Reflective:Non Damaging Effects, Scattering and Area Attacks

Discuss the second edition rules of the World's Greatest Superhero Roleplaying Game. Check here before posting in the Official Rules Forum, someone might just know the answer already!
cochramd
Groupie
Groupie
Posts: 93
Joined: Thu Sep 01, 2011 6:20 am

Reflective:Non Damaging Effects, Scattering and Area Attacks

Postby cochramd » Fri Mar 30, 2012 10:27 am

From a descriptor point of view I get vanilla Reflective when it's against melee. You punched a brick wall and broke your hand. There was no attack roll or miss chance involved because you were in contact with the wall. Really, it's just taking damage from Newton's third law. That's very understandable.

From a descriptor point of view, I only sort of get it when it's against anything else. Okay, you have a force field surrounding you and when I shoot you with some sort of beam it bounces off. Or maybe you are playing a robot/Ironman expy/Colossus expy who wears a fez and you're polished to the point that you've been nicknamed 'The Shiner' by the media and your vain female teammate uses you as a mirror to check her hair mid-combat, so you have Reflective against Light descriptors.

What really breaks my suspension of disbelief is that by RAW every reflected attack will always hit the attacker (in fact, by some interpretations of RAW, an attack from a gun will always hit the gun!), which is not only unlikely but something we don't really see in comics and comics-related media (except for that one scene in Ironman, but come on, it was only because the terrorist was standing 5 feet away). It's more common to see reflected lasers flying all over the place, going in only the general direction of the attacker. There's a chance that it'll hit the attacker, someone within 10 feet of the attacker, some expensive equipment behind the attacker, etc. My first thought is that you take a -1 Flaw (Unreliable or Uncontrolled) that makes a +1 Reflective a +0 overall. Then come up with some mechanic to determine which direction the attack is reflected in. It's an extra that can give you good things, bad things and 'interesting' things. My second thought is that if anything were to be in the path of the reflected attack, it would make an attack roll using its damage bonus as its attack bonus, considering the defender to be surprised, or the defender would get a Reflex save like they would for an area attack.

Speaking of area attacks, what happens when area attacks and Reflective mix? Do they project an area attack back? If they do, what sort of area is it? Is it the same type as the original attack? That probably varies with descriptor....since the Area and Uncontrolled make a net +0, it's probably reasonable to have area attacks reflect back as area attacks with shapes decided by the GM according to descriptor.

And finally, what about non-damaging things being reflected? I could see the Shiner reflecting any effect with the Light descriptor, even if they affect him. Visual Dazzles, hypnotic beams, a skin cancer inducing UV ray (I'd still call it a deathray)....what do you do to reproduce that effect?

All in all, what do you lot make of all this?

User avatar
Doctor Devious
Heavyweight
Heavyweight
Posts: 521
Joined: Mon Oct 31, 2005 12:28 pm

Re: Reflective:Non Damaging Effects, Scattering and Area Attacks

Postby Doctor Devious » Fri Mar 30, 2012 1:53 pm

Defect is essentially Protection linked with Damage (Reaction) with a bunch of tweaks and limits.
As you say, the description is fairly straightforward and so it's a nice easy power to envisage and use.

If instead you go for Protection linked with Drain (Reaction), the game mechanic still works but the effect description becomes more difficult: just how did incoming damage become outgoing drain? There will be ideas that mesh the two out there, but Newton won't cut it there.

I like your uncontrolled idea which certainly has a better feel for a suit deflecting ranged attacks for example. In comic-land, I suspect that the "scatter effect" is not really deflection as such, just protection with a dramatic picture. Perhaps if a "scatter" does something bad, that's the GM just throwing you a complication (perhaps you're in need of the HP!)

