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Old 06-11-2018, 04:11 AM   #1
Chris Rice
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
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Default Missile Spells

Pardon me if this has already been brought up....

I always felt that Missile Spells gave a bit too much "Bang for your Buck" than other spells and often encouraged lazy solutions to problems; "blast the monster!"

Also, the fact that the Wizard could pump as much ST as he wanted into them meant it was possible to fry even powerful monsters with a 6-8 die bolt in a single round. Although I used them when playing a wizard, I kinda felt they were cheating.

Now, I know that a 6-8 die missile spell is going to seriously deplete a Wizards power, but then so is summoning a Giant for a few turns (I also felt summoning spells were weak compared to other spells for their cost). And of course, they could potentially be "dodged". But I would still like a cap on them.

I was thinking of having four Spells with set damage levels and increasing IQ requirements: Magic Fist 1d6/2ST, Magic Bolt 2d6/3ST, Fireball 3d6/4ST and Lightning Bolt 4d6/5ST. If you really want an unlimited ST missile Spell you could have Wizards Wrath as a very high IQ spell.

This allows the Wizard to retain some Missile capability but caps the power a bit.

What do you guys think? Or were Missile spells never a problem for you? I'm interested in your views.
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Old 06-11-2018, 04:37 AM   #2
Jim Kane
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Default Re: Missile Spells

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Rice View Post
Pardon me if this has already been brought up....

I always felt that Missile Spells gave a bit too much "Bang for your Buck" than other spells and often encouraged lazy solutions to problems; "blast the monster!"

Also, the fact that the Wizard could pump as much ST as he wanted into them meant it was possible to fry even powerful monsters with a 6-8 die bolt in a single round. Although I used them when playing a wizard, I kinda felt they were cheating.

Now, I know that a 6-8 die missile spell is going to seriously deplete a Wizards power, but then so is summoning a Giant for a few turns (I also felt summoning spells were weak compared to other spells for their cost). And of course, they could potentially be "dodged". But I would still like a cap on them.

I was thinking of having four Spells with set damage levels and increasing IQ requirements: Magic Fist 1d6/2ST, Magic Bolt 2d6/3ST, Fireball 3d6/4ST and Lightning Bolt 4d6/5ST. If you really want an unlimited ST missile Spell you could have Wizards Wrath as a very high IQ spell.

This allows the Wizard to retain some Missile capability but caps the power a bit.

What do you guys think? Or were Missile spells never a problem for you? I'm interested in your views.
It's an incredibly astute observation you are making Chris; and in point-of-fact, many a Wizard (stand alone) battles were fought with the prohibition that a wizard's first spell cannot be a missile spell - for the exact reason you cite.

However, down in the labyrinth, it is up the skill of the GM to adapt and overcome - and by craftiness in strategy - and take advantage or penalize with the tactics of the enemy monsters, a party who faces every major opposition with: "Bring forth the Spell-Cannon!!".

So, do I personally feel we need a rule change in this problematic case? No, what we need in the majority of all these cases (Missile Spells, Healing, Experience Award, etc.) is better all-around GM'ing-skills.

Perhaps a SJG book on: "How to be a better GM" would be more called for, more so than new rules for TFT with which to constrain player-agency and player abuse.

I will say this: I do like the overall line-of-logic you employed Chris. I always respect a mind when it exhibits well thought-out and well-informed rationale, even if I see no practical call for the solution offered.

Keep up the "good TFT thinking" my friend.

JK

Last edited by Jim Kane; 06-11-2018 at 05:00 AM. Reason: Typo
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Old 06-11-2018, 04:53 AM   #3
ecz
 
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Default Re: Missile Spells

while I love the simmetrical simplicity of the system, that I would not change, I understand your point.

I think that in GURPS missile spells have a cap, that is an acceptable design decision.

I have to say that in our TFT games the way missile spells are handled in the rules was never a problem.

A super villain could have a reverse missiles on it, or other protective magic shield, so the wizards are very cautious.
Very strong opponents like a troll or a dragon can be safely killed by a 10ST wizard's wrath attack, but -again - it's a matter of resources management and campaign style. Is it wise to have the wizard "depleted" for several hours if not strictly necessary?

If it is strictly necessary then the 10 ST missile spell is a safe choice.

It's up to the player (wizard) decide when a supermissile spell attack is necessary.

And wizard enemies no, they usually use different types of magic attacks against the heroes.
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Old 06-11-2018, 05:38 AM   #4
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Default Re: Missile Spells

We capped missle spells at half the caster's IQ.
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Old 06-11-2018, 12:19 PM   #5
JLV
 
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Default Re: Missile Spells

We never really had much of a problem with Missile Spells as written. Of course, it's a great way to kill a single opponent, but what happens when you are confronted with dozens? Then the summoned Giant starts to seem like it might be a better choice...

Anyway, just by the nature of our campaign events, we tended to confront more than a single (or very small number) of opponents when we got the point where the more powerful Missile Spells were available.

Still, if it was a problem for some, I think Chris has a very viable solution, and I like tomc's idea even more (since it seems to require fewer things to remember in the heat of battle).
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Old 06-11-2018, 05:31 PM   #6
Rick_Smith
 
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Default Re: Missile Spells

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Rice View Post
... I always felt that Missile Spells gave a bit too much "Bang for your Buck" than other spells and often encouraged lazy solutions to problems; "blast the monster!" ...
Hi Chris,
I totally agree. This was discussed before in the TFT thread.

