Domination effects in game - vs DMs and PCs

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Domination effects in game - vs DMs and PCs

Post  Zarhon on Fri Nov 02, 2012 10:55 pm

What is people's experience with the "domination" status, if there has been any?

The status as a whole seems incredibly overpowered on both player side and the DM side:

On the player side, the effect forces the DM to reveal the afflicted enemy's abilities (since the player gets to control them and needs to know what it can do) and makes it helpless against the players until it passes the save. This further is complicated depending on what abilities it has, as it might be capable of outright destroying its own allies (or itself, if their attack has the "target creature" attribute) with attacks far more powerful than what players have available, by robbing it of PiPs, or by simply keeping it helpless from the players.

On the DM side however, the status becomes the single biggest threat to any PC, in any game: There is virtually no way to defend against it or prevent it, and many of the usual options (combat talents, activated traits, items) of losing or removing harmful status effects becomes useless, as the enemy controlling you dictates your actions and prevents you from using it (e.g. Mind over Matter can't be used to un-dominate yourself), leaving the player utterly helpless and at the mercy of the enemy, as well as the dice (if it's a save ends effect). And to top it all off, while dominated, the enemy still has free control over its own abilities.

The enemy is capable of forcing you to attack yourself ("target creature") or your allies with attacks which may, given the circumstances, one-shot or even kill your allies: Abilities aren't balanced around PVP, and domination effectively turns PVP against you in the most brutal way possible. Specials triggering may end up dooming your party as you are forced to use them against your allies or to benefit your enemies. And to add insult to injury, you are most likely to lose/waste a lot of PiPs in the process, leaving the dominated player drained of PiPs and forced to regain them before being able to retaliate.

Domination as a whole needs a bit of clarification on its rules: Right now, PCs affected by it are rendered helpless and can become more threatening than anything the DM plans to pit against the party. There should be some options for PCs to prevent the effect, better chances to fight it, or simply lessen the impact (PiP wasting and damage wise) of a dominated target: Combat abilities, combat items, combat traits, etc... The current "friendly fire" and "Oh... Sorry! Didn’t See You There!" traits are seemingly meant to do this, but both are too weak to make any kind of difference.
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Re: Domination effects in game - vs DMs and PCs

Post  A1C Bronymous on Fri Nov 02, 2012 11:09 pm

I don't know that it needs to be clarified- it's pretty clearly ridiculous, just like you pointed out. I think it's mostly a conscience check on the DM side- then again, it's also a pretty decent way to evoke that sense of helplessness from the players, and paint the enemy as really tough, even set it up to win the first fight so they can come back later.

However, only the really experienced or desperate DM's will probably end up using it. I know that I, for now at least, am using cookie cutter sample monsters from the DM handbook for my enemies, and none of them have Domination. It's definitely a Power Player move, reserved for high level or boss enemies.
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Re: Domination effects in game - vs DMs and PCs

Post  tygerburningbright on Fri Nov 02, 2012 11:23 pm

domination is susposed to be more or less the rarest of all the key save ends (this is coming from someone that has made fiveish monster that use it). The things that make most of the balance are allies and the caster. Allies can use a move that either aids in save ends rolling or just plain old remove it while if the caster is removed the save ends more or less goes away due to how it is worded in the hand book. The only monsters that should use the effect either have somewhat low HP (being in the lurker type) ,bosses that have a good selection of attacks, or already use moves in a random fashion. If I recall corectly there are a few trinkets that help with save ends in general but the traits that you mentioned are better suited to random attacks.
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Re: Domination effects in game - vs DMs and PCs

Post  SilentBelle on Sat Nov 03, 2012 1:50 am

I think Domination has a place, but the DM has to be really darn careful about using it. I mean, just like with stuns, you are denying a player their turn to feel as though they are contributing in the combat, in fact it's usually the equivalent of stunning a player for at least two turns, much more if the player in question has a large supply of pips. So as a DM I will rarely if ever use dominate. Maybe give a ghost the ability to sacrifice itself for a one-turn domination or something to that effect.

On the other side of the coin... Well I find that monsters are, for the most part, not worthwhile to dominate, as they generally do a much lower damage output than the players, but compensate by having more HP. Most bosses will have a fail-safe to get out of domination, and when it comes down to it, it makes more sense to use a move like frostfall for the same cost. Does more damage than most monsters can do on one turn and it stuns. But it might just be the monsters I've come across, we'll see how well domination fares when they release an official Monster Manual.

All that said, if as a player, you know that you are facing a creature with domination, but don't have any nifty traits or items to get you out of it quicker, here's what I suggest. Spend your pips. That's the greatest counter to domination when playing a character that wasn't built against status effects like domination. This way, when you are dominated, and only have 0 or 1 pip, you aren't going to be blowing up your whole team, you are far more likely to just be stabbing one of them for 1d10 or fireballing them. Though if you had 7 pips and got dominated, and then you frostfall your team... well we all know a TPK when we see it.

So yeah, it would be neat to see some new traits that help against the effects of domination, but it's really a hard condition to face.

I suppose you could have a trait that expends all your pips when you get dominated, and does something for you. Let's see...
Never Give In!
When you are placed under the effects of domination, you lose all your pips. Your allies gain temporary hit-points equal to the number of pips lost.

Or maybe....

Soul Switch 1/day Immediate Interrupt
Trigger: You are dominated
You Dominated the creature that dominated you. The creature remains dominated until you are no longer dominated.

I'm sure that there are much better ways of trying to be handy-capable towards domination. I just wonder how often people run into domination that they'd be willing to spend a trait to repel it's effects.

