ED4 Rule Question: Named Spells

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BRW
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Re: ED4 Rule Question: Named Spells

Post by BRW » Thu Aug 16, 2018 10:52 am

I am also strongly in the camp that there should be no "NPCs only" spells. This is an extremely unfun design: "Here are all the legendary feats of magic you read about. Flying fortresses, teleporting cities and such. Actually, as a 15th circle Wizard, you cannot do them. Period. Enjoy your magic missile."

I would definitely include some rules concerning such world-changing open-ended efects. I understand if it is hard to make spell lists out of it, but I think that just a couple of paragraphs about how to measure the right circle and what resources are needed to achieve it would be fine. Like Sorcerous Workings from the third edition of Exalted.

On the other hand, I fully understand the need to make the magic use restricted enough so that the rulebooks do not contradict the setting. I think that the prime example of such good design is what happened to Forge Weapon talent. I think that some kind of restricted resources is the way to go:

- Maybe you should somehow restrict the number of Named Spells in simultanuous effect by the Spellcaster rank?
- Maybe casting a Named Spell should cost you some Legend Points? (This is essentially how Exalted deals with large-scale effects).

Actually, my little daydream about Earthdawn is that you include some relatively detailed guidelines on gonzo large-scale effects (maybe even of more use for GMs than for the players). An analogue of Enchantment rules.

ragbasti
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Re: ED4 Rule Question: Named Spells

Post by ragbasti » Thu Aug 16, 2018 1:10 pm

I trust that the FASA guys will work this thing out, somehow. Aside from that, once the rules are established every table can decide for themselves what works for them or doesn't.

Personally, I wouldn't want something like a named Improved Karma at my table. It's the first step to the power-up spiral that takes place in most DnD games:
Once the PCs start facerolling every regular enemy in the book, the GM will have to make up equally silly stuff just to keep the players entertained. It is one of the reasons I stay away from that system but that's a matter for a whole other discussion.
BRW wrote:
Thu Aug 16, 2018 10:52 am
I am also strongly in the camp that there should be no "NPCs only" spells. This is an extremely unfun design: "Here are all the legendary feats of magic you read about. Flying fortresses, teleporting cities and such. Actually, as a 15th circle Wizard, you cannot do them. Period. Enjoy your magic missile."

I would definitely include some rules concerning such world-changing open-ended efects. I understand if it is hard to make spell lists out of it, but I think that just a couple of paragraphs about how to measure the right circle and what resources are needed to achieve it would be fine. Like Sorcerous Workings from the third edition of Exalted.
The problem with most "world changing" events and effects is that they are not even spells, they are Rituals.
The other thing is, that many of the really cool shit you mentioned requires unimaginable resources, not something you can put on a shopping list for circle 15 characters. I mean even Thera has a hard time making their larger air ships and air fortresses.
Aside from offering inspiration for big events and later adventures, these things are not for players to fuck around with. This does not mean the shouldn't be possible, but they should be part of entire campaigns.

The sentence shouldn't be "Actually, as a 15th circle Wizard, you cannot do them. Period." it should be "Actually, just because you are a 15th circle Wizard, you still cannot do them because..."

Do we really need to know what it took to make the Blood Wood? Do we need the exact explanation of how Behemoths are enchanted?
No, because the costs of these things are so damn silly, that most GMs would probably never use them just just adapt these to fit their campaigns anyway.

There is a reason why these things still are a thing of legends, despite the fact that some legends are walking are among us.
By the time you reach these heights, your GM should be familiar enough with ED that they can just make this stuff up while planning their campaign. Nobody needs a guy pointing at a book saying "I'm circle 15 now, I make the entire island of Thera disappear" Exaggerated for arguments sake.

I am all for high circle spells and I still love some of the spells that the older editions suggested for the higher circles. Those were some really cool and powerful effects and nearly all of them had a price to pay that equalled their power; be it time, resources or straight up blood magic.

But overall, I don't feel like there should be any Spells above Warden Tier. Anything that mighty should not be measured by the number of Threads one has to weave.

