Monday, May 3, 2010

Supers: Escape from Fake Prom Vines

This is something I meant to mention in my last post, and although it's labeled with the "supers" tag, it isn't really supers-specific. However, it did grow out of something that happened in that last FATE Supers game I ran.

Here's the situation: Prodigy takes a section of iron railing and wraps it around the Headmaster to restrain him. This is, under standard FATE 3.0 rules (as far as I know), a kind of Block. The problem is that Blocks are supposed to be maintained every round, whereas the circumstances of this Block clearly don't require that. Anyway, Prodigy rolls his Superhuman Might and gets a 16 -- which is what the super-intelligent ape and his Extraordinary Might will have to beat to break free. Hard, but not impossible. (In fact, thanks to a good roll and a couple Fate Points, he does indeed break free to wreak a little more simian havoc in that scene.)

Before that happened, though, Prodigy pulls a similar trick with Temper, a villainous metal-manipulator, only this time he ties him up with some decorative vines (...the scene is a jungle-themed prom, so decorative vines are readily available). This time Prodigy gets a 17 -- and Temper has literally no chance to break free without spending, like, six Fate Points. From fake prom vines.

This, to me, is a problem. Fake vines should be inherently easier to deal with than an iron railing. At the same time, wrapping someone in iron should be harder than tying them up with vines.

So here's what I'd do if I had to do it all over again: I'd steal from HERO.
  • Assign the material in question a difficulty: Mediocre, Fair, Great, Fantastic, or Legendary.
  • The material's difficulty is the target number when using it to restrain someone with a Might roll. For example, that iron railing would be Fantastic, while the fake vines would be Mediocre (they aren't made to be sturdy, after all).
  • If the wrapper-upper's Might roll beats the difficulty, the restraint has a stress track with a number of boxes equal to the shifts obtained. For example, Prodigy's roll of 16 for the Headmaster's restraints would mean a stress track with 10 boxes, whereas the stress track for Temper's vine restraints would have 17 boxes.
  • When the restrainee attempts to escape, roll Might against the material's difficulty. Shifts obtained are stress dealt to the restraint's stress track. So the iron railing, with its Fantastic difficulty, is difficult to budge; the average person will have a tough time making progress. The Headmaster, with his Extraordinary Might, will have an easier time of it, but it'll still probably take him a round or three. The fake vines, on the other hand, can be escaped by anyone given time (Temper included).
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