Mission Kills  

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Hireling
(@hireling)
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Joined: 6 years ago
Posts: 85
11/08/2019 3:52 pm  

mission kill (plural mission kills)

(military, slang) An attack or damage inflicted by a weapon that does not destroy a military vehicle but results in it taking no further part in its intended mission.

Let's talk about abilities that drain Power, Paralyze, Control, or otherwise remove players from combat without knocking them out.

Pros to Crowd Control and Power drain:

  • Gives players another attack vector for dealing with highly armored or invulnerable foes and/or foes with large Hit Point pools.
  • Adds variety to combat.
  • Adds flavor to combat.
  • Allows players to feel they are filling a role other than damage dealer. Punching and Blasting is fun, but it's not for everyone.

Cons to Crowd Control and Power drains:

  • Leads to "feel bad" moments.
  • Extremely difficult to recover from Save attacks once Initial Save fails.
  • Having plenty of Abilities but no Power with which to use them.
  • Encouraged to flee to Rest and fight another day, but unable to Push to increase Ground or Flight movement speeds.
  • You become extremely fragile - You cannot Roll With damage, and also are vulnerable to being killed. If Power and HP are both zero, you die.

I have some ideas on how to keep Crowd Control and Power Drain from getting out of hand, but I'm interested in your opinions and ideas. Do you feel that these types of Abilities diminish player enjoyment? Why or why not? If you don't see a problem with them, how have you and your players used them? If you do see them as a problem, how have you balanced them out in your own campaigns?


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Majestic
(@majestic)
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20/08/2019 4:19 pm  

I think 'Save or Suck' powers/abilities are ones that GMs have to be really careful with.  Not just in this game, but in all games.

There's (almost) nothing worse than a player having to sit there and do nothing, because their PC is stunned, transformed, exhausted, or controlled.  With exhaustion at least one still has options, but they still often feel quite limited.

My first V&V PC (back in 2E) had Paralysis Ray, and even back in high school we swiftly realized that it was obnoxious, so I dropped it and took something else instead.  We then made a house rule that it should only be used sparingly (by heroes and villains alike).

V&V GM and player since 1982, my current campaign is 29 years old


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Hireling
(@hireling)
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20/08/2019 11:21 pm  

@majestic

I couldn't agree more. I personally think the Recovery Penalties need to be toned down or removed--at least where my own campaign is concerned. I'm not looking for errata, just some ideas on how to make Control a viable play-style without creating lots of 'feel bad' moments. Right now an attacker can Push to impose a -2 Penalty on the Save, the Target can Push back, and additionally Roll With It. For example, let's look at Paralysis Ray at 20 CPs. Targets hit make an EN save -4. Assuming an EN save of 11 or less: The attacker Pushes making it -6. The Target Pushes their Save for +2 and Rolls With it spending 5 Power. (11-6) + 7 = 12. That's a 60% chance to Save. If they do, great--but they're out 7 Power (a little more than 10% for the average character), and they're likely to get hit again next Round and go through the same. If they fail they suffer a Recovery Penalty of -12! Since subsequent Saves are made at the original target number, this would be 12 - 12 = 0. So now they can only Save on a Critical Success.

I would be more inclined to impose a Recovery Penalty if the attacker had to sacrifice their Turn to keep the Paralyzed target in stasis. Even requiring Concentration so it didn't turn into a numbers game where the side with the most bodies always wins a Control war. Same goes for Mind Control and Transmutation. Fire and Forget Control really hampers combat and makes Save Attacks the king of Mission Kills since even if you don't get that Ability to stick, the target will quickly run out of Power trying to fend off Save attacks.

 


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Majestic
(@majestic)
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21/08/2019 10:22 am  

Yeah, the subsequent saves are often the real killer here.

V&V GM and player since 1982, my current campaign is 29 years old


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bkadams
(@bkadams)
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Posts: 55
30/08/2019 6:41 pm  

In my various super-hero MP campaigns mind control, paralysis ray, transmutation, and other 'save' abilities were not really a problem. When villains tried using these abilities on the PCs, they usually succeeded with their save rolls.

However, there was one very memorable encounter with a teenage Motivator who, using her very powerful mind control ability, controlled one of the PC heroes and ordered him to kill  his friend (the other PC  hero). The fight was pretty epic lasting about 8 rounds before the mind controlled hero made his save. Afterward, the heroes were fairly terrified of Motivator -- which was a good thing. 😛


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Hireling
(@hireling)
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02/09/2019 11:13 am  

I find them too oppressive to use against players. Battles are short in terms of number of turns but they take a lot of time to resolve. I think the Save should decay each Round, or allow Pushing on Recovery Saves to simulate the target trying to break free. All effects should allow counter-play and there right now most Recovery saves put players in a position of needing a crit success. That’s not active play, that’s waiting 10 minutes on a 5% chance. 


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