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Taking down a spell with Spirit Screen


Godlearner

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I would not allow offensive use of protective spells like this. If you have a protective spell on you, and you want to cast a different one, then the new spell replaces the old. And if you want to cast a protective spell on someone else who doesn't want it, and they already have an incompatible protective spell on them, it fails.

If you think that this is inconsistent, then yes you are right. Why? Because RuneQuest is not a perfect simulation of Glorantha. The "spirit magic" rules are a simplification of a lot of complex Gloranthan magical systems and traditions. This is why the term does not appear in other game systems, and other game systems don't have these weird edge cases.

That is my Glorantha, anyway. Other people's Gloranthas work differently, and more closely resemble the patchwork of strict rules with logical-but-weird consequences that RuneQuest seems to imply.

Actually, it is consistent. The target of multiple incompatible defensive spells gets to choose which one works and which one fails. Consistent! But as I said earlier, there's no real need for it to be. It's magic, after all.

Edited by PhilHibbs
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15 hours ago, Rodney Dangerduck said:

Most GMs would allow this to happen once, then forbid it.  I really want to downvote the entire thread.

Some GMs may not even allow it once, because this thread warned them about this potential "abuse"... so I would upvote the thread: it's useful either way.

9 hours ago, PhilHibbs said:

I would not allow offensive use of protective spells like this. If you have a protective spell on you, and you want to cast a different one, then the new spell replaces the old. And if you want to cast a protective spell on someone else who doesn't want it, and they already have an incompatible protective spell on them, it fails.

If you think that this is inconsistent, then yes you are right. Why? Because RuneQuest is not a perfect simulation of Glorantha. The "spirit magic" rules are a simplification of a lot of complex Gloranthan magical systems and traditions. This is why the term does not appear in other game systems, and other game systems don't have these weird edge cases.

If you're talking about the term "Spirit Magic", it does appear in HQG, and it does appear in the Guide. It is a thing in Glorantha, since it is one of the magic systems identified by the God Learners, and named as such. As with many things, the God Learners simplified reality under an umbrella term, but in the end I don't think it's much more simplified or nonexistent as, say, "Manage Household". There is such a thing as managing a household, even though it involves many varied and complicated things in reality. I wouldn't say that spirit magic is significantly more or less hand-waved/simplified by the game system vs the setting than managing a household is. YRPGWV.

Regarding the OP, it's a funny munchkin thing to do, but IMHO it would alert the enemy by virtue of forcing a POW contest on the NPC. I'm not sure it's worth it. I would end up not allowing it. And I don't currently allow defensive boosting -- but that decision is almost entirely out of a need to limit the rampant bookkeeping required by RQG. Sometimes, these questions are more quickly answered by figuring out which option is more fun and which option is more work or trouble.

Edited by lordabdul
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12 hours ago, Godlearner said:

As far as I am aware it has never worked this way. I have never heard of anyone boosting a spell for defense to make it more difficult to dispel.

 

Quote

Boosting a Spell

A caster may always use additional magic points to boost a spell, regardless of type.

Boosting a Spell, RQG page 248 & RBM page 6

this is exactly what spell boosting is for; reinforcing defensive spells and giving an extra punch for offensive spells.

Edited by David Scott

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1 hour ago, lordabdul said:

Regarding the OP, it's a funny munchkin thing to do, but IMHO it would alert the enemy by virtue of forcing a POW contest on the NPC.

Sure. This is why I said it has to be the last prep of an ambush, or more properly the first attack. After somebody receives an unwanted spell, the whole party knows an attack is in progress.

1 hour ago, lordabdul said:

And I don't currently allow defensive boosting -- but that decision is almost entirely out of a need to limit the rampant bookkeeping required by RQG.

Same reason for me. You have in addition to remember by how much points each spell has been boosted. In addition, shamans and some sorcerors become impossible to attack magically because their spells are impossible to dispel.

Edited by Kloster
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6 hours ago, lordabdul said:

If you're talking about the term "Spirit Magic", it does appear in HQG, and it does appear in the Guide. It is a thing in Glorantha, since it is one of the magic systems identified by the God Learners, and named as such.

