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Old 10-05-2017, 03:20 PM   #21
Anthony
 
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Default Re: Dungeon Fantasy with only one Spellcaster "Class"

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Originally Posted by ravenfish View Post
If you can point me towards advice on how to manage this, please do. My general experience is that Dungeon Fantasy (meaning the genre, not this particular game) is, almost by definition, a combat focused game, so PCs (unless they are consistently faced with very underwhelming opponents) will sometimes take injuries, so (barring truly over the top rates of natural healing) one will either need to have a healer or gloss over months of time spent sitting around and recuperating.
The standard choices are:
  1. over the top natural healing (D&D 4th/5th, almost all video games)
  2. trivial item-based heals (D&D 3/3.5, almost all video games)
  3. henchmen healbots (D&D any edition, lots of video games)
House-ruling the cost of healing potions is probably the easiest option.
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Old 10-05-2017, 03:37 PM   #22
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Default Re: Dungeon Fantasy with only one Spellcaster "Class"

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Originally Posted by sir_pudding View Post
Yes, because arbitrarily changing the setting to match the player characters undermines any sense of verisimilitude or challenge. For me part of the fun of this genre in particular is facing unexpected threats and challenges with insufficient resources. If not having a thief guarantees that you won't face locks or traps, not having a holy warrior means no ghosts or demons with Possession, not having any strong melee fighters means easy fights, and so on then the game just isn't going to be fun for me. The party composition and planning really shouldn't be predictive of the dungeon.
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To a certain extent this is true, and I would certainly not change the setting after it has already been established merely to make life easy for the players, but, on the other hand, the setting became Dungeon Fantasy rather than a modern office building because the players wanted to play spelunking warriors rather than accountants. If you have indeed already designed a setting where different forms of magic play a role, by all means use it, but also consider that the "default" dungeon fantasy setting makes substantial changes from realism, history, and sanity for the sole purpose of matching what people tend to want to play. Consider easy, reliable, and consequence free healing (whoever you choose to allow to cast it), an economy where assorted dungeon loot never saturates the market, a society that tolerates and even encourages heavily armed men of no clear loyalty, and so forth. All of these setting design choices were made for the sole purpose of making life easy for the players; if you make life easy in one more way, the world will not end.

That said, I in no way claim that a multiple-magic-role system is in any way undesirable, and I agree that hirelings are a useful solution to this and other problems.


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Originally Posted by Anthony View Post
The standard choices are:
  1. over the top natural healing (D&D 4th/5th, almost all video games)
  2. trivial item-based heals (D&D 3/3.5, almost all video games)
  3. henchmen healbots (D&D any edition, lots of video games)
House-ruling the cost of healing potions is probably the easiest option.
Fair enough. It occurs to me that, in fiction, all of the above are rare, and rapid healing magic is not overly common, but that is presumably because authors can have their characters wounded only when time spent recovering would be dramatically appropriate, and role players have not yet worked out how to manage that.
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Old 10-05-2017, 04:20 PM   #23
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Default Re: Dungeon Fantasy with only one Spellcaster "Class"

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Originally Posted by Anthony View Post

henchmen healbots (D&D any edition, lots of video games)
I never quite got this characterization of healers, whatever their power source or official profession.

I played a lot of clerics through many years of D&D, and for the most part my experience was that heroes had good enough AC and saves – and enough HP – that I didn't need to heal anybody most rounds. That left me free to whack things (which clerics in D&D are moderately good at) and to use some spell slots for reversed heals and other offensive magic. As of 3.0/3.5, I didn't even have to agonize over that last bit, because I could just "cash in" attack spells for healing spells as needed, so I was free to play at being artillery. I liked being a caster with good armor, HP, and combat rolls, with the added bonus of being able to shoo away a common class of enemies (undead). I didn't feel much like a bot or a henchman . . . often, I felt a little too capable.

This is even more true in the Dungeon Fantasy Roleplaying Game, thanks to active defenses and absorptive DR. On average, a party of well-designed characters will dodge, parry, or block most things and have a good percentage of what's left go "ka-PWING!" off armor, so once again, there's no need to heal all the time. Which means turns can be spent fighting instead, and the DFRPG has no armor or weapon restrictions for casters, so casters can wade right in and fight if they want. As spells cost one point apiece, it's easy to have a good mix of things – not just heals and buffs – with the only real limit being available FP. I'd say that's a good reason to restrict the spell list . . . but even with that, playing a cleric doesn't feel like playing a bot or a henchman.

