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The Dresden Files => DFRPG => Topic started by: blackstaff67 on August 04, 2014, 11:47:16 AM

Title: Blocks versus Shapeshifters
Post by: blackstaff67 on August 04, 2014, 11:47:16 AM
Is it even possible and if yes, how can it be done?  Grapple seems counterintuitive, so I'm thinking a Maneuver to place the Aspect "Physically or Mentally stunned" is more appropriate.  Your thoughts?

If there's another thread that links to this, I'd appreciate it.

For the sake of argument, we'll assume it's voluntary shapeshifting.
Title: Re: Blocks versus Shapeshifters
Post by: Tedronai on August 04, 2014, 11:51:32 AM
Given that there is no roll involved, I'm not sure how that would work.
Title: Re: Blocks versus Shapeshifters
Post by: JGray on August 04, 2014, 11:59:10 AM
There's no roll in drawing a gun, either, but I think you could block that. Shapeshifting does require some amount of concentration generally. It can be disrupted.
Title: Re: Blocks versus Shapeshifters
Post by: bobjob on August 04, 2014, 03:07:13 PM
Maybe a Transformation and Disruption maneuver and a FP to tag an appropriate aspect?

I dunno... I'm coming up dry for this one.
Title: Re: Blocks versus Shapeshifters
Post by: Baron Hazard on August 04, 2014, 03:56:42 PM
It depends, as usual, on the narrative. Something like the naagloshi? Id say no, its too inherent to its nature, i cant think of a narrative way, so i wouldnt allow a mechanical one without magic. A newbie werewolf still has to focus on the spell, so definately.
Title: Re: Blocks versus Shapeshifters
Post by: Haru on August 04, 2014, 05:05:36 PM
Feels like it should be thaumaturgy. Something like what Harry did to the Loup Garou. Only you'd need the targets blood/hair to pull it off. An figure like Barbie or Ken, depending on the target could be used to symbolize the human form. Weave the targets hair into the dolls, smear the targets blood on the body, pour energy into it, and he should be forced to stay human for a while.

Mechanically, I would do this as a maneuver and then tag it for effect, so the target gets compelled to stay in human form.

And I agree with Baron Hazard, something like the naagloshi is going to be infinitely more difficult, since they don't really have a default form to lock them into.
Title: Re: Blocks versus Shapeshifters
Post by: Taran on August 05, 2014, 01:54:17 AM
maybe an assessment on an appropriate aspect...then using that against them and paying a FP to invoke it.

For instance, if they are part fae, then putting an iron collar on them or sticking a nail in them and then invoking their High Concept, you could potentially prevent them from shifting.

Really depends on the shapeshifter. 

A block on all actions could work in the narrative sense...actually a maneuver would be more appropriate: see below:

If you somehow trap the shapeshifter (in shackles)  in a box - whatever.  But basically saying, "you can't shapeshift into a bear because the cage you are in is too small to fit your new size (like if they had hulking size.)

Or putting a very tight collar around their neck so when they shift, they'll strangle themselves.

It gets harder if they shift into a smaller form.

Title: Re: Blocks versus Shapeshifters
Post by: Haru on August 05, 2014, 01:55:40 AM
It gets harder if they shift into a smaller form.
In that case, you just let them shift and trap them in a jam jar. ;)
Title: Re: Blocks versus Shapeshifters
Post by: PatchR on August 05, 2014, 02:32:06 AM
Could use some sort of magical cuffs, like we've seen cancel Wizard powers.
Title: Re: Blocks versus Shapeshifters
Post by: solbergb on August 05, 2014, 02:53:13 AM
Mental or social blocks seem like they'd be more likely to work than physical ones.  That helps with the die roll issue...to overcome the block you need to use the right skills.

"Your muggle boss is looking right at you.  You probably don't want to Ghoul Out right now...."
(deception to create a distraction could overcome this block - as no supplemental action is needed to activate the SU powers no -1, but and hopefully your boss won't recognize the tie the slavering monster now present is wearing your tie).  This is a block.  The ghoul is free to do anything except turn into a ghoul, and it takes some kind of social skill to keep the muggle's attention on the ghoul to sustain the block.

Or you know...you want to remain in human form because you're all overcome by lust for that white court vampire that just ran his finger down your cheek...(this would normally be discipline, and if you want to shift into a potted plant that would be unlikely to be affected by lust powers in the same round, you'd need to take a -1).    This is more likely a maneuver given how the incite emotion powers work (they don't normally allow blocks) to put something like "humanity feels SO good" and use the free tag to compel against shifting.
Title: Re: Blocks versus Shapeshifters
Post by: blackstaff67 on August 05, 2014, 04:19:07 AM
For clarification:  Assume target is lycanthropic or other were-type.  I'm starting to think something based on their Catch would be more appropriate.  My thanks to everyone who chimed in. 
Title: Re: Blocks versus Shapeshifters
Post by: Tedronai on August 05, 2014, 07:23:41 AM
Mental or social blocks seem like they'd be more likely to work than physical ones.  That helps with the die roll issue...to overcome the block you need to use the right skills.

Blocks do not have a 'physical, mental, social' distinction of their own.
Blocks impede actions (which may or may not have such a distinction).
The only actions which cannot overcome a block are the actions that are not impeded by the block.

This is RAW.  Houserule as you will.
Title: Re: Blocks versus Shapeshifters
Post by: solbergb on August 05, 2014, 01:29:04 PM
Blocks impede actions.

Shapeshifting is an action.  It can be blocked.

The die roll to overcome the block depends on the specifics of how the block is set up.

Eg, blocking movement with athletics usually requires athletics to overcome, but shapeshifting into mist will also do it without a roll.  Blocking movement with a wall of force likely requires might to overcome normally, but someone immune to magic might just walk through it. Blocking movement with Rapport to have a crowd of bystanders become very interested in you generally requires a social skill to defeat, assuming you care about your reputation in that situation...if you don't you can just push past them.  Nothing I said in my above post is a houserule.  A social block is shorthand a block set up because of the social situation, and usually requires a social skill to overcome it's meaningless if you don't care about that in the current scene.

