Defensive Blast

sanseveria

Mongoose
This might have been discussed before, but I need to implement some kind of house rule to restrict the use of the Defensive Blast. I have a scholar in my group who sees this as a free 6HD fireball that he can use about once per day. Anyone have any ideas?

Later on in levels it might not be as much of a problem, he'll have better spells and stuff. At the moment he has 6 PP, and the only spell he knows is demonic pact, not very useful in a fight. Every combat encounter so far, at some point he just somehow manages to get in a position where he can "blow himself up" (as he puts it) and eliminate several of the enemies with him, making each encounter a lot easier than intended.

What do you think?

SS
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
OK several suggestions:

1) Have more multiple encounters. Sure he might wipe out the first 10 men wit a defensive blast, but what about the next set of 10 or the 10 after that.

2) It takes him 12 hours of complete rest to regain those PP's. Intersperse encounters so the PC's never get more then 4 hours of rest at a time, that way he will never have more then 2 PP's after the intial blast. Allow hit point recovery at half rate if you use this, otherwise you'll whittle everyone down.

3) As it states it is a last resort option, perhaps have a house rule that has a scholar who performs a defensive blast go to both 0 PP and hp. That way they are still conscious, but barely.

4) Let this little fact become "known" about this characters fighting style. All of a sudden 4-6 characters with pikes will single out the scholar, or better yet, he becomes archer's pin cushion number 1. Even if the PC's eliminate all the opponents, witnesses still abound.

5) Get him to 2nd level so he gets another sorcery style. :wink:
 

sanseveria

Mongoose
Those are some very good suggestions, in particular the idea that the caster becomes disabled.

He just reach level 2 this past Sat evening and gained his second sorcery style, so maybe his play style will change a bit, I just want a back up plan beside crushing him like a bug under a Herd of mounted Hyrkanian nomads (though that one sounds fun).
 

BhilJhoanz

Mongoose
Mister "6 hit points and no armor" had better watch his step!

1 arrow will kill him -- do it! after using his fate point, his first thought when a fight breaks out should be to find full cover and stay there -- if it isn't, do it again!

Give him a high reputation as a dealer in the black arts -- his lack of subtlety will draw the attention of rival scholars (or dark societies) who will seek his swift death on their sacrificial altars! It will also strike terror amongst the local lords who should fear this new source of power -- they could be next and would surely send mercenary armies to kill him before his power grows!

Also, his demon overlord shouldn't be too pleased with his misuse of the powers granted him -- killing your foes is the sign of weakness; corrupting them is the path of a true servant to the pit!
 

slaughterj

Mongoose
BhilJhoanz said:
Mister "6 hit points and no armor" had better watch his step!

That's the part I didn't understand, seems any attack will hit and kill him, so how is it that he's in the midst of attackers without having been hit, not having triggered AoO to get there, or not hitting his friends?
 

sanseveria

Mongoose
Well, funny you should ask. :D First off, he's a player with over 20years RPG experiance, so he's very smart, gamewise. Just an example, the party were hiding in the edge of a small wooded area lying in ambush. A group of turanian nomads were riding towards them. The scholar was hiding a little deeper than everyone else in the trees. Once the first arrows started flying the turanians split into three groups, the first one charghing directly at the PC, and the other two groups attempting to flank them from left and right. One of the flanking groups had dismounted and were moving through the woods, and failed to spot the scholar, who then just jumped within their mists and "blew himself up". :shock: :evil:

This example is one I ran last Sat evening, and that's basically his tactic, hide and look inconspicuous, which, when there's a couple barbarians and soldiers swinging huge weapons around is kind of easy. When the coast is clear, he jumps into a group of enemies and "Boom". :roll:

I also like the idea of his reputation going up quickly from doing this, which makes sense because so far at every encounter some of the "bad guys" got away.
 

Johannixx

Mongoose
Make sure the locals realize who and what he is, so they'll take the time to ignore the axe-wielding psychos tagging along and concentrate their arrow fire on the sorcerer.
 

