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Change Environment to penalize or impose Magic Rolls?


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Looking for input on this idea... A spell which creates an area where magic is more difficult to work. Change Environment allows you to create effects that force a "Characteristic Roll and all Skill Rolls based on same Characteristic". 

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If applicable, the combat effect includes forcing an affected character to make at least one Characteristic, Skill, or PER Roll.

So in the setting in question there are 3 characteristics (INT, EGO, PRE) that a magic skill can be based on. The ability to force a roll costs 4 CP per characteristic, so for 12 points plus modifiers (area of effect, etc.) you could create a spell that requires a Magic Skill Roll to cast a spell. All of this would be at the discretion of the GM.

 

So the questions that immediately come to mind are...

 

If the caster requires a skill roll already, does that mean they make 2?

What if they don't have the magic skill? Does this simply force them to make a CHAR (appropriate to their school) roll to cast? 

 

Things that I would assume:

The active points of the spell do not matter for the purposes of this roll. 

The spell would have no effect on anyone not attempting to cast a spell (unless there were other effects in the CE).

This is a spell that I likely would not allow to be built with Personal Immunity because of the special effect.

 

I would like to have something like this in the setting I am building, so if this seems broken in some way and you see an alternative I'd be interested.

 

- E

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Full disclosure:  I am quite likely the least familiar-with-6e (and potentially 5e, as I haven't re-read it in a few years now) member of this board.

 

That being said, is there not a newer edition rule that allows CE to assess skill roll penalties?  Selecting that option would not result in having to make two skill rolls, but instead would make their "normal" magic roll more difficult so long as they were in the affected area.

 

 

Would that not work for you?

 

 

 

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10 hours ago, Duke Bushido said:

Full disclosure:  I am quite likely the least familiar-with-6e (and potentially 5e, as I haven't re-read it in a few years now) member of this board.

 

That being said, is there not a newer edition rule that allows CE to assess skill roll penalties?  Selecting that option would not result in having to make two skill rolls, but instead would make their "normal" magic roll more difficult so long as they were in the affected area.

 

Would that not work for you?

Yes. See below for more specific problem.

9 hours ago, Ninja-Bear said:

@eepjr24 I would look to the Ice Sheet example to answer your magic skill roll. It shouldn’t cause two rolls just one at a Penalty. And I would assume that if a Spell didn’t have a RSR then it would still force a roll.

Right, that makes sense now that I read a little more carefully and just treat their existing skill roll as another CE. 

 

I guess my concern was if not only does the spell not have an RAR, but the character does not even have the Magic Skill. By forcing a Magic Skill roll, for the purposes of that roll I am giving them a skill at their CHAR value, which is not the biggest problem in the world. If that's the only issue it should not be game breaking.

 

- E

 

4 minutes ago, ChaosDrgn said:

I'd do a drain with an AOE. 

You can't drain something that the target does not have. And draining skills has always seemed abusive to me due to the cost problems (a 2d6 Drain will wipe out most skills completely) and implementation (if you drain a skill to 0, what is the roll for an RAR then?).

 

- E

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5 minutes ago, eepjr24 said:

I guess my concern was if not only does the spell not have an RAR, but the character does not even have the Magic Skill. By forcing a Magic Skill roll, for the purposes of that roll I am giving them a skill at their CHAR value, which is not the biggest problem in the world. If that's the only issue it should not be game breaking.

 

As a player, I can view this another way.  My magic does not have RSR, because I am Just That Good at spellcasting.  The other spellcaster is only an apprentice - he has a 14- magic skill roll, so he can succeed with his 30 AP and 40 AP spells about half the time.

 

But when you toss this "make magic more difficult" field onto us, my much greater spellcasting ability goes away, and the apprentice is as good as me, or even better, at casting his spells than I am - because my magic was LESS limited.

 

As a player this does not feel overly fair, nor does it seem internally consistent that making magic a bit tougher to manipulate would have a much more significant impact on a Master than an Apprentice.  This feels like a construct that would work much better in a game where all magic (or all spellcasting, with this effect having no impact on someone with an innate magical power rather than a skill-requiring spellcasting ability) requires a skill roll than where some spellcasters have an innate and infallible ability to cast spells, and others do not.  While that could be resolved by making the effect a penalty on magic skill rolls and having no impact if there is no need to make such a roll, that is clearly not the desired effect.

 

Moving aside from that issue, could someone learn to reduce the effectiveness of only some types of magic, so that this field impacts INT and EGO-based magic, but not PRE-based magic? 

