TMD- and buffing

Discussion on game mastering Earthdawn. May contain spoilers; caution is recommended!
Calamrin
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TMD- and buffing

Post by Calamrin » Sun Jul 30, 2017 7:37 am

Im new to boards to apologise up front if im repeating anything.

Casters MD is generally high and as they circle up it gets higher...faster than his/her spell casting can keep up....so the more powerful circle wise you are the worse you get at buffing yourself or other same circle casters in your group.

Is that how its intended?

Are casters supposed to be just buffing the physical types to make them stronger, and staying at the back and out of the action?

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The Undying
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Re: TMD- and buffing

Post by The Undying » Sun Jul 30, 2017 10:08 am

First, welcome! Are you new to ED or just the boards?

Next, on topic:

So, you've stumbled into a bit of a hornet's nest. Line developers would need to speak to whether it's as intended, but yes, caster MD gets high enough over time to be a difficulty in using their abilities on themselves. Prior versions of ED had a way to consciously lower your MD for a round, but that's gone. Others on the forum kind of twist the rules of Disbelieving to get a similar effect - not my cup of tea, but to each their own.

It's worthwhile to note that you're probably just looking at RAW numbers. Yes, a caster that doesn't improve their Spellcasting ends up getting in a situation where they have approximately equal Spellcasting test and MD. However, very few casters let their Spellcasting rank languish. Thread Items, Group Thread, and such all bump a caster's Spellcasting rank, helping their test edge out the difficulty (MD).

Downside, that doesn't help across the board with the main other beneficial things a caster could do to themself if not for their high MD.

As to whether it's the caster's role to buff others, I'd weigh in that yes, ED 4 did shift things a bit more that way. However, I wouldn't necessarily say that's a bad thing.

Calamrin
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Re: TMD- and buffing

Post by Calamrin » Sun Jul 30, 2017 10:53 am

First and foremost thx for the reply Undying.

Over the last 25 years, played many, many games with a good group of personal friends.


Earthdawn and Shadowrun with its vast expansive and creative world has always been a favourite of mine.

On topic:

I suppose i was hoping it was an unintended flaw within the system.

If it is as intended, it does kind of make sheep and wolf situation, where casters are sheep, mill about in the background and give the wolves (physical types) bigger teeth and watch them go.

It also annnoys me that self only buffs just get harder to cast on self....having to put in other thread items to counter this still doesnt feel right.

Anyway was just something i wanted to share and see if there was any clarification on it.

Slimcreeper
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Re: TMD- and buffing

Post by Slimcreeper » Sun Jul 30, 2017 2:15 pm

The idea, if I have it right, is that as the rules are meant to handle the new multiple-success benefits. The idea is that as the MD goes up the Spellcasting rank does the same, so that the average number of extra successes doesn't increase. This is probably going to be the most heavily house-ruled aspect of the new system. Personally, I don't think it is game-breaking for caster's to pretty much automatically succeed on spells cast on willing targets as long as that doesn't include bonus successes, and there have been a number of house rules to that effect offered.

Another big change you might notice is that the number of spells that require threads has dropped dramatically and more spells have secondary effects, so casters have a lot more options in combat. Though they don't seem to have many spells that are just massive blasts.

I would run it RAW for a bit to see how it plays out. It seems counter-intuitive, but the rules about lowering your spell/mystic defense always were clunky anyway, IMHO.

Calamrin
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Re: TMD- and buffing

Post by Calamrin » Sun Jul 30, 2017 2:59 pm

Thx Slimcreeper.

I agree with all you said

-the 0 thread spells with reduced damage are fantastic... casters can do things each round...transformed casters....added with extra effects they tend to have

- i fully agree with not being able to lower to point of extra successes...and also with allowing casters to get buffs on themselves

-i wouldnt go automatic on self buff....just would think there was some middle ground

Anyway im jibbering on as though i have a clue.... im appreciative of all your views, helps me put things in perspective.

Lys
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Re: TMD- and buffing

Post by Lys » Sun Jul 30, 2017 11:25 pm

So in my game our sadly departed Elven Nethermancer had Perception 19 out chargen. So starting at Circle 1 he had a Mystic Defence of 11, Step 8 Perception, and maximum of 3 ranks in Spellcasting for a Step of 11, giving him a 47% chance of succeeding at self-buffing without Karma. At Circle 5 he has MD 12 thanks to a +1 at Circle 2, and a minimum Spellcasting Step of 13, for a 55% chance of success at self-buffing. Now supposing he'd built his character to Circle 8, he would have raised his Perception to 22 for MD 12, and have an additional +3 to MD from his Discipline, for a total of MD 15. At that same Circle his Spellcasting Step would be a minimum of 17, so without Karma he would be succeeding on self-buffs 61% of the time.

