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Old 07-07-2022, 03:49 PM   #1
Plane
 
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Default Krait's Summon Wolf vs Yzor's Illusion Wolf

I was checking out this example combat on pg 23 and the descriptions of the spells after pg 12 (Wizard Reference Pages aren't numbered) and it raised some questions...

Assuming you had access to both spells (Summon Wolf at Krait's IQ 9 is accessible earlier than Illusion at Yzor's IQ 11) would the benefits of Summon Wolf be worth the drawbacks?

The spells have identical damage outputs (illusions have same stats as real things)

Illusions are cheaper, since you pay ST 2 once, and it will last 12 turns (averaging 0.083 ST per turn) whereas you're looking at an expensive 1 ST/turn for maintaining a summon.

Summons do have the small benefit of "get a final hit in" if you get knocked out but that doesn't seem incredibly useful.

I think it's actually offset by the vulnerability to Control Animal spell - an illusion hit by Control Animal will just vanish (you're deprived of ally but enemy doesn't gain anything) whereas Control Animal hitting a Summon Wolf will per pg 15's Summoned Creatures rule give them control of it.

One advantage to a real wolf I guess is I think vanishing when hit w/ Control Animal is automatic for illusions (guaranteed deprivation of ally) whereas losing control of your Summoned Wolf only happens if it fails the Saving Roll.

Control Animal (T) is not a guarantee though since it involves a DX roll to use successfully, and you lose the ST cost if you critfail (pg 11 mentions "the wizard loses the full ST cost of the spell" not sure if that applies with normal DX fails)

Disbelief is obviously the biggest problem with Illusion since EVERYONE with IQ 7+ knows it (not sure if it counts against the IQ limit of spells or is free beyond that) where the illusion-controller has to roll above the Disbeliever's IQ to maintain the illusion.

Disbelief doesn't have a ST cost listed so I assume it is 0 (Krait isn't shown losing any ST when he does it), so that's like a free dismissal, except of course for it using up your turn like a normal spell ("use mental energy to dispel" .. it's not exactly a savings throw since you're dispelling it from affecting other allies too) though assigning a cost like 1 might be reasonable to make illusions more competetive with summons.

This begs an interesting question about the combat - how do you roleplay when an illusion is "suspected"?

We are told "Krait tries to disbelieve Yzor's wolf" and conveniently Yzor's wolf IS an illusion ... but why did Yzor not attempt to disbelieve in Krait's (real, summoned) wolf?

Unless he knew ahead of time "Krait is too low-IQ to learn illusion so that wolf MUST be real, can't disbelieve it" it seems like (given the low cost of illusions to create for long durations) you should pre-emptively attempt to disbelieve in any wolf you see in case it's an illusion, since that's a free net gain of 2 ST in the contest with your opponent.

This 'faking out' in Fantasy Trip Wizards happens a 2nd time in this fight, we see "Krait fakes a protective spell on himself." in turn 2 (he does nothing else)

This seems to work because instead of Yzor sending his Illusion Wolf to attack Krait, he instead sends the Illusion Wolf to attack the Summoned Wolf. It makes sense since wolves only subtract 1 hit from incoming damage, whereas something like Stone Flesh subtracts 4 hits.

Stone Flesh is an IQ 13 spell though... for Krait's ruse to fool Yzor, Yzor has to belief Krait's IQ is at least 13 .. which means Yzor should believe that Krait is capable of casting Illusion, which brings into question again why Yzor did not try Disbelieve.

I guess he opted for Dazzle since as an AE it hits both Krait and his wolf (real or otherwise) and maybe he figured he could have his Illusion Wolf kill/hinder Krait's wolf more rapidly than a possibly-pointless-disbelieve would?

Krait OTOH perhaps had the luxury of attempting a Disbelieve since Yzor was already on the ropes Disengaging from the attack of Krait's wolf, and knew Yzor would be baited into having his 2nd wolf attack Krait's 1st wolf instead of Krait himself, especially w/ the feigned armor spell?
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Old 07-07-2022, 04:01 PM   #2
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Default Re: Krait's Summon Wolf vs Yzor's Illusion Wolf

When you are up against a high IQ foe it's sometimes nice to Illusion duplicate a non-Illusion figure so that your target has a 50/50 chance of wasting her disbelief on something that can't be disbelieved.


