Mounts and pyrokinetic characters

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Hi there,

I have a player who has a pyrokinetic doppelganger. What happens if he's riding a mount with his fiery aura? Is the mount getting burned every time it "ends its turn adjacent to the character", or is the mount immune to it? Does the aura emanated out from the mount? I'm not really sure how to do this. Thanks,

David
 I would say the pyrokinetic player get a fire resistant mount. 

But you could also say that part of his equipment is a fire proof saddle blanket.  He can also control the aura so as not to burn his mount.
i have a pyrokenetic cockroach in the party i dm for and the aura thing has been an inconvience for both the player and myself. we got together and decided that it'd probably be better for both of us if we made it toggle like the human torch's "flame on". for a minor action he gets to turn it on and off.
Yeah, I suggest doing what The_Reverend_Morbid suggests -- adopting the D&D rule that says an aura can be turned off or on with a minor action.

Also note that by the D&D rules, if the horse is being ridden, the mount does not have a turn. Thus it can't end its turn, thus it won't take damage. (See page 254 of the Rules Compendium.)

While D&D rules don't always apply in Gamma World, I think it's a good place to start when looking for what rulings you can make as a DM in your own games.

So yeah, turn off/on with a free action, and the rider doesn't burn his own horse as long as he's mounted.
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What Oraibi said. You can use 4E rules, which work on two counts:

1. A ridden creature doesn't actually have a turn, so doesn't take aura damage.
2. Auras can be suppressed as a (usually) free action.

Secondly, it's Gamma World. The rules aren't expected to be entirely fair, or balanced, but they ARE expected to be fun. So if something is a proble, just handwave it. Maybe the pyrokinetic extends his aura to his mount while he's riding something. Maybe it creates a bubble which excludes the mount, or maybe he just turns it off.

GW it about creativity. Let the player decide, IMO.
And its actually not even a question of using D&D rules, since being able to turn off an Aura is presented on GW p105.  Its really a question of wether or not Fiery Aura is an "Aura" as defined under monster traits, or its just something aura-like that happens to share the same buzzword.
@Serpine: I've maintained that Fiera Aura is "just something aura-like that happens to share the same buzzword," since the "Aura" entry on page 105 only applies to monsters.

In faithfulness to my "Amazon Tribe" theory of GW, I'm going to try to answer this using only Gamma World rules. Fiery Aura only affects "creatures." Page 26 of GW gives us the best definition of creatures:

Creatures or enemies: If a power targets creatures, it affects both your allies and your enemies. If it targets enemies, it doesn't hurt any of your allies. Enemies include anything that isn't your ally, whether it's hostile to you or not.

So, according to GW, "creatures" only include enemies and allies. A mount is listed in the "Starting Gear" table on page 75, so it doesn't fall into either of those categories (even though it's an animal). In fact, it's better characterized as an "object," like the other items in that table. It doesn't have full stats, and it's similar in usefulness to a pickup truck, which no one would argue is a "creature."

Since a mount is an "object," not a "creature," it is not affected by Fiery Aura. It can, however, still be attacked, since the definition of "Target" on page 26 informs us that "[a]t the Game Master's discretion, a power that normally targets a creature can also target an object."

So, to answer your question...the mount is safe. And we don't need to rely on D&D to get there.
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A mount is listed in the "Starting Gear" table on page 75, so it doesn't fall into either of those categories (even though it's an animal)

Your creative definition of a mount as an object rather then a creature doesn't however cover what happens if the character is riding on one of the mounts from the creature section of FoG.  Or are you proposing that a Podog becomes an object when hops on top of it, or that a flaming aura from a rider impacts a horse from the equipment table differently then Brutorz from that section.
I would personally assume that an Amazon Tribe with the knowledge of English and grounding in gaming required to use this product as a game rather then kindling or decoration ("Pretty box.  Makes good hat!") might be more likely to believe that an "aura" is an "Aura" then that a horse is a piece of machinery.
Your creative definition of a mount as an object rather then a creature doesn't however cover what happens if the character is riding on one of the mounts from the creature section of FoG.  Or are you proposing that a Podog becomes an object when hops on top of it, or that a flaming aura from a rider impacts a horse from the equipment table differently then Brutorz from that section.

You're assuming rules that don't appear in any of the books. Unless I'm mistaken, the term "mount" is not defined in the Gamma World Roleplaying Game. There are no rules for a "mount," other than what's specified on the "Gear Description" table on page 76 of GW. There is no rule allowing you to turn a monster into a "mount," or describing how that process would work. So the rules, as written, do not allow a character to ride one of the creatures from the "Monsters" chapter of Famine in Far-Go.

