Author Topic: Cost to ignore Armor?  (Read 1609 times)

Offline vultur

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Cost to ignore Armor?
« on: August 28, 2020, 09:14:57 PM »
What would a power cost that makes attacks ignore Armor?

Ignoring 2 points of armor would presumably be a stunt (2-shift effect, limited applicability because it doesn't do anything against foes without Armor).

But what about a power that ignores any amount? I *would* say -1 since even Armor:3 is pretty rare and powers can be a bit stronger than stunts... except that Enchanted Items can give really high Armor values.

Offline Sanctaphrax

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Re: Cost to ignore Armor?
« Reply #1 on: August 28, 2020, 10:00:07 PM »
With Mythic Toughness and power 6+ armour enchanted items being as rare as they are, it should be fine for 1 Refresh. Tips the balance a bit in very-high-power games, but probably in a positive direction.

Offline Mr. Death

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Re: Cost to ignore Armor?
« Reply #2 on: August 29, 2020, 01:31:53 PM »
I don't think it's appropriate for a power at all, let alone one costing as little as -1 refresh.

What's the justification for straight up ignoring any kind of equipment, magical or otherwise? What's the justification for essentially negating an entire class of powers across the board? What's the justification for removing the whole point of the Catch?

The closest thing to what you're suggesting is the Swords of the Cross, and to get that kind of effect the wielders not only need to be a specific character type and have an exceedingly rare item, but they also have to spend an additional fate point for any scene in which they want to use that power.

If I were GMing the game I would absolutely not allow a player to declare that they'll bypass any and all armor with any attack no matter what for the measly cost of -1 refresh.

Why would any character who's going into combat not take this power?
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Offline Sanctaphrax

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Re: Cost to ignore Armor?
« Reply #3 on: August 29, 2020, 04:31:57 PM »
Why would any character who's going into combat not take this power?

Because it's not especially good.

Look at the numbers; it's usually just a normal stunt.

Bear in mind, the main benefit of Toughness is the extra stress boxes. The armour is not as big a deal.

Offline vultur

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Re: Cost to ignore Armor?
« Reply #4 on: August 29, 2020, 06:38:08 PM »
What's the justification

I have three uses in mind for this:

- A power granted to Emissaries of certain beings of destruction, such as Surtur, who don't have nearly enough power to get the full Sword of the Cross ability

-A power belonging to certain demons, basically for the same reason + a bit of an intentional "parody" of the Sword ability

- A super-entropic Outsider attack

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The closest thing to what you're suggesting is the Swords of the Cross, and to get that kind of effect the wielders not only need to be a specific character type and have an exceedingly rare item,

Yeah, that's the inspiration. But this is a far weaker ability.

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Why would any character who's going into combat not take this power?

Because they don't expect to fight a lot of things with Armor 3 or more? (Which is pretty much just Mythic Toughness or defensive Enchanted Items).

In most situations, this is weaker than a straightforward +2 stress. It just can be very good if you end up fighting someone like Ebenezer McCoy.

Offline Mr. Death

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Re: Cost to ignore Armor?
« Reply #5 on: August 31, 2020, 02:29:38 PM »
Because it's not especially good.

Look at the numbers; it's usually just a normal stunt.

Bear in mind, the main benefit of Toughness is the extra stress boxes. The armour is not as big a deal.

I disagree. Without the armor, then an unarmed human could just punch to death a troll, racking up tiny stress hits round after round. With the armor, that kind of strategy is impossible.
I have three uses in mind for this:

- A power granted to Emissaries of certain beings of destruction, such as Surtur, who don't have nearly enough power to get the full Sword of the Cross ability

-A power belonging to certain demons, basically for the same reason + a bit of an intentional "parody" of the Sword ability

- A super-entropic Outsider attack
Any of those I might allow to reduce a toughness level on things they're specifically against, a la the Faerie sponsored magics, but a blanket 'get through armor' effect makes no sense to me and doesn't fit.

Say you have a wizard who's got Soulfire, by canon one of the rarest, strongest abilities a wizard can get, with a sponsor that's so powerful, that its low level agents could rend the planet by accident, with a huge refresh cost. The wizard spends extra refresh to boost his control and power, and an Armor:4 spell is easy.

