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Author Topic: Fireballs  (Read 9525 times)
Bob Richter
Member

Posts: 324


« on: May 30, 2002, 01:31:12 AM »

One of the things that's bothered me about tRoS sorcery is it says THERE ARE NO FIREBALLS, and yet there's an easy (at least as easy as Armor of Air) way to create them. Watch:

--
Fireball (Master)
Spell of One
CTN: 9 (Casting time - 9 seconds)
T) 1 (air is inanimate, yes?)
R) 2 (if I can see it, I can fry it. WayCool.)
V) 3 (up to 300 gallons of air. Big Fry.)
D) 0 (I don't need any. Movement 3's acceleration effects are instantaneous. From there, nature takes its course.)
L) 3 (Movement 3. I said that already.)

Vagary: Movement 3 (I'm repeating myself.)
Effects:
Speed (3:) to get it going.
Maneuverability (3:) to keep it contained.

Instantaneous (I said that too.)
  Through friction (air against air) instantly heats up to 300 gallons of common atmosphere to temperatures sufficient for the explosive combustion of diatomic nitrogen. The resulting short-lived atmospheric firestorm will be sufficient to incenerate anything within the target area.

--
Notice that I haven't violated any rules.

1) It doesn't create matter from nothing (It creates ENERGY from nothing and applies it in interesting ways, but that's pretty much what magic does.)
2) It doesn't give life to objects.
3) No life is restored to anybody (though people will likely be deprived of it.)
4) Time is not reversed.
5) Beings did not get younger (The sorceror will probably get bunches older. As for the un-targets, you can't get much older than dead.)
6) No Souls, Spirits, or Demons were destroyed in the creation of this destructive blast.
7) FIRE HAS NOT SUDDENLY APPEARED, NOR IS IT BURNING ON NOTHING. (It was caused through friction heat and is literally burning in -- and on -- thin air.)

This effect is similar to the atmospheric firestorm that accompanies the detonation of a nuclear explosive. It's just much smaller.
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Lance D. Allen
Member

Posts: 1962


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« Reply #1 on: May 30, 2002, 02:36:44 AM »

A couple variant ways to create fireballs have been previously discussed on this forum. I haven't figured out (probably because I haven't tried) how to link to other posts, but if you go back a page or two, you'll find 'em. Look for a post asking for spells. You can find the specifics there.

Generally, though, it requires taking a bit of pre-existing flame, and flinging it at a target fast enough that it does not burn out prior to reaching the target (at which point, it will have ALL sorts of fuel.. Most of said fuel will probably be screaming and beating at itself with hands, though)
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~Lance Allen
Wolves Den Publishing
Eternally Incipient Publisher of Mage Blade, ReCoil and Rats in the Walls
Bob Richter
Member

Posts: 324


« Reply #2 on: May 30, 2002, 02:55:52 AM »

Quote from: Wolfen
A couple variant ways to create fireballs have been previously discussed on this forum. I haven't figured out (probably because I haven't tried) how to link to other posts, but if you go back a page or two, you'll find 'em. Look for a post asking for spells. You can find the specifics there.

Generally, though, it requires taking a bit of pre-existing flame, and flinging it at a target fast enough that it does not burn out prior to reaching the target (at which point, it will have ALL sorts of fuel.. Most of said fuel will probably be screaming and beating at itself with hands, though)


Tossing bits of a campfire at people isn't my idea of a fireball.

Did you look at my spell? What do you think?
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So ye wanna go earnin' yer keep with yer sword, and ye think that it can't be too hard...
Lance D. Allen
Member

Posts: 1962


WWW
« Reply #3 on: May 30, 2002, 03:02:51 AM »

Quote
Did you look at my spell? What do you think?


Yes I did. It looks quite workable, but it would require a sorceror who is very educated to come up with it. Not particularly difficult considering that Sorcerors are generally forced to be reclusive, and what better to do in your free-time than study and formulate spells?