I'm not trying to say that it can't be done. I'm just saying that it should be up to the DM's discretion, since there aren't explicit rules for it. My post above was an attempt to answer the OP's question while staying within the written rules of Gamma World. Other people didn't think it could be done, and used D&D rules to answer the question. That method is perfectly logical, but I disagree with it. I use the Amazon Tribe as an illustration—to the tribe, D&D doesn't exist, so all they have to answer their questions is the written rules of Gamma World. It's my belief that the game was designed to be self-contained, and so I adhere to that belief when trying to answer rules questions.

(To answer the second part of your statement: As a DM I would allow PCs to "domesticate" monsters and turn them into mounts. In an effort to stay true to the written rules of GW, I would probably also consider that mount an "object," utilizing some of the monster's stats for limited purposes. But keep in mind that all those decisions would be based on DM discretion; nothing in this aside is contemplated in the written rules of Gamma World.)
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So the rules, as written, do not allow a character to ride one of the creatures from the "Monsters" chapter of Famine in Far-Go.

Several of the monsters in question have notations about features that they grant riders, positive or negative, which would be rather useless if they can't be used as mounts (and this isn't just a "monster rules only" thing since there are no specific rules for monsters mounting other monsters either).
Anyway, to play devil's advocate here for the sake of the Amazon Tribe: Since "Enemies include anything that isn't your ally, whether it's hostile to you or not" says "anything" rather then "any monster" wouldn't all non-allied objects (including mounts, buildings, and that chair over in the corner) be considered an enemy? Since this is establishing the behavior of the targeting label "creatures" it can't be justified that the targeting is limited to "creatures" since that would be a circular definition.
From the rules Q&A forum FAQ (if desired):
"Is a mount considered an ally?
Yes."

Essentially, the writer's have stated that mounts are allies (they have also said that your aura, good or bad, affects your mount). fwiw: those that don't want to use D&D clarifications probably won't be using mounts to begin with (as that's where we're getting the mounted combat rules).

Also, I have just now added the following to the Gamma World forum FAQ:
"Can a pyrokinetic turn off his fiery aura? Yes. Auras can be turned off (GW p.105), and a pyrokinetic would have a rough time say, eating if he could not."
Just let'em burn
From the rules Q&A forum FAQ (if desired):
"Is a mount considered an ally?
Yes."

Essentially, the writer's have stated that mounts are allies (they have also said that your aura, good or bad, affects your mount). fwiw: those that don't want to use D&D clarifications probably won't be using mounts to begin with (as that's where we're getting the mounted combat rules).

Also, I have just now added the following to the Gamma World forum FAQ:
"Can a pyrokinetic turn off his fiery aura? Yes. Auras can be turned off (GW p.105), and a pyrokinetic would have a rough time say, eating if he could not."

Just want to clarify that those are community-generated FAQs, and therefore unofficial answers/opinions.

Here is another valid answer to the second question, since we don't yet have official clarification: No. Despite its name, Fiery Aura does not behave according to the rules for monster auras on GW p. 105, because it does not have the Aura keyword. Rather, it behaves exclusively according to its stated text absent GM discretion.

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Just want to clarify that those are community-generated FAQs, and therefore unofficial answers/opinions.

 Right... I mentioned that I just now added the 2nd item so that if anyone wanted to debate it, now would be a good time. I had thought a concensus would be fairly forthcoming... but let the discussion begin

As for the first item, the writers themselves provided the answer (as mentioned), so that's pretty reliable.



Right... I mentioned that I just now added the 2nd item so that if anyone wanted to debate it, now would be a good time.

How about this?

"Can a pyrokinetic turn off his Fiery Aura?" No. Gamma World does not define the Aura keyword for PCs, so Fiery Aura behaves according to its stated text. However, it is typical to allow a pyrokinetic to turn off its aura according to the rules for monster auras on p. 105.

I think an entry like that is faithful to both RAW and the common-sense DM workaround.

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Agreed.
Agreed.

I disagree. GW doesn't use the term 'Keyword'. It just calls Aura a 'trait', both in the monster section and in the PC section. A DM is free to make the call either way.

Also, I thought it was discussed before that a pyrokinetic having to keep his fire on all the time would be pretty lame from a roleplaying point of view?

