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Power of spellcasting
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R˙che

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Joined: 29 Apr 2010
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Location: Between here and there.

PostPosted: Wed Jan 02, 2013 10:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

JDSampo wrote:
The issues that Energy and I have noticed is it isn't hard for a cleric to make himself a really hard target, both to hit and to damage. This may really be a function of the Unknowable One who has a Veteran spell at Novice (shape change) and no limits on what he can Boost. Combine that with a d12 Arcane die (or more if boosted) and you have someone who can make himself next to impossible to hit.

Just so I don't come across wrong, just trying to understand in case something like this ever comes up in my game.

So, I assume he is shape changing after he does his boost/lower trait, since once changed he cannot use powers, as per the power in the HF book. But the only real boosted power's he can keep are his Vigor, Spirit, and Smart linked skills. So, boosting his Agility or Strength have no affect on the new form he takes. In my opinion that is a limit there. Of course if he is boosting other players, then it doesn't matter, but it has to be before his change.

The other thing is that he has to Taunt or Trick at least once during combat, which I would not allow in a shape changed form, or suffer the effects of a Major Sin. Failure to do so is a loss of powers for a week!

That means that most likely he is in human form before the start of the fight with a few powers already being maintained. He then tricks or taunts near the beginning of combat to get it out of the way and avoid his sin. He then would have to cast shape change with the modifiers plus the maintain spells. If he could pull that off, with the shape change and maintain power modifiers I would probably allow him to have it. But I would make sure to enforce his sin, because without doing that clerics can run amok quiet easily.

Also, remember that foes that may reoccur are going to figure out his trick pretty soon and be prepared for it. An archer or two will target him before the change hoping to force the disruption. He then has a choice of spending the combat rounds rebuffing before the change or just making the change and leaving the other powers dropped.

The Uknowable One has some interesting sins. Remember if he gets taunted or tricked by someone with a lower die, he suffers a minor sin, which means -2 to future castings. Not only that, but not focusing his attention on the person that does it could be constituted as a mortal sin as well.

JDSampo wrote:
I so far have been reluctant to introduce a party-killing AoE monster just so I can beat his ass as that only exacerbates the original problem which is "how to leverage the rules to prevent specific character builds from dominating the game." We could easily just decide that this PC build is ridiculous and we should tone it down voluntarily but that suggests something is broken. If things aren't actually broken then the problem is tactical and that's why we're looking for advice.

Without knowing more about the character, this can be tough. But if the character is lopsided in the fact that he dumped all his points into two or three skills, I would throw challenges against him that require other skills to overcome.

Also, being the most scary thing on the battle field is most likely going to draw the most fire from the enemies as well.

Not sure how your group handles sins, but as a GM you have to really enforce them otherwise, yes, priests are quiet powerful without any real fear of backlash, etc.
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Energy

Deuce


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2013 5:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

R˙che wrote:
Just so I don't come across wrong, just trying to understand in case something like this ever comes up in my game.

So, I assume he is shape changing after he does his boost/lower trait, since once changed he cannot use powers, as per the power in the HF book. But the only real boosted power's he can keep are his Vigor, Spirit, and Smart linked skills. So, boosting his Agility or Strength have no affect on the new form he takes. In my opinion that is a limit there. Of course if he is boosting other players, then it doesn't matter, but it has to be before his change.


I guess it could work like that if you really want it to in your game, but I don't think there's much textual support for your idea. Part of that is that Shapechange is the Hellfrost book is kind of a lazy cut and paste job from the main Savage Worlds textbook.

This whole set of paragraphs:
Quote:
Weapons and other personal effects are assumed into the animal’s form and reappear when the power ends, but other objects are dropped.
While transformed, the character retains his own Smarts, Spirit, and linked skills (though he may not be able to use them since he cannot speak). He gains the animal’s Agility and Strength and linked skills, and cannot use most devices. He has no capacity for speech and cannot use powers, though he may continue to maintain powers previously activated. Vigor is the highest of the hero’s or the creature into which he changes.


Wiggy added the ability to change into things besides animals, but failed to copy edit the original spell description. The 'has no capacity for speech and cannot use powers' is basically nonsense when the spell is used to shapechange into another humanoid that is capable of speech. Getting magical fire breath but not working vocal cords would be odd. Ditto for having perfectly functional hands but being 'unable to use devices'. Regardless, you are explicitly allowed to keep any maintained spells (which is kind of obvious since if you couldn't maintain spells, you couldn't be shapechanged since it is a spell that you're maintaining).

Also I don't see why you would consider a boost trait spell to be locked to the caster's own form as opposed to being an effect attached to the character. Would you allow a caster to shapechange his way out of deleterious spell effects? Wounds? Being on fire? If there was a deflection spell in effect on a character that was maintained, it'd still be on him when he shapechanged, I see no reason why boost would be different in that regard.

