Poison & Soak

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Wotan
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Poison & Soak

Postby Wotan » Mon Feb 12, 2018 8:48 pm

My group's recent encounter with some Nibikrids brought up an interesting question:

The threshold for being poisoned is a hit's damage exceeding the target's toughness. The mage was duly hit, & his toughness easily exceeded. So poisoned.
...but then he soaked, & soaked so well that all the damage fell off.

So the question at our table was, is he still poisoned?

Given that the condition for the venom taking effect is Dam > Tou, (rather than something like: takes damage, takes >1 shock, takes a wnd, etc.) I ruled that he was still affected, despite soaking all of the damage he'd just taken.

It was one of those GM moments where it feels like the players' immersion is being stretched to breaking point though.
I described it as him somehow blocking the attack at the last minute but still being left with a pair of shallow red scratches down his forearm, which seemed to work in terms of painting a credible scene.
But I did promise my players that I'd ask for opinions next time I had some forum time to spare. So opinions are very much sought, & welcomed.

TLDR
Should soaking all damage from an envenomed attack prevent the subsequent poisoning? Is the Dam vs Tou trigger there for precisely this reason, i.e. so it still works despite a soak, or is it just short hand for must land a decent (2 shock) hit for the target to be poisoned?
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Big Lurker
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Re: Poison & Soak

Postby Big Lurker » Mon Feb 12, 2018 9:25 pm

Since the fluff text for soaking describes it as using Possibility to alter reality just enough that the attack misses, I would say that the poison would not take effect...

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Kuildeous
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Re: Poison & Soak

Postby Kuildeous » Tue Feb 13, 2018 8:48 am

I would rule that the poison didn't take effect.

But that being said, I don't disagree with how you handled it. A scratch would be all you need to get the poison, and a scratch does not equal a Wound or even Shock. It's possible to get hurt (scratched, bruised, wind knocked out of) without mechanically taking any Shock or Wound damage.

After all, with an average of 8 Shock, if a scratch = Shock damage, then that implies that you could get knocked out by nine cat scratches. Of course, if the cats were walking around in poison, then that's a different matter.

But then, there's no mechanism for describing a scratch. The poison simply says that if damage exceeds toughness, which usually implies a deeper puncture.

In the end, it's all a game with some abstraction to damage. It is up to the GM to arbitrate what happens. While I personally would rule it a complete miss due to the reality-bending nature of Possibility energy, I would not argue with a ruling that poison can still enter your system. In that case, you twist out of the way, but you're still nicked.

In that case, if the player spent the Possibility with the intent of halting the poison, I would allow him to rescind that action and get his Possibility back.
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TorgHacker
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Re: Poison & Soak

Postby TorgHacker » Wed Feb 14, 2018 8:19 am

Okay, so Darrell and I were going back and forth on this, and for now, we're ruling that soaking only removes the damage, not any riders.

Mostly because that's what the text says.

We could have sworn we'd answered a similar question regarding soaking a grapple (I think) but for the life of us, we can't find that in our emails or online, and I think that's how we ruled then. So if someone remembers when/if we actually ruled on that earlier, that'd be appreciated. :D

Edit: Wotan pointed out where we did rule on it. So Soaking all the damage does remove any additional effect as well.
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utsukushi
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Re: Poison & Soak

Postby utsukushi » Fri Feb 16, 2018 1:24 pm

On the one hand, the rules for Soaking really do specify "Shock and Wounds" as being what it affects. But if Soaking doesn't avoid riders, that makes riders really powerful, especially against certain classes of character - that mage, for example, probably doesn't have a high Strength score to get rid of the poison with, so if he's hit with a poison that does regular damage, then even if he totally Soaks the attack, that probably just buys him a minute or two to get his affairs in order. With Nibrikid Venom it's not as dramatic, but when we get poisons as described in the core book (dealing damage every round and continuing on if you don't overcome it each minute), that becomes super important. Or, I suppose, for anyone rocking a Strength of 5, who are now auto-KO'd with no chance to resist if they get bitten by a Nibrikid. I will fully allow that taking any Attribute at 5 is an accepted gamble, but most of them aren't instant kill gambles*.

And just... kind of like Big Lurker was saying, although the text actually doesn't say that, the basic feeling of Soaking is that you're actually reducing their damage. So I would say that if you get hit and Soak, if you've reduced the damage to one Shock or none, then you don't get Poisoned. If you still take two Shock or more, then you do. Because you changed what happened. They hit you dead on, but you found a possibility where their fangs got caught up in your sleeve or whatever.

