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  • Dislike: Cantrips cost PP

    This really seems to fly in the face of both SWADE and Pathfinder.
    Cantrips are - traditionally in Pathfinder - free use abilities whose only cost is digging into the action economy.

    Likewise, Support and Test uses of Arcane Background abilities - unless the ruling on that has reversed - do not cost PP. It was a cool way to use AB like any other skill.

    And while yes, cantrips in Pathfinder also did damage, where they are not allowed to in Pathfinder for Savage Worlds, that's at least consistent with SWADE and cantrip damage in SW isn't likely to amount to a wound anyway.

    So yeah, I really dislike this.

  • #2
    I just posted this in Feedback, then saw I was not supposed to and cannot delete it.
    I am sure they will delete my post. But I am 100% on board with this should be a no power point needed thing.

    Cantrips pg 172, under activation - Pinnacle Entertainment Group Forums (pegforum.com)


    Before they delete my post this is what I put.

    First I would like to say overall I think the product is great.

    I have to say, I am not sure of the reasoning behind Cantrips costing a power point. Power Point recovery is already nerfed a lot in order to maintain a "daily feel". But to have Cantrips costs power points seems like a decision I would like revisited.

    I feel, these are the kinds of little effects one expects to fit under the skill, used for trappings in Tests and Support. But not something that is measured and burning up precious tactical resources equal to a Bolt, or Protection spell.

    The side effect of making them cost a power point is it will also make a GM feel they should not allow Tests and Support using power skills without paying power points, or even worse is longer tasks like travel it would not be allowed because of the duration limits.

    Comment


    • #3
      Full Disclosure: I do not have the Pathfinder for SW book, so I'm not aware of what cantrips are capable of.

      In the interest of discussion, though, I'd say it depends on what the cantrip is accomplishing when determining if a PP cost should apply. Using an arcane skill to perform a Test or Support roll should not have a cost since the player is simply using those mechanics in their intended function. But if a cantrip is used to alter a game mechanic, then a PP cost might reasonably apply.

      Anecdotally, the elemental manipulation power is basically a catch-all for cantrips and minor spell effects. I've personally allowed it for "feather-falling" (negate fall damage for duration), walking on the surface of water, and to clean/dry/polish clothes and armor.

      Of these three effects, only the last doesn't really alter a game mechanic. While I did charge the player 1 PP in the game, I can totally see that as being a "free" spell. Although, I think context still matters. If the character is drying their clothes because they fell into an icy lake and want to avoid penalties from the cold, then that usage of the power is technically skirting a game mechanic... they are paying 1 PP to avoid a penalty.

      So while I agree in principle that cantrips probably shouldn't carry a cost, I still think context is an important factor to consider.

      Comment


      • #4
        They seem to be meant to be minor effects. The example used was lighting a campfire.

        I think I agree that the cost is too high, especially with the nerfed regen. I mean, casting Bolt itself only costs one point. I can’t justify asking them to pay the same for a minor use.

        Of course, I’m also not a fan of the 8 hour rest for points. I’m going to have to think long and hard about not houseruling that back to an hourly regen (even if it’s at a reduced rate for balance purposes). One thing my players don’t miss when playing Savage Worlds is trying to find time to take Long Rests so the spellcasters can get their mojo back.

        Comment


        • Reef
          Reef commented
          Editing a comment
          The campfire example may have been from an early blog. The official examples include lighting a candle, sweeping the floor with an animated broom, and illustrating a story with dancing campfire embers.

        • Deskepticon
          Deskepticon commented
          Editing a comment
          Reef Those examples still fall under elemental manipulation. My question was if that power is still in the game or if Cantrips replaces it.

        • Reef
          Reef commented
          Editing a comment
          Deskepticon, Elemental Manipulation is still in the game. But those are the examples they give for cantrips.
          Last edited by Reef; 03-26-2021, 07:09 PM.

      • #5
        There's no PP cost on a Raise, which, going against a TN of 4, is going to be most of the time for a Wild Card.

        Comment


        • Deskepticon
          Deskepticon commented
          Editing a comment
          Oneiros Ah, okay! I see.
          Still, I can't help but feel that there is some overlap there. It would probably been a good design decision to remove elemental manipulation altogether. Cantrips seems to cover everything it does (Trappings permitted) plus more. I mean, a necromatic bolt can probably be repurposed to kill a hive of wasps (something that a fire Trapping can do too).

