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Thread: An issue with the time power "Temporal Sidestep"

  1. #1
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    Jan 2019

    An issue with the time power "Temporal Sidestep"

    Hey there,

    I am a GM with a player who plays a character with Time Powers. Recently I recognized some odd problems with the power "Temporal Sidestep". My player interprets the rules in a manner I don't really go with. But so far I have to go with it, because this power is somehow paradox. An before spoiling the game, I agree with an overpowered interpretation of the rules.

    The issue is: When does "Temporal Sidestep" work. When does it not.

    As listed, Temporal Sidestep offers an Immunity 80 to Dodge and Parry based attacks. And seperated with a semicolon, it offers a second effect: a reaction teleport 1.

    That means to me, that this power consists of two effects which can be both used with acquiring this power once. An Immunity 80 means 80 ranks in this power.
    With Immunity that costs 1 PowerPoint (PP) per rank, that means 80 PP spent for that power, regularly. But Temporal Sidestep costs only 32 PP. So far so good, furthermore the math behind the cost of that power should be: Base Effect Cost = 1 per rank. Additionaly a Modifier, a flaw, called "limited" = -1 per rank, mixes up. A second modifier, called "Concentration" applies as well. An Immunity is basically a permanet power. To apply the "Concentration" modifier presumes a "Sustained" duration. According to the rules, making a "permanent" power that doesn't need any "mundane effort" to kept ongoing, to a power that is only "sustained" is an Extra (a positive modifier) for 0 points cost per rank. A effect with the duration "sustained" needs at least a free action to stay sustained. Making a sustained effect to an effect that works only as long as you concentrate on, the Flaw-Modifier called "Concentration" applies. A short costing

    Base cost per rank for "Immunity" = 1 PP per rank
    Modifier -Extra- "Sustained" = + 0 PP per rank
    Modifier -Flaw- "Concentration" = - 1 PP per rank
    Modifier -Limited- = - 1 PP per rank

    Makes a total of -1 PP per Rank. A Base Effect Cost reduced to zero by modifiers simply resolves in the Powerpoints per rank ratio of 1:2, which means 1 PP per 2 ranks. And any further cost reduction leads to applying this to the "rank part" of that ratio, which means, - 1 per rank equals in a ratio of 1:3, 1 PP per 3 ranks. In addition to that the power "Temporal Sidestep" contains a "Reaction Teleport". Reaction means as many times as needed and triggered. This is not marked as an Alternate Effect. It simply works everytime he doesn't uses the Immunity.

    But what actually means an "Immunity 80 to Dodge and Parry based attacks"

    A combat is handled this way, as far as I understand it. The following description refers to the point when the attack occurs, after rolling initiative and when it is the attackers turn.

    1. You make an Attack check. With using a power, an attack check is needed any time you use an effect that is a so called "Attack". "Attack" refers to simply any effect that according to the table of "Power Effects" has the word "Attack" listed in the column "Type", which includes "Afflictions".
    2. An attack check is, you roll a D20 plus your "Attack Bonus" and any modifiers against a DC that is equal to the "Defense Class".
    3. The "Defense Class" is equal to the "Dogde" or the "Parry" Defense plus 10. Dogde for ranged attacks, Parry for close attacks.
    4. If the attacker hits, the target is allowed to make a resistance check. An that is actually when an Immunity works. Because an Immnuity means you succeed on an any resistance check which suits the thing you are immune to.

    And that is where the problem starts, with a "Immunity 80 to Dodge and Parry based attacks"

    Any, simply any attack is according to the rules based on "Dogde" and "Parry" because, when you attack, the targets "Defense Class" consists of the "Dodge" or "Parry" defense. That means a "Immunity to Dodge and Parry based attacks" renders the target virtually untouchable. Including, "Toughness, Fortitude and Will based attacks". For 32 PP

    The other way round an Immuity means you succeed on the "Resistance Check". An only to those things that you have to resist to. With an "Immunity to Dodge and Parry based attacks" that means only on those things, you resist with your "Dodge" oder "Parry" defense. Whilst a "Damage"-effect is generally and in its basic form resisted with "Toughness", that leaves the "Immunity to Dodge and Parry based attacks" quite useless.

    I hope I could explain the problem I have, and I would appreciate any solution to that problem. Even though I am not looking for pros and cons to that issue but for a final resolve, preferentially by a developer of the game. To clarify the intentions. If there is any incorrectness with the things I mentioned or along the considerations, of course any critique is welcome.

    Thank you in advance for your help

    P.S. I am not a native english speaker, therefore I beg your pardon if my English is not correct
    Last edited by SandboxDude; 01-22-2019 at 04:57 AM.

  2. #2
    MCRN Admiral Bladewind's Avatar
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    Apr 2014
    Laval, QC, Canada

    Re: An issue with the time power "Temporal Sidestep"

    First, please never apologize because you can speak and write more than one language.

    To answer your question, in reading that power, if you allow it in your game, it means exactly what you think it does.

    The character is effectively immune to attack targeting Dodge or Parry that the character is aware of. So if you can sneak up on him, it does not work. Walking into a gunfight or sword fight? Immune. A fireball (area effect) affects the character normally.

    The teleport aspect of that power is essentially him getting out of the way and is, in large part, descriptor for the Dodge and Parry Immunity except the character is actually moved out of the way.

