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Old 03-26-2020, 06:54 PM   #41
hcobb
 
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Default Re: Resolving problem with pentagrams and wish contest of wills

Ancient goblin wizard scholar Tekaanshar flipped through page after page and compared each tale of woe and disaster against his notes. They all matched. Every single time. His postulate must be true. And if true there was much gold to be had. To test the assumption would be madness, but putting the question to the test would answer it quickly enough.

The reply to his letter arrived a few days later with an invitation to address the Grand Master herself. She looked over the letter in her hands then asked him, "This village, it will be safe against demon attack?"

"Yes, Dharonghec. We need only keep everything precious out of reach."

"Against a being who can move anywhere instantly?"

"That isn't blocked by solid stone."

"And what would keep the demon from attacking elsewhere?"

"It will never know where to attack. If I am right and I must be, there is only one way a demon can know anything of our world."

"And if you are wrong?"

"We would discover that quickly, but at ten thousand gold per success it is worth it."

"Very well. What do you need to prepare a presentation for the Chancellor?"

"An appointment with the royal architect please. He is found of crafting traps so should be intrigued at the chance to design an entire village to be a trap for a single being of great power."
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Old 03-27-2020, 03:04 AM   #42
Steve Plambeck
 
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Default Re: Resolving problem with pentagrams and wish contest of wills

A demon supposedly can be bound to a place. If it's also inside a pentagram in that place, it's effectively stuck permanently, and harmless to anyone outside that pentagram. This would be one angry demon.

Under these circumstances it must be possible to demand a wish and enter the contest of wills any time anyone wants to. There would be your Wish factory.

This is why the risk of losing the contest of wills must stay very, very high, even for the highest IQ wizards. Unless of course you want a steady stream of wishes for sale in your world, which I sure as heck would not.

But wait, even under those constraints there is still an out! You bring captured, enemy wizards to the place and force them to try the contest of wills on pain of torture, death, or harm to a loved one. It simply becomes a way to execute prisoners, except that once in a great while the prisoner will get lucky, win the contest, and produce a Wish for you. Then you can execute the prisoner <evil grin>

It will never be high volume production, but if you're going to execute a wizard anyway, it becomes free to try.

But if the demon ever gets loose, you don't want to be anywhere near the place at the time.
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Old 03-27-2020, 03:39 AM   #43
Steve Plambeck
 
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Default Re: Resolving problem with pentagrams and wish contest of wills

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A different way to handle the contest of wills (which needs to be fixed no matter how you look at it) would be to have the wizard and the demon each roll against their respective IQs, and whomever made their roll by the larger margin wins. (If both failed the rolls, which is really unlikely, just do it over -- the mental battle takes a second turn.) Lots of other ways to do it however the GM prefers.
By the gods, that was a terrible suggestion! (Can I make an ad hominem attack on myself?) Here's a better alternative wherein there is only one dice roll. I'm assuming the original demon stats for these examples (IQs 16 and 20).

Let x = (demon IQ - 10). For a Lesser Demon that's 6, and for the Greater Demon 10, unless you use variable IQs.

x is the number of points the wizard must roll below his or her IQ to win the contest. That could be expressed as roll (IQ - x) or less on 3d6.

Examples:

An IQ 14 wizard enters a contest of wills with a Lesser Demon of IQ 16. 16 minus 10 is 6. 14 - 6 = 8. The wizard must roll 8 or less. Very bad odds there: just because IQ 14 is enough to learn the summoning spell, you're going to want a few more points before demanding a Lesser Wish.

An IQ 20 wizard tries a contest with the same Lesser Demon. x is still 6. This wizard's IQ - 6 = 14. Therefore this wizard must roll 14 or less to win. That's rather do-able, but never absolutely certain.

An IQ 14 wizard wants to try against an IQ 20 Greater Demon. x is now 10 (20 minus 10 = 10). 14 minus 10 is only 4! No IQ 14 wizard would survive this unless they rolled automatic success.

An IQ 20 wizard wants to try against an IQ 20 Greater Demon. Demon IQ of 20 minus 10 = 10. So subtract 10 from the wizard's !Q and that result is also 10. This wizard must roll 10 or less on 3d to win the Greater Wish and avoid death, a hair under a 50% chance. Dangerous indeed! (I believe 50% was the success rate for an IQ 30 wizard under the original rules).

Note that for each point the wizard's IQ goes up, or the demon's IQ goes down, the roll gets easier.
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Old 04-03-2020, 02:37 AM   #44
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Default Re: Resolving problem with pentagrams and wish contest of wills

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I dropped the Wish Generating Goblin Village because Evil Stevie didn't want to see it. Should I finish that and show you every silver of the $10k production cost for a greater wish?
A loop-hole I'd forgotten all about is the 1 in 6 chance casting an illusion of a demon brings a real one (that then attacks the wizard -- but only if it's able).

Well. A Greater Demon illusion only requires IQ 14 and costs 3 ST. A Lesser Demon illusion is even easier and cheaper.

Cast this illusion into a permanent pentagram, and 1 time in 6 you get a guest from which you can a demand a Wish any time you feel up to a contest of wills. Try it every day and you'll get a chance to try for a Wish slightly more often than one per week!

