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Old 07-12-2018, 12:04 PM   #31
JLV
 
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Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Far northern California
Default Re: Should all spells be equally easy to learn?

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Originally Posted by CJM View Post
I think this is en excellent idea. It works for the many reasons stated above in this thread. keeps things simple. What I like about your take on things JLV is you "cut to the chase", and find a simple solution to a potential problem. There has been some really good ideas in this forum that fixes the few problems that TFT had. Anyway nice job...
Why thank you sir! You're very kind...

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Originally Posted by zot View Post

Another point on your side of the argument, though, might be that talent costs don't increase with IQ, so spells shouldn't either.
That's an easy fix though -- make the XP cost to learn new talents something like (10 XP x number of talent points) x IQ Level of the Talent. So your 2 point talent at IQ 14 would cost 280 XP for a Warrior type, and 560 XP for a Wizard. A one point talent at IQ 8 would only cost 80 XP (though the Wizard would pay 160 XP).

Now everything is run the same way, and no relationships between the spell and talent costs are changed, other than the fact that low IQ talents/spells are cheaper than high IQ talents/spells -- which is what folks were saying was a concern about just having flat-rate costs for everything.

Last edited by JLV; 07-12-2018 at 12:31 PM.
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Old 07-12-2018, 12:16 PM   #32
Skarg
 
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Default Re: Should all spells be equally easy to learn?

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Originally Posted by Rick_Smith View Post
In the Experience thread, Steve wrote:
Thus, spells ALWAYS take 100 XP to learn, but talents can cost up to 3 times that.
Yes, and in his later version, 500, 1000, or 1500, and they were always 1, 2, or 3, and ITL says it takes at least 3 times that number in MONTHS to learn a new talent.


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Originally Posted by Rick_Smith View Post
I would think that intellectually, learning a spell that twists reality; which can make the laws of physics sit up, beg, roll over, and play dead, would be harder than learning how to do artistry / calligraphy.
Yes, though it seems to me that:

* To me it feels right that it would/should be quite hard to learn to psychically manipulate reality at all, but then how hard each spell is after you've learned to do that would probably not involve that same initial obstacle, (which is part of why I wouldn't want to lose the Wizard/Hero distinction).

* As-written in IIRC all SJ's versions, it is harder to learn one spell than Artist/Calligrapher. You either have to first be a Wizard (which I'd say involves a lifetime of magic, so is part of the difficulty), or spend 3 points like Artist/Calligrapher and suffer a -4 for not being a wizard, and you need access to a teacher (or be a literate wizard with a book that teaches the spell you want).

* The time needed to learn a spell uses different mechanics from talents, which are more detailed and based on the IQ level of the spell compared to the IQ level of the wizard, so the harder spells are harder to learn, but only in terms of time. When SJ suggested having to spend XP to learns spells, people immediately suggested maybe higher-IQ spells might require more XP to learn (and that maybe wizards could invest more XP to learn particular spells better).


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Originally Posted by Rick_Smith View Post
A spell could be written thus:
IQ 13 S Touch of Death (2) When the wizard touches his or her victim...

(So touch of Death would be a Special spell which is twice as hard as a normal spell to learn.)

The spell would still fit in a single memory slot (or perhaps not, artist / calligraphy takes 3 memory slots after all).

Further there are a few spells that I think are too powerful or problematic in some way. (Discussed in next post.)
Sure, I'd think adding learning difficulty to spells would be cool. I agree some spells are more powerful or problematic than others. Of course, other limiting options include the already-used (but may need more) methods of increasing fatigue costs (though that may be bent depending on how the new staff power ends up working), and/or adding issues to the way the spell works.


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Originally Posted by Rick_Smith View Post
This thread is for discussing should some spells be harder to learn, if some spells should take up more than one memory slot, and talking about if some spells are too powerful and or problematic for some reason.
The spells I remember that I ended up not using because I thought they broke the game I wanted to run (in rough order of severity), were:

Trance - SJ's errata says it can only be cast at most twice per day, but even so, I think it provides too-reliable information about too-unlimited subjects. As a logical sandbox-type GM, it makes me think that my powerful lords/wizards/organizations should often have one or more wizards frequently casting this spell to gather various intelligence as a matter of course. "Is the Duke of Kel planning to act against me?" "Is my wife faithful to me?" "Is there an ambush on the road ahead?" "Is the enemy's army stronger than ours?" "Has anyone cast Trance at me in the last week?" "Is anyone planning to violate castle security today?" And not only do I not want the game about how people plot to be about being able to do that, even if I did, it would drive me mad thinking about whose trancers are asking what questions about whom even twice a day. I would only use this spell if it unreliably gave nebulous clues according to some interesting way of working. I would at least add a note that GMs may want to seriously consider whether they want this ability to exist in their campaign worlds, and/or how it actually works and how reliable it is and what sort of information it does or doesn't give.

