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 Post subject: Dark Blade of Illir (Twilight's Knife) pt 2
PostPosted: Thu Mar 31, 2016 12:56 pm 

Joined: Sat Oct 05, 2013 12:46 pm
Posts: 1312
Moving the discussion to the Rules section as there has been a fair amount of question and discussion around how it gets implemented rules wise.

Thread leading to this can be found at: viewtopic.php?f=56&t=814

Here's the current working version with Matt's current revisions:
Dark Blade of Illir (Twilight's Knife)
Tradition: Heritage (Val) [Tier I], Heritage (val'Borda) [Tier I]
Category: Advanced
CTN: 23
Speed (Strain): 2 (+5)
Range: Self
Duration: Scene

Effect: With the completion of this spell you bring forth a fine quality stiletto of solid shadowy light, brightest at the tip and edges of the blade and fading into a dark center. It is a light, Speed 4 weapon dealing d6 (Mi or Qu)+1 damage. Against Undead, Spirits and Infernals, this weapon becomes d6 and bypasses all AR. When used against Entropic creatures this weapon becomes d8 damage and bypasses all AR.

Special: If thrown or released the blade darkens into a standard shadow dagger, losing the brilliance that provides additional benefit against Undead, Spirits, Infernals and Entropic creatures.

Common
Special: If the caster has the Adaptation: Shadow Weapons (Ta) they may use it normally with this spell expanding the weapon choices to include gladius, short sword and side sword. While they could manifest a short bow as well, the arrows would fade as soon as the spell is cast, rendering it useless and as the weapon is insubstantial, normal arrows could not be used.

Adaptation: Increase the CTN by 5 to add your passive Resolve Modifier to all damage rolls.

Adaptation: Increase the CTN by 3 to summon a second Dark Blade of Illir to wield in your off-hand.

Adaptation: Increase the CTN by 3 and Strain by 1 to apply a Die Bump to the damage die. This Adaptation may be applied multiple times.

Adaptation: Increase the Strain by 1 to increase the number of Dark Blades manifested. Any not in hand darkens into a standard shadow dagger, losing the brilliance that provides additional benefit against Undead, Spirits, Infernals and Entropic creatures.

Adaptation: Increase the CTN 3 to apply one of the following Fine Runes: Frost, Shadow, or Celerity. This Adaptation may be applied multiple times, adding a different Rune each time.

-----------
I'll bring the most recent conversation forward for reference.

With a sweep of his hat,

Paul


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 Post subject: Re: Dark Blade of Illir (Twilight's Knife) pt 2
PostPosted: Thu Mar 31, 2016 1:55 pm 

Joined: Sat Oct 05, 2013 12:46 pm
Posts: 1312
Replying to posting in thread referenced above.

toodeep wrote:
Hat wrote:
The spell creates weapons, not an energy damaging effect. As such combining spell damage doesn't make sense in the same way that combining something like mental scream and telekinetic bolt would.

I don't understand exactly what you're asking about bypassing AR. The only time the damage bypasses the AR is against the specific limited set of targets proscribed by the GoL spell. AR is still in full effect vs all other targets.

Rules should be applied using common sense.

With a sweep of his hat,

Paul


It creates a weapon fused from two different magic sources, there is absolutely no reason why they can't both do damage. That's like saying that if you fuse two elemental fire spells together you should only use the damage from one, because its all just fire. when you combine two spells, there damage combines. That makes plenty of sense, and you can make plenty of arguments for the magical weapon you make from the combined spell being more deadly than either base weapon would have been.

I agree with you a little on the AR question, because as the rules are written right now, the blade is insubstantial and only effects the specific target creatures (since that is a restriction of the GoL spell), but the combined spell would still allow AR (since the manipulate shadow allowed AR, and if one does the combined spell must). Logically that doesn't make much sense, either it is solid and can effect everything or it is just composed of light and it should ignore AR, but that is the rules as currently written, and unless Matt specifically addresses it I think that's how it should be run.

If I had the option to create this spell to "make sense" I would say that it makes a solid dagger with a nimbus of light around it. The dagger would do the normal manipulate shadow weapon damage to any of the non-special creatures (since the nimbus would have no effect) while the "special" creatures would take the combined damage of both spells and AR would apply (since it would still apply to the solid dagger portion of the spell). But I don't have the option to modify the rules for this spell, only Matt has that, and I think some of these things have to be thought out very carefully since it sets a precedent.

