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Author Topic: Ars Magica, the TRoS way....  (Read 27202 times)
Morfedel
Member

Posts: 345


« Reply #30 on: July 28, 2003, 09:10:56 AM »

No, not yet. As time permits, I will create it as a Word document. That might be a week or two before I can get to it, though, and any really pretty layout or formatting will be nonexistant - I just have too many demands on my time right now.
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grot
Member

Posts: 25


« Reply #31 on: July 30, 2003, 08:15:06 AM »

OK DOK, I may do it for you (grin)...  I really, really like the idea of folding the AM magic system in.  As much as I love TROS for the Skill/Combat/SA systems, I find the magic system to be a little thin, and almost an afterthought.  Maybe I just like cheesy D&D style stuff, but I WANT a system where the players live more than one or two battles, where monsters exist and are defeatable, and where magic is real, and works, but has consequences.  TROS magic system gets almost all the way there, I think the Verb-Noun system combined with the TROS methods is PERFECT>....
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Morfedel
Member

Posts: 345


« Reply #32 on: July 30, 2003, 09:46:36 AM »

Great to hear! Please let me know how it goes! :)
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grot
Member

Posts: 25


« Reply #33 on: July 30, 2003, 10:06:02 AM »

OK, here's a link to a word document I started working up.  I've made some tweaks:

http://www.nadig.com/Personal/arstotros.doc

Here's my big issue, and it's on damage.  The way it is right now, effect level is determined.  So "BrainSqueeze", a spell that squishes someones brain out through their ears, would be TN 8 (Other, Touch, EL5).  This is just way to easy for instant death.  Rolling a SINGLE 8 is just way way to easy, and it would require "only" a 1 in corpus, and a 7 in perdo.  

A few modifications I thought of: first, a spell can never do more than it's stated EL of damage, so you can cast a wimpy Pilum, or a deadly Pilum, but extra successes on the wimpy one don't make it deadly.  Second, make the number of successes requred for full effect = the effect level.  So, in my example, BrainSqueeze would still be a TN of 8, but you'd need 5 successes to actually pull it off.  Anything under that, and it scales back, one level per lack of success.

Not perfect, but at least the chances of rolling 5 8's out of a pool of 10 are a lot lower than the chances of rolling 1!!!!

Another thought I had was to make it that the maximum EL you could achieve on any spell (not just damage) could be the LOWEST of the Technique or Form in question.  This prevents what we used to call "perdo munchkin" - someone who puts 1 point in most forms, and ALL their other points in Perdo, so they can be the master of disaster.  In the case of brainsqueeze, we now need someone with BOTH a perdo and a corpus of 5, needing 5 8s to enact instant death.  Now we're talking, I think.

Using the point system from this discussion (which I included in the doc) that would mean a starting character would have to spend 32 points (equivalent to over 6 vagary points) on this level of specialization.  Not bad.  I think maybe we need to ramp the points even higher past level 3 though.

Thoughts?
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grot
Member

Posts: 25


« Reply #34 on: July 30, 2003, 10:41:10 AM »

In reading through the Ars book again, the damage issue is really sticky.  Perdo Corpus instant death is an Ars level 50 effect - incredibly difficult to acheive.  Perhaps we need more than 5 levels of effect?  I know, I know, everything in TROS goes in sets of 5, but perhaps we need to use something like 7 levels of magnitude (ala Ars) instead?

Alternatively, we can kick the requirements to get higher level magics way up.  Maybe 1/3/6/10/15/21/28 for the Art score desired (as we had it before) but only give starting characters proficiencies/2 to start with.

This would mean a maxed proficient character would have 28 points to spend, letting them get a maximum specialization of 5,4,3 (say, five in perdo, 4 in creo, 3 in corpus) - this would be the super specialized healer/destroyer, and they would just BARELY be able to pull off the touch-ranged death spell I discussed above, assuming the TN of 8, the damage restriction on the Perdo of 5, needing 5 successes to kill.

Any feedback?
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Morfedel
Member

Posts: 345


« Reply #35 on: July 30, 2003, 11:17:08 AM »

Quote from: grot
Here's my big issue, and it's on damage.  The way it is right now, effect level is determined.  So "BrainSqueeze", a spell that squishes someones brain out through their ears, would be TN 8 (Other, Touch, EL5).  This is just way to easy for instant death.  Rolling a SINGLE 8 is just way way to easy, and it would require "only" a 1 in corpus, and a 7 in perdo.


