Spell Stipulations and a "sure thing"

Fritz Leiber's Lankhmar setting, home to the legendary Fafhrd and Gray Mouser, is the first officially licensed setting for the DCC RPG.

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Nerdwerfer
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Spell Stipulations and a "sure thing"

Post by Nerdwerfer » Mon Jul 01, 2019 2:41 pm

Just finished out the Gang Lords of Lankhmar with a group of first time DCCers, we all had a blast, and I hope to post more of my thoughts on the adventure as time goes on. However, one issue that was giving gamers coming in from different rule systems fits, was to the randomness of the spell effects, or more concisely, the absence of any effect. If you play long enough you know that the odds even out, but to new players used to spells going off without a hitch, a series of bad dice rolls (over several sessions no less) and the crippling of characters via spellburn (no clericial healing in Lankhmar), was a definite buzzkill. Since fun over canon is my motto, I added a Stipulation to all Spells and gave the players a choice as to how they wanted to cast a spell. As an action the Wizard can use a Stipulation to cast a spell with the effect being equal to a dice roll of 11, +spell casting bonus. Once cast this way, the spell is lost. No spellburn is allowed when casting the spell using a Stipulation.

They could also cast the Spell the usual DCC way but must always use at least one point of spellburn to do so and must live or die by the results.

I explain to them that adding the primal energy of blood to the magic, makes it wild and all bets are off, but that using the Stipulation is like the opening and closing of a door. The only exception to this is the Invoke Patron spell which still requires spell burn and must always be rolled (Patrons are fickle). I do love the idea in Vancian magic of spells being living things that inhabit the Wizards head, so the thought is appealing to me that when a Wizard spellburns he is hoping to attract a more powerful version of the spell to him, using his burn as bait so to speak.

It was a small enough change (or big depending on your adherence to canon), but it greatly improved the mood of the players knowing that they could at least cast their spells once to some effect, with spellburning to cast again being a fallback option. It is important to note that I play without Clerical healing in my game, relying mainly on Fleeting Luck, so in games were the Cleric is allowed to heal a burnt Wizard who is constantly burning, this is not so much of an issue, but it does become one when the players feel as though they have to burn 4-8 points each time just so they can guarantee getting some effect and nothing kills a mood quicker that burning 10 points and rolling a 5 or under or worse yet a 1. (This happened twice with major corruption no less! Which got me thinking, all wizards are not monsters, but all monsters were once wizards)

Anyway, hope you're all having fun!
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Re: Spell Stipulations and a "sure thing"

Post by GnomeBoy » Wed Jul 03, 2019 7:24 am

Sounds like an appropriate houserule to put in -- if it makes the game fun for the players, so be it. :)

The rules as they are suggest Clerics shouldn't be healing Spellburn. I think I have finally gotten a campaign going (rather than sporadic one-shots), so it's only just become relevant, but my current take on healing Spellburn is that the 'burn itself is in essence "held" by the wild forces of the phlogiston and can't be healed back without dangerous repercussions. They will slowly feed it back to the source (as per the healing Spellburn rules) but to wrest that 'energy' away from them by force (Lay on Hands) risks them not allowing access to the phlogiston at all, or access remaining but with guaranteed heavy corruption, or other unfortunate events as I can dream up... So, as ever, the option to heal Spellburn is there, but it comes with a cost.
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Re: Spell Stipulations and a "sure thing"

Post by Nerdwerfer » Mon Aug 12, 2019 6:31 am

GnomeBoy wrote:
...my current take on healing Spellburn is that the 'burn itself is in essence "held" by the wild forces of the phlogiston and can't be healed back without dangerous repercussions. They will slowly feed it back to the source (as per the healing Spellburn rules) but to wrest that 'energy' away from them by force (Lay on Hands) risks them not allowing access to the phlogiston at all, or access remaining but with guaranteed heavy corruption, or other unfortunate events as I can dream up...
That's a nice imagining on the nature of the Spellburn, GnomeBoy. I tend to describe it as a build up of toxicity, like radiation poisoning, that takes time to leach out of the wizard's system (...hmmm, a rare species of leeches that can heal spellburn, perhaps...) Like you my gameplay has been sporadic, running mostly one-shots, and we had just recently gotten into a good rhythm of playing regularly. In Gang Lords of Lankhmar the adventure played out in a span of about 2 weeks, with ever increasing tensions, so there wasn't much time for recuperation until the next onslaught.
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