Author Topic: Big List Of Spellcasting Nerfs  (Read 1513 times)

Offline Sanctaphrax

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Big List Of Spellcasting Nerfs
« on: May 12, 2012, 03:53:09 AM »
This was inspired by a recent discussion on spellcasting balance in which the Laws were suggested as a way to keep magic from being too strong.

Now, for reasons I've already been over I don't much like that approach. So here are twenty-five ways to nerf magic that are, in my opinion, much better.

(With a few exceptions, I think that the balance of magical effects is pretty good. I wouldn't use most of these, personally. But that's beside the point.)

Anyway, each of these ways is different and each of them can be combined with other ways. I wouldn't suggest using more than a few, though, because making things less powerful is easy to overdo.

Feel free to submit your own ideas if you want. Magic has a lot of fiddly bits, by DFRPG standards, which makes it easy to depower.

1. Remove Rotes from the game.
2. Increase the Refresh cost of spellcasting powers.
3. Remove the free specializations from Evocation and Thaumaturgy.
4. Reduce the number of free focus slots that spellcasting powers give.
5. Make backlash come in the form of consequences rather then stress.
6. Put a hard limit on the number of allowable thaumaturgy Declarations.
7. Make elements more restrictive by requiring them to be present in the environment before they can be used.
8. Get rid of the Spirit element.
9. Make elements more restrictive by tying them to specific mechanical actions.
10. Make the difficulty of thaumaturgical control rolls increase with the complexity of the associated ritual.
11. Make it so that drawing 2 shifts of power over your base power fills in your first 3 stress boxes rather than your 3rd, and so on.
12. Require foci to follow a pyramid structure.
13. Allow only a single focus to be used for each spell.
14. Do not allow Evocation and Thaumaturgy focus slots to be intermixed.
15. Do not allow people to inflict consequences to fuel Thaumaturgy unless the target is important enough to take those consequences.
16. Make all Enchanted Items require an action to activate.
17. Make all non-armour Enchanted Items require an action to activate.
18. Remove Crafting frequency bonuses from the game.
19. Do not allow Crafting foci.
20. Make Thaumaturgy less efficient at imitating other skills with a tax or a bad exchange rate.
21. Make control bonuses not apply to attack accuracy.
22. Make zone attacks cost more, and/or make them cost both power and control.
23. Do not allow people to prolong spells with other spells.
24. Do not allow people to redirect spells.
25. Make actual rules for accidental hexing.

PS: I left out the things that I don't see as nerfs, like ruling that self-inflicted harm satisfies Catches or not allowing Orbius.
PPS: I could provide more nerfs, but I figure that 25 is probably enough.

Offline EdgeOfDreams

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Re: Big List Of Spellcasting Nerfs
« Reply #1 on: May 12, 2012, 05:31:24 PM »
One more that I'd like to suggest that's been thrown around here before:

Rule that Control bonuses from Foci and Specializations apply to preventing backlash OR to ability to hit the target, but not both.

Offline vultur

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Re: Big List Of Spellcasting Nerfs
« Reply #2 on: May 13, 2012, 05:30:47 AM »
Cool.

I generally agree that magic isn't too strong, but 6) interests me anyway: something of the sort, where the cap is dependent on your skills and/or thaumaturgical Refinements or something*, seems to better model some of what we see in the books, e.g. Harry's comment that Victor Sells would need an external power source to do what he does (which turns out to be the thunderstorms) rather than just "he'd need to do more prep time". (It would make sense, anyway (IMO) for there to be a bigger gap between the thaumaturgical abilities of really powerful wizards and weaker spellcasters.)

*Perhaps a base cap of a number of declarations equal to the higher of Discipline and Lore, and the option to spend Refinements to increase the cap (I'm not sure at what rate)?

Offline Sanctaphrax

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Re: Big List Of Spellcasting Nerfs
« Reply #3 on: May 13, 2012, 06:28:48 AM »
@vultur: I agree entirely. Though I'm not sure that #6 is the best way to go about making skill more important in Thaumaturgy. It's a bit too simplistic. I'd rather see a more comprehensive rewrite...I think crusher_bob had a decent one.

@EdgeOfDreams: Sounds a bit like #21.

Offline EdgeOfDreams

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Re: Big List Of Spellcasting Nerfs
« Reply #4 on: May 13, 2012, 05:21:16 PM »
@EdgeOfDreams: Sounds a bit like #21.

