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Old 05-12-2020, 07:26 AM   #11
Not another shrubbery
 
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Default Re: Avoiding Deathtouch? (or touch spells in general?)

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Originally Posted by malloyd View Post
I would too. "Armor doesn't protect" *has* to have some sort of limit. Nobody would allow a wizard to cast Deathtouch, touch the hull of a battleship/wall of a castle and claim the damage hits the captain/king, because "armor doesn't protect". There has to be a limit to how far away from your skin the point of contact with the armor can be.
I had figured that was an extension of the "ignores armor" clause. If the spell can affect you through a helmet, gauntlet, breastplate, etc., which are all touching you, then it seems reasonable that it should affect you through a shield which is directly touching your hand or arm.
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Old 05-12-2020, 07:37 AM   #12
Varyon
 
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Default Re: Avoiding Deathtouch? (or touch spells in general?)

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Originally Posted by Not another shrubbery View Post
I had figured that was an extension of the "ignores armor" clause. If the spell can affect you through a helmet, gauntlet, breastplate, etc., which are all touching you, then it seems reasonable that it should affect you through a shield which is directly touching your hand or arm.
I can't speak to the RAW/RAI, but a more "realistic" option would be that touching the shield where it's directly over the arm would transmit the effect, but touching the shield where there's air on the other side would not. At the same time, unless Touch spells charge the character's entire body (in which case striking the caster unarmed would affect you, and I don't think that's how touch spells work), it probably only affects their hand, so even an unarmed Parry should be able to avoid contact by pushing the arm out of the way. In either case, I'd eyeball it as a -3 or so to Block/Parry, comparable to Parrying a swung weapon (although there's justification to say this would be easier, for -2 or even -1).
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Old 05-12-2020, 07:49 AM   #13
Kromm
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Default Re: Avoiding Deathtouch? (or touch spells in general?)

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Originally Posted by Not another shrubbery View Post

I had figured that was an extension of the "ignores armor" clause. If the spell can affect you through a helmet, gauntlet, breastplate, etc., which are all touching you, then it seems reasonable that it should affect you through a shield which is directly touching your hand or arm.
It's exactly that.

You can dodge, of course!

You can parry, just not with an unarmed parry. A weapon parry is fine.

You can't block because that's really just parrying with an exceptionally well-armored hand. If you want to invent special edge blocks or whatever that let a shield work at a penalty (for receiving the blow far from the arm, where the shield isn't supported), go right ahead. However, the baseline assumption is that your arm rests directly behind the point of contact, separated by about as much protection as heavy armor, which the spell could go through.

I do agree that distance should matter! So should contact. If your target isn't (1) in contact with the armor in question and (2) less than a yard away, then the spell won't do anything. People leaning against castle walls or standing on battleship decks are protected by thickness; they'll be a yard or more away. People standing behind ordinary walls are protected by not being in contact. But few shields are a yard thick, or hover in front of the wielder without any point of contact. Using a Dancing Shield, or a regular one with Telekinesis, would permit a block.
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Old 05-12-2020, 07:54 AM   #14
Anaraxes
 
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Default Re: Avoiding Deathtouch? (or touch spells in general?)

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Originally Posted by lvalero View Post
Well. Technically a shield is not an armour.
M11 specifically includes shields in the description of what doesn't help.

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Originally Posted by M11
If the spell is one that ignores armor, neither an unarmed parry (even with an armored limb) nor a block can protect the target from the spell. Even if such a defense wards off the melee attack, the spell arcs through the target’s armor or shield and affects him.
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Originally Posted by malloyd View Post
Nobody would allow a wizard to cast Deathtouch, touch the hull of a battleship/wall of a castle and claim the damage hits the captain/king
What if it's The Incredible Hulk wearing a battleship as armor? :)

There's also the badass alternative: go ahead and Parry (or Aggressive Parry), accepting the damage from the spell, so that your Parry can possibly damage that wizard making an unarmed attack on you. (Just another reason to use that yard of reach from your Staff...)
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Old 05-12-2020, 08:00 AM   #15
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Default Re: Avoiding Deathtouch? (or touch spells in general?)

