Last night we did another practice with a playtest. The only change we did was we made Mage Armor a "Spell only, self cast only" spell.
During the first scenario I played a mage NPC going to attack the PC group. I felt extremely vulnerable as we had no cleric, so archers were super deadly. My mage armor would no longer protect me. So I was hugging the shield wall and flinging spells in close proximity; I used a ton of striking bolts and dished out a lot of damage. I was an NPC that could respawn but I had 11 mana (2nd level arcane and mana reserves) and tried to use it intelligently. I also had a staff, which is awesome for making a mage useful when not flinging spells. It allowed me to fling spells and then go toe-to-toe with fighters that rushed me.
Personally, I did not like the change to Mage Armor. There was nothing I could do to defend myself. I felt it was too different and never used it, so I just flung damaging spells.
Jeff, however, had a totally different experience. During his round as an NPC (He was a mage in full plate and Matt played a cleric) this allowed Jeff to cast mage armor on himself and Matt could cast protection. With both necklaces together, he was immune to the next attack and the next spell and Jeff said he had never felt so "invulnerable" before. While I understand that a full plate mage is going to be rare, I think the main gist of his feedback was on the split between the auras; if mage armor can't be popped by spells, the next spell is moot... but the protection will absorb the next attack, so it helps too.
All in all, I am not sure how I felt with this playtest. It was interesting to see how it was different, but I don't think it addressed the concern/original goal which is to balance and counter it. I think this change helped more of the survivability of a mage or made it more difficult (since combining the auras needed an allied cleric or the caster to be a witch) but this collaboration might be a great way to look at it. While a mage not being able to protect themselves from harm seemed weird, the combo of a mage armor + protection seemed to be a great balance.
However, as we review this in more detail and ask others for input, we have had an almost unanimous response that Shatter and Acid bolt are too strong. I am heavily looking at balancing these spells out but I am not sure what to do quite yet... Most likely a "Shatter does X damage to a shield" and "Acid does Y damage to armor" system.
Last Edit: May 26, 2016 16:16:35 GMT -5 by Jopper13
An idea came to mind today that I have run past a few players as well and I would like feedback on this. I have also added this to the Version 1.5 change discussion thread.
We keep talking about changing arcane magic to make it less devastating. I think this can be categorized into two different areas 1) IMPACT - This is the "footprint" or overall influence of magic on the game or an encounter or fight. Can you wittle away at opponents and do minor changes or can you blow them up or kill people and change the tide quickly?
2) SUSTAINABILITY - This is the overall "endurance" of magic. Low cost spells mean they can be used a lot, high cost spells mean less. The ability to recover mana influences this heavily and the overall cost of spells does too.
I was thinking about the arcane magic stuff today and a point that heavily stuck in my mind is that a few players have mentioned that they don't like that "more magic" is needed to balance out arcane magic. Spell blocks, counter spells, changes to mage armor and other ideas are magical add-ons to a magic problem, thus adding more magic.
Is this a problem? Not necessarily... but the goal and intent for Last Hope is not to be a high fantasy game. Yes we have magic but it should be simple, utilitarian, and controlled. I honestly feel like we have moved away from that and the magic in the game has become too predominant. This is why I will push towards balance and making sure it fits the vision we set out to make almost 5 years ago. But I do agree; adding more magic seems backwards when trying to limit magic.
We have been focusing so heavily on limiting the power of spells to balance... what if that is not the best way to look at it? What if we have been focusing so heavily on the IMPACT of magic that we have overlooked the SUSTAINABILITY of magic, which may be where the issue lies the most? The intent in the beginning was for Last Hope's magic to be a powerful glass cannon; blow stuff up but once you are done, you are done. When this is the case, I think it works great. But we have so many options now to bring back mana (meditations, tavern, potions, pickle monger, witch magic, etc) that I feel like the sustainability of magic has increased so much that it feels like the impact is out of balance. If we reduce spells down in impact, it means mages have to cast even more magic. A shield may take 2 shatter bolts instead of one, an armored warrior may need 2 acid bolts instead of one, etc. This is more magic. But what about limiting the resource, mana, or making it harder to regain?
The first obvious answer is to make spells cost more mana. This may work for some spells (like Acid bolt, which needs a balance) but most of the other spells cant change in mana costs. Its too restrictive; there isn't enough "wiggle room" to increase mana costs and have it be balanced.