For example: https://youtu.be/fHKaUPd9cLk
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Old 07-07-2022, 04:39 PM   #3
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Default Re: Krait's Summon Wolf vs Yzor's Illusion Wolf

realizing now that 'Dispel Illusions' is a good counter to clustered illusions, so you wouldn't want to have them form a defensive ring around you, but if you spread them out to seek and destroy enemies the DI spell doesn't counter that well

If someone was spamming Wolf Illusion at you, one counter might be to find a natural choke-point in a dungeon and use Create Wall to stop their advance. AFAIK those walls don't have ST to be destroyable by damage, so the only way to make it go away is if the enemy wizard knows the Destroy Creation spell.

Destroy Creation is cheaper but since it is Thrown there is a -1 to DX per hex penalty to destroy the wall from a distance, so it might fail, and failed spells still cost 1 ST.

Lightning is another option if it inflicts 5 hits in a single hit, but you'd need to use a 2 ST one to have good odds of that.

Spell Shield would protect against both of those but it has summon-like ongoing costs (1 per turn) so only benefits if you REALLY need to keep those wolves back because there's no further choke points to fall back to and create a new wall.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hcobb View Post
When you are up against a high IQ foe it's sometimes nice to Illusion duplicate a non-Illusion figure so that your target has a 50/50 chance of wasting her disbelief on something that can't be disbelieved.

For example: https://youtu.be/fHKaUPd9cLk
prob even cheaper to use Image (only costs 1 ST instead of 2 ST) especially since it's an IQ 8 spell available to all wizards

spamming a bunch of Wolf Image could prob put someone on the ropes (they won't know it's not a Wolf Illusion, after all) and you could just mentally command your illusions to miss their targets (since contact will dispel them) with what seems like lucky failed DX checks.

In the example, if Krait has used Image:Wolf then Yzor's 2 ST on Dazzle would put him at a net disadvantage, and actually compound the illusion it was a dangerous wolf ("Lucky I cast Dazzle or it would have bit me!")

Dazzle made a huge diff in that fight since otherwise Krait's wolf would've gotten an attack on Yzor as he Disengaged.

The lack of range penalties on creation spells (unlike thrown spells no -1 per hex) makes creation spells pretty terrifying...

The rationale here is "since they must appear within a limited area anyway" but how limited? "canappear anywhere in the space defined by the wizard's megahex and all
megahexes adjacent to it." (later defined as a "mega-megahex") is pretty versatile! A megahex is anywhere a yard away, while a "mega-megahex" would be anywhere within 3 yards. Personally I don't see the harm in doing a -1 per yard (up to max of -3)

Guess that explains why this mage duel started at about 12 yards distant.

- -

if we assume all wizards at some point (prior to campaign start for those with higher IQs) began at IQ 8 then they could only have 7/8 of the spells their IQ would allow:
1) Blur
2) Disbelieve
3) Drop Weapon
4) Image
5) Magic Fist
6) Slow Movement
7) Staff
Based on that, a wizard NOT knowing these spells would make zero sense to me

It's only at IQ 9 (when 7 options unlock but you only have 2 left) where diverging paths would begin to make sense.

Otherwise it seems prime to start out with an IQ mage who knows the higher-level spells as his allotment, because if you started out as low-IQ you would have to intentionally start out with fewer spells than you're capable of knowing to keep those slots free to learn higher-IQ spells once you buy your IQ up.

If these used prereqs like GURPS it'd also help minimize that weirdness, like if you had to learn 1-hex Fire to learn 3-hex Fire, or 1-hex Image to learn 4-hex Image.
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Old 07-07-2022, 05:57 PM   #4
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Default Re: Krait's Summon Wolf vs Yzor's Illusion Wolf

ITL 100 (under Nuisance Creatures) notes that children can have reasonable levels of IQ. Therefore they can train up on high IQ spells before they grow into the ST and DX to reliably cast these. They can even have trained on spells that cost more than their total ST thanks to the Aid spell.

