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Can the spell Fanaticism be used to boost Archery skills?

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I have a player who wants to boost his archery with Fanaticism. At first it seemed kind of strange to me as I always saw that spell as kind of a mini Berserk. It did not really seem right.  There is nothing that forbids this in the spell description of 2cond edition or in the Quickstart though (which are the rules we are using).

 

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I'd say melee only. The negative consequence of decreased parry rating point to this. Also being a "Fanatic" doesn't seem to me like it'd make you a more accurate shot, but it would certainly make you swing your melee weapon more vigorously. 

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I'd probably restrict it to melee and thrown weapons. Why? Because it feels right.

If you are fanatical you have a blood lust, albeit not as strong as Berserker, so you are not going to be able to calmly take out an arrow, string a bow, aim and fire at a target. You might, however, be able to grab a spear and hurl it at a target, as that is a simpler action.

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2 minutes ago, soltakss said:

I'd probably restrict it to melee and thrown weapons. Why? Because it feels right.

If you are fanatical you have a blood lust, albeit not as strong as Berserker, so you are not going to be able to calmly take out an arrow, string a bow, aim and fire at a target. You might, however, be able to grab a spear and hurl it at a target, as that is a simpler action.

I'd include thrown weapons ONLY IF THAT'S ON THE WAY TO melee, or if the target(s) are unreachable in melee.

I can't see a fanatic (ie junior berserker) holding back and performing missile fire if melee combat is available.

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Thanks for the answers.  That was kind of my gut feeling as well.  I was kind of stunned when I couldn't find any restrictions to melee combat. I allowed it for a little while and man that  became a very powerful spell. 

 

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4 hours ago, soltakss said:

If you are fanatical you have a blood lust

That's a very narrow definition of "fanatic".  The dictionary definition is "filled with excessive and mistaken enthusiasm, esp. in religion".  I think modern common usage would de-emphasise the "mistaken" part of that definition, and expand it to many other areas of everyday life (particularly pop-culture), hence "fans".  Are you a RuneQuest fan?  Does that mean you are filled with blood lust towards people who play other games?  I hope not!

OK, but it's a spell in a game, not a grammar contest.  Let's look at the spell description.  Uh ... it increases your offensive skills, and decreases your defensive skills.  In RQ2 and RQ3 it also restricts the type of magic you can use to "attack" type spells.  None of the versions I looked at (I don't have all versions to hand, but have no interest in any editions other than RQ2/RQ3/RQG) say anything about "blood lust".  Reading between the lines there's a definite vibe of becoming really, really focused in killing (or at least defeating) the enemy, to the point of being disinterested in defending yourself.  That could be "blood lust", sure.  I'm not saying that you're "wrong" in that interpretation, but it's not the only interpretation.  It could also be "I am more interested in taking down my enemy than anything else right at this moment" which is merely a statement of priorities, not "frothing at the mouth".  (It doesn't even eliminate the possibility of deciding that things are very dangerous, and it's time to leave.)  If the best way of defeating my enemy is to fill him full of arrows -- or blast him with lightning bolts -- or beat him about the head with a hammer -- it doesn't change my focus on that task.  I have no problem at all with including the spell's benefits to ranged attacks of any kind, and if I was using magic that included a "roll to hit" component, I'd expect the bonus there too.

 

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Extrapolating a one-line description in the QS to the eventual RQ:G rules is a mistake to begin with, unless you have a copy of the RQ:G draft that some of you bastards got. :D  And that's still only a draft, which leaves us with RQ2.  As stated above, I think the fact that the description even mentions parry implies melee only.  Nor am I swayed by the idea that magical fanaticism is suddenly going to improve a skill that is based on timing and precision.  Finally, I tend to take a dim view of what I think is an attempted exploit.

In short, NIMG (Not in my game).  Or, to ruthlessly appropriate Vince McMahon's theme music, "No chance.  No chance in hell."

Edited by Yelm's Light

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6 hours ago, BWP said:

That's a very narrow definition of "fanatic".  The dictionary definition is "filled with excessive and mistaken enthusiasm, esp. in religion".  I think modern common usage would de-emphasise the "mistaken" part of that definition, and expand it to many other areas of everyday life (particularly pop-culture), hence "fans".  Are you a RuneQuest fan?  Does that mean you are filled with blood lust towards people who play other games?  I hope not!