With respect to a catch, it could set up a situation where an unusual skill allows a block, as Conviction can block a Red Court vampire when combined with a symbol of your faith.   It could also make a block automatically effective for an exchange, by compelling the high concept, via the fate point economy or free tags from prior declarations or assessments.   Usually though, presenting a critter with its catch makes it harder to stay in HUMAN form, their human guise slips if they fail discipline.
Title: Re: Blocks versus Shapeshifters
Post by: solbergb on August 05, 2014, 02:40:14 PM
>The only actions which cannot overcome a block are the actions that are not impeded by the block.

True, bypassing a block instead of overcoming it doesn't destroy the block.  It can make it irrelevant though.  I also think you are vastly underestimating the ways a block can be overcome.  The action is "to move" if the block is "against movement".  The skill used "to move" depends on the nature of the block.

So in my example above (Rapport block against movement) you could destroy the block with something like Intimidate (make the bystanders back off), Rapport (explain you're in a hurry without offending them), Presence (have the crowd move with you in an organized way, or somehow get them to cooperate based on who you are) or Deceit (create a distraction that is more interesting to the crowd than you).  Even Perform might get it done under some circumstances (moving through a dance floor, weaving the crowd into your performance and disrupting the block).  Resources too under some circumstances (toss money into a crowd of beggars, briefly dispersing them).  Contacts might allow someone in the crowd to rescue you with their own social skills.

Or if you were Molly you could leave an image of yourself to engage with the crowd while sneaking off under a veil.  The block's still there (crowd of people interested in image-Molly) but Molly bypassed it without destroying it, because she rendered it irrelevant to "invisible Molly".


All of the above assumes some kind of aspect where you care what the crowd thinks, and your reputation.  That kind of block on a Ghoul might be a discipline check to avoid feeding on the crowd instead of moving, for example, because of its Insatiable Hunger aspect instead of, say, Murphy's police lieutenant aspect vs a crowd of reporters.   A lot of blocks seem to tie into either scene aspects or personal aspects, and I'm not clear on whether they must be tagged/invoked to set up the block.  I think the way it works is a true compel gives the individual a fate point for automatically failing to move, where setting up a block doesn't use the fate economy but instead allows a chance to succeed, against an obstacle set by the block.

A more mundane example....critters bypass the zonewide version if Harry's shield spell all the time by going around or over it.  The shield spell is still there, blocking anyone else from moving through it, but it doesn't stop a critter that can fly over it from menacing those behind it.  If Harry explicitly makes it a bubble to prevent such tricks, then his own people are also affected by the block, or not protected by the block.

More typically Harry's shield is only a block against attacks, and doesn't impede movement of the enemy at all.  Either way though, the method to bring down the block is generally to attack it with sufficient force (might, or a physical attack of some kind) even though in one case it is blocking movement and in the other it is blocking attacks.   It's still a wall of magical force.  The means of defeating it are usually the same regardless of what you're blocking with it.   Harry's hand got burned when Mavra bypassed it with pure heat...the block was not overcome, it was irrelevant to Harry because his hand had to be close to the wall, but everybody else was safe, because the napalm that contained the heat was blocked successfully.  When Harry redefined the shield to include heat energy (he is, after all, a master of Fire as well as Spirit), it still had some gaps in the coverage to other exotic attacks because it is defined as a shield of force (eg, it won't help if the ground reaches up to grab him, or somebody sucks all the air out of the area of he has not explicitly set it up as a bubble).

Title: Re: Blocks versus Shapeshifters
Post by: Tedronai on August 05, 2014, 03:11:41 PM
None of the actions you describe to 'overcome' a block against movement actually effect physical movement at all.  And thus are not impeded by the block.  And thus cannot overcome it. (movement in a 'social' or 'mental' conflict is an issue far more abstract)

Barring the involvement of Aspects, any roll that would effect an action impeded by a Block can overcome that block.
A 'rapport block' against (physical) movement can be overcome by an Athletics Sprint action.  And almost nothing else.


I'll say it again:
Barring the involvement of Aspects, any roll that would effect an action impeded by a Block can overcome that block.

(Shapshifting into mist to overcome a block against movement without a roll almost definitely involves an Invocation-for Effect, probably following a Declaration.  Same with 'image-Molly', critters with flight, etc.)
Title: Re: Blocks versus Shapeshifters
Post by: solbergb on August 05, 2014, 03:14:03 PM
to quote "Your Story" a block is a block is a block.

A wall of fire or a hail of gunfire can block movement just as readily as force field or Evard's Black Tentacles.

What makes it irrelevant to you, and what skill can overcome it depends on the special effect (Might doesn't help on a wall of fire or gunfire, but does help to defeat a force field or tentacles.)

Your definition doesn't track with the actual examples in the rules.  All a block does is set an obstacle on the scene, just as the GM does when he puts in a terrain feature between zones. (in the case of movement)

"movement" is not a skill any more than "shapeshift" is.   A crowd of reporters attracted by a contacts roll is just as much a block as a magically created stone wall, both prevent you from leaving a zone.  The skills to overcome them are different, and whether or not you destroy the block (allow others to ignore it, or allow you to ignore it on later phases) depend on whether you, say, blew a hole through the wall to get past it (wall is gone, for you and everybody else), jumped over it (defeated difficulty with athletics, but if you want to come back you have to do it again), or flew over it (the wall never matters to you, but matters to others in the scene)

Flight is just a power.  It explicitly ignores blocks and zone barriers where flight would help.  That is in fact all flight does, mechanically.  (Aquatic, Mistform, Spirit form are written the same way.  No declarations or invocations required).

Invoking aspects is a different way to overcome a block.  Fate nearly always gives you the option of invoking aspects OR working with the skill system.   Aspects tend to either give success or failure, although sometimes they merely modify skill rolls, skills (and extras like the DFRPG Supernatural powers) don't require fate points most of the time but need to make sense in the situation and defeat the difficulties set.
Title: Re: Blocks versus Shapeshifters
Post by: Taran on August 05, 2014, 03:19:07 PM
What he's saying is this:

A block will impede a roll.