I don't think the Grappling Precedent, if it even exists ( ;) ), really applies here, either. Grappling is a special move, not an attack-rider. The damage done by Grappling comes after the Grapple - ie, the rules describe determining the success of the Grapple, and you can then add damage to that if you want to. Poison comes in after the bite/needle/green-ichor-dripping-blade ... after the damage, basically, with the rules now describing that you've done damage, so now there's poison.


*-- I know, if you play an Orrorshan Diabolist with a Charisma of 5 then, yeah, but you'd have to set that up on purpose. You don't get to decide to never encounter enemies with poison or not.

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Gargoyle
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Re: Poison & Soak

Postby Gargoyle » Fri Feb 16, 2018 1:33 pm

On the plus side, this makes Medicine skill suddenly worth taking.
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Re: Poison & Soak

Postby utsukushi » Sat Feb 17, 2018 4:27 pm

Does it? All I see in Medicine is that you can diagnose poison - there's nothing at all, in the Skill description or the bit on Healing, about actually treating it.

Medic: "I rolled a 48."
GM: "It's poison."
Medic: "Dibs on her Beatles records!"

Maybe that's worth it? I don't know. How legally binding is Calling Dibs?

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Re: Poison & Soak

Postby Gargoyle » Sat Feb 17, 2018 5:44 pm

utsukushi wrote:Does it? All I see in Medicine is that you can diagnose poison - there's nothing at all, in the Skill description or the bit on Healing, about actually treating it.

Medic: "I rolled a 48."
GM: "It's poison."
Medic: "Dibs on her Beatles records!"

Maybe that's worth it? I don't know. How legally binding is Calling Dibs?


Meh, I read "diagnose disease or injury, analyze the wounds of living or dead victims, and treat lingering wounds." as being able to remove disease and poison, but I guess I read into it too much, so whether that was not RAW or was RAI, I don't know. But I would certainly rule at my table that you'd use Medicine to do so, given time and materials.
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Re: Poison & Soak

Postby Wotan » Mon Feb 19, 2018 5:18 pm

Many thanks everyone! :)

I get what others mean about soaking saying that the SK avoids the hit, but soaking doesn't necessarily remove all damage from a hit, so I'm viewing that as descriptive fluff for best case scenarios.
For my group, I've been describing Soak as the SK desperately searching through alternative outcomes, which flash before their eyes in the moment they're hit, & picking the best outcome they can find in that split second. Often that means the attack misses entirely, but sometimes they only have time to find a reality where they're less badly hurt.

For the record, I would've let the player decide not to soak once they were clear that the poison was gonna affect them either way, but having taken 2 Wnds they were happy to have soaked all the damage. (I'd already hinted that the Act was wrapping up soon, & there wasn't much point in hoarding possibilities for after the Nibikrid encounter.)

I think I'm fine with riders being dangerous, in the sense of being unsoakable. It makes opponents which have access to them more than just more cannon/arrow/hrockt spear fodder for SKs to plough through. So long as it's not overused, it's a good thing in terms of building dramatic tension within specific encounters, IMHO.

All the riders which I can think of give the PC a chance to make a roll (potentially boosted by cards or a Possibility) to mitigate negative effects. So long as this pattern continues with new poisons, etc I don't see too much of a problem with riders bypassing soak. I do agree that soak-bypassing death effects, which don't allow any kind of resistance roll on the victims part would be bad for the tone of the game, but if nothing else PCs should always get the chance to test for defeat.

Also, heroes taking a scratch from a poisoned blade is a thing which sometimes happens in the cinematic genre, I like that the current rules allow this to happen in my Torg game. I'm not sure it would happen if the poison damage fell off after a soak.

FWIW, I think I'd come down on the side of letting medicine (maybe even first aid) treat/mitigate poison, the DN's going to depend on the circumstances & available resources, but IMHO it's totally appropriate for the genre. *shrug*

TorgHacker wrote:Okay, so Darrell and I were going back and forth on this, and for now, we're ruling that soaking only removes the damage, not any riders.

Mostly because that's what the text says.

We could have sworn we'd answered a similar question regarding soaking a grapple (I think) but for the life of us, we can't find that in our emails or online, and I think that's how we ruled then. So if someone remembers when/if we actually ruled on that earlier, that'd be appreciated. :D

Special thanks to yourself & Darrell, I've said it before, but the fact that you guys take the time to consider these kinds of questions is hugely appreciated!

I don't recall seeing you guys post a clarification about grappling but there was a similar question about disarm rolls recently. *shrug*
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Re: Poison & Soak

Postby Atama » Tue Feb 20, 2018 12:43 am

There is no “Cure Poison” miracle, nor do any other powers cure it. So if Medicine can’t do it, what can?
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