Daxz

Mongoose
How about giving him a corruption point everytime he "blows himself up" more than once a week? After a certain number of corruption point he can be possesed or something.

...or you can rule that he can't make a move action before or after a defensive blast. After all it is called defensive blast so he should be in a threatened square before he can activate it. A five foot step could be allowed though.
 

thulsa

Mongoose
What are your thoughts about a Dabbler (PC with the Dabbler feat...) using defensive blast ? Can Dabblers employ this power?

Dabblers gain Base PP by taking the feat, and according to the definition on page 189, Dabblers are Sorcerers since they've "gained partial access to at least one sorcery style".

The Rule of Defense on p. 191 says "a character with at least one sorcery style is able to unleash a defensive blast".

Somewhat open to interpretation... my gut feeling is to "just say no", but I'd like to hear other opinions (an opinion from Ian or Vincent would carry great weight, of course... :D )

- thulsa
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Why the hostility and cry to nerf to the Sorcerer's Blast?

They aren't weapon combatants, they are completely vulnerable after using it, and the majority of their spells (none doing direct damage) are not that powerful for combat either. Their summoned animals run away once hit, a curse for -1 is meaningless, divination doesn't help in combat, a risen corpse is a joke and not attainable before level 4, and by the time they can summon a black plague (20PP, requiring sacrifices to get) they would be directing it to a massive city or enemy encampment.

The Blast is their one real useful combat gimmick.

As for Dabblers, I believe it has already officially be said No, they cannot use the blast.
 

BhilJhoanz

Mongoose
Why the hostility and cry to nerf to the Sorcerer's Blast?

They aren't weapon combatants, they are completely vulnerable after using it, and the majority of their spells (none doing direct damage) are not that powerful for combat either.
I agree that rules shouldn't be changed to deal with this -- the ability is a good one and is warranted. But using reasonable, in-game means of dealing with a person who exhibits his magical aptitude so freely and thoughtlessly is perfectly reasonable. People should fear and hate a man who controls such forces and his fate should play out naturally -- not with a nicely balanced confrontation that lets the PCs win if they discover it in time. But a mighty show of strength whose only outcome is flight or certain death for the adventurers!

That's how I deal with it anyway.
 

argo

Mongoose
sanseveria said:
Well, funny you should ask. :D First off, he's a player with over 20years RPG experiance, so he's very smart, gamewise. Just an example....

Sounds like he is playing his scholar like a scholar then; a tricky, devious bastard who outwits his opponents. :twisted: Everything looks kosher to me.

Just keep in mind that he is playing a very dangerous game. Anytime he gets within 60 feet of hostiles without the meatshields there to protect him he is in mortal danger. Every combat shouldn't provide him with the opportunity to sneak and manouver like that. When that happens he will either recognize that and hang back, or not and get himself hurt. his reputation should spread and, although I wouldn't have kings start sending out assasians after him just yet, any enemy who does spot him should make him a high priority target, again forcing him to hang back or suffer. DB is a one shot deal and enemies should come in waves/spread out over the course of the day so that he can't obliterate them all at once (sure he can take out one group, but then the rest of the party still has to save his butt from the next). Some combats take place in close quarters where he can't unleash a DB without hurting his friends. Some enemies are as good or better at skulking as he is and can out fox him at the "manouver game". Play the enemies to their abilities (some smart, some not) and over the long term things will work out, probably with the scholar dropping DB in favor of more effective, less risky options. In short my advice is not to worry about nerfing DB. Instead just focus on making each combat as interesting and uinque as possible, sometimes you scholar will get to DB the hell out of the enemy and sometimes he wont but each encounter should be fresh and exciting and that should keep all your players happy.
 

Shonuff

Mongoose
Thinking about this and the many Conan novels I've read, it does sound sort of . . . out of place. Sorcerers running around "blowing themselves up" encounter after encounter.

As a game mechanic - I can see scholars wanting to do this over and over. Attempting to play in a game that tries to keep the feel of the Hyborian world --- not so much.

