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Unread postPosted: Sat Mar 20, 2021 12:42 pm
  

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D-Bee

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I've been debating for a few years the Warlock on Rifts Earth. Nearly everyone plays a Fire Warlock because they start out the most effective and honestly are one of the more high power damage delivering mage classes in the game. But they feel mostly one dimensional to me. So I went back to the drawing board to see if there was something that I could give the other Warlock elemental types that would make them last a little longer at first while not making them even more overpowered later on in the game.

Most of the other elements doing get spells until 2nd level. So at 1st level you are helpless for the most part in combat, which if you are a magic user and disinterested in the crutch of technology is a bit disconcerting. Air gets Lightning Arc, Earth gets Throwing Stones, and Water gets Frost Blade. Once again we can debate the effectiveness of these spells in combat, but ignoring that for the moment, that's what they've got to work with. Now some will point out the Air gets Cold Orb, and I'm honestly very dubious about Air getting water related spells like that, so I've always removed those from the Air list. If you don't that's fine, I'm just ignoring it for the purposes of this discussion.

So normally how do you make a spell caster more effective.

1) Scrolls and Talismans in Rifts. Well a Warlock can read a Scroll, they can't make them by any means that I've come across. Now technically Gods with Warlock like powers and regular spells that include scrolls or Talismans could make one. But that's a big lift on good days and not really something that a 1st level Warlock should probably be getting exposed too. Technically a Priest of one of these Gods could probably make one depending on how a GM wants to read their Spell Scroll creation ability. But once again, I don't think that's something a regular 1st level Warlock would be coming across in the regular world. So I sort of ruled this out as a possibility. I'm curious if anyone else has come up with a way to use these for Warlocks?

2) Techno-Wizardry is probably the easiest way to do this. But these devices tend to be fairly expensive in the grand scheme of things. Plus you have the rarity of a Techno-Wizard and Warlock working together to build something like this. Most of the time this is the compromise I've made in the game. Gauntlets of Lightning Arc and Throwing Stones, and a Frost Blade made out of the body of a vibro-sword. But it feels very not magical or practical. Not something a Teacher would pass onto a student per say.

3) Lately I've been working on a third choice to try to make a more purely magical solution to the problem. I decided to explore the relationship between the Warlock and the Elemental Entities they are attuned too. We know that it's the link with the Elemental Entities that allow them to cast the spells in the first place. So it seems logical that they were able to create a stronger link to those elements that they would be able to cast more spells. So I revisited the Link to the Supernatural power and the Witch's pacts as a guild and came up with the following idea.
a) The Master of the Warlock (9th level or higher) summons a Greater Elemental for the young Warlock.
b) And agreement is struck for the fragment of the Greater Elemental with the young Warlock.
c) The fragment joins with the young Warlock and becomes apart of their body as a host.
d) The Young Warlock gains +4d6+6 PPE from the joining and access to 1d4+1 spells from levels 1 to 4 from the element. And once per day the fragment can empower the Young Warlock as if they were possessed by the Elemental for 10 minutes per level of the Warlock. (pg 108 Dark Conversions) Basically allowing them to transform their body in MDC while retaining control unlike a regular Elemental Possession.
e) At the end of the agreement the fragment returns or a new deal will have to be struck.

This last option gives them access to a handful of extra spells, gives them an emergency transformation if they get in trouble, and keeps them completely grounded in Warlock mythos. It's relatively short lived, and will usually require a favor to a Greater Elemental Being that will provide GM's a good hook for adventures.

Other ideas I've explored over the years is making Warlock specific Sorcerous Proficiencies. But based on what already existed, I couldn't see anything beyond a stronger Life Sign connection, that would give one or two additional spells per level (which didn't solve my level problem) and in the books the stronger life sign connection examples we have just improves their summoning strength by +5%, so that seemed like overkill so I dropped the idea. I also explored the idea of the Founders Stone. But it's an extremely overpowered artifact in the game. Giving the caster the ability to cast highest level spells from a reserve of PPE higher than most high level Warlocks to begin with. While there are a couple of examples of them in the books, nothing has ever been mentioned about how they are constructed. I have to believe with the rarity of them that it's something like a Rune Weapon level of complexity to accomplish, but even harder to do. So it doesn't seem like a logical way to do things.


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Unread postPosted: Sun Mar 21, 2021 12:03 pm
  

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I would not underestimate an Air Warlock, because they have a couple tricks up their sleeve thanks to the level 5 spell Phantom.

Trick #1: The Phantom has access to all Air Warlock spells from level 1 to 4. So the Warlock can still get access to any spell he skipped. Since the Phantom is invisible and flies, you can have it do things like blanket an area in Clouds of Slumber.

Trick #2: Easy PPE. Casting Phantom costs the Warlock 30 PPE, but the fella has 100 PPE. If you use the 'freely donated PPE' rule from RUE, the Phantom can give 70 PPE to the Warlock. That's a net gain of 40 PPE to for the Warlock. He can then dismiss the Phantom and repeat it until his personal PPE is full again.

Trick #3A: Need a squad? Have the Phantom cast the level 4 spell Phantom Footman up to five times. Now you've got up to six invisible, flying, supernaturally strong warriors at your disposal. Their damage will be low, but don't underestimate using brute force.

Trick #3B: Need a platoon? A minor Air Elemental can summon 10 to 20 Phantom Footmen on average.

Trick #3C: Need an army? A major Air Elemental can summon, on average, summon 46 Phantoms. Those Phantoms can then summon 230 Phantom Footmen. Then the major Air Elemental can summon 14 minor Air Elementals on average, with each one bringing 10-20 Footmen. All told, that 1 major, 14 minors, 46 Phantoms, and 440 Footmen. And they are all invisible, flying, and supernaturally strong.


Other fun stuff...

Lightning Arc (Level 4) is an incredibly efficient spell. It's going to last for at least 4 melees, and hit for 4D6+8 (average 22). Very good return for only 15 PPE. And can be cast by our wonderful Phantom. Lightblade falls into this same category.

Frostblade isn't a great spell, but you can carry a few cheap knives then hand them out to your Footmen for an easy set of 4D6 MD weapons.

Invisibility... the Air Warlock version says "self or 6 foot diameter." Which means our Phantom could stand next to the Warlock and cover them both with Invisibility, leaving the Warlock able to cast other spells.

Wind Blast... ok, so it's level 8 and cost 40 PPE, but it's got a massive range (at least 4,200 feet) and great damage (average of 80 MD). Great sniper spell.

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Unread postPosted: Sun Mar 21, 2021 7:36 pm
  

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D-Bee

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Mack wrote:
I would not underestimate an Air Warlock, because they have a couple tricks up their sleeve thanks to the level 5 spell Phantom.


To be clear, I'm only talking about 1st level Warlocks needing a boost, after first level, they all have a range of spells that make them decently effective. And by 6th level all of them are usually more effective in their areas of specialization than regular mages (depending on the generosity of GM's of regular mages). My case was just that they were extremely weak in Rifts setting the first couple of levels.


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Unread postPosted: Mon Mar 22, 2021 7:22 am
  

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First, in case no one has said so, welcome to the forum ManDrakeTWise!

The possession angle is nice, both using established rules and keeping in line with setting conceits. The stats are definitely a bit tanky. Probably the simplest solution is to just let a 1st level Warlock have access to level 2-3 spells. I began checking around other books which add to the warlock spell list to see if there was anything damaging at level 1, which is somewhat hindered by there not being an exhaustive list of such to my knowledge. I know that PFRPG 12/16 and Mysteries of Magic at least have some elemental spells, and there are likely more elsewhere. I'm personally OK with widening the Warlock list to include the occasional specialty spell from other sources, much like how a fair amount of Ocean Magic is also available to Water Warlocks via PFRPG16. While the class gets pretty strong, including having access to P.P.E. recovery loops, they don't really have much depth, with which broadening access a bit helps. This also combines well with limited access to Elemental Fusionist abilities (as described below) to help distinguish two-element warlocks of different varieties.
  • Air-Water: Cold spells such as Frost Magic in Rifter 70, or maybe some Icecraft stuff whenever Antarctica comes out
  • Air-Fire: Living Fire Magic
  • Fire-Earth: Pyromancy from Rifter 82
  • Water-Earth: maybe some plant-based Biomancy, but excluding anything too lifeforce-oriented.

There are a couple of printed boosts to Warlocks I can think of offhand. The Space Warlock, found in DB 6:Three Galaxies, can be used to create either a non-elemental Invocation-based caster, or a traditional Warlock. The latter slightly tweaks the Warlock's skill list while adding many of the Ley Line Walker's non-spell abilities, access to Space Magic, and increasing P.P.E to 3d6x10. While the result can end up barely Space-oriented this doesn't seem necessarily useful here.

