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Unread postPosted: Mon Nov 11, 2019 3:57 pm
  

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Champion

Joined: Mon May 03, 2004 7:48 pm
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Greetings and Salutations. So I posted this over on the Living the Fantasy thread a while ago, but I decided to post this in its own thread because I was hoping for some feedback and thoughts. This was my take on doing something with Mystical Proficiencies and Hand to Hand. While feedback on the specifics is always welcome, in this case I was hoping for some additional thoughts regarding the overall design/concept. This is because I considered doing something similar to Men of Arms O.C.C. The main idea would be to allow them to spend skills on special abilities (or learn over time through Hand to Hand) to make them better warriors (also similar to Bow Combat from Rifter #45). The goal would be to give the various classes more variety and abilities as they level without rewriting each individual class.

http://www.prysus.com/magic_combat.htm

And for those that don't want to click on the link, included in Spoiler Tags.
Spoiler:
Magic Combat


Editor's Notes
When writing this section, I did my best to compare the magic rules from Palladium Fantasy, Rifts Ultimate Edition, and Mysteries of Magic. Then I had to decide which rules I felt will most likely find its way into a future Ultimate Edition for Fantasy. That's what I used as the basis for the expanded magic combat section that follows. These rules are designed to be compatible with the casting times and the concepts for interrupting a spell caster, while adding extra rules and depth to the system.

In my opinion, the Palladium magic system is designed to be limited with a spell caster avoiding direct conflict in favor of magic. Magic is slow, requires a lot of focus, and can be easily interrupted in combat situations. That's the feel I tried to keep. In some cases, this means I favored the ruling and descriptions in Rifts Ultimate Edition and Palladium Fantasy Second Edition main book over what's found in Mysteries of Magic. For a number of reasons, I believe this is where the future of Palladium Fantasy lies.

For starters, I feel this is the most consistent ruling by Palladium Books. This also has the benefit of allowing characters to grow into greater power, instead of starting off with most of their abilities at level one. If you disagree with my rulings, that's fine. Most of this will still be useful with minor adjustments. In most cases, it's simply a matter of not selecting the abilities that you rule differently. There's still plenty of content that should fill the void.

Even though many of these rules will be rules you're already familiar with, I'm including them here for two main reasons. First, Palladium's rules are often vague and described in loose concepts. My goal here was to add some hard numbers. Also, by rewriting them here, then we'll have a common starting ground. Second, I like being able to build a character into something more. These are the basic magic combat rules, but with the intent for them to be complimented by things such as magical hand to hand styles and Sorcery Proficiencies. While the basic combat rules may leave a mage weak in some areas (such as combat), those vulnerabilities can be offset with the right training.

If you'd like to start magic users off with a bit more power, such as Casting Focus, Advanced being standard and Spell Casting, Advanced as the default casting times, this shouldn't be a problem. The magical hand to hand and Sorcery Proficiencies still have plenty to offer. Just ignore or modify the segments that don't suit your games, and then just use the rest.


Magic Attacks per Melee
Spells are usually invocations taking the form of a chant or mantra, require minimal potential psychic energy (P.P.E.) and can be performed quickly. High magic worlds such as Rifts can greatly reduce the casting time as a result of all the available energy. On Rifts and other high magic worlds spell invocations levels 1-5 count as one melee attack/action (about 3 seconds), levels 6-10 count as two melee attacks/actions (about 6-7 seconds), and level 11-15 as well as Spells of Legend use up three of the character's melee attacks/actions (9-10 seconds).

The Palladium World and other low level magic worlds require longer times for casting invocations. Level 1 and 2 spells can be cast in a single attack/action. These spells are relatively simple and require minimal concentration. They can typically be weaved into normal combat or other actions with relative ease.

Higher levels of magic are more complex, requiring more time, effort, and concentration to perform. A total of two spells from levels 3-8 can be cast per melee round (15 seconds).

Only one spell per melee round can be cast with invocations from level 9-10. This means being able to perform no other actions or spells for the entire round.

Spells of level 11-15 magnitude require two melee rounds (30 seconds) or longer (see spell description) to cast. Only Teleport: Superior (a level 15 spell) can be cast in a single melee round (equal to a level 9 or 10 spell).

Interrupting a Spell Caster
Practitioners of magic are not known for their hand to hand expertise. Most can handle themselves in a fight, but they aren't warriors. Furthermore, magic has the disadvantage of requiring concentration and speaking, two things you can't do well under attack. So unless the spell is an invocation that can be cast in a few seconds (one melee attack/action), the action of parrying, dodging, or striking back may break the spell invocation and prevent the mage from casting his spell (he'll need a "breather" of 7-10 seconds to cast a spell).

Likewise, getting popped in the mouth or stomach, getting knocked down or blinded, or anything that breaks the spell caster's concentration and makes him stop in the middle of his verbalization of the spell prevents him from finishing it. When a spell is interrupted, the mage must start all over again. No P.P.E. is lost by this interruption (that's not spent until the spell is completed and cast), but he does lose precious time. A spell caster can stop reciting a spell in mid-incantation without expending P.P.E. or causing any side effect.

This also means that if the mage is being hammered by a full press attack (i.e. his attacker keeps striking at him every opportunity), even if the mage is successfully parrying each attack he is focused on protecting and defending himself and cannot cast any spells that take longer than one melee attack/action. The same is true if he's physically attacking, running, or performing any physical action. To cast a spell the practitioner of magic will need to stop, catch his breath (that should count as one or two of his melee attacks/actions) and then cast his spell (another one or more of his melee actions depending on the spell level).

That's just how magic works, and a player has to be smart about how he uses the magic to take full advantage of the strengths and to avoid the pitfall of the weaknesses. For example, while a practitioner of magic might be a competent fighter on the frontlines, a spell caster who is hidden can make a devastating sniper. A mage who is away from the action at a strategic position, but can see the battlefield, and is defended by a warrior or two, can effectively be a human howitzer firing off Call Lightning, Firequakes, illusion spells, or gods only know what. He can instantly heal the injured, summon a fog or storm or monster, magically hide or disguise himself (and others), and the list goes on. That versatility and range of power is the strength of the spell caster.

Attacks per Melee vs. Casting Time
Using Attacks per Melee with spells that take time (not actions) can be tricky. When trying to use the two together, I recommend the following: At the start of a round, a practitioner of magic must decide if they're going to fight in melee combat or cast a spell. If the character decides to fight in melee combat, they cannot cast a spell unless it takes only one action, typically only level one or two spells. If the character decides to cast a spell, they cannot attack or dodge for the remainder of the round. Any actions taken will interrupt the spell caster. The character will only be able to dodge for the remainder of the round as he needs to catch his breath. No magic can be cast for the remainder of the round.

For spells level 3-8 that take half a melee round, the simplest solution is to say it takes approximately 2 actions to cast. This means if the spell caster is left alone for the first two actions, the first spell goes off. If the mage is then attacked on the third action, his casting is interrupted and he'll be on the defensive for the remainder of the round. If the practitioner of magic has 5 or more attacks per round, any attacks remaining after the first two spells are cast can be used to defend or to move without issue, but no additional spells can be cast.

Casting under Fire
Attacking or hitting a mage is a good way to interrupt a spell caster, but it's not a guarantee to interrupt a spell. As long as a mage stays focused on the casting of an invocation it may be possible to retain concentration. To do this the mage cannot dodge, move, attack, or talk (beyond the invocation). The mage must tune out the world and focus solely on the invocation spell. In order to maintain concentration, the spell caster must then make a Save vs. Interruption. Roll a D20 and add in any M.E. bonus (equal to the M.E. bonus from Save vs. Psionic attack). Hand to Hand styles, Sorcery Proficiencies, and/or O.C.C. may provide additional bonuses. No other bonuses apply. The degree of difficulty depends on the extent of the attack.

Damage Dealt to Armor: Armor helps absorb the damage, but does not entirely reduce the impact of the hit. The saving throw is equal to half (round up) the damage dealt to the armor. Example: A Wizard is wearing Studded Leather Armor. An attacker successfully hits with a strike of 12. This doesn't bypass armor. The opponent rolls 13 for damage. In order to continue casting his spell, the Wizard must roll to Save vs. Interruption: 7 or higher (half of 13, rounded up).

Damage Dealt to Character's S.D.C.: Any damage that bypasses armor (or if no armor is worn) goes direct to the character, and is harder to just brush off. As long as the damage is dealt to the character's S.D.C., the saving throw is equal to damage dealt. Example: An opponent attacks with a Dagger and rolls a Natural 20! She rolls 10 damage (5x2). The Wizard must make a Save vs. Interruption: 10 or higher.

Damage Dealt Direct to Hit Points: Hit Point damage is painful and life-threatening. The saving throw against Hit Point damage is 18 or equal to the damage dealt, whichever is higher. Example: A Wizard suffers 10 points of damage direct to Hit Points. The character must make a Save vs. Interruption: 18 or higher. If the attack did 19 points or more damage direct to Hit Points, then the saving throw would be equal to the damage dealt.

Knockdown: Attacks that knock the spell caster down are the most disruptive and start at a difficulty of 14. Even if an attack deals no damage, the Practitioner of Magic must still make a Save vs. Interruption: 14 or higher. Any damage dealt in the attack increases the difficult following the above rules. Example: The Wizard is hit with a Body/Block Tackle. The character is knocked down and suffers 3 damage to armor. This means the Wizard must make a Save vs. Interruption: 16 or higher (14, plus half of 3 rounded up).

Recovery of P.P.E.
Magic is a fabulous power that can calm a storm, create a fire ball, or open a door to another world. It can can be controlled and manipulated by the humanoid mind and force of will, and Potential Psychic Energy (P.P.E.) is the fuel of powers it. Every person has some degree of P.P.E., though magic users have learned to draw and hold larger reserves than most becoming living batteries. Practitioners of magic can call upon this energy at will and spend it to power their spells. Spells range from a single point to several thousand, with each spell further depleting the caster's resources.

Fortunately, the loss of P.P.E. is temporary. They will replenish themselves naturally at the rate of five points for every hour or rest or sleep. Meditation is a skill known and practiced by all men of magic. It is used to focus one's concentration, relax, and open oneself to mystic forces. A meditative state will restore expended P.P.E. at a rate of 10 per hour, but can only be maintained for one hour per level of experience within a 24 hour period. Meditation will not restore more P.P.E. than the character has expended.

Being on a Ley Line, or a half mile from a Ley Line Nexus, increases the regeneration of P.P.E to 10 P.P.E. per half an hour without meditation! If on a Nexus, or within 200 feet (6.1 m) of one, recovery is increased to 20 P.P.E. per half an hour!! However, P.P.E. from a Ley Line, Nexus, or other people cannot be used to replenish the character's personal reserves.

A Practitioner of Magic's personal P.P.E. is like a container of water. The water can sustain the character and the container can be refilled. However, Ley Line energy is like trying to drink salt water. While it's still water and either can be used to put out a fire (cast a spell), it needs to be filtered and/or purified before someone can safely drink it (replenish energy). So while a Ley Line can stimulate recovery, it cannot be siphoned directly. Drawing P.P.E. from others is closer to using polluted water. Again, the water may put out a fire, but it wouldn't be healthy to drink.


Philosophies
Learning magic is more than just saying a few words, and it's more than just harnessing mystical energies. Magic involves belief, conviction, and mental discipline. There are many philosophies that help students bring all these together, the most common of which is Ley Line Studies. Characters who select a Mystical Hand to Hand (see below) may select one of the following philosophies, or roll randomly. This is part of their training. Practitioner of Magic with no hand to hand or standard hand to hand training (Basic, Expert, Martial Arts, Assassin) must spend one O.C.C. Related Skill to learn a philosophy. These philosophies help show the character's views on magic, as well as open pathways to new and different abilities. The philosophies are more than just a path to powers though, they're a way of thinking and a way of life. Like religion, most magic users will hold onto their philosophies until the day they die.

Sometimes though, a life changing event will cause a person to have a new outlook. They'll realize the path they're on may not be the best, and perhaps there's a better way. Any player character can decide to change to a new philosophy, but it takes time and effort to learn. The character must spend one O.C.C. Related Skill to learn the new philosophy. Sorcery Proficiencies from the old philosophy can no longer be selected, and for the purposes of Requirements based on level, the character is considered to be starting fresh from level one.

A hand to hand ability may make an exception to this by granting an extra philosophy (such as Hand to Hand: Circle of the Arcane at level 5). In this rare and exceptional situation, the character learns to understand that magic is something larger than any single ideal. Sorcery Proficiencies in this situation can be selected from the general category, or either of the two philosophies. The second philosophy is considered starting at level one for the purpose of requirements.

Example: Jared is a 1st level Wizard who studied Ley Line Studies during his training. After getting into some tough situations, Jared decides he needs to be more combat orientated. At 3rd level he spends one O.C.C. Related Skill to switch to the War Mage. He can no longer select any Proficiencies for his Ley Line studies, though any proficiencies already selected remain. With this change, he may now start selecting proficiencies of the War Mage. He really wants to learn Metal Channeling, which has a level 5 requirement. However, Jared won't be able to learn that proficiency until he reaches level 7, because he spent his first two levels with a different philosophy.

01-50%: Ley Line Studies: Ley lines are life, drawing up from the center and spreading across the world like veins. As your veins allow the flow of blood through your body, so too do ley lines allow the flow of magic across the world. All living things are a part of this world, so too do all living things have a ley line at their center.

This philosophy follows the belief that ley lines are the most powerful mystical force in the universe. Within each being there exists a ley line, a natural and renewable source of mystic energy with limitless potential. Most mortals seal away this power and let it squander, never even knowing what they could have become. Students of Ley Line Studies learn not only how to tap into their inner ley line, but also how to use it as a conduit to other ley lines. The sooner a practitioner of magic learns to harness this potential the greater they can become.

51-65%: Litany of the Arcane: Magic isn't just a trick you use when it's convenient. Magic is a way of life. To truly master it, you must devote yourself to it and let it become a part of every facet of your life.

Practice makes perfect, and those who train in the Litany of the Arcane practice magic constantly. These are the type of individuals who will use magic to solve even a simple problem whenever possible, regardless if a mundane solution will work just as well. Not only do many believe that magic is the best solution to almost everything, but this is also good practice, and the more you do something the easier it is in the future.

These men and women will even mentally recite incantations while sitting down for a meal or making small talk. They go over it again and again until they can say it forwards and backwards. When the need does arise for a spell, they find the words already flowing from their lips before they even realize which spell to cast. This is one of the rarest of the mystic philosophies, as few can devote their entirety to the concept.

66-90%: War Mage: War is a part of life, whether we like it or not. There is no avoiding it.

Other philosophies often view magic as some type of art and/or with a snobbish attitude towards fighting, but a War Mage believes it's foolish to not prepare for the inevitable. A spear and shield may be excellent tools for war, but it's senseless to not use every tool at their disposal, including magic. When a battle arises, these men and women can fight alongside their allies instead of hiding and needing cover to cast their spells.

91-00%: Blood Magic (Forbidden!): If ley lines are life, then life is magic.

Blood Magic is considered a corruption of Ley Line Studies. During the Millennium of Purification, this is one of the dark arts the Elves and Dwarves attempted to purge from the world. Though the philosophy and methods survived, it remains a forbidden concept by civilized societies, a taboo to even discuss. Those caught actually practicing it will be slain on sight in most human kingdoms. The philosophy is considered a corruption of Ley Line Studies using savage principles and promoting human sacrifice. At least, that is the official public view. The truth is more complicated.

The philosophy has been largely condemned due to a difference in ideology and politics. Even during previous ages, Ley Line Studies was a popular philosophy. Sometime during the Age of Elves, Blood Magic started gaining a large following. The leaders of Ley Line Studies didn't appreciate the competition and decided to eliminate their rivals. This led to a smear campaign of demonizing Blood Magic. Some of the more diabolic Blood Magic students lashed out and made matters worse, until all people could see and remember is the stigmata. However, Blood Magic can be used for good or evil. A good aligned user will learn how to use their own blood to power magic. Selfish practitioners will also consider using the blood of enemies or willing victims, but never an innocent or ally.

Blood Magic does share similar roots to Ley Line Studies, but the take a different approach to the subject. As a student of Blood Magic would put it, "While Ley Line Studies waxes poetically, we take a more scientific approach. If ley lines are like veins carrying magic across the world and there is a ley line within each of us, then the blood of our veins must have magic." The use of blood in magic allows them to tap into life force energy for greater magical effect.

Meanwhile, even in a reasoned debate, a student of Ley Line Studies would say something like: "Blood Magic is for someone too lazy to learn how to properly tap into their inner ley lines, so they just go slinging their blood about as a shortcut." And while it's true their concepts are similar and there's some overlap in abilities, the two philosophies have also developed many unique techniques which cannot be repeated by the other.

Blessing of the Divine (Priests Only): Do not fear me. I am but a vessel. Fear the power my god wields through me.

Priests can cast magic, but unlike traditional spell casters they do not actually learn any spells. They cast spells by chanting their god's name and the spell needed, the priest merely a conduit and focus for the invocation. As such, they have both advantages and disadvantages.

All spells cast by a Priest cost two melee actions, regardless of level. While Wizards can cast low level spells faster, a Priest must gain the attention of their god and that cannot be rushed. However, because the Priest does not need to focus on the invocation or channeling mystic energies through force of will alone, their focus cannot be broken through damage or distraction. The only method to stop a Priest from summoning the godly power at their disposal is to stop them from speaking.

Since those who follow the Blessing of the Divine are not true Practitioners of Magic, they cannot learn General Sorcery Proficiencies, nor any of the other philosophies. They do have full access to Divine Sorcery Proficiencies. Sorcery Limitations are also available, with Focus Dependency being typical for priests requiring holy symbols to channel their god. More churchly priests may have Ritual Dependence and a God of Ra might have Solar Powered. Other Limitations, such as Chronic Pain or Insufficient Willpower might indicate being out of favor with the god and may serve as penance.


Sorcery Proficiencies
While there are multiple categories of Sorcery Proficiencies, there are really only two types: General and Philosophy. General Sorcery Proficiencies can be selected by any Practitioner of Magic who uses spell magic, but most have been developed by Wizards and benefit them the most. Warlocks can select any, but won't receive any benefit from proficiencies that involve reduced time for learning new spells or increase the chance for successfully converting scrolls for instance. Sorcery Proficiencies based around Philosophy can only be selected if the character follows that particular philosophy. In most cases, a character may only select one philosophy. See Philosophies for details.

There are three ways to select a Sorcery Proficiency. The first is to learn a magical hand to hand that grants Sorcery Proficiencies upon leveling. This involves an initial investment in skill cost, but usually pays off by higher levels and is often the easiest method, as new proficiencies come free as the character levels. However, the proficiencies are spread out over time. For characters who want to perform a particular combination up front, this isn't always the best solution.

The next method is to learn a Sorcery Proficiency by spending O.C.C. Related Skills. Each Sorcery Proficiency costs only one O.C.C. Related Skill (unless noted otherwise). It's recommended only one or two Sorcery Proficiencies can be selected per level, but that is a G.M. call. The final method is to select a Sorcery Proficiency and a Sorcery Limitation. This method avoids any skill cost, but the Sorcery Limitation affects all the character's magic and is a price in its own right. If this method is used, the character can choose to spend one O.C.C. Related Skill at a later level to remove the limitation.

It's recommended that a Wizards and Warlocks can select no more than five total Sorcery Proficiencies. Though most Sorcery Proficiencies are designed around spell casting, Summoners and Diabolists can in theory select them as well. When permitted, they should be allowed up to three or four proficiencies. Priests who selected the Blessing of the Divine can select up to four proficiencies, while Psi-Mystics and Witches can select no more than two proficiencies. Priests, Psi-Mystics, and Witches aren't traditional spell casters in the sense that they don't truly learn magic, but they can still pick up a few techniques. As a general rule, however, they cannot learn mystical hand to hand styles and can only learn by expending O.C.C. Related Skills or gaining limitations.

If the character selects a magical hand to hand, and also purchases Sorcery Proficiencies through one of the other methods, any proficiencies gained through the hand to hand that would exceed the character's maximum limit are ignored. The character cannot exceed their maximum limit of proficiencies as they level, and the character does not regain the skill spent. This allows the character to learn abilities at a faster rate, but comes at a higher cost.


Sorcery Proficiencies: General

Accelerated Learning: The character has become so familiar with magic and all its principles that he or she can learn spells in half the normal time it would take. This means while a normal spell caster needs to spend two days per level, these individuals can learn spells in only one day per level of the spell.

