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Old 11-06-2018, 01:18 AM   #1
tbone
 
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Default Picking the nits: More DFRPG questions!

Kind of quiet around here. Good thing I've always got annoying questions!

1) Bards and instruments: I was going ask whether I'm understanding correctly that Bard-Song requires singing or an instrument, while bardic spellcasting always requires singing. But the Adventurers write-up and Spells p7 make it pretty clear: yes, that's the case. (FYI, in case anyone else was wondering.)

So I'm changing the question to this: A musical instrument seems to have some secondary merits, like backup for Bard-Song (but not spellcasting) in case the bard's voice is out of action, and general entertainment purposes. But does a bard need a musical instrument for anything? Can he perform his main bardish activities using Singing alone, especially if its level is at least a high as Musical Instrument (as it is in the template)?

2) Affect Spirits spell: The writeup for this spell (Spells p59) discusses its effects on a target's body, on armor, and on weapons. To clarify: Does a single casting on a PC charge all of these at once? That is, they don't require separate castings, correct?

If a casting does affect a target and worn/held possessions, are there some limits (somewhere else in GURPS?) on how much stuff the spell affects? For example, if the PC holds an armful of swords, gets the Affect Spirits spell cast on him, and then hands out the swords to buddies... do the swords lose Affect Spirits power when the PC releases them?

3) Command (Spirit) spell: The cost for this spell (Spells p60) varies with the toughness of the foe. Does the caster know before casting whether the spirit is fodder, worthy, or boss? (The example of the Entrap Spirits spell suggests that the caster would find out at time of casting, and could choose to let spell fail for 1 FP instead of paying cost, if the cost would be too high.) Any known ruling on this?

Thanks!
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Old 11-07-2018, 10:10 PM   #2
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Default Re: Picking the nits: More DFRPG questions!

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Originally Posted by tbone View Post
Kind of quiet around here. Good thing I've always got annoying questions!
Thanks for breaking the silence! I have a bard in my group right now, so this is helpful to think about.

Quote:
But does a bard need a musical instrument for anything? Can he perform his main bardish activities using Singing alone, especially if its level is at least a high as Musical Instrument (as it is in the template)?
I hadn't noticed this before, but yeah, as far as I can tell, instruments are effectively optional. On Adventurer, p. 17, it says "Since a bard needs a costly blade and a musical instrument...," but I don't see any mechanical reason for the instrument to be required. My player's bard uses his drum all the time, and we had all forgotten that he must sing to cast spells.

Quote:
2) Affect Spirits spell: The writeup for this spell (Spells p59) discusses its effects on a target's body, on armor, and on weapons. To clarify: Does a single casting on a PC charge all of these at once? That is, they don't require separate castings, correct?
I think these are separate castings because it specifically says that if you cast it on a person, their "gear isnít affected."

Quote:
If a casting does affect a target and worn/held possessions, are there some limits (somewhere else in GURPS?) on how much stuff the spell affects? For example, if the PC holds an armful of swords, gets the Affect Spirits spell cast on him, and then hands out the swords to buddies... do the swords lose Affect Spirits power when the PC releases them?
As mentioned above, I would rule that you must cast it on a body or a single weapon or a single suit of armor. However, this question does sometimes come up for other "person and their gear" spells. I generally rule that the spell affects all the stuff as long as the person is carrying it, but if they hand out the swords, only the one they keep maintains the effect. In other words, stuff becomes visible when the invisible person puts it down. At the moment, however, I don't have any RAW quotes to back that up.

Quote:
3) Command (Spirit) spell: The cost for this spell (Spells p60) varies with the toughness of the foe. Does the caster know before casting whether the spirit is fodder, worthy, or boss? (The example of the Entrap Spirits spell suggests that the caster would find out at time of casting, and could choose to let spell fail for 1 FP instead of paying cost, if the cost would be too high.) Any known ruling on this?
Off the cuff, you could use the Entrap Spirit spell as a guide and let the caster know the cost right before rolling the dice. The spell fails if they can't (or don't want to) pay the cost, but they've lost the turn.

