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Akhôrahil

The Problem Rune Spells (and a quick-fix for most)

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3 minutes ago, g33k said:

Given how much  "we stand off, and missile them to death"  is already a common (aka "winning," if one side has better missile weapons/skills) RQ tactic, I really can't call this "completely changing encounters."  😁

Interestingly, if you want to bring down the Humakti this way, bring bows, not throwing weapons (as thrown weapons can be parried and will hence miss in the first place due to Sword Trance).

And I maintain that a smart Humakti will prep by dropping all kinds of small spells to soak up the first half dozen dispels or so. 🙂 Your Shaman will get to shine due to permanent Soul Sight and hence targeted dispels. Can we call this "Daka Fal's Revenge"?

But the mere fact that we have to have these convoluted discussions on how to possibly overcome a one-point Rune Spell tells me there's something wrong about it.

Edited by Akhôrahil

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3 minutes ago, Akhôrahil said:

 

Interestingly, if you want to bring down the Humakti this way, bring bows, not throwing weapons (as thrown weapons can be parried and will hence miss in the first place due to Sword Trance).

And I maintain that a smart Humakti will prep by dropping all kinds of small spells to soak up the first half dozen dispels or so. 🙂 Your Shaman will get to shine due to permanent Soul Sight and hence targeted dispels. Can we call this "Daka Fal's Revenge"?

But the mere fact that we have to have these convoluted discussions on how to possibly overcome a one-point Rune Spell tells me there's something wrong about it.

How many rounds is your Humakti casting spells for before they get around to casting Sword Trance, how many MP do they have left to cast it with, and what have their opponents been doing in the meantime?

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Just now, JustAnotherVingan said:

How many rounds is your Humakti casting spells for before they get around to casting Sword Trance, how many MP do they have left to cast it with, and what have their opponents been doing in the meantime?

If it's a prepared duel, as many rounds as you like? Same thing if it's a battlefield. This would work from ambush, except, you know, Humakti...

And any at all experienced adventurers have all but infinite MPs due to crystals.

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Just now, Akhôrahil said:

Interestingly, if you want to bring down the Humakti this way, bring bows, not throwing weapons (as thrown weapons can be parried and will hence miss in the first place due to Sword Trance)...

Also slings!  Mobs of trollkin are a huge threat!  Including to SwordTrance'd Humakti, because they can stand off and boldly Bolg.

 

2 minutes ago, Akhôrahil said:

... And I maintain that a smart Humakti will prep by dropping all kinds of small spells to soak up the first half dozen dispels. 🙂

Agreed!

But please note we're going further and further afield from legitimately criticizing <X> Trance as the too-good 1-RP "I win" button.

1 RP + 10 or so MP's (and thus a round of casting) + some other buffs (Truesword?), plus some anti-debuffing spells to absorb "blind" dispels, and, and, and ...

 

And a fsck'ing pack of trollkin take him out with NO MAGIC and some gnawed-up lead.

 

Or someone with the right spells actually does that targetted Dispel/Dismiss.

 

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3 minutes ago, Akhôrahil said:

If it's a prepared duel, as many rounds as you like? Same thing if it's a battlefield. This would work from ambush, except, you know, Humakti...

And any at all experienced adventurers have all but infinite MPs due to crystals.

Depends on how generous the DM is with handing them out. Mine certainly don't.

What about when the Humakti is ambushed or just adventuring?

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1 minute ago, Akhôrahil said:

If it's a prepared duel, as many rounds as you like? ...

I'm sorry, but (as noted above) -- this guy is Death come into the world.  You step onto the dueling ground expecting to die.

 

2 minutes ago, Akhôrahil said:

... Same thing if it's a battlefield. This would work from ambush ...

Again:  ambush is one of those things that -- like a serious advantage in missile weapons -- is well known as a common winning tactic.

 

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4 minutes ago, g33k said:

Also slings!  Mobs of trollkin are a huge threat!  Including to SwordTrance'd Humakti, because they can stand off and boldly Bolg

Is there anything in the book that can handle a hundred trollkin with slings, though? I mean, if it works against everything, then it's not surprising that it works against Sword Trance as well!

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1 minute ago, g33k said:

Again:  ambush is one of those things that -- like a serious advantage in missile weapons -- is well known as a common winning tactic.

