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Change Environment to penalize or impose Magic Rolls?


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4 hours ago, Ninja-Bear said:

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.

 

 

There is no reason that the expert wizard who is so good he requires no skill roll would have bought a magic skill with bonuses.  An 18 INT mage with RSR at -10 per AP could very easily have  a magic skill roll better than that master wizard's roll.  That would be my objection.  If, for example, our apprentice/journeyman uses spells at 40 AP, and wants reliable casting, he may have bought up his magic skill roll to, say, 18.  He can roll that 14- about 90% of the time. 

 

Then we toss both in a CE as proposed, with a -4 penalty.  The journeyman needs to roll a 10- to fire off that 40 AP spell, so he will succeed 50% of the time, instead of 90%.  Our Master Wizard will need to roll 13 - 3 = 10 (since the first penalty was to simply require a roll where none was required before).  he has the same 50% chance to succeed with any of his spells.  Now, the Journeyman can reduce his AP to 30 and succeed about 3 times in 4.  The Master has no such option, as he is taking no AP penalties anyway.

 

That seems neither equitable from a points spent perspective, nor reasonable in light of the Master being far more skilled, but suddenly far less able to successfully cast.

 

3 hours 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!

 

I'd be fine with that.  But a caster who is not as good as I am should fail more often than I do in the same field.

 

The CE has penalized the wizard with RSR with a -4 penalty on his skill roll - that's 8 CP worth of bonuses to his magic skill.  He has imposed a 10- activation roll on all spells of the master wizard.  The master wizard has been penalized vastly more CP by this magic suppression field.

 

My question is whether that is consistent with the way magic works in-game, and whether it is equitable to two players who chose to pay for their spellcasting abilities in different ways, both legal in the game.

 

To the question of the archer, or the knight, I would expect that, no matter how much we make hitting the target more difficult, the odds still favour the highly trained OCV 9 Archer over the barely-trained 3 OCV squire.  A mechanic under which they both get an OCV of 1 seems much less equitable.

 

7 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.

 

This seems far more equitable.  By having no RSR, the Master Wizard is presumed to have a sufficient Magic Skill that he would not fail, even on an 18, absent the rule that an 18 always fails.  He gets the absolute effect rule for that reason.  He does not get there by having RSR on his spells and buying a 25- Magic Skill - he gets there by not having RSR on his spells.

 

Now, when we have that Suppression Field imposing a -4 penalty so that Journeyman has only a 50/50 chance to cast a 40 AP spell, the Master needs a 17- (his assumed 25- skill, penalized by 4 for the field and a further 4 for AP) to succeed.  If he restricts himself to a mere 40 AP spell, he is virtually certain to succeed.  Because he really is That Good - and That Much Better than the apprentice.

 

eepjr, you referred to not being any harder to access a tiny bit of magic (low AP) than a lot of magic (huge AP), but that is not the case for a wizard who already has RSR - the more AP he wants to access, the less likely he will be able to. 

 

 

 

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50 minutes ago, Grailknight said:

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).

 

Incorrect. 6E, 174 (Emphasis mine)

Quote

Change Environment costs END. Once the character stops paying END to maintain the Change Environment, the Power stops functioning, though its effects may linger for some
time thereafter.

6E, 177

Quote

Long-Lasting: The effects of a Change Environment with this Adder last for a period of time after the character stops paying END to maintain the Change Environment, though the exact length they remain depends on the power’s special effects and the environmental conditions (ice sheets do not last long in the desert, for example, but may remain forever in arctic areas).

 

- E

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7 minutes ago, Hugh Neilson said:

eepjr, you referred to not being any harder to access a tiny bit of magic (low AP) than a lot of magic (huge AP), but that is not the case for a wizard who already has RSR - the more AP he wants to access, the less likely he will be able to. 

It makes it more difficult for the person with or without an existing RSR. I don't see how spending 30+ points on an power that does not affect someone with one interpretation of skill versus another.

 

- E 

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1 hour ago, Hugh Neilson said:

There is no reason that the expert wizard who is so good he requires no skill roll would have bought a magic skill with bonuses.

