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Naviward

Erasure psychic power in combat

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One of my players has asked about using the Erasure psychic power in combat, to effectively confuse an enemy by deleting the last 10 minutes of their memory (so the start of the combat for example).

 

Has anyone had this come up and how did you resolve it? Should the power even be allowed in combat given it seems to be more of a investigation type of power?

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The power only needs a Full Action to be cast, so I say why not? That's some creative gameplay, so give the guy some bonus xp too if he succeeds  :) .

 

The power itself should take out the target for 3-4 rounds as he tries to figure out where he is and what he is supposed to do. Helpless for one round, then no actions (only reactions or free actions) for 1-3 rounds, depending on the target's Intelligence. 

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The power only needs a Full Action to be cast, so I say why not? That's some creative gameplay, so give the guy some bonus xp too if he succeeds  :) .

 

The power itself should take out the target for 3-4 rounds as he tries to figure out where he is and what he is supposed to do. Helpless for one round, then no actions (only reactions or free actions) for 1-3 rounds, depending on the target's Intelligence. 

 

I can see where you are coming from, but to me this seems way over-powered. It's one thing to use it occasionally to get out of a tight situation (accidentally starting a fight, then calming it down), but this seems more like the thing the psyker would do every round of every combat.

 

Big Ork-Warboss enemy. No problem, just Erasure and pound on them for 4 rounds while they do very little.

 

At most I'd argue the enemy loses it's next turn while it understands what is going on, otherwise it becomes one of the best combat powers in the game.

Edited by Naviward

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Oh dear. I was actually pondering this myself. I would definitely add some rules about using Erasure in combat. Some gut changes:

•increasing casting time to Extended

•Reducing Range to 1m flat and/or requiring direct line-of-sight (i.e., exposing the psyker)

•Bonus to target's roll (like +20) if in combat

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Just let them do it. Either give your big bad boss character a high willpower and ability to resist, or have a big number of mooks to deal with. And if you erase an orks memory in the middle of a fight, just have it start randomly fighting someone nearby. Same goes for daemons (who this may not work on) or other Xenos. Have them react in weird ways. Just because humans reaction may be to cower and figure things out, it doesn't mean an eldar won't start tactically retreating or what have you. If it's your big bad human boss, maybe he takes time to get in cover and starts talking things out. If you don't want the power to end a battle, just have it change it instead. Or if you're okay with it taking someone out, have it take them out.

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An Ork doesn't need that much incentive/reason to fight, they fight for the sake of fighting. They're not known for their intellect. Perhaps their collective psychic ability generated by hanging around their own kind even protects them from such manipulations to a certain degree... would be funny if they get even more enraged in this manner. They're not really in thinking mode at the time (which is limited anyway), but in smashing mode. Perhaps they pick a different target like Nimsim mentioned and that's it.

Edited by Gridash

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Which makes it last longer than hallucination which is strictly made for combat at the cost of half the xp. Not to mention erasure has many narrative uses. PR rounds is too much. 

Edited by morrowind06

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Fair point. I didn't look at hallucination because my psyker player doesn't have it. We did discuss whether one round or PR rounds was more appropriate, and didn't look around for power level relative to similar powers. I do think erasure is more powerful than hallucinate, even though it is cheaper. I don't buy that either power is specifically for combat or narration.

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Well I could be wrong, but i would imagine if erasure was designed for combat use they would have made some side rules stating how creatures would react to it. But they didn't so here we are! lol. And I see that hallucinate you "could" use in narration, but since the time is for half psy rating in rounds it seems heavily meant for combat purposes IMO.

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The fact that Erasure doesn't mention any stun or any other negative effect for it being used in combat, would that itself make me believe it is not intended for that.

 

And even if it did. I couldn't see anything beyond one round. It doesn't matter whether I know anything, if I see someone attacking my friends or me, I know they are the enemy and danger is present.

Edited by Foxeru

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I'm with you on understanding danger in the lizard brain, even if a character doesn't know how they got there. IIRC, stunning prevents most actions, but not reactions such as dodge.  So, a character could protect themselves but it would take some time to orient themselves. The main reason I said PR rounds is to reflect the more power a psyker puts in the power, the more effective it would be. I'll probably modify it to the same duration as hallucinate.

