Defensive Blast: Fix Consensus Discussion

Sutek

Mongoose
This thread is to get an idea of how people think that Defensive Blast ought to be "fixed" in our games, not a thread to prompt Mongoose to make an official change. Some feel it's too powerful or not restricted enough (given it can be unleashed as a Free Action and dish out tons of d6 in Fire Damage).

So, let's see if we can reach a concensus here on how the Conan gaming community feels it can be tamed or simply altered into a better capability.

My sugestion is to:
A) Drop the Fire damage aspect.
B) Have it force a FORT save (DC=10+blast damage) or make the Sorcerer Staggered on success, Unconcious on Failure.
C) make it incompatible with Sacrifices and Energy Drains.

Another great suggestion was that the DB was different depending on school, but I can't remember who wrote that up. It was in a thread a good while back, so if anyone can track that down, toss up a link.

Have at it folks, but be nice - the ultimate goal is to get to a version tat we can direct other people too that visit here, newbies in the future so to speak, where we can comfortably say "We agree it's screwey; try it this way..." and refer them to this thread.
 

Trodax

Mongoose
Sutek said:
Another great suggestion was that the DB was different depending on school, but I can't remember who wrote that up. It was in a thread a good while back, so if anyone can track that down, toss up a link.
Scott's Defensive Blast

Some random ideas for modifying DB (some of them from that old thread):
1) Using DB forces you to make a Corruption save.
2) When you have used DB, you may not recover PP, by any means, for one full day.
3) Using DB is a full-round action.
4) Using DB forces you to make a roll on the Runaway Magic chart.
5) The damage of DB is toned down in some way. For example, 1d6/PP up to 5, then 1d6/2 PP or so (10 PP would give 7d6 instead of 10d6 by this method).

Haven't really thought these ideas through; I'm just throwing them up for discussion.
 

Voltumna

Mongoose
Sutek said:
A) Drop the Fire damage aspect.
I think this is more a matter of flavour than mechanics. I'm fine with the fire damage or variations of the effect description.


Sutek said:
B) Have it force a FORT save (DC=10+blast damage) or make the Sorcerer Staggered on success, Unconcious on Failure.
This certainly means the sorcerer will fall uncouncious if he burned a lot of PPs in the blast, meaning the damage rolled would most likely be high, and scholars don't have good FORT saves. Makes sense, the pore PPs and more efective the blast, the more the sorcerer endangers himself.

Sutek said:
C) make it incompatible with Sacrifices and Energy Drains.

This seems natural, the defensive blast is supposed to be carried out in a desperate moment, when the sorcerer is willing to risk ending up with no more PPs, in hope of obliterating his foes. It doesn't make sense to allow to recover PPs with Oportunistic Sacrifice.
 

urdinaran

Mongoose
Sutek wrote:

C) make it incompatible with Sacrifices and Energy Drains.


I also agree with this.

Some other ideas:

It's called Defensive Blast for a reason. I see it as an almost passive ability, in reaction to the sorcerer's life being threatened. I don't think it's in the flavor of the game for a sorcerer to run up to a group of baddies and unleash DB.
One option would be to limit their mobility in some way; maybe say they can only DB at the beginning of their activation, or, it counts as a move equivalent action.
 

Voltumna

Mongoose
Trodax said:
1) Using DB forces you to make a Corruption save.

Yes, the blast should be thratening enough as to leave scars on the sorcercer, either on soul or body. Sutek's suggestion of a FORT save hints at physical damage, a corruption save would be soul or mental damage. I think both are in place, since the blast has the potential to be so powerful. The blast should also be something frightening for the sorcerer, something to be called only in the most desperate of situations. I would need to give it a thought, as what the effects of the blast should be on the sorcerer.

Trodax said:
2) When you have used DB, you may not recover PP, by any means, for one full day.

Again, one of the reasons a sorcerer would think twice before attempting a blast. I agree with this one.

Trodax said:
3) Using DB is a full-round action.

