Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Karrak Seaborne (Final), Continued

Gifts and the Nel. They're always complicated in any sort of rigidly structured game system, so I never end up finalizing the Nel. I've almost reached that point with GURPS though, so yay for progress. There are a few ways I could choose to represent Gifts with GURPS though. The advantages, disadvantages, and the various modifiers are very very versatile, so I can basically come up with any ability I've displayed the Nel as using. However, that's a pain in the dick to do. There's another, easier, route. But that route feels too structured. Basically it amounts to adding modifiers to Magery until it functions like Gifts. It works quite well, but again, it's too structured for my tastes. 

I suppose there's a case to be made for using the Modular Abilities advantage to represent Gifts. These abilities aren't rigidly defined among the Nel. There isn't Nel kindergarten where they go and learn how to fling fire and create storms and stuff. They just use their Gifts to achieve what they want. 

Moving along. The route I am going to go will be similar to psionics in GURPS. Create an ability and charge FP or energy reserve points to use it. Since the innate power level of a Nel is dependent upon their court affiliation, it makes it very easy to give Nel like the Feronel and Utenel large, quickly recovering energy reserves while the Loronel and Sarownel get boned with greatly reduced ones. This allows me to modify Aubernel, Utenel, and Feronel Gifts to cost more FP, reducing their cost, which in the end allows them to have a larger variety of Gifts at their disposal along with Gifts that are generally more powerful than what the Sarownel or Loronel will bring to bear. 

I still have a lot of tweaking to do to the Nel. But they're closer to done than they have ever been. I had also written a shit ton here about the Gifts as Magery thing I was going to do, until I decided after finalizing it that I didn't care for it. Yay for beta testing! Anyway.

I'm going to start with Karrak's Gifts here. He has 40 points, as previously discussed.

Points From Karrak's Gift Crap: 40
Ally: Shitpanzee Swarm (75% points; Frequency of Appearance: 12, x2; Minion, +50%; Summonable, +100%; Can Be Stolen With a Quick Contest, -30%; Gifts, -10%, 2 FP/minute, -10%) [12]
Buffered by the Sky: Damage Resistance 4 (Directional: Front, -20%; Force Field, +20%; Accurate: +2, +10%; Active Defense: DX/2+5, -40%; 1 FP/use, -5%; Can Be Stolen With a Quick Contest, -30%; Gifts, -10%, Environmental: Air, -5%) [4]
Create 1 (Specific Item: Kussethian Sweet Potato Rum; Can Be Stolen With a Quick Contest, -30%; Gifts, -10%) [3]
Obscure 4: Ash Cloud (Vision; Defensive, +50%; Area Effect: 8 yards, +100%; Maximum Duration: 20 seconds, -75%; Can Be Stolen With A Quick Contest, -30%; Gifts, -10%; 1 FP/20 seconds of use, -5%) [12]
Wind Jaunt: Super Jump 1 (Environmental: Air, -5%; Can Be Stolen With a Quick Contest, -30%; Gifts, -10%; 1 FP/use, -5%) [5]
Wind Jaunt: Walk On Air (Can Be Stolen With a Quick Contest, -30%; Gifts, -10%; Maximum Duration: 30 seconds, -.75%; 1 FP/30 seconds of use, -5%) [4]

First up, we see Ally: Shitpanzee Swarm. A favored ability of Karrak. So what do Shitpanzee swarms look like? I'm glad you asked.

Shitpanzee Swarm 
187 points
ST: 11 [9] DX: 13 [40] IQ: 6 [-80] HT: 12 [20]
Will: 10 [20] Per: 10 [20] Speed: 6 [0] Dodge: 9 [0]
Move: 9 [15] SM: +1 HP: 12 [2] FP: 13 [3]
Traits: Affliction 1: Monkey Shit (Irritant: Nauseated, +30%; Sense Based: Smell, +150%; Gifts, -10%) [27], Arm ST +3 [14], Bad Grip 2 [-10], Braichiator [5], DR 1 (Tough Skin, -40%) [3], Injury Tolerance (Diffuse No Brain; No Blood; No Vitals) [100], Teeth (Sharp) [1], Wild Animal (Bestial, -10; Cannot Speak, -15; Hidebound, -5; Fixed IQ, 0) [-30]
Skills: Climbing (DX+2/A) - 15 [8], Innate Attack: Projectile (DX+2/Easy) - 15

That right there represents a 9 foot wide swarm of chimpanzees flinging poop at people and causing them to be grossed out as they are assaulted by odors. The nauseated condition in GURPS applies a -2 to all attribute and skill levels when they are checked against, as well as a -1 to active defense levels. So basically Karrak spends two FP and a concentrate maneuver and rolls 3d against 12 to summon the little fuckers. On a success they appear and begin flinging poop with their Innate Attack skill of 15. On a successful hit, their victim rolls against their HT or becomes nauseated (assuming they are vulnerable to that, Nel aren't). 

