Bell Digest vol03p01.txt

Subject: The Boringly Titled RQ Digest,  Volume 3,  Number 1

This issue:
	Re: Spell Crit/Fumble rolls			(Steven A. Schrader)
	What new stuff is scheduled from Chaosium?	Jeff Okamoto

Ed's note:  My duke account's name has changed to
My unc account is now my main account for digest stuff,  so it is the better
address to use.
    Perhaps we should have a vote on our first controversy:  elaborate spell
fumbles or mundane?  Having both in the rules as a GM's option might not be
a bad idea either...


Subject: Re: Spell Crit/Fumble rolls

From: Steven A. Schrader   (SAS@PSUARCH.BITNET)

>> While in one of my early GMing sessions one of my players rolled a 00
>> for his spell success roll(He knew Sorcery).  He groaned aloud and
>> asked "Ok, what happens to me know?"  After looking at the rules and
>> trying to find some fumbles for spells and not finding any,

>In RQ3, fumbles cause failure of the spell and loss of all magic points

>Criticals mean that only 1 MP is spent.

>[If you're in a "be kind to sorcerors" kind of mood,  you could make specials
>cost only 1/2 (round up) the magic points...- AB]

However, that is NOT the air that I wanted to gain.  I wanted Magic to be
somewhat mystical and deadly to make a mistake.

[But a special isn't a mistake.  You can have fumbles and still have specials
having improved effect or reduced cost.]

>> Soldifying/Weakening Life Force
>>   Armoring Enchantment
>>   Damage Resistance
>> Fumbles
>>   01 - 20    Force can not leave body. Force(FOR) is equal to POW.
>>                  Caster must expend one point of POW for every point
>>                  of FOR in his body.  Any FOR that is left in the body
>>                  at the end of that melee round will cause 1 point of
>>                  Damage per point of FOR to a random hit location.
>Do you realize that could kill a character?  If I cast a
>15 point Damage Resist (not unusual for a sorcerer), and I fumble and
>roll 01-20, I lose 15 POW.  If you mean magic points, then I fall
>unconscious and am sure to be killed by whatever I was fighting.
>[If you're spending 15 MP on a spell,  you almost certainly have an outside
>source of magic points.  15 more MP shouldn't drain you completely,  unless
>you were totally eliminating your chances to succeed with offensive magic.
>The force also shouldn't concentrate in any single part of the body,  each
>point should be rolled for (missile table) to see where it affects. - AB]

I like Andy's comment about each point affecting a different part of the
body, and yes I do realize it could kill someone--that was the intent!
Again, Magic is mystical and deadly is done wrong.

>>   21 - 50    Spell is reversed at half strength
>What's half of one point of Armoring Enchantment?  Or the reverse of
>a Damage Resistance?
>[Reversed damage resistance might boost the damage coming in by a factor of
>1/2 on a successful roll - nasty!  But these are supposed to be *fumbles*...
>1/2 a point of something is what somebody of another race can heal with
>healing 1! :-) -AB]

Very good Andy!

>> Criticals
>>   91 - 100   Spell causes a backlash of force affecting the attacker
>>                  with one point of POW for every point of POW the spell
>>                  had.  Spirit combat ensues, however, the caster can
>>                  not raise his POW by this means
>Huh?  Allowing a character to go into spirit combat against another
>character?  There's a spell in RQ3 for this -- Subere's Attack Soul.
>I dislike this immensely.

>[No,  Steve's proposing the SPELL attacks the character -- a rather bizzare
>concept. - AB]

Again, Andy is right.  I also have never heard of the spell you mention.
like to post it?

[Copyright problems prevent this,  but simply it allows the character to
attack another being in spirit combat.  Only the caster can break off the
combat.  Procede with spirit combat as normal.  Subere is the Goddess of Hell
Darkness,  and has spells for summoning and controlling various dark and
mysterious spirits.]

>> Using Life Force to cause the changing of identity
>>    Create Basilisk
>>    Create Vampire
>>    Form/Set
>>    Phantom Senses
>>    Shapechange Species to Species
>> Fumble
>>    61 - 80   Effects halved(Thing is only half changed)
>Sorry, I just can't buy this.  What SPECIFICALLY does half or a quarter
>of these spells do?  What's the effect of a half or a quarter of a
>shape-change?  And which half of a vampire do you get?  The top half or
>the bottom half?
>[This is where the GM can have fun!  Change it to "partial effect,  GM
>specifies details",  and you can have weird results. - AB]

Nothing needs to be added to our illustrious editor's comments.

>> Moving/Slowing something with Life Force
>>    Binding Enchantment
>>    Glue
>>    Hinder
>>    Summon Species
>>    Teleport
>> Fumble
>>    01 - 25   Move the wrong object
>What does a Binding Ench or Summon have to do with moving?

Binding keeps something from moving to the point that it can not move
Well, summon has a lot to do with something moving!  How do you think the
summoned creature gets there if not being moved by the caster's magic?

[Think of it as Summon the wrong object.