Another rason why a sorcerer would think twice before attempting a blast. Making it a full round action has the potential to leave the sorcerer very vulnerable during that round in which he harness the foul energies of the blast. While he is at it, he is a sitting duck. I am not sure though, if the sorcerer should be penalised before and after

the blast.

Trodax said:
4) Using DB forces you to make a roll on the Runaway Magic chart.

I am not clear on the effects of runaway magic, and I don't have the book at hand.

Trodax said:
5) The damage of DB is toned down in some way. For example, 1d6/PP up to 5, then 1d6/2 PP or so (10 PP would give 7d6 instead of 10d6 by this

method).

I think I would leave the 1d6/PP as is, and apply harsh consequences for using the blast, instead of trying to lower the potential damage.
 

Sutek

Mongoose
urdinaran said:
Sutek wrote:

C) make it incompatible with Sacrifices and Energy Drains.


I also agree with this.

Some other ideas:

It's called Defensive Blast for a reason. I see it as an almost passive ability, in reaction to the sorcerer's life being threatened. I don't think it's in the flavor of the game for a sorcerer to run up to a group of baddies and unleash DB.
One option would be to limit their mobility in some way; maybe say they can only DB at the beginning of their activation, or, it counts as a move equivalent action.

Well, the way the combat system works is to choose either Dodge or Parry as you means of Defense. If a Sorcere has a freaky third option, the Defensive Blast, then he uses it as his defense instead of either Dodge or Parry, interrupting proceedings as the blast gets worked out. If it doesn't drop or kill his foe...he's getting nailed (DV10 or worse).

Perhaps I'll change my suggestion slightly:
A) Drop the Fire damage aspect.
B) Have it deal non-lethal damage to the Sorcerer. Spells can mitigate the effect if cast before hand.
C) make it incompatible with Sacrifices and Energy Drains.
F) Using DB forces you to make a roll on the Runaway Magic chart.

I think some that Trodax suggested really work well, but I dont'feel that reducing the damage inflicted is necessary, nor do I feel that locking off the sorcerer's ability to Drain for the remainder of the day makes much sense.
 
I've just removed it from my games. I really don't see a Conan Sorcerer doing this.

I did up the Curse of Yzil duration though. As Conan's thief lacky said "Its bad luck to kill a wizard".
 
Not to bring up my 'deviant' system here, but I replaced it with the ability 'Final Strike' making it much mroe dangerous to the caster and thus a toll of last resort.
 

Sutek

Mongoose
Raven Blackwell said:
Not to bring up my 'deviant' system here, but I replaced it with the ability 'Final Strike' making it much mroe dangerous to the caster and thus a toll of last resort.

Jeez-loueeze...you just don't relent, do you. (lol) 'Deviant' in terms of deviating from the norm...explained that once. Let it go...

As far as your alternate version of DB, provide a link to that part of your thread or copy/paste it here, Raven. It's a good solution too, IICR, but there's no need for people to have to dig through all of the thread just to find that entry for the purposes of this thread.
 
Okay, here it is- warning it is not as 'crunchy' [that is has hard and fast numbers] as I like but it's a step in the right direction I think-

From "Raven's Rules of Sorcery v 1.1'

Revised ability

Final Strike [was ‘Defensive Blast’]

[Note- this is the second version of this effect I have created, but I am still tinkering with the effect in gameplay. Let me know what you think might be an improvement]

Final Strike is an optional set of rules designed to replace the Defensive Blast ability of sorcerers. It is available at the first level of Scholar and thus is not usable by Dabblers or creatures with spell like powers.

Sorcerers have access to the arcane forces with themselves and from sources unfathomable to the vast majority of humanity. Normally, they must handle this power with care, controlling the flow so as not to burn out their mortal bodies with the vast and powerful fields of power they manipulate through themselves. In desperate times and need though, a sorcerer may have no choice but to upset this delicate balance and tap the raw uncontrolled forces of magic unchecked.

