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 Post subject: Wizards taking over
PostPosted: Fri Jun 15, 2012 1:28 pm 
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Hard-Bitten Adventurer

Joined: Mon Dec 15, 2003 8:18 pm
Posts: 135
And other spellcasters too.

In my DCCRPG experience so far, spellcasters and particularly wizards have been the stars of the show. Part of that is that they have been played by the most consistent players, but mostly it is because a high roll on a spell check can be a complete game changer. (this is especially pronounced because I am using an "exploding dice" rule for critical spell rolls.)
On the other hand, corruptions and dissaprovals have been toned down and have yet to really effect play.
This has all been well and good, but I am concerned that they overshadow warriors and thieves and the like.
One issue I've had is that I've been lenient with spellcasting in melee. I'm trying to avoid attacks of opportunity in the game, but the result has been spellcasters getting attacked and casting flaming hands right in the enemy's face.
I feel like melee should be one of the big checks on the ability and power of spellcasters...

Here are the rules I've been using:

Wizards, Elves and Clerics (and NPCs) MUST declare spells before rolling initiative.
Spellcasters may choose any effect of the roll or lower, unless the roll was a CRITICAL.
CRITICAL HIT DICE EXPLODE: dice are rolled again and added together.
Spellburn may not negate a Fumble.
Lost Spells may be recovered with Spellburn of 1:d3
Casting a Spell in Melee incurs a Penalty of -1d
Wounded spellcasters suffer a penalty = damage taken. Spells may be abandoned.

I had a little pushback last night on the damaged in melee rule, because the player wanted to do something else with his turn instead of cast a spell. I ruled that abandoning the spell meant losing your turn. This didn't sit well.
I'm tempted to simplify it and rule that you can indeed do something else if wounded while casting a spell. This would mean that declaring your intent at the start of a round is less important...
Thoughts?

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 Post subject: Re: Wizards taking over
PostPosted: Fri Jun 15, 2012 2:24 pm 
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Well a big part of your issue is the exploding dice on a critical. That should be the first change.


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 Post subject: Re: Wizards taking over
PostPosted: Fri Jun 15, 2012 4:56 pm 
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My opinion, mind you a blunt one, is that you are imagining a problem and over-reacting to try and solve it.

Wizard & Elf characters already want to avoid melee - where they are penalized for being, either by way of their low AC and HP or by the terrible spell check resulting from their choice to wear armor.

There is already a penalty for Wizard and Elf characters that take damage while trying to get in position for a spell - it's called dying.

Spellburn the likes of which to roll a 1 and not still fumble a spell has the downside of being 11 or more points, which puts most characters into a severely disadvantaged state in all physical abilities... which most times is a worse outcome than just taking the misfire results.

A direct penalty to spellcasting in melee (meaning a penalty other than "you have to be in melee range") will result in one of two situations - effectively re-writing every spell with direct intent to be used at melee range to simply be harder to cast, or players simply refusing to even use those spells.

A final thought: Where are your rules that stop warrior & thief characters from taking down a big-bad enemy with a lucky critical? My experience has been that between spellburn being a blade that cuts both ways, spell misfire chance of being permanently detrimental, spell duel rules being extraodinarilly dangerous - and the complete lack of lasting effect for a warrior or thief missing an attack or any other negative sub-systems specifically tailored to them, that it is Warriors and Thieves that end up feeling like the "supreme beings" in game play.


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 Post subject: Re: Wizards taking over
PostPosted: Fri Jun 15, 2012 8:49 pm 
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bholmes4 wrote:
Well a big part of your issue is the exploding dice on a critical. That should be the first change.

Agreed. With exploding dice, you're opening up results that could theoretically be achieved, but in the game as designed, these results require massive spellburn.

Rules as written: A 5th level wizard with a +7 bonus spellburns for 9 points to cast a Fly spell. He then rolls and gets a 20 for a result of 36! The wizard is barely able to walk, but by making a great sacrifice AND by getting very lucky with the "nat 20", he lifts a mountain to the sky.

