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 Post subject: Higher Level Spells for BETA
PostPosted: Sun Jun 19, 2011 11:33 am 
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I was wondering if it would be possible to get some higher level spells, namely 2nd and 3rd level spells, before the official product release.

I'm willing to playtest DCC (which, I have to admit,is so interesting that it has taken me away from my duties as DM for a campaign I'm running!) but I fear that I will find my game reaching 3rd level before November (i live in Europe, so i might get hold of the book quite later)... and without any 2nd-3rd level spell for clerics and wizards to pick from, we might have to stop playing altogether :(

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 Post subject: Re: Higher Level Spells for BETA
PostPosted: Sun Jun 19, 2011 3:29 pm 
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I feel your pain. Jospeh is "the man" when it comes down to making information-release decisions and perhaps he'll agree to toss a couple more spells our way.

The key at this point is that we're still in a free playtest. Making some things public and keeping other things secret is an intentional thing designed to generate interest, allow folks to shake out the basic rules, and come back for more later.

Keep in mind that good playtesting has several stages. The first one is when you can run your game for your friends. The second is when someone you don't know can run your game for their friends without your help. That's part of what we're trying to accomplish at the moment -- trying to find out what works and what doesn't, what reads well and what is confusing.

My guess is that he'd like to see how spells are working first to see if any major tweaks need to happen, and then if the rules seem to be working smoothly enough maybe there will be a few more goodies released.

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 Post subject: Re: Higher Level Spells for BETA
PostPosted: Sun Jun 19, 2011 4:43 pm 
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Also, keep in mind that with the way spells work, a higher roll (such as from adding a higher caster level bonus) means even the low level spells are more effective. Wizards also only get one new spell per level so you could probably give those players one or two of the fan created level two spells with no problem (I've already seen a couple pop up). Clerics are admittedly more difficult.

One of the Free RPG Day adventures was apparently a 5th level delve. How was this handled?


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 Post subject: Re: Higher Level Spells for BETA
PostPosted: Mon Jun 20, 2011 4:27 am 
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finarvyn wrote:
I feel your pain. Jospeh is "the man" when it comes down to making information-release decisions and perhaps he'll agree to toss a couple more spells our way.

The key at this point is that we're still in a free playtest. Making some things public and keeping other things secret is an intentional thing designed to generate interest, allow folks to shake out the basic rules, and come back for more later.


Thanks for replying, and know i see your point perfectly :)

What i was thinking of would be just a "teaser" like say , two 2nd level and 1 third level spell for wiz&cleric... you would just increase the "spoiler" factor by 6 spells, but you'd given us something to fiddle with :twisted:


And i bet my buckler everyone is waiting to see level 3 Fireball/Lightning :wink:

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 Post subject: Re: Higher Level Spells for BETA
PostPosted: Mon Jun 20, 2011 1:38 pm 
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I'll check with Joseph on this. Maybe a couple of "common" spells could be made public.

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 Post subject: Re: Higher Level Spells for BETA
PostPosted: Mon Jun 20, 2011 3:18 pm 
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Thanks! That'd be great! :D

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 Post subject: Re: Higher Level Spells for BETA
PostPosted: Mon Jun 20, 2011 11:37 pm 
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abk108 wrote:
And i bet my buckler everyone is waiting to see level 3 Fireball/Lightning :wink:

Not me :) I think the blaster spells are too D&D but I know I'm probably in the minority judging from the spell threads.

So far I like how the spells work, especially condensing all those spells into Cantrip, but I'm worried about the game-changers like Teleportation, Invisibility, Fly etc.

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 Post subject: Re: Higher Level Spells for BETA
PostPosted: Tue Jun 21, 2011 2:48 am 
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geordie racer wrote:
abk108 wrote:
And i bet my buckler everyone is waiting to see level 3 Fireball/Lightning :wink:

Not me :) I think the blaster spells are too D&D but I know I'm probably in the minority judging from the spell threads.

