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 Post subject: Magic idea
Unread postPosted: Tue Aug 02, 2022 9:19 pm
  

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Dungeon Crawler

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I've seen a few posts over the years about fixing the magic system in HU and it occurred to me that maybe the spells themselves were the problem. I'm sure the spells are fine against barbarians and orcs but they don't seem up to par when you start to square off against people in capes. Maybe if we come up with a few new spells designed for a more modern setting it might help even out the power gap.

After watching these weirdos in tights controlling gravity and flying at the speed of sound, some mages would begin to focus their attention to crafting spells that would let them compete on the same level. That's when I came up with the idea that a mage would use their intelligence to prepare for fights by creating spells giving them access to multiple attacks before the spells run out. Looking at spells like Fire Fist (HU2, page 328, which lasts for 1 minute per level of the caster) it shows that they have already thought about going beyond a single attack and they just need to apply that to ranged attacks.

Some of the new spells in the HU GM's Guide show that they have been watching and experimenting with duplicating some of the powers they have seen used. Weight increasing and decreasing spells and size alteration are just a taste of what's to come. More complicated effects take more power (PPE) and time to recreate but some of the most basic effects are similar to the Energy Expulsion powers (and HU magic mechanics seem to be more forgiving when it comes to magic blasting) so I decided to start there. Here is my take on a multi use energy expulsion spell. Maybe it's too much or maybe it's not powerful enough but it's a start.

Quote:
Energy Storm
Level: 7
Range: 150'
Duration: 1 Melee per level
Damage: 4D6
Saving Throw: Dodge of 18 or higher
PPE: 25
This spell allows the caster to fire multiple Energy Bolts (identical to the third level spell of the same name) for the duration of the spell. The mage can fire up to 1 bolt per attack/action until the duration expires. The mage can still cast other spells while this one is active without disrupting either spell.


At worse I get flamed and at best maybe I inspire some of the more creative types to come up with their own spells, lol.


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 Post subject: Re: Magic idea
Unread postPosted: Wed Aug 03, 2022 1:31 pm
  

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Palladin

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I'm not sure about the cost as assuming 4 attacks per melee you would be able to shoot 12 Energy Bolts at level 3 which would normally cost you 60 PPE but this is a steal at only 25. And it's only going to get 'worse' as you continue to level up... My thought is maybe add a way for the spell to be disrupted if you lose concentration to help compensate for the PPE savings but still make it worth it (And potentially save you a nice chunk of PPE).


Daniel Stoker

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 Post subject: Re: Magic idea
Unread postPosted: Wed Aug 03, 2022 2:03 pm
  

Champion

Joined: Tue Mar 13, 2018 7:08 am
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Comment: They/Them
I could see limiting it to two or three bolts per round, perhaps, but can't get too worked up over a below-the-curve damage effect. What are some other 4-color convention-based spells you think could be useful to fill in the gaps?

Please forgive the aside; I'm away from most books and haven't had coffee. I wonder how complicated it could be to make something like Energy Storm part of a series of related spells which would include Sorcerous Fury. That spell(70PPE, min/level) ostensibly balances a ton of abilities (2d4x10 lightning bolts each attack with bonus to strike, extra attacks, free MDC, Horror Factor, floating, bonus to saves, bio-regen, and effectively returns 40PPE) with the character being berserk enough to almost but not quite kill friends, and is afterward exhausted and sad. For villains that's not the worst trade, nor for the most desperate heroes. I could see combining it with emotion-affecting spells to mollify some of the risk. Demon Magic from Rifts DB12 has several of this sort of thing which might be a good mirror-image basis for some goody two shoes spells.

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 Post subject: Re: Magic idea
Unread postPosted: Wed Aug 03, 2022 4:10 pm
  

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Explorer

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My issue with it is that you're trying to cheese mechanics so you can do two things at once. It's like saying "can I have a gun where I just pull the trigger once and it automatically aims and fires at whoever I want for the next (level) minutes while I spend my other actions doing other things?" Same difference, only with your spell it's a little worse because you're also including a rider effect that basically adds, "oh, with it firing as many bullets as necessary for the duration but only taking up 6 rounds from its clip, too."

So yeah, I don't think its an appropriate spell. If it worked more like Call Lightning from D&D, that'd probably be fine. But a P.P.E. discount and a ton of free actions? That's too much, even if the actual effect is meh.


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 Post subject: Re: Magic idea
Unread postPosted: Wed Aug 03, 2022 4:51 pm
  

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Palladin

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Comment: Non Impediti Ratione Cogitationis
See I thought this wouldn't be giving any free actions. He'd have the spell cast and everytime he chooses he can then use on of his actions to attack with an energy bolt. Was that not the case Mr Scorpio?


