2e House Rules, Many Inspired by 3e

Discuss the second edition rules of the World's Greatest Superhero Roleplaying Game. Check here before posting in the Official Rules Forum, someone might just know the answer already!
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2e House Rules, Many Inspired by 3e

Postby Elric » Mon Aug 09, 2010 11:40 pm

Here are a bunch of 2e house rules/policies, many inspired by 3e. Please discuss!

General approach/policies
1. Use the "roll first, then describe what happened to correspond to the results" method to narrate combat most of the time. This seems better than "say what you're doing first, then roll and (often) be disappointed." (taken from 3e)

2. You generally get told the DC of a save before you roll it. You generally get told the result of a roll before you decide whether to use a hero point to reroll it. You can use a hero point to gain a feat (Evasion, for example) after you see your die roll and know whether or not it succeeded (a Reflex save in this case) (but obviously that feat can’t numerically affect the die-roll directly; that’s what the reroll function of hero points is for). Use this option liberally as fits your character concept!

3. Tradeoffs are generally limited to the range from +4 Toughness/-4 Defense to +6 Defense/-6 Toughness. Characters are strongly discouraged from taking an Attack tradeoff more than +-5 without having the Power Attack feat. See my combat calculations for the power of Toughness tradeoffs and weakness of attack-tradeoffs.

Defense tradeoffs aren't as good, but if you allow a character to tradeoff too far you risk that many opponents simply can't hit them, or that they can use Defensive Attack to become nearly impossible to hit. Thus, a less strict limit than Toughness tradeoffs.

4. PL-breaking abilities will be monitored closely; see Paragon's thread on the limits of PL for the kind of approach I'll use.

5. Advancement will use quarter PLs as you gain power points.

Power level limits/abilities/general
1. The average of your Fort/Reflex/Will saves can’t exceed your PL (this helps avoid the “too high FRW saves” problem). Recommended average is about PL-2; some characters may be higher or lower than this, but it's not expected that everyone will hit this cap (inspired by 3e).

2. Skills cap at PL+10; you can get this through any combination of ability scores and skill ranks. (Imported directly from 3e)

3. Charisma bonus costs 1 pp per rank (too expensive given how few skills it adds to)

4. “Base defense” costs 1.5 pp per rank (round up). This, plus the 1 pp cost of Dodge focus, implies exactly that “non-Dodge” defense bonus costs 2 pp and “dodge” defense bonus costs 1 pp, which is more appropriate than the current implied 3 non-dodge, 1 dodge cost.

Explanation: 2 ranks of base defense in 2e gets you 1 dodge and 1 non-dodge point of defense bonus. The dodge bonus is priced at 1 pp based on Dodge Focus; therefore, the non-Dodge bonus is implicitly priced at 3 pp (not quite because of rounding, but almost). That's too much of a discrepancy for what it gives you in normal 3e, and with the change to Dazed instead of Stunned for missed saves against damage, Dodge bonus is less penalizing than it used to be. So the default pricing would be even more inappropriate in light of the other house rules on the list.

Though the fractional cost looks bad, it’s pretty intuitive when you see what you’re getting. If you buy 5 ranks of “base defense”, you get 3 non-dodge and 2 dodge bonus, which costs 7.5 round up= 8 pp. This formula works out to exactly the same as 2*the non-dodge portion + 1*the dodge portion of defense bonus.

5. Movement speed (in feet) for a move action is 5*your speed in mph. So if you go 25 miles an hour then you can move 125 feet with a move action. Your listed speed in MPH is the speed you can achieve when double-moving (it is double this for moving all-out). Since squares on a battle mat are generally 5 feet, characters with movement powers can use a move action to go one square for every mile per hour that they move.

Without this change a character with a listed speed of 10 MPH can go around all day at a speed of 20 MPH simply by double-moving. This also means that Speed 1 is a faster, but recognizably human, speed.

6. NPC PL is based on an average of offensive and defensive PLs: primarily book-keeping, but see my argument here.

Skills and feats:
1. Climb, Swim, and Ride are consolidated into a single "Athletics" skill based on Str. Notice and Search are consolidated into a single "Perception" skill based on Wis. Further skill consolidation I'd have to think about (3e consolidated a number of skills, though it also made skills more expensive).

