Page 2 of 3

Re: Broken Combo?

Posted: Mon Jul 01, 2019 4:01 pm
by Atama
I feel it’s worth pointing out that Telekinesis was re-worked then re-re-worked specifically to avoid this situation; to prevent players from being able to lift an enemy up in the air and drop them. So while I agree that it’s not the most overpowered combat method, it’s also not a non-issue either.

One easy fix to Portal is to state that it has to be fixed to a large, solid object. The ground, a rooftop, an airplane canopy. Not the air or the surface of the ocean or the middle of a lava pool.

Of course I realize with my proposed rules changes you can put the portal on the edge of a rooftop, and the enemy could fall to their death. Or a seabed if it’s 50m below you. Again this is with the idea of opening a portal from the ground to a dangerous spot and shoving someone through it.

Maybe as a simpler rule, you can just use the “insta-kill” nature of the Portal spell as a narrative use for a Player’s Call interaction attack result. Because getting someone through a portal that’s only open for a few seconds isn’t a simple attack. You could, say, Taunt an enemy into charging at you angrily then open a Portal between you and him that deposits him in the air. Or Intimidate him into fleeing backward for the same result. Trick him into jumping into the Portal. Trip him into it as a Maneuver. And so on.

Re: Broken Combo?

Posted: Mon Jul 01, 2019 4:59 pm
by callinostros
utsukushi wrote: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.

Yeah, he has mage hands.
Part of the problem is that I was running Godbox and the encounter had no enemy with a ranged attack in that scene. I now have to make sure I have specific types of opponents from now on.

Re: Broken Combo?

Posted: Mon Jul 01, 2019 6:38 pm
by vaminion
Didn't Portal get patched so you can't open it 50m in thin air to avoid this problem?

Re: Broken Combo?

Posted: Mon Jul 01, 2019 7:04 pm
by Staffan
Portal ought to only work on surfaces covered in moon dust.

Re: Broken Combo?

Posted: Mon Jul 01, 2019 7:31 pm
by agarrett
Looking into this more, and I'm thinking the resolution might lie within the Fly spell. The spell starts, "While this spell does not allow the mage to soar like a hawk, ..." It specifically allows you to fly up to 50m per turn, counting as running if you move more than your Dex in meters. It also allows you to carry up to your normal carrying weight. So, what else can you do, considering you're not as agile as a hawk?

Well, it mentions the run penalty, and you don't suffer that penalty with a good or better success, so that at least implies you can still shoot or take some other actions. But I'd maintain that the fact that you're not soaring like a hawk implies some limitations as well. No grappling strikes me as a possible limitation that avoids all the rest of the problems we're looking at. Note that no grappling means Mage Hands won't do it either, since you can only use Mage Hands to do things you'd be able to do anyway, just at a distance. This feels justifiable if flight doesn't involve hovering - maybe even if it does since you're not that stable either.

None of my players have tried this yet, but it's something I can at least think about...

Re: Broken Combo?

Posted: Mon Jul 01, 2019 7:45 pm
by Atama
Maybe no “soaring” means you have to keep flapping your arms to stay aloft. That would certainly interfere with this whole strategy.

Re: Broken Combo?

Posted: Mon Jul 01, 2019 10:53 pm
by mystic101
So, as the offending player in question, I wanted to reassure everyone that this isn't going to become a go-to type of thing for me. I've known about the potential of the combo since even before I created the character back in December '17, and she's had the ability to do it right out of the gate, even when she first entered the game. Since then, over the course of six months of play, or about 15 sessions' worth, this is the first time that conditions happened to be just right for it to come out. There are several reasons for this:

1. She's got a no-kill policy.
She came into play as a Beta character, already having four Light perks. I figured someone who's that close to the Light would probably try to go out of their way to avoid killing people whenever possible, and . . . well . . . sending someone plunging 100 feet to their doom is pretty darn lethal. :)

2. It's usually not necessary.
Using Mage Hands + a war hammer, I can reliably get a base 20 damage on her melee attacks. She hits like a frickin' truck. That's almost always plenty good enough to deal with most things. And even when it isn't . . .

