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 > The Fantasy Trip

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 08-19-2019, 12:24 AM   #21
JustAnotherJarhead
 
Join Date: Jul 2019
Default Re: Missle spells in ITL

Quote:
Originally Posted by Skarg View Post
Yep.



This I would say is an overstatement.

Someone with IQ 11 or less, so no access to any more damaging missile spell. With no more damaging spell to prefer, it's still very useful for hitting targets at range, and can win wizard duels or take out those ST 8 wizard types and ST 6 halflings some people suggest are good characters.

The other advantages of a missile spell apply (the low DX penalty to hit at range).

And beyond comparing its damage to IQ 12 Fireball or better, it's still a very useful spell for other purposes, allowing touching and breaking things at a great distance.
A few good points there in reference to Range, & Breaking things at distance. And it's always good to take out a Halfling sniper scumbag.

But at a maximum damage level of 3d6 -6, I don't know that you are Taking Out anybody, just taking up an action that might weaken you in the heat of battle and yield no damage on a fabulous To Hit roll?

Just looking at "average" damage at Maximum ST used, you aren't even inflicting a -2DX penalty as a result, and pray there isn't even 1 hit of armor/shield/toughness in play.

At some point, you might as well just pick up a Bow or Crossbow if you are that Martial wizard build out. And lord have mercy if the Mnoren frown upon you, and you roll slightly low of average and deliver 0 - 3 hits.

Actually the more we pour over this 3 ST missle spell limitation, the more I wonder when Steve n crew "re-structured" the rules, why not dump the terrible Averages of damage on a 3D limit (assuming you even chose Max, maybe you temper it to 2d6)?
If you even ratcheted the damage up one notch, so that Magic Fist started at 1d6-1 (0-5 hits) and Fireball at IQ 12 (not a low IQ) delivered a Full d6 you wouldn't be imbalancing the game, just making it so that beginning wizards and Martial Wizards might live to their next birthday.

No wizard in his/her right mind is going to burn off two 3d6 fireballs back to back unless they are just in a hurry to meet their maker. Adventure seldom stops after one brief combat encounter.

And, I concur starting with an 8ST Wizard is just a short lived adventure in futility, and NO not every wizard should start off with Fireball just so they can have a CHANCE at delivering a big enough hit to make a difference in time of need.

Statistically most of our Wizards died. Nobody ever really was successful in making it to High levels. It just didn't happen. TFT is just to brutal.
JustAnotherJarhead is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-19-2019, 06:15 AM   #22
RobW
 
RobW's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2018
Default Re: Missle spells in ITL

I'm with you jarhead, we used to have duels involving dim but strong ST11 DX12 IQ9 wizards that would throw massive 5d or 6d Fists. A lot of drama because 6d-12 can be spectacularly good or bad. No sure thing to say the least.

The challenge as I see it is to allow the occasional big Fists while preventing abuse of the other spells.

So what about a spell that bumps Fist? Something like Overpowered Fist, IQ 9 or 10 (prerequisite Magic Fist). This spell would allow a Magic Fist with much higher or no limit on max ST.

With such a spell, a 10/12/10 wizard could just about manage to knock someone down if things were desperate.
RobW is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-19-2019, 11:39 AM   #23
JustAnotherJarhead
 
Join Date: Jul 2019
Default Re: Missle spells in ITL

I'm a fan.

Improved Fist?
Fist of Fury?

It brings up another thing with wizards that never, or shall I more accurately say rarely ever came up because of the slim chance a wizard lived long enough to get there, was wizard's wrath.

It was for sure a cool spell, lots of flavor, materializing as a variety of attack forms as well as packing a serious punch, the ability to deliver a hard hitting ranged attack that looked like a Fist , or Fire, or Lightening attack.

As I started out above, few wizards actually lived long enough to use wizards's wrath. It would be good to add some flavor at the lower IQ levels as well. So anything that can add flavor and some options for starting wizards would be a plus.

We have lightening, we have fire, we have telekinetic blow, could we have ICE?

Balance it, damage appropriate to IQ, but add the cold feature for more game fun, and possibly a special affect in certain scenarios that we don't currently have.
JustAnotherJarhead is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-19-2019, 12:59 PM   #24
Skarg
 
Join Date: May 2015
Default Re: Missle spells in ITL

Quote:
Originally Posted by JustAnotherJarhead View Post
But at a maximum damage level of 3d6 -6, I don't know that you are Taking Out anybody, just taking up an action that might weaken you in the heat of battle and yield no damage on a fabulous To Hit roll?
You may not "know" that' you're taking out anyone, but you still can.

It's another case of whether someone can accept the bargain of uncertainty or zero-damage results in exchange for potential good results.

