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Old 05-30-2012, 10:21 AM   #11
Peter Knutsen
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Default Re: Different critical spell failure tables

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Originally Posted by Gnome View Post
Not if you have at least a 16 skill.
Then you don't automagically get a critical failure on a roll of 17? I sit corrected, then!

0.5% is still very bad, but obviously and inarguably it is much less bad than 2%. It's just odd that everybody always talks about the threshold value of 15. Clearly saving the energy is very worthwhile, but it seems to me that hitting 16 is even more worthwhile because you redudce your miscast probability by 75%.
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Old 05-30-2012, 10:22 AM   #12
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Default Re: Different critical spell failure tables

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Originally Posted by Sunrunners_Fire View Post
In theory? Maybe. In practice? No, not really. This'd be a case where probability|statistics are deceptive. The sample size is too small to be predictive.
I'd actually like to hear some observations from people who have played campaigns based on GURPS Magic. E.g. dungeon Fantasy campaigns.

Bruno? Others?
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Old 05-30-2012, 10:35 AM   #13
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Default Re: Different critical spell failure tables

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Originally Posted by Peter Knutsen View Post
It's just odd that everybody always talks about the threshold value of 15. Clearly saving the energy is very worthwhile, but it seems to me that hitting 16 is even more worthwhile because you redudce your miscast probability by 75%.
Depends on the style of campaign (and the style of character). Someone who casts relatively infrequently - perhaps because of a tight energy budget - just won't see many critical failures, even at the 2% level. And the large majority of critical failure effects, by the standard table, are mildly embarrassing or inconvenient, rather than deadly. (I've never seen the fabled Accidental Demon Summoning effect that I recall). On the other hand, dropping the cost to maintain a spell to zero allows some useful protracted effects, and getting a lot of minor spells off at no energy cost is much preferable to having them chew through a finite energy budget.

Oh, and skill 15 also allows silent casting or casting while tied up. That's going to be a killer advantage in some situtations.

In a dungeon fantasy, action movie, or flashy high-magic sort of game, where wizards are letting off spells every second in important scenes, and have large external energy supplies, a greater degree of twitchiness about critical failures might come to be considered normal.

On t'other hand again, going up to 16 might well be considered worthwhile for the greater chance of critical success in many campaigns.
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Old 05-30-2012, 11:01 AM   #14
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Default Re: Different critical spell failure tables

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Originally Posted by Peter Knutsen View Post
I'd actually like to hear some observations from people who have played campaigns based on GURPS Magic. E.g. dungeon Fantasy campaigns.

Bruno? Others?
The GURPS Banestorm game where I started them in Caithness and Bleaktea wanted to play a wizard anyways saw spell related critical failures, but it was more often Bleaktea dropping lightning bolts and explosive lightning bolts on his foot than a spell imploding.

There was a spectacular critical failure on Stop Bleeding which has established the local precedent that a critically failed Stop Bleeding used on a Mortally Wounded character acts as "Finish Bleeding" instead... I've since seen that critically fail mmm, another three times I think. We've actually only seen the spell succeed once, it's just got a really bad track record for no good reason.

An evil cultist using black magic critically failed on a (pretty large) spell against the players in one game, and (rolling on the black magic crit fails table) created a swarm of angry rats in his viscera. That didn't go well for him.

I didn't play a spellcaster in mlangsdorfs games (technically my bard knew spells but they weren't cast much); other than the Finish Bleeding incidents, I'm not remembering any PC critical failures, but that may be because I wasn't casting, or it may be because Harald387 had a 19 or 20 on all of his nymphs spells and she was a primary spellcaster so I remember her spellcasting the most.

There was a few critical successes, the one that sticks out in my mind was the Frostbite spell that got upgraded to Flesh to Ice.
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Old 05-30-2012, 11:03 AM   #15
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Default Re: Different critical spell failure tables

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Originally Posted by Peter Knutsen View Post
Then you don't automagically get a critical failure on a roll of 17? I sit corrected, then!

0.5% is still very bad, but obviously and inarguably it is much less bad than 2%. It's just odd that everybody always talks about the threshold value of 15. Clearly saving the energy is very worthwhile, but it seems to me that hitting 16 is even more worthwhile because you redudce your miscast probability by 75%.
Remember though, that degrees of success or failure are based on effective skill rather than base skill.
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Old 05-30-2012, 11:09 AM   #16
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Default Re: Different critical spell failure tables

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All that is possible only because the magic systems of Ärth are known and well defined. In advance. You cannot have that with an ad hoc anything-goes approach.

Rules aren't only for player characters. Rules are for worlds. The world is the rules.
While those are good points and I prefer a magic system that synergies with the world I was not advocating a totally random thing when I said improvise.

When I was suggesting an improvised result I meant specifically tailoring the crit fail to the circumstance and the type of spell being cast.
Cosmetic effects might be a chill in the air or feeling of gloom for Necromancy, the smell of flowers fr a plant spell, etc.

As to your other question: I ran and played in Magic for several years under 2e and 3e; crit failures did happen and we did actually get a demon result a few times however the skill 15 and 20 were definitely a priority over the benefit of a 16.
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Old 05-30-2012, 11:19 AM   #17
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Default Re: Different critical spell failure tables

I was thinking of using the RPM which means there'll be a lot of die-rolling involved.
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Old 05-30-2012, 12:26 PM   #18
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Default Re: Different critical spell failure tables

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Originally Posted by Asta Kask View Post
I was thinking of using the RPM which means there'll be a lot of die-rolling involved.
RPM has very different rules for failure and critical failure than the Standard Spell Magic system; most notably that critical failure is the only way to fail rituals ...
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Old 05-30-2012, 01:13 PM   #19
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Default Re: Different critical spell failure tables

Maybe I should think and read the rules before posting.
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Old 05-30-2012, 03:39 PM   #20
Peter Knutsen
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Default Re: Different critical spell failure tables

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While those are good points and I prefer a magic system that synergies with the world I was not advocating a totally random thing when I said improvise.
I'm also not saying ad hocking can't work towards a world feel, if it is ad hocking according to a metaphysical model that constrains what can and cannot happen, usually an explicit pre-determined model, but it could be an intuitive model instead for a few GMs who are specifically gifted at that.

I happen to dislike ad hocking, but that is for other world feel reasons. And I maintain that most GMs who ad hoc critical spell failures do so in a whimsical and unconstrained manner that will fail utterly at achieving any world feel.
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