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Help Me Build a Grappler

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  • #16
    By the way, how is the Stunned Tilt meant to work now? What causes it? What increases your chances of inflicting it? What does the Stun tag do?

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    • #17
      The stunned tilt can be caused by an attack targeting the head that deals as much damage as the character's size. Big dice pools and weapon modifiers increase your chances by dealing more damage. The Stun tag makes the stun gun count as "dealing" one extra damage for the purpose of calculating stun, even though it only fills one health box. It does nothing for the Sap, which has a weapon modifier of 0.

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      • #18
        The grappler build worked well! A few things came up.

        Action Economy
        My character - Karen - got into a one-on-one fight with a monster. Karen had a higher Initiative and succeeded on the grapple. The Storyteller declared the monster took a reflexive action to use a power that lets it turn into shadow (this is a power Karen can learn, too), and thereby slip free of Karen's grapple. Then the monster used its movement. Same turn, it reflexively re-assumed a corporeal form, and took its normal action to hit her with a blast power.

        This dance repeated for the next four rounds: Karen succeeding on a grappling, the monster spending Essence to escape as a shadow, and then blasting Karen.

        Does all that sound in keeping with the rules?

        Using Powers during Grapples
        What kind of powers can you use during grapples? I got the impression you could only pick from the list, or do whatever else the ST finds reasonable (like "I win the grapple - I hit the "alarm" button on the nearby console). I would also think you could use any reasonable Instant action power.

        But then there's a rule in the Mage rulebook, about casting during grappling (pg. 118), which explicitly says they can cast a spell whether they win a grapple check or not, which doesn't make sense to me.

        Spends
        I now have 8 XP to spend, as we go into our last session, which the ST advises will be mostly one major fight. I am definitely getting Dark Whip (sweet, sweet agg), and wondering what else I should buy. Taking that shadow evade power might be nice. There's also a shield power I could get. I'm also tempted to pick up the Fast Reflexes Merit, so I can almost guarantee I go first in combat.

        Here are the powers I am considering
        (FYI: entering the final fight, we all have 13 max Essence, can spend 4 a turn, and regenerate 1 per turn)

        Darkwhip
        This Talent creates tendrils of darkness that deal 1 Lethal Damage at Close and Short Range (15/30/60). The Darkwhip also has the Grapple Tag and can attempt a Disarm maneuver using Willpower+Morphus vs Strength+Athletics. This Talent lasts for the Scene, after which they must be recreated. The tendrils can have any shape, not limited to whips and tentacles, although those are the most common. The Nightbane can spend 1 Point of Essence/Additional Damage Level, and upgrade damage to Aggravated for an additional Point of Essence.
        Cost: 1 Essence, +1/Damage Level, +1 Damage Upgrade

        Shadow Shield
        This Talent Creates a force field of dark energy around the Nightbane, providing an Armor rating and additional Health Levels equal to Morphus for the Scene. The Shadow Shield completely surrounds the character, protecting him from toxic gases, disease, punches, bullets, heat, fire, and similar dangers as long as it remains in force, but does not negate mental attacks or supernatural suggestion. The Shield takes damage first and any damage above applies to the Nightbane. They may refresh these Health Levels to maximum reflexively by spending Essence to negate attacks that exceed the current amount up to Essence per Turn Maximum.
        Cost: 1 Essence/Scene, +1 to refresh Health Levels.

        Shadow Slide
        For 1 Point of Essence/Turn, The Nightbane becomes an insubstantial shadow, or, more accurately, like one of those mirages you can see on a paved road during a sunny day. They are a flickering shadow that seems to sink into the earth and fades away as if it never was. While in this two-dimensional form, the Nightbane can slither along walls or across the ground at their Morphus Form’s Speed, virtually invisible and able to slide through any opening, no matter how narrow (only airtight containers will prevent the shadow-slider from coming through). The Nightbane's clothing and small personal effects are transformed automatically; additionally, he can carry objects in this form for an additional Essence Point/Point of Size the Object has.
        Cost: 1 Essence/Turn, +1/Carried Object’s Size

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        • #19
          I don't see anything in the description specifying whether it's a reflexive or normal action to use Shadow Slide. I personally wouldn't allow reflexing switching into and also out of the form on the same turn but that's the ST's judgement.

          That's a Mage specific rule, whether it applies to other supernats is an ST call. My general rule of thumb is that you can use self targeting powers even while grappled, but you can't target anybody else. Even if you can shoot fire out of your hands or something like that, losing a grapple means you tried but missed, or whatever makes sense in context.

          Dark Whip remains a great buy. Agg is nice if you're up against a regenerating enemy but the ability to boost the damage rating is even better.

          I had to read Shadow Shield a couple of times and I'm not totally sure I understand it. It grants Armor equal to Morphus and a soak pool? Does the armor still apply if the shield is reduced to zero health? If so that's a phenomenal amount of durability right there. If I'm understanding it right an attack would have to do 5 or more damage to get past the shield's 4 armor rating and damage it. Then it has to deplete the 4 health of the shield. And then it has to have at least 3 damage left to overcome your natural armor 2.

          Can you get your ST to confirm if that's how it works? Because if it is that would make your character almost impossible to kill with conventional attacks.

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          • #20
            I took Darkwhip and Shadow Shield. Yes, Shadow Shield is insanely good. The session we played yesterday was our last, and my character effectively took no damage because she kept spending reflexively for additional health levels.

            Also, because Shadow Shield counts as armor (instead of being non-armor damage reduction), she added it to her attack rolls and ignored it when inflicting damage (which gave her a +5 bonus against her enemies).

            My character went from being "decent fighter" to "the most dangerous member of the group" thanks to the advice in this thread.

            So, thank you!

            The adventure is now over, and I enjoyed it. If we revisited the world of Nightbane, I would sit with the ST and recommend rebalancing the powers (Shadow Shield ought to be treated as an object with Durability, and Shadow Slide shouldn't be always-reflexive), but we had plenty of fun.

            I'm also tempted to remake the Grappling fighting style. Now that I understand that several of the powers don't work as written, I'd love to see if I could make a cohesive fighting style that properly uses the rules.

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            • #21
              I'm glad that you had fun, and that I could help! Hurt Locker is one of my favorite supplements and I enjoy messing around with the style options.

              I mentioned earlier that I use a simplified version of the rules for non standard styles, here's what I do: Styles have to be purchased in the standard 1-2-3-4-5 manner, but you can substitute maneuvers from other styles with the same tag if you meet the prerequisites. Additionally, once you have purchased a maneuver you may purchase others with that same level and tag as one dot merits (So no skipping levels, but once you have 1-2-3 you can buy other 3s instead of or in addition to 4).

              For example, assuming I meet the prerequisites for both styles I could create a hybrid style that goes Martial Arts 1 Boxing 2 Martial Arts 3 Boxing 4 Martial Arts 5. Then, if I wanted to add the Alternate Martial Arts 4 to my repertoire I would be able to get it for one dot, and so on.

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