        • Oneiros
          Oneiros commented
          Editing a comment
          Deskepticon Maybe, but I think the examples given for elemental manipulation (they're the same as core SWADE) would be beyond a cantrip's ability. In general, there is a restriction on Cantrips that they can't replace a power, or do direct damage. As a GM, I'd say you could blow out a candle with a cantrip, but not a torch.

          In SWPF, there's also "Epic Modifiers" for powers, requiring an Edge to be able to use. EM has a couple that let you basically replicate some higher level PF spells (Stone Shape, Control Weather, etc.) So it's probably worth keeping for those as well.

          If someone knows EM, though, they do have a pretty large range of things they might try to do with Cantrips, since it covers all four elements.

        • Deskepticon
          Deskepticon commented
          Editing a comment
          Understood.
          Thanks for the info /insight. It's changed my mind.

      • #6
        Originally posted by Oneiros View Post
        There's no PP cost on a Raise, which, going against a TN of 4, is going to be most of the time for a Wild Card.
        How so, a wild card PC will likely have d8 in his area of specialty at Novice, this is a 56.6% chance of normal success and 24.6% chance of a raise. So 1 in 4 times it costs 0 power points to do a cool trick that is usually only flavor for a story.


        My assumptions on wild card percentages
        • d4 is a 62.5% chance of success and 19.3% chance of a raise
        • d6 is a 75.0% chance of success and a 25.9% chance of a raise
        • d8 is an 81.2% chance of success and a 24.6% chance of a raise
        • d10 is an 85.0% chance of success and a 39.8% chance of a raise
        • d12 is an 87.5% chance of success and a 49.7% chance of a raise

        Comment


        • Oneiros
          Oneiros commented
          Editing a comment
          I misspoke. Was thinking of chance of success. It's been a long week. But the odds only go up from there. And nothing to keep the rest of the party from making support rolls to bring odds up even more. "Do that trick again!"

          Plus there's a few abilities/Edges they've listed that give most spellcasters a free re-roll on spellcasting, so the odds go up even more.

      • #7
        So I certainly don't want to approach this as though my opinion after reading the rule a single time trumps the dozens or hundreds of hours of design and playtesting that went into the game. With that said, cantrips and the wizard class in general both rub me the wrong way for trying to capture the D&D 3.5/Pathfinder feel that I cut my teeth on.


        1. Cantrips: I don't like the idea of burning 1 PP to cast a bolt cantrip to make harmless sparkles shoot at an enemy's face in order to test him when I could spend that same PP to actually kill the enemy with 2d6 damage. Like Deskepticon said above, I also feel there has to be some cost associated with a cantrip that does something more than simply provides flavor (ie: using a telekinesis cantrip that we might name... "magician hand" to steal the keys to your jail cell hanging on a hook just out of reach, or using a fire-trapped burst cantrip to ignite the gunpowder bomb after the rogue crit failed and dropped his lit torch into the river).

        I also feel like it should be hard to fail one of these Cantrips, simple as they are. Like... Really hard to fail.

        I am not a game designer, but here would be my take on Cantrips to attempt to make them a better option for the player:
        • Keep the whole "Cantrips are a minor use of spells you already know" mechanic
        • You have to have at least 1 PP in the tank to attempt to cast the cantrip
        • After that, this gets nebulous, because I can think of a couple ways for it to go...
          • One option might be to keep the PP cost the same but give a +2 bonus to casting a Cantrip. That way, you only fail on snake eyes and you are far more likely to catch a raise and not lose the PP. This seems especially appropriate for the Gnome ancestry, which has innate cantrips and 1 PP. That way, it's not like a d8 Smarts Gnome has a 75% chance to only cast one cantrip per day. To balance this out, when using your Cantrips specifically to Test or Support, you don't get the +2, but it also doesn't cost a PP. You just have to have at least 1 PP remaining in your tank.
          • Another option might be to eschew the PP cost entirely (though you must still have 1 PP in the tank), but at your option, you can spend 1 PP to gain a +2 to the Arcane Skill roll. Keep everything else the same. So if you want to try and "short" the Cantrip, then you don't roll at a -1 and face backlash on a normal failure, but you also don't get any real boost to cast it, either. If you voluntarily choose to enhance it with a PP, then you get the +2 to the Arcane Skill roll. In this version, there is no difference in using the Cantrip generally or for Support/Test. It's the player's choice to use that PP or not.
          • Another possibility might be to only have it cost a PP on a failure. Again, going back to the Gnome who has racial cantrips and only 1 PP, they could cast their cantrips until such a time as they fail the skill roll and burn out their reserve of magic juice for the day.
        2. Wizards: Hopefully I'm not drifting the thread too much here, but somebody referenced the daily recharge above. I have mixed feelings about the daily recharge stuff. The core tension in a dungeon crawl is resource management, so I fully understand the daily recharge thing. Savage Pathfinder is trying to capture the feeling of... well... Pathfinder. And daily recharge is a core part of that system. I also really like how 5e has short rests, though, which let you partially recover spells. I like the idea of having the option to maybe take up to 2 short rests per day and recover some small amount of PP (like 5, or 1d6 or something). Anyway, that's not what I meant to talk about.