OK, but it's a spell in a game, not a grammar contest.  Let's look at the spell description.  Uh ... it increases your offensive skills, and decreases your defensive skills.  In RQ2 and RQ3 it also restricts the type of magic you can use to "attack" type spells.  None of the versions I looked at (I don't have all versions to hand, but have no interest in any editions other than RQ2/RQ3/RQG) say anything about "blood lust".  Reading between the lines there's a definite vibe of becoming really, really focused in killing (or at least defeating) the enemy, to the point of being disinterested in defending yourself.  That could be "blood lust", sure.  I'm not saying that you're "wrong" in that interpretation, but it's not the only interpretation.  It could also be "I am more interested in taking down my enemy than anything else right at this moment" which is merely a statement of priorities, not "frothing at the mouth".  (It doesn't even eliminate the possibility of deciding that things are very dangerous, and it's time to leave.)  If the best way of defeating my enemy is to fill him full of arrows -- or blast him with lightning bolts -- or beat him about the head with a hammer -- it doesn't change my focus on that task.  I have no problem at all with including the spell's benefits to ranged attacks of any kind, and if I was using magic that included a "roll to hit" component, I'd expect the bonus there too.

 

Based on the descriptions, the spell could describe the cold (as in emotionless), hard, driven killers often depicted in movies.

SDLeary

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There’s never been any mention in the rules that Fanaticism is limited to melee or that it’s a lesser form of berserk (even in the final RQG manuscript at Dragonmeet) - it just ups your attack and decreases your defensive ability. A person under fanaticism is a fanatic which is where we get the word fan from. The person is focussed almost exclusively on a single goal. I would argue that the spell could be extended to other activities were it not so specifically about attacking. The effect always reminds me of the Mule's effect on Ebling Mis in Asimov's Foundation and Empire. Fanaticism is about focus not bloodlust. 

Edited by David Scott
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24 minutes ago, David Scott said:

There’s never been any mention in the rules that Fanaticism is limited to melee or that it’s a lesser form of berserk (even in the final RQG manuscript at Dragonmeet) - it just ups your attack and decreases your defensive ability. A person under fanaticism is a fanatic which is where we get the word fan from. The person is focussed almost exclusively on a single goal. I would argue that the spell could be extended to other activities were it not so specifically about attacking. The effect always reminds me of the Mule's effect on Ebling Mis in Asimov's Foundation and Empire. Fanaticism is about focus not bloodlust. 

I was inclined to agree with David's line of thought when I read the OP. But from a game balance point of view it's a bit of an issue. 60% becoming 90% with no downside. Now with Passions and Augments we are looking at the concept of 'inspired focus' but with a risk of consequence from failure. Why bother with a Passion roll when a Fanaticism spell works so much better! The wording in RQ2 does say Hit Probability which limits it to combat or sports, for game balance I'd keep this limit, allowing missile fire but any protection magic must be cast first. 

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29 minutes ago, Psullie said:

I was inclined to agree with David's line of thought when I read the OP. But from a game balance point of view it's a bit of an issue. 60% becoming 90% with no downside. Now with Passions and Augments we are looking at the concept of 'inspired focus' but with a risk of consequence from failure. Why bother with a Passion roll when a Fanaticism spell works so much better! The wording in RQ2 does say Hit Probability which limits it to combat or sports, for game balance I'd keep this limit, allowing missile fire but any protection magic must be cast first. 

As the rules state, Fanaticism increases chance to hit by half again. While affected by the spell, the target cannot parry or cast magic other than attack spells. 

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1 hour ago, Psullie said:

But from a game balance point of view it's a bit of an issue. 60% becoming 90% with no downside. Now with Passions and Augments we are looking at the concept of 'inspired focus' but with a risk of consequence from failure.

Fanaticism is only 2 mins (10 melee rounds). POW x5 to cast. Downside is no parry or defensive spells.

Passions and Augments are duration of task or relevant situation. ability level to use. Downside is loss of ability.

I don't see any game balance issues. The big difference for me will be if my Passion is higher than my POW x 5 and of course if I have a relevant Passion at 80% I don't really have a choice.

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3 hours ago, David Scott said:

Fanaticism is only 2 mins (10 melee rounds). POW x5 to cast. Downside is no parry or defensive spells.

Really?  When was the last time you ever saw an archer parry?  What, wearing a buckler on his firing arm?

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4 hours ago, David Scott said:

Fanaticism is only 2 mins (10 melee rounds). POW x5 to cast. Downside is no parry or defensive spells.

Passions and Augments are duration of task or relevant situation. ability level to use. Downside is loss of ability.

@Yelm's Light -- I'm pretty sure David was compare/contrasting the Fanatacism spell vs the Passion/Augment rules, not putting focus on bows specifically.  But FWIW, I'd be inclined to disallow ANY defensive activity if it took ANYTHING away from attacking; even a -5% to the skill, or a single Action to attack.  So the archer cannot hide, take cover, dodge, etc; unless doeing so is a "free action" and gives no penalty to their archery-roll.  Also, if they get injured they keep attacking (unless too injured), not taking that Action to cast any healing-magic.

