Discussions concerning Fast Casting

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.

Do I need to lock this discussion? I don't care one way or another. I'm just going to bottom line this.
Comparisons to cinema, novels or other stories don't hold water, because each of us could outline it as it relates to the initiative system and come up with a different order of attack/initiative. It is the way it is, like jebrick said, because the writers wrote it that way. We're playing a game here, and there's some element of chance.

Bottom line, if you're concerned about being treated in unfairly by combat you shouldn't. No player or character should. If enough players want to change the rules, they can. And then that means I get to use those rules, too. Because fair is fair, after all. When it comes down to it though, the goal is for PCs to be the heroes, and that will/does happen. I don't narrate such that PCs gets screwed in combat, all the time. I've clearly outlined the cast of characters and the terms of their engagement should now be obvious to all of the players. All that exists within the framework of combat as already employed in the saga. Change that, you actually change the dynamic significantly in "my" favor (Edit: really the NPC's favor).

My interpretation is that fast casting responds to an attack or other surprising event. I present the end result and then give the players the choice about what to do. You can mitigate the end result via a fast cast spell or not. If you don't, you can also decide to respond with your own fast cast offensive spell, which is totally legit. Or you can live to fight another day, as it were, and Leap out of range. It gets harder when your grogs are in harm's way, unless you have defensive measures prepared to mitigate attacks hitting them or want to fatigue yourself to get spontaneous spells off, but that is a choice for each and every magus to make, honestly. That is a tactical decision up to the players based on the combat scenario I've outlined. I do not give players Kobayashi Maru scenarios and then expect them to come up with extraordinary methods to defeat the scenario.

Honestly, even reading he optional rules, I have trouble seeing what The Fixer and Marko think they are seeing there. Interrupting actions depend on delayed actions, which depends on winning initiative. Fast casting is still resolved as per the normal fast casting procedure which starts with the premise that a magus is responding to an attack or other surprising event. The event is whatever is going to hit you unless you do something. The event is not some guy speaking Latin and making gestures at you, but the Ball of Abysmal Flame that he's just unleashed. The event is not some guy in his backstroke trying to swing at you or a grog (and you don't know which), but the moment where you've determined that he's swinging at the grog and will connect...hard. Notice the last one, if you want to respond to the events as they appear in a combat narrative, I can certainly break them out. But it will be like this:

Me: That brute is preparing for a strong attack and is in his back swing. If it connects it's going to hurt. What do you do?
You: I leap away with my Wizard's Leap spell mastered for fast casting.
Me: Bad choice, he was connecting to the grog.

Sometimes, as in life, there are only less bad choices. The choice the character is encountering above is to try and deflect the blade whether it comes at him or a grog or Leap away, on the chance it's aimed at him. This also presupposes that the magus is not be defended by the grog. Keep in mind, in Ars, a character, so long as he isn't engaging in melee himself, can be defended by grogs, and the grogs take any and all blows.

The way the scenario works out under how I operate is:
Me: That brute connected with your grog, and he's going to inflict a medium wound. Do you want to do anything about that?
Either of the following
You: Yeah, I want to fast cast a Pilum at him, and the follow up with my sword.
You: Yeah, I want to try and turn his blade at the last moment to nullify the attack, and then follow up with my sword (or Pilum, or whatever).

I already dropped it.
No changes or anything desired.
I am fine with the status quo.

But I like talking western analogies with Jebric. And enjoy the hypothetical discussion.