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New Power: Blast or Summon Ally?

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  • New Power: Blast or Summon Ally?

    Hi all,

    I am playing a legendary-rank psionic PC in a high fantasy-horror setting who is about to hit 100 XP. I am trying to decide which power to take next. From a character optimization standpoint, do you think blast or summon ally (astral construct) would be better? My current statistics are:

    Attributes: Agility d6, Smarts d8, Spirit d10, Strength d4, Vigor d10.

    Skills: Psionics d12+2, Guts d8+2, Notice d8, Persuasion d6, Knowledge (Monster Lore) d4, Stealth d4, Socialize d4.

    Edges: Arcane Background (Psionic), Power Points (x4), Elan, Level Headed, Power Surge, Mentalist, Expert (Psionics).

    Psionic Powers: Confusion, Healing, Bolt, Puppet, Shape Change, Invisibility.

    Power Points: 30 (45 with power stones).

    The rest of the party consists of an alchemist/archer and three melee characters. Generally, the alchemist/archer and I attack from a distance while the others engage enemies in melee.

    The GMs have been throwing many opponents at us which are immune to mental attacks. That totally negates confusion and puppet. So I am trying to expand my options.

    Blast feels somewhat redundant when I already have bolt. On the other hand, the increased range would be helpful and the party has no AoE effects. Summon Ally doesn't provide an AoE, but it would be better utility.
    Last edited by Ogre Mage; 06-03-2019, 03:11 AM.

  • #2
    It's not what you asked for, butagainst Immunity to mental attacks, I highly recommand Telekinesis. In addition to its obvious utility uses, Telekinesis allows you to grab things and smash enemies with them, bypassing any psychic or magical immunities the target have. And considering the d4 Strength, it is a good way of temporarly compensate for the lack of physical prowess if needs be.

    Comment


    • ZenFox42
      ZenFox42 commented
      Editing a comment
      The problem with TK is that you can only lift 10*Spirit on a Success, and even with a d10 Spirit, that's only 100 pounds. So no lifting or moving enemies. Now, if the Psionics roll gets a Raise, then you can lift 50*Spirit, or 500 pounds, and with a d12+2, that could happen fairly often. BUT, if the target is living, it gets an opposed Spirit roll, which greatly reduces the chance of a Success (and a Raise). Also, there's no guidelines for lifting objects and bashing them into opponents, just lifting targets into the air and dropping them (at your Smarts die in inches per round, so with a d8 Smarts you'd have to spend 2 rounds lifting them just to do 2d6+2 damage), or lifting the target and smashing them into things like walls (doing d10+d6 damage for this PC).

    • Jounichi
      Jounichi commented
      Editing a comment
      Telekinesis can also be used to wield objects as weapons, and telekinesis would let OM replace Fighting with Psionics for determining Parry. That's a 9.

      Still not terribly effective, though. Can't learn Block or Trademark Weapon. Can't even reliably swing around a strong enough weapon to make full use of that d10 Spirit.

  • #3
    Honestly, I'm still trying to figure out the +2 to Guts.

    Don't worry about it. You don't need to be able to contribute to every encounter. There are four other people who can handle combat. That said, it does read as if the GM is trying to "stealth-nerf" your character. Technically, depending on trappings, even bolt wouldn't work on your enemies. Have you been dominating the game for a while?

    Comment


    • Ogre Mage
      Ogre Mage commented
      Editing a comment
      I have a magic item which gives me +2 guts.

      I would not say "dominating" but back during Seasoned and Veteran rank there were some encounters where confusion and/or puppet+mentalist edge turned the opposition into sitting ducks for the melee characters. After that I began to notice a considerable increase in the number of opponents who were flat-out immune to mental attacks.

      Bolt has an electrical trapping and is one power which has consistently worked. That is one reason I am considering blast.
      Last edited by Ogre Mage; 12-04-2018, 01:55 AM.

    • Deskepticon
      Deskepticon commented
      Editing a comment
      Ogre Mage
      After that I began to notice a considerable increase in the number of opponents who were flat-out immune to mental attacks.
      "Flat out immune" sounds like sloppy GMing. Giving all opponents psionic skullcaps, however, is another matter.
      Enemies are adaptive, especially toward a efficient group of heroes. But if the GM hasn't given a reasonable excuse for why everyone suddenly has steel-trap minds, he's just nerfing you (and it serves you right for building an effective character ).

