Bell Digest vol03p11.txt

Subject:  How About a Mug of Powsy,  Volume 3,  Number 11

First Distribution:  June 15,  1989

This issue:
	Re: RQ Digest3#10			(Jeff Okamoto)
	Re: RQ Digest3#10			(Bruce Mason)
	Revised Element Bolt			(Andrew Bell)

Editor's note:  I am considering having a separate mailing list for more
conversational discussion,  as opposed to the (usually -- (Element) bolt
excepted) more organized and tested stuff in the Digest.  The conversations
will go out to the mailing list in a less formatted but faster time.
Try to let me know somehow which list you want any contributions on,  or
I'll make a guess based on content.

Glad to see you guys are paying attention.


From: Jeff Okamoto 

Subject: Re: RQ Digest3#10

>From: (=Mark Abbott)
>Subject: Re: Roundless combat

>This is a system for roundless combat which we've been using here
>for about 4 years now.  I'll give the mechanics of the system without
>the actual data tables for the weapons.  If anybody is interested,
>I can pass on the details.

The Chaosium game Ringworld used a system much like this.  Presumably
the SR's for magic spells correspond to your RAR units...

>Subject:  Sorcery spell: (Element) Bolt
>Here's a possible sorcery spell:
>(Element) Bolt
>ranged, instant (and temporal),  passive
>This spell causes a bolt composed of the given element to shoot
>from the caster's hand.  Whatever target is hit takes 1 point of
>damage per level of intensity of the spell,

YIKES!  Just guess what munchkin PC sorcerer will build: spell matrices
containing intensity of this spell!

>plus possible additional effects as noted below.  Protection spells
>will reduce the damage by 1 point per point of protection.  Armor has
>no effect against this damage.  The caster must make a skill roll
>to hit the target,  which is treated as a missile skill and can be
>increased by experience or training.  The missile skill is the same
>regardless of the element.

At MINIMUM, the caster should have to overcome the target's MP's.

>Fire:     This may set fire to papers and other flammable materials.

Presumably with intensity equal to the spell's intensity.

>Darkness: This may freeze liquids.

Unfortunately, there are no rules in RQ3 for freezing.  I suppose a
table could be drawn up.

>Earth:    This form of bolt can do knockback.

Presumably at one point of "knockback potential" per point of intensity.

>Storm:    This form (lightning bolt) is +30% to hit metal-clad targets.
>	  Lightning does not stay stable enough to be manipulated
>	  after the initial strike.

YIKES!  As if this didn't already overpower the Rune spell Lightning.
Now you get +30% to hit!

>Water:	  Waterbolts do only half damage,  but do knockback equal to the
>	  full intensity.

Thank goodness there's no chance of it filling the target's lungs as an
undine does.

>Chaos:    If the intensity of the spell overcomes the target's magic
>	points, the target gets a reverse chaos feature for the duration
>	of the spell.  This effect works as a spell, and thus
>	countermagic and spell resistance work against it.

Umm, chaos isn't an Element, it's a Form.  Pocharngo (or is it Thed,
I don't have GoG here at work) already has a Rune spell that's similar,
but you roll to see if you get a "normal" Chaotic Feature, or one of
Thed's Reverse Chaotic Features.

[Thed has a 2-point Reverse Chaos Feature spell]

>Lune:     The spell also acts as a madness spell, where the intensity
>	of the spell is matched against the target's magic points.

Does the madness go away when the spell wears off?

>Learning the Chaos Bolt spell will give the caster a Chaos taint,  and
v>thus it is never taught in civilized societies.  The Lune Bolt spell is
>very rare except among certain sects of lunar magicians.
>If you see problems with this spell, or can think of better elemental
>effects, by all means let me know.

The problem I see with this spell is that it GREATLY exceeds already
existing Rune spells at little cost.  What takes Pocharngo/Thed
a 2-point Rune spell, I can do the same with an Intensity 1 spell.

This spell seems to me to easy to abuse.  A sorcerer can create a
spell matrix containing Intensity in this spell.  Bingo, instant
damage creation!  Don't need to overcome the target's MP's or anything!
Got a low missile skill?  Don't worry!  Use Lightning as your element!
+30% to the auto-damaging crystal against metal-armored targets!