2.Improved Critical is limited to 16-20. (imported directly from 3e)

3.The Distract feat only works once per opponent per combat (consistent with 3e weakening it; this was Paragon's house rule in 2e)

4. Evasion 2 only halves the effect if you miss a save by 5 or less (this way, low Reflex characters don’t benefit the most from Evasion’s second rank).

5. The Improved Grab feat doesn't let you apply a grapple check result when you start the grapple; you are just in a grapple (prevents characters from doing double-damage with attack, grab, damage again, and similar abuses).

6. Ultimate Defense is a fortune feat I invented, but it’s really just Luck Control 1 (Force Rerolls; Limited 2 [only attack rolls, only attacks rolls against you]) (1 pp).
Ultimate Defense: After an opponent rolls an attack roll against you and hits (but before you resolve the effects of the attack), you may spend a hero point to force that opponent to reroll the attack roll, taking the worse of the two rolls.

7. Escape Artist can immediately oppose Grapple checks, and not just the opposed check to break free after having been grabbed, unless the opponent declares his intent to use that check for "Escape." If you roll Escape Artist to resist an opponent's grapple check, you can't impose a grapple check result of your own besides "Escape" for a round. (makes the skill more useful and thematically appropriate)

8. The Fearless feat protects against all uses of the Intimidate skill and the Fearsome presence feat, but not other fear-effects (this way the characters who thematically deserve the feat aren't immune to powers like Scarecrow's gas).

Damage/recovery/resolving combat
1. The “margin of failure” for effects goes 1-5; 6-10; 11-15; 16+, not 1-4; 5-9; 10-14; 15+. (changed in 3e; more intuitive).

2. A hero point spent on Recovery can end Dazed, besides Dazed from a Lasting power; use the Willpower extra effort function for that (that Dazed wasn't there in the first place seems like an oversight, since Stunned, a more severe condition, is on there)

3.Instead of Staggered + Stunned for a round from damage, characters are Staggered + Dazed for a round (no actions, but can defend self normally. Inspired by 3e)

4. Instead of Stunned for a round + Bruised from damage, characters are Dazed for a round + Bruised. (This change and the previous one gets rid of the "attack stunned characters because they have lowered defenses" problem in the simplest way. It also reduces the drawbacks of being Defense-shifted. Inspired by 3e)

5. Staggered and KO results also inflict a Bruise. Disabled/Dying also inflicts an Injury. (A common 2e house rule made damage cumulative in this way; it's done similarly in 3e).

6. A Disabled character can spend a hero point to be able to act without risking falling to dying for a scene (this makes lethal damage less severe, consistent with 3e doing away with the distinction).

7. Staggered recovers after a default time of 5 minutes, not 1 hour, consistent with 3e’s faster recovery times.

Combat maneuvers/general:
1. Any character can use the “tradeoff” feats All-Out Attack, Defensive Attack, Power Attack, Accurate Attack up to +-2. This replaces Aggressive and Defensive Stances. (imported directly from 3e; makes having the tradeoff feats less essential and gives everyone more options).

2. Charge is a standard action in which you move your speed and make a melee attack at the end, but at a -2 penalty. "Partial charges" no longer exist. (taken from 3e)

3. Characters don’t take an attack penalty for firing into a melee combat. Precise Shot has one rank, which does what the second rank currently does. (removed in 3e; makes life easier)

4. Falling damage is +1 per 20 feet, capping at +10 damage at 200 feet (more reasonable than the 20 damage max it defaults to).

Powers and Power modifiers:
1.Action is now a flat 1-3 pp drawback for an Alternate Form or similar power requiring activation, not a -1/-2/-3 flaw. (Changed in 3e; this fixes a huge and widely recognized loophole).

