Broken Combo?

callinostros
Posts: 26
Joined: Fri Jul 21, 2017 7:39 am

Broken Combo?

Postby callinostros » Mon Jul 01, 2019 10:47 am

So one of my players has the fly spell and portal. What he has started doing is flying up (30-50m), casting portal, grabbing a target and then letting them fall for 40 + 1BD damage. Trivialized the last encounter and I expect that to continue going forward.

Istrian
Posts: 82
Joined: Wed May 01, 2019 7:18 am
Location: Cyberpapacy (Paris)

Re: Broken Combo?

Postby Istrian » Mon Jul 01, 2019 11:09 am

He's going to have a nasty surprise against foes with Dispel Magic (or when he has to do a Concentration check to keep flying). In addition I think that kind of build requires a fairly high Strength score (to pull the opponent) and Unarmed (you need to score a Good success to grapple someone).

agarrett
Posts: 50
Joined: Sun Jul 30, 2017 8:05 am

Re: Broken Combo?

Postby agarrett » Mon Jul 01, 2019 11:47 am

It's also worth noting that grapple allows you to restrain someone. It does not allow you to move them. The Fly spell lets you carry your normal load, but it doesn't give you an ability to do anything else, such as move someone who is resisting. It avoids a lot of problems to simply cut the ability to force someone else to move, and I'd recommend it. Basically, rules as written eliminate that entire problem.

And then I read the description of Portal and find this is explicitly allowed ;( My mistake. Personally, I'd stick with dropping requiring another opposed grapple check if the other person is trying to hang on, which he probably is. Remember also that flying with a heavy load (and a person is probably a heavy load) halve movement speed and adds shock every turn. Also, Fly has a duration of concentration, so remember that your spellcaster is taking a penalty to his rolls, and has to make a concentration check each time he takes damage. He's in as much danger as the person he grabbed.
Last edited by agarrett on Mon Jul 01, 2019 11:57 am, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Spatula
Posts: 973
Joined: Fri Jun 30, 2017 7:00 pm

Re: Broken Combo?

Postby Spatula » Mon Jul 01, 2019 11:49 am

Hmm. The opponent couldn’t soak the damage? A 20 reality test gets rid of everything.

The spell doesn’t say anything about unwilling targets going through - the portals are exclusively for the caster and allies. So I would just say it’s not allowed. EDIT: having read the spell, I see that's not true! Well, the portals could be ruled to always being horizontal, preventing drops, at least.

I guess it comes to, what does it actually take to push someone to their doom? You don't need to fly - the 2nd portal could be 50 meters up if you're both on the ground - and you don't need the portal spell - anyone can be pushed off a building. The rules don't actually say what it takes to throw or push someone with enough force to make them fall, so ultimately it's up to the GM how effective that is.
Last edited by Spatula on Mon Jul 01, 2019 12:05 pm, edited 2 times in total.

User avatar
Kuildeous
Posts: 1363
Joined: Mon Nov 14, 2016 1:41 pm

Re: Broken Combo?

Postby Kuildeous » Mon Jul 01, 2019 11:50 am

First off, kudos to that Storm Knight for being able to reliably get a high result on the Portal spell and to grapple and move the foe. I suppose technically that'd all be part of a multi-action, so all he really needs is a good bonus number. Still, that requires at least a decent magic skill and Unarmed Combat.

In all fantasy games, you'll have to deal with some potentially game-breaking features: Flying, water-breathing, mind-control, etc. And naturally players are going to want to find a way to make these things work for them, probably more so than GMs, since the GM isn't looking to break an encounter (nor should they want to). Torg is no different in that regard. In fact, you'll more likely see it because there are some ground-shaking abilities that could be conceivably used by novice Storm Knights.

This discussion has come up before, and it's worth repeating. The group will find a way to overcome a challenge, and the encounters will need to change in order to remain challenging. So what can you do to address this broken combo?

First off, let it happen. Most of the time. The player is likely proud of this, and he shouldn't be punished for it. So allow for this to work often. In a game where you could possibly eliminate a mook with a Taunt of 18, this technique is perfectly valid.

Next, make sure your encounters have a good mix of foes that are vulnerable to it and foes that are able to overcome it. The mage likely will look like the largest threat when he pulls this off, so ranged attackers may try to shoot him down. Having your own flying enemies can help too: Ravagons, Techno-Demons, and the Host are great at this, but those are pretty heavy hitters to add to a combat. Lakten in the Living Land can help. Scarab Warriors in Nile. Winged horrors in Orrorsh. Pixies in Aysle. A mutated jiangshi with gliding membrane. Obviously don't throw air-capable foes all the time, but some foes may keep the mage busy.

I think an important thing to distinguish is what happens when the mage lets go? No foe is going to just stand there and say, "Well, guess I'll just do nothing." The rules don't really handle counter-grapples, but it's reasonable to rule that if you grab someone, then that someone can grab you as well. Nobody dangling 50 meters up the air is going to want to let go, so he's going to hang onto the mage. In this case, I'd have the foe make an Unarmed Combat roll to hang on as a reaction and contested Strength rolls for the mage to knock the foe loose. Like I said, there are no rules for that specifically, but it's up to the GM to adjudicate the rules reasonably, and I feel that is reasonable. This won't stop the mage from attempting it, but it may force the mage to spend Possibilities/cards to pull it off, which is all fine.

