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 Post subject: Re: Arcane Combat System
PostPosted: Sun May 10, 2009 10:53 pm 
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A couple of thoughts for you, Ian.

Most spells take a long time in combat terms. A spell of TN 6 takes 6 seconds to cast, IIRC; that's roughly 6 combat exchanges. By the time a sorcerer contests the arcane flow and gets around to casting a spell, chances are he'll have been skewered alive.

And if he isn't dead by that time, his neutron bomb will go off anyway. All these fun maneuvers for contesting the flow end up being just a delaying tactic so the warriors can kill the enemy sorcerer before the bomb detonates.

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 Post subject: Re: Arcane Combat System
PostPosted: Mon May 11, 2009 9:36 am 
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"Most spells take a long time in combat terms. A spell of TN 6 takes 6 seconds to cast, IIRC; that's roughly 6 combat exchanges. By the time a sorcerer contests the arcane flow and gets around to casting a spell, chances are he'll have been skewered alive."

I have been thinking about that as well.

The only way I can see (off the top of my head) for the whole thing to work seamlessly, is to have CTN only reflect a spell's build costs (for non-ritual spells) and allow for general casting times of 1 or 2 seconds. Now you would have casters embedded into melee combat in a meaningful way. Without that change, your point cannot seriously be addressed, IMHO.

As it stands in the Core Rules, this would serve to make mages even more grossly over-powered, but in the proposed alternate system where magic is easily scaleable down to a whisper, this change could work.

GM's that allowed maximum strength, rapid fire sorcery in their campaigns would soon see the light and tone things down...

In my mind, the intent of the Core Rules casting times were crafted to limit a caster's interaction with melee combatants anyway, and make it very risky for a sorcerer to meddle in the affairs of real men.

That's fine for a certain type of game and not so good for other flavors, such as a more accessable, yet low magic campaign.

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 Post subject: Re: Arcane Combat System
PostPosted: Mon May 11, 2009 9:47 am 
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Daeruin wrote:
Most spells take a long time in combat terms. A spell of TN 6 takes 6 seconds to cast, IIRC; that's roughly 6 combat exchanges. By the time a sorcerer contests the arcane flow and gets around to casting a spell, chances are he'll have been skewered alive.


Oh no! Please don't mention the timing of a combat round and all the anomalies inherent in the system!



;)

Anyway, to address the point: in this mod, spell casting is instantaneous. It is, I believe, the only solution that makes sense for TRoS combat.

Daeruin wrote:
And if he isn't dead by that time, his neutron bomb will go off anyway. All these fun maneuvers for contesting the flow end up being just a delaying tactic so the warriors can kill the enemy sorcerer before the bomb detonates.


so the warriors can kill the enemy sorcerer should read so the warriors have some sort of chance to kill the enemy sorcerer but otherwise I completely agree with this point. This is one of the listed Design Goals (number 3) for the mod.

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 Post subject: Re: Arcane Combat System
PostPosted: Mon May 11, 2009 10:13 am 
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pbj44 wrote:
The only way I can see (off the top of my head) for the whole thing to work seamlessly, is to have CTN only reflect a spell's build costs (for non-ritual spells) and allow for general casting times of 1 or 2 seconds.


Apologies to all I didn't state explicitly that spell casting is instantaneous under this mod.

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The purpose of this mod is to provide a system that allows the wizards to interact with the melee combat environment. It slows down the spell casting rate, it aligns the spell cast with the first exchange of a round, it gives the wizards an exciting method of combat that actually cannot harm them directly (the definition of a good combat system for players that take wizard characters :lol: ).


The above only makes sense if spell casting takes the same amount of time as a combat exchange (that is, less than 15 seconds).

pbj44 wrote:
GM's that allowed maximum strength, rapid fire sorcery in their campaigns would soon see the light and tone things down...


SP expenditure and aging...?

pbj44 wrote:
In my mind, the intent of the Core Rules casting times were crafted to limit a caster's interaction with melee combatants anyway, and make it very risky for a sorcerer to meddle in the affairs of real men.


Core has an abstract combat environment. It has a cinematic representation of combat. Need to know where anyone is in relation to each other? Make a terrain roll.

But then we have a magic system that say a CTN 5 spell of one will come into effect precisely five seconds after spell casting begins...

The combat system doesn't time anything -- it is useless at determining when anything takes place. So there is no way for the magic system to interact with the melee system.