Arcane Studies: +10% to converting spells or creating new spells, plus an additional +3% per level of experience starting at level 3.

Artistic: The character has an artistic flair that is apparent in his or her workings and creations of magic. Magic symbols, designs, and circles created by this individual are beautifully rendered and perfectly legible. Rituals and ceremonies are performed artfully and with panache, allowing the mage to draw 70% of all the P.P.E. from each person simultaneously! The character receives the Art skill at a base of 50% (does not increase) or +10% to the skill if it's already known, and +1 to P.B. when dressed to impress.

Bonds of Brotherhood: Many Warlocks only ever master one of the four elements, but some have the wisdom and willpower to master two. For those with the mental fortitude to handle two elements, it's possible to learn even more. At level 5 or higher, a Warlock may select Bonds of Brotherhood to gain one additional element. The character may now select three spells per level, one from each element. At level 10 or higher, the Warlock may select Bonds of Brotherhood again to gain one additional element, making them a master of all four! The character may now select four spells per level, one from each element. Requirement: Warlock O.C.C., I.Q. 12 and M.E. 14 or higher that selected two elemental life signs, and meet the O.C.C. level requirements (see description).

Casting Focus, Advanced: The mage is able to make some movement without risk to interrupting a spell. Actions that don't require an attack per melee such as automatic parry and slow movement (up to 20% of maximum speed as described in the Moving During Combat section) can be performed without fear of interruption. Running, jumping, dodging, being hit by an opponent, etc. still may interrupt a mage as normal.

Closed Conduit: In general, practitioners of magic are living conduits of mystic energy attuned to the magical forces around them, which in turn allows them to extra energy from those forces. For one reason or another though, this character has decided to close himself off from magic. This prevents the character from drawing P.P.E. from other people, cannot lend P.P.E. to others (including rituals), and they cannot benefit from a ley line (neither draw P.P.E. or spell boosts). In exchange, the character remains undetectable to magical or psychic senses. The character can pass undetected through checkpoints designed to detect magic users. Even See Aura will only notice small amounts of P.P.E. similar to an average member of that race.

Elementalist: Like a psychic, someone is either born a Warlock or not. But what happens when one is born a Warlock and then takes a different path? Not all psychics spend time and effort into fully developing their psionics, and not all those born to be Warlocks take that path. An Elementalist is someone born to be a Warlock, but ended up studying to be a Wizard instead. Despite this diversion, the character maintains some connection to the elements. The Elementalist may select one element of choice (air, earth, fire, or water). Starting at level 5, instead of selecting an Invocation, the character may select one spell from the Elemental Magic list that they selected. The spell must be four levels (or more) lower than the Wizard's current level of experience. This spell must be selected as the spell for leveling, and cannot be learned or purchased through other means. Many believe it is only through these Elementalist that the elemental based Invocations came into being. Requirement: Wizard O.C.C. only.

Example: A Wizard is an Elementalist with an attunement to Air. At level 5, the character may select a new spell equal to his or her current level of experience. Instead of selecting an Invocation though, the character may select a spell from the Level 1 Air Elemental Magic list. By level 12, the character could opt to select one spell from the Air Elemental List for levels 1-8.

Increased ley line energy: The mage is able to further tap into the amazing power of a ley line. Though the range, duration, and damage of spells remain the same as normal for the proximity to a ley line, all the effects to P.P.E. are doubled. This includes the P.P.E. recovery rate and the amount of P.P.E. that can be tapped, as well as how long it can be retained after leaving the ley line.

Rapid Spell Casting: The mage may reduce the casting time of the spell by one level per level of experience. For each level reduced, the mage must spend an additional 10% of the P.P.E. cost as a result of the rush. This can be costly, but when rush is needed it can be invaluable.

Example: A level 10 mage with Advanced Spell Casting invokes the level 14 spell: Close Rift. He's in a hurry so he wants to cast it in as short of time as possible, one melee attack/action. To do that, he'll need to reduce it to level 4 or under. He's level 10, so he can lower the level 14 spell 10 levels putting it at level 4. Reducing it by 10 levels will raise the P.P.E. cost by 100%. The mage will need to spend 400 P.P.E. to cast the spell in the reduced time, plus 4 P.P.E. permanently.

Silent Casting: The ability to focus magical energies is improved to allow casting without spoken word. Casting in this manner doubles the casting time for the spell. Note: Rituals require a group focus and cannot be performed in this manner.

Spell Casting, Advanced: Spell invocations levels 1-4 count as one melee attack/action (about 3 seconds), levels 5-8 count as two melee attacks/actions (about 6-7 seconds), invocations levels 9-12 use up three of the character's melee attacks/actions (about 9-10 seconds), and levels 13-15 as well as Spells of Legend use up four of the character's melee attacks/actions (about 15 seconds). Requirement: Can only be selected at first level of the character. This cannot be selected at a later character level, even if a new philosophy is selected.

Spell Delay: Instead of a spell going off once the mage finishes the invocation, the spell can be delayed for up to one melee round (15 seconds). This can be useful as a tactical delay. Once cast, the invocation cannot be stopped. Even if the spell caster is killed or knocked unconscious, a delayed spell will still go off at the predetermined time at casting. The spell can be delayed one additional melee round (15 seconds) at levels 4, 8, and 12 for a delay up to one minute.

Spell Resistance: Magic normally affects everyone, even the one who cast it. These practitioners have learned to weave spells in such a way they can avoid its ill-effects. The character is immune to any spell they cast that requires a Save vs. Magic. This means abilities such as Blinding Flash or Fear can be cast on a target at point-blank range without risk to the one casting it. Spells requiring a dodge, such as Magic Net and Call Lightning, or that create a physical barrier, still take full effect. The character is also +1 to Save vs. Magic against all other sources.


Sorcery Proficiencies: Ley Line Studies

Casting Proficiency: The magic user is more proficient at weaving spells. All spells cost 20% less (round down) P.P.E. to cast. (e.g. A spell costing 10 P.P.E. is only 8 P.P.E., a 100 P.P.E. spell is now 80 P.P.E., and 5000 P.P.E. spells costs 4000 P.P.E.).

Increase Duration: Spells cast by this character can have a 50% increase in duration, equivalent to the duration increase on a Ley Line Nexus. When on a Ley Line or Nexus, this enhanced duration is further increased.

Increase Range: Spells cast by this character can have a 50% increase in range, equivalent to the range increase on a Ley Line Nexus. When on a Ley Line or Nexus, this enhanced range is further increased.

Ley Line Siphon: The character can draw energy from natural Ley Lines to replenish their personal reserves of P.P.E. By being so attuned to their "inner Ley Line," they can adjust the way their P.P.E. flows to avoid needing a filter. While energy from the earth is consistent, drawing P.P.E. from other people is still too foreign (polluted) and variable to adjust and cannot be used to restore personal P.P.E. Requirement: Philosophy level 6.

Mystic Battery: By nurturing their inner ley line, these magic users are able to store more P.P.E. than others with similar training. The character gains +1D4x10 P.P.E.!

PPE Blocker: The spell caster has mastered P.P.E. in all its forms. He's so deadly that he's even capable of blocking the flow of P.P.E. in other spell casters! If successful, the victims will be unable to channel from their personal P.P.E. reserve, as if their P.P.E. was reduced to 0. To do this, the spell weaver must make physical contact with the intended victim (range: touch) and channel his P.P.E. into the victim to create internal P.P.E. dams. This costs 50 P.P.E. to attempt, and the victim has a chance to save.

A subdued opponent requires a Natural 20 to save vs. magic, or a modified 24 or higher. If performed during combat, the victim only requires an 18 or higher to save vs. magic. Victims who fail their save will have their P.P.E. blocked for 1D4 hours and unable to cast any spells in that time. The spell weaver can permanently block a victim's P.P.E. by permanently sacrificing three (3) Physical Endurance (P.E.) points. This is an extremely tasking process and the loss of three P.E. points is permanent, even if the victim successfully saves and is not affected. Requirement: Philosophy level 12 or higher.


Sorcery Proficiencies: Litany of the Arcane

Casting Focus, Arcane: Interrupting a mage can be a great way to neutralize a spell caster's strongest weapon, but students of the Litany of the Arcane are masters of spell casting and possess a great deal of experience. They gain a +1 to save vs. interruption for every level the spell is below the mage's current level.

Example: A level 10 wizard casts a level one invocation spell. The spell is nine levels below his current level, so the wizard receives a +9 to save vs. interruption. A level 4 wizard casting a level three invocation would receive only a +1 to save vs. interruption.

Dual Casting: This character knows incantations so well that not only can she say it forwards and backwards, but can weave multiple incantations together. In most cases, a Wizard will speak an incantation mixed in with gibberish to help keep the important words of a spell secret as well as to avoid enemies knowing exactly which spell is being cast. However, this student of the Litany of the Arcane mix in the incantation to two different spells at the same time. Even other Practitioners of Magic will have trouble deciphering the details as this concept is simply too foreign to them. When casting two spells simultaneously, the character must still spend the P.P.E. for both spells. Both spells activate at the same time, which is at the end of the longer of the two casting times. Requirement: Philosophy level 9 or higher.

Example: Beth is a Wizard who selects Dual Casting at Level 9. She wants to cast a Level 10 and a Level 12 spells. Level 10 spells take 15 seconds to cast, and Level 12 spells take 30 seconds to cast. She can cast both spells at the same time, but both spells will go off after 30 seconds. However, she also selected Spell Casting, Arcane at first level. So she can select Armor of Ithan (Level 3) and Superhuman Strength (Level 5) in a single melee action. She still must pay the same amount of P.P.E, but can cast them at a much faster rate.

Increased Spell Level: The character can cast spells as if her caster level were one level higher. This can affect aspects such as range, duration, and damage that increase with the character's level. This technique also works in synergy with the proficiencies: Casting Focus, Arcane and Spell Casting, Arcane. By increasing the character's effective caster level, she can also cast spells one level higher in a single action and has a lower chance of interruption. This does not allow characters to select Sorcery Proficiencies before they reach sufficient level requirements. Requirement: Philosophy level 3 or higher.

Increased Spell Strength: Spell strength can increase similar to person's P.S. attribute. The more a muscle is worked out, the stronger it becomes. Those who practice the Litany of the Arcane are known for using spell magic every chance they get. While this seems frivolous and/or foolish to most, the increased casting does have its benefits. The character receives a +2 to Spell Strength and +10 P.P.E. These are in addition to any other bonuses. Requirement: Philosophy level 6 or higher.

Master Siphon: These practitioners of magic are so skilled, they can draw P.P.E. even from willing and unwilling targets with equal skill! All victims get to Save vs. Magic. Those who fail can have up to 70% of their P.P.E. absorbed by the mage. This technique can work against other Practitioners of Magic as well, but with much less success. Practitioners of Magic have above average saving throws, and receive an additional +3 to Save vs. Magic to block this type of attack. Other spell casters are also instantly alerted to the attempt, even being roused from a deep slumber and are not likely to take such an intrusion kindly. However, if the Practitioner of Magic fails their saving throw, the character can siphon up to 20% of the victim's maximum P.P.E.! Requirement: Philosophy level 12 or higher.

Spell Casting, Arcane: Spell casting can be a slow process, and some mystic styles teach accelerated spell casting tricks. The difference here is that this is no trick. There are no short cuts. This is decreased casting time based upon experience, understanding the magic so well that it just becomes second nature. These spell casters can cast any spell equal or below their current level in only one melee action. This means a first level wizard can cast first level invocations in only one melee action, and a tenth level wizard can cast any spell from level one to level ten in one melee action. Any spell of a higher level than the spell caster takes the standard casting time. Requirement: Can only be selected at first level of the character. This cannot be selected at a later character level, even if a new philosophy is selected.


Sorcery Proficiencies: War Mage

Casting Focus, Battle: The spell caster is able to move freely. Running, jumping, rolling, parrying, and dodging will not interrupt the mage as long as it is under his momentum. Being hit, moved against his will, terrain giving way, or other outside distractions may still interrupt the mage, but the spell caster receives a +3 to Save vs. Interruption in these situations.

Magic Missile: A special type of training that helps magically direct attacks. Any magical ranged missile type attacks that require a strike roll (such as Fire Bolt) or a victim to dodge (such as Call Lightning or Magic Net) gain the benefits of this skill. Spells that only require a save vs. magic are unaffected. Bonuses: +1D6 damage (if applicable) at levels two and fourteen! +1 to strike (or difficulty to Dodge) at levels 2, 4, 8, and 12.

Magic Resistance: Spells and supernatural powers that cause injury only inflict half damage. Spells and supernatural powers that require a Save vs. Magic have their effects (penalties) and duration reduced by half. This may be the result of the character's extreme mental discipline, a special chant he or she knows, or some ability to absorb harmful mystic energy. Since this is a matter of willpower, the character can still be affected by spells with beneficial effects or by choice. Note: This ability does not protect against psionics.

Metal Channeling: Being covered in metal hampers a practitioner's ability to channel magic energy. Through extensive training, these experts of combat magic have learned to overcome this obstacle and can cast spells even in full plate without hindrance! Requirement: Philosophy level 5 or higher.

Spell Casting, Battle: Spell invocations levels 1-5 count as one melee attack/action (about 3 seconds), levels 6-10 count as two melee attacks/actions (about 6-7 seconds), and level 11-15 as well as Spells of Legend use up three of the character's melee attacks/actions (9-10 seconds). The character also receives a +2 on Initiative. Requirement: Can only be selected at first level of the character. This cannot be selected at a later character level, even if a new philosophy is selected.

Supernatural Aura: The magical energies contained within the practitioner of magic have increased the character's physical power. The character gains Supernatural Strength with a +4 bonus to the P.S. attribute, and fatigues at half the normal rate with a +2 bonus to the P.E. attribute. This means the character can lift items and inflict damage equal to a Supernatural Being, and carry out these tasks for a greater amount of time than most mortals. However, this power comes at a price. Anyone who can See Auras will see the individual as a Supernatural Being, and the character is constantly radiating magic and can be detected by Sense Magic whether or not any spell is actively being cast. If the character is of an evil alignment, anyone with Sense Evil will also instantly detect the magic user when in range. Requirement: Philosophy level 10 or higher.


Sorcery Proficiencies: Blood Magic (Forbidden!)

Blood Mist: A deadly attack used in conjunction with an offensive spell that deal damage, such as Fire Ball or Call Lightning. The character starts by speaking an invocation as they make a long incision along their body, usually down the arm or across the chest. Blood doesn't flow though, but instead turns into a red mist around the character as it weaves into the spell being cast. Once cast, the mist disappears and the magical projectile seeks out the intended victim. This caster must expend 25 Hit Points to use this technique, but if the spell successfully hits the target damage goes direct to victim's Hit Points! Observers skilled in Lore: Magic can attempt a skill check at -20% to recognize the intent of the ritual before it's too late. Opponents can attempt to dodge as normal. Requirement: Philosophy level 12 or higher.

Empower Spell: While casting an offensive or defensive spell, the character stabs himself hard enough to draw blood as a component for casting. Blood drawn in this manner is then channeled into the spell, turning any visual affects of the spell a dark crimson color. The attack deals damage direct to the caster's Hit Points (minimum 1D6), but once drawn the character can expend as many additional Hit Points as desired. Each Hit Point lost in this manner can add +1 damage to an attack spell, such as Fire Ball, or +2 S.D.C. to a defensive barrier, such as Energy Field. As long as the spell remains active, the two remain linked. This allows the original caster to expend additional Hit Points to reinforce an active spell.

Example: The character wants to attack with Fire Fist, and Empower it with Blood Magic. The character rolls 1D6 and gets 2. He takes 2 Hit Points of damage and is content for now, allowing his punches to inflict 3D6+2 damage (plus P.S. bonus, if any) for the duration. He then casts an Energy Field to shield some innocent civilians, and this time decides to take 10 points of damage direct to Hit Points, granting the Energy Field 80 S.D.C. (10x2=20, plus the normal 60 from the spell). As the battle goes on, he may decide he needs to further boost one of his spells. He can sacrifice more Hit Points to increase his damage, or reinforce the Energy Field with extra S.D.C. to keep the people safe.

Increase Level: A Blood Mage must first stab or cut himself to draw blood. The character can then sacrifice Hit Points to cast the spell as if from a magic user of higher level. Every 5 Hit Points sacrificed in this way increases the spell level by 1, but cannot exceed more than double the character's current level.

Example: A level 3 Blood Mage can cast Fire Ball, and wants to do as much damage with the spell as possible. Normally the spell would be cast as a third level caster for 3D6 S.D.C., but the Blood Mage can sacrifice 15 Hit Points to cast the spell as if a sixth level caster (twice his current level) to inflict 6D6 S.D.C.

Life Force Energy: At the time of death, a character's P.P.E. is doubled. These individuals have found a way to tap into that energy while still alive. The character can sacrifice Hit Points for added P.P.E. Every Hit Point sacrificed in this way provides one point of P.P.E. (1:1 ratio). If the character uses his/her last Hit Point (reduced to 0), that last point provides 10 P.P.E.! However, it's important to note that this damage cannot be healed with magic or psionics and can only be recovered naturally. So characters who sacrifice their last Hit Points are often sacrificing their lives. Note: This conversion bypasses S.D.C. completely.

Soul Reaper: Can draw double PPE from victims at the time of death, even in battle! Victims must be within 10 feet (3 m), and the character must either deal the killing blow personally or at least have line of sight. Drawing the P.P.E. costs one attack/action and must be done immediately. The character cannot delay, not even for a single action. Requirement: Philosophy level 6 or higher.

Unbreakable Focus: These characters train to cast magic while cutting and stabbing themselves, so taking a hit in the middle of a spell is nothing new. Breaking their concentration through damage or other means is completely ineffectual. The only way to stop a student of Blood Magic from casting the spell is to make it impossible; such as gagging the individual, cutting out the tongue, or knocking them unconscious. This also allows the practitioner to move and attack like normal. Unlike other magical techniques and philosophies, Blood Magic does not reduce the time for casting spells. Attacks per melee and spell casting times are still kept separate. What this means is that a student of Blood Magic can cast spells while still taking advantage of their attacks per melee round. While this means they'll cast much slower than some other magic users, this is a powerful ability not to be underestimated. Requirement: Can only be selected at first level of the character. This cannot be selected at a later character level, even if a new philosophy is selected.

Example: A first level practitioner with Blood Magic has four attacks per melee. In this round, she wants to cast a level three and a level four spell. Because both spells are between levels one and eight, she can cast both in a single melee round. So in this scenario she'd be able to attack (or take other actions) twice, cast her level three spell, attack two more times, then cast her level seven spell. Next, she wants to cast a level twelve spell. That takes two melee rounds (30 seconds). This means she'll be able to attack (or dodge) eight times! That's two melee rounds of actions, and then she can still cast her spell without interruption. So while someone proficient in Advanced Spell Casting could've cast those same spells in half the time, they also could've taken no other actions while casting.


Sorcery Proficiencies: Divine

Divine Boon: The character receives one additional spell selection from the available list at levels five, nine, and thirteen.

Divine Favor: Typical Priests of Light are limited to Invocations from levels 1 through 3, but this character is favored by their god and can cast spells one level higher than normal. This proficiency may be selected more than once, up to a maximum of three times, but cannot be selected more than once per level of experience. Requirement: Philosophy level 4 or higher.

Example: Anne is a fourth level Priest of Light. She can spend one of her O.C.C. Related Skills to select Divine Favor, allowing her to now cast magic up to level 4. Her goal is to cast level 6 magic (the highest Divine Favor can grant). Though she has a second O.C.C. Related Skill, she can only select Divine Favor once per level. She'll have to wait until she's higher level before she can select it again.

Element of the Divine: Many gods can also cast Elemental Magic. This knowledge can be shared and endowed upon their priests. In addition to the normal spell selection, the priest may also select one element (Air, Earth, Fire, or Water). When the priest is endowed with new spell knowledge upon leveling, s/he may select from Level One spells of their chosen element. This does not grant additional spells, but only expands the spell list selection. Note: Any selections of Divine Favor also increase the spell level of Elemental Magic available.

Example: Anne is now a level eight Priest of Light. She's selected Divine Favor twice, spending an O.C.C. Related Skill at level 4 to gain one and then taking a Sorcery Limitation at level 6 for additional Divine Favor. At level 8, she spends an O.C.C. Related Skill to select Element of the Divine. Her Divine Favor carries over to her elemental selections. Now when Anne gains spells, she can select spell invocations from level 1-5, or Elemental Magic from levels 1-3. She can spend her second O.C.C. Related Skill as a new skill selection, remove her Sorcery Limitation, or to select Divine Favor for a third time (like she's wanted).