But what about the next option... slowing down mana regeneration. If the resource used to cast spells is more precious, it may be a way to balance it. This also brings in a very story driven mechanic that has not been looked into by the player base and continues to be a mystery... the syphoning. The Syndar first documented that the world is losing its potential for mana and that magic has begun to wane. This is part of our lore that something has happened. An organic way to incorporate this into our game world is to make meditation less effective, which is not only a story progression but also a way to balance magic.
The idea I am proposing is to implement a change to meditation that allows players to have a full meditation as normal for the first meditation of each day. Basically, the first time someone meditates they are able to connect with the mana stream and draw mana out for storage. However, every meditation past that is reduced by half potency. This represents the fact that although the first time you can interact with the mana stream you are fine, continuing to do so builds up a resistance to the effect and makes it difficult. Similar to how people can become resistant to caffiene from drinking coffee, your body resists the ability to interact with and store mana after prolonged exposure. This would reset after a full nights rest, so this would become a daily limitation.
I think this idea is good because it helps us retain the "powerful" nature of magic but controls the ability in which it can be recovered and sustained. Blowing up a shield, melting armor, or dropping an opponent is powerful but not a huge concern... unless it can be done continuously. I also feel like this is a unique way to bring in an element to the game that has been going on and it is represented through a mechanic.
Some people may say "That is too restrictive, mana can be hard to come by" I would like to revisit the topic we have touched on that compares this to armor. First (to counter Sadie's post above) I actually disagree that removing a mage's mana means that it removes their "weapon" because mages can use weapons (and even armor) as well. So a mage with no mana can flee, fight, or help others too. Next, is that when a player with armor can have their armor melted by a single spell, this is a direct hit to the players ability to make any kind of money. A full plate warrior who has their armor melted in one shot will cost them between 18 to 72 silver to repair based on downtime mechanics and factions. This is a HUGE cost. If they take Blacksmith (which is a 15 exp skill) then this will take almost 2 hours to repair (at 5 minutes per point). Compare this to mana, which expended can be regained for free in 10 minute increments but can be artificially boosted in numerous ways, it makes mana recover much faster than initially intended.
I guess what I am getting at is that I think the powerful effects of magic are fine as long as the ability to regain mana is controlled, or the ability to regain mana remains the same but the power of spells diminishes.
Post by Archmage Vazra on May 31, 2016 9:25:25 GMT -5
I really prefer the idea of making meditation less effective after the first use rather then changes to the spells themselves or adding spellblocks/counterspells. I think this approach calls for mages to think more carefully before throwing spells, but doesn't necessarily reduce take away their strength when they do. It also does sort of fit the lore of the world well. This makes magic a powerful trump card in a crunch moment, but not a go to solution for just any fight.
I think we would see a lot less spells being thrown around, and it being a bit of a larger deal when they are. I think we'll also see a bigger market for items and services which restore mana and maybe see some silver flowing in the same way we see warriors paying blacksmiths.
Would it be halving every time you meditate or just the first? My only concern with the later is that we might run into some wonky numbers.
I had a similar thought about this not too long ago as well, though my idea was to reduce the mana regained by one each time the caster mediated, down to a minimum of one. Sorry of like residual mana building up and "clogging the pipes", so to speak. There might be ways to reverse this process, or a focus which has a chance of negating it for each meditation, but the core idea is that mana is hard to come by, sorry of like game with trade: hunter. The more you trap an area, the less likely you are to find something with each subsequent trap.
Post by Archmage Vazra on May 31, 2016 13:55:37 GMT -5
Lol "Squad of Archos"
It adds a dimension of choosing carefully when to field that benefit, and prevents it from becoming overplayed. I think this could be fun and add a roleplaying dynamic as the eccentric mages sit out until just the right moment to come storming in. Plus, also means magic isn't being used to balance magic. I really like this solution because it's addressing how often magic is used rather then altering it's core mechanics.
I think halving the one time should be pretty sufficient, meditating 2-4 mana back in 10 minutes would certainly make me think twice about resorting straight to magic.
Post by Thane Azureal Talonflame on Jun 2, 2016 9:29:32 GMT -5
I like ryans meditation idea were the first Meditation is normal and each other one is half. It would certainly make me think twice about giving my mana away. Although, personally, i still like the thought of adding more magic to stop magic.
