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Roko Joko

Using magic repeatedly

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Picking up a HQ tangent from https://basicroleplaying.org/topic/6513-traversing-the-lunar-heartland/.

Darius West:  
"If you are using HQ... a Lunar can cast as many spells as they like without consequence."
"in HQ by comparison you have to rely on GM fiat to say, "you can't keep casting the spell because I say so"."
David Scott: 
"HeroQuest doesn't actually limit repeat actions, except augments."

As Tim Ellis said in the other thread, no.  First of all, NPCs don't have abilities.  If you want to use a contest, it's a player contest to evade the Lunar magic.  But if they did, or if a player wants to use magic repeatedly,

"No Repeat Attempts
A contest represents all of your attempts to overcome an obstacle. If you are defeated it means that no matter how many times you tried to solve the problem with your ability, you finally had to give up. You can try again only if you apply a new ability to the task or your Game Master agrees that special circumstances exist."
HQG p. 59
HQ2 p. 24
HQ1 (similar text and the same heading) p. 63
 

Edited by Roko Joko

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In the case of Detect Enemies, the spell has a limited range, and by moving about a radius away from the first attempt one can justify another attempt - after all, new area is covered by the magic. As the potential enemy has no save except being out of range, no harm is done by repeating this spell as soon as the first spell's (instant) effect is gone, or when covering a different area. The spell basically is a limited range ping.

 

The spell as per RQ2 is pretty useless as an area defence - range 40m (or behind 3m of solid rock or metal if closer), and the definition of enemy is someone wishing to harm an individual that needs to be specified by the caster.

"intending to harm a specific individual" - does this include the wish to pick the spell's targeted individual's pockets, steed (when dismounted), saddle bag, harm his guards? Or does this detect the intent to cause bodily or magical harm to the naked individual?

How far does "intent to harm" go? Will cat-calling a pretty woman register? The wish to spit at a captured enemy you need to bring through an enraged mob to your leader? To lob a rotten fruit or egg? A pigeon with bowel movements flying overhead? To cause a major social embarrassment? (Never cast this on an Orlanthi thane with a bonded trickster, then, or in the vicinity of said trickster...)

 

The only spell able to do what @Darius West intended to do is a Warding or a RQ3 area effect spell trigger matrix enchantment, and that at soul-eating cost or on an even smaller area.

 

I would allow multiple tries of "Ignite" to get something aflame.

 

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HQ abilities are NOT identical to RQ spells - even if they have identical names. They are abilities used to overcome narrative obstacles, not discrete actions on a battle map with a defined duration, range, etc. 

Lets start by framing the obstacle. The players want to traverse the Lunar Heartland without discovery or interruption, and wish to use Detect Enemies to overcome that obstacle. The player rolls the dice, compares the result to the Difficulty Level the gamemaster has assigned and based on the results of the dice roll, the gamemaster determines the outcome.

So let's say the players got a Minor Failure - if this was a simple contest the gamemaster might say that the players got discovered and now there is a new obstacle (a peasant lynch mob, a bunch of soldiers, whatever). There's no need to use the ability again because the obstacle has been resolved (in this instance unsuccessfully) and now there is a new obstacle, and likely it requires a different ability to overcome (unless the gamemaster agrees that Detect Enemies would be credible here).

If this was an extended contest, then multiple uses of the ability is appropriate as we haven't yet resolved the obstacle.

 

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Also, I think following is something that could happen in an HQ game:

Player: "I want to detect any hostile enemies as we approach" 

Gm: "Hmm.. I didn't think there would be any but go ahead. What will you try to achieve? You understand that if you fail there will be an ambush or you weaken your possibilities other way in the next encounter." 

I think all contests can ignite some kind of story branch even if they come from the players. So the detecting shouldn't be just some constant automatic action (just like @Jeff said above). 

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@jrutila that certainly another way of doing it, but remember that it's also about how much the players as a whole have invested in a situation. The more they invest in an outcome the more it will move away from a random encounter to a certainty. If they've spent time preparing for a possible enemy encounter, then when they finally say we're all set. You then frame the contest. What are you doing, what do you want the outcome to be. It moves storywise from are there enemies nearby to when we detect them this what we want the outcome to be. 

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In addition, remember that in fiction, such as Greg's fiction the idea of rune points, battle magic points etc just doesnt exist. A character can invoke their magic as often as the author needs. This is rarely an issue because in story terms a writer doesn't tend to have a character peform the same action page after page. In this chapter Sureela uses her healing magic, but its probably not brought up again in the next chapter because, well that would be boring, and there she uses her peace magic.

