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Balancing Wards+Signs & Dispels & Supernal Veil

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  • Balancing Wards+Signs & Dispels & Supernal Veil

    So I'm running a sprawling multi-year crossover campaign that started as Hunter, then became effectively Werewolf and now I'm trying to mix in some Mage. Mage is, of course, difficult to balance with other lines. But I'm starting to be amazed at how difficult it is to balance with itself. I could really do with some help. Please don't interpret my opinionated bluntness for douchery.

    So how do you guys make mage combat actually work? I'll highlight some special things:

    Exceptional successes break Withstand - I don't even know where to start with this. At the point where a mage can cast an Adept direct damage spell, they can cast it combined with itself as a praxis and reliably get an exceptional... dealing minimum 8 lethal (aggravated if they spring for 2 mana) bypassing W/S. And, as we all know, direct damage spells are supposed to be the laziest and least effective spells.

    My tentative houserule is that nothing that would spell certain death (including taking them out of the fight) for anyone can bypass resistance, be it W/S or something else. Anybody else have any suggestions?

    Random question: Can you use a Mudra without casting a rote? In other words, can you take the skill bonus as a +X yantra while casting as a praxis?

    Wards & Signs subject vs area - The description says that it only works on spells that directly target the subject. The breadth of interpretation here means that W/S is either extremely powerful or extremely powerless. For instance, why not turn your boring direct damage subject spell into a boring direct damage area spell hitting "arm's reach from a central point"? Or take the -2 to make it "the size of a small room"? Does this only affect spells that specify a subject, then? That's not a very imposing list.

    Speaking of area spells how the hell do you work that - Does defense or dodge apply to a fireball that literally engulfs an entire room? If not, why not do this all the time?

    What does W/S actually cover - It shields you from hostile magic: only awakened magic, I guess? Does it shield your spells from dispels? The things you are currently wearing or carrying? The air you are about to breathe into your lungs? Does it shield you from attainments?

    Dispels how do they do - SO, barring archmagi, the maximum Withstand for a dispel is exactly 7 with 5 Arcana and +2 from Advanced Potency. That is... unless Wards & Signs applies to spells. If so, does W/S apply to all the spells on a given mage or just each spell that is its subject? Can Wards & Signs apply to all spells and individuals and objects in a static area like a Sanctum? In any of those cases, can Wards & Signs apply to dispels against itself? Also, can you area instead of subject dispel?

    Also: Does Supernal Dispellation only apply to Awakened magic? Asking for a werewolf friend. My gut says no, but that a Spirit 4 creative thaumaturgy could dispel various wolf-related stuff and same for Death with vampers. Either that or it's a combined Prime + relevant arcana etc etc.

    OH HO HO Supernal Veil is stronk or maybe not - So in order to dispel a spell you have to perceive it, right? Well what if the other mage has indefinite Supernal Veil on and you fail on your COW? Does that mean that it's impossible to dispel lack of perception from supernal veil because you can't perceive it? Does it apply to every spell on a given subject? Does it apply to itself? Can it apply to everything inside a static area? This is either very powerful or not powerful at all.

    Is there a possible Clash of Wills shield spell for prime? - Time, Mind, Space, Death, Spirit and Fate all have spells that force a COW against magic of their Arcanum. Can similar ones be made for the other ones? Speaking of: what does Soul Armor apply against that Ghost Shield wouldn't???

    Never having run it before, it's difficult to conceptualize how magical combat actually works. I'm inclined towards "It doesn't and it's just creative MTP megadeath rocket tag which is why arcane duels exist." I mean... how was this stuff dealt with in playtesting? In my head it all looks like "Whoever wins initiative casts combined dispel vs Wards+Signs and some form of instant death/disabling with advanced scaling for TPK."


    Final notes: my probationary houserules are "spells that cause instagib or scene-long stunlock are always withstood", "advanced potency spells always withstand", "supernatural power stats count as an extra withstand rating" and "ephemerals withstand with resistance because allowing entry-level mages to browbeat rank 5 'minor gods' with 6 potency is f***ing insane." What do you think?