To direct a ranged attack back (or a targeted redirect elsewhere), one might assume a more "active" force-field rather than just a bubble, or a deflecting blade (what? A lightsaber? No, I wasn't thinking of that, honest!) or something.

cochramd
Groupie
Groupie
Posts: 93
Joined: Thu Sep 01, 2011 6:20 am

Re: Reflective:Non Damaging Effects, Scattering and Area Attacks

Postby cochramd » Fri Mar 30, 2012 6:41 pm

I was thinking lightsabers myself, but then I released that was a device with Deflect with Reflection and maybe Redirection.

I suppose that there are 2 schools of thought on +0 reflection: The first being the dramatic school, which just a complication/hero-point generator, and the second being the one with the thought-out mechanics for direction. I was really fishing for mechanic suggestions on the second.

The one that's really got me going is reflecting things other than damage: it's a power that should be rare, restricted to the right descriptors, like the Shiner and his ability to reflect light. What sort of cost do you put on that? And do I have any right to tie it to Reflection? Or is there some other power I should be looking at?

Tryptic
Groupie
Groupie
Posts: 89
Joined: Tue Sep 30, 2008 12:10 pm

Re: Reflective:Non Damaging Effects, Scattering and Area Attacks

Postby Tryptic » Mon Apr 02, 2012 8:49 am

Just how expensive is the reflective extra in this case? They've already spent the points on toughness and impervious, so we're looking at 3pp/level?

I would probably house rule that it only works on melee attacks in its basic form. Maybe even build it as Immovable with a custom extra that says they take recoil damage even when they aren't using a slam attack.

Otherwise the descriptor route sounds plausible: an extra that allows them to reflect ranged attacks combined with the limited flaw to only interact with certain descriptors. Now that I think about it, I probably would be okay with someone having Reflective: ranged energy attacks. Bullets and projectiles are the only ones that really mess with my suspension of belief.

As for area and non-combat abilities, I'm of the opinion that they should never be affected by things like reflective toughness. If the player wants to resist them, he needs to pay for it separately. Now, it's the GM's responsibility to make sure the player understands this and to encourage him to not have glaring weak points in his build.
"The most important thing is that nobody was hurt. Except your opponents."
-Mia, Golden Sun 2

cochramd
Groupie
Groupie
Posts: 93
Joined: Thu Sep 01, 2011 6:20 am

Re: Reflective:Non Damaging Effects, Scattering and Area Attacks

Postby cochramd » Tue Apr 03, 2012 6:52 am

The Reflective extra, when you include the cost of Impervious Protection, is 3 per rank if it works on only melee, ranged or any one descriptor and 4 per rank if it works on all attacks. Of course, Impervious Toughness has its own benefits, which Reflective is dependent on, so it is only fair to think of Reflective as an accessory to Impervious Toughness.

I'd say that building it into Immovable makes very little sense. I'm not going to regurgitate any lectures from my first year mechanical physics or materials science courses, but the recoil damage in a slam being shifted by Immovable is caused by the greater mass of the defender causing a larger negative acceleration for the attacker. Reflective, on the other hand, is about hardness. Some Impervious Toughness is soft-body, like that of the Incredible Blob. His body can harmlessly absorb the energy of an attack by deforming, then going back its original form. However, Impervious Toughness with Reflective is always hard-body, like Colossus. His body doesn't deform at all when you hit him. It absorbs the energy briefly before sending it right back into your fist. TLDR: Reflective and Immovable and their effects are tied to completely different mechanisms in the actual universe, and should remain so in the M&M rules.

Also, you seem to have mistaken 'non-damaging' for 'non-combat'. I'm talking about reflecting effects that don't force toughness saves, but still have combat applications, like Dazzles and Stuns. If they shouldn't be tied to Reflective Toughness, what do you do to simulate them? Sure, you might just buy Impervious(limited to descriptor) and Reflective(limited to descriptor) on one or more of your other saves, but sometimes it doesn't make sense. If you use a light-based visual Dazzle on the Shiner, it'll reflect off him regardless of whether or not he makes his Reflex save because his entire body is shiny as a mirror. I see nothing in any books that would cover that.