Daniel Stoker

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 Post subject: Re: Magic idea
Unread postPosted: Wed Aug 03, 2022 5:41 pm
  

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Explorer

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If so, it needs to be reworded. The last sentence is too vague on the subject.


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 Post subject: Re: Magic idea
Unread postPosted: Wed Aug 03, 2022 6:50 pm
  

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Dungeon Crawler

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Daniel Stoker wrote:
See I thought this wouldn't be giving any free actions. He'd have the spell cast and everytime he chooses he can then use on of his actions to attack with an energy bolt. Was that not the case Mr Scorpio?


Daniel Stoker


You have it right Daniel. No free actions from it.

Sorry to aggravate so greatly Dynamo. I'll try to word things more clearly in the future.


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 Post subject: Re: Magic idea
Unread postPosted: Wed Aug 03, 2022 6:55 pm
  

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Dungeon Crawler

Joined: Thu Jul 25, 2002 1:01 am
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Location: Tulsa, OK
Curbludgeon wrote:
I could see limiting it to two or three bolts per round, perhaps, but can't get too worked up over a below-the-curve damage effect. What are some other 4-color convention-based spells you think could be useful to fill in the gaps?

Please forgive the aside; I'm away from most books and haven't had coffee. I wonder how complicated it could be to make something like Energy Storm part of a series of related spells which would include Sorcerous Fury. That spell(70PPE, min/level) ostensibly balances a ton of abilities (2d4x10 lightning bolts each attack with bonus to strike, extra attacks, free MDC, Horror Factor, floating, bonus to saves, bio-regen, and effectively returns 40PPE) with the character being berserk enough to almost but not quite kill friends, and is afterward exhausted and sad. For villains that's not the worst trade, nor for the most desperate heroes. I could see combining it with emotion-affecting spells to mollify some of the risk. Demon Magic from Rifts DB12 has several of this sort of thing which might be a good mirror-image basis for some goody two shoes spells.


Sorcerous Fury sounds familiar but I'm not familiar with most of the magic out there. I never really paid attention to how HU handles magic until I saw a post recently about it and kind of felt sorry for anyone trying to play a mage up against Mutants, Experiments or even Aliens. Just figured I would try to get the ball rolling on some kind of help for them, lol.


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 Post subject: Re: Magic idea
Unread postPosted: Wed Aug 03, 2022 7:07 pm
  

Champion

Joined: Tue Mar 13, 2018 7:08 am
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Comment: They/Them
I know the S.F. spell is in Rifts Book of Magic, I think the original edition of Federation of Magic, and perhaps somewhere else. The Book of Magic is a pretty good source for magic stuff across Palladium books, but it skips plenty as well.

For what it's worth I thought the wording of Energy Storm was perfectly clear regarding each bolt taking an action. Poking through "official" sources would surely pull up examples of similarly clearly worded abilities which provide options.

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 Post subject: Re: Magic idea
Unread postPosted: Wed Aug 03, 2022 7:14 pm
  

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Dungeon Crawler

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Curbludgeon wrote:
I know the S.F. spell is in Rifts Book of Magic, I think the original edition of Federation of Magic, and perhaps somewhere else. The Book of Magic is a pretty good source for magic stuff across Palladium books, but it skips plenty as well.


I'll have to look into some of the other books outside the HU stuff I have then. Thanks for the advice.


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 Post subject: Re: Magic idea
Unread postPosted: Wed Aug 03, 2022 11:48 pm
  

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Dungeon Crawler

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Daniel Stoker wrote:
I'm not sure about the cost as assuming 4 attacks per melee you would be able to shoot 12 Energy Bolts at level 3 which would normally cost you 60 PPE but this is a steal at only 25. And it's only going to get 'worse' as you continue to level up... My thought is maybe add a way for the spell to be disrupted if you lose concentration to help compensate for the PPE savings but still make it worth it (And potentially save you a nice chunk of PPE).


Daniel Stoker


What if I went a different direction:

Scorpio wrote:
Arcane Focus
Level: 7
Range: Self
Duration: 1 Melee per level
Damage: None
Saving Throw: None
PPE: 15
This spell allows the mage to cast the Energy Bolt spell (HU2, page 323) at an accelerated rate at a lower PPE cost for the duration of the spell. By expending ?? PPE the mage can cast the Energy Bolt spell up to 1 bolt per attack/action. Casting any other spells automatically ends Arcane Focus.


