Quick Attribute Reference:
EF - Elemental Fire
EE - Elemental Electricity
EW - Elemental Water
EI - Elemental Ice
ER - Elemental Earth
EA - Elemental Air
K - Magical
X - Spiritual
Z - Zany
NE - Energy Electromagnetic
NN - Energy Nuclear
NP - Energy Photonic
NF - Energy Fusion
NQ - Energy Quantum
M - Mind
R - Real
P - Physical (all but Mental)
Y - Reaction
Y+ - Reaction which can be used vs. Surprise Actions
S - Surprise Action
Every Action in the Avatar System can be broken down into one or more Attributes. Attributes are given so that the types of attacks can be identified with the types of defenses that are associated with them, and so that every type of Action taken clearly shows what kind of Nexal Energy and Frame of Reference was used.
The most basic of Attributes is the Real Attribute, symbolized with an "R". When an Avatar punches another Avatar, he is using a Real Attack. When an Avatar blocks an attack with his shield, he is using a Real Defense. All R Actions are assumed to be baseline for Offensive Calculations (using OR) and Defensive Calculations (using DR), as explained in the Combat section. All Items which slash, clash, crunch and bang are usually R items, and this will be shown in the "Class" section of the Item. If an Item does not have ANY Attribute, it is assumed to be Real.
Although many effects in the Avatar System have SOME Real basis, there are special classifications of effects which help to clarify the frame of reference form which they come. The following Attributes are used to break down the effects in the game into manageable chunks so that defenses make sense. Whenever common sense does not seem to be enough to determine whether a given defense can cancel out a given effect, players must fall back on the Attributes assigned to the Actions in question. If this still does not clear up the issue, then assume that whatever is not clear is simply not affected by other Powers, Skills or Items that do not specifically say they affect it.
(E) Elemental: There are six different types of Elemental Attributes, and the type of Element represented by the effect will be shown following the "E". (EF) Fire; (EE) Electricity; (EW) Water; (EI) Ice; (ER) Earth (yes, this differs from Real, and is a generic term for any Elemental effect based in solid objects); (EA) Air. Although all Elemental effects are generally of equal capability, they are differentiated so that appropriate defenses can be chosen against them. If a given effect has an (E) Attribute with no second letter designation, it shows that it can affect ANY other Elemental effect.
(K) Magical: This Attribute shows that a specific type of effect is based on a basis of Magic, and can only be defended against by an effect based also in Magic. An example of this Attribute would be a giant fist which has been created in the air - it is not Elemental and it is not based in Energy; rather it is based on its creator's willpower and mystical ability.
(X) Spiritual: This attribute is mired in the unexplained; while the Magical Attribute has basis in reality, the Spiritual attribute is based in "unreality". Any effect with this Attribute transcends normal explanations and can only be countered with equally paranormal effects.
(Z) Zany: This Attribute pertains strictly to the Cartoon Genre and includes effects which have no other explanation other than absurdity; generally these effects can only be countered by other Zany effects.
(N) Energy: There are five different types of Energy Attributes, and unlike the Elemental Attributes, they are not all of equal value. While Elemental effects have their basis in raw power, Energy effects reflect "refined" power - they are the hallmark of technology and the Technology Genre, although we see Energy effects in other Genres as well. If a Terran is going to use some sort of effect, it is most likely going to have either a Real or Energy Attribute. The same principles that apply to Elemental Attributes apply to Energy Attributes; if a given effect has an (N) Attribute with no second letter designation, it shows that it can affect ANY other Energy effect.
The Energy Attributes are as follows: (NE) Electromagnetic Energy, which is based on the principles of electric and magnetic power (the reason there is a difference between EE and NE is that EE is a BASIC raw power, while NE is a harnessed, directed power); (NP) Photonic Energy, which is based on light (lasers, flashes, holography); (NN) Nuclear Energy, based on radiation and nuclear power; (NF) Fusion Energy, which is based on the science of implosion and atomic anti-matter; (NQ) Quantum Energy, which is based entirely on the random science of quantum mechanics.
Finally, there is the (M) Mind Attribute. Every other Attribute listed above can be lumped into the category "physical effect". Effects with the M Attribute stand alone in that they are the result of pure mental power and do not touch the physical world at all. All Mental Attacks and non-combat Mental Effects are considered to have an M Attribute, and may ONLY be countered by other M effects.
