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Sarachim

The Abyss: An AIMHack campaign in the world of Avernum/Exile!

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Originally Posted By: The Introduction
Two weeks ago, life was normal. Sure, your personal definition of “normal” is probably pretty far from most people’s, but whatever it is, you were living it. It may have been nasty or brutish, and it was likely to be short, but its dangers were comprehensible. Almost familiar, even. You knew what you needed to do to be pretty sure you’d see tomorrow.

Then the Empire came.

Their invasion hit the Abyss without any warning. You’ve been too busy running and hiding to get much news, and every rumor you hear is contradicted by another, but it sounds like they aren’t meeting much resistance. You’ve had to keep moving constantly to stay ahead of Empire forces, real or imagined. Getting caught is simply not an option for you.

Now, however, you think you’ve got a little breathing room. You and several other refugees are holed up in the cellar of an abandoned farmhouse in the sparsely populated west of the Abyss, a few miles from the river that separates it from the unsettled lands to the west. You haven’t seen any sign of the invaders in two days. Maybe, with luck, you can learn to manage this danger, too.


Welcome to The Abyss, a new AIMHack campaign set in the world of Exile (which the newbies here may know better as “Avernum”). Specifically, it’s set in the Abyss, during the immediate aftermath of the Empire’s invasion in E/A2. You play one of a group of Abyss residents, thrown together by chance in the chaos of the invasion and faced with the common problem of survival. The rest of your character’s history is up to you, with just one rule: your character must believe that, if the Empire catches them, they’ll be killed. Why they believe this is totally up to you. The belief doesn’t even have to be correct.

Rules:
Note: The rules for this campaign are currently scattered across three different places, which may be off-putting to new people. If you want to play but you're having trouble figuring out just how this works, watch this thread for a post with all the rules in it.
EDIT: The rules post is here: http://www.spiderwebforums.com/forum/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=251544#Post251544
If you're new to AIMHack, look there for everything you need to get started!

For the most part, I’ll be using the same rules as All the Creeping Things. Each character starts with 40 skill points, which is roughly equivalent to level 3 in systems that use levels. The Abyss is a rough place, and anyone who’s lived there a while has probably seen a thing or two.

There are two main differences, both related to the Exile setting:

1. Races: You can play pretty much any intelligent race that would have been present at this place and time (so no Vahnatai or Troglodytes because they haven’t been discovered yet, but most others are fair game.) Races have no mechanical effects, but they are likely to have a major impact on how others characters perceive yours. If you’re familiar with the setting you can probably guess how that works. Making an ogre or a giant or what have you is likely to make your life significantly harder, so don’t say I didn’t warn you.

2. Magic:
There are now four magic schools:
Force Magic deals with the manipulation of elemental forces like heat, light, and sound. Its users tends to prefer blunt strength to subtlety, but it can also include protective spells (From the old system, this is Evocation and most Abjuration)

Material Magic deals with the creation and alteration of matter. It includes summoning objects and living things, strengthening or weakening nonliving objects, teleportation, and enchanting items. (Conjuration and Transmutation, but no healing or direct damage)

Life Magic deals with the life force of the caster, their allies, and their enemies. It can heal and strengthen friends, or sap the strength of enemies. (Vitaemancy, including all healing spells, and spells that affect the target's skills)

Deep Magic deals with the subtle realm of the mind. Its casters can use it to gain information and to affect the minds of others. (Divination and Enchantment)

I’m going to be a little more strict about what magic in each school can do than past GMs have been. If you’re not sure whether a spell you’re planning to use (either your own or one from the Compendium) fits in your character’s magic school(s), feel free to discuss it with me.

Signing up:
I’m going to do a character creation and player selection mini-session like Lilith did for ATCT. You’re welcome to submit a character for consideration before that, but remaining flexible about who you’ll play might help you grab that last player slot. Then again, taking your time to create a really interesting character might do that too, so who knows?

If you want to play, all you have to do is fill out the calendar and show up on the date I announce. (And, even if you can’t make that date, be extra nice to me and I might help you work around it.)

A random note on canon:
I reserve the right to change anything and everything based on what I believe will be most entertaining, so if I say something that contradicts one of the games, don’t correct me. However, if you act on the assumption that something from the games is also true in the RP, I’ll probably just roll with it even if I was planning to do it differently. I don’t expect this to be a huge issue, though. The Exile series had a deep, formative influence on me as a child, so I’m not going to discard parts of it lightly.

