Concert Spells - My Version

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Concert Spells - My Version

Postby alex_greene » Wed Nov 13, 2013 10:33 am

Concert Casting

For all the vaunted powers of the various types of magic, there is only just so much that magical practitioners can do alone. A single practitioner of Common Magic could use Heal on but a single injured person; if there was a tragic accident, with many injured patients, that lone practitioner would only be able to heal a very few patients before spending every last available Magic Point. A sorcerer may be able to enchant a single Greatsword with significant power; but even the sorcerer would be hard pressed to enchant something as big as a galleon, a tower or an entire city in a single enchantment.

It is possible for groups of people, united in common purpose, to cooperate and raise energies to power spells on far greater scales than can be achieved by a solitary practitioner. This is achieved through concert casting.

Acting In Concert

A concert-cast spell requires multiple participants - at least two. A shaman and his fetch could cast a concerted spell; as could a sorcerer and an Apprentice, or even a Familiar. The more participants, the larger the scale - and the higher the potential risks of failure.

Concert casting requires the Concert skill:-

Concert (INT + CHA)

The Concert skill allows a group of two or more casters to pool their magical skills together in order to create a spell of greatly augmented effect. To form a concert every contributor must know the Concert skill and one member, usually the participant with the highest Concert skill, must be designated coordinator of the gestalt.

Forming the Concert

Each participant must have Concert skill in order to form the necessary gestalt (group mindset).

The concert takes one minute per participant to form. The coordinator must make an unaugmented Concert skill roll to form the Concert at the end of that time period. The haste modifiers from Legend Core Rulebook, p. 39, may be applied by the coordinator. All assisting participants add the critical scores of their Concert skill to the coordinator's skill roll, as per "Assistance," Legend Core Rulebook, p. 44. Player character participants (who are not the concert leader) who succeed in a Concert roll may double that contribution.

Once fully formed, the gestalt may then invoke spells or spirit combat as needed using the normal times for those activities. Thus a sorcery spell cast by metaconcert takes the same length of time as a solo sorcerer requires.

Whilst joined in concert, the attention of each member is fully engaged in maintaining its metaphysical structure. Participants cannot move; and even perception rolls may be subject to situational penalties as desired by the Games Master. This vulnerability is a serious weakness. Most metaconcerts are usually well guarded against assault or interruption; it is very rare to see a concert spell being cast out in the open, exposed, particularly in the midst of hectic activity such as on a battlefield.

A metaconcert can only use high magic known to all of its members. Thus the participants must all have the same Common Magic skill and the same spell; have Pact skill dedicated to the same god; know the same Grimoire, or be brothers to the same spirit tradition - since they cannot otherwise perform the same specific miracle or spell. This synchronisation is a fundamental part of cult training. Two wizards who both knew the same spell, but from different Grimoires, could not coordinate themselves due to different philosophical approaches.

Every magic the concert performs costs the members either Magic Points or prepared miracles. Running out of either causes that participant to be unable to further contribute to the metaconcert, removing them from the gestalt.

Although metaconcerts operate by combining the magical skills of their members, the overall success or failure of the concert depends on the ability of its coordinator. Each magical effort, be it a spell or initiating a spirit combat, requires the coordinator to roll against an un-augmented Concert skill. If used to cast a spell with the Resist Trait, it is this dice roll which targets must roll against to avoid the magic.

Critical: As for a success, and in addition a miracle is not placed beyond use, spells consume no Magic Points and the first attack of any spiritual conflict is unopposed.

Success: The concert manages to retain its cohesion, the magic is cast or spiritual conflict begins. [Common Magic/Sorcery] Every participant spends 1 Magic Point: the coordinator spends the normal amount of Magic Points he would spend if he were casting the spell solo.

Failure: The concert collapses and nothing is achieved. [Common Magic/Sorcery] All participants spend 1 Magic Point.

Fumble: The concert collapses and something very bad happens. Roll on the Mishap table from Arcania of Legend: Blood Magic, p. 65.

Once the concert ceases, any spells cast by the gestalt expire. Likewise, any entities under the domination of a metaconcert are released from control once the concert ends, unless bound in some way.

