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Pg. 219 has a funny weapon listed in equipment called a Rocket Launcher, a "Ranged Damage 10, Burst Area 7" weapon. This only costs 27 points, with the description saying "the primary target hit by the rocket resists explosive Damage 10, while all other targets in the burst area resist Damage 7." My question is simple: When I make a Power Attack or get a Critical Hit with this weapon, is the AoE's damage also increased?

If so, you'd be able to make a Damage 8, Burst Area (+7) 1 power with both the regular damage and anyone within the distance rank 7 area of effect taking DC 21 damage (or 26 on crit if that also applies) without consequence to the Dodge Save since it wasn't reduced, and because the AOE was below PL limit, the DC can be increased without having to reduce something like your defenses for it.

Intentions: I understand if some GMs wouldn't allow this on a power, though as a GM using the game Rules as Written for my own purposes and having "doing everything you can" part of the world's lore, I wanted to know if there was anything in the books directly contradicting this ruling, since I'm planning on some bosses to use this to great effect. Will also say I understand the GM can do anything they want in terms of ruling, but I want to play with the same rules as players when making encounters, given they're learning and I want them to be able to learn by example and feel smart for it.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Also I just realized...Enhanced Traits: Rocket Launcher with Homing Power Attacks where the AoE can still deal damage each time it attempts to home in, despite not hitting. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 11 at 9:18

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RAW, Area Attacks cannot benefit from combat maneuvers or critical hits, so only the targeted part of the damage would benefit (or be reduced by) critical hits and combat maneuvers. Which, yes, can lead to some oddities like a player using Defensive Attack on their rocket launcher attack and getting a defensive bonus while only reducing the chances of a direct hit.

My argument as to why the critical would not apply is that the text of Critical Hit states that "to find out if it’s a critical hit, determine if the attack check total is equal to or greater than the target’s defense. If so, it is a critical hit." The area attack part did not make an attack check (and in fact, against the target, only applies on a miss), so therefore it does not benefit from the crit.

Personally, I don't entirely agree with the interpretation of partial Area acting as a quasi-Linked power. I prefer the 2E interpretation where Extras only apply when you are using as many ranks of the power as are covered by the Extra (and similarly, Flaws only apply past a certain number of ranks), but it is the state of RAW.

FWIW, Steve Kenson, the designer, says that the area part will not benefit from the crit (about 9 minutes in).

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Do you have quotes from the book that supports this? What I found was "the critical hit increases the difficulty to resist the attack’s effect by +5" (pg. 240), but that implies the area extra is still part of that effect, and 'attack' refers to the attack action, not the existence of a attack check, the same way Maneuvers can apply to area effects, since the rule is "if the attack is an area effect or perception range, no attack check is needed." (pg. 246) rather than there simply not being an attack roll. I figure there's probably a reason this doesn't work somewhere but I want to be sure. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 8 at 4:49
  • \$\begingroup\$ @FriendlyNeighborhoodChicken: Explained where the logic of the area part not critting applies. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 8 at 5:15
  • \$\begingroup\$ What if you do roll for the area attack? Area Attacks say they're not needed, not that you can't. Also thank you for the quick response. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 8 at 5:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ :) Except that the Area attack doesn't target a defense? That would be a bit like allowing someone to apply Defensive Attack to their Perception roll. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 8 at 5:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ Attacks Checks don't target a defense. Rather, the rules are stated on Parry and Dodge that is related to whether the attack is Close Combat or Ranged Combat Based. Elongated Close Attacks implies this is simply based on the innate range of the attack, so if the AoE is on a close attack its still defended against via parry, and if on a ranged attack it is still defended against via dodge. (no quote but info is on Pg. 110) \$\endgroup\$ Mar 8 at 8:19
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When I make a Power Attack or get a Critical Hit with this weapon, is the AoE's damage also increased?

No.

Area attacks don't have an attack roll - they land where desired, as long as line of sight and line of effect are not blocked. As such, Area attacks cannot benefit from critical hit, power attack, or other attack roll based features.

The rocket launcher is a special snowflake - a single target weapon that has a secondary effect of area 7 damage. The single target (10 Damage) effect can benefit from Power Attack, Critical Hits, and can miss the target. The Area 7 Damage extends out from where the single target damage effect is based and is always rank 7.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Why? I understand what you're saying but there are no sources to the book in your answer and this was a question concerning rules as written. "The critical hit increases the difficulty to resist the attack’s effect by +5" (pg. 240), but the area extra is still part of that effect, and 'attack' refers to the attack action, not attacks made as a result of a attack check, the same way Maneuvers can apply to area effects, since the rule is "if the attack is an area effect or perception range, no attack check is needed." (pg. 246) rather than there simply not being an attack roll. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 8 at 4:43
  • \$\begingroup\$ @FriendlyNeighborhoodChicken By what twisted logic can Maneuvers be applied to area effects or perception range effects? \$\endgroup\$
    – ValhallaGH
    Mar 13 at 20:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ Think I already said my logic on that with pg. 256 as reference, though RAI it seems to have not been allowed. RAW seems fair game but this game isn't all that well written. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 13 at 21:19

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