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Navigator Power Choices - Advice?


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#1 dobyk21

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Posted 15 April 2014 - 09:40 AM

Hey guys!

So, I've been carefully crafting a Magisterial House Navis Scion and in terms of skills, character personality and roleplay I'm getting really excited, but when it comes to Navigator powers to choose from I get baffled. The fact that you can only learn a new power or increase mastery of an existing one per Navigator rank really restricts choice, so I know people usually end up with 4-5 powers, usually with only 1 of them increased to maximum effectiveness. Since I haven't played Rogue Trader before (although I have some experience with Dark Heresy and Only War), I really don't know which powers would be good since most of them seem pretty situational actually. I will try to define what I'm looking for in terms of concepts about my character and maybe some Rogue Trader players could help with suggestions and advice? Again, since I don't have a GM or planned session for now, I really can't anticipate what kind of playstyle would be preferable, so I'm going for a rounded approach. I am referring to power choices from the Core Rulebook (CR), Into the Storm (IS) and Navis Primer (NP).

Damage Potential: I know Navigators are not battle-oriented and tend to use ballistic skill rather than powers to fight, but still, I am really intrigued by the choices Into the Storm offers. In particular, Immolate the Soul and Scourge of the Red Tide seem very powerful, although the former does not require any characteristic tests (sweet!). Stripping the Husk also looks potentially very, very powerful, but obviously I am not going to buy 3 extra damage powers. Lidless Stare is a powerful and efficient tool, especially for a Magisterial House Navis, and at maximum mastery it is a beast. But still, I am interested in, perhaps, acquiring one more fun eye-laser power to **** with enemies - although Seek the Path (NP) and Eye of Oblivion (NP) could provide a nice aggressive alternative, for characters with high Ballistic Skill or Perception. You guys tell me what is wisest at this point.

 

Utility: This one is very, very tricky, as there are a lot of options and very few available slots for the character. Refresh and Revitalise (IS) seems pretty adequate, as the majority of Navigator powers usually inflict a fatigue penalty, but I'm still not convinced it is a "well-rounded" and useful choice. Stacking the Deck (IS) appears to be very powerful in Space Combat, but since I don't know how prominent and important space combat is, I cannot judge its usefulness. Is space combat a major element of the game, or an extra that GMs can omit? Obliterate the Immaterial Wake (IS) and Tracks in the Stars (CR) seem to be two sides of the same coin, either removing traces of your own ship, or seeing the traces of others, although Track seems a bit more useful. Still, I don't know how much the ship is important to the game, so I can't judge. Foreshadowing (CR) has to be one of my favourite utility powers, especially at Rank 2, although you can certainly take something better. The Course Untraveled (CR) is actually quite punishing and restrictive for a quasi-teleportation power - you might as well walk/climb/swim this distance yourself. If it granted you the ability to travel even with impediments, like being shackled or sth, then it would be great, but.... And then for defense, Ebb and Flow (NP), Warp Vigil (NP) and A Cloud in the Warp (CR) all seem to have their uses, but I don't know if Navigators really need defensive powers, especially since the first two inflict hefty fatigue penalties. As you can see, I am utterly lost when it comes to utility, because most of the powers either have high fatigue penalties, or are quite situational.

Anti-Psyker and Anti-Daemon fun: Again, I don't know if encountering vile Psykers and Daemons is a recurring theme, as it would be in Dark Heresy, but in case it is relevant, Aether Doldrums (NP) seems to give a degree of defense, even in space travel, yet Held in My Gaze (CR) is obviously powerful against Warp-related stuff. Combined with Gaze into the Abyss (CR), you can easily distinguish and neutralize corrupted Psykers and vile Sorcerers. If you combine it with A Cloud in the Warp, you are effectively becoming an Anti-Warp and Anti-Psyker specialist. It would be nice to have maybe one relevant power from this group, two at most, but because their effectiveness and usability pretty much depends on whether the GM involves warp-related stuff and Psykers regularly-enough to justify buying them.