Finally, the same page tool
So we all know what to expect:
Click to reveal.. (Same Page Tool)

Do you play to win?

a) Yes, you totally play to win! The win conditions are…
B) Good play isn’t a win/lose kind of thing

Player characters are:

a) expected to work together; conflicts between them are mostly for show
B) expected to work together; but major conflicts might erupt but you’ll patch them up given some time
c) expected to work together; major conflicts might erupt and never see reconciliation
d) pursuing their own agendas – they might work together, they might work against each other
e) expected to work against each other, alliances are temporary at best

The GM’s role is:

a) The GM preps a set of events – linear or branching; players run their characters through these events. The GM gives hints to provide direction.
B) The GM preps a map with NPCs and/or monsters. The players have their characters travel anywhere they can reach on the map, according to their own goals.
c) The GM has no plan – the GM simply plays the NPCs and has them act or react based on their motivations
d) There’s no GM. Everyone works together to make the story through freeform.
e) There’s no GM. The rules and the system coordinate it all.

The players’ roles are…

a) …to follow the GM’s lead to fit the story
B) …to set goals for their characters, and pursue them proactively
c) …to fling their characters into tough situations and make hard, sometimes, unwise choices

Doing the smartest thing for your character’s survival…

a) …is what a good player does.
B) …sometimes isn’t as important as other choices
c) …isn’t even a concern or focus for this game.

The GM’s role to the rules is…

a) …follow them, come what may. (including following house rules)
B) …ignore them when they conflict with what would be good for the story
c) …ignore them when they conflict with what “should” happen, based either on realism, the setting, or the genre

After many sessions of play, during one session, a player decides to have her character side with an enemy. This is…

a) …something that shouldn’t even happen. This is someone being a jerk.
B) …where the character becomes an NPC, right away or fairly soon.
c) …something the player and the GM should have set up ahead of time.
d) …only going to last until the other player characters find out and do something about it.
e) …a meaningful moment, powerful and an example of excellent play.

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Originally Posted By: Sarachim
Making an ogre or a giant or what have you is likely to make your life significantly harder


i intend to make my life as hard as possible

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Oh, Sara, why did you have to come out with a highly tempting campaign like this now??? You're cruel... tongue

 

Hmm. Going to have to think about this one...

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This post contains all the rules a player needs to know in order to play in this campaign. It's mostly aimed at new players who need an introduction to AIMHack, but it may also be useful to veterans who aren't in Lilith's All the Creeping Things. If you have any questions, please ask in this thread; others might be wondering the same thing!

 

The basics

Play takes place via AIM in pre-scheduled sessions, which typically last 4-6 hours. You and your fellow players each control one character: their thoughts, their words, and their actions. I, the Game Master (GM), control everything else, including the world around you, the people you meet, and the very laws of time and space. If you're even slightly familiar with traditional tabletop RPGs like D&D, you already know how this works.

 

If you do something that has a chance of failure, I’ll ask you to roll a d20. I’ll add your relevant skill (if any), and if the total is high enough, you succeed. Pretty simple.

 

Rolling a 20 means you succeed extra-specially well, while rolling a 1 means you fail in a particularly spectacular and hilarious way. If your character has at least 1 point in the relevant skill and is able to take their time, you can “take 10:” you don’t roll, and we assume that your character got a 10 by working slowly and not taking any risks.

 

If you roll a skill check to see how well you perform at a task, that roll represents how well you do it unless and until the situation changes significantly. You don't get to reroll for the same task unless you either spend a Stamina for the right to do so or approach the task in a different way (using a different skill).

 

Creating a Character:

This section has all the rules for creating your character, but there’s more to it than following the rules. Your character should have a name, a personality, and a clear reason for being in the campaign. The last two should be addressed in a brief (1-3 paragraph) backstory that tells us a little about who your character is, what they’ve done with their life, and how they got here. AIMHack players are all different, but in general, we tend to be more interested in story than mechanics (roleplaying, not roll playing). Now, the rules:

 

* Your character starts with 40 skill points. The first rank in a skill costs 1 point, the second costs an additional 2 (so raising a skill from 0 to 2 costs three skill points), the third costs an additional three (for a total cost of six), and so on. Your character will gain additional skill points for you to spend after every session. Those points get spent on the following skills:

Click to reveal.. (Skills!)
* Acrobatics: Your reaction times and general bodily coordination. Allows you to keep your balance on narrow or slippery surfaces, dodge traps, squeeze through tight spaces, escape from bonds, catch objects in midair, etc.