3. It's really hard to do.
I have to maintain Fly + Mage Hands while doing it, which is a -4 casting/concentration penalty right off the bat, and then also add a multi-action penalty on top of it, and then also still get a Good result on both the Portal and the grapple. If I really need to do a lot of damage to something, above and beyond normal, it's honestly much easier to just stack up cards for an Outstanding attack result, and/or throw on some Coup de Gras cards for the extra BDs. Not only is that less complicated/more reliable, but it's also a lot safer. That's because . . .

4. It's really dangerous to attempt.
The character is all exposed way up there, usually with no possible cover/concealment; and anything from a Dispel, a disconnection, or even just failing a concentration check would send her plummeting to her death, causing her to suffer all that mega-damage herself instead of dishing it out. I dislike such high-risk ploys unless the need is dire. Which it usually isn't, because . . .

5. The situations it's actually useful in are pretty limited.
My base damage is so good, that it's only worth attempting this move if I needed even more damage. But those kinds of really tough opponents usually also come with good Soak rolls, or are too big to fit through the portal, or can fly/teleport/dimthread themselves, and so on. It's really only got niche uses.

Because of all that, I've kept it in my back pocket as a rare Hail-Mary type of thing, but never actually expected it to come out. Or, if it did, maybe as a ready-made rationale for playing a Martyr card. Since it's something she's always able to do, it's something that could always be whipped out anytime a Martyr card was needed. Just 'port the BBG up to her, and heroically sacrifice herself by holding on to them so that they can't get away, all the way down.

But, unexpectedly, that GodBox session had a "perfect storm" of factors that came up in order to bring it into play. ***SPOILERS FROM HERE ON OUT***

The action at the Takta Ker volcano started when, while our group was in hiding at the edge of the suspended disc, I cast a Portal spell to get the two kids out. I got a Good result, so two of my teammates reached through in order to grab the kids, and then we handed them to the dad and told them all to take off running so they wouldn't get caught up in the fighting. That's when the Avatars showed up and began killing priests & slaves alike.

I spent a couple of rounds buffing up by casting Fly + Mage Hands. While that was happening, our pulp hero zapped one of them for 20-ish damage, and it had no effect at all, so I knew my normal base damage wasn't going to be enough against these guys. I started laying the groundwork for a bigger hit by getting a Hero card and a Coup de Gras card into my pool.

The slave-slaughtering continued throughout all this, so I didn't feel like I could justify waiting any longer than that to prepare. I flew up into Mage Hands range, taking heat damage every round from then on because I didn't have a protective turtle shell, made my concentration check, and let 'em have it with the biggest war hammer hit I could give. The three BDs from an Outstanding success + 1 Coup de Gras got me up to a 36 damage . . . and even with that, they still didn't take any damage from the attack whatsoever!

I wasn't sure what to do at that point. All I knew was that they were killing more and more slaves every round, and I couldn't hurt them, even just a little, even with my biggest hit. Couldn't even get them to notice me, for frick's sake, even just to try and distract them away from the civilians. So I thought, what the heck? I'm gonna try THE MOVE.

I thought, this is it. It meets all the criteria, doesn't it? Did I need more damage than I could deliver, even with my very best hit? Check. Was it against something that either wasn't alive, just being sock-puppets for their deity; or, if alive by extension, probably wouldn't cause the death of the deity animating them when destroyed, since they were just temporary vessels of a greater essence? Check. So no worries about the no-kill policy. And the constant loss of innocent life created a strong moral imperative to act, a willingness to try something cockamamie that I'd ordinarily consider far too risky. So, motive to do something extra dangerous, for a good reason? Check, and check.

