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Serenetouch

Genesys magic too open/easy?

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I don't know if it's maybe my group, my GM skills, or if the system is missing something...  I ran Star Wars for a couple of years, and never had this issue with the Force...  Games without magic have not been an issue, so I believe the system itself is great... so trying to figure out a way to make it work...  

I have two casters in my group.  One generally uses his powers only for healing, restoration type spells, etc (Divine caster).  Not had any issues with this.  

The Primalist however I've had a harder time keeping powers in check.  It's not anything the player is doing - he is not trying to be overpowered and is more likely to be me that is the issue...  but again, I'm not 100% I care for the magic system after playing it for 6+ months (every other week).   I'm having issues with the difficulty dice/effects in that it seems like the powers are not difficult enough.  The primalist has Cunning 4 and 3 Ranks in Primal, so is rolling 3Y + G and in order to have any real chance of failing means having 4P+. Which makes sense statistically.  With an item/implement, he will always do what he can to keep the difficult at 3P if he can.  To put this in perspective, the players at this point have 250XP as we play every other week for 6+ hours at a time.

Has anyone else tried a different magic system they could explain that makes the magic system a little bit more restrictive/easier to control?  Again, I think the system itself is great for non-magical environments

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6 hours ago, Serenetouch said:

Has anyone else tried a different magic system they could explain that makes the magic system a little bit more restrictive/easier to control? 

I have tried toning down magic action for a low-mana setting by substituting the penalty dice(s) with hard success(es) required, your mileage may vary.

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At 250xp your main rivals and Nemesis should have ranks in adversary. 

Make sure to apply setback and make them narrative. 

Use every oppertunity to give strain the suggested table for threat with magic can be quite brutal. 

Do you find its the structured encounters or narrative magic that gives most trouble? 

 

 

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So what is too easy about it? Making the roll? Effects are too broad? Effects are too strong? Magical character overshadow other non-magical characters?

If the only problem is that the Primalist isn't failing his Primal rolls, I'm not sure that's a problem in itself unless it's impacting the game in one or more of the above ways. I've had characters with other skills that rarely fail their rolls (often with combat skills) and it isn't really an issue since most things are not decisive with just a single success (or even a few of them).

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, HappyDaze said:

So what is too easy about it? Making the roll? Effects are too broad? Effects are too strong? Magical character overshadow other non-magical characters?

If the only problem is that the Primalist isn't failing his Primal rolls, I'm not sure that's a problem in itself unless it's impacting the game in one or more of the above ways. I've had characters with other skills that rarely fail their rolls (often with combat skills) and it isn't really an issue since most things are not decisive with just a single success (or even a few of them).

I am going to have to make the checks more difficult than what they have been... often it is a YYYG vs PPP with a few set back/boosts.  So yes, they will succeed more often than not.  That is fine because statistically they should.

I'm thinking it may be that we're just not taking our time figuring difficulty properly and the appropriate setbacks.  The Divine character has mainly used magic to heal and do very minor effects as he only has a Wil of 3 and 2 ranks.  

Maybe if I give an example someone can tell me where I am too easy (or if it's just that way).  I've run Star Wars for years, but Terrinoth's magic system is much different than the Force.

The party (human scout, human scoundrel w/ templar, gnome Primalist, human fighter (think barbarian)) was on a large raft rowing across the river heading to Frostgate.  The party fails horribly the Vigilance check (it was toward the end of the day and the troll is swimming barely visible - that was a PPR (opposed stealth) + SB (for light situation).  I could have maybe added another SB or two but didn't.  The troll started at short range as he managed to sneak up to the raft.  (The Vigilance check when rolled included a despair - the troll being so close)

The party rolled Vigilance for initiative and the troll Cool.  It turned out the entire party went first due a horrible roll on the part of the troll vs the party (troll rolled blank dice...)

The Primalist went first and wanted to cast a spell giving the raft a burst of current in the water to increase distance from the troll

We started with idea of a Conjure since he was trying to create a strong current on the raft... started with PP.  Since the boat was at engaged he argued that it shouldn't need a range boost for that...  since he was trying to affect effectively a Sil2 item, I said increase the difficulty to PPP.  For conditions, he was given a SB because he was unsteady on the raft.  I probably should have given another one for something like wind blowing the wrong direction...  Since he wasn't attacking the troll in this case, it wouldn't have upgraded difficulty.  Now that I'm thinking about it, I probably could have upgraded difficulty anyway for the possibility he could actually conjure the current in the wrong direction.  I was out of Story Points..  So his roll was YYYG vs PPPSB... he rolled 2 Triumph + 2 other success + 2 threat.  So he used the 4 success to move the raft an additional range band away.  He used the triumphs to make it so the troll was caught in the wake and to lose a maneuver.  I had him apply the threat as extra strain, citing that as he cast the spell, he had to fight to maintain the effect on an unsteady raft.  He was then going to maintain the spell to aid them in getting away from troll.  The scout tried to shoot the troll on his action (he has Agi 4, Ranged 3 so is YYYG + B (aim) vs now PR (Adversary) + SB (unsteady) + SB (defense) + 2SB (cover)... so YYYGB vs PRSSSS.  He rolled a cancelled triumph with 1 advantage.  Since he had suffered a lot of strain earlier, he used it to recover a strain.  The Triumph in this case  was to drive the Troll out of position by having debris from a previous wrecked boat (forcing a second maneuver to get past it).  The other continued to row the boat effectively taking the distance to long range since the troll couldn't close the gap.

