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Old 08-06-2012, 11:52 PM   #1
Stix4armz
 
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Default PLEASE HELP! Spell interpretation issue.

Okay so the issue that I'm having is with the spell Bloodsucking Branches (Magic: Plant Spells pg. 11). It says in the first line: "Temporarily transforms all rooted, branching plants in the area into vampiric organisms."

So how would that affect a tree? If I cast it in 1 yard radius and envelop the entire base of the tree it's in the area, not all of the branches will be since the crown of the tree will hang over into other hexes. The way I am interpreting it is that the whole tree becomes vampiric because the tree is in the area of affect, but my gm is insisting that it is only vampiric in the area of effect.

The tree is a rooted, branching plant in the area, but not all of its branches are in the area. There seems to be a conflict between how area spells work and the way this spell was written up, mainly because the spell seems to have been written up with smaller plants, like bushes or hedges, in mind.

I'm hoping that ya'll could weigh in and let me know what you think of this. Thanks.
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Old 08-07-2012, 12:05 AM   #2
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Default Re: PLEASE HELP! Spell interpretation issue.

I am the GM of his game, and so would like to add my input for discussion.

A goblin is climbing through the canopy of a tree. He is about 3 yards from the tree trunk.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Magic: Plant Spells, p. 11
Any living, DR 0 creature (ignoring any DR with the Tough Skin limitation) who stops or walks through an affected hex is “stung” – branches lash out, puncture the skin, and begin drawing blood.
With a one yard radius, centered on the tree trunk, the spell would not affect the goblin, because he is not stopping or walking through the affected hex (the tree trunk).

Internal consistency seems to dictate that for plants larger than 1 yard, only the part of the plant within the area of effect would become vampiric.

Otherwise I see potential abuse when finding large plants. The caster would just have to cast it on any part of the tree, and the whole thing would become vampiric. A tree that has a canopy 20 yards in radius would become a giant vampire tree for 2 energy (free if the caster knows it at level 20).

That doesn't seem to balance for regular spells which increase vastly in cost depending on the SM of the subject.
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Old 08-07-2012, 12:08 AM   #3
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Default Re: PLEASE HELP! Spell interpretation issue.

In general, Area spells will affect any entity which is at least partially within the area. I think this was clarified in a thread on how to cast spells on Ogres and Giants, who may fill a different area depending on whether they're standing up or lying down. For the purpose of Plant spells, it makes sense to treat a tree as a single entity. If your GM insists that this isn't the case, he should at least allow you to "stack" the spell's area to extend it upwards; otherwise there really isn't any way to affect the entirety of most trees.
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Old 08-07-2012, 12:40 AM   #4
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Default Re: PLEASE HELP! Spell interpretation issue.

Quote:
Originally Posted by vierasmarius View Post
In general, Area spells will affect any entity which is at least partially within the area.
For reference, where do you read that?

Quote:
...otherwise there really isn't any way to affect the entirety of most trees.
In this specific case, though, there isn't a need to affect the entirety of the tree. Two goblins are climbing through the branches. They are about the same altitude, and 3 yards away from each other. Any other area spell would need an area of at least radius 3 for 3 times the base cost. Why should this spell be any different? It doesn't say that it defies the normal rules for Area spells in its description.
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Old 08-07-2012, 12:45 AM   #5
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Default Re: PLEASE HELP! Spell interpretation issue.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cltchrn View Post
I am the GM of his game, and so would like to add my input for discussion.
That doesn't seem to balance for regular spells which increase vastly in cost depending on the SM of the subject.
your options as I see them:
1 - if PC wants to affect the whole tree, then he has to pay the energy for the required area;
2 - just charge him the energy for affecting the whole tree - much like applying massive range penalties with a spell targeted on someone miles away when the PC thought they were in the next room - you wanted a vampire tree, you got a vampire tree, it just cost you your life;
3 - make him target the correct area - like chucking grenades.
I remember height is greater than the width but can't recall the height off-hand but perhaps the goblin is too high anyway, eg 1yd radius, 4 yd high, but that might be walls.
4 - take it in the spirit written, ie any root&branch plant in the area of effect becomes vampiric.

