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[Deviant] Ask a Simple Question, Renegade-Style

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  • [Deviant] Ask a Simple Question, Renegade-Style

    Since the game's been out long enough and no special forum is likely forthcoming, I thought there should be a thread for people to bandy about some Deviant discourse.

    I'll start with a question of my own: How do Variation effects that are limited to once per chapter/scene interact with Involuntary Scars? Can the Storyteller force the character to activate an Adaptation like Iron Will if the Scar would oblige the use of an effect that hasn't reset yet?

  • #2
    Off the top of my head, I would not have an Involuntary Scar trigger the use of a Variation that's on cooldown. Its disadvantage is that it can "waste" the Variation by triggering it when you don't need it, leaving it stuck in cooldown when you actually do need it. This is without refernecing the book text right now, though.

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    • #3
      Running down the list of core Variation effects for which this is relevant:
      • Environmental Adaptation (General Deviation only)
      • Face Thief 4 (Social Merit effect only, per-target)
      • Gigantic (post-use healing only)
      • Healer 4 (general limitation is per-effect-per-target and thus applies as much from deliberate use as involuntary)
      • Shadows of the Past 3+ (Living History; general limitation is per-target and thus applies as much from deliberate use as involuntary)
      • Storm-Caller (Universal Deviation only)
      • Astral Travel 4+ (Dream Walker)
      • Animal Transformation (Shapeshifter Deviation only)
      • Blessing (all effects)
      • Fate's Agent (Universal Deviation only)
      • Precognition 3 and 4 (Bifurcation effect)
      • Computer-Aided Programming (all effects)
      • Hidden Compartments (potentially all effects with Varied Inventory Deviation)
      • Omnicompetence 2+ (all effects)
      • Sensory Array (all effects)
      • Inhuman Digestion 3 (Variation removal only)
      • Sacred Flesh (Secretion and Fragment methods only)


      I'd disagree that the disadvantage of Involuntary Scars is that they can "waste" the Variation — the key disadvantage both core Involuntary Scars impose beyond their lowest Magnitude is that they and all their entangled Variations become Overt if they trigger, which draws conspiracy attention more easily.

      Relatedly, the fact that both core Involuntary Scars' mechanically-backed manifestations allow a Scar Resistance roll to prevent them means that, yes, I would have Involuntary Scars apply the cost of the deviant's repeater Adaptation if it would be required to use the Variation again within that window; much as Involuntary activation doesn't allow a deviant to get around needing an instant action to steer Directed Variations, it likewise shouldn't allow them to get around the limitations of how often they can safely use the power.


      Resident Lore-Hound
      Currently Consuming: Demon: the Descent 1e

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      • #4
        Interesting stuff to think about both ways. I suppose consistency within a given game is key, regardless.

        Actually speaking of Adaptations, does Untameable work on Standard Deviations attached to a Scar? As strictly interpreted, I think the answer is yes, since the effect treats the Scar as Magnitude 1 for the rest of the scene, but there are a number of SDs that alter the fundamentals of how entangled Variations work that might run counter to character concept (you can normally only use Electrokinesis on targets you physically touch, which you've already described as being the result of possessing implanted knifefish organs, but occasionally suddenly you can wield the power at range).

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        • #5
          Originally posted by espritdecalmar View Post
          Interesting stuff to think about both ways. I suppose consistency within a given game is key, regardless.

          Actually speaking of Adaptations, does Untameable work on Standard Deviations attached to a Scar? As strictly interpreted, I think the answer is yes, since the effect treats the Scar as Magnitude 1 for the rest of the scene, but there are a number of SDs that alter the fundamentals of how entangled Variations work that might run counter to character concept (you can normally only use Electrokinesis on targets you physically touch, which you've already described as being the result of possessing implanted knifefish organs, but occasionally suddenly you can wield the power at range).
          Answer is yes. All the "this only works through touch" examples are Power Failure-based, for which the mechanical handling of Mag 1 is as described.

          As for running counter to character concept, there's the twofold answer of "then don't do that" and "deviant powers come from having their souls cracked open and so things occasionally getting weird is par for the course."


          Possibly not a simple question, but: given the "no secondary Scars that apply secondary Scars" restriction, how can one model a Cyborg who can turn off their sense-enhancing Variations at the cost of their senses if Suppressible Variation > Persistent Drawback > Sensory Deprivation is not a mechanically valid approach?


