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Triggered involuntary movement - the banana conundrum

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  • Triggered involuntary movement - the banana conundrum

    So, I'm trying to stat out a rather daffy fruit-themed villain, inspired by Condiment King and some of the more ridiculous of Batman's Silver Age bad guys. One power I'm trying to give him - drop a banana peel, some time later an enemy steps on it and goes flying in a zany and slapstick manner. How do I stat this out?

    The obvious method was to use a triggered Nullify (Randomize) vs ground movement, but Nullify doesn't work on innate powers (which normal movement certainly is, for anyone without Speed ranks).
    Then I thought of a triggered Move Object, but I'm not sure this would work as intended. Move Object is, as I understand it, basically Ranged Strength, so I'd need to spend a standard action establishing a grab before using a second action to move the target, and this doesn't really make sense in context of what I'm trying to achieve and besides, using a Grab would make big strong clumsy characters very resistant to this power, whereas it seems logically they'd be the most susceptible.
    Then I thought of an triggered Affliction with a customised 3rd degree (prone as the 2nd degree), but a 3rd degree condition should as far as I know be basically combat-ending, which seems overkill for this.
    Knockback from the GM's Guide requires damage, which isn't really what this is about.
    Any other ideas? Uncontrolled Flight as an Attack perhaps? HeroLab won't let me do this (I can't select the Attack extra for Flight, only the Attack + self extra), but I'm not sure whether this is a HeroLab peculiarity or whether it's due to some wrinkle in the rules I'm not aware of. And there's also the question of duration - this isn't an effect that I want to be lasting, so duration probably should be instantaneous, can I even do that with movement powers?

    Also with regard to this power - how does range work with the Triggered extra? Does it allow me to place the trigger at a distance, or does it mean that when the effect triggers, it has range?

  • #2
    Re: Triggered involuntary movement - the banana conundrum

    Originally posted by humble minion View Post
    So, I'm trying to stat out a rather daffy fruit-themed villain, inspired by Condiment King and some of the more ridiculous of Batman's Silver Age bad guys. One power I'm trying to give him - drop a banana peel, some time later an enemy steps on it and goes flying in a zany and slapstick manner. How do I stat this out?
    I would build it as Move Object, Close Range (drop the banana peel nearby), Triggered (when stepping on the banana peel), Limited to tripping, Feature: Improved Trip. Total cost comes to 2 points plus 1 point per 2 ranks.

    Move Object can be used to make trip attacks, just like basic Strength, and you don't have to establish a grab to fling someone indiscriminately anyway. Improved Trip forces the big strong clumsy guy to resist the trip with Acrobatics instead of Athletics, making them appropriately more likely to fail to resist. The zany slapstick flinging can just be a descriptor.

    Also with regard to this power - how does range work with the Triggered extra? Does it allow me to place the trigger at a distance, or does it mean that when the effect triggers, it has range?
    Generally, the Triggered effect is placed at the power's range, then the effect happens at the location of the trigger, to simulate setting a trap. However, the rules are meant to be broad, so it's okay to fudge the details a little to make a power work the way it's supposed to.

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    • #3
      Re: Triggered involuntary movement - the banana conundrum

      Those are some excellent questions. I've grappled with some similar ones for my clown build of Pratfall who has a banana peel Triggered attack (although I just went for an Affliction to make them stumble/Prone, and Damage for the fall/straining the muscles to keep from falling). First off, one thing that the Power Profiles (admittedly, not full canon, but written by Green Ronin) suggested as a specialized rule was a "Fling" option for Move Object which involves a single attack roll and a single check by the defender to move them in a single direction without a Grab.

      For attacks that just fling targets away, you can use the Move Object effect, modified by the targetís weight rank, with effect rank minus weight rank equalling the distance rank the target is thrown. The target gets a Strength check against the Move Object rank +10 to avoid being thrown. Optionally, you can base the distance on the difference between a failed Strength check and the Difficulty Class (effect rank + 10), with a maximum distance of (effect rank Ė weight rank), for a system similar to the knockback caused by damage described in the Gamemasterís Guide.
      Another question which you didn't ask (but which I've grappled a bit with myself) is how the Attack Roll part works. If you're planting a time bomb on someone, that's a pretty clear attack roll to plant it. But what if you're dropping caltrops? Or a banana peel? Unlike something like a landmine or a motion-sensitive bomb, there's no Area effect, so there should still be an attack roll. Placing it didn't really require any meaningful attack roll, but there should be some method of evading it other than "you can't enter this area for the rest of combat or it goes off". The Gadget Guides do offer some guidelines for this, suggesting allowing a "Bypass" option with a suitable skill as well as the "Disarm" option. Acrobatics seems like a simple case here.

      Lastly, as regards Range, that's another grey area. By the book, they make no distinction between setting up a booby trap involving an AK-47 whose trigger is pulled by a trip-wire (close-range setup of a ranged effect) and throwing a motion-sensitive mine onto the door across the room (ranged setup of a close-ranged effect). Given you have to pick how your effect Triggers when you create it, I'd probably say that that determines the answer right there.

      As a side note, by the book, there's nothing keeping you from using an effect with Triggered just on its own.
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      • #4
        Re: Triggered involuntary movement - the banana conundrum

        Yeah, it's all a bit confusing. I'll probably go with Fling for the moment I think, I wasn't aware of that option but it fits. You're 100% right on the attack roll, I hadn't thought about that (although I've scratched my head about attack rolls and Aura damage effects once or twice). I think sometimes you've got to go with the spirit rather than the letter on stuff like this - just make it work with the best rule available and fudge a bit if you need to. Hell, even the Energy Absorption power in the core book seems to break the RAW for Fades, so I suspect that's the attitude GR take as well.

        That being said, I do hope the updated Gamemaster's Guide has a bit of an FAQ/clarification section on this sort of thing. And while I'm on the topic, it'd be really nice if the brought back the Independent extra, and some variant of Slow Fade as well...

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        • #5
          Re: Triggered involuntary movement - the banana conundrum

          Could you just use a triggered trip attack? Or maybe increasing Speed and make Dodge a valid resistance, to signify people moving further than expected/intended? I'm wondering now if you could link the two and use the result to show what happened; failing both means you fall hilariously in a random direction, failing one means you either fall or overshoot your mark but not both.
          Last edited by MrTwist; 10th March 2019, 11:23 AM.

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          • #6
            Re: Triggered involuntary movement - the banana conundrum

            Conceptually, it's an Affliction, not much different than Snare and the like.
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            • #7
              Re: Triggered involuntary movement - the banana conundrum

              Well, yes, prone is a 2nd degree affliction effect. And that is the point of this. Making someone fall down.

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