* Alchemy: Your knowledge of the science of alchemy. Allows you to identify alchemical reagents and craft potions or other useful mixtures.

* Arcana: Knowledge of arcane lore relating to magic, religion and ancient history. Allows you to identify the significance and function of magical, religious or historical objects and locations, decode arcane texts and forgotten languages, and recognise and counter magic that affects your mind.

* Artifice: Knowledge of engineering, crafting and construction. Allows you to identify weak points in structures, set up traps and build or repair tools and equipment.

* Athletics: Your muscular strength and cardiovascular fitness. Allows you to lift and carry heavy objects, climb ropes, run or jump long distances, hold your breath underwater, etc.

* Composure: Your mental resolve and emotional stability. Allows you to sound sincere when you speak, intuit the feelings and intentions of others, and resist hostile mental effects.

* First Aid: Your ability to treat injury and illness through non-magical means. Allows you to restore some of a party member's lost HP after a fight or encounter, and to diagnose and mitigate the effects of poisoning and disease.

* Magic: Your skill in using a particular school of magic (Force Magic, Material Magic, Life Magic, Deep Magic) Using magic targeted against an opponent in melee range will normally provoke an attack of opportunity, if the opponent is skilled in melee. Magic specifically designed to be used primarily at short range is an exception to this rule.

* Melee: Your skill with a melee weapon or unarmed combat technique. Melee attacks cannot generally be used effectively at long range, unless you have a technique allowing you to do so (with associated Stamina cost or other penalty).

* Missile: Your skill with a missile weapon. Missile weapons can be used at melee range, but will provoke an attack of opportunity if your opponent is skilled in melee and you do not use a technique that prevents attacks of opportunity.

* Nature: Knowledge of the natural world and how to avoid its potential dangers. Allows you to identify animals, plants and other natural objects or phenomena.

* Perception: Your sensory acuity and awareness of your surroundings. Allows you to hear and identify noises, and find hidden objects, tracks or other irregularities.

* Stealth: Your ability to avoid drawing attention to yourself. Allows you to hide, move quietly and cover your tracks as you travel.

* Streetwise: Knowledge of current events, politics and common social conventions. Allows you to gather information, find people and locations quickly in urban environments, and behave properly in both high and low society.

* Thievery: Sleight of hand and manual dexterity. Allows you to pick pockets, disable locks or mechanical traps, and perform similar tasks involving fine motor skills.

 

Here's more detail about the four schools of magic:

Click to reveal.. (Magic Schools)
Force Magic deals with the manipulation of elemental forces like heat, light, and sound. Its users tends to prefer blunt strength to subtlety, but it can also include protective spells (From the old system, this is Evocation and most Abjuration)

 

Material Magic deals with the creation and alteration of matter. It includes summoning objects and living things, strengthening or weakening nonliving objects, teleportation, and enchanting items. (Conjuration and Transmutation, but no healing or direct damage)

 

Life Magic deals with the life force of the caster, their allies, and their enemies. It can heal and strengthen friends, or sap the strength of enemies. (Vitaemancy, including all healing spells, and spells that affect the target's skills)

 

Deep Magic deals with the subtle realm of the mind. Its casters can use it to gain information and to affect the minds of others. (Divination and Enchantment)

 

* In addition to skills, your character has Hit Points and Stamina. If your character’s HP reaches 0, they are wounded near to dying. They can’t take any strenuous actions, and they have to get some healing quick or die. The exact rules for this situation are covered in the next section.

 

Your character has a base maximum HP of 10. This is increased by 2 for every point you have in your highest Melee skill, and 1 for every point in either your highest Missile skill or your Athletics skill. So, for instance, a character with 4 in Melee (Swords) and 3 in Athletics would have 10+8+3=21 maximum HP. If that character added a point in Missile (Bows), they wouldn’t get any HP, because their Athletics skill is already higher than that.

 

Every character has a maximum stamina of 10. Some spells require stamina to cast, and sometimes if you’re trying to do something difficult I’ll tell you that you have to spend stamina points to attempt it. In addition, you may choose to spend stamina on a roll to increase your odds of success. In addition, if your character’s stamina reaches 0, they’re totally exhausted. They’re able to move slowly and speak, but can’t fight or do any other strenuous actions until their stamina rises above 0.

