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Learning to Spell >> A look at spell design for Winds of Magic


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#1 ynnen

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Posted 22 April 2010 - 07:57 AM

This week, I turn it over to Dan Clark, a key member of the WFRP design team, and the Action Card guru – Jay

Hi, my name is Dan, and I always wind up playing wizards.

Well, that’s an exaggeration. Slightly. Mostly. Somewhat. But I play a lot of spellcasters, across all the games I play. And in my time I think I’ve learned some things about wizards, and what makes them fun.

Wizards are fun because they do something no one else can do. They can cast spells. In many game systems (and Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay is no exception), they have an entire game mechanic that exists only for their use - an entire portion of the game that only they can play.

In this week's diary, I talk about the design process and some of the design themes for the upcoming Winds of Magic supplement.



#2 Sunatet

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Posted 22 April 2010 - 08:32 AM

Good stuff

Definitely good stuff.

And we get at least up to rank 3 spells .



#3 Jericho

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Posted 22 April 2010 - 09:38 AM

How many spells per order will we have ?

Thanks, 


———
The time of change has come!

#4 dvang

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Posted 22 April 2010 - 09:43 AM

speaking of which ... all you BW naysers and such... the preview has a rank 3 BW spell that does potentially 9+Int+WP+Fel damage.  Assuming a 5 int/wp and a 3 fel (all pretty standard for a min/max wizard pc) that's  9+5+5+3=22 damage! Only 3 successes and 4 boons. That's up there and beyond nearly all of the melee action cards (in fact, i think it is the highest damage potential card in the game right now that i can think of against a single target)

 

so there!  I'll just say "I told you so"



#5 Armoks

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Posted 22 April 2010 - 10:27 AM

dvang said:

speaking of which ... all you BW naysers and such... the preview has a rank 3 BW spell that does potentially 9+Int+WP+Fel damage.  Assuming a 5 int/wp and a 3 fel (all pretty standard for a min/max wizard pc) that's  9+5+5+3=22 damage! Only 3 successes and 4 boons. That's up there and beyond nearly all of the melee action cards (in fact, i think it is the highest damage potential card in the game right now that i can think of against a single target)

 

That's why they gave us optional rules in the GM's Toolkit. By the way, 3 successes and (especially) 4 boons are not that easy to roll.

 

Speaking of damage, even now a good warrior is able to deal as high damage as a presented rank 3 spell from Bright Order.

I can't imagine how rank 5 spells will look like. Instant kill without any roll? That's how dark fantasy should look like! :)

I'm almost sure that one supplement like Winds of Magic won't cover all magic from all 8 orders, and thus FFG will release more expansions which will include more action cards or something like that... only for 50$.

To not be misunderstood, I can't wait for Winds of Magic.

Cheers



#6 Fresnel

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Posted 23 April 2010 - 01:29 AM

dvang said:

speaking of which ... all you BW naysers and such... the preview has a rank 3 BW spell that does potentially 9+Int+WP+Fel damage.  Assuming a 5 int/wp and a 3 fel (all pretty standard for a min/max wizard pc) that's  9+5+5+3=22 damage! Only 3 successes and 4 boons. That's up there and beyond nearly all of the melee action cards (in fact, i think it is the highest damage potential card in the game right now that i can think of against a single target)

Lets take a moment to look at this in more detail.

Compare to Reckless Cleave with a Great Weapon, Str: +5, DR: 7

RC Recharge: 2 or 4

BoA Recharge: 5

RC Range: Engaged

BoA Range: Close

Difficulty RC: 1d + Defence of Target + Active Defences

Difficulty BoA: 1d + 1m + 1d (if channelling is used on the same turn) + 1d (if engaged)

  • One Success (RC): 13
  • One Success (BoA): 10
  • Two Successes (BoA): 12
  • Three Successes (RS): 15
  • Three Successes (BoA): 14
  • One Boon (RS): +5
  • One Boon (BoA): +5
  • Two Boons (BoA): +3
  • Two Boons (BoA): +2 Critical
  • SC (RC): +2 Critical
  • SC (BoA): +2 Wounds +1 Critical

RC (3 Succeses, 1 Boon, 1 SC): 20 + 2 Criticals

BoA (3 Succeses, 1 Boon, 1 SC): 21 + 1 Criticals

BoA Maximal Success (3 Succeses, 5 Boons, 1 SC): 24 + 3 Criticals

It should be noted that getting 3 successes, 5 boons and a SC is very, very unlikely.

