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FinarinPanjoro

House ruling use of silhouette 2+ objects as weapons

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Hey all,

I'm running some superhero adventures using Genesys and have encountered a problem that I also ran into in the Star Wars RPG (via the Move Power).  The use of silhouette 2+ objects as weapons.

This is an extremely powerful ability which super powered individuals frequently have (through super strength, telekinesis, becoming giant sized, etc).  The amount of damage inflicted (10x silhouette plus successes) makes this a virtual one shot kill option.  In the Superpowers thread here, I've been suggesting some alternative rules or mitigations and wanted to open the discussion to a wider audience.

One suggestion put forth by GroggyGolem (thank you!) was to change the damage increment to 5, but I feel that just pushes the problem up one tier.  A size 3 object still does 20+successes, is still pretty much an instant kill, and still only affects one target despite being the size of a Mack Truck.

So here are some options I've proposed:

One set of options:

  • You must upgrade the difficulty of the attack once for each silhouette the object is greater than yours (it's unwieldy, likely to collapse under its own weight, easy to see coming, etc).
  • If you are in an interior space you add one setback die for each silhouette the object is larger than the intended occupants (reduce by one if in an appropriately large room).
  • You may elect to eliminate both of these penalties by having the attack inflict Blast on a successful hit doing damage equal to your Brawn plus the object's silhouette plus uncancelled successes instead of the normal 10x silhouette damage.  If the object is silhouette 4 or more blast effects all within short range.  You may activate blast with this attack with a triumph or 3 advantage even on a failed check.  Most objects are destroyed by this attack method.

Alternative Thought:

What if large objects were treated as doing Brawn plus Silhouette damage, but also have linked equal to silhouette?  This would require more advantage to make devastating and allow soak to apply to each activation of linked.

Or it could be treated as Auto-fire and even increase the difficulty once (which would also allow the damage to be spread to multiple targets instead of using Blast to do this) and make it comparable to what a Super-being with energy projection/auto-fire upgrade can accomplish in one round.

I've also thought about allowing a defensive roll like the Coordination check that allows you to mitigate falling damage.

Any thoughts on any of these ideas?  Does anyone have any other suggestions, ideas they've tried in SWRPG, or new ideas?

Thanks!

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I think the first problem is using a flawed starting point. the 10 damage per silhouette is insanely powerful and not a good idea (as you found out!). Also, most silhouette 2+ objects are not designed to be used as a weapon and will break with the first use. So they won't be transferring all that force to the one target and so won't be a huge damage boost.

Spitballing here, but I'd say that it'd be +2 per silhouette. And then you get to add one positive item quality that makes sense. Some examples:

  • blast (cars explode and trees shatter) [rating equal to double the silhouette + your character's Brawn]
  • Accurate (it's harder to dodge a motorcycle due to sheer size) [rating equal to silhouette]
  • Pierce (all that bulk will have something sharp and pointy) [rating equal to 2+silhouette]
  • Knockback (being hit by that much bulk will knock you around)
  • Burn (if it has fuel, it can catch you on fire) [rating of 2]
  • Ensnare (it'll take time to get out of that rubble) [rating equal to half silhouette, round down]
  • Disorient (that hurts) [rating equal to silhouette]
  • etc

Just a few ideas off the top of my head.

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Those are some great suggestions c_beck!  Perhaps the effects scale with silhouette less than the damage.  Brawn +2 would mean +10 damage at silhouette 5 which is definitely survivable, but still very dangerous plus you add additional weapon qualities as you go which makes the attack more interesting, but not necessarily more deadly.

Drainsmith, I agree the problem is that defense does not adequately scale with anything that crosses into the planetary scale which is effectively what the 10x silo rule is.  It's basically 1 vehicle damage per silhouette level.  As I'm running a super hero game there are plenty of characters with some level of invulnerability, super-speed, magical barriers, super-agility, etc that could all reasonably explain how they survive an attack with a silo 2+ object even if mechanically it was a direct hit.  The problem is even with those powers, using the existing rules, they mathematically can't survive it.

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Other suggestion is to use a different mechanic for it. I know others have been using the magic system to emulate superpowers. Even if its not a spell as such you could use the empower option in the magic system from the attack spell so add 2 difficulty to the check because its a big thing used as a weapon. Then deal 2xbrawn plus your base damage. With that you dont even need to figure out what size thing is its just narrative. So anything with massive size would count. 

For base you could either use +3 which is where a large improvised weapon ends in scale or if you really like that size matters use 1 damage per silhouette. So throwing your 500 feet, 9000 ton destroyer (sil 5) at someone would deal brawnx2+5 damage plus 1 damage per uncancel success.

If you combine this with c_becks suggestions in the additional effects again you could use the magic system so add one more difficulty for and additional effect. Just need to be able to narrative describe how a destroyer would cause burn damage or maybe autofire is just to be able to hit additional targets etc.  

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Thanks all!  By combining several of your suggestions here's what I've come up with.

Caveat: This is very specific to the excellent Superpowers rules created by IndianaWalsh, but I believe easily adapted to be less so (it specifically references several relevant superpower trees in his supplement).

Using Improvised and Massive Objects as weapons

Whether by super-strength, telekinesis, size manipulation or any other means that results in a Silhouette 2+ object being used to attack in combat the following rules will be utilized.  These rules replace the standard Improvised Weapon rules (all non-massive Improvised weapons are Silhouette 0 or 1).  Damage is added to the Attribute associated with the attack (typically Brawn, but others are possible, such as Willpower for Telekinesis). 