And your dude with a -1 refresh power sponsored by an old and unworshipped power like Surtur can just ignore it?

Without doing any additional work?

Without doing any research to get around the defenses that the wizard spent several refresh for?

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Yeah, that's the inspiration. But this is a far weaker ability.
Not really. Nearly every monster type on Our World has armor of some sort, and they all require a catch to get around. Even Armor:1 can make a huge difference over the course of a fight, andn this removes it.

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Because they don't expect to fight a lot of things with Armor 3 or more? (Which is pretty much just Mythic Toughness or defensive Enchanted Items).
It's super useful even against Armor:1 and 2, which the vast majority of creatures have. You don't have to make sure you have an iron weapon against Faeries because you can just punch them. You don't have to worry about having holy items or ways of creating fire against Black Court, because you can just punch them.

You don't have to worry about doing any of the investigation and research that the Catch is built around, because for a measly -1 refresh, you can just bypass the strongest protections the setting offers.

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In most situations, this is weaker than a straightforward +2 stress. It just can be very good if you end up fighting someone like Ebenezer McCoy.
Here's the thing, though -- it's going to apply to almost every combat situation. Nearly every wizard PC or NPC I've ever seen packs armor. Nearly every supernatural creature in Our World has a toughness power. It's trivial to give goons things like flak jackets and such.

A character with this stunt is absolutely better in any combat situation than a character without it.
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Offline Sanctaphrax

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Re: Cost to ignore Armor?
« Reply #6 on: August 31, 2020, 03:22:10 PM »
I disagree. Without the armor, then an unarmed human could just punch to death a troll, racking up tiny stress hits round after round. With the armor, that kind of strategy is impossible.

You can still do that right through the armour. It's only slightly harder.

And OW gives trolls only Inhuman Toughness, so this is actually half as effective as Claws or an applicable stunt.

You don't have to worry about doing any of the investigation and research that the Catch is built around, because for a measly -1 refresh, you can just bypass the strongest protections the setting offers.

Again, the extra stress boxes are more important than the armour. Catch is still relevant.

A character with this stunt is absolutely better in any combat situation than a character without it.

Yes, of course. That's what happens when you spend Refresh on combat stuff.

Offline Mr. Death

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Re: Cost to ignore Armor?
« Reply #7 on: August 31, 2020, 05:27:04 PM »
You can still do that right through the armour. It's only slightly harder.

And OW gives trolls only Inhuman Toughness, so this is actually half as effective as Claws or an applicable stunt.
Not "slightly" harder. Even Armor:1 presents a significant setback to damage dealing, and can lengthen a fight significantly on its own.

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Again, the extra stress boxes are more important than the armour. Catch is still relevant.
Very arguable. Extra stress boxes might increase the amount of damage they can take, but armor can negate damage entirely. In essence, this stunt takes a character who could not damage a supernatural creature at all without doing extra research and finding specific items, and makes them a character who can literally just punch everything to death without any extra time or effort spent, unless that thing has full immunity to damage.

Put it this way: Your standard issue Red Court Vampire can take 1-shift hits indefinitely without taking damage. A human in a fist-fight with one has very little chance of defeating them at all unless they consistently beat their defenses by a wide margin.

With this stunt, the human in a fist fight only has to land six one-shift hits to win. He doesn't have to go find holy water, or arm himself in any way.

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Yes, of course. That's what happens when you spend Refresh on combat stuff.
And -1 refresh is enough to straight up invalidate the defenses of a character who's had to spend far more refresh to be able to give themselves Armor:4?

A feet-in-the-water neophyte to Surtur is going to be able to punch straight through armor handcrafted by Mab's Right-Hand-Woman, that saw Harry Dresden get through an apocalyptic battle royale unscathed?

The only power that does anything close to this not only has a very restricted set of prerequisites, but also requires an additional fate point every scene it's active.

Now I'd be in favor of a stunt that can get around specific types of armor, or in specific situations. For instance, I had a player once who wanted a Rogue-ish character, so she came up with a stunt that let the character negate armor if he attacked from a successful ambush. I was fine with that, because it was narrowly tailored and made sense. She wasn't going to be simply negating armor in every single attack in every single combat just because.

