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 Post subject: Spellburn abuse with Patron Bond, Find Familiar etc.
PostPosted: Sat Jun 18, 2011 1:19 am 
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Mighty-Thewed Reaver

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What is stopping a character, during downtime (ie. back in town), from spellburning a ton of points for spells like Patron Bond or Find Familiar?

After a playtest today a wizard rolled Find Familiar and decided to cast it. He burned the require 10 points and extra 6 (but could have went further) and ended up with a 24 result.

The Elf, who received Patron Bond, at first thought about burning 20 points for a natural 20 but decides it's better to burn 19 points for a +19 bonus. The Halfling added another +2 to his roll (but what is stopping him from adding more either?) and he had a spell check bonus of +1 for a total of +23. With a roll of 16 this brought his total to 39. In the end it was agreed that this was just silly (it was more done to prove a point) and went with a total of +3.

Did we miss something or is this possible? If it is should we just police ourselves or is this something that may need a rule.


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 Post subject: Re: Spellburn abuse with Patron Bond, Find Familiar etc.
PostPosted: Sat Jun 18, 2011 6:44 am 
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Mighty-Thewed Reaver
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Our DM noticed this about downtime. He asked me 'Why wouldn't all the characters be Patron-bonded by the wizard, with the caster spellburning so they can always call for major boons or instant warriors to aid them?'

His remedy is to disallow downtime - move on to the next adventure, make the campaign more episodic. We agreed that Appendix N isn't about what happens between adventures, the characters are usually in the thick of it.

If you give the wizard lots of downtime options (like rituals) then the other classes will want to do something to improve their areas of expertise, then training becomes important. This doesn't seem to gel with the fiction. Heal up, move out, fight on!

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 Post subject: Re: Spellburn abuse with Patron Bond, Find Familiar etc.
PostPosted: Sat Jun 18, 2011 7:34 am 
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Deft-Handed Cutpurse

Joined: Thu Jun 09, 2011 7:05 pm
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Location: Central Vermont
Regular magic is transitory and the spellburn heals like normal ability damage. What if ritual spells (those that take a week or more to cast and have permanent effects) have spellburn that takes one week per point to heal?

Actually, I'd probably just go the other way and say that you need to burn a lot more to get any benefit. Perhaps every 5 or 7 ability points burnt is a +1 on your roll when casting a ritual spell.


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 Post subject: Re: Spellburn abuse with Patron Bond, Find Familiar etc.
PostPosted: Sat Jun 18, 2011 8:05 am 
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Mighty-Thewed Reaver
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The problem remains though. Spellburning during an adventure has an effect, a cost. Spellburning between adventures doesn't, it's resolved offscreen with no hindrance to the caster's activities.

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 Post subject: Re: Spellburn abuse with Patron Bond, Find Familiar etc.
PostPosted: Sat Jun 18, 2011 9:24 am 
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Or you let them do it, give them a couple of days to recover so they are at -8 ( or 18 ) instead of -10 ( or 20 ) and then spring something on them.

Appendix N is full of adventure inflicting itself upon characters.

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 Post subject: Re: Spellburn abuse with Patron Bond, Find Familiar etc.
PostPosted: Sat Jun 18, 2011 11:21 am 
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Mighty-Thewed Reaver

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Dreamslinger wrote:
Or you let them do it, give them a couple of days to recover so they are at -8 ( or 18 ) instead of -10 ( or 20 ) and then spring something on them.

Appendix N is full of adventure inflicting itself upon characters.


I like this and it's likely what I would do but I'd like a mechanic in place just the same.


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 Post subject: Re: Spellburn abuse with Patron Bond, Find Familiar etc.
PostPosted: Sat Jun 18, 2011 12:49 pm 
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Far-Sighted Wanderer

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The machanic might be, 1/6 chance every day in town of an encounter


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 Post subject: Re: Spellburn abuse with Patron Bond, Find Familiar etc.
PostPosted: Sat Jun 18, 2011 1:40 pm 
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Chaos-Summoning Sorcerer
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Don't forget that in addition to the mechanical drawbacks of spellburn there are roleplaying drawbacks as well.

Or, the player could burn 8 points and find, oddly, that even though he got the bonus, he didn't lose the points. The next time it's most inconvenient, the wizard's patron shows up and says, "Ahem. About that 8 points...I'm here to collect now."

