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Silidus

Barrier Reflection Useless?

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@FFG

 

I have a question regarding the Barrier Magic Attribute "Reflection" on page 219 of the Genesys Core Rulebook.

Reflection reads: If an opponent makes a magic attack against and effected target and generates 3 threat or 1 despair on the check, after the check is resolved, they suffer a hit dealing damage equal to the total damage of the attack.

However, on page 211, under 'Spending threat and despair on magic skill checks', the options for 3 threat read 'The spell is slightly more powerful than expected, one character of the GMs choice is targeted or otherwise affected by the spell as well'


So, isn't the default effect of 3 threat already more powerful than the benefit of the barrier reflection? If the GM were to select the 'caster' as the additional target, the effects seem identical.  Alternatively the GM could select another target, making the default 3 threat option less restricted than the benefit afforded by Barrier Reflect.

Is this correct? Should barrier reflect be applying to non-magic attacks instead?

Note: On page 166 of the Realms of Terrinoth book, the Necromancer 'Wall of Bones' spell has a Reflect component that applies to both magic and non-magic attacks.

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Not exactly... the effect of reflection deals out an automatic hit dealing the full damage of the attack, rather than another character being targeted by the spell as well (in which case it could miss, if it was an attack). Also, "One character of the GM's choice" seems to specify that only the GM can pick who is additionally affected by the spell, and they could very well choose another PC, regardless of who cast the spell.

I do agree there are better uses for Threat and Despair for a player on the receiving end of an enemy spell attack. Causing an adversary to suffer an additional six strain or three wounds (3 Threat), or negating an adversary's ability to cast for the rest of the encounter (Despair) is way better than tagging them with their own magic missile!

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@Silidus, please note that the FFG devs do not frequent this forum, so you will not get your questions answered by them here. If you want other ask the devs directly, please see the FAQ thread; there is a link to the Contact Us page where you can send them a question.

If you do get a reply, be sure to share in the FAQ thread!

Edited by c__beck

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20 hours ago, Direach said:

Not exactly... the effect of reflection deals out an automatic hit dealing the full damage of the attack, rather than another character being targeted by the spell as well (in which case it could miss, if it was an attack). Also, "One character of the GM's choice" seems to specify that only the GM can pick who is additionally affected by the spell, and they could very well choose another PC, regardless of who cast the spell.

I do agree there are better uses for Threat and Despair for a player on the receiving end of an enemy spell attack. Causing an adversary to suffer an additional six strain or three wounds (3 Threat), or negating an adversary's ability to cast for the rest of the encounter (Despair) is way better than tagging them with their own magic missile!

 

Just a few points.

 

To my knowledge whenever another character is targeted, or affected by the attack, the attack is never re-rolled. So if the attack it the initial target, then it hits the new target, regardless of the new targets defense or abilities.

 

Also, whenever the book discusses spending advantage, threat or despair, it is always from the perspective of the player making the roll. So the GM spends the negative dice, and the players spend the positive dice.  If the GM were to make the magic attack, the players would choose the additional target.

 

 

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1 hour ago, Silidus said:

 

Just a few points.

To my knowledge whenever another character is targeted, or affected by the attack, the attack is never re-rolled. So if the attack it the initial target, then it hits the new target, regardless of the new targets defense or abilities.

Also, whenever the book discusses spending advantage, threat or despair, it is always from the perspective of the player making the roll. So the GM spends the negative dice, and the players spend the positive dice.  If the GM were to make the magic attack, the players would choose the additional target.

On the first point, I partially agree: it's one roll, but it would be applied against whatever defenses/soak the additional target has (as targeting is meant to take place prior to resolution of a combat check). My interpretation is that you would apply the same roll to the second target, not assign it as an automatic hit.

I'm inclined to agree with you on the second point, except that the verbiage is not as clear-cut as in other entries. Most entries for spending Advantage/Threat refer to the "controlling player" when describing who may make the decision on the effect:

"The magical energies exhaust the character, and they suffer 2 strain or 1 wound (controlling player's choice).
This character and all allied spellcasters in the encounter add Setback to any attempts to cast spells until the end of the controlling player's next turn."

However, in the entry for 3 Threat and Despair, it specifically calls out the GM (and only the GM) as the arbiter of the "more powerful" effect. In the following entry for Despair, it again refers to both the GM and the controlling player. That's why I believe there may be an intent for it to be solely a GM call. Nevertheless, that goes against how it's otherwise presented in the rules, so it may just be unclear wording. Personally, I would replace "GM" with "controlling player", as I see no reason for that particular event to be an exception.

 

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8 hours ago, Direach said:

On the first point, I partially agree: it's one roll, but it would be applied against whatever defenses/soak the additional target has (as targeting is meant to take place prior to resolution of a combat check). My interpretation is that you would apply the same roll to the second target, not assign it as an automatic hit.

Targeting would take place before the combat check, but the check needs to happen first, otherwise there is no threat/despair rolled.  Once the roll has been made, and the new target selected, there is no re-roll even if the new targets defense is higher than the initial target, or the new target has talents that would have upgraded the difficulty.  The soak however, would be applied after the retarget, and so would be applied based on the new targets stats.

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@c__beck

&& @Direach

 

Response received (already posted in the FAQ threat.  Looks like Direach was correct in the interpretation, although I can't say it makes much sense to me (at least from the perspective of an NPC with the spell)):

The Reflection attribute as listed in the Genesys core rulebook is correct. It is true that Threat can be spent to cause additional targets to be affected by a spell, which does mean that the one can end up with the same result. This is also correct.

 

The two really shouldn’t be compared side by side because one (the Reflection option) is under the control of the player, while the other (the option in Table III.2—4) is under the control of the GM. The second option also applies to any spell cast (including healing, augmentations, etc), and can target any other character in the encounter (not just the caster or their target). But the player isn’t going to be able to be the one who selects who the second target is going to be under the spending Threat option in Table III.2—4, so it’s not an ability they can count on or control.

 

The Reflection attribute does not work against ranged attacks. The Necromancer’s spell in the Realms of Terrinoth does, but that is a specific spell for a specific NPC, and thus does not necessarily follow the same rules.

 

Hope this helps!

 

Sam Gregor-Stewart

RPG Manager

Fantasy Flight Games

Edited by Silidus

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On 2/25/2019 at 11:53 AM, Silidus said:

I can't say it makes much sense to me (at least from the perspective of an NPC with the spell)):

The Reflection attribute as listed in the Genesys core rulebook is correct. It is true that Threat can be spent to cause additional targets to be affected by a spell, which does mean that the one can end up with the same result. This is also correct.

The magic rules were written for the benefit of the PCs, not NPCs. NPCs don't need balanced magic rules; they do whatever I (as GM) need them to be able to do.

Barrier Reflection exists in part because it's a narratively appropriate use of a barrier spell, but mostly because players generally can't spend an NPC's Threat or Dispair. Per GCRB pages 23 and 24, the GM generally spends all Threat and Dispair, even those generated by the NPCs they control. Ergo why spending one Dispair allows the "GM [to pick] the target of the character's spell. If the caster is an NPC, the controlling player picks the target of the spell instead." (GCRB 211). Note that the "controlling player" is usually going to be the GM since that clause only applies to Non-Player Characters.

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