Jump to content
Dragonsnail

[RQG] Increasing chance of success with magic

Recommended Posts

Is it just me or is the two options to improve non-ritual magic success chance extremely specific and poor for spells in combat?

Meditation
Can only improve chance of casting a non-ritual spell or rune (not resistance roll). Requires 1 melee round to increase casting chance +5% or 2 rounds for +10% bonus. But cannot do anything else like parry or dodge in that round. As casting a Spirit Magic spell is based on POW you must have extremely low POW for this bonus to be any good. As Spirit Magic does not lose you any magic point if you fail, and you can parry or dodge while casting the spell, it would be wiser to just try twice. With POW 12 you have 60% chance of success. Would you rather do two rolls at 60% and be able to parry or dodge, or do one roll at 65% and not being able to parry or dodge in one round?

Augmenting (with Dance, Sing etc)
Somewhat better as you can augment POW resistance rolls, and gives much higher bonus with success. But also takes longer time and has the risk of giving you a negative modifier with failure to augment. Similar to meditation you cannot dodge or parry while augmenting the spell or resist roll. Doing it for one round before cast halves the augmenting skill, for two rounds you have normal skill and for each round after you get +5% on the augmenting skill.

The example text for augmenting is funny. It says that Yanioth want to increase the chance to overcome POW with a Demoralize spell. So she uses Dance at 65% but only for one round, halving the skill to 33%. That means there is a 77% chance of worsening the resistance roll. Does she really want to augment her opponent?

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 minutes ago, Dragonsnail said:

Is it just me or is the two options to improve non-ritual magic success chance extremely specific and poor for spells in combat?

Meditation
Can only improve chance of casting a non-ritual spell or rune (not resistance roll). Requires 1 melee round to increase casting chance +5% or 2 rounds for +10% bonus. But cannot do anything else like parry or dodge in that round. As casting a Spirit Magic spell is based on POW you must have extremely low POW for this bonus to be any good.

Why do you say that? Other than at POW 19+, a +10 bonus will make the difference between a fail and a pass just as frequently regardless of your POW. It might feel different, going from 5% to 15% than from 85% to 95%, but it isn't. It's a 1-in-10 chance of saving you from failure.

Edited by PhilHibbs

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 minutes ago, PhilHibbs said:

Why do you say that? Other than at POW 19+, a +10 bonus will make the difference between a fail and a pass just as frequently regardless of your POW. It might feel different, going from 5% to 15% than from 85% to 95%, but it isn't. It's a 1-in-10 chance of saving you from failure.

Because when the chance of success is high, rolling twice is better than a +5% bonus and rolling once. You have to spend one round meditating to get the bonus while not being able to parry or dodge. Instead you can just ignore the meditate and cast the spell again. If you have very low POW rolling twice gets worse than the +5% bonus.

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 minutes ago, Dragonsnail said:

Because when the chance of success is high, rolling twice is better than a +5% bonus and rolling once. You have to spend one round meditating to get the bonus while not being able to parry or dodge. Instead you can just ignore the meditate and cast the spell again. If you have very low POW rolling twice gets worse than the +5% bonus.

Ah, I see. Yes that does make sense, I wasn't looking at it from a time-efficiency point of view.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, PhilHibbs said:

Ah, I see. Yes that does make sense, I wasn't looking at it from a time-efficiency point of view.

No problems, I could have been a bit clearer.

But it seems to me that meditate is almost always a bad choice unless you want to use it for ritual-like spells that aren't rituals. Detect spells maybe? Augment can be good if you have high augment skill and can afford to spend two turns augmenting before casting.