However, I acknowledge that this comes down to character design. It's very possible to throw everything into the "healing" bin and do nothing else. I just prefer to take it as read that I'll heal, make that a small postscript along the lines of "of course wizards can read old books" or "of course scouts can track," and focus on all the rest. Sister Miriam (Delvers to Go!, p. 13) is there to remind gamers of this: fights with a sword that does 2d; has a several defenses at 12 with her shield factored in; wears armor; can self-buff for better damage, defenses, and DR; blasts enemies with Sunbolt; turns undead; exorcizes demons; and has all of 14 points (5-6% of her total) in actually fixing-up-friends healing skills and spells. Sure, she can't tank a dragon, but she's more than a match for cultists, orcs, zombies, etc.
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Old 10-05-2017, 04:44 PM   #24
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Default Re: Dungeon Fantasy with only one Spellcaster "Class"

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I never quite got this characterization of healers, whatever their power source or official profession.
I used the term heal-bot because it's a common term. GURPS tends towards an out-of-combat only healing model, as do many editions of D&D.
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I didn't feel much like a bot or a henchman . . . often, I felt a little too capable.
Yes, that's the 3/3.5e CoDzilla -- it was generally agreed that clerics and druids, over the entire span of levels, were the most powerful class by a substantial margin (mid to high level wizards are comparably powerful, but have at least a few levels of being bad). However, I was using the term 'henchman' to indicate an npc henchman...
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Originally Posted by Kromm View Post
This is even more true in the Dungeon Fantasy Roleplaying Game, thanks to active defenses and absorptive DR. On average, a party of well-designed characters will dodge, parry, or block most things and have a good percentage of what's left go "ka-PWING!" off armor, so once again, there's no need to heal all the time.
My experience of high point GURPS fantasy is that you wade through a lot of fights completely untouched and then suddenly get dropped to below 0 HP from a single hit. Absent healing effects, you then get to spend a month healing.
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Old 10-05-2017, 04:58 PM   #25
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Default Re: Dungeon Fantasy with only one Spellcaster "Class"

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Yes, that's the 3/3.5e CoDzilla -- it was generally agreed that clerics and druids, over the entire span of levels, were the most powerful class by a substantial margin
So I was a powergamer and didn't even know it. ;)

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My experience of high point GURPS fantasy is that you wade through a lot of fights completely untouched and then suddenly get dropped to below 0 HP from a single hit. Absent healing effects, you then get to spend a month healing.
Very true. However, the bit about wading through a lot of fights completely untouched means that "I heal and only heal!" casters aren't going to be in demand. In the proto-DF campaign I ran, the healers were an assassin, a barbarian, and a death priest who mostly killed things but who had sidelines in healing woo-woo.
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Old 10-05-2017, 05:07 PM   #26
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Default Re: Dungeon Fantasy with only one Spellcaster "Class"

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So I was a powergamer and didn't even know it. ;)

Very true. However, the bit about wading through a lot of fights completely untouched means that "I heal and only heal!" casters aren't going to be in demand.
Agreed. There's just a demand for enough healing that a bad roll doesn't mean heading home. On reflection, depending on loot levels, healing potions can be all you really need in DF.
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Old 10-06-2017, 07:34 AM   #27
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Default Re: Dungeon Fantasy with only one Spellcaster "Class"

Having played a giant berserking barbarian, I can confirm that character was a sponge for healing in just about any fight that involved worthy enemies. He was a big sack of HP, which helped keep him upright, and had natural DR as well as armor DR, but he still tended to end fights being patched up by the healer and/or drinking healing potions like sports drinks.

I, of course, was perfectly happy with this but our healer, who had planned to do other things with their life, was a little irritated :)
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Old 10-06-2017, 08:11 AM   #28
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Default Re: Dungeon Fantasy with only one Spellcaster "Class"

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Originally Posted by Bruno View Post
Having played a giant berserking barbarian, I can confirm that character was a sponge for healing in just about any fight that involved worthy enemies. He was a big sack of HP, which helped keep him upright, and had natural DR as well as armor DR, but he still tended to end fights being patched up by the healer and/or drinking healing potions like sports drinks.

I, of course, was perfectly happy with this but our healer, who had planned to do other things with their life, was a little irritated :)
At one point in a recent DF game, the (ninja-) scout kept several healing potions glued to the end of blunt arrows, and would shoot them into the barbarian's mouth every time he needed healing in a fight. Yes, they still hurt, but the 2d HP more than made up for it. :)
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Old 10-06-2017, 09:57 AM   #29
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Default Re: Dungeon Fantasy with only one Spellcaster "Class"

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Originally Posted by LoneWolf23k View Post
So, something I've been considering as an alternative way of running a Dungeon Fantasy game is to drop the restricted spellcaster templates (Cleric, Druid and Wizard) and replacing them with a single, broad "Mage" Template that can be customized to serve different roles, including that of Healer or "Druid". Maybe using the Magical Styles approach.
In one campaign, I am using a house rule in which there is only one caster class. The catch is that Magery may only be taken with the Three College Only (-20%) limitation. So they only pay 8 character points per level of Magery but they pick three colleges of magic when they make their character and can only pick spells from those.

It has worked well so far. The only hiccup was spell prerequisites often included spells from colleges players didn't pick. To remedy this, I allowed people to spend one point per spell to waive outside-collage prerequisites on that spell.

Everyone seems to like it.

YMMV
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Old 10-06-2017, 12:00 PM   #30
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Default Re: Dungeon Fantasy with only one Spellcaster "Class"

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It has worked well so far. The only hiccup was spell prerequisites often included spells from colleges players didn't pick. To remedy this, I allowed people to spend one point per spell to waive outside-collage prerequisites on that spell.
Unless the spell requires magery, you can learn spells outside of those colleges. You just can't actually cast them outside of a high mana zone, and you don't get magery bonuses.
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