For some players, they won't want that bargain so they shouldn't take magic fist. But for every disappointed wizard who didn't do big damage with a 3-die magic fist, there's also the perspective of his target, who is really glad that a 3-ST IQ 8 spell is NOT a guarantee of lots of damage.


Quote:
Originally Posted by JustAnotherJarhead View Post
Just looking at "average" damage at Maximum ST used, you aren't even inflicting a -2DX penalty as a result, and pray there isn't even 1 hit of armor/shield/toughness in play.
Strictly speaking, average is 4.5, so a 50% chance of doing at least 5 points of damage. Again, yes, you are not guaranteed that result with your accurate IQ 8 3-ST spell, and that seems to me appropriate for a spell at that level.


Quote:
Originally Posted by JustAnotherJarhead View Post
At some point, you might as well just pick up a Bow or Crossbow if you are that Martial wizard build out.
You could, and some wizards start with a missile weapon to avoid being known as a wizard, but then they need to learn that talent rather than spells, and having to drop the weapon and quiver to cast spells is an drawback.


Quote:
Originally Posted by JustAnotherJarhead View Post
And lord have mercy if the Mnoren frown upon you, and you roll slightly low of average and deliver 0 - 3 hits.
Again, yes those who hate rolling low damage shouldn't count on Magic Fist.

But there are also high rolls. High or slightly above-average rolls on 3d-6 do 6-12 damage. Again, pretty good for an IQ 8 3-ST spell.


Quote:
Originally Posted by JustAnotherJarhead View Post
Actually the more we pour over this 3 ST missle spell limitation, the more I wonder when Steve n crew "re-structured" the rules, why not dump the terrible Averages of damage on a 3D limit (assuming you even chose Max, maybe you temper it to 2d6)?
If you even ratcheted the damage up one notch, so that Magic Fist started at 1d6-1 (0-5 hits) and Fireball at IQ 12 (not a low IQ) delivered a Full d6 you wouldn't be imbalancing the game, just making it so that beginning wizards and Martial Wizards might live to their next birthday.
It might not ruin the balance, and players who don't like the weakness of Magic Fist, or want more dangerous missile spells, can trivially do that. I don't think it really improves the balance, though.

Balance depends on the typical situations in play. I think the missile weapon damages are well-balanced for 32-point arena combat. And for campaign situations where wizards work with groups of fighters who keep the wizards from getting attacked, and who protect the wizards while they rest.

I think what helps most to increase wizard survival chances (apart from bodyguards and moving carefully and Reverse Missiles, er, that is, the house rule that helps) is ruling that death only happens when actual injury (not fatigue, which still causes unconsciousness) brings ST below 0. That not only gives wizards a few more points to take injury with, but it means they tend to collapse and stop attracting attacks before they're dead.


Quote:
Originally Posted by JustAnotherJarhead View Post
No wizard in his/her right mind is going to burn off two 3d6 fireballs back to back unless they are just in a hurry to meet their maker. Adventure seldom stops after one brief combat encounter.
Well, unless they're doing what they should do anyway, and are moving to avoid the possibility of getting hurt, or they have no better way to win a battle, or they have other sources of ST, etc.
Skarg is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-19-2019, 02:27 PM   #25
JustAnotherJarhead
 
Join Date: Jul 2019
Default Re: Missle spells in ITL

As usual, great reply points.

Some even serve to reinforce my point that wizards rarely made it to the level that would allow use of wizards wrath.

I call it the D&D party, where everyone is Neutral Good or Lawful Good, cooperative and friendly.

Then... there is the TFT party that I played with, where I also happen to play (cause Steve is awesome) a REPTILE MAN.

Let's just say my Party, and reflective of my friends in high school, was a little less Lawful Good, and a bit less cooperative. Add to that, that sometimes played a Reptile Man wizard.
The need to fight, and stay standing, and be very self dependent made for a very non-D&D type of party strategy and character build philosophy.

It's part of the reason when I returned to TFT decades later, I was in shock at the gilding of the "greater" creatures that I was so familiar with, the advancement being a struggle of course with XP, but Wizard Lizards didn't meet an early death, and stood their ground without the need for wizards wrath, and didn't take much Sh** from mouthy humans or pesky hobbits.

It's been a fun challenge, changing my favorite character builds to try and adapt to the new rules, and see if they can survive and still be playable as I remembered.

One thing is different, I was never a fan of armor before, but now I'm rethinking that, as I try and make something work that might live to take advantage of something I am not familiar with, rapid attribute improvement.