When executing a Final Strike, a sorcerer releases all the Power Points he or she currently possesses into one spell or spell like effect. This power can take a number of options.

1) Final Retribution The classic version of Final Strike, the sorcerer channels the raw force of magic into destructive effect. The type of power is determined by the primary Spheres of Power utilized by the sorcerer. For example necromancer skilled primarily with the Death and Destruction Sphere would produce a black energy that sucked the life force out of those affected, a elementalist with Elements and Forces with a knack for fire would create the classic fireball and a practitioner of Life and Nature would create swarms of vicious insects and animate vines to choke the life out of people and devour inanimate structures,

The sorcerer utilizing Final Retribution must select a target area for this effect. The sorcerer must make a ranged touch attack against a target area. All areas has a base DV of 10 and the effect has an effective range increment of 10 feet. Targeting your own position is an automatic success of course. If the ranged touch attack roll hits, the area targeted is the center of the effect. If it misses, the target of the effect is an area within 20-120 [2d6 x 10] feet away in a random direction.

Once the target of the effect is determined, the effect begins. Final Retribution is an unchecked flow of power designed to rip apart the very primal pattern of the world around it. The effect lasts for 1 round per Power Point expended by the sorcerer. In the first round all creatures, objects and structures at the targeted area receive 1d6 points of Primal [i.e. ignores all non magical DR and Hardness]
damage. [Living creatures may make a Fortitude save to halve the damage to a minimum of 1] Each round thereafter for the duration of the effect, the effect spreads outward in a 10’ radius affecting all within that area with 1d6 additional points of damage each round. [Save for half as above] The affected area continues to expand an additional 10’ each round until the effect ends. Note that swiftly thinking [and moving] creatures can move to escape the effect once they are aware of it, though most immobile creatures, structures and landscaping will likely be devastated.

This effect is the source of the ‘castle falling about the hero’s ears after he kills it’s master’ cliché and is likely inspired by Sauron’s death scene at the beginning of Fellowship of the Ring. The end result is more damage over the original version, but at a slower rate that allows characters a better chance at survival. Immobile characters, structures and objects at the center of the effect will likely be pulverized when enough PP is expended.

2) Final Curse Another option is for the sorcerer to channel all their Power points into a long lasting ‘Death Curse’. The sorcerer chooses a spell from the Blight and Curses Sphere of Power [or with the GM’s approval, a spell from another sphere if deemed appropriate] and empower it. The sorcerer must have at least enough PP remaining to cast the spell normally. The spell is cast immediately on a applicable target of the sorcerer’s choice.

If the sorcerer has PP in excess of the spell’s normal cast, they can use the excess PP to make the effect stronger. For each PP in excess of the regular cost, the sorcerer can choose to add +1 to their Magic Success Roll, extend the duration of the spell 25% or add 10 ft to the range of the spell to affect someone normally out of the range of the spell. [Note that Touch range spells have a effective range of zero and may be boosted in the last example] If the there is enough PP to cast the spell again, the caster may designate another target to affected by the spell as well as if it had been cast separately at them. [Note that in this case, the Rule of Success allows the caster to only need one half the PP cost the curse on the second and subsequent targets if successfully cast on the first] The caster may keep recasting the spell on additional targets so long as they have PP left.

Note that the above options are only available for a sorcerer committing a Final Strike. At no other time may the sorcerer extend the effect of their spell without the appropriate Feat and/or environmental effect.

3) Final Spell As above the sorcerer can channel all their Power Points into a spell, but in this case, the spell need not be a curse. In this case, the sorcerer may modify spell using the same options as given in ‘Final Curse’ above within reason. GMs would have to decide what effects would appropriate, A sorcerer using a boosted summon undead horde to create a large mass of hungry, uncontrolled Risen Dead is very appropriate. Using it to create a long lasting witchfire effect is just silly.