I was thinking about making a spell called Aspect of the Fire Elemental which would give the mage a flaming aura and allow them to cast Fire Bolts at a discounted PPE cost but they wouldn't be able to cast any other spells without ending the Aspect spell first. Fire Bolts usually cost 10 PPE so I was going to cut the cost in half but if I did it for Energy Bolt the cost would probably end up being 2 PPE per bolt. Slow casting time seems to be one of the main things holding mages back so I wanted to speed up their attacks per melee and reduce some of the cost of all those spells so that they could stand a chance at keeping up with the super powered guys. Trading flexibility for increased attack rates.


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 Post subject: Re: Magic idea
Unread postPosted: Thu Aug 04, 2022 1:07 am
  

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Daniel Stoker wrote:
See I thought this wouldn't be giving any free actions. He'd have the spell cast and everytime he chooses he can then use on of his actions to attack with an energy bolt. Was that not the case Mr Scorpio?


Daniel Stoker

There is nothing in the spell that indicates free actions, in fact it is pretty clear.
Spell duration is 1 melee per level, allows the person to fire one bolt per melee attack.

The sentence at the end simply says that I can cast another spell without disrupting this one which would be a bigger issue at higher levels than for lower ones.

I get the point of this spell but truthfully the mage has a lot of tricks that can make them difficult opponents for any super.

Invisibility, carpet of adhesion, magic net, domination, words of truth. Mages are capable of a massive diversity of positions within the group. The biggest problem for them, and psychics as well with ISP, is how long it takes to recharge the PPE.

This spell is interesting and if a player came to me asking to use it the game I would probably say yes. I mean it's hard to dodge but the damage is low so the impact is pretty limited. The mage could get a simialr result by carrying a pistol but this keeps what he does rooted in magic.

What we need, and this is for all games but it really comes through in Rifts and HU, are non techno-wizard magic items that mages can make for themselves. We see things like this in games like Shadowrun or series like Dresden Files.

Instead of a new spell how about a way that a mage can prepare items in advance that have an energy bolt spell stored, or armor of ithan, or any number of spells. Bonuses for a wizards staff, things like that.

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 Post subject: ~
Unread postPosted: Thu Aug 04, 2022 2:11 am
  

Champion

Joined: Tue Mar 13, 2018 7:08 am
Posts: 1674
Comment: They/Them
I got a minute to look, and the initial spell isn't really all that different from the 8th level invocation Lightning Arc. L.A. is 30 instead of 25 PPE, but has better range and damage, and a bonus to strike.

The closest I saw after a quick search for a multiple round ranged fire attack spell was the warlock spell Mini-Fireballs, with Flame Lick and Fire Whip worth mentioning. I was surprised there wasn't something more applicable in Rifter 82's Pyromancer, Living Flame, or Blue Flame.

Something which I don't think I've seen much of which might work for this sort of situation would be a rather high cost spell which grants an ability for 24 hours. This would allow a Mystic Study character a chance to meditate and regain their PPE but still have the opportunity to plink away at villains. As was suggested above, spells like this are mainly just a thematic replacement for a gun, which exchanges the need for ammo and maintenance for a usually limited range and damage. Throw in the character having to spend a chunk of their day that could have otherwise been spent investigating leads or conducting research, and it seems to me there's some spell point value that would make this sort of thing come out in the wash.

On Warshield's idea of something for item creation, I'd say the easy solution would be a level 7 or so version of Talisman and or Create Magic Scroll, limited to charging items with low-cost spells. Items which have daily charges are arguably a bit much in a megaversal context, particularly when one considers how expensive the Splugorth Amulets of Armor are, and just how hamstrung Woodland Druids are to have the ability to enchant such things.

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 Post subject: Re: ~
Unread postPosted: Thu Aug 04, 2022 5:27 pm
  

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Palladin

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Comment: Non Impediti Ratione Cogitationis
Curbludgeon wrote:
On Warshield's idea of something for item creation, I'd say the easy solution would be a level 7 or so version of Talisman and or Create Magic Scroll, limited to charging items with low-cost spells. Items which have daily charges are arguably a bit much in a megaversal context, particularly when one considers how expensive the Splugorth Amulets of Armor are, and just how hamstrung Woodland Druids are to have the ability to enchant such things.


I was going to suggest something like that as well, and have kludged together rough rules allowing that in the past, but it didn't work well and neither the player nor I was happy with it. I liked the idea of using wands/foci items to help you cast spells faster or for less PPE as well.