With all of this in mind, again, I get the impression Navigators should pursue very, very specific builds tailored entirely to the story and what the GM is doing with it, whereas Astropaths have a lot of freedom and the opportunity to really be prepared for any situation. Considering that Astropaths can do very effective warp stuff, Senechals are the Intelligence-powerhouses, and Rogue Traders are the Fellowship masters (usually), it really leaves my character slightly unqualified and useless, unless in very specific scenarios (which may or may not arise). Since my PC is a Navis Scion, he actually is a diplomat, but also needs high Int for navigating, so he is talented at Int-based skills, but also has "cool" warp powers, which intersects a bit with Astropath territory. But with so much going on, he can easily be outshined by the rest of the party.

Given all of that, what would you guys offer as pieces of advice?


Edited by dobyk21, 15 April 2014 - 09:41 AM.


#2 Tenebrae

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Posted 15 April 2014 - 03:10 PM

I usually divide Navigator powers into 2 broad categories:

 

Ship Affecting Powers, meaning powers that operate of a ship scale, be it Stacking the Deck or Oblirate the Immaterial Wake.

Out of these, Stacking the Deck tends to be somewhat OP, though you only really need the first level of it.

 

Man Scale Powers, meaning powers that operate on character scale. These also tend to be marked "Waste of Ink.", but maybe that just the way I tend to play the game.


Edited by Tenebrae, 15 April 2014 - 04:16 PM.


#3 dobyk21

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Posted 15 April 2014 - 03:14 PM

I usually divide Navigator powers into 2 broad categories:

 

Ship Affecting Powers, meaning powers that operate of a ship scale, be it Stacking the Deck of Oblirate the Immaterial Wake.

Out of these, Stacking the Deck tends to be somewhat OP, though you only really need the first level of it.

 

Man Scale Powers, meaning powers that operate on character scale. These also tend to be marked "Waste of Ink.", but maybe that just the way I tend to play the game.

 

Yeah, as a Navigator I guess ship/warp-related stuff is quite handy. Any more suggestions from the 1st category? Or the "waste of ink" one :P



#4 Tenebrae

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Posted 15 April 2014 - 04:16 PM

That very much depends on your (and your group's) playstyle.

 

If you're dirty pirates, Tracks in the Stars and Oblirating the Immaterial Wake can be extremely useful.

 

Void Watcher potentially lets you scan space around you for hidden obejcts (and ships!) while still remaining on silent running yourself.

 

Stacking the Deck is ofcourse OP as mentioned.

It works well with Refresh and Revitalise, perhaps the most useful of Man Scale Powers.

 

If you are Emperor-fearing do-gooders, I suppose Gaze Into the Abyss is worth taking, and Foreshadowing does offer a nice boost.

 

Far too many of the Man Scale Powers essentially do the same thing as far as I am concerned. Yes, with some you stun the target, with some you cause damage and at least one allows you to give a target Corruption.

Essentially all of them are attacks and usually not particularly awesome ones at that. Use a gun instead, is my advice.

 

Or to put it in another way: Why waste your most precious and limited resource, on something that everyone can do and others can usually do better (hurting people), when you can use them for something unique, something that likely no-one else in the group can do?



#5 Erathia

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Posted 15 April 2014 - 04:41 PM

I feel inclined to point out that Ebb and Flow (NP) is not a defensive power. It is a surprisingly murderous offensive power. Fighting Eldar? Space Marines? ANYONE that can negate attacks? Oh never mind, all of a sudden they, and everyone around them, have to stand there and take anything you throw at them. An 80% chance to Dodge with Rerolls becomes a 100% chance of standing there and taking a lascannon blast to the face.

 

Pair that with Eye of Oblivion (NP) at Master level, and they literally have no defenses against your attacks. They turn you into a creature that can murder any single target.


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#6 dobyk21

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Posted 15 April 2014 - 05:38 PM

I feel inclined to point out that Ebb and Flow (NP) is not a defensive power. It is a surprisingly murderous offensive power. Fighting Eldar? Space Marines? ANYONE that can negate attacks? Oh never mind, all of a sudden they, and everyone around them, have to stand there and take anything you throw at them. An 80% chance to Dodge with Rerolls becomes a 100% chance of standing there and taking a lascannon blast to the face.