Next we see Buffered By the Sky, this is a defensive ability from the Sorcerer bloodline Karrak uses in Pathfinder to represent his Gifts. Basically, as long as Karrak is aware of an attack, he can spend an FP and bring up a shield of wind in front of him to give him DR 4 against frontal attacks in addition to whatever DR he has from additional sources. I still have to do some research to figure out if he can do this wind shield and attempt a dodge. I'm leaning towards probably not.

Create 1 is just Karrak's ability to create a little over a gallon of rum (I think). The rum lasts for 10 seconds at a time and costs Karrak 2 FP every time he attempts to create it. Creating it requires a concentrate maneuver and a roll against his Will.  The rum only lasts 10 seconds, but he can stabilize it with character points and reclaim them when he destabilizes it. 

Next, we have his ash cloud. He can surround himself with an eight yard field of ash that penalizes vision related stuff with a -4 penalty to skill level. It's also defensive, so he isn't inconvenienced by it. There's a more powerful version I created that does some burning damage and makes people cough a lot, but that version cost like 40 points. 

Wind Jaunt is an ability from Karrak's Sorcerer bloodline. It lets him walk on air and stuff. I've chosen to represent it with increased jumping ability and the actual ability to walk on air. They both cost FP though, so carefully monitoring his FP would be important, and it would definitely be prudent for him to buy an Energy Reserve to power his Gift abilities.

So beyond what I've already said, how do Gifts work?

My current interpretation is to give each court an energy reserve that powers their Gifts. Each court also gains a type of regeneration associated with that energy reserve. However, I am currently thinking that I might just add a note to the Nel meta-trait and say there is no cap on how many FP they can have (normal human type characters are limited to FP no more than 30% higher or lower than their HT). This would make things slightly easier for me, as there's one less advantage to have to fucking track for them, and it also makes sense. Gifts are what the Nel are. They don't get tired or weary physically, so giving them massively beefy FP reserves coupled with a regeneration tie in makes sense to me.

Other than figuring that out, Gifts work like they do in Pathfinder. Nel are resistant to sorcery and the Gifts of weaker Nel and effects that protect specifically against magic (like the Magic Resistance advantage) and psionics (like Static: Psionics) have no effect on Gifts. Blackstone still distresses Nel and is somewhat resistant to Gifts, and so on.

So what does the Can Be Stolen With a Quick Contest limitation mean? When a Nel wants to steal Gifts from another Nel (or Karrak) the initiate an attack with a concentrate maneuver. Then a quick contest occurs. Basically Will vs. Will. If the attacker fails, he doesn't do anything but flail against the Gifts of his target. If he succeeds, he can try to leech character points from the target equal to the margin of his success (rolling an 8 against Will 10 means 2 character points). If the defender also succeeds, the attacker only leeches character points equal to his margin of success minus the defender's (so if both the attacker and defender succeed by 2, no character points are stolen). If the defender gets a critical success on his defense, he kicks the attacker off of his teat and leaves him dazed for 1 round. If the attacker gets a critical success, he leeches character points equal to 1.5 times his margin of success and ignores the defender's margin of success (if he has one).

No character points are actually stolen until a full level of whatever advantage the attacker has latched onto has been leeched away via character points. How you determine what Gifts you're actually stealing is kind of determined by the attacker. They can actively seek out what they want to steal because all Nel can sense the other Gifts of Nel. I hope it goes without saying, but this stealing of character points only applies to advantages that have the Gifts, -10% limitation on them. So looking at Andorian, Karrak knows/assumes that Andorian has Damage Resistance 36 (Cold). Because of modifiers, each level of Andorian's DR for cold damage is only one point, so assuming Karrak isn't kicked in the teeth by Andorian's Will, he'll reduce Andorian's cold DR to 35 and gain a character point if he gets any margin of success. Regardless of your margin of success, you only steal one level or a particular Gift per attempt. But if there is more of an advantage left, you don't automatically break contact once you've stolen a single level. For instance, Karrak couldn't get a margin of success of like 8 and reduce Andorian's DR to 28 and stealing a single level wouldn't automatically break contact, that only happens if he fails his Will check, his defender gets a critical, or he completely steals an advantage. For larger advantages like Regeneration, it would take several rounds of leeching and then reduce the advantage to the next lower step, so after several rounds Regeneration (Extreme) [150] would be reduced to Regeneration (Fast) [100].