I think capping them at 3 fatigue ST cost (fST) per spell would be simple, easy and fix the problem.

In my campaign, I went for a more complex solution. Wizards could charge them up with 3 fST per turn. But if they took damage while charging the missile spell flew off in a random direction unless the wizard could make a 4vsIQ. If the wizard was knocked down, no saving throw was allowed.

This made powerful missile spells dangerous for the wizard's party and generally added more drama. ("That wizard has been charging the Lightning Bolt for 3 turns! Kill the wizard! Kill the wizard NOW!!!")

Alternately, normal missiles spells, (3 fST power or less), could be powered with fatigue ST, but more powerful ones could be powered with damage like the Death Spell style of spells. Thus you COULD do a big missile spell in an emergency, but it would carry a very heavy cost.

Warm regards, Rick.
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Old 06-12-2018, 09:58 PM   #7
Kirk
 
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Default Re: Missile Spells

I think the way missile spells work is fine. When a wizard is desperate, he can use a missile spell, but usually by then he doesn't have much strength left.

If used at the beginning of a confrontation with more strength instead of more subtle help of companions or illusions or holding back just in case things are about to go south, then the wizard is gambling a lot before he really feels he needs to.

And then, whoops, you miss! Now, you are stuck in the gut with a simple small arrow and die. It has always seemed balanced to us, big gamble just to possibly take out one character, maybe. And if you are using the lower rated missile spells, like magic fist, you don't get much bang for your buck.

My friend is a great wizard player, and usually took teleport, which only really works short range, but can get you across a small chasm or out of a tough spot temporarily, but he primarily held it back as a suicide bomb, teleporting into a dangerous figure when things looked bleak. That made personal sacrifice real, in a game sense, to all of us when playing a campaign.
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Old 06-12-2018, 10:30 PM   #8
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Default Re: Missile Spells

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Originally Posted by Kirk View Post
I think the way missile spells work is fine. When a wizard is desperate, he can use a missile spell, but usually by then he doesn't have much strength left.

If used at the beginning of a confrontation with more strength instead of more subtle help of companions or illusions or holding back just in case things are about to go south, then the wizard is gambling a lot before he really feels he needs to.

And then, whoops, you miss! Now, you are stuck in the gut with a simple small arrow and die. It has always seemed balanced to us, big gamble just to possibly take out one character, maybe. And if you are using the lower rated missile spells, like magic fist, you don't get much bang for your buck.

My friend is a great wizard player, and usually took teleport, which only really works short range, but can get you across a small chasm or out of a tough spot temporarily, but he primarily held it back as a suicide bomb, teleporting into a dangerous figure when things looked bleak. That made personal sacrifice real, in a game sense, to all of us when playing a campaign.
I appreciate this answer and more or less agree.

I also see the counterpoint that strong missile spells in some circumstances seem/are extremely powerful and can feel unbalanced to fighters and dragons who otherwise would seem really formidable but can be blasted with one strong hit. Especially if throwaway apprentices with Aid, or convenient ST Batteries (or now also the new Staff power) are involved. That's sort of the way of magic though, and is also true of various other spells (several spells can take out very strong targets).

So I have sort of mixed feelings about them.

I notice too that if missile spells are capped at 3 dice, and pole weapons are nerfed to +1d in a charge, that the things that are likely to hurt people in very heavy armor is going down a lot, and that was one of the balance issues that started messing with our campaigns (once someone in armor gets a self-powered Stone Flesh ring, for example).
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Old 06-13-2018, 02:09 PM   #9
Tolenkar
 
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Default Re: Missile Spells

Missile spells are a powerful asset to wizards, but I always thought that the cost in strength to continue casting them (possibly risky, depending what the distance to target is) keeps them from being over used. Also, A wizard needs to keep their ST up to cover a whole lot of problems that the group might encounter. Casting Lightning more than once can draw them down a lot and make them useless. Also, if your GM starts to give NPC wizards the Reverse Missiles spell... well, just add BBQ sauce to your wizards now. So, I think that there is enough in play to offset missile spells from getting too powerful.

Now, with that said. There was that one adventure where the four of us players each brought in a wizard. All of us had the Aid spell, and one of the wizards had a high DX and knew the Fireball spell. When we encountered the 100 pt Demon at the climax of the battle, three wizards cast the Aid spell on the one who could cast Fireball... I believe it was 32 points of aid (yes, all three went unconscious). The casting wizard then let loose a 42 point fireball (Woa yaaaaaasss!) and also went unconscious. Luckily, he made his DX roll and caused... 101 points of damage. It felt good! Now, if the GM had it in for us he could have just sent in a green slime before our 15 minute nap was up and we awakened, but he was too amused to try. Good times. Unlike our attempt at Tolenkar's Lair.

Last edited by Tolenkar; 06-15-2018 at 12:34 PM.
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Old 06-19-2018, 11:38 PM   #10
luguvalium
 
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Default Re: Missile Spells

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Originally Posted by Tolenkar View Post
All of us had the Aid spell, and one of the wizards had a high DX and knew the Fireball spell.
I believe the story Three Words in The Space Gamer #22 demonstrated that tactic.
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