Shapeshifting doesn't require a roll, therefore, it can't be blocked.

That said, if it makes sense, If someone uses Intimidate to put up a block (to scare the person enough that they won't shape-shift), I'd allow a discipline roll to beat the block.(since discipline is the default save against intimidate)

That's artificially putting a roll on something that normally has no roll.

The example with mist form and a force-shield is an athletics roll vs a movement block.
Title: Re: Blocks versus Shapeshifters
Post by: Tedronai on August 05, 2014, 03:23:00 PM
Movement might not be a skill, but it IS a trapping.  Of Athletics.

If you want to overcome a block against movement by making an Intimidate roll, all you have to do is explain how you're using Intimidate to move.


The skills to overcome a block are the skills that effect the actions that block impedes.


@Taran:
I'd suggest they just use a Maneuver & Invoke-for-Effect  (or, as I said with the mist, a Declaration & Invoke-for-Effect)


If you have any source for your conviction to the contrary, please cite it.
Title: Re: Blocks versus Shapeshifters
Post by: solbergb on August 05, 2014, 03:26:23 PM
What he's saying is this:

A block will impede a roll.

Shapeshifting doesn't require a roll, therefore, it can't be blocked.


And I'm saying he's completely misunderstanding Block.  Block impedes an ACTION not a ROLL.

There is no "roll" in moving between zones that lack terrain features between them that your character sheet can't automatically overcome (things with legs can walk across a parking lot, things with wings can fly over fences, aquatic creatures can cross a river).  There is no "roll" in shapeshift either.  Both, however are actions and thus can be blocked.

The blocking mechanism requires a skill roll of some kind, and it has to make sense given the situation (who are you blocking, how are you blocking them).  You don't need powers to block.  All evocation does is vastly increase the ease of having it "make sense" to block actions, because it is so flexible.  (A rapport/crowd block on movement requires a crowd handy.  a conviction/cross block on movement requires the target to have faith-based catch.  A wall of thorns block on movement requires the target not have supernatural toughness or be a swarm or have flight)
Title: Re: Blocks versus Shapeshifters
Post by: Taran on August 05, 2014, 03:35:17 PM
It's not a particular conviction.  It's just using GM judgement call in a weird situation.

I'm not suggesting you overcome a movement block with intimidate, I'm suggesting you can block physical movement with intimidate.

Quote
The skills to overcome a block are the skills that effect the actions that block impedes
.

I'm agreeing with this.

I allow things like incite emotion blocks to block physical movement and attacks even though it's a mental effect.

But movement is Athletics and attacks is guns, fists, weapons, evocation etc...

In the case where something doesn't have a roll (like shapeshifting) then I can see where an invocation or a narratively appropriate roll be used.

The maneuver works as well but I don't see why a block wouldn't do the same thing.

And I'm saying he's completely misunderstanding Block.  Block impedes an ACTION not a ROLL.

There is no "roll" in moving between zones that lack terrain features between them that your character sheet can't automatically overcome (things with legs can walk across a parking lot, things with wings can fly over fences, aquatic creatures can cross a river).  There is no "roll" in shapeshift either.  Both, however are actions and thus can be blocked.

The blocking mechanism requires a skill roll of some kind, and it has to make sense given the situation (who are you blocking, how are you blocking them).  You don't need powers to block.  All evocation does is vastly increase the ease of having it "make sense" to block actions, because it is so flexible.  (A rapport/crowd block on movement requires a crowd handy.  a conviction/cross block on movement requires the target to have faith-based catch.  A wall of thorns block on movement requires the target not have supernatural toughness or be a swarm or have flight)

While I agree, certain "actions" can't be blocked.  Defense actions, for instance.

There is no roll to a move action, unless there is a border.  Once you create a border you NEED to roll.  That's what a block does: it sets the difficulty for the required roll.

So, if you want to block shapeshifting (which is an action) how do you set the difficulty against something that doesn't normally require a roll.
My advice is you decide what type of skill is used to shapeshift and that is what you would use to overcome the block.
As you say, the block has to make sense though and not much is going to impede shape-shifting.

Or you create an appropriate maneuver and invoke for effect.
Title: Re: Blocks versus Shapeshifters
Post by: solbergb on August 05, 2014, 03:40:23 PM
Movement might not be a skill, but it IS a trapping.  Of Athletics.

If you want to overcome a block against movement by making an Intimidate roll, all you have to do is explain how you're using Intimidate to move.


Same way you use might to ignore a wall by blowing through it.  Athletics has a trapping jump (over an obstacle), climb(over an obstacle), dodge (through an obstacle such as covering fire), and move MORE THAN ONE ZONE (everyone can move one zone) via sprinting.  Might, by contrast has a trapping to move other things (the obstacle) which has the side benefit of eliminating the obstacle for everybody else, or yourself on later exchanges.   If the object is fragile enough, some attacks might do the equivalent of Might (eg, Shoot combined with a rocket launcher, or high shift evocations with discipline)

Moving is not Athletics.  Moving is moving.  Moving more than one zone is athletics.  Athletics only helps against a block if you can climb it, jump over it or dodge it.

I think we all agree Intimidate doesn't get you past a physical wall.

Athletics could get you past a crowd-type block set up with Rapport, by dodging through the crowd or jumping over it.  Aspects get involved only to make athletics a choice you can't use for some reason (secret identity, or fleeing reporters instead of answering them causing undesirable social consequences).   

For a crowd-type obstacle, Might or high shift evocations are only useful if you don't care about hurting them.  Intimidate, Deceit and Presence have trappings explicitly appropriate (Brush Off, Creating a Distraction, Command).   Resources (Money Talks), Contacts (Knowing People) and Perform (Playing to an Audience) could also work to either bypass the obstacle (just for you) or destroy it (dispersing the crowd) depending on the exact skill involved and the way the block was set up in the first place (reporters demanding answers is different from fans wanting autographs is different from peasants with pitchforks and torches).  Rapport, by contrast, would probably require setting up a maneuver (First Impressions - Crowd is helpful) and invoking it, because it lacks a specific trapping clearly appropriate to the obstacle.

