EMP - How is it using Weaken to destroy objects?

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EMP - How is it using Weaken to destroy objects?

Postby Frobones » Mon Feb 10, 2014 11:44 pm

The Electric Power Profile builds an EMP power with the Weaken effect that is able to destroy electronic objects. I'm trying to find in the rules how a Weaken affect can destroy objects?

I've done a fair share of searching through the rulebook and the various forums here, but I can't find anything concrete on how this is possible. Can anyone site a page number in a source book, a ruling by Steve Kenson, or anything that supports the Weaken Effect being able to destroy an object?
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Re: EMP - How is it using Weaken to destroy objects?

Postby Monolith » Tue Feb 11, 2014 6:44 am

The inherent nature of equipment is that it is vulnerable against things that affects its various descriptors. From the book:

Computers and electronics are common in the modern world. Gamemasters should note most of these devices are fairly delicate (Toughness 4 or less) and affected by electricity, radiation, and powerful magnetic fields, which can short them out entirely.


Assuming any save is failed by the item the nature of the descriptor is that an electronic piece of equipment will short out.

Coupling that with the affects objects extra, where objects automatically take maximum effect from an attack without getting any save, means that normal equipment stands no chance of surviving a weaken emp.

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Re: EMP - How is it using Weaken to destroy objects?

Postby FuzzyBoots » Tue Feb 11, 2014 9:08 am

I would probably be more inclined to go for a Nullify attack for an EMP. Back in 2E, there was an official suggestion that Equipment (but probably not Devices) lacked the ability to "heal", so a Sustained Nullify or a Weaken would never be thrown off because the target would never make their save. You could have a Weaken which targeted ranks of the powers involved on the equipment. The only catch to that was that they removed the cumulative nature of Weaken/Drain, so if you don't have enough ranks to overcome them the first time, you don't have enough period.

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Re: EMP - How is it using Weaken to destroy objects?

Postby Frobones » Tue Feb 11, 2014 9:40 am

I'm still not understanding how Weaken can destroy the object. It's been accepted that Weaken Toughness used on objects can eventually destroy the item. What I am trying to understand is where in the rules is the point of destruction. Is it when the object's toughness reaches 0? -5? -10?

Monolith wrote:Assuming any save is failed by the item the nature of the descriptor is that an electronic piece of equipment will short out.


Basically, I'm trying to understand at which point does the electronic equipment "short out".
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Re: EMP - How is it using Weaken to destroy objects?

Postby Monolith » Tue Feb 11, 2014 9:55 am

The point of destruction is entirely dependent upon what is being weakened. If you weaken toughness then the item might simply rust away or disintegrate into a pile of useless components. In the case of an emp it is destroying electronic components within an item making them useless. You're essentially targeting all electronic effects within the item.

An emp is draining effects with an electronic descriptor. Anything with that descriptor will be damaged; and since it's equipment it won't get a save and will take maximum effect due to the affects object extra.Example:

A Ipod is: equipment feature 1, playing stored music, 1 pt. A weaken only needs to drain 1 pt so an emp weaken of 1 pt will destroy that item because with affects objects the Ipod gets no save and the weaken does maximum effect.

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Re: EMP - How is it using Weaken to destroy objects?

Postby digitalangel » Tue Feb 11, 2014 9:59 am

Normally equipment is basically destroyed when it is nullified or weakened down to 0 points. In the case of something like an EMP, it is not destroyed in the same sense as smashing it with a hammer. The EMP drains points on it making it lose features (GM's choice of what still does and doesn't work if not enough to completely drain all points in electronic features of the equipment) and if it drains to 0 then congrats you have an expensive paperweight left unless/until you can repair the equipment.
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Re: EMP - How is it using Weaken to destroy objects?

Postby Frobones » Tue Feb 11, 2014 10:49 am

Ok, thank you for the clarification Monolith and digitalangel. I can wrap my head around Weaken taking away all the features of a piece of equipment, making it virtually useless.

This also explains why the cutting torch is linked to Damage 1. Although the cutting torch is built incorrectly (it's still under the assumption that Weaken is cumulative and has no limit on the debilitated trait), the Damage 1 is necessary to destroy the object once it's toughness was been reduced to insignificant values.
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Re: EMP - How is it using Weaken to destroy objects?

Postby Monolith » Tue Feb 11, 2014 11:12 am

Frobones wrote:Ok, thank you for the clarification Monolith and digitalangel. I can wrap my head around Weaken taking away all the features of a piece of equipment, making it virtually useless.