2. Healing: the check bonus is just equal to your healing rank. This makes the power less front-loaded.

3. Change the Unstoppable extra on Immovable to be slightly stronger
Unstoppable (+1): Your speed has no effect on your immovability; you can move all out while retaining your full effect rank. You gain a +4 bonus per rank on all attempts to push, rush, or trip an opponent and you subtract your Immovable rank from an opponent’s Immovable rank before determining the damage of a Slam attack or the effects of knockback. This allows you to slam Immovable opponents for more damage than usual. You cannot reduce an opponent's effective Immovable rank below 0.
Last edited by Elric on Wed Feb 09, 2011 11:35 am, edited 27 times in total.
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Re: 2e House Rules, Many Inspired by 3e

Postby Elric » Tue Aug 10, 2010 12:10 am

If the GM is advancing the PL of the game every 15-20 pp gained, but doesn't advance the PL until you get the 15-20th pp, you're going to accumulate a lot of pp without being able to increase any capped powers. Characters may become overly broad in the short term, then spend time playing catch up on capped powers later (unless you hoarded points to start with). If players did hit the new PL cap at once, it's a significant increase in combat power, which can be hard for the GM to adjust to.

With that in mind, here's are two options for increasing PL gradually that help solve that problem. Half PLs is simpler, but I've used quarter PLs before and it worked out fine. People like getting increases in combat power more frequently, and that probably outweighs the extra bookkeeping.

Half PLs!
Once the players earn, say, 8-10 pp let them increase one of (Attack/Save DC) and one of (Defense/Toughness). Then do the same every 8-10 more pp you award (depending on how fast you want the characters to advance in PL and how much you'd prefer they diversify their abilities). In this case, a player can’t increase an Area/Perception Attack power to rank 11 until he gets to PL 11 (and you can do the same for Fort/Reflex/Will).

Quarter PLs!
Once the players earn, say, 4-5 pp let them increase one of Attack/Save DC/Defense/Toughness. Then do the same every 4-5 more pp you award (depending on how fast you want the characters to advance in PL and how much you'd prefer they diversify their abilities).

Now there are two slightly different options you can take:

A) A character’s offensive/defensive abilities should increase so that they’ll be a balanced PL 11 at the end of those four increases—that is, they have to increase Attack/Save DC twice and Defense/Toughness twice. But the order doesn't matter.
B) A character who goes up to PL 10.25 increases either an offensive cap or a defensive cap. Then that character has to increase the opposite cap at PL 10.5. Likewise, a character who goes up to PL 11 has to increase the opposite cap from what they increased at PL 10.75.

A) lets a character become more “out of balance” while going from PL 10 to PL 11, but it’s a minor difference. I used B last time I GMd because I figured I’d see mainly increase offense twice, then increase defense twice under A.

How does this interact with attacks that don’t have attack rolls (e.g., Area Attacks)? Effectively, if you’ve increased your offensive abilities twice you can act as a PL 11 character on offense, so your attacks that don’t require an attack roll can go up to rank 11. For Fort/Reflex/Will, you can let a character who increased defensive abilities twice act as a PL 11 for these caps.

For other abilities limited by the PL cap (skills), you can just require the character to wait until increasing a full PL to increase those abilities.
Last edited by Elric on Tue May 15, 2012 2:38 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: 2e House Rules, Many Inspired by 3e

Postby FuzzyBoots » Tue Aug 10, 2010 4:07 am

My main concern on the stun/dazed/wobbled bit is that it might go from making defensive shifts worse to making them too good. A high defense character can pretty quickly become only able to be hit once in 20 times. Given they can still use a Hero Point to ace that toughness save... ^_^ Unless you did simulations of this too?

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Re: 2e House Rules, Many Inspired by 3e

Postby SilvercatMoonpaw » Tue Aug 10, 2010 8:37 am

You could call it "off-balance" rather than "wobbled".

Why not have it be "max skill bonus = (PLx2) + 5 from any source"?

I've personally thought that for Charisma is could be done away with and its skills given to Intelligence and Wisdom. This prevents the confusion of Charisma costing different than the other ability scores. Plus it means you have more skills to work with when balancing Int and Wis during skill consolidation.

For speed I always thought that they only meant MPH for one move action, and that you moved 2x(Speed in MPH) when you doubled-moved, and 4x(Speed in MPH) when you moved all-out. Requires less change.

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Re: 2e House Rules, Many Inspired by 3e

Postby Elric » Tue Aug 10, 2010 9:14 am

SilvercatMoonpaw wrote:For speed I always thought that they only meant MPH for one move action, and that you moved 2x(Speed in MPH) when you doubled-moved, and 4x(Speed in MPH) when you moved all-out. Requires less change.


That is how it works by default in 2e. I propose changing it so that you get your MPH in speed when you double-move, 1/2 that with a single move, and 2x (Speed in MPH) moving all-out.

