Steve Jackson Games - Site Navigation
Home General Info Follow Us Search Illuminator Store Forums What's New Other Games Ogre GURPS Munchkin Our Games: Home

Go Back   Steve Jackson Games Forums > Roleplaying > GURPS

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 06-02-2012, 02:55 PM   #41
David Johnston2
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Default Re: Different critical spell failure tables

Quote:
Originally Posted by sir_pudding View Post
Sure, but aren't we talking about a situation were it is supposed to be relatively safe profession. .
Why no, I wasn't. Or at least...being a magician may be relatively safe in my picture of things but that's because they aren't in fact casting a spell every hour on the hour.
David Johnston2 is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 06-02-2012, 07:42 PM   #42
sir_pudding
Wielder of Smart Pants
 
sir_pudding's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Ventura CA
Default Re: Different critical spell failure tables

Quote:
Originally Posted by David Johnston2 View Post
Why no, I wasn't.
You weren't?
Quote:
Originally Posted by David Johnston2 View Post
If you have thousands of wizards each casting 8 commercial spells a day every work day...wizards who are incidentally not actually competent to deal with the results because they only know enough to make a living, the demon summonings (or equivalent) will be happening probably every year. Most wizards will never experience them but they'd be a regular town crier headline.
Quote:
Or at least...being a magician may be relatively safe in my picture of things but that's because they aren't in fact casting a spell every hour on the hour.
What does "eight commercial spells per workday" mean then?
sir_pudding is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-17-2019, 11:11 AM   #43
bocephus
 
Join Date: Apr 2019
Default Re: Different critical spell failure tables

The "pseudo math" up till now has a rather large flaw in the number of "commercial spells subject to failure".

Some one quotes 8 spells a day (Im going to go with 10 cause some spells are small and could be cast more than once an hour) figure 50 weeks a year and average 5 days a week to make the math easy. That makes one commercial wizard casting 2500 spells a year JUST in the course of their job.
That is in mechanics terms at least 2500 die rolls per year. Consider how often a battle wiz throws a 1 or 2 HD fireball per encounter before you scoff at those numbers...
Statistically that's 12.5 demons a year per individual caster casting with just a .5% chance of hitting crit failure and getting a demon.
Probability however I'd say significantly less but that's not math, cause now we are just into how I feel not what I can prove, however we have all seen the day when some player rolled a complete anomaly of crit success or failures back to back).

Now add the factor PER CASTER that is involved in commercial enterprise and you end up with perhaps 3 wizards in a small town, possibly 100+ in a large city with a Magic academy of some variety and competing shops/guilds/organizations. Plus various free lance hedge wizards and witches/wise women/Shaman blah blah that might also be operating at a lesser frequency but more individuals in any given vicinity ....

3 wizards means 7500 opportunities per year to get a demon even at .5% thats still many more than 3 a year (statistically but not probability). 100 wizards means 250000 opportunities for a demon.... Even if you drop this number by half, that is pretty close to a statistical surety that its going to happen.

I would say that at this point the statement of "Town criers having that as a headline once a year" works as a general statement of what people hear about.

Ultimately this completely depends on the world YOU are running (how common is magic or the people that can effectively use magic) and what feels right.
I have house ruled that spells that don't bring matter into being, like a knowledge spell or speak with plants as example, simply can not summon a demon no matter how they fail. It just makes my world feel the way I want it to. I have left the rest of the spells go as written cause I think its perfectly ok to have a magician reach into that ethereal space to get his fireball and come out with a demon. While I haven't had to deal with actual summoners as PCs, I do weigh the dice rolls for NPCs a bit towards increasing that possibility if someone is actually attempting to summon a creature, but the scale would remain similar in size based on the power invested.

