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Magic Duels -- As boring as they seem?

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  • #31
    I don't know how well I'm grasping the feeling of the game, but I always thought of Arcane Duels as the VFX-Oversimplyfied-Hollywood-Productions of the mage world.

    On my campaign Duel Arcane is like entering a Powerful Mage Simulation. I gave my players a huge narrative control over their Sword/Shields. These uber-narrative advantages, combined with my homebrew alegorical nimbuses made Duel Arcane a spectacular thing to watch. For RAW you may assume that it's an advanced Reached/Multi-arcana form of Display of Power.

    That's the Obrimos PC in his first Consilium duel.
    "...The instant Ra entered the runed area, he assumed his nimbus form. He was no longer a person, but the divine flaming hawk, the deity of the Sun. Solar flares were sparking from his bird-like body wildly, indicating his unruly nimbus. These fires were his Sword made out of Forces. His shield -made out of Mind- was an impenetrable aura of wrath..."

    On the same day...
    The Mastigos PC's Mind sword was an Umbearable Scrutinizing Gaze that for each Door opened it revealed an embarashing secret of the target, which was then projected on the mind of anyone present. His Space shield was a entropic space/mini-blackhole that blocked incoming Magic. He won the duel, but completely embarashed the Hierarch's student, revealing her memories of her getting caught cheating by her sleeper husband. It was an akward moment for the Characters, but hilarious for the Players.

    I don't know if this helps the OP, but my playgroup does not do "boring" regarding Arcane Duels. It works for us :P
    Last edited by Shadowjim12; 03-04-2017, 06:10 PM.

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    • #32
      What Shadowjim12 wrote - Duel Arcana is good setting idea on simulation or 'holograms' of magic - only on rules variety is lower then. Spice things up a bit, and it will be glorious!
      Last edited by wyrdhamster; 03-06-2017, 02:58 AM.


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      • #33
        Personally i just did away with the whole concept. As other posters pointed out there is very little strategy to the system as written.

        My take was inspired by broken diamond. The mages get together and negotiate concessions with the defending party getting first pick. Said concessions being whether the duel is to the death, what weapons are allowed, abilities, etc.

        Once thats done, they just attack each other normally.

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        • #34
          Originally posted by LokiRavenSpeak View Post
          Personally i just did away with the whole concept. As other posters pointed out there is very little strategy to the system as written.
          I think the concept is cool, it's the execution that's lacking. The idea of two mages facing off under the effects of Display of Power, forming imagoes on full display to one another without actually casting the spells to prove who would win if they fought for real? That's awesome! Makes me think of the trope of two master swordsmen staring each other down, sizing each other up, and then one congratulating the other because they've both been through a hypothetical fight in their minds and know who would win if they actually drew their swords. But with Magic, in this case.

          The issue is that the mechanics come down to a simple roll-off. The Astral combat idea is a decent replacement for the mechanics, but I like the fact that the Duel Arcane can be won with non-combat focused spells, just opening doors by proving how awesome you are at healing or whatever, and Astral combat does sacrifice that.


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          • #35
            So, I grabbed some of my players at the time of a session and decided to try out an improvised system. The system I devised was as follows:

            -The characters collapse their attributes into Power, Finesse, and Resistance, as they would in a dream.
            -Their health is Doors, equal to their Willpower, modified by circumstance and negotiation.
            -Combat is as if the characters were physically fighting. They can use spells or raw combat ability, but spells cannot go beyond their natural Reach and they cannot use yantras.

            The biggest change was thus:

            -The Duel Arcane is a battle of perspective. The "landscape" of the Duel begins as the dueling arena, but is shaped as Doors are opened.
            -Characters can spend a turn building momentum; a pool of dice gained by performing symbolic actions to shape the perspective. Such actions take the form of an Attribute + Arcanum roll appropriate for the act, with successes adding to a momentum dice pool (max 10 dice at any given time).
            -Momentum could be spent on a 1:1 basis, either to add to a spell dice pool or to reduce damage from an incoming spell. The former had to be spent before the spell was rolled. The latter had to be spent after an opponent committed to the spell but before they decided on spell factors. It could also be used to fight an ongoing effect in the same way as Willpower.

            This test run also included a rule that a character's Gnosis became automatic armour against all incoming damage, and that a character could summon any weapon as a +0 weapon.

            It went well enough. Players seemed to feel that the Gnosis armour could be a problem as it got higher up.

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            • #36
              Yeah the Gnosis armor would definitely give a high Gnosis Mage an overwhelming advantage.

              Except for adding a few things, and removing Negotiation though I fail to see how it's actually that different. Not different enough to make it "exciting" anyway, since it's still basically a roll-off like pretty much all combat.

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              • #37
                If you want armour I think reusing the Amnion would work well. You already use the attributes, and being able to summon a weapon is similar to how Dream Form mages can summon their path tools which includes weapons.

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                • #38
                  Offhand. Decide on an Arcana to be your Sword and one to be your Shield, which can change turn to turn.

                  Defense is Gnosis + Shield (full defense does let you apply double this as a Dodge pool)
                  Offense is Attribute + Sword, you do not need to calculate Factors. Reach still matters.
                  You may spend Mana to add to your attack pool or your Defense on a 1 for 1 basis. When dodging, mana adds to the dodge pool after doubling defense.
                  All mystical buffs and supernatual merits do not apply unless they specify otherwise.

                  If an attack wins, you may remove a door, impose a condition, or shatter an Arcana (make it 0 for purposes of being a sword or shield). Exceptional success lets you do two of those things, even the same option twice, or lets you apply a persistent condition.

                  Negotiation can be done as a reflexive action and a point of willpower, or as an instant action.

                  Make sure there is a Dueling Fighting Style.
                  1) 8-again on attack rolls.
                  2) May spend a point of Willpower to restore a broken Arcana for one turn.
                  3) You may spend 2 mana in place of a Willpower during a duel.
                  4) If a successful attack does not remove one of the opponent's Doors, open one door.
                  5) At the end of the turn, if you did not dodge and the opponent did not hit you, open one of the opponent's doors.
                  Last edited by SoulGambit; 03-05-2017, 11:07 AM.

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                  • #39
                    Originally posted by Mrmdubois View Post
                    Yeah the Gnosis armor would definitely give a high Gnosis Mage an overwhelming advantage.

                    Except for adding a few things, and removing Negotiation though I fail to see how it's actually that different. Not different enough to make it "exciting" anyway, since it's still basically a roll-off like pretty much all combat.
                    It's more strategic and allows for more creativity in tactics, since you can use spells to shape terrain or weaken your target rather than just plink at doors, but if that's your view of combat, that's your view of combat. No system of dice will ever be anything beyond a roll-off by that definition.

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                    • #40
                      While it goes nowhere near fixing the rules as they're written, when I was reading through Shadowjim12's post an idea struck me.
                      Would adding something akin to Stunts, like from Exalted, make the Duel Arcane feel more interesting?


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