Sorcery Limitations

Chronic Pain: Though the character had enough force of will to craft magic, their body was simply not up to the challenge. The channeling of mystic forces and casting of magic has their physical bodies weakened and in a state of constant pain. This results in -1 to P.E., -1 on initiative, and the pain is so distracting and debilitating the character is -5% to all skills. Fortunately, the character is so accustomed to pain that they can endure torture and severe injury resulting in +3 to Save vs. Pain, +5% to Save vs. Coma/Death, and can continue to stand and fight up to -10 Hit Points.

God Syndrome: The character believes magic is the ultimate power, and anyone who can't cast magic beneath him or her. This individual tends to believe s/he is above the law, and can't be held to the standards of mundane mortals. The character only works well in a group when involving non-magic users unless s/he is leader, and even then will little regard for the "ordinary people" and dismiss their ideas without even hearing them out. S/he expects the adoration of others and is baffled when their attitude insults or angers the mundanes. The character suffers a -2 penalty to the M.E. and M.A. attributes, and -4 to Perception checks as a result of arrogance and underestimating everyone else around them, including enemies.

Focus Dependent: The character has learned to cast his/her spells through an object for focus. For some this could be a particular staff, a holy symbol they always wear, a crystal, a spell book (if the character uses such an item), or just about anything. In order to cast a spell, the character must take hold of the object in one or both hands. If the focus is ever stolen, lost, or the character cannot take hold of it (such as being restrained), the individual cannot cast magic at all!

Inefficient Casting: To compensate for lack skill and/or technique, these men and women simply pump more power into their spells. While inefficient, by spending double the standard P.P.E. cost these characters can still cast magic without refining their techniques.

Insufficient Willpower: The character lacks the focus, concentration, and/or confidence to exert full control over their magic. The duration and range of all spells cast by this individual are reduced by half.

Magical Beacon: Supernatural beings are naturally attracted to this character, characters who can see or sense magic users will detect this character at twice the normal range, and the character suffers a -1 to dodge penalty against magical spells as if they're drawn to him.

Metal Barriers: Metal hampers the channeling of magic, and in most cases if the magic user avoids covering her body in 50% or more of metal there's no conflict. For this character, things are a bit more complicated. Not only does she need to avoid covering her body with metal, but targets covered in 50% or more metal are immune to any spell that requires a Save vs. Magic. This makes knights, soldiers, and other warriors in heavy armor difficult to target and a greater deal of strategy on the part of the practitioner to remain effective.

Requires Hand Gestures: Many wizards use had gestures as part of the spell casting process, typically for flair and dramatic effect. These showy distractions can be as much a part of wizardry as anything else, but are generally not required to cast a spell. However, some practitioners of magic rely on the hand gestures as a way to focus and direct mystic energy. These men and women cannot use magic without these hand gestures. This makes it difficult for them to cast stealthily, and binding their hands can prevent them from casting magic all together.

Ritual Cleansing: After expending P.P.E., the character must perform some kind of ritual of cleansing in order to allow her body to recover the spent energy. The ritual itself could be almost anything depending on the type of mage and her culture. Some possibilities include sitting under a waterfall, bathing in a stream, meditating while burning incense, chanting, and praying to a deity. Whatever the ritual, it should take about an hour to perform. If the Ritual Cleansing is interrupted for more than 30 seconds, the character will need to begin again. Once the ritual is complete, the character will again be able to recover P.P.E. normally. However, the next the character casts a spell, she will stop recovering P.P.E. and will need to undergo the Ritual Cleansing all over again.

Ritual Dependence: The sorcerer has developed his or her magic according to strict ritual principles. The character can only cast magic in the form of a ritual (minimum 10 minutes and upwards to an hour and 15 minutes!), which means traditional Invocations must be converted into ritual equivalents. If a full ritual can't be performed, then no spells can be cast. On the upside, all magic cast as a ritual has double the normal duration and range.

Solar (or Night) Powers: For one reason or another, the character believes their magical powers are, at least in part, fueled by the sun (or moon). The character will likely have some type of philosophy such as "As the sun brings life and flowers bloom, so too do our powers" or "The tides ebb and flow with the moon, the streams of energy within us are no different." When the character lacks their source of power (either at nighttime or daytime) their magic is 20% less potent (20% less damage, range, and duration).

Vulnerable to Magic: This practitioner of magic has learned to open himself up to magical forces, but in doing so has made himself vulnerable to it. Magic spells inflict double damage and the effects/penalties and duration are also doubled when used against this character. Magical weapons and Creatures of Magic also inflict double damage.

Vulnerable While Casting: Magic users are generally weaker in physical battles, and this character more so than most. Any time the character takes damage while casting a spell, s/he receives double damage. This makes it easier for mundane fighters to interrupt even an experienced spell caster.

Weak Spells: The character's spells are weaker than normal. All spells are cast at one level lower than the caster's current level (minimum 1), and the character's Spell Strength is reduced by 2.

Example: A standard level one Wizard has a Spell Strength of 12, while a Wizard with Weak Spells will only have a Spell Strength of 10. When casting Decipher Magic, both Wizards would have the same duration at level one, but by level three the standard Wizard's spell would last for 6 minutes while the Wizard with Weak Spells would only last for 4 minutes (1 level lower, so the equivalent of a level 2 caster).

Wild Magic: Spells and magic still work, but not always as expected. Each time the character attempts to cast a spell, there is a 01-75% chance something unpredictable and/or inconvenient will occur. Roll on the following table. Unless otherwise stated, the original spell still goes off as intended and all effects are in addition to the intended spell.

01-05: Spell Fizzles. P.P.E. is expended, but nothing happens (spell does not go off).

06-10: P.P.E. Backlash. The character takes damage equal to half of the spell's P.P.E. cost (minimum 1).

11-15: Protective Barrier. A barrier of magical energy forms around the character and lasts for 1D4 melee rounds. This protective shell does not impede the character at all, but will absorb up to 10 S.D.C. damage. Only those capable of seeing Ley Lines will be able to see the faint magical aura surrounding the character.

16-20: Random Rift. A rift opens and summons a lesser demon or deevil (G.M.'s discretion to which one).

21-30: Magic Aura. The practitioner of magic is surrounded by a visible white-blue aura for 1D4 hours. This continual soft glow of magic makes it impossible to sneak around, and animals sensitive to magic will instinctively avoid the character, even if normally a beloved pet or companion (familiars are unaffected).

31-35: Reduced Power. The spell is cast as if the caster were 2 levels lower (minimum 1).

36-45: Power Boost: The spell functions as if it were 1 level higher.

46-50: Energy Drain. Casting the spell temporarily drains the individual, causing the character to lose initiative and his/her next attack/action.

51-55: Full Power Spell. The caster cannot cancel or stop the spell, and even if the spell can normally determine friend from foe, everyone that enters within range of the spell is affected, including the spell caster (this overrides even the proficiency: Spell Resistance).

56-60: Random Spell. P.P.E. for the intended spell is expended, but it does not go off. Instead, a different spell of the same spell level is cast (G.M.'s discretion to which one). The caster does not need to know the spell, and the P.P.E. cost for the replacement spell is ignored.

61-65: Power Surge: The spell functions as if it were 2 levels higher.

66-75: Diminished Power. The spell is cast as if the caster were 1 level lower (minimum 1).

76-00: Spell works as intended. Nothing unusual happens.


Mystical Hand to Hand
Magic users are capable of learning the same standard hand to hand training as most other classes. However, while learning to kick or throw an opponent are useful in a melee battle, those skills don't do anything to improve their magic. This is why many practitioners of magic have begun to develop unique training methods that focus on spell casting over mundane combat. For most magic users, learning how to cast a spell faster during combat and not lose focus is far more valuable than being able to punch better.

The following hand to hand styles grant bonuses to P.P.E, Spell Strength, and Sorcery Proficiencies as the character levels up. Instead of additional attacks per melee, some focus on Spell Actions. These are similar to normal attacks per melee; but cannot be used for attacks, dodges, movement, or any other basic action. Spell Actions can only be used to cast a magic spell.

Hand to Hand: Spell Weaver
Magic can be a powerful instrument, made all the more powerful with a clever and resourceful mind. Some mages learn the ability to weave magic as artfully as others weave a fine silk shirt. With time to prepare they can best the most powerful of forces. Unfortunately, when caught off guard or in the middle of a battle they're not much better than any other, sometimes even less equipped due to the lack of formal combat training. Popular with students of Ley Line Studies.

Availability: Practitioner of Magic.
Limitations: The focus is on spell casting with little to no training in actual hand to hand situations. There is no auto-parry, no kicks, no critical strike range increase, no knock-out/stun range, and no death blow.
Skill Cost: Two O.C.C. Related skill.

Basic Combat Moves:
1: Starts with three attacks per melee round, and select one (1) Sorcery Proficiency.
2: +3 to roll with punch and +3 to pull punch.
3: One additional Spell Action per melee round.
4: +3D6 P.P.E. base.
5: Select one (1) Sorcery Proficiency.
6: +1 to Spell Strength.
7: One additional attack per melee round
8: Select one (1) Sorcery Proficiency.
9: +2 to save vs. magic, and +2 to save vs. interruption.
10: One additional Spell Action per melee round.
11: +1 to Spell Strength.
12: Select one (1) Sorcery Proficiency.
13: +3D6 P.P.E. base.
14: One additional Spell Action per melee round.
15: Select one (1) Sorcery Proficiency.

Hand to Hand: Spell Slinger
A balanced style the focuses on magic and hand to hand training. A good choice for practitioners of magic who want to be competent in a hand to hand fight while still focusing on magic. They can compete on a nearly even level with an opponent with basic combat training, while still placing a focus on magic, with an added emphasis to apply it during combat. However, this balance comes at the cost of not excelling in either field. A Martial Artist would say they didn't focus enough on their combat training, while a Spell Weaver would argue they didn't dedicate enough to their magic. Still, this style remains the best compromise between the two. Common among War Mages and students of Blood Magic.

Availability: Practitioner of Magic.
Skill Cost: Three O.C.C. Related skills.

Basic Combat Moves:
1: Starts with four attacks per melee round, and select one (1) Sorcery Proficiency.
2: +2 to roll with punch, and +2 to parry and dodge.
3: +1 to save vs. magic, and +2 to strike with a ranged spell.
4: One additional attack per melee round.
5: +1 to strike.
6: Select one (1) Sorcery Proficiency.
7: Kick attacks: Karate style kick does 2D4 damage and any one of choice.
8: +1 to Spell Strength.
9: Critical Strike on an unmodified 19 or 20.
10: One additional attack per melee round.
11: Select one (1) Sorcery Proficiency.
12: +2 to strike with a ranged spell, and +1 to parry and dodge.
13: Critical Strike or knockout from behind.
14: +1 to Spell Strength, and +1 to save vs. magic.
15: One additional attack per melee round.

Hand to Hand: Circle of the Arcane
A fighting style that focuses on meditation and mystical abilities, with a minor focus on combat techniques. Trained in combat to use an automatic parry and gain a few bonuses, they're more combat capable than a Spell Weaver while maintaining a strong emphasis on enhancing their magical talents. Some magic users consider this combat training to be the most powerful of all the magical styles and essential to any "true" mage.

The Circle of the Arcane was created by pupils of the Litany of the Arcane. At first, training into this art remain exclusive to a select group. This group became known as the Inner Circle to the Litany of the Arcane. Since only they could practice it, the hand to hand style was named after them. Over time, more and more were accepted into the circle and the knowledge began to spread. While it remains the preferred art to pupils of the Litany of the Arcane, the art grows more and more in popularity with students of Ley Line Studies as well.

Availability: Practitioner of Magic.
Limitations: The focus is on spell casting with little training in physical hand to hand situations. There are no kicks, critical strike range increase, knock-out/stun range, and no death blow. Note: Unlike the Spell Weaver, students of the Circle of the Arcane start with auto-parry (the ability to parry without using an attack).
Skill Cost: Four O.C.C. Related skills.

Basic Combat Moves:
1: Starts with three attacks per melee round, and select one (1) Sorcery Proficiency.
2: +2 to roll with punch, and +2 to save vs. magic.
3: One additional Spell Action per melee round.
4: Select one (1) Sorcery Proficiency.
5: Select one (1) additional Philosophy.
6: One additional attack per melee round.
7: +2 to Spell Strength.
8: Select one (1) Sorcery Proficiency.
9: One additional Spell Action per melee round.
10: +2 to parry and dodge, and +1 to save vs. magic.
11: Double existing P.P.E.
12: One additional attack per melee round.
13: Select one (1) Sorcery Proficiency.
14: +1 to Spell Strength.
15: One additional Spell Action per melee round.
Thank you for your time, and any help. Farewell and safe journeys.

_________________
Living the Fantasy (fan website)

Rifter #45; Of Bows & Arrows (Archery; expanding rules and abilities)
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Unread postPosted: Tue Nov 12, 2019 1:57 pm
  

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Champion

Joined: Fri Apr 13, 2001 1:01 am
Posts: 2637
Location: Orion Arm, Milky Way Galaxy
My thoughts:

The Good: Overall, I love this. It adds depth and progression in interesting and compelling ways, and I would love to see it published.
+I really appreciate the way you've consolidated the practical rules into one neat section.
+I like the mystical hand-to-hand disciplines and the flavor text of each one.
+Similarly, the philosophies are an interesting approach to keeping power development in a thematically consistent pattern.
+The proficiencies you present are mostly good, viable choices.
+I also like the limitations that you present.

Suggestions for Improvement: I've got some ideas for you.
-Consider simply describing "Proficiencies" as "Skills" that are in their own "Magic" skill category. This seems to fit what you're going for without creating a new type of select-able character ability. It also enables characters to use O.C.C. Related skills to choose them without needing to spell that out.
-Consider tying each philosophy to a particular existing optional skill that's related to that philosophy (Medical doctor for Blood Magic, Lore: Religion for Blessings of the Divine, et cetera). The philosophies won't be mutually exclusive, but it's quite possible to study and appreciate competing philosophies at the same time. Alternately, Consider making each philosophy a skill and adding a small intrinsic bonus for taking a philosophy (+1 P.P.E. base per level, +1 P.P.E. point recovery rate per level, et cetera), so they become more than just a prerequisite.
-Consider simplifying and consolidating the overall structure of the article by making each hand-to-hand skill a proficiency (maybe it costs more than one skill selection).
-I rather prefer to keep hand-to-hand combat skills relevant for magic users and keep them compatible with what you're presenting. Consider re-working the hand-to-hand skills and re-dubbing them "Magic Combat Disciplines." I suggest you keep their focus on magic rather than hand-to-hand, eliminating all hand-to-hand bonuses and magic proficiencies. In their place, consider putting in bonuses to save vs magic, bonuses to save vs getting interrupted when casting, bonuses to spell strength, bonuses to strike with spell magic, a "magic parry" and bonuses to it, bonus "magic actions" that allow more spells per melee, and other magic combat-specific bonuses. Special combat moves might include a strike that inflicts damage to anything regardless of its immunities, a "magic parry" skill, the ability to channel a spell's effects through a melee weapon (extending the range of "touch" and "radius" spells), the ability to channel a spell's effects through a missile weapon like a magic hand grenade, and/or the ability to reflect a spell or magic attack back at one's opponent.
-Your approach seems mostly geared towards spell-casting incantations. Consider adding a hand-to-hand discipline, philosophy, and/or more proficiencies focused on ceremonial magic, wards, and circles.
-Consider eliminating the limitation on the number of proficiencies taken. Instead, consider adding or substituting other limitations on the more potent proficiencies besides level or philosophy category that encourage players to think strategically about the skills they take as they level up. For example, you could require the Cryptography skill at a certain level to get the Arcane Studies proficiency, the Art skill at a certain level to gain the "artistic" proficiency, some physical skills to gain "Casting Focus" proficiencies, the Ventriloquism skill at a certain proficiency to pick up the "dual casting" proficiency, et cetera. I'd keep basic, lower-powered proficiencies accessible with little to no prerequisites or philosophy levels. By tying potent proficiencies to developed skill thresholds, players would have to think strategically and ponder "do I blow an OCC related skill on a so-so proficiency now, or get a prerequisite skill for an awesome one in a few more levels? Or should I take take an existing skill a second time and make it a 'professional' level skill so that I can take this other awesome proficiency?" By locking away proficiencies behind such thresholds, you'll make advancement more interesting, and you won't need to set an arbitrary "you can't have more than XXX proficiencies" rule.
-Consider making proficiencies become more potent with level, similar to what you do with the "Magic Missile" proficiency.
-Consider building the "Limitations" into the process of selecting proficiencies. Basically, if you want to take a proficiency, but you don't meet its requirements (insufficient prerequisites, wrong philosophy, et cetera), you pick up a specific limitation, and you list that limitation with the proficiency.

Please don't consider my suggestions as a lack of enthusiasm for what you've done here; this is a great piece of work.

_________________
Hotrod
Bizantium and the Northern Isles, p65 map
Arenas of Atlantis, Rifter 69
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Unread postPosted: Wed Nov 13, 2019 11:36 pm
  

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Joined: Mon May 03, 2004 7:48 pm
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Hotrod wrote:
Please don't consider my suggestions as a lack of enthusiasm for what you've done here; this is a great piece of work.

Greetings and Salutations. This was said last, but I wanted to address it first (in case someone skims the rest and misses it). Let me say that I don't read criticisms or suggestions as lack of enthusiasm. You responded, and that's enough enthusiasm for me. I do my best to take all advice seriously (unless meant in jest originally), even if I do not always heed it. I appreciate the time, and effort. Thank you.

Hotrod wrote:
My thoughts:

The Good:
+I like the mystical hand-to-hand disciplines and the flavor text of each one.
+Similarly, the philosophies are an interesting approach to keeping power development in a thematically consistent pattern.

I will say I did have some fun with them. I particularly enjoyed creating the Philosophies. This was in part inspired by Ninjas & Superspies (which had philosophies as part of various martial arts), but I had also developed Ley Line Studies as the teachings in the background of one of my characters. Blood Magic just felt the natural extension/counter (and, in my experience, sooner or later a player will wonder/ask about Blood Magic if it's not included in the game). War Mage and Litany of the Arcane are actually based on arguments people have on these forums ("Some people play mages like commandos who just pick up a gun to fight." "That's because magic is a tool and they're smart enough to use the right tool for the right job. Magic is great for a lot of things. Combat isn't one of them" "But mages are supposed to believe magic is always the answer no matter what." ... and so on). So, overall, probably the most fun I had making this material.

Hotrod wrote:
-Consider simply describing "Proficiencies" as "Skills" that are in their own "Magic" skill category. This seems to fit what you're going for without creating a new type of select-able character ability. It also enables characters to use O.C.C. Related skills to choose them without needing to spell that out.

Well, the reason for the term "Proficiencies" is actually due to the term used in Nightbane: Through the Glass Darkly. Some of the Proficiencies and Limitations are taken from there and/or Rifters (that expanded on the material with new proficiencies and limitations). This is also why I used the term "Archery Proficiencies" in my Rifter #45 article. In this case, I feel the term helps those already familiar with the material make an easy mental association. So while I'm not attached to the term, in this case I'm not looking to reinvent the wheel either.

Note: On the other hand, this suggestion did make me think of some Psychic Skills I did for a project. I'm now thinking if I reworked those into a similar format it may overall work better with some of the other material I did.

Hotrod wrote:
-Consider tying each philosophy to a particular existing optional skill that's related to that philosophy (Medical doctor for Blood Magic, Lore: Religion for Blessings of the Divine, et cetera). The philosophies won't be mutually exclusive, but it's quite possible to study and appreciate competing philosophies at the same time. Alternately, Consider making each philosophy a skill and adding a small intrinsic bonus for taking a philosophy (+1 P.P.E. base per level, +1 P.P.E. point recovery rate per level, et cetera), so they become more than just a prerequisite.

Interesting. Originally, I had bonuses tied to each of the Philosophies. I removed them at one point or another because ... I can't recall why. I think I had in my notes something like ... Ley Line Studies had a +2 to Save vs. Magic, Blood Magic had a +3 to Save vs. Pain (but I might replace that with a +1 to P.E. or something), Litany of the Arcane had +1D6 P.P.E., and War Mage had +1D6 S.D.C. (?). I wrote over the notes, so I forgot the exact numbers and bonuses, but I'm not opposed to adding something like that back in.

