Trade-Off Limits and Toughness-Defense Shifts

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Harnos
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Trade-Off Limits and Toughness-Defense Shifts

Post by Harnos »

Hi, I will start a new game in 3e. The setting will be like Paragons and Aberrant, but there will be more extraordinary elements like dimensional outsiders.

The characters will be newly empowered, untrained and inexperienced people. That means they should have relatively low attack and defense values and high damage-toughness ranks. However, the character examples i see in various books tend to be balanced characters. I do not know if extremely toughness&damage shifted PC’s would create problems.

So, what are the maximum toughness trade-offs you would allow for PL 6,8,10,12 characters respectively?

Also, there seems to be a general idea that toughness shifted characters are stronger than defense shifted characters. Do you agree?
FuzzyBoots
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Re: Trade-Off Limits and Toughness-Defense Shifts

Post by FuzzyBoots »

Tradeoffs are arithmetically relative. If all of the supers in your setting tend to be damage/toughness shifted, the effect will be very similar to if they are not shifted. A damage shift of 3 against a toughness shift of 3 is mechanically the same as a balanced PL character hitting a balanced PL.

In regular games, I usually keep tradeoffs low, around 2-3. In a setting like yours, they might be higher, but I'd probably try to keep it consistent.

As regards tradeoffs. Elric wrote some good stuff on that although we sadly lost him during the board shifts. I probably ought to write that up again one of these days. TL;DR, there is a sweet spot at about +3 relative damage/toughness shift where it's most mechanically advantageous, but it's not by much, and extreme shifts make things go down more sharply.
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squirrelly-sama
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Re: Trade-Off Limits and Toughness-Defense Shifts

Post by squirrelly-sama »

Pretty much as fuzzy said, the trade offs are relative if the opposing check is the same but other issues do crop up. For one defense is much more expensive than toughness so it becomes a point save to have higher toughness, which synergizes with how toughness is favored mechanically due to resisting hits being better than avoiding them. High effect ranks sort of levels the pricing due to inflated effect costs. The issue in Ballance comes in when it comes to targeting other resistances or using area attacks. While damage will match up to toughness in your scenario the high effects will lead to issues when they are afflictions or alt resists because those aren't scaled to toughness. Likewise area effects are limited to PL and so will over all do much less damage to the point they can be ignored half the time.
FuzzyBoots
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Re: Trade-Off Limits and Toughness-Defense Shifts

Post by FuzzyBoots »

Also, there are several free ways to disrupt defense, from Perception to Feinting to Surprise Attacks (and they can halve or eliminate defense entirely!), but no easy way to reduce resistances. And, of course, 20s auto-hit, and crit at that, 1 in 20 times, the defense-shifted person is really hurting.
RainOnTheSun
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Re: Trade-Off Limits and Toughness-Defense Shifts

Post by RainOnTheSun »

Newly-empowered characters don't necessarily need to have low attack and defense values, either. Speed and coordination can be enhanced just like strength and toughness, after all.
Harnos
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Re: Trade-Off Limits and Toughness-Defense Shifts

Post by Harnos »

Thanks for the answers, everyone.

FuzzyBoots wrote: Fri Mar 27, 2020 12:31 pm Tradeoffs are arithmetically relative. If all of the supers in your setting tend to be damage/toughness shifted, the effect will be very similar to if they are not shifted. A damage shift of 3 against a toughness shift of 3 is mechanically the same as a balanced PL character hitting a balanced PL.

In regular games, I usually keep tradeoffs low, around 2-3. In a setting like yours, they might be higher, but I'd probably try to keep it consistent.