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 Post subject: Re: Spellburn abuse with Patron Bond, Find Familiar etc.
PostPosted: Sat Jun 18, 2011 6:57 pm 
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mythfish wrote:
Don't forget that in addition to the mechanical drawbacks of spellburn there are roleplaying drawbacks as well.

Or, the player could burn 8 points and find, oddly, that even though he got the bonus, he didn't lose the points. The next time it's most inconvenient, the wizard's patron shows up and says, "Ahem. About that 8 points...I'm here to collect now."


That definitely succeeds in making the game unpredictable. However, if rules don't work when the judge says they don't, it is no longer a game of rules; it is a game of judge fiat. Some groups can make that work, other groups can't.

Also, that particular version of judge fiat will only work if your gaming group is very stable. I have trouble getting a consistent group of players to show up; if they do show up and avoid computer games, I have trouble getting them to stick with characters and long-term campaigns.

If your players don't stick with the same campaign every week, a lot of these old-school techniques don't work.


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 Post subject: Re: Spellburn abuse with Patron Bond, Find Familiar etc.
PostPosted: Sat Jun 18, 2011 8:07 pm 
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Chaos-Summoning Sorcerer
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yfr wrote:
However, if rules don't work when the judge says they don't, it is no longer a game of rules; it is a game of judge fiat.

I think that's kind of what "old school" is all about.

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 Post subject: Re: Spellburn abuse with Patron Bond, Find Familiar etc.
PostPosted: Sat Jun 18, 2011 11:01 pm 
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Mighty-Thewed Reaver

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Yes old school was like that but then again there were usually rules or a system in place for the major ways players could "game" the system. Afterall, wizards couldn't just cast fireballs or wish from the start, there were ability requirements, level limits and so on.

Right now I am considering forcing all "ritual" type spells to require 10 spell burn as their base cost. A +1 bonus is awarded per 3 ability points spent on spell burn past the base cost.

Thus to cast Find Familiar or Patron Bond a caster must pay 10 spell burn to simply cast the spell and if they spend another 18 (for a total of 28 spell burn) they are given +6 to their roll.

Yes that will leave you very vulnerable but that's why Wizards usually lock themselves away when they cast these sorts of spells, having their apprentices and servants guard them.


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 Post subject: Re: Spellburn abuse with Patron Bond, Find Familiar etc.
PostPosted: Sun Jun 19, 2011 12:30 am 
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Mighty-Thewed Reaver

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Another option is to make spell burn a random roll. If a wizard chooses to spell burn roll a d6 and are forced to spend that many points. In fact they can just roll the d6 with the d20 when casting the spell. Easy and quick and removes the loop hole and mental math that goes on.

It just seems odd that you could calculate that you can spend 4 ability points (for instance) and not hit any negative modifiers and then have your character somehow control their effort so they burn exactly 4 points. The whole things seems calculated and dry, not magical at all...


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 Post subject: Re: Spellburn abuse with Patron Bond, Find Familiar etc.
PostPosted: Sun Jun 19, 2011 3:53 am 
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mythfish wrote:
yfr wrote:
However, if rules don't work when the judge says they don't, it is no longer a game of rules; it is a game of judge fiat.

I think that's kind of what "old school" is all about.


More power to you if you can recruit players for that.

The future of gaming belongs to those who show up. If judge fiat games can bring the new recruits, then they are the way of the future.

And if anyone figures out how to recruit hordes of players, that would make my gaming life a lot more eventful. I would be able to do a proper playtest of DCC instead of a theoretical analysis, for one thing.


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 Post subject: Re: Spellburn abuse with Patron Bond, Find Familiar etc.
PostPosted: Sun Jun 19, 2011 3:56 am 
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bholmes4 wrote:
Another option is to make spell burn a random roll. If a wizard chooses to spell burn roll a d6 and are forced to spend that many points. In fact they can just roll the d6 with the d20 when casting the spell. Easy and quick and removes the loop hole and mental math that goes on.

It just seems odd that you could calculate that you can spend 4 ability points (for instance) and not hit any negative modifiers and then have your character somehow control their effort so they burn exactly 4 points. The whole things seems calculated and dry, not magical at all...


If the wizard can't control the extent of the spellburn, it might make sense to make spellburn mandatory for all spell-casting. That would certainly prevent spell-casters from dominating the game.

Then again, it might necessitate a lot of rules such as "your character dies when any ability score goes below zero."


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