Saturday, July 26, 2014

More Rational Damage Spells

When I wrote Rationalizing Damage Spells, I didn't try to expand on the existing spell forms very much. Breath spells got changed to use Cone mechanics, because there needed to be a way for spellcasters to generate Cone effects and having Breath spells just be slightly more damaging Jet spells was lame. But other than that, I didn't add any new forms and I don't think I really added any new elements.

Since I wrote that article, I've been tinkering with it. I'm pulling those changes to a separate article, so people can notice them and possible comment on them.

New and Changed Elements

The Air element got renamed to Thunder, and added to the Sound college so as to provide for the Concussion effect. Physical Disruption is an effect, not an element, so it got renamed to Blight, even though it's still based on Deathtouch. Disintegration is also an effect, so that group got renamed to Ruin.

I added Deprivation and Enervation spells to give some fatigue effects. They probably need better names.

Having given the Food college an attack spell, I went whole hog and gave them a Poison line of dubious utility.

The Cessation element needs a better name, but it's basically the Turn Zombie spell as an attack spell. Conceptually, I like it a lot, but it may be overpowered: Weapon/Missile of Cessation give the melee and ranged combatants some very powerful attacks against undead, and Rain of Cessation pretty much guarantees that undead will not move through a certain area. On the other hand, Saints with Smite already have very powerful attacks against undead, and it's probably not a bad idea to have more ways to deal with insubstantial foes.

The Sound effect is currently boring, but the sample sonic spells and weapons in GURPS are also boring.

Thunder (Air, Sound): +3 damage per die. Treat as a Crushing Innate Attack with Armor Multiplier 5, Double Knockback, and Hearing Based Side Effect (Stun). Treat attacks against swarms or vaporous creatures as area effect attacks, even if the spell form is normally a single target spell. Ranged Attacks are Acc 3, Range 30/60.
Blight (Body): +0 damage per die. Treat as a Toxic Innate Attack with Cosmic (Ignores DR), Cosmic (Affects things with Immune to Metabolic Hazards), Accessibility (Only living or previously creatures; cannot target locations). Ranged Attacks are Acc 2, Range 25/50.  Deathtouch should affect zombies, but not stone golems or trees.
Deprivation (Body, Food): -2 damage per die. Treat as a Fatigue Innate Attack with Cosmic (Ignores DR), Hazard (Starvation or Thirst, chosen when the spell is learned), and Resistable (HT -4). Ranged Attacks are Acc 2, Range 50/100.
Enervation (Body): +0 damage per die. Treat as a Fatigue Innate Attack with Armor Divisor 2. Ranged Attacks are Acc 2, Range 50/100.
Poison (Food): +3 damage per die. Treat as Toxic Innate Attack with Blood Agent, Cyclic (3x10 seconds), Resistable by HT-5. Ranged Attacks are Acc 2, Range 25/50.
Ruin (Making and Breaking): +0 damage per die. Treat as Toxic Innate Attack with Cosmic (Ignores DR), Cosmic (Affects things with Immune to Metabolic Hazards), Accessibility (Only never living inanimate objects; cannot target locations). Ranged Attacks are Acc 2, Range 25/50. Making and Breaking spells can't affect golems, zombies, or housecats, but they can destroy cars and furniture.
Cessation (Necromantic): +3 damage per die. Treat as Toxic Innate Attack with Cosmic (Ignores DR), Cosmic (Affects things with Immune to Metabolic Hazards), Accessibility (Only zombies; cannot target locations). Targets that take damage have a 1 in 6 chance of being forced to flee out of sight of the caster for one day. Ranged Attacks are Acc 2, Range 25/50.
Sound (Sound): +2 damage per die. Treat as a Crushing Innate Attack with Side Effect (Stun). Ranged Attacks are Acc 3, Range 25/50.

New Forms

One of the very, very sad things about GURPS Magic for 4th edition was that it was printed in a hurry and never really updated to take advantage of 4th edition mechanics. There really needs to be at least one spell that lets the spellcaster make an RoF attack. The Volley form fills that gap.

Volley went through a lot of adjustments as I wrote it, mostly to tone it down. It gives the wizard a low damage, high Rcl, and energy intensive attack spell. I'm inclined to believe that Fire Volley or Earth Volley would be reasonably balanced spells, but that Sun Volley might be problematic (because of Sun's high Acc and innate bonus to hit) and Ruin Volley and/or Blight Volley are probably broken (low damage means less if you ignore DR). But that's what web commentary and playtesting are there to discover.

(Element) Volley: Creates a missile that does damage as though it were an area effect spell, even though it is a single target spell with RoF 5 and Rcl 3. It can still be used for suppressive fire, walking fire, or to otherwise engage multiple targets using the normal RoF attack rules. It has a base cost of 3 FP per die of damage. Enlarging the spell can increase the damage at double FP cost, increase the RoF to 10 at double the FP cost, or both at triple FP cost. Prerequisites are Rain of (Element), Element (Ball), and Element (Breath).

2 comments:

  1. Thinking about Thunder: A side effect of Hard of Hearing or Deafening? Increased range in water? Being able to fire through homogenous solids if you make contact with one side, with potential spalling?

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    1. I generally don't think tracking Hard of Hearing/Deafness is worth it, but giving them a Symptom effect like Sonic Screamers (UT125).

      Looking up the rules for HESH (HT 170), you're looking at (wildly optimistically) applying 1/10th the max damage of a 6d+24* contact explosion, so 4-5 cu damage at best. I wouldn't worry about the spalling, and I think firing through walls is something we just don't want.

      (*IQ25 elf with with 9 levels of magic talents does 6d base damage for a single target spell, +1/die for enlarging, +3/die for a thunder spell).

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