I believe 3e has the same problem in that your sustainable speed is when using both move actions, but the listed MPH speeds corresponding to a given rank of Flight covers using only one move action.

I like the name change from Wobbled to "Off-balance." Done.

Edit: Wobbled was an invented analogy to 3e's Dazed condition that I was considering to replace Stunned in combat.

It was: instead of being Stunned for a round + Bruised by a missed save against damage, you are "Wobbled" for a round plus Bruised.

"Wobbled" is: a “wobbled" character can only take a standard action or a move action, not both (but can still take free actions). A hero point spent on Recovery can end "wobbled."

Just using Dazed is simpler, so I dropped this idea.

Why not have it be "max skill bonus = (PLx2) + 5 from any source"?


+25 is higher than characters typically hit at PL 10, with the exception of some super-inventors. +20 is as high as typical PL 10 characters go, and seems appropriate given the difficulty of challenges (so they can routinely hit 30, but not "Super-heroic" 35). Having skills go up at PLx1 also means that skill numbers will better track the rest of the system (e.g., if you use Intimidate and it's maxed out against someone with maxed out Will, your chance of succeeding stays the same across multiple PLs).

SilvercatMoonpaw wrote:I've personally thought that for Charisma is could be done away with and its skills given to Intelligence and Wisdom. This prevents the confusion of Charisma costing different than the other ability scores. Plus it means you have more skills to work with when balancing Int and Wis during skill consolidation.


Removing Cha entirely seems unappealing. If you just change the cost no existing NPC build is affected and since it's becoming cheaper no existing PC build is invalidated. Should be easier. I do need to give skill consolidation more thought, though.
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Re: 2e House Rules, Many Inspired by 3e

Postby Elric » Tue Aug 10, 2010 9:25 am

FuzzyBoots wrote:My main concern on the stun/dazed/wobbled bit is that it might go from making defensive shifts worse to making them too good. A high defense character can pretty quickly become only able to be hit once in 20 times. Given they can still use a Hero Point to ace that toughness save... ^_^ Unless you did simulations of this too?


Not counting that corresponding to 3e the "margin of failure" increments are slightly more lenient and Staggered conditions now add a Bruise in the above house rules, which should comparatively favor Toughness-shifted characters and weaken defense-shifted characters a little bit, this calculation from 2e (not letting attackers take advantage of their own stunned conditions) is appropriate: viewtopic.php?p=622299#p622299

You can see that even with 3 hero points to reroll failed saves available, the -6 attacker (attacker is at +6 damage, -6 attack relative to defender) isn't doing much worse than the +0 one. But that does remind me I should add something about tradeoffs above.

Here's what I added:
Toughness tradeoffs are generally limited to +-4; Defense tradeoffs to +-6. Characters are strongly discouraged from taking an Attack tradeoff more than +-5 without having the Power Attack feat. See my combat calculations for the power of Toughness tradeoffs and weakness of attack-shifts.

Defense tradeoffs aren't as good, but if you do allow a character to tradeoff too far you risk that many opponents simply can't hit them, or that they can use Defensive Attack to become nearly impossible to hit. Thus, a limit, but a less strict one.
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Re: 2e House Rules, Many Inspired by 3e

Postby Karma » Tue Aug 10, 2010 10:49 am

Elric wrote:Any character can use the “tradeoff” feats All-Out Attack, Defensive Attack, Power Attack, Accurate Attack up to +-2. This replaces Aggressive and Defensive Stances. (imported directly from 3e; makes having the tradeoff feats less essential and gives everyone more options).

One thing I just realized is that, while this obviously helps out characters who don't have the All-Out/Defensive/Power/Accurate Attack feats, it does slightly weaken characters who do have All-Out or Defensive Attack.

Under core 2E rules, you can use both All-Out Attack and Aggressive Stance/both Defensive Attack and Defensive Stance if you really wanted a six- or seven-point bonus. Probably not a huge concern, but I thought I'd point it out.

Elric wrote:Elric's M&M Tip: Use half PLs!
...
Or you can use the more complicated quarter PLs.