I swear I read the whole list before I posted.

*Goes to get his eyes and brain checked*

Offline Locnil

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Re: Big List Of Spellcasting Nerfs
« Reply #5 on: May 14, 2012, 01:31:10 PM »
Just a quick rules question. According to the RAW, what kind of action does using an enchanted item take? And can you do so on someone else's turn.

Offline ways and means

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Re: Big List Of Spellcasting Nerfs
« Reply #6 on: May 14, 2012, 03:11:19 PM »
There is no rule on how long it takes to activate an enchanted item. Attacking with one or maneuvering with one takes a standard action though. 
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Offline Mr. Death

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Re: Big List Of Spellcasting Nerfs
« Reply #7 on: May 14, 2012, 03:18:21 PM »
Defensive enchanted items can be activated reflexively (i.e., in response to an attack), and offensive items would take up a turn, just like any attack or offensive maneuver would.

As for self-maneuvering enchanted items...personally, I'd be willing to allow them similarly to defensive ones, since it's not a matter of having to hit a target or affect someone else, as with an offensive maneuver or attack. As you're not going to resist a maneuver you're putting on yourself, so it's almost like a declaration, which itself is a free action.
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Offline Haru

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Re: Big List Of Spellcasting Nerfs
« Reply #8 on: May 15, 2012, 12:42:51 AM »
There is no rule on how long it takes to activate an enchanted item. Attacking with one or maneuvering with one takes a standard action though. 
This is pretty much how I would rule. Using the attack spell on an item counts as one action, you just don't have to pay casting stress or control the spell. Like a ramped up rote, if you will.

I would be careful with letting someone just use maneuver items though. That would be 4 free +2 tags per refresh. Double that (or triple, etc.) if you have any frequency crafting bonuses. That can get messed up real fast. Maybe as a supplemental action, which would mean you would still get +1 for each activated item. Or maybe 1 per exchange. At least some kind of restriction on the use, or things get ugly fast.
On the other hand, I can see a wizard with one of your self sponsored magics, where he stores a lot of energy in items, that he uses on his magic. Would account for the free tag and the debt (needs to make more items) rather nicely, and you wouldn't really need to keep track of how many items you actually got.
On block/armor items, I would let the reactive part stick. Maybe under the restriction, that it only works on that attack, regardless of whether or not it has power dedicated to duration.


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1. Remove Rotes from the game.
I wouldn't go so far, but maybe half the power rounded up for rotes. That way you really do trade power for safety. And it may increase the use of maneuver rotes.

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2. Increase the Refresh cost of spellcasting powers.
3. Remove the free specializations from Evocation and Thaumaturgy.
4. Reduce the number of free focus slots that spellcasting powers give.
I think the prices are fine as they are. If you want to make wizards rarer, that'd be a good option, but I think they are just in line with the rest of the powers.

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5. Make backlash come in the form of consequences rather then stress.
That's a nasty idea, but it might have some merits. It will definitely make the wizard player more careful and maybe leave an inch or two between the maximum power he could throw and what he actually does, to be on the safe side.

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6. Put a hard limit on the number of allowable thaumaturgy Declarations.
Remember that it not only requires a skill roll, but time as well. Most of the time, you should be pressed for time, so you will only do the bare minimum and go on. If the players want to pull of a gigantic ritual, then why not make that ritual the center of the campaign?

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7. Make elements more restrictive by requiring them to be present in the environment before they can be used.
8. Get rid of the Spirit element.
That would just make everyone take air and earth magic. And our most prominent wizard throws fire around all the time, without it being present.

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9. Make elements more restrictive by tying them to specific mechanical actions.
If you do that, you would have to restrict other actions, too. You wouldn't be able to put up a block with guns coverfire) or things like that, which would take out a big part of what makes the FATE system great.

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10. Make the difficulty of thaumaturgical control rolls increase with the complexity of the associated ritual.
Care to elaborate? I don't really understand what you mean.

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11. Make it so that drawing 2 shifts of power over your base power fills in your first 3 stress boxes rather than your 3rd, and so on.
Again: if you did that, it should work like that for everything. Hunger stress for example, but regular stress as well.

