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Pow vs Pow versus MP vs MP


Tywyll

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Having done all this rereading of old rules sets in preparation for BRP, I realize that my group from back in the day was playing the system (in some aspects) incorrectly.

I've noticed that in RQ at least, Resistance struggles involving magic are MP vs MP rather than Pow vs Pow (which was how we did it in all the other BRP style games we've played, specifically in CoC sorcery).

Now that always seemed to work fine for us. However, I'm wondering how it would have worked if we'd been doing it 'right'.

Doesn't MP vs MP lead to spell casters being unable to affect targets as they run out of juice? Even dumb brutes eventually have the edge on the caster, especially if they've buffed any of their friends. That just doesn't seem particularly fair to the caster who already has such a limited resource pool for spell casting.

Is it a problem? Am I overlooking something?

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Having done all this rereading of old rules sets in preparation for BRP, I realize that my group from back in the day was playing the system (in some aspects) incorrectly.

I've noticed that in RQ at least, Resistance struggles involving magic are MP vs MP rather than Pow vs Pow (which was how we did it in all the other BRP style games we've played, specifically in CoC sorcery).

Now that always seemed to work fine for us. However, I'm wondering how it would have worked if we'd been doing it 'right'.

It can change things up dramatically. Especially if you are in a mixed physical/spiritual combat.

Doesn't MP vs MP lead to spell casters being unable to affect targets as they run out of juice? Even dumb brutes eventually have the edge on the caster, especially if they've buffed any of their friends. That just doesn't seem particularly fair to the caster who already has such a limited resource pool for spell casting.

Is it a problem? Am I overlooking something?

The way this was always explained to me is that it was a built in spiritual/mental fatigue. The more of your own MP you use, the more fatigued you become, the less you are able to focus enough to overcome your opponent.

One of the major reasons MP matrices were so popular, even for low powered casting.

SDLeary

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It can change things up dramatically. Especially if you are in a mixed physical/spiritual combat.

The way this was always explained to me is that it was a built in spiritual/mental fatigue. The more of your own MP you use, the more fatigued you become, the less you are able to focus enough to overcome your opponent.

One of the major reasons MP matrices were so popular, even for low powered casting.

SDLeary

I can get the whole idea of the mage weakening... but I guess my reticence to use that as written is simply I would prefer not to make casters entirely 'stuff' based... needing magic items to bolster them and be effective. This is, I suppose, a reaction to long play of d&d where characters tended to look like christmas trees at high levels and breaking any since of realism.

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I can get the whole idea of the mage weakening... but I guess my reticence to use that as written is simply I would prefer not to make casters entirely 'stuff' based... needing magic items to bolster them and be effective. This is, I suppose, a reaction to long play of d&d where characters tended to look like christmas trees at high levels and breaking any since of realism.

I agree absolutely. A newbie with a MP matrix used to be more effective with attack spells than an experienced caster relying solely on his soul. <unpopular-comment>One of the improvements of MRQ over old-school BRP is that the contest to overcome the target resistance is skill-based, not characteristic based.</unpopular-comment> Let us see how this evolves in the various variants of the new BRP.

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I agree absolutely. A newbie with a MP matrix used to be more effective with attack spells than an experienced caster relying solely on his soul. <unpopular-comment>One of the improvements of MRQ over old-school BRP is that the contest to overcome the target resistance is skill-based, not characteristic based.</unpopular-comment> Let us see how this evolves in the various variants of the new BRP.

I don't know why you couldn't just use straight POW vs POW, to avoid this problem? It didn't seem to be a problem when we played that way (though, to be fair, we weren't playing Fantasy or magic heavy settings, so I don't know).

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Yep, RQ3 uses MP vs MP, so if your MP goes down you are less able to overcome an opponent and less able to resist. You are less magically powerful the less juice you have.

In Gloranthan RQ, one of the advantages of being a Rune Lord was that you could defend with your POW rather than your MPs.

