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D&D-style Magic in QuestWorlds


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4 minutes ago, Mark(at) said:

How would someone represent D&D style magic - with a large number of possible spells - in QuestWorlds?

Would spells/abilities be grouped by a style of magic, or just a list of keywords?

What do magic items look like ? 

Possibly as a set of grimoires belonging to one of the techniques (Evocation, Necromancy etc.) and then the spells as break-out abilities from that.

For the rest, here's how I would use Nethack items in a Questworlds environment.

If you need to simulate the "fire and forget" nature of those spells (Gloranthan Rune Magic has the same, and doesn't bother), you could impose a cumulative penalty of -10 to the ability, which could be negated by preparing a certain number of spells from the book each morning. The level of the spell might be used as sort of a penalty on preparing those spells to simulate you have less spell slots for those powerful spells, again if you see fit to follow D&D that closely. You still want them to be cast at full mastery when it comes to contests with enemy magic.

Any magic item is an ability. A +n sword in D&D would be an ability to augment your attack ability with, and might be a stand-alone skill, or a breakout from your sword or combat ability. It might impose the additional ability to harm entities immune to ordinary damage, and armor to withstand enemy damage. The problem is how you use both in the same combat roll, if you make the entire combat a single roll. Maybe use the weapon bonus on a success, the armor bonus on a failure? Tricky.

Similar with rings and amulets. Some of these may have a chance to burn out on activation, e.g. on a fumble. More fragile ones on a failure, but still taking some weaker success.

One-use or charged items like potions, wands and scrolls may be used like ammunition to a basic skill "quaff potion", "activate wand" or "read scroll" to take effect in a largely unopposed situation (I'd use an "activate wand" ability for targeting said wand, when required). When you need to measure the item's effect against say the consequences of a spell or poison or whatever, each such item could be deemed a normal success by its maker to give it an ability ranking to do its stuff once. Your character rolls for the activation, then the activated item rolls with its maker's success against the resistance.

I have played in a game where such made items were rolled individually. In case of doubt, you can roll for the maker's success level at the time the player uses the item.

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Here is an approach I took, sorting spells into grimoires roughly grouped by theme and power level.

I actually have a lot of draft/notes for implementing a whole lot of D&D'isms like classes as keywords, distinct arcane vs divine magic styles, spells/day derived from ability ratings, advancement/resistance-progression framed in Low/Mid/High/Epic-Level terms, etc.

I even went all-in on making alignment something that interacts interestingly with play, Alignment ratings work similar to how community resource ratings do, and your behavior and experiences cause them to fluctuate over time. You can draw upon them for augments when acting in accordance with primordial forces with which you are aligned (especially for Divine casters), use them to resist Charm effects, Flaws, or temptations/manipulation that would make you act against your alignment, and so on. With Mastery-rated alignment, you start to be affected by detect___, protection from____, etc. spells,  and can hurt creatures that are immune to non-magical weapons. Alignment languages even get recast an intuitive understanding among those strongly enough alligned to the same primordial forces, usefull for expressing concepts and ideas relevant to the prordialstruggles of creation, but hard to express mundane ideas like "How much for the top-shelf brandy?".

I stopped working on this uppon discovering that QW would have its own license, which is not only incompatible with directly incorporating D&D spell lists etc., but might also prohibit the alignment ideas as being derivative of story elements from the Moorcock BRP games.  

If we ever get a clear and definative answer on what Chaosium/MDP means by "story element" in the context of their licenses, I might revisit. The spell lists, classes, etc. could concievably be scrubbed of things that would infringe on WizCo's IP, but it would take a lot of work and care to get right. In the meantime, what attention I have available to devote to QW is going to be directed towards less fraught propositions.

On a lighter note, @Newt's Yea Little Book of HeroQuest Dungeoneering has a lot of fun ideas in this vein as well. I hope he's able to re-release it at some point.

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  • 5 months later...

Its simple. The divine magic, nature magic or fundamental magic for keywords, and all spell as break out. And a description for each abilities/spells. But its a lot of work. Evocation, conjuration, divination etc. is a good idea too un der the umbrella of divine, nature and fundamental, for game master who want only abillities/spells name and a free system of casting. Fireball can be cast for example with 18 skills in evocation and meteor shower only for player who have 2 masteries etc. But, again, its some work of judgment and its subjective. Some very powerfull spell cant be cast by beginner player, reasonabily.

Edited by Martigan
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10 spells launch available in the beginning of a new adventure. +1 recover after sleeping 8 hours and another +1 if they ate and drank enough in the journey. The total is 10, even if the caster have 3 masteries. The magic cant be infinite. I make a rule for that because the game dont tell anything linked to this. All spells even the most powerfull cost 1.  