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12. Require foci to follow a pyramid structure.
13. Allow only a single focus to be used for each spell.
14. Do not allow Evocation and Thaumaturgy focus slots to be intermixed.
That'd certainly be an option, though I think that would greatly devalue focus items. Every wizard would just take specializations instead, because they would be a whole lot better. And a big part of focus items is the item part, you can take them away from the wizard to cripple him. How are evo and thaum slots mixed?

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15. Do not allow people to inflict consequences to fuel Thaumaturgy unless the target is important enough to take those consequences.
Isn't taking consequences a sign that it is important to the character? And consequences can be compelled 6 ways from sunday, especially things like those.

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16. Make all Enchanted Items require an action to activate.
17. Make all non-armour Enchanted Items require an action to activate.
See my opening statements.

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18. Remove Crafting frequency bonuses from the game.
19. Do not allow Crafting foci.
That might be a wise thing to do. Or maybe change them around a bit. For example, a frequency specialization could grant you a number of extra uses equal to your Lore skill, and you can only add 1 use per frequency specialization to any given item. It would be equal to the current state if you have equal or less enchanted items than your Lore, it would be weaker if you had more. Should be a good middle ground. Or lose it altogether and let wizards buy their uses per session by buying more enchanted item slots, I think I would be fine with that.

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20. Make Thaumaturgy less efficient at imitating other skills with a tax or a bad exchange rate.
The bad exchange rate is usually time. And often enough, the result will still be pretty crude, so for some things it just won't be an option (great thing to compel on).

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21. Make control bonuses not apply to attack accuracy.
I've seen this debated a lot of times, and I am torn on the subject, to be honest. Maybe give attack spells a fixed power (maybe through specializations in attack, maneuver, block?) and then only roll to target. Would devalue conviction for wizards though, if you don't find another way to put it to use. This would turn all spells into rote spells, but maybe that's something to build on.
You could give wizards the equivalent of a gun, an attack spell that doesn't cost stress to use but is pretty weak. Maybe a weapon:2 spell. Or hell, why not 1 or even 0? It would allow them to cast a lot more spells, but they would hit a lot weaker than regular folks with good weapons. But the bigger guns would cost equally more juice to pull off, so they would still be able to bring on the doom, only not with every spell they throw.

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22. Make zone attacks cost more, and/or make them cost both power and control.
That actually makes a lot of sense, given that you would have to take a -2 on something like a machine gun attack, too.

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23. Do not allow people to prolong spells with other spells.
Since you can only prolong block spells (Or rather: I wouldn't allow prolonged attacks, and I usually have maneuvers last for the scene anyway), that would be 2 out of 4 pre-consequence spells right out the vent, in a time where the bad guy can put up 2 maneuvers and tag them in the third exchange to easily break through that block. I think it's good as is. Maybe it can become a problem with high powered enchanted items, but that's another case to debate.

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24. Do not allow people to redirect spells.
If it's a cool redirect, then why not? The example of Carlos using his entropy cloud to kill that ghoul is just a cool action, so I would strongly encourage the use.

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25. Make actual rules for accidental hexing.
A compel should work fine, I think. It happens when it is interesting to the story, otherwise, why bother? Otherwise I feel this could be a lot of dice rolling really fast.
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Offline ways and means

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Re: Big List Of Spellcasting Nerfs
« Reply #9 on: May 15, 2012, 01:00:13 AM »
I am opposed to getting rid of Spirit as it has some of the most interesting possible effect of any element (unless you include mucking about with gravity and magnetism with earth and fun with vacuum, bending light and invisible attack with air).

Personally I would split Spirit into three subsections (light, force, mind) if the balance worried you.
« Last Edit: May 15, 2012, 01:04:06 AM by ways and means »
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Offline UmbraLux

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Re: Big List Of Spellcasting Nerfs
« Reply #10 on: May 15, 2012, 01:54:10 AM »
While I do think spell casters are the most powerful archetype in DFRPG, I'm not sold on nerfing as the solution. 