So? Thats also touch range. Remember, that spell is going to take 8 seconds to cast, and as it is invasive allow a health or toughnes resistance roll.

So, first of all, in that 8 seconds, you will have a potential 8 sword attacks from this target; that's enough for possible instant death there too. Furthermore, he may well resist it - dont forget, I did add a resistance component into the spell mechanic.

Let me know what you think of this, and then I'll answer the rest.
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grot
Member

Posts: 25


« Reply #36 on: July 30, 2003, 11:30:26 AM »

Quote from: Morfedel

So? Thats also touch range. Remember, that spell is going to take 8 seconds to cast, and as it is invasive allow a health or toughnes resistance roll.

So, first of all, in that 8 seconds, you will have a potential 8 sword attacks from this target; that's enough for possible instant death there too. Furthermore, he may well resist it - dont forget, I did add a resistance component into the spell mechanic.


Hrmm... OK, hadn't thought of that.  That does pass the "bullet to the head test" - meaning, if you sneak up on a sleeping person, any idiot should be able to kill them.  So if you are unconscious, and a theif puts a knife to your throat, you should die, regardless of the skill of the wielder.  Same applies here I guess.

I guess my issue is with situations where you have "one success equals instant death."  How do you invision natural resistance working?

I think the long term answer is with a magic damage chart like the one you started - an EL 1 spell will never do anything more than shock, an EL 5 spell can kill.  But one thing I want to capture is the disparity between harm and aid inherent in Ars - bind wounds causes real aid as a level 10 spell, but there is no level 10 spell you can cast that causes actual damage.

I have two hours trapped on a train tonight to think about this, I'll see what I can come up with.  95% of the document I posted is just your stuff formatted, if you didn't notice.
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Morfedel
Member

Posts: 345


« Reply #37 on: July 30, 2003, 11:44:05 AM »

Bah! Taking liberties with MY rules, are you?! :)


I don't have a problem with it, considering that 5 wounds in TRoS is death too. An EL5 spell is effectively causing an instant level 5 wound, for all intensive purposes.

The way I envision natural resistance working is, if the spell is of an invasive nature, such as the spell you described, it has an all or nothing effect; but the person resisting can roll a health roll to resist the effects, at a TN = to the TN  of the spell; and each level he gets is one success taken away from the sorcerer.

And you need to remember, that although we are trying to simulate AM, we are still doing it in the TRoS paradigm, so certain liberties must still be made.

Regardless, I think the spell you described, as per my rules, is just fine. Here's why:

[list=1]
[*] The 8 seconds casting time, esp at range of touch, can be quite dangerous to the CASTER
[*] He still has to succeed, as well as resist weariness.
[*] The person who is the target still gets to resist.
[*] As both Ars Magica and TRoS (and Ron Edwards; I'm assuming it says this in sorcerer, although I haven't read it), magic SHOULD be powerful. The fine line is what is powerful, and what is too powerful.
[/list:o]

I think that therefore this spell is well balanced and fine. At least, without trying it out in play. Actually try this out with your group before nixing it - and if it still doesnt work, we will discuss it. I will be trying it with mine, after they get over the learning curve (I made them all start out as regular humans for their first characters, but since two of them took bloodthirsty berserkers, two new characters should come pretty fast, hehe)

and who knows, I may agree with ya once I try it out myself. But remember also this, in regards to specialization: a sorcerer's ability to resist hostile spells stems from his forms. If he is focused on one form, that leaves nine forms that he will be far less resistant to.
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grot
Member

Posts: 25


« Reply #38 on: July 31, 2003, 05:40:21 AM »

After self testing this yesterday on the train for a long time, I agree with you.  TRoS is a DEADLY world, and the "oh crap a wizard!" effect is common to both TRoS and AM.

Here's the latest greatest doc from me.

http://www.nadig.com/Personal/arstotros.doc

and browsable:

http://www.nadig.com/Personal/arstotros.htm

It's up to 8 pages, with examples.  I've added rules for twilight, lab work, item creation, and spell mastery, and a direct translation for AM spell levels in the effect table which I think works about right.

I also think the issue about how many points of proficiency = how many to buy Arts is something that could be very Seneschal tweakable.  I think I'd run it where it's 1=2, using the ramped buy system, but you could go as high as 1=4 without it being completely insane.  And in fact, if you ran it in a "magic is forbidden" type setting from Ars, would be good rollplaying fun.