(I think there's another spell out there, though, where the cost is unknown and can suck all your FP and go into your HP. I don't remember, off hand, which one it is. Might be GURPS Magic rather than DFRPG?)
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Old 11-07-2018, 10:37 PM   #3
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Default Re: Picking the nits: More DFRPG questions!

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Kind of quiet around here. Good thing I've always got annoying questions!
A little too quiet, eh?

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Originally Posted by tbone View Post
3) Command (Spirit) spell: . . .
That's a good one.

I don't know if I want to tackle any of these right now, but I can vouch for the fact that spell casting can have a lot of nits.

I've been holding this one up for a more appropriate introduction, but I'll go ahead and release the kraken.

Can the area effect of a spell ignore barriers, walls, enclosures?

If so, should there be any increase to energy cost to cast?

In an older thread around here, several people wanted to interpret no prohibitions on the area of effect (the rules do not address barriers, even in GURPS Magic.)

If this is true, here is the nit to pick:

Say you cast a wide radius Fire Cloud in a tight, irregular dungeon with many little rooms and low ceilings. By default, unless you "shape" your cloud, you could inadvertently start cooking friendlies in adjacent rooms and above the ceiling. (Remember by default, the area is 4 yards tall.)

To get really ridiculous, does the Fire Cloud automatically manifest in the internal cavities of victims and within their gear, canteens, and potions?

If the official ruling comes down that barriers do not obstruct the area of effect, then I would like to interpret the area as conforming to barriers by default unless the wizard expressly pushes it out to its full cylinder so as to limit the weirdness just described.

Last edited by Tom H.; 11-07-2018 at 11:08 PM. Reason: Clarity
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Old 11-07-2018, 10:41 PM   #4
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Default Re: Picking the nits: More DFRPG questions!

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Thanks for breaking the silence! . . .
Oh cool, you posted while I was typing my above response.

I guess that makes two of us attending to the crickets, good job!
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Old 11-08-2018, 12:03 AM   #5
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Default Re: Picking the nits: More DFRPG questions!

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I think these are separate castings because it specifically says that if you cast it on a person, their "gear isnít affected."


As mentioned above, I would rule that you must cast it on a body or a single weapon or a single suit of armor. However, this question does sometimes come up for other "person and their gear" spells. I generally rule that the spell affects all the stuff as long as the person is carrying it, but if they hand out the swords, only the one they keep maintains the effect.
I don't know how I missed the clear-as-day words "gear isn't affected", but yes, there they are. So it sounds like separate castings would be needed for each of the person, armor (treating all worn armor as one, I'm guessing), and weapons (all weapons on person??). (Which leaves a shield... where? Included in armor or in weapons?)

As for charging up multiple weapons with a single casting: Yes, I'd agree with you that the effect should disappear as soon as the holder hands out the charged weapons, on the principle of "hey, that's some serious munchkin stuff you're trying to pull there." : )

But I think lots of questions remain. If the casting can affect multiple weapons on a single person, can it affect multiple weapons lying on a table? Which could then be picked up multiple PCs? Maybe not, if the casting always requires "tying" the affected weapons to a single fixed user... but then you can't simply charge a sword for fighting ghosts, you have to charge the sword *only for a specific user*, which gets weird.

Maybe the intent is that a casting on a weapon works on a (one) weapon (as the text kind of suggests), whether held or not held, and regardless of who actually uses it afterward. I think that avoids tricky questions.
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Old 11-08-2018, 07:35 AM   #6
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Default Re: Picking the nits: More DFRPG questions!

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Maybe the intent is that a casting on a weapon works on a (one) weapon (as the text kind of suggests), whether held or not held, and regardless of who actually uses it afterward. I think that avoids tricky questions.
That's my interpretation. One weapon, regardless of user. The "suit of armor" thing requires a bit more handwaving because of the options of different types, layering, etc. But I'm ok squinting at that. I might include a shield in a "suit of armor," but I could see it requiring an additional casting too.
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Old 11-08-2018, 03:50 PM   #7
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Default Re: Picking the nits: More DFRPG questions!

