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Old 03-16-2021, 03:10 PM   #1
Steve Plambeck
 
Join Date: Jun 2019
Default Death Spell - so how's it work?

Never actually used it or saw it used even once, but I assumed after 4+ decades I knew how the Death Spell works. Then it crossed my mind, was it ever updated after "death" was changed from an event that occurs at 0 ST (which now is only unconsciousness) to an event that occurs at negative ST (-1 ST or less). Does it become the Unconsciousness Spell instead? Looking it up I don't think the rules for the Death Spell have changed since 1978.

So what do you really charge the wizard who successfully uses it? If the target, the weaker opponent, was at ST 3, then according to RAW it should cost 3. But now, -3 ST wouldn't kill a target of ST 3, because ST 0 no longer means dead. So.... do you charge the caster 4 ST, and set the ST of the victim at -1?

Now what if the caster in this example was down to ST 4 when he cast the spell? Does a ST 4 wizard have to knock himself out (down to ST 0) to use the Death Spell on a ST 3 target?

A sticking point is the wording of the spell itself, which says "the weaker" of the two figures involved in a Death Spell dies. It doesn't say dies by how much though, which under the modern rules can make quite a difference when it comes to revival and resuscitation. In fact if the worst the Death Spell can do is leave the target at -1 ST, it's barely a "death" spell at all anymore. A Physicker will have them back on their feet in no time. (Physickers didn't even exist yet when the Death Spell was written!)

I find it humbling to realize if I were the GM, and a player whipped out the Death Spell on me today, I wouldn't be ready to rule on it!
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Old 03-16-2021, 03:25 PM   #2
phiwum
 
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Default Re: Death Spell - so how's it work?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Plambeck View Post
Never actually used it or saw it used even once, but I assumed after 4+ decades I knew how the Death Spell works. Then it crossed my mind, was it ever updated after "death" was changed from an event that occurs at 0 ST (which now is only unconsciousness) to an event that occurs at negative ST (-1 ST or less). Does it become the Unconsciousness Spell instead? Looking it up I don't think the rules for the Death Spell have changed since 1978.

So what do you really charge the wizard who successfully uses it? If the target, the weaker opponent, was at ST 3, then according to RAW it should cost 3. But now, -3 ST wouldn't kill a target of ST 3, because ST 0 no longer means dead. So.... do you charge the caster 4 ST, and set the ST of the victim at -1?

Now what if the caster in this example was down to ST 4 when he cast the spell? Does a ST 4 wizard have to knock himself out (down to ST 0) to use the Death Spell on a ST 3 target?

A sticking point is the wording of the spell itself, which says "the weaker" of the two figures involved in a Death Spell dies. It doesn't say dies by how much though, which under the modern rules can make quite a difference when it comes to revival and resuscitation. In fact if the worst the Death Spell can do is leave the target at -1 ST, it's barely a "death" spell at all anymore. A Physicker will have them back on their feet in no time. (Physickers didn't even exist yet when the Death Spell was written!)

I find it humbling to realize if I were the GM, and a player whipped out the Death Spell on me today, I wouldn't be ready to rule on it!
I'd say that one guy is just dead. The other loses the ST of the one who died. (I wouldn't add one to the ST.)

Now, do you lose the persons ST attribute in points or do you lose ST minus wounds and fatigue? Usually, ST refers to the attribute. I could go either way on this one.

Example: An ST 10 wizard casts Death on an ST 6 goblin. Goblin just plain dead, no physicker can help him (though a revival spell could). Wizard loses 6 ST. If the goblin was down to 3 ST due to wounds or fatigue, then maybe the wizard loses only 3 ST, I don't know.

Example: An ST 6 goblin wizard casts Death on a ST 10 fella. Goblin just plain dead again, the fella loses 6 ST, again possibly adjusted for wounds or fatigue.

In this case, I think the text is clear. Dead is not dying. It's plumb dead with a capital "D" and the "a" is optional.
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Old 03-16-2021, 03:32 PM   #3
hcobb
 
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Default Re: Death Spell - so how's it work?

ST 6 Goblin cast Death spell on ST 20 Gargoyle.

The Goblin loses 6 Mana and the Gargoyle suffers 6 hits.
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Old 03-16-2021, 05:31 PM   #4
Skarg
 
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Default Re: Death Spell - so how's it work?

It doesn't seem that complicated to me, though I see a couple of unclear points.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Plambeck View Post
... So what do you really charge the wizard who successfully uses it? If the target, the weaker opponent, was at ST 3, then according to RAW it should cost 3. But now, -3 ST wouldn't kill a target of ST 3, because ST 0 no longer means dead. So.... do you charge the caster 4 ST, and set the ST of the victim at -1?
I would do what the spell says. The weaker figure dies. The stronger one loses ST equal to the remaining ST of the other figure. It doesn't matter that's no longer the amount that would kill them, because it's the Death Spell, and that's what the spell does.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Plambeck View Post
... A sticking point is the wording of the spell itself, which says "the weaker" of the two figures involved in a Death Spell dies. It doesn't say dies by how much though, which under the modern rules can make quite a difference when it comes to revival and resuscitation. In fact if the worst the Death Spell can do is leave the target at -1 ST, it's barely a "death" spell at all anymore. A Physicker will have them back on their feet in no time. (Physickers didn't even exist yet when the Death Spell was written!)
The Death Spell causes death, though, not just "dying, but not dead yet" so a physicker wouldn't be able to save them. They'd need to be Revived within an hour by spell or potion, and they'd lose 5 attributes in the process, at best.