Would love some feedback.
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Morfedel
Member

Posts: 345


« Reply #39 on: July 31, 2003, 07:05:50 AM »

Changes I'd make:

For levels of effects, I'd raise them a bit (level 1 magic is low even for AM. Make it level 5 at the bottom), and also make it a bit vague, so GMs are given more flexibility:

Effect 1: Level 5-10 spells
Effect 2: level 10-20 spells
Effect 3: level 20-30
Effect 4: level 30-45
Effect 5: Level 45-60

There were some spells in AM that was over even level 60, and I think characters should be just as capable of reaching those in TRoS. But you can make it vaguer, and let the GM decide. "Ok, this spell is around 35, but it seems to me that effect 3 is reasonable...."


Obviously, they can do this ANYWAY, but I'd rather give vague and flexible guidelines for GMs to tweak rather than hardcore, as GMs twist it into their own vision....


The twilight you explain looks pretty darned good, but I think it needs to be expanded. How many dice exactly are they rolling? How much potential twilight? etc etc. I'm at work, so I dont have the AM rules. If you do, feel free to beat me to it. Otherwise I'll download the AM rules during lunch and give my own thoughts.


Under resisting magic, you have it saying "the sorcerer adds his score." This is vague. It should be the score he has in the FORM of the hostile magic. (then again, if thats my text taken ver batim, its my fault, heh). Anyway, we should word it "The sorcerer adds the score he poessesses in the Form that the hostile magic uses to any dice rolled to resist hostile magic; and even if that magic is normally unresistable, a wizard can roll the raw dice equal to the form of magic used to resist."


I'm not sure I agree with you on your decision on point conversion. I'd suggested a different scheme, as you recall. Why dont we instead mention that you get a number of points per proficiency spent based on what your GM decides, and list what different conversions entail (going 1-to-2 would mean a modest wizard, while 1-to-5 would mean a far more powerful one).

The reason i'm sayiong this is I think your scheme is going to make wizards too weak - barely higher than apprentices unless they REALLY specialize - and yes, I know some people will specialize, but they will be nearly one-trick ponies then. Many people will want to branch out a bit more, and this scheme will make them incredibly weak.

Example: with 28 points, I could buy ONE point in each art; that leaves 13 points left, buying a second level in 6 more arts, meaning I could cast spells with a CTN of 3. This is incredibly low! You cant even cast a spell on anyone but yourself at this level (target one other = 2; range touch = 1; effect 1 = 1 ==TN of 4)

By the same token, I could then, trying to get over this, put the points in all the techniques: but you cant take even 3 levels in all the techniques, as that would end up costing 30 points.

And if you specialized in one technique and one form? you are left with level 4 in one level 5 in the other, with a CTN of 9, and nothing else. You are incredibly specalized.

This scheme will make wizards pretty feable. Fine if the GM wants starting wizards to be apprentices, but they wont even be able to hurt anyone with anything but a touch spell for a few measily shock points unless they ultra specialize. There was a reason I put 1-to-5; I'd strongly suggest returning it to my original suggestion, OR instead changing it to the variety option of listing choose any kind of conversion, and the meanings based on which kind you use are x, y, and z.

With your scheme, characters are limited to either becoming specialized just to accomplish anything, or else casting spells that effect them only, for very meager effects; remember, a spellcaster cannot cast a spell with a higher CTN than his Technique + Form - which reminds me, maybe I missed it, but did you put that part in? I didnt see it).

With that in mind, you also rewrote my exp and study system. :P This has the same problems as the proficiency system above.


(you've been having a lot of fun rewriting my stuff, havent ya ya bastich? hehe)

No offense, my friend, as you have done a lot of hard work, but I did put a lot of thought into this and numbers crunching. I could be wrong, but I'd suggest trying out my stuff as is first; as I've pointed out, I had a good reason for putting the spellcasting damage levels as it was, and I did the same for the 1-to-5 scheme; to give mages a strong amount of magic without making them overpowered (I originally was going to do 1-to-10 but then when I ran the numbers, I saw it would be way too high).


Hm. Reading my idea on studying an Aura is flawed. Maybe.



spell mastery: hm. I think the experience expenditure needs to be clarified, but it looks interesting. I think I like it, if we can clarify the cost to advance it.


