New Erfworld Campaign - "Darkness Rising" - Rules

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Re: New Erfworld Campaign - "Darkness Rising" - Rules

Postby MarbitChow » Mon Nov 05, 2012 7:46 am

Foolamancy is the only school that can target multiple units (up to 8) with a single cast. It's also got the lowest casting cost of any school. I'm not averse to making the 1st level spell be able to both alter appearances and duplicate spells, but if so, the juice cost will go up significantly and a foolamancer would only be able to target 1 unit.
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Re: New Erfworld Campaign - "Darkness Rising" - Rules

Postby Nnelg » Mon Nov 05, 2012 10:29 am

Being able to target multiple units at once doesn't matter if I can't effectively use it in-combat to begin with. But...

MarbitChow wrote:duplicate spells

I think you're still misunderstanding what I'm trying to do. I'm not trying to duplicate the way any spell looks when cast. I understand that the signamancy is different, and I'm fine with that.

I am still just trying to alter a unit's appearance: no more, no less. Why this arbitrary distinction for the hits remaining stat, merely because there is a spell that affects this stat in actuality? If there were buff spells in the game, would you thus oppose me if I wanted to veil a unit as the same image, just with higher stats?



ETheBoyce wrote:Actually most 1st level spells are really only useful for one purpose and has only one way of working (Note: I'm using the rules listed on the initial post): Hiya does damage, Revitalize heals, Roll The Bones increases the damage of one attack, Space Out removes 1/2 enemy actions, Reanimator creates a 1AP warrior, Craft Cloak negates 1 basic attack/shockamancy. Veil has a greater number of ways it can be used, I talked about hiding important units as unimportant ones, but the opposite is also a possibility; make low level/weak units appear as high level units to draw the fire of strong enemies, and it is this mechanism that lets you disguise vulnerable wounded units make them appear to be units with much higher defense!

Edit: Honestly Foolamancy actually seems more useful that Dollamancy in combat situations at first level

Each level 1 spell does only one thing, but that one thing is useful in a variety of tactical situations. More importantly, each of them (except Craft Cloak, but more on that later) is useful during combat, not just at the start. And if I can't make a believable veil in line-of-sight, then what use is veil in-combat?

(Note: Dollamancy is an exception because it is a decidedly non-combat speciality. But even then, the items crafted are useful for a wide range of applications.)
Last edited by Nnelg on Mon Nov 05, 2012 10:35 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: New Erfworld Campaign - "Darkness Rising" - Rules

Postby 0beron » Mon Nov 05, 2012 10:32 am

Nnelg, give up on it. He said very simply that its this way "because he says so", you're not going to win it by pointing out that basic logic and the English language are on your side.
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Re: New Erfworld Campaign - "Darkness Rising" - Rules

Postby Nnelg » Mon Nov 05, 2012 10:36 am

That's why I'm arguing the game balance, 0beron.
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Re: New Erfworld Campaign - "Darkness Rising" - Rules

Postby ETheBoyce » Mon Nov 05, 2012 10:37 am

The problem with what you are trying to do is that there are two types of vision in Erfworld, normal vision and stat-o-vision as evidenced by Parson's glasses, presumably whil you could change the look of an injured unit, other units could still seeits current hits stat which is unaffected by Foolamancy
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Re: New Erfworld Campaign - "Darkness Rising" - Rules

Postby Nnelg » Mon Nov 05, 2012 10:39 am

Er... That's why I'm asking to be able to affect the current hits stat! :lol:

That's all I've been asking for all along...
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Re: New Erfworld Campaign - "Darkness Rising" - Rules

Postby 0beron » Mon Nov 05, 2012 11:00 am

ETheBoyce wrote:The problem with what you are trying to do is that there are two types of vision in Erfworld, normal vision and stat-o-vision as evidenced by Parson's glasses, presumably whil you could change the look of an injured unit, other units could still seeits current hits stat which is unaffected by Foolamancy

Incorrect, ONLY command units have stat-o-vision.
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Re: New Erfworld Campaign - "Darkness Rising" - Rules

