Magic Discussion

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Re: Magic Discussion

Post  Paper Shadow on Wed Aug 14, 2013 1:40 pm

Bronymous wrote:Magecraft sucks because it encourages minmaxing, encourages mages to do everything, and allows them to take parts of the game away from other players. Persuasion is easy as hell to break open too, I see it all the time. But barring maybe a CMCrit, you can't persuade a locked door to open, you can't persuade a rock not to crush you, you can't persuade a deathtrap to not be so deathy. The same goes with the other breakable skills, they can all go insane and break the game, but only in situations where their ridiculously shrewdly stacked bonuses actually apply. Magecraft, and magic, can in fact do all of those things, and because a dedicated mage is as good at magic as a dedicated thief is at lockpicking and stealth, that means that in the event of the locked door, the thief could do it, or the mage could do it. Rock falling? The brawn guy could handle it, or the mage could do it. Death Trap? Acrobatic pegasus (I guess) could try and get out, or the mage could do it, and probably also get everyone else out.

That isn't balance, that's one character outshining the rest by virtue of being an expert in the one skill that can act as any other skill at any time.

EDIT: You say that if stuff like this goes on then Magecraft is being used incorrectly, or the DM isn't being restrictive enough, but if in a 3+ page document you can't explain it to us in a way that we can understand how to make it work and not be broken at the same time, then it may not be as intuitive as you think.
Oh, and as an added bonus, Arcana has the most destinies as well. FUN FOR ALL LEVELS!

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Re: Magic Discussion

Post  Ramsus on Wed Aug 14, 2013 1:47 pm

Paper Shadow wrote:Oh, and as an added bonus, Arcana has the most destinies as well. FUN FOR ALL LEVELS!
This is the thing I actually take issue with. Especially since two of those destinies have no reason to be set up that way. (Dragon Disciple really has no reason why it has to be Knowledge instead of your choice (when you take the Destiny) of attribute and Mind Sculptor functions better with Arcana than it does with Persuasion and there's no equivalent Persuasion destiny.)
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Re: Magic Discussion

Post  LoganAura on Wed Aug 14, 2013 1:52 pm

DC, accounting for both cutie mark and Training, that is at best reachable lv 1 would be... ~38 including instant party without accounting for boons, magic points, and the like.
Best you can do is:
DC 35 - Bend a nearby time vortex to allow you and several others to travel a few minutes into the past,
exert control over a common magical construct,
temporarily stop a nearby enchantment from functioning.


The first one? Note that it is 1.) nearby and 2.) few minutes.
Second is /common/ magical construct, so like a magitech robot in a magitech setting.
And the third one is more or less counterspell which is a level 1 wizard abjuration school thing in pathfinder as far as I know.

I don't deny that magic is op and all but I'm just saying how it seems like people don't pay attention to the DCs given. One of my party members in AoH2.0 tried to mess with magic from Like BIG POWERFUL mages and such and I always hated to tell him his rolls were too low at ~ 43 or so. (This guy sunk 4 sets of freaky knowledge into each of the individual magic schools and I told him each only applied once.) So, yeah magic can be powerful, but to get as powerful as possible you really need to sink your time into the magic.

Magic is op but not as op as people think, I think.

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Re: Magic Discussion

Post  Paper Shadow on Wed Aug 14, 2013 1:56 pm

LoganAura wrote:DC, accounting for both cutie mark and Training, that is at best reachable lv 1 would be... ~38 including instant party without accounting for boons, magic points, and the like.
Can I see your maths for that, I'm sure you have forgotten something...

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Re: Magic Discussion

Post  Stairc -Dan Felder on Wed Aug 14, 2013 2:08 pm

LoganAura wrote:DC, accounting for both cutie mark and Training, that is at best reachable lv 1 would be... ~38 including instant party without accounting for boons, magic points, and the like.
Best you can do is:
DC 35 - Bend a nearby time vortex to allow you and several others to travel a few minutes into the past,
exert control over a common magical construct,
temporarily stop a nearby enchantment from functioning.
 