Also, I think the CTN is rather prohibitive. The variants I mentioned are considerably lower due to the restrictions, and therefore less likely to end up with a passed-out and considerably older sorceror. They don't have the destructive power of your spell, granted... But the point of your spell seems more useful against structures and fortifications.. Against a few people, it's... overkill. I think there is room for both types of fireball.

And hey, go easy on Driftwood, eh? Methinks the "NO FIREBALLS" ruling was a kneejerk reaction to try to head off of the plain-vanilla magic so prevalent in games which the Riddle of Steel attempts emphatically to NOT be.
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~Lance Allen
Wolves Den Publishing
Eternally Incipient Publisher of Mage Blade, ReCoil and Rats in the Walls
Bob Richter
Member

Posts: 324


« Reply #4 on: May 30, 2002, 03:19:56 AM »

Quote from: Wolfen
Quote
Did you look at my spell? What do you think?


Yes I did. It looks quite workable, but it would require a sorceror who is very educated to come up with it. Not particularly difficult considering that Sorcerors are generally forced to be reclusive, and what better to do in your free-time than study and formulate spells?

Also, I think the CTN is rather prohibitive. The variants I mentioned are considerably lower due to the restrictions, and therefore less likely to end up with a passed-out and considerably older sorceror. They don't have the destructive power of your spell, granted... But the point of your spell seems more useful against structures and fortifications.. Against a few people, it's... overkill. I think there is room for both types of fireball.

And hey, go easy on Driftwood, eh? Methinks the "NO FIREBALLS" ruling was a kneejerk reaction to try to head off of the plain-vanilla magic so prevalent in games which the Riddle of Steel attempts emphatically to NOT be.
\

Believe me, I *AM* going easy on Driftwood. You should see my critiques of the (now-defunct) FASA Corporation's stuff. :)

But they're trying to tell me that I can't burn air, while at the same time telling me I can dismantle myself and hurl myself through air at the speed of light and somehow arrive at my destination intact (FOLD.)

I'm not buying it. :)

Though I really _DO_ like the magic system. It's a little rough, and I have myriad complaints, but at least there's no "spell levels" or "spells per day"

The CTN can be reduced through formalization (which I heartily recommend) Also, it's not too hard to make smaller (30 gallon) or slower (apprentice-level) fireballs, this is "The Big One."

And you're going to be older anyway. Might as well just live with it and get a good KO....:)
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So ye wanna go earnin' yer keep with yer sword, and ye think that it can't be too hard...
contracycle
Member

Posts: 2807


« Reply #5 on: May 30, 2002, 08:09:32 AM »

Cunning.  But in driftwoods defence, IMO its a good thing that they started from the position that there should be no fireballs - that they didn't create a system that made them actually *impossible*, hey, I let 'em off the hook.

OTOH, funnily enough one of my favourite magic systems was from CJ Cherryh's Rusalka, which if I understand the settings influences, is the right location - east europe.  And that definately had no fireballs but I have never been able to conceptualise it in game mechanics.

Hmm - I also want a game that did Prince Ivan (book in fairytale style, authoer escapes me).
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Jake Norwood
Member

Posts: 2261


WWW
« Reply #6 on: May 30, 2002, 08:29:56 AM »

Bob-

I actually like your fireball spell quite a bit, I would like to point out, however, that it isn't a fireball in the traditional RPG sense...or rather doesn't need to be.

You're spell could ingnite anywhere within your line of sight--no need to "throw" it when you can just have a 300 gallon ball of fire appear two inches from your opponent. That would be even better, and wouldn't look as cheesy.

Fact is that you can do just about anything with TROS magic, but we wanted to stay away from comic-book style or "vanilla" magic, going for something scarier and more subtle. Your spell seems to do that pretty well, and I might even end up using it myself one of these days.