In the same vein, in most Heroquest games I have run it is rare to see repeat magic in a session, because it implies repeat contests, which would be dull. At most this happens during a fight, where someone augments with a rune etc. And again this follows fiction where a signature move for a hero is often mentioned in passing as part of the wider narrative.

Heroquest follows story logic.

So could someone sit all day casting their magic. For sure, in the same way that they could swing a sword all day. If they didn;t get tired, if they didn't get bored etc. But it would be a very dull sory, and for this reason never comes up. if someone was doing something like 'working in the hospital' for the day, and moving from patient to patient it would just be one roll.

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On the other hand, if you do play a border ranger looking out for intruders, what you would do is to contact the various genii loci, especially those with a "personal issue" towards a certain type of invader. Local spirits or deities can be a good source of gossip or intelligence, if you know how to frame your questions.

In Heroquest, you may announce that you attempt to pick a lock to open a door or gate the normal way. If that fails, characters of mine are somewhat notorious for re-framing that contest by looking to ways to remove the hinges, or the door frame.

If my cattle mastery as an expert cattle raider or breeder fails when dealing with mythical bull folk (or heroquesters identifying with those), I can still take off my weaponry and armor in exchange for a lariat and a stick and try to subdue them that way. Either way the real heroquesting challenge is to impose your variant of the myth, your magical context, on your opposition. This can be done with brute force approaches (a method apparently favored by the God Learners of Umathela), or it can be done with heroquesting judo, using your oppostion's identification as your lever.

Finding the right kind of challenge is a big part of HeroQuest, especially when heroquesting. Arkat was adept at metagaming, a good heroquester should be, too.

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In Heroquest, the appropriateness of repetition mostly depends on the narrative context. For example: In one game I played in, a band of elves attacked the party, and the game turned into a surprisingly conventional combat with each player taking turns in round-table order. The first time I went, the Ernalda priestess I was playing tried to use her "Mother's Baleful Gaze" magic* to cow the elves into negotiating. However, I got a mild failure, so I improvised that she had snagged her elaborately coifed hair in a branch, ruining any effect before it had a chance to get going. However, after another go-around of the table and much damage on both sides, I felt comfortable in using the exact same ability to attempt the exact same effect. That second time I succeed in style, and my priestess successfully brought the marauding elves to a standstill, her freshly-unpinned tresses adding substantially to her performance as a "disappointed" primal mother goddess. 

 

If there hadn't been the intervening contests, and if I hadn't characterized my first failure the way I had, reusing that ability would have been awkward. As is, though, it was a great little story moment.

*A wonderfully versatile spell, that

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8 hours ago, Scott A said:

In one game I played in, a band of elves attacked the party, and the game turned into a surprisingly conventional combat with each player taking turns in round-table order.

Out of curiosity, was this Extended Contest or "series of simple contests" (as the say)? Apparently it wasn't a single simple contest. What led you to use selected method?

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4 hours ago, jrutila said:

Out of curiosity, was this Extended Contest or "series of simple contests" (as the say)? Apparently it wasn't a single simple contest. What led you to use selected method?

It was a series of simple contests, yeah. It was a gencon game that David Scott took over GMing from Jeff on short notice, so I suspect that he may have been winging it and ended up with a slightly more... classic play flow

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3 hours ago, Scott A said:

It was a series of simple contests, yeah. It was a gencon game that David Scott took over GMing from Jeff on short notice, so I suspect that he may have been winging it and ended up with a slightly more... classic play flow

That's so cool. I've never been to gencon, but it looks like I can finally bilocate, my illumination heropoint was well spent ?

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Another thought on the multiple "Detect Enemies" situation.   If the problem is that I suspect there is an enemy sneaking through my Clan lands, and want to search for him using just my "Detect Enemy" RQ Spell /HQ ability, - ('I cast "Detect Enemies" ',  'There are none within 40m' - 'OK I walk 80m away and cast it again...') it may seem like the RQ character will rapidly run out of Magic Points/POW, while the HQ character will just keep going until he finds the enemy, but that's not how you would frame the contest - Searching for an individual in the clan lands 40m at a time, especially if they can keep moving, would be very difficult (at least)* so you set a high difficulty and then, as Jeff said

The player rolls the dice, compares the result to the Difficulty Level the gamemaster has assigned and based on the results of the dice roll, the gamemaster determines the outcome

So a Major success might let you find him before he spots you, A minor success lets you find him, but he sees you too 

 

*((If you want to translate via RQ rules then you could say "Your chances of finding him before you exhaust your magic is extremely low", and set the difficulty that way, but it seems an unnecessary step to me))

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On 7/26/2017 at 4:50 PM, David Scott said:

That's so cool. I've never been to gencon, but it looks like I can finally bilocate, my illumination heropoint was well spent ?

