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A few quick questions about Damage Spells

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  • A few quick questions about Damage Spells

    I was reading to the updated Core Book and wanted to make sure if I have everything down correctly regarding damage dealing spells - something that will surely be used at some point and which therefore I definitely want to do correctly.

    1) Aimed Spells. This is relatively simple, as it follows the usual formula. You roll to hit as normal with defense affecting the roll - unless you buy the merit for it not to, provided the enemy does not apply defense to firearms anyway - and your potency is the damage. I understand that UNLIKE a weapon attack, successes on the attack roll do NOT add to the damage, is this correct?

    2) Armor: Prime mage Armor specifically says it protects from supernatural attacks, including spells. Forces and Matter specifically say they are against Kinetic attacks.Life does not say either way, it just increases general armor. My question thus is: does general armor affect damage from spells? In many cases, it would make very little sense, especially against attacks by the mind arcanum, but I would like to check, especially in regards to the next point.

    3) Sensory Range Damage Spells: Those spells are neither withsstood, as for the general rule on damage spells, nor does defense apply. Does only the prime armor or some similar supernatural protection that specifically works against such attacks protect from them?
    Does the Prime 2 spell wards and signs allow to withstand such spells?
    I am basically thinking of what a typical mage would be doing to protect him or herself from being destroyed at sensory or even longer range, since that would be an obvious concern of course.

    Overall, damage dealing spells seem pretty potent and I definitely want to make sure a crossover game ends up with the right feel in terms of power balance.


  • #2
    1.) You're correct.
    2.) Depends on the spell. For example, any Mage Armor that grants general armour would protect against both Matter damage spells. The Mind attack spells are extremely difficult to protect against, though. I don't think I've seen any power for any splat that would protect against mental damage. You could even make an argument that vampires shouldn't get to downgrade that damage (since it's not bodily damage).
    3.) You're correct.
    Wards and Signs add a new Withstand to all spells, including spells that doesn't normally have a Withstand rating such as beneficial spells (meaning you could cast it on someone to decrease or remove their buff spells). The Withstand, however, is separate and not added to any other Withstand ratings (should there be any). To calculate effective Withstand, take the highest and add one for each additional Withstand rating.

    Direct damage spells look good on paper, but you need to reach 4 dots before you can deal lethal, you're likely to overreach, and you can only fit a single Yantra per turn so Potency won't climb too high. Certainly better than a gun (in most cases) but not excessively powerful. Especially not compared with creatively used 3 dot spells that can incapacitate one or more opponents immediately.
    Last edited by Tessie; 06-19-2019, 05:26 AM.


    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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    • #3
      I sat down and went through the various Mage Armors and direct damage spells to see which ones interact with which ones. Note that creative thaumaturgy allows for direct damage spells that works differently from the ones included in the book.


      Each Mage Armor is in this format:
      Arcanum (rule effect)
      - What type of attack or damage it protects against

      Death (Downgrade)
      - External physical damage

      Fate (Defense)
      - All attacks

      Forces (Armor)
      - External physical damage
      - Energy based damage

      Life (Defense & Armor)
      - External physical attacks

      Matter (Armor)
      - External physical damage

      Mind (Defense)
      - Attacks from thinking beings

      Prime (Armor)
      - All magical attacks & sources of damage

      Space (Defense)
      - External attacks

      Spirit (Downgrade)
      - External physical attacks
      - Attacks from ephemeral entities (regardless of type of entity and type of attack, apparently)

      Time (Defense)
      - All attacks



      Direct damage spells:

      Rotting Flesh (Death 3): Imposes physical damage
      Enervation (Death 4): Imposes physical damage

      Call Lightning (Forces 3): External energy based damage
      Thunderbolt (Forces 4): Imposes energy based damage

      Bruise Flesh (Life 3): Imposes physical damage
      Life-Force Assault (Life 4): Imposes physical damage

      Windstrike (Matter 3): External physical damage
      Piercing Earth (Matter 4): External physical damage

      Psychic Assault (Mind 3): Imposes mental/psychic damage
      Mind Flay (Mind 4): Imposes mental/psychic damage

      Aetheric Winds (Prime 3): Possibly external physical damage?
      Celestial Fire (Prime 4): Possibly energy based damage?

      Warp (Space 3): Imposes physical damage
      Collapse (Space 4): Imposes physical damage

      Howl From Beyond (Spirit 3): External spiritual damage
      Shadow Scream (Spirit 4): External spiritual damage

      Weight of Years (Time 3): Imposes physical damage
      Rend Lifespan (Time 4): Imposes physical damage



      Thoughts:
      All Mage Armors that raises Defense only works against aimed spells, but works universally against aimed spells.
      (The only exception would be Mind Armor if you manage to cast an aimed spell without personally having to aim, but even the possibility is a stretch.)

      With the exception of Prime Armor, Mage Armors that grants armor ratings will only work against external attacks and sources of damage, and often only physical attacks at that.
      Prime alone works against imposed damage.

      Prime Armor, as described, should only work against imposed damage but it's stated in its text that it works against all direct damage spells.

