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How would you cause an eclipse?

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Eclipses are a fairly common trope in fantasy and other fiction. In my current FH game, there are a lot of dark creatures that have Suceptibilities to daylight. I wanted to have them attack the PCs in the middle of the day by causing a total solar eclipse. Two of the PCs actually have SS: Astronomy, so they understand what actually causes eclipses, and would've known if a natural eclipse was predicted, so causing an "unscheduled" eclipse was meant to be a big show of power. I didn't really think too hard about statting it out as a power, because it was meant to be a plot device. But then the priest wanted to Dispel it, and I had no idea how many AP it was worth. No big deal, I handwaved it and went with what worked best for the story.

 

But it did get me thinking about how you would create that as an effect? I have a few ideas, but I'm curious to see what y'all come up with.

 

[i'm using 6ed, but don't let that stop you...]

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With magic... probably some kind of large area effect Illusion or Darkness is simplest. In sheer HERO terms it's a boring megascale Darkness spell.

 

But if you're actually moving celestial objects around in the sky, it could be done using temporal powers or divine fiat. Screwing up the heavens is going to be a big deal astrologically (assuming that's a real thing in the setting). If that's what's actually going on, a PC dispel is unlikely to be any use.

 

In actual optics terms, you could get away with a suitably sized disc hovering over the local area so that its perumbra intersects with the ground. The moon and sun happen by sheer co-incidence to be the right sizes and distance that this happens. But a much smaller object that was much, much closer would give the same effect.

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Change environment. Your intention is to affect the planet with the eclipse going on in the sky, so the effect should be on the world around you.

 

Normally an eclipse doesn't do anything important, so a change environment should be sufficient. If somebody has a weird vulnerability, that's their problem.

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I'd do it as a plot device and if attempting to dispel it, the difficulty would be the active max of the characters.  So if your spell casters are throwing around 60 active attacks, the points to dispel would be 60 minimum or possibly 80 to make it difficult.  However, that's just what I would do.  YMMV.

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Behold, I Blot Out the Sun!: (Total: 56 Active Cost, 12 Real Cost) Change Environment (-4 to Sight Group PER Rolls, -1 Temperature Level Adjustment, Long-Lasting 1 Hour), Area Of Effect (16m Radius Explosion; +1/4), MegaScale (1m = 10 km; +1 1/4), Cannot alter scale (-1/4) (56 Active Points); OAF Arrangement (candle snuffer & candle; -1 1/4), Extra Time (5 Minutes, Only to Activate, -1), No Range (-1/2), Incantations (-1/4), Gestures (-1/4), Concentration (1/2 DCV; -1/4) (Real Cost: 12)

 

Behold, I Blot Out the Sun!: (Total: 62 Active Cost, 14 Real Cost) Change Environment (-4 to Sight Group PER Rolls, -1 Temperature Level Adjustment, Long-Lasting 1 Hour), Area Of Effect (16m Radius Explosion; +1/4), Difficult To Dispel (x2 Active Points; +1/4), MegaScale (1m = 10 km; +1 1/4), Cannot alter scale (-1/4) (62 Active Points); OAF Arrangement (candle snuffer & candle; -1 1/4), Extra Time (5 Minutes, Only to Activate, -1), No Range (-1/2), Incantations (-1/4), Gestures (-1/4), Concentration (1/2 DCV; -1/4) (Real Cost: 14)

 

Lucius Alexander

 

Behold, a palindromedary

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Limit a Power w/ "Only During An Eclipse" & set the condition circumstance to (rarely if ever limited; -0).

 

Thus usually there is an eclipse.

There's nothing I can say. Total eclipse of the game.

 

Lucius Alexander

 

Turn around, palindromedary

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I think it depends on what is actually causing the eclipse (or eclipse-like phenomenon). If the spell is physically moving the moon, then there will be other more catastrophic side effects, so you might want to avoid that.

 

I think a mass hallucination may be your best bet. A megascale Mental Illusion. That way your spellcaster is in complete control of the "event" and how it appears and behaves, and it doesn't even have to be physically possible.

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I'm not so sure about Change Environment. In 6e, Change Environment is really the "CHA/Skill/CV Penalty" power. The mechanics of it are all aimed at creating areas which impose penalties on Characteristics or Skills (or CV) and using the idea of "altering the environment" merely as a unified conceit (and not a very good one in many cases). The point of BDH's solar eclipse isn't to impose penalties on actions, but to create darkness that allows his monsters to operate openly. The rules for Change Environment specifically redirect such effects to more appropriate powers, like Darkness.

 

Which also means I retract my earlier suggestion of Mental Illusion.

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I think it depends on what is actually causing the eclipse (or eclipse-like phenomenon). If the spell is physically moving the moon, then there will be other more catastrophic side effects, so you might want to avoid that.

 

I think a mass hallucination may be your best bet. A megascale Mental Illusion. That way your spellcaster is in complete control of the "event" and how it appears and behaves, and it doesn't even have to be physically possible.

 

It depends a lot on context. In a fantasy or mythical setting, moving celestial objects around may not have the same consequences as they would in a superhero or science fiction one. Does Newtonian gravity or any kind of "solar system" even exist? (Even the term "solar system" is quite a modern term - appears to have been first used around 1704). Classical thought was more along the lines that objects fell or rose because of their elemental nature. A fantasy setting may have actual celestial spheres and planets who are gods moving in perfect circular paths against the fixed stars of the vault of heaven.

 

Making an eclipse happen could be a matter of persuading the Moon God to visit the Sun Goddess for a little "couple time", and just need the appropriate Contact and a skill roll.

 

I'm also reminded of the Warhammer World (old school, pre-Age of Sigmar) where the Chaos Moon, Morrslieb, changes its aspect at random. Sometimes bigger, sometimes smaller.

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Except that in BDH's fantasy world, the PCs have science skills such a Astronomy. That means science, and more specifically astronomy, has meaning in his game. If the definitions of those words are different from the RAW (or our conventional understanding of them) in his campaign, that fact hasn't been made clear to us.

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To create an eclipse like effect we 'just' need to block out the sun. So anyone with a knowledge of astronomy and the magical know how could build a large (megascale) opaque force wall and place it between the sun and the characters POV. Obviously if it's closer to the characters it won't have to be as big as the moon but it still needs to be extremely large.

 

It shouldn't be that expensive. An unusual way to create darkness but there you go.

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It would probably have to be more like a hemisphere rather than a disk, and its effect would diminish depending on the angle to the viewer, with a pretty broad penumbra, producing a very gradual transition from light to dark. Simpler, I think, to just cast a megascale Darkness over an area and call it a day (for night).

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It would probably have to be more like a hemisphere rather than a disk, and its effect would diminish depending on the angle to the viewer, with a pretty broad penumbra, producing a very gradual transition from light to dark.

Doesn't that sound just like an eclipse then? :-)

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All of you who intend on using some form of real physics to do this, go sit in the corner for an hour.  You're way overthinking it. :)

5 SS: Physics Int Roll +2

3 +10 INT (10 Active Points); Extra Time (1 Hour, Only to Activate, Character May Take No Other Actions, -1 3/4), Concentration, Must Concentrate throughout use of Constant Power (1/2 DCV; -1/2), Restrainable (Only by means other than Grabs and Entangles; Requires to be in a corner of a room ; -1/4)  :yes:

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