RQ2 used POW vs POW, but RQ2 didn't have the concept of MPs, it used Temporary POW and Permanent POW, so your POW ve POW was your current POW (the same as your MPs in RQ3) but most people who played RQ2 still refer to the contest as a "POW vs POW" roll.

I like the idea that you get less effective the more MPs you use. It makes powerful NPCs defeatable and makes you careful with your MPs.

In any case, as soon as you have some POW Storage Crystals/MP Storage Enchantments or similar items the question becomes moot.

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I like the idea that you get less effective the more MPs you use. It makes powerful NPCs defeatable and makes you careful with your MPs.

In any case, as soon as you have some POW Storage Crystals/MP Storage Enchantments or similar items the question becomes moot.

I think that last sentence kind of spells out my issue with handling it that way.

MP vs MP works if you accept a world in which POW storage crystals/spirits/etc or outside sources of mana are fairly common (at least as magic items go). If you don't want such items to be common, then the idea becomes wonky I'd think.

Personally, I'd rather see mechanics that allow the caster to increase their personal MP's beyond POW (if you need to Cap Pow, otherwise just let it increase) so that a powerful mage is powerful even when his toys are removed.

Then, I've usually run campaigns in worlds were magic items were fairly rare and significant, rather than one with the core RQ and D&D assumptions I think. Just a taste thing, but I'd like to see the mechanics allow for that stylistic choice.

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MP vs MP works if you accept a world in which POW storage crystals/spirits/etc or outside sources of mana are fairly common (at least as magic items go). If you don't want such items to be common, then the idea becomes wonky I'd think.

Depending on what you want, it actually works fine without the items. It just lowers the level of magic of the game, which can also be very fun and interesting. The thing is that small storage devices become huge in those circumstances and can be fun. We've played in several worlds where getting a small storage device or two (2-3 points each) was common for magic using characters, but the items are temporary and require other magic skills to create, such as ceremony. That means that the magic specialists have such devices, while nobody else has the skills to create them. It's something worth thinking about in any event, and is already built into the rules.

Personally, I'd rather see mechanics that allow the caster to increase their personal MP's beyond POW (if you need to Cap Pow, otherwise just let it increase) so that a powerful mage is powerful even when his toys are removed.

The shaman mechanics from RQ2 or RQ3 could easily be adapted to this concept. Allow such a character to put POW increases into a MP pool that doesn't count for MP vs. MP, but acts as a pool for casting more spells. You might want to require a ceremony roll (or similar) for this, so that only magic specialists can do it.

Then, I've usually run campaigns in worlds were magic items were fairly rare and significant, rather than one with the core RQ and D&D assumptions I think. Just a taste thing, but I'd like to see the mechanics allow for that stylistic choice.

The default RQ world is very magic item low compared to D&D from my experience, and most of them are cult, cultural, or created by the characters so have a completely different feel. In RQ/Glorantha, you destroy an enemy's magic treasures after defeating them far more often than taking them for your self, and most magic items are earned as gifts for deeds done by the cult or clan, or as a divine bonus. Plus, magic items don't define characters to nearly the level of D&D. Not that it matters here, but I just don't see equating those two at all. (This is all for Glorantha. Fantasy earth had very little in the way of magic items, but then magic was much rarer in general.)

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I don't know why you couldn't just use straight POW vs POW, to avoid this problem? It didn't seem to be a problem when we played that way (though, to be fair, we weren't playing Fantasy or magic heavy settings, so I don't know).

If it feels better for you and your group to play it this way, then go ahead and do so. Nothing is really preventing this house rule. Watch out if you do any RQ 3 shaman type characters though. This slight change can make them much more powerful.

SDLeary

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BRP has spell resistance using both permanent POW and temporary Power Points, depending on particular spell, magic system, etc. It's pretty flexible. There are even instances of spells using other characteristics - INT, STR, and CON spring to mind - for resistance rolls.

Additionally, you can temporarily (for about 24 hours or so) increase your PP (what RQ3 called MP) above your POW score, up to double normal. This does give you the ability to punch through "normal" levels of spell resistance very effectively for certain spells, and reduces the mechanical dependence on things like POW crystals, which IMHO is a good thing.