Yeah, the key words of that are the whole, "Nearby time vortex". If there's a whirling time vortex distorting time within less than a hundred feet, you might be able to ride some of its power to travel a few minutes into the past the way a surfer rides a wave. That isn't snapping your fingers and doing the time warp again.

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Re: Magic Discussion

Post  ZamuelNow on Wed Aug 14, 2013 2:14 pm

Multiple writers and multiple interpretations means there is no standard for Superman.  His strength has been portrayed as both more and vastly less than "10 supernovas to the face".  Besides, both Firestorm and Silver Surfer can give him a really bad day.

Back to the topic at hand.  The thing about magic in MLP as a setting is that their world as a whole is magical and all pony races have magic, it's just that unicorns are the only ones with directly overt magical powers.  Friendship and love are considered the most powerful outlets of magic, though chaos and darkness/raw evil have their own spots on the power scale.  The Sonic Rainboom is an intriguing example in that it's a meld of both Rainbow Dash's bonds of friendship and her own superpowered athleticism.  Twilight Sparkle is an outlier and exception that really skews things since she does stuff even Celestia and Luna probably can't.  And even Twilight has been shown to struggle with some spells, getting burnt out or even failing sometimes.  Anti-magic exists in the setting and it's been shown that blocking and/or physically hitting a unicorn's horn stops their ability to perform magic.  So...where does all this concept and story stuff leave the game system?

Magecraft seems to be a tad too powerful for it's own good.  While having a "mumble words and jazz hands" type power is a great lateral ability to have, the availability has the potential to overshadow other players and break a campaign.  As Hayatecooper said, it's not directly copying other talents but using the base concepts alternately that overshadows other players.  The trick is to figure out how to fix this on a system mechanics level while letting it still be worth taking.  I advocate changing it from at will to a limited number of times per day since it's still useful but it's not the end all solution.  It forces you to really think about how you're using it.  A daily aspect would also cause some interesting synergy with some of the Elements/Virtues  Some of the parts of Magecraft could stand to be pulled out since a specialist who only focuses on nullification or detection shouldn't be forced to take multiple skills.  There also needs to be more description of what you can and can't do with the power, though individual GMs are able to bend that as needed.

The Magecraft discussion probably opens up other things to think about with the system as a whole.  Arcana is often said to be the most powerful skill but...that's only with a specific utility talent.  Used raw, it actually seems pretty lacking compared to the other big skills.  There's probably also some discussion about GMing and campaign styles.
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Re: Magic Discussion

Post  Fury of the Tempest on Wed Aug 14, 2013 2:20 pm

ZamuelNow wrote:Multiple writers and multiple interpretations means there is no standard for Superman.  His strength has been portrayed as both more and vastly less than "10 supernovas to the face".  Besides, both Firestorm and Silver Surfer can give him a really bad day.
That's becuase he's as strong as he needs to be. His power's rely on how much sun energy he has absorbed. Yes, his strength and abilities are rather inconsistent. HOWEVER, there is a reason for that and at his most powerful - as we are speaking off magic - he is utterly insane.
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Re: Magic Discussion

Post  Ramsus on Wed Aug 14, 2013 2:21 pm

I'm still going to stand by the opinion that you guys complaining Magecraft has too much versatility just aren't thinking creatively about other skills.
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Re: Magic Discussion

Post  Stairc -Dan Felder on Wed Aug 14, 2013 2:26 pm

Guys, if we're going to discuss *superman* - let's do it in the Off-Topic thread alright?

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Re: Magic Discussion

Post  A1C Bronymous on Wed Aug 14, 2013 2:33 pm

Ramsus wrote:I'm still going to stand by the opinion that you guys complaining Magecraft has too much versatility just aren't thinking creatively about other skills.
The other skills don't include a tagline that says they can be used for anything and everything the user can imagine, either, nor a document giving explicit examples of DCs and similar effects that could be used. The other skills aren't meant to be that exploitable, since everyone knows what they can and are meant to do. Going beyond the obvious generally risks a DM shutdown or breaking open the game. Magecraft is the only one where the designers explicitly want you to do that, and put all the weight on the DM to keep it in check.
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Re: Magic Discussion

Post  Stairc -Dan Felder on Wed Aug 14, 2013 2:37 pm

Other talents have examples to help regulate their uses and checks to regulate them (Fabricate pops to mind) - but Magecraft *is* the most versatile talent. However, it's supposed to compensate for that by taxing the user's skills (you need high arcana), taxing their utility talents (takes 2 talents to get magecraft) and having very high DCs to do anything impressive and not just part of a minor toolbox.

