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Old 08-29-2020, 03:18 PM   #1
Plane
 
Join Date: Aug 2018
Default Counterspell / Suspend spell vs 0-cost spells

M121 makes the cost to cast either of these a fraction of the cost of the spell it's targeting (round up 1/10 in case of suspend, no mention of rounding for counter)

Some ongoing spells do not cost ANY energy to cast though:

M150 Steal Energy is described like something ongoing in the fluff:
The spell stops when the casterís FP is fully restored, when the caster decides to stop, or when the subjectís FP reaches 0 and the subject falls unconscious.
Same with M150 Steal Vitality:
The spell stops when the casterís HP is fully restored, when the caster decides to stop, or when the subjectís HP reaches -1 (which automatically kills the subject).
Normally "the caster decides to stop" premature ending involves spending 1 FP to end a spell, but it sounds like this 1 FP fee is avoided for these two...

The crunch is a different matter though since it's described as "permanent" rather than "ongoing". I think that might be intended to mean "HP loss is permanent, HP recovery is permanent" but that author might've intended some kind of "ongoing effect of HP loss" happening from it.

We're not actually given a "time it takes for 1 HP to transfer from target to caster" but rather a CASTING TIME which I think might've sort of been meant to represent that in some way.

"1 minute for every .. drained" is a variable casting time ...

since "the spell stops" you don't actually know up front how much HP you will drain unless you actually know how much HP your target has...

meaning that perhaps these two are some weird situation that gives partial effects AS the spell is cast, rather than waiting until the end? That's pretty much how Missile Spells like Fireball work since the 'Enlarge' periods have been considered part of 'casting time' in the spell lists.

Fireballs also work differently if concentration is interrupted, since it results in dropping whatever you're holding rather than the entire thing fizzling out.
With Steal Energy/Vitality I expect any damage you inflicted (and HP you recovered) from previous successful minutes stays, you just fizzle whatever theft you were currently working on?

M180 Conduct/Steal/Draw Power

The latter three DO have maintenance costs, so I'm wondering if maybe those ought to be used rather than taking a "free to counter/suspend" approach to them?
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Old 08-30-2020, 04:17 PM   #2
Anaraxes
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Default Re: Counterspell / Suspend spell vs 0-cost spells

For these spells, calculate the cost to cast from the base cost of the subject spell, before subtracting any savings from skill that any particular mage might have (neither the caster of Counterspell/Suspend nor the caster of the subject spell). Given that number, you can subtract the Counter/Suspending mage's skill benefit from his personal cost to affect the spell.
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Old 08-31-2020, 01:39 AM   #3
Plane
 
Join Date: Aug 2018
Default Re: Counterspell / Suspend spell vs 0-cost spells

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anaraxes View Post
For these spells, calculate the cost to cast from the base cost of the subject spell, before subtracting any savings from skill that any particular mage might have (neither the caster of Counterspell/Suspend nor the caster of the subject spell). Given that number, you can subtract the Counter/Suspending mage's skill benefit from his personal cost to affect the spell.
I'm not talking about spells with base 1+ reduced by high skill, but rather ones with base 0 costs.
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Old 08-31-2020, 05:10 AM   #4
Dinadon
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Default Re: Counterspell / Suspend spell vs 0-cost spells

If a caster hasn't finished casting the spell you don't need counterspell. Just incapacitate them first. Counerspell, Suspend spell, Ward, Suspend Magic, and Dispel Magic are all ways of dealing with magic after the casting. Suspend Mana, Suspend Magery, Drain Mana, and Drain Magery need to be used if you want to stop someone while they are casting.

The casting time for Steal Energy and Steal Vitality is based on how much HP/FP you want to steal. If the casting roll fails you get nothing, though you can always keep the target around until you succeed. Or until their rescuers arrive.

Similarly, missile spells aren't present until they are cast. Note that a wizard holding a missile spell has already cast the spell. Throwing the spell isn't part of the casting. This means you could counterspell a missile spell being held. This seems reasonable to me, though I'm not entirely certain. Melee spells are similar.

Steal Power uses casting time, so is covered by the above. This leaves Conduct/Draw Power. They're special spells, but do seem to fit under Counterspells restrictions. However, they very explictly move energy. So one casting could be moving 20 energy, and another could be moving 3 energy. Having Counterspell cost the same in both cases doesn't fit with how it works for other spells, so using the energy moved feels like a better baseline.