Also, the "Magic" system (as opposed to "Sorcery", etc) provides rules for Wizard's Staves, which are effectively POW crystals built directly into the rule system - they store POW points equal to the Wizard's POW at the time of creating the Staff. Again, this allows spell casting without reducing PP (although it doesn't effectively increase your PP score for spell resistance rolls).

Finally, one key difference is that POW and INT no longer have species' maximums for human characters. This puts another level of strategic variation into magic use and conflicts - you really don't know how much POW that sorceror guy *might* have!

All in all, the BRP magic powering and resistance rules are pretty modular, and very flexible. They allow you to create different types of spell-casters, which should actually be quite cool in play - you won't necessarily be able to say "hey, I'm a POW 18 Rune Priest with 100 points of stored PP, I can wipe the floor with this other spellcasting guy". Takes some of the predictability out of spellcaster vs spellcaster.

Cheers,

Sarah

"The Worm Within" - the first novel for The Chronicles of Future Earth, coming 2013 from Chaosium, Inc.

Website: http://sarahnewtonwriter.com | Twitter: @SarahJNewton | Facebook: TheChroniclesOfFutureEarth

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BRP has spell resistance using both permanent POW and temporary Power Points, depending on particular spell, magic system, etc. It's pretty flexible. There are even instances of spells using other characteristics - INT, STR, and CON spring to mind - for resistance rolls.

Additionally, you can temporarily (for about 24 hours or so) increase your PP (what RQ3 called MP) above your POW score, up to double normal. This does give you the ability to punch through "normal" levels of spell resistance very effectively for certain spells, and reduces the mechanical dependence on things like POW crystals, which IMHO is a good thing.

Also, the "Magic" system (as opposed to "Sorcery", etc) provides rules for Wizard's Staves, which are effectively POW crystals built directly into the rule system - they store POW points equal to the Wizard's POW at the time of creating the Staff. Again, this allows spell casting without reducing PP (although it doesn't effectively increase your PP score for spell resistance rolls).

Finally, one key difference is that POW and INT no longer have species' maximums for human characters. This puts another level of strategic variation into magic use and conflicts - you really don't know how much POW that sorceror guy *might* have!

All in all, the BRP magic powering and resistance rules are pretty modular, and very flexible. They allow you to create different types of spell-casters, which should actually be quite cool in play - you won't necessarily be able to say "hey, I'm a POW 18 Rune Priest with 100 points of stored PP, I can wipe the floor with this other spellcasting guy". Takes some of the predictability out of spellcaster vs spellcaster.

Cheers,

Sarah

Hey, thanks for the details. That's good to know.

Now, if the book would just get here soon... :(

I'm still probably going to go with stat vs stat, though, if stat has no limits... humm, I'll have to think that through.

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Also, the "Magic" system (as opposed to "Sorcery", etc) provides rules for Wizard's Staves, which are effectively POW crystals built directly into the rule system

Just a note, the Sorcery system sort of does this as well. Difference is the Sorcery POW storage device has to be massive and stationary. More for use in ritual summonings than for day to day spell slinging.

70/420

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Just a note, the Sorcery system sort of does this as well. Difference is the Sorcery POW storage device has to be massive and stationary. More for use in ritual summonings than for day to day spell slinging.

I think the Sorcery POW storage techniques are very cool - not only the "Brazier of Power" but also the "Chain of Being" which allows multiple sorcerers to pool their resources. Agreed they're more likely for ritual summonings, etc, but still cool. And of course there's the item creation rules in the Equipment chapter - another way of getting dedicated POW for specific magical items (Wand of Fireballs, Flying Carpet type stuff).

Cheers,

Sarah

"The Worm Within" - the first novel for The Chronicles of Future Earth, coming 2013 from Chaosium, Inc.

Website: http://sarahnewtonwriter.com | Twitter: @SarahJNewton | Facebook: TheChroniclesOfFutureEarth

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