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Re: [FateRPG] Question about Magic

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  • Robert Donoghue
    Ok, in short, the answer is at least partly in the the difficulty. For anything other than an instantly cast spell, the assumption is that you spend time (i.e.
    Message 1 of 11 , Feb 1, 2006
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      Ok, in short, the answer is at least partly in the the difficulty.
      For anything other than an instantly cast spell, the assumption is
      that you spend time (i.e. an exchange or more) casting the spell, and
      roll, and if successful, you may 'release' the spell on the next
      exchange, which requires an attack as normal. By extentsion, an
      instant spell requires 2 rolls within the same exchange.

      However, that is poorly explained in the rules and, in retrospect,
      probably not how I'd handle it any more. As such, I would suggest
      that you use 1 roll, and that it is treated like any other attack,
      but with a minimum threshold of the difficulty of the spell. Using
      the example you cite, it means that if I fire a bolt of lightning at
      someone and they have a defense that's less than +4 (The difficulty
      of the spell) then I treat their defense as if it were +4. If their
      defense is higher, then I just use that.

      Yes, that makes attack spells difficult, but there's a simple reason
      for that. That magic system (and several of the others) were designed
      with the core principle that it is easier to shoot/stab someone than
      it is to sling an eldritch bolt at them. What this encourages are
      "attacks" that are either entirely unexpected (so the target doesn't
      get to defend) or which attack weaker skills (Lots of people can
      dodge well, but do they necessary have a high Will skill?") or
      perhaps best of all, use magic fro things more interesting than just
      attacking.

      If you want magic to be more combat ready, then you can simply do a
      dual threshold - the spellcasting roll is an attack as normal, but if
      the total roll is not high enough to succeed in casting, then the
      spell isn't effective. This has the interesting effect of making
      spells a bit more all-or-nothing, so they're more likely to injure a
      target than just clip them.

      Anyway, I hope that helps.

      -Rob D.

      On Jan 31, 2006, at 12:33 PM, aecooper@... wrote:

      > I'm considering using the Door to Shadow version of Magic rules in
      > a Fantasy FATE game and I had a problem understanding how it
      > works. I get the Magical Aspect + Skill part and I understand how
      > to calculate up the difficulty of the roll. What I'm having
      > problems with is how to judge the outcome of the roll. For example...
      >
      > The players are in combat. One of them declares that he is casting
      > a spell and then we calculate up the difficulty of the roll.
      >
      > Target 1 person... +1
      > Damaging +2
      > Takes a few moments +1
      > Easy Components +0
      > Instantanious +0
      >
      > That's a total of +4 so the player needs a Superb roll to succeed.
      > Let's say he rolls and succeeds. Now what? Does he check off a
      > box of Clipped or Hurt on the NPC? What happens mechanically?
      >
      > Also, if he's in combat, everyone else is rolling opposed rolls
      > against someone else but he's rolling a static test against a fixed
      > difficulty. That seems odd. It means an NPC spellcaster could
      > potentially take out a PC without ever giving the PC's player a
      > chance to engage the system. It's one thing for the GM to roll the
      > dice and then announce to the player "You're incapacitated." It's
      > something totally different if both the player and the GM roll
      > dice, even if the outcome is the same.
      >
      > It's not just this particular flavor of Magic system that is
      > bothering me either. Most of the example systems seem to raise the
      > same questions with me. What does a success look like from a
      > mechanical standpoint?
      >
      > Thanks,
      >
      > Andrew Cooper
      >
      >
      > Fate * http://www.faterpg.com/
      >
      > If you enjoy Fate and are willing to lend your financial support,
      > please take a look at http://www.faterpg.com/donate.php
      > Yahoo! Groups Links
      >
      >
      >
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    • Andrew
      Rob, Thanks for the reply. You ve answered part of my question but I m still not grokking how to apply spell effects mechanically after they ve been rolled
      Message 2 of 11 , Feb 1, 2006
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        Rob,

        Thanks for the reply. You've answered part of my question but I'm
        still not grokking how to apply spell effects mechanically after
        they've been rolled and are successful. Let me give an example.

