Elder Art Workarounds (i.e. Sorcery needs help)

KirinDave

Mongoose
Hello again everyone. Remember me?

I've run some more sessions with my player as a Magician of Dessi. Everyone's gained some levels, had some fun, and in general things have been working well. I've got a player using the Valkeros class now, and I'm amazed at how unique and fun that class is. Finally another class as distinct as the Kai. :)

But I keep having to work with my Dessi player. Things have been getting better as he gets more willpower (being able to bust out with the 5d6 ranged blasts more often helps him a lot), but we've been working on which arts he should get, and we've come to one startling conclusion. Please forgive me (and please direct me) if other threads address this problem, but searching the forum yielded no results.

Sorcery, as printed, is much less useful than the other Elder Arts. Now, it's not ruined or anything, it just needs some clarifications and tweaks. Therse are the comments of my players that I had to address. Let me start with the good, then move to the bad:

  • Force Blade - Not really broken, just unclear. It's strongly implied that this is a magical attack and not a standard action, but it's not explicitly and clearly stated.
  • Force Grasp - No changes. It's actually surprisingly good, but I ruled that it's 10lbs/lvl. Otherwise, you max out at a mere 100lbs, which is kinda pathetic. 200lbs means you could actually lift something of an appreciable size at L20. It's been used several times in my game to stop missile weapons, rip objects out of people's hands, etc. (nothing says loving like a ranged disarm with only a reflex save to protect you).
  • Force Barrier - I am thinking of changing this power to allow it to make any object indestructable up to a certain area per class level. It seems kinda absurd that it works on doors but not, say, thin walls. The silly scenario my Valkeros player concocted was putting a tiny door in his armor and casting it on that, making his armor impenetrable. :)
  • Force Shield - This is a problematic power at best. It's implied by the text that it's a free action to maintain once it's set up after the initial round, provided it doesn't collapse, but not explicitly stated (so I made it that way). But why anyone would want to use this power really is beyond me. It's horrifyingly expensive for very little damage reduction. It does get better later on, but it isn't a power really worth channeling. You're better off using those actions (and willpower) to attack and enchant your foe. As a partial fix, I ruled that the shield also adds to your Will Save and defends against psychic damage and magical damage as well as physical attacks (this is consistant with the Grey Star books pretty much to a T).

Does anyone else have any other solutions, or does anyone else have reasons why my proposed changes are a bad idea? I'm new to Lone Wolf, so I'm trying to keep the balance. Some feedback on this subject would be much appreciated.
 
Sorcery is the Dessi's primary attack art other than their Wizard's Staff. It is highly Willpower intensive, but its power makes up for that.

Rules changes/explanations

1. Force Shield provides a defense that guards against all damage up to its protective rating, and then drops if it is over that rating. If not the shield regenerates itself at the beginning of every round. Any damage not taken by the shield affects the Magician (or other user of the Lesser Elder Arts, i.e. Kundi Shamans, Vakeros Knights, and Shianti Sorcerors) normally. August Hahn, the author of the Lone Wolf d20 RPG, made a suggestion to improve the force shield. Take half of the Wisdom modifier of the Lesser Elder Art user and multiply it by their class level to determine the defense rating of the shield. This makes the shield far more powerful and useful than its original incarnation. The Magi will still bleed himself of Willpower fairly quickly, but his defense will be quite solid.

2. Force Blade is the primary attack power of Sorcery. A magi can throw 1 blade per his magical combat ability, so a 20th level level Dessi Magician could throw 4 blades a round at a target, each doing 2d12 per attack. Since Force Blade is a force attack, damage reduction does not apply and the attack can be used to incorporeal creatures as normal, without any miss chance. The range of Force Blade is not listed, so I am assuming it is line of sight. In this case, an additional +1 to hit the target is added per every blade that has hit it before. Since the range is LOS, a Dessi or other wielder of Sorcery could easily kill most targets before they even reached bowshot range. This works really well against lightly armored troops or beings with a low Armor Class/Defense and high hit points/Endurance.

3. Force Barrier can be placed on any opening 10 feet or less. The opening is protected against any damage, physical or magical, as long as the mage concentrates. This makes for an interesting defense, especially if there are two or more Magicians of Dessi or Vakeros. Arrows slits, anyone? The real slick thing about Force Barrier is it can be maintained as without any real concentration. Have one or more Magicians cast the defense on each section of a gate, bring up a Force Shield, and start having Vakeros lob attack magics from behind the Magicians.

4. Force Grasp is essentially a conversion of the improved Mage Hand spell from Magic of Faerun. Force Grasp can be used for all sorts of things, especially if there is a Dwarvern Gunner of Bor with the group. Grenades, pots of flaming oil, wasp or hornet nests, honey on ant hills, and even more projectiles all beckon to be transported to a target. For other ideas, opening doors, disarming traps, and many other "remote" applications await.
 

