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Old 01-31-2021, 09:06 PM   #1
WhiteLily
 
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Default Death by Levitation

Spells P. 57 gives us Levitation, Resisted by ST or Will.
Duration: 1m

The subject floats vertically or horizontally at move 3.


Wizard is fighting against an evil brigand by a body of water, and Levitates the brigand into the lake, holds him under water, pays to maintain the spell for a good 6 minutes and the brigand has drown.

How many checks would the brigand get to prevent this fate? Obviously he gets a check when he is first targeted with the spell. Does he get any more checks as he is dragged across the ground, into the water, held under the water, and the spell is maintained 4 times?
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Old 01-31-2021, 09:13 PM   #2
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Default Re: Death by Levitation

Quote:
Originally Posted by WhiteLily View Post
Spells P. 57 gives us Levitation, Resisted by ST or Will.
Duration: 1m

The subject floats vertically or horizontally at move 3.


Wizard is fighting against an evil brigand by a body of water, and Levitates the brigand into the lake, holds him under water, pays to maintain the spell for a good 6 minutes and the brigand has drown.

How many checks would the brigand get to prevent this fate? Obviously he gets a check when he is first targeted with the spell. Does he get any more checks as he is dragged across the ground, into the water, held under the water, and the spell is maintained 4 times?
No additional resistance checks, but if he can grab something it's not clear if the spell can move him. It's usually easier to move the bandit straight up for the duration of the spell and then let him fall.
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Old 01-31-2021, 10:19 PM   #3
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Default Re: Death by Levitation

But if the Brigand transforms into a Werewolf, one drop might not be enough. But hold him long enough under water, and he's got issues.
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Old 02-02-2021, 08:07 PM   #4
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Default Re: Death by Levitation

Quote:
Originally Posted by WhiteLily View Post
Spells P. 57 gives us Levitation, Resisted by ST or Will.
Duration: 1m

The subject floats vertically or horizontally at move 3.


Wizard is fighting against an evil brigand by a body of water, and Levitates the brigand into the lake, holds him under water, pays to maintain the spell for a good 6 minutes and the brigand has drown.

How many checks would the brigand get to prevent this fate? Obviously he gets a check when he is first targeted with the spell. Does he get any more checks as he is dragged across the ground, into the water, held under the water, and the spell is maintained 4 times?
Apportation specifies "suspended in midair", so I don't now if you would have to concentrate to hold him underwater. (The GURPS description of Levitation also says "floats though the air").

Plus, as a GM, I would allow additional ST resistance rolls if the subject (victim) can grab something to hold onto.
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Old 02-02-2021, 09:21 PM   #5
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Default Re: Death by Levitation

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Originally Posted by cvannrederode View Post
Plus, as a GM, I would allow additional ST resistance rolls if the subject (victim) can grab something to hold onto.
At the very least, it changes the effective weight of the target, potentially terminating the spell due to lack of FP invested.

I might also rule that the PC could apply swim MV in the water. This wouldn't counteract the spells MV 3, but would slow it down and might get you out if they stop concentrating.

Overall, though, I don't see this (drowning the target) as an abusive loophole. Seems like the spell working as intended. Keeps the mage busy for quite some time.
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Old 02-03-2021, 08:01 AM   #6
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Default Re: Death by Levitation

I would probably give the subject an additional resistance roll with a bonus to STR for the buoyancy provided by the water against the downward levitation (assuming the subject was buoyant).

Not only should the subject get additional resistance rolls as he is dragged across stuff* (as he can use his STR to effectively fight the spell's effect), I would give him additional resistance rolls every turn while he is in the water. If he can grab onto something, resist with STR. If not, resist with Swim skill (as he can swim against the force of the spell).

So, it might work, but it would be chancy. One good Swim roll while he's under and the spell expires.

That way, it's a 'clever' usage, but not something reliable that mages normally use it for, as everything has to go perfectly (or you use it against something so tiny and weak that you might as well just swat it).


*maybe lift him up over obstacles, then insert directly into water?
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Old 02-03-2021, 08:41 AM   #7
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Default Re: Death by Levitation

Something important to realize about Apportation and Levitation: "Movement is under your control" refers strictly to the aerial movement caused by the spell. These spells definitely do not turn the subject into a puppet whose entire capacity to move is under the caster's control (for that, use Control Person) . . . though for beings with Air Move 0 who cannot reach some means of pulling themselves along, they functionally accomplish that.

This means that on the caster's turn, the caster can move the subject 1 or 3 yards in some direction, but then on the subject's turn, the subject can still move in whatever way their current circumstances allow. As I said, with Air Move 0, "in whatever way their current circumstances allow" may be "not at all." However, that doesn't rule out grabbing or lassoing something and pulling themselves along at whatever Move the GM allows (I'd go with ST/4, and count Arm ST and Lifting ST into ST) – and in water, it doesn't rule out swimming at standard Water Move (which even for humans can be as high as Move 3; see Adventurers, p. 12).
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Old 02-03-2021, 08:48 AM   #8
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Default Re: Death by Levitation

So, ST resistance makes this spell nearly worthless against large creatures, while the notes I just made about Air and Water Move render it less than ideal against beings capable movement other than ground movement. This leaves land-bound beings of modest ST. Against these, I'd honestly just fly the victim into the air and let them drop . . . but sure, drown away if you prefer.

Either way, it's a "save or suck" spell that takes 2 seconds and costs 3 energy on typical humanoids equipped for battle – and allows resistance vs. the higher of two scores (kind of a drawback), and requires several turns to harm the victim (ditto). I'd probably go for Flesh to Stone. That might cost 10 energy, but takes the same two seconds to cast, doesn't allow a choice of resisting scores, and settles the fight instantly.
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Old 02-03-2021, 05:23 PM   #9
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Default Re: Death by Levitation

I took issue with "Floats".
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Old 02-13-2021, 02:18 PM   #10
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Default Re: Death by Levitation

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Either way, it's a "save or suck" spell that takes 2 seconds and costs 3 energy on typical humanoids equipped for battle – and allows resistance vs. the higher of two scores (kind of a drawback), and requires several turns to harm the victim (ditto). I'd probably go for Flesh to Stone. That might cost 10 energy, but takes the same two seconds to cast, doesn't allow a choice of resisting scores, and settles the fight instantly.
For ending a fight where energy is not of the essence that's certainly true. I see Levitation as more of a "let's negotiate" spell for enemies who lack good ranged capabilities, but are worth more alive than dead or incapacitated. The Great Skeeve in Robert Asprin's Myth series use his own version of the spell in this way. It's certainly great for straight up intimidation too.

It would be more effective without that choice of resistance roll for sure, but that's there for a reason too. Otherwise it would be pretty good as a one prerequisite spell with a modest cost. A mass version would also come in handy, but there the resistance roll bites even more. All in all, a nice multi-purpose spell with its own little niche in combat.
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