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Aberrant: 200X - Rules Question: Disorient and Willpower


Rena Morgan

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It's been brought to my attention that I may or may not be misreading the rules for Disorient. Based on the text of the power, it seems to intend that your target removes dice whenever they roll them for the next X number of turns. It's been pointed out to me, however, that some people think that Willpower, when rolled, shouldn't fall under that category because it's not explicity identified as a die pool.

Can I poll the audience on this one?

My gut instinct says yes, something that's causing you to lose track of reality, experience extreme nausea, or whatever you define Disorient as would have a negative effect on your ability to resist mental powers, interrogation, etc. That's the whole idea of sleep deprivation or most other interrogation techniques.

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Well, let's see, where to start...

I think that you can read the opening explanation of die pools that Rev is quoting as an example of how to calculate what to roll for an action or power, rather than a strict definition. But for the purpose of a very narrow reading of the rules, I'll take his point. However, it's worth noting that the components of a dice pool (Attributes, abilities) are also refered to as Traits in the same section. So one could argue that Willpower is simply a one Trait die pool in most cases.

Putting it in a broader perspective, though, why would it make sense for the rolls made with Willpower (rather than, say, your Willpower rating which would remain constant) to be excluded from the effects of Disorient? Almost all the willpower rolls made in the game are to resist mental effects or, occasionally, to max a power. Wouldn't those efforts be as vulnerable to distraction as running up a flight of stairs or throwing a quantum bolt?

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I think part of it is game balance. For one thing, Willpower is the great equalizer in white wolf games. Every character has it. That last statement actually comes from one of their books. In all of WW canon I can only think of two powers that effect Willpower. One is the evil eye and brainsttorm mesmerist knacks from Adventure! The other is called the taking of the spirit. Its an infernal (read truly demonic) vampiric discipline that is one path along the larger discipline of Dark Thaumaturgy. Next to it is a sidebar called "You're going to Hell." As powers go taking peoples WP amay is a VERY bad thing.

Put in context with Aberrant, Willpower is what you actually use to resist Disorient...its the part of you that is struggling and fighting against the effect. It is at the core of a characters being.

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While I'm not opposed to the concept of Disorient affecting willpower, the power description leads me to believe that Willpower is not a viable dice pool.

The definition provided by the book could interpreted several ways, like anything could. The description says skill total and WP is not a skill total.

I feel a house rule would best resolve the issue, but this environment is ill suited for house rules.

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Originally Posted By: Rena Morgan
Actually. Not true. Burn one point of Willpower, negate the effect entirely. It's the only power in the game with that particular weakness. Also, and I could be wrong here, I'm pretty sure that Psychic Shield works against it.
As written there is no defense, although it's either a sensory attack or a mental attack. Neither sensory shield or psychic shield work.

Granted you can spend a point of willpower to shake off the effects (hopefully also costing an action or the power is very weak).
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I always go the impression that unless you wanted to be helpless, you had to spend willpower to shake off the effects of Disorient to use a power who's die pools have been lowered to 0. A willpower point is also spent to use powers that had been drained more than 50%, but it does not shake off the effects. Since Disorient can be used multiple times, it has the effect of draining willpower.

I don't think the power was ever meant to lower Willpower die pools, but to drain willpower from an opponent through multiple uses.

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I've always found that Disorient is useful with the "Burning" extra. They must spend a Willpower point to negate the effects until or suffer the pool penalties and it only costs one use of the power. The effects of Disorient stack, so burn away Willpower, or burn away a dice pool until it's gone.

Especially useful when you split your action and activate is more than one in the same turn. Even more so when paired with the multitasking enhancement.

I'm suprised no one has thought of that by now, I give it to NPCs just to irritate players from time to time.

And I beilieve Courier is right, the attack is neither mental nor sensory as it's written. I find it hard to believe but anything I add would just be speculation and not canon.

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I think the game intentionally makes it hard to break down a characters Will since it is no fun for a player to have their character turned into a puppet for another player or ST. On the other hand there are no other skills or powers in the game that effect Will and it is pretty easy to get a character to the point where it is nearly impossible to effect them mentally. For only 5 nps PS will give you 10 automatic successes to resist any mental attacks.

As the Fool mentioned sometimes it is necessary for the plot to be able to get past mental defenses. If I hadn't house ruled it to mean that willpower dicepool gets tanked by Disorient, the players would not have been able to succeed in that situation. Disorient saved the day.

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Originally Posted By: Revenant
Originally Posted By: Rena Morgan
It doesn't cost an action to burn a Willpower point and block Disorient, no.


Huh?
If you get hit hard by Disorient, you have the choice of using a willpower point to use an action (like a punch), or burning a willpower point to "shake off" the entire Disorient effect so far.

She's claiming that doing the latter isn't an action. I made the statement further up the thread that it should be or it's awfully weak.
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Originally Posted By: Mr Fox
I don't have the book handy, but don't you have to spend the temp willpower point before you know the resolution of the roll? If not, then I'd agree that it would pretty much cripple disorient.


I have a vested interest in this discussion. Fox, would you discuss how you handle it in the Long March?
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