 

* For every 2 ranks or part thereof you have in a particular Melee, Missile or Magic skill, you may memorize one technique or spell related to that skill. In addition, you receive 2 bonus spells or techniques that you may distribute freely to skills of your choice. For example, if you have 2 ranks in Life Magic, 3 ranks in Deep Magic and 6 ranks in Martial (Axes), you may memorize 1 Life spell, 2 Deep spells and 3 Axe techniques, plus 2 extra spells or techniques of your choice. Feel free to use the handy Spell Compendium as inspiration in developing your character's spells and techniques.

 

Other Gameplay Rules

* Being reduced to 0 HP renders you incapacitated and dying. While at 0 HP, you are in no condition to attack or cast spells: you may groan out a few words, crawl around at half your normal movement rate (rounded up), and drink potions. If the mortal blow inflicted damage greater than or equal to your current HP plus 5, you must immediately spend 1 Stamina point for every 5 HP of damage taken beyond your current HP total in order to avoid death. Negative HP are not tracked: once struck with a mortal blow, you are at 0 HP until healed or killed.

 

While dying, you must spend 1 Stamina point to stay alive at the end of every party turn. Alternatively, you may spend 3 Stamina during your turn in order to immediately regain 1 HP and be able to act freely. Taking damage from an area-of-effect attack while dying will cost you additional Stamina, while an attack targeted specifically at you will probably kill you outright.

 

* Healing spells that cause HP recovery always cost Stamina when used. First Aid can only be used to restore HP once per user per significant hazardous encounter, although it can be used for other purposes (diagnosing poison, etc.) in addition to this.

 

* Your defense against most physical and elemental attacks is equal to the highest of your Melee, Missile, or Acrobatics skills. Your defense against mental attacks is equal to the highest of your Magic, Arcana or Composure skills. Having more than one skill trained in either of these categories will give you a small synergy bonus to the relevant defense.

 

* Untrained skill checks (checks made based on a skill of 0) will normally receive a -2 penalty, and you can't take 10 on them

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Well, this looks interesting. I'll consider making a character, but since I'm in two campaigns already and planning to run one of my own I'll probably just step aside and let someone else play.

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How long do you expect the campaign to run, and what are your plans relating to the upcoming holiday season (i.e. are you wanting to run sessions throughout December)?

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Originally Posted By: Triumph
How long do you expect the campaign to run, and what are your plans relating to the upcoming holiday season (i.e. are you wanting to run sessions throughout December)?

I don't have a definite length in mind, and it depends on how things shake out. The overall direction of the campaign will be in the players' hands as much as it's in mine. That said, based on my experience with Dust Bowl, I doubt I'll get more than 10 sessions before I burn out and can't think of any more good ideas. tongue
EDIT: Also, I like to do a session every two weeks, so in calendar time we're probably looking at 5 months or so.

As for the holidays, that depends on player schedules. I'd like to run sessions during them because I'll have more spare time than usual, but if that's not the case for the people playing then obviously I won't force it. Also, I know it's finals season for a lot of students, and I'm prepared to work around that too. Come to think of it, I probably should have waited until January, but certain people kept bugging me to start this already. tongue

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I'm going to hold off then. Between traveling and the unpredictability of time with family, I can't commit to being available in that period. When able, I'll be interested in spectating, as usual.

 

Maybe if someone starts a campaign in mid-January...

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Originally Posted By: Sarachim

Signing up:
I’m going to do a character creation and player selection mini-session like Lilith did for ATCT.


As silly as this sounds but can't you choose the players before hand with PM's and then do a mini-session with them to set up the characters? Or do you want to do it exactly like Lilith did: have everyone show up, and then seem to choose from a predeterminer list, and make everyone that was not chosen to play wonder why the hell they had to come to a mini session to be told "you aren't playing, good day."

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Originally Posted By: Rowen
Originally Posted By: Sarachim

Signing up:
I’m going to do a character creation and player selection mini-session like Lilith did for ATCT.


As silly as this sounds but can't you choose the players before hand with PM's and then do a mini-session with them to set up the characters? Or do you want to do it exactly like Lilith did: have everyone show up, and then seem to choose from a predeterminer list, and make everyone that was not chosen to play wonder why the hell they had to come to a mini session to be told "you aren't playing, good day."

You raise valid points, but part of what I want is to ensure that the party is balanced. If I pick players first and everyone wants to be a thief, I'm in a position of telling people to make totally different characters. I'd rather take people who want to play whatever character they're going to play.