Finally, they also turned out to be the perfect targets. Small enough to fit through the portal, didn't seem like they could fly when I gave it a try (and they couldn't), and then to boot it turned out that they either wouldn't or couldn't soak. I didn't know that last part beforehand. Heck, didn't even know if it would hurt them at all, but I really hoped that if it at least caused them to have to soak, then it would at least get their attention onto me and off of the civilians. When I saw that I could actually do damage, and that they also wouldn't stop hurting people until I dropped them completely, then that made the decision clear. I kept on going!

I had to not roll a "1" every round it went on (or I'd die), and make a concentration check every single round it went on (or I'd die). And get Good results on every roll, every single round, which was hard. Took every last one of my Possibilities, the base ones + the ones acquired during the Act, and almost all my cards, and plenty of Supporter/other miscellaneous card support from the others. And to deal with the accumulating Shock damage I had to get a Soothe on me, and also play that card that takes away 5 Shock, and also Resuscitate another 5 Shock off myself.

. . . But I did it!

I was so happy. And exhausted, on behalf of my character. And pleased, that it had turned out so well in the end.

. . . But no, please don't anyone think that this will be my "go-to" maneuver going forward. It was very much a special event, and the moving parts all coming together in just the right way to require it again don't seem very likely to me, I'm guessing. But in the end, I'm very glad I got to do it at least once, anyway, and for such good reasons. It ended up being one of my favorite Torg sessions that I've ever played in.

Re: Broken Combo?

Posted: Mon Jul 01, 2019 11:01 pm
by Spatula
That does sound suitably epic. :D

It is curious to me that, seeing a monster in an Alpha-appropriate adventure shrug off a 36 damage attack, the response was, “MOAR DAMAGE!!1!” Rather than, maybe they’re immune to physical damage. Not a criticism, it’s just funny to me the way our brains work at times.

Re: Broken Combo?

Posted: Tue Jul 02, 2019 12:00 am
by mystic101
Spatula wrote:That does sound suitably epic. :D

It is curious to me that, seeing a monster in an Alpha-appropriate adventure shrug off a 36 damage attack, the response was, “MOAR DAMAGE!!1!” Rather than, maybe they’re immune to physical damage. Not a criticism, it’s just funny to me the way our brains work at times.

Haha! Well, the gm kind of implied that they were highly resistant rather than outright immune, when he was answering another player's question about something.

Plus, I actually did wrack my brain looking for an alternative solution first. Not being sure I could hurt them, I tried to think of a place that I could 'port them instead, and just get them away from any vulnerable targets. Portal has a pretty short range, though. I couldn't just 'port them into town, because then they could just run right back on over, and also start killing any city folk in their way on top of it. And I couldn't drop them back into the volcano either, because that's where they'd shot up from in the first place, so they'd probably just shoot right back up again. And unfortunately, there were no other convenient waterfalls/pits/canyons lying around that I could use as a dumping ground.

But as to your original point: Yes, her being of a medieval Ayslish mindset, and only having a Mind 6 on top of that, I did kind of imagine the character going,
"Okay, it's doing evil and needs to be stopped. Let's hit it."
"Umm . . . alright. Harder, then."
"Options? Yeah, this is . . . really all I've got. Harder!"
"RAAH!!! . . . HARDER!!!"

Re: Broken Combo?

Posted: Tue Jul 02, 2019 2:52 am
by GeniusCodeMonkey
That sounds like a great game, but for other player who dint have such an ethical character there is still a problem to be solved.

I like the mention of grappling when being pulled through. Your natural reaction is to grab the person when being grappled, so having a contested grapple seems the best thing to do, with the mage having concentration checks to maintain the Flying... and the mage doesn't have concealment or anything else to help with not being hit with ranged attacks.

I could image a story in Pixud Practical Grimore of "Portus the Heavy, this being his go to move to dispatch viking guards when camped for the night. He tried it on a Onus Red-Beard when he was out taking a pee. Onus won the grapple test, but then automatically slit Portus throat with his dagger... he then realised what he has done and Onus plummet screaming to his death. This unfortunately woke up the camp causing Portuses friends to flee. The body was never recovered. "