So a Rank 3 BW can compet with a Rank 1 Melee character. The recharge is higher than RC. If he fails to channel enough power he cannot cast it. He needs to get within Close range...

I wonder what the Rank 3 version of Reckless Cleave will look like?

 

 



#7 keltheos

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Posted 23 April 2010 - 05:36 AM

Don't forget the BoA can be done at range where Cleave can't. 



#8 Fresnel

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Posted 23 April 2010 - 06:22 AM

Well I did state that in the post...

A wizard at Close range is asking to be Engaged. Close range for a combat spell is a serious downer.

I ask again (to the wind) what a Rank 3 Melee or Missile card might look like...



#9 keltheos

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Posted 23 April 2010 - 08:13 AM

 Ah, missed the bit where you listed the ranges.



#10 gruntl

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Posted 23 April 2010 - 09:39 AM

Fresnel said:

Well I did state that in the post...

A wizard at Close range is asking to be Engaged. Close range for a combat spell is a serious downer.

I ask again (to the wind) what a Rank 3 Melee or Missile card might look like...

How do you know you'll be getting any rank 3  attacks at all? They're obviously not really needed, so why are you so certain we'll have them? It's worth noting that there are no rank 2 melee/ranged attacks in the core set, but there are rank 2 spells. They seem to be using a very different model for how power scales for wizards/clerics and normal fighters.

 



#11 dvang

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Posted 23 April 2010 - 09:51 AM

Chances are low, IMO, that there will be "Rank 3" melee cards as such.

I will also point out that Rank is not a requirement/restriction on action cards, so a rank 1 BW can take a rank 3 spell.  It just costs more.

The point is that a BW can and will exceed the damage potential of a melee PC. It's not as easy, but then again a wizard (BWs included) get so much more utility than a melee-focused PC that balance needs to go somewhere. 



#12 Fresnel

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Posted 23 April 2010 - 11:07 AM

Fair enough. Perhaps we'll see 'advanced' versions of cards like Reckless Cleave (or gods forbid Double Strike), perhaps not.

However, declaring that this spell allows BWs to exceed the damage output of a melee character is a clear overstatement. Reckless Cleave needs one success and one miserly boon to hit for 18 damage (in the quoted example). Let's not compare to the Double Strike card.

Don't get me wrong, this spell is ok... I would have rated it 'good' were it Medium range. However it appears the designer imagines BWs in the heart of the melee.

On another note, the designer wants BWs to get lots of cards on Recharge. Somehow BW spell cards on Recharge will give a boost. I see the Combustion spell, which I guess is an example of this, but this isn't a particularly encouraging example imo. Hopefully things will look brighter for the Bright Wizard once we see the entire spell set.



#13 Cynical Cat

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Posted 23 April 2010 - 11:22 AM

Spell design wise it's looking good. 



#14 scimon

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Posted 23 April 2010 - 11:14 PM

Two things:

Armoks said:

That's why they gave us optional rules in the GM's Toolkit. By the way, 3 successes and (especially) 4 boons are not that easy to roll.

 

Surely a Rank 3 character is going to find that pretty easy to roll, his Spellcraft is going to be trained 3 times, I'm sure he'll have specialisations and so forth. I've not been running the game for long enough to see very experienced characters, and I'm hoping for an Advanced Careers expansion next in the pipeline, but I can see them being very powerful.

Armoks said:

I'm almost sure that one supplement like Winds of Magic won't cover all magic from all 8 orders, and thus FFG will release more expansions which will include more action cards or something like that... only for 50$.

Well from the product description is says it has 'dozens of new spells across all eight College Orders' along with lots of fun looking stuff. Personally I can't wait. My first campaign starts on Tuesday (I've just run one off's before that) and I've just picked up the Gathering Storm so that should keep my PC's busy for a bit.