Here are a few comments:
    1 - Rotes aren't really that powerful.  Not sure why they'd need to be nerfed at all.
    2 - Increased refresh may make it cost more but it doesn't change play at all.
    3 - Removing free specializations won't hurt much and does reduce some of the immediate issue.
    4 - Same as above.
    5 - Backlash as consequences is interesting...I like the flavor.  But backlash is optional, don't think it really changes much.
    6 - Yeah, limiting declarations in one way or another is very common from what I've seen.  I certainly do.
    7 - Interesting - kind of like the flavor but don't think it really changes power much.
    8 - I'm honestly at a bit of a loss when people say Spirit is the most powerful element.  The book explicitly states you can do any action with any element.
    9 - I tend to do this through compels.
    10 - May be a good idea for the game but doesn't really fit canon.
    11 - Interesting...something I'd consider for all stress, but would rather avoid treating different tracks differently.
    12 - This would help significantly, though using half Lore as a limit for foci would be easier to track.
    13 - Isn't this already the rule?  I know it is for specializations - thought it applied to foci also.
    14 - Thought this was RAW.
    15 - Umm, don't get this.  If the caster is willing to take consequences to fuel a spell, isn't he implicitly saying the target is worth it?
    16 - Do you mean in addition to the action they're used in?  Seems awkward in play.  How long would a given activation last?
    17 - Same q's as 16.
    18 - Yeah, not sure they thought those through.
    19 - Agreed, this seems counter-intuitive.
    20 - Hmm, not really sure this is needed.  The way I calculate things (skill(s) + time reduction + duration) skill replacement is generally 10+ shifts.
    21 - Kinda mixed on this...would be effective though.
    22 - Yeah, particularly the latter.
    23 - Sounds reasonable.
    24 - Hasn't been an issue for me.  Have you found this overpowered?
    25 - Or simply use hexing w/o compels.

If you want a nerf, Evocation can be largely fixed simply by charging one refresh per point of channeling power/ability in addition to the base power.  Keep conviction as a limit but use the "power rating" instead of a second skill.  (The two skills issue is a major reason behind Evocation's power.  It's simply far easier to increase skills than weapon power.)

Thaumaturgy and crafting are more complex issues.  But limiting declarations is a good start.

All that said, the only nerf I've used is the limit to Declarations.  And that applies to everything, not just Thaumaturgy.  While spell casters are powerful, they're still human...and fragile.  Just enforce the difficult healing so they can't jump right back into the fight unwounded. 
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Offline Sanctaphrax

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Re: Big List Of Spellcasting Nerfs
« Reply #11 on: May 15, 2012, 04:11:28 AM »
There's really no point arguing whether nerfs are necessary here, and I'm not going to do it. Sorry if that dissapoints you.

As for other comments:

1 - Rotes aren't really that powerful.  Not sure why they'd need to be nerfed at all.
24 - Hasn't been an issue for me.  Have you found this overpowered?

Just looking for easy ways to chip away at spellcaster power while simplifying the system.

25 - Or simply use hexing w/o compels.

Then you're just arbitrarily screwing people.

2 - Increased refresh may make it cost more but it doesn't change play at all.

That's the idea. Make the power less good for its cost without changing gameplay. That's the simplest possible nerf.

5 - Backlash as consequences is interesting...I like the flavor.  But backlash is optional, don't think it really changes much.

In my experience, backlash makes optimized spellcasters significantly stronger.

8 - I'm honestly at a bit of a loss when people say Spirit is the most powerful element.  The book explicitly states you can do any action with any element.

And then it says that evocation veils are spirit-only. Then there's the mental stuff, which is hard to define.

9 - I tend to do this through compels.

Sensible, but not a good way to make spells less good.

10 - May be a good idea for the game but doesn't really fit canon.

I think it does. It's harder to control greater amounts of power, right?

13 - Isn't this already the rule?  I know it is for specializations - thought it applied to foci also.

You can use one power focus and one control focus, as I understand it.

14 - Thought this was RAW.

Pretty sure it's not.

15 - Umm, don't get this.  If the caster is willing to take consequences to fuel a spell, isn't he implicitly saying the target is worth it?

You can inflict consequences on other people too, and all human sacrifices are 20 shifts. Which makes "kill a couple guys" an easy way to do essentially anything with Thaumaturgy. Which is interesting thematically, but not balanced at all once people start farming refugees or whatever. What this rule would do is make refugee farming less effective while making plot-important sacrifices still uber.

16 - Do you mean in addition to the action they're used in?  Seems awkward in play.  How long would a given activation last?
17 - Same q's as 16.

Mostly, I just mean that you can't use Enchanted Items for passive defence.

20 - Hmm, not really sure this is needed.  The way I calculate things (skill(s) + time reduction + duration) skill replacement is generally 10+ shifts.

