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Power of spellcasting
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DVeight

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Joined: 31 Jan 2011
Posts: 397
Location: Australia

PostPosted: Thu Jan 24, 2013 6:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Werecorpse wrote:
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?


Well, out of combat is where I really work hard at pulling their moral compass. Spellcasters need to beware of their actions out of combat, that they dont abuse what they have. For instance, have a priest of Thunor that felt by farting he was creating wind and then by definition was meeting his requirement regarding his prayers to Thunor.

Techically sound and correct as far as I am concerned. However, being Anari, farting isnt seen as a social acceptable method to undertake prayers and use that also for conducting sermons. Tuomi maybe. Also Thunor is benevolent AND malevolent.

So, here comes GM's ingenuity. Sure keep on farting but now I will be rolling a percentage die for your god. Som times he will have a laugh at your human interpretation and see it comical, other times.......... well malevolent can be quite extreme. So this priest of ours is from time to time getting visits from fury's and here is the kicker. There are two more fury's for every party member with the priest. So buff yourselves all you want, this will be fun and has brought some characters to their knees.

Then again, threw in a Orc priest of Thunor. But this guy has been around for a while and sits higher in the order. So human priest that now has to show manners to an orc. Rest of party to. Step out of line and use your anti-racist desires, no problem. Only you will suffer the consequences and potentially become wanted.

In combat, given some archers aim edge. Fighters, deflection potions or salves that remove shaken. making sure that terrain is used to advantage. Using traps, glyphs, etc. The list just continues. Smile
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Werecorpse

Deuce


Joined: 28 Nov 2012
Posts: 34

PostPosted: Sat Feb 02, 2013 6:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The first four paragraphs do not address the issue of a spellcasters being overpowered in combat. Sure, you can throw non combat situations at the spellcasters to vex them ( especially if they are goofing around) but that actually doesn't mean they are not overpowered in combat.

Your final paragraph you list
giving archer the aim edge ( i assume this is marksman?) - this works just as well against non spellcasters ( arguably better as they don't have the permanent deflection up)
Give fighters potions and salves ( I assume you mean other players) - if you have to give them this extra help to balance up power with spellcasters it just shows that spellcasters are overpowered.
Use terrain to advantage, traps glyphs etc - not sure why a spellcaster has greater difficulty negotiating terrain, or dealing with traps.
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DVeight

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Joined: 31 Jan 2011
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Location: Australia

PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2013 12:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

OK, had to go to the first page to see your first post as a reference point.

I note that you actually havent played the Hellfrost game yet or were about to so the notions of "overpowered" are being made from your reading. Theory and practice tend to be two very diffierent beasts. Smile

Now to your last post, yes I meant marskmanship edge. Nothing big with that one as can be easy to point out that any archer who has been an archer for some time has gained skill in marksmanship So shouldnt be a big deal if often NPC archers are coming in with that edge.

Now to the potions and salves. The inference that beacuse NPCs are using them somehow proves that spell casters are overpowered is misguided in my opinion. These items are common items throughout the lands as opposed to weapons, shields, armor, etc. So nothing should raise an eyebrow for the fact NPC's posses them.

If your playing chess your not going to now just play with pawns while your opponent has rooks, queen, castle, etc. Ofcourse if that was the case, your opponent (aka the spell casting player) will appear to be overpowered. So as GM the onus is on you to bring balance to the encounters and not allow for cookie cutter NPCs to continually challenge the playing group.

Terrain can have a huge impact. A spell caster firing a bolt at a concealed target suffers the same penalty that an archer would. So its not a simple fact that a roll of 4 or more hits on the ranged attack. So terrain is important for NPCs to use as cover. Not all spell casters have knowledge in other areas of magic, hence glyphs can be a strong tool. A priest has no idea how a heahwizard works and vice versa, apart from the obvious. The art itself is unknown.

Now I started playing with a heahwizard couple years back and that was my first foray into Savage Worlds and Hellfrost. Now at legendary the character is quite powerful but that should be the case. At novice I did my very best to stay out of combat and attract no attention. With a parry of 5 and toughness of 4 I cant imagine how anyone could perceive me to be overpowered. A basic D6 could be my undoing. Sure I cast armor and boost my toughness to 8 though that is only marginal comfort.