With exploding dice: The same wizard casts a fly spell, rolls a natural 20, with his bonus a 27, but the 20 explodes, so it's rolled again, and comes up 9 (yawn), for a total result of 36. Again the mountain flies, but it's because of a d20, not because of a player making a very costly decision and are STILL gambling; they could end up rolling a 4 in the end.

Maybe just have damage dice explode? That's still fun, but it doesn't tweak the scalar balance of the cosmos. :)


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 Post subject: Re: Wizards taking over
PostPosted: Sat Jun 16, 2012 5:46 am 
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I have to agree with some of the others. This looks like a house rule that is causing more trouble than the rules as written. Tweaking with the rules is fun, it is what us gamers do. But remember when things go wobbly it is sometimes because the rules have been tweaked a bit from original


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 Post subject: Re: Wizards taking over
PostPosted: Wed Jun 20, 2012 5:04 am 
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I'll chime in to agree with others regarding the exploding dice. Sounds like that's the heart of your game imbalance.

You also noted: "On the other hand, corruptions and dissaprovals have been toned down and have yet to really effect play." Sounds like you have two things working against your game balance. The good got stronger (exploding dice) and the bad got weaker (toned down corruption and disapproval) and the combination has made wizards too powerful.

The secret is this: if any particular action or ability overshadows everything else, that action or ability is too powerful. This is true with any RPG, not just DCC.

The game has an internal balance of good things and bad things and you just need to restore it. Tell your players that you're going to play magic "by the book" for a while to see how it goes. That may totally fix your problem.

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 Post subject: Re: Wizards taking over
PostPosted: Wed Jun 20, 2012 10:16 am 
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Thank you all for the feedback. I should have said that the exploding crits have been a GREAT part of the game so far. The game changing nature of that has totally taken our adventures in new directions that have been really memorable. It makes magic feel really out of control. So we love it.
There's a good point that the upper end of the scale increased without increasing the bottom end. It's made me think that I want to have them roll on the Magic Misfire table more often.
I originally posted because of a Magics Missile fumble which ended up being a roll on the MM Corruption chart for a "change of eye color". Not dramatic enough. I may have to go back to my beta era table of a unified misfire/corruption chart, so that weird sh*t is guaranteed to happen every time a 1 is rolled.
Anyways, its definitely not breaking the game yet, but I don't want players of other classes to feel left out.

btw, what spells are MEANT to be cast in melee?

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 Post subject: Re: Wizards taking over
PostPosted: Wed Jun 20, 2012 10:28 am 
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caveman wrote:
btw, what spells are MEANT to be cast in melee?

Chill touch - though it can be cast and the caster then head into the melee.
Flaming Hands - it has a range of 15', but for a few of the higher results to actually matter (read: be able to actually target multiple critters and those not be defaulted to your buddies in melee with one enemy targeted) you have to get up in somebody's face so the "cone" that results has somewhere to go.
Gust of Wind - some of the results are small cones, meaning they are best used by getting into melee.

I haven't checked any Cleric spells yet because most of those seem to be buff spells, which one would hope to use wherever they might stand and have them still function - I know I sure would feel ripped off if using protection from evil had a penalty because an enemy already got near me.


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 Post subject: Re: Wizards taking over
PostPosted: Wed Jun 20, 2012 1:01 pm 
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caveman wrote:
Thank you all for the feedback. I should have said that the exploding crits have been a GREAT part of the game so far. The game changing nature of that has totally taken our adventures in new directions that have been really memorable. It makes magic feel really out of control. So we love it.
There's a good point that the upper end of the scale increased without increasing the bottom end. It's made me think that I want to have them roll on the Magic Misfire table more often.
I originally posted because of a Magics Missile fumble which ended up being a roll on the MM Corruption chart for a "change of eye color". Not dramatic enough. I may have to go back to my beta era table of a unified misfire/corruption chart, so that weird sh*t is guaranteed to happen every time a 1 is rolled.
Anyways, its definitely not breaking the game yet, but I don't want players of other classes to feel left out.

btw, what spells are MEANT to be cast in melee?


