Casting Tablets - timing

I have been searching the threads of old... but have not found what I was looking for.

Casting Tablets - they have been adressed a couple of times, but what interests me is how long does it take to cast a spell from a tablet. I cannot find any reference on this in Covenants, but I presume that this will be slower than normal spell casting.

Does anyone have a reference? How do you rule it in your saga? If nothing else, could the rules on casting from text from 4th be used to set the time?

The only reference I can see is that you have the option to use Ceremonial casting or non-ceremonial casting, Ceremonial casting takes 15 minutes/magnitude, and non-Ceremonial takes one round, so without any information to tell us different, I assume those guidelines are still in place.

I do have a couple questions reguarding Casting Tablets. Normally you can't cast a Formulaic spell with Ceremonial casting. Spells on Casting Tablets have to be Mastered, true, but there is no mention of having to have the Cerimonial Casting Mastered ability to include it in the tablet. Do you have to have it to add it to the Casting Tablet's spell?

What about to cast it? I would assume "No", and that whatever Mastered Special Abilities the creator of the Tablet chose to apply to the spell would be in effect.

I think it would be problematic if there is no time needed to prepare and use casting tablets. It seemes unrealistic and out of balance. Hence this thread.

I believe that any magus could cast it from the tablet, no matter the specs chosen by the author. And I reason that the author could only put in effects he has mastered himself, but whether all these are in effect for the caster I am unsure of. Many of the possible mastery options are somewhat exclusive - would someone else just be able to pick up the tablet and get the full benefit. It is an interesting concept.

A tablet is a set of instruction for casting a spell. The spell must still be cast at its own pace. Using casting tablets is significantly more risky than casting a spell that you know: your attention is divided between following the instructions and actually casting the spell.

Now, there is a bit of preparation needed, namely, you must be able to read the tablet (the exact meaning of "read" depends on the nature of the tablet itself), but I don't think there is need for anything beyond that.

One would think most casting tablets would have the +1 magnitude bump for not needing gestures incorporated into them.

I have not read covenants, so I am just talking out of my ***, but if what you are looking for is a special casting time (I agree that reading a spell off a tablet and then casting it should take more time than casting a spell you know, this isn't D&D), perhaps 1 (or 2 or 3) combat round per magnitude would work to read the spell, then the normal casting time tacked on to the end.
So a 3rd mag spell would take (3+1)=4 rounds to cast.

1 round per magnitude is what was done back in 4th (and 30 min per magnitude of Rituals). Maybe it is reasonable (even if I still think it is quite short if you never peeked at the tablet before).

In any instance I think it would D&D-ish to just pull a tablet out of the nearest shelf and toss of a spell without even having a look at the text for a sec or 2. With an enchanted item you know how to trigger? fine! But with a instruction to copy an unknown spell...?

As I recall, casting tablets don't add time to the casting of spells, they add risk instead, based on the table given in the book. The question isn't "is it reasonable to be able to cast so quickly??" its "Is it reasonable to cast so quickly knowing that if you miss the level by 30 or more, there's a great chance you will die."

As to it stopping you using gestures: no, you can't just add a magnitude for not having gestures. You don't get to change the way the spell is cast in any respect. You simply don't hold the tablet while reading it. Just cast a tiny spell to make it hover if you don't have a table, or a grog to hold it up for you.

"There is no mention of having to have the Cerimonial Casting Mastered ability to include it in the tablet. Do you have to have it to add it to the Casting Tablet's spell?" As a writer, yes, because you need to know the spell you are writing.

The user does -not- need mastery to follow your instructions, but if he or she gets them wrong, and if you have chose to cast it ceremonially it is likely a big spell at the border of the writer's ability, then they likely die.

As to it being D&Dish...well, if that's how you feel, great. In D&D, the scrolls have a 0% chance of killing you when you use them. Even if a castinbg tablet doesn't kill you directly, its successful use will often knock you down enough fatigue levels to make you a lot less combat-ready. So, their comabt use is contraindicated.

and thats what you got your apprentice for aswell. :smiley:

I dodge that bullet and never got round to do the D&D tour. :confused:

Basically I do not mind a magus pulling off a casting tablet in one round, but out of description and what seems reasonably logic - and not out of power balance, just sheer sense of description - I would maintain that to do so the magus should at least at some time prior to doing so have seen the tablet, at least for a short peek.

Hey, if it works for you, go for it. It depends, I suppose, on how you see the actualy work of Hermetic magic going. How long is the verbal componenent of a spell? If you don't say the verbal component, do you need to think it clearly and distinctly? So far as I can tell these questions have not been answered in the game books. Different answers to the question have different effects on the versimilitude of being able to just crack open a scroll and go "Oh! So that's how it works!" We don't even know if the notation is in Latin, like a cookbook, or if its diagramatical, like a Criamon stigma that you intuitively understand because of your Magic Theory score.

Good points. And it does leave a lot of room for the troupes to fill out the void. But on this subject it is also a question on how you do your conflict resolution during encounters and what general pace you prefer.

I haven't cosidered this at all, but this is a cool idea. Can't the one writing down the tablet write down how to cast it without gestures, conferring the standard penalty thereof? It's a choice made when casting the spell, just like vis used or whatever.

I have always considered the Ceremonial Casting to be a special case - making a tablet allows you to cast the spell ceremonously even though you can't cast the spell ceremonously. But I can understand your reading.

Not really correct. In D&D 3.x a "scroll mishap" can occur if you try to use a scroll to cast a spell that is beyond your spellcasting power, which can in extreme cases lead to your (or another's) death. This is very rare even under the worse circumstances, however.

Given the intimate knowledge of spells magi possess, it seems strange to me that you'd be able to follow the casting instructions of a spell in no appreciable time. I would be very accomodating to a house rule increasing the time, such as insisting only Ceremonial (or Ritual) casting is possible at all (in which case I think the gestures issue can be waved entirely), that twice the normal time is needed, or whatever. The RAW seem to say that no extra time at all is needed, the spell is cast as it is normally cast.

Yah, you misunderstood me. The writer should often consider adding a +1 Mag bump for no gestures.

I doubt you can "just add" a magnitude, but rather the spell should be designed with that +1 magnitude built-in. Then you can make a tablet.

Hmm. Can a spell be designed for casting with no gestures? I don't see why one could design such a spell. The spell is the effect, and Hermetic magic already incorporates the knowledge to cast it without gestures - this isn't an option for the spell, it is an option for the caster. And I think it is the caster, or rather the writer of the tablet, that needs to make this choice.

So it certainly is an option for a spell, but normally it wouldn't be a smart idea - as the rules would suggest that if you put the minusses into the spell itself, you cannot simple use the gestures anyway and then get the benefit back (except by going booming etc). So I do think that a magus making a tablet could include it in the spell - but that would probably force him to reinvent the spell with the new parametres, and that is somewhat a waste of time. I do agree that the user of the tablet can still chose to vary his gestures and voices (but if the tablets spell magnitude includes not using it, the gestures will not benefit him much).

Kiss of Death was in the old edition. Anyone have a new edition to hand to check?

Well I've no book with me but I can tell you that it is still designed this way. (The spell's design irks me greatly so its unfortunate nature is difficult for me to forget.)

Kiss of Death Level 45 , page 133
R : Touch / D : Momentary / T : Ind.
(Base 30 : Kill a person , +01 Touch , +02 for no words)

My quote is from 5th - otherwise I would have remarked it to be 4th. 8)