Hotrod wrote:
-Consider simplifying and consolidating the overall structure of the article by making each hand-to-hand skill a proficiency (maybe it costs more than one skill selection).
-I rather prefer to keep hand-to-hand combat skills relevant for magic users and keep them compatible with what you're presenting. Consider re-working the hand-to-hand skills and re-dubbing them "Magic Combat Disciplines." I suggest you keep their focus on magic rather than hand-to-hand, eliminating all hand-to-hand bonuses and magic proficiencies. In their place, consider putting in bonuses to save vs magic, bonuses to save vs getting interrupted when casting, bonuses to spell strength, bonuses to strike with spell magic, a "magic parry" and bonuses to it, bonus "magic actions" that allow more spells per melee, and other magic combat-specific bonuses. Special combat moves might include a strike that inflicts damage to anything regardless of its immunities, a "magic parry" skill, the ability to channel a spell's effects through a melee weapon (extending the range of "touch" and "radius" spells), the ability to channel a spell's effects through a missile weapon like a magic hand grenade, and/or the ability to reflect a spell or magic attack back at one's opponent.

I'd be hesitant to just make them Proficiencies. My original goal with this was to actually make it part of a much larger project (and I may still do so). Kind of a ... Ninjas & Superspies meets Palladium Fantasy. Creating many more options than just the basic four, and since these arts developed on a world with magic and psionics, some of these styles focus on those aspects. So instead of something like Tai Chi Chaun (with a focus on internal chi abilities), you end up with something like Spell Weaver.

Also, one of my personal goals is to help draw an additional line between Men of Arms and Practitioners of Magic. Sure, nothing is stopping the Wizard from learning HtH: Expert, but by doing so they are making a sacrifice to their spell casting abilities. Since this method fits my personal motivations as well as my goal of a PF version of N&S, I'm not sure I'd just get rid of those concepts. But, I'm not set in my ways either. I remain open to ideas and feedback, but just realize where I'm coming from so, that if you are to try and convince me, you may approach this from the right direction. Otherwise, I suspect we could just end up going in circles.

Hotrod wrote:
-Your approach seems mostly geared towards spell-casting incantations. Consider adding a hand-to-hand discipline, philosophy, and/or more proficiencies focused on ceremonial magic, wards, and circles.

You are absolutely correct! I realized this late in the design. I managed to add in Blessing of the Divine (for Priests) last minute. I believe the Elementalist proficiency was also added late game for this reason as well. I gave Wards and Circles some thought, but truth be told I don't know either very well. I decided if I tried to include them, I'd put the project on hold for months or maybe years before I got back to it (if ever) as I was stumped on how/what to do with them. In this case, I decided something was better than nothing.

But you are correct, they should be included. If someone has suggestions, I'm willing to listen. Alternately, one day I may return to this and make a renewed effort to be more inclusive.

Hotrod wrote:
-Consider eliminating the limitation on the number of proficiencies taken. Instead, consider adding or substituting other limitations on the more potent proficiencies besides level or philosophy category that encourage players to think strategically about the skills they take as they level up. For example, you could require the Cryptography skill at a certain level to get the Arcane Studies proficiency, the Art skill at a certain level to gain the "artistic" proficiency, some physical skills to gain "Casting Focus" proficiencies, the Ventriloquism skill at a certain proficiency to pick up the "dual casting" proficiency, et cetera. I'd keep basic, lower-powered proficiencies accessible with little to no prerequisites or philosophy levels. By tying potent proficiencies to developed skill thresholds, players would have to think strategically and ponder "do I blow an OCC related skill on a so-so proficiency now, or get a prerequisite skill for an awesome one in a few more levels? Or should I take take an existing skill a second time and make it a 'professional' level skill so that I can take this other awesome proficiency?" By locking away proficiencies behind such thresholds, you'll make advancement more interesting, and you won't need to set an arbitrary "you can't have more than XXX proficiencies" rule.

The quantity limitation I believe is from the Nightbane source on Sorcery Proficiencies. With that said, I'm not sold on that limitation. The skill prerequisites is definitely an interesting idea. I'd be up for trying it, but not with these ones (at this time). This is one of those things I think needs to be worked in from the ground up to work well. So, as I stated, I wanted feedback to see if it was worth doing for Men of Arms classes. If I do move forward with that project, this is definitely something I'll consider weaving into it at the very start (I promise nothing, as I'll have to see how the inspiration moves me). Appreciate the idea.

Hotrod wrote:
-Consider making proficiencies become more potent with level, similar to what you do with the "Magic Missile" proficiency.

Fair suggestion. Most of the Nightbane proficiencies are static like this, and I think this made me look at them as closer to Physical skills (typically static in utility). Magic Missile was designed with a W.P. in mind, hence the increase. While I'm not feeling up to a full on redesign at this moment, this is definitely something I'll consider for the future and see if I can work it into future projects. Again, thanks for the suggestion.

Hotrod wrote:
-Consider building the "Limitations" into the process of selecting proficiencies. Basically, if you want to take a proficiency, but you don't meet its requirements (insufficient prerequisites, wrong philosophy, et cetera), you pick up a specific limitation, and you list that limitation with the proficiency.

Interesting thought, but in this case I think I disagree. While I think that might help fulfill a personal vision/concept, one of my goals is to make it as easy to customize as possible. So I feel adding specific/required limitations could detract from enjoyment instead of add to it.

Now, if this were a balance issue (like linking more serious Limitations to more powerful Proficiencies), I'd be up for the concept of Lesser Limitations and Greater Limitations. Certain Proficiencies would then require a Greater Limitation to select without a skill cost, and/or Greater Limitations might act as 2 Lesser Limitations (so would be able to select 2 Procifiencies for just 1 limitation). I hadn't thought too much about the matter, but if I was going to do such a thing I think it would be closer to above.

Anyways, that's all for now. Still sick and sleepy, so I'm off for the night. Farewell and safe journeys to all.

_________________
Living the Fantasy (fan website)

Rifter #45; Of Bows & Arrows (Archery; expanding rules and abilities)
Rifter #52; From Ruins to Runes (Living Rune Weapons; playable characters and NPC)
Rifter #55; Home Away From Home (Quorian Culture; expanded from PF Book 9: Baalgor Wastelands)

Official PDF versions of Rifter #45, #52, and #55 can be found at DriveThruRPG.


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Unread postPosted: Thu Nov 14, 2019 12:32 pm
  

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Joined: Fri Apr 13, 2001 1:01 am
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Prysus wrote:
Blood Magic just felt the natural extension/counter (and, in my experience, sooner or later a player will wonder/ask about Blood Magic if it's not included in the game). War Mage and Litany of the Arcane are actually based on arguments people have on these forums ("Some people play mages like commandos who just pick up a gun to fight." "That's because magic is a tool and they're smart enough to use the right tool for the right job. Magic is great for a lot of things. Combat isn't one of them" "But mages are supposed to believe magic is always the answer no matter what." ... and so on). So, overall, probably the most fun I had making this material.

I very much liked how you tied philosophies to common approaches that players make.

Prysus wrote:
Hotrod wrote:
-Consider simply describing "Proficiencies" as "Skills" that are in their own "Magic" skill category. This seems to fit what you're going for without creating a new type of select-able character ability. It also enables characters to use O.C.C. Related skills to choose them without needing to spell that out.

Well, the reason for the term "Proficiencies" is actually due to the term used in Nightbane: Through the Glass Darkly. Some of the Proficiencies and Limitations are taken from there and/or Rifters (that expanded on the material with new proficiencies and limitations). This is also why I used the term "Archery Proficiencies" in my Rifter #45 article. In this case, I feel the term helps those already familiar with the material make an easy mental association. So while I'm not attached to the term, in this case I'm not looking to reinvent the wheel either.

Note: On the other hand, this suggestion did make me think of some Psychic Skills I did for a project. I'm now thinking if I reworked those into a similar format it may overall work better with some of the other material I did.

Not being very familiar with the Nightbane line of products or most of the Rifters, I can't speak to that. You could simply make the skill category "Magic Proficiencies" similar to the existing skill category of "Weapon Proficiencies" and specify that these categories are for magic-using O.C.C.'s and R.C.C.'s only.

Prysus wrote:
Hotrod wrote:
-Consider tying each philosophy to a particular existing optional skill that's related to that philosophy (Medical doctor for Blood Magic, Lore: Religion for Blessings of the Divine, et cetera). The philosophies won't be mutually exclusive, but it's quite possible to study and appreciate competing philosophies at the same time. Alternately, Consider making each philosophy a skill and adding a small intrinsic bonus for taking a philosophy (+1 P.P.E. base per level, +1 P.P.E. point recovery rate per level, et cetera), so they become more than just a prerequisite.

Interesting. Originally, I had bonuses tied to each of the Philosophies. I removed them at one point or another because ... I can't recall why. I think I had in my notes something like ... Ley Line Studies had a +2 to Save vs. Magic, Blood Magic had a +3 to Save vs. Pain (but I might replace that with a +1 to P.E. or something), Litany of the Arcane had +1D6 P.P.E., and War Mage had +1D6 S.D.C. (?). I wrote over the notes, so I forgot the exact numbers and bonuses, but I'm not opposed to adding something like that back in.


I'd honestly prefer either tying each magic philosophy to a non-magical technical/scholar/medical/science skill, myself. I rather like the notion that understanding lore and knowledge associated their magic philosophy allows them to develop magic proficiencies based on that philosophy.

Prysus wrote:
Hotrod wrote:
-Consider simplifying and consolidating the overall structure of the article by making each hand-to-hand skill a proficiency (maybe it costs more than one skill selection).
-I rather prefer to keep hand-to-hand combat skills relevant for magic users and keep them compatible with what you're presenting. Consider re-working the hand-to-hand skills and re-dubbing them "Magic Combat Disciplines." I suggest you keep their focus on magic rather than hand-to-hand, eliminating all hand-to-hand bonuses and magic proficiencies. In their place, consider putting in bonuses to save vs magic, bonuses to save vs getting interrupted when casting, bonuses to spell strength, bonuses to strike with spell magic, a "magic parry" and bonuses to it, bonus "magic actions" that allow more spells per melee, and other magic combat-specific bonuses. Special combat moves might include a strike that inflicts damage to anything regardless of its immunities, a "magic parry" skill, the ability to channel a spell's effects through a melee weapon (extending the range of "touch" and "radius" spells), the ability to channel a spell's effects through a missile weapon like a magic hand grenade, and/or the ability to reflect a spell or magic attack back at one's opponent.

I'd be hesitant to just make them Proficiencies. My original goal with this was to actually make it part of a much larger project (and I may still do so). Kind of a ... Ninjas & Superspies meets Palladium Fantasy. Creating many more options than just the basic four, and since these arts developed on a world with magic and psionics, some of these styles focus on those aspects. So instead of something like Tai Chi Chaun (with a focus on internal chi abilities), you end up with something like Spell Weaver.

Also, one of my personal goals is to help draw an additional line between Men of Arms and Practitioners of Magic. Sure, nothing is stopping the Wizard from learning HtH: Expert, but by doing so they are making a sacrifice to their spell casting abilities. Since this method fits my personal motivations as well as my goal of a PF version of N&S, I'm not sure I'd just get rid of those concepts. But, I'm not set in my ways either. I remain open to ideas and feedback, but just realize where I'm coming from so, that if you are to try and convince me, you may approach this from the right direction. Otherwise, I suspect we could just end up going in circles.


I agree 100% with your goal of drawing more of a line between fighters and mages. One thing that bugs me about the current divide between spell casters and men at arms is that a spell caster can take lots of skills to become a pretty darn good fighter without losing any opportunities to become a good spell-caster, while on the flipside, a man-at-arms who wants some supernatural ability is stuck with hoping they luck out and get major psionics, which cost him half of his "other" skills and halves his O.C.C. and O.C.C. Related Skill Bonuses. I really like that what you're doing here gives magic-users more incentive to focus their elective skill choices on non-combat skills.

I'm more ambivalent on taking a N&S approach of incorporating magic and special abilities with hand-to-hand skills. For something like a Warrior Monk, that seems quite appropriate. Otherwise, I'm less enthusiastic. That said, I do very much like the idea of skills designed to make magic more viable as a combat tool.

As a model of how you might approach this, consider some of what we see in the Avengers movies. The Maw is a fearsome combatant who never performs anything remotely like a hand-to-hand move; he just uses telekinesis and magic to deflect and strike with simple, relaxed gestures, all the while looking like a chilled-out boss. He may well have no hand-to-hand training whatsoever, but he wrecks everyone he encounters. He's a great example of a spell-caster with no hand-to-hand skill but superlative magic combat skill.

Then you have Scarlet Witch. She's more physical and mobile with her approach to combat, though she still winds up physically dodging stuff and getting her hands a bit dirty. You might model her as having great magic combat skill (which she prefers to use) and basic hand-to-hand skill (which she uses when she has to).

Loki is more of an even mix; he uses freaky magic and powerful hand-to-hand strikes. He might have Hand-to-Hand: Expert and a magic combat skill.

Finally, you have someone like Heimdall, who uses his magic for non-combat things and otherwise fights like a man-at-arms. He'd be an example of someone with no magic combat skill and lots of physical combat skills.

By separating magic combat skills from hand-to-hand skills, players of magic users would have to consider if they want to be a magic combat boss, a strong melee combatant, or a hybrid mix of the two. A mage player could also decide that combat just isn't their character's thing and focus their skills on developing more magic proficiencies to make their character that much more awesome at magic, depending on other party members to keep them safe.

Prysus wrote:
Hotrod wrote:
-Your approach seems mostly geared towards spell-casting incantations. Consider adding a hand-to-hand discipline, philosophy, and/or more proficiencies focused on ceremonial magic, wards, and circles.

You are absolutely correct! I realized this late in the design. I managed to add in Blessing of the Divine (for Priests) last minute. I believe the Elementalist proficiency was also added late game for this reason as well. I gave Wards and Circles some thought, but truth be told I don't know either very well. I decided if I tried to include them, I'd put the project on hold for months or maybe years before I got back to it (if ever) as I was stumped on how/what to do with them. In this case, I decided something was better than nothing.

But you are correct, they should be included. If someone has suggestions, I'm willing to listen. Alternately, one day I may return to this and make a renewed effort to be more inclusive.


Sure! Here's some spitballing ideas for you:

Magic Proficiency: Ritual Segmentation. The magic user is able to divide ceremonial magic (wards, circles, and/or ritual spells) up into multiple stages, so that rather than having to collect and use a the full amount of P.P.E. in a single ritual, he or she can put in P.P.E. and perform the ritual in two installments, as long as the entire ritual is complete within 24 hours. This allows a character to expend P.P.E., meditate, and expend it again. As this proficiency levels up, the character is able to break rituals up into more installments and take longer to perform the entire ritual.

Magic Proficiency: Component Substitution. The character is able to make wards, circles, and/or ritual spells with an alternate material if he or she lacks a key ingredient. The substituting material must be similar to the original in texture, appearance, and origin. If the required material comes from an animal, then the substitute material should be a similar body part of a similar animal. For example, a hydra tooth could be substituted with the tooth of another powerful supernatural creature, Faerie wings could be substituted with wings of another small supernatural creature, Gold can be substituted with copper or brass, silver can be substituted with nickel, and a precious stone could be substituted with a different precious stone. As this proficiency advances, the character can substitute more than one material in the same ritual.

Magic Proficiency: Sacrificial Power. The character can magnify the P.P.E. unleashed from a sacrificial death during magic rituals, tripling the P.P.E available at the time of death instead of doubling it. As this proficiency advances in level, this P.P.E. magnification grows.

Magic Proficiency: Sacrificial Anullment. The character can elect to merely wound a required sacrifice for a ritual rather than killing it outright. The P.P.E. cost of the ritual increases by the sacrifice's P.P.E. total. At higher levels, this proficiency allows the required sacrifice to merely be present and doesn't require wounding at all (merely the expenditure of double the sacrifice's P.P.E.).

Magic Proficiency: Controlled Experimentation: this proficiency allows the character to cancel an unsuccessful scroll conversion or deciphered magic circle attempt without suffering the normal consequences of failure. This requires a 1-hour ritual of preparation and 100 P.P.E., in addition to the requirements of the magic itself. As this proficiency advances, the preparation time and extra P.P.E. drop.

Magic Proficiency: Ritual Renewal. This proficiency allows the character to re-activate ritual magic at half the original P.P.E. cost. If the character is a diabolist, this allows the character to re-activate his or her expended wards without re-creating them.

Magic Proficiency: Ritual Anullment. This proficiency allows the character to perform a ritual that grants him/herself or someone else one extra opportunity to save vs a particular effect. Summoners can also perform this ritual as a circle to provide everyone inside the circle an additional chance to save with an additional +1. The anullment ritual requires the character to identify the effect that has been inflicted and paint mystic symbols on the person while chanting for five minutes, and it costs 20 P.P.E. As this proficiency advances, the ritual imparts bonuses to save vs the specific effect.

Should the divine proficiencies also apply to witches? I'm not sure; just a thought.

Prysus wrote:
Hotrod wrote:
-Consider eliminating the limitation on the number of proficiencies taken. Instead, consider adding or substituting other limitations on the more potent proficiencies besides level or philosophy category that encourage players to think strategically about the skills they take as they level up. For example, you could require the Cryptography skill at a certain level to get the Arcane Studies proficiency, the Art skill at a certain level to gain the "artistic" proficiency, some physical skills to gain "Casting Focus" proficiencies, the Ventriloquism skill at a certain proficiency to pick up the "dual casting" proficiency, et cetera. I'd keep basic, lower-powered proficiencies accessible with little to no prerequisites or philosophy levels. By tying potent proficiencies to developed skill thresholds, players would have to think strategically and ponder "do I blow an OCC related skill on a so-so proficiency now, or get a prerequisite skill for an awesome one in a few more levels? Or should I take take an existing skill a second time and make it a 'professional' level skill so that I can take this other awesome proficiency?" By locking away proficiencies behind such thresholds, you'll make advancement more interesting, and you won't need to set an arbitrary "you can't have more than XXX proficiencies" rule.

The quantity limitation I believe is from the Nightbane source on Sorcery Proficiencies. With that said, I'm not sold on that limitation. The skill prerequisites is definitely an interesting idea. I'd be up for trying it, but not with these ones (at this time). This is one of those things I think needs to be worked in from the ground up to work well. So, as I stated, I wanted feedback to see if it was worth doing for Men of Arms classes. If I do move forward with that project, this is definitely something I'll consider weaving into it at the very start (I promise nothing, as I'll have to see how the inspiration moves me). Appreciate the idea.


I'm not fammiliar with Nightbane, so I can't speak much for or against it. That said, limiting these according to skill proficiencies feels more organic, natural, and interesting to me than setting a simple "you can only have #" limitation.

I for one would love to see you create advanced combat proficiencies for men at arms classes.

Prysus wrote:
Hotrod wrote:
-Consider making proficiencies become more potent with level, similar to what you do with the "Magic Missile" proficiency.

Fair suggestion. Most of the Nightbane proficiencies are static like this, and I think this made me look at them as closer to Physical skills (typically static in utility). Magic Missile was designed with a W.P. in mind, hence the increase. While I'm not feeling up to a full on redesign at this moment, this is definitely something I'll consider for the future and see if I can work it into future projects. Again, thanks for the suggestion.


No worries. I generally prefer skills that develop with time (and I rather wish that physical skill bonuses came over time and not all at once, for that matter), but I can understand your reluctance to avoid a full redesign.

Prysus wrote:
Hotrod wrote:
-Consider building the "Limitations" into the process of selecting proficiencies. Basically, if you want to take a proficiency, but you don't meet its requirements (insufficient prerequisites, wrong philosophy, et cetera), you pick up a specific limitation, and you list that limitation with the proficiency.

Interesting thought, but in this case I think I disagree. While I think that might help fulfill a personal vision/concept, one of my goals is to make it as easy to customize as possible. So I feel adding specific/required limitations could detract from enjoyment instead of add to it.

Now, if this were a balance issue (like linking more serious Limitations to more powerful Proficiencies), I'd be up for the concept of Lesser Limitations and Greater Limitations. Certain Proficiencies would then require a Greater Limitation to select without a skill cost, and/or Greater Limitations might act as 2 Lesser Limitations (so would be able to select 2 Procifiencies for just 1 limitation). I hadn't thought too much about the matter, but if I was going to do such a thing I think it would be closer to above.


I understand your desire for greater flexibility. I think your idea for lesser and greater limitations is excellent. I like the idea of limitations coming with proficiencies that either aren't properly earned (didn't spend an OCC Related skill on it) or that they weren't prepared for (didn't fulfill the prerequisites). In this way, you could have a young, over-eager mage try to grab too much power too soon and suffer some serious consequences as a result, which is a classic fantasy trope.