If it works for your group, then keep it going. I guess my only complaint on the non-spellcasters is that they tend to be... well... you get it down how you want them to play and then it's rinse/repeat ad infinitum. That is great for some types of players. And it's far less of an issue for classes with MDoAs. But it's more about how the class plays over the long-term. Wizards/Clerics/Elves all get more whizzbang. Each level. Other classes? Just get better at what they do but don't significantly change beyond that. Again, oversimplification alert. Because MDoAs do get a bit "magical" over the levels.

Maybe a spell that features exploding dice is lost? Or (for Clerics) increases the Fumble range by +1 or even the level of the spell?

That would put a spin on it where you could keep the BOOM but taper it a bit too.


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 Post subject: Re: Wizards taking over
PostPosted: Wed Jun 20, 2012 4:12 pm 
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There is a reason the "natural 20" rule is not an exploding die in the rules as written. I played that way for a while but it produced results that were too extreme. Compare that house rule to the rules as written...on a natural 20 you are opening up a whole new zone on the spell tables which is otherwise not available to low level characters without great cost (as a poster noted above). From the posts above I am not clear on exactly how you toned down the fumble / misfire / disapproval rules, but if you also did that then you have definitely made casters more powerful than they would normally be. In my games casters are always prominent but warriors (with their MDoA) typically play an important role as well. If you are not seeing that then your house rules may have overpowered wizards relative to warriors. It may be worth playing the rules "as written" to see how it affects balance. You know, there is a reason we playtested this game for several years. :)

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 Post subject: Re: Wizards taking over
PostPosted: Wed Jun 20, 2012 4:47 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jul 02, 2011 5:44 am
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Not to be a toady, but I have sat by silently since DCC was released, watching us all post about how we would change the game (we are new, this is fresh and exciting... it's understandable). To be honest, however, I read the famous page 314 admonishment to "fear no rule" to mean exactly "play it by the book, at least once through." It seems most have taken this to mean the opposite though, as in "do not be afraid of house ruling" (despite the fact that this is blatantly untrue, as house ruling can quickly ruin a campaign and turn off players, as this very thread suggests).

Now, one of the beautiful things about DCC is that it contains a section within it that is truly the spiritual successor and rightful heir to Gary Gygax's authoritative Dungeon Master's Guide, with Judge's advice that is equally authoritative and innovative. Joseph definitely has a bird's eye view on this one, and it is worth trusting his judgement and playing the game as written, at least until actual play experiences and campaign events inevitably draw each gaming club to start writing down their own rule modifications. It is truly a wonder today that so many people want to change things right out of the gate, even though they only want to do this because they are bringing the baggage of their presuppositions from previous, often inferior games (and I am guilty of this too). The only result of that is a heartbreaker RPG ("enough said" as to why that is undesirable).

And I don't mean to rant, but I just want to bring up two things. First, if you start to crunch the numbers for any DCC rule, you will be stunned at how much detail and care went into it (I recently did just that for the Warrior class, but you could see the same in level limits for critical hit charts, or spell effect levels, or diety disapproval etc). Second, Gygax's sage advice is still as good today as it was then: play the game the designer worked so hard on, and when a rule modification comes up in play (not after the game, not on smoke break, not before you ever run your first game, not while you are day dreaming at work), write it down in the margins as a new rule and continue playing.

So I guess you can put me firmly in the rules as written camp!


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 Post subject: Re: Wizards taking over
PostPosted: Wed Jun 20, 2012 9:13 pm 
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I'm with Galadrin on that.

As a matter of fact I've decided to go by the rules one step further, for me, and make all dice rolls in the open. Something I've never done in 25+ years of DMing. No more "fudging" the result to avoid bad breaks for the players (or to save my critters for that matter...)


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 Post subject: Re: Wizards taking over
PostPosted: Wed Jun 20, 2012 10:00 pm 
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sheriffharry wrote:
As a matter of fact I've decided to go by the rules one step further, for me, and make all dice rolls in the open. Something I've never done in 25+ years of DMing. No more "fudging" the result to avoid bad breaks for the players (or to save my critters for that matter...)