        So the whole thing with Wizards as opposed to Sorcerers is that Wizards are supposed to be versatile. Many different spells in the spellbook and you can swap out which spells you have prepared each day to accommodate the anticipated challenges. The only way to come close to that in SWADE is to take "New Powers" a ton of times, and that still doesn't actually recreate the feel very effectively. I'm a big fan of Horror Companion rituals. Like... as you find other wizards' spellbooks or scrolls, you can copy them into your spellbook and cast them as rituals that take X minutes to cast. That way a wizard can have a lot of utility spells for use outside of combat, but the ones that are actually "memorized" by the wizard (ie: learned through New Powers edge) are the only ones that can just be cast as an action.

        100% that is just my personal bias. Standard SWADE spellcasting rules are pretty much directly suited for Sorcerers, but not so much for wizards.
        Last edited by Leatherneck556; 03-26-2021, 10:00 PM.

        Comment


        • Reef
          Reef commented
          Editing a comment
          Oh, I definitely get the idea of wanting to keep resource management as part of that. I think you could still do that with the old recharge rates, as they still only came back while resting. But you could rest for an hour and get a bit back, instead of it being 8 hours or nothing. It wouldn’t be hard to keep pressure up in a dungeon and stop the wizard from going nova every fight.

        • Scott Webster
          Scott Webster commented
          Editing a comment
          Regarding ritual magic, I posted a similar comment in another thread. I haven't used the Horror Companion, but I run East Texas University, and I think the mechanics for ritual magic are essentially the same in both. Ritual magic would be a way to use a spell you have collected but not spent an Edge on. It would only work outside of combat when you have time to burn, but would be a way to add versatility without using up your Power Points. Additionally a group of ritualists could Aid their leader in order to cast a spell that none of them is capable of individually. A wizard school could work together to cast a Mass Teleport. A holy order could Resurrect their fallen master.

        • Scott Webster
          Scott Webster commented
          Editing a comment
          ​​Update: I did a text search within the Savage Pathfinder core rules, and on page 150 it mentions rituals twice as being handled as Dramatic Tasks. I do not know if this was a deliberate inclusion, or is just vestigial content from previous examples of situations that can be handled by Dramatic Tasks.

      • #8
        Originally posted by Deskepticon View Post
        Using an arcane skill to perform a Test or Support roll should not have a cost since the player is simply using those mechanics in their intended function.
        I'd disagree. Tests and Support are intended to be how you use less frequently seen or non-combat skills in combat. They are a way of less combat capable people contributing using their specialties and keep them involved in the game.

        Arcane skills are like Combat skills already very useful in Combat and so shouldn't be freely substituted without cost for any other Ability or Trait in Test or Support. It makes some of the most powerful skills in the game more applicable and encourages just boosting them and not learning other skills.

        Comment


        • Leatherneck556
          Leatherneck556 commented
          Editing a comment
          I do have to agree that the idea of spending a PP to Test or Support isn't crazy or anything. I mean, if you are going to Test a foe with shooting or Athletics (Throwing), you still have to actually launch a projectile, thus using resources. It just seems a little off to me when 1 PP is worth so much more than 1 arrow or sling bullet, though.

        • dbm
          dbm commented
          Editing a comment
          I agree that Tests are intended to allow less-used skills a combat effect, but I disagree that means skills with direct combat application should be discouraged. Feinting is a canonical example, and uses Fighting.