Curse - Both powerful (especially if no one with Remove Thrown Spells is available for a long long time) and annoying, and kind of surreal in a gamey way. We did use it for a while, and mostly didn't like it and stopped using it (and Charms). If I wanted to use it for flavor, I would nerf it, say by limiting it to one power level (+1d), and/or by making it more random about when it would take effect (e.g. by GM discretion, or it only takes effect every so often), and/or limit the duration.

Summon Lesser Demon / Summon Demon - These existed in theory but didn't really enter play. If they did, they could be really annoying if used aggressively. "Hi Demon, thanks for showing up at 3am. Take this greatsword and tower shield, and go attack unsuspecting victim X in Timbuktu, then go after Y in Bendwyn and Z in Hoochbahar, and if you have time left, try to steal the fine sword I saw at the armorer in Canigli and bring it back here." Also not only can they one-hand greatswords, but at ST 50 or 100, it's probably reasonable to make bigger weapons for them. Or just hand them a giant's club for 10d+10 - hard to deal with when a demon can teleport in at any time. (What exactly infinite MA means is technically undefined, too.) Is every duke's bedchamber going to need a pentagram? There could be some interesting/fun solutions - personally if I wanted demons, I'd tend to make who you get and what their abilities and personality unpredictable and devious and your ability to control them and mess with things without risk of major consequences very uncertain. After all, most fiction about demons ends up on the theme about how any temporary gains end up not being worth the eventual backlash.
And that's not even mentioning the Wish aspect. We mostly avoided wishes, but the predictability of the mechanics seemed like a problem. With a 40-point attribute cap, not so much, but if the rules are shifted to make it worthwhile to compel a wish except in extreme desperation of highly unusual circumstances, then it seems like an issue to me.

Astral Projection - This is a cool spell, but also one of those where the implications seemed to lead places I didn't want my game to go. The ease of travel and penetrating walls, and the potential for making and suffering insubstantial/invisible spying and/or attacks anywhere at any time, seems to me to potentially undermine otherwise-more-interesting limits, and also to be a bit much for GMs to think about the possibilities for more powerful campaign agents and countermeasures. (The Dominions games have an interesting countermeasure where if another wizard with the appropriate magic is physically present and detects an astral traveler, he can easily "cut the cord", which sends the astral traveler back and has severe traumatic consequences.)

Word of Command is really powerful, though cool and IQ 20, and if there's a 40-point cap, may mean DX 12 at most to cast it (unless attribute adders or Charms are available). "Surrender" is the easiest to use for direct overpowering.

Telepathy - Mostly ok, but I don't like how reliable it is as an interrogation technique.

Calling - Not really overpowered, but I don't really like the way it works. I'd rather it didn't guarantee to bring you the nearest one, or to always work even if you cast successfully, and I don't like the built-in path-finding ability. I'd rather it pick a somewhat random nearby target, and give them a resistance roll (3/IQ) initially and every so often thereafter, and have them drawn towards the wizard but not necessarily able to find their way.

Unnoticeability - I really LIKE this spell a lot, but I think it wants a tweak and/or example of how it works in combat, especially in the case of someone enemies already noticed before the spell was cast. i.e. I think it can be interpreted that you can cast it on someone your foes already saw and have it work, which I don't think it should. And I think there are cases where e.g. if someone is not distracted by other foes, and an unnoticeable person attacks someone else, then other people should notice, not just the one attacked. I think it's one of those cases where a strong GM can figure it out some (even good) GMs may suffer without stronger guidelines about the limits.

Insubstantiality - Another cool spell, but I had a player who coveted the idea of a self-powered insubstantiality item, which of course could be used to amazing world-subverting effect by a clever PC - well, sort of like Astral Projection can, except a non-wizard could do it, and you'd be there, and could steal things, etc. Again, if self-powered insubstantiality items exist, it brings up a GM consideration for campaigns about vaults and security.