>>   26 - 50   Lose control of the object until another successful spell
>>                  is made(Dir 8 sided die)
>What do I lose control of when Gluing?

I would say that you lost control of stopping the gluing at one spot
so the gluing continues for a path.  I originally thought of the idea
that new spells could be "found" by a mistake.  A rather interesting
idea that science uses an awful lot! %)

>>   51 - 75   Object held for duration
>Does this mean a fumbled Hinder freezes the object in place?  Neat!
>Let me cast a 1-point Hinder on you and fumble.  It gives the effect
>of a 6-point Hinder (double movement for running all-out).

Maybe I sould reword it to opposite effect for duration.  Well 1-point
for you!

>>   76 - 00   The wrong object moved, but out of control
>Again, what does moving have to do with Binding or Summoning?

Well, that seems apparent to me! You either summoned the wrong thing or
bound the wrong thing(your apprentice??) and bound/summoned to the wrong

>> Critical Success
>>    01 - 70   Effects are doubled
>Does this mean I get something twice the size of something I summoned?
>Then I could be killed by a (supposedly good) critical.
>[Or you could be teleported twice as far...perhaps "effects doubled if
>desired and applicable" would be better - AB]

That is true.  But you did do doubly good!  You really manipulated your
magic so well that you brought in something bigger.  Perhaps I would
allow a character to refuse a critical (before the result of the crit is
announced of course).

>> Using Life Force as a recepticle
>>    Homing Circle
>>    Magic Point Matrix Enchancement
>>    Spell Matrix Enchancement
>> Fumble
>>     01 - 20   Recepticle is made, Access is denied
>Why not just say, "Spell failed"?

Because the MP ARE there.  Maybe they could be gotten to with another
and what an intersting concept.  Something that only LOOKS magical--
Kinda like the AD&D spell Nystul's Magic Aura!

>>     21 - 80   Object has 1 point of damage for every point of POW used
>Eh?  Would you like to explain that?  Does that mean when I touch it,
>it damages me?  Not a bad weapon to use in combat....

No! No! Silly! The object has 1 point of damage! you know like the sword
you were trying to enchant onto, now has 1 less AP!

>>     81 - 00   Object "Eats" POW.  Acts like spell combat.  Objects POW vs
>>                    defender's POW.  Is resistance fails, then 1 POW is
>>                    "Eaten" by the object and added to its total.  This
>>                    Will continue until the place is sealed with another
>>                    succesful spell of this type.
>"This will continue" how often?  Once a minute?  Once a day?  Can I
>give it to someone else and have it eat their souls too?

It is more like spirit combat.  Sure you can give it to someone, if you
are alive that is.

>> Using Life Force to Stop/Start Reactions
>>    Ignite
>>    Immortality*
>> Fumble
>>    01 - 20  Opposite effects are done
>Does this mean an Ignite will put out the fire I was trying to start?

I would read it as you have made the object unignitable (until perhaps
two ignite spells overcome it.)  Be a little imaginative.

[Another case where a fumble might be good...I can just see the munckins
casting ignite on their character until they fumble and become immune to

>>   81 - 00  Wrong Vocal Point

OOps, Wrong Focal Point. . . another point for you

>> Critical Success
>>   01 - 70  Double Strength
>Am I twice as Immortal now?
>[Again,  "where applicable":  for immortality,  you could go a month without
>oysters perhaps?  Must get tiring eating 150 pounds of oysters every 30 days...

Whooops, Andy has not hit my meaning.  Try reading the Immortality spell!
You are NEVER immortal, you just do not age until the duration of the
spell is over.  Well double strength could be read as you "youthen"
or as my result would be the spell's duration is doubled.  Will it really
affect your characters that much?  Has anyone in your campaign died from
old age?

>> Using Life Force to Affect another's mind
>>    Dominate Species
>>    Shimmer
>> Fumble
>>   01 - 20    Wrong Target
>How do I determine this?

Oh, perhaps random roll, perhaps you choose, Dunno... I kinda figured
that the GM would find a way (does not seem that hard to me? ;-) )

>>   21 - 40    Half opposite effects
>How am I half Dominated?

Easy, the suggestions that are done to you, you have a chance to reject.

[Might just freeze the character in place;  you can't move yourself,  but
neither can the sorceror.  Or it could be a POW vs. POW struggle to try to do
what you want versus what the sorceror wants...]

>>   81 - 90    Affect yourself
>Neat, I Shimmer myself (which I may have wanted to do in the first

Ok! I muffed.  You get four points for this one.  Your suggestion that
you want to shimmer yourself also applies to fanatacism.  I did not think
of that.  I will work on this one, as I see it as weak in light of your
comment.  For now, maybe just use wrong target as the first fumble is.

>> Transfer of Information from One Source to Another
>>   Apprentice Bonding
>>   Visibility
>> Fumble
>>    01 - 20   Wrong Information given
>What information do I gain from an Apprentice Bonding?

