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  • Reworking soak powers.


    Fortitude's the outright worst cost effective discipline, ingoring thaumaturgical countermagic
    Garou armour gifts are evil and as most use stamina there's this bizarre propensity to activate in crinos and switch to whatever's desired.
    Mages, I really have no idea what's what.

    I want quick and effective solutions (since combat's a slog) but I want things that make sense/are worth it.

    My current thoughts:
    Fortitude; Reduce physical damage by levels of fortitude. You have two fortitude and get hit for four damage? Nice, try and soak two with your stamina. simple. Someone does five damage to your five fortitude? Soaked, next move. (
    Soak claws, teeth, burning blade and other agg that isn't fire/faith/sunlight with your stamina at the third level of fortitude.
    Reduce fire/sunlight/electricity soak by -1 at 4th level.
    You need two dice to hit someone at fifth, glancing blows will do just that, this reduces carry over of blows that do hit.

    Thaumaturgical countermagic
    Roll, difficulty equal to whatever your opponent's doing, regardless of if they have more level than you do. Spend a blood to double dice. You can do the free version regardless of knowing if the caster is there, and using it succesfully blind warns you of the caster.

    Valeren armour.
    Spend a blood, roll stamina+melee or brawl, maximum is half your stamina+brawl, up to five, you can extend the roll but with expenditure.

    Werewolf
    All armour gifts except wyrm hide
    Add half what you'd roll (3 stamina+1 primal urge=2 levels), adjust accordingly as you switch forms, round down. Soak levels.
    Luna- Soak silver, add one dice to everyone's pools to see you, and reduce darkness penalties to hit you by 1.
    Trolls skin- -2 difficulty to smell you, standard social penalty for stinking and looking like rocks.
    Silver fur- -1 to dexterity actions, needs fur to work but can be active in homid/glabro, social penalties with the conservative.

    Wyrm hide- same as usual, soak levels. Presumably, you could get corrupted versions of all the above gifts.

    The downside is that I'm still testing how I'm doing armour and I presumably someone could be very strong combining powers with it.
    Note- I don't count 1's or 10's on damage/soaking because it just makes combat faster and less random (and people don't try stupid things with specialities). I made these changes with this alteration in mind. I imagine combat would be slow if you removed entire levels but still counted 1's.

    Thoughts? How do you do things. Would you consider these methods?


    Be correct.

  • #2
    I think that the latest iteration of Fortitude does soak levels...if you expend blood (I think it was 1 point, like when activating Potence). If it doesn't, then yeah, it should. But not for free - you don't get extra actions without expending blood with Celerity, and now Potence full power is not free either. I think that giving a handfull of dice "pasively" and then removing levels of damage when used "actively" (i.e: expending one blood point) it's balanced and good. Apart from that, adding extra powers like soaking Agg with Stamina would umbalance it with the other Physical Disciplines and reduce the utility of Protean claws - I wouldn't add that before 6th level.

    Mages, I really have no idea what's what.
    Don't worry, nobody has.

    Really, to perfect Mage's take on armors just do your standard armor rules for mortals and assume that mages can fiddle with those new rules. Among other things, they should be able to add "armor properties" to stuff that isn't armor, cancel/weaken "armor", create "armor", and alter or empower "armor properties".

    Appart from that, you have Countermagick, which it's relatively OK for Mage (but may need tinkering if you want to apply it for other splats). Keep in mind that pretty much everything in Mage has to do with magick, and thus increasing the power of Countermagick may create deep balance issues (for instance, it will make fast cast weaker than it already is).
    Last edited by Aleph; 02-01-2018, 11:06 AM.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Aleph View Post
      I think that the latest iteration of Fortitude does soak levels...if you expend blood (I think it was 1 point, like when activating Potence). If it doesn't, then yeah, it should. But not for free - you don't get extra actions without expending blood with Celerity, and now Potence full power is not free either. I think that giving a handfull of dice "pasively" and then removing levels of damage when used "actively" (i.e: expending one blood point) it's balanced and good. Apart from that, adding extra powers like soaking Agg with Stamina would umbalance it with the other Physical Disciplines and reduce the utility of Protean claws - I wouldn't add that before 6th level.
      .
      Potence is really multi-use though. You can use it for combat, destroying an obstacle, breaking an item, climbing, swiming, jumping,digging,carrying,lifting. Fortitude... now, you can resist damage, you could use yourself as a shield... you could probably run through a spikey bush with less issues... but fundamentally it's got less use than potence. Something so specialised should be stronger.

