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  • Prestidigitations

    I notice a glaring omission in SW in general. How does one perform minor magical tricks efficiently? For example, if a certain character had to dump 5 PP to aimlessly juggle knick knacks while waiting on another character, I don't think we'd get that scene.

    So how about a setting rule that allows minor demonstrations of power. The caster makes an Arcane Skill roll, either for free or costing 1 PP, and manifests some minor effect; sparks and fireflies, moving small objects, puffs of smoke, etc. I think this has the added benefit of explaining a recent discussion about using Arcane Skills for Support and Tests.

  • #2
    As I have stated previously, elemental manipulation covers such actions for just 1 PP.

    You can say that the power doesn't allow for such displays, but then proposing that any caster can just use their arcane skill for free makes me wonder why you so vigorously oppose using elemental manipulation.
    I hope you find the above post useful. And not insulting, because I was trying to be helpful, not insulting; being a pedantic jerk, that isn't always clear.

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    • #3
      I'd say that telekinesis should have a 1-point version that you can use for minor movement like this as well. I'm not sure why it isn't a one-point power with a very low effective Strength that can scale up as you pay more PP for it.

      But yeah, Elemental Manipulation works just fine for this too.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by ValhallaGH View Post
        As I have stated previously, elemental manipulation covers such actions for just 1 PP.

        You can say that the power doesn't allow for such displays, but then proposing that any caster can just use their arcane skill for free makes me wonder why you so vigorously oppose using elemental manipulation.
        Just a guess, but probably because every AB user has an AB skill, but not every AB user has Elemental Manipulation. And creative players may want to perform minor effects based on their powers that EM doesn't cover, or are redundant with EM, and don't want to have to use a Power slot up just for little stuff.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Oneiros View Post

          Just a guess, but probably because every AB user has an AB skill, but not every AB user has Elemental Manipulation. And creative players may want to perform minor effects based on their powers that EM doesn't cover, or are redundant with EM, and don't want to have to use a Power slot up just for little stuff.
          I think this works fine if you have good players. The trouble is determining where the line is between "flavor-only powers" and "stuff that might be really powerful one day". If I give some players the ability to light their pipes by snapping their fingers, I know I better not have them meet someone carrying dynamite, or they're definitely going to assume they can snap their fingers, like the fuses from across the battlefield, and blow them up.

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          • #6
            I think it works fine as a Setting Rule for a high fantasy setting, honestly. As noted, it should be confined to small, narrative effects. Number one on that limitation is the notion that objects in others' possession, and other creatures in general, cannot be affected by such tricks. (I might allow affecting individual insects. If it has stats, though, it is immune to cantrips, or whatever you want to call them.) Similarly, any task which would require a roll cannot be affected by such a thing (though you could use it to give flavor to an actual roll--using telekinesis to juggle still requires a Performance roll, for instance).

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            • #7
              My company's setting Kronocalypse (player's guide PDF out now, full setting coming soon), has just such a setting rule. Basically you can do a Spellcasting check to do use magic to accomplish basic tasks that you can perform without magic.
              Kronocalypse Player's Guide - The Kronocalypse has begun! Cavemen, wizards, sky pirates, and cyborgs must unite to stop an evil that threatens to dest

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              • #8
                Of potential interest: Cantrips and orisons
                My blog: Savage Stuff. I've also written some free tools and supplements.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by SteelDraco View Post

                  I think this works fine if you have good players. The trouble is determining where the line is between "flavor-only powers" and "stuff that might be really powerful one day". If I give some players the ability to light their pipes by snapping their fingers, I know I better not have them meet someone carrying dynamite, or they're definitely going to assume they can snap their fingers, like the fuses from across the battlefield, and blow them up.
                  I think the basic rule would be "nothing as powerful as any actual Powers." That would be much more powerful than, say, elemental manipulation (which has a range of Smarts).

                  I'd be okay with little 0 or 1 PP tricks that relate to Powers the character already has. Lighting candles with Elemental Manipulation, making a creepy face with Disguise, entertaining children with Illusion. Things that offer no mechanical benefit, but which give some nice flavor. Or even let them use them for Tests or Support, so long as, again, it offered no big advantage over using other skills.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by SteelDraco View Post
                    I think this works fine if you have good players. The trouble is determining where the line is between "flavor-only powers" and "stuff that might be really powerful one day". If I give some players the ability to light their pipes by snapping their fingers, I know I better not have them meet someone carrying dynamite, or they're definitely going to assume they can snap their fingers, like the fuses from across the battlefield, and blow them up.
                    You'd obviously have to have some guidelines and limits, as your example would actually exceed the ability of Elemental Manipulation (assuming "across the battlefield" is further than EM's range of Smarts). In the archived thread Zadmar linked to, Clint suggests 1/2 Smarts, but I'd probably limit it to the caster and his adjacent squares. They want to light the dynamite that close, let 'em.

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                    • #11
                      Yeah. If it's something they could just as easily do without magic, then there's no need to make them spend points on it.

                      I mean, it depends on the game. Some games track every potential piece of equipment, down to individual matches. In those, part of the challenge is tracking your equipment and making sure you don't run out. Old school D&D-alikes make attrition of equipment a major part of the game. But if you don't track things so closely, there's no real advantage to being able to light a stick of dynamite in your hands. As far as character resources it's "Spend an action to light the dynamite." Maybe someone wants to use Sound/Silence to make their voice louder and be heard across a room. They could also just yell. Using the power is much more flavorful, and doesn't give them any in-game advantage. I'm willing to let that work as a 0-point use of the power.

                      It ultimately comes down to "Does this offer a mechanical or narrative advantage?" In the Tests and Support example, there is some benefit. They can use what's likely their best skill. But the same can be said of someone trying to use Fighting, or Thievery, or one of the "know stuff" skills. Whatever solution you use there, use for spellcasting. In my case, I make them work a bit harder to justify it. And if it's something that gives them a nice boost, then make them pay some power points for it (or say it's not allowed, if it's too powerful or just not part of the powers they picked up).

                      If it's just "I want to do a cool roleplaying flourish," that's something I want to encourage. I want my players coming up with cool little descriptions of what their characters are doing.

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                      • #12
                        I'd like to offer an alternative. We could look at this as a "skill supplement" and treat it as self-support.
                        For instance, let's say you want to cast some twinkling colorful lights to entertain children.
                        You'd roll your arcane skill as if someone else is supporting you granting you +1 (or +2 with a raise) to your performance skill roll.
                        Although, this could easily be made into an edge.

                        Fire is tricky because it's covered by elemental manipulation, but perhaps such effects could be constrained enough to be sufficiently harmless - such as limiting fire-making abilities to the tip of the finger. Enough to impress people by lighting a pipe without matches, but not dangerous enough to set fire to the curtains through a window.

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                        • #13
                          We've been talking about similar things here: https://www.pegforum.com/forum/savag...as-been-broken

                          That was only about controlled movement of small objects, but I see that there are also other things that are not possible with Elemental Manipulation the way it is now. This is the time to still change this somewhere. I don't want this change to be in the new Fantasy Companion as science fiction games might need this as well.

                          Either change Elemental Manipulation to include minor telekinesis, light and sound manipulation and whatever is not possible at the moment, or allow to have all "big" powers a 1 PP option.

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