  • #2
    While I do have a bunch of house rules to fix some of the issues you bring up, in my campaigns I rarely if ever use "combat as a sport" mechanics. Most mages in my universe can and will instantly and absurdly kill you if you mess with them enough and they took time to prepare the appropriate spell. This causes there to be a lot of politics created in an attempt to prevent a drastic depopulation of Awakened. Also, Awakened tend to have complicated long-term goals, which makes most of them want to avoid getting into deadly arcane combat. Also if you kill the wrong mage, you could end up labeled as a Banisher and that's going to make your plans a bit harder to complete for sure. And yes, you can blow up a whole building kinda easily, but it's not like you get to use that sort of power too often (sometimes your cabalmates will get nervous when they realize you can mind control a whole bar to messily kill and cleanup anyone you want inside it and make sure no one will remember it).

    Random answers: You can't get the yantra bonus of a mudra is you don't have the rote. I don't think you can combine a spell with itself, as it would normally not be allowed to stack with itself. In my house rules, direct damage spells use successes as damage instead of potency (I only use potency to check for Withstand and nothing more since I've rewritten every spell in the book not to use potency), thus making damage a bit more unpredictable.

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    • #3
      That's a lot of questions. There's a bit of stream of consciousness going on in your post...
      • The first thing is that it's very difficult to balance the game lines across one another. They were not designed to be balanced with each other.
      • You cannot use Mudras without casting a Rote.
      • I personally take the Wards and Signs text to mean someone falling directly under a spell's effect, rather than the after-effect of a spell, such as a telekinetically thrown trash can hitting you.
      • You cannot dodge spells with Area targeting. Anyone who enters the area is automatically affected by the spell. Aimed spells, on the other hand, allow one to apply Defense. Why not do Area spells all the time? It requires Reach (usually 2) to be useful. It cannot discriminate targets (unless you add Fate 2). These are very good reasons to not use Area spells all the time.
      • Wards and Signs shields from Awakened Magic and possibly other effects the ST rules that fall under the purview of Prime. It does not protect against Attainments, as Attainments are explicitly not magical. It will only shield your spells from dispellation if you cast Wards and Signs on those spells.
      • There is nothing stopping you from casting Wards and Signs on an ongoing spell to protect it. However, the rules for multiple Withstands comes into play. When stacking Withstands, only the highest applies, and you get +1 from each other source of Withstand. Personally I would also rule that spell stacking rules do not allow multiple Wards and Signs to further increase the Withstand--only the highest Wards and Signs would apply.
      • Supernal Dispellation is the same as Dispel Magic but without the Arcanum requirement. Awakened Magic is explicitly under the purview of Prime. Werewolf Gifts are not (however, they are under the purview of Spirit, as you say). Once you start doing crossovers, it is a bit up to ST fiat. I would not allow Dispellation to affect the powers of other templates, unless the appropriate conjunctional Arcanum was added at 4 dots (Practice of Patterning).
      • When mages hit a Clash of Wills, they know that the spell is clashing. However, they do not know what it is clashing with. But then again, with a bit of logic, you could probably figure out what it's clashing against, as long as you have enough contextual information (e.g. you know you're up against a mage). If you did an AOE dispellation and the mage with Supernal Veil is within the area, Supernal Veil would be affected, as Area spells are not reliant on perception to affect targets--perhaps barring some kind of Creative Thaumaturgy Fate or Space(?) Veiling effect.
      • There is no Clash of Wills Shielding spell in Prime, possibly for balance reasons.
      • Ghost Shield can protect against Death magic that affects the soul, but Soul Armor can protect against any magic that can affect the soul. It's a bit situational but still useful.
      • The Duel Arcane was invented because mages are powerhouses. Once mages get 4 dots in an Arcanum, then real combat starts to become a lot more lethal. But keep in mind you don't always know what Potency you need on dispellation. Dangerous combat is also why mages like to avoid direct confrontation, and be prepared.
      • Adding Supernatural Tolerance trait to Withstand will nerf mages far too much. The rulebook explicitly says not to do this.
      • Getting potency 6 as a starting mage is not very easy if you want to actually be able to cast your spell, even with a 15 hour ritual.
      Mages will always eclipse other templates in terms of power. Even starting mages can travel back in time by multiple Scenes, or traipse around the universe. Demons can sort of compete with them, apparently. But werewolves and vampires are a tier below when it comes to pure mechanical power.

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      • #4
        You can’t combine cast a damage spell with itself and double the damage you’re putting out. Second, direct damage spells don’t deal with Withstand unless a Reach has been spent to apply a Tilt.

        You can’t apply a Mudra bonus to a spell that isn’t a Rote.
        Last edited by Mrmdubois; 12-12-2017, 05:23 AM.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Mrmdubois View Post
          You can’t combine cast a damage spell with itself and double the damage you’re putting out. Second, direct damage spells don’t deal with Withstand unless a Reach has been spent to apply a Tilt.