So just to reiterate, you seem to be confusing the casting time for a spell with it being ongoing. A spell can only be ongoing once it has been cast.
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Old 08-31-2020, 03:05 PM   #5
Plane
 
Join Date: Aug 2018
Default Re: Counterspell / Suspend spell vs 0-cost spells

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dinadon View Post
If a caster hasn't finished casting the spell you don't need counterspell. Just incapacitate them first.
You are referring I think to the crunch of Steal Vitality and Steal Energy (which seem to function like "instant" spells with long casting times... neither have durations or maintenance costs) which questionably matches with the fluff (which make them sound like "ongoing" spells counter/suspend could work against)

For M180's Conduct Power / Steal Power / Draw Power all three I'm pretty sure are short casting times with ongoing effects, since they have maintenance costs (the necromantic spells do not have maintenance costs or durations)

I agree that's a good option but sometimes a mage has good armor and that's not so easy.

Besides: even if a mage has finished casting a spell, doesn't knocking them out prevent them from maintaining it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dinadon View Post
Counerspell, Suspend spell, Ward, Suspend Magic, and Dispel Magic are all ways of dealing with magic after the casting.
Suspend Mana, Suspend Magery, Drain Mana, and Drain Magery need to be used if you want to stop someone while they are casting.
I think Counterspell probably requires you know what spell you're using them against.

M121 doesn't actually specify that, but how else would you know how much energy to spend or whether to attempt it at all against something you didn't know?) you might need to use something like M102 Identify Spell prior to doing them.

Unless you have some other means of knowing (like the enemy says "I'm casting Blind!" or they're just predictable because they always cast blind first, or because you guess because your ally shouts "I'm blind!")

With that in mind (2 energy and 1 second down the drain) since "Identify Spell" also works to identify "being cast at the moment" spells (in addition to those cast within last 5 seconds) it doesn't seem like that broken of an idea to allow a mage to start casting Counterspell or Suspend spell immediately after Identify Spell tells them what spell is incoming...

Counterspell takes 5 seconds to cast so we're talking about it happening 6 seconds after the attacking caster began... unless you're a high-skilled mage you probably couldn't finish casting it prior to the attacker anyway. If it were possible to "prevent the spell going off" by unleashing Counterspell into the casting, it actually seems like a pretty cool idea.

I realize "nuke that incoming spell before it takes effect" is the realm of "Ward" (M122 Blocking Spell) but given the differences it doesn't seem bad to allow both options.

Ward is going to be cheaper (2 energy) than using Counterspell against spells which cost 5+ energy, and requires no prep time. This gap would only narrow with high-skilled counterspell that would reduce it to 1 second (minimum) or 0 energy. I think this might require high skill in BOTH counterspell and the spell you're countering though, since you use the lesser of the two?

It also appears based on the description that you do NOT actually need to know WHICH spell you're reacting to to use Ward (you just need to know the spell)

If it turns out the spell being cast is not one the defending mage can ward against, the ward is wasted.
IE they do not actually need to specify "Ward Against Blind" but just "Ward Against Any Spell I know at 12+" and they inherently tap into their own skill with whatever spell that is to determine the skill cap on Ward. This is doable since Ward has a fixed cost unrelated to the cost of the spell being warded.

Since Counterspell's cost depends on the spell being countered, there's the implication of the caster needing to specify their intent. Meaning if you guessed the wrong spell or crit failed your Identify Spell (spent the wrong energy) then it's wasted.

Another thing we should keep in mind is that mages aren't always going to know immediate "I'd better cast identify spell!" because first they would actually need to know that spellcasting is happening. That would usually require perception rolls.

That might be easy if it's a low-skilled enemy using a lot of gestures/sound (over a long period of time) but less-so against high-skilled enemies who can omit gesture/sound, or if they can't, at least spend shorter period of time doing them.

When a spell actually goes off, there's presumably a big visible effect to it (unless you enhance w/ Low Signature per Thaumatology) which is why it'd be easy to "react at the last moment" (ie Block with Ward) or "react after it went off" (the usual implied approach of Counterspell).

Counterspell only works on "ongoing" spells so it's technically illegal to allow it to impede a spell before casting is completed. But balance-wise, given the extreme difficulty of using it pre-completion like this, I don't actually see a problem. Basically treat all spells as "ongoing" during the period of their casting.

This would also allow "steal spell" (also traditionally limited to 'ongoing' spells) to interfere with casting, but if it imparted anything, it would be a "partially cast" spell which you'd need to keep casting yourself to complete into anything useful. You'd also have to pay the entire energy cost at the end since the caster

One thing to keep in mind is that if you are interrupted before completing a spell, you might not even lose energy. Closest I can find is M8:
You may ďabortĒ an unfinished spell before it is cast, at no penalty,
I figure "penalty" referring to FP loss but I'm not entirely sure.