Okay, maybe this one can be done by interpreting RAW without a houserule.

If you want a nerf, Evocation can be largely fixed simply by charging one refresh per point of channeling power/ability in addition to the base power.  Keep conviction as a limit but use the "power rating" instead of a second skill.  (The two skills issue is a major reason behind Evocation's power.  It's simply far easier to increase skills than weapon power.)

Not sure I follow.

Remember that it not only requires a skill roll, but time as well. Most of the time, you should be pressed for time, so you will only do the bare minimum and go on. If the players want to pull of a gigantic ritual, then why not make that ritual the center of the campaign?
The bad exchange rate is usually time. And often enough, the result will still be pretty crude, so for some things it just won't be an option (great thing to compel on).

Actual rules for how long Thaumaturgy takes would probably be a good idea too. As-is, there's nothing I can think of in the RAW stopping any given ritual from being done in five minutes.

Also, people who play without heavy time constraints do not deserve to have the game balance fail on them. It's not like they're playing wrong.

A compel should work fine, I think. It happens when it is interesting to the story, otherwise, why bother? Otherwise I feel this could be a lot of dice rolling really fast.

But compels are not bad. Making Hexing into an actual weakness for wizards would be a genre-appropriate way to nerf them.

Anyway, accidental Hexing rules should not involve many dice rolls for that very reason.

That'd certainly be an option, though I think that would greatly devalue focus items. Every wizard would just take specializations instead, because they would be a whole lot better. And a big part of focus items is the item part, you can take them away from the wizard to cripple him. How are evo and thaum slots mixed?

Actually, changing the caps on foci wouldn't change anything for people who don't invest heavily in them. Mixing evo and thaum slots involves using thaum slots for evo foci and vice-versa.

Isn't taking consequences a sign that it is important to the character? And consequences can be compelled 6 ways from sunday, especially things like those.

See previous statements.

If you do that, you would have to restrict other actions, too. You wouldn't be able to put up a block with guns coverfire) or things like that, which would take out a big part of what makes the FATE system great.

...

Again: if you did that, it should work like that for everything. Hunger stress for example, but regular stress as well.

Not so. Magic is already riddled with special rules. Backlash and elements are in themselves special rules. They can work in special ways.

Care to elaborate? I don't really understand what you mean.

If I cast a 4-shift ritual to conjure a shirt, I can safely control one shift/exchange. If I cast a 4000-shift ritual to conjure a city, I cannot. Effectively, this is a soft cap on the power of rituals.

That would just make everyone take air and earth magic. And our most prominent wizard throws fire around all the time, without it being present.

Heat is always present. The question is, how much do you need?

If I didn't reply, I agree.
« Last Edit: May 15, 2012, 05:51:53 PM by Sanctaphrax »

Offline Haru

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Re: Big List Of Spellcasting Nerfs
« Reply #12 on: May 15, 2012, 02:06:40 PM »
Actual rules for how long Thaumaturgy takes would probably be a good idea too. As-is, there's nothing I can think of in the RAW stopping any given ritual from being done in five minutes.

Also, people who play without heavy time constraints do not deserve to have the game balance fail on them. It's not like they're playing wrong.
The ritual itself, yes. But those will be pretty tame rituals, because you don't have any time to push the complexity up to absurd levels through aspects from other skills. And if you allow declarations along the lines of "I've done X before, so I have this item for the ritual", then yes, it is broken. Even going out to buy something will take a few moments, never mind the more complicated things.

And if a group is doing a gigantic ritual without time constraints, then like I said, I would just make this ritual the focus of the game, and put in sideplots to gather the materials and things like that. Or I may not fully understand what you mean.

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But compels are not bad. Making Hexing into an actual weakness for wizards would be a genre-appropriate way to nerf them.

Anyway, accidental Hexing rules should not involve many dice rolls for that very reason.
Compels are as bad as you make them. It is either a pain in the ass right now, or the wizard will buy out of the compel and run out of fate points very very fast. In the books, I can see every time Harry mentions Mike the Mechanic to be a compel on him hexxing the blue beetle that he bought off. I just don't see the point in checking everything around you to see if it has been hexxed, every time you do a spell. Most of the time, it's a nuisance rather than something of interest, and that can just be described by the players involved. Like when Harry goes to Murphy and she powers down her computer before Harry enters. It just adds flavor to the scene. On the other hand, a compel in that situation could have Harry go in unannounced and erase Murphy's paperwork, so if he later wants to ask her for help, she'll be grumpy and/or won't have the time to help him. Or Harry has to make it up to her somehow, and from there all kinds of interesting stuff can happen.
Would you want to check every computer, cell phone, land phone, light, etc. that Harry passed to get to Murphy for walk by hexxing?