So far I like how the spells work, especially condensing all those spells into Cantrip, but I'm worried about the game-changers like Teleportation, Invisibility, Fly etc.


I'm not a big fan of blasts either, but given the nice way DCC deals with spells, i want to see how they're gonna make a higlhly predictable spell (i'm level 7, roll 7d6..duh... in some games i guessed the level of the main villain based on the damage from his fireball...) something that ranges from a spark to a super-kamehameha :D

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 Post subject: Re: Higher Level Spells for BETA
PostPosted: Tue Jun 21, 2011 11:12 am 
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As I have said several times, I don't think a lot of spells are needed for this game. Appendix N stories are not about wizards flinging spells left and right to solve problems. Gandalf can't fly or teleport. His best spell effect is 1e AD&D's pyrotechnics. A set of ritual spells makes a lot more sense than a bunch of "combat" magic. The very idea would make the Appendix N authors laugh. How many spells are cast in those stories during combat/under duress? I can't really remember as I haven't really read any AppN books in over 10 years.


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 Post subject: Re: Higher Level Spells for BETA
PostPosted: Tue Jun 21, 2011 12:57 pm 
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jmucchiello wrote:
As I have said several times, I don't think a lot of spells are needed for this game.

The very idea would make the Appendix N authors laugh. How many spells are cast in those stories during combat/under duress? I can't really remember as I haven't really read any AppN books in over 10 years.

Agreed. I'm just re-reading the Conan story "The Phoenix on the Sword" and Thoth-amon is the sorcerous bad guy. He's supposed to be one of the top sorcerers in Stygia, but he can't do much of anything until he finds the magic ring that he lost.

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 Post subject: Re: Higher Level Spells for BETA
PostPosted: Tue Jun 21, 2011 1:00 pm 
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The expectation of pages and pages of spells in the rulebook is the game's homage to D&D turning into a sacred cow.


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 Post subject: Re: Higher Level Spells for BETA
PostPosted: Tue Jun 21, 2011 1:49 pm 
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ok, i don't know really about Appendix N 'cos I haven't read any of those books.
I just saw in the beta that for level 3 and 5 of the wizard and cleric classes we're supposed to get some higher level spell. I'm not saying I want a 713 pages of spells :P I'm ok with fewer spells than 3E!!

Thing is, designing spells is not easy, given the fact that you have to design a whole table of results. It's quite some work to do!

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 Post subject: Re: Higher Level Spells for BETA
PostPosted: Tue Jun 21, 2011 3:30 pm 
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meinvt wrote:
One of the Free RPG Day adventures was apparently a 5th level delve. How was this handled?


I've played in a session of four 5th lvl wizards and another where I DM'd Harley's module. I just used the 1st Level spells. The obvious effects of higher levels stood out:
- two spells per round really ups their power.
- more chance of rolling high - SO MORE EXTREME VERSIONS of spells.

Joseph has found a way to make the 'low level' spells still useful at higher levels rather than automatically redundant.

I think the core book only needs a dozen more spells at most. Past that and players are not getting the most out of all the spells. In Appendix N, the wizards get all they can from their spells.

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 Post subject: Re: Higher Level Spells for BETA
PostPosted: Tue Jun 21, 2011 4:18 pm 
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This makes me question the need for levels of spell. Unless you just can't conceive of a 'weak' manifestation of a spell. In my opinion almost all higher level spells, from fly to fireball to polymorph to teleport could easily be given lower number results that fit. Then you can do away with spell level altogether. If you want to represent spell level just increase the minimum result necessary to not fail.

I'd consider re-juggling the lists slightly, but agree that another dozen to twenty spells would more than adequately round out the game.

Also very useful would be guidance for dealing with NPC spellcasters in non DCC specific modules.


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 Post subject: Re: Higher Level Spells for BETA
PostPosted: Tue Jun 21, 2011 4:26 pm 
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meinvt wrote:
This makes me question the need for levels of spell. Unless you just can't conceive of a 'weak' manifestation of a spell.

