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Old 01-04-2021, 11:41 PM   #1
WhiteLily
 
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Default Do Specters count as Vaporous Beings?

Spells P. 15 gives us:
Air Jet: "Treat this as actual crushing damage for swarms, or vaporous beings...."

Is that just specifically air elementals or does it include most if not all Diffuse beings such as Specters?
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Old 01-05-2021, 01:01 AM   #2
LokRobster
 
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Default Re: Do Specters count as Vaporous Beings?

Good question, as just reading the stat bar gives you the “Diffuse” Trait. Made me wonder so I went delving to see.

Digging into the text write-up really clarifies that it is not a vapor kind of Diffuse, but an incorporeal ghost:

Quote:
“Visible or not, a specter is intangible and
wholly immune to material dangers: blows,
acid, flame, lightning, pressure and tempera-
ture extremes, etc. Only people and objects
under the influence of Affect Spirits (Spells,
p. 59) – and weapons enchanted with Ghost
Weapon (Exploits, p. 79) – can harm it.
These injure the specter as if it were Diffuse
(it’s a mass of ectoplasm, not a living being!)”
Specter text from DF Monsters, pg 51
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Old 01-05-2021, 08:41 AM   #3
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Default Re: Do Specters count as Vaporous Beings?

There isn’t a blanket rule for all things, you have to go to each monster description. While I agree it wouldn’t work on a specter, it would affect a toxifier, for example.


Edit: and the paragraph after the on LokRobster quoted specifically denies it by college.
Quote:
Most magic is ineffective against specters,
but Communication and Empathy, Mind
Control, and Necromantic spells can affect
them.

Last edited by Imbicatus; 01-05-2021 at 08:44 AM.
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Old 01-05-2021, 09:59 AM   #4
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Default Re: Do Specters count as Vaporous Beings?

I've gone back and forth on spells affecting ghosty monsters. Mostly because ghosts and specters are cool enemies, and the by-the-book guidelines that they're barely affected by anything makes them hard to use.

I think that if the air jet spell (or equivalent effect) can affect the specter somehow, I think then that it would be reasonable to let that be as effective against them as against a corporeal vapor monster. That 'somehow' does a lot of lifting, maybe the PC's on on the ethereal plane or have another effect on them that allows them to affect ghosts, or the ghosts made themselves manifest and be vulnerable...

Gives a bit of variety to the potential toolbox rather than just noting that it's diffuse and going ham with rapid-strike because how hard a strike hits doesn't matter, only how many strikes land.
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Old 01-13-2021, 10:18 AM   #5
Bruno
 
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Default Re: Do Specters count as Vaporous Beings?

"Diffuse" represents a game mechanical state, not a physical description. You can be Diffuse because you're a whisp of vapor, a jelly monster, a water elemental, or just barely intersecting this dimension. "Insubstantial Lite" is a perfectly good explanation for Diffuse.

A jelly monster and a water elemental are definitely not "vaporous", and I don't see why a specter would be either. It's a kind of ghost, not an angry bit of fog.

Regarding ghosts and specters being hard to smash - they can be targeted by direct cast spells, which hardly makes them invulnerable. Having a monster where the scout can't just machine gun it full of arrows, the swashbuckler can't shish-kebab it into a sponge, and the knight can't go ham with Extra Attack and Rapid Strike to choppybits in one turn is important! A diffuse foe, however, isn't frustratingly immune to choppybits, which means even lighter hitters like thieves can contribute to the fight! And of course anyone can throw concoctions for area effect attacks.

If a wizard hasn't taken any direct effect spells, and any Area effect spells, they're a fairly physical fighter of sorts. They made that decision, with 30-odd points of spells to play with. Don't forget that even Create Fire works on Diffuse foes :) Chase them around with the fire hex by using Shape Fire!

My experience has been that a broad variety of foes is really important in a fantasy game, especially one heavy on combat. Otherwise the combats start turning into "I use my favorite attack some more!" and that can get a bit dull.
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Last edited by Bruno; 01-13-2021 at 10:25 AM. Reason: Finishing my thought with... a few more paragraphs.
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Old 01-13-2021, 10:30 AM   #6
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Default Re: Do Specters count as Vaporous Beings?

Truly Insubstantial foes are supposed to be scary to physical fighters, by the way. If your group is entirely physically focused, either avoid using them, or nerf them down to diffuse, or just give them lots of warning that there's a ghost in the area so they can try to be sneaky to avoid the ghost, go on a quest for a Holy Handgrenade of Antioch, or do the traditional ghost-thing of finding out what its woes stem from and resolving the problem.

Being sneaky gives the thief and martial artist (and to a somewhat lesser extent, the swashbuckler and scout) something to shine at, while resolving the problem is a great place for a bard to use social skills to (gasp) talk to the ghost, and possibly to others as part of the problem solving.

The Cleric can also apply an exorcism or advise the bard, and a Holy Warrior has lots of knowledge about ghosts that can help with that problem solving as well.

Insubstantial monsters are a sign that zapping it directly is sub-optimal.
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Old 01-13-2021, 03:47 PM   #7
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Default Re: Do Specters count as Vaporous Beings?

Bingo, enemies that respond differently to damage is a great way to change things up. My players had noted that they've chopped up giant monsters with no problem, but one fight where the ghostly enemy could walk through walls really got them to sit up and pay attention.

It impelled them to dig out and use the specialty items to eliminate the threat quicker, since if it took any sort of real damage it would slink away behind a wall and go ambush someone vulnerable. Killing it faster reduced the number of times it could do that.
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