_________________
Hotrod
Bizantium and the Northern Isles, p65 map
Arenas of Atlantis, Rifter 69
Check out my maps here!
Also, check out my Instant NPC Generators!


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Unread postPosted: Fri Nov 15, 2019 6:47 pm
  

User avatar
Champion

Joined: Mon May 03, 2004 7:48 pm
Posts: 2517
Location: Boise, ID (US)
Hotrod wrote:
I'd honestly prefer either tying each magic philosophy to a non-magical technical/scholar/medical/science skill, myself. I rather like the notion that understanding lore and knowledge associated their magic philosophy allows them to develop magic proficiencies based on that philosophy.

Greetings and Salutations. Hmm ... the way you word it here does make it sound a more interesting option. I'll give it some thought.

Hotrod wrote:
I agree 100% with your goal of drawing more of a line between fighters and mages. One thing that bugs me about the current divide between spell casters and men at arms is that a spell caster can take lots of skills to become a pretty darn good fighter without losing any opportunities to become a good spell-caster, while on the flipside, a man-at-arms who wants some supernatural ability is stuck with hoping they luck out and get major psionics, which cost him half of his "other" skills and halves his O.C.C. and O.C.C. Related Skill Bonuses. I really like that what you're doing here gives magic-users more incentive to focus their elective skill choices on non-combat skills.

I'm more ambivalent on taking a N&S approach of incorporating magic and special abilities with hand-to-hand skills. For something like a Warrior Monk, that seems quite appropriate. Otherwise, I'm less enthusiastic. That said, I do very much like the idea of skills designed to make magic more viable as a combat tool.

Well, I shouldn't say solely N&S. I suppose a part of this concept came about as one of the things I hear people liked the most about PF 1st Edition were the hand to hand styles unique to each O.C.C. However, that's now how 2nd Edition is setup anymore, and I don't want to simply move backwards. To make it the most use to various people, I don't want to just rewrite the system. That means building on what's already there.

So, to me, that means going with a bit more of a N&S setup. I say that in the concept of a variety of hand to hand styles, some with special focuses. In this case, there are three styles that focus on arcane development. The styles in N&S also let you better customize the character by selecting Martial Art Powers as you level up (or, in this case, Sorcery Proficiencies). Now, if you disliked the unique Hand to Hand styles from 1st Edition and think the standard four Hand to Hand styles are the best in 2nd Edition, then I'll agree my version may not work well for you, but it wasn't written/designed with you in mind. If you think the unique Hand to Hand from 1st Edition were interesting and the standard four from 2nd Edition are bland, then maybe we can try to figure out our disconnect or why you feel the ones I wrote fail in this regard.

On the plus side, one of the points of the way I designed it was that you can remove parts you don't like and still have the remainder work just fine. Removing the three hand to hand styles I wrote won't hurt someone who likes the 2nd Edition combat while still being able to use the Sorcery Proficiencies without issue.

Hotrod wrote:
As a model of how you might approach this, consider some of what we see in the Avengers movies. The Maw is a fearsome combatant who never performs anything remotely like a hand-to-hand move; he just uses telekinesis and magic to deflect and strike with simple, relaxed gestures, all the while looking like a chilled-out boss. He may well have no hand-to-hand training whatsoever, but he wrecks everyone he encounters. He's a great example of a spell-caster with no hand-to-hand skill but superlative magic combat skill.

Then you have Scarlet Witch. She's more physical and mobile with her approach to combat, though she still winds up physically dodging stuff and getting her hands a bit dirty. You might model her as having great magic combat skill (which she prefers to use) and basic hand-to-hand skill (which she uses when she has to).

Loki is more of an even mix; he uses freaky magic and powerful hand-to-hand strikes. He might have Hand-to-Hand: Expert and a magic combat skill.

Finally, you have someone like Heimdall, who uses his magic for non-combat things and otherwise fights like a man-at-arms. He'd be an example of someone with no magic combat skill and lots of physical combat skills.

By separating magic combat skills from hand-to-hand skills, players of magic users would have to consider if they want to be a magic combat boss, a strong melee combatant, or a hybrid mix of the two. A mage player could also decide that combat just isn't their character's thing and focus their skills on developing more magic proficiencies to make their character that much more awesome at magic, depending on other party members to keep them safe.

I feel like we have the same end goal, but our visions of how to achieve that goal are drastically different, and I can't quite figure out where we're veering off.

So let's look at your Avengers examples above. To me, I'd view the Maw as a great example of HtH: Spell Weaver. Great mystical power, and if you ended up forcing him into a physical confrontation somehow, you'd probably stomp him into the floor. Spell Weaver has minimal attacks per melee, no automatic parry, and few combat bonuses (with no dodge/parry bonuses). This character cannot compete in physical hand to hand in almost any way.

Scarlet Witch, for me, would be a good example of Circle of the Arcane. Minimal combat training for when absolutely necessary, but usually going to just smack something down with overwhelming magical power. You have automatic parry, minimal combat bonuses (with a few defensive bonuses), and better Attacks per Melee than nothing (but not your standard combatant either). However, you don't see her running around using martial arts kicks (that I can recall).

Loki is representative of Spell Slinger. He's a good mix, but he's not going to compete with the dedicated physical combatants in melee combat and he's not going to compete mystically with the dedicated magic users.

Then, as you said, Heimdall takes the standard four Hand to Hand to focus more on physical combat. He still has magic, but uses it mostly outside of combat because he hasn't put enough skill into it.

See, to me, by making mystical Hand to Hand styles, it makes a player "consider if they want to be a magic combat boss, a strong melee combatant, or a hybrid mix of the two." Meanwhile, by having them separate, there's nothing preventing the Wizard (and almost every player in my experience will do this) from spending 1 or 2 skills to learn Hand to Hand Basic or Expert (they can't, by the book, get higher than that), because lack of Hand to Hand means lack of Attacks per Melee (and no automatic parry, which is extra costly without only 1 attack), and most players won't risk that. Also, just one or two skills tend to not be that big of a deal. Heck, Warlocks start with Hand to Hand Basic by default. And here's a big thing. In Palladium, Attacks per Melee are directly related to your Hand to Hand. So let's look at RUE (and I know I'm in PF, but RUE gives a good view of where the PF line is likely to head if they ever update it). No HtH means 1 attack per melee, while any HtH provides 3 to 4 Attacks, plus more as you level. This directly affects Spell Casters, who have their spells linked to their Attacks. So a Ley Line Wizard with no hand to hand can cast only 1 spell (and if someone attacks you either can't parry, or if you do you can no longer cast any spells at all), while a Ley Line Wizard with Basic (which is default by the way) can cast 4 spells at level 1, and only gets better.

Half the Psychic classes and ALL Clergy have Hand to Hand: Basic (or Martial Arts for the Warrior Monk) by default. Hand to Hand skills are readily available and cheap enough that you'd have to be intentionally shoot yourself in the foot to not have at least Basic. By making the current Hand to Hand styles separate from Hand to Hand, basically you get The Maw with HtH: Expert, and Scarlet Witch with HtH: Expert, and Loki with HtH: Expert, and Heimdall with HtH: Expert. By having Circle of the Arcane and Spell Weaver as Hand to Hand options, the player must make a choice. In my opinion by having them as a skill that can be added on top of Hand to Hand options, you make it very much NOT a choice. No Hand to Hand, Hand to Hand: Basic, or Hand to Hand: Basic PLUS Spell Weaver isn't a hard choice. Why NOT take everything? But, Hand to Hand: Expert OR Hand to Hand: Spell Weaver because you literally cannot take both is more of a choice (to me).

Hotrod wrote:
Sure! Here's some spitballing ideas for you:

Some great ideas there! Thanks.

Hotrod wrote:
Should the divine proficiencies also apply to witches? I'm not sure; just a thought.

Someone could do that, though I'd think no. I don't actually like having Proficiencies for Witches. Proficiencies tend to be training, and Witches are stated to be usually uneducated and taking the pact as a quick grab for power. Having them learn Proficiencies feels against the concept of the class. However, I'm not opposed to the idea, if someone wants to make a case for them.

Hotrod wrote:
No worries. I generally prefer skills that develop with time (and I rather wish that physical skill bonuses came over time and not all at once, for that matter), but I can understand your reluctance to avoid a full redesign.

And I agree. As a player, and designer, I like skills and abilities that develop over time as well as a general rule.

Hotrod wrote:
I understand your desire for greater flexibility. I think your idea for lesser and greater limitations is excellent. I like the idea of limitations coming with proficiencies that either aren't properly earned (didn't spend an OCC Related skill on it) or that they weren't prepared for (didn't fulfill the prerequisites). In this way, you could have a young, over-eager mage try to grab too much power too soon and suffer some serious consequences as a result, which is a classic fantasy trope.

That example is amazing and has convinced me that I want to see this become a thing! I'm not sure when I'll get around to working on this again (because I'm more likely to work on Men of Arms before returning to this), but example has sold me on this concept.

All right, that's all for now. Farewell and safe journeys.

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Unread postPosted: Mon Nov 18, 2019 4:35 pm
  

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My preference is to abandon the Ninjas & Superspies model of granting proficiencies as magic hand-to-hand skills advance. Instead, I would encourage you to make magic combat skills into their own category of magic proficiency skills, rather than having them grant magic proficiencies.

In lieu of your playstyle-centric hand-to-hand: magic skills, I prefer a implement three or four magic combat skills.

Here's another way you might do it:

Characters with NO magic combat skill cannot cast spells while engaged in melee combat. If they start attacking, they can't cast a spell until the next melee round. If someone attacks them and forces them to defend themselves with parries, dodges, et cetera, they cannot cast a spell until the next melee round. If they get hit, they must roll to save vs the damage or they cannot cast spells until the next melee round. They also cannot cast spells while walking, running, riding a horse, or performing other activities that require some concentration. These characters require total concentration without distractions to perform magic.

Basic Magic Combat: This skill enables a magic user to freely engage in hand-to-hand combat and cast spells in the same melee round and begin casting after being interrupted in the same round. Spells cost the normal number of actions, and multiple-action spells can be interrupted as normal. However, magic users with this spell can also engage in other free actions while invoking magic. A wizard with Basic Magic Combat and Hand-to-Hand: Basic can do physical automatic parries attacks while casting a spell. That wizard can also cast spells while walking, running, riding a horse, or doing other actions that do not require the use of a melee action, as long as that activity allows them to speak the appropriate invocation.

Hybrid Magic Combat:
Requires Basic Magic Combat. Enables a magic user to cast spells while simultaneously performing other actions in melee combat.
At level 1, the character can attack and cast single-action spells (normally levels 1-5) while fighting, but the caster can only cast spells on him/herself, his/her immediate opponent/target, or area of effect spells centered on him/herself. He/she cannot physically strike one target and cast magic against another at the same time. Also, any reactive moves interrupt the caster's concentration, so the character can't cast while dodging, or rolling with impact.
At level 3, the character can extend the range of his or her "touch" spells through hand-held melee weapons (sword, staff, spear, et cetera), effectively using that weapon as an extension of the caster's body.
At level 5, the character can perform longer incantations requiring two actions while performing other melee attacks.
At level 8, the character can now physically attack one opponent and magically attack another at the same time.
At level 12, the character can dodge and roll with punch/fall/impact without being interrupted.

Advanced Magic Combat: Requires Basic Magic Combat and includes the Telekinesis spell. In addition to the capabilities of Basic Magic Combat, this skill enables a spell caster to spend actions in combat to "counter-cast." A "counter-cast" spell magically defends the spell caster against direct attacks. When attacked, a character with this skill can spend his or her next melee action and cast a single-action spell (normally level 1-5). Roll a D20: if tied or greater than the roll to strike, then the spell activates in time and the spell affects the strike. If the defending mage rolls less than the roll to strike, then the attack lands and interrupts the defensive spell. The spell must be able to physically stop the attack or render it impotent: a cloud of slumber won't stop a thrown rock, but Armor of Ithan, Weightlessness, or Telekinesis will. Extinguish flame or Impervious to Fire will stop a magic fire-based attack. Carpet of Adhesion will stop a charge attack. Note: Counter-Casting while casting other magic spells isn't possible and will interrupt any other ritual or invocation the magic user is casting.

Advanced Magic Combat puts particular focus on developing proficiency with Telekinesis in combat. In addition to the bonuses listed with the spell, the character gains an additional +1 to strike and parry with Telekinesis at levels 1, 3, 6, 9, 12, and 15, and can move/manipulate an additional 10 lbs per level of experience.

Elite Magic Combat: Requires Expert Magic Combat and includes the Negate Magic spell. In addition to the capabilities of Expert Magic Combat, this skill enables the spell caster to counter-cast spells attacking other people nearby at the cost of their next melee action. When directly attacked, the character can counter-cast Telekinesis or Negate Magic as a magical automatic parry. If Telekinesis is already activated, the character can simply automatically parry attacks with the usual bonuses.

Characters with this skill can perform the Negate Magic incantation (not ritual) for only 15 P.P.E. for this character, and its spell strength gains +1 at levels 2, 5, 8, and 12.


-------------------------------------------------------------------------
So let's apply this to a notional Wizard we roll up. Let's call him "Bob."

Bob gets the usual Wizard O.C.C. skills and abilities. He also gets 8 O.C.C. Related Skills.

If Bob wants to be a melee fighter who doesn't care for direct violence, he can do this by taking Hand-to-Hand: Expert (2 skills) and six physical skills or weapon proficiencies. He'll be pretty good, maybe a bit better than a normal man-at-arms who doesn't optimize skill selection.

If Bob wants to be a pure caster who prefers leaving combat to his simpleton bodyguards, he can spend his 8 O.C.C. skills on Magic Proficiency skills and prerequisites for Magic Proficiency skills. That's a lot of magic power and skill that come at the cost of requiring a lot of protection from accommodating teammates.

If Bob wants to be a pure caster who can use magic to fight like a boss without exerting himself, he can spend three skills on Magic Combat: Basic, Advanced, and Elite. Now he can attack and auto-parry with Telekinesis, negate enemy magic, and defeat foes without any physical effort or messy hand-to-hand training. He'll be particularly effective in fighting/dueling other magical threats. He has five O.C.C. skills left he can spend on Magic Proficiencies and prerequisites.

If Bob wants to be a magic/melee powerhouse, he can take Hand-to-Hand: Expert and Magic Combat: Basic and Hybrid, along with maybe one or two more weapon proficiencies. He'll do massive damage to foes. However, he'll have only two or three O.C.C. skills to use toward Magic Proficiencies.

If Bob wants to dominate melee and magic combatants, That is possible. He could spend two skills to get Hand-to-Hand: Expert and select all four Magic Combat skills, along with maybe an extra physical skill and one more weapon proficiency. Now he can protect himself and attack with both magic and melee, but he has no magic proficiencies at all.

Any way you cut it, though, Bob's player has a ton of flexibility in this character's creation. There's no dogmatic path (unlike the rigid structure of N&S Hand-to-Hand forms) and every choice has its benefits and trade-offs. Bob could be any of the above very-specialized extremes, or Bob could be a more balanced character. This approach uses the existing O.C.C. related skill limit as a practical constraint that forces players to make interesting choices about who Bob is and how Bob approaches life and conflict.

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Unread postPosted: Mon Nov 18, 2019 7:40 pm
  

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Comment: Kill it with Fire.
It would make up some pretty cool characters indeed, but would have a good chance of being abused with everyone being a fighter/mage . I once, a very long time ago let my characters play pretty much anything they wanted and most of the party wanted to be a zanji swordsman (first ed so they were going to try and be psionic swordsman), They didn't care about not being able to communicate, find food and have skills to earn money. They thought that if they could live past the first couple of levels the fighting skill was worth any negative the book threw at you. I think this would be pretty similar.

But the idea is entirely cool and im going to run with a version of it.


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Unread postPosted: Mon Nov 18, 2019 8:45 pm
  

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I agree that many players would try to optimize their characters toward combat or power rather than skills, which is part of why I think it would be important to have skill prerequisites for the most potent magic proficiencies, to reward players who plan ahead a bit and don't grab all the immediate power gains they can get.

The problem of over-specialization and a lack of other basic skills is, in my experience, quite common among men-at-arms, whose players tend to focus on physical skills, upgrading hand-to-hand skills, and weapon proficiencies. This is also true of magic users as written; many magic character players use their O.C.C. skills to focus on physical combat rather than other, practical skills.

Anyway, I'm not saying that my take on magic combat skills is ideal or balanced; this was more of a concept demonstration of how to make magic combat skills in a way that keeps conventional hand-to-hand skills viable, but not essential for magic users.

I'd also love to see melee characters and melee combat equipment/choices more interesting and more powerful; I took a stab (no pun intended) at this not too long ago.

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Unread postPosted: Mon Nov 18, 2019 9:10 pm
  

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Hotrod wrote:
Any way you cut it, though, Bob's player has a ton of flexibility in this character's creation. There's no dogmatic path (unlike the rigid structure of N&S Hand-to-Hand forms) and every choice has its benefits and trade-offs. Bob could be any of the above very-specialized extremes, or Bob could be a more balanced character. This approach uses the existing O.C.C. related skill limit as a practical constraint that forces players to make interesting choices about who Bob is and how Bob approaches life and conflict.

Greetings and Salutations. I think at this point I'll agree to disagree. I look at your version and see that you want a Wizard who is equal in physical combat to the melee fighter AND better telekinetics than psychics AND a Nega-Psychic AND still has room for additional Magic Proficiencies (by the way, he can still take his Physical and/or W.P. as Secondary Skills). You call them Proficiencies, except when you try to sell taking them off as a loss of ability to have Proficiencies. This comes off very much (to me) as power without any real price. I find that type of build to be boring.

Hotrod wrote:
Anyway, I'm not saying that my take on magic combat skills is ideal or balanced; this was more of a concept demonstration of how to make magic combat skills in a way that keeps conventional hand-to-hand skills viable, but not essential for magic users.

And this is another place I'll disagree, because the way Palladium works. Attacks per Melee are directly related to Hand to Hand skills. So if you're using a level 1 or 2 spell, or your G.M. uses the rules from RUE, or if you implement the "Spell Casting" Proficiencies I wrote, taking a hand to hand will make you 4 times better at spell casting! So if "Bob" does NOT take a Hand to Hand, he'll probably lose any contest (no matter how many proficiencies he can take) for the mere fact opponents with Hand to Hand will literally be able to run circles around him. Quality is important, but quantity (especially 4 to 1, with minimal difference in capability) shouldn't be overlooked.

TL:DR Almost any version of Bob with Hand to Hand will beat almost any version of Bob without a Hand to Hand, because Hand to Hand is that essential within the Palladium system. Farewell and safe journeys to all.

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Unread postPosted: Mon Nov 18, 2019 9:16 pm
  

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kiralon wrote:
It would make up some pretty cool characters indeed, but would have a good chance of being abused with everyone being a fighter/mage .
[snip]
I think this would be pretty similar.

But the idea is entirely cool and im going to run with a version of it.

Greetings and Salutations. If this is directed at my version, I can definitely see the potential, and by no means do I think the above is perfect (otherwise I wouldn't be asking for feedback, even if I don't agree with everyone's stance). With that said, can you think of any good ways to limit said abuse? I'd be greatly interested to thoughts on the matter. Farewell and safe journeys.

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Unread postPosted: Mon Nov 18, 2019 9:52 pm
  

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Comment: Kill it with Fire.
They are all good ideas that should/could have been brought into the game earlier, but they are just bonuses really, but the negatives are good but not really implemented (as this is a work in progress).

Im going to test it with some of the bad things in the combat table (i.e at 3 the spell weaver gets +1 spell attack, ill also make a random roll on the sorcerous limitations 'table', so there can be some downsides as well and scatter them through the combat tables, but the bad sides can be either mitigated by herb use, magic or the expenditure of xp.
I think it will be fun to try at least, and the background is good and I can tie certain things to certain places magic guilds for example.


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Unread postPosted: Mon Nov 18, 2019 10:49 pm
  

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Prysus wrote:
Hotrod wrote:
Any way you cut it, though, Bob's player has a ton of flexibility in this character's creation. There's no dogmatic path (unlike the rigid structure of N&S Hand-to-Hand forms) and every choice has its benefits and trade-offs. Bob could be any of the above very-specialized extremes, or Bob could be a more balanced character. This approach uses the existing O.C.C. related skill limit as a practical constraint that forces players to make interesting choices about who Bob is and how Bob approaches life and conflict.