I don't like that it puts a lot of pressure on DMs to keep it fair though, not all DMs are good at doing that. The vague nature of the talent also creates arguments between player and DM - something we do our best to avoid.

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Re: Magic Discussion

Post  ZamuelNow on Wed Aug 14, 2013 2:38 pm

Ramsus wrote:I'm still going to stand by the opinion that you guys complaining Magecraft has too much versatility just aren't thinking creatively about other skills.
I actually really like taking a When All You Have Is Hammer approach to other skills.  I plan on eventually doing a few G1 inspired builds due to that.  The issue with an at will Magecraft is that it allows you to do all that and more. It's an incredibly variable ability.
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Re: Magic Discussion

Post  LoganAura on Wed Aug 14, 2013 3:02 pm

Paper Shadow wrote:
LoganAura wrote:DC, accounting for both cutie mark and Training, that is at best reachable lv 1 would be... ~38 including instant party without accounting for boons, magic points, and the like.
Can I see your maths for that, I'm sure you have forgotten something...
Not accounting for getting the "Max amount in one stat is increased to 12" stat. Let me fix it:

Highest roll: 19
Highest possible baseline stat bonus at level one (+12): 31
Training: 34
Cutie mark: 39
Instant Party: 40

At the cost of the following
Half of your racial points
1/2 of your trainings
2/5 of your utility talents (Possibly 3/5 if you have the instant party.)
7/8 of the Skill stat points
And a minute of game time (To get +0 points)

DC 40 - Become invisible, grant yourself and several others immunity to naturally occurring elements (such as fire, lightning or acid), double or half the power of gravity in a fifty foot radius, perform a ritual worthy of a royal mage,

To, more or less... copy a couple of utilites (Stealth Mode and Traveler's Cloak more or less), preform a ritual, and double/half gravity.

And note, that taking a majority of your level one abilities allows that /at the highest non critical roll./. More regularly (average roll on a d20 is ~10.5 so DC 30 things are more likely.)

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Re: Magic Discussion

Post  Cardbo on Wed Aug 14, 2013 3:09 pm

Bronymous wrote: you can't persuade a rock not to crush you,
I've actually been thinking about this. If I'm remembering correctly, Ponykinesis has a wait limit of 50lbs. Advanced Ponykinesis has a weight limit of 1000lbs, but thats only with a magic point. If you're being crushed by a boulder, and you're trying to emulate these feats, the DC should be like in the 90s, at least.
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Re: Magic Discussion

Post  Paper Shadow on Wed Aug 14, 2013 5:49 pm

Okay, Logan was missing some stuff (like Heart of Courage and Falling With Style), so Ramsus and I (mostly Ramsus) did some theory-crafting and was able to get up to ~60 on the roll total mostly by themself (results vary based on successes and failures of dice rolls of both the player and their companion (long story, although technically an ally supplying Grandeur could do the assist and give an even bigger bonus with the right racial and utility talent) and if the magic being used fits in with Freaky Knowledge), but then Ramsus stepped back and realised that, while 60 is pretty crazy for Magecraft, imagine it on an Athletics character or a Persuasion character. The world will bow at your feet...

So, to make a long story short, magic isn't op, the world is saved, please nerf Heart of Courage, kthxbai...

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Re: Magic Discussion

Post  A1C Bronymous on Wed Aug 14, 2013 6:02 pm

Paper Shadow wrote: while 60 is pretty crazy for Magecraft, imagine it on an Athletics character or a Persuasion character. The world will bow at your feet...
Because....?
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Re: Magic Discussion

Post  LoganAura on Wed Aug 14, 2013 6:10 pm

MY HOOF IS THE HOOF THAT PIERCES THE HEAVENS: The athletics check form.
or
Intimidate the big bad lv 1 with a combined total of over 100 points.