But more importantly, presenting that lameness as the expected result seems counter-productive.
fwiw: as soon as it was apparent that we didn't have universal agreement, I removed the "Yes" from the FAQ answer so it read:
"Can a pyrokinetic turn off his fiery aura? per GW p.105 Auras can be turned off as a minor action, and a pyrokinetic would have a rough time eating or interacting with NPC's if he could not."

While the statement now appears technically true, it is also probably misleading, so I'm awaiting the concensus from this discussion. Mainly, I want to avoid providing poor advice in the FAQ. Shall I remove this statement until the discussion is resolved then?
I believe not being able to turn off the pyrokinetic's fiery aura is an intended disadvantage.

Yes is it is harder to interact with other people and objects with a fiery aura just as plants have a hard time with there vulnerability to fire which can not be turned off either.

Both the pyrokinetic's and the plant's powers are written the same way.
I disagree. GW doesn't use the term 'Keyword'. It just calls Aura a 'trait', both in the monster section and in the PC section. A DM is free to make the call either way.

Yeah, I guess that is a little misleading. There isn't technically an aura "keyword" in D&D either. So let me tweak my earlier definition:

"Can a pyrokinetic turn off his Fiery Aura?" No. A PC's aura does not have generally defined characteristics in Gamma World, so Fiery Aura behaves according to its stated text. However, it is typical to allow a pyrokinetic to turn off its aura according to the rules for monster auras on p. 105.

@mvincent Without being too hasty, I'd say that the above passage best reflects the general consensus and should be added to the FAQ. As I mentioned before, it's both faithful to RAW and provides the most common alternative for those who wish to tweak the rule.

@Billdownawell That's a really good point about it being an intended disadvantage. We see similar disadvantages with other origins, such as the Seismic origin's –1 to speed and, more recently, the Entropic origin's –2 to defenses upon regaining hit points. Your point is great evidence in support of the stated text.
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"Can a pyrokinetic turn off his Fiery Aura?" No...

That does not seem like a good answer. Besides being problematic to roleplaying and almost certainly opposite of RAI, it implies that the answer is clear, when it is definitely not. Remove the "No" portion and you might at least have a reasonable answer. Actually, the answer currently on the FAQ page already seems to say that.
That does not seem like a good answer. Besides being problematic to roleplaying and almost certainly opposite of RAI, it implies that the answer is clear, when it is definitely not. Remove the "No" portion and you might at least have a reasonable answer.

I think you're slightly missing the point. It's an FAQ thread, so people are looking for a clear answer. And all the other things you mentioned (RAI, roleplaying consideration, etc.) are debatable. They're for a thread like this, where people offer their different views when the question is posed. But the one thing that's isn't debatable is the actual text—what's written in the book and (more importantly in some cases), what isn't written there.

So for the purposes of the FAQ, we should provide the "best" answer—despite its potential flaws—based on the text. The second sentence of the proposed FAQ answer provides the most common alternative rule for those who wish to change it, for any of the considerations you mentioned.
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Besides being problematic to roleplaying and almost certainly opposite of RAI...


I don't believe either of these to be true.  Not only does the continual fiery aura (as implied by the origin description, appearance entry, and rules text) seem to be an intentional disadvantage, I think said disadvantage is conducive to roleplaying, not problematic.

it implies that the answer is clear, when it is definitely not.


Again, I'm with battles on this one.

"Can a pyrokinetic turn off his Fiery Aura?" No. A PC's aura does not have generally defined characteristics in Gamma World, so Fiery Aura behaves according to its stated text. However, it is typical to allow a pyrokinetic to turn off its aura according to the rules for monster auras on p. 105.

@mvincent Without being too hasty, I'd say that the above passage best reflects the general consensus and should be added to the FAQ. As I mentioned before, it's both faithful to RAW and provides the most common alternative for those who wish to tweak the rule.

Fair enough. Added. Thanks for your help guys!

"Can a pyrokinetic turn off his Fiery Aura?" No. A PC's aura does not have generally defined characteristics in Gamma World, so Fiery Aura behaves according to its stated text. However, it is typical to allow a pyrokinetic to turn off its aura according to the rules for monster auras on p. 105.

@mvincent Without being too hasty, I'd say that the above passage best reflects the general consensus and should be added to the FAQ. As I mentioned before, it's both faithful to RAW and provides the most common alternative for those who wish to tweak the rule.

Fair enough. Added. Thanks for your help guys!





