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Aberrant RPG - About the Omnidexterity Enhancement


Andrew02
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First . . . I'm sorry if this is a dead horse. I swear I looked, I really did.

I'm not really sure how to read this Enhancement for Mega-Dexterity, as it seems . . . broken, from the way I understand it.

It seems to me that if I have both hands do the same thing, I get no penalty. An example given is firing two guns. I would assume that means I could perform the Two Weapons Maneuver without penalty, yes?

The TW Maneuver says I can make a total number of shots equal to the rate of fire of both weapons. The multiple actions penalty would normally apply . . . but Omnidexterity says I get to do the action without penalty. Not a big deal with two revolvers. Only four shots would penalty.

But . . . then, two SMGs. Just using the small one, it looks like I could be making 80 shots a turn if I wanted . . . without penalty.

And, well . . . that seems intensely wrong, but I am at a loss as to how I could otherwise read it.

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You always take multiple action penalties - that's not what gets fixed. However, you normally take a +1 diff for your off hand, which this enhancement negates.

And, as Amped alludes, you also take no particular penalty for using something other than a hand (normally your GM would probably have to apply a penalty if you try to shoot a gun with a foot, tentacle, or other unusual appendage).

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Having a single dot of Mega-Dexterity (regardless of Enhancements selected) causes you to be ambidextruous, which negates an offhand penalty, doesn't it? The text in the Two Weapons Maneuver section mentions this, I believe. "Additionally, the attacker suffers +1 difficulty to her off-hand (unless she's ambidextrous); if the attacker has Mega-Dexterity, she is automatically considered to be ambidextrous." So, I am, understandly, confused.

The system text of the Omnidexterity mentions that multiple action penalties remain in effect for what they call "multiple separate actions," and this seems to mean unlike actions (e.g. utilizing a firearm and writing a letter). The whole of the text seems to imply that it negates all penalties for the same action, given "You can also do the same thing with both hands [. . .] without penalty." If that text were not to apply, then it would seem to follow that any text outside the system paragraph would not apply as well.

I am glad, though, that I am wrong. However, the correct interpretation of this enhancement seems intensely disappointing, as it removes only a very token penalty ostensibly already disposed of (off-hand), and an entirely subjective penalty. In addition, it seems like tentacles, tails, and the like would be subject to the same sort of limitations that feet are mentioned to suffer from (e.g. lacking the opposable thumb neccessary to operate a firearm).

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Ok, yes - I forgot that M-Dexterity conveys ambidexterity.

However, I think you're missing the point of the power.

"In addition, it seems like tentacles, tails, and the like would be subject to the same sort of limitations that feet are mentioned to suffer from (e.g. lacking the opposable thumb neccessary to operate a firearm)."

That right there is the point. Hell, look at the picture of the guy with the tentacle hair right there on the same page as the Omnidexterity enhancement. Omnidexterity allows you to use any appendage you have without penalty.

For more normal-looking types, this would apply mostly to feet, and probably be of relatively little use (though Beast, from the X-Men, comes to mind as an example). However, I believe that the enhancement is designed for aberrated/body modded characters. If that's you, it's actually a pretty good enhancement.

Note that the rules could be interpreted to say that yes, indeed, you take no multiple action penalties in this situation. However, any GM with a little sense would cut that off at the knees for exactly the reasons you brought up.

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Also read the Extra Limbs Body Modification (pg. 184), which implies if you use more than two limbs you negate one level of multiple action penalities. I think Omni-dexterity would provide the same benefit if you use more than two limbs.

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I'm kind of hesitant to take artwork as anything more than a visual aid. I've never found artwork to be incredibly accurate representations of game material in any line, and White Wolf's publications are very often poor in doing so. Aberrant is not as bad as, say, Hunter, where we have an elderly man causing a werewolf's midriff to explode with a strike from a spoon . . . but I am nevertheless uncomfortable according it equal weight with text.

I am not unaware of the benefit conveyed to non-standard appendages or limbs. I simply did not conceive that any penalty would be terribly great without omnidexterity (except in the case of the vestigial limbs Aberration). It's a mere +1 difficulty for the off-hand . . . so I would not think utilizing a tentacle would be any greater than +2 or +3 difficulty, especially if one had Mega-Dexterity. I do not actually know where the appropriate penalty for using non-standard limbs is mentioned.

The limbs provided by Body Modification are as useful as hands and arms, and I assumed that meant no matter what form they took. No penalty was mentioned for their use (only the benefit Jager outlined), and so I believed at most these limbs would count as off-hands. And, assuming M-Dex removes the off-hand penalty, there seemed to be nothing further for Omnidexterity to enhance if it does not remove multiple action penalties.

I did not also consider that part of the main thrust of the enhancement was to diminish the disadvantage posed by Aberrations. That part seemed to be an afterthought. It seemed . . . silly, I guess. Like subsidizing the purchase of a merit that gave you a flying wheelchair by purchasing a merit that made you a cripple.

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No, it doesn't just reduce disadvantages of Aberrations. It improves the advantage of purchasing, for example, Body Modifications to provide you with additional non-hand limbs. It also provides you with the ability to treat any existing non-hand limbs as hands in the event of, say, hands just being too busy holding onto someone, but you really need to shoot them instead.