Title: Re: Blocks versus Shapeshifters
Post by: Tedronai on August 05, 2014, 03:47:37 PM
So, if you want to block shapeshifting (which is an action) how do you set the difficulty against something that doesn't normally require a roll.
My advice is you decide what type of skill is used to shapeshift and that is what you would use to overcome the block.
As you say, the block has to make sense though and not much is going to impede shape-shifting.

If you absolutely must allow a block against an action that has no roll normally attached to it, I highly suggest leaving the 'skill rolled to overcome' left almost entirely up to the player(s) being subjected to the block (subject to the usual 'reasonableness clause').  Do not predetermine the possibilities.  Predetermination is confinement.  If the player can craft a compelling narrative for how a particular skill might be sufficiently involved in their shapeshifting (or whatever other non-roll action is being Blocked), then let them use it.
Title: Re: Blocks versus Shapeshifters
Post by: Taran on August 05, 2014, 03:49:09 PM
If you absolutely must allow a block against an action that has no roll normally attached to it, I highly suggest leaving the 'skill rolled to overcome' left almost entirely up to the player(s) being subjected to the block (subject to the usual 'reasonableness clause').  Do not predetermine the possibilities.  Predetermination is confinement.  If the player can craft a compelling narrative for how a particular skill might be sufficiently involved in their shapeshifting (or whatever other non-roll action is being Blocked), then let them use it.

of course
Title: Re: Blocks versus Shapeshifters
Post by: solbergb on August 05, 2014, 04:07:50 PM
Just a couple other points.  In a "Non conflict" situation a "block" is merely a "contest" if it's set up by active opposition or a "simple action to overcome" if it is already there in the scene.

In a "Extended Contest" a "block" is just part of the opposed rolls, with flavor being to impede you instead of to advance the cause of the NPC.  It just adds shifts to the enemy overall total for success.   This can be a consequential conflict, which raises the stakes a bit (eg, bypassing the crowd contest difficulty set by the opposition with intimidation, athletics or might could cause a minor social consequence, where dealing with it via a "softer" social skill might not)

Blocks as actual blocks defined are only in "Conflicts" (YS 199, bolding is mine)



Quote
Block (YS199): Roll to set up a preemptive defense
against a specified future action; anyone
committing that named action will have to roll
against the block to succeed (page 210).

Quote
YS210
To perform a block, declare what specific type
of action the block is intended to prevent and
roll an appropriate skill. The total of that roll is
called the block strength.

Action:  Shapeshift out of human form
Appropriate Skill:  Presence (keep somebody important focused on interacting with the shapeshifter),  Rapport (make the person prefer human form because an attractive person is making you feel good about your appearance),  Intimidate (threaten to hurt them or somebody they care about if they change),  Discipline+evocation (use mind magic to lock down their ability to shapeshift), lore(complexity)+thaumaturgy (skill-like ability to block shapeshift, requires connection to the target + ritual)


Quote
During the exchange,
any time a character wants to perform the action
thatís covered by the block, he must roll against
the block and meet or exceed the block strength
to be able to perform that action.

Examples of what to roll against the block in above examples:  Deceit (distract the individual watching you), Discipline (ignore your hormones and shift), various social defenses (discipline to work through the fear, or in case of threat to others, you might counter-intimidate or invoke contacts or something to defuse the threat), Discipline (mental defense against evocation), Discipline (mental defense) or maybe Lore (to break the connection or find a loophole in the thaumaturgy)



Quote
When you create
a block, the block has to be specific and clear in
two ways: who itís intended to affect, and what
types of action (attack, block, maneuver, move)
itís trying to prevent. Generally speaking, if the
block can affect more than one person, it can
only prevent one type of action. If the block only
affects one person, it can prevent several types of
actionóup to all of themóas context permits.
You canít use a block to prevent someone from
making a defense roll.

Given that you can clearly block other supplemental or free actions (you can prevent people from speaking, drawing a weapon, etc), shapeshift shouldn't be any different.  It certainly is specific enough.

An area block against shapeshift is unlikely to work, but isn't impossible (indeed Dresden did exactly that when he dispelled the magic of the lycanthropes when they were trying to gather it in one scene of the 2nd book).   Certainly intimidate might get it done.

Quote
Keep in mind that there are some blocks that
just wonít work in some situations. (Trying the
ďkeep them pinned down with gunfireĒ trick on
a loup-garou isnít going to really help you much,
given that theyíre immune to bullets.)
This covers the "fly over walls, shapeshift into mist, Molly leaves an image while sneaking off, you aren't actually a vampire so brandishing a cross doesn't matter" situations.  No rolling, the block just won't work against the technique used to ignore it.

You'll note there is nothing that says anything about a block against a "roll".  It is against an action.  Likewise it says nothing about what skill is used to defeat a block.  It depends on the nature of the block and yes, a block against shapeshift (or anything else) the player trying to overcome the block gets total freedom on how to get out of it...but his solution must make sense to the table, preferably improving the story.

Just think about how many skills and powers can be used to bypass a wall, and how different a set of skills and powers might bypass a crowd on a dance floor.  The consequences of some approaches might be permanent (destroying the wall or using an explosion to clear the dance floor) and might cause aspect-compels or long term consequences.






Title: Re: Blocks versus Shapeshifters
Post by: Taran on August 05, 2014, 04:19:35 PM
So I agree with you but...to be devil's advocate...and a rules lawyer:

Quote
When you create
a block, the block has to be specific and clear in
two ways: who itís intended to affect, and what
types of action (attack, block, maneuver, move)
itís trying to prevent

What kind of action is shapeshifting?  Is it an attack, block, maneuver or move?
Title: Re: Blocks versus Shapeshifters
Post by: solbergb on August 05, 2014, 04:25:21 PM
I'll go with reduction to absurdity here.  Shapeshifting is a free action or a supplemental action, rarely a full exchange (mistform, modular shape).  Talking is a free action.