I like this, and I've done it before. I though I was being original, how foolish. :oops:
In a game with classes and levels like DnD and some video games, improving all of your abilities all at once is an unavoidable abstraction. In a game with power points, it's not. You're already increasing some abilities gradually, why should the abilities that determine how powerful you are jump all at once?
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Re: 2e House Rules, Many Inspired by 3e

Postby Paragon » Tue Aug 10, 2010 12:13 pm

I'll look at this a little more when I've got more time, but it occurs to me that for those who found the 3e change to stun a bit too much, you could instead replace it with 2e daze; you'd still lose your complete action, but not your Defense.
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Re: 2e House Rules, Many Inspired by 3e

Postby Elric » Tue Aug 10, 2010 1:27 pm

Paragon wrote:I'll look at this a little more when I've got more time, but it occurs to me that for those who found the 3e change to stun a bit too much, you could instead replace it with 2e daze; you'd still lose your complete action, but not your Defense.


Yes, that's what I did for Staggered + Stunned (change to Dazed). I could do the same for Stunned + Bruised instead of the invented "Off-balance." It's more action denial, which could be good or bad, but it's less of a change from the existing rules because it doesn't add a condition to the game. I added that as a second option above. Thoughts?


Karma wrote:
Elric wrote:Elric's M&M Tip: Use half PLs!
...
Or you can use the more complicated quarter PLs.


I like this, and I've done it before. I though I was being original, how foolish. :oops:


Great minds, great minds :D
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Re: 2e House Rules, Many Inspired by 3e

Postby Paragon » Tue Aug 10, 2010 2:23 pm

Elric wrote:
Paragon wrote:I'll look at this a little more when I've got more time, but it occurs to me that for those who found the 3e change to stun a bit too much, you could instead replace it with 2e daze; you'd still lose your complete action, but not your Defense.


Yes, that's what I did for Staggered + Stunned (change to Dazed). I could do the same for Stunned + Bruised instead of the invented "Off-balance." It's more action denial, which could be good or bad, but it's less of a change from the existing rules because it doesn't add a condition to the game. I added that as a second option above. Thoughts?



It'd probably be more likely what I'd use, simply because its less of a step but still addresses the problems stunning did.
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Re: 2e House Rules, Many Inspired by 3e

Postby Elric » Tue Aug 10, 2010 2:49 pm

Paragon wrote:It'd probably be more likely what I'd use, simply because its less of a step but still addresses the problems stunning did.


Yeah, I agree, smallest possible change and all that. Edited above. If anyone does want to import the whole 3e rule because they've played 3e and are used to that, it's fairly obvious how to proceed. I also edited the original post to organize it some.
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Re: 2e House Rules, Many Inspired by 3e

Postby Paragon » Tue Aug 10, 2010 6:39 pm

And going over some more of these.

Elric wrote:Here are a bunch of 2e house rules/policies, many inspired by 3e. Please discuss!

General approach/policies
1. Use the "roll first, then describe what happened to correspond to the results" method to narrate combat most of the time. This seems better than "say what you're doing first, then roll and (often) be disappointed."



In fact, this could probably be ported over to most games that have relatively broad mechanics and don't use something like stunt bonuses.



Power level limits/abilities/general
1. The average of your Fort/Reflex/Will saves can’t exceed your PL (this helps avoid the “too high FRW saves” problem). Recommended average is about PL-2.


So you finally got sold on PL-2 rather than PL, did you?



3.The Daze feat only works once per opponent per combat (consistent with 3e weakening it; this was Paragon's house rule in 2e)
[/quote]

The 2e version is called "Distract". :)

4. Evasion 2 only halves the effect if you miss a save by 5 or less (this way, low Reflex characters don’t benefit the most from Evasion’s second rank).



Now I can't remember; did I originally come up with this one or did I get it from you or someone else?


5. The Improved Grab feat doesn't let you apply a grapple check result when you start the grapple; you are just in a grapple (prevents characters from doing double-damage with attack, grab, damage again, and similar abuses).



I'm not sure this doesn't make the feat unattractive, since being in a grapple per se is such a two-edged sword; it means in essence that you're vulnerable without getting much benefit for a whole round, whereas the target may only be vulnerable until his next action.



Damage/recovery/resolving combat
1. The “margin of failure” for effects goes 1-5; 6-10; 11-15; 16+, not 1-4; 5-9; 10-14; 15+. (changed in 3e; more intuitive).