The "optional" article Arcadia: The Crusaders and the Black Crusade, Part 4, found in Rifter 68, incorporates in its Warlock just about every other way to give the class a kick in the pants. While that whole series is fun, and could have stood to be more explicitly drawn from in the writing of DB15, it certainly involves some high-floor characters. In the article Atlantean Warlocks of Arcadia, in addition to the True Atlantean stuff they normally get, receive the following:
  • More initial spells: Character level 1: One life sign: 4 1st, 3 2nd, 2 3rd, 1 4th; Two life signs: 3 1st, 2 2nd from each element: Character level 2: 3 from levels 1-3; Character level 3+: 2 from levels 1-class level, with at least one/level/life sign
  • The ability to summon Spirits of Light corresponding to the Warlock's life sign(s) 6%+4%/level
  • The ability to teleport to and survive within the corresponding Elemental Plane
  • Can exchange 1-2 O.C.C. Related Skills at 1st level for Elemental Fusionist abilities which at least partially correspond, as well as whenever new skills are learned
  • Can activate elemental-themed magical tattoos at half cost
That's a lot of juice for the squeeze! By comparison making a cheap damaging spell available at level 1 seems like small potatoes.

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Unread postPosted: Mon Mar 22, 2021 8:31 am
  

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One thing I've considered is allowing Warlocks to a 'spell-equivalent' of the Elemental Fusionist's abilities. Basically just add those abilities to Warlock's list of available spells.

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Unread postPosted: Mon Mar 22, 2021 12:16 pm
  

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Curbludgeon wrote:
First, in case no one has said so, welcome to the forum ManDrakeTWise!


Thanks, but technically I've always been here in the shadows. But during the Rift's heyday this forum was so toxic and hostile, that most of us with any real interest in the game migrated to less hostile environments to explore new ideas especially related to magic. As time has passed and the interest levels have waned, those environments have dried up and disappeared. I personally go through two year cycles with Rifts, I go onto other things for a while and then something reminds me and I come back to Rifts, pickup my notes and start working on the issues with it again. This cycle was triggered by my kid's interest in RPGs and me putting together a couple of games across the genre for training purposes including a Hero Unlimited game since Superheroes are popular again.

Curbludgeon wrote:
The possession angle is nice, both using established rules and keeping in line with setting conceits. The stats are definitely a bit tanky. Probably the simplest solution is to just let a 1st level Warlock have access to level 2-3 spells. I began checking around other books which add to the warlock spell list to see if there was anything damaging at level 1, which is somewhat hindered by there not being an exhaustive list of such to my knowledge. I know that PFRPG 12/16 and Mysteries of Magic at least have some elemental spells, and there are likely more elsewhere.


Mysteries of Magic has the most extensive list of Warlock spells in the game. There are other stuck here and there if you know where to look. Like there are three randomly stuck Earth Warlock spells on pg 138 of the Vampire Kingdoms Sourcebook under the Soulcrafter character description. The next biggest list is in the Library of Bletherad book, which introduces several additional lists of spells for everyone except Fire Warlocks depending on how you choose to read the Frost Magic spells. Either way, I don't think there is real lack of spells per say. There is just a lack of variety of spells at low levels. Generally I always try to make sure new mages have at least one protection spell, one attack spell and the rest of up to them. Warlocks just don't have that. So this was trying to solve that lack. I agree the transformation feels way too powerful. But I was trying to keep the protection element at least for a short while. In a perfect world there would be a class of Warlock equipment that amplified their powers and provided them protection. But there really isn't anything the game like that for them. I felt like the Skorblades might be the start of someone going down that road, but the equivalent hasn't shown back up in any meaningful way.

Curbludgeon wrote:
There are a couple of printed boosts to Warlocks I can think of offhand. The Space Warlock, found in DB 6:Three Galaxies, can be used to create either a non-elemental Invocation-based caster, or a traditional Warlock. The latter slightly tweaks the Warlock's skill list while adding many of the Ley Line Walker's non-spell abilities, access to Space Magic, and increasing P.P.E to 3d6x10. While the result can end up barely Space-oriented this doesn't seem necessarily useful here.


I honestly never knew what to do with this one. A space wizard like they'd introduced in the early Rifters would have made more sense than this. It felt like a missed opportunity to canonized the Rifter content.

Curbludgeon wrote:
The "optional" article Arcadia: The Crusaders and the Black Crusade, Part 4, found in Rifter 68, incorporates in its Warlock just about every other way to give the class a kick in the pants. While that whole series is fun, and could have stood to be more explicitly drawn from in the writing of DB15, it certainly involves some high-floor characters. In the article Atlantean Warlocks of Arcadia, in addition to the True Atlantean stuff they normally get, receive the following:
  • More initial spells: Character level 1: One life sign: 4 1st, 3 2nd, 2 3rd, 1 4th; Two life signs: 3 1st, 2 2nd from each element: Character level 2: 3 from levels 1-3; Character level 3+: 2 from levels 1-class level, with at least one/level/life sign
  • The ability to summon Spirits of Light corresponding to the Warlock's life sign(s) 6%+4%/level
  • The ability to teleport to and survive within the corresponding Elemental Plane
  • Can exchange 1-2 O.C.C. Related Skills at 1st level for Elemental Fusionist abilities which at least partially correspond, as well as whenever new skills are learned
  • Can activate elemental-themed magical tattoos at half cost
That's a lot of juice for the squeeze! By comparison making a cheap damaging spell available at level 1 seems like small potatoes.


I missed this Rifter. I'll add it to my to get list.

Mack wrote:
One thing I've considered is allowing Warlocks to a 'spell-equivalent' of the Elemental Fusionist's abilities. Basically just add those abilities to Warlock's list of available spells.


I'm on the fence about the Elemental Fusionist class in general. Because of the way they mix elements, I could see a logical limitation being that they are only available to Warlock's with similar mixes of life signs. Which would mean they'd have even fewer spells as a result. Also the fact that the Fusionists are all elemental opposite always bothered me a lot. I never felt like they gave a good enough explanation of how they make that work. And I know it's just because it was in the game, that they added it to the RPG, just didn't feel right to me. But that's all personal opinion, cannon is cannon, even if I don't use it.


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Unread postPosted: Mon Mar 22, 2021 4:05 pm
  

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ManDrakeTWise wrote:
I've been debating for a few years the Warlock on Rifts Earth. Nearly everyone plays a Fire Warlock because they start out the most effective and honestly are one of the more high power damage delivering mage classes in the game. But they feel mostly one dimensional to me. So I went back to the drawing board to see if there was something that I could give the other Warlock elemental types that would make them last a little longer at first while not making them even more overpowered later on in the game.

Most of the other elements doing get spells until 2nd level. So at 1st level you are helpless for the most part in combat, which if you are a magic user and disinterested in the crutch of technology is a bit disconcerting. Air gets Lightning Arc, Earth gets Throwing Stones, and Water gets Frost Blade. Once again we can debate the effectiveness of these spells in combat, but ignoring that for the moment, that's what they've got to work with. Now some will point out the Air gets Cold Orb, and I'm honestly very dubious about Air getting water related spells like that, so I've always removed those from the Air list. If you don't that's fine, I'm just ignoring it for the purposes of this discussion.


Okay, so it looks like you and I have diametrically opposed play styles with mages; you seem to want them to be able to use magic for everything they do--particularly for direct damage to the enemy--and I see magic as something best used for tasks that tech cannot accomplish for the character, and saved for such special occasions.
It's up to you how you have fun, but I'd like to point out my views on some stuff, starting with the viability of a 1st Level Warlock in combat.

At first level, Warlocks get three spells, which is a pretty good start. None of the first level spells are able to inflict direct damage, but that's okay; Warlocks start off with a good selection of weapons.
Specifically, they start off with a survival knife (no bid deal there), an "automatic pistol" OR Triax Pump Weapon (4d6 MD), and two additional weapons, one for each WP chosen for the OCC skills.
So at first level, you can have an SDC knife, a 4d6 MD per shot Triax Pump pistol, and that's pretty good; 4d6 MD is respectable damage.
Then there's the other two weapons.
Warlocks must choose one ancient and one modern WP.
For the ancient, you could go basic and get WP Sword along with a vibro sword. Get the right vibro-sword, and you can inflict 3d6 MD (IIRC vibro-katanas and such do that much).
But remember that you can have ANY Ancient WP, and consider some other options. Remember: you get a weapon appropriate to that skill as part of your starting gear.
Bows/Crossbows Can be used with special ammunition to inflict MD, or with trick ammo like the neural arrows and such. Also, you can use the Create Wood spell (level 1) plus Carpentry (or other applicable skill) means that you can make your own arrows/bolts. OR you could go with the Laser Bow or NA-SW4 Mega-Damage Bow (PS 21+).
WP Blunt Could work well with neural maces, neural staves, etc. Remember, while these weapons inflict only SDC damage normally, they also have a Save Or KO ability that's incredibly useful against any target that has exposed flesh (There's some debate on whether they work on MDC creatures, or how well), and this can be very effective if you take Chameleoun and/or other similar spells for sneaking up on somebody. Moving 2' or slower, you're 70% undetectable, so in the right circumstances you could just crawl right up to somebody and touch the neural mace to an unarmored spot. Even if they make their save, they're like -8 on combat abilities.
Quick Draw is technically an Ancient WP. And according to the rules, you get a "weapon that matches the WP skill," NOT "An Ancient Weapon that matches the skill," so I'd allow this to be an energy pistol or something that would go with this skill. Technically, you could start with any weapon that could be used with Quick Draw, and that's arguably any weapon capable of being "drawn."
Spear/staff Again, with carpentry skills and Create Wood, you can make all the spears you want with just some PPE and basic tools.
Targeting People forget that this skill covers thrown hand grenades, but it does. Also keep in mind that this skill would help with Throwing Stones (one of the few direct damage spells available early on), as would Mystic Fulcrum (when hurling Heavy Items and such)
Shield Shields don't get a lot of use in Rifts, but if you have a shield the size of your torso held in front of you, blocking the enemy's aim at your torso? Cover rules would apply, requiring your opponent to either make a Called Shot to hit some part of you that's not covered, OR to shoot through your shield before they can hurt you. If you picked a shield as a starting weapon, I don't see any reason why the GM wouldn't allow that shield to be Mega-Damage (stats for MDC shields are in Robotech: The Southern Cross, if nowhere else). OR you can make a wooden shield with Create Wood and carpentry.
Other Stuff like Whip, Forked, Pole Arm, and so forth could lead to interesting results. WP Rope for example (if allowed) is something that's effective against armored opponents, and you could arguably start off with a MDC rope as your weapon. Depending on how the GM interprets the rules, you could have a Vibro-Pole Arm that does 4d6 MD. That kind of thing.