Quote:
The other thing is that he has to Taunt or Trick at least once during combat, which I would not allow in a shape changed form, or suffer the effects of a Major Sin. Failure to do so is a loss of powers for a week!


On what basis? I am unaware of a requirement for performing agility tricks beyond having an agility score. Completely ignoring animal forms for the minute, on what possible basis could an elf trick or taunt but a human shapechanged into an elf not do so?

Quote:
That means that most likely he is in human form before the start of the fight ...


Unlikely for the reasons mentioned above...

Quote:
Also, remember that foes that may reoccur are going to figure out his trick pretty soon and be prepared for it. An archer or two will target him before the change hoping to force the disruption. He then has a choice of spending the combat rounds rebuffing before the change or just making the change and leaving the other powers dropped.


Archer's might be tough. Since everybody is a base TN of 4 to hit and Deflection only bumps that to an 8, not being shot is less likely than not being stabbed in melee. There's still the overall problem that 'Anything I do to disrupt powerful character X will straight up kill less powerful character Y.' Also completely disregarding shapechange for now, there are many, many faiths that hand out deflection and armor as spells, and slightly fewer that also boost strength/vigor. At seasoned it would not be out of the ordinary for a cleric to wander around with blessed armor, an armor spell, a deflection spell, a shield and a base vigor of d8ish. Such a character would be a TN 8 to hit, but a whopping toughness of 15 against ranged attacks (6 from vigor, 3 from actual armor, 4 from the spell and 2 from the shield). That is not a particularly outrageous loadout, but an arrow is unlikely to make him do more than laugh at you.

Quote:
The Uknowable One has some interesting sins. Remember if he gets taunted or tricked by someone with a lower die, he suffers a minor sin, which means -2 to future castings. Not only that, but not focusing his attention on the person that does it could be constituted as a mortal sin as well.


Not focusing his attention on the person that does it is a mortal sin? I think you've got that backward. It's 'taking insult at being tricked/taunted'. If you're already in combat, you're already trying to kill each other anyway, so I don't think not taking their attempted murder personally is a particularly difficult behavioral standard.

Quote:
Without knowing more about the character, this can be tough. But if the character is lopsided in the fact that he dumped all his points into two or three skills, I would throw challenges against him that require other skills to overcome.


I've got a d10 Faith, a d8 Fighting/Stealth, d6 Notice/Persuasion. What challenges have you got for me? That's most of the active 'doing stuff' skills in the game. I'm missing climbing/swimming, but those are problems that are probably shapechange-solvable. I don't have any knowledge skills, but I run around with 5 other dudes, at least two of which are good at those. Also remember that I can add one or two dice to *any* trait. Even skills I don't have, so if we're suddenly on a mission-critical underwater baskerweaving quest, I can at least half-ass it with a d6. In social situations, I'm not a noble, but my weregild value is still double that of any mundane warrior, so I'm at least a minor somebody in the social ladder (and again, I'm a member of team, two of which are Nobles). I've got one thing that I cannot do: intimidate someone. I am specifically prohibited from that action. Can you think of any other problem that is especially likely to stymy me?

Quote:
Also, being the most scary thing on the battle field is most likely going to draw the most fire from the enemies as well.


That's true. I'm not sure if that's really a valid consequence or not. Negative attention is still attention and spotlight time, and time the GM spends specifically to thwart me is spotlight time that other players aren't getting.
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raikenclw

Deuce


Joined: 28 Dec 2012
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2013 8:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

JDSampo wrote:
If things aren't actually broken then the problem is tactical and that's why we're looking for advice.


You don't need to hit him in combat. Just Fatigue him.

(Deluxe Explorers, pg 99) "Bumps and Bruises: Characters who suffer minor but troubling injuries, such as stumbling down a slope or running through a cavern in the dark, can suffer Fatigue rather than suffering actual wounds. This is the hazard to use when characters should be beat up a bit but not actually wounded."

(Deluxe Explorers, pg 110) "Interrupting Powers: If a character with an activated power is Shaken or suffers a wound or Fatigue level, he must make a Smarts roll to maintain all his powers."

Now, have that AoE chase the party through a narrow maze/cavern, but put a mystical barrier at the exit that It can't cross. If they all move at top speed, they're pretty sure they can get away. But if anyone is the least bit slow, they are going to be Monster ChowTM. As the old joke puts it: "I don't have to run faster than the bear. I just have to run faster than YOU."

Your MegaShifter now has a choice: take the Fatigue or get eaten.