        • Ndreare
          Ndreare commented
          Editing a comment
          I disagree with this. a Fighter can feint without spending any resources, a knife wielder can pretend to throw a blade rolling Athletics for a Test without wasting a knife, a bowman, and hold the arrow in his knuckles and loose the string causing you to dodge to the side thinking you may be hit without wasting his arrow, and a sword wielding fighting can pretend to swing wildly for your face causing you to flinch.

          All of these would be test, but the Magic user tries the same test and it costs him power point (which as scarce normally, but down right impossible to get back in Pathfinder. Even the example Shane Hensley shared on facebook of the arcane character using spellcasting to support in a tracking roll did not require power points, because it just made sense for the casual use of the skill.

          So why would we go and add a power point cast in SWADE Pathfinder, when Pathfinder itself has Cantrips as at will powers?

      • #9
        Originally posted by Littleredfox View Post

        I'd disagree. Tests and Support are intended to be how you use less frequently seen or non-combat skills in combat. They are a way of less combat capable people contributing using their specialties and keep them involved in the game.
        Yeah, kinda... but not exclusively. Tests and Support are also used to reduce the combat effectiveness of tough creatures. The warrior with a high Fighting can perform that duty, especially if he has Feint and is facing a relatively dumb opponent.

        Arcane skills are like Combat skills already very useful in Combat and so shouldn't be freely substituted without cost for any other Ability or Trait in Test or Support. It makes some of the most powerful skills in the game more applicable and encourages just boosting them and not learning other skills.
        Serious question: why do think the mage needs this drawback when the Persuasion-focused face doesn't? Or the Thievery-focused rogue? You can certainly play the game however you want, but it definitely seems like you are unfairly punishing arcane characters by either charging them to use a game mechanic other builds can use "for free," and/or de-incentivizing the mage from describing their Tests/Support rolls as cool magic stuff in favor of mundane trappings that don't cost anything.

        Comment


        • #10
          I'm not sure if I like that mechanic. Cantrips in PF are generally something you can use as a last resort once your useful spells are used up. I understand this is not as useful in Savage Worlds, as you can always try to short your powers, but I also think that a Test or Support roll should be free. Every skill roll should be allowed certain trappings if a player wishes, as long as it is within the mechanical boundaries set by it. I would allow a spell caster to unlock a door using thivery but describe it as using some kind of magic (but still at the appropriate penalties if the character is missing the proper tools). So I don't really see why a spell caster should expend (or even have) Power Points to make a test using the Spellcasting skill.

          That being said, I also just noticed the Sound/Silence power, specifically the "Sound" part of that. It basically IS a catrip in itself as the only mechanical effect described is the ability to make a Test (for 1 PP, which improves with the Greater Sound/Silence modifier). So this behaves as a cantrip, but doesn't even acknowledge it.

          In this specific case, I think using simple magic to make a test should be free, and a power like Sound should just add a bonus to that test (with Greater Sound adding a greater bonus). Just my 2 cents.

          Comment


          • Deskepticon
            Deskepticon commented
            Editing a comment
            There was a great discussion a few years back about trapping skills as magic, back when Lockpicking was it's own skill. From what I remember, the idea was to Trap the skill as a "knock" spell; the caster would not need tools, but instead spent 1 PP per attempt. Furthermore, detect arcana would sense the skill's use, and perhaps even its residual effects.

        • #11
          I also feel the cost of cantrips is too high. In Pathfinder they are free after all. What if we made the chance of using a Power Point rare, something that only occurs on a Critical Failure?

          Raise as Success but with an additional narrative impact.
          Success means the desired effect occurs and does not cost a Power Point.
          Failure means the desired effect did not occur and it does not cost a Power Point.
          Critical Failure causes an embarrassment or minor mishap and costs one Power Point.

          Comment


          • #12
            My take on this is that cantrips are in addition to Tests, not a substitute for them. I interpret Cantrip as allowing a degree of creative / narrative use of the character’s magic and putting a cost of 1 PP on it to control spot-light time and stop magic-users from overshadowing everyone else.

            Comment


            • Ndreare
              Ndreare commented
              Editing a comment
              If this is the intent, I missed it when reading the text.

          • #13
            Originally posted by Wzrd View Post
            I also feel the cost of cantrips is too high. In Pathfinder they are free after all. What if we made the chance of using a Power Point rare, something that only occurs on a Critical Failure?

