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Transmutation as an attack
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CanuckAlchemist

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 25, 2012 2:37 am    Post subject: Transmutation as an attack Reply with quote

If a magician knew the traditions of both transmutation and Aeromancy could he transmute a person into air? If so, would they waft away on the breeze and then be turned into a rain of grisly soup when the duration of the spell expired?

Wiggy's written before about transmuting a wall into dust as a permanent change. I'm just wondering if transmutation like that would be converted into a damage attack column instead of a transmutation. If not, I think there could be an issue with the Size 0 category being a 0 difficulty, it makes for a man sized transmutation a very easy spell to cast, just range and a duration of a few seconds will scramble a man permantently.

And while we are on the subject of transmutation. Transmuting a large section of hull into dust would make ships vulnerable to a magician. Anyone have any thoughts on limits that could be placed on this? I am not thinking about ship to ship combat, too many witnesses, but in a harbour a mage could sneak in and be 500 feet away and start cutting holes in the flagship, or a mile away with a +4 complication. Makes sabotage very easy. "Dry rot? and nobody noticed?"
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Runeslinger

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 25, 2012 11:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've been thinking about this since you posed it in your previous question.

If it were to happen in game as something a player just realized their character could do, and I had not considered it before, I think my response would be that unless a permanent change could be generated, that at the end of the spell the transmuted object is restored to its pre-spell condition, minus any damaging effects which were applied in the transmuted state which would disrupt it. I mean, if an object were transmuted to water and then stirred, no damage is inflicted, but if it were boiled off into steam, that is another kettle of fish. The object would reappear at the end of the spell, wherever the steam had gone, with the effects applied of having been boiled... or something like that.

If a sword were transformed to air I would have a hard time choosing between it retaining some semblance of shape and being an 'air sword' or just wafting away, but in the end, I would want it to reform later - somewhere.

For Size, though, I think that transmuting a part of a coherent object should have to pay for the whole object. To hole the hull, you'd have to affect all the boards which cover the area you wish to affect.... For a wall, I want to create a person-sized passageway, but I have to affect each brick in my desired area, or the Size of the whole wall if it is a solid piece of something. You could apply modifiers the same as with groups of individuals.

I am a stickler for the ritual and paraphernalia of casting, however, so I can't see this sort of thing coming up that often in a game.
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CanuckAlchemist

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 26, 2012 6:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well lets look at the ship issue. A transmuter could change the ship parts into something else.

A transmuter could change the wood into any other wood product without knowing another tradition. He could change the wood into paper, or bundles of twigs, or sawdust. All of these choices could allow water into a ship, and ruin the structural integrity of the ship depending on where the spell took effect. If the transmuter knew aeromancy, like the sword example he could change the wood into air and let the water pour in.

A floromancer could explode the hole into shards and tear a hole out of the ship, this may look like a bomb went off in the ship, or somebody fired a rocket at it. He could also tell the boards to part an form an opening. This change could be permanent (a +0 complication) and occur instantly, or it could be used to open a hole, allow water to flow in and the close the hole after the duration expired. (anything higher on the complication list). Let us assume he wants to sink the ship so he keeps it at a permanent +0 effect, a one time opening.

Area of effect. A +0 complication is a 5 foot radius. That is more than enough depth to make a hole in a hull. I am figuring a sphere here, so if the middle of the sphere is at the outer edge of the hull the effect reaches into the ship five feet in a curved/ dome shape of a 5 foot arc. Hald the spell is wasted, but the greatest surface area at the hull is affected.

Effect: This is up for some discussion. I am thinking the size category because we are affecting inanimate objects. The size chart on page 16 gives weights for the size of animals. A size of 0 is 100 to 500 pounds, 1 is 500 lbs to a ton, and size 2 is 1 ton to 10 tons.

So.... let us go +4 complications and affect a Size 2 capacity of material, 1 to 10 tons. That should be more than enough weight to cause huge amounts of timber to be shifted or transmuted. Causing 10 tons of material to twist, pop, or vanish out of existence is going to cause leaks. Aiming the spell at the waterline will let huge amounts of water in.

Total difficulty of the spell

Base 2
Range: 2 500 feet
Duration: 0 Instant
Area of Effect: 0 5' radius
Effect: 4 Size 2 (1 to 10 tons)
Rating: 8


And thinking more about it a magician does not even have to do all that much material to put a ship out of commission. Toppling the mast, cracking it requires far less material to affect. Cutting the keel is another option, right at the front, let them have to rebuild the prow end of the ship.

And affecting an entire vessel is pretty easy, warships weighing 360 tons were only 170 feet long, so increasing area of effect to a +8 and 100 foot radius is easy enough.

