Stacking (ED4)

Discussion on game mastering Earthdawn. May contain spoilers; caution is recommended!
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Re: Stacking (ED4)

Post by RazanMG » Thu Jan 05, 2017 3:44 pm

We still need to wait for Companion. Need to see the Big Picture. Higher Cirlce spells, Knacks, other rules.

Even if close combat fighters can do more damage in single round, they are in more danger than mages. Look at spell ranges, enemy mage will most likely target fighters, traps (like pits), burning oil from lanterns, more adversaries (Harried and Aggressive Attacks to the back), short range throwing attacks, long range weapons like Long Spears so enemies in second rank can use Agressive Attack (for "free" as they cant be attacked at most times), all this is against close combat fighters. If your mages don't see its "better" to stay in the back and make most useful attacks (attacking the most dangerous opponent, using spells in creative ways) GM is doing something wrong :P , or player took wrong Discipline, mages are scholars mostly, fighting is not their main domain, its not the Way of those Disciplines.

My advise: Hit hard close fighters, let mages be happy that they dont have to be there. Make sure there are 1-2 ways for your mages to make some other spells useful in creative ways.

For example my players where in deadly situation, most of them were close fighters, coming from a short tunnel they saw lots of jehutras waiting for them in big hall. Jehutras were high on walls and ceiling out of range of fighters, also mage was outgunned by the number of beasts. No other way was to get out from there. And then Elementalist used Icy Surface, he put himself in danger but managed to cast the spell. Suddenly almost all Jehutras fell taking so much damage they ended dead or nearly dead.

That was especially made for the mage, first 2 attack attempts by too confident fighters almost cost Group their life's.
Mages should be powerful by letting them use their Minds, not because of sheer force.

But that's my opinion :)

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Re: Stacking (ED4)

Post by Slimcreeper » Thu Jan 05, 2017 5:06 pm

I'm just spitballing here, but what if extra successes on Threadweaving optionally counted towards extra successes on the Spellcasting? You'd still need to roll at least 1 success on your Spellcasting roll.

Or, if you roll an extra success on your thread weaving, the thread weaving becomes a simple action retroactively.

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Re: Stacking (ED4)

Post by RazanMG » Thu Jan 05, 2017 5:40 pm

Extra successes is a bit too much, but maybe for each free additional success on TW, a +2 bonus to Spellcasting test.

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Re: Stacking (ED4)

Post by The Undying » Fri Jan 06, 2017 12:07 am

RazanMG wrote:mages are scholars mostly
Wizards are scholarly, that's it. Elementalist are actually, by their nature (especially in ED4), out in the wilderness, probably hate being cramped up inside with books.

If you guys want to see a litany of ideas (not trying to stifle discussion or anything) from the old discussion on the threadweaving tax stuff: ... =18&t=1882

As for waiting on the Companion, I'm plus and minus on that idea. Much to the FASA folk's credit, they've requested community input on a number of things. That input, by it's nature, has to be done with half information. Even if the question isn't specifically asked, now's the time for the community to also make any particular system/topic heartburns known, especially with regards to showcased preview material. Waiting for the Companion is entirely too late - the content is pressed. If you're one of the lucky backers that gets a "pre-art" copy, that's even probably still too late, if the art is already commissioned and layout generally set.

The threadweaving tax is just something I'm particularly passionate about. ED4 added this great concept with extra threads, I absolutely love it. However, it had the side effect of taking the least fun aspect of being a magician - threadweaving - and multiplying it. There are a multitude of ways to address the problem with different ways of restricting what Circle spells it can be used on, the cost associated with it, and the amount of bookkeeping necessary. But I very much believe SOMETHING needs to be done, and it'd be nice if it were a sanctioned something (other than Spliced Weave ...).

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Re: Stacking (ED4)

Post by Loba » Fri Jan 06, 2017 5:44 am


Wow, I was only gone for one day.

I can see this incenses many people.

OK, yes - a warrior can do more outright damage. but seriously, that Warrior is TOAST if the Nethermancer is ready and it is one on one. Make it dark. The SR 7 or 8 spirit you have invissibly hanging around may add another +3 or 4 to all of your abilities or +7 or 8 or a shorter time. Not to mention casting spells to aid the Nethermancer for a distance. It's only going to take 1 round to weave threads... you only need 1 success for Shadow Tether - so use your immediate darkness to maneuver until the Warrior comes running - then launch Shadow Tether. Locked. Poor Warrior strength is not going allow freedom. Alternatively use Bone Pudding - if in an Enhanced Matrix then three threads are needed which can be pulled off in a single round. Warrior can't move now. Again... TOAST. This isn't even counting other spells from the Nethermancer spirit.

