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Old 11-25-2021, 04:05 AM   #1
Shaira
 
Join Date: Apr 2019
Default Magic Affecting Multiple Targets

Hi everyone,

I think one of our shared pleasures with TFT is working out what the world of Cidri is like, based on the implications of the official TFT rules. This is never truer than with the magic system; the implications of the official spell list are quite profound for how Wizards and magic work.

For the most part, TFT magic seems relatively low-key. Even at high levels, most spells affect a single target within a fairly limited range, and for a short duration. Spells where a mighty sorcerer might fling a fireball at a horde of goblins don’t really fit within the TFT paradigm. However, spells do exist which allow Wizards to exceed the “one spell, one target, one effect” paradigm. Here’s my potted summary:
  • The Megahex Spells. The Avert, Freeze, and Sleep spells have more powerful variants, Megahex Avert, Megahex Freeze, and Megahex Sleep, as their names imply, affect all targets within a targeted megahex (which presumably means a targeted hex and all adjacent hexes). This potentially allows up to 7 1-hex targets to be affected by a single spell. Generally, the “Megahex” versions of a spell are 5 or 6 IQ points more difficult than their single-hex originals.
  • The Slippery Floor and Sticky Floor spells are automatically “megahex” spells.
  • Spells like Fire and Shadow have more advanced, higher IQ versions with affect 3 or 7 hexes, potentially affecting up to 3 or 7 targets. The Cleansing spell itself may affect up to 7 connected hexes.
  • The Blast spell allows the Wizard to damage targets in every adjacent target to him or herself, again potentially affecting up to 6 targets (or more if the Wizard is a giant, say). The Dazzle spell affects all targets within 5 megahexes for 3 turns, potentially a large number of “targets”. The Friendship spell “calms” everyone within a 10-hex range line-of-sight of the caster.
  • Finally, and this one’s a bit of an outlier because it's IQ 20, the Word of Command can affect a potential huge number of targets, limited only by the range of the Wizard’s voice, which, as ITL makes explicit, can be vastly boosted by the Great Voice spell.

Notable exceptions are spells which control animals or people, or those which do direct damage like Magic Fist, Lightning, etc; none of these spells are able to harm more than one target per casting, regardless of the Wizard’s power.

All of the above, IMHO, fits very tidily within TFT’s initial concept (in WIZARD) as an arena-based man-to-man combat game; its implications when scaled up to apply to a whole world and its societies are, of course, profound.

I’m not really looking to houserule here, but I do have some questions about the RAW. For example:
  • How effective are Wizards on the field of mass battle? Word of Command is obviously going to be rare, but I could imagine a small group of wizards backed up by apprentices causing havoc with judicious use of Megahex spells and 7-hex Fire and Shadow.
  • Is there any circumstance in which a powerful sorcerer could shapechange, geas or control more than one person at a time? By my reading, that’s outside the paradigm, although it might be a moot question as, with turns only 5 seconds long, a Wizard could (ST permitting) geas several targets by casting the Geas spell over several successive turns.
  • The TFT paradigm appears to have no scope for spells affecting the broader environment. For example, large-scale weather control magic exceeding “Fun With Sylphs and Undines” scenes, etc.

I’m cool with magic being small-scale, tactical, and restricted in effect – it makes for a gritty Cidri where Wizards aren’t godlike beings. What are your experiences and opinions?

Cheers,

Sarah

Last edited by Shaira; 11-25-2021 at 06:39 AM.
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Old 11-25-2021, 08:11 AM   #2
hcobb
 
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Default Re: Magic Affecting Multiple Targets

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shaira View Post
a Wizard could (ST permitting)
ST limited battlefield spellcasting: Great Voice for 1 ST and Word of Command Believe: "I am your one true lord and you owe me your absolute obedience." for another 3 ST. Total ST cost is 4. The budget to get to IQ 20 within 40 attributes is to have ST 6 and DX 14. (Or 20 points of Aid DX and a scroll.)

For strength limited siege spellcasting consider a Drain Strength that gathers 5 ST per day from each of your soldiers.
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Old 11-25-2021, 09:07 AM   #3
Axly Suregrip
 
Join Date: Jun 2018
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Default Re: Magic Affecting Multiple Targets

Yes, a wizard in TFT does not have much in the way of large area affecting spells. In particular, no high damaging spells that have an area affect. No grenade-like exploding fireballs.

But they do have area affect, as you noted. Just more subtle and requiring more experienced wizards.

Also, add to your list large summoned creatures (summon large dragon) and by extension 7-hex illusion. These can attack several foes a turn. If the hoards are stupid, you can have several 7 hex dragon illusions (cost 5 each, IQ 16) given enough apprentices or ST batteries.

As far as Control spells go, while it only affects one target, there is no reason your wizard cannot control more than one target at a time. Each will be a separate casting and ST will be your limitation, again.
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Old 11-25-2021, 09:17 AM   #4
David Bofinger
 
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Default Re: Magic Affecting Multiple Targets

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shaira View Post
I think one of our shared pleasures with TFT is working out what the world of Cidri is like, based on the implications of the official TFT rules. This is never truer than with the magic system; the implications of the official spell list are quite profound for how Wizards and magic work.
While this can be fun, I'm not sure I take it all that seriously. If I discover some feature of a spell that implies for instance that all societies should be built around using horses as Aid sources then that doesn't mean I'm going to rewrite my campaign to have that feature. I'm going to stick with the campaign as described and modify the spell if required.

Quote:
Even at high levels, most spells affect a single target within a fairly limited range, and for a short duration. Spells where a mighty sorcerer might fling a fireball at a horde of goblins donít really fit within the TFT paradigm.
It's pretty much inevitable that every time someone sits down to change the magic system they make the power balance between wizards and heroes tilt more toward the wizards. I include the official changes in the Legacy edition in that. Multiple target spells certainly tend to do that.