Not being able to dodge or parry in one or two rounds is really dangerous in a fight.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think both of these types of augment are not intended for combat use. How can one meditate while swords are flying about and most combats are over before you've even gotten started. If you are planning an ambush and have time to focus, then sure. Likewise for augmenting, stopping mid fight to sing a ditty seems out of place, however others in the right situation can augment your skill, so drummers or pipers blasting out battle songs during a fight would work. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Psullie said:

I think both of these types of augment are not intended for combat use. How can one meditate while swords are flying about and most combats are over before you've even gotten started. If you are planning an ambush and have time to focus, then sure. Likewise for augmenting, stopping mid fight to sing a ditty seems out of place, however others in the right situation can augment your skill, so drummers or pipers blasting out battle songs during a fight would work. 

Yes, but let's think about it with a lot of munchkinism.

Situation
You want to cast a Spirit Magic spell, let's say Detect Magic. You have 12 in POW and therefore 60% casting success chance.

Meditating
Let's take 25 melee rounds or five minutes to get a +20% bonus. You can then cast the spell with +20% success and therefore have 80% chance to succeed.

Not meditating
You can roll to cast Detect Magic at 60% every round 25 times, or possibly twice per round for a lot of rolls if you have DEX 13 or more (SR3 for first cast, SR11 for second etc). Failing the roll will not lose any magic points, you can just try again.

I'm not good at math, but I think choosing to not meditate will give you better odds of succeeding with the roll, and also faster success. As the rules are, meditating is just worse in almost every case.

Edited by Dragonsnail

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 minutes ago, Dragonsnail said:

I'm not good at math, but I think choosing to not meditate will give you better odds of succeeding with the roll, and also faster success. As the rules are, meditating is just worse in almost every case.

True, but it will cost more MPs on average. I think... assuming that RQG still has an MP cost for a failure... ah, no there isn't. Ok, so there's no advantage to meditating!

Except at 5%, and if you can't cast more than once per round... then you are better off meditating, as 10% is better than two 5% chances. Only ¼% better, but still, slightly better.

Edited by PhilHibbs

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Multiple rolls also carry a greater chance of a fumble, but as we are getting munchkin you could argue that this constitutes reattempting (p142) and suffer a -25% penalty!

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
49 minutes ago, Psullie said:

Multiple rolls also carry a greater chance of a fumble, but as we are getting munchkin you could argue that this constitutes reattempting (p142) and suffer a -25% penalty!

 

You could say attacking again after a miss is too.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, PhilHibbs said:

You could say attacking again after a miss is too.

except in combat the situation is constantly changing, therefore you not actually repeating a failed attempt, where as casting the same spell in the same circumstances would constitute a repeat action. Of course how you define a new approach is up to the GM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 minutes ago, Psullie said:

except in combat the situation is constantly changing, therefore you not actually repeating a failed attempt, where as casting the same spell in the same circumstances would constitute a repeat action. Of course how you define a new approach is up to the GM

There's a big difference between casting a spell again at the same target and trying to climb the same wall, solve the same puzzle, or convince the same person that you really are a good marriage prospect.

  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think the clear conclusion here is that the meditation boost needs to be increased significantly. Let's do the sums!

This shows the equivalent percentage chance boost of rolling twice, by skill: http://www.wolframalpha.com/input/?i=(1-(1-(x%2F100))^2-(x%2F100))*100+from+0+to+100

To match the improved chance of success for two attempts at 50%, you'd need +25. As you move away from 50% in either direction, the equivalent bonus gradually reduces and in fact is a bell curve.

So at low or high skills, a 25% bonus for one round of meditation is way above what you'd get for trying twice, but at 50% it's pretty much the same.

If the bonus was 20% like an augment, then anyone between 27% and 72% is better off trying twice, while  anyone below or above that range is better off taking a round to meditate. That's assuming that there is no advantage from maybe getting the spell off a round earlier with two chances, in which case the high skill person may be better off taking the two rolls but that's always going to be a judgement call. Also an augment takes two rounds for a full chance at a bonus, whereas a flat 20% for one round of meditation is way better. 