It should be:

 "Can a pyrokinetic turn off his Fiery Aura?" No. A PC's aura does not have generally defined characteristics in Gamma World, so Fiery Aura behaves according to its stated text. However, it is typical to allow a pyrokinetic to turn off its aura according to the rules for monster auras on p. 105, but you are a big chicken.
"Can a pyrokinetic turn off his Fiery Aura?" No. A PC's aura does not have generally defined characteristics in Gamma World, so Fiery Aura behaves according to its stated text. However, it is typical to allow a pyrokinetic to turn off its aura according to the rules for monster auras on p. 105, but you are a big chicken.


/approve
The "you're a big chicken" line from the Gamma World rulebook -- about choosing your origins instead of rolling them -- is one of my favorite things in any RPG rulebook.
Gamma World Downloads: Character sheets, GM screen, adventures, monsters, house rules, cards, and more! You can usually find my posts at the Gamma World forum.
The "you're a big chicken" ... is one of my favorite things in any RPG rulebook.

I found it the opposite: Like several other lines in the book it felt more like an immature attempt to sound cool. But then I didn't have much respect for people who resorted to the "double-dog dare" to get me to do something as a kid either.

As far as this thread goes, the description in the book has such characters leaving sooty footsteps and presents an illustration with vaguely flaming hair but no massive nimbus of fire. This is not reflective of the *15 foot wide* swath of scorched earth a character who could not turn off the aura would generate. From a role playing perspective, contrary to what some other people have proposed, I would find a character in a permanent fireball to be denied a lot of chances outside of the "Oh no, the world has cursed me" variety (which is frankly overdone and more the area of other RPGs): They have to maintain physical distance from all NPCs, probably would not be allowed inside any village do to fire hazards ("I'll just wait here while you guys talk to the chief guys" *twiddle*), and can never get a good night's sleep ("Drat, another bed destroyed").
It doesn't have to be 15. It could just be 5, with the understanding that someone standing right next to you is going to get singed a little (it's only 5 HP). Keep in mind that it only affects creatures, so, as long as we're throwing logic out the window, some of your concerns are taken care of.
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I found it the opposite: Like several other lines in the book it felt more like an immature attempt to sound cool.


I thought it was understood to be tongue-in-cheek.

As far as this thread goes, the description in the book has such characters leaving sooty footsteps and presents an illustration with vaguely flaming hair but no massive nimbus of fire. This is not reflective of the *15 foot wide* swath of scorched earth a character who could not turn off the aura would generate. From a role playing perspective, contrary to what some other people have proposed, I would find a character in a permanent fireball to be denied a lot of chances outside of the "Oh no, the world has cursed me" variety (which is frankly overdone and more the area of other RPGs): They have to maintain physical distance from all NPCs, probably would not be allowed inside any village do to fire hazards ("I'll just wait here while you guys talk to the chief guys" *twiddle*), and can never get a good night's sleep ("Drat, another bed destroyed").


It's an aura of heat that, if within a few feet of a pyrokinetic, can cause burns after a few seconds.  You're not a living fireball, you don't set stuff on fire, you're probably not even ON fire.  You can simply hurt living creatures who stand next to you for too long.  Note that a creature can enter or leave those squares unharmed, and that you cannot use it offensively without actually immobilizing your opponents one way or another.  They have to, during their turn, CHOOSE to remain next to you to be damaged by the heat.

Think of it like standing next to an open oven.  If you hold your hands there, you will get burned.  Your clothes probably won't catch on fire, nor would any manner of kindling, but you could be very severely hurt.

Yes, this means the chief probably won't want to stand within 5' of you.  This is not unreasonable.  In fact, all it really does is make everything more interesting.  Hell, in modern American culture, standing within 5' of a person you're conversing with is typically inside their personal space already.

Long story short, I'm not buying the roleplaying hindrance.
i may be silly in saying this but creatures dont really have "turns" out of combat right? so technically it would only come up in an encounter, where it wouldnt be so unreasonable for players to have to navigate around the aura.
That solution works for quite a few people.
The "you're a big chicken" ... is one of my favorite things in any RPG rulebook.

I found it the opposite: Like several other lines in the book it felt more like an immature attempt to sound cool. But then I didn't have much respect for people who resorted to the "double-dog dare" to get me to do something as a kid either. As far as this thread goes, the description in the book has such characters leaving sooty footsteps and presents an illustration with vaguely flaming hair but no massive nimbus of fire. This is not reflective of the *15 foot wide* swath of scorched earth a character who could not turn off the aura would generate. From a role playing perspective, contrary to what some other people have proposed, I would find a character in a permanent fireball to be denied a lot of chances outside of the "Oh no, the world has cursed me" variety (which is frankly overdone and more the area of other RPGs): They have to maintain physical distance from all NPCs, probably would not be allowed inside any village do to fire hazards ("I'll just wait here while you guys talk to the chief guys" *twiddle*), and can never get a good night's sleep ("Drat, another bed destroyed").