If the damage for these two spells combined does not equal the combined damages as spelled out in the current rules for advanced spells, than we need another major revision to the FAQ to cover why and how it is should be done, because one can easily make arguments for why different things should or shouldn't combine, or whether a spell creates a weapon or "effect." I really don't want every table's ruling (on anything) to be different, as it destroys the feel of the shared campaign to have everything work differently at different tables. It worries me when I post and everyone posts on "how they would run it" when they are so wildly different and very wedded to their way. That is why we need things to be run by the rules, until there is a ruling that there is an exception.

If the campaign rules that when GoL combines with manipulate shadow, the spell only one spell's damage rather than both, is that a universal rule now? If it rules that the combined weapon is insubstantial and ignores AR, is that universal for spells that combine with GoL? Do these need to go into the errata?


First, I apologize for the common sense comment. It was late and not meant to be negative.

Second, I know Matt felt this spell combo was tricky when I talked it with him, so I don't think this is set in stone yet. He wants to be careful about the precedent and any possible unintended consequences. As for differences at different tables, there will always be some variation between GMs, but I agree that where reasonable it should be limited.

Below is my thinking rationale based on the 4.3 Errata clarification for advanced spells.

The 4.3 errata's note on damage is as follows:

Combining Damage Effects: When combining damaging spells, all damage is considered to be from the same source with the spells’ damage being affected by AR if either of the base spells are reduced by AR. Regardless of the combined effects, when combining two damaging spells which deal (Primary) damage, you only roll one (Primary) but gain a +2 bonus to your damage roll.

The effect of the two spells I'm combining is the creation of a weapon. I base that argument on the fact that the range on both spells is "Self." Arguably you don't do damaging spells to "Self" except if it's the cost of a spell (Stamina to fuel for example). As such the above would not apply in the same way that combining other damaging spells (as with combining Telekinetic Bolt and Mental Scream for example).

If this interpretation is correct then the errata should be clarified to note the self exception to damage stacking effects.

Applying standard stacking rules one spell provides a d4 base and the other provides d6 base, the larger die is used. The speed 4 is also consistent with d6, so there's "harmony" with general rules mechanics. Not that it would need that given that an advanced spell is being created, but it feels natural.

The interaction of effects gets to be interesting. I'll come back to that in a minute. The FAQ notes the following as well:

Effects: The effects of both Spells are combined; if the new spell attacks two different Defenses, then a single roll is used to determine the success of the spell. If the spell targets two different Defenses, the spell has no effect if it fails to surpass either Defense.

&

Restrictions and Limitations: If either spell is restricted or limited (for example a spell that cannot effect undead) then the entire advanced spell carries over that restriction.

With the "Restrictions and Limitations" section there are spells that have them specifically called out as "Restrictions" (Affliction, Alarm and Awe to name a few) or Limitations (Blessed Pledge, Blessings of the Faithful and Bloodletting to name a few). Given that the FAQ treats this note in the same way CTN, Range and Effects are, I believe the Errata is specific to those named entries within spells where the example given about undead references the Bloodletting spell.

So, the question of how substantial the blade is or may be is part of the effects which is open to interpretation.

This then leaves the following effects to sort out:

1. Base damage - d4 dagger, d6 GoL, recommendation: apply normal stacking rules but flexible
2. Speed - 3 for MoS, 4 for GoL, I would make base speed consistent with the damage die (3 for d4, 4 for d6)
2. Quality - MoS says fine, GoL nothing stated or none, recommendation: apply stacking, weapon is fine, so +1 base damage
3. Shape of weapon - GoL says any, MoS says dagger, recommendation: overlap says dagger; caveat: potentially modified by Adaptation: Shadow Weapons
4. Melee skill - GoL says any, MoS is balanced, recommendation: matches shape of the weapon, which would mean balanced if #3's recommendation is accepted
5. Substantiality - GoL says pass harmless through non-favored targets, MoS is solid - Suggestion (rather than recommendation) - solid. Part of the reason for making it substantial is that the CTN for the combined spell is consistent with a Tier III spell. There should be some base improvement over the Tier I GoL spell reflected.
6. Weapon tricks - #5 impacts the use of weapon tricks. If solid weapon tricks would be allowed with the weapon as it would with MoS, it has mass after all. If it's insubstantial, no weapon tricks per GoL.
7. Effect vs. Undead, Spirits, Entropic and Infernals - the die bump to damage vs. Entropic to d8 makes sense by the stacking rules. If the decision on #1 is base d4, then vs. Infernals, Undead and Spirits it would still make it d6.
8. What happens when the blade is released - GoL fades immediately, MoS fades after 12 ticks of being unattended. Suggestion - Wrapper effect (GoL) fades immediately upon release returning the weapon to the core shadow dagger form. This seems like a merging / compromise of the two effects. Again, something that reflects the fact that the spell is 2 tiers higher than the base spells.