IE a "Low level mage attempting to summon a dog" isn't going to get one of the Captains of Hell. They would get some minor infernal (Imp or the like) that would be maybe be double in difficulty compared to a rogue dog, but not utterly impossible at that particular level. Keep in mind that a LONE low level mage accidentally summoning an Infernal that is the equivalent of 2 large dogs in difficulty (and surprise in favor of the Infernal) is going to be hard pressed to stay alive if he's not at all prepared for it.

No matter what dropping an unexpected Infernal with a grudge against the summoner into a spontaneous situation that was scaled to challenge your players already.... you have a recipe for a total party wipe if not at least removing said magic user from the encounter quickly.
bocephus is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 10-19-2019, 08:08 PM   #44
YankeeGamer
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Default Different spells, different risks

In any system I've played, I have adjusted the risks of spell failure. I've usually used the standard table for combat casting, or other high stress work. "Must get the spell off before we hit atmosphere, or we burn up!"

Then, for non-threatening, utility situations, I've minimized the consequences of something going wrong.

Even in combat, more energy/higher difficulty/higher level/higher damage spells go more severely wrong, because there's more energy flying around--both mana and physical energy.

To me, a simple detection spell doesn't have the power to summon a demon (unless you're trying "Detect demon" and something goes seriously, and beyond seriously, wrong.)

I would definitely, if I restarted running GURPS, have the critical failure table start with truly minor oopsies at 3, and go up from there, with adds.

A high skill mage can omit some of the rituals, such as speaking, but perhaps each ritual used subtracts from the table, so when you cast the spell "By the book," without shortcuts, less goes wrong.

Also, GURPS skills are based on using them in a stressful situation--many commercial uses don't count. (Granted, the fiends that ran the place at my last job did make it count as stressful!)
YankeeGamer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-21-2019, 09:19 AM   #45
malloyd
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Default Re: Different critical spell failure tables

Quote:
Originally Posted by sir_pudding View Post
The same argument would indicate that 1-in-216 airliners suffer catastrophic failures, 1-in-216 nuclear reactors meltdown each month, 1-in-216 space shuttle launches ended in tragedy, 1-in-72 punches in MMA or Boxing strikes result in the catastrophic effects of a roll on the Critical Hit or Miss charts. Critical failure rules are clearly for dramatic results of adventuring uses of skills, not routine Monthly job rolls (and if you note the Job table gives much more manageable results for Criticals).
That said the Spell critical failure tables are not that bad. Basically the only result anybody ever complains about is that summons a demon one - change that one table entry and this entire debate pretty much evaporates. I personally recommend doing that, but it's really quite unlikely already - 3 in 6^6 outcomes right? that 2500 spell a year wizard averages one demon every 6.2 years even if you roll every spell. I'm sure some people have a war story or two, but I don't know that I've ever seen a demon turn up in play this way naturally - i.e. when there wasn't a house rule or probability modification curse of some sort affecting the odds.
__________________
--
MA Lloyd
malloyd is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 10-21-2019, 10:57 AM   #46
Polkageist
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Default Re: Different critical spell failure tables

I'm definitely in the camp of improvising critical failures, since they're pretty rare and often times the table doesn't quite hit the mark on making that rare occurrence interesting in the right way. That said, simply making it an auto-miss keeps things trucking along if there are other things to be paying attention to.

On the general topic of critical failures, and magic specifically, if a table is to be customized for the user then it may be a good/fun exercise to have the player set their own. A fire-mage could work out fire-themed failures, a healer has health-related ones, etc. A bit of tuning afterwards will help make sure it's balanced, but it shares the work with the player and you get a nice bespoke thing out at the end.

As for what a critical failure means though, I had the notion while reading the thread that the severity of the failure should probably scale with the height of the stakes.

For an immediate and non-job situation where life and death are on the line (i.e. combat, adventuring things), then the crit will affect life and death (extra damage, inability to defend).

For a job-like or 'routine' situation where severe injury and/or loss of resources are there (pro atheletes, crab fishing) then things like a broken machinery or chronic injury such as a torn ACL would be appropriate. Costly, and is the 'bad thing' that's not unheard of in those professions.