Guardian of the Blue Flame, Shaman of the Wolfgang Commune, Merchant of Adventuring Items, Captain of the Alana, Steward of Darkport, Master Weaver Ritualist
Next week I would like to playtest the "Magical Intervention" or whatever spell and see how it plays out. This would most likely be a 3 mana spell where a divine caster primes silver beads in one hand and then places their other hand on an ally. The next spell hitting the ally, the the divine caster absorbs. Since it is primed, it would fade out after 1 minute or need to be spell returned.
Sorry this didn't get posted sooner. This past week at practice, we play tested two ideas along this vein. The first was a modification to three "magical intervention" spell, covering it into a skill that could be taken by either mages or clerics. I don't know how much I saw this get used, but I like the principle behind it. The second skill was Magic Resistance. With it, four spells were downgraded in severity: the durations of ice bolt and stun bolt were both halved (15 and 5 seconds, respectively), Push was downgraded to a 15 foot knockback and stagger, allowing the target to recover far faster. The last downgraded spell was death bolt, which then dealt a light wound, rather than mortal. After being struck by any of those spells, the target would announce RESIST to show that they were, in fact, taking the correct effect of the spell. As a trade off, however, any divine spells cast on the person with Magic Resistance (healing, divine aid, sanctuary, even protection) cost twice the mana and twice the time. I had this skill pretty regularly that night, and definitely felt like it gave me a slightly more even footing against the mage I fought. I would love to see magic resistance brought into last hope as a skill, and would like to have a few more mages on hand to try out the magic conduit (as it was renamed) in a fight before I endorse it
Post by mandaloretim on Jul 29, 2016 13:50:27 GMT -5
I'm OK with the idea of Magic Resistance, however i don't think anything should stop/lessen a Deathbolt. As it is the best thing a mage has. Exp wise. a mage has spent over 30 exp and role played in game to get where there are to use that spell. and now a fighter can take Magic Resistance and no longer really worry about that spell. Most mages can only use Deathbolt once maybe twice. yes there are others (Drake) but they are NOT the norm. yes magic can turn the tides of battle, but only if they have time to recharge or potions. A fighter doesn't need to spend any roleplay time in game to get where they are. All of it is just experience spending, making the time vs experience a greater gap in opportunity.
Scenario A:Character starts as fighter, gets sword for free because innate. Then let's say he takes armor 1 proficiency costing him 0+0 as it is the first skill he took. Then taking shield 1 and 2, 0+1, 0+2, then let's say he takes a toughness, because toughness, 5+3. His grand total, 11. However if he sees this lovely magic resistance skill, lets say it costs him, 15+4, his new total comes to, 30. I'm hoping it would cost at least fifteen, if not more because of how powerful this skill would be. The Mage however, needs to start with level 1 Magic, 10+0 Plus in Game Roleplay and Cypher for each level, large amounts of time spent roleplaying for the levels. Mage 2 and 3, then he needs meditation or hell have to spend a lot of silver on potions. 10+1, 10+2, 0+3, for a grand total of, 36 experience, and time spend in game to roleplay and do cyphers. Say the person is a human, even with a good bio it would take him 3 events as his pc to have the full experience cost. Let's say these two cross paths and come to blows. Mage gets lucky, and has enough time, and distance to spin the mana and prime the deathbolt. Catches him right in the shield, only to hear resistance. Now let's say the mage pushes him until he runs out of mana, then pulls out his free short sword. The mage still has armor, a large shield, and toughness to hack through because his last resort was cancelled. The mage loses. Both characters have almost the same amount of experience. But has lost the rock paper scissors aspect of, this beats this, and this beats that. The mage has essentially become a worthless archetype due to cost, time, and skills.
In Grimoire, we have 1 class with magic immunity, it is the barbarian Keystone, this skill takes a large, large amount of time and experience to get. Playing the character and developing them to this level of skill. So they can ignore spells for a duration. But, under this skill while it is in use, they also ignore divine spells, like healing. This balances the whole skill, even if fighting a large amount of foes, a barbarian with this skill can cut through just about anything. Yes, he will take a lot of damage in the process, but he can also take nearly everyone with him on the way down.