Exactly what I've been saying. And if there's no weak manifestation then 12-13 = fail, lost or 12-15 = fail, lost. etc.


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 Post subject: Re: Higher Level Spells for BETA
PostPosted: Tue Jun 21, 2011 4:33 pm 
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meinvt wrote:
This makes me question the need for levels of spell. Unless you just can't conceive of a 'weak' manifestation of a spell. In my opinion almost all higher level spells, from fly to fireball to polymorph to teleport could easily be given lower number results that fit. Then you can do away with spell level altogether. If you want to represent spell level just increase the minimum result necessary to not fail.

I'd consider re-juggling the lists slightly, but agree that another dozen to twenty spells would more than adequately round out the game.

Also very useful would be guidance for dealing with NPC spellcasters in non DCC specific modules.


I like this. I posted here http://www.goodman-games.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=67&t=14527&start=25 something about this. (It was about removing Max Spell Level, not really spell levels) It was about making it extremely unreliable (& DANGEROUS) for a low level wizard to try and warp reality too much.

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 Post subject: Re: Higher Level Spells for BETA
PostPosted: Tue Jun 21, 2011 7:43 pm 
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jmucchiello wrote:
As I have said several times, I don't think a lot of spells are needed for this game. Appendix N stories are not about wizards flinging spells left and right to solve problems. Gandalf can't fly or teleport. His best spell effect is 1e AD&D's pyrotechnics. A set of ritual spells makes a lot more sense than a bunch of "combat" magic. The very idea would make the Appendix N authors laugh. How many spells are cast in those stories during combat/under duress? I can't really remember as I haven't really read any AppN books in over 10 years.



Appendix N stories ARE about flinging spells left and right, but they are not Gygaxian spells.

Wizards in Appendix N stories were usually implied to have hundreds, if not thousands, of options for spell-casting. But very few of their spells were Gygaxian grenades.

Pre-Gygax, a "spell" was something like "charm" or "enchantment" or "prayer." A wizard didn't "run out of" spells any more than a priest would "run out of" prayers, or a hypnotist would "run out of" hypnosis.

Gygax, however, locked us into the idea that a spell was essentially like a hand grenade or a light-anti-tank-rocket, and that a wizard was a glass cannon.


Edit: People of the Black Circle, 1934

Quote:
And the guard pitched on his face without a sound, his head lolling on a broken neck.
Khemsa did not glance at him, but went straight to one of the arched doors and placed his open hand against the heavy bronze lock. With a rending shudder the portal buckled inward. As the girl followed him through, she saw that the thick teakwood hung in splinters, the bronze bolts were bent and twisted from their sockets, and the great hinges broken and disjointed. A thousand-pound battering-ram with forty men to swing it could have shattered the barrier no more completely. Khemsa was drunk with freedom and the exercise of his power, glorying in his might and flinging his strength about as a young giant exercises his thews with unnecessary vigor in the exultant pride of his prowess.


Yeah, in REHoward's stories, wizards did not have spell-slots, and they did not run out of ammo. They might have run out of endurance like boxers who strain their muscles. But wizards glory in their might and fling their strength around.

Gygax was the one who invented the wimpy wizard as glass cannon - Vance, Leiber, Howard, and Moorcock had no such notions.


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 Post subject: Re: Higher Level Spells for BETA
PostPosted: Tue Jun 21, 2011 8:19 pm 
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I'm looking through Howard stories and counting all the things that Gygax would have forbidden.

