This may have been asked before, but I could not find it. How do you build a character that takes extra damage from some sort of attack? Say like someone who takes extra damage from sunlight like a vampire or some other source like water? I see that in the write up of Absolute Zero they use twists but it doesn’t really occur all the time it appears the twist needs to occur first. So how would you model someone who gets hurt all the time from a certain source more than someone else? I had thought of using an inherent hinder at character or villain creation but wanted to see what others thought.
I’m afraid that there’s not really any way to do that for heroes.
For minions and lieutenants, it’s super easy — just give them an ability that says something like, “This minion has -3 on saves against [thing].”
For villains . . . how I would handle it is have the villain start the scene with some sort of device / magic spell / protective suit or something that protects them from their weakness, and have a challenge in the scene that the heroes can Overcome to destroy that protection. Then, once it’s Overcome, just add a rule to the scene: “Attacks against [Villain] using [thing] receive a +3 bonus.”
But for heroes . . . I really do think that the best way is via twists. Twists can happen a lot, especially if you build your hero with that in mind. You can make most / all of the hero’s twists essentially be something like, “Boost the next damage that [hero] would take from [thing],” — and making it a persistent and exclusive bonus would also help out. (Or you could just make the twists straight-up damaging attacks, bu I think that the Boosts work better for what you want.)
Another (possibly unsatisfying) option is just to roleplay it. Have the character actively recoil whenever their weakness is near, and angst about how terrible their condition is like all great '90s anti-heroes.
What fjur said.
Villains that use the Formidable archetype are also pretty good for emulating that kind of weakness, although again they suffer reduced status die sizes rather just damage. To some degree a Titan archetype’s innate challenge could also do the job.
In addition to using twists for hero weaknesses, some builds might be able to further suggest weaknesses by re-skinning abilities that self-damage or self-hinder as the result of that weakness, although not everyone will have them available as options. You could also make a point of using Risky basic actions to generate twists to reflect a weakness, although that probably isn’t very efficient compared to using abilities.
For a constant-effect weakness (like the vampire sunstroke example you mentioned) I’d be more inclined to make it a persistent and exclusive penalty than actual damage over time. That’s easily produced with a Risky basic Hinder if you lack abilities with P+E mods.
A lot of weaknesses can be portrayed by describing what you’re doing differently. That Max damage Attack is now you pressing a holy symbol into the bloodsucker’s flesh, your P+E Hinder ability is forcing them into direct sunlight - and as a GM they can’t shed that penalty until they get out of the light somehow, etc.
Thank you both!
NP. Sorry there isn’t a more straightforward answer. The game takes odd and somewhat counterintuitive approaches to some common supers tropes that you see in a lot of other rule sets - “Kryptonite” weaknesses being one of them.
Knockback and similar forced movement tricks are another. Some abilities include them, but you mostly have to rely on twists, risky actions and Overcomes to work them into a scene rather than just looking at the dice and mathing out a number the way you would in (say) V&V or Champions.
It’s certainly a different approach from a lot of other games, although that’s not saying different approaches are a Bad Thing.
Another thought - perhaps when you can exploit a weakness/vulnerability during an Overcome (like, say, brandishing a cross to force a vampire to remain at a distance, or even flee) you could either:
- Use your Max die, or (if you can already use your Max die for whatever reason) you Max + Min dice
- Roll your Overcome normally (including using Principles or other action abilities) but treat the end result as one bracket higher on the chart, ie a minor twist becomes a no-strings success, and you only need an 8+ to get the super-success/positive twist a 12+ normally grants. Whether you want to do something even more generous for an actual 12+ result is up to you, but something on par with a major twist would seem appropriate to me.
On the flip side, trying to do an Overcome that flies in the face of a weakness might see you rolling and taking your Min die no matter what, or you could bump the result down a bracket on the chart (making 1-3 a no-choices fail, a 4-7 fail unless you pay a major twist, and 8-11 pass with a minor twist, etc. Harsh, but probably appropriate.
It seems to me that the Principles might be a good way to go here. A vampire’s vulnerabilities or a certain paragon’s weakness to his native soil are very much part of their core identity. That is what the Principles are all about. Instead of giving the hero something that they can auto succeed at and get Hero Points, have it be something that the opponent can tag with an Overcome to get around one of their strengths and the hero gets rewarded for continuing on at that handicap.
It would have to be a true core of the hero’s identity to be allowed I’d say.