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Actually, changing the caps on foci wouldn't change anything for people who don't invest heavily in them. Mixing evo and thaum slots involves using thaum slots for evo foci and vice-versa.
There is a breaking point, where it becomes more reasonable to invest in foci than to buy more specializations. You'd take away that breaking point. This is essentially a change for high refresh games, but I think there are other ways to work around that. Opposing wizards for once. I like my wizards obliterating the place if they go at it.
I agree on the slots, but I guess that just goes for the free slots you get with evo and thaum, the rest can be devoted as you like it. Though you should probably be able to change them around on a milestone.

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Not so. Magic is already riddled with special rules. Backlash and elements are in themselves special rules. They can work in special ways.
Wizard already are the only ones who have to pay stress for actions, I don't see a reason to punish them even more. Elements are basically just "weapons" for wizards. Mortals can wield flamethrowers or watercannons, too. Like I said, you could go and give wizards a fixed weapon rating for their spells, one that they can upgrade by specializing into it, which would remove backlash and additional casting stress from the table, and it would make the wizards output more stable. One spell costs one stress and your done. Though I would then have all blocks be armor, since you can't raise them nearly as high as you can now. Maybe you could, to keep conviction in the game, have a number of points equal to conviction to allocate to attack, maneuver and block. This would be a complete overhaul of the magic system, though.

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If I cast a 4-shift ritual to conjure a shirt, I can safely control one shift/exchange. If I cast a 4000-shift ritual to conjure a city, I cannot. Effectively, this is a soft cap on the power of rituals.
Ah, that makes sense. Though again, time could be a big factor to account for. Just to take your numbers, a 4000 shift ritual, with 1 minute per exchange and 1 shift per exchange would take two and a half days to finish. Good luck staying awake that long, let alone channel magical energies. I know that a 4000 shift spell is pretty absurd, but you can do that with less powerful spells as well. Endurance can factor in here, so can a compel on "Time gone by". Like Harry in PG, when he needs to stretch his legs during the ritual. Granted, he gets back into gear in time, but maybe Harry's player bargained to resolve the compel another way, for example when he let the woman die in the attack later.

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Heat is always present. The question is, how much do you need?
Wouldn't that devalue your proposal entirely? Humidity is also everywhere, so is decay, so none of the elements would actually be blocked out. And given that fire can also work to create ice (any element can affect their opposite, really), I don't really see where that is a nerf, except on people who are not creative enough to see their element in everything. And if you really want to keep someone from using an element in a certain situation: compel.



Which brings me to an important question for this discussion:
You don't seem to like compels to solve a lot of those problems, why is that?
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Offline Sanctaphrax

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Re: Big List Of Spellcasting Nerfs
« Reply #13 on: May 15, 2012, 08:05:09 PM »
The ritual itself, yes. But those will be pretty tame rituals, because you don't have any time to push the complexity up to absurd levels through aspects from other skills. And if you allow declarations along the lines of "I've done X before, so I have this item for the ritual", then yes, it is broken. Even going out to buy something will take a few moments, never mind the more complicated things.

And if a group is doing a gigantic ritual without time constraints, then like I said, I would just make this ritual the focus of the game, and put in sideplots to gather the materials and things like that. Or I may not fully understand what you mean.

I mean that the rules don't actually make big rituals take a long time. If you want them to take a long time, you have to either change the rules or use GM fiat with each ritual.

Would you want to check every computer, cell phone, land phone, light, etc. that Harry passed to get to Murphy for walk by hexxing?

No. Fortunately, I wouldn't have to unless I was using crappy rules for accidental hexing.

There is a breaking point, where it becomes more reasonable to invest in foci than to buy more specializations. You'd take away that breaking point. This is essentially a change for high refresh games, but I think there are other ways to work around that. Opposing wizards for once. I like my wizards obliterating the place if they go at it.

Nope. Foci are useful because you get some free and because you can use them when you're experiencing diminishing returns from specializations. These rules would not change that.