The point of all of the above is that mages aren't just their spells; they're an entire person who can--and should--use every tool available to them, including technology.
Your spells early on won't help you directly kill people, but they can be handy as heck when it comes to indirect assistance in killing people; try to pick spells that combine well with your weapons.
Chameleon, as mentioned, can allow you to slowly walk right up to somebody and get a free attack in on them (if you roll well), or to snipe from a distance with 90% undetectability. Start with a good sniping rifle, and you have a great combo that will serve you MUCH better than being able to cast a spell for 6d6 MD or whatever.
Especially with an NG-P7 or other rifle with strong firepower.
Create Wood As mentioned, this can be used for ammunition or weapon construction. It can also be used to create cover, which can be pretty valuable with Rifts' rules that you have to either shoot through cover before hitting the person on the other side, OR you have to spend an extra attack to Call your shot in order to hit an exposed part of them. The spell makes 100 lbs of soft wood for 5 PPE, and soft wood is fairly light, so you could get about 5,760 cubic inches per casting.
While there are ALL kinds of factors that go into determining SDC outside of volume, since an average wooden door has 4838.4 cubic inches of wood, and is listed at 100 SDC for interior or 170 for exterior, I think it's safe to assume that you could make enough soft wood per casting for 150+ SDC. With an average of 80 PPE at first level, this would let a warlock cast Create Wood 16 times, for a total of 2400 SDC worth of protection (estimated), or 24 MDC worth.
Admittedly not GREAT, but it could definitely save your life or at least reduce your armor repair bill significantly, or protect somebody else who has less armor than you do. AND it's permanent; the wood stays there just like any other wood would. So if you fully recharge your PPE, you could get 48 MDC worth of protection. Or as much damage capacity as you like, as long as you have enough PPE and time. You could build a fortress out of the stuff.
At 5th Level you can access the spell Wood To Stone. Again we're just spitballing with numbers here, but an "Exterior Wood Wall" has 150 SDC per 10 square feet, and a "Reinforced Concrete Wall" has 400 SDC per 10 square feet, which indicates that the damage capacity ratio of wood and stone are about 15:40, which would indicate that a wood pile created by Create Wood, then turned into a stone pile with Wood To Stone would have 400 SDC per casting. So that'd boost the 80 PPE's worth total up to 6400 SDC, or 64 MDC worth of protection. Again, this can be done repeatedly; you can make castles if you have the time.
Once you can turn wood to stone, you have other potentially interesting options from spells like:
-Travel Through Stone
-Stone To Flesh
-Mend Stone
-Clay/Stone to Iron (bumping the SDC per casting up to 600 SDC, or 9,600 SDC, or 96 MDC. Again, you can keep making this stuff as much as you like over time.
--This can be combined with Create Steel for superior metal and/or different shapes, or Mend Metal for repairs, or Metal To Clay (which can then be combined with Clay To Lead, Clay To Stone, etc.)
-Rock To Mud
At 8th level, you can access Ironwood, which would turn 5 PPE's worth of wood from the estimated 150 SDC into 150 MDC. If you used all 80 PPE (which would no longer be your total, by the time you're 8th level), you could get 2400 MDC worth of material. And, as always, since the effects are permanent, you can do the same thing again when your PPE recharges. Frankly, every Earth Warlock of 8th level or above should have some kind of Fortress Of Solitude that has tens of thousands of MDC, if they've been living in one spot for a few years or longer.
For that matter, you can now make MDC planks/board that could be riveted (or otherwise attached) onto vehicles for extra protection.
Get the right skills, you can make Ironwood Mega-Damage Body Armor, for that matter.

Basically, with the right combination of spells, you can create an unlimited amount of:
-Wood (Create Wood)
-Stone (Create Wood, Wood to Stone)
-Lead (Create Wood, Wood To Stone, Clay To Lead)
-Iron (Create Wood, Wood To Stone, Stone To Iron)
-Ironwood (Create Wood, Ironwood)
-Steel (Create Wood, Wood To Stone, Stone To Iron, Create Steel)
-Sand (Create Wood, Wood to Stone, Stone To Mud, let mud dry into dirt, Dirt To Sand)
-Flesh (Create Wood, Wood to Stone, Stone To Flesh) (GMs handle this different ways)

And when you get the Create Golem spell, this can make golems a lot easier to construct:
Create Wood
Use Carpentry or other applicable skills to construct the golem's body
Wood To Stone
Stone To Iron (if you prefer iron golems)
Create Golem to make it come to life.

Then if you have a fun GM, you can turn your stone or iron golem into a Wood Golem, Flesh Golem, Sand Golem, Dirt Golem, Lead Golem, etc.
:-D

Dust Storm is good for both defense and offense. You can use it for concealment by either casting it directly on you or where you're standing, or at a point between you and the enemy if you don't want your own vision/movement/initiative to be impaired. People underestimate how important it can be to simply not get shot, and this spell can help with that.
Or you can cast it from a distance at any enemy that you want to blind or force to relocate. For example, say there's a guy behind cover. In order to shoot him, you'd need to make a Called Shot (2-3 attacks), while he can shoot back at you with impunity as long as his cover's intact. That's a bad situation for you, but it can be negated by casting Dust Storm on his location; now he can't attack you either. This can give you time to close with the enemy for melee combat, or to flee, or to cast other spells.
It's an overlooked, quite versatile spell in combat, even though it doesn't do direct damage.
Fool's Gold isn't direct damage, BUT can conceivably be used to buy weapons or other gear with, which you can use for direct damage. Heck, if you can find people willing to pay credits or other currency for gold, you can convert the fake gold straight into cash. NOT a combat spell, but it's quite powerful.
ALSO, keep in mind that unlike most spells, this one doesn't seem to have any limit on area of affect. It just targets "any object." So conceivably, you could turn a Mountain into fake Gold. Or a tree. Or otherwise create landmarks.
What happens if you cast it on somebody's visor, glasses, or helmet? By the rules, without save, the object will "appear to be made of gold." People who make the save can tell that it's fake gold, but whether gold is fake or not, you can't see through it.
So by the rules as written, this spell can blind anybody with any kind of eyewear/visor for 20 minutes per level of the caster, without a saving throw.
Making it not too shabby of a combat spell.
Mystic Fulcrum is a simple spell that lets you lift 50% more than normal, and carry 10% more than normal. It last 5 minutes per level, so it's only good for relatively short periods of time, BUT 5 minutes is more than most combats last. So if you have access to any weapons that are too heavy for your character to use effectively under normal conditions, BUT which are light enough that you could pick them up and/or wield them with a 50% boost in strength, this spell could come in handy.
Overall, this isn't the most handy spell. The point is that spells often work best as part of some kind of combo, like if you build your character around being a sniper, and your GM lets you get hold of a Shemarrian Rail Gun or other big rifle, this kind of spell might come in quite handy--you just have to look at each possible spell, and think about each other spell, weapon, tool, or situation that you could use in conjunction.
Rock To Mud Good for messing with wheeled vehicles, making stone steps slippery, taking chunks out of stone armor or walls, etc. If you get locked in a dungeon, this spell is awesome; just cast it on a wall, and start tunneling. (at 30 lbs/level per casting, it'll take multiple castings to make large holes in walls, at least at first level)
Rot Wood Good direct damage against tree/plant creatures. Otherwise, not that great.
Can you combo with it?
Well, if your character is a Vampire, this spell becomes incredibly handy.
Level 2
Create Dirt or Clay isn't a great combat skill, BUT dropping 50 lbs of clay on somebody's head from 10'/level away can still be pretty useful in combat.
Or conjuring the clay around a person's head, or gun hand, or feet.
Especially if followed with Clay To Lead, Clay To Stone, and/or other spells.
(Similar deal with Create Wood, which makes 100 lbs of material per 5 PPE per casting. No reason you can't just create the wood in the air over/around somebody. If you wanted to dump all your PPE into one casting, you could bury an enemy under 1600 lbs of firewood)
I'm not sure what would happen if you conjured your dirt/clay inside the barrel of a Boom Gun or something, but it might be fun to find out.
Can you block an incoming missile by conjuring clay around it mid-flight? I'd probably go with it, but other GMs might not.
Dirt To Clay and/or Dirt To Sand can come in handy for cover, particularly in conjunction with Create Mound. That'd get you a big mound of dirt, which you could turn into a big mound of clay, which you could turn into a big pile of stone, lead, or iron.
Hopping Stones only inflicts SDC damage, but it lasts 4 melees per level and covers a 6' area. While it's not good for causing damage to MDC enemies, it SHOULD be able to effectively stop mages from casting high level spells as per the RUE 190 rules "can't cast magic when under direct attack," as the spell is effectively attacking everybody in the area of effect. The same should hold true for anybody trying to use psychic powers that take concentration, and for anybody trying to make an Aimed/Called shot.
It's a great harassment spell.
Throwing Stones isn't a bad direct damage spell, although the power is a bit low. Still, by 5th level, you're matching the single-shot damage for most laser rifles, so it's not horrible, AND you get a
+2 bonus to strike. If you have a high PP and WP Targeting, this could be a great low-damage sniping spell.
It's up to GMs to decide how they'd handle it if somebody cast Throwing Stones, then cast Stone To X to turn it into something else (wood, lead, iron, clay, etc.), THEN hurled the magic no-longer-a-stone at an enemy.
Throwing wood "stones" at vampires might be entertaining and effective, for example.
Also of note is that the spell magically "makes" the stone appear out of thin air, creating the stone. Once you throw it, the stone "crumbles into dirt." Which means that you can make rock-sized amounts of dirt to use for other spells if need be: Dirt To Clay, Dirt To Sand, Etc.
(yes, Create Dirt or Clay is much more effective, but you only get 3 spells per level, so I can see taking Throwing Stones, Dirt To Clay, and Dirt To Sand depending on what combos you want)
Wall Of Clay You know how I keep talking about people hiding behind cover? That can be YOU! :D
A Wall of Clay has 10 MDC per level, and even at first level that can be significant protection for you and/or for allies. Cast it, hide behind it, and lean out to shoot at enemies.
It's up to the GM what happens if you cast Clay To Lead or Clay To Stone on the wall, but I'd definitely have it affect the wall's damage capacity.
Also, you can drop a clay wall on top of people up to 60' away. It only inflicts 6d6 damage, but as far as I can tell, the person is still under a wall which could immobilize them. Especially if the clay wall is turned into lead.
Wither Plants 1d4x10 MD to tree/plant elementals. Probably does comparable damage to other plant-creatures, and depending on the adventure/campaign, this could be invaluable. This is also good for clearing out thickets and such that snipers might be hiding in.