2. A hero point spent on Recovery can end Dazed, besides Dazed from a Lasting power; use the Willpower extra effort function for that (that Dazed wasn't there in the first place seems like an oversight, since Stunned, a more severe condition, is on there)



Well, keep in mind that in 2e, the only way to get Dazed was by application of the Stun power, which had its own breakout condition. Dazed couldn't actually come up as a consequence of damage.

3.Instead of Staggered + Stunned for a round from damage, characters are Staggered + Dazed for a round (no actions, but can defend self normally)

4. Instead of Stunned for a round + Bruised from damage, characters are Dazed for a round + Bruised. (this change and the previous one gets rid of the "attack stunned characters because they have lowered defenses" problem in the simplest way)



Which does two positive things at once; it reduces the benefit to multiteaming (which is generally though not always countergenre), and reduces the painful drawbacks of being Defense shifted.

3. Characters don’t take an attack penalty for firing into a melee combat. Precise Shot has one rank, which does what the second rank currently does. (removed in 3e; makes life easier)



Its always been an odd mechanic for a game that doesn't pay attention to facing or where missed shots go normally.
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Re: 2e House Rules, Many Inspired by 3e

Postby Paragon » Tue Aug 10, 2010 6:42 pm

Elric wrote:Or you can use the more complicated quarter PLs.


This worked out quite nicely when the Rubber Baron used it in play.

It also probably helps if you want to use a slower progression, since the gaps won't feel quite as large.
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Re: 2e House Rules, Many Inspired by 3e

Postby Elric » Tue Aug 10, 2010 7:37 pm

Paragon wrote:So you finally got sold on PL-2 rather than PL, did you?


Well, PL-2 is where my builds tend to average, while your approach seemed to be more like no higher than PL-2. I didn't want to set the expectation that characters go all the way to PL.

The 2e version is called "Distract". :)


How soon we forget...

Paragon wrote:
4. Evasion 2 only halves the effect if you miss a save by 5 or less (this way, low Reflex characters don’t benefit the most from Evasion’s second rank).


Now I can't remember; did I originally come up with this one or did I get it from you or someone else?


Some things I can still remember: you suggested using 5 or less or maybe 10 or less, I said 5 was the way to go and started promoting it, and as usual marketing won out and I got all the credit even though you were the first to post it :)

Elric wrote:
5. The Improved Grab feat doesn't let you apply a grapple check result when you start the grapple; you are just in a grapple (prevents characters from doing double-damage with attack, grab, damage again, and similar abuses).


I'm not sure this doesn't make the feat unattractive, since being in a grapple per se is such a two-edged sword; it means in essence that you're vulnerable without getting much benefit for a whole round, whereas the target may only be vulnerable until his next action.


You'd have the same problem if you used a regular Grapple-> Damage instead of attack for damage then initiate the grapple with Improved Grab. It's easily solved by Grappling Finesse in either case and the Powerhouse grappler characters tend to have Toughness tradeoffs as well.

2. A hero point spent on Recovery can end Dazed, besides Dazed from a Lasting power; use the Willpower extra effort function for that (that Dazed wasn't there in the first place seems like an oversight, since Stunned, a more severe condition, is on there)


Well, keep in mind that in 2e, the only way to get Dazed was by application of the Stun power, which had its own breakout condition. Dazed couldn't actually come up as a consequence of damage.


You can get Dazed for a round by the Distract feat or the Stunning Attack feat.

Which does two positive things at once; it reduces the benefit to multiteaming (which is generally though not always countergenre), and reduces the painful drawbacks of being Defense shifted.


Right, I'll mention this above.
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Re: 2e House Rules, Many Inspired by 3e

Postby Elric » Wed Aug 11, 2010 2:21 pm

Here's another house rule that's a simplification: Affects Insubstantial power feat has only one rank, which enables you to affect Insubstantial opponents fully. The problem with the logic of "you can Extra Effort to gain the first rank for half effect" as a meaningful result of having two ranks is that characters could instead power stunt a different power that has two ranks, rather than just adding a single rank.

So in practice it makes some builds 1 pp more expensive and penalizes players who don't think of what I've written above.

This proposal isn't inspired by 3e; it's unchanged there.
3e Builds, 2e Builds, Index of 2e Official Rules Answers & General Resources (includes character creation and fight examples)


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