Defensive Blast

slaughterj

Mongoose
What are the origins of this ability from the Conan novels, if any?

Also, was there ever a clarification if a character with the Dabbler feat can do this? (I don't see it in the FAQ, and only have the original book handy).
 

argo

Mongoose
No, a dabbler cannot use Defensive Blast. DB requires you to have "at least one sorcery style" and the Dabbler feat says "you do not have a true, permanent understanding of the style you access in this way" so no DB.

As for the inspiration for DB, I can't really recall a direct quote at the moment, sorry.

Later.
 

thulsa

Mongoose
slaughterj said:
What are the origins of this ability from the Conan novels, if any?

I've wondered where the inspiration for this ability comes from, too.

I understand the need for the scholar class to have some defensive/offensive capabilities, but, IMHO, defensive blast is rather flashy for the Hyborian Age. I would have preferred something more subtle.

- thulsa
 

René

Mongoose
thulsa said:
I understand the need for the scholar class to have some defensive/offensive capabilities, but, IMHO, defensive blast is rather flashy for the Hyborian Age. I would have preferred something more subtle.

- thulsa

That's one reason why I won't allow Scholar as PC: they would want this self-centered Fireball-spell. A NPC-Scholar is much less demanding :wink:
 

René

Mongoose
Steve Conan Trustrum said:
René said:
That's one reason why I won't allow Scholar as PC: they would want this self-centered Fireball-spell. A NPC-Scholar is much less demanding :wink:
Why not allow scholars but just ignore the Rule of Defense?

Well, the DB is one reason. The other and more important is that Scholars as they are presented in REH's stories are per se dominant. In a RPG-party their goal must be the goal of the party, else they part with the party (or sacrifice them :twisted: ). Scholars in my vision are not team players, but driven by their all-devouring lust for magic power. I miss the REH's sorcerer-feeling when I think of a well integrated Scholar in my group - fortunately my group shares my view.

One Scholar type I'd allow is the Martial Arts guy: Oriental magic maybe mixed with 1 or 2 levels of Thief and at lvl 5 switching to Sorcerer of Scarlet Circle PrC (and even then mostly the skill points / feats instead of new spells).

Maybe I have a very narrow view, but imho a "real" sorcerer in the group takes the mysticism out of magic because of the permanent availability.
 

SableWyvern

Mongoose
While I'm a little wary of Defensive Blast, my biggest concern is really it's fireball-ness, and lack of real consequences for the sorcerer.

While I haven't settled on anything definite yet, here are a few things I'm thinking about implementing.

- Defensive Blasts are not fireballs.
- Each sorcer has his own, unique defensive blast.
- DBs are dark and cthonic effects, calling on Primordial Forces That Should Not Be.
- Using DBs can inflict Con or other ability damage, Corruption Points, Insanity and/or other effects on the sorcerers using them. I may allow saves to reduce these effects.
- Someone effected by a DB should be left with psychological scars, even if the physical damage is minimal or short-term.
- Demons and Corrupt individuals may be slightly resistant to DBs.

Examples of possible DB styles include writhing tentacles, howling black winds, noxious vapours, spectres, alien psychic emanations etc... In any event, they should conjure the ideas of Wrongness and Doom intrinsic to Lovecraftian horror. Sorcerers should be loath to use them except in a true situation of last resort, and all but the most corrupt should probably hesitate even then.
 
You refuse PC scholars becuase of DB? That is insane! I'd rather face a sorceror who uses Defensive blast, and then, if I survive, cut his head from his defenseless shoulders! Do you understand the use of DB? All his powerpoints are used up. So, who the hell cares, the precious PC uses DB. Now, what is he going to do for the rest of the day? Yes, he may have to siphon some power from some victims or fellow party members. Whichever is closer. What is wrong with that?
 

Trodax

Mongoose
SableWyvern said:
While I'm a little wary of Defensive Blast, my biggest concern is really it's fireball-ness, and lack of real consequences for the sorcerer.

While I haven't settled on anything definite yet, here are a few things I'm thinking about implementing.

- Defensive Blasts are not fireballs.
- Each sorcer has his own, unique defensive blast.
- DBs are dark and cthonic effects, calling on Primordial Forces That Should Not Be.
- Using DBs can inflict Con or other ability damage, Corruption Points, Insanity and/or other effects on the sorcerers using them. I may allow saves to reduce these effects.
- Someone effected by a DB should be left with psychological scars, even if the physical damage is minimal or short-term.
- Demons and Corrupt individuals may be slightly resistant to DBs.

Examples of possible DB styles include writhing tentacles, howling black winds, noxious vapours, spectres, alien psychic emanations etc... In any event, they should conjure the ideas of Wrongness and Doom intrinsic to Lovecraftian horror. Sorcerers should be loath to use them except in a true situation of last resort, and all but the most corrupt should probably hesitate even then.
Very cool ideas, Sable. Me likes. :)

Having it cost something would assure that its used as a last resort only (as I think its intended), and not as a "charge in, blow stuff up and let the fighters mop up"-tactic.
 