4) Final Gift Not all sorcery is dark, nor all sorcerers power mad imbeciles with childhood issues. Heroic sacrifice is a cornerstone of fantasy fiction, even in the Hyborian Age, A sorcerer may channel their Power to create a beneficial effect such as a healing spell, a final prophetic vision or communicate a dire warning with the Communication and Divination sphere or to give another character a +1 bonus to an attack roll, saving throw or skill check. In addition they can pick a spell from the Blessings and Protections Sphere to act as a ‘final blessing’ which can be boosted in the manner of Final Curse above.

With the GM’s approval create a less ‘rule-orientated’ effect like creating a spring from bare rock that acts as a minor healing spell to those who drink it, fertility and prosperity to an area for years to come or to bind themselves to the material world as a Guardian Spirit ala Obi Wan Kenobi. [In the case of the last option, the spirit becomes a NPC controlled by the GM]

The Price
Final Strike is usually as final as the term suggests. Channeling uncontrolled energy threatens to tear apart the body and soul and often kills the sorcerer using it. To survive the use of a Final Strike effect, the sorcerer must make a successful Fortitude saving throw against a DC equal to 10 + the amount of PP expended. If failed the sorcerer dies immediately. If the saving throw is successful, the sorcerer is reduced unconscious, at 0 hp and to 1 in all attributes and must recover naturally. [Note- If the sorcerer somehow managed to use Final Strike at below 0 hp, Final Strike automatically kills them.]

Further more if the sorcerer rolls exactly the DC of the saving throw they survive but the metaphysical stress placed on them has destroyed their ability to use magic forever. They retain their magical knowledge and can train others, but can never cast a spell or hold PP in their lifetime without legendary difficult measures. [The quest required to recover powers lost in this manner would make a good adventure in itself 8)]

Fatal Strike

As a further option, a sorcerer may choose to automatically fail their Fortitude check [and thus die] to add their lifeforce to the Final Strike. The effect is as if the sorcerer sacrificed themselves to provide PP to the Final Strike effect. A sorcerer who lacks the Ritual Sacrifice Feat gains 1 PP for each 8 hp they have remaining, while one with the feat gains a PP for each 4 hp they possess at the time. Bleed Dry provides the usual effect- the sorcerer may utilize the 10 hp between 0 and –10 in the effect, but few sorcerers would have the time [or be crazy enough] to utilize the Tormented Sacrifice Feat on themselves 8).
 
Sutek said:
Raven Blackwell said:
Not to bring up my 'deviant' system here, but I replaced it with the ability 'Final Strike' making it much mroe dangerous to the caster and thus a toll of last resort.

Jeez-loueeze...you just don't relent, do you. (lol) 'Deviant' in terms of deviating from the norm...explained that once. Let it go...

It is meant more in the way of a running gag than an actual rant here. See- I'm smiling. :twisted:
 

Sutek

Mongoose
Alright...but one never knows with you. :p

Anyway, My personal take on you version is, as usual, too powerful and too effective and too...well, I'll just leave it at that.

In my estimation, the effect needs to remain a last-ditch "oomf" of power that saps the caster's PP dry and is, essentially, nothing more than raw power. There's nothing as focused or cohesive as a spell, although I spell-like contributions from the sorcerer's school makes sense. But, because it's not a spell, just a flash or raw energy, leaving it a free action is also something that needs to remain intact I think.

I also like the idea of boosting a spell beyond it's parameters by injecting more PP into it, but just as HP is a representation of fatigue, pain and injuries, PP is a representation of energy, will and aptitude expended towards a spell effect. By that token, once the spell is "fed" the right amount of PP, it just works...no way to pump it up. Doing so in a Defensive Blast option is asking for trouble, too, if you ask me.
 
When you come right down to it Final Strike/Defensive Blast is nothing but trouble to begin with. 8)

As you know 'Raven's Rules' are meant for a notch above the usual 'ultra-low' magic setting of traditional Conan. The term is actually from Mercedes Lackey's Heralds of Valdemar series of triologies. It's meant as doing Magic without any of the usual safeguards- thus you can push your usual limits but you aren't likely coming back as anything other than a wraith or a Spirit afterward.....8)
 

Sutek

Mongoose
Gotcha. Well, since yours is intended to be more than a Defensive Blast anyway, I guess we can just get back on topic.
 

