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Utility of Maximized Health Levels in DBs

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  • Utility of Maximized Health Levels in DBs

    I was just wondering about opinions concerning the utility of maximized health levels in DBs. It is fairly easy to give a DB character Stamina 5, Resistance 5, and Ox-Body Technique (×5), giving them an extra -1×5 and -2×10 health levels. My question is how useful is it to be literally three times as tough as the average mortal (especially since a DB could use artifacts, charms, evocations, and spells to further improve their toughness)?

  • #2
    I'm not sure you'd want to max out Ox-Body off the bat compared to other starting Charms, but it has decent utility to take at least a few if you want to be a tank in combat. Native DB Charms don't use HLs as costs that much, esp. at lower Essence, so if you're focusing on something like Medicine where there's a ton of utility in maxing out your Ox-Body... it doesn't come until later and you can hold off. I can't think of any MAs or Artifacts that have high HL costs, but there's nothing saying those can't exist and if one was in play it would obviously help to have more HLs to fuel.

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    • #3
      My experience is more with Solars, but the lessons still translate because the player didnt use most of a Solars best tricks.

      Lots of health, plus strong armor and a few soak charms can make a character nearly invincible. By itself oxbody isn't that useful, but when combined with a good soak the value of those health levels jumps dramatically in 3e.

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      • #4
        I'd also say they probably need to be combined with a charm for speeding up your healing. If you take 15 damage in a big fight, then when you have another fight a week later you're... still actually going to be incredibly badly injured.
        Whereas a character who relies for their defence on stuff like Dodge charms is going to recover their resources by the next day.


        My characters:
        Dr Soma Vaidya, viper-totem Lunar and kung-fu doctor
        Brother Alazar, Zenith occultist and last survivor of the Black Monastery of Leng

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        • #5
          Originally posted by The Wizard of Oz View Post
          I'd also say they probably need to be combined with a charm for speeding up your healing. If you take 15 damage in a big fight, then when you have another fight a week later you're... still actually going to be incredibly badly injured.
          Whereas a character who relies for their defence on stuff like Dodge charms is going to recover their resources by the next day.
          Even if you use dodge ox-bodies can mean the difference between life and death.

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          • #6
            Oh sure. They're certainly not worthless. But if you are stacking a ton of them and relying on them, you will need a way to heal in a reasonable timeframe.


            My characters:
            Dr Soma Vaidya, viper-totem Lunar and kung-fu doctor
            Brother Alazar, Zenith occultist and last survivor of the Black Monastery of Leng

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            • #7
              Well, DBs are capable of turning lethal damage into bashing damage, so you would really only need a single good healer in the party. High levels of armor also help though, especially artifact armor.

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              • #8
                Also at Essence 3 you can pick up Dragon's Unfailing Vigor, for an additional -0 and -4 health level. If you combine that with something like Earth Dragon style and artifact fullplate, then simply put you're not going to lose to anything other than overwhelming numbers or a celestial exalt.

                On the other hand the fact that you're not going to die doesn't necessarily mean this is some kind of One True Build. YOU might not die, but you might not win fast enough to save your hearthmates from death either. Especially since canny enemies will realize that attacking you is pointless.

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                • #9
                  By themselves I don't know that the health levels would get you too far, but in combination with wound penalty negation they are very useful, and DBs are actually really good at this second thing. Resistance only lets you do it scene-long at essence 4, but integrity and Wound-Denying Dragon Faith can let you ignore 3-4 points of wound penalties for an entire scene at essence 1 4 charms deep and no aura dependency.

                  With so many health levels no one short of an alpha strike-focused celestial with good rolls will be able to one-shot you. And without wound penalties, you are basically just as effective fighting at 1 hp than at full health. This means that when your oponent drops a nuclear decisive on you, instead of activating several charms and spending a lot of motes, willpower etc. as most fighters would you instead do nothing, just take the damage, and then on your turn use all those resources you saved to get yourself an almost-guaranteed crash on that just-reset-to-base mofo.

                  Essentially (pun intended) you're pretending to lose right up until they decisive you thinking that's it, then Initiative Shift and break their spine Alucard style. High soak can also make it incredibly hard for a mote-taped just-reset enemy to crawl back out of initiative hell.

                  In a game where resource management is so important (motes, willpower, initiative, etc.) the best thing about OX-Body Technique is that it costs nothing and is always active.

                  Now granted, this build is not foolproof or anything (poisons, crippling attacks, non-resetting decisives, etc. can still ruin your day) but it works quite well for relatively small investment. Plus the "oh shit I just dealt 15 levels of damage to it why is it not dead" is priceless in itself.


                  Are you in the market for some Martial Arts? Perhaps some custom Artifacts for your campaign?

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                  • #10
                    ^as badass says, the main use for ox-body in terms of Winning Fites is baiting unsuccessful Decisives.

                    This is as opposed to Surviving Fites, where they’re good, but not as good as Soak, Hardness, and Defense.

                    Unless you’re a lunar. But you’re a DB. Not a lunar. Not a bearserker lunar with a full RLF build and 200 -4 health levels.

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                    • #11
                      Look into that merit that reduces wound penalties if you do this. It is very useful, especially if you get extra merit dots like DBs do.


                      ....

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                      • #12
                        Good ppints about ignoring wound penalties.

                        Originally posted by The Fool of Creation View Post
                        Well, DBs are capable of turning lethal damage into bashing damage, so you would really only need a single good healer in the party.
                        Oh yeah, it doesn't have to be you yourself who can heal quickly. A fellow doctor PC is fine.

                        High levels of armor also help though, especially artifact armor.
                        Yes, but actually I don't think armour is more important for people with ox-bodies than anyone else.

                        Armour reduces the amount of initiative people can take from you. I'd say it's actually more important for people without many ox-bodies, because they can't cope so well with being hit by high-initiative decisives.

                        Saying this, of course, people with lots of ox-bodies are probably going for a Resistance build not a Dodge build (and armour is bad for Dodge builds), so it's easier. But you could definitely have heavy armour and rely on Parry charms rather than Ox-bodies.



                        My characters:
                        Dr Soma Vaidya, viper-totem Lunar and kung-fu doctor
                        Brother Alazar, Zenith occultist and last survivor of the Black Monastery of Leng

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