So they hide and do any defensive-buff magic) before they cast Fanaticism, and then go into Fanatic-offense mode; if the flow of battle calls for them to step out of hiding/cover/etc in order to keep attacking at maximal efficacy, they do so without even noticing:  they're just adjusting (in minor, inconsequntial ways) to the target.

So if they are standing in a dense copse of trees, such that they cannot be seen from a distance... if their target ever moves such that the trees disadvantate the archer (even briefly or minorly) in aiming, they will unhesitatingly step out of cover so they can shoot without needing to adjust for the cover.  Granted, this (rather limited) sort of "downside" will frequently not apply!

I agree that (because a Parry isn't usually part of the Archery repertoire) the Fanaticism spell is a somewhat stronger spell for an archer than a melee fighter.

But RQ has never really fetishized "game balance" the way D&D (and some other games) did/does.  I am OK with this quirk of the mechanics.

Edited by g33k

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3 hours ago, David Scott said:

 Downside is no parry or defensive spells.

Yelm beat me to it.  The simple workaround is cast your defensive spells before fanaticism.  Voila, no (real) downside.

As far as using it as a putatively 'offensive' spell taking away their parry or defensive spellcasting, meh.  While I understand it could work, honestly, I've *never* seen anyone use it that way.

 

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In my games, fanaticism was always fantastic spell for ranged weapons. There wasn't a downside unless the enemy closed. IIRC you could use it with multimissile (but that was the hazy past). If the enemy closed, another player could cast Dispel Magic or Demoralise, but much more often the other players waded in as the archer wasn't usually strong in close combat. Often players would cast fanaticism on others against their will (POW vs POW roll) to bump up the party's effectiveness in a close fought exchange. Most had decent armour so it wasn't a problem.

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5 hours ago, David Scott said:

In my games, fanaticism was always fantastic spell for ranged weapons. There wasn't a downside unless the enemy closed.

Closed to melee.

My point exactly.  (Well, one of them.)  A disadvantage that isn't really a disadvantage?  And not by some clever tactic designed to neutralize it, but by the nature of archery?  No.

Edited by Yelm's Light

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38 minutes ago, Yelm's Light said:

Closed to melee.

My point exactly.  (Well, one of them.)  A disadvantage that isn't really a disadvantage?  And not by some clever tactic designed to neutralize it, but by the nature of archery?  No.

I’m not really sure what your point is here. I just did what it said in the rules, but in your game the archer could start fighting with melee weapons as well, just without the defence. Yes fanaticism doesn’t have a big disadvantage for ranged weapons, so what’s the problem?

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It is not just that the disadvantage of the spell does not work against an archer.  It is a massively powerful spell if it can be used for archery due to the multiple attacks that can be made by an archer.  Imagine an archer who is quick and can attack 3 times per round. If they are well skilled with the bow, maybe 80%, it means that they are making THREE 120% (2 if less quick) attacks per round! (with all the chances to impale and critical going up as well). Three 24% chances to impale per round is pretty nasty.  ( Just as a note, I have been allowing the player to use the spell and it has not gone off the rails yet (lots of close quarters stuff and he also has to cast mobility first to lower his SR), but right away I  feared the possibilities and mentioned that I would have to do some checking). It certainly trumps the other missile type spells for archers though.  

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2 hours ago, Puck said:

It is not just that the disadvantage of the spell does not work against an archer.  It is a massively powerful spell if it can be used for archery due to the multiple attacks that can be made by an archer.  Imagine an archer who is quick and can attack 3 times per round. If they are well skilled with the bow, maybe 80%, it means that they are making THREE 120% (2 if less quick) attacks per round! (with all the chances to impale and critical going up as well). Three 24% chances to impale per round is pretty nasty.  ( Just as a note, I have been allowing the player to use the spell and it has not gone off the rails yet (lots of close quarters stuff and he also has to cast mobility first to lower his SR), but right away I  feared the possibilities and mentioned that I would have to do some checking). It certainly trumps the other missile type spells for archers though.  

Don't even get me started on the fundamentally different rules for melee initiative vs missile. :|

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2 hours ago, Puck said:

It is not just that the disadvantage of the spell does not work against an archer.  It is a massively powerful spell if it can be used for archery due to the multiple attacks that can be made by an archer.  Imagine an archer who is quick and can attack 3 times per round. If they are well skilled with the bow, maybe 80%, it means that they are making THREE 120% (2 if less quick) attacks per round! (with all the chances to impale and critical going up as well). Three 24% chances to impale per round is pretty nasty.  ( Just as a note, I have been allowing the player to use the spell and it has not gone off the rails yet (lots of close quarters stuff and he also has to cast mobility first to lower his SR), but right away I  feared the possibilities and mentioned that I would have to do some checking). It certainly trumps the other missile type spells for archers though.  