Quote:
However, spells do exist which allow Wizards to exceed the ďone spell, one target, one effectĒ paradigm. Hereís my potted summary:
Some others:
  • Dazzle
  • Darkness
  • In some sense Reverse Missiles
  • In some sense Dispel Illusions

Quote:
How effective are Wizards on the field of mass battle?
Depends what you mean by a mass battle. Are there wizards on both sides? Whether the lines of sight for disbelief are long or short will affect illusions.

Do both sides have magic items? Protecting wizards from archers will be a big deal.

I suspect Dazzle is going to create a hostile electronic warfare environment.

Quote:
a small group of wizards backed up by apprentices causing havoc with judicious use of Megahex spells and 7-hex Fire and Shadow.
Thrown spells require getting quite close, unless you're assuming Aid DX boosts which I guess is fair. In which case we need to ask how many apprentices we're willing to run down to get a Megahex Sleep on target.

Quote:
Iím cool with magic being small-scale, tactical, and restricted in effect Ė it makes for a gritty Cidri where Wizards arenít godlike beings.
Generally agree. Suppose for the sake of argument we scratched the paradigm-breaking spells so wizards stayed ungodlike. The point maybe isn't that wizards aren't godlike, but that wizards would *never* become godlike no matter how experienced they were. And so a wizard is generally only as good as his crew.
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Old 11-25-2021, 09:19 AM   #5
phiwum
 
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Default Re: Magic Affecting Multiple Targets

I think it's fair to say, Henry, that a 40 attribute wizard with 20 IQ is still pretty damned rare. Especially one with 6 ST (who the hell would take this freeloader on adventures long enough to get 40 attribute points?). I'd say that Shaira's point stands.
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Old 11-25-2021, 10:01 AM   #6
Shaira
 
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Default Re: Magic Affecting Multiple Targets

Hi everyone - thanks for your replies! :) I'm starting to visualise how wizards might work in large-scale battles and sieges - range permitting, so they'd more than likely have to be in the thick of it, which itself is a definite "setting world reality" point. Mage squadrons in howdahs on the back of war indricotheria anyone? And of course large-scale summonings attacking multiple targets. I need to think more about ranges there too.

I just noticed an interesting "multi-target" type mention I hadn't internalised before; ITL p159, Rings of Control, says such a ring can contain up to five instances of the same control spell, allowing the ring to control 5 targets simultaneously. I presume this means taking 5 different actions over 5 separate turns, so no different to a Wizard casting Control Person 5 times at 5 targets over 5 turns, but the wording makes it clear this is a feature of the Rule of Five and nothing too unusual.

I need to chew that over a little. It's not really a multiple target effect, but...

Sarah
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Old 11-25-2021, 10:16 AM   #7
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Default Re: Magic Affecting Multiple Targets

Those subjects who don't submit to Drain Strength become part of the zombie army you're building with that stolen strength of course.
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Old 11-25-2021, 10:22 AM   #8
Shostak
 
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Default Re: Magic Affecting Multiple Targets

Another question is whether wizards tend to put themselves in harmís way or not. Any wizard capable of casting Word of Command is probably going to stay well away from the front lines. Does the Wizardsí Guild discourage its members from getting involved in such things?

Alchemists and Chemists might have a greater role in large battles, since some potions have a long duration and/or can be turned into gas bombs.
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Old 11-25-2021, 10:26 AM   #9
Shaira
 
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Default Re: Magic Affecting Multiple Targets

While I'm thinking about magical items, it occurs to me that a kingdom / empire / polity of sufficient size and age could have access to a Word of Command item, perhaps in the form of a flag, standard, etc, with something like "Surrender", "Flee", or (as Henry suggests) "Obey" written on it which would play havoc if it were to appear in the midst of enemy forces. The caveat is that it would affect *everyone* seeing it, including, say, the bearer of the "Most Holy Standard of Surrender To the Ineffable Emperor". It could bear the word in the Sorcerers' Tongue, so *any* "being" of IQ 2 or higher would have to make a 5/IQ roll to avoid obeying the command.

Items like that would be rare, but would certainly exist - and doubtless be fought over, almost like superweapons in scope. But the delivery system... How would you even handle such an item?

In contrast, an IQ20 "Wizard General of the Magical Battalions" suddenly appearing in mid-air above the enemy host and belting out "Flee!" in Great Voice would be flashy and cause chaos - though he'd have to be well protected enough to resist attacks by those who made their rolls... I feel wheeling out the Wizard General like that, or the Standard of Surrender, would probably be extreme measures rather than conventional battle tactics.
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Old 11-25-2021, 10:30 AM   #10
Shaira
 
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Default Re: Magic Affecting Multiple Targets

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Originally Posted by Shostak View Post
Another question is whether wizards tend to put themselves in harmís way or not. Any wizard capable of casting Word of Command is probably going to stay well away from the front lines. Does the Wizardsí Guild discourage its members from getting involved in such things?

Alchemists and Chemists might have a greater role in large battles, since some potions have a long duration and/or can be turned into gas bombs.
Great point. I'd imagine sufficiently powerful wizards (and there really aren't going to be that many IQ20 NPC wizards in your average kingdom) would be extremely reluctant to go into battle. But if the stakes are high enough, it could happen. And, of course, that's probably why no kingdom in its right mind would go up against the Wizards' Guild. It likely has political clout commensurate to the Catholic Church in the Middle Ages.

Gas bombs are a definite possibility. So do Cidri's footsoldiers go into battle with gas masks, I wonder?
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