Clearly I've been had by a trickster. I certainly didn't just fish the wrong name out of memory, no, this is foul Illusion magic at work!

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On 7/24/2017 at 9:39 PM, Roko Joko said:

"No Repeat Attempts
A contest represents all of your attempts to overcome an obstacle. If you are defeated it means that no matter how many times you tried to solve the problem with your ability, you finally had to give up. You can try again only if you apply a new ability to the task or your Game Master agrees that special circumstances exist."
HQG p. 59
HQ2 p. 24
HQ1 (similar text and the same heading) p. 63

 

That is looking at the problem solely from the point of view of the player, not the NPC guard, who is now merely an obstacle, and not a person trying to do a job.  The fact is that the Guard will probably be pulling at least one 4 hour watch at the gate with orders to stop contraband and criminals.  The HQ rules say that the guard is going to be able to detect enemies for that entire 4hr period, when they probably can't and shouldn't be able to.  It is also questionable whether there will be wardings or market spells on each gate to serve as continuous detection spells, as that would be expensive.  I suppose you might get a situation where you had 10 guards and only 1 of them has detect enemies active at a time over a 4 hour watch, but that means anyone with 2pt countermagic can ignore that.  On the other hand, anyone seen casting countermagic is automatically regarded as suspicious and arrested.The point here is that detection spells should be reliable, and you should seldom if ever get the signal detection problem of false positives and false negatives, but when that becomes a contested resolution the results become skewed and nobody would use magic to solve the problem because it doesn't work more reliably than spot hidden or equivalents.

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3 hours ago, Darius West said:

anyone with 2pt countermagic can ignore that.

You keep trying to impose RQ mechanics onto HQ game situations, which isn't going to work. As Ian Cooper said (over on G+, I think), Gloranthans don't think "I'm going to use 2pt Countermagic", that's just a rules construct for RQ. HQ has completely different rules constructs.

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3 hours ago, Darius West said:

The point here is that detection spells should be reliable, and you should seldom if ever get the signal detection problem of false positives and false negatives

Earning my money with detection (of trace elements and polluting substances), I'll attest that you will only find what you are looking for. "Detect Enemy" is fundamentally different from "Detect Storm Worshiper" (which shouldn't exist in-game) or "Detect Ritual Foe" (which should exist, but depend on context of a ritual, or a warding for a sacred place). Bearing a grudge doesn't make one an enemy.

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14 hours ago, Darius West said:

The HQ rules say that the [NPC] guard is going to be able to detect enemies for that entire 4hr period, ...

No they don't.

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2 hours ago, Roko Joko said:

No they don't.

 

16 hours ago, Darius West said:

That is looking at the problem solely from the point of view of the player, not the NPC guard, who is now merely an obstacle, and not a person trying to do a job.  The fact is that the Guard will probably be pulling at least one 4 hour watch at the gate with orders to stop contraband and criminals.  The HQ rules say that the guard is going to be able to detect enemies for that entire 4hr period, when they probably can't and shouldn't be able to.  It is also questionable whether there will be wardings or market spells on each gate to serve as continuous detection spells, as that would be expensive.  I suppose you might get a situation where you had 10 guards and only 1 of them has detect enemies active at a time over a 4 hour watch, but that means anyone with 2pt countermagic can ignore that.  On the other hand, anyone seen casting countermagic is automatically regarded as suspicious and arrested.The point here is that detection spells should be reliable, and you should seldom if ever get the signal detection problem of false positives and false negatives, but when that becomes a contested resolution the results become skewed and nobody would use magic to solve the problem because it doesn't work more reliably than spot hidden or equivalents.

First, Runequest Magic is an abstraction developed for that game, and entirely different from the abstraction used by Heroquest for magic.

RQ magic is just one abstraction of what may be happening in Glorantha - people in Greg's stories certainly don't refer to casting Detect Enemies, Countermagic or any of the other Runequest abstractions created by Steve Perrin et al. Detect Enemies is a game abstraction that may represent something a member of a particular cult can do, but they probably don't call it that. They bring the God World into this world for a moment to be Ever Watchful as Humakt was, or Alert to Danger as Orlanth was at Thrinbarri etc. Do people in Glorantha have magic that detects enemies? For sure. Do they have a spell called Detect Enemies they buy for a fixed price from certain cults? No, not really. But they may have something like that. But abstracting these as a single spell serves for the way RQ works as a game.