There are spells that require lower level spells, and this is mostly just the different levels of Staff. So a wizard with a mana stat has put at least two memory points into learning Staff then Staff II. On the other tentacle the 7-hex Illusion spell includes all the lower level Illusion spells at no additional cost.

The current rules do not allow the "saving" of memory points so you must spend all of your memory points at start, within the limits of your DX and IQ. Once DX and IQ points cost 1000 or more XPs each it might be time to consider adding additional talents or spells for only 500 XP per memory point.
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Old 07-07-2022, 08:52 PM   #5
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Default Re: Krait's Summon Wolf vs Yzor's Illusion Wolf

Plane,
The main drawback, as you have noted already, to illusions over summoned is the fact they can be disbelieved. You need to judge how smart is your foe before casting illusion. If you can cast it while out of his sight, then at least that is one turn less for them to disbelieve it, or if they don't see you a wizard around, then maybe they won't try at all.

For example, create a 1 hex shadow, then create an illusion of a gargoyle in it. They cannot disbelieve the gargoyle since it is hidden. The next turn it can move and attack. So it flying into HTH on top of your foe. Since there is no disbelief option in HTH, you have now bested him.

Another big drawback of illusions is they cannot manipulate the real world. For example, if you think a door is trapped you can summon a myrmidon to open it. But an illusion cannot open a door or trigger a trap.
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Old 07-07-2022, 08:53 PM   #6
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Default Re: Krait's Summon Wolf vs Yzor's Illusion Wolf

BTW, I assume all wizards start learning magic AFTER their starting IQ was established. This makes sense as per Henry's (hcobb) post above.
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Old 07-08-2022, 02:51 PM   #7
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Default Re: Krait's Summon Wolf vs Yzor's Illusion Wolf

Quote:
Originally Posted by hcobb View Post
ITL 100 (under Nuisance Creatures) notes that children can have reasonable levels of IQ. Therefore they can train up on high IQ spells before they grow into the ST and DX to reliably cast these. They can even have trained on spells that cost more than their total ST thanks to the Aid spell.
Wouldn't you also need Literacy and some kind of spellcasting talent to become a wizard? I thought the only spell non-wizards could learn was Disbelieve.

*checks pg 144 of ITL* looks like I need to read up on talents/languages

languages would prob be most useful if you find books since then 1 language x 2 books = 2 spells for 1 slot (albeit taking up both hands and preventing you using your staff)

Quote:
Originally Posted by hcobb View Post
There are spells that require lower level spells, and this is mostly just the different levels of Staff. So a wizard with a mana stat has put at least two memory points into learning Staff then Staff II.
The early work on the 5 tiers of Staff implies learning them only counts as one spell once you upgrade, but

Quote:
Originally Posted by hcobb View Post
On the other tentacle the 7-hex Illusion spell includes all the lower level Illusion spells at no additional cost.
*checks pg 30* yeah I guess "no more than 7" would let you make a 1-hex illusion if you wanted, but wouldn't it still cost 5 ST so owning the 11 IQ version would allow you to do 1-hex illusions at merely 2 ST, which would explain why you wouln't skip the prereqs.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hcobb View Post
The current rules do not allow the "saving" of memory points so you must spend all of your memory points at start, within the limits of your DX and IQ. Once DX and IQ points cost 1000 or more XPs each it might be time to consider adding additional talents or spells for only 500 XP per memory point.
I wasn't aware you could purchase beyond the IQ limit on spells via EP/XP, guess staying within the limits is more attractive since it's "free" with the attribute upgrade?

Talents weren't something part of the 70s/80s game AFAIK (or maybe they were in Advanced Melee, have not read that yet) so I need to review that, they do sound pretty important.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Axly Suregrip View Post
You need to judge how smart is your foe before casting illusion. If you can cast it while out of his sight, then at least that is one turn less for them to disbelieve it, or if they don't see you a wizard around, then maybe they won't try at all.
Unless there's some obvious difference between how Illusion Wolf and Summon Wolf manifest I'm not really sure why IQ9 Krait somehow gleaned that using Disbelief on Yzor's Illusion was a good idea, yet Yzor gleaned that using Disbelief on Krait's Summon was a bad idea.

