Discussions concerning Fast Casting

Certainly winning the initial Initiative roll 2048 to -3 doesn't help any more than 6 to 5.

The wording where an interrupting magus (moo) has "two chances to stop the attack" doesn't automatically mean, in my opinion, that any choices he makes will end up stopping the attack. It means that there exist choices he could make that would stop the attack; maybe a Pof isn't one of them.

That being said, if we want to implement a system where a Fast Cast roll that wins by enough does better than one that barely wins, I'm cool with that. I'm also cool with honest to goodness Interrupting Actions a la LoM: hold my fire until I see what they're trying to do, then foil them.

(Really I've never been super happy with Ars Magica's initiative system. To me, initiative is just a play mechanism for setting up the order of actions, not some measure of how quick I am that hour. If I luck out and win the initial initiative roll with a 2048, then yeah I should go first - but I don't see any reason why it should be impossible to Fast-Cast against me for the entire battle.)

More than likely that's going to happen to a player than an NPC/monster. So I have no issue with letting it stand. It just means that he's opaque to the enemy, people can't really figure out what he's doing until it's too late. And I'm cool with that. It's unlikely to happen the other way though. I'll stop rolling after the second one and just assign a high number based on what everyone else is. I'll worry about the 2048 initiative point when, and only when it happens.

As far as interrupting actions and LoM, to be honest, if you win initiative and say I want to wait to see what my opponent might be doing, I'll let you roll an awareness roll and then adjudicate those results telling you what's reasonable, and then let you act. I don't need Interrupting Actions to do that, IMO. :smiley: In a PbP, interrupting actions are more trouble than they are worth, IMO.

I am gonna chill on this for now. Honestly, no one is making sense to me. Instead of trying to figure out how to make sense of it to me, try to understand why it makes no sense.
But I need to chill, because I just deleated and censored by last two attempts at a response. I don't wanna say things to irritate anybody.
Except this one thing...
It seems that everytime someone starts to agree with me, they get a smack down and told they are wrong. Instead of saying "No, look at X", where X is the same argument over again. Perhaps instead say "Does that fit with (wording X). Less autoritarian, more facilitating of discussion.
Two more things...
Not worried about Valarian. What you are saying he can do, I already think is reasonable and realistic. He is designed as an NPC that cannot be beat to begin with. Not without thought and effort. And correct thought & effort will beat him no matter having this power or not. Maybe it ups the challenge, or maybe the weakness I intend to exploit has nothing to do with this and Fast Casting will be irrelevant.
Second, you keep speaking of beating your initiative. That is not what this is about. The IN is static throughout the encounter, an abstraction to lay out a basic sequence of resolution. You are not trying to beat your speed. You are trying to alter the sequence. Maybe in the 7th round. You are not acting before an event. You are interrupting it as it happens, hopefully nullifying it so it needs not be resolved.
The rest, I will leave for later. Just to reiterate, objections are making no sense to me. And instead of trying to make it make sense, I ask that you try to understand why it makes no sense.

This isn't about Dimicatio anymore. This is about playing a combat magus, and a player who enjoys action sequences.

Tell me how you can respond to something that has not happened, yet? Either in game or in real life? That is the heart of the argument. That's a hurdle I don't think you can cross.
I'm not smacking down people siding with you. I'm clearly and concisely laying out how I think they might be incorrect in the assumptions they are reaching, specifically on the pieces of the rules that you quoted.

I am thinking about combat. Believe me.
So, your opponent, in combat, wins initative, and you want to PoF him before he can act against you. What's his first act? It's to swing his sword at you. Without your intervetion the act is successful., his AA is greater than your defense, so it's going to leave a mark. Under my guiding principles, there are two reasonable options. Respond with something that mitigates the attack, or respond in such a way as to make it easier for your sodales to help you out. Oh, and by the way, you also get to attack at your own initiative point with whatever normal action you had planned, regardless of the outcome here.
First option, mitigate the result. The result is you're hit. Your choices are a spell that makes the sword swing away, or leap somewhere out of range. Both options cause the sword to miss, and then you continue with your already stated action, if it's still possible, or pick a new different option, if you've moved out of range. It still happens.
Second option, mutually assured desruction. You're going to get hit, and it's bad, but you can hit him worse. You can fast cast 2 PoFs at him at the point he hits you, and you can also manage to get off 2 more at your normal intiative point (penalties would apply to casting, though, unless the attack on you was a killing blow, then I'd handwave that it's a last stand of a hero, and no penalties apply). You cannot kill him before he hits you, because your first PoFs go off at the point where the sword hits you (his actiion is coincidental to your response). Your PoFs may kill him, or injure him so badly, but you don't know that.

So, you've thrown out some scenarios that you're looking for someone coughing, or presenting some other attack oriented posture and acting at that point. The trouble with that, quite frankly, is that Ars is just not detailed enough to do what you describe, and this is IMO. And even if we adopt the Interrupting Action model, I still stand by my statement: fast casting is a response to an action, and the action is the final result, not the beginning. Paul Atriedes and Gurney Halleck fought each other with shields, and both had killing blows prepared. Could they have chosen to fight differently, drag it out so that only one of them had the killing blow? It's a matter of tactics, that you as a player get to choose. Press on despite the result, or mitigate the result and try and play your advantage for later. Go for the kill, you're taking on the risk that what he does to you won't be as bad as what you do to him. You can't win every battle.

So, if we adopt your model. My NPC swings his sword, at the beginning of the swing, you cast PoF, but his swing lands at his initiative point, but your PoF gets to him before he's finished his swing, and therefore the swing never connects. You want that? Ok...Then my guys can do the same thing. I really don't think you want it. I have other NPC enemies. I've always taken the view that the most dangerous enemies in RPGs are characters most like the PCs. I tend not to use them a lot, but I do have enemies like that, and not just Valerian. I'm vehemently against this for your good, I'm on your side despite you thinking otherwise. I really don't think anyone will like the results of this change, but like I said, if enough people want it, I'm not going to get in the way of it. I'll just use it as you would use it.

Gotta chill myself. I have a great response that I will save for now.

Just one clarification. I am not seeking a change per se, though I do now understand that this is a change from the pov of those that came before. I am approaching this thing with the thought that this is the way it should have been all along, and am perplexed why it is not. I know little about Valarian, and would think a good hoplite should be like this already. So it alters nothing of what I percieve of him.
Also, I am not trying to force a HR. I honestly think this is RAW. For reals. It has only been a short time since any other interpretation has been presented to me. So really, this is new territory to me. This is what I have been doing all along, for years and years, in several games run by others. Never has anyone batted an eyelash.
Keep in mind, from my experience, this rarely comes up or makes much of a difference. I understand your rabbbit hole. All I can say to that is it is not as big an impact as you are worried about. From my experiences anyway.
Backbto Valerian. I devised a way to beat him that has nothing to do with speed or initiative. I have a cunning plan :smiling_imp:. But I am playing my cards close to my chest for now. Just like my cunning Dimicatio strategy :smiling_imp:.
Basically, to show you the corner of one card' I have been paying close attention to what you say we can and cannot do. That means my advesary has the same limits, limits I can use to my advantage. And your list of "can-do" gave me an idea I never before considered.
So screw Valerian, screw Dimicatio, and all that jazz. I know how to triumph anyway.
My real remaining concern is action sequences in future stories that have nothing to do with either one. I like combat and action sequences, plaing this magus or any other. I do not like playing lab rats or political characters. I enjoy being an SG for such characters, just not as a player. I also like Mastered spells. I am a spell-mastery junkie, and think this is the single greatest innovation of ArM5. Not a fan of sponts. They confuse new players and inhibits acclimation to the game. For old hands like us, they do not slow things down. But there is a minority midset out there that sponts are somehow superior than Formula spells. I have the opposite view.

As for complicated PbP combat, I can help with that. I am the only guy I know of that could make ArM4 combat exciting and fun :laughing:.
Perhaps I could run an action scenario for you? Not involving Roberto. Someone else in someplace else. Not to show off or say I am better. I actually suck. But I have developed instinctive techniques for efficiently managing combat and action.
One last thing. I myself also tend to flesh out my advisarial NPC's as full characters. And I give them every advantage players have. IMO, players still have the advantage, forbthey are many minds each focused on an individual. I am but one mind distracted by multiple characters.

You don't have to chill, just be respectful. Be passionate. I am always interested in vigorous debate. And as jebrick has mentioned, I can compromise. Most of the players here didn't see the ritual spell issue the way you and I do, for example. I honestly think my interpretation is RAW, so we have an impasse, and may need an HR to clarify things.

Sure every PC/NPC has limits, and I operate within those limits much as anyone else. When players impose limits: I work to make sure that they're clear on them (see my comments about the casting token issue that has developed). So yes, I work within limits and I work to exploit those limits to the extent possible, much like players do.

I share some of your same views regarding mastered spells and the desire to avoid spontaneous spells. Flawless Magic, in my view is the single most powerful Hermetic Virtue in the game. It's the gift that keeps on giving. I have some issues with the overall XP sink of spell mastery and also find that there is a problem with multiple casting (I think it is unreasonable that you can cast X extra copies by only buying multiple casting once). I think we're going to try this mastery HR in Via Experimenta. I'm not going to recommend it here... it's too untested.

In any event, I do admit that mine is a very strict/conservative reading of the rule for fast casting. I tend to go that way with a lot of things. I can always relax a previous ruling or understanding later, but it is much harder to take back a ruling later. At this time, I'm still not inclined to relax my understanding, but if everyone says they can live with it, I can live with it. For example, under your understanding, in Andorra, could someone have acted, by way of fast casting, at initiative point 13 and destroyed the waiter before the bomb went off? Because that's exactly what I see as being possible under your proposed understanding.

What I hope you and anyone else gets out of this discussion is that my understanding, and yours is a well considered understanding, and each choice has a significant impact on the saga, and how some things become possible.

And I would generally prefer that players do exactly what you suggest you're doing...

I read the Mastey HR over there, and I am very glad we are not usong it here. If Multicast is an issue, just go with the old sxhool version (mistakenly included in the character sheet example in the core book).

And I did not realize you were reading that bit from Andorra. But yeah, I was sorta hoping for something like that. Doubt if the waiter could have been saved, but I would have allowed an attempt to contain the blast. Same for the wand being aimed at Pietro. And I fudged the dice to make that easier (I rolled 1 then 8, so I pretended the 1 never happened because the explosion IN was also to high to attempt success). Vibria hears the shout of the activation word. If she reacts fast enough, she can maybe torch that wand before the invisible attacker can finish saying that command word and the want function fails.
Now, I admit there I am using language inspired by this thread. But the scene is what it is. I am trying to generate excitment. Back in the archives of that game, the showdown versus Metron at Perdut just outside of Val-Negra (Ancient Days & Long Lost Nights, I think), you can see an old example of my style of high energy fast paced action encounters. Another good one was the battle against the ogres at bone hill during the Drake Hunt of 1222. Don't remember the full details of either encounter. But I recall them being quite a thrill.
Running good action sequences is an art. Whatever rules system being used, the GM has to take a "hands on" approach and manipulate the abstracts to make it work.
Which brings me to the issue of "beating your own Initiative". That isn't what is happening actually. You are manipulating the abstract. There is the Projected Sequence of events, none of which happens. It is just what will probably happen, unless active decisions are made to achieve a different outcome. So you take all that in and spit out the Actual Sequence, then resolve in sequential order.
Do note: I have yet to impliment the combat rules from LoM. I want to though, and will do so once I have a handle on it. Which, as a result of this debate, I think I grasp it and can work it in.
But I also conceed that it is really up to the players. And I can mix and match as suits the needs of the Saga.

Yeah. I'm reading Andorra. Fantasizing about making a character... But that's where it is. I'm committed here, Canaries and Via Experimenta. That's enough.

Rereading the fast casting rules in the MRB, i was struck by the underlying logic, where I came up with mitigate or accept MAD. In response to magic, it suggests that if the fast casting roll is successful, then a counter spell can be attempted. It doesn't say you can get an attack off before the opponent, confirming my understanding of a response, and illustrating why I see your view as a beat your own initiative. It doesn't say that if your able to fast cast, you can cast a spell which will prevent your opponent from casting his original spell in the first place; it says you can cast a spell to counter the incoming spell. Given that phrasing for spells, I findi it reasonable to extend that understanding to melee.

I am officially letting this go. I got bent outta shape over nothing. I am under a lot of stress. Had to call the sheriff two days in a row about my landlord. He crossed the line and I am invoking my legal rights.

as for fast-casting, I still think I am right, but you know, it is not that big a deal. Needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few or the one.
And I still have a clever trick or two up my sleeve :smiley:

♬Well, you may be right
I might be crazy♬

You might want to run some of your clever tricks by another player or two during PM. Sometimes those tricks might be controversial, or play out differently. For example, Attravere, in Arya's Albion saga. was going to transport a bucket filled with vis to himself, because he had an AC to the bucket, and had enough ReHe to pull it off. However, I didn't think it would be successful. I didn't want to say anything publicly so as not to give Arya any ideas, just in case she might think his effort might yield success. I never said anything to Attravere's player via PM, either, but I did think about it, a time or two (wouldn't have helped, as his Vim or whatever form the vis took was too low to make the spell automatically fail, IIRC). I suggest running your idea past someone so that you can get an idea from another player on how I might rule on something that is borderline and/or build up a powerful defense in advance. The defense should be based on the RAW, as much as possible.

