[ED4] Astral Interference

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The Undying
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Re: [ED4] Astral Interference

Postby The Undying » Sun Nov 13, 2016 8:57 pm

Good link. A lot of noise in there, though, as there was a lot of analysis and discussion on individual words used when describing various things. Here would be my summary of the thread (feel free to read it yourself):

- AI affects the caster
- AI doesn't move with the caster (it sits in the area where cast)
- Dispel Magic can be used to get rid of AI (as one would expect).
- Tenacious Weave is mentioned but completely out of context (TW can NOT be used to improve AI).

There is one more thing in that thread that I'm going to specifically call out here because I completely disagree with it.

Baravakar wrote:A follow up question popped into my head. Since Astral Interference targets a Mystic Defense and affects anyone inside the radius. Can it be resisted with Steel Thought?


Mataxes wrote:Yes... Assuming it's a situation where you would want to resist it.


AI does NOT target anyone. AI attempts to manifest in an area, and the Mystic Defense (MD) of those within the area determine whether or not that manifestation is successful. Allowing Steel Thought (ST) does not make sense, in my opinion. Doing so opens up a HUGE can of worms because ANYTHING that uses MD as a difficulty, whether target or not, must give all people in the area of effect an option of resist, with ST or some other means available to them. If that's the case, what's the order in which this is resolved? Can you pass and then say "nevermind, I want to resist" if no one else decides to resist? What does a successful ST test mean - that the ST tester is not affected (makes zero sense in the context - either AI resolves or it doesn't) or that the entire effect fails?

The Undying
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Re: [ED4] Astral Interference

Postby The Undying » Mon Nov 14, 2016 1:47 am

More exposition:

AI is a miasma that affects an area; it can be eliminated in its entirety with Dispel Magic. BS is a spell that allows one or more people to see through the miasma - it does not prevent AI from affecting the targets, it eliminates the penalty from AI on those targets; it can also be eliminated with Dispel Magic, at which point the creatures are once again affected by the miasma.

Allowing ST to prevent a person from being effected creates this bizarro middle ground if it allows INDIVIDUALS to avoid the effects. The spell resolved, effecting some/most, but others are not effected. This makes even less when applied to spells like Stone Rain (which it would have to be given the insane similarity of wording in the talent/spell). I'm standing in the AoE, the spell goes off, I use ST to avoid it ... so, stones are still falling, but they miraculously either don't fall in the small area around me or somehow swerve away from me as they fall? Worse, if this can be avoid when it's cast, can it be avoided when I step INTO something? Seems logical: there shouldn't be anything special about avoiding it on turn 0 because you're standing in it to start versus turn 2 when you step into it.

Allowing ST to prevent effect resolution introduces a huge amount of unpredictability. What happens when Adept 1 has MD 10 and ST 2/Step 9, Adept 2 has MD 8 and ST 5/Step 12, and Adept 3 has MD 6 and ST 8/Step 15? The difficulty for the spell is 10. Caster pulls of a result of 15. As I previously said, who gets to resist it, what is the order, can EVERYONE try, if the first person says no but everyone else then passes can that first person then say yes, etc, etc? Caster now has very little idea of whether this will resolve or not. Worse, karma suddenly gets introduced, making it even harder to land. If EVERYONE gets a chance to resist it, the enemy suddenly has X chances to throw it off.

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Tattered Rags
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Re: [ED4] Astral Interference

Postby Tattered Rags » Mon Nov 14, 2016 10:08 am

Your qualm specifically is against allowing Steel Thought against AOE abilities, correct?

ED4ed PG pg 170, Steel Thought wrote:If successful, he reinforces his will, preventing the ability from affecting him.


I take this to mean that the Adept prevents the effect against himself only. It doesn't say it stops the spell or other ability, only that the Steel Thought user is unaffected.

So, yes, I guess Stone Rain would avoid hitting him. Nor does this Talent seem to restrict it's use to only when the ability is first used. Ongoing effects can be avoided (note, not negated or stopped or dispelled), but the Steel Thought user gets only one chance. And I would argue they have to expose themselves to the danger before being allowed to use it.

Just remember it's not available to everyone, and it's a jerk move on a GM's part if they make it common.

Edit to add this:

This description seems very anime-ish or movie-like with the hero wading into the spell and his very strength of will deflects the falling rocks.

The Undying wrote:This makes even less when applied to spells like Stone Rain (which it would have to be given the insane similarity of wording in the talent/spell). I'm standing in the AoE, the spell goes off, I use ST to avoid it ... so, stones are still falling, but they miraculously either don't fall in the small area around me or somehow swerve away from me as they fall? Worse, if this can be avoid when it's cast, can it be avoided when I step INTO something? Seems logical: there shouldn't be anything special about avoiding it on turn 0 because you're standing in it to start versus turn 2 when you step into it.

The Undying
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Re: [ED4] Astral Interference

Postby The Undying » Mon Nov 14, 2016 11:32 pm

You should quote the ENTIRETY of the text for Steel Thought, rather than selectively.

The adept resists magical abilities that target his Mystic Defense. Any time he is targeted by such an ability, the adept may make a Steel Thought test against his opponent’s test result. If successful, he reinforces his will, preventing the ability from affecting him. The adept can use this talent a number of times equal to his Steel Thought rank each round, but only once against each such effect directed at him.

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Tattered Rags
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Re: [ED4] Astral Interference

Postby Tattered Rags » Tue Nov 15, 2016 8:46 am

True, but how is he not targeted the moment he enters the area of effect?