Greetings and Salutations. I think at this point I'll agree to disagree. I look at your version and see that you want a Wizard who is equal in physical combat to the melee fighter AND better telekinetics than psychics AND a Nega-Psychic AND still has room for additional Magic Proficiencies (by the way, he can still take his Physical and/or W.P. as Secondary Skills). You call them Proficiencies, except when you try to sell taking them off as a loss of ability to have Proficiencies. This comes off very much (to me) as power without any real price. I find that type of build to be boring.

Hotrod wrote:
Anyway, I'm not saying that my take on magic combat skills is ideal or balanced; this was more of a concept demonstration of how to make magic combat skills in a way that keeps conventional hand-to-hand skills viable, but not essential for magic users.

And this is another place I'll disagree, because the way Palladium works. Attacks per Melee are directly related to Hand to Hand skills. So if you're using a level 1 or 2 spell, or your G.M. uses the rules from RUE, or if you implement the "Spell Casting" Proficiencies I wrote, taking a hand to hand will make you 4 times better at spell casting! So if "Bob" does NOT take a Hand to Hand, he'll probably lose any contest (no matter how many proficiencies he can take) for the mere fact opponents with Hand to Hand will literally be able to run circles around him. Quality is important, but quantity (especially 4 to 1, with minimal difference in capability) shouldn't be overlooked.

TL:DR Almost any version of Bob with Hand to Hand will beat almost any version of Bob without a Hand to Hand, because Hand to Hand is that essential within the Palladium system. Farewell and safe journeys to all.


Agreed, agreed, and agreed. Perhaps I went a bit too far down the rabbit hole on this. I was trying to point out that you don't need an "in lieu of conventional hand-to-hand" combat skill for magic, but could instead develop them as separate or complementary to existing hand-to-hand skills. The hand-to-hand skills you present seem strongly reminiscent of Ninjas and Superspies, and those kinds of deep hand-to-hand skills seem out of place to me in Palladium Fantasy (except possibly with the Warrior Monk). I prefer to keep magic users more flexible.

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Unread postPosted: Tue Nov 19, 2019 12:46 am
  

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Hotrod wrote:
I was trying to point out that you don't need an "in lieu of conventional hand-to-hand" combat skill for magic, but could instead develop them as separate or complementary to existing hand-to-hand skills. The hand-to-hand skills you present seem strongly reminiscent of Ninjas and Superspies, and those kinds of deep hand-to-hand skills seem out of place to me in Palladium Fantasy (except possibly with the Warrior Monk). I prefer to keep magic users more flexible.

Greetings and Salutations. Okay, and I'll try to take a step back as well, just in case I am too defensive. So I'll start a few statements. If you think any are incorrect, let me know, but I think they're fairly accurate. Note: These statements and questions are not for Hotrod alone. If anyone else is following and would like to provide their input, please do.

1: One of the things I've seen often on these boards is that one of the big pluses to PF1 was the variety of Hand to Hand based on each class.
2: Some of the bonuses from the various PF1 Hand to Hand have been worked into O.C.C. bonuses in PF2.
3: Due to #2, a direct conversion of the PF1 Hand to Hand may not work well, and different bonuses would need to be developed.

Now I'll ask a few questions.

4: Do you dislike the idea of more Hand to Hand? Note: If the answer is "Yes," you don't want to see any new Hand to Hand in any shape or form, then you can probably stop here as we are likely not going to see eye to eye.
5: If you're not opposed to new Hand to Hand options, is there something that can be done to make the Hand to Hand options I presented more to your liking?
5a: Is there very presence and concept the problem?
5b: Would removing the Sorcery Proficiencies as you level make them better?
5c: Is it because this is only presented (at present) for magic users and not any other class?
5d: Is there there something else that can be done for a better feel?

As an individual, when I create I try to build on what already exists. As such, I have no personal intention to undo the standard four Hand to Hand for PF, Rifts, and other game lines in my work. On the other hand, I do enjoy a variety of Hand to Hand. This is a personal preference, as well as I'd like to increase the appeal to those in #1 above.

I also believe that Hand to Hand is too essential to characters due to Attacks Per Melee that nearly every player (every single player in my personal experience) will be sure to have some version, even if they don't want a melee fighter. Note: Also many of the classes start with some form of Hand to Hand anyways.

So what I wanted to do is create a Hand to Hand that provides essential tools such as additional Attacks Per Melee (and typically auto-parry) so the characters aren't totally defenseless, make the Hand to Hand appealing enough that players would want to select it, while also not focusing on melee combat. I like the idea that a magic user might have to sacrifice physical combat prowess for becoming a better magic user. To me, this provides a trade-off and I like that idea, they lose in one area while gaining another. Note: Nothing will stop them from using any of the available standard four Hand to Hand.

Whatever method I use for magic users will also likely be applied to the Men of Arms when I get to it. So, in the end, the various classes will have a similar feel to them, even if not the same capabilities.

While I'm feeling rather confident I'd like to go down the path I'm on with some form of Hand to Hand options, I'm not attached to the current form of Hand to Hand as I presented them. If I were, I probably wouldn't be having this conversation. I kind of get the impression you're not opposed to more Hand to Hand forms as a general rule, but you don't like the way I did these ones. So if it's simply the execution, then I'm trying to figure out what can be done to make this work better.

Though I'm tired, and starting to struggle more and more to put my thoughts into words. I thank everyone for their time. Farewell and safe journeys.

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Unread postPosted: Tue Nov 19, 2019 1:27 am
  

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Comment: Kill it with Fire.
I know not aimed at me but

4 no, hth's for the different classes for second ed would be good, because all level 5 soldiers, rangers, thieves, priests longbowman etc with 12 pp, ps and pe fight exactly the same way if they have taken hth expert across the world, and that's just boring.
5 who knows.
5a no
5b I think that higher level powers should be behind a level wall, Lvl 1 characters are just that, beginners, not yoda level users of the Schwartz
5c would be cool to be done for the other classes
5d good idea, time for testing and tweaking, but sometimes things that work out well in your head don't on paper, and sometimes they are better, so testing and tweaking.


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Unread postPosted: Tue Nov 19, 2019 5:33 pm
  

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On your opening statements, I think that the increased variety of hand-to-hand skills was one of the big pluses of 1st Edition's design, but it had one great drawback: the class-exclusive nature of 1st Edition hand-to-hand skills tied O.C.C.'s to specific fighting styles. I think that one of 2nd Edition's less-popular design choices was making hand-to-hand a tiered, generic, and universal set of four skills. I also think that tying Hand-to-Hand: Assassin to evil alignments is silly, but that's a separate issue.


Prysus wrote:
4: Do you dislike the idea of more Hand to Hand? Note: If the answer is "Yes," you don't want to see any new Hand to Hand in any shape or form, then you can probably stop here as we are likely not going to see eye to eye.

I like the idea of more hand to hand choices. Hand-to-hand: Gladiator and Hand-to-Hand: Evasion were somewhat-flawed steps in the right direction; I dislike that both of them are class-exclusive, but I like that they present more options.
Prysus wrote:
5: If you're not opposed to new Hand to Hand options, is there something that can be done to make the Hand to Hand options I presented more to your liking?

Yes. I would prefer that you keep hand-to-hand skills as hand-to-hand skills and remove the magic components, so that anyone might find them to be viable approaches to combat. Additionally, I'd prefer that you develop magic combat skills that work with hand-to-hand skills.
Prysus wrote:
5a: Is there very presence and concept the problem?

Their presence, no. Their concepts, kind of? I think "problem" is too strong of a word; I'd just prefer a different approach.
Prysus wrote:
5b: Would removing the Sorcery Proficiencies as you level make them better?

That would go a long way towards assuaging my concerns, yes. I have a feeling of thematic dissonance with the idea that fantasy wizards will get better at using magic (including nonviolent magic) by learning magic-focused hand-to-hand. I'd rather have a hand-to-hand skill/style that partners well with magic and/or psionics, but isn't necessarily tied to them, such that a scholar or artisan might also take it.
Prysus wrote:
5c: Is it because this is only presented (at present) for magic users and not any other class?

No. Although I'd like to see more developmental options and interesting choices for men-at-arms and adventurer classes, your focus on making magic combat more interesting is a very good thing that I'd like to see published.
Prysus wrote:
5d: Is there there something else that can be done for a better feel?

I'd encourage you to tie magic combat development in as a skill. Just as weapon proficiencies enhance and work with hand-to-hand skills, I'd encourage you to make magic combat proficiencies that enhance and work with hand-to-hand skills. Adding new hand-to-hand skills is fine, I'd just prefer that they be focused on a playstyle of hand-to-hand combat.

Prysus wrote:
As an individual, when I create I try to build on what already exists. As such, I have no personal intention to undo the standard four Hand to Hand for PF, Rifts, and other game lines in my work. On the other hand, I do enjoy a variety of Hand to Hand. This is a personal preference, as well as I'd like to increase the appeal to those in #1 above.

I also believe that Hand to Hand is too essential to characters due to Attacks Per Melee that nearly every player (every single player in my personal experience) will be sure to have some version, even if they don't want a melee fighter. Note: Also many of the classes start with some form of Hand to Hand anyways.

So what I wanted to do is create a Hand to Hand that provides essential tools such as additional Attacks Per Melee (and typically auto-parry) so the characters aren't totally defenseless, make the Hand to Hand appealing enough that players would want to select it, while also not focusing on melee combat. I like the idea that a magic user might have to sacrifice physical combat prowess for becoming a better magic user. To me, this provides a trade-off and I like that idea, they lose in one area while gaining another. Note: Nothing will stop them from using any of the available standard four Hand to Hand.

Whatever method I use for magic users will also likely be applied to the Men of Arms when I get to it. So, in the end, the various classes will have a similar feel to them, even if not the same capabilities.

While I'm feeling rather confident I'd like to go down the path I'm on with some form of Hand to Hand options, I'm not attached to the current form of Hand to Hand as I presented them. If I were, I probably wouldn't be having this conversation. I kind of get the impression you're not opposed to more Hand to Hand forms as a general rule, but you don't like the way I did these ones. So if it's simply the execution, then I'm trying to figure out what can be done to make this work better.

I have a lot of respect for your approach to creating new content; I took a similar approach in my own house rules to make melee combat and equipment choices more interesting. While I agree that 2nd Edition's hand-to-hand options seem overly generic, and while I do like hand-to-hand skills built for specific styles of combat, I'd say that hand-to-hand: Assassin offers a better approach. Lots of classes can take it, and it's great for a style that focuses on aggression and killing more than staying alive.

If you want hand-to-hand skills that work well with magic, you might consider these:

+Make Hand-to-Hand: Evasion available to others, especially psychics and magic-users, as an Expert-tier skill (costs 2 skill selections). Keeping this defensive hand-to-hand exclusive to Monk Scholars seems silly to me, as it's perfectly suited to magic users and/or psychics who prefer not to strike with their hands/feet.

+Create Hand-to-hand: Archer
An Expert-tier skill that also requires an archery skill or other missile-fighting capability (knives, spears, slings, psionics, or magic), his skill focuses on using bows and crossbows in close combat, providing bonuses to parry/dodge, lots of attacks, little to no melee strike/damage bonuses, and perhaps a few short-range special attack options. Think Legolas in the first Lord of the Rings movie before Peter Jackson started making him stupidly cheesy. Archers in hand-to-hand with this skill use their attacks per melee in lieu of their rate of fire, which can only be used outside of melee combat. This would also be popular with combat-centric magic-users and psychics who like to fling magic missile attacks at their enemies in close combat.

+Create Hand-to-hand: Bounty Hunter
An Expert-tier skill that focuses on subduing opponents by disabling and knocking out opponents over outright killing them. Puts an emphasis on knockout/stuns, holds, entanglements, and knockdown attacks. Popular with slavers, law enforcement, bounty hunters, it's also popular with some magic users and psionics who like to use shor-range or touch-range powers.

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Last edited by Hotrod on Mon Dec 02, 2019 11:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Unread postPosted: Mon Dec 02, 2019 9:42 pm
  

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kiralon wrote:
I know not aimed at me but

Greetings and Salutations. Nonsense. The questions were really for anyone following. I'm looking for as much feedback as possible. While I'm more than willing to discuss the details with a single person to gather ideas, the project is for the community as a whole. So tailoring it to one person's goals and ignoring everyone else's would be silly of me. I appreciate your participation, and would welcome feedback from any others as well.

kiralon wrote:
4 no, hth's for the different classes for second ed would be good, because all level 5 soldiers, rangers, thieves, priests longbowman etc with 12 pp, ps and pe fight exactly the same way if they have taken hth expert across the world, and that's just boring.
5 who knows.
5a no
5b I think that higher level powers should be behind a level wall, Lvl 1 characters are just that, beginners, not yoda level users of the Schwartz
5c would be cool to be done for the other classes
5d good idea, time for testing and tweaking, but sometimes things that work out well in your head don't on paper, and sometimes they are better, so testing and tweaking.

Well, I'll be taking a brief break from the project. I'm starting two new real life campaigns. 1 is PF with some new players (no RPG experience of any system), so I intend to start them with PF basic before moving them onto more advanced things like these hand to hand options.*

* - Well, actually, one of them really wanted to do some archery, so I allowed them to use the material from Rifter #45, and she ended really wanting to play a Psi-Archer with Archery Proficiencies and Hand to Hand: Bow Combat. So while I won't have them working on the magic option, I'll get to see how a different version of it (the archery version) works out.

The other campaign will have a player that's familiar with role-playing, but new to Palladium. She also tends to forget things like her bonuses. So I decided I'd make an Excel Character Sheet for the campaign. However, it's a homebrewed setting with elements from several games, so I'll basically be doing a lot of new data entry that might take a few months. Whenever I take a break from the data entry, I have a few other projects I'm starting (I want to test out writing adventures and have a few ideas of how to proceed, and the other I won't discuss until I know it's going to happen).

When I do finish the heavy front load of those projects, I want to return to this one (considering I'm not totally burned out). The hand to hand project is a major passion of mine, and one I've toyed with on and off for over a decade now. So if I'm still alive and kicking, I have every intention of coming back to this and hope to have some more work done on it within the year. Thanks for you time and input. Farewell and safe journeys.

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Rifter #45; Of Bows & Arrows (Archery; expanding rules and abilities)
Rifter #52; From Ruins to Runes (Living Rune Weapons; playable characters and NPC)
Rifter #55; Home Away From Home (Quorian Culture; expanded from PF Book 9: Baalgor Wastelands)

Official PDF versions of Rifter #45, #52, and #55 can be found at DriveThruRPG.


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Unread postPosted: Tue Dec 03, 2019 12:08 am
  

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Comment: Kill it with Fire.
2 new campaigns to start, that's pretty cool, hope you all enjoy them. I find teaching beginners the wonders of rpg quite fun.

And as I have a character in the current game that im working up to archmagi im giving him a run at the new sorcerous skills :)
ill tell you how they go and if they hit any issues.


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Unread postPosted: Tue Dec 03, 2019 1:01 am
  

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Hotrod wrote:
Prysus wrote:
4: Do you dislike the idea of more Hand to Hand? Note: If the answer is "Yes," you don't want to see any new Hand to Hand in any shape or form, then you can probably stop here as we are likely not going to see eye to eye.

Yes, I do. Hand-to-hand: Gladiator and Hand-to-Hand: Evasion were somewhat-flawed steps in the right direction; I dislike that both of them are class-exclusive, but I like that they present more options.

Prysus wrote:
5: If you're not opposed to new Hand to Hand options, is there something that can be done to make the Hand to Hand options I presented more to your liking?

Yes. I would prefer that you keep hand-to-hand skills as hand-to-hand skills and remove the magic components, so that anyone might find them to be viable approaches to combat.
Additionally, I'd prefer that you develop magic combat skills that work with hand-to-hand skills.

Greetings and Salutations. Well, as stated then, we're not likely to see eye to eye on this matter. Similarly, while I'm like a hand to hand skill exclusive to a single class, I do like limited access (a few classes, or a particular class category such as Practitioners of Magic). My goal is to make it so each class (or at least each category) can be more unique, not more of "Wizard who can be just as good at combat as any Men at Arms AND have spell casting on top of that."

While I appreciate that Wizards and other magic users are not just glass cannons in Palladium and they can be skilled in combat, I don't think I can express my dislike of the best of both worlds while most Men at Arms get nothing (or very little). To me, one of the best ways to let each class distinguish itself is to give it options that others cannot take. By very design, setting up limitations. Free-for-all systems, by design, will not solve my concerns.

Hotrod wrote:
Prysus wrote:
5b: Would removing the Sorcery Proficiencies as you level make them better?

That would go a long way towards assuaging my concerns, yes. I have a feeling of thematic dissonance with the idea that fantasy wizards will get better at using magic (including nonviolent magic) by learning magic-focused hand-to-hand. I'd rather have a hand-to-hand skill/style that partners well with magic and/or psionics, but isn't necessarily tied to them, such that a scholar or artisan might also take it.

And I think the problem for me keeps coming back to Palladium, in many ways, has tied so many game mechanics to Hand to Hand that it's an essential part of almost any O.C.C., even if it shouldn't have to be. Maybe if I put this into a different analogy, at least you can better see where I'm coming from and going.

Palladium decides all extracurricular activities are based on baseball.
And I'm more like, "Hey, I just want to join chess club."
And Palladium's rules are like, "Well then you're going to suck at chess!"
And I think this is ridiculous but Palladium is just, "Baseball!"
So, because I really want to get better at chess, I give in. "Fine. I'll take a basic P.E. (Physical Education) class. That includes Baseball in it, and I'll call it baseball if you really want. Now can I play more chess?"
So now I'm studying baseball as part of P.E., but at least it meets the requirements and doesn't take up as much time. I'm not nearly as good as someone who's on the school team, but I'm really just taking it to get better at chess anyways and I'm going to spend as little time with baseball as I can. Some others also join P.E. so they can be part of the chess club, and we spend a lot of P.E. talking about chess and strategies while waiting for our turns.
Sure, someone can take baseball full on, and still join the chess club. No problem. Of course, if they want to be serious at both, they occasionally have to skip practice to go to the other, and he can't chit chat about one while he's at practice of the other because he needs all his attention there. Also, some chess tournaments and baseball games on the same day and time, so they have to choose which they'll attend.

If you haven't guessed, baseball is a substitute for Hand to Hand in this scenario. I don't think Hand to Hand should be required to get better at magic, but Palladium's rules make Hand to Hand linked to your skill at magic. So I'm using the system as best as I can, even if I don't think it's the best, and I'm calling these other variations Hand to Hand in name more than actual spirit. I could create a magic skill that grants extra attacks and automatic parry, but if it's not a hand to hand then it can just on top of one and become even more overpowered. So as a limiting factor and to work with the current system ... BASEBALL!

Hotrod wrote:
If you want hand-to-hand skills that work well with magic, you might consider these:

+Make Hand-to-Hand: Evasion available to others, especially psychics and magic-users, as an Expert-tier skill (costs 2 skill selections). Keeping this defensive hand-to-hand exclusive to Monk Scholars seems silly to me, as it's perfectly suited to magic users and/or psychics who prefer not to strike with their hands/feet.

Well, Evasion gets auto-dodge, but in exchange for not being able to attack ... at all. So if the rule extended to not being able to cast any type of combat magic (including Armor of Ithan, Carpet of Adhesion, Magic Net, etc., basically nothing that will affect opponents and unwilling), then I'd be okay with a Wizard taking it. If you meant to remove the limitation so magic users could get the benefits without the limitations, then ... no, because I don't like making magic users just better than everyone else.

Hotrod wrote:
+Create Hand-to-hand: Archer
An Expert-tier skill that also requires an archery skill or other missile-fighting capability (knives, spears, slings, psionics, or magic), his skill focuses on using bows and crossbows in close combat, providing bonuses to parry/dodge, lots of attacks, little to no melee strike/damage bonuses, and perhaps a few short-range special attack options. Think Legolas in the first Lord of the Rings movie before Peter Jackson started making him stupidly cheesy. Archers in hand-to-hand with this skill use their attacks per melee in lieu of their rate of fire, which can only be used outside of melee combat. This would also be popular with combat-centric magic-users and psychics who like to fling magic missile attacks at their enemies in close combat.

I will say I watched a lot of the first Lord of the Rings movie (and some of the second, but not as much) when I wrote my Of Bows & Arrows article in Rifter #45, which has Hand to Hand: Bow Combat. Not sure if you'd actually like it not (overall probably a similar feel to the original posts content, but for archery).

