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Does damage bypass soak if Vital Defense is targetted?


As title implies, there's a paragraph on page 84 of the NOW 1.2 book that say "Soak only applies to attacks which target Melee or Ranged Defense (not Mental Defense), with the exception of Soak that specifically works against psychic or psionic damage" in the Resistance sidebar.
With no mention of Vital Defense, I was wondering if Soak applied to that as well, making things that do AoE damage or otherwise target Vital defense (Spells, grenades, Called Shots, etc) do their full damage.

If it is soaked, is it treated like environmental protection soak that only works if specified, like the hazmat specifically calls out radiation.

If it's not soaked, does it just bypass armor soak, and still use soaks given from exploits or use natural soak?

Bonus question: If something affects an area, is it assumed to target Vital Defense unless otherwise specified even if the weapon itself would normally target another defense?
Example being the Strafe exploit vs the Spray exploit vs the Scattershot exploit.
Strafe makes no mention of which defense, so by rules it should be against the affected targets' Vital defense?
Spray takes what would normally be an AoE and instead makes it target Ranged Defense because it specifically says so.
Scattershot says it targets another creature, but not that it makes it an AoE, so it should still target ranged defense?
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IIRC, Morrus indicated in another thread that VITAL DEFENSE was added later, and so it is sometimes not mentioned when one thinks it perhaps should have been. IMHO, I think SOAK also applies to damage from attacks targeting VITAL DEFENSE. For example, grenades target VITAL DEFENSE, and in my NOW campaign I have ruled that Fragmentation grenades do Force + Ballistic damage, so I would think it is appropriate for body armor to provide some protection against a grenade blast. Tactical and Kevlar vests are ineffective vs. Piercing damage (which I think of a being done by spears and the pointy ends of knives), but effective against Force and Ballistic damage, so I think they would still provide a wearer with the benefit of their SOAK values. Certainly a Bomb suit (blast suit) is designed to be effective vs. explosives, and explosives are one of the most common area-of-effect weapons in a NOW setting. And I have interpreted AoE weapons to mean that they target VITAL DEFENSE in my game.

On a side note, the Flak jacket/vest and Bomb suit (blast suit) have better soak vs. "explosives", but I've changed "explosives" in my game to mean "Force" damage, since there are types of explosives that can do more than just "explosive" damage (such as thermobaric weapons, which would do Force + Heat), but the damage done by an "explosion" is what I would term as Force damage.

For your other questions, I would think Strafe is not considered as targeting any particular defense because it simply does 1d6 damage to anyone in the affected area automatically. There is no roll to make, so nothing is targeted. If trying to determine whether SOAK is applied, I would say yes it is as I would decide to apply SOAK based on the type of damage being inflicted and not the DEFENSE which was targeted. I also think Scattershot still is making a RANGED attack against two separate targets, it's just allowing the character to do so with the expenditure of just one attack action. Hope this helps, but it's obviously just my $0.02 and not official.
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Before reading this post, I did find in OLD pg 147 that armor would apply to things that target Vital defense as well, if my understanding is correct.

The discussion with my friends that got me thinking about if VITAL bypassed soak is specifically the Strafe exploit, if it does 1D6 and that's soakable, it's a near useless universal on it's own because a kevlar longcoat is going to absorb all the damage unless a 6 is rolled, which would do 1 damage. Kind of the same with grenades that do a base of 2D6 Heat damage. Granted if it's used with the Deadly Strike universal as well, it gets an extra 1D6 damage since it can be combined, so on with other exploits that don't say they can't be combined with other exploits.

I also don't think it would be considered an automatic hit because an attack has to target some kind of defense. With Strafe being a 15x15 ft area, it would target Vital defense because that's the defense that area of effects target, compared to Spray which specifies it targets Ranged defense even though it would normally target Vital defense due to it being an area of effect of a 30' cone. It makes most sense to me that Vital defense being targetted would bypass unless you had armor that had specific types of soak to the damage type (as to make things like the bomb suit not useless versus explosions) or use natural or otherwise special/magic soak, so it would only ignore the soak that general armor like Kevlar or Splint would give.

If we applied that same automatic hit thing to something like the Disarm exploit, what would I be paying 3D6 from? Could I roll an intimidation or negotiaton check and pay 3D6 from that to use the Disarm exploit, or seeing as it's given as a option for Martial Artists, is it meant to be combat rolls specific since it has an AGI requirement, where I pay 3D6 from my attack pool? Does this also automatically hit even though it would be targetting their Defenses no matter how it was used? If it's considered to automatically work that would mean the roll using it would also automatically succeed, so they would either have been intimidated into giving themselves the Disarm condition which would have to be shaken off in addition to the Afraid condition, or that an attack would automatically do damage to said target, even if paying the 3D6 and rolling would fail to beat whatever Defense was being targetted, be it Melee or Ranged for an attack, Mental for Psycic or Intimidation, or Vital if it was an AoE like a grenade or spell cast.

I will say I think Force is a weird choice for grenade damage since Force can affect ghosts. Heat damage is the base damage for most standard explosives, but there's also the sound of the explosion so I think Sonic would make more sense, but I'm not a DM so that's just my .02 grams of dirt.

I just don't think an exploit overrules basic rules if it doesn't specify it changes something.

Sorry for the wordiness, and I do thank you for sharing your thoughts.
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Again, just my opinions, but I think that Strafe is meant to mow down masses of minions and mooks and not seriously threaten BBGs, mini-bosses, serious henchmen, and PCs. Making significant amounts of damage be automatic via Strafe would be pretty broken, so that's why it's a limited amount. I agree that it's not a lot of damage, but even the minimum one point of damage can still chip away at some bigger baddies, especially if there are multiple characters strafing their approach.

Strafe is the only thing I'm aware of that automatically does damage via an action. Using the Disarm Called Shot action means paying for the dice out of one's attack pool, it's specifically a combat action. I've also interpreted the Disarm Universal exploit on p. 66 to be an attack action exploit. It just let's you pay one extra d6 over the standard Called Shot option to automatically succeed with this action, no roll to hit required. But it doesn't do any damage, it just disarms the target.

I don't have any supernatural or magic stuff in my NOW campaign, so Force makes sense as a damage type (I think of it as concussive force or blast overpressure, and not as magical or supernatural) because there are no ghosts. :eek:


One thing the Disarm exploit differs from a Called Shot disarm, I don't know if it's intentional or not, is that it works on any hand held object, whereas a Called Shot's disarm states that it only works on weapons, which would explain why the Disarm exploit has a 3D6 cost instead of just negating the cost of a Called Shot like the Trip and Knockdown exploits do.

Strafe has been updated in the WRRD to specify it cannot be soaked, so is the WRRD stuff more up to date than the 1.2 books? Is there going to be another official printing?
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Shaun Palmer

There is a passage on page 147 of OLD v1.2 that best describes attacks vs VITAL DEFENSE. There are two types of attack that are rolled against VITAL DEFENSE: Area and Constitutional.
Area attacks do NOT ignore SOAK and include grenades, cones of flame, etc.
Constitutional attacks DO ignore SOAK and include poisons/venoms and other "in the body" attacks.

I think that's the best way to explain it.

I love WOIN, but finding answers to certain rules question often requires make a notes from different sections in different books to get an answer :)

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