 

Why not power stunting your spells?  Unless it was explicitly disallowed, I would.  As a player I would buy it, and as a GM I would encourage it.  I've bought Power Skill for characters without a single RSR ability.  

 

Also, I've been mulling over a magic system that has characters starting out buying all spells with RSR at -1 per 5 at first, then letting them buy those down to -1 per 10, -1 per 20, and eventually buying it off completely to represent spell mastery.  In that case, characters could easily have some spells without RSR at all, and others that range throughout the difficulty levels.  (Edit to add)  I'm looking at a tiered difficulty, so the first tier you buy are at -1 per 5, and you can't start buying tier 2 until some amount of your tier 1 spells are at -1 per 10, then tier 3 at -1 per 5 once your tier 1 are at -1 per 20 and your tier 2 are -1 per 10.  I don't have it really worked out, though.

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1 hour ago, eepjr24 said:

It makes it more difficult for the person with or without an existing RSR. I don't see how spending 30+ points on an power that does not affect someone with one interpretation of skill versus another.

 

- E 

 

And Hugh and I gave a mechanic for adapting NSR to RSR *when it matters for this*.  All "doesn't require a skill roll" means is, I'm so bloody good at it that I'll ALWAYS make the skill roll, so we won't bother with em.  It doesn't mean that the notion of the skill itself isn't there.

I will grant that there could be issues if some spells are RSR and some are NSR, but that should be manageable.  A spell that has NSR, still has the "implicit skill roll" based on its active points.  So use that, OR the caster's skill roll, whichever is higher.  If they're actually tied....caster has 20- skill roll, but some of his 20 point spells are NSR, then add 1 to show the additional mastery for that spell, so here he'd be treated as having a 21- skill roll before the spell's active point cost and the suppression field.

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4 hours ago, eepjr24 said:

Incorrect. 6E, 174 (Emphasis mine)

6E, 177

 

- E

It was purchased with Costs END only to Activate, +1/4 in my example. That means you pay full END to start the power but it doesn't cost END in later phases while you keep it active. It's just as if i bought 1/2 END and kept paying or 0 END and maintained it. Long Lasting would only apply if I wanted the power to continue after I left the range, was blocked or Stunned/Knocked Out. Please show an example that says CE cannot be purchased with Reduced END.

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9 hours ago, Chris Goodwin said:

 

Why not power stunting your spells?  Unless it was explicitly disallowed, I would.  As a player I would buy it, and as a GM I would encourage it.  I've bought Power Skill for characters without a single RSR ability.  

 

Also, I've been mulling over a magic system that has characters starting out buying all spells with RSR at -1 per 5 at first, then letting them buy those down to -1 per 10, -1 per 20, and eventually buying it off completely to represent spell mastery.  In that case, characters could easily have some spells without RSR at all, and others that range throughout the difficulty levels.  (Edit to add)  I'm looking at a tiered difficulty, so the first tier you buy are at -1 per 5, and you can't start buying tier 2 until some amount of your tier 1 spells are at -1 per 10, then tier 3 at -1 per 5 once your tier 1 are at -1 per 20 and your tier 2 are -1 per 10.  I don't have it really worked out, though.

 

Power Skill is heavily dependent on GM interpretation or house rules.  From the 6e rules, p 86


 

Quote

 

Second, Power can simulate a character’s level of skill with a particular power, ability, or attack. Characters who make appropriate Power rolls can perform “tricks” or do unusual things with their powers. For example, a super-strong character in a comic book superhero campaign might buy Power as Brick Tricks and use it to etch a message into hardened steel without breaking the steel or hurting himself.

 

The GM should control all uses of Power carefully. Power isn’t a cheap substitute for a Variable Power Pool, and shouldn’t be used as one. Characters shouldn’t use Power to provide Advantages for their Powers or to overcome Limitations (except in rare circumstances), nor should it provide bonuses in combat. Characters who want to perform a particular “trick” or “power stunt” frequently should pay Character Points for it (especially if it has an effect on combat). For example, the GM might let a character with Brick Tricks make a roll and use his awesome STR to squeeze coal so hard it turns into diamond (a type of Transform) — once. If he wants to do it again, he should buy it as a separate ability. On the other hand, in more freewheeling games, it might be appropriate to allow a character to perform a “trick” repeatedly using Power (perhaps with an OCV penalty or other restriction), or even to make Power an Everyman Skill for the campaign.