          You can’t apply a Mustafa bonus to a spell that isn’t a Rote.
          Easiest one to reply to:
          1) Where's the rule that says you can't combine a damage spell with itself? OK, let's say you can't. Why can't (as an Obrimos) I combine Celestial Fire with Thunderbolt to accomplish the exact same thing?

          2) Yeah I was talking about Withstand from Wards & Signs. Basically, RAW, you can have an indefinite potency 20 Wards & Signs up but it will do nothing against a spell with an exceptional success UNLESS it's an Arcana 5 instagib spell (which is called out as always resisted).

          3) Mudras are yantras. I don't see anything in the rules that say you can't use the Mudra yantra without casting as a rote? You definitely can't cast as a rote (gaining 5 arcana worth of reach and, if you created it, rote on the spellcasting roll) while casting as a praxis... but there's nothing in the rules about only being able to use the Mudra while casting as a rote.

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          • #6
            The question about combined damage spells came up and was answered on the forums, essentially it boils down to the fact that if you cast two spells with identical Potency and purpose only one will take effect. On spells with Duration this will cause one spell to essentially be a backup that will kick in if the “active” one is dispelled. On an instant spell like a damage spell though only one instance will take effect.

            Mudras are specifically called out as being part of the rote creation process which is why they only work with Rotes.

            Bypassing Withstand is one effect on the menu of effects you can achieve with an Exceptional Success, it doesn’t have to be selected or allowed if the ST doesn’t think it thematically appropriate to the story.
            Last edited by Mrmdubois; 12-11-2017, 05:29 PM.

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            • #7
              1
              Originally posted by projectmoon View Post
              That's a lot of questions. There's a bit of stream of consciousness going on in your post...
              • The first thing is that it's very difficult to balance the game lines across one another. They were not designed to be balanced with each other.
              • You cannot use Mudras without casting a Rote.
              • I personally take the Wards and Signs text to mean someone falling directly under a spell's effect, rather than the after-effect of a spell, such as a telekinetically thrown trash can hitting you.
              • You cannot dodge spells with Area targeting. Anyone who enters the area is automatically affected by the spell. Aimed spells, on the other hand, allow one to apply Defense. Why not do Area spells all the time? It requires Reach (usually 2) to be useful. It cannot discriminate targets (unless you add Fate 2). These are very good reasons to not use Area spells all the time.
              • Wards and Signs shields from Awakened Magic and possibly other effects the ST rules that fall under the purview of Prime. It does not protect against Attainments, as Attainments are explicitly not magical. It will only shield your spells from dispellation if you cast Wards and Signs on those spells.
              • There is nothing stopping you from casting Wards and Signs on an ongoing spell to protect it. However, the rules for multiple Withstands comes into play. When stacking Withstands, only the highest applies, and you get +1 from each other source of Withstand. Personally I would also rule that spell stacking rules do not allow multiple Wards and Signs to further increase the Withstand--only the highest Wards and Signs would apply.
              • Supernal Dispellation is the same as Dispel Magic but without the Arcanum requirement. Awakened Magic is explicitly under the purview of Prime. Werewolf Gifts are not (however, they are under the purview of Spirit, as you say). Once you start doing crossovers, it is a bit up to ST fiat. I would not allow Dispellation to affect the powers of other templates, unless the appropriate conjunctional Arcanum was added at 4 dots (Practice of Patterning).
              • When mages hit a Clash of Wills, they know that the spell is clashing. However, they do not know what it is clashing with. But then again, with a bit of logic, you could probably figure out what it's clashing against, as long as you have enough contextual information (e.g. you know you're up against a mage). If you did an AOE dispellation and the mage with Supernal Veil is within the area, Supernal Veil would be affected, as Area spells are not reliant on perception to affect targets--perhaps barring some kind of Creative Thaumaturgy Fate or Space(?) Veiling effect.
              • There is no Clash of Wills Shielding spell in Prime, possibly for balance reasons.
              • Ghost Shield can protect against Death magic that affects the soul, but Soul Armor can protect against any magic that can affect the soul. It's a bit situational but still useful.
              • The Duel Arcane was invented because mages are powerhouses. Once mages get 4 dots in an Arcanum, then real combat starts to become a lot more lethal. But keep in mind you don't always know what Potency you need on dispellation. Dangerous combat is also why mages like to avoid direct confrontation, and be prepared.
              • Adding Supernatural Tolerance trait to Withstand will nerf mages far too much. The rulebook explicitly says not to do this.
              • Getting potency 6 as a starting mage is not very easy if you want to actually be able to cast your spell, even with a 15 hour ritual.
              Mages will always eclipse other templates in terms of power. Even starting mages can travel back in time by multiple Scenes, or traipse around the universe. Demons can sort of compete with them, apparently. But werewolves and vampires are a tier below when it comes to pure mechanical power.
              You cannot use Mudras without casting a Rote. -