          Resident Lore-Hound
          Currently Consuming: Demon: the Descent 1e

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Satchel View Post
            Possibly not a simple question, but: given the "no secondary Scars that apply secondary Scars" restriction, how can one model a Cyborg who can turn off their sense-enhancing Variations at the cost of their senses if Suppressible Variation > Persistent Drawback > Sensory Deprivation is not a mechanically valid approach?
            This sounds like a place to ignore the letter of the law to carry out the spirit of the law. The "no secondary Scars that apply secondary Scars" restriction is meant to cut down on cheese and keep things simple, but since the outcome you are going for is both simple to understand and not cheese I think most STs would permit it. In the case that your ST wouldn't allow it, though, you could probably use Mimicry with Sensory Deprivation, though that's less elegant than your initial idea.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Satchel View Post
              Possibly not a simple question, but: given the "no secondary Scars that apply secondary Scars" restriction, how can one model a Cyborg who can turn off their sense-enhancing Variations at the cost of their senses if Suppressible Variation > Persistent Drawback > Sensory Deprivation is not a mechanically valid approach?
              Another approach would be to add the Mimicry Variation, with Persistent Drawback (Sensory Deprivation) as the Scar. Though this would mean the cyborg could potentially suppress other Variations/Scars all by turning off their senses. Which could get a little strange to try and justify, especially since you can pick and choose which Variations to suppress each time you activate Mimicry.


              The longer I study science the more I am convinced that it is functionally indistinguishable from what our ancestors would refer to as sorcery. And I would know, being both scientist and sorcerer.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Scriptorian View Post

                Another approach would be to add the Mimicry Variation, with Persistent Drawback (Sensory Deprivation) as the Scar. Though this would mean the cyborg could potentially suppress other Variations/Scars all by turning off their senses. Which could get a little strange to try and justify, especially since you can pick and choose which Variations to suppress each time you activate Mimicry.

                you could just limit yourself voluntarily (OOC) to always suppress the same set of Variations each time


                A god is just a monster you kneel to. - ArcaneArts, Quoting "Fall of Gods"

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                • #9
                  Does having Face Thief active override the effects of Conspicuous Appearance, or does this result in the borrowed appearance having a "tell"?


                  Resident Lore-Hound
                  Currently Consuming: Demon: the Descent 1e

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Satchel View Post
                    Does having Face Thief active override the effects of Conspicuous Appearance, or does this result in the borrowed appearance having a "tell"?
                    I'd err against having a Variation directly counteract a Scar. Though, as a Storyteller, I'd avoid having the Conspicuous aspect cause the Face Thief disguise fail outright. Though that becomes a stretch at the higher Magnitudes of Conspicuous Appearance.

                    And/or if Face Thief is entangled with a scar other than Conspicuous Appearance, then you could combine Face Thief with Mimicry in a Monstrous Transformation, or give Conspicuous Appearance the Suppressible Variation: Power Failure (Face Thief Active) deviation.
                    Last edited by Scriptorian; 04-30-2022, 07:16 PM.


                    The longer I study science the more I am convinced that it is functionally indistinguishable from what our ancestors would refer to as sorcery. And I would know, being both scientist and sorcerer.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Scriptorian View Post
                      I'd err against having a Variation directly counteract a Scar. Though, as a Storyteller, I'd avoid having the Conspicuous aspect cause the Face Thief disguise fail outright. Though that becomes a stretch at the higher Magnitudes of Conspicuous Appearance.
                      My impulses are that…
                      1. As an Overt Variation with an ongoing Willpower cost to manage from scene to scene, it doesn't really break much to trade a specific form of attention-getting for a draining but less extreme form of attention-getting, but…
                      2. "Thing that looks like someone you know but with an incongruous detail that gives it away" is a classic shapeshifter trope for a reason, Conspicuous Appearance 3- allows for the tell to be concealable to varying degrees, the Scar specifically mentions as examples things that shapeshifting wouldn't help with (e.g. uncanny mannerisms, unsettling grace, constant minor levitation, trails of fire), the Scar can be Physical or Social, and the Variation isn't a full-body perfect disguise until Magnitude 3 (which leaves gaps for the Scar's giveaways to poke through) but does give the rote quality to Subterfuge rolls to successfully apply a disguise (and the rolls to conceal your Conspicuous Appearance are listed as Wits + Subterfuge in the Magnitude 2 version and immediately described as rolls to disguise or hide the character's appearance in the Magnitude 3 version). Also…
                      3. It would be kind of hypocritical of me to suppose that Face Thief can override blatant inhumanity when I've elsewhere voiced the opinion that it's not the solution to Relentless Animal Transformation.
                      Different question: Does Tribulation 4's wording mean that the Variation roll succeeding takes one instant action, and then on a successful roll, you have to spend the Willpower on a second instant action before the Variation activates according to the resolution determined by the roll in the previous turn? Because if not then I'm not sure how to square it with the stipulations for Controlled Scar costs on page 107, of which Tribulation is a specific example. The fact that the Magnitude math makes the four-dot version mutually incompatible with the Deviation that can only apply to Directed Variations feels like an easy out to the complications of "when does the target roll to resist?" and "what if you target somebody who moves out of range in the turn between rolling and spending Willpower?"