Let's start with Khemsa, from People of the Black Circle:

Quote:



This warrior, leaning on his spear, and yawning from time to time, started suddenly to his feet. He had not thought he had dozed, but a man was standing before him, a man he had not heard approach. The man wore a camel-hair robe and a green turban. In the flickering light of the cresset his features were shadowy, but a pair of lambent eyes shone surprizingly in the lurid glow.
"Who comes?" demanded the warrior, presenting his spear. "Who are you?"
The stranger did not seem perturbed, though the spear-point touched his bosom. His eyes held the warrior's with strange intensity.
"What are you obliged to do?" he asked, strangely.
"To guard the gate!" The warrior spoke thickly and mechanically; he stood rigid as a statue, his eyes slowly glazing.
"You lie! You are obliged to obey me! You have looked into my eyes, and your soul is no longer your own. Open that door!"
Stiffly, with the wooden features of an image, the guard wheeled about, drew a great key from his girdle, turned it in the massive lock and swung open the door. Then he stood at attention, his unseeing stare straight ahead of him.
A woman glided from the shadows and laid an eager hand on the mesmerist's arm.
"Bid him fetch us horses, Khemsa," she whispered.
"No need of that," answered the Rakhsha. Lifting his voice slightly he spoke to the guardsman. "I have no more use for you. Kill yourself!"
Like a man in a trance the warrior thrust the butt of his spear against the base of the wall, and placed the keen head against his body, just below the ribs. Then slowly, stolidly, he leaned against it with all his weight, so that it transfixed his body and came out between his shoulders. Sliding down the shaft he lay still, the spear jutting above him its full length, like a horrible stalk growing out of his back.
The girl stared down at him in morbid fascination, until Khemsa took her arm and led her through the gate. Torches lighted a narrow space between the outer wall and a lower inner one, in which were arched doors at regular intervals. A warrior paced this enclosure, and when the gate opened he came sauntering up, so secure in his knowledge of the prison's strength that he was not suspicious until Khemsa and the girl emerged from the archway. Then it was too late. The Rakhsha did not waste time in hypnotism, though his action savored of magic to the girl. The guard lowered his spear threateningly, opening his mouth to shout an alarm that would bring spearmen swarming out of the guardrooms at either end of the alleyway. Khemsa flicked the spear aside with his left hand, as a man might flick a straw, and his right flashed out and back, seeming gently to caress the warrior's neck in passing. And the guard pitched on his face without a sound, his head lolling on a broken neck.
Khemsa did not glance at him, but went straight to one of the arched doors and placed his open hand against the heavy bronze lock. With a rending shudder the portal buckled inward. As the girl followed him through, she saw that the thick teakwood hung in splinters, the bronze bolts were bent and twisted from their sockets, and the great hinges broken and disjointed. A thousand-pound battering-ram with forty men to swing it could have shattered the barrier no more completely. Khemsa was drunk with freedom and the exercise of his power, glorying in his might and flinging his strength about as a young giant exercises his thews with unnecessary vigor in the exultant pride of his prowess.
The broken door let them into a small courtyard, lit by a cresset. Opposite the door was a wide grille of iron bars. A hairy hand was visible, gripping one of these bars, and in the darkness behind them glimmered the whites of eyes.
Khemsa stood silent for a space, gazing into the shadows from which those glimmering eyes gave back his stare with burning intensity. Then his hand went into his robe and came out again, and from his opening fingers a shimmering feather of sparkling dust
sifted to the flags. Instantly a flare of green fire lighted the enclosure. In the brief glare the forms of seven men, standing motionless behind the bars, were limned in vivid detail; tall, hairy men in ragged hillmen's garments. They did not speak, but in their eyes blazed the fear of death, and their hairy fingers gripped the bars.
The fire died out but the glow remained, a quivering ball of lambent green that pulsed and shimmered on the flags before Khemsa's feet. The wide gaze of the tribesmen was fixed upon it. It wavered, elongated; it turned into a luminous green-smoke spiraling upward. It twisted and writhed like a great shadowy serpent, then broadened and billowed out in shining folds and whirls. It grew to a cloud moving silently over the flags--straight toward the grille. The men watched its coming with dilated eyes; the bars quivered with the grip of their desperate fingers. Bearded lips parted but no sound came forth. The green cloud rolled on the bars and blotted them from sight; like a fog it oozed through the grille and hid the men within. From the enveloping folds came a strangled gasp, as of a man plunged suddenly under the surface of water. That was all.
Khemsa touched the girl's arm, as she stood with parted lips and dilated eyes. Mechanically she turned away with him, looking back over her shoulder. Already the mist was thinning; close to the bars she saw a pair of sandalled feet, the toes turned upward--she glimpsed the indistinct outlines of seven still, prostrate shapes.
"And now for a steed swifter than the fastest horse ever bred in a mortal stable," Khemsa was saying. "We will be in Afghulistan before dawn."