It's unusually difficult to pull off against Humakti, though. You count as an Assassin.

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Just now, Akhôrahil said:

Is there anything in the book that can handle a hundred trollkin with slings, though?

A hundred fyrdmen with bows?

A few hidden Aldryami with Arrow Trance?

Various forms of stealth -- including magic -- so they can't see you at range to leverage all that slingfire?

I mean... yes.

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3 minutes ago, Akhôrahil said:

It's unusually difficult to pull off against Humakti, though. You count as an Assassin.

Huh.

That's an interesting interpretation.  I'll have to think about it.  TYVM!

 

I don't think it's automatically true, but... I need to think further.

 

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Sense Assassin isn't spidy-sense. It takes "a few seconds to a melee round" to invoke.   MRB p. 139.

It also has only a 50m range,  MRB p. 183,  and the text leaves the term "assassinate" open to GM interpretation, although I can totally see an ambush from a bandit group having decided to specifically target the Humakti as an "assassination".  Not so much a hungry pack of chaotic Cave Trolls looking to eat the PCs at night though.   

 

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On 2/12/2020 at 4:22 PM, JustAnotherVingan said:

Depends on how generous the DM is with handing them out. Mine certainly don't.

What about when the Humakti is ambushed or just adventuring?

I definitely restrict pow crystals to a degree greater than "an infinite amount of MP".   Glorantha is glorantha though, and at some point the PC's should wind up accumulating a good amount of stored POW.  But.......

  1. They should be specifically asked to cough some up the Temple as their tithe, if they are swimming in them.  Invoke Bad King Urgrain stories if they don't see why. 
  2. PC's of that high a capability need to be tasked more frequently, and more dangerously by their community. 
  3. The opposition should be using exactly the same tricks that the PC's are employing.  Yanafal Tarnils followers can directly counter the Humukti tricks, and are worthy foils in any case.
  4. Events in the Hero Wars should be much more draining, even to higher level PC's.

A good example of this is a battle.  Say a fairly small one happens.  How much Rune power do the players use?  How long does it last?  Battles last WAY more than 15 minutes.  Hastings, for example, went literally all day.  How do you manage your MP's, let along your Rune points in a situation like that?  5 minutes for your Bladesharp, Protection, and you also got a Pow gain roll with Demoralize.  Good for you, but there are still thousands of enemies, and you are down 9 MP's for 5 minutes worth of fighting.  And if you had to strut your stuff and face an enemy champion (as you should if you are that strong!), you should have had to burn serious Rune points to prevail.   Players should absolutely be put in situations that stress their capabilities, forcing them to rely on others, even when they are powerful.   This sort of responsibility gives the players a chance to shine, but also traps them in a way using their powers for the community.  And this is a good thing!

What happens after the battle?  Did the PC's blow their wad to ensure a win, or hold some magic in reserve?  If they blew it all, what are they doing if a situation comes up immediately?  MPs can come back quickly, if you have enough spirits, but filling a lot of Pow crystals takes a few days.   Rune points are the real problem though.    If another rival tribe decides they are weak and ripe for the taking, or a more serious foe comes along, or suddenly they have to go on a quest for the great McGuffin then the PCs will likely be called upon to deal with the situation at less than peak power.    Very powerful PC's should be in the forefront of every danger for their community, and given every opportunity to burn through resources. 

Once my PC's had 50+ MPs and 14+ Rune Spells they were going on epic quests, extended travelogue type adventures, and visiting other planes.   Sometimes they weren't able to come home for years.   Other times they got involved in large scale warfare, trying to fight off the Lunar Empire.  I always portrayed the Lunars as having more resources than the Orlanthi, with the PC's having to shoulder the difference.  That often meant fighting Coder or Rune-Master opponents, frequently back to back, and sometimes in the context of a siege or large scale Battle.  I still have fond memories of "The siege of Runegate".  That one took several game sessions to resolve, and the PC's were mid-level at best, more caught up in the action than titans striding around the stage.  But they did eventually get there, and mowing through medium grade opposition became easy and doable for them -- IF they blew a huge wad of resources.  The danger then was a tough Rune-level band being held in reserve somewhere coming in after most of the spells had worn off and just trashing them.  Which did happen from time to time. 