 

 

I recall more detailed rules in an older edition that imposed pretty significant AP-based penalties to any modification using Power Skill.  The Tier rule would be a good campaign reason for Power Skill. Both of these highlight the question "how does the specific campaign use power skill".  My comments are taken from the assumption that the main, if not sole, use of Magic Skill in the specific game is to govern RSR on spells (assumed, but with no comments from eepjr indicating the wizard with no RSR limitations has a magic skill, I think a fair assumption), and that some spellcasters have RSR and others do not (which eepjr has stated).

 

9 hours ago, unclevlad said:

 

And Hugh and I gave a mechanic for adapting NSR to RSR *when it matters for this*.  All "doesn't require a skill roll" means is, I'm so bloody good at it that I'll ALWAYS make the skill roll, so we won't bother with em.  It doesn't mean that the notion of the skill itself isn't there.

I will grant that there could be issues if some spells are RSR and some are NSR, but that should be manageable.  A spell that has NSR, still has the "implicit skill roll" based on its active points.  So use that, OR the caster's skill roll, whichever is higher.  If they're actually tied....caster has 20- skill roll, but some of his 20 point spells are NSR, then add 1 to show the additional mastery for that spell, so here he'd be treated as having a 21- skill roll before the spell's active point cost and the suppression field.

 

Your suggestion (a really good one), which I just expanded on, works perfectly as ling as "no skill roll" means "I am so skilled that I am assumed to always make my roll", which seems reasonable for the context.  If a creature had some natural magical abilities, presupposing a skill roll may not be the best approach, although it could still be reasonable with the roll simulating the  creature also has less certain ability to tap into the magic that fuels its ability, even if it does not do so by training and skill, but by nature and instinct.

 

 

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3 hours ago, Hugh Neilson said:

My comments are taken from the assumption that the main, if not sole, use of Magic Skill in the specific game is to govern RSR on spells (assumed, but with no comments from eepjr indicating the wizard with no RSR limitations has a magic skill, I think a fair assumption), and that some spellcasters have RSR and others do not (which eepjr has stated).

 

It's not the sole use, it can also be used for Spell Research. Some players will be content to learn spells from others, buy them from a shop or the like. And some who research may be content to spend a long time or more money so that they don't need to raise the skill beyond the base value, which is why I have specified that a high skill roll is not by itself an indicator of casting prowess. Some researchers who seldom cast a spell at all will have a high Magic roll. Other examples of prowess (depending on the school) are lower endurance cost (some schools have 4x or 5x endurance on "learner" spells), quicker casting times, having more spells available or casting "quiet" versions of their spells that are not easily detectable.

 

There certainly can be casters with no magic skill, but I don't know how common it will be among players yet, as the campaign is still in development. Last campaign half the party were casters of some kind, no idea what it will be this time.

 

- E

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8 hours ago, eepjr24 said:

 

It's not the sole use, it can also be used for Spell Research. Some players will be content to learn spells from others, buy them from a shop or the like. And some who research may be content to spend a long time or more money so that they don't need to raise the skill beyond the base value, which is why I have specified that a high skill roll is not by itself an indicator of casting prowess. Some researchers who seldom cast a spell at all will have a high Magic roll. Other examples of prowess (depending on the school) are lower endurance cost (some schools have 4x or 5x endurance on "learner" spells), quicker casting times, having more spells available or casting "quiet" versions of their spells that are not easily detectable.

 

There certainly can be casters with no magic skill, but I don't know how common it will be among players yet, as the campaign is still in development. Last campaign half the party were casters of some kind, no idea what it will be this time.

 

- E

 

Nothing here changes anything.  You're overcomplicating this in your head by bringing in details that don't matter.  Spell research is not a game mechanic, it's a campaign mechanic.  If someone's got an exceptionally high Spellcraft skill, fine;  he'd do really well here.  If his roll is better than the implied skill roll we're suggesting, use it.  Who cares why he's got a 20-?  All that matters is, that's what he's got...unless you're splitting the notions of casting and crafting/understanding into 2 different skills.