As a powergamer I really like the skill, but as As a gamerunner and player I must warn you. Everyone will take it because it will ignore/lessen other people. As that is exactly what happened with us. Many people decided barbarian, and the few interested in mages, no longer had any interest because they saw how worthless magic was when everyone had immunity options. If you do end up doing this skill, I will buy it. since it will help me not need to worry about mages any there now worthless spells.
I'm honestly going to disagree, Tim. Magic resistance wouldn't make a single spell "worthless" at all. Less powerful, sure, but that's the point. 1 mana to push someone back to get yourself some breathing room sounds like a decent trade. It's not huge if they don't need to stand back up, but it should be enough to draw a weapon or start to run away. A mana to render them almost defenseless for five seconds is plenty of time for a skilled archer to line up a torso shot, or for the mage to pull another useful spell. Two mana to remove someone from the fight entirely for fifteen seconds is plenty of time to channel another spell or get a great head start on running away. Yes, eight mana for a light wound is expensive, but far from worthless. As an individual effect, that far surpasses an arrow, which can be blocked by a shield, get caught in garb, or bounce off a weapon with potentially no effect.
As for the rock-paper-scissors scenario, yes, a mage will fare poorly against a fighter with magic resistance in single combat. That's really what the fighter does, though, is hit things really well. Now you throw a shield fighter on each side (shield and mage versus two shields) and the fight evens up dramatically: the mage can take the time to choose and throw the spells they want while their ally distracts and defends against the enemy. The rock-paper-scissors mentality isn't meant to be absolute, and needs to be considered in larger fights as well as single combat.
As for your last point about everyone taking the skill, let me ask you this: how many people have taken all three levels of toughness? How many have taken a single level? What about true grit, or appraise? These are skills that make you objectively better from a power standpoint, with no down sides, yet not everyone takes them. Magic resistance is over of the only skills (perhaps the only one) that adds on a negative effect with the benefit it gives (doubling the mana and time costs for divine spells cast on you). I will say right now, out of my three PCs, Anne is the only one who would bother with this skill, because she's the only one who realistically would. Brynja is only alive because of divine magic, and doing anything to make that job harder for the clerics and healers isn't worth it. Shiloh has mage armor, which is far superior while it's active, and tries to avoid combat.
Lastly, I want to point out that i notice a lot of hate for anything trying to counter death bolts, which is weird to me because I honestly think it's one of the mage's least useful abilities, mostly because of the high mana cost and the ease with which you could hit an ally or simply miss.
Anyway, the input is awesome. I'd like to hear a bit from other people who may have had other interactions with the skill, or how other mages feel it would play out in combat
I actually really liked how the Magic Resistance skill played out. This is the current proposed idea...
Magic Resistance - All Classes - 10 exp skill You have trained your body to resist the effects of magical energy and the flow of mana. Some offensive arcane spells have dampened effects when they target you. Push - Changes to 15 feet and stagger (instead of knockdown) Stun Bolt - Changes to 5 seconds (instead of 10) Ice Bolt - Changes to 15 seconds (instead of 30) Death Bolt - Changes to a light wound inflicted (instead of a mortal) Unfortunately, this also makes you resistant to magic that can be used to help stabilize, treat, heal, or protect you. Any spell cast on you that is healing in nature requires twice the amount of time and twice the amount of mana. All auras cast on you (including those from a weaver or cast on yourself) require the same double time and double mana cost. This does not impact any weapons you are holding that could be blessed. Anytime you are the target of a spell that is affected, you must announce "Resist" as a verbal call.
This is not the *exact* wording but is close based on the concept behind it. This means that equipment (armor and shields) are still vulnerable, stiking bolts still do normal damage (1 dampened, minimum 1, is still 1) and it does not completely negate any spells. The ability to survive a death bolt or not get your butt knocked down from a push could be worth it... but the trade off is life-saving magic would be just as resisted as well.
I am personally a big fan of this idea.
PLAYTEST: Wednesday during this playtest, this actually played out quite well. I took it but never got hit with anything. Cole took it and during a larger fight between two groups, he was cleaving with a dane axe and doing a lot of damage. Ben ended up hitting him with a death bolt. Instead of being taken down, it blew a hole in Cole's arm and wounded him... but he could still fight. He couldn't cleave anymore so it definitely had an impact, but it didn't drop him in a single spell. It felt *right* and seemed to balance well.