That's all part of the escalation of the Hero Wars.  The way I play it, the PC's are sort of on a treadmill trying to get more powerful to face more and more powerful foes, but it doesn't really stop, and they can't win the rat race with raw power.  Not really.  Harrek has the top spot all sewn up.   YGMV.

 

Edited by Dissolv
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1 hour ago, Akhôrahil said:

It's unusually difficult to pull off against Humakti, though. You count as an Assassin.

Honestly, that skill kinda seems a problem to me.

As guys often hired to spread holy death throughout the world, surely sense assassin would keep detecting themselves?

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1 hour ago, Dissolv said:

I definitely restrict pow crystals to a degree greater than "an infinite amount of MP". 

In practice, so do I, but the adventures certainly aren't restrictive with handing crystals out as loot. And if they don't get the crystals they want, Magic Point Matrices are not something that can be stopped.

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Totally fair.  And if a campaign goes on long enough, the players are going to get their hands on stored power.  It's just going to happen in Glorantha, unless you are deliberately running a lower powered campaign and take some pains to keep it that way. 

I'm still a fan of the whole "multiple serious encounters back to back" strategy for the big boys.

 

To answer a previous post --

Quote

Has anybody actually done a fight vs. a big chaos baddie, where the PCs had both a Storm Bull and a Humakt?  I'd still put my money on the Humakt, but wondering...

My players always, and I mean ALWAYS use the Storm Bull.  There is just too much that can go wrong with all kinds of goofy, unpredictable chaos features.   Automatic weapon breaks, automatic fumbles, explodes when dies, acid spit, fire breath.  The routine is this:  Everyone buffs the Storm Bull on Round 1.  And I mean everyone, even the Humakti (usually Truesword if applicable but often Shield).  The Storm Bull PC goes berserk, and careens into the horde/big bad.  Everyone handles crowd control while trying to keep within healing range of the Storm Bull.  If it is really bad, or if it is going too well, the party pulls back, leaving the ultra-enhanced Storm Bull to his fate.  The last time my players went into a Broo warren, the amped-up Storm Bull was so effective that they literally could not keep pace with him, despite him losing his arm while surrounded by a horde of foes.  A quote from a player: "I thought a Storm Bull without a Great Axe was a waste, but that really worked out!"

If he wins, great.  If he loses, they try to Divine Intervention him back and get out of Dodge.  If they use the Humakti, and my players do generally have one available, there is simply too great a risk of a permanent party loss.  They have lost very powerful, long term character,  Rune Lord/Priests of Humakt before, and it has colored their thinking.  And mine.  I regard them now as incredible, perhaps the ultimate, death-dealing Dixie cups.   Typical player use of the Humakti is against non-Chaos big bads.  Normally the situation is more controlled and known than some Chaos beast with unknown Chaos features or powers. 

And it is a bit of a catch-22.  Humakti are so powerful that they keep getting called on to deal with the worst of the worst.  But getting a resurrection for a Storm Bull who died fighting Chaos for your clan is possibly the easiest sell to make at a Chalana Arroy temple there is. 

 

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13 minutes ago, Dissolv said:

...

To answer a previous post --

My players always, and I mean ALWAYS use the Storm Bull ...

TYVM.  This is an invaluable at-the-table report!  With the proviso that it's ONE table (presumably one GM) and so there will be less challenge to assumptions & preconceptions, of course!

Edited by g33k
Cut down an over-quote

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1 hour ago, Dissolv said:

the ultimate, death-dealing Dixie cups.

Good stuff! The only problem is that I have no idea what this expression means?

Edited by lordabdul

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1 minute ago, lordabdul said:

Good stuff! The only problem is that I have no idea what this expression means?

Dixie cups, the really weak ones that you have to throw away after using once
Image result for dixie cup

Edited by Richard S.
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7 hours ago, Akhôrahil said:

Is there anything in the book that can handle a hundred trollkin with slings, though? I mean, if it works against everything, then it's not surprising that it works against Sword Trance as well!

Shield 4?