ReptileJK

Mongoose
I allow Scholar PCs and I allow DB as written. It's never been much of a problem. Plus, I like the Scholar Class and the type of Dark magics they can get into. :) The Scholar PCs that I currently have playing usually move to the back if combat is happening, letting the burly types take over.

In my experience, Scholars really use DB as a last resort (they don't want to give up all of their Power Points). You just have to limit how easily they can regain them.

Just some thoughts,
Reptile
 

René

Mongoose
Odovacar's Ghost said:
You refuse PC scholars becuase of DB? That is insane! I'd rather face a sorceror who uses Defensive blast, and then, if I survive, cut his head from his defenseless shoulders! Do you understand the use of DB? All his powerpoints are used up. So, who the hell cares, the precious PC uses DB. Now, what is he going to do for the rest of the day? Yes, he may have to siphon some power from some victims or fellow party members. Whichever is closer. What is wrong with that?

I'm not sure if you're referring to my mail.
If you do: I do not restrict my players to non-sorcerous characters because of a potentially overpowered DB, but I referred to the mail before mine (from thulsa): DB, as it is stated in AE, is a little bit flashy for the Hyborian Age, in other words: D&D-like.
The other and main reason I have clarified in my next mail.

P.S.: And yes, I understand the use of DB.
 

thulsa

Mongoose
Odovacar's Ghost said:
Do you understand the use of DB? All his powerpoints are used up. So, who the hell cares, the precious PC uses DB. Now, what is he going to do for the rest of the day?

If the scholar manages to kill one or more of his opponents with the DB (likely, given the chance that the DB will cause Massive Damage saves) and he has the Opportunistic Sacrifice feat, the scholar will get get back plenty of Power Points. Thus, he can blow up again next round. (Repeat every round until he fails to kill any foes with the blast. Even then he can drain a few fallen/unconscious foes and start over again.)

I'm pretty sure this fireball tactic was not the way DB was intended (it is described as a last-resort tactic). And as I said before, I think it's too flashy (I'm more in favor of Cthulhuesque tentacles, black rays of energy, noxious vapors, etc. as was suggested by SableWyvern). The idea to let the DB have consequences (Corruption) is also a good one, since it forces the scholar to think twice before using the ability.

At the same time, I realize that without the DB, a low-level scholar cannot really contribute much to combat. (Some may argue that combat is not where he's supposed to be anyway, but let's face it, if a PC scholar is in a party, then he gets into combat all the time.)

In my own campaign, I'll wait until the scholar PC gains a few more levels and gets a few useful mid- to high-level spells, and see if he starts using those instead of DB. If not... I might have to consider modifying DB to make it more like it was intended (as a last-resort defense).

- thulsa
 
My current party had a DB-happy scholar who thought he'd use it like a fireball.




He died in the second session because he used up all his PP and couldn't do anything else to defend himself. :twisted:
 

slaughterj

Mongoose
thulsa said:
Odovacar's Ghost said:
Do you understand the use of DB? All his powerpoints are used up. So, who the hell cares, the precious PC uses DB. Now, what is he going to do for the rest of the day?

If the scholar manages to kill one or more of his opponents with the DB (likely, given the chance that the DB will cause Massive Damage saves) and he has the Opportunistic Sacrifice feat, the scholar will get get back plenty of Power Points. Thus, he can blow up again next round. (Repeat every round until he fails to kill any foes with the blast. Even then he can drain a few fallen/unconscious foes and start over again.)

Yeah, but he can't get that feat until 6th level, so hopefully he would have something better to do by that time. But your point is still valid that that is probably not what was intended.
 

Jason Durall

Mongoose
slaughterj said:
I'm still looking for the origin of the defensive blast...

There is the quote from Black Colossus...

Robert E. Howard said:
Conan gazed over the billowing waves of spears and wondered what new horror the sorcerer would invoke. Somehow he felt that Natohk, like all his kind, was more terrible in defense than attack; to take the offensive against him invited disaster.

My guess is that The Rule of Defense was Ian Sturrock's attempt at quantifying this in game terms.
 

slaughterj

Mongoose
Interesting, that's a hell of a stretch though, especially on the flashiness scale compared to the rest of Howard/Conan. It could just mean he has some sort of personal wards on him, set to trigger if set upon.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
I may be wrong about this but I belive they siad in the rule book that they made it up so that pc's would have to wear down the scholar before they closed in for the kill. In the REH storys you never attacked the scholar unless he was weakened.
 

slaughterj

Mongoose
guest mongoose said:
I may be wrong about this but I belive they siad in the rule book that they made it up so that pc's would have to wear down the scholar before they closed in for the kill. In the REH storys you never attacked the scholar unless he was weakened.

Well, maybe it should take a full round action rather than free action, to avoid the offensive aspects available to it as it currently stands - that seems to be the hangup for most people.
 

S'mon

Mongoose
I find DB Un-Conany (and totally unsuitable for PCs), so I've eliminated it in my game. It's an unfortunate inclusion in a generally very good rulebook IMO. I'd let the Scholar get an extra spell or feat instead.
 
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