deadly and virulent than Ebola fever, or anything in normal human history. Even constraining the potency can serve great purposes. Look at Tarik from the Teragen, he holds power figures in the Middle East hostage to his will by infecting them with HIV/AIDS, which is stigmatized as a sign of uncleanliness and being cursed, or something like that.

Poison is a subtle weapon. Don't think of it as a raging firestorm, think of it as the snakes, which use stealth and cunning to do their work, eh?

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It's not called 'Disease' though, is it? It's called Poison. I'm not in any way complaining about the disease part of the power; it's brutal.

The poison bit of the POISON power, though, seems somewhat lacking.

Quote:
Um... Don't you roll Stamina/M-Stamina + Poison, then add Quantum as auto succs? Seems to me that you could get quite a nasty result with Q2 or 3, and normal soak rules don't apply.

The problem comes in because it costs 3 successes for 1 level of Lethal damage, and 2 per level of bashing damage.

So, to deal 5 lethal damage, you need a minimum of 15 successes. To get those you'd be looking at sinking... 30+ NP into the power? Which seems a bit... expensive, especially if you don't intend to use the disease part of the power.

You'd be able to knock someone out mega easy because stun damage is per success, and bashing damage isn't so brutal, so you could hospitalize someone pretty easily.

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Then rewrite it to your liking. You won't find much discussion with someone trying to defend Abby, we mostly know much of it is very broken, which is why we just adapt it to our liking and roll with it.

Most of us are experienced roleplayers and have learned to deal with stupid rules over the years by simply ignoring them or making them make sense.

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Poison is expressly not built for combat. So let's look at it out of combat.

You're at a party, You poison someone with a net 6 sux doing 2 lethal levels. Then you do it again. And again. And again.

Then you walk away.

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I guess for me as an ST it would depend on the poison. Some poisons you take a dose and bam that's it, it does the damage it's going to do then it's over. Others, cause your flesh to necrotize, or your organs to disolve over time. Nasty nasty stuff. Not all of them are very fast, but they are seriously harsh. For something like a spider bite that causes your flesh to rot away over time, I'd have it apply damage each day until treated or until the victim was dead. Same would be true of some of the other nasty poisons, but at a faster rate. Others, would be a simple hit and done, all depending on what poison was being used.

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I'm not sure we have treatments for some of those poisons. The healing power I guess, even if it can't negate the poison it could cure the damage as it was being inflicted.

But the key thing to remember about the poison power is it's subtle when it's inflicted.

The other key thing is poison can be a theme as much as a power. If you want a "kill now" power, then buy q-bolt(lethal)+sustained and make it no range. Baselines don't soak lethal damage.

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That's a very good point Courier, one that is often overlooked. You can define the special effects of a power however you want (within ST approval). Qblot or Disentegrate defined as poison. Q-Construct of snakes or spiders delivering the bite. Heck even Mental blast being defined as a powerful neuro-toxin, the possibilities are numerous. Heh, even Dominate defined as the Hatiatian Zombie drug.

Thinking about it makes me wish I'd joined in Carver's evil game. That would be one hell of a fun theme for a bad guy type.

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Yeah, I'm an experienced roleplayer as well. It's just I have this weird idea as a Storyteller that whatever I want to do, I should do it by the rules, I think because when I've been a player I never liked the idea that the storyteller was handwaving and just making things happen.

But as a storyteller... that's often the best way to do things laugh

I've never been a rules lawyer, I just have this odd relationship with rules systems and the desire to make my desires come true by using them as best I can.

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Well given the vagueness of the power description, that gives you some comfort room on how to view the power. You can define it as you see fit (with agreement from your players) and be comfortable with it.

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I try not to handwave unless I had warned the players beforehand that I probably would. Most discussions about powers or 'ill-defined' rules are done over the first couple sessions or hashed out in PMs (for cases here) so that everyone is on the same page.

I have been guilty myself of being a 'rules lawyer' on occasion, and was really, really bad when I was younger. It was not uncommon for me to argue something just about every session of every game I was in as I tried to be a twinker-mary sue-man of awesome.

It is an unfortunate by-product of poorly written rules systems (like Abby) that requires lots and lots and lots of discussion beforehand to avoid running into issues like the oddness of Poison or the pure stupidity of weaknesses and strengths and Mastery.

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Mastery is designed to be broken (and banned by ST's who don't want pint sized Divis Mals running around).

Weaknesses and Strengths are in a class by themselves in that I don't get the feeling they were supposed to be what they are.

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Originally Posted By: Courier
Mastery is designed to be broken (and banned by ST's who don't want pint sized Divis Mals running around).


Intentional stupid is still stupid.

Quote:
Weaknesses and Strengths are in a class by themselves in that I don't get the feeling they were supposed to be what they are.


I agree. I'm pretty sure I know where they were going with it, but it is a far cry from the Extras & Flaws of M&M type-thing that they seemed to be shooting for in concept. A lack of guidance, concrete rules or just plain common sense makes them the printed nightmare of any Abby ST and the lotion bottle for any l33t g4m3r.

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I've heard lots of hate on the Mastery rules on the board laugh

I was wondering what it was all about? Why do you think they're so bad?

I mean, they're overpowered, but that's the point isn't it? It's 'that mechanic we used for Caestus Pax and Divis Mal'? (I'm pretty sure they said Pax had city-wide effects)

I just found it odd that it was in the player's guide when almost any storyteller will say 'NO'. As in fact I've had to to one player who started out with 5 in a level 3 power.