Almost seems metagame how each of them knew what the appropriate response was - Yzor didn't bother wasting effort trying to disbelieve the summon while Krait made a wise gamble on an appropriate target.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Axly Suregrip View Post
BTW, don't forget animals (IQ 2 to 6) still get a free disbelief. (see ITL pg 138, "Disbelief by Animals".) Once for the pack of them. Sometimes the animals get lucky and it always happens at the worst time. ;-)
*reviews changes* looks like GMs make the roll now, instead of the illusion-maker...

I couldn't find this in TFTwizards but then remembered it got introduced in pg 5 of Advanced Wizard.

Definitely a good reason to have a pet parrot familiar riding around on your character's shoulder (truth: every dungeon delver in TFT is now a pirate) since it gets a free disbelief to dispel illusions. Doesn't even sound like it costs them a turn to do that, unlike with IQ7+ characters who know the spell (can make multiple attempts until the illusion goes away) but need to spend a turn on each attempt.

This seems like an especially good defense for the unnatural illusions (like dragon illusion) since animals get to roll a 2-die save whereas humans iq7+ need to roll 3d each time (guess the parrot has more common sense)

The "group of animals" drawback (you only get 1 roll instead of multiple, reducing your ability to brute-force illusions) could be avoided by having your menagerie of pets encounter the illusions you want to dispel separately. This is why you hood your pet falcon, you only unhood him so he gets a 2nd free Disbelief if your parrot fails, so there's sequential IQ checks instead of a group one.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shostak View Post
Despite being able to be disbelieved, illusions can still be effective against foes with very high IQs, like dragons. Each turn they spend disbelieving is a turn they donít spend dealing out damage.
This is why it's hard to believe a dragon would want to be a solitary creature, as it would be advantageous for a dragon to have a bunch of pets scattered around it's gold horde so that the dragon's kitten or the dragon's puppy will use their auto-disbelieve IQ check to dispel illusionary attackers against the dragon and the dragon's time is freed up to breathe fire or stomp the wiz who made the illusions, etc.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shostak View Post
Keep creating illusions and soon the dragon is overwhelmed by your real and illusory friends.
Since the dragon can only disbelief 1 illusion per turn, a pair of mages outputting two illusions per turn definitely could have that dragon outnumbered.

Especially if you built up your "illusion army" at the start of the fight and rushed the dragon.

Also if you find a lot of gear that can be used for ranged combat (ideally bow and arrow, throwing spears, etc) but even just random throwable objects (random rocks) then if you created a bunch of 1-hex warrior illusions, they could use their hands to throw those real rocks at the dragon from a distance.

Being at a distance, would the dragon possibly be penalized at -1/hex in using Disbelieve to try and dispel the illusions? Disbelieve is a spell so it needs to fall into one of the four categories... Throw seems like the best match since Throwing is the spell category used for other illusion-busting spells like Control Animal or Destroy Creation.

an even better way to frustrate Disbelievers might be the Image spell though (edit: looks like you already pointed this out!)... Disbelieve is only listed as being able to dispel illusions (not images) so you could create an army of Image Wolves and the dragon would bang his head against a wall trying to Disbelieve in wolves he can't actually dispel.

If you fail a Disbelieve against an image, you shouldn't know whether that means you failed your IQ check or if it's a non-illusion (like a summon or image) which should realistically provoke greater checks.

You can of course find out an image is fake when you HIT it (or get suspicion when it keeps "missing" you with it's wolf bites) but at that point it's closed range and you're in danger if you're wrong and it's actually an illusion or summon capable of hurting you.

Low-damage high-AE attacks (like fire breath) are probably useful for stuff like that. If it's merely singed, then it's an illusion/summon, if it vanishes it was an image.

