Deliveries, Traits, Effects, and Defenses

After a host of questions, we go over the interactions between Deliveries, Traits, Effects, and Trait Categories.   Excerpt from the Brittanis Core Rules reads:  

7.0 Attack Traits

Most attacks include a descriptive trait. This trait is indicated by the second part of the verbal. The trait of an attack adds flavor to the attack and determines whether certain defenses can be used to negate the attack. If an attack is "5 Damage by Fire" then the trait of the attack would be Fire. [section omitted]  

7.1 Elemental Traits

These include Air, Cold, Earth, Fire, Ice, Lightning, Water, and Wind. The effect is caused by elemental power. Abilities that work against Elemental effects will work against effects with any of these traits. You may role play an Elemental effect by crying out or stepping backwards as the effect is inflicted.

7.2 Mental Traits

These include Awe, Confusion, Despair, Fear, Gloom, Inspiration, Madness, Presence, Trance, and Will. The effect is caused by some mental or emotional reaction. Abilities that work against Mental effects will work against effects with any of these traits. You may role play a Mental effect by crying out or stepping backwards as the effect is inflicted.

7.3 Metabolic Traits

These include Aging, Air, Cold, Disease, Heat, Poison, and Sleep. The effect is caused by a Metabolic reaction. Abilities that work against Metabolic effects will work against effects with any of these traits. You may role play a Metabolic effect by crying out or stepping backwards as the effect is inflicted.

7.4 Physical Traits

These include Crystal, Earth, Force, Ice, Silver, Thorns, Weapon, Web, and Wind. The effect is caused by a Physical force. Abilities that work against Physical effects will work against effects with any of these traits. You may role play a Physical effect by crying out or stepping backwards as the effect is inflicted.

