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Old 06-25-2018, 09:40 PM   #1
Steve Jackson
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Default Staff, mana, stored ST

You have seen my proposal, in the Experience thread, to allow XP to be spent to buy up your staff's ability to store ST. Potentially doublable with Staff of Power.

Here is why I want to do *something* along this line: For RPG scenarios as I see them, I think that limiting a wiz to his ST is a bit too limiting Fine for the one-on-one fights in WIZARD, not so fine if there will be multiple encounters. Some GMs will have patience with multiple iterations of "we sit and rest," others not so much.

The staff is the logical and traditional place for a wizard to keep his power. Q.E.D.

But this doesn't have to apply to all staves. Should it? One could, perhaps, create at least one staff spell midway in IQ between Staff (8) and Staff of Power (16), and say that the common starting staff does NOT work as a storehouse for ST - that's something you can add later.

I really don't want to create a new stat for the wizard himself - for one thing, that breaks WIZARD badly.

This is not a red/yellow question - I am inviting some brainstorming.
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Old 06-25-2018, 10:46 PM   #2
larsdangly
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Default Re: Staff, mana, stored ST

One mechanism along the lines you are suggesting might be to treat this as an enchantment spell. If you know the procedure and spend the time and spell-casting costs, you can add this capacity to your base staff; if you don't you can't.

The way I addressed this issue in my house rules was to treat this as a personal power of the individual magician rather than as a power of an object, with the 'gate keeper' mechanism being a talent. You buy variable points in 'Powers Beyond the Pale', each of which provides a supplemental 2 point store of spell casting ST, which has to be recharged just like normal recovery. So, if you have 5 talent points worth of PBtP, you have a 10 point reserve. I've used this rule for a number of years and haven't noticed anything unbalanced.
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Old 06-25-2018, 10:51 PM   #3
JLV
 
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Default Re: Staff, mana, stored ST

Why not break it up as Staff (a traditional staff, as in the original TFT write-up from long ago -- modified so that the owner can spend a ST point to make it do some damage in melee combat, if you like, and that blows up in an enemy's hands, etc.), Staff of Power, which stores Mana as described for the basic "Staff" under your revised rules; and then a bigger "Staff of Power," (call it "Wizard's Staff," maybe) which is the one that can store double mana?

Naming option B: Leave Staff and Staff of Power with their current names, and call the middle one "Wizard's Staff" instead.

You could make both Staff and middle Staff spell fairly low IQ Spells (just spitballing here, maybe IQ8 for the basic Staff (which is what it is now) and maybe IQ12 or so for the middle spell), and leave the high IQ Staff spell where the current Staff of Power is, IQ-wise (IQ16).

Reasoning: It provides a hierarchy of Staff Spells (roughly analogous to the hierarchy of Missile Spells) and clearly differentiates between them. The Basic Staff has the fundamental characteristics of a magical staff, the middle Staff spell adds Mana storage, and the high IQ staff spell doubles the mana storage (and maybe ups the damage dealt by Staffs 1 and 2 as well). You could also make them prerequisites both mentally and physically -- meaning that you need to know Staff before you can learn the middle spell, and the middle spell before you can learn the most powerful one, and that you need to physically (and magically) make a Staff (as per the original TFT rules) before you can make it store any mana, and you need to make it able to store mana before you can double the mana storage.

(Staff to Snake fits in at IQ 11 still, so if you put Staff of Power in as an IQ 12 spell (which is half way between basic Staff and the high IQ staff), then it would be a possible "buff" to the basic Staff Spell while your Wizard is waiting to get the middle spell. (You could also shift Staff to Snake to IQ 10 to more evenly space the Spells in your listing, but that's entirely up to your sense of amour propre for your game.)

(Edited to add: Reading comprehension continues to be an IQ roll I fail, apparently -- so what I basically did was rephrase your original suggestion here, and I thought I was being original -- d'oh. But, I guess that means I really like that idea, or something... ;) )

Last edited by JLV; 06-25-2018 at 11:02 PM.
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Old 06-25-2018, 11:57 PM   #4
enelsonmo
 
Join Date: Jun 2018
Default Re: Staff, mana, stored ST

Rather than think of the staff as a mana store, why not think of it as a rapid recharger. With the staff, the wiz can use the surrounding force to replenish his lost mana at a rate of X mana per minute or some such rate.
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Old 06-26-2018, 12:07 AM   #5
KevinJ
 
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Default Re: Staff, mana, stored ST

I use the GURPS concept of the staff (an actual staff, not a wand) to increase the caster's reach by 1 hex. This makes the basic staff a little more desirable since it removes 1 hex from the range of thrown spells and give the caster a 'reach' is 1 hex for touch spells (excluding hammertouch).