Back to your spell Mr Scorpio. I'm not sure honestly which problem we're trying to fix here. Energy Bolt with the current Rifts rules takes 1 action as is and a lower cost is nice, but I'd honestly rather increase the ability of people to regain PPE and ISP so they can 'blow their wad' if they need to and not be out of it for 2 days unless they happen to be near a ley line or nexus.


Daniel Stoker

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 Post subject: Re: ~
Unread postPosted: Fri Aug 05, 2022 6:13 am
  

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Dungeon Crawler

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Daniel Stoker wrote:

but I'd honestly rather increase the ability of people to regain PPE and ISP so they can 'blow their wad' if they need to and not be out of it for 2 days unless they happen to be near a ley line or nexus.


Daniel Stoker


This is the problem I keep seeing when anyone talks about magic in HU. I don't have any of the Rifts books so I haven't even heard of some of the spells mentioned here and have no idea what the current Rifts rules are. Hopefully someone comes up with a suitable fix for the system at some point.


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 Post subject: Re: Magic idea
Unread postPosted: Fri Aug 05, 2022 12:02 pm
  

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Palladin

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Comment: Non Impediti Ratione Cogitationis
Well there are a bunch of 'fixes' different people have done here for this, but it's a matter of which one you like because sadly it doesn't look like it's every going to be addressed by Palladium.

For me, I revamped both ISP and PPE regeneration in my games so that 6-8 hours of meditation or 12 hours of activity gives them back all their PPE or ISP. That way they can use some big spells and not sit there if more then one fight happens that week.


Daniel Stoker

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 Post subject: Re: Magic idea
Unread postPosted: Tue Aug 09, 2022 5:32 pm
  

Dungeon Crawler

Joined: Tue Jan 06, 2015 7:29 pm
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Throw all spells out the window.

All powers in HU should be the same, just have different sources; whether psychic, magic, biological, technological, or something else.

Then create a working powers system.


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 Post subject: Re: ~
Unread postPosted: Thu Aug 11, 2022 4:06 am
  

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Curbludgeon wrote:
I got a minute to look, and the initial spell isn't really all that different from the 8th level invocation Lightning Arc. L.A. is 30 instead of 25 PPE, but has better range and damage, and a bonus to strike.

The closest I saw after a quick search for a multiple round ranged fire attack spell was the warlock spell Mini-Fireballs, with Flame Lick and Fire Whip worth mentioning. I was surprised there wasn't something more applicable in Rifter 82's Pyromancer, Living Flame, or Blue Flame.

Something which I don't think I've seen much of which might work for this sort of situation would be a rather high cost spell which grants an ability for 24 hours. This would allow a Mystic Study character a chance to meditate and regain their PPE but still have the opportunity to plink away at villains. As was suggested above, spells like this are mainly just a thematic replacement for a gun, which exchanges the need for ammo and maintenance for a usually limited range and damage. Throw in the character having to spend a chunk of their day that could have otherwise been spent investigating leads or conducting research, and it seems to me there's some spell point value that would make this sort of thing come out in the wash.

One of the best ways to power a mage up is to give them access to spells that might be outside their particular power set. If you have a HU Mage or a Rifts Ley Line Walker giving them the ability to cast some elemental magic or blue flame or something else just adds to that variety that makes mages so useful to begin with.

The idea of a long-lasting spell that a character can cast before the adventure begins is kind of interesting. A GM I played with once allowed the mage to pray to a particular god for certain abilities before a he did something, sounds like a similar effect. This is something where a PC can gain new abilities as they progress or maybe as they level up they can layer more powers before the adventure begins. I think I still prefer the idea of focus objects but it's something.

Curbludgeon wrote:
On Warshield's idea of something for item creation, I'd say the easy solution would be a level 7 or so version of Talisman and or Create Magic Scroll, limited to charging items with low-cost spells. Items which have daily charges are arguably a bit much in a megaversal context, particularly when one considers how expensive the Splugorth Amulets of Armor are, and just how hamstrung Woodland Druids are to have the ability to enchant such things.

For me what makes things like talisman, enchanted objects and even scrolls so expensive is that it can be used by anyone. The objects I have let magic characters create are personal to just them and they only enhance abilities they already have. Examples:
- Shield bracelet slightly increases MDC of the armor of ithan (I usually do this by allowing for a multiple casting so double the PPE of the spell to double the MDC but all in a single action) or allows the PC to automatically feed more PPE into it to keep it up if attacked.
- Blasting rod might give a damage and range bonus to a particular spell like fire ball
- cheaper PPE batteries like rings and necklaces to give some reserve PPE for spells
- The biggest is the wizard staff which in my games is usually just a large PPE battery (usually grows by level) and a bonus to spell strength.