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 Post subject: Re: Arcane Combat System
PostPosted: Mon May 11, 2009 10:36 am 
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"Anyway, to address the point: in this mod, spell casting is instantaneous. It is, I believe, the only solution that makes sense for TRoS combat."

I agree.

So for time consideration in this mod, all spells will have a casting time of 1 second?

Perhaps spells of three (or in the alternate system, "greater magic") would be confined to executing during the second exchange? This would at least give a wary party of PCs or NPCs a fighting chance to get off some knocked arrows or rush a caster before one of the more potent spells is launched.

If magic is instantaneous, then words or gestures could actually slow a mage down and force some interesting choices on the player-caster:

Do I slow down (add one or two seconds to the casting time) and save some SP, by adding words and/or gestures, which will increase the possibility of injury or interference. Or, do I power ahead and burn through my SP pool all the faster?

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 Post subject: Re: Arcane Combat System
PostPosted: Mon May 11, 2009 10:53 am 
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Would it be useful to have the Arcane Combat System exclusive to the new alternate system as opposed to being a universal patch or mod?

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 Post subject: Re: Arcane Combat System
PostPosted: Mon May 11, 2009 11:11 am 
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pbj44 wrote:
So for time consideration in this mod, all spells will have a casting time of 1 second?


Whether a spell is instantaneous or not isn't relevant. All that matters is whether a spell manifests in the same exchange it was cast. So when I say "instantaneous" I mean that the spell is cast and manifests within one exchange.

An exchange is not 1 second. An exchange has no set duration in Core.

pbj44 wrote:
Perhaps spells of three (or in the alternate system, "greater magic") would be confined to executing during the second exchange?


Absolutely not. It is that which must be avoided at all costs.

Exchange 1
Conan the Mighty PC: Red, all-in, thrust to face with 15 dice!
Opponent Mook: White, Parry with 4 dice.
*splat*

Meanwhile, in a secret corner somewhere well out of play:
Nose-wipe the Timid: Spell of Three, Fireball of Mega Death, 8 dice.

Exchange 2
Conan the Mighty PC: I'll just wait for refresh, clean my sword of Mook-brains.
Referee: You're not dodging?
Conan the Mighty PC: (Looking around the battle board) Dodging who?
Referee: The fireball...
Conan: What fireball!?!
Referee: (Places red tennis ball on battle board at the edge nearest Nose-wipe's secret location) This fireball.
Conan: F
Referee: No dodge?
Conan: U
Referee: Terrain Roll?
Conan: C
Referee: Oh well, time to roll up a new character...

With the CP being split over the round allowing a wizard to unload in the second exchange causes real problems for the melee system.

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 Post subject: Re: Arcane Combat System
PostPosted: Mon May 11, 2009 11:13 am 
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pbj44 wrote:
Would it be useful to have the Arcane Combat System exclusive to the new alternate system as opposed to being a universal patch or mod?


I haven't written the ACS with anything but Core in mind. Like I said though, feel free to mod it for your system.

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 Post subject: Re: Arcane Combat System
PostPosted: Mon May 11, 2009 12:52 pm 
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"All that matters is whether a spell manifests in the same exchange it was cast. So when I say "instantaneous" I mean that the spell is cast and manifests within one exchange."

Okay, now I get it (morning coffee has helped).

"I haven't written the ACS with anything but Core in mind. Like I said though, feel free to mod it for your system."

That's fine. Just wanted to take a second and thank you for coming up with this new mod. It will really make a positive change in the game!

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 Post subject: Re: Arcane Combat System
PostPosted: Mon May 11, 2009 10:33 pm 
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pbj44 wrote:
"All that matters is whether a spell manifests in the same exchange it was cast. So when I say "instantaneous" I mean that the spell is cast and manifests within one exchange."

Okay, now I get it (morning coffee has helped).


Did you get a chance to look at the post on Timing I linked to earlier(the whole thread deals with the issues associated with moving to a round-by-round combat resolution model)? TRoS has an abstract combat environment -- it just doesn't work with minis and accurate mapping of movement. Jake intended the combat to be cinematic -- the limelight sticks with a pair of combatants until something interesting happens, and then it flick to the next pair of combatants. Having different combatants get to an interesting point in their combat in the same round/exchange is purely coincidental. All timing issues that result are resolved through the terrain roll, that abstract mechanic that determines questions of relative positioning.