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They are overpowered, to the point of being broken. Simply put, in the two campaigns I've allowed Mastery into (long-running, stable games to that point), they died not long after Mastery was added. It became so hard to challenge the PCs without making everyone they went up against have Mastery too that it became boring. Even my meta-plots became easily solved with an applicaton of powers, and I wasn't using tiny weenie plots either. When a power becomes an automatic 'win-button' then it's a problem in my book, and Mastery tends to be a big, fat win button.

Just because something is in a book (particularly in a WW book) does not make it sacred. It doesn't mean that it has to be in a game. I'm pretty sure that WW put the "if you don't like it as an ST, don't do it clause" in every one of their books. They put that in there so that people would feel free to create the game they wanted, with or without aspects of the system. So if something in the book sucks or is fine but doesn't work for your game, then it's not allowed. I've had players throw the "but it's in the book at me". I always reply with, "I'm the ST and not in this game."

All that said, if that's what you want as an ST, go for it and enjoy!

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BUT IT'S BY THE BOOK!

I've got Rights as US Citizen, you can't take away my intellectual property by disallowing certain rules!

Oh wait...

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Rules Lawyer Twinks of the world, unite against the tyranny of the Mastery-haters! You have nothing to lose save your self-resp...

You have nothing to lose!

That said, I have been guilty of allowing Mastery into a TT Abby game, with the same results Dawn had - the game kind of fizzled out - though I had hilarious (for me) fun with the occasional Botch.

We ended up revamping the Mastery rules somewhat. I forget the details of some of the changes, but the big ones was Mastery 1 was only available at Q8, and 2 at Q10. There was no Mastery 3.

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Divis/Pax's largest challenge is dealing with their own flaws and how they interfere with their plans.

With that exception (which most players don't saddle themselves with) darn little can challenge a mastery level nova short of another mastery level nova.

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Wouldn't it largely depend on the power?

I mean, mastered quantum bolt is still going to be piss-all use against a mega-manipulative mind controller.

Wasn't that basically the entire reason for Maxwell Lord's existence?

I do have a couple of NPCs with mastery, and in fairness I have drastically weakened it. In most cases just going for larger dice pools, and reducing the area business.

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I think the only power I've used it on was Warp and that was because I wanted the character to be able to reach the Andromeda galaxy. wink

I have to agree with what the others have said above. When you get to the power level where characters are adding mastery, it becomes extremely difficult to give them challenges. At that point it's really about telling big ol' epic stories, because if you are worrying about rolls then the game is pretty much doomed. Same applies to pretty much any of the Q6+ stuff in the Players guide. I see that stuff not so much as rules to play by, but rather, here's what you are capable of at this power level and how it works.

I could see myself using these rules and playing a game at that level, but only with select players like my old table top gaming group, but even then I don't think the game would last long. It would just be too hard to challenge them.

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Powers rarely bother me, no matter the level. Just throw a challenge at them the dice won't solve.

Sure you've got mastered flight. Let's see you use that to solve your romantic issue or the person who's kidnapped your girlfriend and is holding her at an undisclosed location laugh

The only ones which would scare me would be the very flexible powers like Shapeshift or an Elementary Mastery, which you can use to solve almost any problem.

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Originally Posted By: Ravi FitzCoventry
I've heard that Claws is a very versatile power too... firedevil


*cough*broken*cough*

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Originally Posted By: iamthedave
Mastered, Armour piercing, ranged claws for the win?

Dude, any time you put 'Mastered' on something, you've just made it a 'win'. If you want something that's actually reasonable and still pretty hot, AP and Aggro are painful.

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To be honest, Aggrevated claws would probably be far more broken than mastered claws.

Mastered you just get double the damage

Aggravated CAN'T BE SOAKED.

I hate aggravated damage. I banned it from my game outright.

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Originally Posted By: iamthedave
To be honest, Aggrevated claws would probably be far more broken than mastered claws.

Mastered you just get double the damage

Aggravated CAN'T BE SOAKED.

I hate aggravated damage. I banned it from my game outright.

That is not true. Aggro can be soaked with 3 NP (or 5 xp). The Hardbody Enhancement lets you treat Aggro like Lethal.

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Agg Claws is a lot weaker than our intuition says (even without the errata nerfing it).

Claws does two things.

1) It does an die of damage per dot which stacks with str.

2) It converts strength damage to lethal damage.

Agg/ranged/area/burning would affect only the extra die of damage in #1.

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Oh it was errated?

I also figured that it would work with mega strength as well. So how do aggravated claws work?

Even so, mastered claws isn't THAT nasty. Sure it hits hard, but a Str 1 character with mastered claws 5 is still only doing... 11D10L?

Only gets brutal with mega strength on top.

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Claws converts your close combat damage (punches and kicks etc) into Lethal damage, as well as adding a die of damage per rank in Claws.

With the Agg extra, that converts to Aggravated damage.

I've seen the web-based errata that seems to be lifted from the APG, stating that Agg. Claws do damage as Courier suggested.

I own two solid copies as well as a few digital copies of the APG, though, and haven't seen that Claws rule in them. Looks like someone tried to retro-edit to stop a 'game-breaking' power, which considering the game is Aberrant, and has more game-breaking possibilities than 1st Ed Shadowrun AND Rifts, is kind of laughable.

Dawn's right - if you wet your diapers over someone running around with mega-str and agg claws, just get Hardbody, or Impervious for a defensive power. With those two (cheap) options out there making Aggs less of a threat, to nerf an aggravated damage power further is to neutralise the value of the points put into them.

Or, y'know, just be someone that doesn't get involved with all that crude *snikt-bub* stuff.

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