Nethermancer at Circle 3?

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Lamoron
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Nethermancer at Circle 3?

Post by Lamoron » Fri Apr 05, 2019 11:38 am

I'm playing in a 4th edition group, and we're Circle 3 but slowly coming up on Circle 4. I'm playing a Nethermancer, and while I love my character, and I can see the power I will achieve at Circle 5, it seems like Circle 3-4 is more or less dead circles when it comes to fighting.

I have pretty darn good survivability, with Shield Mist and Soul Armor, but Spirit Dart is my best offence and it's like throwing pancakes at the opponents because additional hits don't add to damage. We're fighting mostly horror constructs, and recently the very weakest horror in the book (I think, it's my first time with ED), so the intimidation/frighten powers don't seem super useful.

1.
Astral Spear: 1 thread, so might as well just throw Spirit Dart until Circle 5
Bone Circle: Not useful
Ethereal Darkness: My allies can't see through it.
Life Circle of One: 1 thread. Is rather useful in situations where I can make a rolling train of Circles moving forward, if I know there's combat.

2.
Aspect of Fog Ghost: hard to use
Chilling Circle: Shitty damage
Night's Edge: Short duration and touch for little gain
Summon Fog Ghost: hard to use and 1 thread

3.
Arrow of night: hard to use and seems weak
Pain: not useful in our campaign
Summon Bone Spirit: I guess this is ok, if I keep stopping to make circles all the time?

Am I just going to have to be useless in combat, but very useful out of combat, until Circle 5?

iduno
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Re: Nethermancer at Circle 3?

Post by iduno » Fri Apr 05, 2019 1:46 pm

Earthdawn mages are better at buffing and debuffing than doing damage.

If you can improve (protect or power up) a teammate or reduce an opponent's armor/resistance to let someone else do more damage or take less damage, you're doing your part.

Tattered Rags
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Re: Nethermancer at Circle 3?

Post by Tattered Rags » Fri Apr 05, 2019 2:02 pm

I think you're underestimating the gain people get when their target has reduced defense or armor. My last session saw Mind Dagger make the difference between a hit and no hit. So who caused the damage, the warrior or the wizard? Could easily result in an extra success, too.

Night's Edge, for example, helps you hit the enemy with more spells (MD-2) which in turn can cause a cascade of damage as you further debuff them.

Spirit Grip is amazing in the debuff category, with -2 ro both PD and MD.

Pain...that probably could become useful, but not against most things you seem to be against, as per its description. Sad.

Last chance, though not a combat spell, makes you the most important character in the group in combat. Obviously isn't going to up your damage output directly, though.

Edit: Oh, Arrow of Night is good. Needed to reread that. It's equivalent to a plus 15 on a successful attack roll. Just need the archer to fire and hit the next round, but your spellcasting test is practically guaranteed, so it really still only comes down to 1 roll.
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Sharkforce
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Re: Nethermancer at Circle 3?

Post by Sharkforce » Fri Apr 05, 2019 8:44 pm

so, first off, i'm going to recommend talking to your GM. it is entirely possible (s)he hasn't realized that they're using a lot of fear-immune creatures, or just how much the nethermancer's early abilities use fear. there are low-circle opponents that fear works on, which fit into the campaign you've described, that are not being used; ghouls, for example. neither will most ordinary namegivers or beasts that have been corrupted by a horror (ie using the masks in the companion). it may also be more enjoyable for others in the group to face a bit of variety anyways.

apart from that, a few notes:

soul armour works on others as well, so you can contribute to combat there as well.

have you considered picking up stealthy stride as a skill (especially as a party)? with that plus shadow meld, you may be able to more reliably set up life circles to lure horrors and horror constructs into...

as noted, spirit grip is a fairly effective debuff.

note that chilling circle has a duration; you set it up once, and it keeps dealing damage. also note that it has an extra thread option to remove targets (ie your friends). so yes, the damage isn't amazing, but it is damage that keeps on ticking (also, it is more damage than your spirit dart at the moment, and it is also AoE). especially good if you can find ways to debuff enemy mystic armour, which as a nethermancer you're potentially pretty good at.

and yes, you should be making bone circles regularly. you can get by with one every 30 miles for constant coverage, at the moment. note that your bone spirit has a pretty compelling argument in favour of having "knowledge of nethermancy" (ie being unaffected by ethereal darkness), as may a person enhanced by the aspect of one.