I know Sadie took it and was the target of a few Pushes, so the stagger insteas of knockdown was helpful but not game changing. You can't ignore it or shrug it off, but you can "roll with the push" a tad easier.
Tim, While I understand your view from the Barbarian ability in Grimoire (I've heard people mention they want to take Barbarian solely for that ability) the difference is not an immunity... it is a resistance.The spells still hit and have an effect. You stated that a Barbarian at that level is a wrecking ball that can kill numerous people before going down and be immune to magic while doing it... I don't think we are quite comparing apples to apples. While we do have things in the game that have situationally been immune to magic or temporary effects that can negate magic, the goal isn't to implement that but to instead add to some balance.
This is also when I want to reinforce what I have said before... we are not trying to balance magic in a 1 vs 1 fight. Magic doesn't need to be powerful enough to drop a warrior or a warrior resistant/tough immune to survive magic to drop a mage. Not everything in our system is based on that. For example, a 1 vs 1 fight between an archer and a dual wielder usually ends poorly for the dual wielder... but a 1 vs 1 fight between an archer and someone with a decent shield usually ends poorly for the archer. Remember, the goal is to balance how it impacts *the game* not just *the individual caster/warrior*.
As a final note, we didn't really playtest the new Mana Conduit skill... it was the same thing as the Magic Intervention but instead of a Divine spell with silver beads, it was a skill that allowed you to prime a purple bolt and both Arcane and Divine could take it. No real feedback on it yet.
Post by Archmage Vazra on Jul 30, 2016 12:20:39 GMT -5
I was far more in favor in changes to meditation. The Detriment of making divine magic more expensive to cast is a hit to divine casters, not a drawback to somebody actually using the skill. Effectively we would be nerfing arcane magic, with the "drawback" of also nerfing divine magic. Push, Stun Bolt, Ice Bolt, and Death Bolt are spells absolutely essential to a mage's survival, these are the spells we need to keep a threat at bay. I can't think of any reason why anybody wouldn't take this skill, and I can't think of why anybody would even bother with the spells listed afterwards, knowing they're just as likely to fizzle on this new skill and get them killed. This skill just seems massively overpowered.
Push does not render an opponent temporarily helpless at the cost of a point of mana. A push buys you a moment of time, at the cost of a point of mana AND sacrifice of a hopefully slightly slimmer moment of time. It's a gamble. When you cast push, you're betting that it will buy you more time then you already traded to cast the spell. Altering the odds of that gamble completely changes the dynamic of casting.
Yes, Death Bolt isn't actually a very good spell. Which is exactly why it shouldn't be nerfed. Death bolt mortally wounding for 8 mana is already a waste, especially when there's a very high chance your opponent will just dodge the spell bag anyways. Dropping it down to a light wound seems just unnecessarily harsh. At least with "Mage Armor" there is a visible aura telling me not to bother throwing at that person. Compare this modified deathbolt to an arrow, which also wounds, costs nothing in game, and can be fired in rapid succession at far greater range. The benefit of bypassing shields pales in comparison to the multitude of other advantages.
For an effect this powerful, I think the trade of should be completely giving up friendly magic. Protection fizzles, divine healing doesn't work. I think to balance a skill like this, such an extreme trade off would be necessary. At least that way you need to choose between a defense against magic and a defense against arrows (protection). Ultimately, I still firmly believe changes to meditation are the way to handle this.
The meditation changes I think we have narrowed down to a couple solid ways to implement, along with unique ways to "get around it" for dedicated mages. For example, meditation focus items that can return a meditation to its full potency or even potions that can be drank that grant that effect. Imagine infusing a tea with a moon flower (some calming/mind focusing tea flavors) and then going into a meditatio to make it full potency. I think there are some great ways to build this in.
Drake, do you think that the dampening of some arcane magic is too powerful when compared to the detriment for the divine buffs? Protection would then take 4 mana and 1 minute, which seems to be an immense cost. While yes it hurts a divine caster, that divine caster doesn't *have* to cast the spell. We start getting into a "is this worth it" situation with divine casters, which I think is pretty neat.
"I can take on that mage a bit easier, but if you are going to bless me its going to be a bit difficult" seems like a fun RP twist to this whole topic.