Tryptic
Groupie
Groupie
Posts: 89
Joined: Tue Sep 30, 2008 12:10 pm

Re: Reflective:Non Damaging Effects, Scattering and Area Attacks

Postby Tryptic » Tue Apr 03, 2012 8:11 am

No, I meant non-damaging. I was referring to exactly what you said: other saves, which players should pay to increase separately from toughness. Generally these other abilities tend to be more varied than toughness attacks, and it would make absolutely no sense for them to be reflected. Light, maybe, but not poison or corrosion or anything that affects reflex. I can see an extra applied to Mind Shield that reflects mental abilities, since it already has the impervious layout in place and it makes sense in the story.

As for light, I would expect that most light dazzles would be radial anyway, and the light shining off of your reflective dude wouldn't be any brighter than the light of the original attack. If it was a targeted light attack, it would be ridiculous to say that it returns to the user without any effort on the part of the reflective person. If it was built as Deflect and he had to roll to return the attack, I would consider that acceptable. I might even call it Limited 3 for the fact that it only works on targeted light and not area-based light, so he's not paying too much for such a rare perk.

For energy attacks I would consider it just about the same. I think this was your own sentiment in the OP: it's one thing to reflect an attack with a roll, it's another thing entirely to reflect an attack without any chance of failure.

It may not be what you're looking for, but you can't say that immovable makes no sense in this situation. Immovable represents the recoil of striking an object whose stationary momentum greatly exceeds your own. You have to make the assumption that the reflective properties are based on hardness, which is the exact same assumption you make when you use Impervious. And what you get is an ability that makes sense for melee attacks, yet makes no sense at all for reflecting ranged attacks just like Reflective toughness. The only difference is that an Immovable setup would not decrease the effectiveness of Drain(toughness) powers against you, and it would not weaken as your toughness is drained.

It is simply an aspect of ranged attacks that they should be terribly difficult to reflect compared to melee attacks.
"The most important thing is that nobody was hurt. Except your opponents."

-Mia, Golden Sun 2

cochramd
Groupie
Groupie
Posts: 93
Joined: Thu Sep 01, 2011 6:20 am

Re: Reflective:Non Damaging Effects, Scattering and Area Attacks

Postby cochramd » Tue Apr 03, 2012 11:08 am

I'm not looking for a deflection, I'm looking for reflection of any effect of one descriptor which doesn't break my suspension of disbelief. This can be broken down into 3 conditions:
A) If the character is hit by any effect of descriptor, the effect will be reflected.
B) The reflected effect might not hit the attacker, especially if it was a ranged effect. If it hits anything and what it hits is determined by X.
C) Conditions A and B are true regardless of the result of the save that the character makes against the effect.

Condition A can be satisfied with Impervious and Reflective (both limited to descriptor) on other saves. For some cases, like a Reflective Mindshield, satisfying condition A is sufficient. Condition B is required for most ranged physical or energy attacks. (against electric effects: you hit the character with an electric effect, it shimmers over their body, having no effect, then jumps to an adjacent person or object and affects them instead. This is true regardless of whether the electric effect is Damage, Stun, Paralysis, etc.) As discussed earlier, it can be satisfied by taking either the Uncontrolled flaw (so that X is the GM deciding directly) or the Unreliable flaw (so that X is some d20 mechanic). It's C) that's giving me the problem: if you shoot a beam of powerful light into the Shiner's face, he may raise his hands to his face in time, he won't be blinded and the beam will be reflected off his hands. If he does not, then he will be blinded and the beam will be reflected off his face. The Reflective modifier is tied to the Impervious modifier, so I can't use it for reflections that go off regardless of whether or not the effect is saved against. What do I do for that?