A quick note about magic, while we really like the system we realize that the first printing had several organizational flaws and was confusing in places. I will shortly be putting the "new" sorcery chapter up for people that have the "old" book, so that everyone is on equal ground. I've had it read and critiqued by several TROS players now, and it is unanimously agreed to be a better representation of the same system. I'll let everyone know when it's up.

Jake
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"Civilized men are more discourteous than savages because they know they can be impolite without having their skulls split, as a general thing." -R.E. Howard The Tower of the Elephant
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Brian Leybourne
Member

Posts: 1793


« Reply #7 on: May 30, 2002, 11:26:11 AM »

Quote from: Bob Richter

Fireball (Master)
Spell of One
CTN: 9 (Casting time - 9 seconds)
T) 1 (air is inanimate, yes?)
R) 2 (if I can see it, I can fry it. WayCool.)
V) 3 (up to 300 gallons of air. Big Fry.)
D) 0 (I don't need any. Movement 3's acceleration effects are instantaneous. From there, nature takes its course.)
L) 3 (Movement 3. I said that already.)

Vagary: Movement 3 (I'm repeating myself.)
Effects:
Speed (3:) to get it going.
Maneuverability (3:) to keep it contained.


Not bad. Although given that you can't SEE the air molecules to rub them together, I would enforce Vision 3 (Clarvoyance 3) to be able to see what you're doing (there are plenty of examples of this requirement in the sample spells).

That makes it a spell of three with a CTN of 10, taking 100 seconds to cast, so it's suddenly not quite as useful...
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Brian Leybourne
bleybourne@gmail.com

RPG Books: Of Beasts and Men, The Flower of Battle, The TROS Companion
Valamir
Member

Posts: 5574


WWW
« Reply #8 on: May 30, 2002, 11:36:32 AM »

Quote from: Jake Norwood

Fact is that you can do just about anything with TROS magic, but we wanted to stay away from comic-book style or "vanilla" magic, going for something scarier and more subtle. Your spell seems to do that pretty well, and I might even end up using it myself one of these days.


Bruce Galloway's old Fantasy Wargaming RPG had a similiar take to magic.  One of my favorites was "create rock".  Amount:  small sliver.  Location:  inside my enemy's heart.  Range:  whereever he is in the world, because I now have a lock of his hair, a drop of his blood, and knowledge of his True Name.

Or "remove air".  Amount: 1 cubic meter.  Location: sphere centered on that swordsman's head.  Duration:  oh, about 5 minutes ought to do it.

It had one of the first, and still one of the best assemble a spell sections I've ever seen.  Also had one of the best "summon demons and make them cast spells for me" rulesets  including this advice "be careful what you wish for.  I once commanded my demon to 'create light'...he exploded a 30' diameter fireball in the middle of the 10' diameter room."

Also had a FANTASTIC piety and religious system modeled on the early Catholic church including rules for asking Saints for intercessions and miracles.

The mechanics of the game were somewhat chart heavy and klunky (ok, VERY chart heavy and clunky) but the applications were amazing.
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Bob Richter
Member

Posts: 324


« Reply #9 on: May 30, 2002, 01:41:27 PM »

Quote from: BrianL
Quote from: Bob Richter

Fireball (Master)
Spell of One
CTN: 9 (Casting time - 9 seconds)
T) 1 (air is inanimate, yes?)
R) 2 (if I can see it, I can fry it. WayCool.)
V) 3 (up to 300 gallons of air. Big Fry.)
D) 0 (I don't need any. Movement 3's acceleration effects are instantaneous. From there, nature takes its course.)
L) 3 (Movement 3. I said that already.)

Vagary: Movement 3 (I'm repeating myself.)
Effects:
Speed (3:) to get it going.
Maneuverability (3:) to keep it contained.


Not bad. Although given that you can't SEE the air molecules to rub them together, I would enforce Vision 3 (Clarvoyance 3) to be able to see what you're doing (there are plenty of examples of this requirement in the sample spells).

That makes it a spell of three with a CTN of 10, taking 100 seconds to cast, so it's suddenly not quite as useful...


