Lightning Hand management?

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ReaperWolf
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Lightning Hand management?

Postby ReaperWolf » Thu Mar 29, 2012 5:03 am

The Lightning Hand spell looks like an encounter killer.

A spellcaster can spend additional Willpower to multiply the damage dealt to an enemy pretty much guaranteeing annihilating the target.

Has anybody seen this happen? What's to prevent a player with a high Willpower from running roughshod over every foe & monster lacking counterspell or magic resistance of some kind?

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SnowShadow
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Re: Lightning Hand management?

Postby SnowShadow » Thu Mar 29, 2012 8:19 am

Get the bad guys to bring a friend if it is too easy.

Plus ensure the adventure has plenty of other Willpower costing opportunities - if fighting is pretty much all the Brother can do then he'll save all his Willpower for that. Pay attention to the other four spells or more that they have and tempt them into using them. They have Levitiation? Place a tempting chest on a ledge very high up that only the Wizard can get to. Got Silence? Lots of possibilities, let your mind go wild - the Brother needs to find a Scroll in a magic library with a trap that hurts anyone that makes the slightest noise. Got a Mend spell? Have a confusing treasure map in so many pieces only mend can fix it.

If it is the final encounter you are worried about have them wearing something like a Platinum Amulet which allows them to only take half damage or something. Or have other items that drain the Brothers Willpower.

Whatever you do do, don't thwart the player too much or they'll soon lose interest. Always casting Lightning Hand is as bad as never being able too. Let the Wizard have his moment, just not every moment.
Lone Wolf House Rules here: viewtopic.php?f=14&t=42027

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August1
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Re: Lightning Hand management?

Postby August1 » Thu Mar 29, 2012 1:17 pm

SnowShadow makes some excellent points here.

Also, Willpower recovery can be a real issue, especially if an adventure takes place over a relatively short amount of time. A player who burns through their Willpower on early encounters is going to be (rightly) at a severe disadvantage in the later stages.

Ultimately, Brotherhood mages are what they are - glass cannons. They can hit amazingly hard and should be feared for it... but there are counters to their strengths.

-A
ReaperWolf
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Re: Lightning Hand management?

Postby ReaperWolf » Thu Mar 29, 2012 2:10 pm

MongooseAugust wrote:Ultimately, Brotherhood mages are what they are - glass cannons. They can hit amazingly hard and should be feared for it... but there are counters to their strengths.
Oh yeah. I can see their fragility being a huge problem for many players. They wade into battle, toss around a few lightning bolts annihilating enemies and then they get nailed by a couple of solid blows and their dead. :mrgreen:

I'm new to Lone Wolf but I've been running games for decades, just getting a feel for the game.

I think I'll cap the multiplier to x2 for Lightning Hand to keep them on par with the Border Ranger's Discipline.

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SnowShadow
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Re: Lightning Hand management?

Postby SnowShadow » Thu Mar 29, 2012 2:56 pm

Forgot to mention when Lone Wolf first meets the Wizard Banedon at the ruins of Raumas, Banedon is using multiple Lightning Hand spells on a Giak war-party twenty five to thirty strong. Many Giaks lie dead in the ruins but Banedon is grateful for Lone Wolf's appearance because he freely admits his powers are nearly drained. So players would expect to be able to take on a large number of Giaks but also accept that sooner or later their Willpower wil run out.
Lone Wolf House Rules here: viewtopic.php?f=14&t=42027

Korlinium Scabbard - think of it as Sommerswerd's Fair Usage Policy.

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Twiler
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Re: Lightning Hand management?

Postby Twiler » Thu Mar 29, 2012 5:28 pm

If they roll a result which gives them zero damage, then their willpower is wasted. Which seems especially likely given the average CS of the caster (although Kloon Sages and Vakeros Warriors are better off in this respect).
ReaperWolf
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Re: Lightning Hand management?

Postby ReaperWolf » Thu Mar 29, 2012 5:43 pm

Twiler wrote:If they roll a result which gives them zero damage, then their willpower is wasted. Which seems especially likely given the average CS of the caster (although Kloon Sages and Vakeros Warriors are better off in this respect).
The average Blue Star caster has 25 Willpower, that's 25 lightning bolts they can discharge at range without the risk of taking Endurance from an enemy's counterattack. Yes they are glass cannons.

Since LW doesn't really have ranges or movement rates, facing, or any other fiddly tactical elements, a Blue Star caster can pretty much target anything he or she sees. This means the primary bad guy/foe/monster on the battlefield is particularly vulnerable from being sniped by Bor Gunners, Border Rangers, and a Blue Star caster, possibly in the same turn. Lots of players play this way: target the big bad and the other foes will rout. I see it all the time even with experienced players. What they don't understand is this can lead to a TPK as the hordes of bad guys are then free to double or even triple up on the undefended gunners, rangers, and blue star casters.

There really should be some guidelines for closing into melee or at least some vague guidelines for range.

Naturally an experienced GM can handle the vagaries but newbie GMs will probably struggle till they get the hang of it.