Of course a Pyromancer could just aim a spell and ignite the whole ship and people would think a saboteur planted a firebomb on board, so several traditions can be used to ruin a ship. I've just been looking at some of the quieter ways a ship could be damaged.


And I would be interested to hear more about your ideas for the sword that is changed into air. You would expect the sword to hold its shape while air and reform into air? What if the transmuter was a gemancer and not a aeromancer and turned the sword into dust? Would the pile of swirling dust reform into a sword at the end? What if some dust was swept away, fell into a river and washed away, blew away on the wind, of someone grabbed a handful of it?

I am interested in seeing how other GM's adjudicate the effects of magic in game.
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CanuckAlchemist

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 26, 2012 6:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Of course the alternative is to make the spell cast at the ship act as an attack and use the damage column, and ignore the size and transmutation aspect. This changes the affects section, but leaves the rest of the spell the same. This prevents the magician from being an Armada killer.

The sword thing I would let go as normal, just because it is funny. Although having a sword shatter into shrapnel aimed at the wielder is a nasty alternative as well.
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Runeslinger

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 29, 2012 5:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think looking at intentions behind the spell is always a good thing, and so this alternative is a pretty good one if the intent is not so much to do something like pass through a wall as it is to blow a hole in a ship.
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 29, 2012 7:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Shock, horror, gasp - I agree with Runeslinger Shocked
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CanuckAlchemist

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 29, 2012 3:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

And to play Devil's advocate again, when you get to Size 4 you are dealing with 1 to 10 tons of material, and at size 8 you are dealing with 50 to 100 tons of matter. Being able to turn half a ship into sawdust should do more than 5 or 6 L damage.

Using the conjuring animals into existence section of the size category on pg 124 we are dealing with the ability to affect and create something the size of a blue whale. (from the size table on pg 16)

So while I agree that the intent of the spell is important there is also, for transmutation at least, the capacity to affect a huge vlume and mass of material. This represents enormous power and needs to be addressed. 100 tons of material is 3 tractor trailer loads of material. That's a lot of material to move around, or conjure into existence.


Here is a question, who is conjuring animals into existence on pg 124? What Art can do that? Faunomancy can summon swarms of rats or bees, can they conjure them into existence? And if so, is there a limit to size? Can they conjure a bear to fight for them? Drop a whale onto a village a la Hitchhikers guide?

I've gone a little bit astray on this one, but I just realized what the conjuring line implies. And it results in a lot more questions. If conjured, I am guessing it vanishes when the spell is done, if summoned, they are real and can be caught. Hmm, a faunomancer fisherman, always has full nets. Pied Piper of Hamelin but overtones of Aquaman.
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TAG Wiggy

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 29, 2012 3:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Looks like a leftover before the paragraph preceeding it was finalized (since that covers summoning demons and animals). However, creating an illusionary creature would use Size, since no other Effect really applies.
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CanuckAlchemist

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 29, 2012 3:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ahh, well that clears that up, no conjuring of creatures, just summoning. Perfect.

Next question on that topic then. If you wanted to summon creatures like fish so you could catch them in fishing nets, how would you assess the range and Area of Effect elements of the spell?

Would it be a +4 for all fish within 1 mile of the nets? and have the Area of Effect be the size of the nets?

How long would the duration have to last to let the fish get there? Or are they transported by magick in an instant if you use a +0 complication for duration?

And any thoughts on the ship transmutation? Is the spell a ship sinker or is there a different way of looking at it?
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 29, 2012 3:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

CanuckAlchemist wrote:
Next question on that topic then. If you wanted to summon creatures like fish so you could catch them in fishing nets, how would you assess the range and Area of Effect elements of the spell?

Would it be a +4 for all fish within 1 mile of the nets? and have the Area of Effect be the size of the nets?

How long would the duration have to last to let the fish get there? Or are they transported by magick in an instant if you use a +0 complication for duration?


Range and Area of Effect are different things.

Range is the distance the spell takes effect. It has nothing to do with the area of effect. If you think there are fish within 1 mile, then that's the range you need to use. Smile Odds are there'll be some around.

As for the Area of Effect, the GM should base the number of fish on the Area you pick and local conditions. For instance, if you know damn well there's a herring shoal nearby, then a 5-foot radius will summon a lot. Otherwise, you might only summon one or two fishes to your net even with a 100-foot radius spell. Alternately, the GM might say you use the People entry, with the chosen number being the number of people you can feed for a single meal.

There's no wrong way, and it's a very hit-and-miss spell for ensuring a fish supper. Smile

Quote:
And any thoughts on the ship transmutation? Is the spell a ship sinker or is there a different way of looking at it?