Thus why I mentioned Armor of Air, which also manipulates air without the help of Vision.
:)
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Lyrax
Member

Posts: 268


« Reply #10 on: May 30, 2002, 06:55:34 PM »

It's a little different.  Armor of Air doesn't need to deal with molecules.  It only takes a bunch of air and tells it not to move so much.  Your spell needs something to rub up against (otherwise, no friction and no fireball), thus a Vision3 requirement (you are rubbing molecules together, right?) and it would also probably need something to burn... oxygen is not flammable, though fire needs it to burn.
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Lance Meibos
Insanity takes it's toll.  Please have exact change ready.

Get him quick!  He's still got 42 hit points left!
Brian Leybourne
Member

Posts: 1793


« Reply #11 on: May 30, 2002, 07:25:20 PM »

Quote from: Lyrax
It's a little different.  Armor of Air doesn't need to deal with molecules.  It only takes a bunch of air and tells it not to move so much.  Your spell needs something to rub up against (otherwise, no friction and no fireball), thus a Vision3 requirement (you are rubbing molecules together, right?) and it would also probably need something to burn... oxygen is not flammable, though fire needs it to burn.


Umm...Oxygen is one of the more flammable elements in the lower periodic table. It's just not when it's diluted by everything else present in air (the 70-odd percent nitrogen, specifically).

Easy enough to get around with Sculpture 3 - seperate the O2 from everything rlse and rub two bits together to make a spark and WOOF! Of course, now the spell has a CTN of 11 and takes 110 seconds to cast...

Brian.
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Brian Leybourne
bleybourne@gmail.com

RPG Books: Of Beasts and Men, The Flower of Battle, The TROS Companion
WhistlinFiend
Member

Posts: 12


« Reply #12 on: May 30, 2002, 07:52:21 PM »

Doesn't all of this presuppose the sorcerer knows about oxygen, friction and the like? It seems as if we're really streatching credibility thin here...

-dave
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Never attribute to malice that which may be readily ascribed to stupidity
Jaif
Member

Posts: 327


« Reply #13 on: May 30, 2002, 08:39:02 PM »

http://antoine.fsu.umd.edu/chem/senese/101/reactions/faq/is-oxygen-flammable.shtml

Oxygen is not flammable.

Which is besides the point, I think.  You could just get the air molecules moving very fast, strip off some electrons, and end up with plasma.

Of course, I think it's better, and more credible, for our middle-ages educated wizard to just remove all the air from the target's lungs, or something along those lines.

-Jeff
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Julian Kelsey
Member

Posts: 23


« Reply #14 on: May 30, 2002, 09:23:52 PM »

Quote from: Jaif
Oxygen is not flammable


Very true, but if you heat it up enough nitrogen is.

The fireball as described is heating air up until the nitrogen gets above its combustion point at which point the nitrogen happily bonds with oxygen, releasing more energy, driving more combustion.

This feed back loop is the one that scientists were afraid would set the atmosphere alight when they first started atmospheric testing of nuclear weapons.

In the end if doesn't become an unstopable chain reaction, it heats up the by products of the combustion, not distributing heat out to to more combustable material, so after a while it just smothers and radiates the ramaining heat.

This is what was described, clearly and unambiguously, in the initial post.

Would a sorcerer imagine air to be a burnable thing? They wouldn't need to think of molecules. I rub my hands together to generate heat, I could rub two hard sided clumps of air together and end up with a sheet of fire expoding out into a fire ball.

Metal smiths learn that rock and metal will burn if you heat it up enough, it's not so unlikely that a crazy sorcerer might seek to burn the very air.

However, I understand the design logic that want's to avoid a dull magical artillary. Why not have it a story about the suppression of burning air magic, a dreadful menace which even sorcerers might discuss only in whispers. Maybe in future ages it will be an obvious spell, and people will look back and laugh at how little we knew then.

Food for thought,
Julian Kelsey.
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