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1 minute ago, Hugh Neilson said:

As a player, I can view this another way.  My magic does not have RSR, because I am Just That Good at spellcasting.  The other spellcaster is only an apprentice - he has a 14- magic skill roll, so he can succeed with his 30 AP and 40 AP spells about half the time.

 

But when you toss this "make magic more difficult" field onto us, my much greater spellcasting ability goes away, and the apprentice is as good as me, or even better, at casting his spells than I am - because my magic was LESS limited.

 

As a player this does not feel overly fair, nor does it seem internally consistent that making magic a bit tougher to manipulate would have a much more significant impact on a Master than an Apprentice.  This feels like a construct that would work much better in a game where all magic (or all spellcasting, with this effect having no impact on someone with an innate magical power rather than a skill-requiring spellcasting ability) requires a skill roll than where some spellcasters have an innate and infallible ability to cast spells, and others do not.  While that could be resolved by making the effect a penalty on magic skill rolls and having no impact if there is no need to make such a roll, that is clearly not the desired effect.

 

This is the kind of feedback I was looking for. 😃

 

Do you have any suggestions for fixing this? I could easily home brew something, but my thought was that the Master above would also still have his primary stat bought higher since he got to mastery by working up the ranks? And his roll would specifically NOT have an AP penalties, which seemed to go toward balancing it out? Since the magic skill is 

 

And the Apprentice would have an additional -1 to his roll because of how RSR works. If the CE was bought to the -2 level, the Master would then suffer a -1 to his roll the way I was planning on handling it, which goes a bit more towards balance again.

 

Thoughts on making it better for those with decades of magic experience:

Make the Magic skill roll more useful for other things, increasing the likelihood that most mages would have it. Perhaps using it instead of Research for new spells? Or cap Research and use the magic skill roll as complementary?

Use the active or real points of the total spells know as a defense against this? Either "ineffective against those with X RP or more of spells" or "every X AP of spells provides a +1 to roll"?

Others?

 

2 minutes ago, Hugh Neilson said:

Moving aside from that issue, could someone learn to reduce the effectiveness of only some types of magic, so that this field impacts INT and EGO-based magic, but not PRE-based magic? 

Yes. Without getting too deep into the spell system, there are three school "groups" of 4 schools each. One group uses EGO, one uses INT and one uses PRE. For reference it looks something like this right now:

 

(Air, Earth, Fire, Water) - EGO

(Animal, Insect, Man, Plant) - INT

(Chaos, Death, Life, Order) - PRE

 

So you could not affect the school in direct opposition to yourself without affecting those who use your school as well. The theory here is that you are making the connection to the source of magic more difficult to make. It would not affect the strength of spells, just whether you could manage the connection to cast at all.

 

- E

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1 hour ago, eepjr24 said:

 

This is the kind of feedback I was looking for. 😃

 

Do you have any suggestions for fixing this? I could easily home brew something, but my thought was that the Master above would also still have his primary stat bought higher since he got to mastery by working up the ranks? And his roll would specifically NOT have an AP penalties, which seemed to go toward balancing it out? Since the magic skill is 

 

And the Apprentice would have an additional -1 to his roll because of how RSR works. If the CE was bought to the -2 level, the Master would then suffer a -1 to his roll the way I was planning on handling it, which goes a bit more towards balance again.

 

Thoughts on making it better for those with decades of magic experience:

Make the Magic skill roll more useful for other things, increasing the likelihood that most mages would have it. Perhaps using it instead of Research for new spells? Or cap Research and use the magic skill roll as complementary?

Use the active or real points of the total spells know as a defense against this? Either "ineffective against those with X RP or more of spells" or "every X AP of spells provides a +1 to roll"?

Others?

 

Certainly, if the magic skill were so useful that anyone skilled with magic would possess it, and the better they are, the greater their skill would be, that would solve the problem.  But what motivates someone with no RSR to buy a 21- magic skill roll like someone with RSR who wants his 60 AP spells to fail only rarely?  If everyone were required to have RSR, this would be a non-issue.  The challenge is how to treat those who do not have RSR, if that is an option. 

 

Perhaps they are considered to have a magic skill so good that failure is simply not an option, and penalize that deemed skill roll.  That would mean that a significant penalty would be required before they would be as challenged as spellcasters who must always make a skill roll, but that is a function of their much greater skill.  The catch being that I am assuming the lack of RSR has the special effect of being that much better at casting spells.  I'm not sure what the rationale for certain spellcasters, or certain spells, requiring no skill roll is in your game.

 

The impact depends, at least to some extent, on how high a skill roll those with RSR possess in your games.  If my example is the norm, and the apprentice has a 15- roll, that means the Master needs to have a 28+ casting stat in order to have a better base roll in this "suppression field", but even a 13 INT would mean he has an advantage casting a 30 AP spell.  Make it 10 AP and he is less able to cast, though.