Postby Nnelg » Mon Nov 05, 2012 11:12 am

Besides, it's already been established that Veil effects stat-o-vision. Otherwise it'd instantly dispell the moment any command unit saw the veiled unit.
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Re: New Erfworld Campaign - "Darkness Rising" - Rules

Postby MarbitChow » Mon Nov 05, 2012 11:13 am

I do not like spells or mechanics that are open to interpretation. Whatever they do must be absolutely clear and consistent within the abstract game rules world. In this game, a spell must do X when it is cast, and X must be the same thing each time, and it's effect must have a clear and explicit impact on the abstract stats that govern the game rules. There must not be a creative interpretation of English that will allow X to do Y. If that is possible, the description of the spell is flawed. Foolamancy currently fails this criteria, as playtesting it has revealed.

Axiom: Signamancy is an established thing in this game. A thing's appearance reflects its reality.

Postulate: Transformation magic must therefore have a signamancy, something that Erfworlders recognize on a subconscious level.

Healing must appear positive - white light, wounds closing, maybe some faint Archonic signing. Shockamancy must appear 'shocking'. If these aspects are not present, the native Erfworlder will subconsciously reject what it is seeing. It will feel WRONG. Stat changes must be made while the unit is not being observed, or must be explainable to the observer in such a way that they don't assume it is foolamancy, otherwise the observer will sense that there is something wrong.

Foolamancy is about being able to trick the senses so that what is false FEELS RIGHT. There is no reason to doubt it until the veil drops.

These are my assumptions and interpretations of how the world works, therefore, as GM, I can state definitively that this is how the world works.

There will be Foolamancy spells that are useful in combat under direct observation. A number have already been defined (Displacement, Misdirection), and based on these conversations I will be adding more, to create illusionary versions of other schools' combat spells. Additional suggestions are welcome. But if you cast Phantasm (to create illusionary units) and target squares that are observable by the enemy, and the units just appear out of nowhere, the spell will fail. If you cast the same spell around a corner, out of site, and the units march into view, the spell will succeed (assuming no leadership types make their rolls).

The Veil spell as it is currently written will be eliminated completely, and replaced with a spell with a similar disguise function and much more explicit implementation. Spells will not be subject to creative interpretation, or if I discover that they are, they will be rewritten and corrected immediately after the current scenario concludes.
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Re: New Erfworld Campaign - "Darkness Rising" - Rules

Postby Nnelg » Mon Nov 05, 2012 11:49 am

I agree with you, especially about the part of Foolamancy feeling "wrong". However, given that the whole purpose of Foolamancy is to deceive, I highly doubt that it's signamancy is so recognizable (especially to a common footsoldier) that trying quick tricks like that will never work. Perhaps a

Hm... Actually, I have an idea. One which will be able to simultaneously limit Veil explicitly to disguising units, but also allow for it to be useful on a tactical level on occasion (at least when it should logically be able to).


So, battles are usually chaotic, right? Nobody's paying attention to everyone at the same time, right? So, it would be theoretically possible to maybe veil two adjacent or near-adjacent units as each other and have nobody notice, right?

So, I propose that we remake the definition for Veil as something like the following:

Veil is a spell that masks the visible appearance and stats of a unit. It can adjust any stat (including hits remaining) to appear as whatever the caster desires, and can fake/hide inherent specials, (as in, unit abilities and stuff) but it can neither fake nor hide spell effects such as Ward, nor status conditions such as Incapacitated or stunned. The veiled unit can appear to be any other unit of the same size, (as in, number of squares taken up by the unit) but it cannot mask the unit's side (so, no veiling as friendly forces... But perhaps allied? This bit needs some work).

If veil is cast during combat, there is a chance that the casting goes unnoticed. Each commander and stack (note: must prevent exploit of 1-unit stacks somehow) that is within LOS and is paying attention (needs better definition) gets to roll to see if they have been fooled. This roll is given a penalty if there is a non-foolamancy explanation for what just happened. (So, for instance... A unit suddenly becoming unwounded might give a penalty to foot soldiers, who could easily believe the veiled unit was simply healed; [even though they sense something's wrong... because if they didn't, they wouldn't get to roll for disbelief, now would they?] but commanders probably wouldn't have a penalty and actual casters might even get a bonus - especially if they have LOS to the caster as well. But a wound-hiding veil cast out of LOS would be no more or less believable than any other veil.)