Every ability needs some kind of in-story justification that makes sense. And the reasons that the various characters have armor is far too diverse to justify being able to get through all of them, in any situation, with any weapon (or even without one) with the same -1 refresh stunt.
« Last Edit: August 31, 2020, 05:29:30 PM by Mr. Death »
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Offline Sanctaphrax

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Re: Cost to ignore Armor?
« Reply #8 on: September 01, 2020, 03:10:56 PM »
Okay, let's back away from the details and try to look at the key disagreement.

Is your fundamental complaint not about mechanics but about the lore implications of the mechanics? If this Power was still 1 Refresh, but only showed up on high-Refresh beings of tremendous power, would it be acceptable to you?

Offline vultur

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Re: Cost to ignore Armor?
« Reply #9 on: September 01, 2020, 11:51:06 PM »
Not "slightly" harder. Even Armor:1 presents a significant setback to damage dealing, and can lengthen a fight significantly on its own.

Sure, but ignoring Armor:1 means 1 more stress per hit, whereas Claws or a +2 stress stunt means 2 more stress per hit.

Ignoring all Armor is only better than +2 stress per hit if you fight people with Armor:3+ more often than you fight people with Armor:1 or no Armor.

The issue is that Wizard or Crafter with Superb Lore who spent a ton of Item Slots to get an Armor:5, 5/session Enchanted Item, or even somebody like Eb who might have Armor:6 item (assuming he has Fantastic Lore).

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Put it this way: Your standard issue Red Court Vampire can take 1-shift hits indefinitely without taking damage.
A standard RCV from OW page 88 with Armor 1...

Compare this to the Lethal Weapon stunt and Claws.

If you hit with a margin of 0, this Power still does no stress, Lethal Weapon still does no stress (+1, -1 for Armor, so total 0), and Claws does 1 stress (+2, -1 for Armor).

If you hit with a margin of 3, this Power does 3 stress, Lethal Weapon does 3 stress (3 +1, -1 for Armor), and Claws does 4 stress (3 +2, -1 for Armor).

IE, this power is the same or weaker.

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The only power that does anything close to this not only has a very restricted set of prerequisites, but also requires an additional fate point every scene it's active.

ACAEBG does a lot more than this, and has a specific world role. And I don't know how optimal it actually is, cost-wise. Incite Emotion (Lasting, Potent) will be better than a Sword of the Cross against most foes, for the same Refresh cost (and no FP spent each time).

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Every ability needs some kind of in-story justification that makes sense.

Yes. But assuming there is one (I can see several), what is it worth mechanically?

Offline Mr. Death

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Re: Cost to ignore Armor?
« Reply #10 on: September 02, 2020, 02:33:35 AM »
Okay, let's back away from the details and try to look at the key disagreement.

Is your fundamental complaint not about mechanics but about the lore implications of the mechanics? If this Power was still 1 Refresh, but only showed up on high-Refresh beings of tremendous power, would it be acceptable to you?
It's about both, because the lore and the mechanics are not entirely separate things. For instance, the rebate for toughness powers isn't just a "lore thing." It's a fundamental aspect of the game mechanics that getting around something's defenses requires some amount of investigation, assessment, and leg-work to figure out and find something that works.

This stunt can strip the need for that away entirely. It's not just going against the lore, it's straight up removing a fundamental aspect of gameplay.

And, again, it's really, really lopsided when it comes to refresh cost -- for a -1 refresh power, the character can straight up negate defenses that otherwise might require 3-6 refresh to set up, plus devoting a number of additional resources like focus or enchanted item slots.

I'd feel straight up cheated if I built a character to get Armor:3 or Armor:4 through magic, and the GM just said, "Nope, he's got a stunt that negates all armor." Also, going by how Armor spells are priced, you could argue that Armor:2 isn't a two-shift effect, but four.

Sure, but ignoring Armor:1 means 1 more stress per hit, whereas Claws or a +2 stress stunt means 2 more stress per hit.
Claws also comes with the additional caveat that you can't hide them without another power. Would this stunt come with a drawback at all?

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Ignoring all Armor is only better than +2 stress per hit if you fight people with Armor:3+ more often than you fight people with Armor:1 or no Armor.