Level 3
Animate Plants Much like Hopping Stones, this is a great disruption/distraction spell. It also combos well with Chameleon, because you can sit there 90% undetectable, controlling plants to attack your enemies. Obviously a good spell for fighting vamps in a wooded area.
Create Mound is great for cover. There are rules somewhere (Rifts: China?) for using earth as cover/fortification.
Also, though, this is a 5'-10' tall mound of Earth. Most any ground-based vehicle is going to get messed UP if you conjure one of these in front of it. That can be quite good during combat, and is an example of the kind of thing I talk about when it comes to "saving magic for special occasions."
If you're up against a vehicle with hundreds of MDC, it could take a long time to blast through the vehicle with direct damage attacks, magic or not. But if you flip the vehicle over or otherwise make it crash?
It's probably out of commission in a single attack/action on your part.
Crumble Stone It can do direct damage to stone golems and Earth Elementals, but also it can damage anything you've already affected by turning it INTO stone in the first place with spells like:
Dirt To Stone
Clay To Stone
Wood To Stone
or that's been turned to stone magically by Petrification.
If you have Architecture or similar skills, this could also be used to good effect in stone buildings/caves, by crumbling keystones and other supporting features. You might be able to do the same thing with direct damage, but if you have to roll an Attack, that means you might miss. This spell is better for precision.
Dig is incredibly overlooked, because most people don't think to dig an instant foxhole when they get into combat. But they should; any time you can force the enemy to spend 2+ attacks on Called Shots, you should probably take the opportunity.
Also might be good for opening pits underneath enemies, or just making pit traps around an area for defensive or hunting purposes.
This is another spell with a permanent effect, too, so anything you make doesn't just disappear.
Earth Rumble doesn't do direct damage, but it DOES make enemies save vs. horror or lose an attack, initiative, AND have to flee the area.
It targets everybody within a 30 area, too, so there's a chance you can take multiple enemies out of combat in a single spell.
You can always shoot them as they're running in terror.
(this is also good for impressing rubes with your Supernatural Power, as part of a bluff that you're a god or whatnot)
Encase Object In Stone NOT only is this an absolutely awesome spell for combat, because you can take out people's weapons without needing a Called Shot, regardless of how much MDC the weapon has, it's also one of those spells that doesn't disappear. You encase something in stone, it stays there, and the stone has 5 MDC.
What this means is that you can effectively create permanent MDC bricks/stones. As many as you like.
You can build your house/castle out of these bricks, if you like.
You can encase an object in stone, then turn the stone into wood, lead, iron, steel, flesh, etc., if you like. Whether the MDC would change would be up to the GM.
There are a ton of long-term possibilities here.
But in the short and immediate turn, it's always nice to take out a foe's rune sword or fancy pistol in a single action, casing it in 35 lbs of stone.
Heck, cast it on somebody's hat. Or neck tie. Get inventive!
;)

Skipping to pick out some other fun spells...
Cocoon of Stone You can just cocoon yourself in 500 lbs of MDC stone on command, for 70 MDC worth of protection!
Some GMs let you try to "parry" incoming attacks by casting an appropriate spell, and if your GM allows that, you have a great last-ditch life-saving spell here. Just cast it any time you've got an incoming attack you think will probably kill you.
Even without that, you have a great way to protect yourself in any combat situation where there's no easy escape, but you're going to die if you stay fighting.
Beyond that, here are some things to consider:
-Get on top of an enemy. Cast the spell. They're now trapped under a 500 lb stone cocoon with you in it. With bigger/stronger creatures, this isn't a problem, but for anybody who can't lift 500 lbs, it should work pretty well.
-Fly at an enemy (using magic or a jetpack or whatever), then cast the spell and turn yourself into a stone missile that collides with them. Damage and effects will vary per situation, speed, and possibly target, but in general I'd run this as a ram or collision under Vehicle Combat Rules.
-You are able to magically breathe while in the stone. This means that you can use the spell to survive any situation in which you might otherwise suffocate! Falling into a lake or the ocean? Cocoon up, and you've bought yourself one day per level for somebody to fish you out.
Shot into the vacuum of space? Same deal; you can buy yourself as many days of life as you have levels of experience.
Buried alive? Same deal.
Poison gas cloud? Same deal.
Perforated lung...? Probably not the same deal, BUT technically that's up to the GM.
-Want to sleep safely while camping? Sleep in a stone cocoon! Keeps out bandits, predators, AND mosquitoes!
Quicksand Just an awesome spell against most things that can't fly.
Mend Stone You can create as much stone as you like using other spell combos, and this lets you repair it. Also good for repairing golems.
The spell doubles the existing damage capacity BUT can't go over the original total. So if you're hiding behind a stone barrier that normally has 160 MDC, and enemies take up to 80 MDC off the total, you can restore it to new in one casting.
Rust inflicts 2d6 MD to any non-magic metal. A typical vibro-blade has 12-20 MDC. Metal guns could also be affected, and remember: you don't have to spend an extra attack Calling your shot. You cast it, it automatically hits and damages their weapon.
In non-combat situations, because you can transmute various substances into metal, this spell gives you a way to destroy lots of stuff: just turn it into metal and rust it. (Crumble Stone and other spells work the same way).
Clay To Lead/Stone/iron/etc. You can just take clay, and turn it into lead or stone. With any kind of Sculpting skill, this lets you make any number of useful items, permanently. If you want chains, vases, ashtrays, boxes, doors, plates, bowls, utensils, gears, weapons, armor, or anything else that could possibly be sculpted out of clay, you can make any of these things out of clay, lead, stone, iron, or flesh.
(Speaking of which, I've heard of GMs that allow players to use Stone To Flesh to transform stone into edible materials for rations. If your GM lets you do that, cool. It can be a lifesaver.)
Not a great combat skill most of the time, BUT it's a great way to make cash without adventuring:
1. Cast Create Clay (6 PPE) to get 50 lbs/level of clay.
2. Cast Clay To Lead (20 PPE) to turn 50 lbs/level of clay into lead.
3. Sell the lead to anybody who deals with scrap metals.
In the real world, lead is about 40 cents/lb, so 50 lbs of lead would be worth about $20. An average 1st level warlock could do this about 3x per day, for about 150 lbs worth of lead per day. Not sure what the Rifts Earth scrap price for lead is, but if we just go with dollars to credits this would get you about $60/day worth of lead. Not a ton of money, but not bad spare cash/trade goods to crank out before sleeping for the night or whatever.
That assumes that the conversion is by mass/weight, not by volume IF Clay To Lead turns 50 lbs/level worth of clay into the same volume of lead, the weight of lead you'd get per combo would increase drastically.
50 lbs of wet clay would fill about 784.58 cubic inches, according to a website I'm looking at.
784.58 cubic inches of lead would weigh 321.7 lbs!
So IF the conversion is per volume, meaning that 50 lbs of clay are transformed into the same volume of lead, you could get CR 128.68 per 50 lbs of clay you're converting into lead!
At first level, this is CR 386.04/day.
At 10th level, this is CR 3860.4/day! (this is still using the average PPE for level 1, so really it should be a lot higher than this)
And if you work on a ley line or otherwise boost your PPE to spend, it could be a hell of a lot more.
And none of this affects combat, except that if you're able to produce thousands of credits worth of trade goods per day, you'll be able to afford much better weapons and armor.