This definition needs a lot of work, but I think it's the start of a good idea. It might take plenty of GM fiat at first... But I think that once some precedents have been established, it shouldn't take too much thought to decide the effects. And best of all, it'll add an actual rules mechanism for the other neat tricks that even a pure disguise spell would be able to accomplish, such as swapping the appearance of two adjacent units.
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Re: New Erfworld Campaign - "Darkness Rising" - Rules

Postby Nnelg » Mon Nov 05, 2012 12:08 pm

MarbitChow wrote:Foolamancy is about being able to trick the senses so that what is false FEELS RIGHT. There is no reason to doubt it until the veil drops.

Ah, and here may be the source of our difference in opinions. I am neither expecting anyone to accept my "heal" without question or suspicion, nor endeavoring to make them think so. All that is necessary for that trick is for make sure that their minds don't catch up for a few seconds, after which I don't care what they believe. I am only trying to create a short bit of confusion our side could use to its advantage, which is something even a pure disguise spell would "logically" be able to do.


On a related note, what would happen if I, for instance, decided to make a Phantasm of a Bone Dragon in front of the marbit jailers. Of course they would recognize that it's an illusion almost instantly, but using real-world logic they should at least be startled for a second or two. (So, maybe one round's reprieve, max.) I'm just asking, because I'd like to know your opinion of such "logical" effects before I try them in-combat (and before you shut them down like my veiling wounds plan).
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Re: New Erfworld Campaign - "Darkness Rising" - Rules

Postby Exate » Mon Nov 05, 2012 12:29 pm

Nnelg wrote:On a related note, what would happen if I, for instance, decided to make a Phantasm of a Bone Dragon in front of the marbit jailers. Of course they would recognize that it's an illusion almost instantly, but using real-world logic they should at least be startled for a second or two. (So, maybe one round's reprieve, max.) I'm just asking, because I'd like to know your opinion of such "logical" effects before I try them in-combat (and before you shut them down like my veiling wounds plan).
It sounds to me like you want to learn how to call up the odious Diversion Beast. That's probably its own spell.
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Re: New Erfworld Campaign - "Darkness Rising" - Rules

Postby Nnelg » Mon Nov 05, 2012 12:31 pm

Phantasm makes units appear out of thin air, does it not? Would a Bone Dragon suddenly appearing out of thin air not startle you?

The best metaphor I can come up with is that I'm using a hammer to pound in a screw. But Marbit says that hammers aren't supposed to pound in screws, so he adds a specific rule that hammers can't pound anything that has threading. Seems an arbitrary decision that does nothing but stop a clever solution to a problem in my opinion.


EDIT:
And before you say it, I'm still pounding with the hammer. I am not trying to get a different effect from a spell. I'm trying to get the effect of the spell cause another effect (whether it be startling, confusing, or what have you).
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Re: New Erfworld Campaign - "Darkness Rising" - Rules

Postby 0beron » Mon Nov 05, 2012 12:35 pm

Okay, I'm going to deviate from this discussion slightly to comment on how Foolamancy should work after the current engagement, because I accept Marbit isn't going to change his verdict on the current engagement.

Based on what we have seen, it would appear Foolamancy effects fall into 6 general categories:
  • Glamours: You disguise an existing unit as someone else. Ex. Bogrol as Parson, Jack as the Jetstone Warlord
  • Veils: You disguise a unit (or area/object) as an object. Ex. Dwagons as blimps/trees, and FAQ's cities as natural scenery.
  • Displacements: You make a double of existing units. Ex, part of what Jack did behind the Flash Mob at the Bridge.
  • Invisibility: Self explanatory. Ex, the other half of what Jack did behind the Flash Mob.
  • Phantasms: Makes the target believe there is an object or unit that was never there. Ex, the Diversion Beast. Our idea of "faking" spells would probably fall here too.
  • Baffles: Affects sight and targeting. Ex, Flash Mobs force you to look at them, and Foghat that makes it hard to target.
First question, have I forgotten anything?
Second question is what a Lvl 1 Foolamancer starts with. Glamours and Veils both seem the simplest types, so I am inclined to aim for those. I'm of the opinion we give them both or let them chose one, rather than say it's always 1 or the other they start with.