Size

 

Dam

 

Crit

 

Range

 

Special

 

0

+1

5

Engaged

Cumbersome 2, Disorient, Knockdown, Inferior 1

1

+2

5

Engaged

Cumbersome 4, Disorient, Knockdown, Inferior 1

2

+4

4

Engaged

Cumbersome 5, Disorient, Knockdown, Inferior 1, Special*

3

+6

4

Short

Cumbersome 5, Disorient, Knockdown, Inferior 1, Special*

4

+8

3

Short

Cumbersome 6, Disorient, Knockdown, Inferior 1, Special*

5

+10

3

Medium

Cumbersome 6, Disorient, Knockdown, Inferior 1, Special*

·         Attacks with objects uses the Melee Skill (Telekinesis utilizes Discipline).  Telekinesis utilizes Willpower to determine base damage.

·         The Cumbersome quality does not apply to powers that move objects without using the wielder's body (such as telekinesis).

·         If the object is 2+ sizes larger than the target the difficulty is increased by +1 Difficulty.

·         If the object is 2+ sizes larger than the attacker upgrade the difficulty once.

·         If the object is used in a confined space (ie- indoors) it gains Inaccurate equal to its silhouette (add Setback equal to silhouette).

·         Characters that are larger than silhouette 1 or that have spent strain to use the Strength upgrade to lift a larger object treat their Brawn as 1 higher per silhouette above 1 or Strength upgrade used for purposes of applying penalties from the Cumbersome quality.  Example:  A character with Brawn 3 who has grown to silhouette 3 or used 2 strength upgrades treats their Brawn as 5 for determining penalties from the Cumbersome quality.

·         Characters that are larger than silhouette 1 only add damage to their attacks for each silhouette the object is equal to theirs and above.  Example a silhouette 3 character using a silhouette 3 object as a weapon adds only +2 damage, not +6.  They would add +4 for a silhouette 4 object, and so on.

·         Special: With Triumph or 3 advantage the attacker may add and activate special qualities to the attack from the following list.  With Despair or 3 Threat the GM may add them and have them affect the attacker or his allies.  Anyone damaged by the attack may be targeted by a quality.  Once a quality has been applied to one affected target additional affected targets may be added for 1 advantage.  Additionally, the attacker may flip one Story Point to activate one quality on a successful hit regardless of die results.

o   Blast- equal to the base damage of the attack.  If the object is size 4 or larger it affects targets at short range of the original target, not just engaged range.  This quality must be activated to affect more than a single target with the attack or apply an additional quality to an additional target.  This quality may be activated on a miss by spending 2xTriumph, Triumph and 3 advantages, or a story point.

o   Ensnare- equal to silhouette as debris and rubble pin people.

o   Stun- equal to silhouette.

o   Burn- equal to silhouette if it has a fuel tank, explosives, or flammable materials.

o   Concussive 1- Disorient must have also been activated against affected targets.

o   Rubble- it creates difficult terrain out to the range of the attack.

o   Critical- critical hits may be activated against multiple targets that are affected by Blast.  Additional crits cost advantage equal to the objects crit rating.

 

 

Edited by FinarinPanjoro
updating TK notes

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Please excuse the Star Wars symbols (as opposed to the official Genesys ones).  My computer is all set up to use the SW symbols.

Since it requires Triumph to activate a special quality I'm considering allowing any qualities that are activated to affect everyone affected by the attack without spending advantage.  So you activate Blast and then Knockdown and everyone hit by Blast is also knocked down.  Thoughts?

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I'm a little confused on the difficulties of these checks. For a silhouette 5 object, you need a brawn rating of 6 (impossible without cybernetics or something else that circumvents the Genesys rules) to throw it without added penalty added from the Cumbersome rating, or you need an Agility of 5? that's a steep cost that most characters couldn't match without loads of XP and has little payoff when compared to standard ranged weapon profiles.

Besides the Cumbersome/Unwieldly ratings, is the difficulty just based on the range?

Is there any additional barrier to throwing these objects, such as a talent that you must acquire to be allowed to even make the check?

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Oops.  I made a mistake in my rules there.  I was thinking Cumbersome and Unwieldy upgraded not increased difficulty.  So I'll have to revise to rebalance that.

Base difficulty would be Average (PP) as it's still a melee attack and it would upgrade/increase from there.  But given my mistake above I've probably made it too hard to be worth trying.  Especially with the increase in difficulty due to silhouette versus the target already included.

I'm thinking I'll probably drop the Unwieldy and just use Cumbersome.  Cumbersome 6 was intentional as it should be really hard to swing an object of that size effectively if you're that much smaller than the object (note the size change and strength rules create an effective Brawn above 6- Brawn 4 with 2 strength upgrades spent and you're there, or Brawn 4 at Silhouette 3 for Giant-Man types).

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I feel like this might have made Telekinesis (which operates similar to the Move power in Star Wars) significantly more confusing.

So to clarify my revision suggestion: Telekinesis uses Willpower in any place that Brawn would normally be referenced.  It does not apply the Cumbersome quality to an object being used.  The Difficulty of the attack is based on range, not silhouette of the object being used.

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Also since IndianaWalsh's Superpowers Setting Doc adds +3 to Super hero Brawl damage.  This +3 should be included with improvised weapons of any size as well as with Telekinetic object attacks.

So by what I propose a superhero with Brawn 4 using a silo 3 object as a weapon would do 4 (Brawn)+3 (Setting Boost) +6 (weapon)+ successes on the Melee check.  For Telekinesis it would be Willpower+3+size bonus+successes.

Edited by FinarinPanjoro
fixing grammar

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