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Old 12-09-2019, 12:33 PM   #1
Shostak
 
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Default Rolling 3 or 4 on Staff Spell

Has this ever come up in your games?

ITL 135 tells us that rolls of 3and 4 yield triple and double the effects of a spell, respectively, with specific mention of multiplying damage and number of creations. For Staff I, tripling damage follows those guidelines. But, regarding a Staff spell, the rules imply that the player would be free to choose some other appropriate effect to be multiplied. Would Staff II triple the amount of mana the staff can store? What if then you roll a 3 when going up to Staff of Striking? Does this add triple the range, yield a staff capable of three occult attacks per turn, or triple the DX bonus? Yikes!

Do these bonuses disappear when bumping up to the next staff level, or do they add to each other? Let's say you roll a 3 to create your basic Staff, then a 3 when you turn it into a Manastaff. Does it now have both triple damage and triple mana, or just the latter? I shudder to think what a wizard could do with a Staff of Mastery that yielded a mere triple damage on every attack, let alone one benefited from earlier critical successes.

From my perspective, the option least likely to overbalance the game is to award three mana to the staff for rolls of 3, and two for rolls of 4--even when casting the basic Staff I spell. I'd be inclined to let the benefits of the critically successful rolls remain through staff upgrades, but only if it is the same staff. Once the staff is lost, all idiosyncratic traits are lost with it. This means that in the unlikely case of someone rolling only 3s when casting Staff I-V on the same staff, it would have a total of 15 mana at no XP cost.
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Old 12-09-2019, 01:07 PM   #2
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Default Re: Rolling 3 or 4 on Staff Spell

Enchantment have their own process as detailed at ITL 149 where only an 18 is any sort of special effect.

I wouldn't let anybody attempt the Staff spell 216 times in a row over a month and a half to get a super weapon.
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Old 12-10-2019, 12:22 AM   #3
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Default Re: Rolling 3 or 4 on Staff Spell

Yeah that's the reason not to allow that. Many wizards would be re-enchanting their staff every day to try to get a super-staff.

Less exciting but more appropriate might be that on a 3 or 4, the spell doesn't cost the caster any energy to make the staff. Having the newly-formed staff come with some staff mana in it could also work, but I would only do that if the caster actually has a positive Staff Mana capacity - remember that is an attribute of the wizard, not the staff, so it shouldn't work for people without that capacity (and if it did, it would again be something some wizards would then annoyingly re-cast staff every day until they got it).

Last edited by Skarg; 12-10-2019 at 12:26 AM.
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Old 12-10-2019, 11:07 AM   #4
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Default Re: Rolling 3 or 4 on Staff Spell

Quote:
Originally Posted by hcobb View Post
Enchantment have their own process as detailed at ITL 149 where only an 18 is any sort of special effect.

I wouldn't let anybody attempt the Staff spell 216 times in a row over a month and a half to get a super weapon.
As described on ITL 149, the enchantment rules are for items other than staves and that are created using Weapon/Armor Enchantment, Lesser Magic Item Creation, and Greater Magic Item Creation. To my reading rolls of 3 and 4 should still apply, particularly since Staff is a spell out of the original Wizard game which introduced critical successes and did not feature enchantment.

I'm in no way suggesting that wizards sit around remaking a staff until they achieve one with a critical success.

Perhaps rather than giving the staff a mana stat, the staff just gets two or three points of mana that can't be recharged. That still makes rolling a 3 or 4 special, but the benefit is short-lived.
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Old 12-10-2019, 11:20 AM   #5
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Default Re: Rolling 3 or 4 on Staff Spell

If you're going to make it a special result then the stick (or whatever) disappears and a small animal (with either ST 1 or the wizard's mana rating in ST, whichever is more) appears. As your mana level grows so does it and your mana is its fatigue. (It can recover by resting, but you can also overtax the poor ST 40 rat you ride into battle on.)

When your familiar dies the original object reappears, broken. Any wizard who wants to start with a familiar can, but getting a new one can take weeks of recasting as above.
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Old 12-10-2019, 01:37 PM   #6
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Default Re: Rolling 3 or 4 on Staff Spell

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shostak View Post
... I'm in no way suggesting that wizards sit around remaking a staff until they achieve one with a critical success.
If you make the rewards something worth doing that for, then you are. Some of your suggestions would be worth a daily attempt to re-do any non-special staff, at least during non-adventure time.

The implication would be that many or most wizards would make a habit of attempting it, if the result is something more than a temporary boon. Even having 2 or 3 points of staff mana for a wizard who normally has no staff mana would tend to be worth a habitual daily try to get that.

Which means a realistic GM would want to consider that all NPC mages with a reason to try that, may have been trying that and succeeded.

For a mere temporary 2-3 point bonus, that might be considered an interesting detail.

For a "double staff mana" or other serious boon, it'd be a major boon to many but not all staffs depending on who got lucky with their current staff yet, or not.

Again, that could be seen as a welcome fun interesting thing, by some. Others might consider that the new Staff abilities are already making staffs really powerful, and not want to multiply that. And/or they might not like the part about wizards re-trying for a lucky staff and succeeding at an unpredictable rate.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Shostak View Post
Perhaps rather than giving the staff a mana stat, the staff just gets two or three points of mana that can't be recharged. That still makes rolling a 3 or 4 special, but the benefit is short-lived.
Yes.
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Old 12-10-2019, 03:16 PM   #7
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Default Re: Rolling 3 or 4 on Staff Spell

Quote:
Originally Posted by Skarg View Post
If you make the rewards something worth doing that for, then you are. Some of your suggestions would be worth a daily attempt to re-do any non-special staff, at least during non-adventure time.

The implication would be that many or most wizards would make a habit of attempting it, if the result is something more than a temporary boon.
That assumes that the character knows what the player knows, which I think is just metagamey nonsense. The player would know that the staff has a few points of free, non-renewalbe mana for ease of book-keeping, but the character would have no clue.
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Old 12-10-2019, 07:15 PM   #8
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Default Re: Rolling 3 or 4 on Staff Spell

If the character doesn't know, then how do they choose to use it or not?
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Old 12-10-2019, 08:30 PM   #9
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Default Re: Rolling 3 or 4 on Staff Spell

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Originally Posted by Skarg View Post
If the character doesn't know, then how do they choose to use it or not?
No choice is necessary. They make an occult strike with their staff and it is easier than they expected.
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Old 12-10-2019, 09:27 PM   #10
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Default Re: Rolling 3 or 4 on Staff Spell

The easy way to give a bonus without it being worth continually recasting to get it is something like:

Double Effect: allows upgrading a staff twice (so direct from wood to staff 2), as long as you know the appropriate spells.
Triple Effect: allows upgrading a staff three times, as long as you know the appropriate spells.
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