Awesome. Dice rolls in the open totally changed my game. When you roll privately there's this implicit statement that you're willing to fudge results to aid the players and/or the storyline. Rolling in the open is like wearing a loaded gun on your belt -- every player knows that this game can have consequences!

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 Post subject: Re: Wizards taking over
PostPosted: Wed Jun 20, 2012 10:04 pm 
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goodmangames wrote:
Awesome. Dice rolls in the open totally changed my game. When you roll privately there's this implicit statement that you're willing to fudge results to aid the players and/or the storyline. Rolling in the open is like wearing a loaded gun on your belt -- every player knows that this game can have consequences!


Yep - I switched to rolling in the open a long time ago. I don't think I could go back to rolling behind a screen. Part of what I like is there is way less brain power spent on deciding whether I should fudge or not. Just let the dice fall as they may.


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 Post subject: Re: Wizards taking over
PostPosted: Wed Jun 20, 2012 10:54 pm 
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IronWolf wrote:
goodmangames wrote:
Awesome. Dice rolls in the open totally changed my game. When you roll privately there's this implicit statement that you're willing to fudge results to aid the players and/or the storyline. Rolling in the open is like wearing a loaded gun on your belt -- every player knows that this game can have consequences!


Yep - I switched to rolling in the open a long time ago. I don't think I could go back to rolling behind a screen. Part of what I like is there is way less brain power spent on deciding whether I should fudge or not. Just let the dice fall as they may.


I have never fudged a die in my life, even though I do sometimes employ a screen - a screen which I invite my players to peek behind anytime they desire so that they know the only thing I am hiding is some words written hastily in a notebook or a document on my netbook (the adventure).

I've held the opinion since my very first day of playing RPGs - that day being the day I taught myself and a few friends/family how to play AD&D - that no matter who said so in some book of how-to be a DM, that there was no way in the world that it was correct behavior or fairness of any sort to fudge a die roll.

I can't put into words how thrilled I was to see an RPG so boldy, without comedic undertone a la HackMaster, state that one should let the dice fall as they may and those whose fate hangs in the balance of the roll enjoy it. Reading DCC for the first time was like finally coming home.


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 Post subject: Re: Wizards taking over
PostPosted: Thu Jun 21, 2012 12:46 am 
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TheNobleDrake wrote:
I can't put into words how thrilled I was to see an RPG so boldy, without comedic undertone a la HackMaster, state that one should let the dice fall as they may and those whose fate hangs in the balance of the roll enjoy it. Reading DCC for the first time was like finally coming home.

Actually the new HackMaster tells it quite bluntly, without comedic undertone. Both HackMaster and DCC RPG has resources the players can use to save themselves - Honor and Luck. If fudging a roll is cheating, then fudging in a game where you already have a way to change the outcome of a roll is something terrible that will cause the Old Ones notice you and devour your soul.

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 Post subject: Re: Wizards taking over
PostPosted: Thu Jun 21, 2012 8:19 am 
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I might add, as self-defence, that I mostly DMed Call of Cthulhu games all those years of fudging dice rolls.
Those SAN roll can be make a player go insane for real when it's the 5th (lovingly developed) character lost in the campaign... a common occurrence in "Masks of Nyarlathotep" and such mega-modules.

Btw, are any of the modules coming out "linked" sequentially? as a "campaign", or is this against the idiom of the game?
(Apart from the obvious fact that any Judge can usually link any adventures with a bit of imagination.)


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 Post subject: Re: Wizards taking over
PostPosted: Thu Jun 21, 2012 10:09 am 
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TheNobleDrake wrote:
...no matter who said so in some book of how-to be a DM, that there was no way in the world that it was correct behavior or fairness of any sort to fudge a die roll....