That's where I would net out on the various elements. Thoughts?

With a sweep of his hat,

Paul


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 Post subject: Re: Dark Blade of Illir (Twilight's Knife) pt 2
PostPosted: Thu Mar 31, 2016 3:23 pm 

Joined: Thu Nov 07, 2013 9:37 pm
Posts: 806
Location: Michigan
Hat wrote:
First, I apologize for the common sense comment. It was late and not meant to be negative.


Thank you, that comment did rankle a bit.

Hat wrote:
Second, I know Matt felt this spell combo was tricky when I talked it with him, so I don't think this is set in stone yet. He wants to be careful about the precedent and any possible unintended consequences. As for differences at different tables, there will always be some variation between GMs, but I agree that where reasonable it should be limited.


I think if we vary from the rules as written it is very important to consider precedent and consequences. That's why I think we should vary as little as possible. Also, consider that I am in essence, using the damage, materiality, etc. answers for this question to apply to my Body of Light spell as well.

As for table differences, I expect there to be some just due to GMing styles, but honestly, the degree of variability, and the strong opinion that they are going to run it "they're way" with little consideration to how that might effect players I've seen on the boards has been a little scary.

Hat wrote:
1. Base damage - d4 dagger, d6 GoL, recommendation: apply normal stacking rules but flexible


I think this should still be the damage from both (d4+Mi+d6+Primary+1), after all it is in essence a tier 3 spell. You could instead have pumped a GoL with your passive insight and a die bump for the cost of this spell, so the damage differential between using the adaptations vs the advanced spell are relatively minor.

If you don't combine the damage, then how it should work defaults to whether you make the weapon solid or insubstantial. If you make it insubstantial, than I think it has to be race specific, speed 4, and ignore AR, and use your primary stat in the damage calculations. In that case, you are essentially just using a funky looking GoL (d6+stat+1), right? Nothing much gained from the combination to a tier III equivalent spell.

If you make it solid, it isn't race specific anymore (it can damage a human, for example) and it allows for AR, and should use might or quickness for damage instead of your primary stat, right? So essentially what you get is a MoS weapon [d4 or d6 + (Mi/Qu)] that you can apply GoL spell die bumps to for weapon damage, despite it no longer functioning like a GoL in any meaningful way? Or is it essentially a speed 4 dagger most of the time that "flares to life" against the selected races and does a d6/d8 against them, and can only be die bumped against them? If so, I'm not what you really get out of this combination instead of casting MoS if you're fighting a human or GoL if you're fighting one of the select races.

Hat wrote:
2. Speed - 3 for MoS, 4 for GoL, I would make base speed consistent with the damage die (3 for d4, 4 for d6)


I would combine the damage to have both, and default to the speed 4. I don't see any way to combine the spells where it doesn't default to the slowest speed.

Hat wrote:
2. Quality - MoS says fine, GoL nothing stated or none, recommendation: apply stacking, weapon is fine, so +1 base damage


I was wondering where that +1 in damage came from! Now I see. I agree, that the fine quality damage is definitely part of the damage under current rules no matter how you slice it. My suggestion would be that it only apply if any part of the weapon is solid in a final ruling. Having a fine quality insubstantial whatever seems odd. Same with the application of runes, since I'm not sure how you apply a rune to light. But under current rules it works.

Hat wrote:
3. Shape of weapon - GoL says any, MoS says dagger, recommendation: overlap says dagger; caveat: potentially modified by Adaptation: Shadow Weapons


I agree, if any part of this spell is solid, than it should be whatever weapon shape the solid portion consist of. So weapon tricks of the solid weapon should apply. This would be true of unarmed combat as well, in the Body of Light spell.