 

Pair that with Eye of Oblivion (NP) at Master level, and they literally have no defenses against your attacks. They turn you into a creature that can murder any single target.

 

What about Immolate the Soul? You literally make no rolls to activate it, and at Master Rank it basically acts as a heavy flamethrower, AND you can set things on fire. But then again, Lidless Stare at Master level is just as useful, just instakill. Although now that you point out, the combination of Eye of Oblivion at Master + Ebb and Flow at Novice or Adept is indeed a formidable combination.



#7 Erathia

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Posted 15 April 2014 - 05:50 PM

 

I feel inclined to point out that Ebb and Flow (NP) is not a defensive power. It is a surprisingly murderous offensive power. Fighting Eldar? Space Marines? ANYONE that can negate attacks? Oh never mind, all of a sudden they, and everyone around them, have to stand there and take anything you throw at them. An 80% chance to Dodge with Rerolls becomes a 100% chance of standing there and taking a lascannon blast to the face.

 

Pair that with Eye of Oblivion (NP) at Master level, and they literally have no defenses against your attacks. They turn you into a creature that can murder any single target.

 

What about Immolate the Soul? You literally make no rolls to activate it, and at Master Rank it basically acts as a heavy flamethrower, AND you can set things on fire. But then again, Lidless Stare at Master level is just as useful, just instakill. Although now that you point out, the combination of Eye of Oblivion at Master + Ebb and Flow at Novice or Adept is indeed a formidable combination.

 

 

Consider range. Eye of Oblivion and Ebb and Flow both have the range of Line of Sight, meaning with sniper rifles they can kill you from a very, very far distance away with you only being slightly aware that something is wrong before an unblockable sniper bullet tears through you.

 

Immolate the Soul requires you to be within 10 meters of someone (damn) and they have a Challenging (+0) Agility Test to avoid all damage, which is a very good chance (especially if your enemy has fate points) to translate to "And now someone walks over and punches your face off".


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#8 dobyk21

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Posted 15 April 2014 - 06:01 PM


Consider range. Eye of Oblivion and Ebb and Flow both have the range of Line of Sight, meaning with sniper rifles they can kill you from a very, very far distance away with you only being slightly aware that something is wrong before an unblockable sniper bullet tears through you.

 

Immolate the Soul requires you to be within 10 meters of someone (damn) and they have a Challenging (+0) Agility Test to avoid all damage, which is a very good chance (especially if your enemy has fate points) to translate to "And now someone walks over and punches your face off".

 

 

Point taken. I will just use Lidless Stare for tearing people apart. All other scenarios - ballistics and perhaps some enhancing abilities. Still, Scourge of the Red Tide is very nasty at Adept, but again - only 15 meter range.



#9 Erathia

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Posted 15 April 2014 - 06:04 PM

The Save-Or-Die powers are great, but it is a rather unique role that the Navigator is the expert in long-range combat, with the ability to also completely debuff an enemy for the party.

 

Ebb and Flow affects an enemy rather than buffing you, so even if your Rogue Trader goes off to be a dashing rogue all on his own, you can stay hundreds of meters away, and then at a pre-arranged signal suddenly cripple an enemy force, giving you plenty of time to respond.

 

Most powers have a good level of use, but there are so many nasty things you can do with Navigator powers that you should really just pick an idea of what you'd like to do, and then take the powers that complement that.


Citizens of Grace! We have defeated both the Dark Eldar and Ork menaces that threatened your system! We need no thanks nor payments, so long as you do not leave the atmosphere during our salvage operations under pain of death! - Jequin Hos of The Hos Dynasty


#10 dobyk21

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Posted 15 April 2014 - 06:12 PM

The Save-Or-Die powers are great, but it is a rather unique role that the Navigator is the expert in long-range combat, with the ability to also completely debuff an enemy for the party.

 

Ebb and Flow affects an enemy rather than buffing you, so even if your Rogue Trader goes off to be a dashing rogue all on his own, you can stay hundreds of meters away, and then at a pre-arranged signal suddenly cripple an enemy force, giving you plenty of time to respond.

