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Old 02-17-2019, 09:59 PM   #1
Join Date: Sep 2009
Default Entombment Spell

So does anyone else think the Entombment spell (Spells, page 27) is overpowered? Seems like an easy way to eliminate some pretty tough monsters for just a 10-point cost to cast (even though it’s “Resisted by HT”). Anybody agree?
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Old 02-18-2019, 12:47 AM   #2
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Default Re: Entombment Spell

Originally Posted by ConfusedDad View Post
So does anyone else think the Entombment spell (Spells, page 27) is overpowered? Seems like an easy way to eliminate some pretty tough monsters for just a 10-point cost to cast (even though it’s “Resisted by HT”). Anybody agree?
It's a good question. I thought the same thing initially, and expect a lot of players have as well. But I think the general idea is that one awesome "insta-kill" that pretty much depletes a typical power item (or the spellcaster's bodily FP) is a reasonable thing to allow. (In this case, it's not even quite a kill - plus, tough foes may easily thwart it entirely with high HT, and the energy cost becomes really unworkable if the foe is SM+2 or larger.)

FWIW, GURPS Magic: Death Spells follows the same pattern. Lots of insta-kill spells, but generally resisted in the same or similar manner, and costing 10 to 15 or so FP — generally on the low end of that cost range if not a full kill (like Entombment), the high end if decidedly lethal.

In the end, spells like Entombment are indeed awesomely powerful for a mage at full FP who faces a normal-sized and not-too-mighty foe. Then again, compare that to what a tricked-out knight or barbarian can do to foes. Sure, they need to get in closer than the mage, and often have to deal with DR. But they attack instantly (no casting time), often more than once a turn; attack endlessly and regardless of fatigue level (fatigue doesn't often crimp warriors' style under the rules); offer foes no resistance roll (other than normal defenses, which can be neutralized); and easily dish out 3d or more damage per hit (often with a multiplier). That's often a whole lot of insta-kill right there.

Overall I think the insta-kill spells are pretty balanced with other professions' abilities (though circumstances will affect things a lot).
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Old 02-18-2019, 01:09 AM   #3
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Default Re: Entombment Spell

10 fp is fairly standard for immediate permanent removal, but also remember that it's a regular spell with a 3s casting time, so it's not really that easy to land a hit.
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Old 02-18-2019, 09:22 AM   #4
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Default Re: Entombment Spell

It has several drawbacks in actual play, but most important, it's Resisted by HT.

On the monster's side of the resistance roll, monsters typically have decent HT. Many have Magic Resistance, which adds to this.

On your side, there's the -1 per yard to cast a Regular spell such as this one (Spells, p. 12). With a three-second casting time, and your movement during a Concentrate maneuver limited to a step (Exploits, p. 31), you have no guarantee that a subject who isn't limited to a step won't have moved very far away – giving a large penalty to cast – when you finally get to cast the spell. If the monster has Magic Resistance, it penalizes you as well. And then there's The Rule of 16 (Exploits, p. 8) to cap your skill.

Whether or not the monster resists, you still pay the energy cost (Spells, p. 14). This is 10 energy . . . for an SM 0 monster. Many monsters are SM +1 or larger, making the cost 20, 30, 40, or more energy points due to the multiplier for SM on the cost of Regular spells (Spells, p. 12). That is substantial.

In practice, you won't be casting with any guarantee of success. If you blow it, you have to concentrate for another few seconds. And you'll be paying a lot of energy for your effort.

(Plus of course the Suspended Animation angle isn't useful if your target has Doesn't Sleep, which means Entombment is basically "anger a monster and bury it for a while." Most things with Doesn't Sleep also have Doesn't Breathe and Doesn't Eat and Drink, so they won't just suffocate or starve. It could backfire spectacularly.)

All told, it's balanced by all the ways it could go wrong.
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Old 02-21-2019, 09:21 PM   #5
Join Date: Sep 2009
Default Re: Entombment Spell

Hey everyone thanks for the comments! Good points made, and it looks like it’s staying in our campaign.
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