Author Topic: Backlash  (Read 3254 times)

Offline KlausGerken

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Backlash
« on: October 21, 2018, 04:41:13 PM »
So the player of the wizard read the rules... :)

Example:
EDIT Correction edited in, because math was wrong - thanks to Mr. Death

A spell with 10-shifts of power is being cast.
Her conviction is 6, she gets +1 bonus on power. So she crosses out the 4shift stress box
She rolls a +1 on a discipine of 5, get +2 bonus from focus items. Thats just 8, so she takes the 2 shifts as backlash, crossing the 2shift stress box (but not on the mental stress track.... she is a powergamer after all!)

The way I read the rules, she would have to absorb 6 points of stress in one go.

Who is right?

« Last Edit: October 23, 2018, 04:45:03 PM by KlausGerken »

Offline Ghostfreak

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Re: Backlash
« Reply #1 on: October 21, 2018, 05:11:43 PM »
She has to take one mental stress for summoning up the power then additional stress for going over her effective conviction score. Marking her 4th mental. Factoring focus items and whatnot. Now she has to control the power. Which she did correctly by taking a 2 stress hit to her body, as her mental is her gas for her powers.  She did her math correctly.


An you don't do it all in one go because that's how the system has it planned out to streamline spellcasting. Because the chance of failure is always there and messing up any of the steps or not being able to control the power leads to the following. Backlash to the body or your mind is there as a means to drain said caster of their resource so they have to be selective of when they bring the power of the universe to bear. Its like dealing with a man with a gun, he is scary if you get hit. But not so much to people who can avoid being in the way.  An if the backlash to the body or mental fails, then there is fallout... people try to avoid this best as they can.

Offline KlausGerken

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Re: Backlash
« Reply #2 on: October 21, 2018, 06:29:26 PM »
That makes it a lot cheaper to cast spells you can't really control. I don't like it...

Offline Ghostfreak

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Re: Backlash
« Reply #3 on: October 21, 2018, 06:53:31 PM »
Not really because at the end of the day she is giving up something to control all of that power and its free by any means, again, a wizards gas is her mental stress track. Not factoring if she took mental toughness and focus items to help reduce the strain of controlling some much power. Not to mention she has to waste 3 skill slots (conviction, discipline and lore) in order to be useful. If the player is built towards this route then it means that they did their due diligence; as they are supposed. Against a horde of mooks or constant battle after battles; they will run out of gas eventually; forcing them to find a different route to be useful. I hate seeing new players decide to play the wizard template and proceeds to fail at it in spectacular fashion, its irritating to deal with and a huge consumption of time that I would personally like to avoid. But then again wizards are one of the strongest things to be in the book; so yea.

Offline KlausGerken

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Re: Backlash
« Reply #4 on: October 21, 2018, 07:17:29 PM »
That is a campaign running for 5 years now. They have masive amouts of refresh and a high skillcap... it makes GMing then quite hard. And after a while the wizards (just like in D&D) just outpace the other characters. The WCV for example has no more options left for her and took shapeshifting just to have something to do...

Offline Ghostfreak

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Re: Backlash
« Reply #5 on: October 21, 2018, 10:37:46 PM »
Well what do you expect for a game that has been running for 5 years... sounds like they have reached the peak of what their characters can do.  Our gm has been doing his game for 3 years and our total refresh is finally now 19, 44 skill points, still capped at superb.

Offline Sanctaphrax

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Re: Backlash
« Reply #6 on: October 22, 2018, 05:25:52 AM »
Might be worth letting the other characters re-arrange their powers a bit.

Spellcasters aren't always the best, even at high Refresh levels, but they have a bit of an optimisation advantage. If you just buy Refinements, allocate them intelligently, and keep your casting skills as high as possible, you're building more or less optimally. Other character types are a lot more likely to accidentally weaken themselves. And they can sometimes have a hard time justifying buying the most optimal stuff.

WCVs actually get the worst of it, if you ask me. Their Template inherently pulls them in multiple directions and that's generally a recipe for weakness. Not surprised that that PC is having trouble spending their Refresh effectively.

So it's possible that your non-spellcasters could get a fair bit stronger just by re-allocating their Refresh. Might take some narrative trickery to make it justifiable, though.

I've run a game with Refresh in the high teens for a long time, and all sorts of characters have proved effective in it. But I think the fact that the characters were created at such a high power level from the start (or in one case, jumped straight from a much lower level to this one) helped a lot with that.

Offline Mr. Death

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Re: Backlash
« Reply #7 on: October 22, 2018, 07:51:52 PM »
So the player of the wizard read the rules... :)

Example:

A spell with 10-shifts of power is being cast.
Her conviction is 5, she gets +1 bonus on power. So she crosses out the 4shift stress box
She rolls a +1 on a discipine of 5, get +2 bonus from focus items. Thats just 8, so she takes the 2 shifts as backlash, crossing the 2shift stress box (but not on the mental stress track.... she is a powergamer after all!)

The way I read the rules, she would have to absorb 6 points of stress in one go.