      Soaking agg with stamina at third level is fair considering:
      3 serpentis would seem reasonable, not broke.
      feral claws/burning blade et al still take a lot to heal and it's not like everyone's got fortitude anyway. Plus Str+Pot+wep+carry vs Fort+Arm really strikes me as unfair, especially considering how big Str can be in comparison to everything else. Also note that any respectable gangrel clearly gets protean 2 for it's climbing feature.
      Last edited by PewPew; 02-01-2018, 12:37 PM.


      Be correct.

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      • #4
        Don't sell Fortitude THAT low. It's the only way to defend yourself from Vampiric traditional banes. This is a BIG deal. Most powers out there don't allow that, and soaking those automatically it's very rare and powerful.

        For instance: Sunlight only does 3 aggravate per turn (with the whole body exposed), so, theoretically, your vampires would be walking in the beach, basking in sunlight at Fortitude 3, permanently, no problem at all.

        That's insane. I would NEVER allow such a thing.

        On the other hand, if you need to spend 1 blood point to get full soack, you will end getting your ass burn in less than a minute when your blood depletes and you start having to roll. Which it's still way more than what a vampire can expect to survive without Fortitude
        Allowing to soak some forms of aggravated damage with Stamina isn't terribly fair considering:

        Fort + Arm + Dodge vs Str + Pot + Wep +Carry it's only tilted towards the damage because the weapon it's causing Agg - otherwise it would be equal. And Aggravated shouldn't be equal to Lethal. Merely being harder to heal doesn't have the same "punch"

        Serpentis 3, a rare , clan-specific, Discipline (while Fortitude it's pretty common), allows to soak agg damage, yes,if you activate it, by spending a whole point of Willpower AND one of blood, by transforming your skin in a hideous Masquerade breaking fashion. Your mega Fortitude it's passive and thus you can't surprise it's user without it. Also it's way subtler and it adds 1 whole soak level that takes away damage. And, most importantly, it's FREE (no need to spend resources on it). Compared with that the other benefits of Serpentis 3 are nothing.

        I doubt most Gangrel get their claws to climb, really.
        Last edited by Aleph; 02-01-2018, 03:59 PM.

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        • #5
          Serpentis 3 is a rare power for weirdos, but acquiring it lets you easily outmatch someone with five fortitude who spent so much more on it. (not to mention serpentis's other amazing, powerful features and the specific powers increasing bite damage, reducing soak difficulty and allowing flexibility) and you've got clothes and obfuscate to completely circumvent the ugly. if we go back to claws vs fortitude? Claws is a level 2 power. I'm saying level 3 fortitude should be better than that.

          Oh, you missed out on that part where I said except faith, fire and sunlight. I fully intend for players to roll against that. It's just claws, blades, bullets, falling and everything else that's a level of soak. But the only real benefit fortitude currently has is
          First dot- let's you block lethal and agg with your bare hands (which is honestly a bit mad, I'd rather dodge)
          Could probably have you survive a small brush with the sun or flame.
          Is a free permanent blood buff.
          Would obviously be a worse choice than celerity, obfuscate, presence, dominate, animalism and money for dealing with someone with claws or a burning blade.

          also, agg being merely harder to heal works great in werewolf


          Be correct.

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          • #6
            Latest iteration of Fortitude (V20 dark ages) does not let you soak fire and sunlight with fortitude by spending one blood point. You must roll the dices at the target level given by the heat of the fire or the body exposure to the light.
            Once
            per turn, she may spend a blood point to automatically
            soak her Fortitude in damage, instead of adding it to her
            Stamina. This can be used to soak aggravated damage as
            well, but not damage from fire or sunlight.
            It's still good for protean claw, bites and so on, but fire and light are explicitly out.