Last edited by Skarg; 07-12-2018 at 12:20 PM.
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Old 07-12-2018, 01:28 PM   #33
zot
 
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Default Re: Should all spells be equally easy to learn?

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Originally Posted by Skarg View Post
* As-written in IIRC all SJ's versions, it is harder to learn one spell than Artist/Calligrapher. You either have to first be a Wizard (which I'd say involves a lifetime of magic, so is part of the difficulty), or spend 3 points like Artist/Calligrapher and suffer a -4 for not being a wizard, and you need access to a teacher (or be a literate wizard with a book that teaches the spell you want).
I don't recall ever seeing this "-4 for not being a wizard". Are you talking about iron interfering with magic?
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Old 07-12-2018, 01:39 PM   #34
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Default Re: Should all spells be equally easy to learn?

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Originally Posted by Skarg View Post
Word of Command is really powerful, though cool and IQ 20, and if there's a 40-point cap, may mean DX 12 at most to cast it (unless attribute adders or Charms are available). "Surrender" is the easiest to use for direct overpowering.
Halfling with a Staff of Power and lots of mana: ST 5 DX 15 IQ 20

Similar elf: ST 6 DX 14 IQ 20

I should say that by the time and XP these characters get that high, they deserve to have IQ 20.
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Old 07-12-2018, 01:42 PM   #35
zot
 
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Default Re: Should all spells be equally easy to learn?

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Originally Posted by Skarg View Post
Insubstantiality - Another cool spell, but I had a player who coveted the idea of a self-powered insubstantiality item, which of course could be used to amazing world-subverting effect by a clever PC - well, sort of like Astral Projection can, except a non-wizard could do it, and you'd be there, and could steal things, etc. Again, if self-powered insubstantiality items exist, it brings up a GM consideration for campaigns about vaults and security.
Double permanent pentagrams should work for vaults. It'd be nice if pentagrams actually caused damage to insubstantial beings though.

Oh, also gates with rules about insubstantial and astral people.

Last edited by zot; 07-12-2018 at 01:43 PM. Reason: amendment
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Old 07-12-2018, 02:34 PM   #36
Rick_Smith
 
Join Date: Apr 2014
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Default Which is hosed in TFT? Wizard or Hero?

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Originally Posted by zot View Post
I don't recall ever seeing this "-4 for not being a wizard". Are you talking about iron interfering with magic?
Hi Zot, everyone.
The rule is on Advanced Wizard page 10. The rule says a non-wizard can cast a spell...

FROM MEMORY – Like a wizard, except that memorizing the spell "costs" you 3 IQ points and you will always cast that spell at DX –4. Wizards will never know many spells.

This is a permanent penalty which adds on to the –4 DX for wearing iron.


Wizards get a LOT of advantages over heroes, which include:
-- Wizards are not punished for learning talents but heroes are punished (-4 DX) for learning spells.

-- Wizards learn talents at x2 cost, heroes learn spells at x3 cost. (Exception: some talents that wizards like are x1 cost.)

-- Experienced wizards are more powerful than experienced heroes.

-- Wizards have powerful, hard to get spells for elder characters. Heroes can not get powerful hard to get talents for the elder game. (Exception the Unarmed Combat talents if you want to dump armour and weapons.) Steve Jackson has acknowledged this, but pointed out that elder heroes are able to improve by buying magic items. So... advantage heroes??? Not really.

-- Wizards can craft magic items which is the single greatest way to boost your power, (or make a lot of money). Heroes can't.

-- Alchemical potions (which requires a wizard) are more powerful than Chemist potions (which don't).

-- All spells fit into one memory slot, where as most powerful talents take 2 or 3 memory.

-- Spells in a series (1 hex fire, 3 hex fire) fit into one memory slot. Talents in a series (Thief (2), Master Thief(2)) require separate memory slots.

-- In the new TFT wizards get a MAJOR buff by being able to spend experience points (XP) to improve their staff. The corresponding buff for heroes is...

Basically, in every case where you can compare rules for heroes and wizards, the heroes are worse in TFT. Generally my experienced players would far prefer to play a wizard in my campaign. The players are pretty good about taking turns playing the more fun characters.