                      Anyone have thoughts on this?


                      Resident Lore-Hound
                      Currently Consuming: Demon: the Descent 1e

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Satchel View Post
                        My impulses are that… [LIST=1]
                        Different question: Does Tribulation 4's wording mean that the Variation roll succeeding takes one instant action, and then on a successful roll, you have to spend the Willpower on a second instant action before the Variation activates according to the resolution determined by the roll in the previous turn? Because if not then I'm not sure how to square it with the stipulations for Controlled Scar costs on page 107, of which Tribulation is a specific example. The fact that the Magnitude math makes the four-dot version mutually incompatible with the Deviation that can only apply to Directed Variations feels like an easy out to the complications of "when does the target roll to resist?" and "what if you target somebody who moves out of range in the turn between rolling and spending Willpower?"
                        Two actions, yes, one to roll to activate the Variation according to normal Controlled rules, the results of which "hang" for a turn, and then if you succeeded, the next turn you spend the Willpower and actually get to roll out the "hanging" activation.

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                        • #13
                          With Immunity 1, a character can resist the Poisoned Tilt, but it's not until Immunity 2 that a Deviant may gain full protection against poisons; what are some good in-setting justifications for this, and what is the best way to portray the distinction when it matters (besides more in-depth poison rules)?

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by espritdecalmar View Post
                            With Immunity 1, a character can resist the Poisoned Tilt, but it's not until Immunity 2 that a Deviant may gain full protection against poisons; what are some good in-setting justifications for this, and what is the best way to portray the distinction when it matters (besides more in-depth poison rules)?
                            Action scenes represent a higher-energy state of affairs that the body can more easily be primed to safeguard against; it's like how you can lose an arm and survive but die of blood loss from a bunch of smaller cuts. Same goes for the Sick Tilt versus Disease — being in a fistfight or a car chase with Immunity 1 will allow you to function normally, but you'll still be fighting off malaria in the long term.

                            Less in-setting, Immunity is a non-scalable Discrete Variation whose Magnitude 1 and 2 versions provide multiple immunities unless you're working with Scar Power 1 — it's on both lists so you don't have to take multiple Variations to be immune to both Cold and Disease or Poisoned and Arm Wrack.

                            It's certainly not a matter of cost alone — Anomalous Biology (Heartless) provides immunity to both poison and disease at the debatable price of a Subtle giveaway that you're not a Baseline, and Healer 2 or 3 and Rapid Healing 3 functionally negate poison and disease from the same angle — but if you're got Immunity to Poison or the Poisoned Tilt, that's because of an expressed Variation of Immunity rather than not having a heartbeat or being able to undo the damage as it comes.


                            Resident Lore-Hound
                            Currently Consuming: Demon: the Descent 1e

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                            • #15
                              One-dot immunity to the Poisoned Tilt can be flavored as your system being hardy enough to fight off fast-acting poisons during adrenaline-charged action scenes. It doesn't immunize against Toxicity (p. 206) or related Conditions such as Intoxicated. So kind of a poison-resistance equivalent to the difference between a marathon runner and a sprinter, where you can manage bursts of fast metabolism but still suffer longer-term debilitation. Probably not scientific, but a lot of the Remade defy conventional biophysics anyway.

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