If we're going to only allow blocks on those four actions you are saying there is no way to prevent an opponent from screaming for help, short of taking them out.   Where obviously you could do it with might (covering their mouth with your hand), rapport (asking them to stay quiet while you talk), intimidate (stay quiet if you want to live) and all sorts of flavors of magic (blocking sound, pulling air from lungs, etc)
Title: Re: Blocks versus Shapeshifters
Post by: SpoonR on August 05, 2014, 04:25:57 PM
For clarification:  Assume target is lycanthropic or other were-type.  I'm starting to think something based on their Catch would be more appropriate.  My thanks to everyone who chimed in.

Given that, binding/handcuff/collar could work.  Human legs always become back legs, arms become forelegs etc, and you always shift to the same shape.  So, use a tight collar, a celestial-monkey-brand shrinking headband, a ziptie bracelet, etc.  The trick is you put it on a body part that will get bigger if they shapeshift. A collar for instance: if you shift without breaking out of the collar, you start choking yourself. Resist the block with Might.

Good luck trying that on a Loup-Garou though.
Title: Re: Blocks versus Shapeshifters
Post by: Tedronai on August 05, 2014, 04:26:51 PM
You're ignoring part of the text that you yourself have quoted:

Quote
When you create
a block, the block has to be specific and clear in
two ways: who itís intended to affect, and what
types of action (attack, block, maneuver, move)
itís trying to prevent.
(bolding added)

These are the types of action that a block can normally affect.
Each of them has some sort of roll defined by the rules as being involved in enacting them (be that in some cases, as with movement, or in all cases, as with the others).
(veils add 'perception' to the list of things that can be blocked, but that too has a roll defined in the rules).

(ninja'd by Taran)




Beyond that, the more important point I've actually been addressing for most of my involvement in this thread is your insistence that only certain skills might be appropriate to overcome a particular block, while implying that those rolls might not line up directly with the rolls the block itself affects.
Again, if you have any rules basis for this position, please present it.



I'll go with reduction to absurdity here.

If we're going to only allow blocks on those four actions you are saying there is no way to prevent an opponent from screaming for help
maneuver + invoke-for-effect
Title: Re: Blocks versus Shapeshifters
Post by: Taran on August 05, 2014, 04:32:53 PM
I'll go with reduction to absurdity here.  Shapeshifting is a free action or a supplemental action, rarely a full exchange (mistform, modular shape).  Talking is a free action.

If we're going to only allow blocks on those four actions you are saying there is no way to prevent an opponent from screaming for help, short of taking them out.   Where obviously you could do it with might (covering their mouth with your hand), rapport (asking them to stay quiet while you talk), intimidate (stay quiet if you want to live) and all sorts of flavors of magic (blocking sound, pulling air from lungs, etc)

The reason it's down to those 4 actions is because those 4 actions require rolls and overcoming blocks requires a roll.  An appropriate maneuver could prevent someone from speaking.

Here's my opinion:

Quote
Action:  Shapeshift out of human form
Appropriate Skill:  Presence (keep somebody important focused on interacting with the shapeshifter),  Rapport (make the person prefer human form because an attractive person is making you feel good about your appearance),  Intimidate (threaten to hurt them or somebody they care about if they change),  Discipline+evocation (use mind magic to lock down their ability to shapeshift), lore(complexity)+thaumaturgy (skill-like ability to block shapeshift, requires connection to the target + ritual)


These are better represented as maneuvers defended by:

Quote
Action:  Shapeshift out of human form
Appropriate Skill:  Presence (keep somebody important focused on interacting with the shapeshifter),  Rapport (make the person prefer human form because an attractive person is making you feel good about your appearance),  Intimidate (threaten to hurt them or somebody they care about if they change),  Discipline+evocation (use mind magic to lock down their ability to shapeshift), lore(complexity)+thaumaturgy (skill-like ability to block shapeshift, requires connection to the target + ritual)

And when/if they fail to save against the maneuver, you invoke for effect.

Everything you've listed above is a perfectly good maneuver with an appropriate defense.  In the end, it's the same thing, really.  "saving" vs a maneuver or "rolling" against a block.

The difference is the maneuver can last longer and have very interesting results or be turned down via a FP.  The block will last 1 round.

Ninja'd...
Title: Re: Blocks versus Shapeshifters
Post by: solbergb on August 05, 2014, 04:41:10 PM
First response on nitpick about the four action types to be blocked noted in prior post.


Beyond that, the more important point I've actually been addressing for most of my involvement in this thread is your insistence that only certain skills might be appropriate to overcome a particular block, while implying that those rolls might not line up directly with the rolls the block itself affects.


I am sorry I gave that impression.  That is not what I'm saying.

Any skill can establish a block against any action if it makes sense.   Defense isn't an action, it is the difficulty to take certain actions, and is likely why it's excluded from blocking...it's meaningless to block defense.   (you can block perception which prevents a defense higher than mediocre, but that's a different issue)

The nature of that block determines which skills can destroy the block, which skills can overcome it for you without destroying it, and which skills/powers/aspects might render the block ineffective.

Without the details of the situation you can't set up a block, or define how it can be overcome.  Each block is 100% situational.

edit....maneuver for effect and invoke is mechanically identical to a block, which is one reason Fate Core eliminated the block mechanic entirely.  The primary difference in DFRPG is that a block uses the action economy rather than the fate point economy (you can't invoke or compel a block) and has the potential to affect more than one target - a scene aspect isn't the same as a zonewide block, not exactly.

Title: Re: Blocks versus Shapeshifters
Post by: solbergb on August 05, 2014, 04:47:17 PM
One more response on the "you can only block attack, defense, maneuver, movement" is a Veil doesn't block any of those.  It is explicitly a block against Alertness and Investigate, which is none of the above. 
Title: Re: Blocks versus Shapeshifters
Post by: Tedronai on August 05, 2014, 04:51:51 PM
Rules limit the possibilities of Action A in Location 1.  Specific exceptions B to those limits are called out in Location 2.
Does this fact at all invalidate the existence of limits on the possibilities of Action A beyond the existence of Specific Exceptions B?
Title: Re: Blocks versus Shapeshifters
Post by: wyvern on August 05, 2014, 04:58:27 PM
Hm.  Some interesting thoughts in this thread.  Here's how I'd generally address some of these:

There is no "roll" in moving between zones that lack terrain features between them that your character sheet can't automatically overcome (things with legs can walk across a parking lot, things with wings can fly over fences, aquatic creatures can cross a river).
This one's false.  You get one free shift of movement as a supplemental action; if that's not enough to change zones, then you need to make an athletics action to move.*  And for this, it doesn't matter if the zone border is a 'natural' one (say, from an inconveniently placed shrubbery) or resulting from a block (say, from an earth wizard raising up a wall in the middle of the parking lot) - either of these will prevent movement.