It seems to me that even playing a spellcaster built to have very high Mystic Defence, self-buffing ability goes up with Circle, not down.

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The Undying
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Re: TMD- and buffing

Post by The Undying » Mon Jul 31, 2017 12:26 am

@Lys

You are right, the Discipline Talent Rank growth (+1 per Circle) does outpace the MD bonus for Discipline advancement (~1 per 3 Circles). I must admit, I tend to think of things from the Elementalist point of view, where Earth Skin throws things out of whack.

I think the heart of the frustration, though, still stands up: buffing others becomes easier than buffing self, which can lead magicians to more of a support role. For combat, I don't think that's the end of the world: the buffs available really don't elevate a magician to peer status with Close/Ranged combatants, I don't think they ever were made to be (although ED 4 made the gap wider), so it makes sense to apply them where they have the biggest benefit. Outside of combat, I would say it's pretty unfortunate: the buffs available open up, but since the non-magicians likely get an extra success from the casting, they often make better candidates for the buffs than the magician. And that's all just Spellcasting - high native MD for magician becomes self-defeating for various other Talents and abilities (e.g., Magician-targeted summon spirit power).

Calamrin
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Re: TMD- and buffing

Post by Calamrin » Mon Jul 31, 2017 2:18 pm

@Lys

Sorry i got my numbers wrong as i misread the +1, +2, +3 to be a total of +6...and not just +1 each time...which would have meant casters got worse.

@anybody reading this

Our current game has a warrior, a rogue with throwing weapons, a wizard, and im an elementalist.

Hes toughness built with alt talents favouring being hard to put down and lots of recovery tests.....basically to be a second tank when things go sideways.

Its fustrating for the wizard and i that we have the buffs to give ourselves enough to toe to toe it with a bad guy for a couple of rounds in case of emergency, but roughly half the time we are failing.

Its not like it unbalances us to have them as we dont become warriors with spells... plus the physical types going to prolly get more successes against their MD and get better effects.

Like i say it just feels strange that the buffs are so much more effective at making the strong stronger, and leave the casters who cast them struggling to do so, as its not overpowering and just gives them a little diversity other than generally keeping out of the way.

Calamrin
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Re: TMD- and buffing

Post by Calamrin » Mon Jul 31, 2017 2:40 pm

It also feels a little odd that say u got a pattern item that did all kinds of good things, but one of its ranks was to put MD up....it just feels wrong that getting a bonus can end up feeling like its a bad thing to have.

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The Undying
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Re: TMD- and buffing

Post by The Undying » Mon Jul 31, 2017 2:45 pm

Your party make sounds pretty similar to ours - Obsidiman Warrior, Elf Scout, Elf Elementalist. Also sounds like you encounter some of the same concerns (I, the Elementalist, am almost more of a liability than anything else in combat, and my job is to stay out of harm's way while laying out debuffs and keeping up buffs as necessary). Hate to say it, bud, but your MD problems are only going to get worse unless you look at Earth Skin as a tax and don't use it. :D

It's a true shame, but when FASA changed over their web platform, they lost the Developer's Journals that they hosted as part of the initial Kickstarter pitch for ED 4. There was a lot of good material in there, some of which touched on these types of things.

Anyways, I'd dare say magicians are in a bit of a holding pattern until The Future if/when an ED 4 magic-focused source book comes out. Magicians don't shine in combat (and direct impact was reduced in ED 4), they could really benefit from a larger arsenal of non-combat spells, and until then, it kind of is what it is. However, if your primary pain point is on the buff effectiveness stuff, I don't think you'll see any change there, unless some sweet new alternate/house rule gets published in the Companion regarding this space or you make one up yourself.

Now, aaaaaaaaaalllllll that being said, you went Elementalist, and it sounds like that may have not been a great fit. Elementalists are THE support magician Discipline - they they are the experts in denial, crowd control, and buffs (good at debuffs, but others outshine them). One thing that the Player's Guide might have benefited from was a straight-talk-to-the-player summary of "why should you choose, or not choose, this class." You can find that online, just not printed (that I recall).

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