 

Most powers have a good level of use, but there are so many nasty things you can do with Navigator powers that you should really just pick an idea of what you'd like to do, and then take the powers that complement that.

 

Well, my Navigator is one whose family was terribly wronged by a Renegade house. I've taken Foreshadowing as his expression to always look into the future and anticipate an enemy's move, and Lidless Stare to maximum, eventually, for some save-or-die scenarios. Apart from that, I am a rather simple player - I like clear, direct and powerful effects that either deal tons of damage, or serve with a LOT of utility for the party as a whole. Getting powers like Void Watcher or Deck the Ship is a no-brainer, as I need some tricks up my sleeve when I'm on a ship. But since I will be spending time with the party outside the ship, I need to be useful to my maximum in combat and non-combat situations on a character-level. On a ship-level, I'm not very excited, but guess someone needs to do the job and needs one or two powers to do so. Any further advice? :P



#11 Erathia

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Posted 15 April 2014 - 09:43 PM

I view the Jack-of-All-Trades in this game as Void Masters and Seneschals, with Rogue Traders and Explorators usually able to bluff or mechadendrite their way into a similar role. Planning to take four powers means you're not really going to specialize, so you're not going to get the awesome single-target effects.

 

The Navigator in my campaign plays pompous and noble-born, and has an amazing scoff. He took Held in my Gaze, Stacking the Deck and Lidless Stare for his powers, resulting in him absolutely destroying Psykers/Daemons, Orks stupid enough to run at him, and regularly boosts the Lance on our ship to guarantee all three points of that Strength going off.

 

There's no situation in which a character is going to be useful to the maximum, since an enterprising GM can always - always - find ways to shut you down, which for Psychic characters is as simple as saying the word "Slaugth".

 

I would stay away from ship powers. Navis Primer has some Navigator ship actions you can do, so let the rest of the crew fill the roles they're supposed to. Focus on single-combat powers, and tailor them to what you would like.


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#12 Redbeard

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Posted 16 April 2014 - 05:18 AM

I find Tracks in the stars to be too good to be true.

 

Following a rival to his hidden base through the warp? Check

Pursuing a wounded pirate? Check

Generally poking around a star cluster looking for warp ships? Check

Doing that all MONTHS after the other ship went? Check



#13 Tenebrae

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Posted 16 April 2014 - 06:23 AM

I find Tracks in the stars to be too good to be true.

 

Following a rival to his hidden base through the warp? Check

Pursuing a wounded pirate? Check

Generally poking around a star cluster looking for warp ships? Check

Doing that all MONTHS after the other ship went? Check

Years if you're a master.

Though I have known groups to find that you can only track a known vessel, not generally search around for tracks.

 

But yes, extremely useful.



#14 RogalDorn01

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Posted 16 April 2014 - 02:49 PM

I run my Navis Scion with Stacking the Deck at master level because it is ridiculously OP, I am currently trying to scheme my way into getting the unnatural intelligence ability.  With my current INT of 60...the horrors I would inflict would be beyond reckoning.  I also maxed out Obliterating the Immaterial Wake because in our campaign we were actively being hunted by two VERY powerful rival Dynasties that had decided that they had enough of us ruining their plans.

 

For my next trick I think Held in my Gaze and Lidless Eye are the Bee's Knees.

 

My most potent power in the game though is my super high fellowship, I use it to command the hell out of the ship whenever the Lord Captain is off gallivanting and whatnot.  Navis Scions make AWESOME second in commands.  Also, it helps that I only talk using Emperor Palpatine's voice...

 

"Oh, I'm afraid our void shields will be Quite Operational when your reinforcements arrive..."  or the classic "NOW, give them a demonstration of our fully armed AND operational Nova Cannon..."  Lastly, and I Know this one is off a bit...   "Everyone in that colony is now considered an Enemy of the Dynasty...show no mercy..."  

 

Emperor be praised I love that character so very much...