Now imagine that Howard was trying to get Khemsa accepted as a magic-user in Gygax's campaign:

Howard: Okay, Khemsa sneaks up on the guard...
Gygax: Nope, sneaking is for thieves unless you have a special cloak of invisibility.
Howard: And Khemsa hypnotizes the guard to kill himself!
Gygax: Nope, that's a self-destructive command, that's forbidden in my rule-book.
Howard: Then he parries a spear bare-handed and breaks a guy's neck.
Gygax: No way. He's not some kind of martial artist, he's a scrawny bookworm.
Howard: Then he puts his hand on a thick door and smashes it.
Gygax: Not going to happen. That's a job for a warrior. Even a knock spell would just unlock it.
Howard: You don't get it. Khemsa is powerful. He exults in exercising his power.
Gygax: No, he's locked into spells that work just one way, and he runs out of ammo quickly.
Howard: Then he uses powder to summon a silent, slithering smoke to suffocate some captives.
Gygax: Okay, but he uses up material components and gets no experience points.
Howard: Then he summons a mount faster than any mortal horse.
Gygax: No way, he gets one standard warhorse or two riding horses, your choice.

Howard's wizards never had to deal with player envy, or campaign balance. Howard's wizards and magic items were able to do whatever was necessary for the plot to progress, and no one could play-test through the stories to prove inconsistencies.

Arneson imposed a lot of arbitrary limits just to invent a fantasy wargame, and Gygax imposed a lot more limits. They deserve credit for making a workable game. But by the time the two of them were done, the result was not very much like anything in Appendix N.


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 Post subject: Re: Higher Level Spells for BETA
PostPosted: Tue Jun 21, 2011 8:29 pm 
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yfr wrote:
Gygax was the one who invented the wimpy wizard as glass cannon - Vance, Leiber, Howard, and Moorcock had no such notions.

It makes the class both playable with other classes and quite interesting. If you want a sturdy wizard with infinite spells - 4e is a better fit.

Novels are not RPGs. Plot devices are not mechanics. Appendix N is inspirational, not biblical.

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 Post subject: Re: Higher Level Spells for BETA
PostPosted: Wed Jun 22, 2011 3:33 am 
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wavemotion wrote:
If you want a sturdy wizard with infinite spells - 4e is a better fit.



If you mean "fourth edition of Ars Magica," then we can agree.
If you mean "fourth edition of Dungeons & Dragons," then we'll have to disagree.


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 Post subject: Re: Higher Level Spells for BETA
PostPosted: Wed Jun 22, 2011 12:18 pm 
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I ask again, what is a Rahksha? Is it human? How strong is he? He really only casts a single spell: the dominate person spell. The flaming cloud thing could be a magic item. His strength could be innate. This is not an amazing display of magery.


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 Post subject: Re: Higher Level Spells for BETA
PostPosted: Wed Jun 22, 2011 9:01 pm 
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jmucchiello wrote:
I ask again, what is a Rahksha? Is it human? How strong is he? He really only casts a single spell: the dominate person spell. The flaming cloud thing could be a magic item. His strength could be innate. This is not an amazing display of magery.