The Undying
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Re: [ED4] Astral Interference

Postby The Undying » Tue Nov 15, 2016 7:54 pm

Normally, I'm not a fan of parsing semantics - people get way too hung up on words used to embellish, flavor, etc. However, in ED as with many other games, there are core words with system meaning: Action, Turn, Rank, etc. I could be wrong, but "target" is one of those (although I never see it capitalized, like many other core words with system meaning).

If A targets B, then A is explicitly attempting to perform some action on B. This is important because, in all the ED material I've read, they usually use the phrase 'affected creatures in the AoE'. Very few AoE spells EVER mention the word "target" (although some do). So, the core thought is that you "target a spot, and creatures are affected by the results," not "target all creatures within a radius of the selected center spot."

Rain (natural or in-game) doesn't target - it falls in an area, resulting in things getting wet. Landslides don't target - it falls in an area, resulting in things getting crushed. Smoke in a room doesn't target - it fills the room, resulting in choking for those within. I could keep going, but the point is that NONE of these things "target" anyone, they just happen, and things are affected by them.

The vast majority of AoE spells and Talents (more core words) work like this. User checks for the highest relevant defense in the target AREA to determine success, and if successful, those within the area are AFFECTED.

Now, this is just Rules As Written (RAW). It may not be the intent, which is fine, but it is as written.

We have three resists, one for each defense. Avoid Blow (physical defense, Step uses DEX), Steel Thought (mystic defense, Step uses WIL), and Resist Taunt (social defense, Step uses WIL).

The text for Avoid Blow is VERY specific: "The adept avoids injury by dodging or parrying blows directed against him. When attacked in close or ranged combat, ...". As such, Avoid Blow cannot be used to avoid non-combat stuff that affects them (e.g., roof about to collapse on them).

The text for Resist Taunt isn't as strongly worded: "The adept resists the effects of attacks directed against his Social Defense by making a Resist Taunt test against the attack’s test result. ... Resist Taunt is effective against Persuasion, Taunt, Intimidation, and other similar talents or Interaction tests (see the Gamemaster’s Guide)." Sadly, the text here isn't nearly as clear - it implies hostility, which is backed up by the example following the Talent/Skill text, and uses the word "attacks," but since there's no such thing as "social combat," it's not well bounded. This specific clarity is unnecessary, however, since Talents/Skills with group tests against social defense almost all specifically use the word "target." See: Battle Bellow, Conversation, Fearsome Charge, Graceful Exit, Inspire Others, Lasting Impression, Leadership, (I could go on...). Emotion Song uses the words "affected" and only talks about "target" in terms of space, not people. Heartening Laugh is a weird edge case because the affected people (again, not "target") are allies whereas the difficulty is determined by SD of enemies.

Meanwhile, Steel Thought explicitly uses the word "target."

The Undying
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Re: [ED4] Astral Interference

Postby The Undying » Tue Nov 15, 2016 10:26 pm

Tattered Rags wrote:True, but how is he not targeted the moment he enters the area of effect?


Sorry, I just realized that my previous rambling didn't actually answer this.

The answer is because AI NEVER targets creatures. AI does not target creatures within the AoE during initial resolution. AI does not target creatures when they enter the AoE if they were not there when it originally resolved. AI does not cease to target creature that leave the AoE.

AI affects creatures. If AI resolves, it immediately affects creatures within the AoE. Creatures entering the AoE are immediately affected. Creatures leaving the AoE are immediately no longer affected.

The language is key: an Adept is never targeted by AI, they are affected by it. Because the Adept is never targeted, they cannot use Steel Thought, which requires them to be targeted.

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Tattered Rags
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Re: [ED4] Astral Interference

Postby Tattered Rags » Tue Nov 15, 2016 10:36 pm

The Undying wrote:
Tattered Rags wrote:True, but how is he not targeted the moment he enters the area of effect?


Sorry, I just that my previous rambling didn't actually answer this.

The answer is because AI NEVER targets. AI affects those within the AoE. AI does not target creatures within the AoE during initial resolution. AI does not target creatures when they enter the AoE if they were not there when it originally resolved. It NEVER targets, it affects.


I read this before I read the first couple of sentences in your "rambling" post, so if I missed something important, I apologize.

I think that the use of "target" here is actually one of those semantic issues you bring up. The main defense I have is that Mataxes himself recommended using Steel Thought, so that heavily implies intention. I also think it's flavorful, fun, and won't break the game.

Those are my positions. Since it's not perfectly clear, it's definitely up for interpretation. I also think we've exhausted the possible arguments on both sides.

Anyway, good discussion. Hopefully it helps others figure out which way they want to go on this!

The Undying
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Re: [ED4] Astral Interference

Postby The Undying » Tue Nov 15, 2016 10:49 pm

Yeah, unless someone else comes up with an interesting new take, I don't think there's much else to be said. It also doesn't help that the books sometime meander on the language: "affected targets" vs "those affected," hard to say there's a difference unless you lean on the "target" word.

Anyways, I think a key take-away is some things require a bit of interpretation, that interpretation is going to vary, and the best thing that can be done by any group is to try to keep from over-engineering/analyzing (Rule of Fun, as Tel has said before) while trying to be consistent (sucks to buy something up only for its usefulness to degrade later due to re-interpretations).

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Tattered Rags
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Re: [ED4] Astral Interference

Postby Tattered Rags » Wed Nov 16, 2016 9:35 am

The Undying wrote:Anyways, I think a key take-away is some things require a bit of interpretation, that interpretation is going to vary, and the best thing that can be done by any group is to try to keep from over-engineering/analyzing (Rule of Fun, as Tel has said before) while trying to be consistent (sucks to buy something up only for its usefulness to degrade later due to re-interpretations).


It's important that players and GM's have the conversations, too. And if a player's expectation is met with an unyielding GM, then they should figure out how to adjust the character so that everyone keeps having fun.


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