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Old 07-11-2018, 06:19 PM   #1
Rick_Smith
 
Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: Coquitlam B.C.
Default Should all spells be equally easy to learn?

Hi all,
Some talents are easy to learn, (Horsemanship for example) and others are hard (Artist / Calligrapher).

In the Experience thread, Steve wrote:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Jackson View Post
... Learning New Spells and Talents
Each new spell or talent learned costs 100 XP or 200 for talents marked (2) in the listing, or 300 for those marked (3). It does not matter how many spells or talents you already know. ...
Thus, spells ALWAYS take 100 XP to learn, but talents can cost up to 3 times that.

WHY?

***

I would think that intellectually, learning a spell that twists reality; which can make the laws of physics sit up, beg, roll over, and play dead, would be harder than learning how to do artistry / calligraphy.

A spell could be written thus:
IQ 13
S Touch of Death (2)
When the wizard touches his or her victim...

(So touch of Death would be a Special spell which is twice as hard as a normal spell to learn.)

The spell would still fit in a single memory slot (or perhaps not, artist / calligraphy takes 3 memory slots after all).

Further there are a few spells that I think are too powerful or problematic in some way. (Discussed in next post.)


This thread is for discussing should some spells be harder to learn, if some spells should take up more than one memory slot, and talking about if some spells are too powerful and or problematic for some reason.

Warm regards, Rick.
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Old 07-11-2018, 06:36 PM   #2
Rick_Smith
 
Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: Coquitlam B.C.
Default Is the Trance Spell ideal?

Hi all,
The IQ 16 spell, Trance costs 10 fatigue ST (fST) to cast and gets to ask a yes / no question to the GM.

There are a few thing about this, I don't like:

-- It is the only real scrying spell in TFT. A few more would be welcome.

-- It is unlike scrying spells in fantasy fiction. I've never seen a fantasy novel where a wizard casts a spell repeatedly in order to play a game of 20 questions. It does not feel magical.

-- It is too powerful. A dictator can spend 10 fST and ask, "Is Joe planning to betray me?" I want magic that detects loyalty to be difficult and unreliable.

-- It is too powerful. With a bunch of apprentices the wizard can cast this spell again and again. "Is my enemy, the wizard Zapper, north of the river Middlewash?" "Is Zapper east of Dwarfton? Is Zapper north of the Ironhills? ...

-- The spell is too powerful. There is ZERO chance that the GM will give incorrect information.

-- The spell is too powerful. There is no way to shield against a Trance with some sort of Scry guard spell.

***

Some suggestions:
-- Remove Trance. Replace it with more limited and interesting scrying spells.
-- Make it so Trance (3) is three times more expensive than normal spells, in order to make it rarer.
-- Make it so that Trance costs the wizard damage rather than fatigue (like the Death Spell).
-- Make it so that Trance can only be cast every so often. (Once per hour or once per day.)

Discussion is welcome.

Warm regards, Rick.
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Old 07-11-2018, 06:44 PM   #3
Rick_Smith
 
Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: Coquitlam B.C.
Default Insubstantiality - Make harder to learn.

Hi all,
I've never been fond of the Insubstantiality spell. Wizard casts it and sticks his head thru doors to see what is on other side. Wizard walks thru walls to avoid high security check points, etc. etc.

It is an IQ 17 spell, cost 4 fatigue ST (fST) to cast and 2 fST per turn to maintain. So I don't feel it is too cheap, or unbalanced. IQ 17 spells should rock and double maintenance cost is significant.

But I find that its use makes easy, a lot of things that I (as a GM) would prefer to stay hard.

So I suggest that this spell, could be made:

IQ 17
T Insubstantiality (2)
... and so, requires double effort to learn. (If it is decided that such spells require two memory IQ slots, that would not hurt my feelings either).

Discussion is welcome.

Rick

Last edited by Rick_Smith; 07-13-2018 at 10:03 PM.
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Old 07-11-2018, 06:50 PM   #4
Rick_Smith
 
Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: Coquitlam B.C.
Default Detect Enemies - Tweak?

Hi all,
The simple spell Detect Enemies is IQ 10, and costs only 3 fatigue ST to cover a wide area. It finds life with "general or specific hostile intent".

The way this is worded it could be used by a Dictator to find out if Joe is loyal. There is no chance of getting incorrect information.

***

I prefer that loyalty spells are difficult and unreliable.

I suggest that this spell will only detect imminent violence. So if Joe is not loyal to the Dictator the spell misses him. But if Joe is currently planning immediate violence, (say within the next minute), then the spell would kick in.

With this one tweak, I am happy. I don't feel further adjustments are needed to the spell.

Discussion?

Warm regards, Rick.
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Old 07-11-2018, 08:08 PM   #5
Wayne
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Geelong, Australia
Default Re: Should all spells be equally easy to learn?

I dont mind some tweaking of effects of spells but Id be really reluctant to change the point cost of spells.

Keep it simple 1 spell - 1 point.
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Old 07-11-2018, 08:51 PM   #6
CarWarsE
 
Join Date: Jul 2018
Default Re: Should all spells be equally easy to learn?