Again though, I wouldn't like opening it up to just any class. I like the idea that a dedicated archer is at the top of his/her field, not that a Wizard can be just as awesome with a bow AND magic.

Hotrod wrote:
+Create Hand-to-hand: Bounty Hunter
An Expert-tier skill that focuses on subduing opponents by disabling and knocking out opponents over outright killing them. Puts an emphasis on knockout/stuns, holds, entanglements, and knockdown attacks. Popular with slavers, law enforcement, bounty hunters, it's also popular with some magic users and psionics who like to use shor-range or touch-range powers.

Interestingly enough, I do have notes for a Hand to Hand like this when I get around to doing the Men at Arms version.

With that said, I think we've about extended the usefulness of this conversation. If you have some new or different insights, I'm still listening. But overall I feel like you want open inclusion while I like specialists options. Keep in mind, I don't think everyone should have to be a specialist. That's one of the reasons I like leaving the basic four hand to hand styles there. However, what I want now is to add options so the classes CAN specialize and be the best in their field, and that other classes cannot compete with them in their specialty. If you do want to make another case or suggestion for open and inclusive, then before you do please ask yourself: "What would stop a Wizard or Warlock from being as good as a Mercenary, but with spells as well?" I respect your opinion, but until that issue is addressed I won't be satisfied with an answer.

Hopefully this doesn't come off as arguing. I respect your opinion while still disagreeing with it. I can understand the desire for things to be more open, but the desire seems to run counter to my actual goal. Farewell and safe journeys.

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Rifter #45; Of Bows & Arrows (Archery; expanding rules and abilities)
Rifter #52; From Ruins to Runes (Living Rune Weapons; playable characters and NPC)
Rifter #55; Home Away From Home (Quorian Culture; expanded from PF Book 9: Baalgor Wastelands)

Official PDF versions of Rifter #45, #52, and #55 can be found at DriveThruRPG.


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Unread postPosted: Tue Dec 03, 2019 10:51 am
  

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Prysus,

I realized last night that when I said "Yes I do," what I meant was "Yes, I do think that Palladium Fantasy could use more hand-to-hand options" not "Yes, I disagree that Palladium Fantasy needs new hand-to-hand options." My brain-wires got crossed, and I edited my post last night to reflect this. Unfortunately, I think you were already working on the reply.

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Last edited by Hotrod on Tue Dec 03, 2019 11:27 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Unread postPosted: Tue Dec 03, 2019 11:10 am
  

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Hotrod wrote:
Prysus,

I realized last night that when I said "Yes I do," what I meant was "Yes, I do think that Palladium Fantasy could use more hand-to-hand options" not "Yes, I disagree that Palladium Fantasy needs new hand-to-hand options." My brain-wires got crossed, and I edited my post last night to reflect this. Unfortunately, I think you were already working on the reply.

Greetings and Salutations. I looked at the time stamp for the edit. Yup, I was about a half an hour in (took me about 2 hours to type all that). I still think we have differing viewpoints on the matter (exclusive vs. open), and that's okay. I know it's impossible to please everyone all the way. My goal is to listen to all ideas and try to make it as generally appealing as possible (with little things various people may dislike, but can live with or easily alter). Farewell and safe journeys.

_________________
Living the Fantasy (fan website)

Rifter #45; Of Bows & Arrows (Archery; expanding rules and abilities)
Rifter #52; From Ruins to Runes (Living Rune Weapons; playable characters and NPC)
Rifter #55; Home Away From Home (Quorian Culture; expanded from PF Book 9: Baalgor Wastelands)

Official PDF versions of Rifter #45, #52, and #55 can be found at DriveThruRPG.


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Unread postPosted: Tue Dec 03, 2019 1:30 pm
  

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Prysus wrote:
Hotrod wrote:
Prysus,

I realized last night that when I said "Yes I do," what I meant was "Yes, I do think that Palladium Fantasy could use more hand-to-hand options" not "Yes, I disagree that Palladium Fantasy needs new hand-to-hand options." My brain-wires got crossed, and I edited my post last night to reflect this. Unfortunately, I think you were already working on the reply.

Greetings and Salutations. I looked at the time stamp for the edit. Yup, I was about a half an hour in (took me about 2 hours to type all that). I still think we have differing viewpoints on the matter (exclusive vs. open), and that's okay. I know it's impossible to please everyone all the way. My goal is to listen to all ideas and try to make it as generally appealing as possible (with little things various people may dislike, but can live with or easily alter). Farewell and safe journeys.


That's essentially it in a nutshell. I suspect that you prefer the class-exclusive hand-to-hand model of 1st Edition to the more flexible but less varied model of 2nd Edition. Thus, I prefer to have more specialized options that are broadly available, whereas you prefer a more exclusive approach.

As a GM and as a player, I prefer character types with plenty of customization options. While I'm OK with class-exclusive abilities, moves, and skills, I prefer to keep them within the class description itself as supplements to existing broadly-available skills and abilities. The special moves of the Warrior Monk and Palladin are good examples. Thus, while I like having specialized hand-to-hand options, I do not care for class-exclusive hand-to-hand skills. Part of this is immersion; I don't see why someone who isn't a monk scholar couldn't learn their evasive techniques, even if they don't embrace all the philosophies and disciplines that come with the class. Ditto for Hand-to-Hand: Gladiator and Hand-to-Hand: Assassin.

I suspect many of Palladium Fantasy's writers tacitly agree with this approach. Looking through the books, I find plenty of NPCs who have skills and abilities that aren't allowed by canon rules. Even in the Revised 1st Edition, the Tombs of Gersidi adventure features some Orc cavalry who have the Soldier O.C.C. along with Horsemanship: Knight, which makes a lot of roleplaying sense but is illegal for player characters. Ultimately, RPGs are about "your dudes," and I dislike the notion of having different sets of rules for N.P.C. creation than for player character creation.

I think both of us like the idea of specializing characters, and I think both of us agree that certain skills/applications of those skills should be incompatible with certain types of characters. It might be possible to satisfy both of us by applying reasonable restrictions and guidelines for existing and new hand-to-hand skills. Hand-to-Hand: Assassin isn't appropriate for Soldiers, Knights and Palladins who focus on direct, high-intensity melee combat that has to balance offense and defense, but it might be suitable for Thieves, Rangers, Long Bowmen, and Mercenaries who specialize in covert operations and sneak attacks. I don't see any reason for Hand-to-Hand: Assassin being restricted to evil alignments, because training to kill people isn't an inherently evil thing; murdering people for money is what's evil. Similarly, an evasive or defensive hand-to-hand skill isn't appropriate for any man-at-arms, because hitting people is at the core of what they do. However, I could definitely see mages and psychics who don't care to lash out with physical blows ("Ugh. So uncivilized") but would be happy to unleash magic and psychic attacks. Thus, a defensive/evasive hand-to-hand would be limited to scholars, psychics, and magic users.

My list of hand-to-hand skills would include:

The current three-tiered general options with their existing restrictions. Only men-at-arms can select Martial Arts, Assassin, or Gladiator.
Hand-to-Hand: Assassin is available for any class that allows martial arts and is compatible with sneaky special ops-type tactics.
Hand-to-Hand: Gladiator available to most men-at-arms as an alternate Martial Arts-tier skill; this might be appropriate for men-at-arms who fight competitively in tournaments.
A grappling/subduing/disarming hand-to-hand option or set of options available to most classes.
A defensive/evasive hand-to-hand option or set of options restricted to non-men-at-arms O.C.C.'s.
A "Tactical Targeting" hand-to-hand option or set of options suitable to missile weapon users, psychics, and spell-casters that focuses on using distance weapons in hand-to-hand situations. Grants moves like critical shots, a parrying shot, disarming shot, knockdown/staggering shot, knockout/stun shot, death blow shot, and decent defense bonuses. You might also allow Long Bowmen to dodge while shooting since they can shoot while leaping/off balance.

In total, that would make for 8-12 total hand-to-hand options, three of which would be the current, generic, and flexible all-around combat skills, and the rest of which would focus on a specific style or objective. None of them would be exclusive to a single class, but most would have some restrictions. Only the subduing hand to hand skill or set of options would be broadly available.

Men of Magic, scholars, merchants, and psychics would gain the options of the subduing, defensive, or tactical targeting hand-to-hand skills, or they could select up to hand-to-hand: Expert. They would not get any Martial Arts-tier skills (assassin or gladiator or perhaps a Martial Arts tier subduing or tactical targeting option).

Most Men-at-Arms would gain the options of Hand-to-Hand: Gladiator, Assassin, the subduing hand-to-hand skill, and the tactical targeting hand-to-hand skill. They would not get the defensive options, and many of them would face restrictions against taking Hand-to-Hand: Assassin, Tactical Targeting, and the subduing style. Mercenaries, rangers, and thieves could take just about anything except the defensive hand-to-hand skills, which seems appropriate given that these are the most flexible Men-at-Arms classes.

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Unread postPosted: Tue Dec 03, 2019 3:58 pm
  

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Hotrod wrote:
While I'm OK with class-exclusive abilities, moves, and skills, I prefer to keep them within the class description itself as supplements to existing broadly-available skills and abilities. The special moves of the Warrior Monk and Palladin are good examples. Thus, while I like having specialized hand-to-hand options, I do not care for class-exclusive hand-to-hand skills.

Greetings and Salutations. As a general game design rule, I'd agree with you. If Kevin came to me and asked for my help designing a PF 3rd Edition, I might go closer to that route.

However, I'm doing patchwork, and that means finding the best way to make something work with what is already there. That's not always elegant or ideal, but sometimes is still the best option under the circumstances.

I could redesign each of the main book O.C.C. and might even be happier with the results on a personal level. As stated before though, I want to add onto the system, not redo it.

I'm treating this as a supplement book that can be used as plug and go to the currebt system. That's why most of your ideas don't work for me, as I don't feel they work with the system that is already there.

An example is moving Evasion to be more open and removing the no aggression limitation. Fine from a a basic design standpoint, but it greatly reduces any appeal to ever be a Monk Scholar. You took a unique feature of the class, then made it better for everyone except the original class, and then made it available to others. As the game stands, I'd feel that's bad game design because it detracts from an existing class.

So while I may not feel restrictive Hand to Hand is the perfect solution, I feel it's best with the current situation. And while an idea might work well when building from the ground up, it doesn't always work well when doing repairs. Farewell and safe journeys.

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Living the Fantasy (fan website)

Rifter #45; Of Bows & Arrows (Archery; expanding rules and abilities)
Rifter #52; From Ruins to Runes (Living Rune Weapons; playable characters and NPC)
Rifter #55; Home Away From Home (Quorian Culture; expanded from PF Book 9: Baalgor Wastelands)

Official PDF versions of Rifter #45, #52, and #55 can be found at DriveThruRPG.


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Unread postPosted: Tue Dec 03, 2019 5:44 pm
  

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Prysus wrote:
Hotrod wrote:
While I'm OK with class-exclusive abilities, moves, and skills, I prefer to keep them within the class description itself as supplements to existing broadly-available skills and abilities. The special moves of the Warrior Monk and Palladin are good examples. Thus, while I like having specialized hand-to-hand options, I do not care for class-exclusive hand-to-hand skills.

Greetings and Salutations. As a general game design rule, I'd agree with you. If Kevin came to me and asked for my help designing a PF 3rd Edition, I might go closer to that route.

However, I'm doing patchwork, and that means finding the best way to make something work with what is already there. That's not always elegant or ideal, but sometimes is still the best option under the circumstances.

I could redesign each of the main book O.C.C. and might even be happier with the results on a personal level. As stated before though, I want to add onto the system, not redo it.

I'm treating this as a supplement book that can be used as plug and go to the currebt system. That's why most of your ideas don't work for me, as I don't feel they work with the system that is already there.

An example is moving Evasion to be more open and removing the no aggression limitation. Fine from a a basic design standpoint, but it greatly reduces any appeal to ever be a Monk Scholar. You took a unique feature of the class, then made it better for everyone except the original class, and then made it available to others. As the game stands, I'd feel that's bad game design because it detracts from an existing class.

So while I may not feel restrictive Hand to Hand is the perfect solution, I feel it's best with the current situation. And while an idea might work well when building from the ground up, it doesn't always work well when doing repairs. Farewell and safe journeys.


In terms of revising the Assassin eligibility rules, I see your point; I'm proposing a change in eligibility rules. In terms of the new proposed hand-to-hand skills, I don't see how they couldn't be incorporated as a patch. 2nd Edition has largely moved away from exclusive hand-to-hand skills, and adding a few nonspecific options strikes me more as a patch than a redesign.

You have a point that making Hand-to-Hand: Evasion available to other classes depresses the appeal of the Monk Scholar. The thing is, I think that Monk Scholars have zero appeal. I've never heard of anyone wanting to play a Monk Scholar. The substantive perks are an auto-dodge, some minor blessings, a weak exorcism ability, and a respectable base of scholarly knowledge. On the downside, the Monk Scholar O.C.C. is on par with that of the Kender, in the sense that when I read its description, I think "holy cow, I would hate to have a player character like that in my group." They won't help you in a fight, they will lecture you incessantly about how violence and magic is bad, and they refuse to share the knowledge they have that's actually interesting and useful. Having one in a group as described would be insufferable. I've never seen a Monk Scholar in a game, not even as an N.P.C. I consider their O.C.C. description only useful in that it describes Minotaur history and culture in some detail. An interesting exercise: take any adventure in canon, then figure out how you could beat it with a group of Monk Scholars played as written: no violence, no magic, constantly preach against both, try to talk every enemy out of violence, and walk around with secret knowledge that you're never allowed to share. Sounds about as appealing as eating sawdust.

Now that said, I can respect that you see their hand-to-hand skill as a draw, and that someone else might feel differently. That's fine; I'd just create one or two additional defense-focused hand-to-hand skills at the basic and expert level that are available to all but Men-at-Arms. The other new "subdue" and "tactical targeting" hand-to-hand skills would change no existing content; they'd just be additional options. These constitute the bulk of my proposed new hand-to-hand forms. Thus, I see most of the newer forms I'm proposing as plug-and-go, not as redesigns.

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Unread postPosted: Tue Dec 03, 2019 10:28 pm
  

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Comment: Kill it with Fire.
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Unread postPosted: Wed Dec 04, 2019 12:34 am
  

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Hotrod wrote:
In terms of the new proposed hand-to-hand skills, I don't see how they couldn't be incorporated as a patch. 2nd Edition has largely moved away from exclusive hand-to-hand skills, and adding a few nonspecific options strikes me more as a patch than a redesign.
Hotrod wrote:
That's fine; I'd just create one or two additional defense-focused hand-to-hand skills at the basic and expert level that are available to all but Men-at-Arms. The other new "subdue" and "tactical targeting" hand-to-hand skills would change no existing content; they'd just be additional options. These constitute the bulk of my proposed new hand-to-hand forms. Thus, I see most of the newer forms I'm proposing as plug-and-go, not as redesigns.

*Takes a deep breath.*

Greetings and Salutations. I'll agree, additional hand to hand options can very much work as plug and go, which has been kind of my point in the first place. Of course, this doesn't address the issue and point I've been making. So I'll repost what I asked earlier:

Prysus wrote:
If you do want to make another case or suggestion for open and inclusive, then before you do please ask yourself: "What would stop a Wizard or Warlock from being as good as a Mercenary, but with spells as well?" I respect your opinion, but until that issue is addressed I won't be satisfied with an answer.

Your stance on that is that hand to hand should be open, but the limitations built into the different O.C.C. themselves.

If you feel that Mercenary and Soldier O.C.C. have built-in bonuses that help them stand out from a Wizard with similar skills, then I think you're delusional.
If you feel that Mercenary and Soldier O.C.C. do NOT have built-in advantages that help them stand out, then the only way to make your suggestion address the concern is to redesign all the O.C.C.

When stating I don't want to do a redesign, you fall back to how hand to hand don't require a redesign, but then fall back to NOT addressing how this distinguishes a Mercenary and a Wizard.

I don't mind discussions, but I like when they deal with some level of fact and not just trying to argue in circles. I've stated my intent is to use hand to hand as a patchwork to help bring distinction between them. You've expressed your dislike, and you've stated how you like your way better. That's fine, but haven't been able to offer any alternative that doesn't involve a redesign (and simply adding in new hand to hand everyone can take doesn't resolve my current goals). I have an objective with this project which I've stated: Create more of a distinction between the classes. You've stated you like your way better, but have yet to present a case for how it meets my objective, and until you do your method is provably worse (as it fails to meet the requirements I seek).

Now will I one day like to add more open ended hand to hand options everyone can take? Absolutely! But that's much further down the list. Current thoughts on what to create (and this will likely take years, as I have little motivation to rush it) ...

Practitioners of Magic: 3 Hand to Hand styles (see above). They may be tweaked and/or more added if inspiration arises.
Men at Arms: I want to create at least 1 for Soldier (possibly multiple based upon region), 1 for Knight (see Chevalier for a concept), at least 1 for Assassin (a version is complete, but cannot be shown at this time for reasons), Elongated Blade (oversized weapons, see Rifter #52 for details), and probably a few more for various classes. However, much like the Practitioners of Magic, I may just do a few forms, and then further separate the classes using Proficiencies based on class (or other criteria, similar to the Philosophies above).
Archers: 2 Hand to Hand styles, see Rifter #45 for details (or at least early versions, likely revisions to be done). And yes, I count this as a separate category from Men at Arms.
Psychics: 5 (or more) Hand to Hand styles. 1 for Telekinetics, 1 for Clairvoyance, 1 for Mind Mage are done (or at least some version of them which I cannot post at this time, and may get further modified), and I want 1 for Psi-Healers (focusing on Psychic Surgery as a combat technique) and 1 for Psychic Sensitives (focusing more on senses and attacking via auras) that I have yet to make. I view the Psi-Healer and Sensitive ones as important to give those classes more appeal and some unique traits to raise their overall appeal.
Racial: I've done one for Werebeasts (Silver Fang), but I also would like to make one for Vampires, Demons/Deevils, probably something for races with natural weapons (like Wolfen, Ogres, and Trolls, so they can use their bites and claws better without needing to resort to mundane weapons), and maybe others (as the mood strikes me). Hand to Hand for some of these races I view as important because right now a Vampire or Demon (by the written rules) can't use automatic parry and have no improved Critical Range. They may not NEED to fight in melee, but if they do I'd like them to at least be competent predators/killers.

7 Hand to Hand currently exist in PF2 that I'm aware of (4 basic, and 3 that are limited to specific classes or races).
20 (approximately) Hand to Hand mentioned above (about 8 of which are available in one form for view in one place or another, and about 4 more which are mostly done but I cannot show at this time).*

*That's not counting Dragon Sword (a hand to hand openly available to anyone who meets the requirements) and a few others I've already done (at least 3 that are related to specific O.C.C.), and a few others I completed but won't discuss at this time.

I'd eventually like to add in some non-exclusive stuff as well, but I'd rather focus on fixing a hole first and then worry about adding stuff for flavor. Note: Ninjas & Superspies lists 41 martial art styles. I'd eventually like to reach that number and/or surpass it, but only if it happens naturally (I don't want to force it).

Hotrod wrote:
I've never seen a Monk Scholar in a game, not even as an N.P.C. I consider their O.C.C. description only useful in that it describes Minotaur history and culture in some detail. An interesting exercise: take any adventure in canon, then figure out how you could beat it with a group of Monk Scholars played as written: no violence, no magic, constantly preach against both, try to talk every enemy out of violence, and walk around with secret knowledge that you're never allowed to share. Sounds about as appealing as eating sawdust.

About 20 years ago I did have a Monk Scholar N.P.C. He was assigned to aid the player group on a world spanning quest as a translator and researcher (loaded him up with Lore and Language skills). This helped him be around when they needed someone to talk, but not when they were going around punching things. Of course, he was assigned by someone who knew what he was (the group was investigating something Old One adjacent), and he had his own secret objectives. While the Scholar aspects and Old One lore made him nice for the story, the Evasive Combat is one of the things that I found most appealing when making the N.P.C.

I did use Evasive Combat on another non-Monk Scholar before, but that character followed the same non-violence philosophy. I suppose I view it was a fundamental part of the hand to hand. Note: This is really more of a side topic, and one I just find interesting because it never occurred to me people disliked the class before. Though I'll admit their use is limited to a very specific type of game which is probably why I only made the one N.P.C.

All right, that's all for now. Farewell and safe journeys for now.