There were at least four special effects: mesmerism, telekinesis, suffocation, summoning. The martial arts can be assumed to be ordinary human martial arts.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raksha
Quote:
According to the Ramayana, the Raksha people (also known as Raksasas) were the mythical inhabitants of Sri Lanka who were said to have lived among the Naga, Yakkha, and Deva, and governed Sri Lanka in 2370 BCE.


Howard probably meant to imply that the wizard was a human from Sri Lanka. At any rate, the story says explicitly that the wizard has human desires and had to learn his strength through years of training and apprenticeship. His magical powers were not innate instincts, but rather skills that required literate knowledge. So the character seems to have been a human wizard, not a demon.

The strength is meant to be "supernatural." A thick teak gate could not be shattered by any realistic human strike, much less a physics-defying gesture. Howard was probably trying to depict "telekinesis" or "psychokinesis" which was discussed in Howard's time period due to "psychic research."

I think the wizard was not casting spells in any Vancean or Gygaxian sense. The wizard was using "psychic powers" much like an E. E. "Doc" Smith Lensman or an A. E. van Vogt ubermensch. Howard seems to have assumed that wizards could use psychic powers (telepathy, mesmerism, telekinesis, etc.) at will, just as Conan could use his mighty muscles at will.

Edit: The "summoning" of the mount is only alluded to; Howard may have considered both the smoke effect and the mount to have been "spirits" of some kind. If we shoehorn this into Gygaxian pseudo-Vancean spellcasting, spirit-rituals are probably "spells." If I had to put it into D&D, I would guess that mesmerism and telekinesis were supposed to be "spell-like abilities" with no known limits to use. The summoning of the smoke might be translated as a magic item or a material component.

Howard had Conan acquire at least one important magic item, a gold-buckled belt, and some critics have argued that any character in the Conan milieu had the potential to command spirits by force of will. (I need to find the specific story where Conan commands a spirit, however.)

Howard was writing at a time when the notion of an "ubermensch" was being thrown around lightly (notably in the Tarzan stories), and stories like Trilby were depicting "psychic powers" as unlimited plot devices. Howard depicted Conan as having a nigh-supernatural reflexes, perceptions, and instincts, much like Tarzan.


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 Post subject: Re: Higher Level Spells for BETA
PostPosted: Thu Jun 23, 2011 8:55 am 
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Honestly, I'd like to see an updated PDF with the spell tables fixed and several higher level spells.

Hell, if the Beta released a new PDF each month leading up to final release, with new/revised little tidbits in each release, that'd be amazing and keep people's interest for the long-haul and through release.


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 Post subject: Re: Higher Level Spells for BETA
PostPosted: Thu Jun 23, 2011 9:16 am 
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I've gotten approval from Joseph to post 1-2 spells.
goodmangames wrote:
For now, just post 1 or 2 -- not too many. I still need to figure out a couple things on spells -- first, to make sure they're balanced across levels, and second, to think through exactly how many and which ones to include. So a few examples, sure, but I don't want to inadvertently create expectations that may not "come true" in the final version.
(Emphasis mine, not Joseph's.)

In spite of some dire posts that annouce that spells are a "sacred cow" and won't change, I should draw everyone's attention to the final line in the quote above -- we don't really know yet what the final spell part of the RPG will look like. As such, I can release a couple but only with the warning that the final version may not look like what you get to see here.

So the question is: which spells?

I had thought maybe "fireball" and something like "fly". That would give a flash-bang spell and a non-combat spell. Any thoughts on this?

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 Post subject: Re: Higher Level Spells for BETA
PostPosted: Thu Jun 23, 2011 9:55 am 
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Deft-Handed Cutpurse

Joined: Thu Jun 09, 2011 7:05 pm
Posts: 261
Location: Central Vermont
My only other thought is that polymorph and illusion style spells tend to have the most grey areas that need banging on and potential for confusion or abuse.

Fly and Fireball seem like good baseline spell types though, so if probably appropriate as what to put out to get general feedback.


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