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Author Topic: Iron Heroes: alt.magic  (Read 916 times)

Cyclotron

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Iron Heroes: alt.magic
« on: July 13, 2006, 04:56:33 pm »
I just had an idea for an alternate method of spellcasting in Iron Heroes, and had to write down my initial thoughts, before I forgot was I was thinking about.  Here goes...

  • Keep the magic skill based.
  • Create a Lore feat mastery chain that grants spellcasting ability.
  • Create a magic token pool that can be used to enhance spells (ala metamagic).
  • No magic-using base class, per se.
That's where I'm starting from.  I'll need to look through my IH rulebook to get more specific ideas on how to handle this, but in the meantime any comments, complaints or suggestions are welcome.
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Bagpuss

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Iron Heroes: alt.magic
« Reply #1 on: July 13, 2006, 05:18:57 pm »
Interesting... by skills based were you thinking like the Force from Star Wars RPG? A much more limited number of effects and skill for each one.

Or one magic skill, that you roll to see if your successful higher level spells have a hard DC to pull off.

Or one magic skill that works like perform, so you spend skill points to gain new spells or improve your general casting.
 

Cyclotron

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Iron Heroes: alt.magic
« Reply #2 on: July 14, 2006, 09:56:04 am »
Quote from: Bagpuss
Interesting... by skills based were you thinking like the Force from Star Wars RPG? A much more limited number of effects and skill for each one.

Absolutely not.  Personally, I can't stand the D20 Force rules...  They're simply more truoble than they're work.  Blecch.

Quote from: Bagpuss
Or one magic skill, that you roll to see if your successful higher level spells have a hard DC to pull off.

That's more along the lines I was thinking of. Although...

Quote from: Bagpuss
Or one magic skill that works like perform, so you spend skill points to gain new spells or improve your general casting.

That's not a bad idea either.

My initial idea was to use something similar to the Craft skill rules for casting spells...  The rules for spellcasting in Spycraft's old Shadowforce Archer campaign setting worked something like that:

Each spell has a base DC, a base "cost", and a casting time.  The casting time is how often you get to attempt the skill check, if you don't complete the spell witht the first check.  The "cost" is the total amount of "mana" (or whatever you want to call it) you have to build up in order for the spell to begin taking effect.  The base DC is what you have to beat with your skill check to add something to the "mana" total, with the amount added being based on the difference between the DC and the check...  If you fail by more or less you make no progress, and if you fail by 5 or more something bad happens, just like Craft.

So, let's say that anequivalent 1st level spell might have a DC 11, a Mana Cost of 100, and a casting time of 1 round.

If the caster has a Spellcraft of, say, +6, then his casting might look something like: First round, Spellcraft check 14; 14 - 11 = 3; 3 x 11 = 33 mana points.  Second round, Spellcraft check 12; 12 - 11 = 1; 1 x 11 = 11; 33 + 11 = 44 mana points.  Third round, Spellcraft check 20; 20 - 11 = 9; 9 x 11 = 99; 44 + 99 = 143 mana points, and the spell takes effect at the end of the round.

If the caster is much more powerful, and has a Spellcraft skill of +15, he'll be able to cast the spell much more quickly, and have far less worries about making a dangerous mistake: First round, Spellcraft check 29; 29 - 11 = 18; 18 x 11 = 198 mana points, and the spell gets cast.

So more powerful casters have an easier time casting spells, and can cast simpler spells faster than less experienced casters.  Also, this eliminates the need to categorize spells into spell levels.
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Bagpuss

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Iron Heroes: alt.magic
« Reply #3 on: July 14, 2006, 10:07:32 am »
Hmm the maths involved (three steps) doesn't really make it suitable for combat bit fiddly.
 

Cyclotron

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« Reply #4 on: July 14, 2006, 10:14:38 am »
Quote from: Bagpuss
Hmm the maths involved (three steps) doesn't really make it suitable for combat bit fiddly.

That's where I envision the Magic token pool coming in.

Besides, I think most spellcasters won't cast spells in combat that they can't be fairly certain of completing in less than a full round.

Of course, a normal combat attack has nearly as many steps and nearly as much math...  Attack roll plus modifiers, Damage roll plus modifiers, DR roll (for Iron Heroes), damage - DR, hit points - damage.


Honestly, the only bit of math from the system above that bugs me is the multiplication part...  But I'd rather be consistant rules on Crafting.  I suppose it wouldn't hurt to leave that out, but it's kind of nice to get that extra benefit from completing a difficult check.  I'll have to think about it.
Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace,
 NFPA 70E, Article 330.4 (F):
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bondetamp

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Iron Heroes: alt.magic
« Reply #5 on: July 14, 2006, 10:37:41 am »
I don't know Iron Heroes (though I'm tempted to look into it ...) so if this doesn't make sense, blame ignorance. :)

How will failed skill check work? Will they make the spell fail or will they simply make the spell take longer (-mana)? Will a negative result (failure on first round or spectacular failure on the next rounds) mean spectacular failure? What will happen on a natural twenty or one?

If fumbles happen on negative results, some sort of "Wild Magic" meta-magic feat might be to, say, double the multiplier on success but triple it on failure ...

Some sort of Magic School specialization might be possible where the spellcaster can choose a feat that lets him Take Ten when casting certain spells. Or maybe throw two dice choosing the better of the two (a Meta-Game Meta-Magic feat!).
 

Cyclotron

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Iron Heroes: alt.magic
« Reply #6 on: July 14, 2006, 10:50:27 am »
Quote from: bondetamp
I don't know Iron Heroes (though I'm tempted to look into it ...) so if this doesn't make sense, blame ignorance. :)

No problem...