#15 Fresnel

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Posted 24 April 2010 - 12:31 AM

scimon said:

 

Surely a Rank 3 character is going to find that pretty easy to roll, his Spellcraft is going to be trained 3 times, I'm sure he'll have specialisations and so forth. I've not been running the game for long enough to see very experienced characters, and I'm hoping for an Advanced Careers expansion next in the pipeline, but I can see them being very powerful.

A Rank 3 BW might have an Int of 6 and a 6 deep reckless stance. With 3 Expertise and 5 Fortune Dice, 3 successes, 5 Boons and 1 SC becomes plausible.

However, the number of Successes from a dice pool competes with the number of Boons.

Take the following dice pool:

2 Challenge, 1 Misfortune, 6 Reckless, 3 Expertise, 5 Fortune

Using:   http://www.jaj22.org...er_compact.html

I had to roll 66 times to achieve 3 Successes, 5 Boons, 1 SC. I can't be bothered to write a script to automate this and gather enough data to be sure, but I guess the odds of this are between 0.5% and 5%.

 

My concern is that in aiming for an aesthetic principle there is a danger of neglecting the practical. We may well find that, in the round, BWs are not the best damage dealing wizard.



#16 ffgfan

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Posted 24 April 2010 - 08:58 PM

Does spells are looking cool. Even better that there is no spell with the same effect, it would be stupid if the Fire Wizard would have Fireball with the same effect as the Blue Wizard with the Magic Bolt - and only the name would be changed.

I think Dan is doing a hell of a job with does cards. This expansion is looking more and more interesting - for me it's a must buy.



#17 dvang

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Posted 26 April 2010 - 05:33 AM

The fact is that BWs will most likely be the 'best' damage dealing wizards (especially to larger numbers of enemies).  However, wizards are much more versatile overall, so only at much higher ranks will wizards begin to surpass melee in terms of damage.  That is my point ... that with Rank 3 spells a BW is easily on par with melee.  Even at 3 successes + 2 boons (not uncommon) you're looking at 19 damage.  Consider higher rank spells will be even more powerful.

That was my point, that although BWs aren't the big hitters currently (although they can be decent in some circumstances), at higher ranks is where they start to draw even and surpass melee.  This is due to the nature and utility of magic.  Even BWs get access to a bunch of utility spells, and also don't have the requirement for gear to use spells.  They pay for the utility by progressing in damage ability at a slower rate than melee.



#18 Fresnel

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Posted 26 April 2010 - 07:09 AM

dvang said:

That is my point ... that with Rank 3 spells a BW is easily on par with melee.  Even at 3 successes + 2 boons (not uncommon) you're looking at 19 damage.  Consider higher rank spells will be even more powerful.

Bolt of Aqshy is the one Rank 3 BW spell I have seen, and this has a Recharge of 5. It's encouraging, it doesn't make your case. Without seeing the whole set I can't conclude that Rank 3 is where BW breakeven with Rank 1 melee.

You're also assuming damage is is flat for Melee through all Ranks. I find this doubtful.

dvang said:

Even BWs get access to a bunch of utility spells, and also don't have the requirement for gear to use spells.  They pay for the utility by progressing in damage ability at a slower rate than melee.

We'll have to wait and see if the equation does balance.



#19 Gallows

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Posted 26 April 2010 - 08:05 AM

 I changed two things for wizards and bright wizards in particular to balance them better with melee. They are still not on par with melee in terms of combat, but it's a better balance in my opinion.

 

  • Bright wizards may add +1 damage for every extra power they spend on a spell. For each extra power they spend, they must roll a misfortune die. Each bane rolled with the pool of misfortune dice inflicts one wound on the wizard. For every three wounds the wizard suffers, one of the wounds is converted to a critical wound.

  • Quick casting only adds 1 misfortune die instead of 1 challenge die.


#20 UncleArkie

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Posted 26 April 2010 - 10:23 PM

For damage to increase for the melee characters they will have to aquire new action cards and so far we havent seen any of those for the advanced tiers or magic weapons (rare in the world of warhammer), also BoA is the first spell we see there will doubtlessly be things like rain of fire or that spell that turned shadows into acid pools, winds that rot the flesh off your bones or blinding flashes of pure light that sear your brain many of these affecting more than one enemy. Casting a spell is basically a mini ritual, maybe there will be extende rituals in there ala exalted?






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