 

A more common approach would be Suppression of the magic itself, so everyone's AP drop off the same amount, but that doesn't seem like the feel you are looking for, as it's "less magic is accessed from the source" rather than clearly "the source itself is harder to access", although the SFX could certainly be the latter - it is harder to access so less magic gets through.  Our Apprentice can succeed just as often with his 40 AP spell if he reduces the AP to 30 in order to offset the -1 penalty imposed by the magic suppression field.

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3 minutes ago, Hugh Neilson said:

The catch being that I am assuming the lack of RSR has the special effect of being that much better at casting spells.  I'm not sure what the rationale for certain spellcasters, or certain spells, requiring no skill roll is in your game.

Well.... I would not say that lack of RSR means you are that much better at casting. The spells themselves are built with RSR, as a requirement for being in that school. There CAN also be apprentice versions of spells that have an RSR in schools that do not explicitly require an RSR for all spells.

 

So far there are 3 schools that require an RSR, one from each school group (Chaos, Earth and Insect). These schools magics are more difficult to connect to because of their foreign nature in the setting. Beyond that, spells with an RSR are to primarily indicate 2 things - the caster is less experienced or has some other difficulty establishing a connection to the source.

 

- E

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Change Environment can do any of the following:

  • Apply penalties to affected characters
  • Require affected characters to make a roll at penalties or something happens (i.e. make a DEX roll or fall prone)

There have been at least a couple of rules questions asked to Steve Long specifically about Magic Skill Rolls.  I can't find any of them, but I remember asking him one myself (I might have actually brought it up to him in conversation), and the answer was: yes, that's a pretty neat idea.  (Here's one)

 

If we're getting into a magic system that allows some highly skilled practitioners to essentially buy off the RSR Limitation on some of their spells, because they're Just That Good, there are a couple of ways to go.  I'd leave it up to the GM; like Hugh, I would feel like it was unfair if I bought RSR off of some of my spells in order to reflect being highly skilled, only to have a few points worth of Change Environment require me to make the roll again.  On the other hand, it is a pretty neat idea, and well within the rules.  Change Environment is pretty GM-driven, so the GM will need to decide in the end.  

 

References: 

 

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In general, if spells already have RSR, then Change Environment can increase the penalty.  The RSR Limitation already says, make the Skill Roll or the spell doesn't work; Change Environment can further penalize that.  

 

It gets more difficult when there are some spells that don't have RSR, or when characters can buy off the RSR Limitation on some of their spells because they are Just That Good.  

 

eepjr24, do you have all spells requiring a Spell Limitation?  Something could be built into that.  As one of the conditions of the Spell Limitation, even spells that are bought to not RSR can still in some cases require a Magic Skill Roll to cast, or -- and I believe this is suggested in the description of CE, if not in at least one of the rules questions I linked above -- a Characteristic Roll.  In much the same way as a CE: Icy Floor can require characters to make a DEX Roll or an Acrobatics Roll, the magic-disruptive CE can require an appropriate Characteristic Roll or a Magic Skill Roll.  

 

I would also expect that even casters who have bought off the RSR Limitation on some or all of their spells might still have Power Skill: Magic, because it can still be used to power stunt their spells, but also because at some point in their early days they were a lowly journeyman caster, all of whose spells were RSR at -1 per 10 Active Points.  

 

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If you want to impose a penalty, then how about...

 

If my spellcasting does not require a skill roll, then it's at 18- *regardless* of active points...or, if you prefer, my skill rating is such that my net skill roll is 18- even when using my largest active point cost spell.  So if that's, say, 75 points, my skill roll is 25-.

 

That becomes a common basis for a CE imposing skill roll penalties, and lets me cast a 40 point spell despite fairly heavy interference that might shut down a 70 point spell.  The apprentice is gonna be SOL.

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8 hours ago, Hugh Neilson said:

 

As a player, I can view this another way.  My magic does not have RSR, because I am Just That Good at spellcasting.  The other spellcaster is only an apprentice - he has a 14- magic skill roll, so he can succeed with his 30 AP and 40 AP spells about half the time.

 

But when you toss this "make magic more difficult" field onto us, my much greater spellcasting ability goes away, and the apprentice is as good as me, or even better, at casting his spells than I am - because my magic was LESS limited.