Looking at the rules, I (as a GM) might be inclined to see the powerful Defensive Blast ability as the use of a Mighty Spell. Under the section Consequences of Magic, a sorcerer can use a Mighty Spell once per week without risk. Any further usage would risk Runaway Magic results and continued usage would only increase this chance.

This might be a way for you to encourage the player to think carefully about over-using the ability, but still giving him the freedom to choose to do it if he really wants to.
 

S'mon

Mongoose
Shonuff said:
As a game mechanic - I can see scholars wanting to do this over and over. Attempting to play in a game that tries to keep the feel of the Hyborian world --- not so much.

Yeah, I'm surprised this made it through playtesting.
 

Yokiboy

Mongoose
Shonuff said:
Looking at the rules, I (as a GM) might be inclined to see the powerful Defensive Blast ability as the use of a Mighty Spell. Under the section Consequences of Magic, a sorcerer can use a Mighty Spell once per week without risk. Any further usage would risk Runaway Magic results and continued usage would only increase this chance.

I agree Shonuff, this is how I would handle it as well. I'm not sure I'll have to though, as my players are terribly afraid of the Scholar as a PC class. :D

TTFN,

Yokiboy
 

Conan

Mongoose
One level of Academic gives him this ability too. In our game we began at 4th level and one of the players took one level of Academic and 3 levels of soldier. He had a plausible backgroud for doing this and nobody questioned it. In combat, round 1 would consist of him turning himself into a torch and killing everything in range. From that point on he was still a 3rd level soldier in armor. Hardly "defenseless".
 

S'mon

Mongoose
I've decided to limit Defensive Blast to something more reasonable, effectively making it like a super-Burning Hands effect. I'm also making it a 'mighty spell' thus it's risky to use more than 1/week.

Changes:

1. DB is Mighty Spell.
2. Using DB is a Standard Action, not a free action. It does not provoke AoOs.
3. The area of effect is a 10' Cone, not a sphere.
4. Damage is 1d4 per PP.
5. Victims may make _either_ a Fort save or a Ref save for half damage, and Improved Evasion can thus negate the damage.
 

BhilJhoanz

Mongoose
It seems that sanseveria is the only person to have a problem with this ability so far. Have any of the rest of you actually played with a scholar? Has the DB caused prblems in your games? Then why make changes?

I see no problem with letting players use this -- I'm confident in my ability to discourage it's abuse without changing the rules.
 

S'mon

Mongoose
BhilJhoanz said:
It seems that sanseveria is the only person to have a problem with this ability so far. Have any of the rest of you actually played with a scholar? Has the DB caused prblems in your games? Then why make changes?

I see no problem with letting players use this -- I'm confident in my ability to discourage it's abuse without changing the rules.

I expect it to cause problems with the Spawn of Dagoth Hill PC I'm allowing in my game on Thursday. He has 12 PPs at 1st level and a 12d6 10' radius fireball every 24 hours at 1st level seems too much to me. A 12d4 'burning hands' seems plenty IMO.
 

sanseveria

Mongoose
All great idea's, and I'm very thankful for this place.

Now to clarify, I have no problems with the defensive blast in the spirit it was intended. The thing that has irked me is that it's being used as an offensive weapon, and I don't think that's its purpose. I have two scholars in the party, thankfully one of them is Khitan and has improved unarmed combat, so he has yet to feel the need to use DB. The other character is the one who kepps doing this.

I like the idea that this could be considered a Mighty Spell, so if it persists that's what I'm going to do. Also if it's used offensively, it will be either a standard action, or a full round action, still thinking about that one. I may also have him make a Fort save of be stunned the round following the DB, but I'm not sure about that one either.

As long as the DB is used in the spirit that it was intended, I will not make any changes, these other conditions would only happen when the Scholar uses it offensively. That's the difference between instinct, and pre-meditaded I guess.

I'm also quite confident that when this Scholar reaches higher levels he'll slow down some on the "blowing up", because he'll have more useful spells to throw at the enemy. However, I hate the idea of rushing them up levels just to avoid this particular nasty tactic.

ps: I've also house ruled that I will only allow one Scholar in the party in the future.
 
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