Already I've run into one struggle, this notion that you can't save IQ points for talents? That just strikes me as weird.
JustAnotherJarhead is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-19-2019, 03:16 PM   #26
Skarg
 
Join Date: May 2015
Default Re: Missle spells in ITL

Yeah, I agree with you that:

* wizards often tend to have a hard time surviving dangerous situations, especially without allies

* I prefer the original stronger versions of starting reptile men and gargoyles. Fortunately, it's easy for me to just use the original stats. (q.v. the House Rules sub-forum.)

* I too have problems adopting the new way talents are learned. Again, for me it looks like it calls for house rules. (q.v. the House Rules sub-forum.)
Skarg is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-19-2019, 05:08 PM   #27
JustAnotherJarhead
 
Join Date: Jul 2019
Default Re: Missle spells in ITL

It's easy to House Rule a solution.

Call me a Purist, I just have this hang up, like a total resistance type of thing to veering from written rules.

I try super hard to do everything I can to not institute a house rule. Somewhere deep in my psyche I think Balance... if I were to change this, then what else might i encounter later that would have to be changed as a result?

It's like a fear based hang up.

It's also one of my irks... when I see changes made to a 40 yr old playable system, I'm thinking Really? Was that change necessary? Whom were we trying to appease? And for what reason?

Greater creatures and lesser creatures was a cool thing in TFT.

This "equality" thing that were on to now, just isn't a necessary change.

In fact, all things said and done. Steve probably could have just re-released the original content, added some new Beasties n Spells and Talents and called it good.
JustAnotherJarhead is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-19-2019, 06:11 PM   #28
Steve Plambeck
 
Join Date: Jun 2019
Default Re: Missle spells in ITL

Quote:
Originally Posted by Skarg View Post
You could, and some wizards start with a missile weapon to avoid being known as a wizard, but then they need to learn that talent rather than spells, and having to drop the weapon and quiver to cast spells is an drawback.
Tossing out the question raised by this, but why would a wizard have to drop their bow and quiver to cast spells? They are not iron weapons per se, at least the ones that aren't crossbows (those would have some metal parts). The arrow heads? Several wouldn't amount to more iron that a dagger, which a wizard is allowed to carry without penalty. Arrowheads could also be bronze, flint (very sharp!) or the fire-hardened tips of the shafts themselves. Or stick with iron tips and just leave the dagger home. This never came up in my old group, don't think a single wizard ever wanted a bow, but if it had I would have allowed them to hold onto a bow and wear a quiver while spell casting -- it never would have even crossed my mind to disallow it.

This does point out the problem again of talents competing for memory space with spells. Here's a possible solution to the high wizard mortality rate, but you can't or wouldn't use it because it lessens the ability to use magic at the same time it's helping keep the wizard alive long enough to use magic. A catch 22.

Echoing what Jarhead pointed out, wizards rarely live long enough to learn Wizard's Wrath, but in my case I want to say never. My group (6 regulars) played 18 years without a PC ever getting to learn Wizard's Wrath, or most of the other colorful high level spells.

We all built and tried many wizards, but they all died young, usually under 35 AP. (I did keep one wizard alive for all those years, but by deploying him only when he was sent on missions by his superior, an archmage NPC. He finally reached 40 AP after a good dozen campaigns, but that's still not a super-wizard.)

Wizards are just weak in TFT. Not in duels with each other, those are balanced, and not in homogeneous parties where it's mostly or all wizards facing an enemy the GM has balanced against their abilities. But those aren't our typical situations. When it's a mixed party in a combat situation the GM has balanced to challenge the heroes, the wizard or two that might be in the party has a hard row to hoe, and they are more often than not the PCs who die. If they hang back and stay out of the fight, then they aren't advancing themselves. Damned if they do, and damned if they don't.

They depended a lot on missile spells to level the playing field. If missile spells are to be as constrained as the new RAW say they are, we need to look to house rules in other areas to fortify our wizards.
__________________
"I'm not arguing. I'm just explaining why I'm right." - Monty Python
Steve Plambeck is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-19-2019, 07:17 PM   #29
Skarg
 
Join Date: May 2015
Default Re: Missle spells in ITL

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Plambeck View Post
Tossing out the question raised by this, but why would a wizard have to drop their bow and quiver to cast spells? They are not iron weapons per se, at least the ones that aren't crossbows (those would have some metal parts). The arrow heads? Several wouldn't amount to more iron that a dagger, which a wizard is allowed to carry without penalty. Arrowheads could also be bronze, flint (very sharp!) or the fire-hardened tips of the shafts themselves. Or stick with iron tips and just leave the dagger home. This never came up in my old group, don't think a single wizard ever wanted a bow, but if it had I would have allowed them to hold onto a bow and wear a quiver while spell casting -- it never would have even crossed my mind to disallow it.
Yeah, I mainly meant the cold iron rule. Different games/GMs may have various limits on how much iron can be carried, but some don't allow any iron - and ITL says even one iron/steel weapon will trigger a -4 penalty. Of course there are other materials that can be used, and a GM might also say arrowheads don't count.

