High Circle Archer Commentary

In the previous post, we previewed the Warden and Master tier progression for the Archer Discipline. An astute reader pointed out that the progression is nice, but a bit more information would be helpful. What was the thinking behind the changes from the Third Edition version? How did the listed talents change, and what about talent names we don’t recognize?

These are all great comments. I already had plans to address them, but that doesn’t make them any less great. So here is a bit more on Archer Circles 9-15.

Morgan Weeks, one of the key members of the development team (and the primary architect behind the Discipline rebuilds) presented some thoughts over on his personal blog. Rather than retread any of the ground he covered, I’m going to go into some of the listed talents, highlighting important changes, or explaining what new ones do. (Keep in mind, of course, that some things may still change before the final version.)

elfarcherMatrix Sight is a new talent that mostly does what it says on the tin. With a successful test, the adept can see any spell matrices the target may have. Higher success levels can provide more information (for example, magicians with the talent may be able to identify spells in another magician’s matrices). But when used in conjunction with astrally-focused attack abilities (like Spirit Strike or Ethereal Weapon), it allows the adept to target and attack those matrices, filling the role the previously held by the more narrow Matrix Strike from Third Edition.

Spirit Strike has seen some tweaks. Previous versions of this talent were somewhat limited as they only allowed attacks against targets in astral space. Okay against spirits and some Horrors, but not much else. We’ve tried to reduce the number of these ‘special purpose’ talents in ED4 (moving a lot of them into knacks). Spirit Strike now allows a character to use Willpower to attack a target’s Mystic Defense with a weapon or unarmed. (And it can still target opponents solely in astral space.)

Trace Missile has had a couple of minor changes that I think are cool. First, it works with arrows the Archer fires — it no longer requires the target to be using ranged weapons. Second, in addition to the negation of visibility penalties, it also provides a bonus to Mystic Aim tests against the marked target, increasing the Archer’s ability to attack (and damage) them. (As a side note, I’m toying with the idea of renaming the talent Tracer Missile to highlight how the shot now acts as a kind of tracer round.)

I’ll wrap up with Vital Ward and Vital Strike in the Master options. With Vital Ward, after making a defensive test (like Avoid Blow), the adept can spend a Recovery test to add their Vital Ward rank to the result. Which means, potentially, adding enough to turn a failure into a success. No additional roll, just spend a Recovery.

Vital Strike has seen a similar change. At the cost of a Recovery test, the adept can add Vital Strike Rank + Toughness as an additional damage test to a successful attack. This means (potentially) an additional Wound and all that entails (additional Knockdown test if appropriate, etc.).

That does it for now! Hope you enjoyed this look under the hood. Want to talk about this some more? Have another Discipline you’d like to see a preview of the Warden and Master talents? Let us know!


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