If MegaShifter decides to run for it (and loses his spells), then - of course - the entire native tribe that worships the AoE is waiting at the exit . . . Twisted Evil
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Starhawk

Deuce


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2013 5:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Speaking of the power of spellcasting... the hrimwisard in my game just hit Veteran and is looking hungrily at Elemental Form.

He's a tweaker, and I just KNOW he's going to pick coldfire form. Which... offers immunity to all nonmagical attacks?!?!?! WTF! How does that not disarm an entire campaign? If he'd had that spell during the Siege of Watchgap Fort, he could have just wandered out and slaughtered the entire army by himself... especially considering he'll also be layering on Deflection as well (which helps avoid damage from some of the spell effects he's immune to).

The only thing I can see affecting him is the day when a frost giant empties a wagonload of water over his head...
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Enno

King of Clubs


Joined: 11 Jun 2009
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2013 8:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Starhawk wrote:
Speaking of the power of spellcasting... the hrimwisard in my game just hit Veteran and is looking hungrily at Elemental Form.

He's a tweaker, and I just KNOW he's going to pick coldfire form. Which... offers immunity to all nonmagical attacks?!?!?! WTF! How does that not disarm an entire campaign? If he'd had that spell during the Siege of Watchgap Fort, he could have just wandered out and slaughtered the entire army by himself... especially considering he'll also be layering on Deflection as well (which helps avoid damage from some of the spell effects he's immune to).

The only thing I can see affecting him is the day when a frost giant empties a wagonload of water over his head...


Where is your problem?

Elemental Form is a VETERAN rank spell, so i expect it to have some "zing".

He gets the Special Abilities of a Coldfire Elemental - including ALL its Weaknesses. That applies to all elemental forms.

Watchgap Fort is a SEASONED level adventure. Apparently ANY spellcaster who has some decent Seasoned spells or higher would have a great impact on the outcome. But why Elemental Form? Taking a simple Blast gives him a much greater advantage - without risking his hide.

BTW, being immune to certain damage doesn't mean that he can't get Shaken, which may have its obvious effects on ANY maintained spell.

In Elemental Form he is definitely better visible (not easier to hit but easier to see in the dark or fog). So there may be some side effects, the usual trapping description doesn't cover. And i don't want to talk about igniting his own clothes and equipment with the spell...

Finally, if YOU don't like a certain trapping, don't allow it or change it to your liking. You are the final arbiter in your game. Wink
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R˙che

Deuce


Joined: 29 Apr 2010
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Location: Between here and there.

PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2013 7:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Starhawk wrote:
Speaking of the power of spellcasting... the hrimwisard in my game just hit Veteran and is looking hungrily at Elemental Form.

He's a tweaker, and I just KNOW he's going to pick coldfire form. Which... offers immunity to all nonmagical attacks?!?!?! WTF! How does that not disarm an entire campaign?

As characters advance the challenges they are tasked with should get harder as well. Sure the guy can wade in and kill a few goblins, but that isn't going to save the rest of the party when the goblins realize there are easier targets.

Don't be afraid to throw other magic wielding folk at them as well or folks with alchemical devices. A few goblins with smite potions, with a fire trapping, can be dangerous--flaming magical weapons that can't be disrupted.

Disruption doesn't only have to come from attacks either. Losing his spell in the middle of battle and being stark naked, kind of sucks. No healing either, unless the healer wants to take damage from his flaming skin. Or the classic, puppet him while he is changed and unleash him on the rest of the group.
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Stine

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2013 9:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A simple smite spell with a fire trapping should make short work of the elemental form.
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quigs

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2013 1:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, Veteran spells are the rough equivalent of 7th or 8th level spells in d20 fantasy games, which are quite powerful.

Also I would not let your player leaf through the bestiary on her own and pick out elementals to change into without them having spend some time researching the creature in questions extensively, or encountering one first.

This was a house rule I have used to limit the effectiveness of the d20 polymorph spells which could be easily abused. If you think about it, how is one supposed to change their form into a creature they have never ever seen or encountered before? Yes it's magic, but your mind needs to know certain things to shape the spell properly.
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Energy

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2013 2:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

quigs wrote:
Yeah, Veteran spells are the rough equivalent of 7th or 8th level spells in d20 fantasy games, which are quite powerful.

Also I would not let your player leaf through the bestiary on her own and pick out elementals to change into without them having spend some time researching the creature in questions extensively, or encountering one first.

This was a house rule I have used to limit the effectiveness of the d20 polymorph spells which could be easily abused. If you think about it, how is one supposed to change their form into a creature they have never ever seen or encountered before? Yes it's magic, but your mind needs to know certain things to shape the spell properly.


He's a Hrimwisard. His elemental form spell is restricted to 3 forms. What exactly is he buying with his New Spell (Elemental Form) edge if not the ability to change into any of those 3 elementals?