      Sloppy or not, it seems the GM is trying to tell you something. Perhaps another player complained about not getting enough time... or the GM just felt you were too powerful and couldn't find a more tactful way of handling it. Either way, trying to circumvent your "shackles" might not be a good idea. Perhaps it's time to relegate your character to a supportive role, buffing your teammates to give them more of the spotlight.

    • Jounichi
      Jounichi commented
      Editing a comment
      Talk with your GM before doing anything else. If you and other players have concerns about how the game has progressed, and how everyone can equitably contribute, then it would behoove you all to talk about it openly.

  • #4
    A Bear, Large is a shockingly deadly close combat option for shape change - worth keeping in mind for those foes that you can't crush under your mind. That d12+4 Strength with Str+d6 claws is powerful, and becomes ridiculous when combined with Bear Hug.

    For your party composition, you seem to already have a great power selection. Blast gives you some long range area attacks, which might matter before the melee fighters get stuck in, but that's not going to help once the battle lines are clashing. Summon ally is a wonderful and highly flexible power but you've already got three solid melee combatants (and the ability to become one yourself, as I previously noted), so I don't see it making a large impact.
    There are a couple of other powers that you may want to consider. Burst is a solid AoE damage power, but it will have the same issues as blast in your group with none of the advantages; still good for letting your character solo close combats, but that doesn't seem to be a concern for you.Smite is an amazingly effective power for making other attacks more effective, and the +2/+4 damage can make a great sword amazingly deadly.

    I'd suggest taking a different edge, snagging Rapid Recharge to let you use your powers even more often, get Master to make those raises much more likely, Hard to Kill to survive when these psionic-killers finally manage to put you down, Common Bond to share your bennies with your team, Danger Sense to avoid being ambushed, or Healer to make your magical healing even more effective.
    Many of those suggestions require you to accept that for at least this arc your character will be in a more supportive roll than previously. Which isn't a bad thing but I don't know how much fun you'll have with that.

    Good luck!
    I hope you find the above post useful. And not insulting, because I was trying to be helpful, not insulting; being a pedantic jerk, that isn't always clear.

    Comment


    • Ogre Mage
      Ogre Mage commented
      Editing a comment
      Thanks ValhallaGH, I appreciate your thoughtful response. I am not sure what I am going to take yet but you have given me some things to think about.

      I have used the bear form twice, mostly as surprise against opponents who were not expecting it. In general however, there are three other PCs who can handle melee much better than I.

      My PC was always mostly supportive. Even confusion and puppet were mostly used as support. But we seem to be facing things which are immune to mind attacks the majority of the time now, so I am reduced to just throwing bolt every single round. I feel tactically very limited.

  • #5
    All of the things you can summon with Summon Ally are melee combatants. It doesn't seem like your group needs more of those. I would agree with ValhallaGH that neither of those is likely to help you guys a ton. Blast is best against swarms of lesser enemies; is that something you guys face a lot of? In a sci-fi setting I think it loses out a lot because grenades are more available; those can be pricey, but money is generally less of a resource than character advancements.

    Comment


    • Ogre Mage
      Ogre Mage commented
      Editing a comment
      In 25 sessions swarms have come up twice. However, there were also two other occasions where 6+ enemies were in a medium burst template but no allies caught in it. Those were times I wish I had blast. We are actually playing in a high fantasy-horror (Ravenloft-like) setting, not a sci-fi setting.

  • #6
    Summon Ally doesn't have to do melee combatants, though that's the most common in a fantasy setting. The Experienced Soldier build, is fully capable of coming in with Shooting and a suitable weapon for the setting. Astral Construct Archers, for instance.

    That said, I think you're overlooking a key utility power--Boost/Lower Trait. A power with both offensive and defensive applications, it's simply too flexible to be ignored. Anything from aiding an ally, to raising your Psionics to the point where "Boost with a Called Shot to the Head" is a straight roll, to the classic maneuver my group likes to call, "Kick him in the Vigor". (-2 DT Vigor = -2 Toughness = a considerable number of extra wounds over the course of combat). Unless you're desperate for AoE attacks, I really thing BLT is the way to go.

    Comment


    • Deskepticon
      Deskepticon commented
      Editing a comment
      SteelDraco I always considered the list of summonable allies to be examples and guidelines, not a strict reading of what the power can (or can't) do.