The problem here is that many writers for the game have assumed that position (and thus distance) are determined accurately and that timing is also determined accurately. Neither is correct. So we end up with a magic system that talks about cast times down to the second and we end up with combat expansions that talk about ranges down to the yard.

All of these cause problems for the game as it stands now. Adding something new to it, like the ACS, has to take that abstraction into account.

The one or two second combat round (as specified in Core, p. 11) only makes sense while the combatants are actively engaged in combat. The problem is that there are many other actions that also take a round but clearly cannot occur within such a time frame -- circling, taunting, full evade, moving to the next combatant. And 1 or 2 seconds is almost meaningless for any other type of action -- which implies that non-combatants can't really do anything useful while a combat is going on.

The other side of the coin, of course, is that while combatants are capable of striking at each other every other second combat scenes, whether in TRoS or in films or in books, take far longer than, say, 12 seconds. So, once again, the whole "1 or 2 second combat round" doesn't reflect the abstract nature of the combat environment. It just doesn't fit in. So in the ACS I'll define an exchange as taking up to fifteen seconds, and that any spell can be cast within that time frame.

Many thanks for your feedback -- it is much appreciated.

Regards,

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 Post subject: Re: Arcane Combat System
PostPosted: Tue May 12, 2009 2:53 am 
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Ian.Plumb wrote:
Most spells take a long time in combat terms. A spell of TN 6 takes 6 seconds to cast, IIRC; that's roughly 6 combat exchanges. By the time a sorcerer contests the arcane flow and gets around to casting a spell, chances are he'll have been skewered alive.

Daeruin wrote:
Oh no! Please don't mention the timing of a combat round and all the anomalies inherent in the system!

That's why I said "roughly." :) Just how roughly is up for interpretation!

Ian.Plumb wrote:
Anyway, to address the point: in this mod, spell casting is instantaneous. It is, I believe, the only solution that makes sense for TRoS combat.

Ah, that makes sense. Thanks for addressing my concern.

Daeruin wrote:
And if he isn't dead by that time, his neutron bomb will go off anyway. All these fun maneuvers for contesting the flow end up being just a delaying tactic so the warriors can kill the enemy sorcerer before the bomb detonates.

Daeruin wrote:
so the warriors can kill the enemy sorcerer should read so the warriors have some sort of chance to kill the enemy sorcerer but otherwise I completely agree with this point. This is one of the listed Design Goals (number 3) for the mod.

Oh, of course. Rather than seeing it as a flaw, this is one of the very purposes of the mod in the first place. As a patch for some other flaw, that's fine. Like PJ, I was looking at it more in terms of what I'm trying to do with my own alternative magic system.

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 Post subject: Re: Arcane Combat System
PostPosted: Tue May 12, 2009 4:11 am 
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Daeruin wrote:
Most spells take a long time in combat terms. A spell of TN 6 takes 6 seconds to cast, IIRC; that's roughly 6 combat exchanges. By the time a sorcerer contests the arcane flow and gets around to casting a spell, chances are he'll have been skewered alive.


Ian.Plumb wrote:
Oh no! Please don't mention the timing of a combat round and all the anomalies inherent in the system!


Daeruin wrote:
That's why I said "roughly." :) Just how roughly is up for interpretation!


Good point!

I definitely don't want to get hooked up on time and timing issues within the tactical environment. But on the other hand, where existing mechanics impinge on this it needs to be dealt with. If TRoS lets you cast slower to get a lower CTN (using gestures, for example) then that rule has to be explicitly ruled out or it has to be taken into account.

Ian.Plumb wrote:
Anyway, to address the point: in this mod, spell casting is instantaneous. It is, I believe, the only solution that makes sense for TRoS combat.


Daeruin wrote:
Ah, that makes sense. Thanks for addressing my concern.


As I mentioned to PJ, "instantaneous" meaning the spell cast starts and ends and the spell manifests all within the one exchange, the first exchange of the round. I don't think there is any need to be more specific regarding the actual amount of time that might be.

Daeruin wrote:
And if he isn't dead by that time, his neutron bomb will go off anyway. All these fun maneuvers for contesting the flow end up being just a delaying tactic so the warriors can kill the enemy sorcerer before the bomb detonates.