Who is right?
First, if her base Conviction for that element is 6, then pulling up 10 power would go past her stress track (the boxes being, in this case, 6,7,8,9).

But that said, yes, it's two separate stress hits, not one added up.

Wizards and spellcasters are always a question of resources -- yes, they can throw out huge attacks, but they have, at most, four shots in them before they start doing serious damage to themselves, whereas Johnny McSwordsalot can keep swinging forever.

There's lots of ways to balance casters in a party with non casters, but after 5 years? It might be time to finish the campaign and start fresh, especially if your other players effectively have no more advancement options. Better to start anew than to stagnate.
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Offline KlausGerken

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Re: Backlash
« Reply #8 on: October 23, 2018, 12:28:42 PM »
First, if her base Conviction for that element is 6, then pulling up 10 power would go past her stress track (the boxes being, in this case, 6,7,8,9).

You are right, of course.

But that said, yes, it's two separate stress hits, not one added up.

Wizards and spellcasters are always a question of resources -- yes, they can throw out huge attacks, but they have, at most, four shots in them before they start doing serious damage to themselves, whereas Johnny McSwordsalot can keep swinging forever.

 There's lots of ways to balance casters in a party with non casters, but after 5 years? It might be time to finish the campaign and start fresh, especially if your other players effectively have no more advancement options. Better to start anew than to stagnate.

4 Shots? Thats no longer true, since Paranet Papers there is Mental Toughness to be had, for a longer mental stress track. Which also means that you can put more shifts into your spells - and with your interpretation of the rules, backlash isn't that much of a problem - so Wizards don't even need fate points to control MASSIVE amounts of power.

Offline Mr. Death

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Re: Backlash
« Reply #9 on: October 23, 2018, 02:06:35 PM »
4 Shots? Thats no longer true, since Paranet Papers there is Mental Toughness to be had, for a longer mental stress track. Which also means that you can put more shifts into your spells - and with your interpretation of the rules, backlash isn't that much of a problem - so Wizards don't even need fate points to control MASSIVE amounts of power.
Those powers cost a solid chunk of refresh (remember the Catch for them offers no discount) and are only available to high level wizards. We're talking Senior Council level here, so something that's not going to be in the average game.

The reserves might take longer to eat up, but they're still getting eaten up, two shifts per spell, and riskier the higher you push. In your example, for instance, your player was very lucky to roll a +2. Imagine the same result from a -2 -- then you're looking at a 6-shift hit just from the backlash.

The other thing to remember is that if you take backlash, that doesn't add to the targeting roll, so even if your wizard takes a buttload of stress to make sure his Weapon:10 attack goes off, the other guy might be able to dodge it with a 5 or a 6, at which point your wizard has taken that bunch of stress to no real benefit.
Compels solve everything!

http://blur.by/1KgqJg6 My first book: "Brothers of the Curled Isles"

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Offline KlausGerken

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Re: Backlash
« Reply #10 on: October 23, 2018, 04:46:32 PM »
Actually, they are (without mental fortitude, but one of them is has taken it last session) easily putting out 15shifts of energy...

Offline Mr. Death

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Re: Backlash
« Reply #11 on: October 23, 2018, 06:42:17 PM »
Actually, they are (without mental fortitude, but one of them is has taken it last session) easily putting out 15shifts of energy...
Define "easily." What's the skill cap? And are they doing the proper things with the pyramid set-up of the specializations? Because that's another limiting factor.
Compels solve everything!

http://blur.by/1KgqJg6 My first book: "Brothers of the Curled Isles"

Quote from: Cozarkian
Not every word JB rights is a conspiracy. Sometimes, he's just telling a story.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC_T_mld7Acnm-0FVUiaKDPA The C-Team Podcast

Offline KlausGerken

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Re: Backlash
« Reply #12 on: October 23, 2018, 08:28:54 PM »
Define "easily." What's the skill cap? And are they doing the proper things with the pyramid set-up of the specializations? Because that's another limiting factor.
Skill cap is +6, and yes, the pyramid (I assume you mean regarding focus items?) is being observed. But they do have a LOT of refresh and skill points by now, since we're playing for a very long time. That means that refinements has been taken very often.

Offline Mr. Death

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Re: Backlash
« Reply #13 on: October 23, 2018, 09:28:18 PM »
Skill cap is +6, and yes, the pyramid (I assume you mean regarding focus items?) is being observed. But they do have a LOT of refresh and skill points by now, since we're playing for a very long time. That means that refinements has been taken very often.
Not the focus items, but the specializations.

In any case, I'll probably just fall back on what I said before -- if it's that high level that it's getting difficult to find challenges for some players and hard to find advancement options for others, it might be time to give it a grand finale.
Compels solve everything!

http://blur.by/1KgqJg6 My first book: "Brothers of the Curled Isles"

Quote from: Cozarkian
Not every word JB rights is a conspiracy. Sometimes, he's just telling a story.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC_T_mld7Acnm-0FVUiaKDPA The C-Team Podcast