I remain constantly surprised at the amount of people who react to someone wanting to use the ability that they just bought with a scornful, "What, you wanted to use that thing you just bought? You entitled so-and-so!" Laughing When the swordsman wades into combat with an ogre are you guys like, "Whoah there, buddy! I know you've got a fighting of d12, but you're only certified to fight orcs. You can't just roll your skill vs an ogre, what are you nuts?"

More productively, if you don't want people to be able to use ability X in your game, it's probably way better to say that when they announce that it's what they want to spend an advance on rather then letting them buy the advance and then telling them they can't actually use it for X now that they bought it. Nobody wants to buy a lemon.

Of course there's always the situation where you didn't think ability X was going to be a problem but then turns out to be a big problem after all. Having had it explained to me that coldfire elemental-formed spellcasters still can get Shaken by damage (just not wounded) which would require a casting check with a TN equal to the damage that shook them (as opposed to a straight Smarts roll) makes that not seem like all that much of a problem.


Last edited by Energy on Fri Jan 11, 2013 12:14 pm; edited 3 times in total
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Starhawk

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2013 5:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My concern isn't so much that my hrimwisard is going to be in Elemental Form in most fights - sure, he's Veteran, he deserves it.

My issue is that the INVULNERABILITY feature of the coldfire elemental is so astoundingly powerful compared to, well, everything.

As I originally read it ("immune to all nonmagical attacks"), that meant any kind of melee attacker would have been rendered 100% irrelevant. Up to and including the 'big bads' like frost giants, dragons, etc. But I did just find the rule in the regular SW bestiary that details Invulnerability for monsters and confirms that the wisard can still be Shaken by those attacks. That's a good thing and kind of balances it out (since the spell can be lost in that situation).

Although, I still don't see him failing that Spellcasting roll much once winter comes around. Ah, what can you do. I guess the local orcs will have to become good at Tests of Will or something. Or start carrying water balloons.
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Starhawk

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2013 5:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Another thing... my understanding was that he'd have to pick one trapping / elemental type when he learns the spell. Just like with Bolt, Blast, and other spells.

It sounds like some of you guys don't view it that way -- that he learns the spell and can use any of the 3 trappings as he sees fit. ???
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quigs

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2013 7:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would make him pick a trapping and thus, choose one elemental form to change into.
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Enno

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2013 8:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Starhawk wrote:
My concern isn't so much that my hrimwisard is going to be in Elemental Form in most fights - sure, he's Veteran, he deserves it.

My issue is that the INVULNERABILITY feature of the coldfire elemental is so astoundingly powerful compared to, well, everything.

As I originally read it ("immune to all nonmagical attacks"), that meant any kind of melee attacker would have been rendered 100% irrelevant. Up to and including the 'big bads' like frost giants, dragons, etc. But I did just find the rule in the regular SW bestiary that details Invulnerability for monsters and confirms that the wisard can still be Shaken by those attacks. That's a good thing and kind of balances it out (since the spell can be lost in that situation).

Although, I still don't see him failing that Spellcasting roll much once winter comes around. Ah, what can you do. I guess the local orcs will have to become good at Tests of Will or something. Or start carrying water balloons.


Elemental creatures regardless of their exact nature are creatures every better fighter and spellcaster of higher rank should have learned to handle from seasoned rank up onward.

Despite having rediculous modifiers in cold weather your Hrimwisard is not "immune" to any approach to "hit him hard" - to get him Shaken at least. And thinking his is immunity to nonmagical attacks thru, he still has to roll against potentially exploding damage to maintain a spell. He just doesn't get wounded, but the "impact" is still there that may disrupt his spell.

So even in Elemental Form he has to resist to Tricks, Tests of Will, simple Shaken AND non-magical damage.
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DVeight

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2013 5:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Starhawk wrote:
Another thing... my understanding was that he'd have to pick one trapping / elemental type when he learns the spell. Just like with Bolt, Blast, and other spells.

It sounds like some of you guys don't view it that way -- that he learns the spell and can use any of the 3 trappings as he sees fit. ???


+1 I believe that is correct. The trapping will then lock you into that one elemental form. Thats it and no more, no less.

I wish I could have some of you guys come and play in my group and see what a good GM like myself can do to make you quickly realise "oops my spellcaster isnt that over powered after all"

On another note, my heahwizard has finally reached legendary and it is only now that he actually feels and operates like an untouchable. But I always have this in the back of my mind..... there is always someone bigger and better than you out there. So be vigilant. Smile
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Werecorpse

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2013 9:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

DVeight wrote:


I wish I could have some of you guys come and play in my group and see what a good GM like myself can do to make you quickly realise "oops my spellcaster isnt that over powered after all"


Can you explain?
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