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Quantum Bolt - Artillery?

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  • Quantum Bolt - Artillery?

    So I'm finally running an Aberrant game - yay! I'm very excited, and I hope the players are too. So I did my traditional "running a game I haven't personally played in" test where my brother and I do up characters and have them duke it out. In doing so, I usually come to a better understanding than I would otherwise.

    The understanding I came to here was quantum bolt is immensely powerful. I wasn't overly specced, certainly much less than I could have been, and I was still easily doing waaaay more damage than I anticipated; so much so that even with Mega Stamina and Resilience, he wasn't even soaking the automatic levels, let alone the dice. Normally I'd just assume I mis-aimed, but not only were we near-totally baffled to come up with ways to make a vaguely-similar-level nova able to stand up to it (Invulnerability specifically can't, Force Field doesn't stack up, Armor was OK but not reliable), but the level was totally disproportionate to how the sample characters use Bolt in the text - using it to blow a camera out of someones hands, for example, when it seemed more likely to not only kill the person, but likely seriously damage the building they're standing in front of.

    In addition, the amount of damage it does seems way more than any other power of even sort-of comparable level. Elemental Blast does [2Q] + 3P*, Mental Blast does 1 damage per success, Lightening Bolt does [2Q] + 2P, and even Disintegration does 1 (agg) damage per success, all in comparison to Bolts [3Q] + 4P. This is all without 'maxing' the powers in any way.

    I've checked the errata in the Players Guide, and done my Googling, but nobody else seems overly concerned. I don't anticipate my game being hugely combat-centric, something I've made clear to the players, but it will play a role, and it seems if any participant in any combat has taken this power, it'll be over very quickly and very lethally, even with the Bashing damage option.

    Did I miss something? Is it supposed to be that intensely lethal? I know Aberrant favours attack over defense, and that's a valid option, but this is just massively, incredibly over-powered, to my eyes.

    *Q = Quantum, P = power rating


    My Commandments for GMs My Commandments for Players

  • #2
    In the nicest way possible, i think the aberrant system is a little broken. I did the numbers for Mega-Strength in another thread here (page two post #21) TL;DR= Soak stacks, damage doesn't, Q-Bolt is a similar story to that problem. It's possible to build to soak these attack powers, but it does degenerate into an arms race a little...
    Aberrant can become unexpectedly lethal. Novas can be invulnerable steel monsters and a given power will render them helpless, there is an element of rock-paper-scissors to it. A Q-bolt can't hurt what it can't hit/target, the right Invulnerability renders it ineffective cheaply, for example.
    Last edited by Nihilist; 09-02-2015, 05:21 AM. Reason: TL;DR

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    • #3
      I thought of Invulnerability, but it specifically can't choose "quantum powers", which I assumed Quantum Bolt would count as. I mean, I know you need to define an energy type for Bolt, but since I couldn't sot any that explicitly identified as "quantum energy", it seems to me to come down to a judgement call, at the least?


      My Commandments for GMs My Commandments for Players

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      • #4
        There is an extra for Invulnerability, applying it to all physical/energy sources. That level three purchase was a cornerstone of the 'Arms War' i mentioned. But, i personally caution against following my example, which ultimately leads to a combat focused Aberrant party that can get increasingly difficult to balance against.
        Other posters will hopefully offer other perspectives, i am mostly a Trinity era buff, but i'm familiar enough wiith the powers of Aberrant. Invulnerability to all energy damage (a level three power after enhancement) becomes a tight defense against most Q-Bolt spammers.
        I consider 'Anima', the individual manifestation of a novas powerset to be an important part of nova building. I have seen characters who have chosen Shadows, 'Magic' and Gravity Waves as sources for their Q-Bolts - the options are almost limitless. With a wish-fulfillment approach to eruptions and anima, developing Invulnerability reactively to attacks from that source would be on the table. But, choosing the energies ones Anima interacts with is an important decision for combat novas at least in my opinion.
        Quantum 'energy' by definition is limited to the fundamental forces (perhaps excluding gravity, jury is still out), which really isn't much of a limit. Quantum Energies and Known Energies are basically the same thing for the most part - everything we see in nature can be grouped together under 'Quantum Phenomena'. But, the 'Quantum' energy of Novas isn't exactly the same thing - maybe 'Tainted' energies might be better, if not for the weight that word has of it's own in the setting.
        If the PC won't decide and specifics are needed then maybe a judgement call will come up, but for the most part i find that players are willing to make the call themselves.
        -shrug-
        Last edited by Nihilist; 09-02-2015, 06:55 AM. Reason: Removed quote