Then there is the negatives, straight of the bat -2 to casting. So heahwizard needs to hold his rounds to build up his power before casting. So even if I maxed the arcane to D12 it was still a D12 -2. None of the fighters in the group had any such negatives as I did. They had their D12 fighting at novice and in they go. No penalties. But there is the heahwizard waiting two rounds just to get to an even die roll. So in combat I am not going of every round. Sure when I do unleash the three bolts, they tend have a good chance of dropping three opponents while at novice the fighter has only dropped one, though it took me two rounds + to get to that point in the first place.

Then there is the maintain and boosting thing before encounters. I refer back up to my reference on spell casters parry and toughness. Usually never as high as that of a fighter. I have a toughness of 8 now at legendary (took the glory edge Heroic Aura from memory) so with armor spell that maxes at 12. Well the fighters are already there and beyond if I boost them with an armor spell as well.

So my toughness is 12, at legendary, fighting some pretty mean stuff that the GM is throwing out there. Sure I will get 5 spells up to maintain. Boost my fighter friends and if, thats a big IF, I dont get singed in the encounter, we can mix it with the big end of town in terms of monsters. Though often enough we have had to make a hasty retreat as the tables turn in one instant when that hit causes me to test to maintain and I lose the maintain of the five spells. All of a sudden everything drops and the tables turn. And frankly, its never been the massive Wild Card NPC that did it. It was the tiny goblin with the bow, the peasant farmer with a spear, the one eye orc with a rusty sword and the GMs fortune of having that one D6 explode, thats all it takes.

So yes, spell casters are powerful and rightly so I feel. Though there is a limitation, a ceiling if you will. You may rise to it though the GM can very easily bring you down and it doesnt matter if the whole party is made of spell casters or not.
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Starhawk

Deuce


Joined: 16 Feb 2012
Posts: 46

PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2013 7:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

DVeight wrote:
I refer back up to my reference on spell casters parry and toughness. Usually never as high as that of a fighter.


I wish that was the case in my game. One of my players is a hrimwisard Hearth Knight... so is generally wearing chainmail and carrying a shield in addition to the Armor and Deflection spells, then hurling Blast and Bolt all over the place. With the shield, his parry is 7, but stacking Deflection on that makes him VERY hard to hit. And with Armor he's just as tough as anyone else in the group.
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Enno

King of Clubs


Joined: 11 Jun 2009
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Location: Ulm, Germany

PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2013 9:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

... but comes short on both archetypes. Most hrimwisards or fighters his rank are "better" in their specialties, which becomes obvious when he loses his spell due to disruption. No one is unbeatable, and could be brought down by a well concerted approach on his person.
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DVeight

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Joined: 31 Jan 2011
Posts: 397
Location: Australia

PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2013 11:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hang on. Correct me if I am wrong. I am of the understanding that wearing armour for spell casters is no problem in this setting. A Mage Knight of the Magocracy can carry a full plate if he wants to though there are limitations and balancing act that needs to be considered.

That is with the abilities stat block. Armour weighs down on the wearer so to be able to wear armour you need to spend die types in strength. Naturally fighters would aim for D10, D12 strength so they can wear armour and other items as well and not be encumbered.

Now yur hrimwizard Hearth Knight with his armour in my mind cant be the best of both worlds. Either his smarts is low or spirit, something has had to suffer for that ability to carry and wear armour without any encumberance penalty. So if strenght was increased than smarts would be lower hence, as Enno points out, he isnt the best of hrimwizards or the best of fighters. He has gone middle ground.

Deflection is a good spell, armor as well though there are more than one way to skin a cat. He must have sacrificed something. Also make sure you check the encumberance and make sure he isnt carrying to much as it wouldnt be fair on other players that element is not looked at.

Back to more than one way to skin a cat..... If he pumped his die types into strength and smarts for hrimwizadry then his spirit must be low so throw in orcs, npcs with high intimidate die types. D10 is a good one to have. So they dont have to have great strength, etc but are mean mofo's to look upon. So challenge him against his spirit. If his die type is D4 or D6 then he will be in a spot of bother and chances are you will get him shaken, etc. Then its a case of testing to maintain the spells. Once that starts happening, the sweat on the brows of the player builds cause you are exploiting their weakness. That is the role of the GM after all. Smile

Those maintains drop in combat and tables turn on a dime. All of a sudden your NPCs become even more dangerous.

We have played for over two years now. Love this rule set and the game setting. Has a bit of Game of Thrones feel to it as well (Yes I am a fan boy) Smile

I have played as GM and have played my Heahwizard character who is now legendary as well. Can categorically state that spell casters are not 'overpowered'. Powerful yes. Though I beleive that should be the case, just ahve to lok at the lore behind the magocracy. So these guys and gals should be powerful though as high as their smarts may be, something somewhere else in the abilities was sacrificed and thats where the exploit is for the GM.