 

As a player this does not feel overly fair, nor does it seem internally consistent that making magic a bit tougher to manipulate would have a much more significant impact on a Master than an Apprentice.  This feels like a construct that would work much better in a game where all magic (or all spellcasting, with this effect having no impact on someone with an innate magical power rather than a skill-requiring spellcasting ability) requires a skill roll than where some spellcasters have an innate and infallible ability to cast spells, and others do not.  While that could be resolved by making the effect a penalty on magic skill rolls and having no impact if there is no need to make such a roll, that is clearly not the desired effect.

 

Moving aside from that issue, could someone learn to reduce the effectiveness of only some types of magic, so that this field impacts INT and EGO-based magic, but not PRE-based magic? 

Hugh where are you getting that the magic field is making the Master the same level as Apprentice? If the field imposes a penalty on the Master (as in forcing a roll) then the Apprentice is taking a larger penalty. In the Ice Sheet example- it imposes a -4 to DEX but only a -2 to Acrobatics iirc.  And it isn’t fair but it is a game where mister 8- makes his roll but mistress 16- fails.

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Just now, Ninja-Bear said:

@eepjr24 I skipped all the responses past mine so this might have been covered. If you force a RSR on a magic user that didn’t buy a RSR then maybe treat it as Magic Skill Roll at -1 per 20 ACT points.  Or something similar where they get the best chance to make it.

If I force it, I am not going to penalize them for AP at all in this case. It is sufficient to require the roll, in my mind. 

 

3 hours ago, Chris Goodwin said:

eepjr24, do you have all spells requiring a Spell Limitation?  Something could be built into that.  As one of the conditions of the Spell Limitation, even spells that are bought to not RSR can still in some cases require a Magic Skill Roll to cast, or -- and I believe this is suggested in the description of CE, if not in at least one of the rules questions I linked above -- a Characteristic Roll.  In much the same way as a CE: Icy Floor can require characters to make a DEX Roll or an Acrobatics Roll, the magic-disruptive CE can require an appropriate Characteristic Roll or a Magic Skill Roll.  

 

I would also expect that even casters who have bought off the RSR Limitation on some or all of their spells might still have Power Skill: Magic, because it can still be used to power stunt their spells, but also because at some point in their early days they were a lowly journeyman caster, all of whose spells were RSR at -1 per 10 Active Points.  

All spells do not currently require a Spell Limitation, but that is certainly worth thinking about for cases like this. Some schools always have RAR.

 

To "buy off" RAR, you would need to research and create a new spell without it, which is certainly an option and would get bonuses because it is simply the same spell with differing limitations. But as you say I doubt they would bother with all their spells.

 

Some things to think about and read, for sure. Thanks for the links!

 

- E

3 hours ago, unclevlad said:

If you want to impose a penalty, then how about...

 

If my spellcasting does not require a skill roll, then it's at 18- *regardless* of active points...or, if you prefer, my skill rating is such that my net skill roll is 18- even when using my largest active point cost spell.  So if that's, say, 75 points, my skill roll is 25-.

 

That becomes a common basis for a CE imposing skill roll penalties, and lets me cast a 40 point spell despite fairly heavy interference that might shut down a 70 point spell.  The apprentice is gonna be SOL.

As I mentioned above, no AP penalties will be applied to the roll, it's not about how much power the spell throws, it's about getting connected to the power source at all. For an analogy, if the spell is Wattage, I am not attempting to increase the Resistance on the circuit, I am trying to connect to the electricity at all.

 

- E

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3 hours ago, Chris Goodwin said:

In general, if spells already have RSR, then Change Environment can increase the penalty.  The RSR Limitation already says, make the Skill Roll or the spell doesn't work; Change Environment can further penalize that.  

 

It gets more difficult when there are some spells that don't have RSR, or when characters can buy off the RSR Limitation on some of their spells because they are Just That Good.  

Ok (not picking on you Chris but you quoting Hugh here I believe.) 

 

Just that good. Ok then why should my archer miss? He’s just that good. Or the knight? Or why does that sword have x2 AP? My armor is just that good that I should never get affected by AP?  I say becareful of that justification.

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28 minutes ago, Ninja-Bear said:

Ok (not picking on you Chris but you quoting Hugh here I believe.) 

 

Just that good. Ok then why should my archer miss? He’s just that good. Or the knight? Or why does that sword have x2 AP? My armor is just that good that I should never get affected by AP?  I say becareful of that justification.

 

Being "Just that Good" so as to not need to make a skill roll is buying off a Disadvantage or just never having the Disadvantage in the first place.

 

You archer misses because that is an OCV vs DCV comparison, no one is saying he needs a skill roll to attempt to fire an arrow . Your example is nothing more than 2 little kids yelling "I got you" and "No, you Missed" back and forth. We use the rules because we want a more definite answer.