Another limit is from the gesture rules, which will limit what a wizard can hold and cast spells at certain IQ levels. Making a bow into a staff could (again, ask GM) be a way around that part of the puzzle.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Plambeck View Post
This does point out the problem again of talents competing for memory space with spells. Here's a possible solution to the high wizard mortality rate, but you can't or wouldn't use it because it lessens the ability to use magic at the same time it's helping keep the wizard alive long enough to use magic. A catch 22.
Or it's just an interesting set of circumstances to try to work around if one wants to be a wizard trying to act and seem like an archer.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Plambeck View Post
Echoing what Jarhead pointed out, wizards rarely live long enough to learn Wizard's Wrath, but in my case I want to say never. My group (6 regulars) played 18 years without a PC ever getting to learn Wizard's Wrath, or most of the other colorful high level spells.

We all built and tried many wizards, but they all died young, usually under 35 AP. (I did keep one wizard alive for all those years, but by deploying him only when he was sent on missions by his superior, an archmage NPC. He finally reached 40 AP after a good dozen campaigns, but that's still not a super-wizard.)
I've rather enjoyed the danger level of TFT, and don't think I'd want it to be expected that wizard PC's will routinely survive to become super-wizards. I like it being a difficult challenge.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Plambeck View Post
Wizards are just weak in TFT. Not in duels with each other, those are balanced, and not in homogeneous parties where it's mostly or all wizards facing an enemy the GM has balanced against their abilities. But those aren't our typical situations. When it's a mixed party in a combat situation the GM has balanced to challenge the heroes, the wizard or two that might be in the party has a hard row to hoe, and they are more often than not the PCs who die. If they hang back and stay out of the fight, then they aren't advancing themselves. Damned if they do, and damned if they don't.
I think wizards in TFT are quite powerful, but are a challenge to figure out how to use that power well and stay live. I think a lot of TFT is that way - it's possible to survive years of combat, even as a wizard - it just takes a lot of figuring out how to get a decent chance to do it, and then also luck, good allies, circumstances, etc. That for me is what the game is about - trying to actually succeed despite all the dangerous parts.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Plambeck View Post
They depended a lot on missile spells to level the playing field. If missile spells are to be as constrained as the new RAW say they are, we need to look to house rules in other areas to fortify our wizards.
If you think so, and want to, great. If I thought so, I might just rather leave out the new limits. As long as you let people switch to Dodge if they haven't acted and someone throws a fireball at them, I tend to think it's usually fair enough.
Skarg is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-19-2019, 11:16 PM   #30
Steve Plambeck
 
Join Date: Jun 2019
Default Re: Missle spells in ITL

Quote:
Originally Posted by Skarg View Post
I think wizards in TFT are quite powerful, but are a challenge to figure out how to use that power well and stay live. I think a lot of TFT is that way - it's possible to survive years of combat, even as a wizard - it just takes a lot of figuring out how to get a decent chance to do it, and then also luck, good allies, circumstances, etc. That for me is what the game is about - trying to actually succeed despite all the dangerous parts.
[snip]
As long as you let people switch to Dodge if they haven't acted and someone throws a fireball at them, I tend to think it's usually fair enough.
Heartily agreeing with Skarg, challenge equates to fun. And certainly not every group has been unhappy over the misfortunes of its wizards.

What's a good ratio of wizard PCs to see survive in proportion to all other PCs? Again that's totally subjective, and will vary from group to group even when following identical rules. If I'm calling wizards weak, it's only because in my experience, if a party of 10 starting characters set out, 7 heroes and 3 wizards, the survivors at the end of the day would normally be 4 heroes and at best 1 wizard.

The high mortality rate is surely what gives TFT its edge, and an overall mortality rate near 50% is I think a good thing. But a mortality rate of 43% for heroes and 67% for wizards (that's what the preceding example works out to) doesn't seem to be the intention of the game.

Now maybe the three GMs in my group (I was one) were just bloodthirsty and had it in for wizards. What is this thing called "attribute bloat" I keep hearing about? :) We never had that problem with fighters and thieves, let alone with wizards!!! Our wizards barely lasted long enough to earn 300 XP. Was that all on us, or did the rules have something to do with it?

And ditto on that more liberal use of Dodge, btw.
__________________
"I'm not arguing. I'm just explaining why I'm right." - Monty Python
Steve Plambeck is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

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 05:00 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.9
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.