_________________
Living the Fantasy (fan website)

Rifter #45; Of Bows & Arrows (Archery; expanding rules and abilities)
Rifter #52; From Ruins to Runes (Living Rune Weapons; playable characters and NPC)
Rifter #55; Home Away From Home (Quorian Culture; expanded from PF Book 9: Baalgor Wastelands)

Official PDF versions of Rifter #45, #52, and #55 can be found at DriveThruRPG.


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Unread postPosted: Wed Dec 04, 2019 10:12 am
  

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Prysus wrote:
Prysus wrote:
If you do want to make another case or suggestion for open and inclusive, then before you do please ask yourself: "What would stop a Wizard or Warlock from being as good as a Mercenary, but with spells as well?" I respect your opinion, but until that issue is addressed I won't be satisfied with an answer.

Your stance on that is that hand to hand should be open, but the limitations built into the different O.C.C. themselves.

If you feel that Mercenary and Soldier O.C.C. have built-in bonuses that help them stand out from a Wizard with similar skills, then I think you're delusional.
If you feel that Mercenary and Soldier O.C.C. do NOT have built-in advantages that help them stand out, then the only way to make your suggestion address the concern is to redesign all the O.C.C.


I'm not delusional! No way! My clothes are truly fashionable, my wife prefers it when I don't shave, I don't need to exercise three times a week to stay in shape, nobody judges me for my messy desk, and my neighbors really like it when my dog wanders over from our back yard for a visit!

*ahem*

In the rules as written, Mercenary and Soldier O.C.C.'s with default skill selection are essentially equivalent to wizards with appropriate O.C.C. skill selections, and there is essentially no opportunity cost for a wizard player to spend his O.C.C. Related and Secondary skills to become a fairly potent melee fighter.

Adding magic proficiencies as skills can address this to a limited degree by introducing an opportunity cost: you can still be a fighter, you just won't be as good a magic user as you could be. However, it doesn't address the full scope of this "wizards can fight as well as mercenaries" issue. Tying magic proficiencies to a magic-user-only hand-to-hand that's weaker than the Men-at-Arms hand-to-hand has a certain elegance, but if you're still allowing a player to take a magic hand-to-hand AND a standard hand-to-hand, I doubt that will effectively deal with this issue.

In my own house rules, armor is important, heavy armor trumps light armor. By making heavy armor much more effective in melee combat than light armor, men-at-arms gain an advantage, since metal armor interferes with magic and only men-at-arms are trained to use heavy armor; this takes a distinction between classes and makes it more important. I also provide incentives for characters to take multiple weapon proficiencies and adjust which weapons they use and how they use them depending on the scenario. Of course, these are house rules that redesign aspects of the game, and I agree that having some plug-and-play add-ons is a better approach unless we get a 3rd Edition someday.

If you want to address this issue with a patch of add-ons, then I'd suggest looking at add-ons for men-at-arms that can make them more viable, capable, and interesting to create, play, and level up.

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Unread postPosted: Wed Dec 04, 2019 11:48 am
  

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Hotrod wrote:
Adding magic proficiencies as skills can address this to a limited degree by introducing an opportunity cost: you can still be a fighter, you just won't be as good a magic user as you could be. However, it doesn't address the full scope of this "wizards can fight as well as mercenaries" issue. Tying magic proficiencies to a magic-user-only hand-to-hand that's weaker than the Men-at-Arms hand-to-hand has a certain elegance, but if you're still allowing a player to take a magic hand-to-hand AND a standard hand-to-hand, I doubt that will effectively deal with this issue.

Greetings and Salutations. You are absolutely correct. Mystical Hand to Hand does not solve the problem in and of itself. It might help mitigate the issue, but it doesn't solve it ... on its own. I never claimed it did, or that this is my end goal.

Hotrod wrote:
Of course, these are house rules that redesign aspects of the game, and I agree that having some plug-and-play add-ons is a better approach unless we get a 3rd Edition someday.


If you want to address this issue with a patch of add-ons, then I'd suggest looking at add-ons for men-at-arms that can make them more viable, capable, and interesting to create, play, and level up.

So you mean like doing a similar concept for Men at Arms (which I've stated several times is my intent)? And having it exclusive to certain classes or categories (as I've been advocating) might help the issue while having a system that's open to everyone including magic users and psychics (as you've been advocating) might not solve the problem?

Prysus wrote:
While feedback on the specifics is always welcome, in this case I was hoping for some additional thoughts regarding the overall design/concept. This is because I considered doing something similar to Men of Arms O.C.C. The main idea would be to allow them to spend skills on special abilities (or learn over time through Hand to Hand) to make them better warriors (also similar to Bow Combat from Rifter #45). The goal would be to give the various classes more variety and abilities as they level without rewriting each individual class.

A quote from my initial post. I started with Mystic Hand to Hand because it was something I had most of the work done on already and this made it a quick project to finish. I want to troubleshoot and look for more ideas so the Men at Arms project comes out right. Ideas like having the Proficiencies level and tying them to certain skills are interesting ideas that I intend to explore when I start work on that project (though I'll have to see how they affect the overall balance and feel). I also appreciated the additional Sorcery Proficiencies you listed, as they'll be nice when I get back to this part of it. Your feelings of having everything being available to everyone is not (because that puts Men at Arms options back into the hands of Practitioners of Magic, and that puts is back at square one).

Are we on the same page yet? Farewell and safe journeys.

_________________
Living the Fantasy (fan website)

Rifter #45; Of Bows & Arrows (Archery; expanding rules and abilities)
Rifter #52; From Ruins to Runes (Living Rune Weapons; playable characters and NPC)
Rifter #55; Home Away From Home (Quorian Culture; expanded from PF Book 9: Baalgor Wastelands)

Official PDF versions of Rifter #45, #52, and #55 can be found at DriveThruRPG.


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Unread postPosted: Wed Dec 04, 2019 2:06 pm
  

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We're close.

While I respect that designers feel the need to keep different O.C.C.'s viable, my preference is to achieve that balance and viability through methods that are consistent with the themes of those O.C.C.'s and the setting. Hand-to-hand skills that grant magical proficiencies or abilities seem appropriate to Ninjas & Superspies or Heroes Unlimited, not Palladium Fantasy. I like those other games; I just don't think their approach to hand-to-hand skills is a good fit for the Fantasy setting. I respect the design elegance of encouraging magic users to take magic hand-to-hand skills that suck at melee but give them magic perks instead. It just doesn't work for me from a thematic standpoint. I think this is our main point of dissonance.

If you strip out the magical proficiencies (which I would encourage you to do), the next question that comes up for me is "why would this hand-to-hand skill be exclusive to a magic user?" I can see a case for defensive hand-to-hand skills being excluded for Men-At-Arms, because they're supposed to focus on hurting people and monsters. Otherwise, I don't see a reason for keeping them exclusive to magic users.

I find it grating to see limitations on character creation and development that seem arbitrary or "because balance." For example, why are Soldiers not permitted to take any communications skill other than Sign Language, even as a secondary skill? Such a restriction doesn't seem appropriate to me. They should be allowed to take Play Musical Instrument, as horns/drums were very important for battlefield signalling. In general, I prefer to have a system where restrictions feel natural. For example, an assassin is only allowed to take hand-to-hand assassin, because any other form wouldn't be appropriate for who they are and what they do. When I see a restriction and see no reason for it other than some notion of "balance," my inclination is to throw that restriction out the window and let my Soldier also be a bugler.

I really like your magic proficiencies, and I would love to see you develop them more. My personal preference would be to use them as a vehicle for encouraging magic users to take more non-combat skills. Wizard players will probably still select Hand-to-Hand: Basic and a W.P. or two, but without taking a bunch of physical skills and upgrading that hand-to-hand further, they'll be at a disadvantage in hand-to-hand combat. If they choose to become the equivalent of spell-casting mercenary fighters, they can do that, but they'll never be as great at magic as they could be.

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Unread postPosted: Thu Dec 05, 2019 8:48 am
  

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Wow, some of those Sorcerous Proficiencies are a bit high-powered. Even the ones taken from Nightbane drop the required flaw. I don't see any magic using individual, much less player character, never not taking the maximum number of proficiencies allowed, as is. Regardless, it allows for me to make a similarly high-powered suggestion for Summoner/Diabolist HtH.

I see some value and thematic resonance in building off a mix of Mystic China and Rifts China's treatment of Bua Gua Zhang, while lifting a little text from the Nazca Line Maker. It would afford opportunities for many of Hotrod's suggestions for proficiencies from earlier, including the elimination of material components entirely in certain circumstances, and grant some amount of effect manipulation when opponents are within the Buagua practioner's space. That the character would be possibly creating multiple versions of a circle simultaneously is evocative in a way that could fit in multiple magical philosophies.

I am pleased to see a note about writing eventual forms of psychic HtH. I wonder about potential approaches for the Psi-Mystic. There's something to be said for martially-inclined mystics being able to switch back and forth from a psychic HtH and a magical one, or perhaps using gained proficiency slots from one HtH in that of a different modality. I suppose that the relative value of a Psi-Mystics HtH should depend upon if it's meant to be used in a game with Psi-Healers as a viable choice, or one with Mystic Knights.


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Unread postPosted: Sat Dec 07, 2019 11:29 am
  

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Curbludgeon wrote:
Wow, some of those Sorcerous Proficiencies are a bit high-powered. Even the ones taken from Nightbane drop the required flaw. I don't see any magic using individual, much less player character, never not taking the maximum number of proficiencies allowed, as is.

Greetings and Salutations. I'll agree they're high-powered. In this case, I decided to go for fun concepts that will be appealing to players. I'd like to add a bit more to it to help keep it balanced, either by lowering the power or making them more costly or restrictive in some way. I'll likely make another post soon discussing some ideas. But, setting that aside, I did want to also address the "Nightbane drop the required flaw" comment. This isn't actually as required as you may think, or maybe more required than I realize, as the whole Weakness/Limitation section is poorly written (from a game mechanic standpoint).

1: Sorcery Proficiencies are in an "Optional" section. The Weaknesses/Limitations are a sub-category of those "Optional" rules with an additional "Optional" rule attached. So they're optional rules of an optional rule. So by the book you can use Sorcery Proficiencies without Limitations, but they feel you "should" use them ("should" is the word actually used in the book).

2: The section opens up talking about how you should have one Limitation per Proficiency. Seems clear enough, right? Then it talks about how you can remove Limitations from Proficiencies. Okay, so an add-on that lets you change the first rule. Then it talks about how you can select a Limitation and gain a Proficiency or a Secondary Skill. So now a Limitation is buying a Proficiency, instead of you needing to buy a Proficiency with a skill (as previously discussed) and then gaining a Limitation by default (possibly, still unclear). So with this latter rule, I can select a Limitation, then gain a Proficiency, then use a Skill to remove the Limitation ... making a Proficiency without a Limitation cost exactly one skill (which is what the previous section mentions).

The section discussing the "required" (as you referred to it) Limitation looks to have had multiple people adding ideas to it, or heavily edited and not cleaned up. I find it unclear, at best. Now, if you feel there's a different interpretation, I'm willing to listen. I've read it a few times over the years, and have had various discussions on it, and while may opinion of the intent may change, the rule being open to different interpretations has remained.

Curbludgeon wrote:
Regardless, it allows for me to make a similarly high-powered suggestion for Summoner/Diabolist HtH.

I see some value and thematic resonance in building off a mix of Mystic China and Rifts China's treatment of Bua Gua Zhang, while lifting a little text from the Nazca Line Maker. It would afford opportunities for many of Hotrod's suggestions for proficiencies from earlier, including the elimination of material components entirely in certain circumstances, and grant some amount of effect manipulation when opponents are within the Buagua practioner's space. That the character would be possibly creating multiple versions of a circle simultaneously is evocative in a way that could fit in multiple magical philosophies.

This seems like a really cool idea. When I eventually return to this project, I'll definitely want to look into that.

Curbludgeon wrote:
I am pleased to see a note about writing eventual forms of psychic HtH. I wonder about potential approaches for the Psi-Mystic. There's something to be said for martially-inclined mystics being able to switch back and forth from a psychic HtH and a magical one, or perhaps using gained proficiency slots from one HtH in that of a different modality. I suppose that the relative value of a Psi-Mystics HtH should depend upon if it's meant to be used in a game with Psi-Healers as a viable choice, or one with Mystic Knights.

I'll say I don't have any ideas for the Psi-Mystic, at this time. As written, they don't really like formal education and just want to rely on their feelings and the cosmos for everything. Not sure the concept is well suited to designing a hand to hand that is trained to other Mystics. Also, their ability to use both Magic and Psionics is decent draw to the class that helps them stand out regardless, in my opinion. But I'm not opposed to the idea, just haven't had any inspiration strike regarding them. So if someone comes up with an idea that inspires me, I'd be happy to include it.

Thanks for your time and ideas. They are greatly appreciated. Farewell and safe journeys.

_________________
Living the Fantasy (fan website)

Rifter #45; Of Bows & Arrows (Archery; expanding rules and abilities)
Rifter #52; From Ruins to Runes (Living Rune Weapons; playable characters and NPC)
Rifter #55; Home Away From Home (Quorian Culture; expanded from PF Book 9: Baalgor Wastelands)

Official PDF versions of Rifter #45, #52, and #55 can be found at DriveThruRPG.


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Unread postPosted: Sat Dec 07, 2019 12:47 pm
  

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Hotrod wrote:
We're close.

While I respect that designers feel the need to keep different O.C.C.'s viable, my preference is to achieve that balance and viability through methods that are consistent with the themes of those O.C.C.'s and the setting.

Greetings and Salutations. I've been too busy the last few days to post, but that's given me time to think about how I want to respond. My main motivation for continuing has been two fold.

1: To me, some of your posts have come off as not understanding or comprehending what I'm saying or trying to do. I can accept someone disagreeing and having different opinions, but this has felt more like a lack of communication. That bugs me a lot more. So I keep trying, searching for different ways to try and get that idea across. However, I'm at the point of accepting you either understand it by now (maybe you did before and what seemed to me like misunderstanding was just another misunderstanding), or not (whether you're unwilling or I'm incapable of finding the proper words is irrelevant).

Hotrod wrote:
If they choose to become the equivalent of spell-casting mercenary fighters, they can do that, but they'll never be as great at magic as they could be.

2: Since you had seemed opposed to the idea, I hoped that if you understood better what I was going for you might be able to offer an alternative I hadn't considered. Even this last post (quoted above #2) though suggests you either still don't understand my goal, or you find it a non-issue that you don't care to address. Either way, there doesn't appear any actual benefit to continuing.

Hotrod wrote:
Hand-to-hand skills that grant magical proficiencies or abilities seem appropriate to Ninjas & Superspies or Heroes Unlimited, not Palladium Fantasy. I like those other games; I just don't think their approach to hand-to-hand skills is a good fit for the Fantasy setting. I respect the design elegance of encouraging magic users to take magic hand-to-hand skills that suck at melee but give them magic perks instead. It just doesn't work for me from a thematic standpoint. I think this is our main point of dissonance.

And I haven't tried to argue with you on this fact, even though I disagree with it. Personally, not only do I think such concepts can work in PF, I think it makes logical sense and fits the theme more than you're aware.

From your posts, I also suspect if you gave it thought you wouldn't be as opposed to the Hand to Hand method as your gut instinct says. I think they're closer to what you want than you realize.

If you want, I can make these cases. However, I haven't tried arguing against what someone's feelings and gut instincts because you have the right to feel the way you do and I don't want to invalidate that. At the same time, I won't make logical decisions based on feelings alone.

Hotrod wrote:
If you strip out the magical proficiencies (which I would encourage you to do), the next question that comes up for me is "why would this hand-to-hand skill be exclusive to a magic user?" I can see a case for defensive hand-to-hand skills being excluded for Men-At-Arms, because they're supposed to focus on hurting people and monsters. Otherwise, I don't see a reason for keeping them exclusive to magic users.

I find it grating to see limitations on character creation and development that seem arbitrary or "because balance."

And this is one of the reasons why I'm finding it so hard to actually follow a lot of your advice. The above is basically: "If you follow my advice, it won't make sense as is and that'll be grating." I then have to follow additional advice and make more changes to compensate for this, and we get further and further away from my actual goals. The further we get away from the goal makes it more and more pointless (to me), which in turn makes me like it less and less. However, if you keep the magical aspects, the exclusive to magic users aspect makes sense and remains (a part of) a way to meet my end goal, but you still dislike it.

Without a reasonable alternative, the choice is between my happiness or yours. I'm going to choose mine.

Hotrod wrote:
For example, why are Soldiers not permitted to take any communications skill other than Sign Language, even as a secondary skill? Such a restriction doesn't seem appropriate to me. They should be allowed to take Play Musical Instrument, as horns/drums were very important for battlefield signalling. In general, I prefer to have a system where restrictions feel natural. For example, an assassin is only allowed to take hand-to-hand assassin, because any other form wouldn't be appropriate for who they are and what they do. When I see a restriction and see no reason for it other than some notion of "balance," my inclination is to throw that restriction out the window and let my Soldier also be a bugler.

For the record, Play Musical Instrument is also a Domestic skill, which Soldiers do have access to. So while I agree restrictions should make sense (and not all of the skill limitations do), the above is a poor example. A Soldier who can play the bugle is a perfectly book legal character.

The only (main book) Communication skills not duplicated in another category are Cryptography, Mime, Public Speaking, and Sign Language. Most (but not all) still have access to Sign Language even if no other Communication skill (Druid, Vagabond, Witch, and Psi-Healer are the only main book classes that cannot technically take Sign Language).

Figured that might be useful to know when making future NPC. Farewell and safe journeys.

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Living the Fantasy (fan website)

Rifter #45; Of Bows & Arrows (Archery; expanding rules and abilities)
Rifter #52; From Ruins to Runes (Living Rune Weapons; playable characters and NPC)
Rifter #55; Home Away From Home (Quorian Culture; expanded from PF Book 9: Baalgor Wastelands)

Official PDF versions of Rifter #45, #52, and #55 can be found at DriveThruRPG.


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Unread postPosted: Sun Dec 08, 2019 5:35 pm
  

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Champion

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Prysus,

Your approach is fine. I just didn't give you useful feedback. My apologies. Have fun writing up your add-on supplement and don't worry about a thing I wrote here.

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Bizantium and the Northern Isles, p65 map
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Unread postPosted: Sun Dec 08, 2019 5:37 pm
  

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Joined: Wed Jan 25, 2012 10:05 pm
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Comment: Kill it with Fire.
I find its always good to have a devils advocate, because it usually makes you think things through more, and consider other things that might not have been thought about.


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Unread postPosted: Sun Dec 08, 2019 6:19 pm
  

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Hotrod wrote:
Prysus,

Your approach is fine. I just didn't give you useful feedback. My apologies. Have fun writing up your add-on supplement and don't worry about a thing I wrote here.

Greetings and Salutations. You've provided a lot of useful feedback. There are quite a few of your ideas I intend to include in my next version, because I really liked them. You gave the idea of having the Proficiencies level with the character, having skill prerequisites, Major and Minor (Greater and Lesser) Limitations, noticed how I neglected the Summoner and Diabolist and then were able to provide ideas to rectify the situation. These were all great.

I may not agree with one of those suggestions, but that's fine. I encourage you and anyone else to voice those concerns, even if you don't necessarily have a better solution. Maybe by you saying it I'll realize something I missed, or maybe 10 other people will speak up and say they agree with your concern and I'd have to consider if this is a bigger issue than I realize. Even the above conversation has me planning to add a section discussing some of those concerns (which may at least make it more palatable). So yes, still useful.

So thank you for the contributions and thoughts. I would never want to discourage anyone from providing feedback (negative or otherwise), as that is not my intent. I appreciate all the time and effort people have put into responding to this. Farewell and safe journeys.

_________________
Living the Fantasy (fan website)

Rifter #45; Of Bows & Arrows (Archery; expanding rules and abilities)
Rifter #52; From Ruins to Runes (Living Rune Weapons; playable characters and NPC)
Rifter #55; Home Away From Home (Quorian Culture; expanded from PF Book 9: Baalgor Wastelands)

Official PDF versions of Rifter #45, #52, and #55 can be found at DriveThruRPG.


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Unread postPosted: Sun Dec 08, 2019 7:04 pm
  

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Yeah, I was referring to the stuff we've been discussing the last few posts. I got the sense that I was creating aggravation and contributing nothing useful to you, which rather defeats the purpose of feedback in the first place.

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Hotrod
Bizantium and the Northern Isles, p65 map
Arenas of Atlantis, Rifter 69
Check out my maps here!
Also, check out my Instant NPC Generators!


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