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3 minutes ago, Grailknight said:

 

Being "Just that Good" so as to not need to make a skill roll is buying off a Disadvantage or just never having the Disadvantage in the first place.

 

You archer misses because that is an OCV vs DCV comparison, no one is saying he needs a skill roll to attempt to fire an arrow . Your example is nothing more than 2 little kids yelling "I got you" and "No, you Missed" back and forth. We use the rules because we want a more definite answer.

Totally missing the point. 

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21 minutes ago, Ninja-Bear said:

Let’s look at this at another angle. Yes I’m just that good! however this field creates such difficulties that even I might fail!

 

Ok, that's more in line with what the OP started with. 

 

As Hugh said earlier, as a player who spent the extra points to NOT have RSR on their power, I would be annoyed but as long as the GM was telling a good story and it didn't arise too frequently I could handle it.

 

As a GM, I dislike this use of Change Environment. While it is perfectly rules legal and within the spirit and history of the genre, it is too effective. For a 3 point power with a non-standard defense, i can force upon a target a Limitation on their power or worsen an existing one. For 15 points, I can make the target have a -4 roll(-5 if they already had RSR) which will really skew their chance of success at just activating the power.

 

I see this as more of a Major/Severe Transform or a powerful Drain/Suppress which would certainly come in at a much higher point total. Now points don't matter to a GM as far as budget goes, but they should be used to gauge how powerful and effect may be relative to campaign limits.

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28 minutes ago, Grailknight said:

As a GM, I dislike this use of Change Environment. While it is perfectly rules legal and within the spirit and history of the genre, it is too effective. For a 3 point power with a non-standard defense, i can force upon a target a Limitation on their power or worsen an existing one. For 15 points, I can make the target have a -4 roll(-5 if they already had RSR) which will really skew their chance of success at just activating the power.

 

I see this as more of a Major/Severe Transform or a powerful Drain/Suppress which would certainly come in at a much higher point total. Now points don't matter to a GM as far as budget goes, but they should be used to gauge how powerful and effect may be relative to campaign limits.

I think you are inflating either the ease or the points with which you can apply this. I would certainly allow you to buy CE at it's minimum for the setting. But I don't see a huge impact with spending an attack action with the sole purpose of causing a minor limitation for a single phase. I would point out that I would not allow you to force a skill roll for a skill you don't have at the 3 point level. 4 points is still low, of course. For the 20 point power you could again create problems for a phase, but you are using your phase to do it. To get any real mileage out of this you need to add long lasting at some level. And you do still have to hit or add an area of effect to it. So you are probably looking in the 30 point range to make this somewhat effective at keeping someone from casting for long enough to seriously hamper them. 

 

I don't think you could achieve this affect at all with Drain or Suppress. If you went with a transform, it would be a Minor Transform (Add a -1/2 Limitation to the Target's Power). Probably we would need 6d6 with Standard Effect to handle the base case of 10 Body. So base cost of 30 AP. Then you have changed that person for 5 months. A little bit more than I was looking for.  So we add Time Limit: 1 minute for -2. Oh, and since I am adding it as an actual limitation to the power, I need to subtract -1 per 10 AP, from my roll. So I am getting more effect for sure and likely coming out cheaper, but with a more complicated mechanism, IMO. It's not significantly more expensive to my mind in AP and probably cheaper in RP.

 

As always though, each of us can do what we like as GM. 😃

 

- E

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Change Environment is a Constant power.

 

Once you attack it stays until the user stops paying END or the target leaves the range or blocks it somehow. So buy it with Costs END only to activate, spend a phase attacking and then switch to your other attacks(assuming CE is not in a Multipower).

 

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Change Environment can be used to provide penalties to a lot of different Skills.  For instance, let's say I want to build a lock that is more difficult to pick.  Change Environment: -3 to Lockpicking Skill.  How about a nightingale floor, one that is built such that Stealth is difficult or impossible?  CE: -5 to Stealth rolls.  

 

In this case, it's providing a penalty to Magic Skill Rolls.  In the event there are spells that don't RSR: Magic Skill to cast, the GM needs to have some idea of how they're going to handle it.  I'm suggesting the same way you'd do an icy floor that requires a DEX Roll at -4, or an Acrobatics roll, or else you fall down.  

 

Actually, that's a good analogy.  Running doesn't normally RSR, but Change Environment can require you to make one or something bad happens.  Same with spells that don't Require A Skill Roll.  You still have to make a roll, and I can't imagine there not being the opportunity to buy some kind of Power Skill for magic even if the system itself doesn't RSR.  

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