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The "suit of armor" thing requires a bit more handwaving because of the options of different types, layering, etc.
I don't know about hand waving as DFRPG is pretty explicit that "whatever you're wearing that gives DR is your armor, regardless of how you fluff it". So if you cast Affect Spirits on someone's armor, then all their DR giving armor is affected (IE, not Tough Skin or Amulets of DR, though... in my games I'd allow Tough Skin to be affected if the person was effected by the spell rather than their gear).

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I might include a shield in a "suit of armor," but I could see it requiring an additional casting too.
It isn't specifically called out in the spell, but I'd treat separately as well.
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Old 11-08-2018, 04:01 PM   #8
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Default Re: Picking the nits: More DFRPG questions!

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I don't know about hand waving as DFRPG is pretty explicit that "whatever you're wearing that gives DR is your armor, regardless of how you fluff it". So if you cast Affect Spirits on someone's armor, then all their DR giving armor is affected
I absolutely agree that this is clearly how the rules work. I just meant that it requires some mental gymnastics if you want to explain why a spell only affects one dagger on your belt or one arrow in your quiver, but the same spell can enchant your entire eclectic suit of armor.

In DFRPG games, though, I don't worry about things like this too much. "The mysteries of magic are unfathomable."
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Old 11-09-2018, 10:38 PM   #9
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Default Re: Picking the nits: More DFRPG questions!

Thanks, all, for the answers.

Unless I hear of Official Rulings to the contrary, I'll go with these solutions:

1) Bards... don't actually need instruments, it appears. Hm. Will have to poke around a bit more to see if I'm missing something, or see if I can concoct good reasons for having instruments. (If nothing else, Musical Instrument should certainly act as a complementary skill roll to Singing! That alone gives an instrument some value, at least those that don't preclude singing.)

2) Affect Spirits: I'll assume one casting for the person, one casting for all armor worn (with the shield tossed in to be nice), and one casting per weapon. (Maybe I could be talked into allowing one casting to affect multiple weapons totaling, say, 2 lbs. or less.)

Affected items can be lent out, I'll say Ė it's not a crock, as there's still only one person benefiting from the item. (Even armor when split up among the party. Your buddy gets the affected breastplate, another buddy gets the affected arm pieces, you keep the affected helmet... You all get some benefit, but each piece benefits only one person!)

3) Command (Spirit): I'll assume it works as I suggested: the caster learns the cost at the time of casting, and can abort (cost: 1 FP) if the cost would be too high.

Then there's this:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom H. View Post
Can the area effect of a spell ignore barriers, walls, enclosures?
Excellent question; the answer makes a big difference on the combat map. I'm going to guess that barriers do constrain the area, but I'd like to know of any official ruling out there.
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Old 11-10-2018, 01:37 AM   #10
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Default Re: Picking the nits: More DFRPG questions!

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Originally Posted by Tom H. View Post
Can the area effect of a spell ignore barriers, walls, enclosures?
Excellent question; the answer makes a big difference on the combat map. I'm going to guess that barriers do constrain the area, but I'd like to know of any official ruling out there.
Sorry I missed this one. An area effect can cross walls, doors, etc. As per Regular spells, but without penalty as long as you can touch one area of the spell. So if you try to cast it on the other side of a door 1 yard away, you'd be at -6 to cast, -1 for distance, -5 for not being able to see where you are casting. If you include the door's hex, and can touch that hex, then there is no penalty.

However, once cast area spells (unless otherwise stated by the individual spell) are static, they won't 'flow in to fill' a created void. So if a 1 yard thick wall was crossed by say, a Spark Cloud and then the wall is destroyed, there would be a 1 yd wide empty area, devoid of Spark Cloud where the wall stood.



Yes, this is both awesome and tricky.
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