Mages & other spellcasters

Information and discussion for players of the game. No spoilers here please!
Slimcreeper
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Mages & other spellcasters

Post by Slimcreeper » Mon Nov 06, 2017 1:07 pm

So I've been thinking about this for a bit. I'm concerned about the survivability of spellcasters. The strain they take per spell is pretty huge, plus the possibility of warping on every spell. For Bolt, for instance, you have a reasonable chance of doing more damage to yourself than your opponent, and the range is pretty shoddy. (Actually, as I Iook, Stun seems to be a way better choice.) The sample Mage in the book would actually take a wound from using Bolt, right? At the very least, Toughness is at least as important as Perception & Willpower, because it determines how many spells you can cast. Trolls may be the most optimal choice for spellcasters!

If I were a spellcaster, I would create disposable grimoire pages (scrolls ...) to dump strain through.

I'm okay with Mages not being a combat Profession, but many of the spells do seem to be combat oriented.

As an aside, does shield move with the caster or is it stationary?

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Andrew1879
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Re: Mages & other spellcasters

Post by Andrew1879 » Mon Nov 06, 2017 6:50 pm

Durability is the saving grace of spellcasters. Once they can start buying ranks in Durability, their survivability goes up massively. However, magic is supposed to be dangerous and perhaps a bit shaky and unreliable in this game world, given that it's only been back a year or two by the start of the game era. Yes, I've seen a PR1 Priest nearly knock himself unconscious with just a couple of spells in playtesting. Having to decide when it's worth the Strain is part of playing the character. In the Players Companion, we'll be trotting out the Strain Fetish, which will allow you to trade your hard earned shillings for something to dump strain into. More about those maybe in a near future blog entry.

Shield (the base spell) moves with the caster. KAVs may vary but will do likewise unless they specifically say they don't.

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Kasbak
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Re: Mages & other spellcasters

Post by Kasbak » Tue Nov 07, 2017 9:04 am

I've just recently sent off my latest run through on the magic chapter for the Companion to get a sanity check. If the spell creation mechanic ends up going the way I think it's going to balance, you will have a lot of potential to create improved versions of the existing spells, including being able to optimize them to lower the strain cost. From a lore standpoint, this works, given that since magic is still so new to the world, casters have not yet had the time to develop fully optimized versions of their spells. Right now, the magic of the world is roughly equivalent to the very first versions of steam engines; clunky, inefficient, and way more prone to explosions when compared with something like the microsteam engine, but still way better than powering things by hand or animal. If you have a character who is able to put in the time and energy to research and develop the next big improvement, they'll be able to do so. And reap the rewards of that effort.

Slimcreeper
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Re: Mages & other spellcasters

Post by Slimcreeper » Mon Mar 19, 2018 1:48 am

Another question about how Shield works. Does a physical attack target the shield first? So that if it beats the Shield's defense it hits the character (assuming the character's MD is less than the Shield's? If damage is greater than the barrier rating what happens? Does it pop? Does the balance pass on the the target? Does all of the damage do so?

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Andrew1879
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Re: Mages & other spellcasters

Post by Andrew1879 » Mon Mar 19, 2018 4:36 pm

Shield effectively puts a wall between the caster and the opponent, and has to be knocked down like a wall to get through to the caster. The attacker has to beat the Shield's Physical or Mystic Defense to hit it, and then the Shield soaks up to its Barrier Rating in damage. If the damage done exceeds the Barrier Rating, the Shield goes away, just like a physical wall would collapse. Only damage exceeding the Barrier Rating in the hit that popped the Shield transfers to the character, and then only if the attacker rolled better than the character's Physical or Mystic Defense, which may be greater than that of the Shield.

Slimcreeper
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Re: Mages & other spellcasters

Post by Slimcreeper » Mon Mar 19, 2018 5:03 pm

*Flips through book* Oh - I had it in my head Barrier Rating was like armor, but that didn't seem to make sense, so we played it like a temp hit point pool, so we mostly played it correctly by accident. And the caster can attack though it as normal?

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Andrew1879
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Re: Mages & other spellcasters

Post by Andrew1879 » Tue Mar 20, 2018 10:51 am

Yes, the caster can ignore the Shield and fire straight through it because it's their bulwark, just like a soldier can attack from inside their faction's fort. Barrier Rating gets used a lot more extensively in 1879 than in Earthdawn, as the effective Death Rating of inanimate objects. You'll see it in the Vehicles section, for instance.

saralatite26
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Re: Mages & other spellcasters

Post by saralatite26 » Mon Mar 18, 2019 6:56 am

Andrew1879 wrote:
Mon Nov 06, 2017 6:50 pm
Durability is the saving grace of spellcasters. Once they can start buying ranks in Durability, their survivability goes up massively. However, magic is supposed to be dangerous and perhaps a bit shaky and unreliable in this game world, given that it's only been back a year or two by the start of the game era. Yes, I've seen a PR1 Priest nearly knock himself unconscious with just a couple of spells in playtesting. Having to decide when it's worth the Strain is part of playing the character. In the Players Companion, we'll be trotting out the Strain Fetish, which will allow you to trade your hard earned shillings for something to dump strain into. More about those maybe in a near future blog entry.

Shield (the base spell) moves with the caster. KAVs may vary but will do likewise unless they specifically say they don't.
Thank you for sharing all this information with us. Otherwise, we are still big players of fasa because we think that these games are the best.

Slimcreeper
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Re: Mages & other spellcasters

Post by Slimcreeper » Mon Mar 18, 2019 6:29 pm

Hi Saralatite!good to virtually meet another player! Are you GM for your group?

ChrisDDickey
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Re: Mages & other spellcasters

Post by ChrisDDickey » Mon Mar 25, 2019 12:57 pm

I just want to double-check this. Strain, including strain from spellcasting does stun damge, correct?
And stun damage is is tracked separately from physical damage and you only go unconscious when ether stun or physical damage goes above your unconsciousness rating, you don't add them together for the check, correct?
So if somebody is shooting at you with a gun, and you are using skills and casting spells that give you strain, those two damages do not really stack. only the higher of the two really counts, right?

In Earthdawn I am fairly sure stun damage and normal damage are added together when checking for unconsciousness, but 1879 seems to say different.

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