This would really make a great Signs & Portents article (hint!).

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SnowShadow
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Re: Lightning Hand management?

Postby SnowShadow » Thu Mar 29, 2012 8:55 pm

ReaperWolf wrote:A spellcaster can spend additional Willpower to multiply the damage dealt to an enemy pretty much guaranteeing annihilating the target.>>ReaperWolf
That's the other thing. You multiply the damage done only by the number of ADDITIONAL Willpower spent. The Spell initially costs 1 Willpower, to get the benefit of extra damage you have to spend extra Willpower; so there is no point spending just 1 extra because it multiplies damage by one - to get double damage costs 3WP, Triple Damage 4WP, Quadruple Damage 5WP, etc.

I'd say it costs on average 5WP to take out the avarage 25EP enemy, which would mean on average the Wizard could only do this about 5 times before running out of Willpower or have I read the description/cost wrong? Being able to defeat 5 tough guys is very handy but not all powerful.
Lone Wolf House Rules here: viewtopic.php?f=14&t=42027

Korlinium Scabbard - think of it as Sommerswerd's Fair Usage Policy.

Galdron Kyturai, "Kitty", Vakeros Bladerunner in Sidetracked-in-the-Stornlands
ReaperWolf
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Re: Lightning Hand management?

Postby ReaperWolf » Fri Mar 30, 2012 12:32 am

SnowShadow wrote:I'd say it costs on average 5WP to take out the avarage 25EP enemy, which would mean on average the Wizard could only do this about 5 times before running out of Willpower or have I read the description/cost wrong? Being able to defeat 5 tough guys is very handy but not all powerful.
Provided the wizard is playing solo which is highly unlikely. I'm betting the wizard will target enemies in cooperation with the other characters who will likely be Kai Monks or other combat savvy characters and a wizard will be an excellent clean-up batter by finishing off enemies who have been attacked more than once already and have their Combat Skill reduced by 2 or more.

Expanding & clarifying Lone Wolf Multiplayer combat would be an excellent article for Signs & Portents, perhaps once I've sifted & absorbed all the material I'll submit one for consideration.

Thanks for sharing your perspectives SnowShadow, I really appreciate your help. :)

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Re: Lightning Hand management?

Postby beowuuf » Fri Mar 30, 2012 5:39 pm

I think Lone Wolf is pitched as a narrative game, so hopefully newbie GMs aren't going ot be investiging all their stock on running combat after combat. Lone Wolf itself is a mix of combats and story, and many of the big epic fights had ways to one-shot the villan (Barraka and the holy water, Kimah and the dagger of Vashna, Gnaag and thre Sommerswerd).


I guess for advice, balancing Lightning Hand is as has been mentioned

- make WP count. I had an evil player wizard with lightning hand blast quite a few NPCs dead and come <-> close to one-shot killing a player with a lightning bolt. It was a short game, and yet he was scrambling for WP by the end. Lightning Hand is a very costly power balanced by being useful. Even for a character with no cares other than survival! A good player also has to defend allies and NPCs and complete a mission!

- let people have their moment, definitely. Being able to wipe out a legion of tough opponents give the game the epic Lone Wolf feel. And cements the reputation of a wizard in a fantasy realm. If that victory leads to the wizard having a reputation and so the group facing a tougher fight next time, it's a consequence that still sends the nice message of 'you guys are so powerful the enemy is really afraid of you!'

- don't let your main villain be in the position to be one shotted. By the time he's front and centre, he should not be the main challenge. Great if he can be, but also great if he's there because he has no other choice, and if therefore the players get to blast him in one shot, it's their reward. Lone Wolf had Barraka destroyable by holy water, Kimah killable with a thrown Dagger of Vashna, and Zagarna/Gnaag blasted to heck by the Sommerswerd. And Vonotar was instantly captured without a player-required fight in Kalte once his beasty was dead. The big bad is allowed to keep out of the way of a known poowerful foe, weakening them from afar. And is allowed to be in a world of hurt and at the mercy of the group if he has to put his head up.
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Re: Lightning Hand management?

Postby SnowShadow » Fri Mar 30, 2012 7:03 pm

beowuuf wrote:. And Vonotar was instantly captured without a player-required fight in Kalte once his beasty was dead.
...Or of course, in a similar vein to your combat-avoiding instant resolutions; if you had a Stone Effigy you also didn't need to fight the Aeek-, Arak-... 'That-Undead-Tentacled-Monster' (Akraa-Neeonar?).
Lone Wolf House Rules here: viewtopic.php?f=14&t=42027

Korlinium Scabbard - think of it as Sommerswerd's Fair Usage Policy.

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Twiler
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Re: Lightning Hand management?

Postby Twiler » Sat Mar 31, 2012 7:39 am

I assumed that a wizard without meatshields would be toast against multiple opponents; He'd maybe take out one of them, then get hacked to pieces as they'd close in. They're not going to just stand there as he throws lightning at them.

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