      Death & Spirit Armor downgrades only external physical damage, but considering how they're described to work they should downgrade all physical damage (which would include imposed damage).
      Death Armor could alternatively grant armor rating instead of downgrading.
      Spirit Armor should downgrade Spirit direct damage spells, considering that it downgrades attacks from ephemeral entities.

      Matter direct damage spells suck. They're the only ones that deal external damage and physical damage, meaning that they're stopped by all Mage Armors that grants armor ratings, as well as downgraded by Death & Spirit Armor.


      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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      • #4
        Originally posted by Tessie View Post
        2.) Depends on the spell. For example, any Mage Armor that grants general armour would protect against both Matter damage spells. The Mind attack spells are extremely difficult to protect against, though. I don't think I've seen any power for any splat that would protect against mental damage. You could even make an argument that vampires shouldn't get to downgrade that damage (since it's not bodily damage).
        Well, Vampire downgrading is specifically for mundane weapons, I think it is rather questionable if it works against any spell in the first place.

        Injury and Healing
        Characters can suffer three types of damage. Fists and feet,
        along with other kinds of low-impact trauma, deal bashing
        damage. Brass knuckles, knives, and speeding trucks deal
        lethal damage. Kindred take bashing damage from all mundane
        weapons, because they’re less fazed by pain and don’t depend
        on their internal organs.
        Personally, I feel a bit torn about what armor should apply...
        I mean, is there an official "ex cathedra" statement on it?

        On the one hand, keeping it moderately lethal by allowing more types of armor to apply seems sensible - on the other hand though, making certain damage spells just better than other is bit boring as well, similar to first edition where Mind, and I even think mind alone, was categorized as a "subtle" damage spell, making it of course a lot more useful overall.

        I am honestly mostly worried with how it might affect game balance between splats. Mages can and SHOULD protect themselves from hostile spells with Prime Mage Armor and Wards and Signs on top of course of the option to counterspell - or trust in the fact that they do not have any enemy powerful enough to kill them from a distance, which realistically is a safe bet after all for many mages.
        But it would definitely feel anticlimactic if other supernaturals where mostly bared from a way to protect themselves from such attacks.

        I mean, of course a mage can always just be eliminated early enough, but damage spells have rather decent range, more than the claws or fangs of a vampire for sure and with sensory range, they can easily rival a sniper shot.

        Damage spells do start with the Arcanum in Potency due to the primary factor, the one free potency plus Arcanum -1, and thus for the minimum investiture of points, you are looking at base damage 4 with a minim spell casting pool of 7, 3 Gnosis and 4 Arcanum. If you add Mudras as Yantra with a Rote - covering both instant casting and for example sensory range - a dicepool of 10 is easily in range.
        Even powerful enemies can be "two shoted" that way.

        I am mostly okay fine with the raw damage output, it is better than a rifle but that is okay. Other supernaturals also deal pretty high damage.
        I mostly just feel iffy about less accessible countermeasures.

        Ideally, I would want elder vampires or great werewolf warriors to shrug off magical damage in a similar way to how they can do so with physical damage.
        There could be ways to achieve this, like making all damage spells or at least the sensory range ones resisted by supernatural tolerance attribute, but it is definitely a tricky thing. I rather wish that would have been specifically addressed since stories about clashes between different supernatural entities seem to fit very well within Mage the Awakening.

        But in any case, thanks, I do feel a lot more certain about my interpretation of the rules now and thus I can see about any kind of houserules for the conflicts between different groups as the issue arises and as needed.

        I definitely do feel like I might try "non aimed spells are resisted by Primal Urge, Blood Potency, etc." out some time.
        That way, there is either the higher defenses to make it a challenging fight, or the fact that powerful supernatural opponents are very hard to hurt with spells.

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        • #5
          For vampires, they still have Resilience that works against all damage (except sunlight, but that's rarely weaponised and not particularly hurtful for most vampires anyway). Besides, I still think most direct damage spells should be downgraded. Vampires downgrade damage because their bodies are already dead and not susceptible to any complications from bleeding or ruptured organs. There's no reason for them to take damage from being electrified or have their flesh torn apart as if they were alive just because the cause of the damage happened to be a spell. There's nothing inherently supernatural in the type of damage most of the spells inflict (unlike Horrid Talons and the fangs of a vampire in Frenzy). Not to mention that some of the spells doesn't apply to vampires in the first place.
          For additional protection, see Resilience (which applies to all sources of damage except sunlight; and sunlight tend to not cause much damage in the first place) and Juggernaut's Gait. Also, any elder who regularly fights with mages should have custom Devotions to deal with such problems.

          Werewolves are hardy primarily because of their regeneration, and their regen works the same on all types of damage. The only problems would be the higher damage output and relative ease of making aggravated damage.


          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)

          Comment


          • #6
            Rather than mucking with the core rules, I'd give the other supernaturals access to defensive items.

            A Ring of Wards and Signs +5 will greatly complicate the life of any Mage trying to magically frag a Vampire or Werewolf with direct magic; and if inter-splat interaction is common, then it's reasonable to assume they have access to Imbued items.


            Mentats - a 2e Free Council Obrimos Legacy (Mind/Forces) built around being a human computer; Thaumatech Engineers - a 2e Free Council Obrimos Legacy (Matter/Prime) focusing on the creation of Imbued items and the enhancement of Sleeper technology

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