And as mentioned earlier, if the enemy is used to dealing with magical opposition, they may have some countermeasures, like Dispel Magic. Or maybe they have their own Portal/Fly guy who does fun stuff to the Storm Knights after hearing how effective that tactic is.
The Boneyard – Friends and foes within Tharkold's Blasted Land

Infiniverse Exchange Word template – Infiniverse Exchange template for MS Word users

User avatar
Atama
Posts: 946
Joined: Tue Jun 27, 2017 12:30 am
Location: Auburn, WA

Re: Broken Combo?

Postby Atama » Mon Jul 01, 2019 12:03 pm

callinostros wrote:So one of my players has the fly spell and portal. What he has started doing is flying up (30-50m), casting portal, grabbing a target and then letting them fall for 40 + 1BD damage. Trivialized the last encounter and I expect that to continue going forward.

You can’t just “grab a target”. It requires a combat action and the mage has to succeed in a grappling attack, as part of a multi-action with the cast of the spell. That grapple attack needs to make a Good result or better on an Unarmed Combat check (or Melee Weapons with something like a whip or net) to be able to fully grab someone, otherwise you’re just doing Strength-2 damage.

Then as to dropping the enemy... Why does the enemy not simply hold on to the mage? At that point the mage is hanging in the air, burdened by the weight of their enemy (which deals Shock damage) and depending on their Strength they may not even be able to stay in the air.

For that matter, why is Portal even needed? Fly can move 50m in a round. The mage with Fly can grapple an enemy and then fly up 50m and drop them the same. (Of course the same caveats as above apply.) This doesn’t seem a problem with a combination of spells as specifically a way to try to abuse Fly.

ETA: Ninja’d somewhat while posting.
“You are a bad person, and should feel bad.”
-TorgHacker (being tongue-in-cheek :D)

User avatar
Kuildeous
Posts: 1363
Joined: Mon Nov 14, 2016 1:41 pm

Re: Broken Combo?

Postby Kuildeous » Mon Jul 01, 2019 12:38 pm

That's a good point. As I recall, there are rules for holding onto someone and keeping him Restrained, but there's nothing about moving someone. If I had to rule on the fly, I'd say that would require a Maneuver test. Or maybe a contested Strength roll. Or maybe even Maneuver using Strength instead of Dexterity. And there may be a size differential, such as the bonus to hit the character would translate to a bonus for the one in a grapple, though I'm really certain that's not in the rules either.

But the idea of just not allowing unwilling targets to pass through is a really good fix and eliminates a lot of questions.
Last edited by Kuildeous on Mon Jul 01, 2019 2:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.
The Boneyard – Friends and foes within Tharkold's Blasted Land

Infiniverse Exchange Word template – Infiniverse Exchange template for MS Word users

Brandon_C
Posts: 60
Joined: Fri Jul 20, 2018 4:10 pm

Re: Broken Combo?

Postby Brandon_C » Mon Jul 01, 2019 1:34 pm

I'll point out that birds of prey fly and grapple on a daily basis, so a GM shouldn't be tempted to make this an incredibly difficult task to prevent PC use.

User avatar
Spatula
Posts: 973
Joined: Fri Jun 30, 2017 7:00 pm

Re: Broken Combo?

Postby Spatula » Mon Jul 01, 2019 1:35 pm

Kuildeous wrote:But the idea of just not allowing unwilling targets to pass through is a really good fix and eliminates a lot of questions.

That was based on my hazy recollection of the spell. Once I looked at the actual text it turns out that that is explicitly allows enemies to pass through, even to be pulled through:

"...a grappled enemy may be pulled back through to the caster's side or a waiting opponent may strike through the portal back at the caster on the other side."

For this specific trick I think the enemy getting a chance to grab onto the caster is maybe the best fix. Or at least make the caster win a Strength contest.

utsukushi
Posts: 869
Joined: Fri Feb 10, 2017 7:30 pm

Re: Broken Combo?

Postby utsukushi » Mon Jul 01, 2019 2:52 pm

The caster is already winning a Strength contest, and all they'd have to do to get around it is add Mage Hands to the mix. That will make the Portal-and-Grab combo slightly harder since they'll have to maintain Mage Hands when they do it, but it also gives them overwhelming Strength and nothing for the enemy to grab hold of.

But I do think the key point here is that this is actually harder to do than many other ways PCs in Eternity can be overwhelming. I'd also note that unlike most of those, this won't ever be Multi-Targetable. If you have a super high Interaction attack, for instance, or really high Firearms (or Missile Weapons, if you're an Elf), you can take out a whole stack of mooks in one round. It's a lot of fun. And there are really just so many ways to get there that it's just... that's honestly how Torg Eternity works. It's hard to build a character who can't handle a dozen or so mooks while finding time to quip.

This actually seems like a terribly inefficient route. For an investment in two Skills and two Attributes, they can eliminate one Mook in a turn. Or probably force the big enemy to spend two Possibilities Soaking, provided it's not one of those big enemies that is pretty resistant to Grappling. It's not going to help against anything that flies, anything ethereal, anything really big, anything very fast, and it's the slowest way I can think of to wreak havoc on a group of 20 Shocktroopers. For a great finishing blow against a major enemy who has had their Possibilities drained away? Yes, it could be devastating, but so is a Lightning Bolt with a Drama and three Coup de Grace's lined up. (That was in fact amazing and so, so satisfying, and in the time it takes your team to wear down their Possibilities, it's a pretty reliable tactic.)

Yeah, no, I agree with Kuildeous. Let this shine when it can. Yes, it's broken, but Torg Eternity is actually built on the shattered pieces of broken concepts and they all come together to form a beautiful stained-glass tapestry.


Return to “Rules Questions (TORG)”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Alexa [Bot] and 13 guests