Silly, silly!  If you are on the opposite end of the spell you get the
vitals to a spell, if you cast it then your translation of the vitals
of the spell are muffed by the spell.  I mean the spell IS needed to
teach another a sorcery spell.

>>   21 - 40   Wrong Sense used
>What sense is a Visibility spell?

Why, sight of course.
Perhaps you now, can smell the thing really well.  Not much help to you,

>> Critical Success
>>    01 - 70   more Detailed information given than is usual
>What information do I gain from an Apprentice Bonding?

This is getting tiring.  Spell Vitals.  Say double the intial D6 roll
for percentile.

>   71 - 90   Double effects
>   91 - 00   Treble effects
>I don't want to be too harsh, but I think that not enough thought was
>given in thinking about the effects for each spell for the fumble and
>critical effects.
I resent the thought that I would lend out my system to anyone if I
thought that I had not put enough time into them.  I have put an awful
lot of thought into them.  I think you should open your mind and use
a little bit of imagination in employing the rules.  Add some spark
to the boring, predictable magic system.  The fact that a spell can fail
really turned me on to RQ and off of AD&D, but if there is a failure,
why can there not be a fumble.  If there are fumbles then why not
crits?  I am weakest on the Crits, cause really you want to have the
spell work as it was supposed to w/o any alteration, so what IS a crit?
I imagined it as the caster manipulated the energy so deftly that the
results were ultra-normal.  Maybe not what you wanted, but you did do
the spell great--too good.

>I think that the current rules for fumbles and criticals are fine.
>There is no need to add insult to injury or hand out Monty Haul effects
>just because of a single die roll.
>[Perhaps,  but a bit of a problem with RQ magic is that it is so mundane
>and mechanical.  While I propose making sorcery spells a bit more colorful in
>their effects,  Steve has proposed adding some color via fumbles. - AB]
Again, Andy is right.  I do not beleive anyone has EVER accused my
campaigns of being Monty Haulish!!!  Perhaps a bit deadly, if you did
not think carefully your actions, and sometimes too realistic (whatever
that is! %)  ), but never monty haulish!  I do not believe that my
system IS monty haulish.  What is wrong with 5/100 spells being cast
with double the effect?  If you would like to give characters a little
more control over the crits, tell them that they critically succeded and
allow them to prematurely cut the spell, say from 8 MP to 4 MP.
Maybe even penalize them for doing this, maybe not.  I have to think that
idea out a little further.

>The rules say nothing about crits or fumbles for Ritual Magic.  My
>guess would be to use the same type of rule for Spirit Magic and
>Sorcery: one POW for crit, expend all POW uselessly for a fumble.
>(Note that Rune Magic, bought earlier, generally does not need critical
>and fumble rules, except when using MP's to break through Countermagic
>or for Heal Wounds.  In the former, I would not let criticals mean only
>1 MP was used -- you needed it to affect the target at all.  In the
>latter, I would allow the critical).
>Jeff Okamoto

My closing comments.  The system that you use, does not have the color of
mine.  Also, in game testing, one person received a crit.  He was doing
a mindlink.  I secretly rolled and found that he received/gave more info
rmation than just verbal, emotions were received also.  The character
did not realize the difference.  That was one that could have been ex-
ploited really well, but he missed it.  I use the system, and I have only
used the tables once.  It did not overbalance the play at all.
                                  -- Steven A. Schrader

[This sat in my dukeac account for months without me ever logging on,  so I
have removed that from the list of accounts to send to me at.]


Subject:  What new stuff is scheduled from Chaosium?

From:  Jeff Okamoto (

[I asked Jeff,  since he knows some of the good folk at Chaosium,  if he knew
what was in the works.  His response:]

Scheduled for February, 1989:

	Petersen's Field Guide to the Dreamlands
		If you thought the artwork for PFGttCM was good, wait
		'til you see these!
	Prince Valiant
		Greg's Story-telling Role-Playing Game based on Hal
		Fisher's (sp?) comic.
	4th edition Call of Cthulhu
		Incorporating more rules fixes, a complete spell lexicon
		(based on the previous one, but including all of the
		supplements).  The cover will be new.

Further scheduled:

	Elder Secrets of Glorantha
		Covering most (but not all) of the secrets of Glorantha.
		It looks pretty good.  And no, it doesn't give away THE
		secret of the God-Learners (which only 5 people on Earth
		know -- I'm one of them).

[Threats,  bribes,  etc. were unsuccessful at wresting the secret from Jeff...]

	Great Old Ones
		Another large Cthulhu supplement -- the manuscript has
		been sitting around for quite a while.

Some other things:

I've been discussing Pendragon with Greg.  There will most likely be
another series of supplements.  It will make it easier for a GM to
run a Pendragon campaign -- I've always thought the hardest thing to
get was a good sense of continuity.  These should help.

Sandy [Peterson] has indeed left Chaosium.  The parting was amicable, despite
what you may have heard.  Sandy is now living in Baltimore, working as a
game designer for Microprose, a computer game company.  He left so as
to make more money -- with four children, Chaosium wasn't paying enough.

That's all for now!


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