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 Post subject: Is the Counter Spell talent worthwhile?
PostPosted: Wed Mar 16, 2016 3:56 pm 
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Is is worthwhile to take and use the Counter Spell (Counterspell) talent? I'm curious to hear from other players' experiences.

From experience in D&D (including Arcanis d20), counter spelling was quite useful, and Dispel Magic was a staple spell for that reason and more. In ARPG rules, it seems less useful. The cost in ticks to the counter-speller (Push 6) is greater than the cost to the mage whose spell is countered (Push d4), and the targeted mage can just cast the spell again right away on his next action with no loss of spell resource.

The only times I recall witnessing Counter Spell as being notably effective were when:
1) The bad-guy mage was about to start combat with a powerful spell, but a successful Counter Spell let the rest of the party catch up on the clock to be able to shut him down.
2) Two Hero PCs had Counter Spell and together were able to stop multiple (2) spells from a bad-guy mage. Still, numbers mattered since if the PCs had been outnumbered, they'd have been net losing clock ticks to their adversaries.

Counter Spell I seems sometimes worthwhile, but more talents can make it better. Counter Spell III (the second tier) makes it easier to succeed (+2), but then it has cost two talents. Counter Spell V (the third and final tier) allows for rebounding, which is pretty sweet but requires three talents (and a successful Arcanum roll) for something done a maximum of once a scene. The Personal Remnant talent also adds to Counter Spell (+2), albeit at the cost of yet another tick (net Push 7), though that shouldn't stack with Counter Spell III since they are both talent-source bonuses. Moreover, for one character to know what another is casting (rather than taking a gamble on countering whatever that next spell happens to be), it technically takes another tick (and an Arcanum action skill roll) to "Determine Spell".

In comparison, Unravel the Thread costs Speed 5 with Strain +3; that's 1 tick faster albeit with some strain. It's the same TN on the Arcanum roll as Counter Spell. Unravel usually uses more of the time of the countered caster, though, since the entire speed and strain of the cast spell apply. Unravel can't affect instantaneous spells, but for spells with a duration or sustainment, it seems more clock-effective and without a talent requirement.

In practice, have you found that the cost of learning the talent and clock ticks is worth the result in the game?

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David Thomas Chappell
Sestius Ovidius val'Mehan Comma and Khamat - psion patrician diplomatic legate and his Myrantian tutor
Quintus Ovidius val'Mehan - patrician military tribune
Amadi val'Abebi - Monk of Althares
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 Post subject: Re: Is the Counter Spell talent worthwhile?
PostPosted: Wed Mar 16, 2016 4:02 pm 
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Location: Tampa, Florida (temp.)
Would the following trick work for Counter Spell to maximize its effect on a foe?

If a mage is casting a spell of 7+ ticks (i.e., interruptible), it's not resolved until the spell casting time is over. Suppose the counter-speller realizes this and waits till the last tick before trying the counter the spell. The counter-speller can do something else (e.g., move, attack, cast a spell) in the meantime, and since counter-spelling is a push, there's no need to delay in wait. The net result (with a successful Arcanum roll to counter) is maximally eating up the enemy caster's clock and thereby shifting the clock speed cost to be in favor of the counter-speller (whereas it's usually the other way around). Would that work?

The downside is that this concept works only for interruptible spells of 7+ tick speed, which tend not to be used in combat very often.

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David Thomas Chappell
Sestius Ovidius val'Mehan Comma and Khamat - psion patrician diplomatic legate and his Myrantian tutor
Quintus Ovidius val'Mehan - patrician military tribune
Amadi val'Abebi - Monk of Althares
Talathos - choleric Kelekene dabbler


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 Post subject: Re: Is the Counter Spell talent worthwhile?
PostPosted: Wed Mar 16, 2016 4:18 pm 
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Location: Ontario, Canada
I've never used it personally, but I've been at a few tables (including the last Origins BI) where a Hero was able to prevent the boss from unleashing AoE nastiness on the group. My suspicion is that you wouldn't use it every module, but it would occasionally be very handy.

Whether or not it is worth the talent cost is up to you, really.

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aka Rurik of Nol Dappa - Dwarven War Priest (Divine 2.3)


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 Post subject: Re: Is the Counter Spell talent worthwhile?
PostPosted: Wed Mar 16, 2016 4:34 pm 
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Location: Central Alberta
If you are fighting a smaller number of foes than there are Heroes, Counter Spell can be pretty useful. I remember we were fighting one big bad Adversary (and a couple minor minions and commons which weren't a huge immediate threat) one time with 6 Heroes and a pair of Counter spells locked the Adversary down until we dealt with the minions and commons, and then the Adversary simply couldn't put out enough actions to deal with 6x Heroes.

It is situational, but I like it. It becomes way more powerful by Tier V though :P

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 Post subject: Re: Is the Counter Spell talent worthwhile?
PostPosted: Wed Mar 16, 2016 9:26 pm 

Joined: Tue Oct 08, 2013 7:04 pm
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I've used Counter Spell to good effect. But it really only helps now and again, not every adventure. I probably use it every 3rd mod or so.

Counter Spell seems to help the most when:
-- There's some ritual (long-duration) spell being done that the party just HAS to interrupt.
-- The enemy caster is about to cast something that seems devastating, e.g., we've seen him cast it on someone else in the same encounter and really don't want 2 (or more) PCs gimped by it. This is best done when melee fighters are in position to tackle the caster immediately, before he can re-cast.
-- There are more than one person in the party who can Counter Spell. This allows us to negate the enemy caster's effectiveness until other attacks can be brought to bear on him.

Other times, the cost (Push 6) doesn't seem worth it in general.

But it is useful enough that my primary will likely take the T3 and T5 versions as she advances.

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Anoush val'Mehan, Sarishan Binder (3.7)
Valadriel Maethirion, Kio Duelist (2.5)
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 Post subject: Re: Is the Counter Spell talent worthwhile?
PostPosted: Thu Mar 17, 2016 1:05 am 
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Joined: Fri Sep 27, 2013 1:06 am
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Location: Portland OR
I think the others have summed it up. Generally it is not an "optimized" choice. But it isn't horrible either. Its probably worth doing if you fall into one of three/four groups:

(1) going to go all three talents in and eventually reflect spells back at people
(2) are content spending a talent for something that only comes up in a minority of modules
(3) will be travelling with other casters who have it so you can gang up on one big bad.
...and perhaps most importantly...
(4) tight fit with your character concept.

Tukufu doesn't have enough free talents to even think about taking it. I'm struggling to find room to take bloodline talents in his build. I get by with unravel the thread...though I don't do that all that often either.

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. . . and Sir Szymon val'Holryn, Order of the Phoenix
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