So, if you have to have at least some idea what your character's like before I decide if you're playing, then it doesn't matter whether we do it via PMs or a chat, because either way you have to invest some time in this knowing you might not get chosen. With a chat, people get a fair chance to answer whatever concerns I might have. I promise there is no predetermined list.

Plus, like I said in the original post, showing up to the mini session is not strictly mandatory. If you'd rather submit your finished character via PM and find out after the chat if you're in, that's fine.

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I made two characters for review. I should be able to make it to any precampaign session, too. Everything about those two is open to change.

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Hmm I love things like this but never actually gotten around to and would like too, however My schedule is far too busy with school work and sorts. Maybe if you guys create one in the summer you can count on me trying.

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Originally Posted By: Sarachim
Originally Posted By: Rowen
Originally Posted By: Sarachim

Signing up:
I’m going to do a character creation and player selection mini-session like Lilith did for ATCT.


As silly as this sounds but can't you choose the players before hand with PM's and then do a mini-session with them to set up the characters? Or do you want to do it exactly like Lilith did: have everyone show up, and then seem to choose from a predeterminer list, and make everyone that was not chosen to play wonder why the hell they had to come to a mini session to be told "you aren't playing, good day."

You raise valid points, but part of what I want is to ensure that the party is balanced. If I pick players first and everyone wants to be a thief, I'm in a position of telling people to make totally different characters.

Except isn't that part of the point of having the mini-session? Rebalancing selected characters so their abilities mesh correctly?

Quote:
So, if you have to have at least some idea what your character's like before I decide if you're playing, then it doesn't matter whether we do it via PMs or a chat, because either way you have to invest some time in this knowing you might not get chosen.

Except that in this case, you have to invest time creating the character, then invest additional time listening to the DM publicly explain how you, as a player, are deficient.

Honestly, the more I think on it, the more against it I become. It leaves a bad taste in the mouths of the people who get rejected, which discourages them from trying again. Plus it comes off like you're basing your decision on who's the better player, which is unfair to newer and less experienced players, even if they have great characters.

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Originally Posted By: Thin Gypsy Thief
Then quit whining about it and just don't show up.


I was given to understand what whining about pointless things is the favorite pastime of the Internet, though...

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Since several people have expressed some serious and well-reasoned problems with the idea of the pre-campaign mini-session, I'm reconsidering whether we ought to have it. If any potential players have an opinion one way or the other that they want me to hear, please let me know within a day or so.

 

Also, since we might be doing away with the mini-session, everyone who wants to play should probably finish their characters and PM them to me.

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I wasn't trying to say that having a pre-session where the players all talk with the DM about the game, character builds, and expectations is not worth doing. I just think that it seems to be a post-choosing-players activity. Having everyone make characters and then attend a session and amend them might not be the best way either. I tried choosing the players before they made characters and then did a pre-session to try to get the characters to form a party. I doubt that was the best way to do it either. I honestly don't think there is a best way to do it.

 

Just because I have concerns does not mean that I do not want to participate or that I would not want to have a pre-session, it just means that I would show up at the pre-session with no character pre-made and with no expectations of what kind of character I would like to play until I find out if I am playing.

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Originally Posted By: Rowen
Just because I have concerns does not mean that I do not want to participate or that I would not want to have a pre-session, it just means that I would show up at the pre-session with no character pre-made and with no expectations of what kind of character I would like to play until I find out if I am playing.


For what it's worth, this is what I expected people to do for the ATCT pre-session, but then almost everybody came with a character prepared anyway.

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Okay, I've decided: I'll choose players before the mini-session, which will be Tuesday, December 6 at 8:00 PM EST. Anyone who wants to play and hasn't told me so yet, do it quick. I'll be making my final choice in the next day or two.

 

Players can either PM me their character ideas before the mini-session or create one at the session, whichever they prefer.

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I have a couple of vague character ideas but, as much as I'd love to play this, I get the feeling that my unavailability on weekends could be a bit of a problem.

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Originally Posted By: Mistb0rn
I have a couple of vague character ideas but, as much as I'd love to play this, I get the feeling that my unavailability on weekends could be a bit of a problem.

Not necessarily. I'm busy on a lot of weekends, too. Most sessions will probably be on weekday evenings (US time)

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Sorry for the double-post, but we have another announcement. The players for the Abyss will be Nikki, Rowen, Lilith, Nioca, Nalyd, and Triumph! Sorry to everyone who I had to pass over, you're all on my short list should any of the above get hit by a falling air conditioner.