If an effect has more than one Attribute, then it has its roots in all of the Attributes listed. If one of those Attributes is negated by another effect, then the remaining Attributes will remain in effect on a percentage basis. For example, if someone uses a Flaming Sword (R,EF) against someone with a Ring of Fire Protection (EF) which negates any EF Action, then the Flaming Sword would be reduced to HALF of its effectiveness because of its R Attribute. If it were a Flaming Ice Sword (R,EF,EI), it would be reduced to two-thirds of its effectiveness.
The last rule pertaining to multi-Attribute Items is that a given effect of one particular Attribute cannot counteract more of the total effect of the multi-Attribute Item than the percentage allows. For example, if the Ring of Fire Protection (EF) was a +10 Defensive Item vs. EF and the Flaming Sword (R,EF) was valued at +15, no more than 8 points could be negated (all calculations based on Attributes are rounded towards the defense). Note that unless otherwise specified, all Attribute negations are taken into account before ALL other calculations.
There are some Items and effects which can counter ANY Physical effect (note that there is a difference between the (R) Real Attribute and the term "Physical effect", which is used strictly to differentiate it from Mental effects). For example, a simple shield may indeed provide protection from any attack except a Mental one; in this case, the combined Attribute (P) may be used simply to designate that the shield blocks all Physical Attacks.
In the sections which follow, the term "Physical Combat" will be used frequently - the exact definition of "Physical Combat" is the use of any effect which does NOT have the (M) Mental Attribute. Physical Combat includes a fist (R), a Flaming Sword (R,EF), a laser pistol (NP), an Ice Bolt (EI), etc.
There are two additional Attributes which are applied to Items, Skills and Powers. Effects which could possibly counter them must be specifically labeled as such. These two Attributes are listed along with the other Attributes in parentheses, but they define HOW the effect may be used instead of what it consists of.
Anytime an Action is taken, it has the potential of sparking a Combat. You are not able to just go up to someone and hit them with a sword; an Action like that must be announced, and Initiative must be taken into account. Some Actions, however, can be taken as "Surprise" Actions, and are designated by "S". For example, all Long Range Attacks and all Mental Attacks may be used as S attacks. These Actions can be taken with no prior warning, and go into effect immediately. Once the Action is taken, a combat may begin as a response to the Action, assuming the target is able to retaliate. Unless otherwise specified, Surprise Actions can NOT be stacked; only one is allowed before a Combat is mandatory. This applies to any Avatar in sight range of the original Surprise Action. Once a Surprise Action is performed, another may not be performed by any Avatar in sight range of the original Action for a period of ten minutes; further, no Surprise Action may be performed by anyone who has been in a Combat in the last ten minutes, nor into an existing Combat (even if the Avatar who wants to perform the Surprise Action has not been a part of the existing Combat).
Some Actions can be used as "Reactions", which means that they can be declared as an immediate (appropriate) response to something which has just happened (including something which HE has just initiated) and do not count as an Action. As examples, a declaration of combat can be followed by a Suggestion that the declarer NOT attack a certain Avatar, and the use of Detect Invisibility can follow the attempt to attack an invisible target. Any Items, Skills or Powers which can be used as a Reaction are designated by "Y".
Further, while a majority of Reactions need to be "invoked" (Suggestion is a good example), some are designated as "continuous", which means that just by virtue of the Avatar having them, they almost become a part of the Avatar (even though the Avatar always has a choice of whether or not to use them). No Powers fit into this category, but any Power which has a continuous effect (such as Mind Blank) is considered to fit into this category. The reason we make this differentiation is almost exclusively for the purposes of responding to a Surprise Action. Any Skill which has the "+" designation after a "Y" is allowed to be used when defending against a Surprise Action. In the case of any Skill which requires an Item to be useful at all, obviously that Item MUST be readied for the Skill to be applicable - in other words, if someone has Edged Weapons III and is Surprise Attacked, he gets the +5 DR bonus IF he is already holding a sword. But since drawing a sword is NOT considered to be a Reaction, he cannot draw a sword and apply the bonus just because it has a "+" designation. The same holds true for a Martial Artist who needs his hands free to get his DR bonus - if he is holding something, he cannot "put it away" and declare his Martial Arts DR bonus in response to a Surprise Action.
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