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PamelaIsley

Building an All or Nothing Killing Curse

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12 hours ago, Duke Bushido said:

If you are still entertaining questions, may I ask-- seriously; I'm not really "up" on Harry Potter-- why you think that is?  To clarify: I would like to know what reasons you think might lead to the spell not being used as a routine, go-to option of the bad guys.

 

Knowing that might help get a build that more closely does what you want it to do or one that feels more like what you're trying for.

 

It's only introduced in the fourth book, described in a classroom setting and demonstrated on a spider, but it's really only the fifth book where we start to see death eaters (the bad guys who use the Curse) with any regularity, especially in dueling situations.  Even the Big Bad is largely helpless and offscreen in the first four books.  To some extent, it also had the "not seen, then introduced, then suddenly everyone knows it" effect.  Sectumsempra was similar, only discovered in Book 6, created  by a character in the books maybe 20 years back, and then known by many characters going forward.  I suspect Avada Kedavra was used more in the movies instead, because it had a flashy green light show (nice on screen) and Sectumsempra left bloody, gory wounds which would not look as nice, and probbably cost more for makeup than a green light show's SFX.

 

I would say it is used more in the movies because they have a flashy green special effect, which the book lacked.  Just printing Avada Kedavra lacks the same flash, and would quickly become repetitive and lose its impact.   Christopher R. Taylor posted the movie death of Sirius Black above, but in the book he was pushed back through the Veil, not targeted by the Killing Curse.

 

The book suggests (on various occasions) that it requires great skill; nerve and ability; and a genuine willingness/desire to murder.  There's no indication that it has any special drawbacks in casting, but maybe one has to be especially practiced to buy off limitations like Concentration.  It seems like it was used quite a bit in the later books, as the Death Eaters appeared in the open (and in combat) more, and criminal sanctions were lifted.

 

There's also the practical reality that, the more it was used against major characters and failed, the less of a threat it would seem in the books.  How many more times could it conveniently miss, or fail, when targeting major characters whose arc was not to end in this battle?  Practically, that's what gives rise to the question of whether there is a defense, just one not understood by the characters in the source material, which PCs and major NPCs tend to possess.

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Eh I wouldn't dig too deeply into the logic and sense of how Rowling's magic system works since she was just making everything up as she went in terms of spells.  Stuff that's super powerful is used once (petrify), spells can or cannot be cast without a wand or speech at apparently random, what limits a spell has are kind of up to the plot or the situation.  Simulating that world's magic in a game system would be a nightmare

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On 3/15/2019 at 2:56 AM, Duke Bushido said:

If you are still entertaining questions, may I ask-- seriously; I'm not really "up" on Harry Potter-- why you think that is?  To clarify: I would like to know what reasons you think might lead to the spell not being used as a routine, go-to option of the bad guys.

 

Knowing that might help get a build that more closely does what you want it to do or one that feels more like what you're trying for.

Exactly that. We need to get a handle on J.K. Rowlings intention with this spell and it's uses, before we can parse the feel (and that includes it's limitations) to a different Medium (in this case Book/Movie to Role Playing Game).

 

I did spend a lot of time watching Star Trek Stuff, so I got the intention behind their "Shields at X percent" approach. And I think I have a reliable way to parse it now:

 

But my knowledge of Harry Potter is limited to a few movies and movie scenes. Not nearly the kind of information basis I need to even have a solid opinion on the mater.

 

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13 hours ago, Christopher R Taylor said:

Eh I wouldn't dig too deeply into the logic and sense of how Rowling's magic system works since she was just making everything up as she went in terms of spells.  Stuff that's super powerful is used once (petrify), spells can or cannot be cast without a wand or speech at apparently random, what limits a spell has are kind of up to the plot or the situation.  Simulating that world's magic in a game system would be a nightmare

 

This is true for a lot of fiction, and not just for magic.  If you want to simulate them, you need to decide how to interpret what happens in the books.  D&D provides Feats like Eschew Materials and Silent Spell.  Hero allows buy-off of limitations, and variable limitations.  Either could be used to explain why some characters can cast spells without wands or incantations sometimes.

 

On the topic of simulating various source material, this one in particular, I was thinking this morning about the power of the killing curse as described by characters in the books, compared to the impact it actually had in the books, and it really seems a lot like:

"These blast points... too accurate for Sand People. Only Imperial stormtroopers are so precise."

So, do we build our Stormtrooopers so they rarely miss, and Luke, Han and Leia get taken out by blaster bolts in the first combat, because Imperial Stormtroopers are really precise, or do we build them as the mooks they are when actually appearing against PC characters?

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This is true for a lot of fiction, and not just for magic.  If you want to simulate them, you need to decide how to interpret what happens in the books. 

 

Yeah, a book or a movie can be very entertaining and fun yet be poorly written and inconsistent.  If they're fun enough otherwise, we're willing to overlook silly inconsistencies (like Storm Trooper accuracy which could just have been a statement on how unbelievably awful sand people were with ranged attacks).  If they aren't the inconsistencies become unbearable.  And of course it varies from person to person -- what one person winks at another thinks ruins the entire story.

 

Ideally an author doesn't play so fast and loose with their own world, and the trend lately (ala Sanderson) has been in the other direction, with authors overthinking their magic system to the point of absurdity.

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