My heahwizard should have been by rights dead on several occassions. he was dropped by a hurled lava boulder, downed by a bunch of orc crossbowmen, nearly buried alive by a cave rock slide, and a couple more instances that I cant remember. What saved me was having Luck edge and Hard to Kill edge. Strongly recommend Hard to Kill for any spell caster with low spirit/vigor (cant remember which one is dirctly related for that roll that is needed when your character goes down) That hard to Kill has saved me every single time but that is no argument that the spell caster is overpowered. It shows that the GM has learned all the elements of the rules and has exploited my weakness. As GM thats all you need to do. Once that light bulb lights up there is no overpowered spellcaster or spellcaster player group. Smile
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Werecorpse

Deuce


Joined: 28 Nov 2012
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 10, 2013 1:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My posts about balance are not suggesting that the spellcasters power seems op when compares to the GM, it is saying it seems op compared to other non spellcasters in the playing group. This is why when the initial suggestion was made that you could give potions to fighters I assumed that it meant to PC fighters ( and stated that was my assumption).

Similarly any comment to the effect that the GM can create an encounter that is difficult for a spellcaster (enhanced foes, terrain, glyphs, traps, archers) I accept as true, but unless there is something peculiar about spellcasters that makes it harder for them ( as opposed to all PC's) to deal with these issues then its not a relevant statement. These are just difficult encounters for all.

Further my concern is not really the standard design Hrimwisard or Heahwizard as the siphoning is a concern. I am prepared to accept that a burst, blast, bolt thrower suffers from maintaining too many spells and that its hard to compare them to a straight non spellcaster fighter.( though I suspect they dominate)

My primary concern is over the seasoned priest of the unknowable one maintaining shapechange, quickness, deflection, invisibility and boost ; or the priest of Tiw with smite, quickness, boost and deflection. My concern is that compared to a non spellcaster PC this type of self buffing spellcaster will dominate in combats.
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Enno

King of Clubs


Joined: 11 Jun 2009
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 10, 2013 3:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Werecorpse wrote:
My concern is that compared to a non spellcaster PC this type of self buffing spellcaster will dominate in combats.


He won't! Very Happy

Like most Savage settings, Hellfrost builds on team spirit. Even on Legendary rank your heroes have to rely on each other.

A loner has a much slimmer chance of survival. Yes, you can build one with better chances of survival, especially in Hellfrost with its special magic, but in the end EVERY character lacks in important fields. You simply can't escape the limitation of 16 level ups to Legendary...
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DVeight

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Joined: 31 Jan 2011
Posts: 397
Location: Australia

PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2013 6:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I guess I can understand your level of concern. We just returned to Hellfrost with our legendary characters which we put down a year ago and started new characters with new adventure.

Our Tuomi Paladin of Tiw has now somehow accumulated a toughness of 18 (or was it 20) and that would be greater if he goes berserk from my understanding. My head was swimming at that figure considering that my legendary heahwizard can best do 12 with his armor spell. So if that spell was dropped, my toughness is 8...... and I am legendary. Smile

However Enno is right on the mark. Loners have much slimmer chance of survival. Tuomi Paladin of Tiw with his 20 toughness? Well he has a parry of 6 so pretty much very high chances of being hit and with the gang up bonus.... even greater. He can only fight one at a time.

So we had an encounter. Four player characters and nine followers against thirty NPC's and three wild cards. Tuomi gets swamped and 90% of attacks hit. So he is sweating now on the damage roll. Weapon plus strength but some with the wild die cause the roll of 10 or greater with it being 4 or more above his parry of 6. So its now three dices instead of two. Sure he has some comfort but all it takes is one or two exploding die. And thats exactly what happens. With so many die toroll the GM is bound to get that exploding die. So the Tuomi gets shaken, had been wounded and had to as a result use bennies to keep himself alive.

But he cant do much, he can only hit the one in front of him. Even quickness isnt much of a benefit. So what if he can hit twice now, plenty more NPCs lining up.

Here comes the Heahwizard..... Prolonged blast. BOOM!! 10 NPCs down in one hit. Tuomi Paladin of Tiw?? Max two in one round. Next round, heahwizard again, BOOM. Another 10 NPCs and the wild card down. Tuomi, getting smacked and putting down 1-2 only.