That being said - if the Warrior gets the drop on the Nethermancer in close quarters - well - bye bye Nethermancer.

This isn't even the nastiest combination I can think of.

And yes - raw damage, the Warrior wins IF the Warrior can locate targets. The Nethermancer can do armies at range and hold them at range while they continue to take damage and the Nethermancer focusses on other things.

Don't get me wrong - I see your point about the typical 3-4 NPC versus 3-4 PC. The Warrior is going to shine unless the NPCs can hold range. The Nethermancer is reduced to mostly support. That support is devastatingly effective. If the NPCs hold range, then the Nethermancer rules and the Warrior takes pot shots with a crossbow while attempting to Great Leap or some other form of movement that is failing for various reasons.

So - I don't really see Magicians as underpowered.

What I do see is in a knuckle dragging fight the Warrior is unparalleled assuming close combat ranges can be maintained (Elf & Troll Warriors being superior in this regard due to their movement rate).

But those fights happens so rarely (at least in games I am in and / or run) that the Warrior is often sad.

The Warrior in our group is regularly putting down 50+ damage per hit so up to 150+ damage a round. The Illusionist grants the Warrior some bonus there and grants flying (I beg you to read Clarion Call - terrifyingly effective even against aggressive targets) while also giving the Thief the ability to gain their advantage ALL the time. The Archer normally starts off the festivities and keeps damage surprisingly close to the Warrior though not as high while at much greater range. Everyone is dual Disciplined:
  • Warrior / Weaponsmith (major damage output and shield for the others)
  • Thief / Troubadour (seriously stealing anything from anyone while they smile about it)
  • Archer / Air Sailor (surprisingly high damage - oh - and captain of a newly acquired airship)
  • Illusionist / Cavalry (who would have thought it - but she uses it for flying mounts to keep hidden way above and invisible while more or less controlling the battlefield).
Again - I hear your plea and feel it - the action is SLOWER for the magician. But the effect is greater. Not in damage but in CONTROL. If the magicians at this Circle (everyone is Circle 6/3) could get spells off twice as fast - well - it wouldn't seem fair.

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Re: Stacking (ED4)

Post by Telarus » Fri Jan 06, 2017 5:48 am

Don't let a trained martial artist walk up and step on your foot. Don't let a trained sorcerer slip out of reach and step on your shadow.


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Re: Stacking (ED4)

Post by The Undying » Fri Jan 06, 2017 7:04 am

Loba wrote:if the Nethermancer is ready
Yes. In most situations, preparations bolster the chance of victor. But you seem to be focusing on a perfect or good situation for a Nethermancer, whereas I'm just talking averages.

- The chances of a Nethermancer "just" having an Ally Spirit hanging around are slim to none in ED4. Summoning takes 30 minutes now and is much harder. If the Nethermancer DOES have an Ally Spirit hanging around, we're talking some pretty decent prepwork, which really stacks the deck.
- Shadow Tether is (a) an 8th Circle spell, (b) 2 threads minimum, (c) 10 yard range, and (d) requires sight of both the target and their shadow. Since it requires a Threadweaving test, we're talking minimum two turns that a Warrior would need to not be able to reach the Nethermancer. 10 yards is totally within striking range for close combat, even a walking Obsidimen, meaning the Nethermancer is very much in danger. Accomplishing both threads in a single turn (unless it's in an Enhanced Matrix) requires an extra success, a 17 or higher on the Threadweaving test; for even odds, that usually requires a Threadweaving rank of 10, which is reasonable for this Circle - but that's just to a 50/50 shot of pulling it off.
- The idea of reliably pulling Bone Pudding off in a single turn isn't particularly solid. Even putting it in an Enhanced Matrix, you'd need 3 successes on the Threadweaving test, which amounts to a 21. We're talking either a Threadweaving rank of 14 or 10+Karma ... all for a 50/50 shot.

I don't think any more discussion is going really going to converge our opinions. At this point, I don't think we're actually DISCUSSING anything, just continually trying to reinforce our points - which is actually out of context for the thread at this point.

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Re: Stacking (ED4)

Post by Kosmit » Fri Jan 06, 2017 7:10 am

And that's why I have Nethermancer/Staffmaster with Spirit Dodge :D

I would be happy to meet a Warrior who can face me 1-1 :D

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