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  • Advanced Scale

    Is there any way to increase the size of an object a spell can directly affect besides paying the -2 dice penalty per size 5 increment? We have a character who wants to cast a spell on a small apartment building (size 60) which appears to incur an extremely difficult -22 dice penalty. This raised the question of whether a scaling factor of 5 is too small since it makes it effectively impossible to affect many of the larger objects on the size chart in the Chronicles of Darkness rulebook (e.g., -38 dice penalty to directly affect a skyscraper).

    The Advanced Scale seems to be both too limiting and too powerful simultaneously. That is, the character can’t affect the small apartment building without absorbing a -22 dice penalty, but if the character can manage to build up that dice pool he goes from not being able to affect the small apartment building at all to being able to affect 160 small apartment buildings at once. Also, because of the Number of Subjects that can be affected the character can generally affect the same approximate square footage of smaller objects long before he can affect a larger object (e.g., a -16 dice penalty would allow 1,280 small houses to be affected which is roughly the equivalent of a skyscraper).

    Would it negatively impact the game to change the advanced scale factor to increments of 10 while setting the maximum size to 100 to maintain balance? At the same time we’d limit the Number of Subjects to 1 for objects of size 10 or larger with each additional -2 dice penalty allowing one additional subject (objects of size 9 or smaller would use the standard Number of Subjects for Advanced Scale).

  • #2
    Size and number of subjects is a separate Scale category from Area of Effect. With a -4 penalty and a reach for Advanced Scale, you can affect up to 20 subjects of Size up to15, or everything in a large warehouse or supermarket regardless of number and size.
    Last edited by Charlaquin; 06-15-2016, 11:04 PM.


    Going by Willow now, or Wil for short. She/Her/Hers.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Charlaquin View Post
      Size and number of subjects is a separate Scale category from Area of Effect. With a -4 penalty and a reach for Advanced Scale, you can affect up to 20 subjects of Size up to15, or everything in a large warehouse or supermarket regardless of number and size.
      Keep in mind that if he's trying to modify the entire apartment building itself, as opposed to applying an effect to everyone within it, then the Size would be an issue.

      I think.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by lnodiv View Post
        Keep in mind that if he's trying to modify the entire apartment building itself, as opposed to applying an effect to everyone within it, then the Size would be an issue.

        I think.
        Yeah, after thinking on it I came to the same conclusion.

        ¯\_(ツ)_/¯


        Going by Willow now, or Wil for short. She/Her/Hers.

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        • #5
          I'm not sure I even understand the question. Where are you getting -22 from? Use a Reach for Advanced Scale and then take a -4 penalty to effect the area of the building. The building itself or anyone in it will be effected by the spell.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Aspel View Post
            I'm not sure I even understand the question. Where are you getting -22 from? Use a Reach for Advanced Scale and then take a -4 penalty to effect the area of the building. The building itself or anyone in it will be effected by the spell.
            It's not 'or' the inhabitants, it's 'and'. If casting a spell on a building, but not affecting the inhabitants, you have two options:

            Use the building as a single target, To get the size high enough, you have to take that -22 penalty.
            Use Warding Gesture on the building first (via advanced scale) and then selectively exclude them from the followup advanced scale spell, cast as you described.

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            • #7
              Spells occur in the manner you specify in the Imago, so this kind of depends on what you want to do with that spell. For example, a spell to "turn the walls blue" will not affect anyone inside the building. Also, I don't think a house needs to be targeted as a single subject. Imagine you want to paint the walls blue: as long as the house is smaller than a small warehouse, you only need a Reach and a -4 penalty to paint up to 10 wall segments, each the size of a car. With a -6 I could paint up to 20 walls the size of a Semi truck, and so forth.

              So, depending on your Imago and how you are counting, you can make a spell doable or nigh impossible.

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              • #8
                lnodiv
                Originally posted by Scale, (emphasis mine)
                The scale of a spell is how large the spell is. Mages must decide when casting whether they are targeting specific subjects or a blanket area of effect. Aimed spells (see below) must use area of effect, centered on wherever the mage aims.
                If the mage uses Number of Subjects for Scale, the factor determines how many subjects may be affected and the Size of the largest subject. Once decided, a mage can affect fewer subjects than the scale of her spell permits.

                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. A mage cannot single out specific subjects in the declared space unless she uses the spell Warding Gesture (see “Fate,” p. 136)
                Everything in the area is effected if you operate off of Area of Effect. So if I wanted everyone in my Sanctum to be healthy and focused, I might decide to cast a spell to do just that. I decide that I'll use the Body Control spell. I'll cast it as a ritual, use one Reach to apply Advanced Duration (which with my Life 3 will mean increasing three levels down the chart, to one week), then to increase the Potency I'll take a -4 to increase Potency by two, and a Reach to give it +2 to Withstand (don't want all this hard work to go to waste). My Sanctum is a pretty good size, so I make another Reach and increase to the Advanced Scale and take another -4. This is a pretty hefty -8 penalty so far! My spellcasting pool is at -2 at the moment, and that isn't good. Thankfully my Mudra brings that up to 2, and by using High Speech and another Yantra I can have a pool of 5 dice. This feels acceptable, so I spend the next hour performing kata and concentrating on my Imago, which happens to look like the cheesy X-ray CGI of some crime scene show. I also probably offload the spell onto my trusty Banner-Bearer.