The issue is that Wizard or Crafter with Superb Lore who spent a ton of Item Slots to get an Armor:5, 5/session Enchanted Item, or even somebody like Eb who might have Armor:6 item (assuming he has Fantastic Lore).
Powers and stunts are not designed in a vacuum. And, again, ignoring armor entirely removes an important aspect of the game -- learning and exploiting weaknesses.

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A standard RCV from OW page 88 with Armor 1...

Compare this to the Lethal Weapon stunt and Claws.

If you hit with a margin of 0, this Power still does no stress, Lethal Weapon still does no stress (+1, -1 for Armor, so total 0), and Claws does 1 stress (+2, -1 for Armor).

If you hit with a margin of 3, this Power does 3 stress, Lethal Weapon does 3 stress (3 +1, -1 for Armor), and Claws does 4 stress (3 +2, -1 for Armor).

IE, this power is the same or weaker.
So does having the power preclude having those other stunts and powers, then? Is it only an alternative? Nothing that's been said seems to indicate that.



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ACAEBG does a lot more than this, and has a specific world role. And I don't know how optimal it actually is, cost-wise. Incite Emotion (Lasting, Potent) will be better than a Sword of the Cross against most foes, for the same Refresh cost (and no FP spent each time).
Incite Emotion is also limited to particular character types and, honestly, the general skeeviness of it has tended to keep it out of PC hands, from my experience. And ignoring even mundane armor -- which this stunt would include -- is one of ACAEBG's unique abilities, and potentially one of its strongest since the Raw doesn't include any other armor piercing except The Catch, and that's only on supernatural toughness powers. Aside from the Swords, a guy with heavy mundane armor doesn't have a RAW weakness (barring aspect invokes and such ... which, again, cost a fate point).

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Yes. But assuming there is one (I can see several), what is it worth mechanically?
I would base it on the nearest equivalent, and balance it based on the possibilities -- maybe even scale it. Personally, I'd make it an item of power -- sword works, or maybe a hammer? (Warhammers traditionally were for getting around an armor's protection by just turning whatever's inside the armor to mush from the impact).

Let's go with the Surtur example (in part because I loves me some Norse Myth). In the myth, Surtur had a flaming sword. In fact that's sort of his only defining quality. So this Item of Power is a big, flaming sword, with a potential rebate of +2. Lets price this particular power at -2, so the discount is +1. But, Surtur's not as powerful as Capital-G and the angel crew, so he doesn't get the full, "This is the Catch to everything" stuff. It'd be the catch to, say, Aesir and Vanir related things because Surtur's directly opposed to those -- but for everything else, it has a separate power. Instead of ignoring all armor, supernatural or otherwise, I'd have it destroy specifically physical armor with a dedicated kind of attack (call it a maneuver that you immediately tag for effect). That fits with the destruction thing more than just ignoring armor -- you get hit by this thing, and your flack jacket or plate mail falls apart. With the bonus that the rest of your party can also ignore that armor because it's been cut to flaming pieces.

Now, for other things? Well, it's a big, flaming sword so I don't have a problem with an additional stunt, maybe an additional -1, that gives it a +2 "destructive flames of Surtur" damage bonus in particular situations (maybe you spend a fate point for the scene, maybe against certain personal enemies, maybe it costs physical or mental stress, etc.)

I like something like that more because it being a particular item specifically limits it to Weapons attacks, and when you can feasibly carry around a bigass sword, it's more limited in where it's applicable, and it requires some kind of active invocation and cost to use rather than just an always-on effect. It's also more thematically appropriate to destroy physical things than get around metaphysical things for a being of destruction (I've statted up NPCs that had a toughness power flavored as, 'This guy is mostly intangible, so it's hard to do real damage to him,' where something like armor piercing makes less sense -- he's already smoke, penetrating him /more/ doesn't really do more damage ... although that guy's catch was fire, so I guess this sword would work on him anyway? Oops.).

And it still comes to -1 refresh as this is statted up.

So, in summary, rather than just a blanket, "Ignore all armor" effect, I feel it's better and more interesting to wrap it around the lore and theme it's based on, and limit it to affects appropriate to that.