Oh, well, if the God Learners identified it as a universal thing, then there can't be any down sides to accepting their conclusion! :P

6 hours ago, lordabdul said:

...but in the end I don't think it's much more simplified or nonexistent as, say, "Manage Household". There is such a thing as managing a household, even though it involves many varied and complicated things in reality. I wouldn't say that spirit magic is significantly more or less hand-waved/simplified by the game system vs the setting than managing a household is. YRPGWV.

I could use the same analogy to reinforce my point. Managing an Orlanthi household and managing a Kralori household are so different that you would barely recognize them as the same thing. Calling it one skill is a massive over-simplification, and most GMs would not allow an Orlanthi to go to Kralorela and use their skill. They are comparable: the difference between "spirit magic" practices across the breadth of Glorantha is just as diverse and unrecognizable to each other as Manage Household. It's a game system simplification that we call "Protection" or "Spirit Screen" the same spell all over the world.

Edited by PhilHibbs
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We use spirit screen & other incompatible spells this way since RQ2. In practice, we don't use it often : casting time is a highly scarce resource in a heated fight and you have important spells to cast on yourself and friends. To be effective, you have to boost it with magic points, as when incompatible spells are cast on the same target, only the one with most points stays (at least, that's what was stated explicitly in the french version of RQ2 if I remember well), meaning it is costly and long to cast (and you have to take a reasonnable guess at what level of Protection or Countermagic your opponent have used/will use). Then, as said, you need a successfull POWvsPOW : hard to predict, really, and after all that, even having 5 more POW is still a 25% chance of a total waste of time and mp ...

So ... it's quite rare we rely on this. On specific occasions, it's very handy to remember it. Including as GM, so players remembers to sacrifice some mp to boost their magic defenses.

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3 minutes ago, kirinyaga said:

So ... it's quite rare we rely on this. On specific occasions, it's very handy to remember it. Including as GM, so players remembers to sacrifice some mp to boost their magic defenses.

You had that as a thing in your game, boosting with extra MP to make spells harder to dispel? Every time I've seen it discussed, it has been rejected as either a bad idea or simply not the intended rule.

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Well, take it as an operational return : we use it and found in practice that most of the time it's not worth it. It costs lots of mp and takes lots of time. Casting something else is almost always a better idea, both defensively and offensively. We start boosting spells when we know opponents will try to dispel or cancel them one way or another and we only do it on THE spell that has to stay for us to stand a chance.

I don't see why this is controversial, really. First, as I said, there is no real game-changing impact. Then, it is very clearly stated that you can always choose to boost a spell by pouring mp into it. Why could you do it in one case and not another ? That would be very inconsistent. And the stability of a magical effect depends of the number of mp in it (and rp), while the strength of its effects depends of the level. I find it very logical and consistent.

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4 hours ago, David Scott said:

this is exactly what spell boosting is for; reinforcing defensive spells and giving an extra punch for offensive spells.

Except that p248 only speaks of the offensive use, in order to 'overcome a Countermagic or Shield spell, or other magical defenses'.

This is why I proposed to change the ruling p 248 to 'This is typically done to overcome a Countermagic or Shield spell, or other magical defenses. The boosting MP count both to pierce magical protection and to resist dispel/dismiss'. This would avoid any ambiguity like the one we are discussing now (again), but would not avoid having people houseruling it, if only to avoid the bookkeeping.

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6 hours ago, lordabdul said:

but that decision is almost entirely out of a need to limit the rampant bookkeeping required by RQG.

If for no other reason. that is an excellent one.

 

20 minutes ago, kirinyaga said:

I don't see why this is controversial, really. First, as I said, there is no real game-changing impact. Then, it is very clearly stated that you can always choose to boost a spell by pouring mp into it. Why could you do it in one case and not another ? That would be very inconsistent. And the stability of a magical effect depends of the number of mp in it (and rp), while the strength of its effects depends of the level. I find it very logical and consistent.

Well, rules as written in previous only attacking boosting was allowed. But currently, added book keeping, one,  and boosting a spell to pierce defences does not bring spell down just pierces it. With defence it just prevents the incoming spell from working., period. Def apples and oranges if you see what I mean. Not comparable.

... remember, with a TARDIS, one is never late for breakfast!