Hat wrote:
4. Melee skill - GoL says any, MoS is balanced, recommendation: matches shape of the weapon, which would mean balanced if #3's recommendation is accepted


I agree

Hat wrote:
5. Substantiality - GoL says pass harmless through non-favored targets, MoS is solid - Suggestion (rather than recommendation) - solid. Part of the reason for making it substantial is that the CTN for the combined spell is consistent with a Tier III spell. There should be some base improvement over the Tier I GoL spell reflected.


suggestion - both, a solid portion and an insubstantial portion. I'm not sure how making it substantial is an improvement over the base spell since I would think that if it is solid AR must apply. Essentially, you now have a GoL (d6+stat die+1) damage, but solid, so you can hit anything with it like a MoS, apply AR like MoS, but die bump the weapon damage like a GoL.

I like a mixed approach, because it seems that no GoL damage should be possible to any creature but the selected ones, even in an advanced spell. I think the advanced damage (d4+Mi+d6+Pr+1) is what you get for it being the equivalent of a higher tier spell.

Hat wrote:
6. Weapon tricks - #5 impacts the use of weapon tricks. If solid weapon tricks would be allowed with the weapon as it would with MoS, it has mass after all. If it's insubstantial, no weapon tricks per GoL.


I agree, with the caveat that that is not what the current rules allow for, but would make sense.


Hat wrote:
7. Effect vs. Undead, Spirits, Entropic and Infernals - the die bump to damage vs. Entropic to d8 makes sense by the stacking rules. If the decision on #1 is base d4, then vs. Infernals, Undead and Spirits it would still make it d6.


I agree, even if you have now somehow solidified a GoL if that spell is in the mix, it should work better against it's selected targets.

Hat wrote:
8. What happens when the blade is released - GoL fades immediately, MoS fades after 12 ticks of being unattended. Suggestion - Wrapper effect (GoL) fades immediately upon release returning the weapon to the core shadow dagger form. This seems like a merging / compromise of the two effects. Again, something that reflects the fact that the spell is 2 tiers higher than the base spells.


I agree, with the caveat that that is not what the current rules allow for, but would make sense.

I'm trying to think how various interpretations of these rules might be broken with other spells, but am not coming up with any yet. I suspect I am too locked into thinking about these combinations right now.

Please let me know if you agree, but I think what is apparently needed is:

1. A global clarification of how damage from the spell combinations work - e.g. does making a combined weapon work differently than other combined spells. I don't see why it should, but obviously others disagree.
2. A ruling about how GoL combines with solid spells, in terms of whether the resulting weapon is insubstantial (which is what I think the current rule says), a mix, or solid; and what the ramifications of that decision are (in terms of AR, creatures effected, weapon tricks, fine quality, rune effects, etc.)

_________________
AKA Kavaris, awakened "Human" from the Hinterlands, psionic transmutation specialist, adventurer, and no one important


Last edited by toodeep on Thu Mar 31, 2016 4:18 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Dark Blade of Illir (Twilight's Knife) pt 2
PostPosted: Thu Mar 31, 2016 3:59 pm 

Joined: Sat Oct 05, 2013 12:46 pm
Posts: 1312
toodeep wrote:
<snip>
I'm trying to think how various interpretations of these rules might be broken with other spells, but am not coming up with any yet. I suspect I am too locked into thinking about these combinations right now. I think what is apparently needed is a global clarification of how damage from the spell combinations work - e.g. does making a combined weapon work differently than other combined spells. Additionally, I think there should probably be a ruling about how GoL combines with solid spells, in terms of whether the resulting weapon is insubstantial (which is what I think it currently is), a mix, or solid; and what the ramifications of that decision are (in terms of AR, weapon tricks, fine quality, and rune effects).


Matt should hopefully have enough to work with in the above to sort things out and make principle based decisions on how things should work in the future.

There are no spells currently that grant an extra 2 dice worth of damage, one of them being a stat die. I would personally be against an interpretation that pays a 1 time scene cost for ongoing multiple dice worth of extra damage which is what your interpretation of the combination does. With an instant cast spell or even a sustained spell there's an ongoing cost in limited movement, strain etc that is not paid when an improved weapon is created. The type of melee power you're proposing grants for pretty much free what requires repeated use of weapon tricks and martial techniques to create. It also doesn't prevent the caster from stacking on top of the spell effect those very weapon tricks and martial techniques.

Given runes add at most +3 or 4 damage at the legendary level or 1/scene or day for a bonus die the kind of power you're talking about adding to martial attacks is out of line with the intended power level of the game. It further diminishes the contributions of the martial characters and negates the reset time for casters by giving them an attack better than any martial on the caster's "off" action.