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mine's the best

 

i say that not having seen all of the others but it totally is

 

or should i say they totally are

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I've got two questions about how magic is handled. Not that it really applies to my character that much, but it seems important to bring up.

 

1) Where do illusions belong? Following what you say about the old schools, it'd seem to go to Deep Magic (enchantment), but going strictly by your descriptions of the schools, it'd seem they belong in Force (light, sound) instead.

 

2) Material magic:

Originally Posted By: Sarachim (Emphasis Nioca's)
Material Magic deals with the creation and alteration of matter. [...] (Conjuration and Transmutation, but no healing or direct damage)

Why? I can understand why you'd want to stop the "conjuration" of orbs of flame and such, but there's spells that do direct damage and are well within the parameters of Material Magic (Detrimentum, Needlestorm, conjuring acid/magma/an anvil over the target, etc).

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Originally Posted By: Nioca
I've got two questions about how magic is handled. Not that it really applies to my character that much, but it seems important to bring up.

1) Where do illusions belong? Following what you say about the old schools, it'd seem to go to Deep Magic (enchantment), but going strictly by your descriptions of the schools, it'd seem they belong in Force (light, sound) instead.

It goes under Deep Magic. When I said "light, sound" I was thinking more of those spells that shoot beams of light or sonic bursts at people.

Quote:
2) Material magic:
Originally Posted By: Sarachim (Emphasis Nioca's)
Material Magic deals with the creation and alteration of matter. [...] (Conjuration and Transmutation, but no healing or direct damage)

Why? I can understand why you'd want to stop the "conjuration" of orbs of flame and such, but there's spells that do direct damage and are well within the parameters of Material Magic (Detrimentum, Needlestorm, conjuring acid/magma/an anvil over the target, etc).
Balance trumps realism. If Material Magic were just as good at dealing damage as Force Magic, there'd be little reason to take the latter, as Material Magic can do a lot of useful things that Force can't.

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Originally Posted By: Sarachim

Originally Posted By: Nioca
2) Material magic:
Originally Posted By: Sarachim (Emphasis Nioca's)
Material Magic deals with the creation and alteration of matter. [...] (Conjuration and Transmutation, but no healing or direct damage)

Why? I can understand why you'd want to stop the "conjuration" of orbs of flame and such, but there's spells that do direct damage and are well within the parameters of Material Magic (Detrimentum, Needlestorm, conjuring acid/magma/an anvil over the target, etc).
Balance trumps realism. If Material Magic were just as good at dealing damage as Force Magic, there'd be little reason to take the latter, as Material Magic can do a lot of useful things that Force can't.

The inverse is true, too; Force magic can do a lot of useful things that Material can't (Flight, Warding, Antimagic, and Enchantment Breaking come to mind). Plus, Material direct damage spells still wouldn't have the same variety and power as Force magic, just thanks to the inherent limitations of the Material magic school.

(Not to mention that no direct-damage is nearly unenforceable. Don't believe me? Name three material spells, and I'll bet you I can name how at least one of them could be weaponized into direct damage by a clever player.)

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Originally Posted By: Nioca
(Not to mention that no direct-damage is nearly unenforceable. Don't believe me? Name three material spells, and I'll bet you I can name how at least one of them could be weaponized into direct damage by a clever player.)


SO TRUE. Really, part of the fun of playing a magic-user is trying to come up with unorthodox ways to use one's spells. That was part of why of enjoyed playing as Phulax - how many ways can I find to make a basic teleport spell useful?

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Originally Posted By: Triumph
Originally Posted By: Nioca
(Not to mention that no direct-damage is nearly unenforceable. Don't believe me? Name three material spells, and I'll bet you I can name how at least one of them could be weaponized into direct damage by a clever player.)


SO TRUE. Really, part of the fun of playing a magic-user is trying to come up with unorthodox ways to use one's spells. That was part of why of enjoyed playing as Phulax - how many ways can I find to make a basic teleport spell useful?

If you've got a spell that dissolves wood, and you use it on the balcony an enemy is standing on, I'm not going to veto that. Coolness trumps balance. Trouble is, you can't count on all your enemies to stand on balconies for you.

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Originally Posted By: Sarachim
Originally Posted By: Triumph
Originally Posted By: Nioca
(Not to mention that no direct-damage is nearly unenforceable. Don't believe me? Name three material spells, and I'll bet you I can name how at least one of them could be weaponized into direct damage by a clever player.)