If, say, you have purchased pincers as your chosen limbs, physics would dictate that certain activities would be out-of-bounds. However, pincers + Omnidexterity would allow you to treat your pincers exactly like normal human hands. Same with additional feet, same, possibly, with wings.

Omnidexterity is not the most useful Enhancement (and honestly, I don't think many of the Enhancements in the Player's Guide are really worth their cost), but it's far from completely useless. Remember that at the time of the APG, White-Wolf were perfectly happy to allow common-sense to overide what the rules would typically say, and many abilities have more of a narrative effect than a cold, hard rules effect.

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  • 1 year later...

I'm going to take a moment to quote from the rule book itself, page 102.

"You can also do the same thing with both hands- writing a letter with each, firing a gun with each, and so on... Tails, tentacles and the like all benefit from this enhancement as well (if the nova has them." Further, "The penalty for multiple seperate actions remains in effect; the nova would need Multitasking to fire a gun with one hand while writing a letter with the other all while using her feet to knit a sweater."

I think that's perfectly and utterly unambiguous: doing the same thing with each hand inflicts no penalty for doing both at once.

Now, as to the person who pointed out that this seems to allow you to take 80 shots with an SMG in a round at no penalty, that's the technical read of the rules, but that is just flatly insane. As an ST, my adjudication of this rule has always been you get, effectively, to repeat an action with each hand/tentacle/tail once without penalty. So, if you've got two hands, you can shoot once with each hand with no penalty, or even take multiple shots with each hands at the usual penalties for multiple shots per hand. Sound complicated? Here's an example:

Chastity has two hands, and can use her hair as a prehensile limb as a Body Modification. She has three pistols, holding one in each hand and one with her hair. She can shoot three times with no penalty, or six times with whatever penalty she would suffer if she didn't have the Omnidexterity enhancement and was shooting one gun in one hand twice. I think that stays most properly with the spirit of the rules.

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Truthfully, firearms are the least of your worries on this enhancement. The best available guns are going to do a pitance of damage compared to a typical aberrant's soak, to the point where you're probably not even going to get ping dice against many targets. What's really tricky with this enhancement is how it affects hand to hand combat: does this mean my Mega-Strength 5 nova with Armor-Piercing Claws can rattle off as many attacks as she has limbs? If so, how does that affect game balance in melee combat?

I haven't had anyone try that little trick with me yet, but I'm slightly dreading the first twenty-armed, monofiber sword-weilding mega-strength monkey I meet who thinks to take this enhancement.

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I grabbed Omnidexterity for my shapeshifter type character. I did this with the rationale that if he took a form with multiple limbs, he could use any limb with equal effectiveness. I grabbed it more for how it fit into the character concept than with its effectveness.

However, reading these explanations and comments about the power, it may prove more useful in that I won't have to allocate a success on Shapeshift to the Enhancement. He could be a four armed iron golem and I could use the successes for more Mega-Stength or armor, while getting the benefts of using all four arms to attack.

A clarification though: If he does have four arms, could he make four attacks without penalty in one turn?

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Originally Posted By: Wargear
By the literal read of the rules, yes. Actually, by the literal reading of the rules, he could make six: four punches and two kicks. Whether you think that's a good idea or not... that's another question.
No. Since all the limbs have to do the same thing... they have to do the same thing. Feet can not make strikes, hands can't make kicks.

Similarly, Strikes are not blocks or dodges. It has to be *very* specific, not just "an attack" or "a martial arts move".
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Originally Posted By: David 'Dr. Troll' Smith
Originally Posted By: Wargear
By the literal read of the rules, yes. Actually, by the literal reading of the rules, he could make six: four punches and two kicks. Whether you think that's a good idea or not... that's another question.
No. Since all the limbs have to do the same thing... they have to do the same thing. Feet can not make strikes, hands can't make kicks.

Similarly, Strikes are not blocks or dodges. It has to be *very* specific, not just "an attack" or "a martial arts move".


Actually, I was debating that very point when I made my post, and concluded that kicks and punches were similar enough to each other that I would consider them the "same" action in the same way that shooting a shotgun with one hand and a pistol with the other at different targets is the "same" action. Debatable, of course, and I might rule it your way just to save on free hits being handed out through this enhancement, but it seemed to me like the text at least implied that all limbs would be affected.

Obviously, drawing such a connection between strikes and kicks wouldn't validate any claim that blocking or dodging can be fitted into being "similar" actions.
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...and concluded that kicks and punches were similar enough to each other that I would consider them the "same" action in the same way that shooting a shotgun with one hand and a pistol with the other at different targets is the "same" action.

I agree they are similar, thus I wouldn't allow different guns to be used, nor would I allow different targets.

Shooting two guns at two different targets is *much* harder than shooting them at the same target. One hand gets to copycat the other. You don't get "similar" actions, both hands have to do the same action.

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Ah, now see? We agree on the similarities, just disagree on the final result.

Personally, I think the "cool" factor of multiple-target shooting with Omnidexterity makes it entirely worthwhile as an ST ruling, but if you wanted to go for a lower-power, less action-movie feel to your Aberrant combat I could definitely see the merit in your approach.

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