As for Immovable....if you're bare-knuckle boxing, you stand a fair chance of breaking your hand with every punch to the opponents head (especially the forehead), but (presuming that you're using a proper fist) virtually none with every shot to his gut, and this is true regardless of whether your opponent is Verne Troyer or Andre the Giant. A full-body tackle, on the other hand, would devastate Verne but floor you if you tried it on Andre.

It does make sense for Reflective to be based on hardness for all physical attacks, and for energy attacks to be based on whatever handwavium justifies them, REGARDLESS OF RANGE. Virtually all ranged attacks break down into forcing some group of particles (atoms that do damage because they are very massive, atoms that do damage because they are arranged in a sharp shape, atoms that do a lot of damage because they have an excess or deficiency of thermal energy, atoms or molecules that do damage because they are very unstable, electrons that electrocute, other sub-atomic particles, magic particles, psychic particles, you get the idea) into making a special slam attack that is not affected by Immovable on your behalf. Since a slam attack is a melee attack, the group of particles is subjected to any Reflective(melee) the target has. It is quite probable that said group of projectiles will suffer some knockback from the Reflective.....really, in my mind, Reflective should be melee plus one of the +0 modifiers I talked about by default, with being limited to one descriptor available as a flaw.

Tryptic
Groupie
Groupie
Posts: 89
Joined: Tue Sep 30, 2008 12:10 pm

Re: Reflective:Non Damaging Effects, Scattering and Area Attacks

Postby Tryptic » Tue Apr 03, 2012 11:42 am

Oh, I see what you mean. I was thinking along the same lines: make the default Reflective melee range only and add ranged as an extra, which means they can have ranged and unreliable as a combo for no cost. Isn't it true that players can choose to not to activate an extra if they want? In which case you could say that the Uncontrolled is a flaw attached to the Ranged Extra, such that the Reflective can affect melee attacks without being Uncontrolled and ranged attacks with Uncontrolled, for no extra cost.

The reflection despite a failed save is a tough one. You're just about at the point where I would call it a custom feat for 1-2 points and GM the effect, seeing how it only affects light-based, targeted visual dazzles. He seriously can't get hit by that more than 1-2 times in the course of a campaign, in fact the GM would have to go out of their way to use it on him, and the NPC would probably be smart enough to not try it a second time after his own dazzle hits him in the face. If it also reflects area light-based visual dazzles, make it cost 3. You can call it Benefit:Shiny metal A** 8)

Now that I think about it, does the rulebook say anything about taking ranks of Reflective higher than your Impervious? I know that sounds kind of crazy but that would allow you to be hurt by the effect AND reflect it. Perhaps you could make the player pay for Impervious, Reflective toughness over the PL limit of the campaign and limit his toughness down but not his reflective?
"The most important thing is that nobody was hurt. Except your opponents."

-Mia, Golden Sun 2

cochramd
Groupie
Groupie
Posts: 93
Joined: Thu Sep 01, 2011 6:20 am

Re: Reflective:Non Damaging Effects, Scattering and Area Attacks

Postby cochramd » Tue Apr 03, 2012 1:15 pm

I was actually thinking that it would reflect all attacks by default, but the ranged reflections have Uncontrolled or Unreliable on them (the player and the GM work out which one), but really it's just six of one and a half dozen of the other. If the player has a really, really good descriptor, they could pay 1 point per rank to have the ranged reflections work as reliably as melee ones.

It wouldn't limited to just Dazzles; light hits him, and he reflects it. Although now that you mention it, Dazzles are probably by far the most common of effects that he reflects, and everything else can probably be covered by the use of hero points.

Reflective and Impervious are both modifiers, so they're ultimately limited to the save they're put on. The Reflective modifier specifically states that it can only be applied to Impervious saves and only reflects effects that are blocked by Impervious, so having more Reflective than Impervious would be utterly pointless even if it was possible. Additionally, Reflective is limited to a maximum of PL, as is any effect that doesn't require an attack roll.


Return to “Mutants & Masterminds Rules (Second Edition)”



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest