Discussions concerning Fast Casting

I would like to discuss the matter of Fast Casting, especially as pertains to Dimicatio.
Now I have two strategies in mind. First and formost, I plan to seize initiative by liberal expenditure of Confidence and overwhelm the opponent with multicast PoF's. It would be very difficult to counter them all, almost impossible with multiple sponts.
The second strategy involves Fast Casting, and this is where Jonathan and I have differentiating pov's. JL views all events occuring simualtaneously, and a FC can offer mutual destruction at best. My view is that events should be resolved in Initiative sequence, and a Fast Cast spell interupts that sequence.
Example: Magus A attacks with a IoL. Magus B reacts with a Fast Cast BoAF and succeeds his roll.
JL: both magi fry, if magus B failed his FC roll then only he would fry.
MF: magus A is torched before he gets to cast his spell, so magus B is fine.

The way I would like to employ this in Dimicatio: If Roberto looses initiative, to attempt a FC to beat the other guys speed and score a point before his normal IN (he can of course do the same to react to my FC or if he looses Initiative). Or, if the opponent successfully counters his spell(s), a FC to beat his counterspell(s).
Jonathan warns that NPC magi will thus be able to do the same. I am fine with that, as this is what I would expect anyway (for this is how I interpret the rules in the first place). Roberto is designed to cope with that, and I see Isan can cope as well. But I am not sure about the rest of you.
So anyway, Jonathan said to have the troupe weigh in on it.

Since the ease factor of casting is your opponent's initiative, I would assume that if the FC is successful, it beats your opponent's initiative so you act first.


At the risk of pleasing nobody :slight_smile: I'll advance the following thought: neither characterization is exactly right. I don't think it's exactly right that the actions happen "simultaneously"; but I also think it's reasonable that the fast-cast action doesn't necessarily halt the initial action just by virtue of acting first. The time difference is close to instantaneous in such situations; so the initial spell is close to fully formed (how close, of course, is the question). Would the initial caster need to pass a Concentration roll to finish the spell...?

Anyway, in live combat situations, I'm leaning towards the mutual assured destruction interpretation - which I think is mostly based on the idea that fast casting is intended to be a defensive measure. But in Dimicatio, it seems like a perfectly reasonable strategy to get your spell to hit first. In analogy with fencing: if my opponent lunges at me in a way that opens her up to me, then I will choose to attack and score the point even though I know her weapon will contact me an instant later - I still score the point. That's a terrible strategy in live combat though!

I'm trying to write a succinct post that outlines all my views on this, but other people keep posting, so I'll put it out in drips and drabs...

It's not my view that one can beat an opponent's initiative with a fast cast spell. Indeed a fast cast is a response to an action. Now keep in mind, the idea that you can beat your own initiative by rolling better at fast casting has some inherent problems. The first of which is that someone with a better Finesse score is going to be doing better at a fast cast response than someone with a high Quickness characteristic. Does that sound fair? Also keep in mind, that it becomes a roll off with a couple of rounds of die rolling to see who really goes first. I beat his initative, he beats my initiative with a fast casting roll, I beat his fast casting roll, I beat his first fast casting roll, he beats my second fast casting roll...and on until someone fails. I don't relish that kind of roll off.

Secondly in the Dimicatio that's already been played, there is only one spell cast at a time. Multiple casting is not allowed. If it were to be allowed, then the only competitors of merit would all be magicians with Flawless Magic. Does that sound fair or fun?

A character like Praxiteles Valerian </Kevin Nealon> would always beat everyone, until he botches his fast casting roll. You've been warned.

I must agree that in Dimicatio, one spell is cast and no multi cast. It is a contest not a quick draw.

As I reread the fast cast section I feel the JL is correct in his mutual assured destruction ruling. Nothing says that you beat the other person but just react to their action. You are taking a penalty for operating out of turn.

I just got Lords of Men and was reading their alternate combat rules. Is there possibly an answer in their section on Interrupting actions?

For my money, Fastcast should be for defense, not a second chance to blast an opponent first. However I think MAD can apply here (a sanctioned non-lethal duel) since it will be forceless, though the distraction might require a Concentration roll. Were the spell to actually penetrate I would say that the chance to cast the spell would require the caster to survive, and a Concentration roll. If there is a tie, they both go off and likely both lose.

Yes. Totally fair and just. Finesse is very important in combat magic. This is like asking me if I think it is fair that magi get to cast spells and mundanes don't. Sorry for sounding smarmy, but it is just that solid of an affirmative in my mind.

It won't happen often. And if it concerns you, require me to make three rolls at a time.

Yes, totally reasonable and fair and quite fun. Indeed, in my mind, that's how it should be. Dimicatio is not for the everymagus. It is for combat magi, Flambeau. Dimicatio is supposed to emulate spell combat, and if you go into battle without mastered spells you are virtually commmiting suicide. And I honestly seriously think that the main contenders for Dimicatio are those with mastered spells.
And I must admit, I think it is totally bogus to not allow multicasting in Dimicatio. You are nixing my every advantage. The Dimicatio rules make no such provision. You are just adding that to be restrictive.

I can cope with that. Just gotta get a bit better then :wink:

Would both be eliminated? if so then why have the contest?

it is a quick draw, That is part and parcel of the contest. And I feel that multicasting is a legitimate strategy. Mind you, I do not think you can Fast-Multicast. I might allow that in my Andorra game as I encourage high adventure, but I admit this is a bit extreme for most other sagas.

I interpret "react" to be the slightest anything: a sudden event, a starter's pistol, a target suddenly leaping into view, a cough, inhaling to speak the words required to cast a spell, anything demarking a definitive point of time for you to mark your speed against.
I offer a compromise. If I barely beat the opponent's Initiative, then results are simualtaneous. If I want to actually interrupt his action, I have to beat his IN by a certain amount (such as his Quik or Finesse or Mastery, pick the highest, any one of those and I will take on the challenge)

It is only a quick draw because you must use fast cast to defend against the cast spell. Mage A casts. Mage B fast cast defense. Success? Yes. Mage B cast, Mage A fast cast defense. Success? Rinse and repeat.

Yes. Fast cast can react to a catapult stone flying at you/your wall. That is not fast cast defense since there is no magic involved but it is still a fast cast action. Those thing can happen because there is a time between the stone being hurled and it landing. It would have a much lower ease . A crossbow fired from 10' away might have a fast cast ease score of 12 or 15.

FC magic defense means you need to try and figure out the other Mage's spell. It's rules are different than the normal FC. If you look at Marcus, a character made to win this contest, you will see he disguises or hides his casting so it is harder to make a defense. Now Roberto's PrVi might work well because you do not care what their attack is.

Yes. I point to page 120, "Fast Casting as Interruption". Granted, these are from the optional combat rules in LoM (119-120). But it indicates a clear view on the subject of Fast Casting. And Gronosky was in on that book. He also wrote Dimicatio. If we ask nicely, we might ask his opinion on the subject (we owe each other a favor).

I disagree. There are non defense (and non combat) situations where Fast Casting may apply. I feel that at times the best Defense is a good offense. Say I'm busy casting a healing spell on a fallen comrade. I hear footsteps, someone charging me from behind. I have to Fast Cast since I am already doing something that round. I Fast Cast a spell to paralyze my oppone, fling him away, or kill him dead in step. Or maybe I am engagued in combat already, sword fighting or casting lightning bolts. Another guy pops out of the windo with an AK-47 :smiley:. I take him out with a Fast Cast Magic Missile :laughing:

I would agree to all of this.

depends on the level of his spell. mine has to double the opponent's level with a SD + (level of this spell + 10). At level 15, I can hope to counter level 15 or less. Level 20 is almost impossible, and I would need to increase by 10 levels for every 5 of reliable countering. Level 25 to counter 20, L35 for 25, 45 for 30; and countering level 35 is impossible sice it takes level 55 (and thus a Ritual) to counter.
It fails as a Dimicatio spell, but has proven a useful utility.
For a guy like that, my best bet is to study his tactics and predict what he will do.
I would further conceed that casting without words or gestures, which makes identifying TeFo much harder, also makes it harder to percieve that a spell is being cast and more difficult to interrupt with a Fast Cast.

The Interrupted Action concept might be more reasonable in combat, I dunno. It also can tremendously slow down combat, which in PbP is already slow enough...

The Dimicatio, as conducted previously, has each participant roll for initiative every round. Winner casts first. Loser responds with a fast cast defense, to prevent getting hit. If he defends successfully, he casts his offensive spell, and the winner of initiative has to defend. If there is no touch, it repeats for another round. Everyone resets and starts a new, with new rolls for initiative and then casting and responding. IMO, it's interesting, and it requires some thought. It's not necessarily just a quick draw, which is important, but it isn't the end all be all, there can be some strategy. Dimicatio is like combat like football is like combat. It's highly ritualized, regimented and has rules. And, it really isn't well defined in the rules as presented in Houses of Hermes:Societas. So, I've defined it to be a highly structured event, as much as certamen is. Did the same for the Joust. Didn't have to do a Hastidilium event last time, nor a Melee. Those will get fleshed out, if they are played, otherwise they get diced out.

I think a better compromise, if there is going to be a change to the Dimicatio is that it be explained away as a difference between the "true" Flambeau Dimicatio and the Normandy contest. The Normandy contest is what it is, I rounded out the rules and set the limitations. We haven't done a Flambeau Tournament, yet. We could, and the event could be as desired by those Flambeau players present. I'm not fond of it, but, to be honest, it doesn't impact the story to the extent that the Normandy Tribunal Tournament does (there's vis at steak here, significant amounts).

Onward to fast casting...

A good offense is a good defense, generally speaking. I think you're taking my simultaneous resolution of things a bit too literally. Generally this is going to favor PCs. So if an NPC lands a blow while a PC lands a killing blow, I'm generally going to minimize the impact of the blow the NPC lands. Tie goes to the PC, if you will. If Roberto wants to conduct a good offense, then he needs to use his Confidence points at initiative and make sure he acts first. That's his choice to make, and it will hold through a real combat situation, but not an event like a Dimicatio. But fast casting is clear, and to me, unambiguous. It's a response to an event. It's not a chance to act before an event could have happened. Someone casts a PoF at Roberto, the choice is then how he wants to deal with it. Leap away, or intercept it with a counter spell. Say it's aimed at your grog, your options become more constrained. You have to use a counterspell. Even if I didn't resolve actions more or less simultaneously it doesn't follow that you can respond with an action to his PoF before he actually casts it. You need the totality of the event as a magus to be sure of what's being cast. All of the gestures and all of the words.

You can react to anything you want as a fast cast response. Want to react to that innocent cough with a PoF. Fine, go ahead. Awareness checks of Very Hard to determine that it's just a cough or he's breathing fire. This isn't a table top game. Certain conventions need to just get jettisoned, because they are unwieldy in a PbP format. In order to progress combat at any reasonable pace, with multiple participants, it has to be streamlined, you respond to an event, period. Mutually assured destruction is fine[1] and anything that can be done to ameliorate the negative effects of spells cast at others is available, if you make the fast casting roll and the response is appropriate. It doesn't seem that there is a consensus of the troupe that one can respond to an event/action before that action has even happened. You can't respond with a PoF against someone who is also casting a PoF at you, and hope to be first. You can only hope to damage him as badly as he is going to damage you. Even skimming suggests that to the Fast Casting as an interruption is a response to an event. Earlier it suggests that you might be able to act before the other person, but that presupposes a delaying action is taken, too, which is certainly not the cast when one decides to act first tries to out fast-cast. You're already acting later, because you lost intiative.

[1]MAD doesn't work in Dimicatio. Your spell will arrive at your opponent a measurable (but small) period of time after his spell hits you, because you are reacting to something being cast. Oh, but you respond to the first word in Latin to get your spell off before his. I don't find that reasonably playable, IMO.

I will persevere. I ain't no puto to cry and flee when I don't get my way, and I'll figure out a way to win anyway.
But I cannot lie about how I feel which is that this is pretty bogus. You are nixing several of my primary advantages. It seems as if you are reacting because you feel this is a threat to your NPC magi. Now, I know that is not true. I have been on your end dealing with similar situations before.You are facing a paradigm shif. Your ideas and designs were intended for these soft magi in this game, you never expected to face a high adventure sort like Roberto. His capabilities leave you uncertain of the possibilities, so you alter things to be able to cope. You admit that you changed the rules of Dimicatio to suit personal preference, and stated you really don't wanna do anything I would be interested in doing at tribunal.
I am venting. But I understand that the needs of the saga outweigh the needs of a single new player. So I will stick it out. But realize that my main interest now is getting the tribunal done and over with so that we can move onto stories I am interested in.
Still, I need him to participate in some minor way as to maintain House Flambeau Acclaim.
And how did it happen that the youngest Flambeau magus has the highest acclaim? It happens sometimes, I am sure. But we need to consider how outsiders view us. These other guys need the acclaim more than I do.

You need to show a bit more respect, Marko. I don't mind a vigorous debate, but your statement is contemptuous and certainly passive/aggressive. I cannot lie about how I find your post offensive in tone and in substance.

The running of this saga is a pretty straightforward concept. I change a ruling if everyone else agrees with (or doesn't object to) the proponent of the opposing view. I'm taking jebrick's comment as an objection to the fast casting. So that's issue one down. Or you can convince jebrick to drop his stance, or just not care about advancing that position, and try and build consensus. But really, that means, I need to see every player make an endorsement of your view, or an "I don't care." Such comments from each player ensure that there is a healthy debate and everyone with a stake in the change gets to make up their mind. Often times when a rule changes it disadvantages someone else in the saga.

You have a view of the Dimicatio that doesn't comport with existing history of the Dimicatio as it was previously played in this saga. If you really want to change it, the same rules do and can apply. I could call it a story thing, but fine, we'll call it a rules issue. So now it's to the troupe to decide which way they'd like to play. Again, the same thing, an endorsement of your view, or an I don't care. Again, jebrick has made a comment that you need to have him disavow, to get it to come around to your point of view, in addition to everyone else saying they agree with you or "I don't care."

You're new to the saga, and the other players are playing characters designed for the saga as I laid it out in the invite thread. You asked to come aboard, and you resisted my attempts to make changes to your character, and now you're trying to impose your will on the saga. That's a bit much. If you want a Dimicatio event as you describe, challenge a player to it, challenge Marcus to it, if you'd like. I haven't updated him in the 6 years since the previous Tribunal. And all of the advantages you seek he could take, and quite honestly do it better. He's Self-confident, too. He could just wail with 6, maybe 7 by now, Balls of Abysmal Fire. It's not like what your proposing is innovative. Certainly not. I find it utterly predictable and boring, and a little more than an child going, "look what I can do." It's much more interesting to have a serve and volley. The times I enjoyed playing Marcus most in that event were the few times where I was seriously concerned because I was going second.

Do not ascribe to me the full reason your view isn't being accepted. It's not on me, Marko. It's on you.

To be honest, I would say "I don't care" (because I kind of don't), but I would rather we not change the way fast-casting, dimicatio, expeliarmus, or whatever has been done so far without a pressing need. And I'm not seeing a pressing need, nothing that indicates to me that the status quo is broken.

I apologize and willl say sorry.
I rarely do both.
By apology I mean explaination. By sorry I mean that I regret offending you and stepping out of line.
The apology; Two different players offered a compromise that I was more than happy with. One of them was Jebric! But you sorta brushed all that aside as if no one ever said anything.
I also clearly stated that I know my perception is not reality. I thought I explained that clearly. It feels like I am getting chumped, but I know from experience th( this is not the way it really is.
I am also cranky because my own saga isn't working out. Very slow and disappointing. It has an emotional effect.
And I am sorry. I know I am a dk. That's just how I am. The more I try to mitigate it, the worse I come off.
Still, two players offered a compromise that I was very happy with. One was Jebric. I don't know if you even took notice of that. So from my perspective (and I am really very sorry for coming off like a dk, please forgive me), it seemed as if you ignored the troupes compromise and imposed your will anyway.
Maybe that's not what happened. Maybe I misunderstand. Please reaize that, just as easilly as you may misunderstand me, I perhaps may misunderstand you.
You still hold the rank of Broseph :smiley:

I honestly don't see what jebrick said was a compromise. He started off with a premise, and then later ascribed to my view. Maybe if he can refine what he meant, but my sense was that he pretty much endorsed my view of fast casting and the Dimicatio.

Much the same as anything else. a compromise has to be endorsed by everyone, or at best receive an I don't care. It's a hurdle, sure. You should be cognizant that sometimes the things you ask for may not be as good for you as you think they are. The world is a bad place, and for all the advantages you seek to accrue to your characters, there are NPCs who accrue those same advantages. It changes the character of the saga, which is why I want everyone to either explicitly accept the change, or just say I don't care enough about it.

I was previewing and accidentally selected submit.

I accept and appreciate the apology. I like a spirited debate, but yours was veering a bit off course. I tend to look at things holistically and go down a very deep rabbit hole and examine how a change impacts the world. Each rule change yields a thought experiment, and I'm extremely conservative in reading and interpreting the rules.
The rules shape and inform the saga, they are the framework from which I hang the stories. The covenant's hooks and the players story flaws give the framework a character or lens through which to view the story.

As to your own saga; well, it's starting fresh. I think it's in the nature of every saga to have a long drawn out discussion where everyone feels everyone else out. It takes a while to create action. This saga took a month of wrangling to get off the ground, then two of the original players stopped posting, one was a slow poster, and I had to do something to invigorate the saga as it was foundering a month later. Eventually other players came on, some other players left, and one "almost character" continues to feel the full brunt of my disdain. I understand the frustration, believe me. I just don't put up with guff. :smiley: If you're going to give it, expect me to call you on it. If you skin a smokewagon, you will see what happens. :smiley:

If you want to commiserate further, feel free to PM me. :smiley: I'm going to let this thread live for a bit so we can have a better idea of where things stand.

There is no need to apologizes to me. I've been playing with JL long enough to know the bases for the rulings. Read the book and take it at face value. If you can convince JL or a majority of the players that your comprise or interpretation is correct then you will get it.[1] As normal for me I will post my initial thoughts then reread the section much more carefully. That is why I went with the more conservative view of fast cast.

[1] If you look at this topicfrom the main boards, you will see several of us ( namely JL and I) in a knock down drag out fight over wording of several sections. Through 10 pages of discussion we reach a comprise and it is a house rule.