Not sure if there are tricks humans lacking fire breath could use ... like what if you had a handful of pebbles and you just lobbed it spread out over several hexes to hit a group of incoming wolves to check if they're images?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shostak View Post
many GMs will declare an illusion of a warrior disappears on a break- or drop-weapon result.
Do you mean an image of a warrior? Not sure why wrecking a real weapon wielded by an illusion would disappear the illusion, it's not like Control Animal or Control Human, is it?
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Old 07-08-2022, 08:43 PM   #8
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Default Re: Krait's Summon Wolf vs Yzor's Illusion Wolf

"Do you mean an image of a warrior? Not sure why wrecking a real weapon wielded by an illusion would disappear the illusion, it's not like Control Animal or Control Human, is it?"

Illusions must remain one piece. See ITL 139 just before the Fire/Wall/Shadow section. So, it cannot shoot arrows. Thus a weapon being dropped or broken has a piece coming off... which it cannot so the piece would just disappear. Some GM's believe this is enough to break the illusion or at the very least make it so obvious that it is not real that it is instantly disbelieved. Other GM's handle it in other ways or just say no one notices.
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Old 07-08-2022, 10:09 PM   #9
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Default Re: Krait's Summon Wolf vs Yzor's Illusion Wolf

Quote:
Originally Posted by Plane View Post
Wouldn't you also need Literacy and some kind of spellcasting talent to become a wizard? I thought the only spell non-wizards could learn was Disbelieve.
No, literacy is not a requirement found in the rules. Some GMs might apply it at their table, though. See my blog for how I like to treat the issue.

Quote:

The early work on the 5 tiers of Staff implies learning them only counts as one spell once you upgrade
Each staff spell is a separate spell.

Quote:
"no more than 7" would let you make a 1-hex illusion if you wanted, but wouldn't it still cost 5 ST so owning the 11 IQ version would allow you to do 1-hex illusions at merely 2 ST, which would explain why you wouln't skip the prereqs.
No, Illusion is contained in the multi-hex illusion spells; it is not a prerequisite the way lower staff spells are for higher ones.

Quote:
I wasn't aware you could purchase beyond the IQ limit on spells via EP/XP, guess staying within the limits is more attractive since it's "free" with the attribute upgrade?
I think that the Legacy Edition of ITL does not give a memory point to spend on a talent or spell when increasing IQ. (see ITL 45 for how to learn new talents).



Quote:
Being at a distance, would the dragon possibly be penalized at -1/hex in using Disbelieve to try and dispel the illusions?
The rules never mention a penalty for range for disbelieving.

Quote:
Do you mean an image of a warrior? Not sure why wrecking a real weapon wielded by an illusion would disappear the illusion, it's not like Control Animal or Control Human, is it?
Seconding Axly's answer.
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Old 07-11-2022, 12:29 PM   #10
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Default Re: Krait's Summon Wolf vs Yzor's Illusion Wolf

Quote:
Originally Posted by Plane View Post
if we assume all wizards at some point (prior to campaign start for those with higher IQs) began at IQ 8 then they could only have 7/8 of the spells their IQ would allow:
1) Blur
2) Disbelieve
3) Drop Weapon
4) Image
5) Magic Fist
6) Slow Movement
7) Staff
Based on that, a wizard NOT knowing these spells would make zero sense to me
Why assume wizards learn 7 spells at IQ 8? I'd say higher-IQ starting wizards were probably IQ 8 at some point during their childhood, and might not even have learned any spells at that point.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Plane View Post
It's only at IQ 9 (when 7 options unlock but you only have 2 left) where diverging paths would begin to make sense.

Otherwise it seems prime to start out with an IQ mage who knows the higher-level spells as his allotment, because if you started out as low-IQ you would have to intentionally start out with fewer spells than you're capable of knowing to keep those slots free to learn higher-IQ spells once you buy your IQ up.
That's how it worked in original TFT, yes, and seems still to be close to the assumption for how it works for NPCs or for PCs before they enter play. And, some people play with a mix of the systems, where increasing your IQ during play does let you then study spells up to your IQ without having to spend XP for them - this solves quite a few gripes some people have with the Legacy XP system for learning spells and talents.
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