As regards tradeoffs. Elric wrote some good stuff on that although we sadly lost him during the board shifts. I probably ought to write that up again one of these days. TL;DR, there is a sweet spot at about +3 relative damage/toughness shift where it's most mechanically advantageous, but it's not by much, and extreme shifts make things go down more sharply.
I was thinking about using npcs from various sourcebooks, i should keep consistency of trade-offs in mind.
FuzzyBoots wrote: Fri Mar 27, 2020 3:57 pm Also, there are several free ways to disrupt defense, from Perception to Feinting to Surprise Attacks (and they can halve or eliminate defense entirely!), but no easy way to reduce resistances. And, of course, 20s auto-hit, and crit at that, 1 in 20 times, the defense-shifted person is really hurting.
Yeah, crits are really a nighmare scenario for the defense-shifted ones.
RainOnTheSun wrote: Sat Mar 28, 2020 2:48 am Newly-empowered characters don't necessarily need to have low attack and defense values, either. Speed and coordination can be enhanced just like strength and toughness, after all.
I thought about that. I like the idea that super-strong brawler types having more agility than common man. But it might not suit some character concepts. But i have the option to make supers multi-talented, like Aberrant characters.
Jabroniville
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Re: Trade-Off Limits and Toughness-Defense Shifts

Post by Jabroniville »

Hey, glad you made it over here, Harnos! I think these folks play more than I do, so they'd have more of an idea, but I generally agree that the huge shifts hurt defense-shifted people more often.

In particular, Area Attacks can really hamper them.
RainOnTheSun
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Re: Trade-Off Limits and Toughness-Defense Shifts

Post by RainOnTheSun »

Defense-shifting would be more of a viable choice if attacks that targeted defense and fortitude or will were more common. Unfortunately, a lot of non-toughness effects like psychic blasts and sonic waves don't really have FX that suggest they can be physically dodged. A lot of them are stopped by very cheap immunities, too.

1 point for immunity to poison? All poison? Really?
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squirrelly-sama
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Re: Trade-Off Limits and Toughness-Defense Shifts

Post by squirrelly-sama »

RainOnTheSun wrote: Sun Mar 29, 2020 6:52 am Defense-shifting would be more of a viable choice if attacks that targeted defense and fortitude or will were more common. Unfortunately, a lot of non-toughness effects like psychic blasts and sonic waves don't really have FX that suggest they can be physically dodged. A lot of them are stopped by very cheap immunities, too.

1 point for immunity to poison? All poison? Really?
There's quite a few issues with defense shifting.

1) Defense costs twice as much as toughness despite being less effective.
2) There's quite a few ways to bypass defense but very few to bypass toughness.
3) Accuracy is very cheap, meaning that the stat to counter Defense is 1/4 of it's price while Toughness' counter stat is equal priced.
4) There are powers and advantages that grant very cheap Defense bonuses such as Defensive attack and Concealment.
Harnos
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Re: Trade-Off Limits and Toughness-Defense Shifts

Post by Harnos »

Thread is two years old but I've just remembered it and i settled the issue in the meantime.

Power Level 7: Attack\Dodge/Parry 5 Damage/Toughness 9
Power Level 8: Attack\Dodge/Parry 5 Damage/Toughness 11
Power Level 9: Attack\Dodge/Parry 5 Damage/Toughness 13
Power Level 10: Attack\Dodge/Parry 6 Damage/Toughness 14
Power Level 11: Attack\Dodge/Parry 6 Damage/Toughness 16

These would cover the most pcs and npcs. I chose 5 ranks for the minimum attack and defense bonus because that is the attack and defense bonus of soldier archetype in Gamemaster Guide. So they can reliably hit a soldier and soldiers can fire back but they would be better fighters than lower level criminals.

I unfortunately didn't get to playtest those in a long term game.

For pcs I would use +5 trade-off as maximum so they wouldn't be near-immune to area and perception effects. So:

Power Level 12: Attack\Dodge/Parry 6 Damage/Toughness 11

However, PL 12 Jumped-Up Nobody archetype has 18 ranks for both damage and toughness, so that is a good limit for inexperienced/newly empowered and very powerful npcs. And level 12 is high enough to cover that situation.

I also noted the maximum damage and toughness seen in various DC and Freedom City characters.

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