7 hours ago, Dissolv said:

A good example of this is a battle.  Say a fairly small one happens.  How much Rune power do the players use?  How long does it last?  Battles last WAY more than 15 minutes.  Hastings, for example, went literally all day.  How do you manage your MP's, let along your Rune points in a situation like that?  5 minutes for your Bladesharp, Protection, and you also got a Pow gain roll with Demoralize.  Good for you, but there are still thousands of enemies, and you are down 9 MP's for 5 minutes worth of fighting.  And if you had to strut your stuff and face an enemy champion (as you should if you are that strong!), you should have had to burn serious Rune points to prevail.

I've done a few mass combats with the as-written Battle skill, and in reflection this is a flaw with it—it doesn't reduce the adventurer's magic points or Rune points. Thanks for something to think upon.

5 hours ago, Akhôrahil said:

And if they don't get the crystals they want, Magic Point Matrices are not something that can be stopped.

I've given my players a relatively small number of crystals. They have over 100 MP stored between all sources, most of which comes from a magic point enchantment—since the spirit magic spell only costs 30L—with around 10 POW dropped into it over time, and some lucky D10 rolls.

They've actually dropped 100MP on a single Sword Trance. It's terrifying. Death literally leaking into the world, red-eyed Humakti brushing aside opposition with a 50% crit rate. I ruled that he could even parry arrows, because of how much Death Juice he's drinking. (I should also note that they haven't come up against opposition with Dismiss Magic while doing this. Yet. Used it while monster-hunting.)

The moment my players see more than one spirit, the Humakti immediately casts True Sword. And he's got a sword of enchanted iron too. So something like 2D8+2 against spirits, averaging 11 damage. Historically, my players haven't even bothered with Spirit Block since Mr. Death destroys spirits quickly enough and their MP batteries are deep enough that (if they don't make dumb choices like casting 100MP Sword Trance) their personal MP, so long as its above 0, isn't desperately important.

I'd also like to note a spell which I'm in constant battle to avoid being unbalancing in my game: Spell Trading. Apart from the fact that this spell is just, frankly, very very good, there's the further complication that Issaries, like Ernalda, has a holy day every week. So if there's any extended period of downtime—for example, while doing occupational stuff in Pavis between seasonal adventures—pretty much every week the player of my Issaries Merchant is hunting around for spells to trade for.

Even if he's just stocking up common Rune magic (which is what I mostly offer as a balancing factor) that's still a building resource over time.

Thus far, my solution has been to determine that Issaries Traders in My Glorantha are a bit like classic D&D-esque wizards: they have a bunch of spells prepared and ready to go, and who knows what they happen to have. So leave that man on a donkey alone, and wait for the next traveler if you don't wanna get Thunderbolt'd...

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5 minutes ago, Crel said:

Thus far, my solution has been to determine that Issaries Traders in My Glorantha are a bit like classic D&D-esque wizards: they have a bunch of spells prepared and ready to go, and who knows what they happen to have. So leave that man on a donkey alone, and wait for the next traveler if you don't wanna get Thunderbolt'd...

Oh this. I like this. So many ideas... cackles in maniacal glee

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1 hour ago, Richard S. said:

Oh this. I like this. So many ideas... cackles in maniacal glee

Have another one, then: Spell Trading fails if the trading casters roll 96+ in the process and immediately cast the spell instead of trading it.

My players trading a visiting priestess of Maran Gor for Create Fissure 6 (can't remember exact points) in the middle of a warcamp. I was very sad when they avoided the catastrophic failure.

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2 hours ago, Crel said:

They've actually dropped 100MP on a single Sword Trance. It's terrifying.

Holy fuck. Wow. Congrats to your players! I hope that, with this kind of power, they are up against the big names of Glorantha, shaping nations and kingdoms, and not doing dungeon crawls and killing trollkin anymore.

2 hours ago, Crel said:

Even if he's just stocking up common Rune magic (which is what I mostly offer as a balancing factor) that's still a building resource over time.

Oh wow, I see, he's basically got an arsenal of traded spells that are ready to go and are completely free? That's a totally genius way of using Spell Trading, and I'm now vastly increasing the potential threat of Issaries priests! Thank you!

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5 minutes ago, lordabdul said:

I hope that, with this kind of power, they are up against the big names of Glorantha, shaping nations and kingdoms, and not doing dungeon crawls and killing trollkin anymore.

...

They did this in the middle of their current dungeon crawl, for, and I quote, "the lols." Sigh.

Still cool/hilarious, though.

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