Spell Modifications

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I have been thinking that people do not have non-half damage spells etc because of the lack of effect in the game. So instead of effecting spell write-ups spell by spell I was thinking of the prepare and cast actions. If they allowed the player of a caster more choice then it would be more interesting for them.

The following system could be simply tested with a bunch of people of all levels, and could be rolled into the effects of magic items - but I feel it would be better to have it available to all players not just some.

I was thinking of:


Fatigue Costs:
Talents - 0Ft, GKS 1 Ft, SKS 2 Ft, Rare Knowledge Spells 4 Ft (any spell that is not standard in the book, ie a mod, or new spell).

Any adept would be able to choise to do any of the following:

No restrictions on General knowledge spells.

The Thaumaturgies - Up to 375 EM SK spell - (Bards, Binding , E&Es, Illusions, Mind Mages, Namers )
The Elementals - Up to 425 EM SK spell - (Air Magics, Celestial Magics, Earth Magics, Fire Magics, Ice Magics, Water Magics)
The Entities - Up to 375 EM SK spell - (Greater Summonings, Necros, Rune Mages, Witchcraft)

Prepare Action - Only one can be combined.

Name Bonus Penalty
Increase damage Makes the spell a resist for ½ damage +3 Ft cost, +10 on Cast Check dice roll.
Extra range +30% extra range (approx, GM call) +4 Ft cost, +10 on Cast Check dice roll.
Increase BC +20 to Base Chance (not a percentage) +4 Ft cost, +2 on Cast Check dice roll.
Desperate Cast +50 to Base Chance (not a percentage) +10 Ft cost.
Mighty Cast -15 on Cast Check dice roll +15 Ft cost.
Students Cast +10 on Base Chance (not a percentage) +1 Ft cost (only works with General Knowledge spells).
Students Increase Damage Makes the spell a resist for ½ damage +2 Ft cost (only works with General Knowledge spells).


Cast Action - Only one can be combined.

Name Bonus Penalty
I'm a Witch -20 on one targets Magic Resistance save +2 Ft cost, -3 off damage total max.
I’m a E&E -30 on all targets Magic Resistance save +3 Ft cost, -3 ranks off the damage formula.
I'm a Namer No prepare action +4 Ft cost, +10 on Cast Check dice roll.
Clean Fast Cast No prepare action +8 Ft cost.
Students Increased Power +3 ranks of damage +3 Ft cost (only works with General Knowledge spells).


Please note: If you do an ability that means you no longer do a "prepare action" then you can NOT use any of the abilities listed under the prepare. You pay the Ft cost when you declare your action (prepare part of the pulse or cast part).




So ...
Max the Wizard wants to cast Bolt of Energy.
In his prepare action he says I am preparing Bolt of Energy as a Increased damage (pays 3Ft now).
Orgg the giant does not hit him with the giant maul in melee combat.
In his cast action he says I am a real dirty E&E and casts the spell (pays 5 Ft now).
The result is a total costs to him for BoE (E&E S2) is at 8 Ft for the spell and +10 on the dice, and -5 on damage.
The target gets -30 on save and resists for ½ damage.

Whats the point I hear you saying:
Well its a minor effect for the most part, but will allow a caster to have choices that they do not have at the moment. Their are also moments in the game when you will pay the large amount of Ft cost as you think you will not have Ft shortly.




Counterposition

I don't think this is minor by any stretch of the imagination. In addition, it's unbalanced with regard to colleges. Water mages are not going to be a problem but air mages have no particular need to increase their base chances and their damage throughput. Neither do the other many of the other colleges.

Finally, it seems to me that the problem that this modification is trying to address is one where a spell caster has a restricted choice of actions. Although, it's true that a spell caster may have a wide range of magic that they can deploy, in practice, they effectiveness of one spell is so great that to choose another option is irrational.

The issue, then, is that a player character has decided that a particular spell is a very good spell, and if it is such a good spell, then they will advance that very good spell so that they are pretty damned hot at it. Then, it is not only a very good spell, it's one that they cast very well, that has increased effectiveness (whether that is range, damage, duration, etc), and one that they have invested a substantial chunk of their development.

A range of choices only becomes sensible when a player percieves that the utility of an available action competes with other available actions. The reasons that an another action might compete are: targetting method target vulnerability traceability of attack secondary effect (stun, knockdown, etc) precision of attack number of targets geometry of attack-space (size and shape of "area of effect" magic etc.

The suggested modifications don't address this, and indeed, neither should they. In short, I believe them to add to the workload of the DM, and this is a bad thing. Less importantly, it doesn't solve the real problem, which is the range of magical action choices for some characters. This is a sad thing, but it's not very sad. I don't find myself spontaneously bursting into tears over it. Occasionally, I have felt my lower lip tremble, yet I feel sure I can continue to bear this burden.

I should point out, as well, that this isn't a problem that afflicts all spell casters. One doesn't usually hear E&E, Earth or Mind mages bemoaning the fact that they've cast the same spell seven times already. The fact is a player makes choices about what college the character joins, and on what things they will spend their experience.


