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[DLR] Boost/Lower Trait for Martial Artist: To limit or not?

 
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Baiyo
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 02, 2012 6:38 pm    Post subject: [DLR] Boost/Lower Trait for Martial Artist: To limit or not? Reply with quote

I think most, if not all, of us can agree that Boost/Lower Trait is the most versatile arcane power in Deadlands or Savage Worlds. I would argue that it's also the most powerful. As written, a character takes the power once, and can later use the same power to Boost any Trait of theirs, or Lower any Trait of their enemies. The same power that can improve someone's Fighting, can also improve their Tracking skill and worsen their enemy's Spirit or Vigor. (If I'm misunderstanding the rules here, please tell me.)

For most Arcane Backgrounds in Deadlands, I don't have problem with that. Hucksters, Blessed and Shamans all potentially face stiff backlash penalties of some kind every time they roll to use a power, and they are essentailly using magic after all. Mad Scientists are the exception to what I wrote above, because their Trappings are limited to the gizmo they invent when they take a new power.

Martial Artists are another story. They don't face the risk of any kind of penalty for a failed Arcane Skill roll, and there are no inherent limitations to the types of Traits that they can Boost or Lower. I don't know about any of you, but I have some trouble wrapping my head around a Martial Artist being able to Boost their Fighting ability during one encounter, and later use the same ability to Boost their Persuasion. Nevermind Lowering one of their enemy's Traits.

So with all that said, here are my questions to my fellow Marshals. Do you impose any limits on a Martial Artist's use of Boost/Lower Trait, such as what Traits they can affect? Do you think that this isn't really a concern? If not, why?
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newForumNewName
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 02, 2012 7:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Remember that it isn't an open-ended power and that there are limits to it's usefulness. At best, a character can shift Traits by two die steps in either direction and the duration isn't terribly long (a few rounds).
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ValhallaGH
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 02, 2012 7:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Do I limit them? No.
Am I worried about the versatility of boost/lower? No.
Why? Because versatility is not power - there are thousands of posts in D&D forums that can explain why that is the case, but I don't want to bore anyone with them. The basic point is that versatility is only powerful when it lets you have the perfect solution for any situation.
Boost / lower does not do that.
It takes an action to use - an action that could be ending the fight by incapacitating a foe; it has a limited duration (3 +) that must be maintained for each use of the power; it can be resisted (by Spirit) if used to lower a foe; two die types has only ever been significant when it affected a derived trait (Parry or Toughness) - the only other time I have seen boost/lower have a noticeable impact was when it made a skill trained.
Boost / lower doesn't let you do anything you can't already do. It simply makes you a little bit better at it (or might make your foe a bit worse).

Boost / lower is a good power, well worth taking, but it only barely achieves that status. As a rule, bolt is a lot more troublesome to my plots. Laughing
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 03, 2012 5:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

newForumNewName wrote:
Remember that it isn't an open-ended power and that there are limits to it's usefulness. At best, a character can shift Traits by two die steps in either direction and the duration isn't terribly long (a few rounds).


Not exactly true. According to this, you could buff the same trait as many times as you please. Though this would cause you to burn through power points really fast.
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Cutter XXIII
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 03, 2012 6:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Martial Artists pay a steep cost for their backlash-free powers by having to purchase (and improve) a skill for each one. Limiting their powers' usefulness would be double-dipping on the penalties.
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ValhallaGH
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 03, 2012 8:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

[Inaccurate. Please ignore.]

Last edited by ValhallaGH on Mon Nov 05, 2012 5:51 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Nordicnomad
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 03, 2012 10:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ValhallaGH wrote:
Sitting Duck wrote:
newForumNewName wrote:
Remember that it isn't an open-ended power and that there are limits to it's usefulness. At best, a character can shift Traits by two die steps in either direction and the duration isn't terribly long (a few rounds).


Not exactly true. According to this, you could buff the same trait as many times as you please. Though this would cause you to burn through power points really fast.

So? They don't stack, so they'll only alter things a maximum of two die types.


I think it Clint said the exact opposite in that thread. You can stack boost / lower trait but have to keep track of each instance separately as normal.

Seems like the balance of that is how quickly you will run out of pp's trying to do it.
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newForumNewName
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 03, 2012 10:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I did neglect the stacking. However, that's maybe 1 turn of, at best, d12+4 in a single Trait (with 10 pp and a raise on all three castings with the extra point spent on the duration of the first roll and a base Trait of d8 ).

