Fighting a battle against impossible odds

Don asks, “I have a character with 6 Blast going against A villain of 6 force field. He hits, does not has expertise and so that not in the equation. Once he hits his 6 Blast is absorbed by the 6 force field and nothing happens. He can never hurt this villain as I read the rules. How can he hurt this guy? Does every character need expertise and hope for Critical rolls?”

That is an excellent question. Let’s assume that expertise is off the table — for whatever reason, the player character does not have expertise in their main combat ability. It could happen! So what would such a character do, if faced with an opponent who seems invulnerable?

The character could just keep hammering at the enemy and hope for a good roll. In the second edition of Bulletproof Blues (currently in the editing phase), any roll of three or more over the task difficulty is an extreme success. The benefits of an extreme success are the same in second edition as they are in first edition.

So how do you increase your chances of rolling three or more over the task difficulty? Having expertise with the attack is one way, but we have already excluded that.

One way is by combining attacks. Multiple characters can gang up on an opponent to increase the damage they inflict when they hit. The successful attack which would inflict the most damage (or have the greatest effect, for non-damaging powers) provides the base damage (or effect) for the combined attack. Each additional successful attack increases the damage rating of the combined attack by +1.

Another possibility is the tactic of coordinating attacks. Multiple characters can work together to increase their chances of hitting an opponent, and if the result is three or more over the task difficulty, that is an extreme success. One character will actually make the attack, and the rest of the characters will attempt to assist them. Each character wishing to assist with the attack attempts a challenging task roll (task difficulty 12) using the appropriate attribute (usually Prowess or Accuracy). Each successful task roll increases the attack bonus of the attack by +1.

But perhaps the attacker needs to distract the enemy to try and find an opening in their defenses. Distraction can be used by a character to mislead an enemy into dropping their guard. Distracting an opponent requires a Willpower task roll against the Willpower of the opponent. If the distraction is successful, the next attack against the distracted opponent on the following round receives a +3 attack bonus. This might be enough to result in an extreme success!

Finally, it is possible that the player characters need to change their method of attack. Perhaps they have been using physical attacks against an opponent who is vulnerable to mental attacks (or vice versa). Perhaps the opponent has a motivation which can be exploited, resolving the conflict without any combat at all. Or perhaps the player character can use a plot point to use a power boost or power stunt in a way that grants them a tactical advantage.

These are just a few suggestions. Ultimately, it is up to the player characters to find a way to defeat their opponent. There is always a way!