            Raise as Success but with an additional narrative impact.
            Success means the desired effect occurs and does not cost a Power Point.
            Failure means the desired effect did not occur and it does not cost a Power Point.
            Critical Failure causes an embarrassment or minor mishap and costs one Power Point.
            That's pretty much how I'm going to rule it. You must have at least 1 power point left to attempt the cantrip, but unless you get a crit fail, it costs nothing to cast. If they were able to actually do damage or have lasting effects, it would be a different matter, but they aren't.

            Comment


            • Techogre
              Techogre commented
              Editing a comment
              And now we have my first house rule.

              Requires 1 point in the tank, only costs a point if you crit fail. Done.

              Thank you, folks!

          • #14
            One of the designers commented on Reddit that they may be revisiting the cantrips. The 1PP cost apparently was with vanilla SWADE PP recovery in mind, but with the slower recovery of PP in SWPF, cantrips may require some redesign.

            https://www.reddit.com/r/savageworld...ssmf&context=3
            Last edited by Oneiros; 03-30-2021, 02:18 PM.

            Comment


            • Leatherneck556
              Leatherneck556 commented
              Editing a comment
              Yeah, the more I think about this, the more I think that all you really need to do is just make it very clear that PP only recharge while resting and then define what "resting" is or isn't. Ie: you are not resting while exploring a dungeon or traveling cross country. Otherwise standard SWADE PP recovery method: 5/10/20 per hour.

              If that were the case, then the way Cantrips are currently written wouldn't be too bad - they're 1 PP but 0 on a raise. After that, whether you want the use of Faith/Spellcasting for Test/Support to cost a PP or not is on the GM's house rules. No big deal.

              If the play testing has shown that 5/10/20 is too much for resource management/balance with non-magic users, then I really feel like it could be easily fixed by just making it like 4/8/16 or something.

          • #15
            Originally posted by Deskepticon View Post

            Serious question: why do think the mage needs this drawback when the Persuasion-focused face doesn't? Or the Thievery-focused rogue? You can certainly play the game however you want, but it definitely seems like you are unfairly punishing arcane characters by either charging them to use a game mechanic other builds can use "for free," and/or de-incentivizing the mage from describing their Tests/Support rolls as cool magic stuff in favor of mundane trappings that don't cost anything.
            Because both of them have to split skill points between their focus and combat skills if they want to do damage where as Mages can be good in both combat and non combat using only one skill, thanks to Boost/Lower Trait.

            Because Spellcasting is the second most useful and versatile skill in the game (after Performance on a Bard which does everything Spellcasting does plus a few other things) and thus is limited by Power Points.

            And because I've seen the effect 3e had with both SAD classes and MAD classes. And the anwser is to ensure that there isn't a one true skill that does everything.

            Spellcasters have enough reason to increase their spellcasting skill for spellcasting without it always being the skill used for Tests and Challenges as well. Plus it is effectively saying Spellcasters have a short duration Boost/Lower Trait for free, without cost.

            Characters built round Persuasion are good at support but need another skill for Tests (i.e. Taunt). Spellcasters can use Spellcasting for both. I.e. Spellcasting gives you casting spells plus all of Taunt plus the combat half or Persuade.

            And that's why it should cost to use it. Just like Testing or Supporting with Repair requires expending explosives. And Repair is a far less useful skill in general.

            Spellcasters can as they always have give cool magic stuff as a trapping to their Taunt or Persuade skills and avoid the possibility of a cost.

            I am also dubious about Feints via Fighting due to the following bit from SW Deluxe p76: Tricks do not include weapon feints—those are already
            “assumed” in a character’s Fighting and Parry scores.

            Comment


            • ellipses
              ellipses commented
              Editing a comment
              SWPF is based on SWADE, not Savage Worlds Deluxe. One of the notable differences between SWADE and SWD is that *any* skill, including Persuasion and Fighting, can be used to Test (or Support!), as long as the GM allows it.

            • Deskepticon
              Deskepticon commented
              Editing a comment
              I suppose this is a case where we just agree to disagree. Something I think you might be missing: Tests are opposed by the attribute linked to the skill performing the Test. So Spellcasting is always opposed by Smarts. Against highly intelligent foes, the caster would have a lower chance of success (and thus would be better served by casting an actual power).

              Just like Testing or Supporting with Repair requires expending explosives.
              Not by the core rules. If that is a requirement in the PF setting then all I can say is they grossly underestimated the nuance of Tests. Using Repair to trick a wain-rider into thinking the wheel is about to fall off is a perfectly legitimate use that doesn't involve the use of explosives.
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