              Where does it say this in the rules? Mudras are listed as yantras and nothing in the yantra section says they are only usable when casting as a rote.


              I personally take the Wards and Signs text to mean someone falling directly under a spell's effect, rather than the after-effect of a spell, such as a telekinetically thrown trash can hitting you.

              I dig that. But my questions are things likeoes W/S protect just the mage or also the mage's possessions and spells? This is important because "hostile magic" could mean "everything in on and of my person is sacrosanct" or it could mean "literally you can't cast a spell where I am explicitly named the subject, rather than my spells or my wand or my pants or the air around my face."


              You cannot dodge spells with Area targeting. Anyone who enters the area is automatically affected by the spell. Aimed spells, on the other hand, allow one to apply Defense. Why not do Area spells all the time? It requires Reach (usually 2) to be useful. It cannot discriminate targets (unless you add Fate 2). These are very good reasons to not use Area spells all the time.

              Ummm... could you explain what you mean about Reach 2? It's literally a -2 casting roll penalty to cast as an area encompassing "a small room" with standard scale and it costs absolutely nothing to go from a targeted spell to an area spell. Also... entering areas? What about casting a room-sized fireball at a room-sized area where your enemy already is? That's generally how these things go.


              Wards and Signs shields from Awakened Magic and possibly other effects the ST rules that fall under the purview of Prime. It does not protect against Attainments, as Attainments are explicitly not magical. It will only shield your spells from dispellation if you cast Wards and Signs on those spells.

              Where does it say that Attainments are non-magical? All it says is that the can't be supernally dispelled or countered and isn't subject to the Lie... explicitly legacy attainments "do not count as *obvious* magic"... not that they can't be withstood. Also not that they can't be subject to, for instance, a clash of wills from a Supernal spell power.


              When mages hit a Clash of Wills, they know that the spell is clashing. However, they do not know what it is clashing with. But then again, with a bit of logic, you could probably figure out what it's clashing against, as long as you have enough contextual information (e.g. you know you're up against a mage). If you did an AOE dispellation and the mage with Supernal Veil is within the area, Supernal Veil would be affected, as Area spells are not reliant on perception to affect targets--perhaps barring some kind of Creative Thaumaturgy Fate or Space(?) Veiling effect.

              Is it possible to do an AOE dispel? In that case, would that stack all of the Withstand +1's from every spell in that area? The rules say explicitly that different *subjects* of a spell withstand separately... but nothing about different things inside an area. Supernal Dispellation is a subject-specifying spell and I can see a "small room-sized" dispel affecting all spells inside equally being extremely OP.


              Adding Supernatural Tolerance trait to Withstand will nerf mages far too much. The rulebook explicitly says not to do this.

              Yes, it does say that. I'm really not convinced, though. A mage already has many ways of destroying an ancient BP 10 vampire without resorting to "Oh... his stamina is just three? Poofed."


              Getting potency 6 as a starting mage is not very easy if you want to actually be able to cast your spell, even with a 15 hour ritual.

              Are we reading the same 2E rulebook? Starting Potency is 3 from Arcana. Base dice pool is Gnosis 1 + Arcana 3 = 4. Add 3, 4 or 5 from rote Mudra with rote specialty. Right out the gate, you can take a -6 to increase to potency 6 while reducing your dice pool to 1, 2 or 3.... PLUS 3 from Willpower (which means you can reasonably expect it to cast). Then, if you have literally 3 more seconds... you can use High Speech for another +2 to your roll.
              Last edited by bonerstorm; 12-11-2017, 05:59 PM.

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              • #8
                The rules about Mudras are in a subsection for the Yantra rules, it doesn’t specifically disallow the use of Mudras on other kinds of spells, but it is implicit in the text because it only talks about using mudras in the context of Rotes.