Edited by Martigan
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  • 2 weeks later...

I am thinking of running an at least single one-off of a D&D style game session, and I have a player who's only wish is a character that can cast fireball. 

My desire is to use the AP wagering as the extended contest method since I feel it adds drama, and the betting element adds tactical tension to the game. 

However, since a fireball is traditionally an area effect, how would I best handle a situation where for example, the player is in an extended contest with a single opponent, and then a group of orcs for example come rushing in the room, and he wishes to fireball the group? My first thought is to break out of the current extended contest, resolve the fireball tossed at the orks running up the corridor as a simple contest, then resume the extended contest. 

Are there better ways to accomplish this?

Thanks

Edited by godsmonkey
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On 11/25/2020 at 3:05 PM, godsmonkey said:

I am thinking of running an at least single one-off of a D&D style game session, and I have a player who's only wish is a character that can cast fireball. 

My desire is to use the AP wagering as the extended contest method since I feel it adds drama, and the betting element adds tactical tension to the game. 

However, since a fireball is traditionally an area effect, how would I best handle a situation where for example, the player is in an extended contest with a single opponent, and then a group of orcs for example come rushing in the room, and he wishes to fireball the group? My first thought is to break out of the current extended contest, resolve the fireball tossed at the orks running up the corridor as a simple contest, then resume the extended contest. 

Are there better ways to accomplish this?

Thanks

Take a look at "Unrelated Action" and "Desengaging". You can also rule out that the orcs are simply part of the contest, for example, if they're allies of your current opponent.

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On 11/25/2020 at 2:05 PM, godsmonkey said:

However, since a fireball is traditionally an area effect, how would I best handle a situation where for example, the player is in an extended contest with a single opponent, and then a group of orcs for example come rushing in the room, and he wishes to fireball the group? My first thought is to break out of the current extended contest, resolve the fireball tossed at the orks running up the corridor as a simple contest, then resume the extended contest. 

Extended Contests don't really work for me, so I rarely use them, except for a climatic event.

But, if you use them and the Adventurer is engaged in a contest and some orcs come running around the corner, it all depends on how you see this:

The Orcs come screaming around the corner and the Adventurer looks over at them, shrugs and casually tosses off a Fireball at them. Just roll for the effect of the Fireball against multiple opponents, or treat the Orcs as a single target, see what happens and narrate if any of them survive based on the result of the contest. The extended contest continues as it did.

The Orcs come screaming around the corner and the Adventurer looks at them, shocked by the sudden reinforcements, breaks off the fight, turns to them and fires off a Fireball. The Fireball contest is done as above, but the extended contest stops, maybe the Adventurer loses the extended contest or the opponent gets to run away or to act.

 

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1 hour ago, soltakss said:

But, if you use them and the Adventurer is engaged in a contest and some orcs come running around the corner, it all depends on how you see this:

 

I am going to try and address the issue of 'initiative' and parallel and sequential actions in the Core Rules.

A summary would be: Either the story makes it clear who has the initiative or the PCs do by default. Whoever has the initiative gets to say what they do in an exchange first. The other side respond (however they wish to that). You roll for the exchange and the GM (as always) narrates the outcome. If you win the exchange, you most likely have initiative for the next exchange, presuming that makes sense in the fiction. In this way control shifts back and forth. There are exceptions here. Extended as opposed to Scored Contests use AP bids to figure out initiative in a group contest, so use that in preference there.

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>since a fireball is traditionally an area effect

Are they a mob? If you are treating them in game as a mob, i.e. despite being many of them, they just have one action, then the fireball targets all of them, but their resistance drops to that of an individual, instead of being pushed up for being a mob. So for example if you have a mob of Orcs, at a resistance of 20, but the player fireballs them, i might drop the resistance to 14 to represent the area effect nature of the weapon.

> they are all individuals

This is slightly tougher because you would need individual contests against all of them, and if you didn't knock them out, they would enter the contest with other members of the group uninjured. That doesn't really emulate what you are after, even if you just roll once and apply the results to everyone.  In that case I would probably treat is as an 'unrelated action' use the simple contest vs the mob of orcs to determine their fate. In QuestWorlds I might treat a defeat for the orcs as half of them are dead, the other half are at -6 due to wounds, I might give the orcs a -3 if they got a victory to represent flash burns anyway. One of the changes in QuestWorlds is to let you give penalties on a victory or bonuses on a defeat

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On 5/24/2020 at 4:04 PM, Mark(at) said:

How would someone represent D&D style magic - with a large number of possible spells - in QuestWorlds?

Would spells/abilities be grouped by a style of magic, or just a list of keywords?

What do magic items look like ? 