Plus a larger emp weaken will destroy larger things. A stun gun, for example, has 5 ranks in the book and would need a 5 rank emp weaken to completely destroy its ability to function. A 10 rank emp weaken would destroy all electronic effects 10 ranks/pts or less, and so on.

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Re: EMP - How is it using Weaken to destroy objects?

Postby Frobones » Tue Feb 11, 2014 2:36 pm

Monolith wrote:A stun gun, for example, has 5 ranks in the book and would need a 5 rank emp weaken to completely destroy its ability to function.


Wouldn't I only need a Weaken 1? Since Weaken removes Power Points associated with an effect, and 1 Power Point = 5 Equipment Points, removing 1 Power Point from the Stun Gun should neutralize its 5 Equipment points rendering the Stun Gun useless.
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Re: EMP - How is it using Weaken to destroy objects?

Postby digitalangel » Tue Feb 11, 2014 2:43 pm

Frobones wrote:
Monolith wrote:A stun gun, for example, has 5 ranks in the book and would need a 5 rank emp weaken to completely destroy its ability to function.


Wouldn't I only need a Weaken 1? Since Weaken removes Power Points associated with an effect, and 1 Power Point = 5 Equipment Points, removing 1 Power Point from the Stun Gun should neutralize its 5 Equipment points rendering the Stun Gun useless.


Forget about the 5:1 ratio here, you count the point from the affliction 5 power that the stun gun is built around, because that is basically what you are nullifying.

The 5:1 ratio is basically the following penalties on every 5 points of power built into the piece of equipment (easily removable -2), limited to tech level (-1), (easily destroyed -1), so every 5 points of power - 4 points of penalties costs 1 PP from the character.
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Re: EMP - How is it using Weaken to destroy objects?

Postby Stigger » Tue Feb 11, 2014 4:22 pm

Personally, my own view is that EMPs will affect any electronic equipment within it's area of effect, so long as it's turned on, regardless of rank. As has been said, devices are a different matter, but even then I tend to ask players to put a 1-point feature (Tempest Hardened) if it's specifically designed to resist an EMP and it's equipment, devices I tend to go with a 2-point Immunity to EMP effect instead. I know the rules as written don't agree with me on that, but it just makes more sense to me, given the way that EMPs actually work.

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Re: EMP - How is it using Weaken to destroy objects?

Postby JDRook » Tue Feb 11, 2014 8:27 pm

Stigger wrote:I know the rules as written don't agree with me on that, but it just makes more sense to me, given the way that EMPs actually work.

IMHO, knowing how things might "actually work" and then trying to emulate them through superhero-funny-pages-based rules can be potentially detrimental to the game, depending on your GM and setting. My take on it is that equipment is cheap, plentiful and relatively flimsy: it is the "minion" to the Device's "Hero" and should easily give way to the power of the PCs and the plot. Conversely, Devices are specialized, bought with significantly more power points and presumably integral to the PC's concept, and should be inherently more hardy in the same way that the PC is more hardy that Bystanders and Minions.

In terms of an EMP, I would agree that making all standard equipment in range automatically shut down is reasonable, particularly if the EMP itself is a Device or even a full Power (kind of a Takedown vs equipment). Requiring a Feature on a Device to resist an EMP at all seems a little harsh, but I think a 2p EMP Immunity or a 1p Half-Effect Immunity would be totally reasonable.
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Re: EMP - How is it using Weaken to destroy objects?

Postby Beleriphon » Tue Feb 11, 2014 9:20 pm

JDRook wrote:In terms of an EMP, I would agree that making all standard equipment in range automatically shut down is reasonable, particularly if the EMP itself is a Device or even a full Power (kind of a Takedown vs equipment). Requiring a Feature on a Device to resist an EMP at all seems a little harsh, but I think a 2p EMP Immunity or a 1p Half-Effect Immunity would be totally reasonable.


Especially when you consider how easy it is to protect electronics from an EMP. Most actual items aren't protected by virtue of EMPs not being terribly common in every day life and being disposable for the most part.

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Re: EMP - How is it using Weaken to destroy objects?

Postby Stigger » Wed Feb 12, 2014 1:15 pm

Well yeah, it doesn't come up all that often, but it's kinda one of those things where if you want an item to be resistant, then it's probably going to have to be custom-built, so I don't see a 1-point feature as being all that unreasonable. The 2-point version is more for stuff like vehicles to my mind, or big mechas and the like, not something hand-held, unless it's something really exotic, like a fully automatic plasma rifle or something. :D


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