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Air Dance

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autXautY

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« on: <07-23-21/1027:57> »
I'm trying to figure out what kind of character would use Air Dance.
By my read, it doesn't allow you to get more than 5 minor actions in a round. If it does, then it seems powerful for high-initiative, high-initiate characters, especially since Increase Reflexes is capped at 4 levels (though it somewhat weirdly gets a lot more powerful at the high end - initiate rating 9 is hard to get, but if you do you can get a lot of minor actions)

Assuming it obeys the 5 minor action cap, it's only useful if you have 4 or fewer minor actions before. Compared to Increase Reflexes, which grants 1 minor action, it costs .5 more power points, and also gives +1 to all reaction based rolls, and +4.5 average initiative. So, it's only better if it grants more than 1 minor actions on average, probably more like 2.
This means that it's actually only good if you have 3 or fewer minor actions by default, and are typically beating your enemies' initiatives by, assuming no initiation, around 20.
Except that if you have 3 or fewer minor actions, you have 2 or fewer initiative dice, and probably don't have reaction enhancement, so are unlikely to have initiative 20, let alone beat your enemies' initiative by 20. Even a reaction 2, intuition 2, 1 die enemy averages 7.5 initiative, enough that you need 27.5 initiative to get an average of 2 extra minor actions - beyond the reach of most 2-initiative-dice characters.
This gets even harder if you fight someone who's good at fighting - Cerberus Hounds average 18 initiative, wolves average 16, swat officers average 16, etc. None of these are really amazing initiative scores - Wildcats average 33.5 initiative, but the make it basically impossible to get multiple minor actions from air dance.

Air dance gets better with initiation - at grade 5, you only need to beat them by 10 to get 2 extra minor actions, at grade 9 you need to beat them by 2. But a) how many characters are grade 5+? B) that still doesn't do much for halfway decent enemies - with 2 initiative dice, you will rarely beat a swat officer by 10. C) how many grade 5+ adepts who want to invest 2.5 power points in minor actions aren't willing to up that to 3 to get Increase Reflexes for consistent 5 minors actions, and +9 average initiative, and 2 dice to defend yourself?

MercilessMing

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« Reply #1 on: <07-23-21/1252:45> »
It's probably just a bad power.  The cap has to be in effect - One, because it's a cap and this power doesn't state that it allows you to exceed the cap, and Two, because otherwise the grade 9 initiate (rare, sure) gets a minor for every point of initiative they beat the opposition by.  Beat the oppo by 12?  that's 12 additional minor actions. 

Characters can spend edge to increase their initiative score, and I expect someone with this power would be using that edge boost often to maximize it.

autXautY

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« Reply #2 on: <07-23-21/1318:12> »
There's a reading of the cap where it only applies at the start of your turn, and allows you to have >5 minor actions at the start of the round, but you can only benefit from them if you spend them before your turn.
Depending on what counts as "using minor actions before your turn" this ranges from close to useless (you can dodge and block, but no-one can attack you since you go before all enemies to trigger Air Dance) to very strong (you can convert those 12 minor actions into 3 major actions, then attack 4 times) to strong but not as incredibly strong (you can use 4 of those minor actions to full defense, then lose the remaining 8)

I hadn't remembered the initiative-boosting edge option - that makes it a bit stronger, though I wouldn't want to spend edge to try to get ahead of the really dangerous enemies, and even agains the weaker enemies until you have high enough initiate grade the edge->minor actions exchange rate is pretty bad. Though I guess it's good if you're just below the cutoff, since you roll then spend edge

Stainless Steel Devil Rat

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« Reply #3 on: <07-23-21/1543:06> »
There's a reading of the cap where it only applies at the start of your turn, and allows you to have >5 minor actions at the start of the round, but you can only benefit from them if you spend them before your turn.
Depending on what counts as "using minor actions before your turn" this ranges from close to useless (you can dodge and block, but no-one can attack you since you go before all enemies to trigger Air Dance) to very strong (you can convert those 12 minor actions into 3 major actions, then attack 4 times) to strong but not as incredibly strong (you can use 4 of those minor actions to full defense, then lose the remaining 8)

That's not "a" reading... that's literally how it works.  Per Air Dance (pg 77 SW) you gain the bonus minor actions at the start of a round.  Per the rule regarding a cap on minor actions (pg. 107, SR6W)  any minor actions above 5 aren't dropped until your turn begins.