Which rules set is this referring to? In RQ2, even though bows shot on Dex SR, it took 5 SR to draw another arrow, meaning that even with only 1 DSR (the minimum) an Archer could only pull off two shots in the 12 SR a round.

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Whoops, yep, that was my mistake.  I think I may have been thinking of a different version of the game.  (I swear that I remember at one time a Dex SR of 1 allowed 3 shots).   That will make a bit of a difference.  

 

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1 hour ago, Puck said:

Whoops, yep, that was my mistake.  I think I may have been thinking of a different version of the game.  (I swear that I remember at one time a Dex SR of 1 allowed 3 shots).   That will make a bit of a difference.  

 

That would be RQ3. DEX SR of one would give you shots on 1/5/9.

SDLeary

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8 hours ago, David Scott said:

I’m not really sure what your point is here. I just did what it said in the rules, but in your game the archer could start fighting with melee weapons as well, just without the defence. Yes fanaticism doesn’t have a big disadvantage for ranged weapons, so what’s the problem?

Sure he could.  After blowing the SR's to drop the bow and pull out his melee weapon(s) and/or pick up a shield.  And he'd get the bonus/limitations of Fanaticism if it was cast on him in that circumstance, which is melee.  But he wouldn't be parrying while trying to use archery.  So in what circumstances do parry occur?  a) melee, or b) hiding behind a shield to block incoming archery/thrown shots (which shouldn't be occurring with someone acting fanatically anyway).  The very fact that the spell applies to parrying implies that it's for melee, not archery.

To attack it from another angle, don't you think the game's creators would have been more explicit if they meant to include archery?  Like saying 'in ranged or melee combat?'  It's clear enough that they never considered that eventuality, or they likely would have drawn one distinction or another.

Melee-enhancing spells are separate from archery-enhancing spells in every other case:

Bladesharp = Bludgeon = Ironhand = Speedart.

Fireblade = Firearrow.

Multimissile is in a class by itself,  but is plainly archery only.

Yet all of a sudden this particular spell covers both melee and archery?

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20 minutes ago, Yelm's Light said:

Yet all of a sudden this particular spell covers both melee and archery?

I can’t see where “hit probability” or “chance to hit” defines the weapon doing the action. Yet all of a sudden you seem to see that this particular spell doesn’t apply to archery (probably slings, darts, etc too).

RQ2 (Classic)

Quote

FANATICISM 1 point/point of spell 80 meters, focused on others, unfocused on self, temporal
This spell increases the Fanatic’s hit probability by half again. Thus, a 30% swordsman becomes a 45% swordsman. It also prevents the Fanatic from parrying or casting protective spells. However, if the Fanatic has a Defense bonus it operates at half its normal value rounded up. Thus, a character with a 5% Defense bonus still has it while a character with a 10% bonus also has a 5% bonus while Fanatical. One person can be affected by the spell for each point invested in it. A Demoralize spell will cancel a Fanaticism spell, leaving the target with a normal morale.

 

RQ3

Quote

Fanaticism 1 Point 
Ranged, Temporal, Passive 
When cast upon a being with normal INT this spell will increase his chance to hit by half again his skill percentage (round up fractions) . Thus a 33 % swordsman becomes a 50 % swordsman under the spell of Fanaticism. The fanatic may not parry or cast magic other than attack spells (Disruption, Smother, Mindblast, etc.). The spell halves the target's Dodge. A successful Demoralize spell cancels the effects of a Fanaticism spell, leaving the target with normal morale. If the target does not wish the spell to be cast upon him, then the center must overcome his target's magic points with his own. 

RQG (Final draft)

Quote

FANATICISM 
1 Point 1 Point Ranged, Temporal, Passive Ranged, Temporal, Passive 
When cast upon a being with an INT characteristic this spell increases their chance to hit by half again (round up fractions). For example, an adventurer with Rapier 33% effectively has Rapier 50% while under the effects of Fanaticism (33÷2=17, 33+17=50%). While affected by Fanaticism, the adventurer may not parry with a weapon or shield, or cast magic other than attack spells (Disruption, Mindblast, etc.). Additionally, the spell halves the target’s Dodge. 
A successful Demoralize spell cancels the effects of a Fanaticism spell, leaving the target with normal morale. If the target does not wish the spell to be cast upon them, then the caster must overcome their target’s POW with a resistance roll. 

 

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