This certainly feels like the power gaming path requiring an escalation that at a minimum further marginalizes non-casters. I'm not saying that's your intent or that the RAW don't point in that direction, but if that's the path that's followed I think it will be detrimental to the game.

Looking at other Tier 3 spells as written such as Blood to Ashes and Rattle have significantly less raw damage potential than combining 2 damage dealing spells and adding 2 base dice plus 2 stat dice. In retrospect I think the current combination of damage exceeds the power level of the corresponding spells and should be adjusted down.

In the end the goal from my perspective is a flexible system that allows for interesting and creative ideas without breaking the game or severely diminishing the fun of players at the table. Hopefully with thoughtful consideration of different points of view and discussion we'll continue to work towards that goal.

With a sweep of his hat,

Paul


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 Post subject: Re: Dark Blade of Illir (Twilight's Knife) pt 2
PostPosted: Thu Mar 31, 2016 4:50 pm 

Joined: Thu Nov 07, 2013 9:37 pm
Posts: 806
Location: Michigan
Hat wrote:
There are no spells currently that grant an extra 2 dice worth of damage, one of them being a stat die. I would personally be against an interpretation that pays a 1 time scene cost for ongoing multiple dice worth of extra damage which is what your interpretation of the combination does. With an instant cast spell or even a sustained spell there's an ongoing cost in limited movement, strain etc that is not paid when an improved weapon is created. The type of melee power you're proposing grants for pretty much free what requires repeated use of weapon tricks and martial techniques to create. It also doesn't prevent the caster from stacking on top of the spell effect those very weapon tricks and martial techniques.

Given runes add at most +3 or 4 damage at the legendary level or 1/scene or day for a bonus die the kind of power you're talking about adding to martial attacks is out of line with the intended power level of the game. It further diminishes the contributions of the martial characters and negates the reset time for casters by giving them an attack better than any martial on the caster's "off" action.

This certainly feels like the power gaming path requiring an escalation that at a minimum further marginalizes non-casters. I'm not saying that's your intent or that the RAW don't point in that direction, but if that's the path that's followed I think it will be detrimental to the game.

Looking at other Tier 3 spells as written such as Blood to Ashes and Rattle have significantly less raw damage potential than combining 2 damage dealing spells and adding 2 base dice plus 2 stat dice. In retrospect I think the current combination of damage exceeds the power level of the corresponding spells and should be adjusted down.

In the end the goal from my perspective is a flexible system that allows for interesting and creative ideas without breaking the game or severely diminishing the fun of players at the table. Hopefully with thoughtful consideration of different points of view and discussion we'll continue to work towards that goal.

With a sweep of his hat,

Paul


First off, I don't really have an intent. I'm just going with rules as written. It's your interpretation that is different than current rules, IMO. Additionally, I wouldn't worry about marginalizing noncasters in the game in terms of damage. While casters definitely predominate in the game because of their versatility, melee/martials are definitely where the damage is.

I was comparing the effects of the base spells to the adaptations already available in the spells, for a CTN cost of 5 (the same CTN cost of combining the spells) there is one where you add your passive resolve - so assume +3. The average damage adjustment for the combining GoL with MoS is +7 (2.4 for d4 and 4.4 for assumed d8 of stat) over GoL, so +4 net over applying the preexisting available adaptation, but on the flip side AR now applies, which will usually lower that bonus to, what +1 or +2 over what you could have gotten otherwise with a straight GoL? I don't consider that significant.

So if you consider this combination too powerful, than I think you think GoL is too powerful already. I think it is already clear that spells make the most damaging weapons out there at higher tiers after adaptations, but the trade off is that most people with high enough casting skill to apply said adaptations (or create advanced spells) will have traded a lot of their combat ability to be able to do so. I know I am working very hard to get a (as in 1) combat maneuver into my repertoire, so that I can add some dice to a melee attack occasionally. Having a high damage spell-weapon is the only thing that comes close to keeping me in league with the monsters trying to eat me when I have to do melee, and I'll still fall far behind a melee master. I assume that is true of most others as well.

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 Post subject: Re: Dark Blade of Illir (Twilight's Knife) pt 2
PostPosted: Thu Mar 31, 2016 6:41 pm 
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<deleted> linking back to the original 2014 discussion that came here.

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