Author Topic: Mental Toughness  (Read 877 times)

Offline KlausGerken

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Mental Toughness
« on: May 20, 2020, 05:22:38 PM »
Hi,

one of my players chose to use Mental Toughness at -4. (Its defined in Paranet Papers). He plays a stuffy old mage, german nobility as a background.

He had to define a catch for that, and chose "Vanity".

That did not work well when I raised that in game as the GM. We discussed it and figured that "Vanity" is always true, and as such not a good way to be his catch.

Now we are looking for a way to make this a fair part of the game. Any ideas, or any experience with this power? It seem very, very powerful for a mage.

Offline Taran

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Re: Mental Toughness
« Reply #1 on: May 20, 2020, 05:38:17 PM »
What if it were something symbolic of vanity:  mirrors, reflections, light, certain mental/emotion powers?  Demonstrations of wealth and power and beauty are all aspects of Vanity.  Does he live a very humble existence?  Or Is he Vain?  If so, wouldn't the Catch be Humility?

I don't have lots of experience with Mental Toughness.  I have one character with it but it's a Catch of 'Holy' which is also his physical Catch.  Holy is pretty easy to justify for both the physical and mental track.

Offline KlausGerken

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Re: Mental Toughness
« Reply #2 on: May 21, 2020, 01:00:34 PM »
Thanks for the reply, Taran.

It seems that the designers want the catch to be very narrow in scope, hard to guess and hard to hit. An example (Paranet Papers, p. 348) for a catch is "Mental Attacks focusing on isolation, exploiting his reliance on his contacts and political network." That's so narrow in scope I have a hard time imaging that coming up in game. And only while being attacked that way, his stresstrack drops back to normal? Or back to normal only against these kind of attacks?

I went your path of thinking first, as well, but the player didn't like it - and trying to understand the rules he might be right as mirrors and demonstrations of power are very, very common.

And since he would loose half his mental stresstrack, that is very important to him.

The more I think about this power, the less I like it. The game, esp. with a lot of refresh, is heavily biased towards mages. And this takes their one weakness: Not being able to fire of a spell for more that four rounds without consequences.

Offline Taran

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Re: Mental Toughness
« Reply #3 on: May 21, 2020, 07:08:28 PM »
You get a rebate if your Catch is common.  So, he might get a +1 or +2 back.  Here's the other thing: how easy is it to weaponize these things?  Which makes it less common and not worth the rebate.
 But, you know, he might use that rebate to upgrade his power...so....

How it works is, if an attack acts as a Catch, you ignore armour and extra stress boxes related to it.

So he'd still have access to those stress boxes even in the event someone is attacking him with a Catch.

If he is in a place that might 'suppress' his Catch, causing him to lose access to his extra boxes, you might have to offer a compel to have his power be inactive for all attacks. 

For instance, I had a character that had a Catch of silk.  Using arrows with silk feathers, or a spear with a silk sash attached would bypass my toughness.    Being in a textile factory full of silk might make it so all attacks, even regular ones, bypass my Catch.  That would be in the realm of a Compel unless you are using a threshold.

My character with a Catch of Holy might lose all his toughness powers when he walks in a church just by virtue of the fact that the Threshold suppresses all his powers.  Or, just being in the presence of a Church might be a compel to lose toughness and recovery powers, even if I'm invited in.

Offline KlausGerken

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Re: Mental Toughness
« Reply #4 on: May 22, 2020, 04:48:53 PM »
I have just read it up. The catch can only be -0, and always have to be very uncommon.

The logic of the main rule book which you are referring to is much more to my liking, but we play RAW. So we have to stay with the very uncommon catches here.

I need to think a bit more about your idea to treat a catch like a compel. Maybe you are onto something...