For anything more than this I agree with you that you would need to completely redesign the PB magic system.

Daniel Stoker wrote:
I was going to suggest something like that as well, and have kludged together rough rules allowing that in the past, but it didn't work well and neither the player nor I was happy with it. I liked the idea of using wands/foci items to help you cast spells faster or for less PPE as well.

I had a lot of problems making this work too. In Rifts especially but even in HU the mage, and as I said psychic as well, can get left behind because of PPE and ISP.

My player and I did try to come up with a system to reduce PPE cost for spells when using the staff. Unfortunately with all the spells he had access to it required a lot of math so we just went to the PPE battery. I had thought about allowing the staff to reduce the PPE required for a spell by a specific percentage per level, could be 1 or 2 or even 5% but again lots of math involved. Could do it as a set amount reducing PPE by 2 or 3 per level with a minimum of 1 or 2 PPE for any spell but again lots of math and overlapping rules. I prefer to keep it simple.

Mr Scorpio wrote:
Daniel Stoker wrote:
...but I'd honestly rather increase the ability of people to regain PPE and ISP so they can 'blow their wad' if they need to and not be out of it for 2 days unless they happen to be near a ley line or nexus.

Daniel Stoker


This is the problem I keep seeing when anyone talks about magic in HU. I don't have any of the Rifts books so I haven't even heard of some of the spells mentioned here and have no idea what the current Rifts rules are. Hopefully someone comes up with a suitable fix for the system at some point.


This is the problem with mages, and psychics, in every game. If they use all the PPE then they need hours to recharge. If you revamp this too much the mage becomes way too powerful given the variety of spell most have.

Daniel Stoker wrote:
Well there are a bunch of 'fixes' different people have done here for this, but it's a matter of which one you like because sadly it doesn't look like it's every going to be addressed by Palladium.

For me, I revamped both ISP and PPE regeneration in my games so that 6-8 hours of meditation or 12 hours of activity gives them back all their PPE or ISP. That way they can use some big spells and not sit there if more then one fight happens that week.

Daniel Stoker

I think you are right that PB is not likely to do much with this but they expect people to house rule lots of things.

Revamping the recharge rate is a good option. An idea I liked was to have each half hour of meditation recharge a percentage of PPE or ISP and that percentage increase by level so that the amount of time a full charge takes decreases over time.

Rogerd wrote:
Throw all spells out the window.

All powers in HU should be the same, just have different sources; whether psychic, magic, biological, technological, or something else.

Then create a working powers system.

To me this just sounds boring. In HU, and in other games, each power category has its own advantages and disadvantages. Characters with super powers have a little more punch but a lot less versatility, mages and psychics more versatile but less endurance, and so on. I would like to see some changes to the various power categories and really want each one to have a variety of power levels so that you can have low power games up to mega heroes but that is a different problem.

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 Post subject: Re: Magic idea
Unread postPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2022 11:36 pm
  

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Energy Storm....powered down Sorcerous Fury

Magic Focus... There is such an objects talked about in the MoM1 book and the Rifter with the magical proficiencies & Limitations in it.

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 Post subject: Re: Magic idea
Unread postPosted: Fri Aug 26, 2022 1:21 pm
  

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Knight

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I think most of us who have played PB for long, specifically those that have gone with the modern games (HU and Nightbane for example) have come up with our own tweaks to the system. You can buff up the mage with a magic weapon, tattoos, martial arts, whatever. An approach I've had good success with is the talisman/amulet route. Yes, your Mystic Study/Mage can still run out, and recharging can be a new issue, but my gun toting vigilante has issues getting some ammo and spares. Both need support/contacts to stay stocked.

The details of the character can help a lot. What flavor of magic do they practice? How did they learn it? Take two book Mystic Study characters. One is a "witch" with a coven, or perhaps a mentor who can help them with recharging talismans. Maybe they went to a magic school and there is a whole infrastructure to get support(I made that talisman and will recharge it, but I need your PPE to help with the amulet I want to put on my shelf to sell). A "voodoo" priest might have a group of parishioners who willingly help in the ritual to recharge the amulet or talisman. Maybe they have an aunt who keeps crazy herbal plants similar to Rifts England.

Just a thought on a slightly different approach. I often went with the wand/object route, or the place of power (pyramid or leyline) to let them recharge more over night.



If I'm playing Rifts, or PF mages are always interacting with other mages, to trade information etc. My HU games have the Mages Bar, or Magic swapmeet type thing fairly often. Where they go for an ingredient, spell, piece of information or whatever. I think that sort of ecosystem fits with talismans and amulets fairly well.

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