Enchantment and Item ceration: cool, looks good, except - why 6 pawns of vis?  And, the two extra seasons? I think I know why, but some clarification could be in order.


And take out that comment of selling his item to the local thief. I dont think either an Ars Magica wizard nor a TRoS one would sell his items for mere gold unless desperate, and had no other means; remember, this is taking A) Vis, B) time, and  also recall, that magic in this setting is really powerful. We aernt talking about TRINKETS here, we are talking about MAGIC! And someone selling something like that would be desperate.

Talismans: why extra dice? why not lower TN instead?


Spells:


Bind wound: may be a TAD too powerful. Not sure yet. Maybe make it 5 BL per success? I dont know, I'd have to think about it.

However, why did you put bleed at 10 wounds per 3 successes? I'd make it, say, 5 BL per success.


Haha! I love smack! :D


All in all, good work. I think it needs some revisions (in particular, in some cases reversing it back to its original, ahem, heh), but you did a great job, and your work on twilight and enchant items looks fairly solid after some clarification and such.
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grot
Member

Posts: 25


« Reply #40 on: July 31, 2003, 07:43:42 AM »

Excellent comments in general, i must say.

I agree with you on the points-per-art thing - 2 is probably low, 5 is probably high.  This is definately the place where the seneschal should do the tweaking based on the presence of magic in his world setting.

Didn't mean to imply that you had whipped stuff off.  Here's one of the issues though with effect level vs. skill level in each art.  I guess what I really need to playtest in a group is the whole resistance and failure probablity thing, and how much fatigue resistance will matter.  Note I took your damage stuff pretty much verbatim - I think it works after rolling the dice on it.  

Yeah yeah yeah (on the thief thing)...

The item creation in terms of pawns and time is EXACTLY from the Ars rules on item creation.  I didn't want to just copy in ALL the rules, but I will work on fleshing out the examples a bit.

Twilight I do need to flesh out more, no question about it.  But I love the twilight mechanism vs. aging in terms of long term impact, and I like using fatigue instead of aging on a roll by roll basis - makes sense - if you want to cast something out at the edge of your abilities, you either need to take a big risk, or a big drain.

On experience, I didn't rewrite it!  I just added one line tying it to the point buying system!

On spell mastery, I see there being two paths we could follow.  First, you could just make it "one point per spell" in which case it's probably a little expensive.  Maybe not though, extra dice help a fair amount, and reduced casting time can be critical.  Alternatively, we could do it a bit like skills, where you could just make a check for every time you use it, and after 10 checks, it gets "mastered"...

Talismans (and spell mastery for that matter): Statistically, extra dice are far more fine grained a hack then lowering TN.  For example.  If I have a 10 dice roll for a TN10, I have 35% chance of failure.  If I lower the TN to 9, I now have an 11% chance of failure.  This is a MASSIVE increase.  If I just add one die, so I have a pool of 11, and a TN of 10, I now have a 31% chance of failure.  A much tighter control of the pro/con.  I also like dice, because, true to the system, it gives the player a decision to make.  It doesn't just make everything easier, it gives him more options.

Come to think of it, on spell mastery dice, those should just go into general pool so the player can decide as well.

Working a new version, I'll post ehre when it's done.
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grot
Member

Posts: 25


« Reply #41 on: July 31, 2003, 08:19:48 AM »

http://www.nadig.com/Personal/arstotros.htm
http://www.nadig.com/Personal/arstotros.doc


OK, new versions up, I took pretty much all of your suggestions.  I have a sort of compromise level of effect system in there.  I feel pretty strongly that a level 1 effect should be an Ars 10 effect.  There are many Ars 10 spells that are more than just minor - Crystal dart, fist of shattering, rusted decay, trackless step, theif of stollen breath.  These are key spells in many situations.

But I agree at level one you should be able to do things like Unseen Arm and eyes of the cat with just an EL of 1.  I think I've got a good compromise in there, and of course, a lot of this can be situational.

One issue we haven't talked about is minimum TN.  If I take Eyes of the Cat, (Self, Minutes, EL1, in this example) with a TN of 4, if i now formalize this to a TN of 2, are we cool with that?  What about if I do it for concentration, making it TN2 to start with, then formalize it.  It's now a TN0?  Can I suggest that we set a minimum TN of 2 in any case? I looked, but it seems the book is silent on minimum TN.  My feeling is that magic can't be WITHOUT any risk... it should never be completely automatic.
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Morfedel
Member

Posts: 345


« Reply #42 on: July 31, 2003, 09:41:07 AM »

We had a discussion of a min TN on another thread, and it was split on the subject; I THINK that Jake and Brian said in effect "Why not have a TN of 0? It IS magic after all."