 

The notion of "prowess" is simply meaningless.  Does it mean "can cast more powerful spells" or "can cast spells with greater facility" or "can cast spells for longer before being tapped out" or "knows more spells"?  Or some convex combination?  As such, it doesn't have a place in a purely mechanical discussion.

 

There are some other things you can do that have more discrete steps.  This might be called a Slippery Magic zone;  the energy is simply harder to control.  There might be:

 

Sparse Magic:  Every spell has a casting time.  In these areas, the energy is harder to find and gather, so the casting time (AND all the other limitations like Concentration, ouch) is moved up the time chart by, let's say, 1-3 steps.  3 steps is probably the max;  half phase is going to delayed, then full, then extra phase.  After that you're into full turn...well, maybe that might still be ok if SPDs are low.  But step 5 would be 1 minute.  And note that an apprentice whose spells are already full phase, is going to feel the pinch ALL the time.

 

Laborious Magic:  as above, but now it's relating to END.  The chart would be 0 END, 1/2 END, normal END, 2x, 3x, 4x, etc.  Yeah, technically, the value shift is different;  eek.  This is simple to work with, and that's way more valuable to me than keeping a wooden consistency with the END advantage/limitation specifics.  

 

Entropic Magic:  this disrupts Constant and Persistent spells, and spells doing damage over time.  For Constant and Persistent, it acts like Laborious Magic...but on the ongoing END cost rather than the casting END cost.  This one could be super-nasty if it's allowed to affect magical *items*...thinking about that, perhaps it's a cumulative Suppress.  The dice rolled acts as a suppression against the active points of *every* item.  When the points suppressed >= the item's active points...it shuts down.  The points do not return as long as the item(s) remain in the entropic magic area;  they return at the rate of 5 per turn after exiting the area.  

 

Erratic Magic:  in these areas, magic is much harder to target.  The caster's OCV (or OMCV) takes a penalty, regardless of the spell.  For these purposes, "self" and even someone helpless, are DCV 3.  This one in particular affects ALL magic...including magical items.  It wouldn't affect Constant items activated outside the area, but it would affect, let's say, using a wand of blasting.  The notion here is that the efect makes it difficult to "complete the path" from origin to target.  Hoooo boy, this might be EXTRA nasty on spells with Indirect. :)

 

So what do all these cost?  I have no clue right now.  There's wrinkles to iron out on several, I'm sure.  Personally I don't think it's worth all the trouble, but you seem to want crazy-complex magic, so...there ya go.

 

 

 

 

 

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11 hours ago, unclevlad said:

 

Nothing here changes anything.  You're overcomplicating this in your head by bringing in details that don't matter.  Spell research is not a game mechanic, it's a campaign mechanic.  If someone's got an exceptionally high Spellcraft skill, fine;  he'd do really well here.  If his roll is better than the implied skill roll we're suggesting, use it.  Who cares why he's got a 20-?  All that matters is, that's what he's got...unless you're splitting the notions of casting and crafting/understanding into 2 different skills.

<snip>

If none of this matters to you, feel free not to answer in regards to it. I don't particularly need the snark, especially since I was answering something Hugh asked about as an aside. Unless perhaps providing the snark makes you feel superior in some fashion, in which case you will likely continue anyway.

 

- E

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On 10/16/2020 at 11:31 AM, eepjr24 said:

 

It's not the sole use, it can also be used for Spell Research. Some players will be content to learn spells from others, buy them from a shop or the like. And some who research may be content to spend a long time or more money so that they don't need to raise the skill beyond the base value, which is why I have specified that a high skill roll is not by itself an indicator of casting prowess. Some researchers who seldom cast a spell at all will have a high Magic roll. Other examples of prowess (depending on the school) are lower endurance cost (some schools have 4x or 5x endurance on "learner" spells), quicker casting times, having more spells available or casting "quiet" versions of their spells that are not easily detectable.

 

There certainly can be casters with no magic skill, but I don't know how common it will be among players yet, as the campaign is still in development. Last campaign half the party were casters of some kind, no idea what it will be this time.