Velcanthus




I much prefer Andrews suggestion and his reasonings expressed in his email:

1. By making a strenuous effort, anyone may take pass actions in addition to their normal action (e.g. while making an attack, casting, moving, charging, withdrawing and so on). It costs 2 FT for each additional pass action that the entity takes. For example, someone wants to get out a potion, drink the potion and move 6 hexes. That takes 5 pass actions, so costs 10 FT. This FT is due to "tiredness", not damage and so cannot be healed.

2. Any spell can be quick-cast without a prepare action. This adds 10 to the die roll and any fail results in a roll on the backfire table. In addition, the caster's maximum FT is reduced by EM/200 (round up) until the next solstice

These two rule changes would give a lot of options and flexibility without unbalancing things IMO. The nasty attack magic will be highly unlikely to double and will cost significant amounts of FT that can't be healed during the game. Other magics will be able to be quick-cast, but not often.

MTB



Can't comment. I don't know what Andrew expressed in his email. You would have to show me what he wrote before I could contribute further.

Velcanthus




Posted for Andrew Luxton by Jono:

I don't like it. Not because I think it is dangerous or that it would affect the game in a negative way, I just don't think it adds much to the game. It probably won't hurt the game, but I doubt that it will make things much more interesting. Too many options that are all pretty similar. Most of them wont be used, and you always have to have your table nearby to check exactly what the rule is.

This reminds me of the fighting stuff which I don't really like much for similar reasons.

If we are going along these lines (i.e. allowing spells to be cast faster than currently), then I prefer a simpler, more elegant system like "Any spell can be quick-cast without a prepare action. This adds 10 to the die roll and any fail results in a roll on the backfire table.

In addition, the caster's maximum FT is reduced by EM/200 until the next solstice"

I much prefer simple rules that are applied across the board. It is easier to remember, apply and implement. Think of the Arcane Power points we have. With something like 15 different options, the only one that is commonly used is the extra pass action. I have also seen the choice to roll dice multiple times and choose the best result and step into an adjacent hex to take the blow both used. A small number of general abilities is far more preferable to specific details.

Making combat more interesting is something that we should be aiming for. We don't need to have a lot of individual options that are minor variations of a theme, rather a general rule that can be easily applied across the board. We want to make combat more engaging for everyone, allowing player to feel like they are doing things and contributing, without giving additional attacks. I advocate something like:


1. By making a strenuous effort, anyone may take pass actions in addition to their normal action (e.g. while making an attack, casting, moving, charging, withdrawing and so on). It costs 2 FT for each additional pass action that the entity takes. For example, someone wants to get out a potion, drink the potion and move 6 hexes. That takes 5 pass actions, so costs 10 FT. This FT is due to "tiredness", not damage and so cannot be healed.


2. Any spell can be quick-cast without a prepare action. This adds 10 to the die roll and any fail results in a roll on the backfire table. In addition, the caster's maximum FT is reduced by EM/200 (round up) until the next solstice


These two rule changes would give a lot of options and flexibility without unbalancing things IMO. The nasty attack magic will be highly unlikely to double and will cost significant amounts of FT that can't be healed during the game. Other magics will be able to be quick-cast, but not often.

The more complex problem of how to make resist for nothing spells more attractive is something that I don't know how to resolve. I never rank resist for none spells since I don't want to waste my precious actions in combat. However, reducing the MR of the target is not really an option since there are some resist for nothing spells that are effectively instant death (e.g. sleep, curse, mental attack). No simple answer here I fear.

Ciao, Andrew


Sounds good to me.

In particular, I think the point he makes about increasing the range of options doesn't have much to do with excitement. Mind you, reducing them often does. Velcanthus


> The more complex problem of how to make resist for nothing spells more attractive is something > that I don't know how to resolve.

I would have thought the solution was simple...Depower the Resist for half spells. Lightning bolt is balanced as it has a very short range and low damamge. It becomes an option you can use in some situations. The problem with with Necrosis, hellfire, Whirlwind vortex etc where they are long range, huge damage, mutlti targe and resist for half. Make all spells have a maximum of two of those qualities and people will have to choose what spell to use based on the circumstance.

I got rid of Necrosis and these days cast all kinds of stuff in combat dependant on the circumstances.

Mandos 13:39, 8 Nov 2005 (NZDT)

Which also sounds good.

Velcanthus

I suspect my approach would be a much harder sell :-)

Mandos 14:37, 8 Nov 2005 (NZDT)


I agree with Mandos. IMO, it would be a good thing to get rid of the big-damage, multi-target, resist for half spells. They should be removed from the game. We would have to look very carefully at the area effect, big damage, resist for half spells as well I expect. However, I doubt that such a thing will happen anytime soon :)

Andrew 16:09, 8 Nov 2005 (NZDT)


There's no particular reason not to pursue this plan. After all, Mandos is saying that instead of having one spell that has all of these special properties, spells would have, say, two of them. Personally, I think there's a hell of an advantage to be had with a save for nothing spell that has an area of effect.

Velcanthus