Re: sorcery

From: David Cake <dave_at_...>
Date: Fri, 22 Jun 2001 17:42:23 +0800

>David Cake:
>> >>>Given that a typical order could conceivably have ten (almost
>> >>>complete) grimoires and twice as many single spells in addition
>> >>>to the basic syllabus (numbers are based on the subjects taught
>> >>>at Sog City), presuming that they must restrict themselves to the
>> >>>order's grimoires and then complaining about it is rather
>> >>>counterproductive.
>> Just noticed - this does seem to be you saying that I was
>>complaining about it - au contraire, its desirable.
>Call me stupid but I assumed that:
>::Sorcerers seem to have about as many Grimoires as devotees have
>::Affinities, and each Grimoire has as many spells as an affinity
>::has feats, [...]
>::But they cost twice as much, and you don't get to
>::improvise. Anyone want to tell me why?
>was indeed a complaint of some sorts.

        About the cost, not about what exactly sorcerers have. Grimoires are roughly as good as Affinities and should cost roughly the same. Simple.

> I pointed out that Sorcerers
>get more grimoires than devotees get affinities and that they do
>not restrict themselves. By presuming that sorcerers learn no more
>than three grimoires in a complaint about the cost was what I was
>referring to.

        Except its backwards - learning no more than three is giving them the benefit of the doubt. If they learn more, the problem worsens, not improves.

>>Restricting themselves HELPs the sorcerer,
>>by letting them concentrate (ineffectively) on a few abilities,
> >rather than be all over the place.
>"I've found a copy of the Necronomicon but I won't study from it
>coz it will reduce my abilities..."?

        Well, will Summon and Bind Outer God at 14 really help you much?

> > My point was that I don't expect sorcerers, in practice, to
>>be able to do that much wider a variety of things, as I don't see
>>gaining more and more Grimoires as a particularly effective tactic.
>Sorcerers will still have a larger number of known grimoires
>than theists have affinities. It is a more effective tactic
>than you think because most spells are not combat cantrips
>that are only used against the foe's best ability but range
>from healing, divination, weather control, travelling, etc.

        So, you think sorcerers should have live with a role as swiss army knives, small, ineffectual and incapable of doing much, but versatile, while everyone else gets swords?

        I think its a nice idea if they really choose to do that. But as its the only role open to them (and they are rather ineffectual at that, even - 5 HP a Grimoire still slows them down)

>If a sorcerer thinks that his skill in the spell is to little,
>then he will enhance it via rituals.

        As anyone else can do this too, this just makes the problem more frustrating.

> > >>Game mechanically, its just not very useful, as such
>> >>abilities will be at a starting level and not raise much.
>> >Which makes sense to me.
>> So these abilities are the sort that we wish to encourage
>>(make character slightly more interesting and fun to play), rather
>>than discourage (by making them prohibitively expensive)?
>I do not believe that sorcerers will be equally proficient
>in the grimoires known by their orders. What I do expect
>to happen is that sorcerers will specialize in a particular
>grimoire other than the standard set, know a couple of
>other grimoires and several individual spells to a basic
>level and leave the deep stuff in other grimoires to other
>people in his order.

        Pretty much. Now, in those few Grimoires that they specialise in, they will be outclassed by other magicians. Is this good?

> > My, TR and ST seem to have done a good job in turning HW, at
>>least in the way we think about it, from a freewheeling conceptual
>>game to a rigid prescriptive one.
>Looking at the keywords, I fail to see this.

        I think this pretty much says it all. You can make abilities outside keywords. Even affinities.

> > TR and ST talk about normal Heortling practice. Your PCs are
>>free to be much cooler than that, just by you allowing them to be so.
> >Sure, to come up with more than 3 affinities you need to explain why
>>your PC is special.
>This only applied during Character startup.

	You can add an affinity later, given some useful in game 
explanation that is outside the normal Heortling practice.

> > >Then how would _you_ balance the advantages of sorcery against
>> >its disadvantages if you don't believe that grimoires should
>> >be more expensive to learn than affinities?
>> Again, you miss the point
>I do not miss any point and I have not launched similar barbs at
>you. I am simply trying to get you to _justify_ your original

        What needs justification? Grimoires are as useful as Affinities, and cost more. There is no convincing reason otherwise. Any argument about the other options sorcerers have to spend their HPs elsewhere just amount to 'sorcerers can choose to spread themselves thinner', but do nothing to justify why they are worse off in the first place.

>>- a large number of Grimoires and
>>single spells is NOT an advantage we need to balance.
>Given that the sorcerer has no day job, then he will be able to
>have more potent magical abilities than the equivalent theist.

        He has no more HPs. Are sorcerers expected to have no other abilities except Grimoires?

        I'm trying to understand how this is supposed to make a difference in actual play. But when it comes down to it, other magic specialists are in just the same situation only without the penalty.

> > >But there is far more to sorcery than just being able to attack
>> >people with spells.
>> Yes.
>Well then why on earth imply that all spells in grimoires are useful
>only for attacking people?

        No, attacking people throws the game balance problem into sharp relief. If the sorcerers never win their contests with other people, then the game balance problem is obvious.

        Its true, sorcerers are also less effective at casting other forms of magic, as well as offensive spells.

> >But the only real reason, in game, to make ability
>>levels lower, by increasing cost, is to make it harder to beat people
>>in contests.
>It is? That assumes that all sorcerers will spread their HPs
>on developing all their spells to the same level, which seems

        No, just that they will spread them in roughly the same pattern as everyone else, which seems utterly reasonable. Any arguments to the contrary have implied they will specialise less, rather than more, which worsens the issue.

> > >Given that animists (fetishes, difficult to learn in a hurry)
>> >and theists (authoritarian orders, restrictions on behaviour)
>> >also suffer most of these penalties, they aren't real differences
>> >that could be imposed on sorcerers to balance them out.
>> Thats kind of the point - sorcerers do not have vast
>>advantages (indeed, fairly mild ones), and so need no vast
>>disadvantages to balance them.
>But I pointed out that you had just proposed no _real_
>disadvantages. So what _fairly mild_ disadvantage do you
>think they should get?

        No, I proposed the same fairly mild disadvantages they already have. In other words I think if you leave them as written, it will make sorcerers about as good a choice as any other major magic practitioner. As it stands now, they are clearly worse.


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