Re: Question on affinities (subject title changed)

From: Graham Robinson <graham_at_...>
Date: Fri, 03 Jan 2003 11:00:22 +0000

>What I am stuggling with is whether everything is is simply an augment or
>whether/how much of a real effect it has. If most things are an augment
>then there seem to be a lot of affinities that basically do the same
>thing, so I dont think that is right, but how far do you allow things to go...

First, magic is not just augments. At low level, that is where it is most *effective* but at higher levels, it becomes a useful, flexible ability in its own right. Expect to see players using magic directly a lot in the high W1 level.

Let me zero in on your one example. Hopefully this will show fairly well how I run the game.

> does a Killer Rain effect everyone or can they control it and who it
> rains on, does it Kill or just wound, how much wounds does it do. etc etc

I don't have a Helerite character, so this hasn't come up. But if I did, I'd say "yes" to most of this. Specifically :

Player : "I use Killer Rain to wipe out the opposing army" Ruling : Apply the multiple target and probably distance penalties, roll a simple contest, allow bump from hero point. Complete victory has described effect, marginal victory injures a few, only one or two seriously, complete defeat and their reaction to your magical attack is a vicious magical assault of their own that fries you...

Player : "I use Killer Rain to soak the opposing general, killing him" Ruling : More focused, so no multiple target penalty. The guy might be in trouble, but see below...

Kill or Wound?
Depends on the contest result! Apply the combat results table.

>Has anyone every started a reference page of affinities? Listing
>affinities and possible uses and limitations for them, merely as a guide.

The most important thing to realise is that the skill names are colour. They all work pretty much the same way - contest between two appropriate abilities, victory conditions result in injuries (which may be to confidence, reputation, etc. depending on the contest...) or by augmenting another ability. There is no difference in the rules.

The difference is in the stories. The way I find works is to focus on the goals. Players want to achieve something, their opponent wants to achieve something else. Victory and defeat have consequences for each side. Work out those, and the abilities fall into place. Is the ability to be used a good match to the goal? Allow it. A poor match? Allow it, but at a penalty. (Don't worry about a big penalty - I've assigned three mastery penalties before now...) No match at all? Say no, maybe suggesting something else.

At this point, a list of affinity uses becomes counter-productive. The relevance is not "has this affinity the known ability to do this" but "does it sound right to me". Put another way, can you imagine reading a story where a character is said to achieve X using "Sunset Leap" or "Killing Rain" or whatever? If yes, then allow it.

Which is not to say that lists of how other people have used affinities aren't useful. Anything that gives you inspiration for your games is a good thing. But they will probably be less useful than you might think in deciding what to allow in your own game.


Graham Robinson

Albion Software Engineering Ltd.

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