Steve, what was the mechanic you used back in the day? The thing with the attuned wood.
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Old 06-26-2018, 01:55 AM   #6
Rick_Smith
 
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Default Rick's suggestions for the Staff spells.

IQ 8 Staff .... Stores mana = to Wizard's IQ. Spend 1 fatigue to do 1 die damage (no armor protects) when Staff hits someone. (Note that this damage happens after any mechanical damage that the staff may do.)


IQ 12 Staff of Havoc ... Stores mana = to Wizard's IQ x 1.333 (round down). Spend 1 fatigue to do 1d+1 damage (no armor protects) when Staff hits someone. Havoc Blast (1d-1).


IQ 16 Staff of Power ... Stores mana = to Wizard's IQ x 1.667 (round down). Spend 1 fatigue to do 1d+2 damage (no armor protects) when Staff hits someone. Havoc Blast (1d). Power Gain (1/day):


IQ 20 Staff of Awe ... Stores mana = to Wizard's IQ x 2. Spend 1 fatigue to do 2d damage (no armor protects) when Staff hits someone. Havoc Blast (1d+1). Power Gain (2/day). Field of Awe.


NOTES:

--- Havoc Blast (X damage): Wizard spends 5 fatigue ST to cause a wave of energy to expand outwards, doing X damage to all macroscopic figures within 5 hexes, except the wizard. (All types of armour protect against this blast of magical malevolence. Shields will help as well, if they are facing the the wizard when the blast occurs.)
If the 1d-1 Havoc Blast is used on a swarm of insects, then 5/6 will die, but 1/6 will still be there. Two such blasts will pretty much destroy any swarm.


--- Power Gain (X fST /day): If the Staff is not fully charged, it will recover X points of mana per day. Power Gain will also allow the Wizard to mediate for 12 hours (half a day) to completely recharge the staff with power.


--- Field of Awe: Wizard may spend 3 fatigue to power the Field of Awe for 1 minute. When the field of awe is on, the wizard glows slightly with magical energy; animals won't attack the wizard and will likely flee; If the wizard is trying to intimidate someone, then the reaction roll gains a +1 modifier; foes will feel a magical reluctance to attack the wizard or his or her party (see below).

Any figures are at -2 DX attacking the wizard's party while the Field of Awe is on. The turn after the Field of Awe starts, all such figures may attempt an 3vsIQ roll as an action to shake off the effect. If a figure succeed, the Field of Awe no longer effects him or her. If they fail, they can use an action on a later turn and try the 3vsIQ save again.


***

I think that the mana being equal to twice the wizard's IQ at IQ 16 is pretty good, so I've toned it down slightly. But if you want to keep that, the series could be x1 IQ, x1.5 IQ, x2 IQ and x2.5 IQ. Note that the staffs gain additional powers, so a bit less mana may be reasonable.

The Staff of Awe is pretty awesome, but if you feel its power is too good, make it so that all figures, when first effected by it, could be given an 4vsIQ roll as a free save. If they make it, they are not at the -2 DX penalty and don't have to spend an action to throw off the effect.

Warm regards, Rick.

Last edited by Rick_Smith; 06-26-2018 at 02:06 AM.
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Old 06-26-2018, 02:43 AM   #7
Skarg
 
Join Date: May 2015
Default Re: Staff, mana, stored ST

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Jackson View Post
Here is why I want to do *something* along this line: For RPG scenarios as I see them, I think that limiting a wiz to his ST is a bit too limiting Fine for the one-on-one fights in WIZARD, not so fine if there will be multiple encounters. Some GMs will have patience with multiple iterations of "we sit and rest," others not so much.
If this is the only reasoning, then I'd suggest considering having the staff mana merely restore the wizard's spellcasting fatigue at a rate of one ST per minute or so, but not be usable for casting spells itself.

As written, I think the what staffs actually invite is the tactic of charging them to the max and then using them to the max on hard targets. It will be fun and powerful to think of all the things you can do all in one encounter with all that extra strength. I think that temptation will often out-weigh their use to prudently pace it's consumption throughout a labyrinth run, even though that is likely the most efficient thing to do overall.