* Footnote: some exception may be made for creatures with extremely high strengths; there are rules for what you can break (I think it's something like might -8 or somesuch?) without requiring an action.  Of course, this requires the block be one that can be just punched through with raw strength; a black court vampire might not slow down for a locked interior door (just breaking through it), but a threshold or act of Faith would not be so vulnerable.

Now, say that wizard brought up a wall - and it's a +6 block, versus your athletics skill of one.  You can't directly overcome the block; even with a +4 on the dice, you're out of luck.  What you *can* do here is spend an action to try to remove the block, breaking it down with might or magic or maybe just scrounging up a fire hose to short out the wizard's abilities.  That's a basic opposed roll - and if you take the -1 penalty for a supplemental action, then (assuming your roll succeeds), you'd be able to break the block and move one zone after.

For blocking things that aren't measured in shifts - such as most shapeshifting - you'll want a compel.  Succeed at a maneuver, use your free tag for effect to trigger a compel.  In some cases, this'll be a freebie; put up a circle around a wizard who casts shapeshifting spells, and (unless he saw what you were doing and prepared a counter-maneuver to draw in power or something), that's that.  In other cases, it'll just fail - put up a regular circle to try and lock down a loup-garou, and you're just out of luck.  But hey, that's compels for you.

Now, there are some cases where you can clearly block shapeshifting with an actual block action.  For example, the Human Guise power mentions discipline checks to maintain a human appearance; you could use intimidate skill to incite such anger that your opponent can't shift back, for just one example.
Title: Re: Blocks versus Shapeshifters
Post by: solbergb on August 05, 2014, 04:59:25 PM
Given that in all the Fate systems, including DFRPG the idea is to expand player narrative options, not restrict them, I'd say yes, a counterexample against the four stated actions is a pretty compelling argument, especially since it is easy to imagine blocks against other actions not included on the list of four.

Really, anywhere you can imagine a maneuver that is invoked for effect, you can imagine a block.  The primary mechanical difference is a block requires constant use of your actions, where a maneuver establishes an aspect that fate points can be used to invoke or compel regardless of skill die rolls, but don't require actions after you set them up.

Title: Re: Blocks versus Shapeshifters
Post by: solbergb on August 05, 2014, 05:00:42 PM


For blocking things that aren't measured in shifts - such as most shapeshifting - you'll want a compel.

Um...the target roll to remove an aspect placed on you (to overcome the compel) is measured in shifts.  Just like a block. 
And like a block, any skill that makes sense can apply.



I'll say it again.  Blocks go against ACTIONS not SKILLS.  There is no "block 6 vs your athletics of 1".  There is only "That block 6 against movement is too big to beat with athletics  sprint action".

Athletics is required to go more than one zone, or to defeat an obstacle that affects you.   If you can fly, a wall has no effect and you don't need athletics.  The concept that you need to break the obstacle to defeat a block that DOES affect you, in absence of wasting your entire action on a sprint is valid.

You have two choices.  You can AVOID an obstacle (sprint action to climb, jump, dodge it for zone obstacles vs movement set up with a block), you can IGNORE a block (fly over the wall), or you can DESTROY the block (blow a hole in the wall via might, evocation, etc).  The latter action removes the block, even within the same exchange for any allies you might have.

Removing a crowd based barrier established by a rapport block with intimidate is the latter action.  Dodging through a crowd is using the sprint action to bypass a crowd-based barrier.   Dropping a bomb in the crowd is using an attack to destroy the crowd-based barrier.

Title: Re: Blocks versus Shapeshifters
Post by: Taran on August 05, 2014, 05:08:43 PM
2 things:

1.
Quote
a Veil doesn't block any of those.  It is explicitly a block against Alertness and Investigate, which is none of the above. 

Block don't block skills.  They block actions.   Alertness/investigate is an assessment action which requires a roll and, in most cases, an action.  So it fits the rule-set of blocking an "attack/maneuver/block/move"

2. a bit of strangeness:

Quote
When you create
a block, the block has to be specific and clear in
two ways: who itís intended to affect, and what
types of action (attack, block, maneuver, move)
itís trying to prevent

Has anyone trying blocking a block?  I don't think this actually works.  Or if it does, it's strange.

If my block is greater than my opponents block does my block cancel out my opponents?

Title: Re: Blocks versus Shapeshifters
Post by: solbergb on August 05, 2014, 05:13:22 PM
Blocking a block....

You want your friends to be able to run away.
You are facing Harry Dresden, who is known to put up force walls, or sheets of flame, and don't want to him to do that.

You could explicitly set up a counterspell against that type of magic if that's your thing, or you could shower Harry with gunfire, forcing him to protect himself with his shield spell instead of doing anything to prevent escape, or you could flood the escape path with running water by aiming your fire hose on the escape path (weapons?  Guns?)

It seems like an awfully specific action.  But blocks do tend to be that way.  It's deeply important to stop one specific option from happening, so you devote your action to eliminating that possibility, or at least making it very hard.  Harry must choose another action (eg, blasting you with Fuego or his pistol instead of using force or fire to set up a barrier) or try to overcome the block (drawing on his conviction and spending a fate point to invoke "The Building was on fire and it wasn't my fault" Harry gets a sheet of flame going anyway, blowing past the attempt to suppress his magic )

That's where it gets interesting.  I might be inclined to allow a wizard defending against Harry to set up his block as armor instead of a flat number, to weaken the force wall/sheet of flame regardless of how many shifts Harry put into it, instead of trying to block it entirely.  That might be a better way to simulate the fire hose approach too.
Title: Re: Blocks versus Shapeshifters
Post by: solbergb on August 05, 2014, 05:22:40 PM

Block don't block skills.  They block actions.   Alertness/investigate is an assessment action which requires a roll and, in most cases, an action.  So it fits the rule-set of blocking an "attack/maneuver/block/move"

An assessment action is from a nitpicking standpoint distinct from a combat maneuver, although mechanically they're very similar (again, Fate Core eliminated this distinction..DFRPG assessments are Overcome actions or Maneuver actions depending on the specifics).