Little Mud Mound
By 5th level, you can summon your first critter, a Little Mud Mound. They hang out for 30 minutes per level of the warlock, which is WAY more than enough time for any combat that's likely to crop up.
LMMs have 250 MDC, supernatural PS of 25 (punch: 2d6 MD), and are generally a pretty great companion in combat.
This is the real combat power of Earth Warlocks for the most part: they can create armies that do the fighting for them.
LMMs have 100 PPE, and can cast all Earth Elemental spells levels 1-4.
So if you want a bunch of low level spells cast, you can use LMMs to do the casting for you, leveraging every 30 PPE you spend into 100 PPE from the LMM.
Instead of casting Create Wood 16 times at first level, you can cast LMM 3 times, and your LMMs can cast Create Wood 20 times each, 60 times total.
Or if you're just interested in combat, conjure three LMMs and just have them punch for 2d6 MD, or cast Throwing Stones, or have them each cast Wall of Clay to hem an opponent in, or whatever.
Low level spells cast in barrages by multiple casters can do a lot of stuff, and because they can cast spells you can't, summoning them gives you a wider variety of spells to draw on.

Petrification
This is a great combat spell made all the more fun when you follow turning somebody's flesh to stone by turning their stone into some other substance, like iron.

Sculpt And Animate Clay Animals
Decent little scrappers to fight for you, especially if you give them armor and weapons.
And with the right spell combos (listed under the spell itself) you can make golem-like critters that are even tougher (and as I interpret the rules, the golem-like critters are permanent, as opposed to 6 hours per level).
Even without doing a combo, you can camp out on a ley line for a while and crank out a small army of these things before a fight. By 6th level, they'll do your bidding for an entire day.
But really, using the combo for permanent minions is the best way to go.

Create Golem
You don't get this until Level 8, but it should be standard for any Earth Warlock with ambition.
An average 8th level Warlock is going to have 8d6+10 HP, for an average of around 28 HP. It costs 4 HP permanently per golem you make.
Unless you're expecting a lot of direct-to-Hit-Point attacks/encounters, you should probably use most of that on making a half-dozen golems.
Golems off the rack aren't great, but 6 of them is a pretty good set of bodyguards for most encounters. Even as-is, they can crank out a combined 12d6 MD per round of attacks.
They can also be dressed up in suits of MDC armor, equipped with Mega-Damage weapons, depending on the size you make them.
There are a zillion things you can do with golems, and you should.
Earth Warlocks shouldn't be frontline troops; they should be commanding minions.

Quote:
So normally how do you make a spell caster more effective.

1) Scrolls and Talismans in Rifts.


If you have somebody who can make scrolls and talismans, by all means have your warlock use them!
I'd still avoid using those for direct damage stuff; that can be done with guns or other means.

Quote:
2) Techno-Wizardry is probably the easiest way to do this. But these devices tend to be fairly expensive in the grand scheme of things. Plus you have the rarity of a Techno-Wizard and Warlock working together to build something like this. Most of the time this is the compromise I've made in the game. Gauntlets of Lightning Arc and Throwing Stones, and a Frost Blade made out of the body of a vibro-sword. But it feels very not magical or practical. Not something a Teacher would pass onto a student per say.


Hm. Why doesn't it feel magical or practical to you? Or like something that would be passed down?
In general Techno-Wizardry weapons and armor are great for mages to have and use.
If your concern is a lack of offensive magic for Warlocks, making a TW magic wand of Fire Balls or something seems like it'd cover stuff pretty well.

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Unread postPosted: Mon Mar 22, 2021 6:41 pm
  

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Killer Cyborg wrote:
Okay, so it looks like you and I have diametrically opposed play styles with mages; you seem to want them to be able to use magic for everything they do--particularly for direct damage to the enemy--and I see magic as something best used for tasks that tech cannot accomplish for the character, and saved for such special occasions.
It's up to you how you have fun, but I'd like to point out my views on some stuff, starting with the viability of a 1st Level Warlock in combat.

Earth Warlocks shouldn't be frontline troops; they should be commanding minions.

Quote:
So normally how do you make a spell caster more effective.

1) Scrolls and Talismans in Rifts.


If you have somebody who can make scrolls and talismans, by all means have your warlock use them!
I'd still avoid using those for direct damage stuff; that can be done with guns or other means.

Quote:
2) Techno-Wizardry is probably the easiest way to do this. But these devices tend to be fairly expensive in the grand scheme of things. Plus you have the rarity of a Techno-Wizard and Warlock working together to build something like this. Most of the time this is the compromise I've made in the game. Gauntlets of Lightning Arc and Throwing Stones, and a Frost Blade made out of the body of a vibro-sword. But it feels very not magical or practical. Not something a Teacher would pass onto a student per say.


Hm. Why doesn't it feel magical or practical to you? Or like something that would be passed down?
In general Techno-Wizardry weapons and armor are great for mages to have and use.
If your concern is a lack of offensive magic for Warlocks, making a TW magic wand of Fire Balls or something seems like it'd cover stuff pretty well.


Yes, I would go step further and discuss spells like Locate Iron, Refine Iron and Mentally & Magically Shape Iron to make pretty much any weapon imaginable to use. Plus adding in Armor of Earth, Armor of Stone, Crystal Eye, Hands of Stone, Mend Wood, and Silverize all help to make Earth Warlocks a force to be feared in combat, even on the front line. Add in spells like Wall of Swords, Whirling Wall and Great Wall they can command the battlefield. But none of those are available at First level, meaning their effectiveness is hurt in the field. Warlocks are legend at higher levels, I'm not doubting that, I'm just saying at lower levels they are very limited in the grand scheme of things.

My Rifts Earth Warlocks usually start with Chameleon (so they can at least hide), Create Wood (so they can at least be useful), and Identify Minerals (something really sell-able). Dowsing has uses for setting up cities and such. Dust Storm doesn't work against environmental Armor in Rifts, Fool's Gold is just rude, Identify Plants useful later on, Mystic Fulcrum might be useful later, Rock to Mud on hurts Stone constructs, Rot Wood only hurts Tree and Plant entities, and Shatter is well useless 99.999999% of the time. And once again I'm not against support characters, but I've seen players struggle early on with their characters and feel like they aren't contributing to the success of the group as a result.

I guess I should have been more specific talismans and spell scrolls with Warlock spells in and on them respectively. A Warlock master doesn't have a way to impart spell or two to the next generation as a training token for example. My Ley Line Walker teachers usually will impart a low level spell scroll or talisman to their students to help them make their way in the world. They are usually short lived gifts, but they provide the student with a bit of boost, but it disappears after use. The Talismans are usually returned and maybe if the student is worthy, they might get another round of spells or PPE loaded back in.

Unless we want to go meta, and say that you have a Magical Scroll of Create Spell Scroll. Could a Warlock read it and create a Warlock spell scroll of Throwing Stone? Or does the notion of the spell created by the Create Spell Scroll spell have to set in the original magical scroll. I think we'd have the same problem if we set up a Magical Scroll of Talisman as well. And then we'd have the problem with the Talisman if I used a spell scroll to create a Talisman, who is the owner of the Talisman for the purposes of recharging? Would it be me or the person that create the original scroll? And would I be able to recharge it if I used the spell scroll to create it, since I don't know the spell and the spell knowledge allows me to know how to recharge it. It all seems very circular.


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Unread postPosted: Tue Mar 23, 2021 1:01 am
  

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ManDrakeTWise wrote:
Killer Cyborg wrote:
Hm. Why doesn't it feel magical or practical to you? Or like something that would be passed down?
In general Techno-Wizardry weapons and armor are great for mages to have and use.
If your concern is a lack of offensive magic for Warlocks, making a TW magic wand of Fire Balls or something seems like it'd cover stuff pretty well.


Yes, I would go step further and discuss spells like Locate Iron, Refine Iron and Mentally & Magically Shape Iron to make pretty much any weapon imaginable to use. Plus adding in Armor of Earth, Armor of Stone, Crystal Eye, Hands of Stone, Mend Wood, and Silverize all help to make Earth Warlocks a force to be feared in combat, even on the front line. Add in spells like Wall of Swords, Whirling Wall and Great Wall they can command the battlefield. But none of those are available at First level, meaning their effectiveness is hurt in the field. Warlocks are legend at higher levels, I'm not doubting that, I'm just saying at lower levels they are very limited in the grand scheme of things.


Well, at first level, they're guys in armor with guns and a couple special tricks.
That describes the vast majority of character classes in Rifts.

Quote:
Dust Storm doesn't work against environmental Armor in Rifts,


I'm not seeing anything in the books that says it doesn't work on people in EBA.
It'd be less comfortable, but it's still windy and dusty enough that people should have the same penalties, outside of the "difficult to speak, cast spells, even breathe" part of it.

Quote:
Fool's Gold is just rude,


:lol:
Fair enough.