So... it's not easy to balance. In order to be better than two attempts, the meditation needs to be higher or easier to get than an augment. So I see three options:

  1. Increase the bonus for meditation to 25% for one round, which is always at least as good percentage wise as two attempts.
  2. Penalize second attempts at casting, so that some kind of augment becomes worthwhile (MP costs for a fail used to provide some of this incentive).
  3. Don't worry about it, and just accept that retrying a spell is just easier and better than the slightly wonky augment system.
Edited by PhilHibbs
  • Like 1
  • Thanks 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I feel that the bonuses are applicable to the time spent, taking 12 secs longer to focus on a spell shouldn't yield much of an advantage. Where it gets problematic is that it requires a dice roll for minor benefit hence the diminished return - for anything up to 5 rounds I'd be inclined to bypass the Meditation roll as long as the caster was free form interruption. 

a similar issue exists in the Sacrifice section, why would you give up a cow (which could give long term benefit to a community) when all it takes is two extra MP which you get back the following day, for the +20% 

These are examples where the sums don't add up, but then most of us if given complex math would take extra time to get it right rather then do it twice in the hope that one answer is correct! This is why, as a GM I'd wouldn't allow a PC that type of scatter gun approach with any skill test. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, PhilHibbs said:

I think the clear conclusion here is that the meditation boost needs to be increased significantly. Let's do the sums!

This shows the equivalent percentage chance boost of rolling twice, by skill: http://www.wolframalpha.com/input/?i=(1-(1-(x%2F100))^2-(x%2F100))*100+from+0+to+100

To match the improved chance of success for two attempts at 50%, you'd need +25. As you move away from 50% in either direction, the equivalent bonus gradually reduces and in fact is a bell curve.

So at low or high skills, a 25% bonus for one round of meditation is way above what you'd get for trying twice, but at 50% it's pretty much the same.

If the bonus was 20% like an augment, then anyone between 27% and 72% is better off trying twice, while  anyone below or above that range is better off taking a round to meditate. That's assuming that there is no advantage from maybe getting the spell off a round earlier with two chances, in which case the high skill person may be better off taking the two rolls but that's always going to be a judgement call. Also an augment takes two rounds for a full chance at a bonus, whereas a flat 20% for one round of meditation is way better. 

So... it's not easy to balance. In order to be better than two attempts, the meditation needs to be higher or easier to get than an augment. So I see three options:

  1. Increase the bonus for meditation to 25% for one round, which is always at least as good percentage wise as two attempts.
  2. Penalize second attempts at casting, so that some kind of augment becomes worthwhile (MP costs for a fail used to provide some of this incentive).
  3. Don't worry about it, and just accept that retrying a spell is just easier and better than the slightly wonky augment system.

Honestly we *already* have a couple of new mechanisms for short-term buffs - I'm not sure why they bothered with another mechanism?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, Psullie said:

These are examples where the sums don't add up, but then most of us if given complex math would take extra time to get it right rather then do it twice in the hope that one answer is correct! This is why, as a GM I'd wouldn't allow a PC that type of scatter gun approach with any skill test. 

We always treated spells just like any other melee action - absolutely no problem with trying again.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, styopa said:

Honestly we *already* have a couple of new mechanisms for short-term buffs - I'm not sure why they bothered with another mechanism?

I agree. And it doesn't even mention whether you can augment magic with passions, or whether it takes time to do so like with skills. The 2 rounds for a full-chance skill augment is also pretty weak versus casting the spell again. And all this theorycrafting is assuming you can only try the spell once per round, much of the time you can probably try to cast it twice.

Edited by PhilHibbs

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We could probably do without the extra meditate mechanic. I guess they wanted to make the skill more versatile.

Regarding augmenting, it is better. But still not normally viable in combat as for most players it takes two extra melee rounds without defense to use. And out of combat you can just recast the Spirit Magic until you succeed as there are no penalties for failing.

I'm thinking of creating some house rules for this.

Augmenting
I think augmenting should be quicker and with less risk to make it viable in combat. Shorten it to one combat round for augmenting with normal skill roll. Extra rounds add bonus to succeed. If you sing or dance for roughly 12 seconds you will be able to get in some verses or moves. Is it realistic? I don't know.