***
EDIT: Actually this used to be true, but it is less so now. I've added some awesome, kick ass, hard to get talents, which make heroes more competitive with wizards. The extra interest of gaining these talents in the elder game has improved interest in the non-wizard department.

Warm regards, Rick.

Last edited by Rick_Smith; 07-12-2018 at 03:19 PM. Reason: Added last bit.
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Old 07-12-2018, 02:42 PM   #37
zot
 
Join Date: May 2018
Default Re: Which is hosed in TFT? Wizard or Hero?

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Originally Posted by Rick_Smith View Post
Hi Zot, everyone.
The rule is on Advanced Wizard page 10. The rule says a non-wizard can cast a spell...

FROM MEMORY Like a wizard, except that memorizing the spell "costs" you 3 IQ points and you will always cast that spell at DX 4. Wizards will never know many spells.

This is a permanent penalty which adds on to the 4 DX for wearing iron.
Yeah, hmm.

Permanent -4 DX seems gratuitous to me, especially for someone who pays triple XP for spells.

I don't think it ever came up in our games -- I don't remember non-wizards ever having spells. I'm just house-ruling that puppy out for our current games... :)
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Old 07-12-2018, 02:50 PM   #38
zot
 
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Default Re: Should all spells be equally easy to learn?

Man, you just really gotta love how moldable TFT is.

It's like RPG clay.
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Old 07-13-2018, 10:20 PM   #39
Rick_Smith
 
Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: Coquitlam B.C.
Default Concerns about the Gate spell.

Hi all,
Perhaps the most abused spell by industrial magicians is the Gate spell. There were several threads about abuses of this spell on the Brianiac forums. Most involved perpetual motion machines or high energy weapons.

An example: Two gates mounted directly above and below each other. A bolder is placed on the bottom, the gate is completed and it starts dropping thru the gates (bottom is linked to top), picking up more and more energy as it falls. When it is at terminal velocity a NEW gate is cast on the lower surface which connects it to a gate pointing at an enemy city wall. Directed meteor spell.

Other things I found problematic about gates was the infinite range (which damages long distance trade), they can be cast on empty air, and to a lesser extent their invisibility.

I would suggest some changes:
-- Add an IQ 14 Lesser Gate is smaller and has a limited range (say 10 km or less). They would have less trade destroying properties on the economy. It would still have a high casting cost.

-- Make the Full Gate spell a higher IQ (say 16 or 17) and make it cost 2 mIQ to learn. This will make it significantly rarer which I think would be a good thing.

-- Make the gates spells malfunction every time 100 kg go thru it. So a massive rock falling faster and faster would trigger a failure much more quickly. In fact, multiple uses of a gate in under a second could have a higher chance of failure. This would help stop junior physicists from turning gates into perpetual motion machines. Gates that fail when tonnes of material travels thru them will also harm trade less. It would reduce the effectiveness of attacks by casting a gate spell in front of a lava flow.

-- Gates have to be built against roughly flat, solid surfaces. This would prevent gates from being hung, high in the air.

-- I would prefer if gates glowed. Perhaps by doubling the casting cost an end could be made invisible. If Gates could be spotted by strange glowing on the wall, they would be less abusive.

-- A few more rules about connecting different worlds or planes would be welcome. How difficult is this? Are such gates less stable? Is there a chance that they won't work sometimes, or need time to recharge?

Comments are welcome.

Warm regards, Rick.
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Old 07-14-2018, 07:38 AM   #40
zot
 
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Default Re: Concerns about the Gate spell.

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Originally Posted by Rick_Smith View Post
Hi all,
Perhaps the most abused spell by industrial magicians is the Gate spell. There were several threads about abuses of this spell on the Brianiac forums. Most involved perpetual motion machines or high energy weapons.

An example: Two gates mounted directly above and below each other. A bolder is placed on the bottom, the gate is completed and it starts dropping thru the gates (bottom is linked to top), picking up more and more energy as it falls. When it is at terminal velocity a NEW gate is cast on the lower surface which connects it to a gate pointing at an enemy city wall. Directed meteor spell.
It's way worse than that because of gate rules. You don't need to cast then right then and there. Plus, you can have a set of gates in the middle with the rule that when you say"fire at X" the gate which will result in the most accurate trajectory to X within 15 seconds will transport the boulder.
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