Alertness isn't always assessment.  A primary use for Veils is to replace the Stealth Ambush trapping, which takes away much of a target's ability to defend themselves.   in a way, a Veil IS a block against defense, because it's a block against any action that requires knowing where you are, which makes it extra scary.


Title: Re: Blocks versus Shapeshifters
Post by: solbergb on August 05, 2014, 05:37:42 PM
Ok, more geeking on using "intimidate to move".

You can move one zone if you have no obstacles to moving, with -1 to any other action you take.

Rapport draws a crowd determined to stop you from moving (reasons vary.   shifts to overcome based on rapport outcome)

Athletics has the sprint trapping, which lets you take a sprint action to bypass obstacles (sprint vs rapport to set up block).  Sprint just lets you go by, doesn't let you destroy the crowd.  No -1, because sprint lets you move anyway.

Might has the "exert force on others" trapping.  With Might-1 you can push through the crowd and still move if you get enough shifts.  The crowd will still be there, it'll close in behind you.  If you want to disperse the crowd violently using your strength, you probably need to use Fists, with +1 if your might is better than fists and -1 for supplemental action.  You're hurting people and tossing them out of your way or trampling them instead of just pushing through them.  GM might rule that extra shifts in damage from super strength or claws might contribute to the overall score, but give you social stress equal to the extra shifts or something to indicate the extra violence.    It's the same reasoning a GM has to use when deciding if a high fists roll can get you through a wall....sometimes strength and claws will help a lot, sometimes it's the precision of the fists alone that matter.

Intimidate could go two ways.  Using the Brush Off trapping people move out of your way, so they're not an obstacle....for you, if you roll intimidate-1 you can move a zone.  Using intimidate as a social attack, you can actually disperse the crowd for everybody, not just you, again with intimidate-1 if you want to move in the same round.  Weaponized fear attacks would add shifts to outcome, which might help in dispersing the crowd if GM thinks it should.
Title: Re: Blocks versus Shapeshifters
Post by: Haru on August 05, 2014, 06:37:31 PM
Has anyone trying blocking a block?  I don't think this actually works.  Or if it does, it's strange.

If my block is greater than my opponents block does my block cancel out my opponents?
I don't think you actually block the block, you block the creation of a block. If you've got a force field in front of you that stops bullets, a "bulletstorm" type of block won't stop you, therefore you can prevent the block from ever getting established in the first place.


Regarding blocks against actions/skills: It's true that blocks are only there to block the use of a skill, aka an action. Things that don't take an action or only a supplemental action to do are not exactly hindered by a block and would probably be better represented by a compel (maneuver + tag for effect so you don't have to spend a fate point).

However, if I were to put a block against movement on you, and you wanted to move as a supplemental action, you'd need to make it a full action instead to try and overcome the block. In this case, it's really simple, since moving as a full action is actually established as an action. Shapeshifting as a full action, however, is not. You could improvise and roll conviction or discipline, but I feel like it would more often than not be really harsh on a shifter, because that's usually not their best skills. And besides, it isn't even a skill in the first place, at least the way I see it. To a shifter, changing form is just what he does, he doesn't really need to think about it.
Title: Re: Blocks versus Shapeshifters
Post by: solbergb on August 05, 2014, 06:42:21 PM
Fair enough.  I think it's a distinction without a difference in most cases.

Overcoming a maneuver compel requires the same number of shifts as overcoming a block, but it's easier to use the fate economy while it is in place.   I think a block simulates active suppression better than a maneuver, because of the ongoing attention required to keep it up (a hail of bullets as covering fire preventing a return shot requires that you keep shooting.  Preventing an action by shooting the gun out of the other guy's hand requires only one bullet, one action but the "disarmed" aspect is now on the scene for manipulation in all sorts of ways that might cause unintended consequences)

If I'm playing DFRPG rather than Fate Core, and thus have Maneuvers, Assessments, Declarations and Blocks (which are all just "attack for advantage" that set up aspects with obstacle-difficulty to remove or overcome based on success shifts in Fate Core) I'd be inclined to allow them all to be used whenever it makes narrative sense, rather than artificially restrict some of them to what a maneuver can do.

However if the table/GM didn't agree with me, well, since Maneuver/compel works pretty well to cover all of the above, it's not worth arguing about if they want the definition to be very narrow.
Title: Re: Blocks versus Shapeshifters
Post by: Starjammer on August 05, 2014, 06:47:37 PM
However, if I were to put a block against movement on you, and you wanted to move as a supplemental action, you'd need to make it a full action instead to try and overcome the block. In this case, it's really simple, since moving as a full action is actually established as an action. Shapeshifting as a full action, however, is not. You could improvise and roll conviction or discipline, but I feel like it would more often than not be really harsh on a shifter, because that's usually not their best skills. And besides, it isn't even a skill in the first place, at least the way I see it. To a shifter, changing form is just what he does, he doesn't really need to think about it.

I don't really buy that last part.  Walking is natural to most people but if you bind up their legs, then they can't move.  They have to work to break free.  That's the way I'd see a block against shapeshifting:  What should be natural and automatic is being hampered and a skill roll becomes required.

And I have no difficulty with working against a person's weaknesses to make life harsh on them.  That's the way things go.  If you only ever get challenged on the things you're good at then conflict loses drama.  And mode-locking a shapeshifter is a common way to put them at a disadvantage in many stories.
Title: Re: Blocks versus Shapeshifters
Post by: Haru on August 05, 2014, 06:51:55 PM

Overcoming a maneuver compel requires the same number of shifts as overcoming a block, but it's easier to use the fate economy while it is in place.   I think a block simulates active suppression better than a maneuver, because of the ongoing attention required to keep it up (a hail of bullets preventing an action requires that you keep shooting.
In theory yes, but once the compel is accepted, you don't really need to focus on it at all anymore. The shifter just won't be able to shift for as long as was agreed upon in the compel.