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        • #5
          So the 'no quantum energies' restriction is purely academic? Not to sound like I'm complaining, I just need to be clear.

          Yeah, I'm not trying to make teh bestest nova EVAR, just need to have some counters in case the players take the power and I want a fight to be something other than 1. Initiative, 2. Quantum Bolt, 3. Vague feeling of non-satisfaction. I like to think I know these players reasonably well, and I know that they're going to try to deal with the situation in the most direct way possible, even if it's a really stupid thing to do. And normally I'm entirely down with going with that, but making things a little harder for them to screw up would make things a little easier.


          My Commandments for GMs My Commandments for Players

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          • #6
            I'm pretty certain that they were cautioning against casting too broad of a net with the extra, if that's what you mean by 'no quantum energies' in relation to Invulnerability. All physical and all energy seems to be acceptable with the extra, but all quantum powers is off the table specifically. At least that's my reading.
            -shrug-
            I'm hearing you, it's not a problem (yet) and you're just anticipating the numeric asymmetry - i've just had a hard time with Nova balance myself at times since i almost exclusively ST them in the 2120 Trinity/Aeon setting. So i can come across as overly cautious. But, it's nice to have someone online during the hours i'm on, so i'm probably just jawing at this point...
            -smile-
            Just encourage players to choose bashing Q-Bolts, so that casual murders are reduced and plan around the PC powersets. You sound like you know what you're doing. Maybe other posters more familiar with the setting will have more experienced approaches. The Aberrants i ran in the 2120s were meant to be out-of-control menaces and the system fits like a glove for that approach.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Allan53 View Post
              I thought of Invulnerability, but it specifically can't choose "quantum powers", which I assumed Quantum Bolt would count as. I mean, I know you need to define an energy type for Bolt, but since I couldn't sot any that explicitly identified as "quantum energy", it seems to me to come down to a judgement call, at the least?
              Okay, it works like this.

              You can't pick an Invulnerability to "Nova Powers" or even "Psionic Powers" in general. You CAN pick an invulnerability that is just all Energy based attacks, which involves picking up the extra, and that will cover 90% of QB attacks - fire, cold, lasers, plasma, microwave bursts and so-called "quantum energy" blasts. Now that doesn't cover some Quantum blasts, such as blasts of metal, or ice, or certain telekinetic attacks, but it still covers most of your bases.

              As for the camera problem, I believe it should be easy enough to lower the overall level of effect. Your quantum powers aren't a shotgun; they are inherent part of you, and thus a nova should be able to use them at far less than full effect if they choose under normal circumstances.

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              • #8
                I haven't played it in a while but I think we did use the invulnerability to energy trick; maybe also a liberal application of dodge. Further, I thought I recalled that with relatively low level characters, you run out of quantum relatively quickly slinging around q-bolts if your build isn't a little min-maxed. The ST started designing challenges to our play style a little more aggressively too to make it less initiative -> blau -> yawn.

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                • #9
                  Partly, partly, you have to make challenges that can't just be Q-bolted.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Wolfgar View Post
                    Partly, partly, you have to make challenges that can't just be Q-bolted.
                    Yeah, I figured that out, hence why I noted that I've told the players that combat will not be a large part of the game. I'm just trying to figure out a way to handle a potential problem before it comes up.

                    My favoured tactic is to not make the guy unkillable or artificially inflate his health/soak, but to set up a reason why killing him would be really, really bad. Like he's set up blackmail material on the players to be released on his death, or he only meets with them in public places, or he could be killed but he'd do so much damage in the process that it's not worth it. Or something.