So... I think if wizards can use all the spell mana in a combat, they will tend to use it up quickly... and then want to go recharge it for a day or two, somewhat defeating the purpose except for being able to point out that they could have rationed their supply, which maybe they'll learn eventually.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Jackson View Post
I really don't want to create a new stat for the wizard himself - for one thing, that breaks WIZARD badly.
I don't follow. Isn't the staff mana attribute essentially a new stat?

Also, given it can be jewelry (I can already hear players asking if they can implant it in themselves), it seems effectively pretty close to just saying wizards have a mana stat themselves that recharges more slowly than their physical ST.



One odd thing about having "staff" mana bought with EP is that starting characters have no EP, so 32-point wizards will all be "slightly above average people compared to the population" and likely have the staff spell but not managed to develop any mana ability for it yet. But they will by getting EP... which is from roleplaying? Also it's not yet clear how NPCs / non-adventurer wizards develop staff mana.
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Old 06-26-2018, 03:34 AM   #8
zot
 
Join Date: May 2018
Default Re: Staff, mana, stored ST

Here's a slightly different staff model: staffs as "mana flow" optimizers that let a wizard "draw in advance" on ST that would normally be available through resting.
  1. Casting: staffs replenish ST as you use it, allowing you to use your full ST for spell casting but since you don't cast directly from a staff, the only way to cast spells with greater than your ST is through the Aid spell.
  2. Capacity: storage capacity starts at zero and grows up to IQ, or double for Staff of Power. Each gained attribute adds 1/8 to the capacity, so getting SoP will double your current capacity but if you get it at the start, that will be zero.
  3. Replenishment: staffs replenish in a very short time between combats, because they "pull" power from the environment.
  4. Ultimiate capacity: the environment pulls back, however, so pulling ST gets harder and harder, the more frequently replenishment happens; maximum potential replenishment corresponds to the remaining hours before "mana strain" forces the wizard to refrain from magical activity and sleep, the absolute maximum total capacity being 1 ST / 15 minutes = 96 ST in one day.

Reasoning
  1. This is really a clarification but it has never been clear, either with ST batteries or with staffs.
  2. This is a simple way to have staff capacity grow gradually without extra accounting.
  3. This addresses the concern in the original post about frequent rest times between encounters and also gets rid of a lot of picky time / ST accounting.
  4. Staffs become a "line of credit" for ST / day, they can replenish quickly but a wizard with a staff still can't access more ST / day than a wizard without one.

Last edited by zot; 06-26-2018 at 06:23 AM. Reason: clarification
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Old 06-26-2018, 05:44 AM   #9
ecz
 
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Default Re: Staff, mana, stored ST

“Howitzers!”

seriously now...
I have created in my games a new spell called "Strenght in the Staff" Special, I do not remember IQ level and cost, sorry. It allows to store a special one-use ST "charge" in the Wizard's Staff.

The Wizard can use the strenght stored in the staff for a single hit of five dice of damage, or as "battery" to drain instantly up to 4 ST points for one spell.
After each use, even if partial, the Staff must be re-charged recasting the "Strenght in the Staff" spell.

it does not cost an action activate the spell, it's automatic (it has been already cast into the item). The Wizard just decide to use the 4 ST stored for spells like a battery OR for a melee supershot of five dice of damage (assuming he will hit the target in his only attempt).

The problem is that this spell could ruin the staff if abused. Each time the Wizard casts the spell to recharge his staff, in case of critical failure the staff breaks, and the wizard takes damage as per normal rules when someone not authorized touches the Staff.

Same happens when the wizard rolls 17/18 in his 3d/DX "special" attack to hit the target during combat or casts a spell using the Staff's "charge".

So it's better do not abuse.

It's a tipical combat spell I think gives more options to magic users
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Last edited by ecz; 06-26-2018 at 05:49 AM.
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Old 06-26-2018, 06:13 AM   #10
luguvalium
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Default Re: Staff, mana, stored ST

I like the idea of mana and tying it to the staff. Instead of having it automatically be part of Staff, how about a Mana Spell maybe around IQ10? It allows for the transfer of magical energy from the wizard to object, starting with their staff. This way the Staff spell is as it always has been. Mana spell adds mana ability to staff, and Staff of Power is as it has always been, but allows Mana spell to be cast on it again to allow for double capacity.

Maybe Mana spell can also be the perquisite for other magical item creation?

What is the relationship between staff mana and a strength battery? Maybe the strength battery is one time use, while the staff mana is rechargeable.

Last edited by luguvalium; 06-26-2018 at 06:19 AM.
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