                Now, for the next week, anyone who enters my Sanctum will have the affects of a Potency 3 Body Control, finding their bruises heal faster, their breathing remain under control, and their mind sharp and quick to react. Also they won't need to eat, which is good, because I don't want to feed my guest.

                If my hated enemy enters my Sanctum, though, he'll also gain the same benefits. I don't get to choose who is or isn't affected, it applies to anyone, even if they come in long after I cast the spell. But if I feel threatened (or perhaps just want to make a "fuck you" to a political rival), I can cast the Warding Gesture spell with a Reach targeting my rival. Provided I overcome his Withstand, I can then exclude him from the Body Control spell, so that his wounds don't heal quickly and his mind and body aren't so ready to leap into action. Although if he doesn't mean me any harm, he might expect me to provide him with hospitality, and it would be rude to refuse.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by lnodiv View Post
                  Keep in mind that if he's trying to modify the entire apartment building itself, as opposed to applying an effect to everyone within it, then the Size would be an issue.

                  I think.
                  This is the scenario we're looking at. The character is trying to cast the spell directly on the small apartment building and not on the occupants or contents. It appears absorbing the -22 dice penalty is the correct approach in this case which given the other necessary dice penalties will almost certainly make a successful casting impossible. I need to go back and better familiarize myself with how Area of Effect, Imago and Warding Gesture interrelate in response to some of the comments above, but it doesn't appear they would be relevant in this circumstance. I suppose one train of thought is that the character could limit the Area of Effect to only the area around the building and construct the Imago so that it only relates to making changes to the small apartment building, but that seems like an end run around the Size of the Largest Subject limitation. I admit I'm having difficulty wrapping my head around the limitations of each type of scale factor.

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                  • #10
                    Is he trying to actually change the building or is this spell aimed at people inside or something like that?

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                    • #11
                      Those tables are to use in the way it makes the most sense for the spell. If I want to target an appartment building, you take the area of effect chart. That is advanced scale and probably +2, depending on the size. If you now cast a spell that will change the color of the walls, it changes the color of the walls and that's it. The people inside would be affected if they would be walls. So any person changing to a wall right before the spell would be blue now, otherwise nothing happens to the people. If you cast a spell which paints everything blue in the building, then yes inhabitants are blue, too. But you probably need life for that instead of matter.

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                      • #12
                        1) Pull the fire alarm.
                        2) Cast your spell when everyone is outside of the building
                        3) Profit?

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Archive111 View Post

                          This is the scenario we're looking at. The character is trying to cast the spell directly on the small apartment building and not on the occupants or contents. It appears absorbing the -22 dice penalty is the correct approach in this case which given the other necessary dice penalties will almost certainly make a successful casting impossible. I need to go back and better familiarize myself with how Area of Effect, Imago and Warding Gesture interrelate in response to some of the comments above, but it doesn't appear they would be relevant in this circumstance. I suppose one train of thought is that the character could limit the Area of Effect to only the area around the building and construct the Imago so that it only relates to making changes to the small apartment building, but that seems like an end run around the Size of the Largest Subject limitation. I admit I'm having difficulty wrapping my head around the limitations of each type of scale factor.
                          I don't understand why you think that casting on the apartment will automatically target any occupants, and I don't understand why you aren't just using Advanced Scale which would incur a much lower dice penalty.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by HardcoreHannes View Post
                            Those tables are to use in the way it makes the most sense for the spell. If I want to target an appartment building, you take the area of effect chart. That is advanced scale and probably +2, depending on the size. If you now cast a spell that will change the color of the walls, it changes the color of the walls and that's it. The people inside would be affected if they would be walls. So any person changing to a wall right before the spell would be blue now, otherwise nothing happens to the people. If you cast a spell which paints everything blue in the building, then yes inhabitants are blue, too. But you probably need life for that instead of matter.
                            I'm not entirely sure I'm comfortable with this interpretation. The point of area of effect Scale is that you can affect more targets with the spell, at the cost of it being indiscriminate - everyone in the area, friend or foe, is affected equally. If you can get around that by saying "this spell only changes the color of walls in the area", what's to stop you from using the same logic to say "this spell only lights people who aren't named bob in the area on fire", or if you prefer prescriptive targeting rather than proscriptive, "this spell only lights Seers of the Throne in the area on fire."


                            Going by Willow now, or Wil for short. She/Her/Hers.

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                            • #15
                              If the spell doesn't make any sense for affecting the people in the building then why would it affect them? Say you cast a spell to make all the doorknobs fall off? How exactly are the residents supposed to have their doorknobs fall off?

                              It's not that a Mage can be proscribtive or prescriptive but that some targets naturally are exempted. People are similar enough that usually you can't discriminate between them, though if you cast s spell on everyone's right hand and one guy doesn't have a right hand...
                              Last edited by Mrmdubois; 06-17-2016, 12:35 PM.

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