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Tywyll

Classic Fantasy Damage Spells

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Reading over Classic Fantasy, I'm trying to wrap my head around how to play a typical blasty wizard. As far as I can tell, you can't.

A wizard is jumped by a group of bog-standard orcs/goblins. She manages to get off a fireball before they get to her. In order to have a 50% of reducing their locations (arms, legs and head anyway) to 0 and take them out, she needs to a) hope that 1/2 armor is rounded down, and need the spell at intensity 7. That's 9 MP. That assumes they don't make a resistance roll for half damage (I didn't see resistance in their stats so not sure what the chances are). So... an 18 POW wizard is now down to 1/2 her MP for the day (I assume you recover PP in CF as a 1 an hour or all per day, I couldn't find anything else about it). 

If she were up against armored opponents, even human brigands, she needs even more MP to hope to drop her opponents. BAsically giving her a single spell she's likely to cast that day.

I know there are magic items that hold MP, but those don't hold much (not like getting a spirit in Runequest or something). So are wizards always basically 1 spell a day unless they stick to non-offensive spells? I know if she were rank 5 that would reduce the cost of that spell by 4 I think? But that still hardly reflects the capabilities of the source material.

Do the PP come back quicker? Are there ways to store MP? And how does the memorization work for spells?

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I got you :) Essentially, the mechanism is there to provide similarity to a limited number of spells per day.

  • magic points recover at 1 per hour of resting or 2 per hour of sleep (p115)
  • A spellcaster's rank lowers the amount of magic points a spell requires. See Magic Cost and Caster Rank, p122
  • Fireball goes through half armor, not full armor.
  • Resisting is on p125. you oppose the casting roll.

So, lets go through your scenario. You have at least a Rank 2 caster (equivalent to around a level 5-8 wizard in 1e or 2e) because he can cast fireball. that's largely 1-2 fireballs a day. He's got a 15 POW. He's fighting brigands, who are probably not wearing a lot of armor - I'm looking at the brigands in the moathouse with a leader wearing chain (5), an aide wearing ring (3), and most everyone else wearing leather (2). Armor is half here, so 3/2/1. He can toss a 1d4 fireball for 3 points. Yes, it's not necessarily going to drop everyone, but, on the other hand 5d6 fireballs are good, but they don't necessarily drop everyone either.

Lets say you are talking that 5th level fireball. 5d6, that's his only one. He should dump some more magic into that kick it up to intensity 5. now he's talking out arms. Yes, he's spent a lot of magic points, but that's also how it would be for the 1e wizard - he's spent his big spell and has 4 level 1s and 2 level 2s. Your CF wizard is getting 2 free levels of intensity/2 less cost on his level 1s (rank affects), so maybe he uses Flaming hands or magic missile. he can do 2 magic missiles for 2 points and it does 1d6+1 per missile, no armor.

short of it, don't blow all your mana like that. there are smarter ways with CF. Use those lower rank spells and get the free points for your rank. Your lower rank spells are viable for quite a long time. Rank 3 casting flaming hands for all of 1 mana and it doing 1d6 to 1d4+1 locations might be smarter. Rank 2 casting an intensity 7 flaming hands for 5 and doing 2d6, half armor is pretty darn stout :)

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It's also worth noting that the genre tropes say that a lone wizard (with d4's for HPs) facing a mob of fighters is kinda in trouble.

A fighter or two in front, maybe a thief to flank/backstab/etc... This is how the "wizard" expects to survive the "band of brigands."

So he drops a Fireball on the brigands, and expects to drop the weakest ones outright, weaken the stronger ones.  The melee types engage the (few remaining and now weakened) brigands, and the wizard stands back to snipe as needed (along with an archer or other sniper).

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Classic Fantasy is very old school: Wizards are immensely powerful, but with a limited number of shots. So you. Have to wait for the opportune moment to cast your spells. Over the last 40 years, wizards have gotten to cast more and more spells, up to near video-game levels. 

If you want wizards to cast dozens of spells a day, allow them to trade in a luck point for recharging their magic points instantly. If that’s too extreme, allow them to recharge some magic points by trading in a luck point (say, 2d4 magic points for 1 luck point).

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Oh, I'm very familiar with how powerful wizards are versus how powerful they were. I've been playing D&D since it was sold in Sears!

That said, the point I guess I'm trying to make is that fireball was a big 'clear the room' style spell. Even if a wizard could only do one, he still had 2 1st and 2 second level spells left. AS I understand this system, you can never come close to that, and if you are comparing a higher level wizard, the math gets worse. When a caster has 3 fireballs and tons of lower level spells...well you just will never be able to throw 3 fireballs in this system, not 3 fireballs that could severly hurt comparable targets. God help you if you are up against foes in heavy armor!

At least that's how it seems. Even with items to give you bonus MP. 

Edited by Tywyll

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In the case of fireball, I think there is two points that is being underweighed and one point that is being missed (and even by myself until a bit ago).

Armor counting for half is a bigger deal than given credit for, and hit locations have far fewer hit points than in previous editions. Yes, you may be able to clear out rooms of orcs with 5d6 fireballs, but said orcs are probably also only rabble or underlings ;)

The missed point is that it takes very little fireball pumping to catch people on fire. Check p86 on fires, as referenced by fireball. A 1d6 fireball (mere intensity 3) has a 50% chance (1 on 1d2) to ignite any of the 1d4+1 locations as determined by intensity. On average, you are going to hit another couple locations for another 3.5 points, which has a very strong chance of dropping them (no armor here) or will force them to go prone putting it out.

does that help? 

@threedeesixsince a fireball hits all locations, why doesn’t the chance to ignite affect all locations? My current guess is because that would be an average of 3.5 locations taking an average of 3.5 damage ;)

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side note, @Tywyll, burning hands at rank 3 is also pulling this trick for 1 mana and a 1 action casting time. 

Other ways to deal with this:

  • Colour Cascade - 3+ targets to compare to the fireball. Quicker, often a bigger effect, willpowers are lower
  • Lightning Bolt - no armor for you, and while half the width of the fireball, it is quite a bit longer. This one is a bit confusing because it says the targets (presumably within the area) take damage according to the spell damage table, yet then everything within 10' takes 1d6. @threedeesixthis might warrant a clarification if you are available. Lightning can also pull off the light on fire trick occasionally.
  • Web - even a low grade web is pretty tough with 6 AP.
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With regards to Lightning Bolt, the text reads that all targets within the 10' path take the damage (which is based on that found in the Spell Damage Table) to 1d6 Body Locations if I remember right.

Also, in the upcoming Companion, I have several new rules for Luck Points. One states that a spell caster (semi or otherwise) may spend a Luck Point to regain all spent personal Magic Points. Not Magic Points from items. This may only be performed once per day for each Rank attained beyond 1 and requires at least a few minutes of rest, so cant be used during combat.  Because characters gain an additional Luck Point for each Rank attained beyond the first, this helps to simulate the greater number, and more powerful spells able to be cast at higher "levels", while still requiring a caster to keep an eye on their expenditure during combat.

Right now, the rule is noted as optional while it undergoes additional playtesting, However, my local playtesters find it balanced, and fitting the original source material, as the fighters tend to use their Luck Points to avoid injury, while the casters use theirs to replenish Magic Points, making them more prone to injury if not careful.

Hope this helps.

Rod

Edited by threedeesix
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3 hours ago, threedeesix said:

With regards to Lightning Bolt, the text reads that all targets within the 10' path take the damage (which is based on that found in the Spell Damage Table) to 1d6 Body Locations if I remember right.

Ah yes, I read that wrong, and you are correct. Thanks!

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