KirinDave

Mongoose
Stormcrow the White Wolf said:
Force Shield ... August Hahn, the author of the Lone Wolf d20 RPG, made a suggestion to improve the force shield. Take half of the Wisdom modifier of the Lesser Elder Art user and multiply it by their class level to determine the defense rating of the shield. This makes the shield far more powerful and useful than its original incarnation. The Magi will still bleed himself of Willpower fairly quickly, but his defense will be quite solid.

I like that idea. I like it a lot. So it shall be. Although I think my modification of letting it work on magical and psychic damage is good to. One of my players pointed out some technical problems with will save boosts (how does the shield deplete?) so I'm going to drop that part.

Also, It's a standard action to establish, but it's a free action to maintain so long as it doesn't get destroy.

Stormcrow the White Wolf said:
Force Barrier can be placed on any opening 10 feet or less. The opening is protected against any damage, physical or magical, as long as the mage concentrates. This makes for an interesting defense, especially if there are two or more Magicians of Dessi or Vakeros. Arrows slits, anyone? The real slick thing about Force Barrier is it can be maintained as without any real concentration.

I'm all for this, but doesn't it seem ridiculous that they can protect an opening but not a structure in general. Imagine a magician using this to hold a door of a cottage shut? But then the powerful foe just goes to the other side of the house without windows and breaks through the wall (Koolaid Man says, "OH YEAH!").

Also, it'd be nice if it grew with the caster a little. It seems strange that an apprentice can do no less than a master magican.

But thank you very much. These are all great points. And like I said with Force Grasp, I agree it's a powerful ability. It's quite possible to do spectacular things (like halt missiles in midflight, disarm people, carry explosives and items into the midst of enemies, spring traps, mess with enemy equipment, etc.). Just last session my mage used it to undo the girth of a charging knight, completely ruining his charge (and nearly unhorsing him!).
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Stormcrow the White Wolf said:
Sorcery is the Dessi's primary attack art other than their Wizard's Staff. It is highly Willpower intensive, but its power makes up for that.

Rules changes/explanations

1. Force Shield provides a defense that guards against all damage up to its protective rating, and then drops if it is over that rating. If not the shield regenerates itself at the beginning of every round. Any damage not taken by the shield affects the Magician (or other user of the Lesser Elder Arts, i.e. Kundi Shamans, Vakeros Knights, and Shianti Sorcerors) normally. August Hahn, the author of the Lone Wolf d20 RPG, made a suggestion to improve the force shield. Take half of the Wisdom modifier of the Lesser Elder Art user and multiply it by their class level to determine the defense rating of the shield. This makes the shield far more powerful and useful than its original incarnation. The Magi will still bleed himself of Willpower fairly quickly, but his defense will be quite solid.

2. Force Blade is the primary attack power of Sorcery. A magi can throw 1 blade per his magical combat ability, so a 20th level level Dessi Magician could throw 4 blades a round at a target, each doing 2d12 per attack. Since Force Blade is a force attack, damage reduction does not apply and the attack can be used to incorporeal creatures as normal, without any miss chance. The range of Force Blade is not listed, so I am assuming it is line of sight. In this case, an additional +1 to hit the target is added per every blade that has hit it before. Since the range is LOS, a Dessi or other wielder of Sorcery could easily kill most targets before they even reached bowshot range. This works really well against lightly armored troops or beings with a low Armor Class/Defense and high hit points/Endurance.

3. Force Barrier can be placed on any opening 10 feet or less. The opening is protected against any damage, physical or magical, as long as the mage concentrates. This makes for an interesting defense, especially if there are two or more Magicians of Dessi or Vakeros. Arrows slits, anyone? The real slick thing about Force Barrier is it can be maintained as without any real concentration. Have one or more Magicians cast the defense on each section of a gate, bring up a Force Shield, and start having Vakeros lob attack magics from behind the Magicians.

4. Force Grasp is essentially a conversion of the improved Mage Hand spell from Magic of Faerun. Force Grasp can be used for all sorts of things, especially if there is a Dwarvern Gunner of Bor with the group. Grenades, pots of flaming oil, wasp or hornet nests, honey on ant hills, and even more projectiles all beckon to be transported to a target. For other ideas, opening doors, disarming traps, and many other "remote" applications await.

I do not mean any offense to anyone when I say this, but the addendum to force shield (number 1 above) is actaully mine. Obviously anyone is free to use it, but I do not want August hahn or anyone to think I am using his name to make it sound as if any house rulings of mine are official :)

Just so you know, this power _is_ somewhat open to abuse, and as such I am still tinkering around with it.
 
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