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I have a new game about to start up soon and one of my players wants to play a Psion. We are starting about mid-Heroic tier, so he will have the Betrayal* at-will power. Both of us are wondering how I can go about working in that power into combat, since monster allies will have just attacked another ally. He is under the impression that this would not go over very well with the enemy, but, even though I agree on a certain level, I prefer not to have a sudden shift in battle where the PC's kick back and the enemies kill off each other.

How should I handle this power when there is a group of enemies, and one up and attacks the others?


*Betrayal: a lvl 3 Psion power that can shift an enemy X squares (is augmentable) and attacks one of its allies with melee basic attack + charisma mod of the caster.

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Great question! A hearty welcome to the RPG.SE and please take a look at the FAQ when you have time. –  C. Ross Sep 19 '11 at 10:51
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3 Answers

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I personally like to reward the players for unique uses of power, but I can see your concern about abusing it. How the enemies perceive the betrayal is going to be based on two things as I see it: the setting that you're playing in, and the group that you're playing against.

  • The setting affects it because depending on whether psionics are common will let you know whether the enemy is able to discern what is going on. If you are playing in a Dark Sun campaign, while this might give the PC's a momentary bit of confusion as the enemy sorts things out, it's only one attack, and if they enemy says that he's being controlled, then the opposing group will be more intent on finding the psion and he can make himself more of a target.
  • The enemies themselves will also dictate how things are perceived. Again, if they're playing against a tight knit group, or a military formation, they'll be more likely to suss out what is going on.

In the worst case, the enemies might totally turn on each other, especially if there are two groups of enemy of my enemy that can be turned against each other. But in most situations, this maneuver will just give the PCs a breather. I'd also take care to point these factors out to the PC before gaming and not surprising him with it. It will make things run much smoother during the actual game.

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Thanks for the quick answer! It was hard choosing which one, they were all good answers. –  senshikaze Sep 19 '11 at 11:54
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Well, in the 4th edition, a monster always knows what effects it's under, so if they're intelligent beings, it'd just go like "That bald dude with the weird eyes is messing with our minds, let's kill him first!".

Wild animals might attack each other, sure, but it might also grant the opportunity for some interesting twists, like the Big Bad Lieutenant taking pot shots at the Big Bad Boss and blaming it on the psion, or even other flavors of assassination to be blamed on he who can bend minds and make friend attack friend.

Just an idea.

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If your players want to use the betrayal power to get the bad guys to actually fight each other, I think he will have to make a bluff check each round of combat, to convince them that it was not mind control or some other unnatural behavior.

That is assuming you want to allow that sort of action.

By default, the attack happens and then the affected creature says 'Whoah, what happened? wasn't my fault!" and the other bad guy says, "Right, well don't do it again!". If the player wants some other result to happen than that, then I believe a bluff roll is necessary.

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