Not to say you're wrong doing what you do for the reasons that you do it, but -- in a game where the GM creates the challenges to throw at the players, it can happen that you mis-judge an encounter at the design stage. It's certainly not cheating to say to yourself "whoa, this minor obstacle has turned out to be more deadly than I intended -- let's dial it back...". Whether dialing it back is fudging some rolls, or adjusting numbers on the fly is the same thing: you're being fair. When you're completely in charge of what the players are up against, it would seem to me to be unfair to say "I got this wrong, but let's just go with it...". And the same thing could be said, if you inadvertently design a cake walk -- if the adventure is too easy, that's no fun either.

That said, I like the rolling in the open thing -- but it means if an adjustment is needed, it'll have to come from hp, attack bonuses or elsewhere. The die rolls in RPGs are not gambling (where it would be unfair to fudge); they are randomization. Strictly speaking, it's not the randomization that on occasion needs fudging -- it's the human input in front of the roll, fudged after said roll.

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Here Be DCC Monsters...

General Yoros, Warrior, Str 13, Agl 8 (10), Stm 17, Per 13, Int 11, Lck 8; Law, HP 39, AC 17, R+2, F+4, W+2, band/shld, warhammer, longsword, longbow, pitchfork

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 Post subject: Re: Wizards taking over
PostPosted: Thu Jun 21, 2012 10:28 am 
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Hey its great to get a response from Joseph, thanks. And, I should say, great job on DCC.
I do agree with yall that the rules are really well written. I started doing some extensive houseruling during the beta phase, but have been scaling them back as i get to know the game better. For example, i flattened the attack progressions, but in play realized that with a slower advancement rate there was no need...
So, hear you guys for sure, but as i said, it has been really fun how those spells have changed the adventure, in totally unexpected sideways kind of ways.
I really like the idea of making it an option. Open the floodgates, if you like, but failure will mean automatic misfire/corruption...

Re goodman: during the beta i made a table that combined the corruption table with an extensive misfire table. This was to make corruption less automatic during the beta phase. I havent been using it with the final ruleset.

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 Post subject: Re: Wizards taking over
PostPosted: Thu Jun 21, 2012 8:50 pm 
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Warning: Long post ahead - the following post is meant to open a conversation between myself and someone who holds opinions I do not agree with so that I might gain understanding of their opinion. It may seem written by an arrogant and pompous person, which is not necessarily intended on my part but is inevitable when a table-top gamer states clear and vehement disagreement with Gary Gygax on principle matters of Dungeon Master etiquette.

GnomeBoy wrote:
Not to say you're wrong doing what you do for the reasons that you do it
Thank you for that courtesy that most people I have encountered across the internet do not extend.

GnomeBoy wrote:
in a game where the GM creates the challenges to throw at the players, it can happen that you mis-judge an encounter at the design stage.

Which is, in practice, no different than intentionally designing an encounter that is intentionally too-difficult or inconsequentially easy - both of which are perfectly fine practices and encourage event resolution other than direct combat.

GnomeBoy wrote:
It's certainly not cheating to say to yourself "whoa, this minor obstacle has turned out to be more deadly than I intended -- let's dial it back...". Whether dialing it back is fudging some rolls, or adjusting numbers on the fly is the same thing: you're being fair.
I reject that definition of fair - I prefer to define "fair" as being in accordance with rules and standards.

That means that any change not being made as a permanent alteration to the rules (which I only make as a committee with my players) is cheating, as is any practice in which a double-standard is created - example: if making an on the fly change so that an encounter becomes possible is subjectively good, but making an on the fly change so that an encounter becomes impossible is subjectively bad - that is not holding to the same standard, which is unfair by definition.

GnomeBoy wrote:
When you're completely in charge of what the players are up against
This may be the major separation point in our views - I am not completely in charge of what the players are up against - they are.

I am in charge of what is present in the world, they choose how and if they will engage things.

GnomeBoy wrote:
if the adventure is too easy, that's no fun either.
Fighting a challenging enemy is fun. Fighting an enemy that you manage to completely stomp into submission is fun. Getting the snot beat out of your character is fun.