Third question is how we handle advancement. I'm thinking that Glamours and Veils should automatically scale up, rather than making the caster spend AP to improve them. Displacement and Invisibility can be purchased for AP, and then maybe scale slower automatically. Phantasms and Baffles both seem like they would be good types to actually make full skill trees out of, like so (general wording only, I'm not being precise with my wording):
  • Phantasmal Unit [1AP]: You can create false units in empty squares.
  • Phantasmal Spell [1AP, may be purchased more than once]: Chose another school of magic. You can appear to cast spells from that school. The target of such spells is aware no effect occurs, but other units believe the effect has occurred.
  • Flash [1AP]: You can create an illusion that draws enemies attention, preventing them from seeing anything else besides the effect.
  • Confuse [1AP]: You make a stack difficult to target, imposing a -x penalty to attack rolls against it.
We could expand these trees out even further, and make them have a level 4 requirement, so that once a Foolamancer has mastered the basic skills, they can chose an advanced specialty, or be a jack of all trades (hardy har har)
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Re: New Erfworld Campaign - "Darkness Rising" - Rules

Postby MarbitChow » Mon Nov 05, 2012 1:41 pm

0beron, thank you. You've single-handled broken a log-jam, I think, that's going to fundamentally change the Foolamancy school's implementation.

Quick summary: each of the foolamancy effects (based on the categories you've listed) will have a well-defined rules-based effect. Each costs either 1 AP or 0.5 AP. Some effects will have other effects as requirements. All foolamancy targets only a single target to begin with. The ability to expand the number of targets will also be purchasable, with tiers. In addition, the ability to limit the effect to a single side, or a single unit, will be a modifier.

A caster will be able to mix and match any effect(s) they want into a spell. So, for example the old DnD "Mirror Image" spell (which creates multiple copies of the caster) would require the Displacement effect plus the Create (X) Units (where x=level) modifier. The effect that Jack performed would be a combination of Displacement PLUS Invisibility (displace the unit, hide the original). Invisibility PLUS Baffles allows a unit to vanish in a flash/bang/smoke cloud.

Each effect will have a well-defined game mechanic. (For example, one effect allows altering Permanent stats (Combat/Defense); another allows altering Statuses (Wounds, Stuns, Wards, etc.).

A foolamancer will define what he's trying to do by combining effects and modifiers, instead of casting a particular spell.

I will probably also grant foolamancers some Bonus AP that can only be applied to the Foolamancy school as their special, so that a 1st level foolamancer will be better than a caster that picks up spells in the class later.

Nnelg: Note that the ability to modify Wounds will fall under the same category as other status effects. This is non-negotiable. Feel free to continue to argue, but know that any arguments you make in this regard will be falling on deaf ears.
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Re: New Erfworld Campaign - "Darkness Rising" - Rules

Postby Nnelg » Mon Nov 05, 2012 1:41 pm

This post is more-or-less irrelevant now, since you've found a way to codify the what I see spirit of Foolamancy that's more in line with traditional game mechanics.
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Hm... I don't feel like you're on the right track, 0beron, but I do like how you classified foolamancy.


The way I see it, foolamancy has a very clear purpose: to deceive, trick, misdirect, misinform, and otherwise fool the enemy.

But I don't see any of those as direct spell effects. What I see are 3 basic tools which a foolamancer may use to achieve these goals:

  • 1) Making a unit appear as it is not. (Veil)
  • 2) Making a unit appear where there is naught. (Phantasm)
  • 3) Making a unit appear as if it were naught. (Crypsis)

The way I see it, Foolamancy spells only directly achieve these three things, to various extents and combinations. How these three effects are used to achieve the true goals of the foolamancer is really just a matter of clever usage an lateral thinking, not an explicit spell effect.

