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Your Friendly Neighborhood Force Field


ORtrail

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I don't think I've seen force fields treated the same in any two games. As I was working on some super NPCs, I got curious about all the ways you can treat a force field power.

Does it absorb a set amount than burn out/shut down? Does that mean it absorbs 10 pts per attack for example, or does it absorb all of the first 50 points of damage and then dissipate? Does it require only energy to activate, or does it take extra energy for every point of damage it absorbs/blocks? Only certain types of damage? Would it be fun to treat it like a reverse damage roll and try to match the attack damage dice ("Okay, roll your 4D6 force field to absorb the gunfire")? Does it protect from mental attacks? Does it prevent incorporeal beings from passing through? Can you expand it to protect others? Does it block outgoing attacks? Is it airtight? Does it do damage to others when touched?

Let me simplify it down to one question: What is your favorite version of the force field?

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The personal force fields in the old Futureworld module acted like armor, but what sort of attacks they protected the wearer from had to be pre-set in advance. A character could be prepared for and protected against lasers but get clobbered by a rock instead. The devices used energy drawn from a pool of power points.

In answer to your question, all of the above. ;D I'll have to peruse the Force Field rules and see what our default options are.

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Yeah, I had looked over the force field rules in Future World, compared them with the Super World version, then how first edition Gamma World did it, and so on with some other games. Future World stands out as an oddity since the force sword ignores all versions of armor, but is stopped by even a 1 pt Magnetic Screen. I like the idea of having to adjust for different types of damage, and that the force field eats up energy as it absorbs damage.

A force field is cheaper to buy than armor in Superworld, but if you figure in energy cost, not so much. Being able to use the force field to attack, extend it to others, as an impromptu diving bell? Then it gets interesting again.

On the other hand, I also like the idea of a set amount of points for a force field, say 50 pts? You know you can absorb that amount to start any battle, so you could do things that would otherwise put a hurt on you. Of course, as a GM I'd have minions with guns helping to drain those points down. ;)

Then again you have random armor rolls, so why not random force fields? You might take nada, you might take a lot. Who doesn't enjoy rolling dice?

The BGB seems to have a pretty solid take on force fields at first glance, with different energy types and energy cost when damage is absorbed. The catch? There are 11 different types of energy! You also lose the shield when damage exceeds its level. Why am I not wearing armor again?

I started this thread hoping to see someone post about what force field rules they use (mainly BRP style) and why those rules, uh, rule.

Edited by ORtrail
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I think I'd like to see it work like the old Protection spell, pay POW, most likely electrical POW but still POW to keep the field active, and it deflects X amount of damage; more POW in means a stronger field, as would a higher level of technology.

I could see a generator providing a constant POW output, or a field could draw off a battery (until it runs out) much the same way spells work.

If damage that got past the field had a chance of overloading/damaging the field and/or the generator we could have a field get weakened or even drop if overloaded. Perhaps this could be an option depending on what type of field one is using and if it has the safety shutoff or not.

Chaos stalks my world, but she's a big girl and can take of herself.

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I've also only ever used the Future*World force field rules, and I rather like them. The "tacpack" really is a very tactical piece of equipment and it adds a lot of flavour that an omnipotent force field lacks.

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Well, I'm going to experiment with random force fields. I have a teenage super villain named Kid Phoenix who surrounds himself with a fiery force field.

Random Force Field Cost to Buy: 4 Hero pts per level Energy cost: 1 pt per 1D6 protection

Each level of this power protects 1D6 pts from all types of energy damage each combat round. The base protection is half the 1D6 levels (Kid Phoenix has 6D6 so he gets a base of 3pts) and the player can choose how many dice to use to defend from each attack (up to his max number of dice) each combat round. The force field can seal up airtight to keep out gas attacks or let the player dive under water with an extra minute of oxygen per level. The force field can be extended 1 meter per level to cover other people, objects or areas at double the power cost (2 pts per 1D6).

Kid Phoenix is being shot at by Gunslinger, who hits once. Rolling 3d6 Gunslinger does 13 pts total. Kid Phoenix has a base of 3 and decides to roll just 2D6 against this attack. He gets 10 pts total, negating the attack! Kid Phoenix still has 4D6 to spend this combat round against other attacks.

While his force field is underpowered (he is just a teenager) Kid Phoenix can protect himself from some heavy damage attacks -at least once per round. He could also find himself down to the base 3 pts if he uses all his dice up early each combat round. I will of course have him bluff the heroes by rolling 4D6 dice against the first attack and laughing (unless I roll low...).

There are lots of extra features to add as desired. An Energy Projection attack using the force field to batter people, an Entangle attack that traps people inside a force field bubble/net, etc.

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Ouch. I wouldn't want to insure Kid Phoenix's life! Random protection will eventually let some massive damage through.

I hope you got some sort of lethality reducing options in the game. It's not very heroic if Kid Phoenix gets shot dead the day he rolls 3 ones against a rifle shoot.

Chaos stalks my world, but she's a big girl and can take of herself.

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Well it is a supers game, so he has 16 hit points, is conscious until 0 or less, and can take up to half his CON in negative points before he kicks it. In other words, it takes 24 pts to actually kill him, and 30 if you count his base force field of 3 pts plus the 3 pt minimum for rolling those 3 dice.

He will be part of an adventure where there is more detective work going on than usual. The heroes don't actually have to fight anyone until the main villain at the end -but could easily be involved in three super battles total depending on how they decide to handle things. Kid Phoenix will be eager to fight of course, but the heroes will have to push things a bit. I expect the players to think the Kid is really tough after the first attack or two does little to him, but the end of the round will tell the tale. He is really intended to be a nuisance villain, but when they meet him again in a year or so....

Besides, with a name like Kid Phoenix, would you expect him to stay dead? :)

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