And yes, that loophole gets awful narrow when you're going first, as there are very few things you can do as anytime actions that aren't reactions to someone else's action.

Unfortunately, turning 4 minors into a major is not a thing.  Read those rules again: you can spend 4 minors IN PLACE of spending a major.  There is no meta-action to transmute 4 minors into 1 major. (also, pg 107 SR6W... the paragraph immediately prior to the cap!)

All that being said... Air Dance does have a pretty narrow window of applicability. Basically it works best when you don't have +4d6 ID.  But since it costs 1.5 PP and that +1 ID only costs 1.0 PP, it's very niche, indeed.

I'd say it'd probably be a more easily justified power at 0.5 PPs.

« Last Edit: <07-23-21/1611:42> by Stainless Steel Devil Rat »
RPG mechanics exist to give structure and consistency to the game world, true, but at the end of the day, you’re fighting dragons with algebra and random number generators.

autXautY

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« Reply #4 on: <07-23-21/1559:32> »
Now I'm trying to figure out a list of actions takable not on your turn, and not on an enemy's turn, and therefore useable by someone who has a bunch of minor actions from high-initiate-grade air dance.

The ones I see are
Minor: Change Device Mode, Drop Item
Major: Assist (you can still air dance if an ally has higher initiative than you), Counterspell, Full Defense

For someone who can frequently get enough minor actions to full defense before their turn and still have a decent number left over, Air Dance might actually be good. 1.5 power points for often (+willpower) to defense rolls is plausible better than combat sense (.5 power points for +1 to defense rolls)


The most relevant lines seem to be:
"Characters may never start a player turn with more than 5 Minor Actions." This sounds ambiguous to me between "can never start one of their own player turns" and "can never start a turn of any player", leaning towards the later. It also feels ambiguous to me if there exists time to take actions, even anytime actions, between round start and the first players turn. So, the actions are lost unuseably if either it's any player's turn and you can't act before the first turn, or if it's your turn, you can't act before the first turn, and you go first.
"A character can also trade 4 Minor Actions to perform 1 Major Action." This sounds more like it requires you spend the minor actions when you take the major action than like it allows you to save the major action, but the word "trade" does suggest that you gain a Major Action, not that you are spending 4 minors in place of spending a Major

Stainless Steel Devil Rat

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« Reply #5 on: <07-23-21/1624:07> »
The most relevant lines seem to be:
"Characters may never start a player turn with more than 5 Minor Actions." This sounds ambiguous to me between "can never start one of their own player turns" and "can never start a turn of any player", leaning towards the later. It also feels ambiguous to me if there exists time to take actions, even anytime actions, between round start and the first players turn. So, the actions are lost unuseably if either it's any player's turn and you can't act before the first turn, or if it's your turn, you can't act before the first turn, and you go first.
"A character can also trade 4 Minor Actions to perform 1 Major Action." This sounds more like it requires you spend the minor actions when you take the major action than like it allows you to save the major action, but the word "trade" does suggest that you gain a Major Action, not that you are spending 4 minors in place of spending a Major

I agree that there's a degree of syntactic ambiguity on those sentences.  However, I feel it's more likely that "Characters may never start a player turn with more than 5 Minor Actions" means "Characters may never start their own player's turn with more than 5..." rather than "Characters may never start anyone's turn with more than 5..."

Likewise, the example of "trading" 4 minors to execute a major action is in the context of also being allowed to spend a major action in place of a minor action.  This, IMO, is contextually so strong that there is no reasonable argument to be had for "trading" 4 minors into a major that is then held for future use, rather than spent immediately.  So long as the major action is performed as soon as you spend the 4 minor actions, the language all works fine enough.

On the topic of whether there is or is not a "timing phase" between start of the round and the first turn... I'd say there absolutely is one... implicitly via the example of the "Add +3 to your initiative score" Edge boost.  Its text explicitly mentions this can allow you to jump ahead of someone in order.  So implicitly, this must mean you can spend that edge boost before the first character to steal their spot at the top of the order.  And if you can do one thing between start of round and 1st turn, then some sort of in between phase must therefore exist.
RPG mechanics exist to give structure and consistency to the game world, true, but at the end of the day, you’re fighting dragons with algebra and random number generators.