Well, that's my 2 cents on this Very Happy
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Re: Domination effects in game - vs DMs and PCs

Post  Ramsus on Sat Nov 03, 2012 3:16 am

Fight It!
Whenever you are Dominated you become Stunned instead.
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Re: Domination effects in game - vs DMs and PCs

Post  Xel Unknown on Sat Nov 03, 2012 3:17 am

Ramsus wrote:Fight It!
Whenever you are Dominated you become Stunned instead.
I LOVE THIS TRAIT... It's so awesome...
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Re: Domination effects in game - vs DMs and PCs

Post  LoganAura on Sat Nov 03, 2012 10:02 am

Actually, I did have experience with being dominated in a game of mine, the thing was I had been brainwashed- and head of a pack of timberwovles >_>- so I would have been devistating to fight. (Fire giant and 8 timberwolves, along with the Evil Zebra and Manticore).
I could summon a turn two Fire Giant :/
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Re: Domination effects in game - vs DMs and PCs

Post  Zarhon on Sat Nov 03, 2012 8:20 pm

Trait ideas that would help deal with domination:

White Mutiny - Immediate Interrupt
Any time a creature forces you to use a combat ability (through domination or similar effects), that targets a creature/ally, you may toss a coin. If you win the toss, you may choose a different target for that ability to affect.

Free Spirit
You re-gain all PiPs you spent whilst dominated, the moment the domination effect ceases.

Furious Revolt - 1/battle, immediate reaction
Trigger: You deal damage to yourself and/or allies whilst under the control of another creature.
Effect: Immediately remove the domination effect and deal X damage to the creature that was controlling you, where X is the total damage you dealt to your allies and yourself this turn. This effect can be activated even if you were knocked unconscious as a result of the inflicted damage.

Take a Third Option
Whenever an enemy forces you to deal damage to an ally through domination, you may instead choose to deal the damage to yourself.

Mental Battle
You may save against domination at the start of your turn instead of the end of your turn, and may save an additional time when you deal damage to an ally under its effects.

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Re: Domination effects in game - vs DMs and PCs

Post  Stairc -Dan Felder on Tue May 14, 2013 4:44 pm

This is a really cool thread.

You guys nailed Domination too. It's the rarest of effects and has its place, but shouldn't be used often. It's actually more fun than stunned, because the player still gets to do things. It also changes the flow of battle in a cool way, because the creatures you are fighting against/with can change.

For example, when I was running an epic final confrontation with a ridiculously powerful Psion - she dominated people quite often and it helped make the battle much more interesting. Stunning just stops the fun, I recommend DMs never use this effect unless they have at least two very good reasons. Domination on the other hand allowed her to take control of a whole crowd of the players' NPC allies for one round - which was a dramatic swing that made that round feel very different than 'just another round of fighting her'. Later she dominated the group's super-healer, and made him start healing her up. Both these rounds felt different from others due to the use of french scenes (a change in the characters rather than a change in the locations).

On another hand, it allows you to pit players against one another in a way they have an excuse for - so they can enjoy a bit of PvP in a safe environment. Some players really like this, so if you have them in your group you can use this tool. For that type of effect, I recommend using a custom status effect I call "true domination" - domination that doesn't daze the person so they still get all their actions.

When I use domination, I also tend to let the controller give only vague instructions to the dominated creature - not control their moves moment by moment (unless there's a good reason for it). That way the players don't get a look at the monster's stat block and the players still get to make decisions. For example I'll give a dominated player a vague instruction like, "Deal as much damage as you can to your closest ally". A player might be able to say, "Kill as many minions as you can" or, "use your highest-pip-attack on yourself".

This style tends to make domination a really fun effect to bring out, but only very sparingly - just like you all said.


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Re: Domination effects in game - vs DMs and PCs

Post  Z2 on Tue May 14, 2013 5:50 pm

I once used a monster with domination. It wasn't a very tough one.

If I hadn't held back, the party would have been TPK'd.

Aside from domination just being disastrous in general, and even worse if you can inflict a non-(save ends) version; there are some abilities that just DESTROY a player if used incautiously. Imagine stealing a use of 'it's over' or just using 'all or nothing' and a -x minor... Many player moves simply were NOT designed to be used against players, and domination causes immense trouble with that.
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Re: Domination effects in game - vs DMs and PCs

Post  Stairc -Dan Felder on Tue May 14, 2013 6:35 pm

Z2 wrote:I once used a monster with domination. It wasn't a very tough one.

If I hadn't held back, the party would have been TPK'd.

These statements seem incongruous. A monster's 'toughness' is based on how tough it is for players to defeat. So being able to TPK the party makes it sound pretty darn tough.

What exactly do you mean by this?

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Re: Domination effects in game - vs DMs and PCs

Post  ZamuelNow on Fri Sep 19, 2014 5:12 pm

I've been contemplating alternate options for thematic confuse/dominate without using the overt versions.  One is granting a forced attack, sort of like a Warlord talent but hitting your own allies.  Fits the theme, makes it feel like the player has partial control, doesn't affect their current energy, and may even allow them crit benefits if it's a rolled damage value.
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Re: Domination effects in game - vs DMs and PCs

Post  Stairc -Dan Felder on Thu Oct 30, 2014 3:46 am

That works just fine on principle, but doesn't have the perverse glee of making players hurt one another with their own things. Don't get me wrong, use it, but I'd also like to recommend occasionally forcing players to use their own attacks on eachother without paying the energy cost. So you can force someone to use a -6 even if they have no energy, and the player doesn't actually lose energy because of it - making it much less frustrating.


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