EDIT in light of your reply: area 2, centred between 2 targets with 3 yards separation, is sufficient.
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Last edited by jacobmuller; 08-07-2012 at 12:50 AM.
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Old 08-07-2012, 01:12 AM   #6
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Default Re: PLEASE HELP! Spell interpretation issue.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jacobmuller View Post
your options as I see them:
1 - if PC wants to affect the whole tree, then he has to pay the energy for the required area;
I assume you mean the entire area for the tree, which is how I am understanding the spell as written, and rules for Area spells in general, as written.

Quote:
2 - just charge him the energy for affecting the whole tree - much like applying massive range penalties with a spell targeted on someone miles away when the PC thought they were in the next room - you wanted a vampire tree, you got a vampire tree, it just cost you your life;
Not sure how to do that practically. It's not like he couldn't tell how large the tree was; he's right underneath it.

Quote:
3 - make him target the correct area - like chucking grenades.
I remember height is greater than the width but can't recall the height off-hand but perhaps the goblin is too high anyway, eg 1yd radius, 4 yd high, but that might be walls.
How would a 1 yard radius affect both goblins? How is that like throwing grenades? The spell does not "explode" to affect the surrounding areas. Even if they are too high, he could target the area in the branches—not on the ground.

Quote:
4 - take it in the spirit written, ie any root&branch plant in the area of effect becomes vampiric.
This is somewhat ambiguous. We all know what the spell says. We are disagreeing over what that means.

Quote:
EDIT in light of your reply: area 2, centred between 2 targets with 3 yards separation, is sufficient.
That is incorrect. If they are three yards away from each other (3 empty hexes between them), a 2 yard radius (3 yards across), centered between them, would miss both of them.
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Old 08-07-2012, 03:46 AM   #7
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Default Re: PLEASE HELP! Spell interpretation issue.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cltchrn View Post
How would a 1 yard radius affect both goblins? How is that like throwing grenades? The spell does not "explode" to affect the surrounding areas. Even if they are too high, he could target the area in the branches—not on the ground.
at the time of writing I only knew of one goblin
Quote:
Originally Posted by cltchrn View Post
That is incorrect. If they are three yards away from each other (3 empty hexes between them), a 2 yard radius (3 yards across), centered between them, would miss both of them.
Yeah, doh! Even with the Area spells in front of me I wrote the wrong value:)

Not that it matters when what you actually want is a definitive answer from Rev P Kitty or somesuch.
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Old 08-07-2012, 04:32 AM   #8
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Default Re: PLEASE HELP! Spell interpretation issue.

The way I see I, the Area spell turns multiple plants in the area, not a single targeted plant like a Regular spells is the key.

I would rule the intent of the spell not to care if the plant has parts out side of the area... it only the plants (and parts of plants) in the area effected.

Personally I would have expected more of an issue coming from the fact the area spell is not centered on the ground, than coming from using the Regular spell effects logic for an area spells.

From What is an hex?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kromm View Post
The height of spell effects isn't consistent, unfortunately (and were I to rebuild the game from 1986, "hexes as units" is of those things that I'd get rid of, in favor of m, m, and m). The most general rule – from p. B239 and Magic, p. 11 – is: "They are cast on a surface – floor, ground, etc. – and their effects extend four yards (12 feet) up from that surface." There are tons of exceptions, though. Fire spells "shoot six feet high"; Earth, Water, etc. magic works with volumes, from which you must back-calculate depths from areas; and many spells specify idiosyncratic heights, like the various Dome spells, which are actually spheres with a radius equal to the spell radius, and so have variable height depending on where you're standing.
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Last edited by roguebfl; 08-07-2012 at 04:45 AM.
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Old 08-07-2012, 09:41 AM   #9
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Default Re: PLEASE HELP! Spell interpretation issue.

Alright that all makes sense to me; the way I understood it on first reading led me to interpret it differently. I'm good with the answers I got.

You win cltchrn. : )
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Old 08-07-2012, 10:30 AM   #10
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Default Re: PLEASE HELP! Spell interpretation issue.

Area Spells works just like Regular Spells (Pg. 11 of Magic). This means that they effect anything Human Sized within their area. For anything larger you'd need to spend extra energy, just like with a regular spell.

So if you cast a 50 yrd radius spell over a bunch of goblins and 10 foot tall trolls that are attacking, even though all of them are completely within the area of effect, you aren't going to effect the trolls. They are too big. You'd need to spend twice the energy in order to effect them (since they are SM+1).

So in your example, the tree is withing the area of effect, but too big to be effected. The player could have effected it though, he'd just have to pay a lot more energy
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