Give us a few cool Rituals and the framework on how magic works and then just flesh out everything between Circle 1-12 to give players more options. That might not be what everybody wants but this is certainly the most reasonable content to spend resources on.

Back to topic:
As for name spells, give us the framework and let every table do what fits their game. If they mess up their own setting then it is not he fault of the game or the system. Not every aspect and possibility needs to have strict rules in place.

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etherial
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Re: ED4 Rule Question: Named Spells

Post by etherial » Thu Aug 16, 2018 1:13 pm

BRW wrote:
Thu Aug 16, 2018 10:52 am
I am also strongly in the camp that there should be no "NPCs only" spells. This is an extremely unfun design: "Here are all the legendary feats of magic you read about. Flying fortresses, teleporting cities and such. Actually, as a 15th circle Wizard, you cannot do them. Period. Enjoy your magic missile."
I do not understand this feeling. Einstein and Oppenheimer did not go paratrooping into Germany on D-Day. They worked quietly in a lab for five years on a project that would eventually employ over 130,000 other people and cost over $2,000,000,000 (that's $22B in modern money). Your character chose the Adventuring Lifestyle, not the Massive Government Project Lifestyle. You do not get rules to build your own A-Bomb just so that you can personally nuke Berlin.

Panda
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Re: ED4 Rule Question: Named Spells

Post by Panda » Thu Aug 16, 2018 2:24 pm

Greetings,

Without giving much away, the framework for Named spells is complete. It outlines their limitations and shows how massive effects are accomplished. Adepts cruising around with permanent spell effects isn't an issue (unless they get a hold of a pattern item for Barsaive, but that's on the GM). On the whole, Named spells are more the domain of NPCs and organizations by virtue of their limitations, but anything an NPC can do, can also be accomplished by PCs with the same expertise, time, and resources.

Hopefully this is helpful.

Best regards,

Morgan

BRW
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Re: ED4 Rule Question: Named Spells

Post by BRW » Thu Aug 16, 2018 2:27 pm

ragbasti wrote:
Thu Aug 16, 2018 1:10 pm
The problem with most "world changing" events and effects is that they are not even spells, they are Rituals.
You're right. I actually confused the two things. I'm not so insistent that the top-tier effects need to be implemented as spells as opposed to rituals and it is actually tangential to the point I meant.
ragbasti wrote:
Thu Aug 16, 2018 1:10 pm
It's the first step to the power-up spiral that takes place in most DnD games:
I see your point, but actually Earthdawn already is in a very high-tier camp. There is a general trend nowadays in rpg to tone things down (with DnD 5e as the prime example) and I would be very happy if this trend doesn't affect Earthdawn.

On the other hand, I think this might be very easily prevented by explicitly pointing out that the rules for most over-the-top situations are very optional (like they did in Mage 20th Anniversary Edition with respect to Archmastery).
ragbasti wrote:
Thu Aug 16, 2018 1:10 pm
As for name spells, give us the framework and let every table do what fits their game. If they mess up their own setting then it is not he fault of the game or the system.


I actually agree with this. I would be perfectly happy to see the framework and guidelines. But the example I gave (Sourcerous Workings in Exalted) does exactly this: it gives nicely structured, yet very open-ended rules on how to deal with such effects with a nice list of one-line examples.
etherial wrote:
Thu Aug 16, 2018 1:13 pm
BRW wrote:
Thu Aug 16, 2018 10:52 am
I am also strongly in the camp that there should be no "NPCs only" spells. This is an extremely unfun design: "Here are all the legendary feats of magic you read about. Flying fortresses, teleporting cities and such. Actually, as a 15th circle Wizard, you cannot do them. Period. Enjoy your magic missile."
I do not understand this feeling. Einstein and Oppenheimer did not go paratrooping into Germany on D-Day. They worked quietly in a lab for five years on a project that would eventually employ over 130,000 other people and cost over $2,000,000,000 (that's $22B in modern money). Your character chose the Adventuring Lifestyle, not the Massive Government Project Lifestyle. You do not get rules to build your own A-Bomb just so that you can personally nuke Berlin.
At high-level play really many things can happen and the classical adventurer model doesn't necessarily have to be a viable option anymore. On the other hand, if you think about an archmaster preparing his ritual to reverse the ritual that created Blood Wood it sounds like an immensily satisfying climax of a long campaign.

