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Aberrant RPG - Mental Blast vs Quantum Bolt


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I've been doing some thinking on this since the discussion on the chat earlier this evening, on whether or not the damage done by Mental Blast can be soaked normally with Stamina/Mega-Stamina and the various enhancements.

I cannot find any reference that says Mental Damage cannot be soaked normally, except that Psychic Shield specifically references Mental Blast as something it could protect against. However, at a paltry 2 extra soak, this seems fairly insignificant in the grand scheme of things like Armor. There is nothing in Armor's description, likewise, that states it cannot soak damage.

Soaking, and damage, seems to simply fall into generic categories and the rules don't get any more specific than bashing vs lethal vs aggravated.


Let's examine Quantum Bolt. It's a Level 2 power that requires a Quantum of ONE. For this power, assuming you have 4 dots in it and dexterity, with 2 dots of Mega Dexterity to add to your roll. At HIGHEST possible success rate, you will do 12 dice (all hit dice and 2 mega dice succeed but do not roll tens) + 16 dice (power rating X 4 for bashing) + 3 [Quantum X 3]. Assuming all of those dice succeed, that's 29 levels of Bashing Damage.

Let's put this into perspective.

Mental Blast is also a Level 2 power, but with a Quantum minimum of THREE. You do Intelligence+Mental Blast dice levels of damage against a RESISTED Willpower Roll. Using the same stats (Intelligence & Mental Blast of 4 each, plus two Mega Intelligence dice), you're going to do a maximum of 12 levels of Bashing Damage, NOT including whatever successes the opposed Willpower roll took off.

Are you honestly going to tell me that you can now soak this with Stamina/Mega-Stamina?

Compare again with identical die pools:

Q-Bolt (quantum 1): 29 possible levels of damage

M-Blast (quantum 3): 12 possible levels of damage.

This power only makes sense if the only "soak" you get is off the Willpower resisted roll, and the only other defense you have Psychic Shield or an Invulnerability: Mental. There's no point in having it otherwise. For example, I could take Quantum Bolt, define it as a mental scrambler, and do two-times-plus the damage of a power with a Quantum requirement two higher.

The question came up of whether Hardbody can prevent an Aggravated Mental Blast. Again, there's nothing in Hardbody that says "this only works against physical attacks," nonetheless, if you don't get any soak except your Willpower, how does this work, exactly? Hardbody doesn't change aggravated damage into Lethal damage, it only allows you to use your Lethal soak against Aggravated. Since you don't get a Lethal soak against this attack, Hardbody becomes useless. You'd need Invulnerability, or a related defense against a psychic attack.

Is there is some reference in the texts that defines this problem better? If so, I couldn't find it. Our groups have always played that Mental Blast couldn't be soaked normally except by Psychic Shield or Mental Invulnerability, I was actually shocked to hear this questioned earlier.

You cannot even use the "Theme" rationale for buying Mental Blast if it can be soaked normally. Again, you can buy Quantum Bolt and simply define it as a mental attack for theme, and take advantage of far greater damage potential.


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I'm still confused.

1)I thought that having the Hardbody enhancement would allow your normally ineffective defenses to be effective.

Thus, if an attack is mental, Psychic shield would become effective again.

If the attack was energy in nature, Absorption(energy) would work again.

I did not think that it would allow one type of defense (energy/physical) work for another(psychic).

If you have Hardbody, but no mental defenses, you are out of luck.

2)Would making Mental Blast Aggravated dis-allow the willpower resistance roll? I don't think so, as it is a Health level effect, not a soak roll. But, it says that Psychic shield adds to resistance rolls, and soak(???).

So, does that mean that making it aggravated has no effect on Psychic Shield, as it "adds to resisitance rolls"? OR, does making it aggravated totally negate the resistance roll?

3)One of the benefits of Mental Blast is that it "always" hits. Q-Bolt doesn't have that. The target gets to dodge, then gets a soak.

Disintegrate has that same advantage. It always hits.

4)Reading pg.253-4 on Aggravated damage it states that "aggravated damage may not be soaked except by novas with the Hardbody Enhancement or other similar powers." What does that mean?

Does making a power aggravated change how it can be soaked?

5)Could the Poison power get the aggravated extra? After all, the attack could do bashing, or lethal damage.

Would you have to have Adaptability and Hardbody to soak it?