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#15 dobyk21

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Posted 16 April 2014 - 06:17 PM

I run my Navis Scion with Stacking the Deck at master level because it is ridiculously OP, I am currently trying to scheme my way into getting the unnatural intelligence ability.  With my current INT of 60...the horrors I would inflict would be beyond reckoning.  I also maxed out Obliterating the Immaterial Wake because in our campaign we were actively being hunted by two VERY powerful rival Dynasties that had decided that they had enough of us ruining their plans.

 

For my next trick I think Held in my Gaze and Lidless Eye are the Bee's Knees.

 

My most potent power in the game though is my super high fellowship, I use it to command the hell out of the ship whenever the Lord Captain is off gallivanting and whatnot.  Navis Scions make AWESOME second in commands.  Also, it helps that I only talk using Emperor Palpatine's voice...

 

"Oh, I'm afraid our void shields will be Quite Operational when your reinforcements arrive..."  or the classic "NOW, give them a demonstration of our fully armed AND operational Nova Cannon..."  Lastly, and I Know this one is off a bit...   "Everyone in that colony is now considered an Enemy of the Dynasty...show no mercy..."  

 

Emperor be praised I love that character so very much...

 

Haha, yes, I am making a Navis Scion as well, they make for superb diplomats in formal situations and gatherings :)  Apart from that, I suppose whether I choose Track in the Stars or not depends entirely on whether the party is slimy and cunning, or more heroic and formal. Nevertheless, I don't fancy the idea of taking 2 or 3 ship-related powers. My character is not a superb navigator and he was not even bred to be one. Where intrigue, cunning and gentle smiles are required, however, or a mind-shattering Lidless Stare, he is of upmost importance.



#16 RogalDorn01

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Posted 17 April 2014 - 08:30 AM

That totally makes sense, my GM wants me to be able to actually take multiples of the Navigator powers due to the area of space we are in.  However he created a simple formula for determining how it works.  With great power comes HUGE risk...

 

Total Navigator ranks chosen MINUS Current Rank.  The result gives you the number of -10 penalties you take on the mutation toughness roll.

 

For Instance:

 

At Rank 3 I had taken Five ranks of navigator powers.  Meaning I had a -20 on my roll to resist mutation. The GM is actively attempting to make sure my navigator is as mutated as possible.  I can only assume there is some dark purpose for this.  Consequently, I am currently Rank Six and I have the following mutations, Black Eyes, Withered Form, Unnatural LImbs, Pale and Hairless Flesh, and Inhuman Visage.  My character wears robes and has a huge collection of masks.  However he still somehow has the highest fellowship and command in the whole party.

 

 


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#17 dobyk21

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Posted 17 April 2014 - 08:51 AM

 

That totally makes sense, my GM wants me to be able to actually take multiples of the Navigator powers due to the area of space we are in.  However he created a simple formula for determining how it works.  With great power comes HUGE risk...

 

Total Navigator ranks chosen MINUS Current Rank.  The result gives you the number of -10 penalties you take on the mutation toughness roll.

 

For Instance:

 

At Rank 3 I had taken Five ranks of navigator powers.  Meaning I had a -20 on my roll to resist mutation. The GM is actively attempting to make sure my navigator is as mutated as possible.  I can only assume there is some dark purpose for this.  Consequently, I am currently Rank Six and I have the following mutations, Black Eyes, Withered Form, Unnatural LImbs, Pale and Hairless Flesh, and Inhuman Visage.  My character wears robes and has a huge collection of masks.  However he still somehow has the highest fellowship and command in the whole party.

 

 

 

 

Can you give a clearer example on this mechanic? Sounds very interesting actually, but mind you - if you take Foreshadowing at Rank 2, and spend a fate point when you make one of those penalized rolls, you can effectively get a + 30 or higher ;)  I actually quite fancy this idea of allowing Navigators to attain more powers, at a risk of getting more mutations. What sounds the fairest to me, however, is to allow the following: The player can spend his xp normally to attain a new power or increase his mastery of an existing one. At GM's discretion, the player may purchase the talent one more time, either increasing a power's efficiency or gaining a new power, but at a penalty for rolls that involve gaining mutations. Is that what you mean?


