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I have a priest/martial artist character in an upcoming campaign who can heal but can also fight barehanded. I wanted to create a power for him that would be a sort of general enhancement to his fighting abilities. Note that the character has a Vow not to use weapons as a major hindrance. I came up with this trapping applied to Boost/Lower Trait:

Warrior Trance

Rank: Novice

Cost: 2 PP

Range: self only

Duration: 3 (1/round)

On a success, increase two of the following traits by 1 die type:

  • Strength
  • Agility
  • Vigor
  • Fighting

On a raise, increase all four by 1 die type.

The idea is that it's double the effect of the base power, but it loses all of its versatility (self-cast only, limited trait selection). However, I haven't yet developed a good gut feel for tweaking powers - does this feel too strong or too weak? Or perhaps roughly balanced?

I think I'm most concerned if it's too strong, since it sucks to give a player a toy only to have to take it away later.

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2 Answers 2

up vote 3 down vote accepted

When applying major trappings, I find it's often useful to make comparisons with other powers as well, not just view the original power in isolation.

Deflection has the same rank, PP cost and duration as Boost/Lower Trait (and both can be turned into a free action with Adept), but it grants the equivalent of 4 advances (Improved Block and Improved Dodge), or 8 advances on a raise, while Boost/Lower Trait grants the equivalent of 1 advance, or 2 advances on a raise (assuming you're boosting an attribute, or a skill above its linked attribute, otherwise Boost/Lower Trait grants the equivalent of half an advance, or 1 advance on a raise).

However Boost/Lower Trait has five major advantages over Deflection: (1) it's extremely flexible as you can choose whatever trait you need when you cast it, (2) it can be cast at range, (3) it can work on up to five targets at once, (4) it has the option of being used as a debuff on your enemies instead of a buff on your allies, and (5) multiple castings stack.

In this case the trappings have eliminated the first four advantages, in fact the power can no longer be used on other people at all. Although the bonuses have been doubled, and they cover useful combat traits, a basic Boost/Lower Trait would be nearly as powerful on a raise (as it could take Fighting twice, and Fighting is really good for melee combat), and if it wasn't for the stacking Deflection would still be the superior choice for combat in general.

My only real concern would be someone using Adept to recast the spell every round (as a free action), rapidly stacking up the bonuses. However one of the limitations of Adept is that the power can no longer be cast on others, and as you've already removed that option you could perhaps substitute it for a different limitation - for example, you could say that the power no longer stacks if cast with Adept.

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If you were using the elemental trappings from Savage Worlds, there would be two trappings that would boost a Trait:

Darkness–Stealth: For beneficial powers, adding +1 Power Point to the cost causes the darkness to cling to the target and increases Stealth by one die type, or two on a raise.

Electricity–Jazz: Beneficial powers “jazz” the target. They cost +1 Power Point to cast, but on a success add +2 to Pace and on a raise increase Agility one die type for the duration of the power.

Those two have these things in common:

  • They cost 1 additional Power Point
  • They only work for one Trait
  • They are for traits with little utility in combat

The trapping you have come up with does not cost additional power points, works for two traits (four with a raise), boosts combat traits instead of non-combat traits, and may affect combat-related derived statistics. For all these reasons, this makes the trapping too powerful.

Additionally because it works for miltiple traits, it means that you eliminate the casting penalties associated with maintaining multiple instances of boost trait and eliminate the need to cast over multiple rounds. This makes the trapping even more powerful.

Finally as a priest/martial artist you probably have the Adept Edge in which case you can use boost trait as a free action. It seems a bit too powerful to me to boost all these combat traits, including those that boost Parry and Toughness, as a free action.

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I was going to post the same but instead have a +1 ;) – David Allan Finch Aug 18 '14 at 8:14
I would suggest that allowing it to affect 1 trait as normal, 2 with a raise, limiting it to self and effectively taking away the ability to raise a single trait by two die types with a raise might be more balanced? – Wibbs Aug 18 '14 at 12:25
I also think that the fact the trapping is combat focused is something of a red herring. Depending on the setting and character, this means that they become less effective out of combat, which balances itself out. This only becomes too powerful in a setting where there is significantly more combat than anything else – Wibbs Aug 18 '14 at 12:26
@Phil In combat, you are under more time pressure than out of combat where there often aren't any consequences to taking another "round". For that reason, I think that boosting a combat trait, especially one tied to a derived statistic, is somewhat better than boosting a non-combat trait. – Thunderforge Aug 18 '14 at 21:13
@shaydwyrm You had asked if it was a "balanced trapping" so that's why I talked about it as an addon rather than a replacement power. Nonetheless, I think my advice still stands and it would be better if the net result of a changed boost/lower trait matched the effectiveness of the core power with a core trapping. – Thunderforge Aug 18 '14 at 21:19

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