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            • #7
              I use fortitude with stamina for all aggravated damage so someone deals to you 5 aggravated damage you have 3 stamina 2 fortitude that means you can soak it with 5 dices good luck!

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              • #8
                Can only speak for Vampire:

                Automatic LEVEL soaking with Fortitude? That is not a good idea.

                How many attacks do 5+ levels of damage? Even someone with perfect Attributes and Abilities and Specs isn't going to reliably do damage to someone with Fortitude 5. It goes from a waste to nigh-invincibility.

                Here's my fix.

                Potence in V20 ALWAYS helps. You can spend blood to get automatic successes. Furthermore, it helps with Strength Feats. Even if you roll horribly on all of your damage rolls, having a Strength of 8 thanks to your Potence means you can punch through CONCRETE effortlessly. That's a great trick. Need to escape? Kick the floor as hard as you can. It's a safe investment.

                Celerity ALWAYS helps. Those extra dice affect everything in combat, and extra actions are guaranteed if you're willing to spend blood. It's a great investment.

                Fortitude only helps if you roll well, in V20. Someone with Fortitude 5 can be forced into Torpor by machine gun fire with bad rolls, while someone with Stamina 3 and no Fortitude might actually be fine through dumb luck. Hypothetically, if bloody Mithras rolled badly on his soaks, you could take him out with concentrated firepower to the head in no time at all.

                DAV20's automatic soak with blood expenditure system is a nice fix that works well enough, but I have an idea that I prefer.

                Fortitude gives you extra Wounded health levels. So let's say you have Fortitude 5, and fail every soak roll in a scene due to bad luck. You still have 5 extra wounded health levels, meaning you can take quite a bit more punishment. It does not make you invincible by any means, but it's a life-saver which makes even 1 dot of Fortitude a great investment. One of my PCs only escaped death because of her 1 dot of Fortitude giving her a reprieve to escape a Lupine.

                So take one of my PCs, a Gargoyle called Sir Stoneheart. We created him when me and my player realized that he was hating all of his characters since his first (a psycho Gangrel) because he loves being a murderous psycho in TTRPG, and all of our attempts to try other things weren't working. Each to their own. So Stoneheart has Huge Size and Fortitude 5, meaning that he has 6 extra health levels. He also has some extra soak from Visceratika. He still takes damage quite frequently, because the NPCs attacking him think that a lot will be needed to take him down, so they try harder (he attracts more attention in combat, more Willpower expenditure, more resources). However, he is also a proper "tank" for the party. In previous games where Fortitude was just +1 die to soak for each dot... it was next to useless.
                Last edited by 11twiggins; 03-15-2018, 09:58 AM.

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                • #9
                  One issue I have with Fortitude and how it balances with Potence or Celerity is the bigger problem of aggravated damage. Aggravated damage in V:tM is horrendously unbalanced. Not being able to soak aggravated damage or heal it easily makes it a gigantic force multiplier which in turns, makes Celerity and Potence extremely powerful when combined with claws or teeth. Fortitude is the only thing that can soak aggravated, which is nice with fire and sunlight, but its not very effective when you're facing down a Gangrel or werewolf.

                  So to fix Fortitude, we have to get to the root of the problem which is aggravated damage. At the very least, I would allow all vampires to soak aggravated damage with Stamina unless its from sunlight, fire, or faith. That goes a long way to correcting the imbalance not only with aggravated damage but the advantage that offense has over defense. Personally, I would go further than that. I would prefer to have normal attacks do bashing damage against vampires, have attacked that used to be aggravated (like supernatural claws and teeth) do lethal damage to vampires, and then the only things that actually do aggravated damage to them is sunlight, fire, or faith.