Edited by dobyk21, 17 April 2014 - 08:51 AM.

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#18 Erathia

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Posted 17 April 2014 - 09:57 AM

 

 

That totally makes sense, my GM wants me to be able to actually take multiples of the Navigator powers due to the area of space we are in.  However he created a simple formula for determining how it works.  With great power comes HUGE risk...

 

Total Navigator ranks chosen MINUS Current Rank.  The result gives you the number of -10 penalties you take on the mutation toughness roll.

 

For Instance:

 

At Rank 3 I had taken Five ranks of navigator powers.  Meaning I had a -20 on my roll to resist mutation. The GM is actively attempting to make sure my navigator is as mutated as possible.  I can only assume there is some dark purpose for this.  Consequently, I am currently Rank Six and I have the following mutations, Black Eyes, Withered Form, Unnatural LImbs, Pale and Hairless Flesh, and Inhuman Visage.  My character wears robes and has a huge collection of masks.  However he still somehow has the highest fellowship and command in the whole party.

 

 

 

 

Can you give a clearer example on this mechanic? Sounds very interesting actually, but mind you - if you take Foreshadowing at Rank 2, and spend a fate point when you make one of those penalized rolls, you can effectively get a + 30 or higher.

 

 

I wouldn't allow a Navigator to use Foreshadowing on a test like this, since I don't imagine a Navigator sits down, says "I'm going to learn a new power" and then immediately learns/improves it within the next six seconds. It's meant to represent a more gradual - or perhaps spontaneous and unexpected in this case - growth of their powers, so they don't have the ability to "prepare" for their body attempting to undergo a mutation.

 

I'd allow them to take Toughness boosting drugs, but only if they have a couple of days supply on hand to represent them sensing the approach of a mutation, and hooking themselves up to the galaxy's largest IV drip.


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#19 dobyk21

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Posted 17 April 2014 - 10:50 AM

 

I wouldn't allow a Navigator to use Foreshadowing on a test like this, since I don't imagine a Navigator sits down, says "I'm going to learn a new power" and then immediately learns/improves it within the next six seconds. It's meant to represent a more gradual - or perhaps spontaneous and unexpected in this case - growth of their powers, so they don't have the ability to "prepare" for their body attempting to undergo a mutation.

 

I'd allow them to take Toughness boosting drugs, but only if they have a couple of days supply on hand to represent them sensing the approach of a mutation, and hooking themselves up to the galaxy's largest IV drip.

 

 

That makes sense I suppose, although you can also spend a fate point to add a +10 to the roll, so effectively you have a +30, which is quite OP actually for a system that punishes the navigator's body. I'm referring only to Magisterial Navigators, of course, the rest are a bit creepy, very little control or protection against mutations o.O  And if you fail a + 30 roll, spend your second fate point to reroll. It's a big cost, but if you're the socialite of the party, it's worth doing your best to avoid nasty mutations. I think my character might be tempted to commit suicide if he gets more than 2 mutations during the campaign. His career as a diplomat will basically be over.


Edited by dobyk21, 17 April 2014 - 10:51 AM.


#20 RogalDorn01

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Posted 17 April 2014 - 11:22 AM

Yeah, so we don't allow the use of any other powers to make it easier.  Hadn't considered using drugs to try and stave off mutation.  I really like the idea of only being able to use it to enhance existing powers instead of grabbing new ones.

 

But since you asked here is another example of how we do it.

 

Rank Four Navigator has up to this point purchased Navigator Powers 6 times in his lifetime.  Each of these of course costed the requisite 200 exp.  The navigator decides to purchase Navigator Power again (Madness.)  This means he is testing for his Seventh power.  Since he is only Rank four, this leaves a penalty multiplier of three.  Meaning his test will be taking a penalty of -30 to avoid mutation.

 

Fate points are totally ok to use for this, so you can mitigate SOME of the horror.  So yes, my Navis Scion is still our diplomat, but he has to hide most of his hideous form behind thick robes and "decorative" masks.  He is currently looking into finding a decent Genator so when he eventually goes home he doesn't end up dissected in a lab or put into the Spawnitorium...


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