 

Rounds are about 6 seconds, so a fraction (1/10th) of a minute. Just because a power's duration is stated in rounds or minutes doesn't make any difference other than the duration. It wouldn't make much sense to say a power lasts 6 or 36 seconds, or that it lasts 1000 rounds. I don't see any real difference other than that. I don't have it in front of me, but IIRC, erasure allows a character to eliminate one memory up to ten minutes in the past, so a psyker could eliminate the memory of a combat. It doesn't say anything about any durations of the memory eliminated. Maybe its a full day. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

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I wouldn't believe the amount of psy rating would have any effect on the disorientation. Regardless of whether I lost ten minutes or an hour I will probably be equally confused where I am and why people are shooting/hitting me. And I don't know about most people, but if I wake up and someone is trying to hurt me its not going to take me six seconds to punch back. Maybe I am a violent person though idk.

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Psy rating might not have any effect on disorientation. Then again, it might. I've never had any memories stolen by psychic powers. It might have some pretty profound side effects. Waking up after a night of hard drinking does, and doesn't necessarily leave one physically able to punch back effectively within 6 seconds. But again, I have no other experience to compare it to, so 1 round might very well be sufficient. Maybe stunning at all isn't an appropriate way to mechanically deal with the power. Maybe it wouldn't have any real effect during a fight, just that somebody randomly forgets their mom's birthday and has to make a mental note to call her after the fight. 

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Thanks for all the responses, there is always the conflict in these sorts of things between the realistic approach (like people have said, Stunning or having them react randomly) and the game balance approach, which is to make it at best a weaker version of combat specific powers at the same cost/level.

 

In the end I took Foxeru's approach and just said that in combat it's too difficult to apply as the opponents are so focus on surviving and killing the enemy.

 

Oh, and as a side note for Lionus, Stunning does prevent dodging, so it really is a death sentence if it goes on more than a couple of rounds. The point about waking up after drinking is a good one though, so maybe something like having the target suffer -20 to all skill tests for PR/2 Rounds while they try to get back in the moment.

Edited by Naviward

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I wouldn't believe the amount of psy rating would have any effect on the disorientation. Regardless of whether I lost ten minutes or an hour I will probably be equally confused where I am and why people are shooting/hitting me. And I don't know about most people, but if I wake up and someone is trying to hurt me its not going to take me six seconds to punch back. Maybe I am a violent person though idk.

 

I can say sure as hell that I'd be more suprised if I'm suddenly jerked out of sleep, suddenly standing on a battlefield, compared to being jerked straight into combat from the moment I'm standing around a street corner, preparing for battle.

 

Now, I agree that it wouldn't take more than six seconds to start punching, at least if you know how to defend yourself or have actual experience, but it does take a moment to get your bearings. It's one thing defending yourself against a sudden attacker punching you in the face with his fists - it's a completely different beast entirely to react to incoming weapons fire and tell friend from foe in a firefight.

 

You don't even know where you are.

 

More on the topic, I'd make it simply stun someone for a round, but I'd also require them to be very close to the target, making it harder to use as a battlefield power.

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There is no need to have an NPC react randomly.

How would you react if you suddenly find yourself in the middle of a fight, having no recollection of how you got there and why people are shooting at/stabbing you?

 

Make the NPC check for surprise, then have her/him carry on as normal - as survival instincts kick in.

This way the ability becomes combat-viable, isn't broken or random (imho), and there are the following requirements for the power to work in that context.

 

- A Full Action must be spent to "activate" the power

- The opposed Willpower test must succeed.

- The target has to be within range (5m x PR)

- The NPC has to fail Fail the Awareness check or be surprised

 

 

+1 for awarding the player for creative use of the power.

Edited by Keffisch

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Actually being surprised for a round sounds like it makes complete sense. Effectively as if you were minding your own business and enemies teleported right next to you ready to fight. A perception check makes sense perhaps at a flat -20 or -30?

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