Spell School – Pyromancy

I was playing with some basic spell mechanics.  This is extremely rough still, but here are some thoughts.  Spells will require a caster check to successfully cast.  The caster check can be made more difficult by wearing armor, being rushed, moving, etc.  Basically, to get your caster check as low as possible, you’d need to be: unarmored, staying still, concentrating only on the spell, and taking your time (full round cast may have a lower caster check than a standard action cast, for example).  In addition, low “level” spells have an easy caster check, and high “level” spells have a higher caster check.  I plan to use a different word for spell levels to prevent confusion with character levels.  I’m thinking “Tier” but maybe there’s a more thematic term that I’m missing.

I’m aware I’m missing a number of things here, like actual area of effects, but these are just some stubs of ideas for now.  One thing that I’m thinking of are “tags” in combat, and one mechanic that I’m playing with below is a mechanic that makes it beneficial to not just open up every combat with your biggest weapons, because some of the smaller weapons can act as good setups (in the cases below, the Fire tag).

I’ve also made them so they impact all creatures.  Some schools may  be able to target just enemies, but I see this one as a higher-damage tradeoff for that kind of precision.

Pyromancy

Torch

Cost: 0 Energy
Caster Check: Low
Range: Close
Effect: A small ball of fire floats nearby as long as you concentrate on maintaining it.  The ball of fire can be used to attack an enemy in Close range and deals 1d3 points of damage.

Burning Touch

Cost: 0 Energy
Caster Check: Low
Range: Close
Effect: Your fingers become wreathed in fire.  You may make an unarmed attack against an adjacent enemy, and on a successful hit, you deal 1d4 points of fire damage and the target gains the Fire tag for one round.

Fire Bolt

Cost: 1 Energy
Caster Check: Low
Range: Short
Effect: Deal 1d6 fire damage to the target.  Target gains the Fire tag for one round.

Fire Blast

Cost: 1 Energy
Caster Check: Low
Range: Close
Effect: Deal 1d4 fire damage to all adjacent creatures.  All targets gain the Fire tag for one round.

Burn

Cost: 2 Energy
Caster Check: Medium
Range: Medium
Effect: Deal 2d6 damage to the target.  If the target has the fire tag, deal an additional 1d6 damage and extend the Fire tag for one round.

Fireball

Cost: 5 Energy
Caster Check: Medium
Range: Medium
Effect: Select a Hex.  Any creature in the target hex takes 4d6 points of fire damage.  Any creatures in the adjacent hexes take 3d6 points of fire damage.

Conflagration

Cost: 7 Energy
Caster Check: High
Range: Medium
Effect: All creatures within range that have the Fire tag erupt in flames.  Creatures take 3d6 points of damage, and 1d6 additional points of wound damage.  All creatures without the fire tag take 1d6 points of fire damage.  All creatures in the range gain the Fire tag for one round.

Fire Storm

Cost: 10 Energy
Caster Check: Very High
Range: Far
Effect: The very air erupts in fire and all creatures in the area of effect take 3d6 points of fire damage.  Any targets with the fire tag take an additional 3d6 points of fire damage.

Advertisements

9 thoughts on “Spell School – Pyromancy

  1. connorbros

    Just a clarification: will the check to succeed be instead of a target’s chance to resist or avoid, or in addition to? Because multiple rolls to see if your turn is just a waste seems like a really bad idea to me. I already work very hard to design away from missing altogether, instead only changing magnitudes of effects, since the nature of a tabletop game is such that it takes some time to get back to your turn (the fastest I’ve been able to make it is around 5 minutes in a reasonable non-trivial battle scenario, which is still a lot of time to wait for a chance to do something).

    -Dustin

    Reply
    1. JackOfHearts Post author

      Yeah, this concept is still pretty rough for me. I was thinking that one way to keep high level casters from getting so much more powerful than the rest of the classes was to introduce the caster check. My thought was that you don’t fail a caster check, but rather continue rolling round after round until you succeed (adding on the prior roll, not starting over). That way, if you roll poorly a few rounds in a row, the other combatants can see that you’re trying to cast a powerful spell and try to disrupt you.