                  So with that in mind, I would then stick with older editions of Potence which gives automatic successes to Strength rolls without spending blood points and then Fortitude could do that same thing, automatic successes to Stamina rolls without spending blood points. Then in addition, a vampire gets Fortitude dice to soak sunlight, fire, and faith which can't be soaked any other way.

                  This helps to balance out the Disciplines and the system in general. Of course, some people might say that my system makes an elder vampire with Fortitude too hard to kill. To that I say "Yes" it does make them hard to kill. A vampire who has become a master of supernatural resilience should be very difficult to destroy, especially with mundane means. If that seems unbalanced to you, look at what level 5 of a non-combat Discipline like Dominate or Presence can do.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Sergeant Brother View Post
                    The bigger problem of aggravated damage
                    In a current (dark Ages) game we have a fix. Teeth and Claws (and Serpentus) deal lethal damage with armour piercing. I think Claws increase base damage a little. You can still grow small daggers out of your hands but they aren't as bad as being burned (which still has 3 damage limit for bonfires) multiplied by speed and extra punch power.
                    But Fortitude doesn't help with the type of Agg that remains

                    It works pretty well. Our Fortitude master is still cautious around fire. We're all very cautious for sunlight and everyone with Sorcery has defence of sacred haven

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Illithid View Post
                      In a current (dark Ages) game we have a fix. Teeth and Claws (and Serpentus) deal lethal damage with armour piercing. I think Claws increase base damage a little. You can still grow small daggers out of your hands but they aren't as bad as being burned (which still has 3 damage limit for bonfires) multiplied by speed and extra punch power.
                      But Fortitude doesn't help with the type of Agg that remains

                      It works pretty well. Our Fortitude master is still cautious around fire. We're all very cautious for sunlight and everyone with Sorcery has defence of sacred haven
                      That does tone down aggravated damage quite a bit, which I like, but it seems that Fortitude is even less useful then. It doesn't help against fire or sunlight, so that can't be soaked at all?

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                      • #12
                        The Banes of Vampiric existance are still scary AF, not soaked at all.
                        (Technically the GM has removed soak altogether, but the difficulty on Damage from Fire/sunlight is based on amount of exposure.)

                        I don't think it drops the power of fortitude, just makes things that the Beast reacts to as deadly scary.
                        One of the characters is known for being invulnerable; he's never been _seen_ to take damage (some deception on his part)
                        Without Fortitude, we wouldn't have survived mounted charges from Knights, Seige warfare against ranks of soldiers. We just actually act like vampires and retreat from fire and sunlight because it can kill us, we (one of us) can't walk through a bonfire without worry because of Fortitude 5.

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                        • #13
                          That makes sense. It's thematic that vampires are difficulty to injure but vulnerable to fire and sunlight.

                          I have often thought it would be interesting if sunlight and faith in particular could only be soaked if you Humanity was particularly high. So that an elder with huge Fortitude could still quickly die to sunlight even if he was immune to other harm but a young weak vampire with high Humanity could soak it.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Sergeant Brother View Post
                            I have often thought it would be interesting if sunlight and faith in particular could only be soaked if you Humanity was particularly high. So that an elder with huge Fortitude could still quickly die to sunlight even if he was immune to other harm but a young weak vampire with high Humanity could soak it.
                            If you want mechanics - have faith damage rolls be difficulty of your Humanity, all paths take levels instead of dice.

                            For sunlight, one common thing that's been used in long term chronicles in my gaming groups (whether I was in it or not) was that sunlight damage starts increasing with Age - adding dice, decreasing difficulty of the damage roll or increasing difficulty of the soak depending on the version being used.

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                            • #15
                              Is there anywhere in the book that it explicitly says Faith damage can be soaked at all? It never made sense to me that a divine curse-based evil invulnerability power would be effective against punishment from divine sources, so in games I've run (mind, this was 2nd edition) Faith just did whatever the person using it rolled, no chance to resist. (This was helped by damage pools for True Faith effects being fairly low back then; unless you were beng branded by an actual crucifix-wielding saint you might get hurt and repelled but you wouldn't be burned to ash in one fell swoop.)

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