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In the DtD manual I read:

The entity may wound opponents at a distance. Range is equal to 10 yards per dot of Power and the entity does not suffer range penalties. If the activation roll succeeds, the Blast wounds as a +0L weapon. The entity may increase the lethality of its Blast by paying Essence — every two Essence spent increases the “weapon” by +1L. The maximum weapon bonus is equal to the entity’s Rank.

So for example, consider "The Brilliant" (p.220) with a Power of 9 and a Finesse of 8 and who has the Blast numen. Let's assume the target's defense is 3. How is the attack played out?

Do I roll Power+Finesse-Defense=14 for the attack, and (assuming at least one success) apply "Lethal" damage equal to the number of successes +(Essence Expended/2)?

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Combat is covered in detail on pages 317 - 328, but here's the short of the proposed situation:

So, the Brilliant has decided to attack someone, using the Blast Numen. Because Blast's description says "at a distance", this should be considered a ranged attack (unless it's a Trinity "Dodge this!" situation) so the target does not get to apply Defense.

Before performing this Numen, Brilliant can spend Essence into it, up to a maximum of its Rank, which is 3. Let's assume it spends 2 Essence, bringing the weapon bonus from 0L to 1L (Brilliant could spend up to 6 Essence to bring the total to 3L, but its feeling stingy at the moment)

Power (9) + Finesse (8) hit the table (17 dice total), and 4 successes result. Number of successes + base modifier will be the damage he target suffers. Since 2 Essence was spent, this adds 1L to the base damage, so Brilliant does 5 lethal damage.

But what if no Essence was spent to increase the "weapon bonus"? Then only the 4 +0L would have occurred, for 4 lethal damage.

Conversely, what if no successes were rolled? As indicated on the paragraph split between pages 319 & 321, at least 1 die must be a success; the weapon bonus doesn't apply to a miss - ergo, the attack would do 0 damage, even if 6 Essence had been spent to "buff it up."

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