Why rules then? Well, in my experience some players really find rules as an incentive. They tend to be more proactive about doing cool wizardly stuff if they see some explicit examples of how this can be done what they are capable of etc. If everyone if forced to come up with house rules, many tables may feel uncomfortable with that.

Panda wrote:
Thu Aug 16, 2018 2:24 pm
Greetings,

Without giving much away, the framework for Named spells is complete. It outlines their limitations and shows how massive effects are accomplished. Adepts cruising around with permanent spell effects isn't an issue (unless they get a hold of a pattern item for Barsaive, but that's on the GM). On the whole, Named spells are more the domain of NPCs and organizations by virtue of their limitations, but anything an NPC can do, can also be accomplished by PCs with the same expertise, time, and resources.

Hopefully this is helpful.

Best regards,

Morgan
This is extremely helpful :)

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Mataxes
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Re: ED4 Rule Question: Named Spells

Post by Mataxes » Thu Aug 16, 2018 6:11 pm

ragbasti wrote:
Thu Aug 16, 2018 1:10 pm
The sentence shouldn't be "Actually, as a 15th circle Wizard, you cannot do them. Period." it should be "Actually, just because you are a 15th circle Wizard, you still cannot do them because..."
To go back to an earlier example, Alachia isn't simply a "15th Circle anything". She's one of the oldest, most magically knowledgeable beings alive on the planet. She's likely forgotten more about magic than a 15th Circle Wizard knows. Magic is as ingrained in her nature as it is for a dragon.

Put simply, she can do things you can't.

Well... you might be able to figure out how she does it if you have a handful of spare centuries to study it.

(Sidebar)
Even with her vast knowledge, and the knowledge and experience of her blood warders -- who include another immortal or two in their number -- the Ritual of Thorns was huge and complex and had unknown and unforeseen repercussions. And nobody knows what will happen if it ends.
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Lursi
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Re: ED4 Rule Question: Named Spells

Post by Lursi » Thu Aug 16, 2018 7:39 pm

Poor Trolls... they will hence never have a Hero like Alachia...not even close...

Whenever a Troll has reached the 15th circle, he is probably so old that he will die soon a natural death.

The 40 years of adventure a troll has... one of the debatable aspects in the game.

I also wondered how a Troll Kaer survived. 50 years after sealing, all old Heros are dead, how did they raise the new Heros? How did they become legendary enough to be able to perform their magical maintenance in the kaer ?
Of all things I lost, sanity I held dearest.

Telarus
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Re: ED4 Rule Question: Named Spells

Post by Telarus » Fri Aug 17, 2018 5:04 am

I don't interpret those lifespan numbers as ticking clocks that each namegiver has running in the background. But more as the "average lifespan" for a member of that race/culture.

ChrisDDickey
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Re: ED4 Rule Question: Named Spells

Post by ChrisDDickey » Fri Aug 17, 2018 5:48 am

But the comment does beg the question how Adepts earned LP locked up in nice safe kears for their whole life.
I mean you can only win the whole kear arm-wresting championship so many times before your legend stops growing.

Lursi
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Re: ED4 Rule Question: Named Spells

Post by Lursi » Fri Aug 17, 2018 7:41 am

Maybe fame can be inherited...

“I am Aragorn, son of Arathorn” and oops you are much more famous right from the start...

Would of course build up an aristocratic society of Adepts coming to age already as Adept with 10% of your parents legend.

I am aware that this proposal is stupid in more than one regard, but I was just looking for options to explain the adept issue for Trolls 100 years after sealing the Kaer.

Another way is just acknowledging that you could just boringly train your talents until you are proficient. The good old academy style. I presume you have got lots of time at your hand in a sealed kaer...
Of all things I lost, sanity I held dearest.

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