Needless to say if it wasnt for the cooperative play, this would have went south easy. And no, the legendary heahwizard wasnt overpowered, just had damn good rolls on the night. Smile
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Werecorpse

Deuce


Joined: 28 Nov 2012
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2013 9:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cool, sounds like a big battle.

What did the non spellcasters do?
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DVeight

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Joined: 31 Jan 2011
Posts: 397
Location: Australia

PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2013 9:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cower and hide. Smile

Just kidding, although one player did cower and wait for the players to be swamped before emerging into combat. Basically we were on a boat, drakkar from memory. (could have that name wrong) Night fell and we decided to camp for the night. Its winter and we are on ice. But low and behold someone rolls snake eyes on their watch and we get surprised by two boats of raiders. Each boat coming up either side of our boat.

My heahwizard was camped in a tent with his followers on the right side. The fighters were all on the ship. Heahwizard gets woken by the commotion, walks out (no need to put on armor... something I took exception with GM cause he allowed for the fighters to wake up with armor though promises wont happen next time)

So heahwizard steps out to see his followers getting killed of from about twenty bowmen on the attacking boat. BOOM goes the prolonged blast and at least ten go down from the damage roll. In two turns more than half the ship is gone and the ones on foot coming in go down as well.

Meant time THE REST of them are fighting the other ship. Yes, heahwizard on his own fighting a whole ship while the rest of the fighters are in hand to hand combat with the others though they did get the raw end of the deal as there were two wild cards there with spell casting abilities. That didnt help. Its just that it was a mess as we were surprised so the fighters were not prepared but they did 'boost' while waiting for the assault to reach them. But what hurt was that they were in their own individual fights and not working together.

Needless to say if my rolls werent so good (and that does happen often enough) my heahwizard would have been swamped pretty quickly and in lots of danger if any one of them got into hand to hand combat.
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DVeight

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2013 9:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh and that encounter took us hour and half to resolve. Though it may have been quicker if it wasnt for the fact that it was our first hellfrost session of the year (last one being played early December) so we were bit rusty on the rules and had to pause every now and then.
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Arthurius11

Deuce


Joined: 17 Feb 2011
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2013 9:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

How convienient, taking all the glory for yourself, forgetting all about the Ashen Blade / Hearthknight not far from you cutting swathes through the enemy, killing 3 of the 4 wild cards during the encounter and killing 4 npc per turn (thanks to quickness from the Sword of Tiw).

Really depends how you make your character, offensive, defencive, buffer there as so many options. though without the aid of my group it would not be so easy, GO TEAM!
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Werecorpse

Deuce


Joined: 28 Nov 2012
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2013 2:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Do you have any non spellcasters in your group?
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Arthurius11

Deuce


Joined: 17 Feb 2011
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2013 12:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

In our legendary group we have 1 non spell caster (warrior type), paladin of Tiw, Paladin or Kenaz and a Heahwizard.

In our new group we started not long ago we have 3 non spell casters and 1 priest of Thunor.

I have found through playing that on combat alone a non spell caster is better. he may not have the ability to buff themselves, but they can focus on 1 thing if they want to, combat. dont have to worry about there spells getting dropped off (once the GM knows what he is doing this happens ALOT) and losing combat effectiveness and dont have to worry about spreading there advances around to cater to both the combat edges and spellcasting edges.

Casters are a good jack of all trades and can do alot but they wont be as good in combat as a straight warrior who focus on just combat. i have tried and tested this playing both versions and with different group dynamics.

Now a non caster warrior who is buffed by someone else is great so long as that person buffing does not lose there maintains. And this will always be a drawback to a caster that non casters do not need to concern themselves with. But this is a team game.

My paladin of Kenaz / Hearthknight is a beast in combat, especially against hellfrost beasts / creatures. though when it gets cold his casting abilities are of no use as i cannot get them off when i need it, and then i really see the downside to a caster. But i am playing him because i like the challenge and background that comes with playing him and the roleplay opportunities it brings.

Its not always about combat for me, i must admit before ever playing the game and from just reading i made a paladin for the reasons you are saying thinking them far superior to non casters, but from playing experience once we started new characters i wanted a killing machine in combat so i made a straight fighter to focus solely on combat, and he does exactly what i want him to do without having to worry about losing any spells or combat efficiency.

Sorry for the long post, i got started and it just kept going, lol, could have kept going but i think that says enough.
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