looking ahead to circle 4, it should be noted that some nightflyers are not too shabby in combat. if you can turn into one, that could be pretty useful. if your spells aren't super useful at the moment, you could consider assuming the form of one... there's something to be said for being well out of reach of all those cadavermen that have no ranged weapons and just screaming them senseless as a shrieker bat, and shadowmants are no joke. krillra are pretty scary too if your GM considers them to be nightflyers though it isn't remotely as clear as with krilworms, which explicitly are. i suspect your GM will want to discuss limiting your forms to things that aren't nearly double your circle though ;)

(if you can meet up with some high circle beastmasters that have such creatures with masks, you may get some good use out of that, too, since at that point you are aware of the form and should be able to assume it :D )

also, if you have the companion, you have access to some spellcasting knacks that can help make spells with threads not quite so much of a struggle. astral strain, bleed, and unsettle should all be available to you already.

and lastly... this is a bit of a math-oriented point, but... +1d4 damage (night's edge) or +6 damage (arrow of night) are better than they seem. because of the way armour works, they can potentially even be huge buffs... for example, 10 damage against a 6 armour target deals only 4 damage. +1d4 to that would average close to an extra 3 points of damage... so nearly doubling someone's damage. an extra 6 points would be double plus a half (though of course, it's only +6 on average... on a given roll, it will likely be more or less than that). if the target actually has enough armour, bonus damage can sometimes be the *only* way to deal damage. for the same reason, armour reduction can also be a powerful ability, though it depends somewhat on the rest of your group being able to take advantage of it. nethermancers are great at lowering magic defense and armour, and if your group can take advantage of that, you can get a lot of value.

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Mataxes
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Re: Nethermancer at Circle 3?

Post by Mataxes » Sat Apr 06, 2019 4:13 am

I would consider shadowmants a nightflyer, but not a krillra (the latter are decidedly not nocturnal).

(Of course, Nightflyer's Cloak has a lot of utility outside potential combat damage -- I'm partial to owls and bats.)
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Sharkforce
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Re: Nethermancer at Circle 3?

Post by Sharkforce » Sat Apr 06, 2019 10:54 am

Mataxes wrote:
Sat Apr 06, 2019 4:13 am
I would consider shadowmants a nightflyer, but not a krillra (the latter are decidedly not nocturnal).

(Of course, Nightflyer's Cloak has a lot of utility outside potential combat damage -- I'm partial to owls and bats.)
yeah, i figured krillra were sketchy at best... based on their description, they fly pretty much all the time, and hunt during the day, which does not suggest "nocturnal". but i also figured it was less clear than, say, a gryphon, given that constant flight implies that they are active at night as well.

anyways, i would recommend talking to the GM in advance of using that spell... some of the details are very clear, but others can be a little sketchy (for example: what happens to your wounds when you turn into a nightflyer, what happens if the nightflyer form is killed, and what happens to wounds suffered in nightflyer form).

and there is certainly some value to being able to turn into something beneath the notice of most people as well. particularly when they have useful senses to take advantage of :)

Lamoron
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Re: Nethermancer at Circle 3?

Post by Lamoron » Mon Apr 08, 2019 6:27 pm

Thanks for feedback. Much to consider.

Lamoron
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Re: Nethermancer at Circle 3?

Post by Lamoron » Tue Apr 09, 2019 5:59 am

iduno wrote:
Fri Apr 05, 2019 1:46 pm
Earthdawn mages are better at buffing and debuffing than doing damage.

If you can improve (protect or power up) a teammate or reduce an opponent's armor/resistance to let someone else do more damage or take less damage, you're doing your part.
I have absolutely no problem contributing, but unless we're ambushed all the buffing I can do is already more or less done. Soul Armor has a duration in minutes, and Shield Mist is self only, so unless my Frighten works I don't really have any buffing or debuffing to do.

Lamoron
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Re: Nethermancer at Circle 3?

Post by Lamoron » Tue Apr 09, 2019 6:11 am

Tattered Rags wrote:
Fri Apr 05, 2019 2:02 pm
Edit: Oh, Arrow of Night is good. Needed to reread that. It's equivalent to a plus 15 on a successful attack roll. Just need the archer to fire and hit the next round, but your spellcasting test is practically guaranteed, so it really still only comes down to 1 roll.
I see your point, even though positioning is an issue, the spell can be wasted if the archer cannot attack, and the spellcasting test is not really guaranteed (but that would be true of any spell, so that's a non-issue). We don't have an archer though, so it's still a no :D

Lamoron
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Re: Nethermancer at Circle 3?