As said, everything needs a story reason to work; rather than just, "what does it cost in a vacuum to ignore armor," design the power/item around its in-story will and purpose.
« Last Edit: September 02, 2020, 01:04:22 PM by Mr. Death »
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Offline vultur

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Re: Cost to ignore Armor?
« Reply #11 on: September 03, 2020, 12:33:43 AM »
you could argue that Armor:2 isn't a two-shift effect, but four.

It is, thus why Armor stunts give Armor 1 not Armor 2 (Tough Stuff, Teflon Persona).

But *ignoring* Armor 2 is a 2 shift effect, since it is exactly equivalent to +2 stress.

Having Armor is more expensive than ignoring it, just as Armor is harder to get than Weapon. It's a lot easier to get mundane Weapon:3 than Armor:3, and Inhuman Strength is +2 stress while Inhuman Toughness is Armor 1.

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Claws also comes with the additional caveat that you can't hide them without another power.

That's not really a mechanical drawback worth Refresh, though, as Human Guise is -0.
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And, again, ignoring armor entirely removes an important aspect of the game -- learning and exploiting weaknesses.

No it doesn't; you still need the Catch to get around Recovery powers, extra stress boxes from Toughness, and Physical Immunity.

This is much more niche than you're suggesting.

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So does having the power preclude having those other stunts and powers, then? Is it only an alternative? Nothing that's been said seems to indicate that.

No, why would it? +2 stress and ignore armor for 2 Refresh (ie Claws + this power) is not that powerful compared to Channeling, etc.

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Incite Emotion is also limited to particular character types
No more so than any other power... they all have High Concept requirements. Changelings can have basically any power set and Incite Emotion is canonically a Fae power.

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and, honestly, the general skeeviness of it has tended to keep it out of PC hands, from my experience.

That really shouldn't affect balance, though.

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Aside from the Swords, a guy with heavy mundane armor doesn't have a RAW weakness

It doesn't need one; mundane armor is pretty poor.

Quote from: Your Story p. 202
Armor:2 is intended to protect completely against most pistols—it’s probably a reinforced Kevlar vest or something.   That said, armor does tend to lag behind weaponry in terms of availability. Many bulletproof vests are only Armor:1—a heavy pistol round can still crack a rib if it hits you.

So +2 stress will overcome the advantage of the vast majority of mundane armors.

And I'd say Armor:2 vest would be Armor:1 at best against claws, knives, or swords.


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That fits with the destruction thing more than just ignoring armor -- you get hit by this thing, and your flack jacket or plate mail falls apart.

That could also be a Power that exists, but it's not what I have in mind here at all. This is direct destructive force against something's essence.

Destroying physical armor isn't really the point, and something like a demon or Outsider with this power would probably kill the wearer while leaving the armor unharmed; the claws or whatever would just slip right through.

This is "metaphysical destructive force" not "shatter armor".



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I like something like that more because it being a particular item specifically limits it to Weapons attacks,

Oh, yeah, the full write-up of this power would probably limit it to a particular mode of attack for any particular character or IOP.

But the cost ought to be the same regardless of what that mode is...

Offline Sanctaphrax

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Re: Cost to ignore Armor?
« Reply #12 on: September 03, 2020, 11:07:42 AM »
It's a fundamental aspect of the game mechanics that getting around something's defenses requires some amount of investigation, assessment, and leg-work to figure out and find something that works.

This stunt can strip the need for that away entirely. It's not just going against the lore, it's straight up removing a fundamental aspect of gameplay.

This is simply false, though. Extra stress boxes are still very much worth circumventing.

We can agree on that, right?

The aspect of investigation and legwork and such is still present? Just as it is when a character with Toughness also happens to be wearing mundane armour?

Offline Mr. Death

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Re: Cost to ignore Armor?
« Reply #13 on: September 17, 2020, 01:49:50 PM »
It is, thus why Armor stunts give Armor 1 not Armor 2 (Tough Stuff, Teflon Persona).

But *ignoring* Armor 2 is a 2 shift effect, since it is exactly equivalent to +2 stress.

Having Armor is more expensive than ignoring it, just as Armor is harder to get than Weapon. It's a lot easier to get mundane Weapon:3 than Armor:3, and Inhuman Strength is +2 stress while Inhuman Toughness is Armor 1.
Even so, the available stunts and powers aren't ignoring it, they're adding it -- and the only stunt I can think of that adds more than Weapon:2 and works on armor costs a fate point to use each time you activate it.