MadDog

Mongoose
The problem, as I see it, is not necessarily DB itself. I see Opportunistic Sacrifice as the greater problem. I dont see it as being very Conan-ish. Once you remove the DB/OS combo a lot of the DB problem goes away.

My second beef with DB is how the effects are declared. It effects all "creatures" in a 10' radius, which doesnt make a lot of sense. For some reason it would effect an animated sword and not a sword sitting on the floor. It really ought to effect all "objects".

A subtle modification to DB might be to limit the number of objects it effects, based upon MAB. Maybe the sorcerer can effect 1 object per MAB or even modified MAB. This would prevent the Suicide Bomber tactic to dispatch a lot of clustered foes.

Finally, if the fire damage is retained, there ought to be a ruling on whether or not armor or DR reduces the damage, and there should be a roll to see if flammable objects are ignited on the objects hit by the DB.

Personally, I dont see DB as inherrently evil, any more than a sword. Corruption rolls for DB seems a bit over the top.

Mad Dog
 

thulsa

Mongoose
I've never liked the flashiness of DB, and its potential use as an offensive "weapon".

I like the idea of a "Death Curse" that the sorcerer can put on an opponent as a free action by expending his remaining Power Points. The creature attacking the sorcerer (with melee or ranged weapons, but not with spells) would then have to make a saving throw, where DC would be a function of the number of PP expended. If failed, the creature 1) dies or 2) must forfeit his attack on the sorcerer and be stricken with a terrible curse (which, in some cases, could be worse than death). The sorcerer would be able to choose whether to kill or curse the opponent who failed the save. (Even if the save is successful, the opponent should probably have to forfeit his attack.)

Rumors of this ability would spread quickly, and everyone would think twice about killing (or even striking against) a sorcerer.

- thulsa
 

René

Mongoose
Sutek said:
My sugestion is to:
A) Drop the Fire damage aspect.
B) Have it force a FORT save (DC=10+blast damage) or make the Sorcerer Staggered on success, Unconcious on Failure.
C) make it incompatible with Sacrifices and Energy Drains.

Yes, yes and yes!

If we reach a consensus here, one of the most creative guys & girls could write a short essay for S&P: "Defensive Blast revisited" to get it into an official format.
I think the Mongoose staff would surely publish it...
 

Evil_Trevor

Mongoose
To be 'Set's advocate' for a post let me make two counter arguments to reducing the effect of DB

What of the poor player who takes a scholor character, With poor to non existant chance with melee weapons in a group with similar level barbarians/soldiers/pirates the foes that are tough enough to give most of the party a fight are too tough for the sorcerer to tackle.

Also, when you get a strong armoured barbarian slaughtering everything left right and center in merry abandon it can be very useful (from a GM point of view) to have the party sorcerer slaughter half a dozen slavers in one round, gives the other players a sense of respect for the sorcerer that they may not otherwise develop which will extend to the sorcerous NPC/villians later on and add to the atmosphere of the game as in...

"Watch, don't get too close to him, he's a sorcerer..."

Any player that 'abuses' an ability can easily be brought to heal, Archers, Javiliners and a retrun blast from a sorcerer five or six levels higher (as a free action) spring instantly to mind. Killing half you fellow party members 'cause there in range.......
 

Sutek

Mongoose
Wile I agree with you to a certain extent, the Defensive Blast has its major flaw in that it isnt'written as a finishing move. Well, it starts off that way, but ends up being a free action that can be used along with Opportunistic Sacrifice, thereby recharging the sorcerer to do it againin the next round, regardless of other actions he's taking. Now, of course, that falls to the deffinition of Free Action which is loosely constrained by being merely "whatever one can reasonably get away with", so I could never allow a sorcerer to cast other spells while initiating a DB, but the point is, the debate can arise merely because of the terminology.