For pretty much everything else, I'll agree with you that a block makes more sense, but blocking out a fundamental function like that is better done by a compel.
Or it could be done by a taken out result. You fight the shifter not to kill him, but to take away his shifting powers for a while. You'd have to state at the beginning of the fight that this is what you are planning to do, and you've got a goal to work towards.

I don't really buy that last part.  Walking is natural to most people but if you bind up their legs, then they can't move.  They have to work to break free.  That's the way I'd see a block against shapeshifting:  What should be natural and automatic is being hampered and a skill roll becomes required.
Yes, of course. But like I said, there are no full actions for shapeshifting that requires a roll. It's more like thinking than actually walking in terms of natural actions.

Quote
And I have no difficulty with working against a person's weaknesses to make life harsh on them.  That's the way things go.  If you only ever get challenged on the things you're good at then conflict loses drama.  And mode-locking a shapeshifter is a common way to put them at a disadvantage in many stories.
Sure, but that's why I'm suggesting a compel rather than a block, it's exactly the type of "disadvantage in a story" you are talking about.
Title: Re: Blocks versus Shapeshifters
Post by: solbergb on August 05, 2014, 07:07:23 PM
In theory yes, but once the compel is accepted, you don't really need to focus on it at all anymore. The shifter just won't be able to shift for as long as was agreed upon in the compel.

Unless they spend a fate point to ignore the compel.

That's my problem with the maneuver/compel approach.  It takes things out of the realm of skill vs skill and action vs action and into the realm of "who has the most fate points".  Fate points help a lot against blocks, but they're not "I win" buttons by themselves just because of the mechanics of how the maneuver was set up.

Now actually, compels don't always have a scenewide duration.  If the condition that caused the compel is removed, the compel is removed.    If you're holding off a vampire with a ray of sunlight caused by tearing away a curtain, somebody could remove that aspect from the scene by moving something in front of the window or spraypainting it black or similar.

The difficulty number for removing an aspect is the roll you used to establish it...same as a block.  But something like taking a curtain down is clearly a maneuver, it establishes a significant change to the environment.   Holding off a vampire with a cross and conviction, by contrast is a block.  It takes continuous action to sustain, and if you're forced to take some other action it goes away, and can be destroyed by attacking YOU, not attacking an aspect on the scene.

Which action is which is a matter of flavor of how you establish the maneuver/block, not the sort of action you're trying to prevent.  That then establishes what remedies are possible beyond overcoming it with an appropriate skill (raw fate point outspending to not be compelled at all vs a third party doing something unrelated to the block to interfere with your ability to maintain the block)

I do like "shifting blocked" as a consequence option to an attack.  We've certainly seen that with Harry sometimes with respect to his own magical talents, being too concussed to focus on a spell or inflicting it on himself when overdoing magic with the "super caffeine" potion.  But the victim of the attack has to agree to that consequence, ditto with conceding.  Taken out...oh yeah.  They're allowed to completely transform you (ie kill you) with any means at their narrative disposal, so all sorts of gruesome possibilities are on the table.  (can't magically block shapeshift without magic, can't drug you into being unable to shift without drugs, etc)
Title: Re: Blocks versus Shapeshifters
Post by: Haru on August 05, 2014, 08:20:24 PM
Unless they spend a fate point to ignore the compel.

That's my problem with the maneuver/compel approach.  It takes things out of the realm of skill vs skill and action vs action and into the realm of "who has the most fate points".
I can understand that. Though I like it for exactly the same reason. ;)
It allows you to show who wants his outcome the most. And if you can't afford it, it will give you some Fate points to work with in the future.

Quote
Now actually, compels don't always have a scenewide duration.  If the condition that caused the compel is removed, the compel is removed.    If you're holding off a vampire with a ray of sunlight caused by tearing away a curtain, somebody could remove that aspect from the scene by moving something in front of the window or spraypainting it black or similar.
Of course, that can be part of the agreement on the compel. Though if we're talking "players compel an NPC", I will usually have that work for them. I'd rather go for something new than constantly fight over the same. So the players open the curtains and the vampire flees to the hallway, where the light can't reach him, things like that. But that's just my take on it.

Quote
The difficulty number for removing an aspect is the roll you used to establish it...same as a block.  But something like taking a curtain down is clearly a maneuver, it establishes a significant change to the environment.   Holding off a vampire with a cross and conviction, by contrast is a block.  It takes continuous action to sustain, and if you're forced to take some other action it goes away, and can be destroyed by attacking YOU, not attacking an aspect on the scene.
Again, this comes down to how you phrase the compel. If everyone involved agrees that holding up the cross is enough to make the vampire recoil, without the need to keep up the action, you can make it a compel. That's basically what that means. A story fact is so important, that it has a devastating lasting effect on the affected character.
Title: Re: Blocks versus Shapeshifters
Post by: killking72 on August 06, 2014, 02:42:41 AM
What he's saying is this:

A block will impede a roll.

Shapeshifting doesn't require a roll, therefore, it can't be blocked.

That said, if it makes sense, If someone uses Intimidate to put up a block (to scare the person enough that they won't shape-shift), I'd allow a discipline roll to beat the block.(since discipline is the default save against intimidate)

That's artificially putting a roll on something that normally has no roll.

The example with mist form and a force-shield is an athletics roll vs a movement block.

I was actually looking through the uses for fate points today while I was on my phone and I saw that paying a fate point can add +2 to to a roll you usually wouldn't roll, I need to find the reference so I can be sure
Title: Re: Blocks versus Shapeshifters
Post by: vultur on August 09, 2014, 06:09:23 AM
  This is more likely a maneuver given how the incite emotion powers work (they don't normally allow blocks)

Sure they do. Base Incite Emotion allows maneuvers and blocks. The Lasting Emotion upgrade adds attacks.