        Example #1

        Marty Mage is fighting with Freddy Fighter. Marty casts a spell that
        the difficulty included the "Incapacitating +3" to the difficulty.
        Let's say Marty rolls and gets a success. Does the spell bypass the
        damage ladder and just incapacitate Freddy whether Marty's MoS was +1
        or +7 or anything in between?

        Example #2

        Same character's and situation as before. This time Marty casts a
        spell with the difficulty including the "Damaging +2" descriptor.
        Marty rolls a success again. How much damage does he do? How is it
        recorded? On the damage ladder?

        I'll let you (or someone else) answer these before I post my other
        questions.

        Thanks,

        Andrew
      • Robert Donoghue
        Heh, apologies for the lack of clarity. I am having to do some deep mental diving to try to recall what I was thinking at the time. For example, one other
        Message 3 of 11 , Feb 1, 2006
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          Heh, apologies for the lack of clarity. I am having to do some deep
          mental diving to try to recall what I was thinking at the time. For
          example, one other possibility I haven't mentioned is basing the
          difficulty on, say, a skill of the target.

          Anyway, example 1: I'll be the first to admit that we fell into a
          really common trap there, which is that incapacitation spells (sleep
          and the like) are a critically important part of most fiction, but in
          RPGs they tend to be an an "I Win" button, because we tend to either
          stab or duct tape anyone who is helpless.

          So short form, the "Incapacitating" qualifier is broken, and not easy
          to fix.

          As such, I would propose this addendum:
          * Incapacitiating modifier increased to +5
          * Base difficulty of an incapacitating spell == Targets will or
          comparable skill
          * Successful incapacitating spell results in target being taken
          out. All usual GM advice about whatthat means applies.

          That should make it hard enough to not be something to do often, but
          something that still might be done.


          Example #2 is easier. Mandrake casts a damaging spell with (let's
          say the special effect is a bolt of lightning) with a difficulty of
          +4, there are 2 ways to do this:

          1) Old style: Mandrake makes a skill roll. if he fails, he doesn't
          cast a spell. If he succeeds then next exchange he gets to use his
          spell-casting skill as a combat skill as he throws lightning and
          looks cool. THis is resolved like any other attack, except that the
          spell-casting skill is not usually a combat skill (and the GM may
          deem it to be worth a situational bonus).

          2) New Style: Mandrake has a great spellcasting skill, and he needs
          to roll a Superb(+4) result to cast successfully (Difficulty made up,
          not referencign the doc right now). He declares he's firing a
          lightning bolt at Tommy, who is dodgein with his Good (+2)
          athletics. Let's assume Tommy rolls a 0. Mandrake is now looking at
          two difficulties:
          * Tommy's defense of Good(+2)
          * The spell's difficulty of Superb (+4)

          Looking at those, he takes the higher of the two (Superb(+4)) and
          acts as if _that_ was Tommy's defense, and otherwise attacks normally.

          2a) The more brutal, pro-combat magic options: As #2, except Tommy's
          defense stays at Good (+2). However, is Mandrake only gets a Good
          (+2) or Great(+3) result, he "hits" but the spell doesn't work, so
          it's ineffective. Narratively, this may be a misfire, and
          mechanically, it equates to a scratch. If he gets a Superb(+4)
          result, then he both succeeds and hits, and with a MoS of 2, based on
          Tommy's initial defense.

          Does that clarify it?

          -Rob D.