Additionally, the Will vs. Will quick contest can be modified by talents. There are various Nel talents. For instance, Aubernel start with Aubernel Talent 1 [10]. This provides a +1 modifier to lots of checks, including the Will check made to defend against the theft of Gifts when a fire related Gift is being stolen, or when an Aubernel is attempting to steal a fire related Gift. So Andorian already has a reasonable Will of like 11 or 12 plus several more points from his Utenel Talent. So he is rolling against like 16, while Karrak would only be rolling against 10. Good luck with that.

So just as an example, I want to show some of the powers the Nel have displayed in Pathfinder using the GURPS rules. 

Storm Rider [169]

Talent: Electricity, Utenel
Effect: Innate Attack (6d Burning; Aura +80%; Melee Attack: C, -30%; Surge +20%; Can Be Stolen With a Quick Contest, -30%; Gifts, -10%, Link: Cannot Be Use Separately, +10%, 1 FP/use, -5%, Environmental: Open to the Sky, -5%) & Warp (Reliable 10, +100%; Can Be Stolen With a Quick Contest, -30%; Gifts, -10%; 7 FP/use, -35%; Link: Cannot Be Used Separately, +10%, Environmental: Open to the Sky, -5%) 

So we've seen Andorian teleport as a lightning bolt in the RPs several times. The above ability is how he does it. We have Warp (teleport) and Innate Attack linked with the Link modifier. This means this particular 6d burning attack with Surge (the suggested minimum damage of a lightning bolt) cannot be used without also using the Warp advantage. We also see an Environmental advantage, which means that he can't use these powers without clear access to the sky. Surge just means that the Innate Attack does things to electricity like electricity does. Aura means that when Andorian uses this power he becomes a lightning bolt and anyone in close combat with him is going to get zapped by the 6d of burning damage. You'll also notice that together these abilities require 8 FP to use. You'll also notice that the Warp has Reliable 10. This means that Andorian has a +10 to his check to teleport. Teleporting instantly to Serethnem from Orcunraytrel incurs a penalty of about -18. His Aubernel Talent ameliorates the majority of the penalties. 

This next one is one I really, really, really fucking like.

Lightning Charge [152]
Talent: Electricity, Utenel
Effect: Enhanced Move 4 (Ground; Link: Cannot Be Used Separately, +10%; Can Be Stolen With a Quick Contest, -30%; Gifts, -10%; Environmental: Open Air, -5%; 3 FP/use, -15%) & Innate Attack (6d Burning; Aura +80%; Melee Attack: C, -30%; Surge +20%; Can Be Stolen With a Quick Contest, -30%; Gifts, -10%, Link: Cannot Be Use Separately, +10%; 2 FP/use, -10%) & Insubstantiality (Affects Substantial, +100%; Can Carry Object: Light Encumbrance, +20%; No Vertical Move, -10%; Noisy, -5%; Link: Cannot Be Used Separately, +10%; Environmental: Open Air, -5%, Maximum Duration: 1 Second, -75%, Can Be Stolen With a Quick Contest, -30%; Gifts, -10%; 2 FP/use, -10%)

Looking at that one, you see that same Innate Attack as above, a lightning bolt aura. Then we have Insubstantiality. These two are linked together just like the two advantages above. We also see that Insubstantiality is limited to 1 second. You'll also see Enhanced Move. So, here's how this goes. You pay 7 FP and spend a ready maneuver and activate it all. The Enhanced Move would normally jump a lastborn's movement up to 168 yards per second. However, when you take a ready maneuver all you can do is make a step movement, which divides your normal movement by 10. So now you are incorporeal and made of lightning (the purpose of the Innate Attack with an aura) and you have a movement of 16 yards. You move and pass through the space of everyone you can, and as you do so you make a Brawling check to hit them as a lightning bolt passing through their space. Say hello to the spell Ride the Lightning in GURPS. I have such a nerdboner right now. 