I think we should specifically mention both scenarios and leave it up to the GM to decide for his or her game. Personally, I dont have a problem with TNs of 2; if a spell is easy and simple enough, its easy and simple for a reason. I can do 2+2 in my head, after all, a spell that is simple enough for even a rank apprentice to do should be a snap for a sorcerer.

and as for a TN of 1 or 0... I'm kinda torn. I could go either way. Which is why I suggest leaving that to the GM of an individual game. What do you think?
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grot
Member

Posts: 25


« Reply #43 on: July 31, 2003, 09:54:00 AM »

The beauty of TRoS is that it's so EASY to leave these things up to the GM.  It's a system that's MADE for customization, it seems.

I'm trying to get as close to AM as I can.  In Ars, you can always blow it under stress, and the chance is always 1% to botch.  I don't want to start trying to translate AM's "simple, quality, stress" distinction on these things.  Perhaps we can just say that under controlled circumstances, TN's can go down to 0, meaning they automatically succeed, but still require the momentary use of 1 SP die.  Given that these refresh at one per hour, its not like you can just rattle off 100 simple spells at the bar.  That sounds about right.

Then, under a stressful situation (combat) the seneschal can say that the TN minimum is 2 - because casting under pressure should always have a LITTLE risk associated with it.  Now you have 2 fatigue to worry about fighting, and at least one die to get the spell off, meaning the minimum you can use to cast it clean is 3 dice.  Again, seems about right.
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Morfedel
Member

Posts: 345


« Reply #44 on: July 31, 2003, 10:10:42 AM »

Hey, the document is looking much, much better!

I still have a few comments; for one, I'd take out the 2 successes in smack. I'm generally of the opinion that multiple successes should not be required for a spell to do anything, barring overcoming resistances.

Second, I havent looked at AM for awhile, but wasnt there a vis cost for implanting spells and effects as well? If so, that needs to be accounted for; if not, well, my poor memory. I'd have to look it over tonight.


(Just as a side note, I was playing around with the idea of editing the range and the duration charts a bit; I was thinking of how they did durations such as Sun. That might be rather fun. Let me look at it and get back to you on it).


You know, going back to the whole TN and formulized spells, it occurs tio me we could just take out the -TN; since you are getting extra dice anyway, that would be an important component. The extra for -TN may not be needed... but I'm not sure. I think it would work though, since formulized spells got a -2 to TN and spells of three got the exra dice in the original TRoS material.

So, just remove the whole concept of spells of three/many, and remove the -2 for formulized spells. Then, formulized gets the bonus dice, and ritual even moreso.

I like it. I like it a lot, heh. And I think you did that, this time, so there you go, a change you made that I liked, hehe! :)


With that in mind, a comment on spells. We might want to edit Mana 1/2's TNs, add in Mana 3.... I'll look at the TRoS book and contemplate it.

We also need to discuss using multiple arts, when there is overlap, although I think saying you use the smallest of each pre requisite would be fine.

And I have another one to add:

Parma Magica: Magical Shield (Creo Vim) [Ritual]
(originally a skill, I have edited it to a spell)
Prerequisites: Perdo, Intellego
Target: 1 (self)
Duration: 3 (hours; this is why I was thinking of Sun instead)
Effect: 1-5 (varies based on level learned)
TN Total: 5-9

Creates a magic shell around the caster that attempts to detect and neutralize incoming hostile magics.  The Parma Magica can only effect magics that is of an Effect Level equal to or less than it; it lasts for a number of hours equal to its successes rolled, the number of successes rolled is added to the number of dice rolled in any attempt to avoid or resist any incoming hostile magical attacks.

ex: Johnathan has ignem 4 and has cast a Parma Magica with an effect level of 5 and 4 successes, which means it lasts 4 hours. During a battle, a Flambeau mage targets him with a Pillum of Fire; Johnathan can choose to dodge, and gains four bonus dice for his successes against the attack for his dodge attempt; however, even if struck, he gets to roll 4 dice to resist the attack (due to his ignem score) and 4 dice for his successes for parma magica, for a total of 8 dice to resist the attack.
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