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Old 05-10-2016, 08:49 AM   #1
PseudoFenton
 
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Default [DF] Gem of Healing questions

I've just taken a closer look at the Gem of Healing, and noticed that it clearly lists itself as a Spell Stone, and that it casts Major Healing when activated. All well and good. Looking at how spell stones work, they must concentrate for a second while crushing the spell stone to activate it, and you roll to cast the spell the next turn. Here's where I'm needing some clarifications.

It's easy enough to assess the casting roll, the items Power is marked at the lower of spell skill or enchanting skill, but DF simplifies this to a default skill of 15 or 20 with a CF bump. The tricky bit comes when you do this more than once... Major (and Minor) Healing suffer penalities if used more than once per day by the same caster on the same subject. So, assuming this affects the items power, which seems likely, how often do you end up with the same person enchanting a stack of these gems? There is no way of knowing who made them, so there's no way of judging if it's the same caster, so do you always apply the penalties, or never?

Additionally, its clear a spell stones requires active use, in the form of crushing it. There seems to be two forms, one where the spell will be cast for the caster, and one where its cast on the caster. It seems like the standard Gem of Healing is the latter, but its not really clearly stated. The question is though, is it ever possible to use one to heal another person? Can you put one in the hand of an unconcious person, squeeze their hand around it to crush the stone, and trigger it? You need to concentrate to cast the spell so it seems like this is impossible, but if the Gem allows you to cast the spell for yourself, you could always target another person as the subject of the spell.

This all may seem trivial, and I could just say they always work, without a roll (or penalities) and you can use them on other subjects just as easily as on yourself - however I'm more interested in their benefits and drawbacks compared to potions, and these seem like some of them.
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Old 05-10-2016, 10:07 AM   #2
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Default Re: [DF] Gem of Healing questions

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Originally Posted by PseudoFenton View Post
Major (and Minor) Healing suffer penalities if used more than once per day by the same caster on the same subject. So, assuming this affects the items power, which seems likely, how often do you end up with the same person enchanting a stack of these gems? There is no way of knowing who made them, so there's no way of judging if it's the same caster, so do you always apply the penalties, or never?
Not very familiar with DF, though I would consider the person using the magical item as the Caster for the sake of repeated uses here, not the person who made the stones.
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Old 05-10-2016, 10:23 AM   #3
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Default Re: [DF] Gem of Healing questions

It's the stone that casts the spell, right? In that case, you could argue that it would get the penalty if it ever cast the same spell on the same target more than once a day... which will never happen, as it's destroyed upon casting (although there might be odd instances that cause Spell Stones to be restored, not be destroyed in the first place, and so on). Self-powered wands, however, would suffer from this effect.

Failing that, I'd go with it being a function of the creator, not the user. I'd expect each stone to have a mark identifying its maker (most craftsmen do this). I'd say each generic DF "town" typically has stones available from a single caster at Power 20, and from up to three casters at Power 15 (although probably only have a few in stock). A village where magic items are harder to come by might only have Power 15 stones from a single caster, while a metropolis containing a mage academy probably has several sources of Power 20 stones, and enough of Power 15 that you don't even need to worry about it.
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Old 05-11-2016, 06:09 AM   #4
Maz
 
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Default Re: [DF] Gem of Healing questions

The whole point of DF is to keep things simple. So keeping track of which healing stone you use and possible modifiers to possible check-modifiers is in my mind, out of the leve lof detail I care for in my DF games.

For what its worth I agree that it would be the stone that cast it, and it is destroyed. So there wouldn't be any carry-over penalties anyway.
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Old 05-11-2016, 12:37 PM   #5
Anaraxes
 
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Default Re: [DF] Gem of Healing questions

Or if you want "harsh simplicity", ignore the "per caster" part of the rule, and just track heals on each subject, stacking the penalty regardless of source.
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Old 05-11-2016, 02:19 PM   #6
PseudoFenton
 
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Default Re: [DF] Gem of Healing questions

I guess I'm looking for the "correct" answers to four main questions...
  1. Do Spell Stones that cast Major or Minor Healing suffer cumulative casting penalties by standard in Magic? (Or does the "stone" itself cast the spell, and therefore each spell is performed by a unique caster.)
  2. Do Gems of Healing suffer cumulative penalties per casting in DF, considering its simplified play style.
  3. Can Gems of Healing (in DF) be activated by a user in a way that heals another subject, and if so how (can it be used at range, considering it is a regular spell, or is it limited to touch range at the time of crushing)?
  4. If the answers are prevailingly Yes to these questions, are the cumulative penalties counted per spell stone user (ie, who activated the gem and cast the spell), per recipient (ie, who was healed by the gem, regardless of who activated it) or per crafter of the spell stone (ie, who made the spell stone and suspended the spell in the first place)?

A lot of the answers so far have addressed either 1 or 2. Which is fine, and I can totally see waiving the normal penalities (assuming there are any to begin with), but I can also see balance reason or alternative means of counting the penalties that are no more book keeping than having a cleric on the team.

I'm also very interested in the answer to question 3, as it radically changes the utility of the item if you can't use it on another person, or if you can but only akwardly. Or if the Gem functions exactly like a spell stone and you can start naming other PCs you can't even see and don't know where they are, but you know need some immediate healing and its worth a go even if the caster penalties are likely very high (that's what Luck is for, after all).
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Old 05-13-2016, 01:47 PM   #7
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Default Re: [DF] Gem of Healing questions

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Originally Posted by PseudoFenton View Post
I'm also very interested in the answer to question 3, as it radically changes the utility of the item if you can't use it on another person, or if you can but only akwardly. Or if the Gem functions exactly like a spell stone and you can start naming other PCs you can't even see and don't know where they are, but you know need some immediate healing and its worth a go even if the caster penalties are likely very high (that's what Luck is for, after all).
Going off price, the Gem of Healing seems like it matches up pretty well with the healing potions (what makes it unique is that it heals a set amount, rather than using a random dice roll), so I'd go with "You can use it on another person, but awkwardly." While with a potion you need to pour it down the character's throat and induce swallowing, with a gem you'd need to place it in the character's hand, place your fingers around theirs, and crush the gem (so that, functionally, the recipient is the one that crushed the gem). This seems consistent with the way the other spell stones in DF work - Necklace of Fireballs casts Explosive Fireball wherever the ruby lands, and the Siege Stone casts Rive on either the weapon that struck it or the object it was placed against (I don't use Magic, so not certain what Rive actually does).
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Old 05-13-2016, 02:09 PM   #8
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Default Re: [DF] Gem of Healing questions

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While with a potion you need to pour it down the character's throat and induce swallowing
Amusingly, my face-to-face group has established the convention that you can pour it in an unconscious person's ear for full effect. Requires taking the helmet off and if anything is even more fiddly in some ways, but avoids arguments about choking.

I've always thought of the Gem as a self-only item. There are, after all, potions for healing other people.

I'm pretty sure we haven't been using penalties from the gems in any of the DF games I've been in or run - and our games are really one foot in DF, one foot in excessively-detailed GURPS. It didn't destroy the world in our games, or make the role of the healer obsolete, so I think you'll be fine.

As a GM, I like ways for players to destroy their own money. Consumable treasures are also inherently easier to control.
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