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Area effects target a number of spaces on the game grid, affecting all characters and objects within those spaces instead of targeting a single entity. Area effects are determined based on their origin, which is the space from which the targeted area is drawn and the space from which you determine if a character or object in the area has cover.
Range and Shape
All area effects are rooted at the origin space, which must lie within a specified range for an attack or effect. Choosing a space to be the origin has two requirements. Firstly, you must be able to see or otherwise be able to assess a location to be able to choose it as your origin. Secondly, you must have some means of your effect reaching that space. If obstructions would prevent your effect from reaching a space, you cannot choose it as your origin.
If no range is specified, your space (as the attacker) is the origin.
Area effect regions are categorized by one of four shapes: cone, line, scatter, and sphere. When determining the targeted area, you always ignore environment, objects, and characters. Entities that grant cover do not interfere with how an area effect targets spaces—they only apply to the effect itself. Thus, you could target an area through a solid wall, even targeting spaces behind it, but the wall will still act as cover against the effect applied to the area.
Cones use a size value measured in spaces. The area affected by a cone is wider the further it travels from the origin. Thus, the size value of a cone is not only how far it can target spaces, but also how wide the cone is at this terminal distance (both vertically and horizontally).
The easiest way to determine a cone is by considering the spaces around the origin as concentric circles centered on it. As the cone extends from the origin, you target one additional space in each concentric circle. Thus, you can target one space adjacent to the origin, 2 spaces in the second circle, 3 spaces in the third circle, and so on. For each space chosen horizontally, assume the area extends vertically upward the same distance as the horizontal width.
The limitation is that you must be able to draw at least one line from the origin to any targeted space which is not broken by any non-targeted space. It is okay for a drawn line to touch the corner of a non-targeted space, but entering one or overlapping with the edge of one breaks it. If you can draw such an unbroken line from any point of the origin to any point of a targeted space, that targeted space is valid. So long as you attempt to designate spaces in the shape of a solid, uninterrupted cone, each space chosen should be valid.
Lastly, a cone never includes the origin space in its effect.
The line area targets contiguously-adjacent spaces from the origin to a designated range. When determining which spaces are affected, draw a line from the center of the origin space to the center of the space which marks the opposite end of the line. Any space this line enters or touches is targeted. The origin space is not targeted by the effect.
Scatter areas always provide a count value, which is the number of individual spaces you target. Each targeted space must be within the range of the effect and is considered its own origin space. The effect applies to each chosen space, though it cannot apply to the same space more than once, even if origin spaces overlap.
Sphere effects have a listed radius value which is measured in spaces. Every space within the radius from the origin is targeted, regardless of orientation. Spheres include spaces above and below the origin space, also. The origin is also included in the effect (it is not omitted from being targeted). If a radius is 0, only the origin space is targeted.
Applying the Effect
Each entity within the chosen area becomes subject to the effect. All entities may benefit from cover if an obstruction lies between the entity and the origin space. At this point, it is important to note the type of area effect you are using: blast or vector.
An area effect labelled as a blast fills the entire targeted area with some form of concussive force that decays over distance. As such, blasts do not have a maximum range, but rather a range defined by the distance necessary for its effect to diminish to nothingness. The length of each distance increment and the amount the effect diminishes per increment is specified in each effect’s individual description.
- No Defense Tests: No entity in the area may attempt a defense test to avoid the effect; they are automatically hit, though they still resist damage normally. If the target takes the Full Defense action, they may add either their Contortion rating or Gymnastics rating to their resistance test.
- Always Attack Through Cover: Targets still benefit from cover because blasts are always treated as attacking through cover. Thus, only damage that is unresisted by an obstruction is left to affect a target with cover.
- Rebounds Off Barriers: The area initially targeted by your effect is called the primary wave. Blasts rebound off any entity that survives the initial effect, creating secondary waves. Where these waves overlap, the effect multiplies in potency. When an entity survives the damage of the primary wave, the damage it resists becomes the DV for the secondary wave. Where the secondary wave overlaps with the primary wave, the DV of each wave stacks. This is called the chunky salsa effect. Other effects may be cumulative as described in the effect’s individual description. Regardless of the number of waves, an entity is allowed only one damage resistance test. A single blast effect cannot rebound off the same entity more than once. The GM also chooses the area of secondary waves, but these will generally not include spaces that gained cover from the primary wave due to the entity or barrier causing the rebound. Secondary waves also decay at the same rate as the primary wave.
The vector area effect essentially paints or permeates the targeted area. Rather than moving through spaces as a wave, the effect travels in lines (straight lines, more or less) away from the origin.
- Avoidable: Entities within the area are allowed defense tests against the effect, though at a penalty equal to the number of adjacent spaces targeted by the effect. They still resist damage and other effects normally.
- Always Attack Around Cover: Vector effects never attack through cover and are never penetrating.
- No Decay: A vector effect applies to all targeted spaces equally (ignoring cover and situational modifiers).
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