SO TRUE. Really, part of the fun of playing a magic-user is trying to come up with unorthodox ways to use one's spells. That was part of why of enjoyed playing as Phulax - how many ways can I find to make a basic teleport spell useful?

If you've got a spell that dissolves wood, and you use it on the balcony an enemy is standing on, I'm not going to veto that. Coolness trumps balance. Trouble is, you can't count on all your enemies to stand on balconies for you.

No, but I probably could count on gravity to drop anything I summon on someone's head. tongue

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Originally Posted By: Nioca
No, but I probably could count on gravity to drop anything I summon on someone's head. tongue

I assume, as a rule of thumb, that anything you summon appears in your hands or on the ground next to you. Summoning something over someone's head would effectively be summoning plus teleportation, and on top of that I think we established in CoH that teleporting something precisely enough to hit an enemy with it is harder than normal. I guess one Material spell could do all that at once, but it sounds epic.

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Heh. I'm reminded of Esstra's spell which summoned sticks, and the one time I used it to conjure some logs with which I squashed a dire eagle. Good times.

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Originally Posted By: Sarachim
I think we established in CoH that teleporting something precisely enough to hit an enemy with it is harder than normal.


We did??? I missed that memo... Dropping rocks on people was quite easy.

Of course, teleportation in this campaign can be inaccurate, if you wish to define it as such in Avernum. I just hate seeing my past character concepts neutered into uselessness in the name of balance.

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Originally Posted By: Triumph
I just hate seeing my past character concepts neutered into uselessness in the name of balance.

Especially when said "balance" only serves to make it the weakest school of the bunch.

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Originally Posted By: Triumph
Originally Posted By: Sarachim
I think we established in CoH that teleporting something precisely enough to hit an enemy with it is harder than normal.


We did??? I missed that memo... Dropping rocks on people was quite easy.

Of course, teleportation in this campaign can be inaccurate, if you wish to define it as such in Avernum. I just hate seeing my past character concepts neutered into uselessness in the name of balance.

Well, dropping people on rocks was hard, anyway. tongue

I'd hate to ruin a past character, too, but I doubt that's the case. If Phulax ever comes back in a campaign I'm running, I'm sure he can be tweaked so he's still fun to play.

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Originally Posted By: Sarachim
Well, dropping people on rocks was hard, anyway. tongue


A hard rock for a hard head. laugh

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Originally Posted By: Nioca
Originally Posted By: Triumph
I just hate seeing my past character concepts neutered into uselessness in the name of balance.

Especially when said "balance" only serves to make it the weakest school of the bunch.

If I were playing this campaign instead of GMing it, I'd make a material wizard to prove you wrong. I think summoning, teleporting around the battlefield, and altering terrain are all excellent tricks for a battlemage. A pure wizard would take a little more creativity, but I still think anyone could make it work.

It's possible that, in my efforts to bring the two strongest schools (Conjuration and Transmutation) into line, I've gone too far in the other direction. If so, I'd hardly be the first balancer to make that mistake. We'll see how it plays out in the campaign.

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Sort of moving on a weird quasi-way in that we're not off the topic yet are off the subject:

Originally Posted By: Nioca (In the Metathread)
For all those interested, the Spell Compendium has now been ported over to Sylae's AIMHack Wiki. Martial Techniques now have their own (much smaller) compendium as well. I'm aware that there are spells missing, but I was more concerned with getting the current compendium ported over and getting the CreepingHack Quad-School compendium up.

SARACHIM: I did my best to try and match up the spells to how you described them, but you need to look over the Compendium's CreepingHack portions and make sure everything's in correct and working order.

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why is the spell system from sarachim's campaign named in honour of my campaign

 

i mean not that i'm complaining but

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Originally Posted By: Lilith
why is the spell system from sarachim's campaign named in honour of my campaign

i mean not that i'm complaining but

The idea behind the CreepingHack skills-only variant is that it's simpler than the original AIMHack. The quad-school system meshes excellently with that; it's simplified and flexible (for the most part, personal feelings about Material Magic notwithstanding). Plus, you stated that you did plan to overhaul the magic system anyway.

Also, I tend to suck at naming things, and decided there was a perfectly good name right there so I might as well use it.