Quote:
And once again I'm not against support characters, but I've seen players struggle early on with their characters and feel like they aren't contributing to the success of the group as a result.


This used to be pretty standard for mages in most or all RPGs; at low level you're kinda useless, and at high levels you're a powerhouse.
This is mostly because they evolved from Cannons used in miniature wargames, from what I've heard.
I guess you could front-load Warlocks if you think it'd help: give them a flat 3 spells per level still, but let them choose from ANY level, not just the levels they've reached.

Quote:
I guess I should have been more specific talismans and spell scrolls with Warlock spells in and on them respectively. A Warlock master doesn't have a way to impart spell or two to the next generation as a training token for example. My Ley Line Walker teachers usually will impart a low level spell scroll or talisman to their students to help them make their way in the world. They are usually short lived gifts, but they provide the student with a bit of boost, but it disappears after use. The Talismans are usually returned and maybe if the student is worthy, they might get another round of spells or PPE loaded back in.


AH!!
Okay, I get it better now.

I think that Warlocks get their spells from elementals directly, not learning spells but rather being imbued by a supernatural being with the ability to cast spells, like Witches.
So I don't think that "passing down spells" would have the same dynamic with Warlocks as it would with, say, Line Walkers.

Quote:
Unless we want to go meta, and say that you have a Magical Scroll of Create Spell Scroll.


Thishas been discussed in the past.
I forget the outcome/conclusion.

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Unread postPosted: Tue Mar 23, 2021 2:23 pm
  

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This reminds me... I was going to make a class called the Elemental Bondsman that would be version of the Elemental Possession (from Dark Conversions). Essentially, a compatible host willingly invites an elemental to join with him, and receives most of the bonuses of the Elemental Possessed, but retains his personality and control.

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Unread postPosted: Tue Mar 23, 2021 3:54 pm
  

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Mack wrote:
This reminds me... I was going to make a class called the Elemental Bondsman that would be version of the Elemental Possession (from Dark Conversions). Essentially, a compatible host willingly invites an elemental to join with him, and receives most of the bonuses of the Elemental Possessed, but retains his personality and control.


Yes, this idea was lifted heavily from the Spirit West book, the Plant Man-Monster reminded me of Earth Tree Elemental. And I tried to find some way to do it in a non destructive way. When I found the section on possession in Gods and Dragons book, I knew I'd found what I needed. The sucky part is the Elemental Fragment is only available from Major Elementals, so they are way over powered (100x on all Elemental spell ranges). In a more perfect world, you could find a way to make it work with Minor Elementals instead, but instead it's explicitly forbidden in the text. But I've not found a hint of an opening in cannon to make that work. I suspect that most Rune items that cast Elemental Magic are spirits of minor Elementals or Spirits of Light that have been sacrificed to build the items.


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Unread postPosted: Tue Mar 23, 2021 4:28 pm
  

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Mack wrote:
This reminds me... I was going to make a class called the Elemental Bondsman that would be version of the Elemental Possession (from Dark Conversions). Essentially, a compatible host willingly invites an elemental to join with him, and receives most of the bonuses of the Elemental Possessed, but retains his personality and control.


I actually had a warlock do just that in a PBP many, many years ago. I reasoned that elementals would prefer possessing a warlock to living in the open (since they'd be in someone with a spark of their own element inside), and would be fairly compliant with their "Little Brother"

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Unread postPosted: Wed Mar 24, 2021 5:41 am
  

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ManDrakeTWise wrote:
Mack wrote:
This reminds me... I was going to make a class called the Elemental Bondsman that would be version of the Elemental Possession (from Dark Conversions). Essentially, a compatible host willingly invites an elemental to join with him, and receives most of the bonuses of the Elemental Possessed, but retains his personality and control.


Yes, this idea was lifted heavily from the Spirit West book, the Plant Man-Monster reminded me of Earth Tree Elemental. And I tried to find some way to do it in a non destructive way. When I found the section on possession in Gods and Dragons book, I knew I'd found what I needed. The sucky part is the Elemental Fragment is only available from Major Elementals, so they are way over powered (100x on all Elemental spell ranges). In a more perfect world, you could find a way to make it work with Minor Elementals instead, but instead it's explicitly forbidden in the text. But I've not found a hint of an opening in cannon to make that work. I suspect that most Rune items that cast Elemental Magic are spirits of minor Elementals or Spirits of Light that have been sacrificed to build the items.

If you're already house-ruling that someone can be possessed by an elemental but still retain control then why not house-rule that it can be a minor? Maybe you could in-world explain that the fact that it is a minor elemental is the reason that the possessed person is somehow able to retain control?


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Unread postPosted: Wed Mar 24, 2021 9:14 am
  

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Given how poorly the Elemental Fusionist is generally regarded I could see a good argument for them getting some sort of lesser elemental possession, while Warlocks keep summoning.

As for Space Warlocks, while an "official" space wizard would be nice, military elemental support is another worthwhile niche. An Air/Water Space Warlock could handle a small craft's life support in a pinch. While I'd love to come up with a good Air/Earth spell list for such a character, I think Earth gets the most benefit from staying single life sign. What Space list is used is half up in the air since DB6 lists Rifter 23, which I suppose more likely refers to DB13 Fleets of the Three Galaxies than the list in Rifter 10 but who knows?

I'm increasingly liking the idea of regional Warlock groups producing identifying magical items, even to the point of the process not involving other types of casters. If a 1st level Earth Warlock was able to use an enchanted shovel to fling Throwing Stones or bonk someone overhead for say 2d4, and undergo a ritual at 3rd to add Dig, etc., it could help a little with no initial combat spells/certain spells rarely getting picked.

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Unread postPosted: Wed Mar 24, 2021 11:48 am
  

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What about the Elemental Primorda in Rifter #76? It's listed as official material.

They are pretty powerful, most can choose an OCC, and they have some decent elemental abilities. At the very least you can mine it for abilities and ideas.

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Unread postPosted: Fri Mar 26, 2021 9:22 am
  

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Curbludgeon wrote:
I'm increasingly liking the idea of regional Warlock groups producing identifying magical items, even to the point of the process not involving other types of casters.


Well the mechanism of the Founders Stones point to something like that being possible. Mida Elektis of Tolkeen's version gives 4 spells and PPE battery. Which I thought was fairly overpowered with the 50% PPE cost reduction for the 4 spells (pg 90 CW6 Final Siege). But then I saw the second Founders stone being used by Arcabus Darkshard from the 4th level of Dyval. It has 50% more PPE than the first stone, 8 spells of varying levels and elements, AND it says that all Warlocks using it can cast ALL Warlock spells at 50% PPE reduction, not just the 8 provided by it(pg 158 DB11 Dyval). And King Lokar in the Fire Dome of Hades (pg 185 DB10 Hades), has mystery amulet that doubles range, damage, duration of all Elemental Earth powers. And allows the summoning of Greater Elemental weekly. None of these items have any the characteristics of Rune items. So it appears there is some sort of Elemental mechanism for making permanent magical items that give Elemental spells and boost the spell caster in some sort of way.

If I had to guess this must require a sacrifice of power by Greater Elementals (maybe loss of fragment for that world for as long as the item exists), hence why there are so few of them in the world. Hence why they seem to be all very powerful, because why would you give up something so important for a small scale item?


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Unread postPosted: Sat Mar 27, 2021 11:35 am
  

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I'm not certain I see a special need for 1st level warlocks to incorporate being a warlock into combat.

it's not a warrior class. it's a man of magic. they have a fair amount of magic (including a handful of fairly neat special skills usable at-will) beginning from 1st level, but it isn't like the warlock in their home setting isn't using conventional weapons when they get into combat at level 1. why does the rifts version need to be more focused on combat than the original?

every warlock on rifts earth knows how to use some weapons, so why would we think that warlocks don't support the idea of using weapons? it is as much a part of their training as wilderness survival or land navigation. should we also be giving them bonus spells known or special magic items to negate *those* parts of their training? what about their language skills... every warlock can speak multiple languages. should we be giving them a magic item that casts tongues so that they don't have to use *those* skills either?

a warlock is more than just spells. their use of magic does not need to pervade every aspect of everything they do. combat is not their purpose; they are not gladiators, or soldiers, or killers-for-hire, or even necessarily explorers or adventurers. it would be very frustrating if a level 1 *combat mage* couldn't start with some spells useful in combat, because that is what combat mages are all about, but there is absolutely no problem whatsoever for warlocks to not have great starting combat spell options.

(also, and this is just me, but no way would I take fire warlock just to have a damage spell at level 1. at level 1, my warlock - who, as a warlock, was given special training specifically in using a gun, as are all warlocks - can just use a gun, which is part of my equipment just as it is for all warlocks. if I *am* going fire warlock to have a spell for combat at level 1, it is blinding flash, which does something new and powerful that a laser rifle can't copy, not fire bolt).

