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Angels and the Combat Issue

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  • Taidragon
    started a topic Angels and the Combat Issue

    Angels and the Combat Issue

    This isn't something I have experienced directly, but in the circles I am in there has been some rather heated discussion about how this problem is occurring. Namely, many players I have run into who run combat focused builds are claiming that Angels aren't a challenge to fight, primarily by using judicious use of Shift Consequences or Just Bruised and choice form powers/gadgets with Mercilous Gunman. It has gotten to the point that I've seen an Angelic Form Power thrown around that is essentially a sniper rifle with 300/600/1200 range with a 5 Lethal modifier, with the justification that a Demon can ignore that damage via Just Bruised/Shift Consequences.

    Personally I feel that sort of resonse is massive overkill, but I want to know if I'm underreacting to a problem, and how to solve said problem if I were to run into it personally (be it by giving advice to a storyteller or as one myself)...or if this is just a group who are ramping up the violence in what is supposed to be a stealthier splat.

  • Taidragon
    replied
    Mages, Werewolves and Sin-Eaters also have a number of advantages against Spirits and Ghosts that the Unchained don't have against Angels. For a start,they can see into Twilight to see their respective ephemerals fairly easily, and interacting with a Ghost or Spirit isn't innately dangerous, and can be beneficial. For Demons (as noted above) seeing into Twilight isn't a simple matter at all, much less the level that Angels exist on, and interacting with Angels one-on-one is a very dangerous prospect no matter the circumstances.

    Another is networking between ephemerals. Ghosts and Spirits rarely cooperate much - Ghosts tend to be stuck in their respective areas, while Spirits have a nasty habit of trying to eat each other to get stronger. Angels are, by their very nature, part of a network and can call upon assistance from others through various means, and so long as their Infrastructure is intact they tend to have places they can retreat to while hurt. Unlike the sites that a Ghost or Spirit hides in, Infrastructure also tends to be fairly harder to disrupt by mundane means. Further, attention from an Angel nine out of ten times means attention from the God-Machine, which nobody wants for obvious reasons. Messing with a Ghost or Spirit does not carry this kind of consequence.

    Then there's the fact that Angels have one massive advantage that Ghosts and Spirits don't: Angels can walk among you without you realizing it. The very nature of Cover means that an Angel is able to walk around without losing essence, giving them far greater mobility than any Ghost or Spirit could profess to owning, and it adds yet another thing Demons need to look out for lest they do something that an Angel would notice. While in Cover an Angel is at least visible and physical, they are still a threat and have access to their own powers, including discorportation.

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  • Poseur
    replied
    Originally posted by 21C Hermit View Post

    Considering a good deal of such arguments happen in the Mage or Werewolf forums, well...

    Personally I think the reality is closer to “whoever gets in the first shot wins,” or “whoever manages to win without fighting is the true winner.”

    Yes but in those regards it's pretty easy to understand why people think they are weak and the splats op against them.
    Well surely that is not the case in most cases. Ephemerals have quite large initiative modifiers and take mostly bashing damage.

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  • 21C Hermit
    replied
    Originally posted by Poseur View Post
    I'm actually curios, this topic about how weak ephemerals are in combat comes up again and again. How are they weak? How are people stated and in what way do people play to make ephemeral beings weak in combat? Rank 2-3 is enough to be able to TPK if not handled with extreme care.

    I am curios, could the people who think this tell me how they come to this conclusion?

    Edit: To be fair, this is from a non-mage/werewolf point of view, those guys cheat when it comes to these beings.
    Considering a good deal of such arguments happen in the Mage or Werewolf forums, well...

    Personally I think the reality is closer to “whoever gets in the first shot wins,” or “whoever manages to win without fighting is the true winner.”

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  • Poseur
    replied
    I'm actually curios, this topic about how weak ephemerals are in combat comes up again and again. How are they weak? How are people stated and in what way do people play to make ephemeral beings weak in combat? Rank 2-3 is enough to be able to TPK if not handled with extreme care.

    I am curios, could the people who think this tell me how they come to this conclusion?

    Edit: To be fair, this is from a non-mage/werewolf point of view, those guys cheat when it comes to these beings.

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  • Taidragon
    replied
    Thank you Satchel; not entirely sure I understand it still, but the context helps and is appreciated.

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  • Satchel
    replied
    Originally posted by Taidragon View Post
    Apologies if I am being thick here, but how would that work in-game? An Angel opening access to an Infrastructure that an Angel didn't have access to? Or causing a new Infrastructure to emerge for them to work with? I am still figuring the ephemeral rules, and without context they are a little confusing.
    An angel with four or more dots in one of their Influences can create the Infrastructure Condition on a subject for themselves or another angel just like a ghost or a spirit can use their Influences to make a subject appropriately Resonant or serve as a new Anchor.

    The Condition's description of this as being for the benefit of subordinate angels suggests that it still only works along the lines of the Influence in question, but the Condition is also not completely the same thing as the general phenomenon of Infrastructure and this still establishes that Infrastructure is a little more like Starcraft creep than the other Conditions — the Machine uses it to expand its Influence in ways which themselves help generate new instances of the Condition that can call down different sorts of angels, some of whom can shepherd different types of phenomena into the esoteric shape of Infrastructure, and so on.