          On Feb 1, 2006, at 12:15 PM, Andrew wrote:

          > Rob,
          >
          > Thanks for the reply. You've answered part of my question but I'm
          > still not grokking how to apply spell effects mechanically after
          > they've been rolled and are successful. Let me give an example.
          >
          > Example #1
          >
          > Marty Mage is fighting with Freddy Fighter. Marty casts a spell that
          > the difficulty included the "Incapacitating +3" to the difficulty.
          > Let's say Marty rolls and gets a success. Does the spell bypass the
          > damage ladder and just incapacitate Freddy whether Marty's MoS was +1
          > or +7 or anything in between?
          >
          > Example #2
          >
          > Same character's and situation as before. This time Marty casts a
          > spell with the difficulty including the "Damaging +2" descriptor.
          > Marty rolls a success again. How much damage does he do? How is it
          > recorded? On the damage ladder?
          >
          > I'll let you (or someone else) answer these before I post my other
          > questions.
          >
          > Thanks,
          >
          > Andrew
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          > Fate * http://www.faterpg.com/
          >
          > If you enjoy Fate and are willing to lend your financial support,
          > please take a look at http://www.faterpg.com/donate.php
          > Yahoo! Groups Links
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
        • Andrew
          Rob, Thanks! That clarifies things a great deal. Let me pontificate on that a while and I might come back with some more questions later. Andrew
          Message 4 of 11 , Feb 1, 2006
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            Rob,

            Thanks! That clarifies things a great deal. Let me pontificate on
            that a while and I might come back with some more questions later.

            Andrew
          • lance dyas
            Why does an effect which is capable of causing incapacitation effects have to be seen as an all or nothing ?Thinking of the partial results might make for
            Message 5 of 11 , Feb 1, 2006
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              Why does an effect which is capable of causing incapacitation effects
              have to be seen as an all or nothing ?Thinking of the partial
              results might make for interesting edges and flaws...

              Sleep : partial result -->wave of grogginess which impairs performance
              in a ongoing fashion til it is thrown off, might be specially
              impairing when you attempt to change your course of action or think
              decisively .. or the effect might be delaid becoming an unpredictable
              narcolepsy
              even though it seems entirely resisted now.

              Paralysis or Stoning: partial result could have individual limbs get
              paralyzed which appropriate impairing effects for these. and of course a
              stoned forearm could be a nasty weapon. and you could allow the player
              to keep it as a long term problem. A paralyzed limb might be exploited
              to gain sympathy obviously.


              -- Lance Dyas
              The Decision Driven Gaming Center
              "Creating a language for describing how we do things to enable better visualization in roleplay."
              http://www.dyasdesigns.com/roleplay
            • Robert Donoghue
              Excellent point - incapacitation as, effectively, a descriptive element of a regular attack totally works. Good call. -Rob D.
              Message 6 of 11 , Feb 1, 2006
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                Excellent point - incapacitation as, effectively, a descriptive
                element of a regular attack totally works. Good call.

                -Rob D.
                On Feb 1, 2006, at 9:40 PM, lance dyas wrote:

                > Why does an effect which is capable of causing incapacitation effects
                > have to be seen as an all or nothing ?Thinking of the partial
                > results might make for interesting edges and flaws...
                >
                > Sleep : partial result -->wave of grogginess which impairs
                > performance
                > in a ongoing fashion til it is thrown off, might be specially
                > impairing when you attempt to change your course of action or think
                > decisively .. or the effect might be delaid becoming an unpredictable
                > narcolepsy
                > even though it seems entirely resisted now.
                >
                > Paralysis or Stoning: partial result could have individual limbs get
                > paralyzed which appropriate impairing effects for these. and of
                > course a
                > stoned forearm could be a nasty weapon. and you could allow the player
                > to keep it as a long term problem. A paralyzed limb might be exploited
                > to gain sympathy obviously.
                >
                >
                > -- Lance Dyas
                > The Decision Driven Gaming Center
                > "Creating a language for describing how we do things to enable
                > better visualization in roleplay."
                > http://www.dyasdesigns.com/roleplay
                >
                >
                >
                > Fate * http://www.faterpg.com/
                >
                > If you enjoy Fate and are willing to lend your financial support,
                > please take a look at http://www.faterpg.com/donate.php
                > Yahoo! Groups Links
                >
                >
                >
                >
                >
                >
              • lance dyas
                For me its not only the easiest/slickest method but also the one most likely to result in vivid visualizations (as magic can cause cool twists) ... -- Google
                Message 7 of 11 , Feb 2, 2006
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                  For me its not only the easiest/slickest method but also the one most
                  likely to result in vivid
                  visualizations (as magic can cause cool twists)