Not really. Is it really any different than creating a wind to drive a ship onto rocks and wreck it? That's equally as deadly in its own way. And how often will you get chance to sink a ship, anyway? Smile
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CanuckAlchemist

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 29, 2012 4:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fishing spell: I was thinking in terms of Area of Effect for the net, to make the fish swin into the net to be captured., not the number of people to be fed. Of course at the time I was looking at a size category of 2 and thinking 1 to 10 tons of fish to be caught, which would feed a lot more than 20 people.

It's the confusion over how much you can summon with a spell. If a fish is size -2, can you summon a lot of them with the size category in the Effects table. This would allow feeding a village in tough times. Of course if you summoned one whale you could feed more than 20 people. And be rich from the harvest.

I'm just looking at applications of the magic system for things other than combat.

As for the ships, I agree you can conjure a wind to dash a ship against the rocks. As for how often you would use it, it depends on the mission. Suppose the Musketeers are on a deep cover mission and find Spain has amassed a fleet of ships to launch an assault. Instead of having to get word of the imminent attack the Floromancer gets close enough to sink the transports, one after another. Sadly it seems the rush job of construction resulted in bad seams and the caulking all failed at the same time. The magician could have a huge impact. A magician has the capacity to sink a fleet in minutes. That is what the Size category seems to be showing me.


I am just looking at the 1 to 100 tonnes in the Size category and looking at the impact that would have on a society where everything is done by hand.

Earthworks for defense, 50 to 100 feet long, prepared in an instant. Contstruction, mining, field clearing. All non combat, mundane even. But with the endless possibility to alter the life of a village. Saving a village from a flood, or causing a dam to wash out to destroy a bridge to prevent an army from crossing. We are talking big numbers here. All possible in less than a minute with the proper spell.

I speak from bitter experience; when a conveyor belt failed I had to shovel 50 feet of belt 2 feet thick and 3 feet wide of wet muddy material, by hand, 30 feet in the air. It was long hot sweaty work. And it was only a few tonnes of material. This is what every commoner citizen in France has to face with all their tasks.

Sure I am holding a magical hammer and everything looks like a nail. But the 100 ton upper limit is huge for a muscle power economy. So I am just messing around with possiblities.
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 29, 2012 7:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The way you're talking about magick still comes across as looking at a society where magick is as common or accepted as D&D. That isn't the case in AFO. Peasants are superstitious, not stupid -- if it ain't a natural occurence, then it's obviously magick. Smile

There's a huge difference between your examples -- turning rock into water, for instance -- and more subtle effects.

#1: "We were at the quarry, m'lord, when the cliff suddenly turned to water and flowed away! The men refuse to go back to work until you get rid of the demons."

#2: "Good news, m'lord! We were hacking away at the cliff face and the whole cliff collapsed into a pile of rubble! Must have been a fault in the rock. Reckon it's saved us weeks of work!"

As for the Size of the fish, anything larger than a few fish becomes a swarm for game purposes. So yes, using the Size table would be appropriate.
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CanuckAlchemist

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 29, 2012 7:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

True, magic is not accepted, but it is used by some, and they can affect huge amounts of material, and with your subtle effects example one person could help a village out. A village crone who actually IS a witch, and a nice one could well make sure her village stays healthy. Blessing crops secretly, raising groundwater or summoning rain to prevent drought damage. A single fishing witch could catch a swarm of several tons and feed hundreds of people. All of these examples could be done in secret.

Player characters who are magicians could 'find' old earthworks near a battlefield and report them to their commanders as a good place to set the army up in a position. Or the Spanish could suffer a setback of a strong defenisve position suddenly experiencing a small earthquake and slumping down, weakening the position.

Magick is not accepted, but it does exist, and a single person can act, for good or ill, and make a huge impact on the game. That is where my questions are coming from.

Some of my questions have been from a more overt use of magick to get the job done, but more secretive methods are possible. Your cliff face to rubble is a great example. The ship attack scenarios I have been discussing can be disguised to look like the construction methods were substandard and the ship's siding failed under the pressure of the waves. A careful magician (and a no careful magician is a dead magician) will have to affect items to make it seem plausible that the event was a natural occurrence.
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 29, 2012 8:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

CanuckAlchemist wrote:
True, magic is not accepted, but it is used by some, and they can affect huge amounts of material, and with your subtle effects example one person could help a village out. A village crone who actually IS a witch, and a nice one could well make sure her village stays healthy. Blessing crops secretly, raising groundwater or summoning rain to prevent drought damage. A single fishing witch could catch a swarm of several tons and feed hundreds of people. All of these examples could be done in secret.