 

I seems like magic skill is at best loosely connected to the ability to access magic.  Someone could be a fantastic spellcaster, with no RSR and no Magic Skill, while we could have a researcher who understands the theory but lacks any practical ability.  With that in mind, perhaps a skill roll to reflect a greater impediment to accessing the underlying magic is not the best simulation.

 

Not RAW, I believe, but what about imposing a requirement to make a roll for every spell without tying it to a characteristic?  Make the base roll 15-.  For most heroic games, that is as easy, or easier, to make as any characteristic roll.  Now apply the usual cost for penalizing a skill or char roll to reduce this roll by 1.

 

So if we have our novice wizard who will only make his skill roll half the time, and our master who does not require a roll at all, and they enter a powerful 11- magic nullification field, 11-. each can access the magic if they make the 11- roll, but the novice still has to make his normal RSR roll to sculpt the magic in the manner he desires, while the greater skill of the master means that, if he can access the magic at all, it will do his will.

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I'm seeing the same problem everyone else is. Casters, supposedly so skilled that they automatically succeed in casting any spell they know, are suddenly worse than a journeyman mage when faced with a particular adverse condition. This violates common and dramatic sense, so we have to fix it.

 

My suggestion is to use the different levels of penalties for RSR to represent how well the caster knows a particular spell, from -1/5 AP for a spell they don't know very well, all the way down to not requiring a roll at all for a spell they know very well. If the caster is in an anti-magic field, he casts the spell at the combined penalty of the field and the spell AP. If he doesn't normally make a roll (the spell doesn't have RSR), the AP of the spell doesn't add a penalty. This does assume that all casters will take the magic skill because some of their spells require a roll.

 

Another option is to simply require all spells to have the RSR Limitation, and handwave away the roll if the caster is sufficiently skilled (adjusted roll of 19-, or something like that). When they get hit by anti-magic, their chance of success drops below the threshold, and they have to roll.

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12 hours ago, IndianaJoe3 said:

I'm seeing the same problem everyone else is. Casters, supposedly so skilled that they automatically succeed in casting any spell they know, are suddenly worse than a journeyman mage when faced with a particular adverse condition. This violates common and dramatic sense, so we have to fix it.

 

 

You also could have casters come from other dimensions where the established methods of magic work completely differently.

 

"Magic skill? What's Magic skill? Everyone waves their hands and magic happens! You want me to believe that you have to learn magic like a mundane carpenter has to, I don't know, learn how to hammer a saw or something?"

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Lots of good feedback here and different view points. I think the problems pointed out can be summarized as:

 

1. Fairness - "master" casters are unfairly penalized

2. Cost - inexpensive effect for outcome

3. Versatility - potential to shut down casters easily

 

Obviously, each person is free to implement this type of effect as they wish (or forbid it altogether), but based on the feedback I think I am going to change the following to help balance the effect:

 

To help with fairness, I am going to implement a "Spell" limitation (Thanks @Chris Goodwin) that includes the fact that spells use can be restricted by effects like this one, along with some other common spell effects (all spells must draw END from a reserve, School limitation restrictions, END Reserves require rest to recover, LTE effects for Spell use, etc.).

 

For versatility, I will also allow 2 point DPSL's that counteract the effect at 2 points per -1 offset (per suggestions for an alternate defense mechanism in the Rules Forum by @Steve Long). This follows the general rule of defense being cheaper than the attack and would be a trivial cost for a master caster. This would be in addition to being able to dispel, drain and suppress the field, leave the area, etc. I will also be limiting the size and duration of the effect and not allow single target versions.

 

To adjust the cost I will be adjusting the pricing for this type of power as follows:

  > A -1 to CHAR roll and all skill rolls will cost 4 as published. This will work against anyone who HAS a magic skill roll.

  > A -1 to CHAR roll and new skill roll will cost 5. This is required to force a skill roll that someone has not purchased. It gives them a base roll of 9+(CHAR/5) for

     purposes of that roll only. This roll will NOT be modified by active points of the spell being cast. If this does not work out in game I will consider switching this

     to just a straight 14- and -1 per 5 point level beyond that.

 

Also thanks to @Hugh Neilson for ideas and commentary.

 

- E

 

 

Edited by eepjr24
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