So in the end, the player was smart and I can't fault him for that.  What I will say though, is that when this player makes it, he always comes up with some crafty ways to get out of combat.  For that, I like to reward him for his creativeness... I am just feeling like I don't have a good handle on the magic.

Edited by Serenetouch

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1 hour ago, HappyDaze said:

So what is too easy about it? Making the roll? Effects are too broad? Effects are too strong? Magical character overshadow other non-magical characters?

If the only problem is that the Primalist isn't failing his Primal rolls, I'm not sure that's a problem in itself unless it's impacting the game in one or more of the above ways. I've had characters with other skills that rarely fail their rolls (often with combat skills) and it isn't really an issue since most things are not decisive with just a single success (or even a few of them).

Just wanted to address the overshadowing... that doesn't occur in the game

I purposely make sure each character has a chance to shine in our sessions and plan out enough to make sure that the "ranger" uses his shooting and survival skills.  The "barbarian" gets plenty of time when things get in close (the ranger is just not as adept in melee)...  the rogue/priest loves to role-play and I make sure he has the time he needs wants as well as using his abilities.  The prima list is very good at things alchemical and nature based and is given things to do.  Having all four do something in these games is pretty easy... when I was running the 8 player Star Wars game, that was a bit more interesting :)

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If you give a creative player a near unlimited toolbox stuff like this is bound to happen 😛 Remember though, you don't need to spend a story point to upgrade the difficulty of a check if you feel there is a fair chance something might go horribly wrong. Just try to be fair so the magic user don't feel like your targeting them because they are clever.

In the specific case with the boat you could also have argued that the volume of water needed to be affected was far more than the boat itself which could have increased the difficulty further, but hindsight is 20/20

Remember that the core book states that in general, accomplishing something with magic that could be done with mundane skills should mostly be harder.

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9 hours ago, Serenetouch said:

started with PP.  Since the boat was at engaged he argued that it shouldn't need a range boost for that...  since he was trying to affect effectively a Sil2 item, I said increase the difficulty to PPP.

Sil2 conjuration effects are +2, so it should have been PPPP instead.

even using the fan-made "Manipulation / Telekinesis" would result in: Easy(1) + Silhouette[+1] + Silhouette[+1] + Speed[+1] = PPPP

difficult terrain? (unsteady raft) either + 2 setback or (possible to ruin the spell) upgrade once

so spellcasting would have been either PPPPSS or PPPC

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Are you making sure they suffer the 2 strain with every spell? That's not an insignificant cost.

If you think it's not enough, bump it up to 3. That should keep things in check.

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14 hours ago, kaosoe said:

Are you making sure they suffer the 2 strain with every spell? That's not an insignificant cost.

If you think it's not enough, bump it up to 3. That should keep things in check.

Yes, and often, if they roll threat, I have them use it as strain to make things even worse

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Posted (edited)

I have added setback dice for pain / exhaustion levels from low wounds / strain but tbh it sounds like magic is kind of thier main thing and they're making use of it.

First thing I would say is to re-read the descriptions on the spells and to remind the player too, Conjure for example is described as "Conjuration magic allows a character to summon allies and create items out of the raw stuff of magic"

Narrative flair is cool and I'd let a player summon a wave instead of an elemental however engaged range is at your feet which would flip the boat and unless they've taken the control upgrade its a wave it's not gonna worry about hurting the players.

Secondly it's your table, if you think the idea sounds out of the use of the spell, either say it or upgrade to reds for pushing the limits of the spell

Edited by Cynthorus

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Posted (edited)

I run a Terrinoth Campaign with 4 out of 5 players running spellcasters. I used to forget the standard Setback penalties in Table III.2-3 on page 210 of the Core, which became helpful.

  • +B if no free hand
  • +BB if unable to speak
  • +B is wearing Soak +2 armor or carrying a shield
  • +X if in circumstance not conducive to spellcasting such as whie swimming, hanging from a rope, or out in a rainstorm

Table III.2-4 on 211 is my the default for any spellcasting folly. I always make the first threat the Double Strain and subsequent "only 1 threat" rolls a wound. Using the "no more magic this encounter" ourcome is rare, and I have found it most well-received as a way to get the plot back on track (without feeling like it was forced).

"Vigilant Vincenzo, Please describe how the group of zealots die."

-PLAYER DESCRIPTION-

"As the fire of Stendarr's Might flickers off the last carbonized husk, your body feels heavy as your blessings seem to drain from you. Though faint, you see a stream of blasphemous magic leeching your gifts away over the Wicker Forest. The top of the Lost Lighthouse can almost be seen before the clamor of battle returns you to the here and now. You can no longer cast magic this encounter."

My group has also taken care to use the Called Shot Maneuver when needed, otherwise as a stray fireblast may take out an ally.

EDIT: Our setting include the Skyrim pantheon as all players were familiar and it was much simpler than conjuring our own. Huge hit and I highly suggest it.

Edited by HaphazardNinja

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