Maximum Group Size

Concert-cast spells allow for magic to be cast on a far greater scale. The exact scale depends on the number of participants, and the strength of the concert formed. Concert skill imposes a maximum limit on the number of possible participants, depending on how skilled the concert leader is in getting groups of people to form gestalts.

Concert Skill Level :: Skill Range :: Maximum Concert Size

Novice :: 01 - 25 :: 1 x CHA

Competent :: 26 - 50 :: 2 x CHA

Professional :: 51 - 75 :: 5 x CHA

Expert :: 76 - 100 :: 10 x CHA

Master :: 101-125 :: 25 x CHA

Grandmaster :: 126+ :: 50 x CHA

(Prodigy :: 151+ :: 100 x CHA)

Games Masters might want to expand this scale even further, to characters whose Concert skill is 176+, 201+ and so on; each such step increases the maximum concert size by an additional +50 CHA; thus, a nearly-immortal lich king with 19 CHA and 201 Concert skill could potentially gather a vast flock of devoted followers to form a gestalt - up to 3,800 participants at one time.

Large Scale Gestalts

Big gestalts, paradoxically, form more quickly. The time scale above - one minute per participant - only applies to groups of up to three times the coordinator's CHA, maximum. The lich king above would require almost an hour of chanting to bring a group of 57 participants into the fold.

The Games Master can rule that groups much bigger than this simply form the requisite gestalt mindset in a standard one hour time period, regardless of whether the mass concert is sixty strong, six hundred strong or six thousand strong.

Expanding Scale

Common Magic

All participants add their Concert skill totals together. All participants also add their Common Magic skill totals together. The lower of these two scores is used to determine the Scale of the effect. The Scale is equal to the critical range of the accumulated score, whether Concert or Common Magic.

The effect of concerted Common Magic can be applied in one of two ways: to increase its Magnitude, or to increase the number of targets affected by a single casting. The caster must choose how to apply the effect at the time of casting.

Used to increase the Magnitude of a spell with the Progressive trait, the effective Magnitude of the boosted spell is equal to the Scale+the Magnitude of that spell known by the coordinator. Used to affect multiple targets, consult the table below.

Coordinator's Concert Skill Range :: Maximum Targets

Novice :: Coordinator's CHA x Scale

Competent :: Coordinator's CHA x 5 x Scale

Professional :: Coordinator's CHA x 10 x Scale

Expert :: Coordinator's CHA x 50 x Scale

Master :: Coordinator's CHA x 100 x Scale

Grandmaster :: Coordinator's CHA x 500 x Scale

and so on. All targets must be visible to the coordinator.

Divine Magic

The skills used to determine the Scale of the Divine miracle are Concert and either Lore (deity) or Invoke, depending on which system of Divine Magic is being used. Again, the Scale of the effect is equal to the critical range of the lower of the two accumulated totals.

As with Common Magic, the Scale is added to the Magnitude of the Divine miracle being cast by the coordinator. Divine Magic, however, also has the potential to turn a spell which affects one individual only into an area effect spell with an effective radius equal to 10 metres x (Magnitude + Scale). Spells which are already area effect in nature have their effective radius automatically multiplied by the Scale.

Sorcery

The skills used to determine the Scale of the Sorcery spell are Concert and Sorcery (Grimoire), with the Scale being taken as the critical range of the lower of the two accumulated totals.

The benefits of Scale on Sorcery spells are:-

- Where a spell affects a maximum characteristic equal to three times the Intensity, the Scale is added to this total (so, for instance, an Intensity 4 spell which only affects a maximum SIZ 12 could affect a maximum SIZ 23 if cast with a Scale of 11;

- The Scale affects other factors of the spell which are dependent on the Intensity, such as the rate of healing of a Treat Wounds spell, or the radius of Glow, or the maximum Magnitude of spell affected by Neutralise Magic - these factors are multiplied by the Scale. So, for instance, an Intensity 4 Glow applied with a Scale of 11 can cast a light up to 44 metres' radius.

- All participants add their Manipulation factors to the coordinator's available Manipulation factors. The coordinator's own available Manipulation factors are multiplied by the Scale.