EDIT: Bloody smiley face...
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Last edited by newForumNewName on Sun Nov 04, 2012 9:10 am; edited 1 time in total
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Wibbs
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 03, 2012 10:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just a point of clarification - are we talking about stacking as in...

a - casting boost trait on two different traits for the same person
b - casting boost trait on the same trait twice for the same person

?
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jpk
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 03, 2012 1:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

newForumNewName wrote:
I did neglect the stacking. However, that's maybe 1 turn of, at best, d12+4 in a single Trait (with 10 pp and a raise on all three castings with the extra point spent on the duration of the first roll and a base Trait of dCool.

You could always have a number of spellcasters who all decide to Boost the same trait on the same target. I've seen (and done) some fairly ridiculous things with that particular approach.

And getting to the point where you can create mirror selves means you can always have a group of casters handy in just a minute. Twisted Evil
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Baiyo
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 05, 2012 12:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ok, so just to be clear about what's troubling me;

A Deadlands martial arts chi master, a character type who's supernatural abilities are ostensibly meant to manifest physically, can use his Boost/Lower Trait power to increase his Lockpicking skill, then later use the same power to boost his Persuasion, then later use the same power to boost his Tracking, and then later use the same power to increase his Strength for a fight. And based on your guys' responses, you're all totally cool with that, right?

If that's the case, I find that very interesting. Interesting indeed...
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ogbendog
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 05, 2012 12:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lockpicking and Tracking both generally take longer than a few rounds.
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The Stray
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 05, 2012 2:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Baiyo wrote:
Ok, so just to be clear about what's troubling me;

A Deadlands martial arts chi master, a character type who's supernatural abilities are ostensibly meant to manifest physically, can use his Boost/Lower Trait power to increase his Lockpicking skill, then later use the same power to boost his Persuasion, then later use the same power to boost his Tracking, and then later use the same power to increase his Strength for a fight. And based on your guys' responses, you're all totally cool with that, right?

If that's the case, I find that very interesting. Interesting indeed...


Yup. Completely cool with it. If it were flat bonuses, or had a duration measured in minutes, it might be worrisome, but a boost to a die type does not guarantee a success on any rolls with the boosted die type. Even a score boosted to d12 is going to fail more often than one given a simple +1 or +2 bonus, and as has been pointed out Persuasion, Lockpicking and Tracking rolls are measured in minutes, which would each through the MA's store of power points pretty quick. I've played with boost before, and no matter who has it, the verdict has been "useful, but not game-breaking."
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ValhallaGH
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 05, 2012 5:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nordicnomad wrote:
ValhallaGH wrote:
being wrong

I think it Clint said the exact opposite in that thread. You can stack boost / lower trait but have to keep track of each instance separately as normal.

Well, so much for the value of my contribution.
Baiyo wrote:
And based on your guys' responses, you're all totally cool with that, right?

Yep. Because the martial artist is using his will power and discipline, which are great enough that he can pull magic from another dimension to alter reality, to focus his chi on increasing his overall perceptiveness and understanding.
Persuasion: Notices and understands the many little tells in a conversation, giving him a much better idea of what to say.
Tracking: Preternaturally focused on his senses to be aware of the environment, especially those things that indicate paths of movement by other creatures and the things they left behind.
Lockpicking: Focusing his discipline on his sense of touch, augmenting his ability to manipulate the tiny mechanics of a lock or other intricate machine.

It's not all about Dragonball-style punching. Wink
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Yondalor
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 07, 2012 8:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

What if the Martial Artist uses it on another person to lower his traits? I always figured there should be a trapping to it that requires the MA to touch his target, as he's pressing its pressure points and disrupting the flow of its chi.
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ValhallaGH
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 07, 2012 8:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yondalor wrote:
What if the Martial Artist uses it on another person to lower his traits? I always figured there should be a trapping to it that requires the MA to touch his target, as he's pressing its pressure points and disrupting the flow of its chi.

Maybe he's disrupting the flow of chi via pressure points (and now requires a touch attack). Or maybe he's using his own chi as a "magnet" to pull away his opponent's chi. Or maybe something else - I have learned that I can't think of all appropriate trappings, so I try to accept that an appropriate trapping exists and that someone will tell me about it - but until they tell me, I don't allow the power to be used in a way that violates the trappings.
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