So long as any one of those is not occurring too often - at least that is the view my players and I share.

GnomeBoy wrote:
That said, I like the rolling in the open thing -- but it means if an adjustment is needed, it'll have to come from hp, attack bonuses or elsewhere.
I'd rather have my character beaten to death because I insisted on trying to fight an impossible to defeat foe than to know that I survived on the merit of a Judge saying "actually, the monster didn't have a high enough attack bonus to hit that time." or any other alteration of the rules.

The only time I have every out-right argued with the guy running the game was on the matter of his attempt, after setting an encounter upon the party that was far too potent for us to survive if engaged directly, to declare that my dead D&D character could be saved if someone healed him back to positive hit points before his next turn - which I refused on principle.

GnomeBoy wrote:
The die rolls in RPGs are not gambling (where it would be unfair to fudge); they are randomization
To me, that statement is synonymous to this one: "When is rolling the dice not rolling the dice? When you are randomizing."

I know you are saying that a table-top RPG does not need its randomization held to the same standard as casino gambling does... but if I could afford to have dice of all types machined to the same tolerances as casino dice, then they would be all I would use at my table.

GnomeBoy wrote:
Strictly speaking, it's not the randomization that on occasion needs fudging -- it's the human input in front of the roll, fudged after said roll.
I have to admit that I don't even understand what you mean here... it's not the attack roll against an impossible to hit AC that needed fudged, it's the player declaring his attack in the first place that needed fudged?

If it is the human input that needs adjustment, why not handle that adjustment before or without rolling the die?


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 Post subject: Re: Wizards taking over
PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2012 3:20 am 
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I like the -1d on casting checks idea because I feel there should be some kind of repercussions from the fact that this character is trying to re-order the laws of the physical world with nothing more than odd geometry, strange ingredients, and pure willpower; while something is trying to eat their face off... and that's assuming there isn't some more ghastly fate than death awaiting the wizard. That being said, you don't have to have an exploding d20 to have a wizard steal the show.

When I ran my beta game, I changed very little of the magic system. I simply allowed deities to be wizard patrons, I chucked the spell dueling rules because I don't like the idea of separate initiative tracks; one track can be difficult enough. Besides, if wizards want to kill each other they should do it the old fashioned way: chuck their spells at each other and be done with it... when (if) the dust settles the winner is usually the one that is still alive. But it should all happen in sequence with the rest of the players at the table. The only other changes were for clerics, allowing them to cast whichever spell they wanted (because most of them weren't that powerful). There was a spin-off idea from the 'deities as wizard patrons meme' such that gods like Gorhan, or Aristemis wouldn't 'cause' more corruptions because they fight against such concepts. So the wizards who use those patrons use a merits/ demerits system that allows the wizard greater access to the patron for vigorously serving the patron's interests. By themselves, I do not think that any of these changes were severe enough to 'break' the game. Where Thingerlun went all 'pear-shaped' was that he has an INT score of 18 and his mercurial magic result for the Invoke Patron spell is Psychic focus. This grants an additional +4 on the next casting check within 1d4 rounds... since he's been slaying wizards and undead with zeal, Aristemis is quite pleased with him and he can cast Invoke Patron 2x/day. This occasionally takes his casting bonus into the double digit range now that he is 3rd level.

There is no denying that the results of a spell can radically alter the direction of the story and that is how it SHOULD be: it's magic... :D

Here's an example from my FRPG day game: "The Jeweler who dealt in Stardust". The premise was that the majority of the players were all part of the same gang, but to explain the presence of the wizard in the group the senior most thief kidnapped him out of the bathroom of the Inn/ brothel that she runs for the gang. (she even quickly sketched out the layout of the different floors with the 40min we had before the game started) The wizard was then poisoned and told that if he played well with the others he would get his antidote. The only spell he cast in the entire session was Invisible Companion... with a result of 22. So he had an invisible henchmen with stats of 16 for the next 24hrs, and being a devilishly clever type of player: he ruthlessly used this invisible juggernaut to spectacular advantage. BUT he used this new found power to enhance the creepy overtones from the module that I had been building on, at one point he had the players convinced that the building was haunted! It was fantastic! Especially considering that the 'undercover cleric of Gorhan' in the group could not find the ghost so that he could cast it back into the Nether World (despite his vigorous searching) :mrgreen:

Now, all that aside: hey caveman... have you considered adding additional (and more powerful) entries to the existing spell tables? Since everyone at your table likes the exploding d20 feature; it might be worth your time to create the 33-50 entries for the spells so that when these uber-results arrive you can just look them up rather than having to create new results on the spot. This approach will also keep the existing 25-32 range of spell results from getting overplayed. You might even be able to harness your players creativity (save yourself some work) and get your players even more tightly invested in the game's outcome. Just a few thoughts...


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 Post subject: Re: Wizards taking over
PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2012 8:06 am 
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Tight-Lipped Warlock

Joined: Fri Jan 28, 2011 2:52 pm
Posts: 1084
I think it's fine to play with the rules some. Tinkering with house rules is somewhere between 15-33% of our hobby. That's why the OGL was genius. And shutting it down in future editions was boneheaded. Just an opinion there.

That said, I get the gist of what Joseph and others are saying. It's a good idea to play the game a bit to get a feel for how the rules work and interact. A lot of work and thought went into DCC. No doubt. But even if you follow the rules 100% as written, it's not likely that your experiences will 100% align with anyone else's. Everyone tailors a game to their group and circumstances. Table Rules. Rules that just don't get used (like "Segments" and "Weapon Speed" in AD&D). Misinterpretations or misunderstandings of the rules for things that aren't clear.

Two groups can play the same game with absolutely NO house rules and still have variance in the rules as written. It's the nature of the beast.

That said, playing it as written to the best of your understanding is a good idea. At least a few times. To get a feel for what you'd change and why.

If house ruling was a no-no, then Transylvanian Adventures would be written for a completely different system. It's nothing more or less than a rejiggering of the DCC system to run Hammer Horror style adventures with a few tweaks of my own added in to reflect changes I've made to enhance the play experience.

A bit of advice, however, when houseruling. Which is probably applicable to any system. Use a light touch.

TA/TG was far more ambitious 12 months ago. And while it introduces several rule changes -- some to meet the needs of the genre, some to better match how I've evolved DCC, only 2-3 are changes of any significance in regards to complexity. And I daresay almost all the rule changes could be ignored if a group wanted to ignore them. Sure, characters would die more frequently. But if you're into that sort of thing.

There's only a few rule changes in TA/TG that could not be described in a few sentences. A good example is armor. There is no Armor in the genre. I could literally describe the rule tweak that is applied in TA/TG to handle that in one sentence. Probably in less than 15 words. Firearms is the same. I could tell you every thing you needed to know to run firearms in DCC with 2-3 sentences.

Light touch.

So exploding dice. If you dig it, no problemo. But here's what I'd do with it...

(Roll a d2 to determine which option is best for you) :D

1) ANY successful spell result could have exploding dice. But the spell is lost afterwards. And whether or not a spellcaster is "exploding" the spell needs to be announced BEFORE damage/duration/etc. is rolled. This would obviously only apply to Wizards and Elves. Or maybe only Wizards. Your call.

2) The Judge or player rolls a d6 with every spell check. On a '1' all the effects of the spell are minimized. Meaning all dice of the effect are assumed to have rolled a '1'. On a '6', the spell can 'explode'. Note that this also applies to effects from Corruption and Mishaps. So if I roll a Mishap on the chart and roll a '1', all the dice rolls on the mishap's effects could be assumed to be a '1'. No roll needed. The benefit of this approach is that it could be used by Clerics too. And the drawback of all effects coming up snake-eyes should come close to "balancing" the effects of rolling a '6' and some effects exploding some of the time. Plus the snake eyes result would speed up spell effect rolls 16% of the time. Which wouldn't be a bad side effect. Couple that with the notion that some Mishaps and Corruption could 'explode' and I think we're pretty close to a 'zeroed' house rule.