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50 minutes ago, Bill the barbarian said:

Well, rules as written in previous only attacking boosting was allowed. But currently, added book keeping, one,  and boosting a spell to pierce defences does not bring spell down just pierces it. With defence it just prevents the incoming spell from working., period. Def apples and oranges if you see what I mean. Not comparable.

piercing a countermagic dispels it. And a countermagic 2 boosted with 10mp is still dispelled with an unboosted disruption 1. And a disruption +3mp (4mp total) will dispel it and go through. Total countermagic mp will only matter for dispels and incompatible spells. The spell level sets the effects (shielding from incoming spell for countermagic, dispelling spells for dispel magic, etc.., what is written in the description of a spell) and the boost mp sets the magic power, the stability (punching through or resisting dispels).

Edited by kirinyaga
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yes. But it's not really a countermagic, it's a similar effect. And also Warding and so on ... Spirit screen will not dissip nor prevent Shield by the way.

Personnally, I visualize the mps as the mass and the level as the velocity of a spell (to link Glorantha with the more familiar newtonian physics).

Edited by kirinyaga
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1 hour ago, Kloster said:

Except that p248 only speaks of the offensive use, in order to 'overcome a Countermagic or Shield spell, or other magical defenses'.

 

The full paragraph RGG 248 and RBM 6 says

Quote

A caster may always use additional magic points to boost a spell, regardless of type. This is typically done to overcome a Countermagic or Shield spell, or other magical defenses.

typically means in most cases or usually, not all, and combined with may always and regardless of type, clearly reads to me that any spell may be boosted, offensive or not. 

As a GM I'd have no problem if a player wanted to boost a light spell to avoid it being taken down easily.

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In RQ3, yes I know I speak heresy, I remember that only the Intensity of the spell was considered for purposes of dispelling. That's pretty much how we assumed the rest of the magic worked as well.

That is not what is now being said, let me ask some follow ups. 

1. How big is a Heal Wound stacked with Cure Chaos Wound for purposes of overcoming a Countermagic?

2. How big is a Shield 2 stacked with Extension 2

3 How does boosting and Multispell work? Does Multispell add to individual spells for purpose of overcoming a Countermagic?

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1 hour ago, Godlearner said:

1. How big is a Heal Wound stacked with Cure Chaos Wound for purposes of overcoming a Countermagic?

Heal Wound (1) Cure Chaos (1) = 2 Rune points

Quote

2. How big is a Shield 2 stacked with Extension 2

Shield 2 +Extension 2 (0) = 2 Rune points (extension just makes the spell last longer not "bigger" click this link...) 

Quote

3 How does boosting and Multispell work? Does Multispell add to individual spells for purpose of overcoming a Countermagic?

Multispell lets you cast more than one spirit magic spell, it doesn't overcome any Countermagic as part of its casting. You still need to pay the separate magic point costs for each spell, the exception being disruption which combines. As a 1 point spell, the answer is 1 Rune point.

Edited by David Scott
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4 hours ago, PhilHibbs said:

I could use the same analogy to reinforce my point.  [...] It's a game system simplification that we call "Protection" or "Spirit Screen" the same spell all over the world.

Agreed on all points yes. And that's RAW actually: the boxed text on healing spells shows that the same spell, mechanically speaking, will manifest differently based on which deity it's coming from... I assume it's the same for spirit spells, depending on which kind of spirit or spirit tradition you got it from. I'm not sure what that means for the discussion at hand though :)  

 

4 hours ago, kirinyaga said:

First, as I said, there is no real game-changing impact.

Thanks! I like this kind of actual-play report because it's a good reality check against some possible situation we identify only on paper. Right now it's easy for me to keep all the boosting to a minimum (including NPCs) because the players are low level and don't have many MPs to burn anyway. I may have to relax this when they get stronger.

 

52 minutes ago, Godlearner said:

That is not what is now being said, let me ask some follow ups. 

1. How big is a Heal Wound stacked with Cure Chaos Wound for purposes of overcoming a Countermagic?

2. How big is a Shield 2 stacked with Extension 2

3 How does boosting and Multispell work? Does Multispell add to individual spells for purpose of overcoming a Countermagic?

