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Mortals and Clash of Wills

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  • Mortals and Clash of Wills

    Clash of Wills is the mechanic by which two supernatural creatures attempting to use conflicting powers determine whose ability wins out. Some gamelines use Supernatural Potency/Tolerance + dots in the relevant power (if it's an ability with an associated 1 to 5 rating), others use Supernatural Potency/Tolerance + Attribute (for those with powers without a dot rating, such as Demons and Changelings).

    Mortals, however, do not have a Clash of Wills mechanic, despite having access to several supernatural abilities that could conflict with those of other Mortals or even Supernatural creatures.

    The implication is that Mortals just lose any Clash of Wills roll with Supernaturals, but that is somewhat unsatisfying and doesn't answer what happens in a Mortal on Mortal conflict.

    One solution is to simply have the Mortal obey the same rules as Supernaturals, Supernatural Potency/Tolerance (which would be zero) + either ability dot rating or Attribute. This has the benefit of being relatively simple: powers like Telekinesis would roll a dicepool equal to the power's dot rating, whereas Psychokinesis would roll Resolve.

    The downside is that Merit dots are much cheaper than any Supernatural's power which would give Mortals too much of a leg up on starting Supernaturals and is therefore a greater power-swing than I desire.

    So, my proposal is that Mortal engaging in a Clash of Wills roll a Chance die that cannot be modified by Willpower:
    • Dramatic Failure: Not only do you lose control of your power, you also take bashing damage equal to the success your opponent rolled due to the backlash. If both participants get Dramatic Failures then both fail to exert their will, if the phenomenon lingers (such as a raging fire) then it continues to exist as it would in nature with potentially devastating effect. This replaces the normal rule of rerolling until one person achieves more successes than the other.
    • Failure: You fail to overcome your opponent. You may choose to fail rather than attempt to Clash.
    • Success: Your will proves superior, your power works as intended. You also succeed if your opponent gets a Dramatic Failure and you do not.
    • Exceptional Success: As per a success, but you also regain a point of Willpower as the feeling of your triumph surges through you.
    An Exceptional Success can only occur by expending a condition to upgrade a Success to an Exceptional Success.

    This allows Mortals a chance, albeit a slim one, to fight back while introducing an appropriate risk to attempting to do so. I welcome comments and criticism of this idea as well as other, similar ideas people may have.

    Mentats - a 2e Free Council Obrimos Legacy (Mind/Forces) built around being a human computer; Thaumatech Engineers - a 2e Free Council Obrimos Legacy (Matter/Prime) focusing on the creation of Imbued items and the enhancement of Sleeper technology

  • #2
    Originally posted by proindrakenzol View Post
    The downside is that Merit dots are much cheaper than any Supernatural's power which would give Mortals too much of a leg up on starting Supernaturals and is therefore a greater power-swing than I desire.
    It's worth remembering that Merits being inexpensive doesn't remove the hard cap on mortal Traits, as well as the fact that most mortal powers are not especially long-lasting or versatile, seldom have consolidated ratings for Clashes between separate abilities, and often leave their user with less Willpower to spend on bolstering Clashes due to using it to activate the powers themselves; "a powerful pyrokinetic has two or three more dice to use in a Clash of Wills with a starting changeling to steer the path of a raging inferno" is not exactly a substantial leg up in the first place when most supernaturals will overcome that gap through minimal advancement along the axis of their magical competences.

    If it's absolutely essential that a mortal with a five-dot Merit-based superpower not have a slight numerical advantage against a minimally-potent monster in a power conflict, I'd probably just remove 10-Again from mortal Clash rolls against a supernatural creature.

    Resident Lore-Hound
    Currently Consuming: Hunter: the Vigil 1e


    • #3
      I just roll Supernatural Potency (almost always 0) + Attribute for Supernatural Merits, myself. I don't bother switching between dot rating and attribute, I just always use the appropriate Attribute for that Supernatural Merit. Yeah, they might pump up that Attribute, which might put them above certain methods of beginning supernaturals calculating their pools, but I'm not TOO terribly worried about that, and MOST will still have an advantage.
      And of course, the Supernatural Resistance merit does NOT add to Clash pools.

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