Major question: is this spell REALLY necessary?  A hot-spit sorcerer
can be hell on wheels at times.  I know, I've played a couple.
They've already got a heck of lot of offensive spells: Venom, Palsy,
Stupefy, Form/Set, Diminish, Dominate, Enhance,  and of course, Damage
Boost for your friends.  Why give them an even more powerful spell,
one that doesn't need to overcome magic points?  Every other offensive
spell requires this, except this one.

In a nutshell: TOO POWERFUL, not really needed.  Thumbs down.



From: B Mason 

Subject:    rqdig3#10

Element Bolt.  Surely this spell is just form/set under another name?  The
rules changes in RQIII1/2 state that using form set to attack is only
meaningful if the substance has a potential for damgae.  It does differ in that
you don't need to carry your ammo around with you unlike form/set.  This is the
main problem.  The spell is horrendously unbalanced.  It would destroy most
Gloranthan campaigns as it allows creation of something out of nothing.  A
sorceror with the inclination can slowly turn the world to chaos by building
a matrix, teaching all his students Chaos bolt and casting long duration

Really can't see any reason to include this in a campaign when form/set already
exists and provides for much more interesting magic.  If you want to set up
a chaos mage then said mage should have to go get some himself and then look
after it - nice bit of a chaos farming going on.  From one spell you can build
up a pretty fun scenario.

The RQ without rounds system seems pretty unmanageable.  I experimented with
a fairly similar set up myself and found it made running fight scenes
horrendously complicated.  People seem to consistently misunderstand that RQ
is an *interpreted* combat system in much the same way as the D&D family.  ie
the emphasis is on explaining what happened rather than taking second by
second control of the character.  To run RQ as a blow-by-blow system would
require full scale revision of the combat system in order to make any sense out
of it and I really can't see the point in that - the current set up is good

Apologise for the rather intemperate sound of this mailer.  It's hard to
criticise and not sound offensive.  But these are the problems I see and I
would be glad to hear of any defences.



Subject:  Revised Element Bolt


An interesting difference in criticisms:  one protested the damage abilities,
one protested substance creation.  Bruce mentions form/set,  Jeff commented
that not many people know about form/set.

(Jeff and I have been discussing this via e-mail,  so much of my reply is
based on this interaction)

Looking a little more closely at other spells,  there are two changes that
should be made to make it a reasonable spell.

1) The damage is reduced by armor.  Any side effects are based solely on
   the intensity that gets through.

2) The substance doesn't stay around,  although its effects will.
   Thus if a fire bolt ignites something,  that thing will burn normally
   thereafter.  Water frozen by a Darkness bolt will gradually melt.

BLM:>Element Bolt.  Surely this spell is just form/set under another name?

Not quite.  It's more a combination of Form/Set and illusion spells,  in
that it temporarily creates the substance.  Remember,  the substance created
by an illusion is real.

BLM:> The spell is horrendously unbalanced.

Let me know if eliminating the duration corrects this flaw.  No more
turning the world to Chaos,  at least.

BLM:> Really can't see any reason to include this in a campaign when form/set
BLM:> already exists and provides for much more interesting magic.

The two have substantially different effects,  and I would give the bolt
spell a substantially better range.  Since form/set is a "throw",  it
should be fairly short range.

If it is balanced,  I think it's a reasonable spell.  The existence of
neutralize damage doesn't make treat wounds useless.

BLM:>Apologise for the rather intemperate sound of this mailer.

Hey,  at least you didn't use capital letters... :-)

J?O:>Major question: is this spell REALLY necessary?

Yes,  I think an elemental attack spell is "necessary."  To paraphrase what
somebody else once said to me: "They just have to have fireballs!  They just
HAVE to!"  Unless one wishes RuneQuest to be inextricably tied to Glorantha,
the system should be able to simulate spells commonly mentioned in fantasy
literature.  I know of no other FRP system where a magician cannot cast some
analogue of fireball.

Even if it's not "necessary",  if the spell isn't horrendously powerful it
doesn't hurt.  Let me know if you find it reasonable with the changes.

J?O;>A hot-spit sorcerer can be hell on wheels at times.  I know, I've
J?O:>played a couple.

The sorcerors I've played have been most effective in casting long duration
spells before the adventure,  and then they might as well go home.  Then
again,  one is a Chalana Arroy worshipper,  so really I need more sorcery

J?O:>Why give them an even more powerful spell,one that doesn't need
J?O:>to overcome magic points?  Every other offensive spell requires
J?O:>this, except this one.

Read form/set.  Much of it is very similar to (Element) bolt,  and it
does not require an overcoming roll.

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