Oooh that sounds fun, we're probably going to get as many different answers as people answering them :D

  1. That's 2 Rune Points, equivalent of 4 MPs. Note that if the Heal Wound was cast by itself, I would treat it as 1 RP strong, regardless of the number of MPs poured into it... I only consider MPs spent specifically for boosting as adding to the spell's "natural" strength (same thing with Sword Trance for example).
  2. That's 4 Rune Points, equivalent of 8 MPs. Although it feels like Extension shouldn't count...
  3. I would, again, just count the number of points of each spell (including the Multispell itself). So Multispell used to cast two 1-point spells would be 4 MP strong (1 RP + 1 MP + 1 MP). This makes the "bundle of spells" stronger than each part, which makes it possible to pierce a Countermagic in one-go. That makes Multispell more worth the investment because you can boost it with piercing MPs, instead of having to boost each spell separately.
Edited by lordabdul
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12 minutes ago, David Scott said:

Shield 2 +Extension 2 (0) = 2 Rune points (extension just makes the spell last longer not "bigger"

Hah thanks that's what I thought. I went looking in Rune Fixes 2 but couldn't find it there, it was in the WoD Q&A... (for those looking, you have to get past all the text from Rune Fixes, down to "Why wouldn’t Extension make a Runespell more powerful?").  That's the kind of rules text that should have been included in RBoM in my opinion  (e.g. "this adds/doesn't add to the spell's strength").

Quote

Multispell lets you cast more than one spirit magic spell, it doesn't overcome any Countermagic as part of its casting. You still need to pay the separate magic point costs for each spell, the exception being disruption which combines. As a 1 point spell, the answer is 1 Rune point.

Heh, I would give the Multispell's 1 RP as a "bonus" to the strength... In my mind it's the rope and elastic band that holds the spells together and make this "bundle" a little bit stronger. I would also treat the entire thing as one big spell that either pierces Countermagic or doesn't (instead of looking at each individual spell, some of them piercing, some of them not... especially since order would matter in that case!).

Edited by lordabdul
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2 hours ago, David Scott said:

typically means in most cases or usually, not all, and combined with may always and regardless of type, clearly reads to me that any spell may be boosted, offensive or not. 

Agreed. I was just saying it is not clear that it allows to resist dispel or dismiss. This is why I proposed a clarification to avoid the ambiguity, as it seems I am not the only one to have misunderstood what was intended to be understood.

2 hours ago, David Scott said:

As a GM I'd have no problem if a player wanted to boost a light spell to avoid it being taken down easily.

I have no problem conceptually either. The problems I see are twofold:

- That means the GM has to track for every spells cast how many MP have been used for boosting, as we don't know at time of casting if somebody will try to dispel it..

- Spells cast by shamans (under certain conditions) and certain type of sorcerors are becoming impossible to dispel They can easily be boosted by 20 or 30 MP AND have a long duration.

This is why I said I will probably not allow it when I GM (when I am not the GM, I am not the one who decides).

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45 minutes ago, Kloster said:

Agreed. I was just saying it is not clear that it allows to resist dispel or dismiss. This is why I proposed a clarification to avoid the ambiguity, as it seems I am not the only one to have misunderstood what was intended to be understood.

Thanks for the empathy, yes this was quote confusing! Well now I have to take this back to the table with David Scott’s explanation and say... well here it is... shall we carry on and use it RAW... Thanks for the time and clarity @David Scott! And all who are here debating and putting in time to get this together/sorted.. When the stars are correctly aligned, this is the thing BRP does well. David’s help is truly appreciated and noted as well.

Edited by Bill the barbarian
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... remember, with a TARDIS, one is never late for breakfast!

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1 hour ago, Bill the barbarian said:

 Well now I have to take this back to the table with David Scott’s explanation and say... well here it is... shall we carry on and use it RAW...

Luckily (?), I have no current playing group, so I don't have this problem, as we have up to this time played as RAW as we can, if only to check what was convenient for us.

1 hour ago, Bill the barbarian said:

Thanks for the time and clarity @David Scott! And all who are here debating and putting in time to get this together/sorted.. When the stars are correctly aligned, this is the thing BRP does well. David’s help is truly appreciated and noted as well.

Ditto!! Thanks David and all others, even (and especially) if we don't always agreed.

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