Heroquest in turn has its own abstraction, it is one that decides to be freeform to represent the color of Gloranthan magic, instead of abstract, because all abilities are mechanically the same. What matters is whether the ability the PC uses, or the magic the player invents on the spot, passes the credibility test for that use in the story. it chooses to be freeform to represent the wide range of magic in Glorantha. Do all these magical abilities created at the table exist in Greg's Glorantha. No, but they exist in the Glorantha of those players, playing at that table, which is just dandy for folks who like the game.

So you are comparing apples and oranges: your comparison is thus flawed to begin with.

Heroquest uses conflict resolution, not task resolution. It does not care about the individual tasks you perform to steal the princesses jewel in the tower, it cares about the conflict, and allows the player to define a key ability they use, the dramatic moment in our narrative upon which the enterprise hinges. The focus is always on the player, not the NPC, and the player's actions. The GM describes the resistance, the lock the thief must pick on the doors, the guards with glowing eyes that he has to evade, until we get to the point where the PC describes how they use Yinkin's Catlike Grace to scale the tower.

So whether the guards all have 4 hour long enemy detection magic working never comes up. It doesn't exist in Heroquest. It doesn't exist in Glorantha. It only exists in Runequest.

We get its not your game @Darius West and that you don't intend to play it. That's fine. But don't make up nonsense about it, when you clearly have no idea how to play it.

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On 7/31/2017 at 6:32 AM, Darius West said:

That is looking at the problem solely from the point of view of the player, not the NPC guard, who is now merely an obstacle, and not a person trying to do a job.  

It works the same in reverse.  The Guard is attempting to stop contraband and criminals passing his checkpoint.  If the method he chooses to use is detection magic then you set a difficulty and resolve the contest.  

HQ is a "Storytelling" system, not a mathematical simulation - so we are only interested in knowing if  the criminals can bypass the guard if we are focusing on one or the other.  If we decide to climb over the walls then their is no need to worry about whether the guard at the gate could detect us with magic.  If we decide to use deception magic at the West Gate, we only need to worry about whether it works there, not how likely it would be to  work at the South Gate. (Maybe we Succeeded because the guard with the anti-deception magic was answering a call of nature, leaving his unenhanced  companion easy prey to our charms - on another occassion, or at another gate we may not have been so lucky

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On 7/31/2017 at 6:59 PM, Steve said:

You keep trying to impose RQ mechanics onto HQ game situations, which isn't going to work. 

 

I am doing this to show that the two systems don't produce anything like the same outcomes primarily.  Perhaps you missed that point?  Same world, two systems, totally different outcomes.  

On 8/1/2017 at 5:46 AM, Roko Joko said:

No they don't.

A contradiction is not a refutation.

On 8/1/2017 at 8:20 AM, Ian Cooper said:

RQ magic is just one abstraction of what may be happening in Glorantha - people in Greg's stories certainly don't refer to casting Detect Enemies, Countermagic or any of the other Runequest abstractions created by Steve Perrin et al. Detect Enemies is a game abstraction that may represent something a member of a particular cult can do, but they probably don't call it that.

 

I disagree.  I am pretty sure that the Godlearners would be fine with calling those spells "Detect Enemies" and "Countermagic", as regardless of the culture they come from, they do pretty much the same thing.  Now as the Godlearners knew more than any humans before or since about Gloranthan magic, and everyone else is basically still trailing in their cultural and intellectual wake centuries later, who is to say exactly what Gloranthans do and say?  It is quite possible that when dealing with these spells that the old Goldearner terminology still applies, and people have just forgotten who taught them to think about it that way.  Consider, after all, that the major educators of the world, with the sole exception of the Dara Happans, have all been taught to a large degree by the Godlearners or cults in which they had a major effect, like Lhankor Mhy.

On 8/1/2017 at 8:20 AM, Ian Cooper said:

Heroquest in turn has its own abstraction, it is one that decides to be freeform to represent the color of Gloranthan magic, instead of abstract, because all abilities are mechanically the same. 

 

It is amusing how magic and every other skill in HQ is reduced to the same tired game mechanic and yet you call it "color".

On 8/1/2017 at 8:20 AM, Ian Cooper said:

What matters is whether the ability the PC uses, or the magic the player invents on the spot, passes the credibility test for that use in the story. it chooses to be freeform to represent the wide range of magic in Glorantha. 

2

So everything is reduced to a keyword search plus a "number-mastery-number number", and if your keyword is a match for the situation it applies, but if your keyword doesn't match you can't apply it.  So why not take "Adventurer" as your keyword?  Clearly everything your characters are doing is inevitably always part of an adventure, so that keyword must apply to everything, so just dump all your experience points in that.  Problem solved, you win HQ.  Good system that. LOL.

