Helpless Condition

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ArcticNomad's picture
Helpless Condition

From the rules text

Critical Hits: When you score a critical hit, double the base
damage before applying any bonus damage.

Automatic Hits:Some powers (emphasis mine) may allow an attack to be an automatic hit without rolling the die; in such cases, the attack automatically hits, but is never a critical hit, even if something would cause it to become one.


Is Stunned and Immobilized.

Melee attacks which target the affected creature are automatic hits and critical hits.

Ranged, area, and close attacks which target the affected creature have +4 Attack against it.

Owlbear Rager

Basic Melee Attack Ripping Beak: (reach 2) +12 vs. AC; 15 damage.

Melee Attack Hug: (reach 2, Immobilized or Helpless target only) automatic hit; target takes 20 damage.

Clarification needed on:

1. Does the Rager get double the base damage if it uses the Hug attack on a Helpless creature, from 20 to 40?

I think not (see Automatic Hit above) However it could be argued that the automatic hit exception refers specifically to automatic hits granted by a Power, and the Hug attack is not a power but an attack action.

2. If not then why would the Rager ever use Hug on Helpless creatures as its Ripping Beak attack would always do 30 damage on the Helpless creature. (thus making the Helpless designation superfluous on the Hug attack)

Obviously it would still use Hug on Immobilized creatures.

Also: Ravenous Ghoul

Basic Melee Attack Claw: +8 vs AC; 10 Damage

Melee Attack Ravenous Feast: (Staggered, Stunned, or Helpless enemy)
+10 vs AC; 25 Damage

OK, here the Ravenous Feast attack does more than double the base attack, so maybe this one requires a roll (+10) and does not get doubled for that reason? Or does it too get doubled but is not automatic even if the target is helpless?

(Once again, Staggered and Stunned are not questioned)

skyscraper's picture

P. 7 of the rulebook says that "powers can be attacks". I'm unsure if attack actions are elsewhere distinguished from powers, but my impression is that attack actions are a subset of powers.

Consequently, I would agree with you that the Rager's Hug attack would not do double damage against a target

I indeed see no reason to use Hug on a helpless target under this interpretation.

As for the ghoul's Ravenous Feast attack, I'm unsure what your question is? Since it is not an automatic hit, it seems to me like rules are straighforward: if the creature is stunned or staggered, an attack roll is made and the attack deals 25 damage if successful; if the creature is helpless, then the attack is an auomatic hit and a critical hit for 50 damage.

Is there some complication I don't see about this one?

plastic finn
plastic finn's picture

Unless the rules have changed, the Ravenous Feast deals 25 damage to Helpless target also. I remember 100% sure that's how it was stated earlier by one of the authorities of the time.

Now, please don't ask me where to find that information... Smile
It's a while ago! If memory serves, it had to do with the condition mentioned in the attack text and/or how the damage part was worded. Sorry I cannot remember it exactly.

skyscraper's picture

Corrected a typo in my reply, to change one occurrence of "attack actions" to "powers" in the first paragraph.

Ira's picture

You're right that Hug on a Helpless creature does only 20 damage, and therefore it's 99.9% superfluous to list Helpless as well. I can think of some weird corner cases where you might want a particular creature to deal the killing blow, and being able to do 20 damage instead of 30 damage might actually be better. But that's a really weird corner case.

You're right about the emphasis on powers that cause the attack to be an automatic hit, and the conflict with the rules about Helpless. We ruled that the not-doubling-automatic-hit-powers takes precedence. Take a look at the Collected Rulings, line 26 for other examples and the general principle.

Regarding Ravenous Ghoul, the attack power requires a roll, and therefore it's not an automatic hit simply due to the power. Therefore, the normal Helpless rules apply, and the Ravenous Feast is an automatic critical (and normal critical rules apply, doing 50 damage). Go ahead and use Ravenous Ghouls vs. Helpless creatures! Smile

I'm not sure what ruling Plastic Finn is referencing, but it doesn't apply given the current card text. If there is other card text (maybe errata, or intended errata), it would be easy to change. Personally, I've played with Ravenous Ghouls + Cadaver Collector and other helpless effects. It's fun when it works, but it's not broken. Helpless creatures are easy to kill with or without Ravenous Ghouls. You can use Dekanter Goblin or other low cost, low-to-hit, high damage creatures to similar effect. I'm not saying they're identical to Ravenous Ghouls, simply that killing Helpless creatures is easy for most warbands.

ArcticNomad's picture

Thanks Ira (and all others!) for your response!