                  Robert Donoghue wrote:
                  > Excellent point - incapacitation as, effectively, a descriptive
                  > element of a regular attack totally works. Good call.
                  >
                  > -Rob D.
                  > On Feb 1, 2006, at 9:40 PM, lance dyas wrote:
                  >
                  >
                  >> Why does an effect which is capable of causing incapacitation effects
                  >> have to be seen as an all or nothing ?Thinking of the partial
                  >> results might make for interesting edges and flaws...
                  >>
                  >> Sleep : partial result -->wave of grogginess which impairs
                  >> performance
                  >> in a ongoing fashion til it is thrown off, might be specially
                  >> impairing when you attempt to change your course of action or think
                  >> decisively .. or the effect might be delaid becoming an unpredictable
                  >> narcolepsy
                  >> even though it seems entirely resisted now.
                  >>
                  >> Paralysis or Stoning: partial result could have individual limbs get
                  >> paralyzed which appropriate impairing effects for these. and of
                  >> course a
                  >> stoned forearm could be a nasty weapon. and you could allow the player
                  >> to keep it as a long term problem. A paralyzed limb might be exploited
                  >> to gain sympathy obviously.
                  >>
                  >>
                  >> -- Lance Dyas
                  >> The Decision Driven Gaming Center
                  >> "Creating a language for describing how we do things to enable
                  >> better visualization in roleplay."
                  >> http://www.dyasdesigns.com/roleplay
                  >>
                  >>
                  >>
                  >>
                  >


                  --
                  Google Me at : Decision Driven Rolegaming

                  -- Lance Dyas
                  The Decision Driven Gaming Center
                  "Creating a language for describing how we do things to enable better visualization in roleplay."
                  http://www.dyasdesigns.com/roleplay
                • Aidan Grey
                  Actually, the incapacitating issue is easy to fix. In my games, death is a difficult state to reach - the player has to specifically risk their life. None of
                  Message 8 of 11 , Feb 2, 2006
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                    Actually, the incapacitating issue is easy to fix. In my games, death is a difficult state to reach - the player has to specifically risk their life. None of this "accidental death due to a poor roll" for us. Incapacitation, on the other hand...

                    I also treat magic as another skill. It's just another skill, like embroidery, kung fu, or gamer cooking. If you want magic to be more difficult, and less common, then simply make the difficulties higher - instead of Average as a default, make it Fair or Good or more as default. Really, how is killing someone with a big gun different from using a spell? A bullet is just as deadly as a magic missle. So why should it be harder to shoot a gun than to shoot a finger (as it were)? And why is an incapacitating spell so difficult when there are so many simple effective ways to do it physically? Is being incapacitated from sleeping gas or a blow to the head somehow easier to dodge than a spell, or something? I don't understand why incapacitation needs to be difficult at all.

                    As to example 2 - how is firing a lightning bolt different from shooting a gun? In terms of consequences, they're pretty damn similar. It's just how you get there that's different - which is why it's just another skill for my troupe. I'm also amazed that you let people try to dodge bullets. You do realize that's pretty much impossible, right? The only way I'd allow it is if they had magic which sped them up.

                    How I'd run the clash:

                       Mandrake has: Great spellcasting, an Average difficulty, Superior Weapon edge (see Twists in the files)
                       Tommy has: no chance to dodge, but he's Far Away (an edge for him), Under Cover (another edge), and In the Dark part of the warehouse (another edge). Another GM might have these all glommed together as a Superior Position edge,  but distance, cover, and lighting are significant enough in a firefight that I usually treat them distinctly.

                      So Mandrake rolls with:
                            Great (+3) +1 (his edge) -3 (Tommy's edges) = Fair skill
                      Against an Average difficulty

                      After that, it's treated just like a normal combat event.