On 8/1/2017 at 8:20 AM, Ian Cooper said:

So you are comparing apples and oranges: your comparison is thus flawed to begin with.

1

Apples and oranges?  No.  It is like comparing a costume wardrobe to a sweaty one size fits all grey X-L tee-shirt with "Your keyword here:_________" on it.  As for the comparison being flawed, it was never a comparison, but a complaint that Glorantha used to work one way, then it got homogenized and denatured, and the result is a ropey clear odorless colorless yet mildly adhesive unstructured mucus-like mess called HQ, but that is somehow more "freeform" and "narrative", even though half the fun of Glorantha used to be the process of acculturating to it and the RQ rules facilitated that by giving you a very grounded sense of what you could and could not do that was often gritty, realistic and very immersive, in a way that HQ simply isn't.  

RQ used to be "If I can just drag this dead impala back to the Farmer's Market and butcher it myself,  I can probably raise enough clacks to make rent this week, and I will be halfway clear to getting my greaves out of hock from Rat. Then maybe I can finally get back into the Rubble and see if Hurbi's map is worth spit."

HQ is more "Don't worry that our weapons and armor are bone and the Lunars have bronze; if this afternoon's hero quest is successful, then with the help of the Earth Priestesses of the Paps we can call on Waha's rope magic to make the very grasses of Prax tie down and smother our enemies, and then call in a serpent to drown them."

I understand that HQ makes a great system for playing a Harry Potter RPG btw.  I think that is great.  It is a good system for beginners to learn so they can cut their teeth on an RPG, before they try something more complex and realistic.

On 8/1/2017 at 8:20 AM, Ian Cooper said:

Heroquest uses conflict resolution, not task resolution. It does not care about the individual tasks you perform to steal the princesses jewel in the tower, it cares about the conflict, and allows the player to define a key ability they use, the dramatic moment in our narrative upon which the enterprise hinges.

 

Clearly only the conflict matters Ian.  Good.  Glad we cleared that up. I have a few suggestions.  For example, why not condense the entire adventure into a single roll, and the players make the single roll, and the GM can tell them the result in a dramatic 4 hour monologue that resolves the conflict?  You can't get more freeform than that, and it reduces the learning curve for the rule system to the point that it will appeal to newcomers too. After all, apparently we don't care about individual tasks and the narrative tension and decisions that success or failure in said tasks might build, we care about the conflict resolution and the ease of play.  Hell, why not remove the dice altogether and just write a fantasy novel and turn it into an audio book, thus doing away with the GM altogether.  Don't worry, I don't mean one of those "Choose your own adventure" books, they are too structured and rules heavy, and we all know how that destroys the narrative.  Hells, why not just run around LARPing with nerf swords in someone's backyard?  No system required at all; plenty of conflict and plenty of resolution and immersion. :lol:

Edited by Darius West

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@Darius West You appear to assume that any game system is a correct simulation of Gloranthan reality. That's not the case.

There are no Magic Points or Hero Points in Glorantha. There are no Gods War victory points or action points either, nor are there Dragon Pass diplomacy points. Nor do Praxians store cattle away in corrals to become Khan of Khans.

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@Darius West I get that you don't like the HQ:G system (though I'm not sure whether you've properly read through the rules or not), however as surprising as it may be, some of us like it.

I used to love playing Runequest 2nd edition back in the early-to-mid '80s, loved RQ3 during the late '80s and throughout the '90s. I used to love it's 'simulationist', blow by blow combat system, with all it's lethality. However, now that I'm fast approaching 48 years on planet Earth, I don't want a system that takes (potentially) 45 - 60 minutes to run a combat between maybe 5-10 reasonably competent Heroes/PCs. I've ran the Cradle Scenario and it took us ages to run the grinding, attritional combats required to defend the bloody thing!

I want a system that can be run quickly, where all my fellow players know that the characters they are running are the characters that they wanted to play, (looking at every system that uses random probability to determine stats, professions, etc.), and worries more about the flow of the story that is co-created by myself and my group of friends, rather than worrying about whether my single sword slash hits whichever bodily location, or that PC X has no spare Magic Points left. Heroquest provides all of these things for myself , and if these fora are anything to go by, other groups of players as well.

I have no intention of being unpleasant, so please bear that in mind when I say that we don't need to be repeatedly told that you don't like Heroquest. We get it, man! You come out with some cool, positive ideas, thoughts and comments and I hope that that continues, but PLEASE, enough of the negative vibes!

 

Edited by Brian McReynolds
Spelling mistake! (Failed Lankhor Mhy Literacy Examination!)
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