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This brings up a number of misunderstood points.

1) Psi-Shield gives two auto-willpower succ against psionic attacks AND it also gives two soak.

2) Aggravated attacks ignore SOAK, not defenses.

3) Hardbody allows your SOAK to work against Agg.

Thus, Mental Blast + Agg does NOT ignore willpower succ, however the damage done is Aggravated, not bashing, and it does [Q]+succ, not succ.

If you have Psi-Shield and are attacked by M-Blast+Agg, you STILL get your willpower & willpower autosucc, however your SOAK is ignored.

If you have Psi-Shield AND Hardbody, you get both your willpower autosucc AND your soak.

RE: Poison + Agg

Yes, you could make it Agg. Poison is normally only soakable from adapt, so this would only be soaked by Hardbody + Adapt.

However, poison in its damaging form is a resisted roll, so everyone would still get their resistence roll. Health would work normally, presumably by reducing the damage by 1 for every level of Mega-Stamina.

Also, this would be doing damage at something like one health level every hour (at most). Poison is slow and has a range of touch.

RE: Disintegrate & always hitting.

I'm unsure about this. I see where you get it, but as a dex based attack it should be dodgeable from the standard rules for dex based attacks. I don't think q-bolt says it is dodgeable anywhere but we just assume it is. Normally I put Disintegrate down to poor writing, but I do see where this interpretation comes from.

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If you add Impervious extra to powers they can soak aggravated, or rather, can soak it as they would lethal.

Also, the resisted roll for Mental Blast takes place regardless of whether or not it is aggravated. It does health levels of effect for successes over the resisted roll, whatever the damage actually is.

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You could always buy Invulnerability: The Stuff That Psychic Shield Protects from. Same rough cost for same net benefit, and it handles aggravated damage no matter which way you slice it. smile

You could make a case from that that Psychic Shield does as well.

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INV: Mental already exists, it gives 6 auto succ for willpower rolls.

Psychic Shield works half as well against MB+AGG than it does against normal MB.

RE: Q-Bolt defined as "Mental Attack".

I'd rule that for this q-bolt you have to define it as, also, either physical or energy. Thus it could be soaked from "raw" physical or energy soak. It is quite possible that INV:Mental and/or Psychie shield would ALSO provide soak.

Although this seems unfair to the q-bolter, keep in mind that this q-bolt is immune to "elemental" manipulation.

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Aggravated damage -

From what I have read in this and previous WW games, Aggravated damage represents damage that is does crippling damage and cannot be healed by normal or even Mega-Stamina Regeneration means. Aggravated damage may not be enough to kill you, however you are not able to recover from the damage. Example: Acid that burns your hand off..."Oh...That's gotta hurt!"

Mental Blast -

I understand that this is mental energy and another aspect of using this power is that it is invisible. Unless you are a Nova or have detection devices you would not register that an attack is occuring. "How do you know that you were being mentally attacked by that man?" "He was staring at me and my head started to hurt, and then my nose started to bleed, just before I passed out."

Willpower should always work, except when someone uses something to bypass it or reduce it such as Disrupt.

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Novas, even without mega-stamina, heal Aggravated damage (core rules).

Regen is tripple cost (see APG).

If you lose a limb (very possible with Agg), you now have more problems. Regen takes much longer, "Heal" is instant but takes willpower, I'm not sure if normal novas heal this sort of thing (I'd guess yes, but very slowly).

Willpower can't be disrupted (or Vampired either).

Whether or not M-Blast would be invisible is an ST call.

1) Considering most novas are easily addentified as such, it often wouldn't be tough to figure out who.

2) I would say that if you are being attacked by one, you know it.

3) Perhaps as much as any nova power...

4) ...or it just might be invisible.


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My bad. Didn't have my books with me (and those rules are in a PDF).

Disorient - once the dice pool is less than half, it is no longer effective. Willpower dice is a pool, so it should work to reduce that pool till the pool is ineffective.

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Originally posted by Jager:

3)One of the benefits of Mental Blast is that it "always" hits. Q-Bolt doesn't have that. The target gets to dodge, then gets a soak.
Disintegrate has that same advantage. It always hits.
Seems like I read the "always" hits some place (since that makes sense, how do you dodge thought), but can't seem to find that. Any ideas where?
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