I'd also note that Trailblazer's analysis of the d20 OGL system concluded that exploding dice are pretty negligible in the grand scheme. They don't (statistically) add that greatly to a weapon or spell's effectiveness.

But giving them to one class and not another could be a no-no. If you were going to go all out with exploding dice, I'd probably find some way to let the non-spellcasters have access to them too. And then, of course, the monsters. But that kind of change would be too non-light a touch for my tastes.


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 Post subject: Re: Wizards taking over
PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2012 8:19 am 
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Tight-Lipped Warlock

Joined: Fri Jan 28, 2011 2:52 pm
Posts: 1084
Tortog wrote:
Now, all that aside: hey caveman... have you considered adding additional (and more powerful) entries to the existing spell tables? Since everyone at your table likes the exploding d20 feature; it might be worth your time to create the 33-50 entries for the spells so that when these uber-results arrive you can just look them up rather than having to create new results on the spot. This approach will also keep the existing 25-32 range of spell results from getting overplayed. You might even be able to harness your players creativity (save yourself some work) and get your players even more tightly invested in the game's outcome. Just a few thoughts...


I must've misread something somewhere. The spellcheck die was exploding???

:shock:

I could see how that might throw things out of whack.

Why not instead assume that the spell effects are all maximized on a natural '20'?

I'm not sure I'd let the spellcheck die explode. I could see how it would be fun for some world bending, gonzo, my-magic-missile-just-destroyed-the-universe sort of play.

But why not instead have the spellcasters roll a lower die, like a d10 or d12? And allow that die to explode? It would still throw things wildly out of whack from time to time. But people wouldn't be rolling spellchecks in the 40s and 50s. And it would be mitigated by spellcasters burning Luck and Spellburn to cast spells with any degree of consistency.

I could see spellcasters in that sort of meme being of the wiff-wiff-BOOM variety. So magic would be really hit-and-miss. I might consider bumping the Wizard's hit die up to d6 with that as well.

One thing I found while "mathing out" TA/TG is that a small variance in the spellcheck result can have significant differences on the spell effects. A +3 on an attack roll isn't nearly as big a deal as a +3 on a spellcheck.

I can't imagine a +11.


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 Post subject: Re: Wizards taking over
PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2012 10:15 am 
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Hard-Bitten Adventurer

Joined: Mon Dec 15, 2003 8:18 pm
Posts: 135
@Tortog I dig the idea of adding an "ultimate" level for spells. (btw, I did play in your playtest one session at Guardian, but have since moved out of town. I actually visited PDX this week and stopped by Guardian, hoping against hope to pick up the FRPG mod since I was driving saturday. No luck, but I did get to see the Metal Cover, and had to roll a Will Save not to buy it. Bought d3s and d5s instead.)

@Smathis' idea for a smaller exploding die is also a good one to keep in mind.

I did play with the original rules for a bit (I've been playing DCC alot), but its funny how alot of stuff emerges when the 1s and 20s are rolled, since I haven't read those tables too closely. I think my solution right now is to ramp up the wild magic possibilities for Fumbling, and keep going with these gonzo spells. On one hand, I wonder if it'll turn the game into a bit of an Ars Magica vibe, one the other, some players might be relieved to play a more stable type of character...
Anyways, all good fun, and I'm enjoying the discussion!
Dig it!

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 Post subject: Re: Wizards taking over
PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2012 3:45 pm 
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Deft-Handed Cutpurse

Joined: Thu Jun 09, 2011 7:05 pm
Posts: 261
Location: Central Vermont
Another totally different option is to have alternative "explosive" actions for the other classes as well. Does both the Deed die and damage dice explode for the warrior? Maybe the luck die should explode for the thief? Halflings could get an extra attack as well as the crit whenever they roll max while double wielding. That sort of thing.

If you amp up all the other classes enough they won't be overshadowed by your spell casters. It will mean you have a gonzo powerful version of the game going, but that might be cool.


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