My job is not to "screw" players, despite what I said about the Lotharingian Tribunal issue. It's a self-deprecation thing, I make myself look like a more evil SG than I am. I like to think the stories I run are enjoyable for both me and the players. Given the volume of posts and overall longevity, I feel pretty comfortable with that. And players tend to do more things to themselves than I could ever imagine. You guys give your characters more problems than I could ever come up with. Even having just written that, it's unlikely to have an effect, players will still give me ideas, despite their knowing that they're giving me fuel for the fire. :smiley:

My idea is so clever, there is absolutly no contraversy involved. Just something I didn't think of before. So simple, I am stupid for not having thought of it.
I will PM someone though and get feedback.

Marko's point was that that whole thing about delayed actions being able to interrupt is first likened to a fast-cast spell's ability to do just that. His quote is quite clear on that, IMO.

I agree, though, that it shouldn't have applied to Dimicatio anyway, if only because it is more ritualized. It is all about showing of the magnitude of spells you can cast, not that you can cast faster (insert disturbing sexual imagery)
This is 2 different things: FC in battle, and Dimicatio.

Did I say I wanted this? :wink:
"I'm not sure I like it, but I think you're right."

I'll try to outline how I think Marko sees it, to show that this ain’t as unreasonable as it may first seem.

Take a classic movie scene in which a culprit (valerian) has an arbalest and is ready to fire at the hero (roberto)’s friend (alexei). The hero, engaged in a sword battle with one of Valerian’s henchmen, see this, and quickdraw a throwing knife, which he fires in valerian’s throat before Valerian has fired his crossbow, thus saving his friend. Doesn’t look impossible or dumb when we see it in a movie or book.
If the henchman beats roberto’s FC, he can manage to slice his arm before Roberto throws his knife, thus saving his master’s life. Again, we’ve all seen scenes like this

In your version, none of this is possible. If Roberto wants to save Alexei, he needs to heroically throw himself in the bolt’s path. Quickthrowing a knife won’t stop valerian before he fires. Likewise, should he say “screw Alexei, I’m taking valerian out anyway”, the henchman has no chance to slice his arm before the knife flies, although he can put his shield before it.

Marko’s version is, IMO, more dynamic and cinematic, more coherent also, BUT it has the big drawback that it can degenerate into a mothball of FC rolls, with Roberto trying to kill valerian before he kills Alexei, the henchman trying to kill Roberto before he kills valerian, Isen then trying to kill the henchman before he kills Roberto… I think it can work great in face to face, but am more reserved on PbP, especially given the slow players (looks at himself)

i think you are wrong in your interpretation of the rules. In your example, if the sword fighting Roberto has a higher initiative roll than the crossbow firing Valerian, then Roberto could delay his action til Valerian acts. If he then throws a knife USING THE DELAYED ACTION, it will interrupt Valerian's action. If Robert does not beat Valerian in initiative than his only recourse is defensive with fast cast circle of winds or a targeted attack on the bolt in flight ( to be more dramatic).

As I was pointing out in various posts, the game SYSTEM would have to change to allow for what Marko would want. I am a person who likes a game system first then the background setting. A bad system can not be saved by a good setting and lots of marketing ( see DeadLands RPG). Good game systems can live beyond the settings they are published with. There are many many decent initiative systems in other games that make action more cinematic. I pointed out several of them. But you are changing RAW to do it.

What hurts in the current ArM system is Initiative is rolled once for a combat. You can not make an adjustment later. The person with the highest initiative always holds the cards in regard to who's action goes first.

And this is why initiative is rerolled for the Dimicatio.

Combat, in many ways, is less troublesome.

I should be clear that I'm not talking about Dimicatio at all. It is, as others have pointed out, a more ritualized version of magical combat.

But again, combat has less at stake (to the magus) than the Dimicatio.
This ain't Ars Grogica, to borrow a turn of phrase.