Post by Lamoron » Tue Apr 09, 2019 6:51 am

Sharkforce wrote:
Fri Apr 05, 2019 8:44 pm
soul armour works on others as well, so you can contribute to combat there as well.
Unless we're ambushed, it's kept active on everyone when there's danger afoot :)
Sharkforce wrote:
Fri Apr 05, 2019 8:44 pm
have you considered picking up stealthy stride as a skill (especially as a party)? with that plus shadow meld, you may be able to more reliably set up life circles to lure horrors and horror constructs into...
I am the best scout in the party, with exactly that combination. I also have Climbing/Lock Picking as skills. I think LCoO is a dumb spell until Circle 5, as the extra thread and reliance on enemy stupidity makes it hard to use in combat. We did have one session where we needed to go underground in tunnels, and then I created a rolling train of circles, moving forward one meter and casting a new one, which meant that when they rushed we just stepped back and they had to push through ten circles, and then we just crept forward again after they melted. That's not really heroic and interesting at all, even if it's effective.
Sharkforce wrote:
Fri Apr 05, 2019 8:44 pm
as noted, spirit grip is a fairly effective debuff.
It's also touch. I mean sure I get into melee when someone really needs to be harried, but it seems like a quick way to experience the afterlife, to venture into melee even with Shield Mist. One bad roll from me, combined with one good roll from a heavy hitter, and I'm lucky if I'm just unconscious.
Sharkforce wrote:
Fri Apr 05, 2019 8:44 pm
note that chilling circle has a duration; you set it up once, and it keeps dealing damage. also note that it has an extra thread option to remove targets (ie your friends). so yes, the damage isn't amazing, but it is damage that keeps on ticking (also, it is more damage than your spirit dart at the moment, and it is also AoE). especially good if you can find ways to debuff enemy mystic armour, which as a nethermancer you're potentially pretty good at.
Chilling Circle does Nethermancer Circle +4 damage, which is step 7. Spirit Dart does WIL+2 which is step 9. it also has the same issues as LCoO, that it's either pretty useless, or I can make a rolling train of circles in narrow quarters that will inflict silly damage on things trying to push through.
Sharkforce wrote:
Fri Apr 05, 2019 8:44 pm
and yes, you should be making bone circles regularly. you can get by with one every 30 miles for constant coverage, at the moment. note that your bone spirit has a pretty compelling argument in favour of having "knowledge of nethermancy" (ie being unaffected by ethereal darkness), as may a person enhanced by the aspect of one.
Hmm, what makes the argument so compelling?
Sharkforce wrote:
Fri Apr 05, 2019 8:44 pm
looking ahead to circle 4, it should be noted that some nightflyers are not too shabby in combat. if you can turn into one, that could be pretty useful. if your spells aren't super useful at the moment, you could consider assuming the form of one... there's something to be said for being well out of reach of all those cadavermen that have no ranged weapons and just screaming them senseless as a shrieker bat, and shadowmants are no joke. krillra are pretty scary too if your GM considers them to be nightflyers though it isn't remotely as clear as with krilworms, which explicitly are. i suspect your GM will want to discuss limiting your forms to things that aren't nearly double your circle though ;)
This is great, I'll most certainly look into that!
Sharkforce wrote:
Fri Apr 05, 2019 8:44 pm
also, if you have the companion, you have access to some spellcasting knacks that can help make spells with threads not quite so much of a struggle. astral strain, bleed, and unsettle should all be available to you already.
I looked at the knacks. Some of them are decent, but they're quite expensive and there are so many spells I'd also like (non-combat ones mind you)
Sharkforce wrote:
Fri Apr 05, 2019 8:44 pm
and lastly... this is a bit of a math-oriented point, but... +1d4 damage (night's edge) or +6 damage (arrow of night) are better than they seem. because of the way armour works, they can potentially even be huge buffs... for example, 10 damage against a 6 armour target deals only 4 damage. +1d4 to that would average close to an extra 3 points of damage... so nearly doubling someone's damage. an extra 6 points would be double plus a half (though of course, it's only +6 on average... on a given roll, it will likely be more or less than that). if the target actually has enough armour, bonus damage can sometimes be the *only* way to deal damage. for the same reason, armour reduction can also be a powerful ability, though it depends somewhat on the rest of your group being able to take advantage of it. nethermancers are great at lowering magic defense and armour, and if your group can take advantage of that, you can get a lot of value.
That is something I had not considered. It might not be much, but it's straight damage. Good point!

Thanks for the help. Enlightening!
Last edited by Lamoron on Tue Apr 09, 2019 11:36 am, edited 1 time in total.

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