If we treated a "preliminary counterspell" as working that way, it seems entirely balanced to do that. This still keeps "Ward" very niche: using it deprives the caster of the FP they spent on the spell, whereas using Counterspell prior to completion would not deprive them of the FP.

The only way Counterspell would deprive is after they completed it...

If someone had the "Continuous Ritual (Counterspell)" perk then it seems fair to allow them to hold off activating it like a Wait maneuver to react just as it went off. "Attacking into a spell" seems a lot like a "Stop Hit" so we might possibly use MA108's rules: treat it as "you both hit" and whoever got the better MoS in their spell gets +1 in the Quick Contest to see if Counterspell works.

Another option might be to use Reflex + Counterspell, and to allow that to work against any spell (including instant ones) rather than only ongoing spells.

Another feather in the cap of Ward: Identify Spell must have a target. So you either need to cast it on some ally you think might be the target of magic (kind of hard to know) or the wizard you think is casting magic (probably easier to figure out if they're mumbling and dancing)

M121 Scryguard PROTECTS against this though. Basically it's two tier:
1) Identify Spell QC v Wizard's Will : success means you detect Scryguard is up (and recognize it if you know what Scryguard is)
2) Identify Spell QC vs Scryguard: success means you can actually see past the SG to recognize whatever spell he's casting (or cast in last 5 seconds).

Scryguard is cheap to maintain (1 energy per 10 hours) so a lot of mages may just have that up all the time (skill 15 = free maintenance, or if using Maintain Spell: 1 energy lasts 50 hours) and many of them will probably put it up as a precaution before casting spells if they think there's another wizard around who might use Counterspell.
not actually sure how to do that though, M101 Detect Magic or M102 Mage Sense? Seek Magic explicitly excludes mages but these don't...
If you pass the 1st contest but not the 2nd, then your only option is to cast Counterspell against Scryguard itself, since that's the only spell you identified. M127 Spellguard could also be used to protect against this!

After that, you could cast Identify Spell a 2nd time, but by that time they might well have finished casting!

Ward doesn't need to worry about that junk.

M122 Conceal Magic is a similar problem, nothing says you can't stack them, so you not only have to worry about winning a 2nd contest, but also get a penalty to casting Identify Spell against stuff that has this up.

M123 Scryfool is another problem that Counterspellers would need to worry about and Warders would not.

I expect these meta defensive spells also probably are subtle to detect too, like even if we assume there's a "flashy obvious poof" when spells are initiated, that could be done ahead of time and then later it's presumably non-obvious without special agbilities? IE we don't assume someone with SF/SG/CM is glowing or humming? Or should it require 'Low Signature' to avoid this?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dinadon View Post
Similarly, missile spells aren't present until they are cast. Note that a wizard holding a missile spell has already cast the spell. Throwing the spell isn't part of the casting. This means you could counterspell a missile spell being held. This seems reasonable to me, though I'm not entirely certain.
It's a nice alternative to needing to wait to use Catch Spell (I wish they'd call that Catch Missile Spell)

Although when I look at how "Throw Spell" modifies other spells (you don't even roll for them until the missile hits) I'm actually not sure if Counterspell would need to target just Throw Spell rather than what it's carrying (prior to impact)
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Old 08-31-2020, 05:12 PM   #6
Anaraxes
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Default Re: Counterspell / Suspend spell vs 0-cost spells

For the spells that have a "native" cost of 0, there seems to be two obvious choices:
(a) Go ahead and do the fraction-of-cost calculation, which is to say 0, just like the base spell
(b) Borrowing from the "generic" rule for stopping spells, just charge a flat 1 FP. You might also add a benny to this rule to use the skill in Counterspell as a discount, so 0 FP for base skill 15+ (making it the same as (a)).

You might prefer (a) if you're worried about a dueling situation where the Steal FP guy wins because he can keep casting for free while his opponent has to waste an FP to stop every cast. (b) is more the TANSTAAFL attitude -- though there are plenty of not-so-minor magical effects that you can do for free, with enough skill.

FWIW, I always interpreted Steal Energy as draining FP at that 3 per minute rate, with the effects occurring at the end of every minute, rather than having some pre-declared amount to drain with the total transfer happening in one lump at the end of the total time. It's a "cast" time because the vampire mage is concentrating on his vampire thing for all that time. Read literally, though, it's a one-time lump-sum transfer at the end of a very long cast time. It's a non-combat-time spell either way, so the difference is only whether you think the victim should be partially drained if the vampire mage has been at it a while before they can interrupt hiim. To me, it seems more dramatic for that drain to be ticking away rather than just a looming Bad Thing in the future, but one where nothing bad happens if you cut the blue wire with 3 seconds remaining in the final minute.
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