In general, I think higher costs for some spells would be appropriate. In particular, I'd like to see a change to Remove Thrown Spell. It just seems too easy to remove an opponent's +5 armor protection or some similar thing for only 2 ST. I'm inclined to think that removing enchantments should either be a separate spell, or more difficult to throw on more strongly enchanted items.
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Old 07-11-2018, 11:31 PM   #7
John Brinegar
 
Join Date: Jul 2018
Default Re: Detect Enemies - Tweak?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick_Smith View Post
Hi all,
The simple spell Detect Enemies is IQ 10, and costs only 3 fatigue ST to cover a wide area. It finds life with "general or specific hostile intent".

The way this is worded it could be used by a Dictator to find out if Joe is loyal. There is no chance of getting incorrect information.

***

I prefer that loyalty spells are difficult and unreliable.

I suggest that this spell will only detect imminent violence. So if Joe is not loyal to the Dictator the spell misses him. But if Joe is currently planning immediate violence, (say within the next minute), then the spell would kick in.

With this one tweak, I am happy. I don't feel further adjustments are needed to the spell.

Discussion?

Warm regards, Rick.
A few observations: First, it's not true that there's no chance of getting incorrect information. The GM rolls for spell success, and if the spell doesn't succeed, the GM says, "You detect no hostile intent." The caster doesn't know whether there really is no hostile intent or whether the spell failed. The spell description also explicitly says that you don't get specifics: all you get is "You sense something hostile." So unless you target Joe's hex specifically (which you can do), you can't tell if he's the hostile one. You'd have to get him alone and either cast the spell on him yourself or have your wizard do it. This could be done unnoticeably if the caster has IQ 15 or greater, but Joe may still suspect something is up. Even then, it's not clear that disloyalty means hostility. I could, for instance, plan to sell your secrets, which is disloyal but not clearly hostile. Finally, what will it look like if a dictator bumps someone off and justifies it by saying, "I discovered by magical means that Joe was disloyal"? Since he can't prove it, it could well be a false pretext, and people might well regard it as such. If he doesn't care what people think, he probably would just dispose of Joe to start with and avoid all this hassle.

Last edited by John Brinegar; 07-11-2018 at 11:39 PM. Reason: Typo remival
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Old 07-11-2018, 11:44 PM   #8
Rick_Smith
 
Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: Coquitlam B.C.
Default Re: Detect Enemies - Tweak?

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Brinegar View Post
A few observations: First, it's not true that there's no chance of getting incorrect information.
You are correct. Sorry. So if you get a positive, you need to check three more times to be sure.


Quote:
Originally Posted by John Brinegar View Post
The spell description also explicitly says that you don't get specifics: all you get is "You sense something hostile." So unless you target Joe's hex specifically (which you can do), you can't tell if he's the hostile one. ...
If you are using the spell as a loyalty spell, this is presumably what you would do.

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Brinegar View Post
Even then, it's not clear that disloyalty means hostility. I could, for instance, plan to sell your secrets, which is disloyal but not clearly hostile. ...
True. I would think that this would not be detected. But what about feeding information to the resistance which wants to kill the dictator? That, I WOULD count as hostile.

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Brinegar View Post
Finally, what will it look like if a dictator bumps someone off and justifies it by saying, "I discovered by magical means that Joe wss disloyal"? ...
What will happen will happen. But I do not like easy tests to look into the hearts of men (and women).

Warm regards, Rick.

Last edited by Rick_Smith; 07-12-2018 at 12:00 AM.
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Old 07-12-2018, 01:37 AM   #9
zot
 
Join Date: May 2018
Default Re: Insubstantiality - Make harder to learn.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick_Smith View Post
Hi all,
I've never been fond of the Insubstantiality spell. Wizard casts it and sticks his head thru doors to see what is on other side. Wizard walks thru walls to avoid high security check points, etc. etc.
Heh, you left out Astral Projection...
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Old 07-12-2018, 03:45 AM   #10
Rick_Smith
 
Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: Coquitlam B.C.
Default Astral Projection - A powerful spell... not powerful enough?

Quote:
Originally Posted by zot View Post
Heh, you left out Astral Projection...
Hi all, Zot.
I have mixed feelings about Astral Projection. I love the idea behind this spell, but I'm not happy with it as written.

Astral Projection is such a neat idea, I would be happiest if it was dropped from the base book, but made a mini supplement of its own. Let us say on W23, there was a $2 *.pdf which gave 10 or 20 pages on this spell and the Astral Plane.

It could go into...
-- what the Astral Plane is like,
-- how quickly and how deeply you could enter it,
-- what dangers lurk on the Astral Plane,
-- Astral Monsters,
-- powerful 'time storms' on the Astral Plane,
-- Mnoren artifacts powered with Astral Energies which could be found there and brought back,
-- the dangers of losing connection with your body when in the Astral Plane,
-- strange experiments that can be preformed on the Astral Plane,
-- defences people can take to prevent astral spying,
-- spells that only can be cast on the Astral Plane, etc.

Basically, the spell cries for a small splat book. As it is, I find the Astral Projection spell a bit dull.

I would be willing to write this if no one else is interested.

Warm regards, Rick.
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