For the same 'routine' things where the stakes are low, like at an office or a non-hazardous environment setting, then the crit would be on the level of embarrassments or errors that make you have to miss lunch or stay late at work. Lost paperwork, flat tire, missing tool, that sort of thing.

I think with that sort of scheme, a lot of everyday annoyances that you see crop up you can start to map on to the 'that was a crit fail on a job roll' in a sensible way. An airline pilot's crit fail isn't a plane crash, it's a misplaced preflight form and now the flight's delayed an hour. Or, a surgeon's appendix removal crit fail isn't a dead patient, it's a poor suture that causes a bad scar and an unhappy patient.
1-in-216 events being a catastrophe is hard to grasp, but I can totally buy that someone dorks it while making a pizza 1-in-216 times at dominoes.

For magic... well, if it's an everyday spell, then maybe wizards just have a propensity for having odd hair color as part of their daily life. A 'light a candle' spell won't summon a demon, but you're fingernails are green now. Ugh. What a drag.
Polkageist is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-21-2019, 11:46 AM   #47
Plane
 
Join Date: Aug 2018
Default Re: Different critical spell failure tables

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruno View Post
GURPS Basic set, 235: "On a critical failure, you must spend the full energy cost and the spell fails . . . badly! The GM may use the Critical Spell Failure Table or improvise some other “backfire” he finds amusing."
How do you determine full cost with missile spells as they involve putting energy into it over a span of seconds? Does that also ignore the discounts you get to cost form high skill?
Plane is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-21-2019, 07:39 PM   #48
malloyd
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Default Re: Different critical spell failure tables

Quote:
Originally Posted by Plane View Post
How do you determine full cost with missile spells as they involve putting energy into it over a span of seconds? Does that also ignore the discounts you get to cost form high skill?
You pay the cost you would have had the spell succeeded. Read that line in the context of the previous sentence where on a normal failure you pay 1 point (i.e. not the full cost) if the spell would have cost you energy had it succeeded. And you know that cost for missiles, because you don't make the roll until you would pay the cost - once you roll you can't keep adding energy to the missile.
__________________
--
MA Lloyd
malloyd is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 10-21-2019, 08:29 PM   #49
evileeyore
Banned
 
evileeyore's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: 100 hurricane swamp
Default Re: Different critical spell failure tables

Quote:
Originally Posted by malloyd View Post
...once you roll you can't keep adding energy to the missile.
That's actually false. I mean, you're right, once you roll, that's the cost of the spell, however Plane is asking about the 'enlarging' rounds, the next 3 rounds during which you can keep adding energy to make the missile bigger/more damaging.

So the answer Plane, is once you roll, that's the cost. Everything spent to enlarge the missile is seperate from this calculation. And yes, by RAW enlargement costs ignore skill reduction to FP costs, however many of us ignore this...



The two ways I've ignored this:

1 - Skill reduction reduces the total cost at the end. When I've done this I've also shifted the casting roll until the end of whatever turn they decide to stop enlarging the missile.

2 - Skill reduction works for the casting and each individual turn of the enlargement separately! This makes for some 'big' missile spells, but it fits the 'DF Feel' a bit better in my opinion (stolen shamelessly from Peter dell'Orto's house rules).

Last edited by evileeyore; 10-21-2019 at 08:38 PM.
evileeyore is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-22-2019, 05:47 PM   #50
GWJ
 
GWJ's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Default Re: Different critical spell failure tables

About rarity of critical failures - in Very High Mana areas, every failure is critical failure ;)

And when you are soaking massive penalties, critical failures can be very likely. For example when you're casting a regular spell on some "invisible" foe, which actually teleported himself out, not made invisible :)
GWJ is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
critical spell failures, magic, spell failure tables

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Fnords are Off
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 10:44 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.9
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.