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                • #9
                  "When casting a Rote from memory, using an Order’s recall techniques, the character may use dots in the associated Skill as a Yantra. The character must be free to make the mnemonic gestures to recall the Rote in order to benefit from the Skill bonus"


                  Bloodline: The Stygians
                  Ordo Dracul Mysteries: Mystery of Smoke, Revised Mystery of Živa
                  Mage The Awakening: Spell Quick Reference (single page and landscape for computer screens)

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                  • #10
                    Man..at least make some effort to present your questions in a readable manner. I'd love to try and help - I'm sure many people would - but you're asking a lot of questions in a nearly incoherent stream of consciousness that makes any attempt at actually sifting through your post for specific questions an exercise in frustration.

                    To discuss a couple that I saw mentioned:

                    1) no, you can't dodge or apply Defense against any non-aimed spell, including area spells. Mages don't just always use AOEs because you can't choose the targets of an AOE, it affects all viable subjects in the area indiscriminately, which is often problematic.
                    2) No, you can't combine two of the same (or even different) direct damage spells to do double damage, this has been clarified by the devs. Search Dave's posts if you want to find the specific post.
                    3) Mudras are part of using a rote, they can't be used independently.
                    4) Wards & Signs only applies to awakened magic (spells, attainments, etc). It adds Withstand, a mechanic no system besides Awakened magic even engages with.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Please format your post with the quote functionality. It's very difficult to decode otherwise.
                      Originally posted by bonerstorm View Post
                      1
                      I dig that. But my questions are things likeoes W/S protect just the mage or also the mage's possessions and spells? This is important because "hostile magic" could mean "everything in on and of my person is sacrosanct" or it could mean "literally you can't cast a spell where I am explicitly named the subject, rather than my spells or my wand or my pants or the air around my face."
                      If you cast it on yourself, it protects you. If you cast it on your possessions, it protects those. If you cast it on your spells, it protects those. There is some wiggle room when it comes to this. Like at what point do you start splitting hairs on the subjects of a spell? Personally if it's something insignificant like clothes, I'd ignore it as a subject. But stuff like worn artifacts or imbued items, you may need to target separately as a subject. of the spell.

                      Ummm... could you explain what you mean about Reach 2? It's literally a -2 casting roll penalty to cast as an area encompassing "a small room" with standard scale and it costs absolutely nothing to go from a targeted spell to an area spell. Also... entering areas? What about casting a room-sized fireball at a room-sized area where your enemy already is? That's generally how these things go.
                      One Reach for sensory range, and another Reach for Advanced Scale. You at least need Sensory Range in most cases. You can take dice penalties, yes, but then that leaves you with less dice for other fun effects, like Potency. As for room-sized fireballs, yes, that will work at least a few times. But if the mages are clearing rooms like this all the time, the encounter needs to be run differently. Enemies are going to wise up eventually, and at least prepare tactically.

                      Where does it say that Attainments are non-magical? All it says is that the can't be supernally dispelled or countered and isn't subject to the Lie... explicitly legacy attainments "do not count as *obvious* magic"... not that they can't be withstood. Also not that they can't be subject to, for instance, a clash of wills from a Supernal spell power.
                      This is true. In fact, the Attainments chapter calls them out as magical effects. Legacy Attainments are a bit different, but I guess I read too far into the meaning of that. It says they're not any different than natural phenomena (although I guess still considered magical to an extent). Attainments can indeed be Withstood and subject to a Clash of Wills.

                      Is it possible to do an AOE dispel? In that case, would that stack all of the Withstand +1's from every spell in that area? The rules say explicitly that different *subjects* of a spell withstand separately... but nothing about different things inside an area. Supernal Dispellation is a subject-specifying spell and I can see a "small room-sized" dispel affecting all spells inside equally being extremely OP.
                      It is possible to an area casting of any spell. Anyone/anything inside an area spell is a subject: "If using Area of Effect for Scale, the factor instead determines how large the area covered by the spell is, applying the spell effect to anyone or anything within."

                      Yes, it does say that. I'm really not convinced, though. A mage already has many ways of destroying an ancient BP 10 vampire without resorting to "Oh... his stamina is just three? Poofed."
                      A vampire at Blood Potency 10 isn't going to be out in the open for a mage to attack. Vampires, especially ones of that caliber, are master manipulators. The mage's social and family life will come to a bloody end long before he finds that vampire. And a Master (the only ones who can "poof" things with Making/Unmaking) is quite unstoppable, if prepared. This is by design.