The fiery aura is a power that has positive and negative effects, thus removing the negative effects can be viewed as taking the easy way out.  

The plant can not just turn off its vulnerability to fire when it suits it, it has to live with it.

so, Boo Hoo
 
yall keep comparing a vunerabilty to an aura and they arent the same thing. they have 2 different effects, please stop bringing it up. the aura has positive and negative, but your generally allowed some control over it. vunerabilities and resistances are always in effect.
yall keep comparing a vunerabilty to an aura and they arent the same thing. they have 2 different effects, please stop bringing it up. the aura has positive and negative, but your generally allowed some control over it. vunerabilities and resistances are always in effect.




The vulnerability of the plant is in title only as with the aura of the pyrokinetic. 

If the "aura" of the pyrokinetic was written as "aura 1, 5 fire damage if a creature ends its turn with in the aura" there would be no debate, but it is as followed:

Fiery Aura (level 1): whenever a creature ends its turn adjacent to you, it takes five fire damage.

Compare that to the plants ablility which is:

Vulnerable to Fire(level 1): whenever you take fire damage, you take 5 extra fire damage. 

Both are written the same way.
They both mimic the effect of an aura/vulnerability but both neither are an aura or a vulnerability.

That is why I bring up the plant.
 
valid point, the posts didnt seem to reflect that aspect of the arguement though. from my perspective the vagueness of the rule in in which the GW book is laid out, seems to lend the application from pg 105. i know they already made the FAQ post, but just want to say that.
I guess that's because I never considered the wording to be vague.
It doesn't seem vague to me either. I read the trait names as merely labels and not game mechanics -- anything before the colon is flavor text, anything after is mechanics -- and just like "Swarm Defense" doesn't give a rat swarm character full swarm powers, neither does "Fiery Aura" give an actual aura as-in-the-game-mechanic.

(That said, if someone in my game complained too much I'd let them switch it off, but that's a house rule, it's not RAW.)
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i guess i still have a hard time gettin out of the DnD rule system. it always feels like im using 1/2 the rules and it feel akward at times.
i may be silly in saying this but creatures dont really have "turns" out of combat right? so technically it would only come up in an encounter, where it wouldnt be so unreasonable for players to have to navigate around the aura.



        Personally, I find this to satisfy both RAW and RAI.  The flavor for the Radioactive origin states that they have a glow that gets more intense when they start using their powers.  Mechanically that has no bearing, but that is how I would treat the Fiery Aura.  It's always on but less intense when your not using your powers.  For instance you could say that people don't want to sit next to you, and that you might scorch things in your wake, but there is no actual damage being done.  In combat this aura would intesify so much that it would change from being uncomfitable to being dangerous. 
         Allowing a Pyrokinetic to turn a trait off seems like a boost in their overall quality.  This solution allows a pyro to ride a mount out of combat with no penalty without also giving them an additional bonus.  It is my opinion that even with an aura you cannot turn off and the inability to ride mounts in combat that the pyrokinetic orgin is still better than others.  I suppose if the only use to being able to turn off ones aura was to allow them to ride a mount in combat; then no one would mind.  Sadly, that isn't the case.
         I would suggest a different solution to this problem.  Using either a replacement for Omega Tech or mundane gear with a mechanics check to insulate the mount.  Thermal blankets, thick leather, and other types of insulation should be able to be found to help you build a type of barding to make your mount safe from the aura.  Alternately, instead of drawing an Omega Tech card as a reward, give the player the option to get something that can be modified to protect the mount.  How exactly this is done is up to the DM, but if you go the route of the mundane gear (which is what I would do) I have some suggestions.  Firstly, I would not give the mount fire resistance, but rather immunity to Fiery Aura.  This would not be at all unbalancing, and would still get the job done.  Secondly, I would use the mechanics checks to determine how many rounds this barding will protect the mount.  Frequent repairs would extend it's life, and will force an upkeep situation to which some of the players resources will have to be used. 
         At the end of the day, it's a dicision for the DM.  This is the fairest thing I could come up with.  I hope this will be helpful to someone.
         
i guess i still have a hard time gettin out of the DnD rule system. it always feels like im using 1/2 the rules and it feel akward at times.


To be fair, the same thing is true if these traits were in D&D.  The power name has no bearing on its mechanical effects.  Any long-time denizen of 4e Rules Q&A would deliver the same ruling on those traits.