                    Originally posted by Queen Anne Country View Post
                    I haven't played it in a while but I think we did use the invulnerability to energy trick; maybe also a liberal application of dodge. Further, I thought I recalled that with relatively low level characters, you run out of quantum relatively quickly slinging around q-bolts if your build isn't a little min-maxed. The ST started designing challenges to our play style a little more aggressively too to make it less initiative -> blau -> yawn.
                    Really? QB is a level 2 power, which from memory costs 2 quantum points to activate. Your pool is - unless it's been enhanced, of course - 20 + 2x Quantum. So even if we're talking 1 Quantum, you're still looking at 11 QB's before you run out. Which is fine, but I'm having trouble seeing a combat-type problem that would last that long (yeah, I know, having 1Q would drastically reduce it's efficacy).

                    And the problem with using Invulnerability is - even if we assume it can work - is either the target just happens to have the right kind of invulnerability to negate that particular QB, which I can pull maybe twice before it gets old, or they'll have the broad kind, in which case I risk stopping any other character who has an energy-based attack. Which with this particular group isn't likely, but again, solving problems before they happen is probably a good idea.

                    On a related note, is it possible to get 2 Extras on a Level 2 Power? Like, could I - if I was a real tool, but hypothetically - get a Nova with one point in Invulnerability(Energy) and one point in Invulnerability(Physical)? Can you buy a power twice like that? Like I said, I'm not interested in making teh biggestest badassest Nova evar, just wondering if it's allowable to have two version of a level 2 power with different Extras, purely mechanically.


                    My Commandments for GMs My Commandments for Players

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                    • #11
                      Generally your Quantum pool is going towards more than just one power, many enhancements require juice to work and 'passive' powers aren't too common. Quantum pool can never be big enough and new players may not expect it to run dry as quick as it does without careful management.

                      Taking two extras on Invulnerability would turn it into a level four power and i seem to remember that requires a high Quantum score (detailed in the Aberrant PG), if that isn't disallowed somewhere that i'm forgetting.
                      I think you can take the power twice with two different extras, one apiece. If you are willing to pay for it again and the ST doesn't balk at the suggestion. But, that's munchkin territory for players and desperation territory for STs.
                      -shrug-

                      I try to narrate my way out first too, but eventually novas have to cut loose, it's part of the fun inherent to the game. World of cardboard and pitiful mortals and all that...
                      Last edited by Nihilist; 09-03-2015, 07:43 PM. Reason: Wait... Ok. That's better.

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                      • #12
                        Yeah, I think pool ended up being an issue when being subjected to ambushes, quantum leach and well armed and trained human opponents supplementing any nova adversaries. I think at one point our series was violent enough that we started carrying conventional weapons just in case; almost as if it were Trinity. Sorta went off the rails. I really appreciate the game's lethality.

                        In hindsight, I wish we would have played a little more with the collateral damage trope. Maybe we'll make that more of a central part of the next version. I think it's one of my favorite super hero themes (I know, I know, novas aren't super heroes); that though you're largely bulletproof, the baselines around you aren't. It was one of the things that bugged me about Man Of Steel's pretty wanton destruction of Metropolis. I guess it does aggressively set up Bruce Wayne's motivations for going after Big Blue.

                        Super fun game, I'm guessing we're a couple years away from the next version; maybe I'll see if the gang wants to play 1.0 with some of the enhancements linked to in these threads to tide us over. I'm guessing we'll probably go ape on Exalted 3 for a while.
                        Last edited by Queen Anne Country; 09-04-2015, 12:13 AM.

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                        • #13
                          I don't bother with collateral damage in most games, but with something like Quantum Bolt getting flung around, you are talking about buildings coming down after only a few missed shots. That is worth tracking. At the very least we are talking thousands in property damage.

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                          • #14
                            I'll bear that in mind


                            My Commandments for GMs My Commandments for Players

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                            • #15
                              That's why i suggested Bashing damage variants. For simplicities sake, vehicles and structures ignore bashing damage. Although for the sake of purchase, i'd narrate some surface damage for the drama.

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