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Originally Posted by phiwum View Post
Now, do you lose the persons ST attribute in points or do you lose ST minus wounds and fatigue? Usually, ST refers to the attribute. I could go either way on this one.
I'm confident that it means current ST (ST minus wounds and fatigue). I agree with all of the rest of your post.


Quote:
Originally Posted by hcobb View Post
ST 6 Goblin cast Death spell on ST 20 Gargoyle.

The Goblin loses 6 Mana and the Gargoyle suffers 6 hits.
No, it's a Death Spell, and as the rules say, the Goblin
Quote:
immediately dies
, and the gargoyle loses 6 ST (probably fatigue).


What's unclear to me are two points:

1) What happens if the caster and subject have EQUAL ST remaining? In the original rules, it was clear they'd both lose all their ST, so in the old rules they'd both be dead. In the new rules, either they both just lose all their ST (which in the new rules mean they're both just unconscious), or they both die (which would match what happens with the original spell, and is more death-y, so I'd tend to rule that way).

2) Is the ST "lost" by the stronger figure fatigue or damage? I'd say fatigue.
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Old 03-16-2021, 06:03 PM   #5
phiwum
 
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Default Re: Death Spell - so how's it work?

Quote:
Originally Posted by hcobb View Post
ST 6 Goblin cast Death spell on ST 20 Gargoyle.

The Goblin loses 6 Mana and the Gargoyle suffers 6 hits.
That's not what the rules say. The weaker one immediately dies and that's the goblin.

It's a bit unclear to me whether the ST is fatigue or wounds, but given the symmetry of the situation, I read it as wounds. So, ST 6 goblin casting death on an ST 4 halfing is down to 2 ST.
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Old 03-16-2021, 06:11 PM   #6
phiwum
 
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Default Re: Death Spell - so how's it work?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Skarg View Post
The Death Spell causes death, though, not just "dying, but not dead yet" so a physicker wouldn't be able to save them. They'd need to be Revived within an hour by spell or potion, and they'd lose 5 attributes in the process, at best.
A Revival spell can be cast within 24 hours. Very minor correction, but I happened to look it up today because of this thread, so I thought I'd show off my newfound and strictly temporary knowledge.

Quote:
I'm confident that it means current ST (ST minus wounds and fatigue). I agree with all of the rest of your post.
I'll totally buy that.

Quote:
No, it's a Death Spell, and as the rules say, the Goblin , and the gargoyle loses 6 ST (probably fatigue).
I lean towards wounds. He had a Death Spell cast on him, so he's more than tuckered. Of course, that means that a wizard casting a Death Spell on a weaker foe would suffer wounds, but I think that just sounds right for such a powerful spell. I could be convinced otherwise.

Quote:
What's unclear to me are two points:

1) What happens if the caster and subject have EQUAL ST remaining? In the original rules, it was clear they'd both lose all their ST, so in the old rules they'd both be dead. In the new rules, either they both just lose all their ST (which in the new rules mean they're both just unconscious), or they both die (which would match what happens with the original spell, and is more death-y, so I'd tend to rule that way).
Excellent question and I agree with your ruling.

Quote:
2) Is the ST "lost" by the stronger figure fatigue or damage? I'd say fatigue.
Wrong. Wrongity-wrongity-wrong.

Or not. Really don't feel firm on this one. But I like to think that casting or receiving a Death Spell hurts.
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Old 03-16-2021, 06:24 PM   #7
phiwum
 
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Default Re: Death Spell - so how's it work?

I guess I'm already rethinking what I said about losing wounds rather than fatigue.

Seems to me that a Death Spell has to be useful in game turns and a powerful wizard should be able to kill powerfulish stuff, but a powerful wizard often has his power in his staff. He can't use mana if the ST loss is wounds, so the ST loss must be fatigue.

Which means that if he casts it on a stronger foe, the effect is death for him and a need for a good lie-down for the recipient.

So, by "wrongity-wrongity-wrong", I meant "probably so". It's a common idiom in these parts, so I'm not surprised you were confused by it.
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Old 03-16-2021, 07:15 PM   #8
Senturian
 
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Default Re: Death Spell - so how's it work?

Quote:
Originally Posted by hcobb View Post
ST 6 Goblin cast Death spell on ST 20 Gargoyle.

The Goblin loses 6 Mana and the Gargoyle suffers 6 hits.
Since the Death Spell compares Strength to Strength, Mana isn't involved in the equation.
So the Goblin dies meaning -1 and the Gargoyle would lose 7 Strength if both were at full health using RAW.
I always thought it compared current Strengths (wounds only).
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Old 03-16-2021, 09:16 PM   #9
hcobb
 
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Default Re: Death Spell - so how's it work?

Whataboutism self-Aiding ST (from mana) before casting the Death Spell?
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Old 03-16-2021, 10:05 PM   #10
Axly Suregrip
 
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Default Re: Death Spell - so how's it work?

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Originally Posted by hcobb View Post
Whataboutism self-Aiding ST (from mana) before casting the Death Spell?
ST from Aid spells is still ST. So, yes Aid can be used to help you win using Death Spell.
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