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Re: Magic Discussion

Post  Mind Gamer on Wed Aug 14, 2013 6:16 pm

*Quietly tries to hide that fact that his new Earth Pony has a focus on Persuasion and Athletics... And has a Core Drill for a Cutie Mark*
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Re: Magic Discussion

Post  Hayatecooper on Wed Aug 14, 2013 7:12 pm

Sorry, just woke up!

So I made an Arcane Based Character(Stated to lvl 7)
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1mpDbkF7_sUX-j4ndn2gLbdz3pUgLdMGsnzSjFOkPIF8/edit

So
Base Arcana: essentially at 21(12+CM+Training+Instant Party)
Magic Utility:(So I have access to all my UT's so really who cares if I miss out on two anyway?)
Awesomeness/This is Whining!: Two get out of Fail free cards
Non Knowledge rolls: 9's and 7's thanks to Best of the Breed+training, so I'm not too worried about having to roll other things(16 points to spend for Specialist + 2 extra for Best of the Breed. So 9 points to get knowledge up to 12, other 9 points spread evenly in other attributes)
Destiny: Can now roll base of 21 in Stealth, Persuasion, Arcana, Perception, Mechanics

So.. not only is this character able to easily do Psychology/Emotional based magics as well as Create non-equine golems to run around with(Getting potentially a +10 to those depending on the FK use). (All spells created with Magecraft of course, and if I can turn lead into gold I should be able to make people feel depressed/annoyed.)

Now lets look at what the Archmage destiny is getting me!
Stealth Ally? Eh, don't need them. I can just do it myself or create a stealth based animal like a fly and telepathy with it to know what it knows.
Persuasion Ally? Well considering I get a +10 to making characters feel a certain way... yeah I can probably do just as well as the Speech based character. I mean who needs to do stuff when you can make everyone just loath the people you want them to loath?
Perception Ally: I can detect Magic with Magic, and probably forumlate a spell which tells me every detail of a room before I go in(DC 50-60+ I would say.. hard but not impossible) Or just roll for it with the 21 base
Mechanics Ally: The above, essentially, just got a high base though not as great as the Min-Maxed Mechanic.

But hayate! It's only 3/day
Sure.. still three a day where this character can go "I can do everyone else's jobs + my own."
So. That's my attempt at breaking an Arcana based character, when I can essentially make something that at lvl 7 is as good as a full party almost? That's probably bad.
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Re: Magic Discussion

Post  Cardbo on Wed Aug 14, 2013 8:55 pm

If you're going to prove a point, you should probably do it with an average build, not one thats been min-maxed to heck and back.
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Re: Magic Discussion

Post  A1C Bronymous on Wed Aug 14, 2013 9:10 pm

The point was "minmaxing mage breaks game". How does one prove that with a build that doesn't do that. That's like saying "this blade can cut through the toughest of materials", and then running it through cotton to prove it.
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Re: Magic Discussion

Post  LoganAura on Wed Aug 14, 2013 9:26 pm

Point.
Admittedly though? As a DM, I wouldn't allow you to take FK in Magical constructs or Emotion Based Magics, primarily because with Magical Constructs you can justify crafting magical constructs during the day to help you with the rest of it, and emotion based magics can be described as "I'm casting a spell while pissed. it counts." But that's a minor bother to your build.

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Re: Magic Discussion

Post  Ramsus on Wed Aug 14, 2013 9:37 pm

It feels like all that's being proven here is that minmaxing breaks the game. Not so much magecraft itself.
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Re: Magic Discussion

Post  Hayatecooper on Thu Aug 15, 2013 2:19 am

Yeah, Emotion based Magics was more meant to be "Magic to manipulate the emotions of others" just in less words, I could have phrased it better however.

And yes, min-maxing breaks the game. But with this build I can do everything anyone else can do and more thanks to magecraft/Arcana. Point me to another min-maxed build that allows me to do that.
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Re: Magic Discussion

Post  Ramsus on Thu Aug 15, 2013 2:21 am

Well the minmaxed Persuasion expert can basically do anything any NPC can do since he can convince them to just do it for him.
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