I will further add that warlocks can start off with spells that are useful in combat, regardless of life sign. air gets cloud of slumber, cloud of steam, and thunder clap. earth gets chameleon and dust storm (and admittedly will be relying more on their weapons than spells at level 1). fire gets stench of hades, cloud of smoke, blinding flash as noted above, and impervious to fire in addition to two damage-dealing spells of no particular significance. water gets cloud of steam, create fog, and purple mist.

so I guess I have to join with those who are saying they don't see a problem. a warlock is not a warrior. their purpose and function is not in their ability to kill other people. if they don't all have spells ideal for killing people at level 1, then frankly, that is perfectly acceptable. if you want to be good at combat from level 1, then frankly, choose an OCC that has combat as their specialty. I see no reason to try and make every spellcaster an expert in combat; that's what you bring along the OCCs like juicer or cyborg along for.


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Unread postPosted: Mon Mar 29, 2021 9:33 am
  

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Shark_Force wrote:
I'm not certain I see a special need for 1st level warlocks to incorporate being a warlock into combat.

it's not a warrior class. it's a man of magic. they have a fair amount of magic (including a handful of fairly neat special skills usable at-will) beginning from 1st level, but it isn't like the warlock in their home setting isn't using conventional weapons when they get into combat at level 1. why does the rifts version need to be more focused on combat than the original?


Yes, we seem to split into three primary camps on the subject. Magic users should only use magic. Magic users should be pragmatic and use the best tool for the job. And finally using magic is ridiculous and shouldn't be attempted in world of technological marvels. You seem to be between the last two, so your opinions are well represented in the Palladium Community. And I would concede they are the norm for the board as a whole.

Warshield73 wrote:
What about the Elemental Primorda in Rifter #76? It's listed as official material.


I didn't get Rifter #76. I got Rifter #78 was a lot more interesting to me, the Nexus Zone was more intriguing to me. And the modern Necromancer was in there too. Two magical topics in one Rifter was irresistible. The Shape Bone spell alone was worth the price of the Rifter if I'm totally honest. Anyway, I was confusing the Nexus Born with the Nexus Zone logic. I remembered getting extra spells, and that was Nexus Born for Elemental Fusionist. Which was disappointing, but as I was leafing through the Nexus Zone and it appears Carl Gleba was thinking along the lines that I was. In the section of Elemental Rifts (pg 71 Rifter #78), they mention that a Warlock can commune with the Elemental Rift of their Life Sign and get additional spells for a quest and they can be one level higher than they can normally get. The duration is a bit short (only a week per level), but it definitely opens up new possibilities. Now a teacher could summon a greater elemental for a student, the elemental could possess their body, dimensionally teleport them to the Elemental Plane, allow them to commune with the plane and get the additional spell level and spell for their quest, and then bring them back. Of course, there is a limited percentage chance, but I'm betting that going to the plane itself would give a bigger bonus than doing it through the Rift. And being joined by a Greater Elemental should probably bump things as well. Either way, we could get a similar effect using this other set of rules instead without the risk of introducing the elemental transformation into the game for Warlocks.


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Unread postPosted: Mon Mar 29, 2021 3:30 pm
  

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my position is that a magic-using class is not a magic-user for every detail of their lives, only the portions of their lives that are dedicated to it. clothing, eating utensils and dishes, pots for cooking, and indeed, cooking itself all involve using technology. walking up a ramp is using technology. living in a building is using technology.

most spellcasters use technology all the time. they didn't learn magic so that they could forsake technology, they learned magic to supplement it and to accomplish specific things. a warlock didn't make their pact so that they could stop using swords or bows or guns, so why would they suddenly stop using swords or bows or guns any more than they would suddenly stop using pencils and paper or wearing pants or storing their possessions in a backpack?

warlocks (and other spellcasters) don't generally hate technology (even biomancers don't hate technology so much as they hate the destruction that comes with most advanced technology; a club or bow are technology too, after all). they may not use it as adeptly as some others, and they don't focus on it like some others, but neither are they required to forsake or hate it.

if the warlock was intended to be a class that learned magic specifically to enhance combat, then yeah it would be weird for them to not have combat-oriented spells at every level, and it would make sense to spend a lot of time figuring out what they do in combat at first level.

but the thing is, warlocks are not by their nature a class defined by combat. certainly they can get into fights like everyone else, but in general they should be just as content to solve problems without violence as with violence, if not more so.

and frankly, combat in rifts is risky and expensive to the point where pretty much *everybody* should be happier solving problems without resorting to violence. fighting your way through every problem is a good way to get yourself slowly killed by attrition. your character typically comes into the game with weapons and armour that have not been used, and should frankly be looking to continue that trend.

look at the experience table; combat gives mediocre XP and has 4 entries (one of which is "you get nothing whatsoever"). solving problems, or even just *trying* to solve problems or for that matter *noticing problems* gives better XP at far lower cost. simply using skills (the table doesn't indicate this, but I'd include spells and psionic powers among other things as skills) in a useful way will likely account for a major portion of the XP you gain over the course of playing the character.

combat is not the purpose of the warlock. it is perfectly acceptable for them to not have highly specialized tools for it at level one. it is frankly perfectly acceptable for them to *never* get highly specialized tools for it, though at some point I figure most warlocks will decide that having at least one or two dedicated combat spells out of their repertoire is not a bad idea.

ultimately, this is like deciding that the rogue scholar needs to have a way to history their enemies to death. no, they really don't. they aren't warriors. fighting is not their raison d'etre.


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Unread postPosted: Sat Apr 03, 2021 5:21 pm
  

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I don't think "Warlocks use inclined planes" is a useful reductio ad absurdum. If a given table is trying to portray certain casters as being ideologically opposed to traditional high-technology (which isn't all that uncommonly done) then it's better to help come up with ways to facilitate that.

Looking at the starting equipment for a Rifts Warlock one could easily argue there's some wiggle room. Admitedly equipment entries tend to be pretty random, and item prices are determined with similar rigor as that of experience tables, which is to say none at all. That said, the items a Warlock begins with of higher price include an automatic pistol or triax pump pistol (10000 credits, plus 2000 per 5 rounds), a weapon of each of their two W.P.s, and a mount varying between a horse and a hovercycle, the latter often ranging from low 6 to low 7 digits in cost.

Using the same formula Techno-Wizards characters employ, a simple device capable of accessing a couple of spells pales in expense to even the above throwaway pistol. Assuming one comes up with a couple of spell chains utilizing element specific replacements for TW standards such as Blinding Flash, Energy Field, and Telekinesis, I honestly don't see it as much of a boost to the class to allow several Warlocks working together to enchant thematically appropriate items for novitiates, particularly if it means such characters go a little less hog wild on their starting vehicle.

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Unread postPosted: Sat Apr 03, 2021 7:49 pm
  

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Curbludgeon wrote:
I don't think "Warlocks use inclined planes" is a useful reductio ad absurdum.


well, lucky that wasn't the entire point. warlocks use all kinds of technology. as an OCC skill, they can operate hovercycles and use modern weaponry. not as an optional OCC-related skill mind you... every single warlock starts with those skills. mind you, so long as I'm already looking at OCC-related skills, I may as well add on that they can learn any electrical, mechanical, medical, science, or technical skill.

they sure don't seem to have any distaste for technology from what I can tell. frankly, they have better access to those skill categories than such OCCs as cyborgs, robot pilots, and headhunters, or even body fixers or city rats.

now again, if the OCC was specifically about magical combat, then yeah it'd be weird for them to have such a limited number of combat spells at level 1, or indeed overall. but they aren't specialized magical combatants, so there is nothing remotely weird about them having spells that just help them in ways relating to their elements in other areas instead of having specialized spells for killing people when that certainly isn't a core concept of the class, in much the same way that it would be pretty weird if juicer (sometimes called Juicer Assassins) couldn't learn hand-to-hand:assassin, but is not particularly unusual that the rogue scholar can't.

warlocks are a class not particularly dedicated to combat in a setting that doesn't particularly reward combat, using a game system that doesn't particularly reward combat. they don't need an exceptional ability to use their elemental connection for combat any more than a body fixer needs to be able to offer to perform surgery mid-combat and then slit enemy's throats while they're anaesthetized, or a wilderness scout needs to be able to use a skill to cause an enemy to retroactively have accidentally fallen afoul of some environmental hazard mid-combat.


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Unread postPosted: Mon Apr 05, 2021 11:59 am
  

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Curbludgeon wrote:
I don't think "Warlocks use inclined planes" is a useful reductio ad absurdum.


Yeah, it so painfully unrelated to the topic that we were discussing I just shook my head and walked away. It's such a non-magic user thing to believe. I mean the mention of eating food is laughable. I haven't had a magic using character eat food except for the purposes of deception since Federation of Magic was released. I wear clothing but it all made by magic. I sit around the campfire, but all the wood is made by magic. I wear Ironwood armor and use Ironwood staves. Magically forged weapons are also a norm, everything that I use that metal is created that way. Empowering lightning arrows can be great for fun and profit actually.

In the original Conversion book (pg 61) it literally said "Warlocks are not limited in any way as to the selection and use of weapons. However, most have minimal combat training. They seem partial to weapons made of wood or metal and weapons that shoot projectiles."

Not to mention that they only have 1 modern weapon proficiency by default in their OCC. It's almost as if there was an expectation that they would have access to another source of power to allow them to survive in the real world. A non-technological one that might be at their disposal.

