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I am playing the Breakout event, as Spiderman (stop reading if you don't want spoilers!). We just met Zzzax, and I decided to attack him by web-throwing a huge metal pipe through him. I managed a Total 28, effect d10 action and aimed for Physical Stress.

The Watcher did a Reaction Roll, and got a Total 2, Effect d4 Reaction (yes, it is possible, only one die not an opportunity).

But the Watcher activated its "Grounded" Limit: Zzzax ignored all Stress, and became grounded through the pipe. And here is the disagreement:

His point of view: Since Zzzax has Intangibility d10, he ignores all physical attacks, the only way to defeat him is to activate his Limit and then over-complicate him. He activated the Limit because my roll was so high that it should have a result. He still has Intangibility even though his Power Set is shut down.

My point of view: Activating a Limit doesn't allow you to randomly ignore an attack. I can't ignore an attack and become Exhausted instead. Intangibility is just a die to add to Reaction rolls, not an automatic effect that allows you to ignore everything, that requires an SFX like Immunity(Physical attacks).

I went with his interpretation (and built a Faraday cage through web and pipes), but I still think that it was not right.

So how does Intangibility work? Is it an automatic effect, even without Immunity/Invulnerability SFXs, or is it just a resistance, allowing you to be attacked normally?

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Both answers below rely on the fact that Power Traits' description prime on their value. This is in my opinion a can of worms that I would rather see not opened (as it could lead to endless arguments about whether this or that attack could be ignored). Is there some place in the book where it actually says to take into account a trait description rather than just use its die? –  Scrollmaster Dec 4 '12 at 20:23
(I see MHR as one of the games where staying in RAW is very important, hence the question.) –  Scrollmaster Dec 4 '12 at 20:23
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2 Answers

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Some powers do have, within their description, effects beyond their mechanical ones. Durability is a common example: at d10, you're not just rolling an extra die; you're proof against small-arms fire. Intangibility is similar; at d10, only "super-high density" substances can touch you, which wouldn't ordinarily include a thrown pipe. Though I disagree with Lonnie's interpretation, his conclusion is correct: you need to come up with a narratively plausible way to take him out.

Since you ended up Complicating him out, we never get to see whether the Watcher would have spent from the Doom Pool to turn the Electrical Body power set back on. Your actions did take Zzzax out of the fight, at least for a while, which seems pretty good for a thrown object from Spider-Man.

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Here's is my take on this problem. Mechanically, I agree with your statement "intangibility is just a die to add to Reaction rolls, not an automatic effect that allows you to ignore everything, that requires SFX." But, in the Marvel RPG, the narrative is king. What that means to me is that you still have to come up with a reason that makes sense (in the story) to explain why you can stress Zzzax when he is intangible. This will be easier to come up with for certain types of heroes and harder for others. But comic book writers do this all the time. I think this is the part of this system that most gamers have trouble with.

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