Er, possibly but unlikely. Just by saying things can be done in secret doesn't actually mean it is actually that easy to achieve. A successful and thriving village is likely to be looked at very closely by the other villages that are suffering and...hey, the Inquisition are here!

CanuckAlchemist wrote:
Player characters who are magicians could 'find' old earthworks near a battlefield and report them to their commanders as a good place to set the army up in a position. Or the Spanish could suffer a setback of a strong defensive position suddenly experiencing a small earthquake and slumping down, weakening the position.

You see, something like this is really out of context with the situation you are describing. In a battlefield situation both armies have spies, observers and lookouts everywhere and it would be bloody difficult for magick of this kind to be worked without being noticed by both sides. That alone could have political ramifications against the French (if the French don't burn the magician themselves).

CanuckAlchemist wrote:
Magick is not accepted, but it does exist, and a single person can act, for good or ill, and make a huge impact on the game. That is where my questions are coming from.

If the action is likely to have a huge impact on the game then, I'm sorry to say, it is highly likely it won't go unnoticed - the magick wielder is really playing with fire here. Also, just because the person can wield magick doesn't mean he will suddenly turn his back on God and say "so what if my soul is damned". These are big issues and the true abusers of magick should, IMHO, be NPCs - and they will likely burn for such flagrant use of magick.

CanuckAlchemist wrote:
Some of my questions have been from a more overt use of magick to get the job done, but more secretive methods are possible. Your cliff face to rubble is a great example. The ship attack scenarios I have been discussing can be disguised to look like the construction methods were substandard and the ship's siding failed under the pressure of the waves. A careful magician (and a no careful magician is a dead magician) will have to affect items to make it seem plausible that the event was a natural occurrence.

Well, taking out a single ship is all well and good and can make for a fun and exciting storyline. Taking out a fleet of ships should not be that easy (even for a careful magician) and would, once again, create a very good chance of the perpetrator being discovered.

I like all the original ideas that are being suggested but, as Wiggy points out, we have to be very cognizant of the fact that we are dealing with a God fearing society that is terrified of magick, not a D&D setting. Most of the time the paranoia is so high that innocent people are being burned at the stake by the Inquisition, let alone those who actually practise magick.

It is pretty obvious from the way magick was designed for AFO, and from many of the threads on this forum, that one of the main control mechanisms for the magick system was to be the very setting itself. While I have made a big effort to put in some additional house-rules for my campaign to create some consistency on my rulings it is probably a little unfair to be asking these kinds of questions without accepting that the magician is going to be burned after the deed.

Love the number crunching but might be worthwhile not expecting Wiggy to make a ruling when the proposed use of the magick is contrary to the intentions of the setting. Feel free, however, to ask me whenever you want and we can always throw a lot of ridiculous numbers around Wink
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CanuckAlchemist

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 29, 2012 10:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well characters either think themselves damned already for carrying the taint of magick, or think that the bible is wrong because they are trying to good with their magick and don't feel damned. I understand the power of religion in the society, but a magic using character has likely made his peace with his power and strives to do good with it. (All Musketeer characters one would assume), or they are worshipping dark powers and want to increase their power base and secure themselves a decent spot in the hierarchy of hell. (All the evil NPC's one would assume).

As for the village example. Let's look at what a single good hearted witch could do.
Reduce weed pests in fields, quietly having them wither or grow at a much reduced rate compared to the regular plants.
Increase the harvest/ growth of regular crops by 'blessing' the fields. (as described in the flormancy description.

now working in your fields is a daily occurrence, and pacing around is common as well, weeding the rows sunup to sundown. This would give excellent cover to bless every part of the field.

Now this is still a hanging offense, and paranoia wil be rampant, but having good rich soil to boast may not bring in the Inquisition for certain. But the practicioner will have to be careful, I fully agree.

The impact on the game could be very large, from a single player. Every time they cast a spell they risk death. The challenge and struggle for them is to decide what they will risk their life for. Will they let their family or village of friends starve for a poor harvest? or cast a spell to let people live.

Will a Musketeer magician risk his life and honour and weaken fortifications to aid an important victory? Or create crude earthworks to bolster defense and allow his comrades a chance at living? this is what makes the story for the player.

heck I am playing an alchemist, and I risk exposure and death patching up players mid battle, so we have a chance at everyone being able to run away. (AND/But dice being as capricious and nasty as they are). I can be hanged on a daily basis trying to save people. If I have a chance to save the country, well on my head and soul be it.

To me it is that sort of risk that makes for an exciting game
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