Voice of Thunder [39]
Talent: Sound, Utenel
Effect: Innate Attack (5d Corrosion; Cone: 5 yards, +100%; Reduced Range: x1/10, -30%; Environmental: Air/Water, -5%; Can Be Stolen With a Quick Contest, -30%; Gifts, -10%; 3 FP/use, -15%)

So that's what it looks like when Andorian screams like thunder at people. It's corrosion damage because he's basically using a blast of sonic force to tear people apart. I suppose, in theory, cutting damage would also work. It's environmental because it has to be in an environment possessing air or water, so it can't work in a vacuum (which doesn't transmit sound). It also hits a cone shaped area, which makes it harder to dodge, unless you have movement enough to actually dodge your way out of the area of effect. 

These abilities seem pretty hefty as far as point costs, but they're meant to be modified, not taken as is. For instance, a Loronel or Sarownel couldn't afford to use any of them, except maybe Voice of Thunder. They don't have the FP for it. Nor do they really have the character points to account for them. An Aubernel or Utenel or Feronel could probably pull off a Lightning Charge (or appropriately themed variation), but they wouldn't have much else left for the next few rounds while their Gifts recovered and returned to them. Andorian, Nostathon, the Herald, these are the guys who have the points values and FP to effectively use this stuff. You'll of course find modern Aubernel and Utenel flinging fire and ice and lightning and such, but the damage is going to be scaled back, the points values smaller. They'll be slightly more inclined to pound on things when their fists or blades than Andorian or Evandor.

Most Aubernel have an ability suite called the Flames of War.

Flames of War [17]
Talent: Aubernel, Fire
Effect: Innate Attack/Alternative Attacks
  • Cone of Fire (1d Burning; Cone: 5 yards, +100%; Reduced Range: x1/10, -30%; Can Be Stolen With a Quick Contest, -30%; Gifts, -10%; 2 FP/use, -10%) [6]
  • Fireball (1d Burning; Damage Modifier: Explosion 1, +50%; Can Be Stolen With a Quick Contest, -30%; Gifts, -10%; 2 FP/use, -10%) [5]
  • Gauntlet of Flame (1d Burning; Melee Attack: C, Cannot Parry, -35%; Can Be Stolen With a Quick Contest, -30%; Gifts, -10%; 1 FP/use, -5%) [1]
  • Rain of Fire (1d Burning; Area Effect: 16 yards, +200%; Persistent, +40%; Bombardment - 12, -10%; Can Be Stolen With a Quick Contest, -30%; Gifts, -10%; 2 FP/use, -10%) [14]
That's kind of the basic Aubernel attack via Gifts, they sling a variety of fire at you. We've got a fire punch, fireball, a cone, and a sixteen yard wide area attack. It's pretty versatile and relatively cheap in points and FP required to use. You'll find it varies quite a bit depending on the Nel. There might be more damage or more FP use, wider areas, or more versatile forms. Mountain-kin will favor fiery punches while drake-kin will favor flying overhead and raining fire down on their foes. But again, this is the low end version. Here's the version Kolenarel might use. 

Flames of War [105]
Talent: Aubernel, Fire
Effect: Innate Attack/Alternative Attacks
  • Cone of Fire (6d Burning; Cone: 10 yards, +150%; Reduced Range: x1/10, -30%; Can Be Stolen With a Quick Contest, -30%; Gifts, -10%; 4 FP/use, -20%; Selective Area, +20%) [54]
  • Fireball (6d Burning; Damage Modifier: Explosion 3, +150%; Can Be Stolen With a Quick Contest, -30%; Gifts, -10%; 2 FP/use, -10%) [60]
  • Gauntlet of Flame (5d Burning; Melee Attack: C, Cannot Parry, -35%; Can Be Stolen With a Quick Contest, -30%; Gifts, -10%; 1 FP/use, -5%) [5]
  • Rain of Fire (6d Burning; Area Effect: 16 yards, +200%; Persistent, +40%; Bombardment - 12, -10%; Can Be Stolen With a Quick Contest, -30%; Gifts, -10%; 8 FP/use, -40%; Selective Area, +20%) [81]
That's significant increases all across the board. Lots of burny blasty shit. But again, this is the high end stuff. There would only be a handful of Aubernel using this collection of attacks. If we're talking about a Champion or Herald, you'd find the Cosmic: Irresistible Attack, +50% on the attacks, which means it would ignore DR and other forms of protection (including DR keyed to protect from fire). 