Spirit Magic

The Scale is determined as the critical range of the lower of the accumulated Concert skill or Spirit Binding skills. The Scale multiplies the maximum POW that the coordinating shaman can affect as per p. 3 of the free Spirit Magic supplement for Legend.

Thus, without Scale, a shaman with Spirit Binding 45% can only affect a maximum POW equal to three times the critical range of his Spirit Binding skill, or 15 POW; but with a Scale of 3, the concerted Spirit Binding skill can allow the coordinator to multiply this limit by 3, potentially allowing the group to bottle up entities with a maximum POW of 45.
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Re: Concert Spells - My Version

Postby pachristian » Wed Nov 13, 2013 5:04 pm

I agree with the need for Concert Casting as an ability. I've read through your write-up, but not play-tested it yet.
Participants cannot move;
This might be a little extreme. I think you mean that they must stay in the same general spot that they started, chanting, swaying, dancing, as required. But the way this is written, it sounds like the participants are paralyzed.
Thus the participants must all have the same Common Magic skill and the same spell;
Also unclear. Do they need the exact same skill percentage? Or do they just need to have learned their common magic skill from the same tradition?

Pulp fiction is full of concert-cast spells where most of the participants pass out or collapse at the end of the concert. The concert should require fatigue check rolls after a certain amount of time?

I like your maximum group size rules. Nice and simple.

I like your scale of effect rules: Simple, and powerful! However, you might want to have a geometric level of input, for a linear level of output: If my school of gladitors knows Bladesharp-2, and twenty of them work together to help Maximus for his big fight, then do we really want Maximus to have Bladesharp-40 on his sword? (The Emperor has them all killed for cheating, but it's the principle of the thing).

I think I would allow concert-cast common magic or divine magic to boost range as well. Perhaps allow a trade-off of +1x range multiple instead of +1 magnitude. Or double range for each level of magnitude sacrificed.

Scaling sorcery works well; but once again, the scale could quickly go insane! Is the time limit of a sorcery spell cast with concert limited to the duration of the gestalt? If so, that's an effective limiter against spells that would otherwise be near-permanent.

All in all, looks good!
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Re: Concert Spells - My Version

Postby alex_greene » Wed Nov 13, 2013 6:00 pm

pachristian wrote:I agree with the need for Concert Casting as an ability. I've read through your write-up, but not play-tested it yet.
pachristian wrote:
Participants cannot move;
This might be a little extreme.
Part of the wording comes from the original Concert rules from Arcania of Legend: Blood Magic. And yeah, while it sounds extreme, bear in mind that the concert casting is a group of people standing in one spot, typically in a precise geometric pattern from which they may not be able to move on pain of a lethal, massive backlash.[/quote]
pachristian wrote:
Thus the participants must all have the same Common Magic skill and the same spell;
Also unclear. Do they need the exact same skill percentage? Or do they just need to have learned their common magic skill from the same tradition?
They need to have Common Magic skill and they all need to know the spell that is to be cast, and to be aware that it is this specific spell they are casting.
pachristian wrote:Pulp fiction is full of concert-cast spells where most of the participants pass out or collapse at the end of the concert. The concert should require fatigue check rolls after a certain amount of time?
I was tempted to keep the rule that it takes one minute per participant to enter a gestalt; a congregation of 3800 people would have required 3800 minutes to form its gestalt. That'd be more than five days of solid chanting, no food, water or sleep.
pachristian wrote:I like your maximum group size rules. Nice and simple.
The original rules did not have a maximum group size limitation. Effectively, some low-CHA sorcerer with middling Concert skill could have led a group of 3,800 congregants as easily as a Grandmaster; I sought to address that with my version.
pachristian wrote:I like your scale of effect rules: Simple, and powerful! However, you might want to have a geometric level of input, for a linear level of output: If my school of gladitors knows Bladesharp-2, and twenty of them work together to help Maximus for his big fight, then do we really want Maximus to have Bladesharp-40 on his sword? (The Emperor has them all killed for cheating, but it's the principle of the thing).
I always let the characters enjoy such boosts. Because I always build in consequences: some of which are in no RAW, for instance such as, say, a +40 Magnitude Bladesharp blade being prone to explode due to the strain of so much power being placed in such a little bitty blade.