I mean, the system strongly suggests that grogs are expendable. Not all grogs can be saved. Maybe a favored grog shielding the magus can be saved, so the magus can continue doing whatever it is that he's doing, but if the grog needs to die so that the magus survives, well, that's life in Mythic Europe. I take it as implicit that grogs are redshirts. Not all redshirts died, but we all know that ,unless Scotty was the only redshirt on the away team, one of them was going to die.

If we want to split out initiative to be re-rolled every round for the magus, I'm fine with that. I'm less interested in doing that for grogs or companions. Further, if someone wants to use Confidence for initiative in combat, the +3 will apply for all subsequent initiative rolls, to maintain that consistency, for combat only. In the Dimicatio, Confidence affects only one initiative roll, as there is a period of reset during the rounds which disrupts the flow.

With all due respect:

  • Delayed action: I pick up my knife/gun and wait until X begins his action.
  • Fast-casting: I pick up my knife/gun and fires it in the same move when X begins his action.
    Don't forget that he does this as he is engaged in a swordfight with the goon :wink: He does not hold everything to survey the bad guy (which would leave him vulnerable to the goon)

We've all seen these 2 things, both in books in movies. I'd say Delayed Actions is film noir, Fast Casting is western :laughing:

But whatever.

All I wanted to point is that interrupting an action by killing someone works, at least in the media, and that, thus, what marko was saying wasn't nonsense.
This is something that was denied there, saying that all that's possible is MAD when fast casting a combat spell. Yet, even if you don't allow it for fast-casting, you all agree that delayed actions can do it. And delayed actions are being resolved before the action they're reacting to, but they're a reaction to an action. Like fast casting.
We may say that we don't like it (which is perfectly sensible given the mothball effect and the slowness of PbP), we may think the rules don't work like this, but we can't say it's just not possible, and deny marko's claims based on that.

As long as you remember that a delayed action has won the initiative and the fast-cast has not. Otherwise why have initiative in a turn based game? It is perfectly fine to fast-cast an offensive spell but RAW states that the action with the highest initiative is going first. Therefore MAD.

Do you suggest that we ignore initiative and go with fast-cast total?

What happens when Valerian, who has a higher initiative than Roberto, fast-casts a spell in reaction to Roberto's fast-cast and kills Roberto and then fires his crossbow because he also beats Alexei? Interrupting actions go both ways.

And I think you are quite wrong in your movie analogy. Westerns are pure speed. The fastest is always the fastest. there is no way to be faster than the fastest in a standup gunfight. The fastest can slow down to make it appear that you have a change be they are always the fastest. It is why, in game terms, I pointed to BootHill. In that game, The man-with-no-name can fire 3 or 4 shots before a slower person can even draw. There is no way to beat it ( unless you have a Buffalo Rife and are 1/2 a mile away).

Western analogy:
Was watching "Gunsmoke" last night. At the very end the bas guy pulled a gun on Marshall Dillon. He had Initiative. The gun was drawn and trigger was being pulled. Matt Dillon spins around "Fast Cast" a grapple :smiley:. The gun still went off, bad guy had initiative. But because of the interruption manuver, it was fired into the floor and Dillon took the gun away. Bad guy and his secret accomplice arrested. Episode wraps up.
That's a western :wink:
Then I watched John Wayne as Rooster Cogburn, with Catherine Hepburn as the preacher lady. Good flick.

I already dropped the issue. Not worth the struggle, and I can see it would not sit well with this saga. But at least Fixer can understand my PoV is legit. At this point, that is all I can ask.

Another way of viewing it is Marshall Dillon had the initiative. He was so fast the other guy could not pull his trigger in time. Fastest is still the fastest. Hard to get a drop on the fastest. And yet another way is that the story writers wanted Dillon to get him. :stuck_out_tongue:

Roberto and Alexei are heroically fighting a score grogs ( combat is happening) Valerian (outside combat) walks in with crossbow out. SG rolls initiative for Valerian and he gets more than Alexei but less than Roberto. Roberto sees Valerian and the crossbow and delays his action ( Roberto is good enough to hold off the 3 grogs while watching Valerian). Valerian spins and aims at Alexei!! Roberto takes his delayed action to cast 7 BoFs at Valerian and fries him.

If Valerian had decided to monolog with his action then Roberto could still use his delayed action to skewer a grog.

i understand your POV, I'm just pointing out that it is doable within the RAW without any changes.