7.5 Special Traits

All traits not included above are Special traits. These can include, but are not limited to, Acid, Blessing, Corruption, Curse, Darkness, Light, Blood, Magic, Malediction, and Shadow. These traits are not included in any general trait, so abilities must specifically include them. Special attacks allow no additional role playing; you will suffer the effect of a Special attack immediately.   Before we get going, take a look at the new 2016 Brittanis Quicksheet and keep it handy. So, the real question ends up being “How does that actually WORK, especially with Defenses?” Answering that is the purpose of this blog post. Some reminders for context:
  • DEFENSES are how you NEGATE an attack (Delivery), Effect, or Trait. Defenses come in several varieties, but for the purposes of this blog post, we’re focusing on three: ELUDE/GUARD/SHIELD (first-out defenses), AVOID/PARRY/RESIST (smart defenses), and PURGE (shrugging off.)
    • Removing an effect from another character requires the CURE effect. There are also some skills that let you give another character the ability to use one of the above Defenses.
    • Defenses (and Cures) will specify what they allow you to interact with. The skill description will specifically tell you what they can target: Deliveries, Effects, Traits, or Trait Categories.
Let’s review a bit so we’re on the same page about the things a Defense will target:
  • DELIVERY is the vehicle for how an effect GETS TO a target. The 4 main DELIVERY methods for attacks are Touch, Melee/Missile, Packet, and Other (which covers things like By My Voice, By My Gesture, etc). Example: the DELIVERY of a sword attack would be Melee, a fireball might be Packet, and an area effect attack might be By My Voice.
    • Touch is delivered either by a packet held in the hand or with appropriate “Hands On” permission.
    • Melee/Missile are delivered by appropriately-targeted strikes with combat safe weapons
    • Packet is delivered by approved combat-safe bean bags.
    • Other is delivered in a variety of ways specified in the Brittanis Core Rules, section 5.
  • EFFECTS are WHAT HAPPENS to a target. They are detailed in the Brittanis Core Rules, section 6.
    • Any verbal with a number, but no specific Effect is assumed to have the “Damage” effect and “by Weapon” trait to reduce combat noise. For example, hitting someone with an axe and calling “5” is assumed to actually be “5 Damage by Weapon.” “5 by Fire” is assumed to actually be “5 Damage by Fire,” and so on.
    • All effects have a DEFAULT duration of “until you rest for 5 minutes.” The only exceptions are Agony, Maim, and Frenzy which are specified in their descriptions.
    • A prefix of “Short” before an effect (“Short Maim, for example) changes the 5 minute duration to “until you rest for 10 seconds.”
      • It’s important to understand that the timer for both default and Short durations don’t start until you are actually RESTING. See Section 6.1 for details on Resting.
    • A prefix of “Permanent” before an effect (“Permanent Maim, for example) changes the 5 minute duration to “until end of the event.”
    • Regardless of the Traits that follow an Effect, the way the Effect works is always the same. Stun always works according to the rules for Stun, no matter if it’s Stun by Fire, Short Stun by Fate, Permanent Stun by Poison, Stun by Will, and so on. The roleplay you use when hit by an effect can change, and the way an effect interacts with Defenses can change, but how the effect actually WORKS never changes-- you still collapse safely to the ground and remain there unconscious until you have rested for 5 minutes (or the other duration specified by Short, Permanent, etc).
  • TRAITS are the roleplaying “tags” that accompany an Effect to tell you HOW an effect should be roleplayed. “5 Damage by Fire” is a wholly different roleplaying experience than “5 Damage by Horror” or “5 Damage by Thorn.”
    • Any verbal with a number, but no specific Effect is assumed to have the “Damage” effect and “by Weapon” trait to reduce combat noise. For example, hitting someone with an axe and calling “5” is assumed to actually be “5 Damage by Weapon.” “5 by Fire” is assumed to actually be “5 Damage by Fire,” and so on.
    • Traits come in 5 categories: Physical, Mental, Metabolic, Elemental and Special. See the above section for details.
    • The crossover between the Elemental category and others is intentional.
    • There are many Traits that aren’t specifically listed in the above section. Anything not specifically listed as Physical, Mental, Metabolic or Elemental is considered Special.
So now that we’re clear on the framework we’re talking about, let’s talk about how these all interact some. Defenses and Cures are specific-- they tell you EXACTLY what they interact with. It’s up to you to understand how those game elements work together in order to use your character’s skills most effectively, and make sure you’re playing by the rules as defined in those skills. For purposes of this blog post, we will shorten Elude/Guard/Shield to just “Shield” and Avoid/Parry/Resist to just “Resist.” In game terms, Elude/Guard/Shield are the “first-out defenses”; all work identically, but use different words to represent roleplaying differences between them. Avoid/Parry/Resist are the Defenses that allow the user to CHOOSE when to activate them. Like Elude/Guard/Shield, all work identically, but use different words to represent roleplaying differences between them. For the most part, Cures and Defenses work similarly. They allow you to remove/negate something specifically called out in game rules. For example:
  • The Parry Skill under Skill Source states: “Once per battle, you can call, “Parry” when hit by a melee attack.” This Defense targets an entire DELIVERY-- it can be used against ANY melee attack that hits the character, regardless if it’s “Agony by Poison” or “10 Damage by Force” or “Slam by Magic”-- if it’s a melee attack, Parry can be used to call “Parry” against it.
  • The Runic Inscription skill under the Grey Council header states: “Once per day, you can call, “Resist” against any Disarm or Destroy effect that hits items in your possession.” In this case, the Resist is targeting two specific EFFECTS-- Disarm and Destroy.  