If my players are good, they quickly learn to beware any magnanimity on my part. :)
pachristian wrote:I think I would allow concert-cast common magic or divine magic to boost range as well. Perhaps allow a trade-off of +1x range multiple instead of +1 magnitude. Or double range for each level of magnitude sacrificed.
I chose to apply the option of making Divine spells area-effect, or expanding them to affect multiple targets whereas before, they were only able to affect one target at a time. I could easily scale up the range of Common Magic and Divine spells instead, applying the Scale to the Range with a simple multiplier, or converting the Scale to Manipulation factors and just using the Manipulation Factors table from p. 192 of Legend Core Rulebook.
pachristian wrote:Scaling sorcery works well; but once again, the scale could quickly go insane! Is the time limit of a sorcery spell cast with concert limited to the duration of the gestalt? If so, that's an effective limiter against spells that would otherwise be near-permanent.
Since Concert spells all effectively have the Trait of Concentration, the Duration of any spell or effect is basically as long as the concert is maintained, including Sorcery.

And yes ... the Scale is meant to go insane. Concert cast spells are supposed to be vastly more powerful than anything one practitioner can cast alone. They are not meant to be used on single swords, but cast over individual buildings, sailing vessels - even entire cities or even countries.
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Re: Concert Spells - My Version

Postby alex_greene » Thu Nov 14, 2013 9:20 am

Though about that thing about Concert cast spells having a Duration trait of Concentration ...

On consideration, I'd say that concerted spells and miracles would actually have a Duration of "as long as they are needed." A concert of enchanters would maintain the metaphysical structure of their Great Work just long enough to implant it into an item, for example - once the item is enchanted, the concert would be dropped the moment it was no longer needed.

And as for the items, concert-cast enchantments would not be used to create small items like permanent +40 Bladesharp swords, but rather large-scale projects such as a wizard's tower and surrounding complex, a single sailing vessel or small fleet, or an entire city or even an entire nation.
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Re: Concert Spells - My Version

Postby Prime_Evil » Thu Nov 14, 2013 10:41 pm

One thing that's always bugged me about the Concert Casting rules (apart from the name) is the fact that a fumble on a private ritual involving 2-3 people has the same consequences as a fumble on a huge ceremony involving hundreds of participants. In the event of a fumble, I would consider modifying the roll on the Mishap table from Arcania of Legend: Blood Magic according to the size of the group casting the spell. The more ambitious the ritual, the more severe the consequences if something goes wrong.

The Mishap table might need to be modified to support this approach though.
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Re: Concert Spells - My Version

Postby alex_greene » Thu Nov 14, 2013 11:15 pm

Prime_Evil wrote:One thing that's always bugged me about the Concert Casting rules (apart from the name) is the fact that a fumble on a private ritual involving 2-3 people has the same consequences as a fumble on a huge ceremony involving hundreds of participants. In the event of a fumble, I would consider modifying the roll on the Mishap table from Arcania of Legend: Blood Magic according to the size of the group casting the spell. The more ambitious the ritual, the more severe the consequences if something goes wrong.

The Mishap table might need to be modified to support this approach though.
Two factors would have to be considered: the competence of the coordinator, and the Scale.

I'll have to get back to you on that. :)
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Re: Concert Spells - My Version

Postby warlock1971 » Fri Nov 15, 2013 8:16 am

I like this so much ... the name, however ...

Any reason we can't refer to it as Rituals or something similar? :D
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Re: Concert Spells - My Version

Postby alex_greene » Fri Nov 15, 2013 9:15 am

I've just been keeping the name because it's some sort of legacy - I first encountered group spellcasting rules in the old RQ, and they were known as Ritual Magic back then IIRC.

If I retool the above as "Ritual Magic" and work on the fumble rules, I'll throw this little bone into the Spells of Legend pot.
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Re: Concert Spells - My Version

Postby warlock1971 » Fri Nov 15, 2013 9:48 am

:D Sweet!
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Re: Concert Spells - My Version

Postby Prime_Evil » Fri Nov 15, 2013 3:03 pm

Yeah...I call it ritual magic in my homebrew version of Legend too. Concert casting isn't the best name ever devised.