    At least, that`s my take.
    Last edited by Bladewind; 01-21-2019 at 05:00 PM.
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  3. #3
    OPA Belta JDRook's Avatar
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    Re: An issue with the time power "Temporal Sidestep"

    EDIT: I agree with Bladewind on most points, although I think the immunity would also work on Area Attacks as long as the PC can see them coming.

    Quote Originally Posted by SandboxDude View Post
    I sought a clear and precise and ultimately reliable clarification of the intention behind the description of the power.
    Unfortunately, and with all due respect to both you and the game designers, there is practically no chance this will happen.

    There are a few reasons I say this:

    - You can compare Temporal Sidestep to a similar power in the Power Profiles called "Blink Teleport". Based purely on the short descriptions, both of these powers should be mechanically identical, but Blink is just the Reaction part of Sidestep; far simpler and a fraction of the cost. The Power Profiles were written by one designer, so there's no clear reason which power should be considered "correct".

    - These two powers sparked a lot of discussion on the boards when it came out about 5 years ago, with no consensus reached.

    - Many years ago, when M&M 2nd Edition was the newest version, the designers would directly address questions of this nature, but that doesn't happen anymore, so most discussion is just among users in the community and interpretation is up to the individual GM.

    It seems like you have a good grasp on how the power should work, but unfortunately it's a troublesome power. I usually look at it in the reverse order, with the Reaction Teleport and then the Immunity. (So yes, this is my interpretation.)

    In theory the Reaction Teleport allows a PC to move away from any attack they can see coming, which has a few problems. The first is the Reaction Trigger (when attacked); this is similar to Reaction Damage for an Aura-type Power, which triggers when the PC is hit, damaging the attacker, but that doesn't avoid the damage from the attack. If you interpret that the Teleport happens before the attack hits, that means the attack never lands and does no damage; but this means you are effectively immune to most common and many uncommon attacks using a 5p Movement effect, which seems broken. However, if you say that the trigger occurs when hit, which is simple and clear, then the Teleport is reasonably priced for what it does, but the PC still takes damage.

    This brings us to the Immunity. The Dodge/Parry Immunity in the Power Profiles was never in any of the other books, but is similar to the Immunity to Toughness Effect which is also 80p base cost. This allows you to ignore all Damage-based attacks, but wouldn't stop things like Afflictions. Using the Dodge and Parry based attacks Immunity, you can be immune to most Close Attacks (Parry), Ranged (Dodge) and even Dodge- or Parry-based Area Attacks, but not Perception Ranged Attacks (the most common of which are mental powers). This combined with the Reaction Teleport can allow your PC to be "hit" but not affected, and then teleport away. Of course the descriptor of the power would be that the PC teleported away and the attack missed, but mechanically it works the other way so that the effects are more balanced for cost.

    With just those two effects, the power would allow the PC to be hit by almost anything and 'port away without being hurt, but this is very expensive and arguably too powerful, so Flaws were added. Limited to not vs Surprise Attacks is good because Surprise Attacks are well-defined in the book; if the PC can't perceive the attack due to Stealth/Subtle/Concealment/Unaware senses/etc then the Immunity doesn't work. Concentration makes it so the PC has to be in something of a defensive stance, ready to avoid attacks with a Standard Action. 2 Flaws on an 80p effect brings it down to 27p, plus the 5p (or more) for the Reaction Teleport.

    You could remove or replace those Flaws if you wanted. Taking out the Surprise Limit means the PC can avoid and 'port as a reflex as long as they're in the "defensive stance", whether they can see the attack or not. Taking out Concentration means no defensive stance and the PC can use it anytime, even while attacking, as long as they are aware of the attack. With only 1 Flaw, that's a 40p + 5p for the port Power, which is still expensive but not too unreasonable. Another Flaw you could use instead (or as well) could be Tiring, allowing either a cheaper or more powerful Sidestep, but limiting how much the PC can use it before exhausting themselves. For the descriptor of "seeing attack, stopping time and moving out of the way" though, I think the two Flaws are good on their own.

    Quote Originally Posted by SandboxDude View Post
    In addition to that the power "Temporal Sidestep" contains a "Reaction Teleport". Reaction means as many times as needed and triggered. This is not marked as an Alternate Effect. It simply works everytime he doesn't uses the Immunity.
    By my interpretation, the Reaction triggers every time he DOES use the Immunity; the attack hits, the Immunity keeps him from being affected and then triggers the 'port. They are not Linked so they don't need to go off together, so the PC can opt to stay in the same spot (although if it was an Area Attack the GM may say they have to move out of the area).

    I think this is the most playable and fair interpretation, but it is your game and your interpretation should overrule your players when necessary. It should be balanced, but more importantly it should be fun for everyone.
    Last edited by JDRook; 01-21-2019 at 05:09 PM.
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  4. #4
    UN Basic Recipient
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    Re: An issue with the time power "Temporal Sidestep"


    thank you very much for your fast replies.

    While investigating the aforementioned issue I went through the rules. And yes, I was wrong. Not any attack is automatically dodge- or parry-based. As written in the Basic Rules an attack has one of the 3 ranges. Close, ranged and perception range. Thus, an Immunity 80 to Dodge and Parry based attacks, doesn't cover perception ranged attacks.

    And I was wrong with the math too. A total cost of -1 PP per rank means 1 PP per 3 ranks. 80 ranks divided by 3 equals 26,666, thus 27 PP plus 5 PP for "Reaction Teleport 1". So you are right Mister JDRook.

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