Quote from: bondetamp
How will failed skill check work?

Ideally, very similar to a failed skill check with the Craft skill...  Though there may be additional consequences.

Quote from: bondetamp
Will they make the spell fail or will they simply make the spell take longer (-mana)?

The spell wouldn't necessairly fail, but if I'm going along with the rules for the Craft skill, half of the accumulated mana would be lost. But...

Quote from: bondetamp
Will a negative result (failure on first round or spectacular failure on the next rounds) mean spectacular failure?

Each spell might have additional consquences specific to that spell, which would prevent or discourage the caster from continuing...  Suffering lethal, non-lethal or ability score damage, becoming fatigued or exhausted, dying and so on.

Quote from: bondetamp
What will happen on a natural twenty or one?

Nothing... just like any other skill check.

Quote from: bondetamp
Some sort of Magic School specialization might be possible where the spellcaster can choose a feat that lets him Take Ten when casting certain spells. Or maybe throw two dice choosing the better of the two (a Meta-Game Meta-Magic feat!).

In Iron Heroes, most feats are a part of "feat mastery chains".  So, for example, instead of having Two-Weapon Fighting, Improved Two-Weapon Fighting, Greater Two-Weapon Fighting, and so on, they simply have Two-Weapon Fighting (Mastery 1, 2, 3, 4, 5) and so on.

The effects you suggest would be perfect for the sort of Magical feat mastery chain I'm thinking of.  I'll have to keep them in mind.
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Cyclotron

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Iron Heroes: alt.magic
« Reply #7 on: July 14, 2006, 02:56:12 pm »
Oop...  I made a mistake in my examples above...

You don't take the difference between the DC and the skill check, you just multiply the result by the DC.

So the following example...

Quote
If the caster has a Spellcraft of, say, +6, then his casting might look something like: First round, Spellcraft check 14; 14 - 11 = 3; 3 x 11 = 33 mana points. Second round, Spellcraft check 12; 12 - 11 = 1; 1 x 11 = 11; 33 + 11 = 44 mana points. Third round, Spellcraft check 20; 20 - 11 = 9; 9 x 11 = 99; 44 + 99 = 143 mana points, and the spell takes effect at the end of the round.

Should look more like this...

If the caster has a Spellcraft of, say, +6, then his casting might look something like: First round, Spellcraft check 14; 14 x 11 = 154 mana points, and the spell takes effect at the end of the round.

I'd have to carefully consider the "mana" cost of spells.
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Cyclotron

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Iron Heroes: alt.magic
« Reply #8 on: July 15, 2006, 07:06:04 am »
Here, try this...

Quote
SPELLCRAFT, alternate use
(Intelligence, Trained Only)


Check: You can cast magical spells, altering the laws of the universe and bending the forces of nature to your will.

The basic function of the Spellcraft skill is to allow you to cast spells. The DC depends on the complexity of the spell to be cast. The DC, your check results, and the power of the spell determine how long it takes to cast a particular spell.

Casting a spell requires specialized magical tools and ingredients to give the best chance of success. If improvised tools are used, the check is made with a –2 circumstance penalty. On the other hand, masterwork spell components provide a +2 circumstance bonus on the check.

To determine how much time it takes to cast a spell, follow these steps.

  • Determine the spell’s mana cost. In general, the spell's mana cost will be equal to spell level x caster level x 100.
  • Determine the spell’s DC. Unless otherwise specified, the spell's DC is equal to (spell level + 1) x 5.
  • Make a Spellcraft check. If the check succeeds, multiply your check result by the DC. If the result × the DC equals the mana cost of the spell, then you have completed the spell and it takes effect. (If the result × the DC equals double or triple the mana cost of the spell, then you’ve completed the task in one-half or one-third of the time. Other multiples of the DC reduce the time in the same manner.) If the result × the DC doesn’t equal the mana cost, then it represents the progress you’ve made thus far. Record the result and make a new Craft check for the next time period. Each check, you make more progress until your total reaches the mana cost of the spell.

If you fail a check by 4 or less, you make no progress.

If you fail by 5 or more, you lose half of your accumulated mana and become fatigued.

If you fail by 10 or more, you lose all accumulated mana, become exhausted and fall unconscious for a number of rounds equal to the DC of the spell - your Spellcraft check result.

Action: Varies according to each spell's casting time.

Try Again: Yes.

Special: You may sacrifice reserve points or hit points to gain a bonus to your Spellcraft check for the purposes of casting a spell.  For each reserve point or hit point lost, you gain a +1 bonus to a single Spellcraft check, when casting a spell.

If the spell being cast requires a somatic component, apply your Armor Check Penalty to all Spellcraft checks made to cast that spell.

Synergy: If you have 5 ranks in Knowledge and have access to the arcana area of study, you get a +2 bonus on Spellcraft checks when casting spells.

Challenges: You may attempt to cast a spell in less time than usual.

Fast Worker: You may voluntarily add +5 or +10 to the indicated Difficulty Class to cast a spell.  This increase allows you to cast the spell more quickly than normal (since you'll be multiplying the higher DC by your Spellcraft check result to determine progress.

You must decide whether to increase the Difficulty Class before you make each check. Use this method when making a Spellcraft check to determine the mana value of your check's efforts. Otherwise, use the standard challenge to shorten a check's length, as described on page 77 of the Iron Heroes rulebook.
Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace,
 NFPA 70E, Article 330.4 (F):
"Laser beams shall not be aimed at employees."