Then I think you can parry or dodge, but lose the augment if you do. I mean if you are singing and a Broo attacks you, I think you should be able to abort and parry. It's not a trance, it's using the dancing or singing skill.

Then add meditate as a skill possible to use for augmenting casting instead of having a separate rule for it. Only snag is that I'm not sure it would fit being able to parry and dodge.

A character with very high percent in the skill used would then be getting a fairly sure +20% to cast a spell or increase resist with one melee round extra used for it. But it requires heavy investment in the skill, and there is always the risk of rolling bad and getting -20% or worse. So augment for one round to get +20% or try twice with your normal roll. I think it would be fairly balanced.

Boosting
Lastly, I'm thinking of letting extra magic points be used to boost spell or resist chance like they can be used for getting past defensive spells. Let's say +5% per extra magic point used. So casting a Demoralize and boost it with 4 magic points for a total of 6 MP used would give you +20% to cast or resist. This allows for an instant bonus, but it  does also costs a lot of magic points.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, Dragonsnail said:

Then add meditate as a skill possible to use for augmenting casting instead of having a separate rule for it. Only snag is that I'm not sure it would fit being able to parry and dodge.

This makes sense to me. I figure you can still snap out of it to parry and dodge, just because that's the simpler game design answer. Reduce it to one way to augment casting in-combat, and can always stop to parry/dodge, but lose your round(s) spent in the augment.

If you wanted to complicate it, I feel like it'd be on-flavor (though IDK about realism & doable on Earth) to have adventurers singing battle hymns to augment casting while in melee, and still ducking, weaving, etc. But that will end up with a more complex, possibly more representative ruleset. I like the idea of the simpler one better.

How would you do the ritual time spent with Meditate for spells and prep longer than two rounds? I feel like the tables have to start with the augment bonus, at the very least. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, Crel said:

How would you do the ritual time spent with Meditate for spells and prep longer than two rounds? I feel like the tables have to start with the augment bonus, at the very least. 

I'd say Meditate takes full melee rounds at least as long as the spell takes to get the initial bonus. So a spell that can be cast in a single round takes a round of meditate. A sorcery spell that takes two and a half rounds takes three rounds of meditation to boost.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Other things to bear in mind when comparing spell meditation with other augments:

  • Meditation only affects one action, whereas many other augments last for a period of time and affect many skill rolls.
  • There is no penalty for failing the meditation roll.
  • You need to make the meditate roll, so for most starting characters the chances are that the meditation time is totally wasted anyway.

The middle point also raises another concern of mine over augments in general, which is that if you have less than 50% in a skill, then trying to use it to help is usually counterproductive. So if I am arm wrestling with someone and using STR vs STR on the resistance table, and I have training specifically in arm wrestling up to 45% skill, I am probably worse off by using my training to improve my chance of winning. Until I can get my skill over 50%, it is more harm than good. Someone with Battle 45% should be better at laying an ambush than someone with no Battle skill at all.

It also goes against the normal tradition when failing a skill - failing a climb or jump is not disastrous, you don't fall to your death, you just make no progress for a while. Failing an attack roll has no consequences whatsoever, except that you didn't hurt your enemy (or they might have damaged your weapon with a successful parry). Failing a skill augment should not incur a penalty, and I will almost certainly houserule that way. Not sure about passion or runic inspiration, I might keep the failure penalty on that, as passions and runes typically start higher and the benefit is more flexible and long term. A skill augment is typically just for a single roll.

Edited by PhilHibbs
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Good points to think about. I mostly threw out some ideas, as I want my low POW players have options to improve casting success. Pull things in one rule and it might tear other rules.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So, passions. Should I be allowed to use my Hate (Chaos) passion to augment my POWx5 spirit magic casting chance against a gang of broo for the duration of an entire combat?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would think so.  You are not going to cast 1 spell then not hate them anymore.  I would think when you activate Hate(whatever) you wind up pretty mad at it, that doesnt just go away in a few seconds

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×