Anyway, MadDaog brings up some good counterarguments too. I too think it should effect all objects within a radius, but 10' as a constant seems wrong. However, it also seems wrong to involve MAB since this isn't really an "attack" so much as vomitting out magic power. Nothing's directed. I don't thing armor DR would ever mitigate damage, but if Fire is taken out as a partr of it, making it just a magickal force blast, then it makes more sense that DR would help.

How about this?

A) Drop the Fire damage aspect. Blast is pure force damage to everything within PP expended x 5'. Fulld amage only occurs in the adjacent 5' around the caster, and diminishes by 1d6 for each 5' increment that the blast radiates. DEX saves cannot be taken to decrease damage.

B) The sorcerer takes non-lethal damge equal to the damage inflicted divided by the caster's sorcerer class level.

C) The deaths resulting from the blast cannot be used with Opportunistic Sacrifice, but can be used to drain energy if the sorcerer had another type of pre-prepared sacrifice. In addition, damage is dealt to all objects in the range of the blast using the rules for Breaking Items (AE pg 15). Don't get caught up in testing for hundreds of objects; just stick to testing for key exposed objects in the blast radius.

D) Using DB forces you to make a roll on the Runaway Magic chart if it inflicts more d6 damagte than your current class level. For instance, a Nob4/Scho3 need only deal 4d6 damage to unleash Runaway Magic.

E) It is used as a Free Action, but because it is a Defensive Blast, it can only be used in response to an attack in place of the sorcerer's option to use either Dodge or Parry. This means that the sorcerer doesn't use anything except his base defence versus any attacks on the same initiative count that round.
 

Turim

Mongoose
Sutek: I don't want you to think I have it in for you, but I needed to respond to your last post. Before I do that I would like to add that I wouldn't disallow PPs gained from Ritual Sacrifice and Energy Drain as this will force scholars to keep track of two separate PP pools.

Sutek said:
A) Drop the Fire damage aspect. Blast is pure force damage to everything within PP expended x 5'. Fulld amage only occurs in the adjacent 5' around the caster, and diminishes by 1d6 for each 5' increment that the blast radiates. DEX saves cannot be taken to decrease damage.
Coming from the guy that claims Raven's spells are overpowered, this one sure surprised me :shock:. Remember, the DB save is Fort, not Reflex, and I wouldn't recommend removing this save for half unless as compensation for weakening DB in other areas. I'm not entirely convinced force should be subject to DR. Even if it is, how do you handle AP? Lastly, combining variable damage with these 5' increments would be a nightmare if there were many creatures at differing distances involved. Example Sutek's Tactical Nuke (no offense, just couldn't resist :)):

A scholar with Maximum and current PPs 60 (14th level and Wisdom 24) would annihilate almost any creature within a 200' radius, and weak ones even beyond that. Even undead, constructs and those fortunate enough to roll a natural 20 on the Massive Damage save will likely die if they're reasonably close to the epicenter. And if they live their weapons and equipment will be dust. Even some buildings would probably crumble. And that's without using a Fate Point for Mighty Blow. Then the sorcerer takes an average of 15 points of nonlethal damage, which I think he can easily live with (see your B). If he gets a 19+ on the Runaway Magic table he could be in trouble, but 1-18 is fairly harmless (see your D). In comparison, a RAW sorcerer will only annihilate creatures within a 10' radius, and those that miraculously survive will keep their gear :).

B) Undead sorcerers can ignore this disadvantage completely.

D) Automatically making a roll on this table is quite harsh for a potentially minor effect (2d6 Fort half in 10' radius) considering even the mighty Black Plague never forces this unless you're foolish enough to cast another Mighty spell within a week.

E) Feels artificial. If I had 60 PPs stored, I might have one of my risen dead attempt to strike me to unleash it. I guess you could say it has to be an enemy, but what is the reason it can only be used when an enemy lifts his sword in front of you? Fear, perhaps, but that is extremely subjective.
 
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