Offline Taran

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Re: Mental Toughness
« Reply #5 on: May 25, 2020, 03:20:49 PM »
Treating a Catch as a compel is in the rules under The Catch (under toughness powers) in Your Story

Offline KlausGerken

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Re: Mental Toughness
« Reply #6 on: May 25, 2020, 03:28:39 PM »
Treating a Catch as a compel is in the rules under The Catch (under toughness powers) in Your Story

Thank you! But I can't find that in the rules. Do you have a page number for me?
« Last Edit: May 25, 2020, 03:32:40 PM by KlausGerken »

Offline Taran

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Re: Mental Toughness
« Reply #7 on: May 26, 2020, 12:35:13 PM »
Thank you! But I can't find that in the rules. Do you have a page number for me?

Your Story Page 185, second point-bullet under "The Catch".

" If the Catch is bypassed by something that anyone could reasonably get access to, but usually doesnít carry on them (like cold iron), you get a +2. If it is bypassed by something only a rare class of people in the world have (like True Magic), you get a +1. If it is bypassed by something only one or two people in the world have access to or could produce (like a Sword of the Cross), you get nothing. Even the mere presence of the thing that satisfies your Catch will cause you discomfort (and may be grounds for a compel or something similar)."

Offline KlausGerken

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Re: Mental Toughness
« Reply #8 on: June 20, 2020, 10:10:16 AM »
Thank you!

Offline whitelaughter

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Re: Mental Toughness
« Reply #9 on: July 15, 2020, 09:31:09 AM »
A catch of Vanity sounds perfect! I'd easily work around that:

- there is no need to notice me, I am beneath your notice.
- that fellow over there *snubbed* you!
- *I* understand your importance, for I am a good friend

Offline KlausGerken

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Re: Mental Toughness
« Reply #10 on: July 15, 2020, 01:07:09 PM »
But then, Vantiy is much to easy to "attack" to be worth -0. Which is a given, if we talk Mental Toughness.

Offline whitelaughter

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Re: Mental Toughness
« Reply #11 on: July 17, 2020, 03:57:52 AM »
But then, Vantiy is much to easy to "attack" to be worth -0. Which is a given, if we talk Mental Toughness.
Oh yes. Anyone has access to it. And it is easy to use it. And use it to cause discomfort. And there are so many options, consider this from Buffy:
==================================
Giles doesn't want to hear it. He gives Cordelia a look like something's
wrong.

Cordelia:  Uhhh, what?

Giles:  Oh! I'm sorry. Um, your hair, uh...

Cordelia:  There's something wrong with my hair? (pulls it behind her
ears)

Giles remains silent, but continues to stare.

Cordelia:  Ohmigod! (quickly leaves)

Giles:  (to himself) Xander was right. It worked like a charm.
==================================
It is easily worth +2: and your player is either going to have a ball or kick himself for taking it.

Offline Mr. Death

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Re: Mental Toughness
« Reply #12 on: August 21, 2020, 12:23:28 AM »
I think, from reading Paranet Papers, the Catch for Mental Toughness works differently than for physical toughness. It's less, "Find this thing and wave it at them," and more, "This is a personal phobia or trauma that will get at their head."

So I don't think something as general as "Vanity" fits. It would have to be something particular and personal to them.
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Offline vultur

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Re: Mental Toughness
« Reply #13 on: August 22, 2020, 10:40:37 PM »
Yeah, by the book the Catch is always +0 because it's a highly specific thing that you'd have to know the person quite well to figure out.

Though some of the example Catches - Ancient Mai's being outside of a situation where she can rely on the Council's order, and Warden Chandler's "disheveled appearance" - seem like they would be relatively easy to exploit even "by accident". (E.g. - a lot of maneuvers in combat would mess up Chandler's appearance, even if that wasn't the actual intention.)

I think that might be because the ability to use the extra stress boxes for spellcasting is really good regardless. A wizard is going to be taking mental stress from spellcasting way more often than from actual mental attacks, so the Catch isn't really a "valid rebate" (it would be unbalanced/too powerful if it were worth a rebate).

So I'm not sure that rule really needs to be interpreted to limit the allowable kinds of Catches; from Mai's and Chandler's examples; it's just +0 regardless.

Offline Sanctaphrax

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Re: Mental Toughness
« Reply #14 on: August 23, 2020, 07:10:54 AM »
Perhaps his Toughness could be pierced when his vanity is compromised; that is, when he's humiliated.