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According to Rules as Written, can the Move Object power be used to "force choke" someone (in essence strangle someone), even without any of the extras? Or would the Damaging Extra need to be bought?

Addendum: Would it be too much of a stretch to turn this into a one time Power Stunt? In case the player cites the rule of cool.

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No

The power is unclear about whether or not it can be used for Grab attacks, which is probably the source of your confusion, but that's actually irrelevant to your question. Though I will note that grabbing someone just by the throat should be considered a Fine Manipulation, and require the Precise extra.

The real barrier to "force chokes" is the lack of the Chokehold advantage. Without Chokehold, the character has no mechanic for initiating strangulation. Suffocating foes requires moving them into an environment they can't breathe in (water, wet cement, vacuum of space, chamber of car exhaust, etc.).

Power Stunt

Using a Hero Point to power stunt a Precise & Chokehold version of Move Object would be a perfectly reasonable power stunt for most descriptors, sacrificing one rank of the power to do things not normally possible.

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