Mark of the Boar: an odd circumstance

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Sharkforce
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Mark of the Boar: an odd circumstance

Post by Sharkforce » Tue Apr 07, 2020 2:08 am

A Shaman spell from Mystic Paths, page 319.

So, after some discussion on discord, I think we've resolved that there are differences of opinion on how this spell should work in a specific case, and there are those who feel that one aspect of the spell is very odd.

without going into too many details, the spell is one of the types where you get a benefit, but are semi-possessed by a spirit that requires you to act in a certain way. in this case, always moving towards or engaging an opponent. if the spell ends early for any reason, a penalty is applied (I don't believe the specifics of what that penalty is are terrible relevant, merely that they are bad and happen if the spell ends early for any reason regardless of what the reason is).

now, as is common with many spells, the duration is based on your spellcasting talent, and extra successes increase the duration; the higher the rating, and the more successes on the spellcasting test, the longer it lasts. this results in a situation where a magician with spellcasting of, say, 4, would give the bonus for 4 rounds (plus possible extra due to successes), giving a duration of 4 or 6 rounds in most cases, and hopefully will end at or around the end of the fight. on the other hand, suppose a spellcaster with 12 spellcasting talent by various means were to cast it, it is fairly rare for a fight to last 12 rounds, let alone the extra 2-3 successes worth of duration you're likely going to get, which means you're probably getting the penalty applied if you have won the fight and have no more opponents, because the requirement is not that you must engage an enemy if there is one, the requirement is simply that you must engage an enemy.

this leads to the odd circumstance I was referring to in the title; if I were a powerful spellcaster, for the purposes of this spell I would rather be a much weaker spellcaster. the upside of being more powerful will rarely be useful, and the spell's drawback will be far more likely to trigger, unless you can designate some vaguely-defined idea of an enemy *somewhere* and charge off towards that direction or something along those lines...

so, I was hoping we might get a bit of clarification on the intent here. in a scenario where a fight is ended (no escaping enemies or nearby enemies that could easily be charged), what is *intended* to happen?

(oh, and I suppose I should add this: at the moment, the GM has ruled that the boar spirit would sense no enemies, and you'd be fine to act more or less normally. though I presume that if the spell is still running and you come across another enemy, you'd be right back to charging in like a maniac).

ChrisDDickey
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Re: Mark of the Boar: an odd circumstance

Post by ChrisDDickey » Tue Apr 07, 2020 8:09 am

Sharkforce wrote:
Tue Apr 07, 2020 2:08 am
which means you're probably getting the penalty applied if you have won the fight and have no more opponents, because the requirement is not that you must engage an enemy if there is one, the requirement is simply that you must engage an enemy.
As I said elsewhere, I think this mis-states the case. The requirement is not that you engage an enemy, I feel the spell makes it clear that, for the duration of the spell, the recipient must be actively and honestly seeking to engage an enemy. In my opinion, if you are making a good faith effort to seek an enemy, the penalty does not trigger. But it needs to be an honest effort to close to melee.

If you are on the road, this might just lead to your Berserker spending a dozen rounds running around looking behind trees and bushes for more enemies. No problem.

The only real problem is is if you are in a situation where, tactically, you no longer want to make an honest, good faith effort, to seek out and engage more enemies right now. For example if you are in a "dungeon" where you don't want your Berserker rushing down a trap filled corridor, or into the next encounter before everybody has had a nice long rest and a few recovery tests. The character who accepted the spell being cast upon them has a choice. Rush in the direction you honestly feel you are most likely to encounter more enemies, or eat the penalty.

In my opinion, the solution is to just be tactical in your spellcasting. If you are in a position where having a character be Berserk after the current batch of opponeents has been dealt with is not anticipated to be a problem, the spell is OK to cast. If you are in a situation where a Berserker is likely to get themselves and/or the rest of the party killed by running deeper into the dungeon, don't cast the spell. Not all spells are useful in all situations. And if you do accept the spell being cast upon you, and find that being berserk is not a good thing, and you don't want to actually find more enemies right this minute, well, sometimes you have to eat the penalty.

Does that mean that there might be circumstances where the caster thinks the spell would be more suitable if they were only half as skilled? Maybe. But weirder things have happened. And if a Warden or a Master starts finding that the spell no longer suits them, well they have other spells to choose from. Many spells become less useful as a character advances (albeit for different reasons).
Last edited by ChrisDDickey on Wed Apr 08, 2020 2:18 am, edited 1 time in total.

Belenus
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Re: Mark of the Boar: an odd circumstance

Post by Belenus » Tue Apr 07, 2020 8:43 am

Perhaps you can use Soothe the Savage Beast on the boar spirit? :P
But yeah, I can get your point and wouldn't know how to deal with it myself.
I think Fasa just didn't think about this situation and the spell has just no drawback, after the fight ended? Or is it really intended as described above?

Sharkforce
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Re: Mark of the Boar: an odd circumstance

Post by Sharkforce » Tue Apr 07, 2020 4:38 pm

Belenus wrote:
Tue Apr 07, 2020 8:43 am
Perhaps you can use Soothe the Savage Beast on the boar spirit? :P
But yeah, I can get your point and wouldn't know how to deal with it myself.
I think Fasa just didn't think about this situation and the spell has just no drawback, after the fight ended? Or is it really intended as described above?
as I said, we have been able to reach the conclusion that there are different opinions on how this spell should work :)

Lursi
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Re: Mark of the Boar: an odd circumstance

Post by Lursi » Sat Apr 11, 2020 11:18 am

I like the idea that a strong buff comes with a catch.
Of all things I lost, sanity I held dearest.

Belenus
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Re: Mark of the Boar: an odd circumstance

Post by Belenus » Sat Apr 11, 2020 12:04 pm

Lursi wrote:
Sat Apr 11, 2020 11:18 am
I like the idea that a strong buff comes with a catch.
I'm ok with this.
But increasing the chance to have this drawback with an higher circle / more ranks in Spellcasting just seems wrong.

avensis
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Re: Mark of the Boar: an odd circumstance

Post by avensis » Sun May 03, 2020 1:16 pm

Hi i agree with that too.
Last edited by avensis on Wed Jun 17, 2020 12:50 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Mataxes
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Re: Mark of the Boar: an odd circumstance

Post by Mataxes » Sun May 03, 2020 6:36 pm

There has been clarification issued for these kinds of spells. From the official Errata:
Binding Keyword, Page 270
Clarification: The effects of binding spells (spells with the Binding keyword) should end once their purpose is at an end—assuming the target behaved within the spirit of the intent for the duration. For example, once there are no more opponents, a target bound to the Mantle of the Fire Marauder ends naturally even if the duration still remains. The bound spirit is satisfied with the results and departs. High Spellcasting rank and additional successes to extend the duration shouldn’t be seen as penalties, but as the chance to keep the helpful-the-right-circumstance effect active longer

This is not license to wordsmith or find loopholes around the restrictions, but to have the restrictions be relevant for the intended purpose of the spell. Some binding spells, such as Aspect of the Bone Spirit, the full duration may be relevant to the spellcaster. Mantle of the Woodland Hunter comes to a natural end once the quarry is found. Mantle of the Lightning Vanguard has a long duration, meaning the effects shouldn’t end simply because it’s no longer convenient, but when the travel and action are over. The spirit is a vanguard and wants to get in on that. But once the action is over, if everyone is okay with it, the spirit would rather go and find more excitement elsewhere.
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