I agree on the slots, but I guess that just goes for the free slots you get with evo and thaum, the rest can be devoted as you like it. Though you should probably be able to change them around on a milestone.

What do you mean, you agree?

Wizard already are the only ones who have to pay stress for actions, I don't see a reason to punish them even more.

The reason should be obvious. This thread is about ways to make wizards weaker.

(On an unrelated note, there are non-wizards who need to pay stress for actions.)

Ah, that makes sense. Though again, time could be a big factor to account for. Just to take your numbers, a 4000 shift ritual, with 1 minute per exchange and 1 shift per exchange would take two and a half days to finish.

IIRC, crusher_bob's rewrite was centred on an idea like this one. It's certainly a decent way to go.

Wouldn't that devalue your proposal entirely? Humidity is also everywhere, so is decay, so none of the elements would actually be blocked out.

Like I said, the question is how much of the element you need.

You don't seem to like compels to solve a lot of those problems, why is that?

Compels are not bad. If you compel a capability away from someone, they still benefit from that capability.

So as a way to make characters weaker, compels don't work at all. You can't fix a balance problem with compels.

Compels are useful for precisely that reason.

Offline UmbraLux

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Re: Big List Of Spellcasting Nerfs
« Reply #14 on: May 16, 2012, 01:30:28 AM »
Ignoring the more supercilious comments...replying to others.
That's the idea. Make the power less good for its cost without changing gameplay. That's the simplest possible nerf.
Depends, is the issue in game play or in the cost of abilities?  To me it seems to be in play.  When the PCs really want to hurt something fast, most of them will maneuver and pass the tags to one of the spell casters with the big weapon rating.

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In my experience, backlash makes optimized spellcasters significantly stronger.
It may...does it do so more than the cost? Or are you referring to the laddered spells?  (That's one of evocation's more abusable issues.)

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And then it says that evocation veils are spirit-only. Then there's the mental stuff, which is hard to define.
Yes, if you decide to relegate the Laws to a lesser status you'd probably want to adjust the trappings of mental spells.  As for veils, they're essentially defined as invisibility (YS276).  Other perception blocks are possible - chameleon like camouflage fits Earth or Summer pretty well, simple misdirection may work for Air, and Fire (or possibly Air) may cause heat haze style distortions.  Probably a few other possibilities for creative players to spring on us.  ;)

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Sensible, but not a good way to make spells less good.
It gives a reason to take several elements and a reason to use elements other than your best.  Works for us so far.

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I think it does. It's harder to control greater amounts of power, right?
I'd have to see just how it was implemented to be certain but I can't think of any methods of increasing control issues with complexity that still allow for spells like Darkhallow and similarly super powered rituals.

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You can use one power focus and one control focus, as I understand it.
Ah, you're correct.

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Pretty sure it's not.
Frome YS278:  For evocation focuses, this bonus may be applied to either the wizard’s offensive power (Conviction) or offensive control (Discipline) or defensive power (Conviction) or defensive control (Discipline).

For thaumaturgy focuses, this bonus may be applied to the wizard’s upper bound on “no-prep” complexity (Lore) for thaumaturgy or to the wizard’s control (Discipline) rolls for casting. The type of bonus must be determined and locked down at the time the item is created.


They're different types of bonuses - off/def power & control for Evocation and complexity & control (no off/def specialization) for Thaumaturgy.  How are they intermixed?

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You can inflict consequences on other people too, and all human sacrifices are 20 shifts. Which makes "kill a couple guys" an easy way to do essentially anything with Thaumaturgy. Which is interesting thematically, but not balanced at all once people start farming refugees or whatever. What this rule would do is make refugee farming less effective while making plot-important sacrifices still uber.
Ah, I see what you're saying and I agree.  Though this doesn't seem to be a PC issue...I hope!  ;)

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Mostly, I just mean that you can't use Enchanted Items for passive defence.

Okay, maybe this one can be done by interpreting RAW without a houserule.

Not sure I follow.
Basically a specific version of your #2 plus divorcing spell power from Conviction and tying it to a rating you pay refresh for directly.  Essentially brings the weapon rating of spells more in line with physical weapons.

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Actual rules for how long Thaumaturgy takes would probably be a good idea too. As-is, there's nothing I can think of in the RAW stopping any given ritual from being done in five minutes.
Agree with you here - though limiting Declaration use helps significantly.
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