      I still need to think about how that idea interacts with the spell overcoming a target’s defenses.

      Reply
    2. JackOfHearts Post author

      I meant to ask you about designing away a miss. How do you go about that? I know 4e and 13th age are both incorporating miss effects on most of the powers. I haven’t done that. I think the biggest barrier for me in doing this is that it just feels so anti-climactic to kill a foe on a missed attack. Maybe I just sprinkle in some miss effects, and also rule that an enemy cannot go down on a miss.
      Even still, while I like the idea conceptually for speeding up the game in a less swingy way. After all, we can just lower health on players and enemies to speed things up, but without miss powers, that gets swingy for the players. How do you go about it?

      Reply
      1. connorbros

        Ah, I prefer not to have a ‘to hit’ roll at all, just have the variance be in the magnitude of the effect. As you say, it feels ‘off’ to kill or significantly affect something on a ‘miss’. I just think some of the least fun gameplay happens when a person waits for their turn, plans something, and then nothing happens because of a bad roll (which at least in part describes every single miss in the game). And if I fudge something as DM because they were extra excited, that sends a message that if you ask really nicely, anything will work (which leads to BAD NEWS).

        You could pretty easily just have damage rolls, and if there is an ‘effect’ attached to it, decide on a watered down version if the damage roll is below a threshold (watered down could include ‘doesn’t happen’, as long as other stuff, like damage, does happen).

        If you wanted to do something more drastic, you could ditch ‘damage’ altogether (I ran one campaign where each hit progressed a character’s state along something like Unhurt => staggered => wounded instead of having HP, and more powerful attacks were more likely to just skip a step in one blow), but that obviously requires some extra tweaking to get right.

        Moreover, if you want a specific character to be able to fully block or avoid an attack, that can be a special feature (with appropriate restrictions).

        I know missing isn’t just bad for the game, some people like the ups and downs. My experience with the game, though, has lead me to try out variations where I ditch ‘to-hit’ stuff in general, and while I’ve not perfected anything, I didn’t notice any gaping flaws.

        -Dustin

  2. Andy

    I like the “tagging” idea. I do agree that something needs to be done to balance a wizard type character against a warrior at higher levels. I’m not sure if this is it or what that solution is. I tend to think that the solution should be to provide better defenses to other classes (stuff like your shield bonus providing a bonus to what is now a “reflex” save) as opposed to downgrading the wizard. I’m not completely against the caster check though. Balancing power and fun is hard to do for me conceptually. I think that’ll be easier once we start playtesting.

    Reply
    1. JackOfHearts Post author

      The exact mechanic for spellcasting is still a bit rough in my mind, so I’m open to suggestions. I already plan on giving the thief and warrior, and then potentially certain prestige classes (mage hunter anyone?) powers to avoid magic more reliably. Even so, since I’m keeping the power for the warriors and archers, I’m pretty open to making casting less reliable for the wizards. I think Dustin’s concern though is pretty valid, and I don’t want the player having to make two rolls every time just to see if their spell accomplished anything at all. Something to toy with a bit.

      Reply
  3. JackOfHearts Post author

    Dustin: I have to admit, I haven’t really thought about a damage only system for Lost Worlds, but you’ve got my mind thinking about some possibilities on how to apply it. In a macro sense, I am planning to use a pool of health called “Luck & Fatigue” (wish I had a one-word name for this) that allows players to “take damage” without actually having to cognitively believe you’re getting stabbed 4x per fight and still going by the end of the day. I’ve also decided on a non-linear mechanic so that if the players are more skilled, they are less likely to get hit. Having the players only deal damage is plausible with the “Luck & Fatigue” system, and when they are attacked, they’re expending some amount of Luck & Fatigue to avoid it, I suppose even on a “miss.”

    Something to think about. For some reason, I feel like it is at odds with my higher focus on skill using a non-linear mechanic for resolution, even though I can’t put my finger on exactly why. The other thing I’d worry about is that combats would become even less swingy and more math-predictable. Something to play with in the design though, thanks!

    Reply
  4. Pingback: Attack Rolls | Lost Worlds

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s