I am just exploring this right now in the Core Rules Book, so great timing.

My line is: ask what the 'feel' is over what the mechanics do. Try to emulate that 'feel' over the exact mechanics. So write down, how D&D magic feels:

Fire and Forget

More powerful spells for more powerful wizards

Spellbooks are a valuable commodity because not everyone knows all spells

They need material components that may be hard to find, words and gestures

Then you can build something around that. In a lot of cases lean on the 'credibility test'. Agree how magic works and simply deploy a credibility test over new rules. So spells are forgotten once cast? Great, it's not credible to use the same spell without a 'rest' having occurred in game. Spells need to be learned and more powerful spells are known to more powerful wizards. You have a spell book ability, and you start with 4 spells. When you find a new spell it is a contest to learn it, and more powerful spells have greater resistances to being learned (using your Wizard keyword). I would not list spells - you can use the source material for names, but I would let the player make up effects on first use. But you could list a spells effects, but just treat them as a credibility test restriction

Make sense?

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Here is a part of how i frame things with magic vs multiple opponent like repel undead,  meteor shower, fear etc.   

Group simple contest and extended contest

 

4.0 Some spells affect multiple opponents. When one of these spells is cast as part of a simple group test, the combat is divided into three tests: one to determine whether the spell succeeds or fails, the other to measure the result of attacks made by other members of the side to which the caster belongs. The points gained or lost by the caster will be added or subtracted from the result of another group test between the opposing camp and the companions of the caster, if applicable. The final outcome will be determined by the sum of these two single group events. The skill used by the opposing camp depends on what the latter wants to achieve, and the consequence of his victory if he wins follows. It may be that this skill is luck and that the consequence of passing the test is only that it is not affected by the spell. Since all of the Beligerents present act at the same time in the Single Group Event, one may wonder which of the two trials should be done first between that of the caster and that of the other Beligerents. It doesn't matter, but initiative always goes to the highest skill score.

 

4.1 In an extended group event, the caster rolls the dice against each opponent present in the area of effect. If he succeeds the test against opponents, the latter subtract a total of resolution points equal to the success of the test. Opponents may oppose an offensive skill. If this is the case, the caster will undergo the average rounded to the whole higher of the points of resolution marked by each of the adversaries who will win the test. If the sum of the points scored by four opponents is two, the average points per opponent is 0.5. No point is therefore retained against the caster. If resolving points are retained, they count for all opponents who make successful use of the offensive skill they oppose to the caster. But the points in question are floating. They will count at the end of the confrontation only for the first opponent who will total 5 points of resolution against the caster. Floating points scored by other opponents will not count in calculating injuries. This is so as not to unduly penalize the caster with an unfair total of injuries. Otherwise, opponents might as much benefit from the caster's casting a spell as the caster himself and that wouldn't make any sense.

Edited by Martigan
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I think one of the interesting points here is the somewhat vexed issue of someone joining in a contest with someone who is already engaged begins a new 'first to five'. Otherwise it would be fairly easy to treat 'area effect' as a credibility test for 'attack multiple opponents on my turn'.

Given multi-targetting is pretty much a credibility issue, the problem then becomes new contestant is new 'first to five'. An area effect attack that does not help reduce someone to zero, doesn't really have any impact.

Now in a big melee it probably would not make much difference to have new contestants simply wear away the same resolution point total, the issue comes down more to 'many-against-one'. Superior numbers tell quite fast in this kind of contest, because you can chip away. However, that may be fair, and provided the defender gets an exchange with every attacker i.e. not just one, this may not matter.

I may change this in the new version. It's always been a bit of problem to explain in play 'no helping your friend by joining the fight is pretty useless.

I'll ponder

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OK, tweaked like this:

"A **group scored contest** continues until one side has no active participants. If you **defeat** your opponent you can pair with a new opponent. The new opponent might be unengaged, but might also be engaged in an existing pairing. When you pair with a new opponent, you begin a new **contest**. If your opponent is already engaged in a **contest**, you participate in the existing **resolution** points tally. Alternatively, if you are unopposed, you may choose to **assist**. Of course, you may be later engaged by an opponent who becomes free yourself"

and there will be a note in the Core Rules

5.2 A Helping Hand
In a group scored contest, when you join a contest in progress you use the existing tally of resolution points. This may seem strange, if you are fresh into the contest, but it reflects the fact that resolution points govern the overall outcome of that contest, and you link your fate to your companion when you join. Tactically it can be better to first assist to clear resolution points, and then join as a new participant.

I think this is a lot more intuitive and really stops some of the edge cases that popped up with that rule

I'll note that area effect is a credibility test in the core rules too

Thanks, this is a helpful test case

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