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Originally Posted by Not another shrubbery View Post
If the spell can affect you through a helmet, gauntlet, breastplate, etc., which are all touching you, then it seems reasonable that it should affect you through a shield which is directly touching your hand or arm.
There does seem to be a Murphy here where you can parry with a puny dagger to avoid harm but if you block with the massive surface of a heavy shield you trigger the spell!
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Old 05-12-2020, 08:20 AM   #16
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Default Re: Avoiding Deathtouch? (or touch spells in general?)

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Originally Posted by Not another shrubbery View Post
I had figured that was an extension of the "ignores armor" clause. If the spell can affect you through a helmet, gauntlet, breastplate, etc., which are all touching you, then it seems reasonable that it should affect you through a shield which is directly touching your hand or arm.
Maybe, but there still should be a limit somewhere. What about a gigantic shield and you block the charging mage with the edge, or if you "parry" before he is close enough to even try to touch you, say with a 3 hex long pole arm? How about if the target is leaning against the other side of a wall (or holding up a pavaise)? There's probably some length of solid connection between you and the mage that won't conduct a touch attack. I wouldn't allow "ignores armor" to jump more than a couple inches at most.
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Old 05-12-2020, 10:37 AM   #17
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Default Re: Avoiding Deathtouch? (or touch spells in general?)

Note that the DB of a shield does help you dodge deathtouch.
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Old 05-12-2020, 10:37 AM   #18
Anaraxes
 
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Default Re: Avoiding Deathtouch? (or touch spells in general?)

Try thinking of it not in terms of physics with a modern mindset, but in terms of the laws of magic. The arms and armor of a warrior are intimately connected to him in magical terms, symbolic of his role as well as borne by him in long association (the law of contagion). Touching any of that stuff is magically equivalent to touching his body.

(Still doesn't help explain allowing Parry to get away with things Block can't. But it's a reasonable rationale for Dodge-only which renders details about thicknesses and materials* and distance irrelevant. Plus, possibly more interesting way to think about it in a game that has magic in the first place. Realistic magic is the kind that doesn't exist.)

--
* Mundane materials, that is. Materials with magical properties might become valued for just this reason. Shields get made with a thin layer of lead under the covering or behind the shield precisely to block Deathtouches. Any amount of lead will do. Maybe the holy symbols painted on the crusader's shield have the same effect. Sword pommels have crystals to buffer and disperse such effects, because pure crystals are much more attractive to corrupting mana than an already impure physical body. Imagine your own details with a magical explanation, and add the color and flavor you like.
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Old 05-12-2020, 12:32 PM   #19
DouglasCole
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Default Re: Avoiding Deathtouch? (or touch spells in general?)

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Originally Posted by Kromm View Post
If you want to invent special edge blocks or whatever that let a shield work at a penalty (for receiving the blow far from the arm, where the shield isn't supported), go right ahead. However, the baseline assumption is that your arm rests directly behind the point of contact, separated by about as much protection as heavy armor, which the spell could go through.
For what it's worth, the way I learned shield, all blocks with the shield used the edge if you could manage it. You couldn't always manage it. And against arrows, of course, an edge block would be . . . suboptimal at best.

This gets into technicalities and precise nature of shield use that are best subsumed into a general case of abstract shield usage, and even if unsupported:

A typical medium shield that is on the larger side 36" diameter, befitting a 72" fighter, would have your hand a half-yard away from the edge.

Even a large shield like a scutum, gripped in the middle, will have the hand something about 24" from the top of the shield, and 20" or so along a curve away from the center.

So in any case, the death energy can flow for less than a yard to something you're contacting.
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Old 05-12-2020, 12:35 PM   #20
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Default Re: Avoiding Deathtouch? (or touch spells in general?)

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What if it's The Incredible Hulk wearing a battleship as armor? :)
Still noting your tongue-in-cheek symbol, the thickest battleship armor that I could find was the 660mm armor of the Yamato's turret face . . . still less than a yard!
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