    It doesn't show up much because angels who can build Infrastructure are comparatively rare, but it can basically be approached as "Ariel the fiery Psychopomp can use the phenomenon of fire as a vector for introducing Infrastructure into a subject or area."
    Last edited by Satchel; 05-01-2018, 08:48 AM.

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  • Taidragon
    replied
    Originally posted by Satchel View Post
    It is notable that Infrastructure is distinct from the other two main baseline Manifestation Conditions in its ability to be generated by an angel on behalf of another angel.

    Apologies if I am being thick here, but how would that work in-game? An Angel opening access to an Infrastructure that an Angel didn't have access to? Or causing a new Infrastructure to emerge for them to work with? I am still figuring the ephemeral rules, and without context they are a little confusing.

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  • Satchel
    replied
    Originally posted by Malus View Post
    No, I'm fairly sure all infrastructure is keyed to specific angelic agents.
    It is notable that Infrastructure is distinct from the other two main baseline Manifestation Conditions in its ability to be generated by an angel on behalf of another angel.

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  • Malus
    replied
    Originally posted by Taidragon View Post
    I just presumed Infrastructure stores Essence and produces it once per day, much like it does Aether. Also, I've never seen anything that denotes an Angel is limited to a particular Infrastructure for Essence. Given the amount of Infrastructure a given city has, an Angel that makes its rounds can collect essence fairly easily, right?
    No, I'm fairly sure all infrastructure is keyed to specific angelic agents. It would be nigh impossible and completely fruitless to suburn it for the purpose of dealing with angelic threats if you simply treat them like gas stations for angels.

    The God Machine is badass, but it's a system and systems can be exploited.

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  • Taidragon
    replied
    I just presumed Infrastructure stores Essence and produces it once per day, much like it does Aether. Also, I've never seen anything that denotes an Angel is limited to a particular Infrastructure for Essence. Given the amount of Infrastructure a given city has, an Angel that makes its rounds can collect essence fairly easily, right?

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  • lnodiv
    replied
    Originally posted by Tessie View Post
    How cool wouldn't it be to have Infrastructure that forces open an Avernian Gate to a "low pressure" area of the Underworld and uses a mystical turbine to produce Essence from the resulting "draft"?
    Yeah, this is exactly what Infrastructure should be like.

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  • Tessie
    replied
    Originally posted by lnodiv View Post
    I don't know about you, but I generally assume that the Machine is capable of Infrastructure that can pump out more than one Essence per day. That's the default based on the Condition alone, but we've seen that Infrastructure can do quite a bit, and refueling an Angel as needed seems well within the abilities of a more specialized Infrastructure.
    I've been kinda working on the idea of Maintenance Infrastructure in my head. It would be the only kind of Infrastructure that also serves the the Infrastructure Condition tagged to a specific angel or possibly angels, but instead of simply protecting from Essence bleed and grant 1 Essence each day it'd also be possible to design it to produce extra Essence. Some would convert specific resources to Essence, in a more automated alternative to the sacrifice that converts Availability/Integrity to Essence, while others could tap into supernatural energy sources (Loci, Hallows, possible Leylines/Nodes) and convert that energy into usable Essence.
    How cool wouldn't it be to have Infrastructure that forces open an Avernian Gate to a "low pressure" area of the Underworld and uses a mystical turbine to produce Essence from the resulting "draft"?

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  • lnodiv
    replied
    Originally posted by Tessie View Post
    It's no different than other ephemerals
    Yes. My point is that every time this topic comes up (Ephemerals are weak in combat!) people largely seem to be forgetting about this.

    Attacking an Angel's underlying Conditions is substantially harder than it is for other Ephemerals in my experence, though - it's Infrastructure, not simple resonance, and there's a good chance it's well guarded by more than just the Angel.

    As for 'forcing them to spend Essence during combat' - only an ST that is intentionally misplaying the antagonist is going to let them spend enough Essence that permanent death is a real possibility from that alone. Angels are presumably aware that their continued existence and the success of their Mission is dependent on not burning all of their fuel. That kind of strategy isn't going to be enough on its own to bleed out anything but the most animalistic of Spirits.

    Combined with the other stuff you mentioned, sure.

    Originally posted by Tessie View Post
    By no means are these easy feats
    Exactly - if you're going through all of that, then the 'combat' certainly wouldn't qualify as being 'no challenge to fight' as posited in the OP.

    As for recovery time...
    I don't know about you, but I generally assume that the Machine is capable of Infrastructure that can pump out more than one Essence per day. That's the default based on the Condition alone, but we've seen that Infrastructure can do quite a bit, and refueling an Angel as needed seems well within the abilities of a more specialized Infrastructure.

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  • Tessie
    replied
    It's no different than other ephemerals: Force them to spend Essence during combat, attack their basic Condition to make them bleed Essence over time, and/or cause aggravated damage since that also destroys their Essence (though not at a fast rate so it can't be the only method). By no means are these easy feats, but that's how you do it.
    But if you've already discorporated one without killing it the best bet is to go after its Infrastructure. If you manage to disable it before the angel reforms it's stuck in hibernation until someone puts it in suitable Infrastructure again. And even if it does manage to reform at least you still have days or possibly weeks before it has healed enough to be fit for combat again. Unless it has Regenerate, of course.

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