Author Topic: Setting up a ward how do you get all the shifts?  (Read 21074 times)

Offline crusher_bob

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Re: Setting up a ward how do you get all the shifts?
« Reply #45 on: February 13, 2011, 07:12:43 AM »
I feel that folks may be inadvertently forgetting that the GM is generally setting the DCs for the Lore Declarations. The rules mention (at least for Divination effects like Harry's tracking spell) to just let certain low-power Thaumaturgy rituals work, without requiring the "minigame" that is the spell construct and empowering phase.

I really want to avoid this as it makes communication between the player and the GM much harder.  The whole point of well written rules is so that the GM and the player can both read the rules and then both have the same understanding of what something can do.

So, the rules should address things like:

How powerful a ritual do you need to do X?
What kind of characters can be expected to be able to do X?
How do they get from the base complexity to the complexity of the power they want?
How long does it take to do the complexity preparations?
How long does it take to do the ritual?

And if you can't answer these questions with the rules, then it's always a question of "GM, may I?"  and this sort of thing tends to produce adversity between the players and the GM, even when it's not really the GM's intention to screw the players over.

Now, I'm also not a big fan of the whole mini-game aspect of thaumaturgy.  Too many hacker experiences from cyberpunk games.  What I'd prefer is a system where the player can do the 'story' of them spell for themselves in a few minutes, then just present that to the table at large.  Having the sub-system require a lot of interactive GM time is not a great idea, imho.

so, to recap how I answered the questions:

How powerful a ritual do you need to do X?
(see examples in the book)
But the rough maximum power level to be handled by the system 50 which includes thing like summoning scary demons (refresh 15+), transforming people into other (scary stuff) stuff, killing a bunch of people at once,  blowing up a small office building, or making a minor item of power (hexenwulf belt, for example).

What kind of characters can be expected to be able to do X?
Anyone who can get control 5 in some sort of thaumaturgy is ready for at least medium power rituals (power 20 or so).  Being able to do higher power rituals takes a bit more work, but is doable by 8 refresh wizard who specializes in big rituals.  Being better makes things faster, though.

Anyone who can't muster control of at least 5 is mostly relegated to the kiddie pool, not because they couldn't do a bigger ritual, but because trying a higher power ritual is a good way to get yourself blown up.

How do they get from the base complexity to the complexity of the power they want?
The majority of the difference between the rituals complexity and base complexity are bridged by using skill declarations.  Skipping scenes and invoking aspects are for special occasions.
But to keep things 'interesting' you can't just use the same skill over and over again for your declarations.

How long does it take to do the complexity preparations?
From no time at all to 'several days'.  Being better speeds up your prep time a lot.  A starting wizard should be able to do medium complexity (~20) thaumaturgy in several hours.

How long does it take to do the ritual?
Usually between 30 minutes and several hours.  Faster ritual times are generally for dangerous circumstances.

-----------

And most importantly, the player has a pretty good idea of whether they can do effect X in time Y, and once they tell the GM that they are going to do it, the player can take a few minutes to do the rolls and write the declarations, and then just come back to the table and tell everyone how it went.  The GM can be doing another scene, or something.
« Last Edit: February 13, 2011, 07:36:55 AM by crusher_bob »

Offline MegaPuff75

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Re: Setting up a ward how do you get all the shifts?
« Reply #46 on: July 10, 2011, 04:53:21 AM »
Actually if you have a control of 4 and you are adding in 1 shift of power you only have a 1 in 81 chance of losing control of the spell, so if you put in a couple of environmental aspects, like greater circle and distraction free environment, there is only a 1 in 6,561 chance of needing to use both and a 1 in 531,441 chance of being hit by backlash after using both of them. Even if you only have control of 3 those aspects could still be used to prevent failure in the worst case of a -4 roll, essentially with proper environment there is still no real limit for a 3 or 4 discipline wizard, unless you are the most unlucky S.O.B. to ever sling a spell.
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Offline umdshaman

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Re: Setting up a ward how do you get all the shifts?
« Reply #47 on: March 20, 2014, 12:09:58 AM »
Interestingly satisfying complexity seems to be more about control then building power, even though we use Discipline (the control roll) to actually build the power.

Ways to gain shifts:
  Assistants - I'm a little surprised no one else mentioned this. They don't even have to be magically adept. I think its +2 per assistant per the RAW.
  Sacrifice of Power - There seems to be some implication in YS that participants can contribute power to the ritual (in a manner similar to the caster) by taking consequences without it inherently becoming Dark (or even Blood) Magic. Definitely not in the RAW though.
  Borrowing Power - This is mentioned in the RAW but the mechanics are very much left to GM fiat. I could see someone using the 'matrix' of an appropriately attuned enchanted item (already designed to contain a certain amount of power).

That said, building shifts isn't nearly as interesting as the question of keeping this from getting too 'broken'.
  Interference - Dresden's case files occur roughly 6 months apart, for instance, usually lasting between a week and a month. So lets say on average there's a 5 month lull between cases. But does that mean that Dresden has nothing going on during those months? We KNOW that's not true (from the short stories). I mean, sure, Dresden could skip that wedding. Of course setting aside the mundane concerns (pissing off the bride and groom), who knows what might happen if he does. Think your player(s) are getting a bit too complacent? Throw something at them.
  Worthwhileness - Technically since there's no time limit on setting up a ritual (particularly if you're making potentially long-term declarations). However, there are practical limits. What's the point of spending 5 months to set up a ward that lasts for 5 months? You'll end up having to spend that whole period to refresh it.
  Diminishing Returns - You can always house-rule things so that when you come up short (fail a roll) you've exhausted what that given skill's Declarations will do for you. Sure, you can spend some aspects to keep the gravy train rolling, but will it be worth it in the long run?
  One-Shot Workings - Since we're talking about Thaumaturgy in the context of wards, consider that you only get a free tag when the aspect is created. So, sure, you get a free bonus from that research you did the first time you cast the spell. And you can always spend fate points to invoke that aspect later, to represent its contribution but that tag's gone.So maybe that ward has a power of 20 for the first 6 months, but I but you can't make it do that again the same way.

Honestly, the maximum power of a ritual is basically dependent on the amount of time and participants you're willing to use. And limiting it abuses is just a function of using common sense and the fiction.