                      Are we reading the same 2E rulebook? Starting Potency is 3 from Arcana. Base dice pool is Gnosis 1 + Arcana 3 = 4. Add 3, 4 or 5 from rote Mudra with rote specialty. Right out the gate, you can take a -6 to increase to potency 6 while reducing your dice pool to 1, 2 or 3.... PLUS 3 from Willpower (which means you can reasonably expect it to cast). Then, if you have literally 3 more seconds... you can use High Speech for another +2 to your roll.
                      Yes, if you specialize hardcore in something, you will be able to get a lot out of it. But again this is missing story consequences. The character gives up other things in order to make this happen. And rank 5 spirits aren't going to take kindly to being controlled or enslaved. And even if a mage can control a level 5 spirit, that spirit's retaliation will be swift and dangerous if it did not agree to be controlled, not to say anything of its "allies" that lurk in the Shadow.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Tessie View Post
                        "When casting a Rote from memory, using an Order’s recall techniques, the character may use dots in the associated Skill as a Yantra. The character must be free to make the mnemonic gestures to recall the Rote in order to benefit from the Skill bonus"
                        Thanks guys! I also found this in the spellcasting appendix: (emphasis added)
                        Rote: Gains free Reach as though character had five dots
                        in Arcanum. ***May use Mudra Yantras.*** If cast out of Grimoire,
                        cannot use instant casting and doubles ritual interval. If cast
                        out of Grimoire or by creator, gains rote action quality (p. 214)
                        on spellcasting roll.

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                        • #13
                          Sorry for my crappy formatting guys. I'll learn moar.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by bonerstorm View Post
                            Sorry for my crappy formatting guys. I'll learn moar.

                            Simple lesson to take from this, Dont cross the streams.

                            Final notes: my probationary houserules are "spells that cause instagib or scene-long stunlock are always withstood",
                            Note that unmaking spells are always withstood when used on somebody so no need to house rule it. (though a ES can still ignore the withstand)

                            An area dispel magic spell will dispel all spells within the area that you have 1 arcana in and beat the withstand. Vs a area W/S spell then all spells (and everything else inside) including the w/s spell within the w/s area gain the addition withstand. Its not till prime 4 when you can dispel all spells in an area easily.

                            As has been said already, there will be some points where you dont want to use area spells, esp if your in the area yourself. Sometimes you might just want to dispel x,y,z spells on some threat and leave your own spells active etc etc

                            Is it powerful? Yes. Does it need balanced? No. That action your using to dispel things, is one action you arnt using to counter spells being thrown back at you maybe. It'll probably be rare that situations line up perfectly where you'll catch enemy mages in an area and not catch your friends, and who is to say they arnt just going to area dispel all your spells right back at you?

                            Mage's are powerful, theres a reason mage society developed consiliums, the duel arcane etc to deal with mage disputes, which basically "balance" mages for you.
                            Last edited by totalgit; 12-12-2017, 05:34 AM.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by lnodiv View Post
                              Man..at least make some effort to present your questions in a readable manner. I'd love to try and help - I'm sure many people would - but you're asking a lot of questions in a nearly incoherent stream of consciousness that makes any attempt at actually sifting through your post for specific questions an exercise in frustration.

                              To discuss a couple that I saw mentioned:

                              1) no, you can't dodge or apply Defense against any non-aimed spell, including area spells. Mages don't just always use AOEs because you can't choose the targets of an AOE, it affects all viable subjects in the area indiscriminately, which is often problematic.
                              2) No, you can't combine two of the same (or even different) direct damage spells to do double damage, this has been clarified by the devs. Search Dave's posts if you want to find the specific post.
                              3) Mudras are part of using a rote, they can't be used independently.
                              4) Wards & Signs only applies to awakened magic (spells, attainments, etc). It adds Withstand, a mechanic no system besides Awakened magic even engages with.
                              Thanks! Very helpful! 2-4 make perfect sense. I believe firmly that attainments should be withstood by W/S, considering that there are mechanics in place for determining their potency and they presumably are withstood in all other contexts just as their base spells.

                              1 is problematic, though. It means that any mage combat outside of phone booth range can instagib an entire party at first initiative regardless of W/S, barring counterspells. The idea that "it affects all viable targets in the area indiscriminately" applies as much to hand grenades, which my former TFV hunter players are very familiar with. For example, an Adept of Matter could turn all of the air in a small room-sized area into stone/steel/plutonium/acid/lava without so much as a blink from the other side.

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