                     
                    Aidan



                    Robert Donoghue <rdonoghue@...> wrote:
                    Anyway, example 1:  I'll be the first to admit that we fell into a really common trap there, which is that incapacitation spells (sleep and the like) are a critically important part of most fiction, but in RPGs they tend to be an an "I Win" button, because we tend to either stab or duct tape anyone who is helpless.

                    So short form, the "Incapacitating" qualifier is broken, and not easy to fix.

                    As such, I would propose this addendum:
                      * Incapacitiating modifier increased to +5
                      * Base difficulty of an incapacitating spell == Targets will or 
                    comparable skill
                      * Successful incapacitating spell results in target being taken 
                    out.  All usual GM advice about whatthat means applies.

                    That should make it hard enough to not be something to do often, but 
                    something that still might be done.


                    Example #2 is easier.  Mandrake casts a damaging spell with (let's 
                    say the special effect is a bolt of lightning) with a difficulty of 
                    +4, there are 2 ways to do this:

                    1) Old style:  Mandrake makes a skill roll.  if he fails, he doesn't 
                    cast a spell. If he succeeds then next exchange he gets to use his 
                    spell-casting skill as a combat skill as he throws lightning and 
                    looks cool.  THis is resolved like any other attack, except that the 
                    spell-casting skill is not usually a combat skill (and the GM may 
                    deem it to be worth a situational bonus).

                    2) New Style: Mandrake has a great spellcasting skill, and he needs 
                    to roll a Superb(+4) result to cast successfully (Difficulty made up, 
                    not referencign the doc right now).  He declares he's firing a 
                    lightning bolt at Tommy, who is dodgein with his Good (+2) 
                    athletics.  Let's assume Tommy rolls a 0.  Mandrake is now looking at 
                    two difficulties:
                          * Tommy's defense of Good(+2)
                          * The spell's difficulty of Superb (+4)

                    Looking at those, he takes the higher of the two (Superb(+4)) and 
                    acts as if _that_ was Tommy's defense, and otherwise attacks normally.

                    2a) The more brutal, pro-combat magic options:  As #2, except Tommy's 
                    defense stays at Good (+2).  However, is Mandrake only gets a Good
                    (+2) or Great(+3) result, he "hits" but the spell doesn't work, so 
                    it's ineffective.  Narratively, this may be a misfire, and 
                    mechanically, it equates to a scratch.  If he gets a Superb(+4) 
                    result, then he both succeeds and hits, and with a MoS of 2, based on 
                    Tommy's initial defense.

                    Does that clarify it?


                    Yahoo! Mail - Helps protect you from nasty viruses.
                  • Mark Horton
                    ... Not so. Any highly skilled martial artist can appear to dodge bullets. What they really do is observe the shooter and dodge after the shooter comits to
                    Message 9 of 11 , Feb 3, 2006
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                      --- Aidan Grey <taalenmaple@...> wrote:

                      >> I'm also
                      > amazed that you let people try to dodge bullets.
                      > You do realize that's pretty much impossible, right?
                      > The only way I'd allow it is if they had magic
                      > which sped them up.
                      > ---------------------------------
                      > Yahoo! Mail - Helps protect you from nasty viruses.
                      Not so. Any highly skilled martial artist can appear
                      to dodge bullets. What they really do is observe the
                      shooter and dodge after the shooter comits to firing
                      but before the actual shot. Naturally this is limited
                      to short or medium range, good lighting, shooter in
                      plain sight, goo shot etc. Give characters with
                      appropriate skill a chance to dodge bullets but maybe
                      not much of one.
                      A friend of mine experienced this twenty years ago.
                      He fired four or five times with a pellet gun at an
                      old man with Imperial Japanese bodyguard (ninja)
                      training while he (the ninja) crossed a gym. After the
                      last shot the old man was within arms length and ended
                      the test with the words "your dead". By the way my
                      friend was a Karate brown belt himself and an
                      excellent shot. A poor shot has a better chance of
                      hitting as the martial artist might dodge into where a
                      poor shot misses to whereas a good shot goes where the
                      ninja was. The same tecnique is used against thrown
                      weapons with a much higher sucess rate.
                      Mark
                      Horton
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