  • Under the same header, the Deathward skill states: 1/day, you can call, “Resist by Allegiance!” when hit by the Death effect or an attack that is “by Fate.” This skill allows the Resist Defense to target EITHER an effect (Death) or a Trait (by Fate.) In this case, it would allow you to call “Resist by allegiance!” against a “Death by Magic” packet attack, a “Agony and Death by Fire!” melee attack, a “By My Voice, Death to Hero by Malediction” attack or ANY other attack that had the Death Effect as a part of it. As long as it has the Death effect somewhere in it, it qualifies. Likewise, that skill would allow you to call “Resist by Allegiance!” against ANY attack with the “By Fate” Trait, like “5 Damage by Fate,” “Waste 5 Stamina and Slow by Fate,” etc. As long as it has the “by Fate” trait attached to it, you can call use the skill.
  • Under the Valerias header, the Magical Exposure skill first purchase states: “Once per day, you call, “Hold Fast! Resist by Allegiance!” against any effect with the Magic trait.” This skill targets a single specific Trait. The 2nd Purchase of that skill expands the skill’s utility considerably, allowing it to be used against two Traits AND an entire Trait Category: Magic, Nature, and Elemental. In that case, you could use the skill against ANY attack that has ANY of those Traits.
  • The Curing Touch skill on the Otherworld header says: “When you choose this skill, choose ONE category of Trait: Mental, Physical, Metabolic, Elemental, or a single Trait from the Special list below… touch an ally and call, “Cure [Category] by [Fate/Faith].” This skill targets an entire Category of Traits, or one specific Trait if the player chooses that option. So if you have chosen Metabolic as your Category, you could use Curing Touch to remove ANY of the following, because they all have Traits that fall within the Metabolic Category:
    • Agony by Poison
    • Death by Aging
    • Stun by Sleep
    • Paralyze and Agony by Cold
    • 5 Damage and Drain by Disease (the 5 Damage would stay because it’s an instant effect, but the Drain would be removed. Waste works similarly)
So what’s the point of all these differences? Variety and utility. There’s a loose hierarchy of how powerful a Defense or Cure is. It’s not perfect in all situations, but for the most part it’s a good guide. Lowest to Highest, ranking of Defense/Cure Utility:
  • Targets a single Trait
  • Targets multiple specific Traits or one Special trait (Blood, Hex, Etc)
  • Targets a single Effect
  • Targets multiple Effects
  • Targets an entire Category
  • Targets a Delivery
A defense or Cure targeting a single Trait is in most cases less useful than one targeting an entire Category, because a Category is a grouping of related Traits. A Defense or Cure that targets an entire Category will defend or Cure ANY Trait within that Category. Targeting an entire Delivery method is usually most useful, depending on what kind of character you play.  
  • Example 1: Poison is a TRAIT. It falls under the Metabolic Trait category. If I have a skill that allows me to Resist or Cure Poison, that’s useful when I need it. If that same skill allows me to Resist or Cure Metabolic instead, it will still affect the Poison Trait, but now it will also affect the Aging, Air, Cold, Disease, Heat, and Sleep traits as well-- its potential utility is much greater.
  • Example 2: Magic is a TRAIT. It falls under the Special category, and there are no Cures or Defenses that target the entire Special category, so that option is out. If you have a Resist Magic skill, that’s useable no matter how the Magic attack gets to you-- it affects ANY delivery method that might bring that Magic attack to you, whether that’s melee, packet, touch, or one of the special deliveries. Likewise, a Cure Magic works on any non-instantaneous effect (Damage, Waste, etc) that has the Magic Trait.
  • Example 3: Packet is a DELIVERY. If you have a Defense that targets a delivery method, it works against ANY attack that uses that delivery, regardless of what the incoming attack is. A Resist vs packet would work against “Death by Magic”, “3 by Fear”, and “Maim by Fire” equally well, so long as they are all delivered by packet.
  • Example 4: Maim is an EFFECT. A Cure or Defense that targets Maim works regardless of any Trait attached to it. A Resist Maim is useable against a melee attack for just Maim, a packet attack for Maim by Magic, a By My Gesture, Maim by Fire, or anything else that has a Maim effect as part of it. Likewise Cure Maim will work in these examples as well.
  It’s also important to understand that using Cure or Purge against a particular Effect OR Trait gets rid of ALL instances of the Effect or Trait on the target. There are a couple instances where just about everybody has been playing this wrong (including Staff), and that will be corrected in the future.  
  • Example 5: Target has a Slow by Poison, Slow and Maim by Magic, and Drain by Magic on them. If you use a Cure Slow on them, both the Slow by Poison and the ENTIRE Slow and Maim by Magic is removed because ALL instances of the Slow effect are removed. The Drain by Magic would remain.
  • Example 5a: If you were to use a Cure Magic on the target, the Drain by Magic and the Slow and Maim by Magic would be Cured, because ALL instances of a Trait are cured.
  • Example 6: Target has a Drain and Stun by Force, Maim and Root by Weapon (remember that this would have been just a melee weapon attack with no called Trait, so the Weapon trait is assumed), Root and Slow by Web, and Drain by Magic. Since Force, Weapon (assumed), and Web are all Traits that fall under the Physical category, a single Cure Physical would remove EVERYTHING but the Drain bny Magic, since Magic is not a Physical Trait.
 
  • Example 6a: A Defense that allows you to Resist Physical would have been useable against the Force, Weapon, and Web attacks individually as they hit you, but not all at once. In order to get rid of all those effects at once, you’d need a Purge or a Cure effect.