Anyway, back towards the topic we are actually discussing. I came across another Elemental based magical item this weekend. The Earth Stone in the Bizantium and the Northern Islands (pg 87), it mostly seems to be a PPE battery, but interestingly it has the ability draw PPE from people around it like a Ley Line Walker can to recharge itself. That appears to be it's only power, which makes it considerably weaker than the other items from the elemental plane that we've seen, but it holds more PPE than all the others so that may be considered balancing.


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Unread postPosted: Mon Apr 05, 2021 1:41 pm
  

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Shark_Force wrote:
I'm not certain I see a special need for 1st level warlocks to incorporate being a warlock into combat.

it's not a warrior class. it's a man of magic. they have a fair amount of magic (including a handful of fairly neat special skills usable at-will) beginning from 1st level, but it isn't like the warlock in their home setting isn't using conventional weapons when they get into combat at level 1. why does the rifts version need to be more focused on combat than the original?

every warlock on rifts earth knows how to use some weapons, so why would we think that warlocks don't support the idea of using weapons? it is as much a part of their training as wilderness survival or land navigation. should we also be giving them bonus spells known or special magic items to negate *those* parts of their training? what about their language skills... every warlock can speak multiple languages. should we be giving them a magic item that casts tongues so that they don't have to use *those* skills either?

a warlock is more than just spells. their use of magic does not need to pervade every aspect of everything they do. combat is not their purpose; they are not gladiators, or soldiers, or killers-for-hire, or even necessarily explorers or adventurers. it would be very frustrating if a level 1 *combat mage* couldn't start with some spells useful in combat, because that is what combat mages are all about, but there is absolutely no problem whatsoever for warlocks to not have great starting combat spell options.

(also, and this is just me, but no way would I take fire warlock just to have a damage spell at level 1. at level 1, my warlock - who, as a warlock, was given special training specifically in using a gun, as are all warlocks - can just use a gun, which is part of my equipment just as it is for all warlocks. if I *am* going fire warlock to have a spell for combat at level 1, it is blinding flash, which does something new and powerful that a laser rifle can't copy, not fire bolt).

I will further add that warlocks can start off with spells that are useful in combat, regardless of life sign. air gets cloud of slumber, cloud of steam, and thunder clap. earth gets chameleon and dust storm (and admittedly will be relying more on their weapons than spells at level 1). fire gets stench of hades, cloud of smoke, blinding flash as noted above, and impervious to fire in addition to two damage-dealing spells of no particular significance. water gets cloud of steam, create fog, and purple mist.

so I guess I have to join with those who are saying they don't see a problem. a warlock is not a warrior. their purpose and function is not in their ability to kill other people. if they don't all have spells ideal for killing people at level 1, then frankly, that is perfectly acceptable. if you want to be good at combat from level 1, then frankly, choose an OCC that has combat as their specialty. I see no reason to try and make every spellcaster an expert in combat; that's what you bring along the OCCs like juicer or cyborg along for.


Well put!
Expecting a non-combat class to rely on their class abilities in combat doesn't make a lot of sense to me either.

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Unread postPosted: Mon Apr 05, 2021 1:52 pm
  

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ManDrakeTWise wrote:
Shark_Force wrote:
I'm not certain I see a special need for 1st level warlocks to incorporate being a warlock into combat.

it's not a warrior class. it's a man of magic. they have a fair amount of magic (including a handful of fairly neat special skills usable at-will) beginning from 1st level, but it isn't like the warlock in their home setting isn't using conventional weapons when they get into combat at level 1. why does the rifts version need to be more focused on combat than the original?


Yes, we seem to split into three primary camps on the subject. Magic users should only use magic. Magic users should be pragmatic and use the best tool for the job. And finally using magic is ridiculous and shouldn't be attempted in world of technological marvels. You seem to be between the last two, so your opinions are well represented in the Palladium Community. And I would concede they are the norm for the board as a whole.


I haven't seen any of the bolded.
What I have seen is people who don't think that an apprentice still wet behind the ears should be able to use magic exclusively and still do well in combat.
It's not so much that magic shouldn't be attempted, as it's that magic isn't (and shouldn't be) always the best solution to every given problem, especially combat.
Warlocks start with as many as THREE mega-damage tech weapons. That's not a great indication that they're supposed to rely on magic for combat, at least at low levels.
Heck, they only get three spells total at first level; they can have as many MD tech weapons as they have spells, only the tech weapons can be used more often.
I haven't seen anybody argue that it's absurd to cast any magic at all.

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Unread postPosted: Mon Apr 05, 2021 4:06 pm
  

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I've said this a few million times but what Palladium in general and Rifts in particular is lacking are magical items. Mages need to be able to do more than just create talismans and scrolls but we should she rituals for creating staves and spell amplifiers (think Harry Dresden's blasting rod if you are familiar with that series) things that will allow them to react faster in a combat situation.

In the absence of that mages are like scholars and adventurers, they need a gun.

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Unread postPosted: Mon Apr 05, 2021 4:47 pm
  

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Warshield73 wrote:
I've said this a few million times but what Palladium in general and Rifts in particular is lacking are magical items. Mages need to be able to do more than just create talismans and scrolls but we should she rituals for creating staves and spell amplifiers (think Harry Dresden's blasting rod if you are familiar with that series) things that will allow them to react faster in a combat situation.

In the absence of that mages are like scholars and adventurers, they need a gun.


:ok:
See, I came to Rifts from D&D 2.0, when the STANDARDS was:
-Mages are incredibly weak at low levels, but if you keep them alive long enough, they become super powerful
-PCs cannot create magic items.
-Mages can only wear robes (or magic items) for armor.
-Mages can only use daggers, staffs, and/or darts for weapons (some leeway there, but not much)

So when I got to Rifts, it was AMAZING:
-Mages are no less combat-ready than any of the scholar/adventurer classes (not to mention psychics and such)
-TechnoWizards could create magic items of a sort
-Mages can wear the same kind of armor as anybody else.
-Mages can use guns, swords, and any other kind of weapons they like.

It was both more realistic AND more fun.

The standards have changed a ton over the years, mostly after 3.0 came out, and the rules have nerfed mages in a few ways, but overall that's still the same basic feeling I get from Rifts:
Mages are just like anybody else, except they have magic.

Lots of people seem to dislike that mages can't use all magic all the time to solve all problems, but to ME game balance already heavily favors mages compared to most other classes.
Rogue Scholars can use guns and armor just like mages, but they don't get magic in addition to all the normal stuff.
They've already got bonus powers that non-magic classes never get, cannot access, and cannot replicate with technology.
I'm old-school, but it seems like that's a pretty hefty gift horse to look in the mouth.

All that being said, I certainly agree that Rifts needs--and has always needed--a wider variety and selection when it comes to magic items.

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Unread postPosted: Mon Apr 05, 2021 7:08 pm
  

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ManDrakeTWise wrote:
Curbludgeon wrote:
I don't think "Warlocks use inclined planes" is a useful reductio ad absurdum.


Yeah, it so painfully unrelated to the topic that we were discussing I just shook my head and walked away. It's such a non-magic user thing to believe. I mean the mention of eating food is laughable. I haven't had a magic using character eat food except for the purposes of deception since Federation of Magic was released. I wear clothing but it all made by magic. I sit around the campfire, but all the wood is made by magic. I wear Ironwood armor and use Ironwood staves. Magically forged weapons are also a norm, everything that I use that metal is created that way. Empowering lightning arrows can be great for fun and profit actually.

In the original Conversion book (pg 61) it literally said "Warlocks are not limited in any way as to the selection and use of weapons. However, most have minimal combat training. They seem partial to weapons made of wood or metal and weapons that shoot projectiles."

Not to mention that they only have 1 modern weapon proficiency by default in their OCC. It's almost as if there was an expectation that they would have access to another source of power to allow them to survive in the real world. A non-technological one that might be at their disposal.

Anyway, back towards the topic we are actually discussing. I came across another Elemental based magical item this weekend. The Earth Stone in the Bizantium and the Northern Islands (pg 87), it mostly seems to be a PPE battery, but interestingly it has the ability draw PPE from people around it like a Ley Line Walker can to recharge itself. That appears to be it's only power, which makes it considerably weaker than the other items from the elemental plane that we've seen, but it holds more PPE than all the others so that may be considered balancing.



well, congratulations on your ability to find one thing you don't like and just instantly ignore any other valid points vaguely connected to it in any way, including simple proximity. I'm sure that will prove extremely useful to you, provided you just want to sit in your comfortable little hole and never risk accepting anything that doesn't already agree with your world view.

they don't *need* several modern WPs. they aren't warriors, and they aren't killers, magical or otherwise. they don't need magical methods of killing things, because that isn't what they're about. what would be odd is if their magic was not focused on their ability to connect to their element, because that actually *is* the theme of their class.

there is no need for them to form special groups that make specialized warlock weapons, nor is there any particular need for every type of magic-user to create magical items, particularly where it doesn't make sense, and when your magic is being provided by an external being that doesn't even use tools of any variety, there is no reason to expect that being to grant you special abilities to create tools.

yes, warlocks tend to not be particularly combat-trained. nothing about that remotely suggests that they're going to get together with other warlocks and make specialized warlock weapons to hand out to their apprentices. if anything, it suggests that combat is not their focus, and that it would be quite odd to find a group of warlocks creating new weapons instead of, say, looking for new and interesting ways of breaking their elemental brothers out of slavery inflicted by so many others across the megaverse, or something like that.


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