Author Topic: Blocks versus Shapeshifters  (Read 1218 times)

Offline solbergb

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Re: Blocks versus Shapeshifters
« Reply #30 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. 

Offline Tedronai

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Re: Blocks versus Shapeshifters
« Reply #31 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?
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Offline wyvern

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Re: Blocks versus Shapeshifters
« Reply #32 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.

Offline solbergb

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Re: Blocks versus Shapeshifters
« Reply #33 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.


Offline solbergb

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Re: Blocks versus Shapeshifters
« Reply #34 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.

« Last Edit: August 05, 2014, 05:28:03 PM by solbergb »

Offline Taran

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Re: Blocks versus Shapeshifters
« Reply #35 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 its intended to affect, and what
types of action (attack, block, maneuver, move)
its 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?


Offline solbergb

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Re: Blocks versus Shapeshifters
« Reply #36 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.
« Last Edit: August 05, 2014, 05:25:59 PM by solbergb »

Offline solbergb

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Re: Blocks versus Shapeshifters
« Reply #37 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.



Offline solbergb

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Re: Blocks versus Shapeshifters
« Reply #38 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.
« Last Edit: August 05, 2014, 06:38:38 PM by solbergb »

Offline Haru

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Re: Blocks versus Shapeshifters
« Reply #39 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.
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Offline solbergb

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Re: Blocks versus Shapeshifters
« Reply #40 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.
« Last Edit: August 05, 2014, 06:49:33 PM by solbergb »

Offline Starjammer

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Re: Blocks versus Shapeshifters
« Reply #41 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.

Offline Haru

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Re: Blocks versus Shapeshifters
« Reply #42 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.
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Offline solbergb

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Re: Blocks versus Shapeshifters
« Reply #43 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)
« Last Edit: August 05, 2014, 07:16:28 PM by solbergb »

Offline Haru

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Re: Blocks versus Shapeshifters
« Reply #44 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.
Do you not know that a man is not dead while his name is still spoken?
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