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Originally Posted By: Sarachim
If I were playing this campaign instead of GMing it, I'd make a material wizard to prove you wrong. I think summoning, teleporting around the battlefield, and altering terrain are all excellent tricks for a battlemage.
Teleport onto small rock ledge out of reach of melee weapons, alter ground under group of enemies into stalagmites. Or is it stalactites that are on the ground? I forget which. Anyways, if I wasnt busy I would have joined this just to do such. Material may sound weak at first, but if used creatively, it could easily be the strongest school. Sure, you're not hurling giant balls of fire, but it wouldnt take to much effort to cause stalactites (or stalagmites, whichever is on the ceiling) to break off and fall on someone, spraying the area with stone shrapnel of pain and death.

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Originally Posted By: Tirien
Originally Posted By: Sarachim
If I were playing this campaign instead of GMing it, I'd make a material wizard to prove you wrong. I think summoning, teleporting around the battlefield, and altering terrain are all excellent tricks for a battlemage.
Teleport onto small rock ledge out of reach of melee weapons, alter ground under group of enemies into stalagmites. Or is it stalactites that are on the ground? I forget which. Anyways, if I wasnt busy I would have joined this just to do such. Material may sound weak at first, but if used creatively, it could easily be the strongest school. Sure, you're not hurling giant balls of fire, but it wouldnt take to much effort to cause stalactites (or stalagmites, whichever is on the ceiling) to break off and fall on someone, spraying the area with stone shrapnel of pain and death.

In theory, you're right. Material Magic can do a lot of things. As a secondary to either a Martial or other Magic skill, it'd be useful.

As a primary, however, it just doesn't add up. You only get so many spell slots; in this case, the most slots you can start with in any single school is 6. That means you have to cover as many angles as possible with a very limited selection, because you have to choose what what will be useful to a given situation BEFORE you actually know what you're up against (which requires either having spells with a wide variety of uses, or being psychic.) And the more versatile spells tend to be either limited in scope, high level, or cost stamina.

In addition, Material magic in general burns stamina faster than any other spell school, simply because of its nature. Terrain alterations? Anything other than minor alterations eats up stamina. Teleportation? Hunter's Jump (a short-range self-teleport spell) burns 2-5 stamina a pop, meaning you can burn half of your stamina on one spell. Summoning? Getting anything halfway decent requires either a lot of skill, luck, or stamina.

To use your examples: creating stalagmites (floor, by the way) would require either a specific spell to do that, or a more general stone-shaping spell. Both would likely cost stamina, and the latter would be mid-to-high level. Dropping stalactites would be fairly practical, but it makes one major assumption: That there's stalactites to drop. If there isn't, you better pray one of your other spells covers your needs, or that your party members can do just fine without you.

My point is that being effective in combat with Material Magic requires either being situationally lucky, or burning a lot of stamina. Since about 80% of Material's combat uses just got hamstrung (healing, direct damage, most buffs or debuffs), and most of Material's remaining functions can be handled by the other three schools (albeit in different ways), it leaves Material as the weakest school.

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Originally Posted By: Nioca
To use your examples: creating stalagmites (floor, by the way) would require either a specific spell to do that, or a more general stone-shaping spell. Both would likely cost stamina, and the latter would be mid-to-high level.


If the objection is that those spells would be too dicey to rely upon for general use because they'd cast stamina, why not just, y'know, make them not cast stamina?

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Or cost a bit less. I suppose a general stone shaping spell could carve small sections from the ceiling, dropping stone on targets instead. But yes, I do have to agree that Material, on its own, would be very difficult to do. Then again, how often does someone on a AIMHack that is a dedicated spellcaster use only one school of magic? I stand by Material as being powerful, it's just highly situational, just like most spells that dont involve blowing something up or healing. tongue

 

Way to solve this? Learn other stuff and don't focus on it completely. Learn to use a bow, or another school of magic. This will solve the main problems with Material. At least, in theory. Heck, even without damaging spells, I can see a Material Mage turning the stone under a opponents feet soft and mud-like, slowing and hampering enemies, or smoothing it till anyone in that spot will begin slipping around. Probably wouldnt be a high level spell, either.

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This discussion of the new magic system has been both useful and interesting to me, but I think it's better suited to the metathread. Let's keep this one for the campaign.

 

Speaking of which, don't forget the pre-campaign session is tomorrow (Tuesday) night!

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Wasn't wossname in CoH teleporting around willy-nilly at no Stamina cost? Ph-something. Clearly, it's not necessary to have Material Magic's goodies cost Stamina, any more than any other school.

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