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Old 03-25-2021, 10:26 PM   #1
phiwum
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Default Dazzle gems

A player asked whether Dazzle Gems can be thrown around corners, protecting your party behind you. Here's the text of the spell.

Quote:
Dazzle (S): Creates a blinding psychic flash. All sighted
creatures (friend or foe) in an area within 5 megahexes of
the wizardís own megahex (but not the wizard himself)
suffer -3 DX for 3 turns. Images, illusions, etc. (anything
with eyes) are affected. Cost: 3 ST.
The text doesn't mention line of sight and says it's a psychic light, so it's perfectly plausible LOS isn't required. The LOS requirement would also nerf the spell (though I assume closing your eyes doesn't change LOS).

So, am I right that line of sight doesn't matter? I'm not up on psychic physics, two words that should never be juxtaposed because it makes spelling them hard as hell.
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Old 03-25-2021, 10:55 PM   #2
Axly Suregrip
 
Join Date: Jun 2018
Default Re: Dazzle gems

Hi Phiwum,
Yes it means anyone within 5 MHx with eyes perceives the dazzle flash whether they have no LOS or eyes closed etc, or not.
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Old 03-26-2021, 08:56 AM   #3
larsdangly
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Default Re: Dazzle gems

That is the precise logical operator suggested by the rules. But like a lot of TFT, I suspect that is because the rules get across a core idea without detailing how it is intended to work in various unusual situations. I don't think it is productive to try to impose a logically rigid interpretation of the wording in these cases so I'd say this is one for a table ruling.

In this particular case, you can see why a table ruling is needed: If the word 'psychic' means the flash is perceived by anyone in range who has a mind, then why does it only effect beings with eyes? A blinded person is presumably not effected by Dazzle, even though they have a brain and might have event spent much of their life with eyes and therefore a brain that perceived light. It is hard to understand why they wouldn't be effected by a 'psychic' light just because their eyes no longer exist or function. I'm not saying you MUST rule it is a line of sight thing, but there are multiple interpretations that are reasonable, so you have to decide for yourself.
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Old 03-26-2021, 10:28 PM   #4
Axly Suregrip
 
Join Date: Jun 2018
Default Re: Dazzle gems

Hi Lars,
Yes and then you also get into things like:

- which way is every one facing? does it affect those not facing the flash.

- if closing your eyes works, then the wizard signals his team and they close the eyes for while he cast Dazzle. Then what else did they miss while eyes closed? How do you play that?

- What are the chances that a foe actually blinked at the wrong moment and missed your flash?

- What if your foe is a wizard and he recognizes what you are casting. Does he get a saving roll vs IQ? Or does he just know when to close his eyes.

etc

OR, take psychic flash at face value. It's easier this way and looks to be the intent of the game. All with sighted creatures within 5 MHx; taken literally.
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Old 03-27-2021, 09:19 AM   #5
larsdangly
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Default Re: Dazzle gems

Questions like this are almost the only reason why magic is a fun part of fantasy games! I can't be bothered with a billion different spell names for 'you do damage to a foe at some distance'; these spells that have other consequences are what interest me. My approach to them is not to try to parse it all out in advance - there is too much to consider and too many imaginable circumstances and decisions you might make differently in different moods or with different suggestions. Instead, I like to keep an open mind to how the players or I are interpreting spell effects in the specific situation in which they are used, and then adjudicate to prune away obvious misinterpretations or abuses and perhaps 'nudge' a suggested interpretation if I didn't like the implications. Trying to get more legalistic than that feels like a fools errand to me because you will not find anything in the text of the rule book to tell you whether or not you are 'right'.
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Old 03-27-2021, 09:59 AM   #6
phiwum
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Default Re: Dazzle gems

Quote:
Originally Posted by Axly Suregrip View Post
Hi Lars,
Yes and then you also get into things like:

- which way is every one facing? does it affect those not facing the flash.

- if closing your eyes works, then the wizard signals his team and they close the eyes for while he cast Dazzle. Then what else did they miss while eyes closed? How do you play that?

- What are the chances that a foe actually blinked at the wrong moment and missed your flash?

- What if your foe is a wizard and he recognizes what you are casting. Does he get a saving roll vs IQ? Or does he just know when to close his eyes.

etc

OR, take psychic flash at face value. It's easier this way and looks to be the intent of the game. All with sighted creatures within 5 MHx; taken literally.
I don't think Lars's suggestion needs to be that complicated. The question is whether a psychic flash goes through solid walls. We all agree that closing your eyes or turning your back shouldn't work, because it's psychic. Whether solid structures inhibit psychic waves or not is a bit less clear.

Same thing applies to the question why a psychic flash only affects sighted critters. Maybe it messes with the strictly visual part of the mind.

I'm okay with houseruling variations on dazzle, obviously, but in this case I'll take the literal RAW. It's psychic and affects every sighted critter within 5MH. No easy use of the dazzle gem without blinding your party. Given the cost of the gem, that's a pretty good limitation.
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Old 03-27-2021, 10:59 AM   #7
Axly Suregrip
 
Join Date: Jun 2018
Default Re: Dazzle gems

Lars and Phiwum,
Good points.

Phiwum,
Yes, I hate taking Dazzle as a spell because of what it does to the whole party, but I have seen it used by others to great effect despite this. It is situational.
For example: Is the DX loss going to hurt the foes more than the allies? Maybe you just need to escape and not fight? etc. So, yeah it makes a Dazzle Gem a interesting magic item for them to find.
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Old 03-27-2021, 02:22 PM   #8
phiwum
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Default Re: Dazzle gems

Quote:
Originally Posted by Axly Suregrip View Post
Lars and Phiwum,
Good points.

Phiwum,
Yes, I hate taking Dazzle as a spell because of what it does to the whole party, but I have seen it used by others to great effect despite this. It is situational.
For example: Is the DX loss going to hurt the foes more than the allies? Maybe you just need to escape and not fight? etc. So, yeah it makes a Dazzle Gem a interesting magic item for them to find.
Agreed. Dazzle isn't much for an ongoing fight with allies still in it, but it's for covering your butt in a retreat. It's not useless, but it's not as useful as one might think at a glance.

Had a player use a dazzle gem pretty well. Some ogres were in a cave, munching on roasted hobbit. There was a clear path for exiting the cave and on that path, he laid a trap involving dazzle gems before retreating 5MH. It was hastily done, so I gave each ogre an IQ roll (probably 3/IQ) and then a 50/50 chance of stepping on the gem if the IQ test failed. The last ogre managed to step on one, which wasn't great, since the other two had advanced out of range, but it was a good use.
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Old 03-27-2021, 03:09 PM   #9
hcobb
 
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Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Pacheco, California
Default Re: Dazzle gems

Dazzle: -3 DX from everybody hitting on you for 1/ST per turn.

Blur: -4 DX from everybody hitting on you for 1/ST per turn, without messing with your friends. And also easier to cast while wielding your silver sword while leaving your staff on your back for some odd reason.
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Old 03-27-2021, 04:13 PM   #10
phiwum
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Default Re: Dazzle gems

You're right. Sociopaths would see no reason to cast Dazzle, because it's all about whether the spellcaster gets hit.

Non-sociopaths may want to protect everyone in the party during a retreat, not just themselves.
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