Ian.Plumb wrote:
so the warriors can kill the enemy sorcerer should read so the warriors have some sort of chance to kill the enemy sorcerer but otherwise I completely agree with this point. This is one of the listed Design Goals (number 3) for the mod.


Daeruin wrote:
Oh, of course. Rather than seeing it as a flaw, this is one of the very purposes of the mod in the first place. As a patch for some other flaw, that's fine. Like PJ, I was looking at it more in terms of what I'm trying to do with my own alternative magic system.


And that's really cool. I hope we end up with something that is worth modding to other people's magic systems.

One other thing I'll mention again. A combat scene may go far longer than the combat itself. Any reasonable preamble might go for minutes, giving any wizards in the mix plenty of time to prepare their spells and release when the swords are drawn and the first swing made. The combat itself may be quite swift, one way or the other, preventing the wizard from casting any or many other spells -- which, I think, just adds to the pressure to make that first one a big one.

This is even harder for the referee. There are many situations where the referee has an ambush to unleash or at least a situation where the baddies have some time to prepare. An NPC wizard in this position really does have the upper hand on the PCs. Playing this situation annoys me as a referee because it feels like I'm fudging the scene, staying the hand of the enemy wizard simply because the game will go pear-shaped if I don't.

I want these issues go away and I think the ACS and its premise gives a reasonable explanation for the playing group as to how it goes away. Now if I can just get these mechanics to work!!!

Regards,

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 Post subject: Re: Arcane Combat System
PostPosted: Tue May 12, 2009 12:26 pm 
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Ian.Plumb wrote:
There are many situations where the referee has an ambush to unleash or at least a situation where the baddies have some time to prepare. An NPC wizard in this position really does have the upper hand on the PCs. Playing this situation annoys me as a referee because it feels like I'm fudging the scene, staying the hand of the enemy wizard simply because the game will go pear-shaped if I don't.

I want these issues go away and I think the ACS and its premise gives a reasonable explanation for the playing group as to how it goes away. Now if I can just get these mechanics to work!!!


Thats a strong point. I have had that very same issue in my game.

I have been playtesting the ACS with my group's sorcerer who thus far only has a couple of complaints (thats a good thing!)

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 Post subject: Re: Arcane Combat System
PostPosted: Tue May 12, 2009 9:45 pm 
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pbj44 wrote:
I have been playtesting the ACS with my group's sorcerer who thus far only has a couple of complaints (thats a good thing!)


Excellent! Are the complaints to do with tweaking the numbers or are they more systemic issues?

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 Post subject: Re: Arcane Combat System
PostPosted: Wed May 13, 2009 1:33 am 
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Well, let’s see,

She really loves the fact that now she can participate fully in melee in her own right. She feels that the ACS adds a lot to her gaming experience. I told her to tell me anything that bothers her about it no matter how slight or trivial she thought it might be. Her response was as follows:

1. She wishes that ACP was calculated using the same formula as her SP pool. She felt that it would be more intuitive that way and would also be one less item to budget Spiritual attribute points for. She is very thrifty in her magic use and seldom uses the mana spells and so the DRAW attribute is not something she is keen on building up.

2. She wanted to know more about the arcane flow and how it would appear to others around the casters and the dangers it would pose to them. She felt that was not touched upon and would like more information about that.

3. She feels that the level requirements to use most of the maneuvers was too high and would most restrict her to only the most basic ones. I pointed out to her that she could spend SA’s and advance in their use just as warriors advance in those related to them…

She replied “yeah, but they fight bad guys all the time and unless enemy sorcerers start falling out of trees, I’m not going to see much of a gaming return for investing a lot of points into my FORM stat. I like growing my magic, but I want to build other character qualities as well. My character supposedly trained in magic use all her life. Can’t we just say that she spent many years sparring in ACS and let her use the full range of maneuvers on the rare occasion that she gets in a magical fight?”

4. She would like to see the winner of an ACS combat have to roll some kind of WP check to get their spell off. She feels that ACS is pretty stressful for a sorcerer (she swears it is! LOL!) and it should be a little difficult to cast after being “winded” like that.

5. She wants to be able to magically strike, slam or hurl her opponent around using the arcane flow. In our campaign her sorcerer has a hated rival I bedevil her with that she would love to beat down in an ACS contest. She informs that just the thought of that possibility puts her in a good mood!

She likes the system and could go with it as is, but those items are on her wish list.

Hope this helps!

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