      If you need an archer, the Bodyguard simply gets a longbow instead of a long sword. In a scifi setting, where armor tends to be better, summoning a soldier with a laser pistol is not unreasonable.

      Even elementals can just get "re-skinned" as mechs or astral constructs without changing much at all. And a Creature From the Id (p.78, SFC) is a nice alternative to the Mirror Self.

    • Ogre Mage
      Ogre Mage commented
      Editing a comment
      Boost/Lower Trait is an interesting idea, but because I am playing a mentalist the trapping for it would have to be mind-affecting somehow. Part of my problem is the GMs have been throwing a lot of enemies at us which are immune to mind-based effects. I could use the power to boost my allies, but they all have Fighting (or shooting in the case of the archer) at d12 or higher already.

      Also, we are in a high fantasy-horror (Ravenloft) setting.

    • Freemage
      Freemage commented
      Editing a comment
      Ravenloft... Pity there's no way to 'reflexively' cast Boost Trait to gin up your Spirit (or Guts), then---I'm assuming Fear checks are a thing in this game.

      Still, don't discount the merit of Boosting your allies' Fighting/Shooting skills--especially at d12, where BT becomes a straight bonus to the roll. A d12+4 is also read as "Called Shot to the Vitals as a Straight d12". That's +4 damage, getting them an extra wound per Shaken-or-better damage roll. Similarly, Boosting your own Psionics to do called Shots with Bolt is a pretty sweet ride. And for non-combat challenges, getting around the Unskilled Penalty is suddenly surprisingly easy.

      That said, if Lower Trait is likely to be completely worthless, then I'd say Summon Ally if you can get approval for some ranged-attack Summons on your list, or Blast if not.

  • #7
    I'd probably go with Blast. Given the power modifiers from Flash Gordon that will likely be in the new edition, this could really make you an effective ranged combatant.

    Comment


    • #8
      Without precisely knowing the other team members' strengths/weaknesses its going to be difficult to gauge what you need. But it looks like you all have combat pretty nailed down.

      I would go for a utility power. Boost/lower Trait is a great option both in and out of combat. Flight is nice, but probably not worth it in a scifi setting (assuming jetpacks or antigrav). TK has been mentioned and is another great choice, again, both in and out of combat.

      But honestly, a new Edge is probably your best choice. You don't really need more options, you just need to be better at the ones you have.

      Comment


      • #9
        While Blast is a formidable spell, I see no reason whatsoever not to take Summon Ally. It's one of the most powerful abilities in the game, certainly one of the most versatile.

        At Legendary, you can summon 5 Experienced Soldiers to fight. At the very least you're providing a solid +5 gang-up bonus to whatever melee character you're choosing to support. Give all those Soldiers Killer Instinct and have them grappling or Agility/Smarts tricking the enemies. Stack penalties and Shaken on them, and it's an even more solid support. A Grappled enemy has their Parry reduced to 2, that's basically a free raise on every attack. Fighting a giant monster? 5 Giant Killers with bows and Marksman. A +4 to hit, and 3d6 damage per shot. More with potential called shots.

        Fighting a swarm of enemies? Just summon 3 Fire Elementals. Each of them can use Burst at will, forcing an Agility vs Shooting test to avoid 2d10 damage in a cone. And they're also pretty much immune to damage. So you just cast one spell, and you get 3 Burst effects out of it. Not to mention the fact that they'll keep doing it every round. This rips through Swarms like nobody's business. And they can give a +3 gang-up bonus in melee if you want to, just as an added bonus.

        Feeling particularly petty? Mirror Self can cast Summon Ally as well. Cast Mirror Self, have Mirror Self cast Summon Ally and do all the dirty work for you. At 30 Power Points your summoned ally will have 15, and will be able to use this power twice. That means 10 Soldiers, or 6 Elementals. At this point you don't need other characters. You ARE the party.

        But that's just my advice.

        Comment


        • #10
          Originally posted by thewizardguy View Post

          Feeling particularly petty? Mirror Self can cast Summon Ally as well. Cast Mirror Self, have Mirror Self cast Summon Ally and do all the dirty work for you. At 30 Power Points your summoned ally will have 15, and will be able to use this power twice. That means 10 Soldiers, or 6 Elementals. At this point you don't need other characters. You ARE the party.
          Just be sure your GM hasn't read or seen My Hero Academia, or else he might get inspiration from Twice's backstory.
          You're rational, sir. It's only us crazy people who get to swap out realities on a whim.

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