Also...I allow people who don't know the spell to donate one Magic Point each into the ceremony. However, untrained assistants increase both the difficulty of the spell and the potential consequences of failure....
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Re: Concert Spells - My Version

Postby alex_greene » Sun Nov 17, 2013 9:51 pm

I'm tying in the Ritual Magic rules (for thus they are to be named, rather than Concert) and the Enchantment rules, but would anyone like to see my take on the Summoning rules as well?
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Re: Concert Spells - My Version

Postby warlock1971 » Mon Nov 18, 2013 5:26 am

Alex, I am definitely interested in Summoning, my PCs are about to go up against a demon-worshiping cult of humanoids ... :D
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Re: Concert Spells - My Version

Postby Prime_Evil » Mon Nov 18, 2013 10:36 am

Well...you already know my thoughts on this subject ;)
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Re: Concert Spells - My Version

Postby alex_greene » Tue Nov 19, 2013 6:58 pm

And I've gone through my documents - "concert" has been replaced with "ritual magic," including a skill, Ritual Magic. I've integrated the Ritual Magic thing with my enchantment text, too - and now that I'm writing Summonings, it's going to be referred to as "Ritual Magic" there, too.

All three are works in progress. I'm waiting for annotations and notes on what I've written - oh, and I really want someone to get in touch with me about elementals. I want to know roughly* what is going into the Arcania of Legend II book on elementalism before I end up writing something that steps on the toes of the author.

*just PM. I might even show you my notes.
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Re: Concert Spells - My Version

Postby Carew » Wed Nov 20, 2013 7:34 pm

Hi. New here and reading all these great threads!

I dont know why you have to change the name to Ritual magic. One of the meanings of concert is to act by arrangement and to act as a group. I doesnt always mean playing instruments of putting on a show!

A ritual can be done by one person but a concert means its been done by a group of people ina arrangement, so I think Concert (like in make a concerted effort or concerted attempt) is a good description.
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Re: Concert Spells - My Version

Postby Prime_Evil » Fri Nov 22, 2013 12:53 am

Here are a couple of rough outlines for some ideas that might be useful - these are still vague, but hopefully the general concepts are sound:

Interruptions and Distractions
Ritual magic requires concentration for the duration of the ceremony. If a significant interruption occurs while a ritual is being performed, the participants may lose control of the gathered magical energy. If such an event occurs (GM’s discretion), the individual coordinating the ritual must make an immediate Ritual Magic skill roll at a penalty commensurate to the severity of the distraction. If this roll is successful, the ritual continues as planned. However, if it fails the coordinator fails this roll their concentration is momentarily distracted – with potentially disastrous results. Immediately roll on the Mishap table from p. 65 of Arcania of Legend: Blood Magic to determine what occurs as the stored magical energy is unleashed. This is one reason why sorcerers tend perform Ritual Magic in secluded locations. Likewise, divine spellcasters tend to perform Ritual Magic in well-guarded temple complexes away from the eyes of unbelievers. The risks associated in performing ritual castings in locations where the ceremony can be easily interrupted are great.

Ritual Summoning
Ritual magic can be used to summon frighteningly potent spirits, demons, and other extraplanar entities. However, the ritual must make separate Ritual Magic rolls must be made to summon and bind the summoned entity – it is impossible to combine the two actions into a single Ritual Magic skill roll. And the consequences of making the first roll but failing the second can be dire, as many fantasy stories can attest....

Countering Rituals
A group of spellcasters can make an opposed Ritual Magic roll to counter a ceremonial casting by another group, providing that they are familiar with the spell used by the other group, are aware that it is taking place, and are within range of the effect. It is not uncommon for one cult to oppose the ritual spells of another, or for rival sorcerous orders to strive against each other in this manner.
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Re: Concert Spells - My Version

Postby alex_greene » Fri Nov 22, 2013 1:15 am

Prime_Evil wrote:Here are a couple of rough outlines for some ideas that might be useful - these are still vague, but hopefully the general concepts are sound:

Interruptions and Distractions
Ritual magic requires concentration for the duration of the ceremony. If a significant interruption occurs while a ritual is being performed, the participants may lose control of the gathered magical energy. If such an event occurs (GM’s discretion), the individual coordinating the ritual must make an immediate Ritual Magic skill roll at a penalty commensurate to the severity of the distraction. If this roll is successful, the ritual continues as planned. However, if it fails the coordinator fails this roll their concentration is momentarily distracted – with potentially disastrous results. Immediately roll on the Mishap table from p. 65 of Arcania of Legend: Blood Magic to determine what occurs as the stored magical energy is unleashed. This is one reason why sorcerers tend perform Ritual Magic in secluded locations. Likewise, divine spellcasters tend to perform Ritual Magic in well-guarded temple complexes away from the eyes of unbelievers. The risks associated in performing ritual castings in locations where the ceremony can be easily interrupted are great.

Ritual Summoning
Ritual magic can be used to summon frighteningly potent spirits, demons, and other extraplanar entities. However, the ritual must make separate Ritual Magic rolls must be made to summon and bind the summoned entity – it is impossible to combine the two actions into a single Ritual Magic skill roll. And the consequences of making the first roll but failing the second can be dire, as many fantasy stories can attest....

Countering Rituals
A group of spellcasters can make an opposed Ritual Magic roll to counter a ceremonial casting by another group, providing that they are familiar with the spell used by the other group, are aware that it is taking place, and are within range of the effect. It is not uncommon for one cult to oppose the ritual spells of another, or for rival sorcerous orders to strive against each other in this manner.
Still working on these - particularly Summoning. As with Enchant and Ritual Magic (formerly Concert) I want a crunch mechanic which not only works, but which can work the same across all the different magical skills.

H'mm. That last one. Just off the top of my head ... Countering ritual spells: use an opposed task check. The Ritual Magic of each group's coordinators - but to each of these, you can add each group's ritual's accumulated Scale score. The strength of each roll therefore depends partly on the skill of each group's coordinators, and (since Scale is partly determined by the number of participants) partly on the sizes of each group ...

As to what "Scale" means ... you will have to wait till we've worked everything out between us.
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Re: Concert Spells - My Version

Postby Prime_Evil » Fri Nov 22, 2013 1:30 am

Cool...at this point I'm just trying to think of ways that the Ritual Magic rules can be extended to accommodate the kind of feats seen in fantasy and horror novels. It's very much in the spirit of Hammer Horror films and the like to have an option for one group to try to counter the rituals of another.
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Re: Concert Spells - My Version

Postby Lord High Munchkin » Fri Nov 22, 2013 3:05 am

Prime_Evil wrote:Ritual Summoning
... However, the ritual must make separate Ritual Magic rolls must be made to summon and bind the summoned entity – it is impossible to combine the two actions into a single Ritual Magic skill roll.
Just in case you miss this in any editing, there is some weird grammar there (the intentions are understandable though).

I really like it though.
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Re: Concert Spells - My Version

Postby Prime_Evil » Fri Nov 22, 2013 3:55 am

Lol...my apologies. It was written in a hurry.

However, the way that ritual magic interacts with summoning does need to be addressed. After all, nothing is more typical of the pulp fantasy tradition than the axe-wielding barbarian who bursts in on the black-robed cultists just as they are about to complete a summoning ritual ;)

My intention was to clearly separate the act of summoning an entity from the act of binding it. I'm sure that many players will attempt to limit the risks by resolving both actions with a single Ritual Magic skill roll. But this is not desirable either from the perspective of game balance or the perspective of genre expectations. Maybe a better approach might be to resolve the act of summoning the entity by allowing the coordinator to use Ritual Magic as a complementary skill to their Summoning skill? The binding of the summoned entity could then be resolved as a contest between the Ritual Magic skill of the summoner and the Persistence of the summoned entity. I don't know - this probably requires more thought....

I always loved the fact that in the Call of Cthulhu RPG there are spells for summoning and binding lesser mythos entities and spells for calling major mythos entities...but no spells for binding them.

I'm reminded of the famous quote from the Case of Charles Dexter Ward - "Do not call up any that you cannot put down." Good advice for anybody attempting to combine ritual magic and summoning!

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