Any single high IQ wizard could run a Lesser Wish factory this way. Greater Wishes not so much because it's a much riskier contest of wills.

Not sure I like this loop-hole one bit!
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Old 04-03-2020, 05:53 AM   #45
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Default Re: Resolving problem with pentagrams and wish contest of wills

Illusion generated demons are already as out of control as the failed roll demons so already hostile and no wishes.
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Old 04-03-2020, 05:59 AM   #46
oldwolf
 
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Default Re: Resolving problem with pentagrams and wish contest of wills

GMs should always roleplay demon summonings. The demons should be played as being as smart, nasty, sneaky and well equipped as possible. Also, the GM should start things off simple and let the players figure out what is going wrong.

For example, demons cant cast magic. Doesn't mean they cant be using magic items. So.... demon is summoned ( roll is of course made by the GM, out of sight of players). If it works, the demon arrives, wearing an invisibility ring. Just tell the player that they see nothing happen and ask what they are doing. At the end of a minute the demon goes home, unless the player does something clever or stupid. Of course, if the player is inside the pentagram because he wanted the demon to go get something for him and thinking his spell failed he steps out of the pentagram before the minute is up.......

A very nasty demon summoned into a pentagram shows up wearing an invisibility ring and carrying a petard, which he lights the one second fuse on and drops just before poofing out at the end of his required minute. The GM simply rolls damage and tells the player how much damage he took. If it kills him he gets no further information. If he lives, he is given a description of something appearing inside the pentagram followed a second later by a huge explosion. Nothing more. Its up to the player to figure out what went wrong.

Players should be utterly terrified of summoning demons if the GM is doing his job.
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Old 04-03-2020, 06:30 PM   #47
Steve Plambeck
 
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Illusion generated demons are already as out of control as the failed roll demons so already hostile and no wishes.
Thanks, that occurred to me as I trundled off to bed -- that's what I get for posting when I'm drowsy!

You do have to successfully summon a demon to give it any orders, and the accidental 1 in 6 demon does not represent a successful, deliberate summons.

Keeping us all safe from a plethora of cheap Wishes -- hurrah.
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Old 04-03-2020, 06:56 PM   #48
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Default Re: Resolving problem with pentagrams and wish contest of wills

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GMs should always roleplay demon summonings.....

So.... demon is summoned (roll is of course made by the GM, out of sight of players). If it works, the demon arrives, wearing an invisibility ring. Just tell the player that they see nothing happen....

A very nasty demon summoned into a pentagram shows up wearing an invisibility ring and carrying a petard, which he lights the one second fuse on and drops just before poofing out....
That's a bit extreme for my taste. I agree completely with the admonition to roleplay the demon though. I'm working up a few quirky ones myself that should make things colorful and a bit extra fun.

But just blowing up the player's wizard doesn't sound like much fun for anybody, and hardly fair within the rules.

If the wizard had failed the roll, the demon would arrive anyway and try to kill the wizard -- that's the RAW. But when the wizard makes the DX roll, it should be safe. The wizard won't always make the roll, and a pentagram (if used) won't always hold, so there is already always a risk to summoning demons, and even when it goes perfectly there's another great risk for asking for a Wish.

By all means give the demon a personality. And if the demon is uncontrolled, sure make its attacks interesting rather than run of the mill bare hands attacks. And the GM making the DX roll without revealing the result cleverly adds more drama -- when the demon says "Yes master, what is your command?" it could be uncontrolled and just acting to trick the wizard! Or "You really should ask me for a Wish -- I'm having a 3 for 1 special today!" makes a cute lie :)

But if the demon is controlled, because the spell was a success and the wizard's roll was good, sudden death by Holy Hand Grenade seems kinda arbitrary. Sure flavor it up with some complications, but they should be problems the wizard should get to act upon, with some chance to solve!
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Old 04-03-2020, 10:58 PM   #49
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Default Re: Resolving problem with pentagrams and wish contest of wills

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Originally Posted by Steve Plambeck View Post
...
Cast this illusion into a permanent pentagram, and 1 time in 6 you get a guest from which you can a demand a Wish any time you feel up to a contest of wills. Try it every day and you'll get a chance to try for a Wish slightly more often than one per week!
Another problem with this idea is that, great, your illusion is in a pentagram as requested. That doesn't mean that any real demons who also show up will also be in that pentagram.


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Originally Posted by oldwolf View Post
GMs should always roleplay demon summonings.
...
Players should be utterly terrified of summoning demons if the GM is doing his job.
Yeah, I take it as a compliment that none of my players ever went anywhere near trying to summon demons. Only a very few tried to even go hunting dragons.
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Old 04-04-2020, 03:01 AM   #50
Steve Plambeck
 
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Default Re: Resolving problem with pentagrams and wish contest of wills

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Another problem with this idea is that, great, your illusion is in a pentagram as requested. That doesn't mean that any real demons who also show up will also be in that pentagram.
Excellent point. An illusion has to show up in the exact hex the wizard wanted, but the rules are silent on where the accidental, 1 in 6 real demon lands.

Be fun to apply something like the scatter rules, rolling for an offset from the intended hex. And if it lands outside the pentagram, so be it! That'll teach wizards not to expect the benefits of a summoned demon for only the cheap cost of an illusion.
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