And most of all, I am so certain that those goals can be achieved with only the logical secondary effects of spells with primary effects explicitly restricted to the three tools I mentioned above that I never thought that others might see it a different way, especially seeing this duality of purpose is part of what attracted me to Foolamancy in the first place.



So, just a list of a few foolamancy spells as I imagine them, with both explicit and actual purposes:

Veil:
Explicit Effect: Adjust a unit's visual appearance (including the appearance of its stats). Multi-target, but will drop as soon as the veiled unit attacks or is attacked. (Does that last thing satisfy your balance concerns, Marbit?)
True Usefulness: Keeping special, powerful, or vulnerable (including wounded) units hidden in a mob until you need them (and letting them blend back in if need be), making your army appear more (or less) powerful than it actually is (mostly to deceive scouts and as leverage during diplomacy), temporarily misdirecting the enemy (so he'll attack the units you want him to, by making him think they're the ones he wants to attack).

Phantasm:
Explicit Effect: Create an illusionary unit.
True Usefulness: Making your forces appear more powerful than they actually are, Odious Distraction Beasts, defusing traps (not that kind of trap) and ambushes, running decoy for other units, mixing in with the rank-and-file to "catch" enemy arrows (possibly adding more Phantasms on the fly).

Crypsis:
Explicit Effect: Turns a unit invisible for a period of time.
True Usefulness: This is probably the least subtle of the Foolamancy spells, as its effects are the most obvious. (Frankly, I'm confused why you have a problem with "adding" power to Veil, considering how much power this spell already has.)

Greater Veil:
Explicit Effect: Similar to veil, but with more power. Stuff like lasting on through attacks, (although the enemy will probably get a free check to disbelieve when you attack) replicating status effects, etc. Of course, it'll cost a lot more juice and won't be multi-target.
True Usefulness: Similar to veil, but expanded. Mostly should only be useful for PCs or other high-value individuals.

Camoflauge:
Explicit Effect: Causes target to blend in with the surroundings. Automatically dispells if the camoflauged unit ends its move in LOS of an enemy unit and not in some form of cover. (Note: Moving gives enemy units a chance to notice the camoflauged unit, but noticing the unit does not automatically dispell its Camoflauge. Archers which notice the unit moving can later fire at the spot the unit moved to, but at a flat 2/3 or worse miss chance.) Automatically dispels if the unit is damaged.
True Usefulness: Ambushes that cost less in juice than crypsis-based ones. Moving units up through cover more effectively. Enabling retreats to "melt into the rocks" more literally.

Greater Phantasm:
Explicit Effect: Create a better illusionary unit. One which takes damage from arrows, can acquire status effects and is generally just more believable.
True Usefulness: The same as Phantasm, really, but more effective.
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Re: New Erfworld Campaign - "Darkness Rising" - Rules

Postby Nnelg » Mon Nov 05, 2012 1:43 pm

MarbitChow wrote:A caster will be able to mix and match any effect(s) they want into a spell.
[...]
Each effect will have a well-defined game mechanic.

Oh, actually that doesn't sound like a bad idea at all. I could go with something like this, sure.
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Re: New Erfworld Campaign - "Darkness Rising" - Rules

Postby 0beron » Mon Nov 05, 2012 1:54 pm

I feel like the direction Marbit has taken from my original classification is a wonderful system. Marbit suggests basically giving the Foolamancer tons of "components" that he can mix and match to create any effect he wants for a given situation.

The beauty of this is that it will allow you an immeasurable number of different spells, while only requiring a relatively small amount of text for it's rules. Once we explicitly and briefly state "Veils do X, and Phantasms do Y" we will never have to do anything more, yet you are still free to do as you please with them.

(Edited now that Nnelg agrees with me)
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Re: New Erfworld Campaign - "Darkness Rising" - Rules

Postby ETheBoyce » Mon Nov 05, 2012 1:59 pm

Hmmm, so how will Foolamancy interact with AOE Shockamancy?
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Re: New Erfworld Campaign - "Darkness Rising" - Rules

Postby 0beron » Mon Nov 05, 2012 2:05 pm

Well if you're asking whether AOE shockamancy will dispel Foolamancy, then I suppose I would assume so. Although it might depend on what effect the target is under.
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