Again, powers and stunts aren't made in a vacuum. If you wanted to ignore up to Armor:1 or 2 for a one-refresh power, I'd be less against it, but ignoring all armor, no matter what?

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That's not really a mechanical drawback worth Refresh, though, as Human Guise is -0.
Human Guise comes with other costs -- like how you can lose it under stress, and actually using the power drops it.

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No it doesn't; you still need the Catch to get around Recovery powers, extra stress boxes from Toughness, and Physical Immunity.
Don't have to worry about recovery powers if you take them out. I've already said 'except for immunity' a couple times, so I'm not going to contest that. And the extra stress boxes? They're soft targets. It might take you longer to kill something with extra boxes, but that's only half the utility of a toughness power.

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No, why would it? +2 stress and ignore armor for 2 Refresh (ie Claws + this power) is not that powerful compared to Channeling, etc.
And channeling comes with moment-to-moment risks and costs. Claws has no such drawback.

The point is, the extra stress powers and stunts exist in large part to get around armor and toughness powers, by adding to the stress. This suggested power doubles up on that, in a way that I see as very unbalanced, especially for such a low cost.

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No more so than any other power... they all have High Concept requirements. Changelings can have basically any power set and Incite Emotion is canonically a Fae power.

That really shouldn't affect balance, though.
Fair enough -- it's still not a power I've seen often in PCs, though.

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It doesn't need one; mundane armor is pretty poor.
You have no idea how many PCs and mundane enemies I've seen saved because they had Armor:2 or even Armor:1.

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So +2 stress will overcome the advantage of the vast majority of mundane armors.

And I'd say Armor:2 vest would be Armor:1 at best against claws, knives, or swords.
More that it evens the playing field; this stunt tips it too far the other way. It basically makes armor meaningless, whereas that +2 stress from claws is going to be there anyway, regardless of whether you're wearing armor.

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That could also be a Power that exists, but it's not what I have in mind here at all. This is direct destructive force against something's essence.

Destroying physical armor isn't really the point, and something like a demon or Outsider with this power would probably kill the wearer while leaving the armor unharmed; the claws or whatever would just slip right through.

This is "metaphysical destructive force" not "shatter armor".
We'll just have to disagree with this -- I don't see how "destructive force" doesn't mean, well, destroying things. Have we seen an outsider or demon in the series that doesn't cause damage to objects and their surroundings with their attacks?

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Oh, yeah, the full write-up of this power would probably limit it to a particular mode of attack for any particular character or IOP.

But the cost ought to be the same regardless of what that mode is...
That's good that it will be limited, but I still think the cleanest way is to ape the Swords' power and have it cost a fate point to use for a scene. Otherwise, what's to stop a player from deciding they're using that "particular mode of attack" for every attack?

This is simply false, though. Extra stress boxes are still very much worth circumventing.

We can agree on that, right?
Useful to get around them? Yes. Necessary? No.

If you want to damage something with a toughness power, you need to overcome the armor. The stress boxes might let it take more damage, but the armor could let it take no damage.

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The aspect of investigation and legwork and such is still present? Just as it is when a character with Toughness also happens to be wearing mundane armour?
It turns the legwork from a necessary part of the confrontation and game to, "Well it'd be nice to do, but we can just batter through his stress boxes even if we don't."

I think you're really underselling how much difference the armor can make. I've had PCs that only survived encounters because they had Armor:1 or Armor:2 consistently reducing damage or even letting them ignore blows. I've had NPCs that the heroes needed to spend time and effort researching because overcoming the armor kept them from doing real damage.
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Offline Sanctaphrax

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Re: Cost to ignore Armor?
« Reply #14 on: September 18, 2020, 07:15:28 AM »
It turns the legwork from a necessary part of the confrontation and game to, "Well it'd be nice to do, but we can just batter through his stress boxes even if we don't."

You can also just batter through armour. In fact, a competent fighter will tend to do that without really trying. Weapon ratings in this game are systematically much higher than armour ratings.

Which is good, because it's not exactly hard to wear armour that's very difficult to legwork around.