This next one might be familiar.

Song of Death [88]
Talent: Sokarnel, Sound, Utenel
Effect: Innate Attack (2d FP; Area Effect: 64 yards, +300%; Sense Based: Hearing, +150%; Emanation, -20%; Can Be Stolen With a Quick Contest, -30%; Gifts, -10%; 14 FP, -70%; Overhead, +30%; Resistible: HT-5, -5%; Accessibility: Must Be Able to Speak; -5%)

You remember that time the Herald stormed through New Haven in a running battle leaving bodies in his wake? This is what he was doing. The damage is 2d FP, that means 2 - 12 Fatigue Points. The area effect is fairly obvious, it affects a 64 yard wide area. Sense Based: Hearing means the victims have to be able to hear him and it ignores DR. Emanation means the effect is centered on the singer and can't target creatures at range or have aim maneuvers taken with it to improve accuracy. Overhead means that cover doesn't protect against it. Resistible means that you can resist the 2d of FP damage by rolling against your HT-5 (meaning Karrak would need to roll a 7 or less on 3d). Accessibility just means the Herald has to be able to speak to use it. So if he's gagged or his mouth is sewn shut or Keroen erases his ability to speak (it happened one time), he can't use it. 

Normally, your ability to attack and move and do other attacking is pretty limited in combat. Typically, move and attacking or making multiple attacks carries heavy penalties. For instance, the Herald could not actually engage in swordplay while dodging about and singing his little song. However, there is an advantage called Extra Attack. Everyone with at least two hands can take this advantage. The Herald has Extra Attack 1 (Single Skill: Innate Attack, -20%) [20]. This means he can make one extra attack maneuver each round with the Innate Attack skill, which is the skill used to attack with the Innate Attack advantage, assuming it is a ranged Innate Attack. Melee Innate Attacks use the Brawling skill. 

So the Herald can run around hitting things with his sword and generally kicking ass while every second he does an average of 7 FP damage to everyone within 64 yards of him. There are some things you should know about FP. At 1/3 of your max FP (5 for Karrak), you halve your Move, Dodge, and ST (this has no effect on damage or HP). At 0 FP, you take 1 HP damage in addition to further FP damage, you also have to make a Will check to do anything other than rest or talk. If successful, you can do what you want, but if you fail you collapse into unconsciousness. On a critical failure you make a HT check and if that fails, you get a heart attack. If you hit -1xFP (-15 for Karrak, and he is also at at least -2 HP at this point, which presents its own complications) you are unconscious and don't wake up until your FP reach the positives (you recover 1 FP per 10 minutes of rest, which means sitting still). Further FP damage doesn't reduce you further into the negatives, it just deals hit point damage. 

Area effect attacks are tough to defend against. If you are in the area, you are affected by the attack. You can make a dodge and drop maneuver though. This lets you roll against your dodge +3 (13 for Karrak unless he's dealing with copious amounts of HP or FP damage) to move a step (your normal move divided by 10, but never less than 1 yard) towards cover or safety. Since this Song of Death is hearing based and cover doesn't protect you from that, you'd be diving to get outside of the radius. 

So on the surface 2d FP damage doesn't seem that bad. When you consider that the Herald can sing this song every single round while he can still engage in swordplay or use his other Gifts and that mortal creatures have 12-15 FP and after that's gone, yeah. It's another nasty ability. Normal banshee type wails and death touches typically get built as afflictions with the heart attack effect. That doesn't make sense for Nel. Why would Nel have an ability that causes heart attacks? They don't have heart attacks and are immune to effects that cause them. 

So yeah, those are some Gifts and a little bit about the Nel and how Gifts work in GURPS. The more you know!

Just as a special note, 6d of damage is a pretty excessive amount of damage that has a reasonable chance of nearly killing anything built within mortal parameters (human level ST and HP within 30% of that ST). A 6d attack deals an average of 21 damage before DR or wounding modifiers. Burning attacks don't have a wounding modifier, but even after a DR of 6, that's sufficient damage to reduce everyone in the party to 0 hit points, and at that point you're halving dodge and move and making HT checks to avoid collapsing. A 1d or 2d damage attack is comparable to what a creature of above average human ST can do with a one handed weapon can do or a small or medium caliber firearm can do. 

So, finally, in closing, never forget that Eran's Sereth long rifle does damage on par with what lightning bolts do. 

No comments:

Post a Comment