Fan Grimoire: Pain Hampering

As we are progressing into Perdo Corpus, there are several spells using pain to hamper.
Here is a summary of what I found in the core rulebook:

There is the base PeCo 5: Hamper without harming guideline.
There is also the ReCo 5: hold a body motionless.

There is also the spell Touch of the Goose feather, with an EF 12+ to not loose concentration.

How do we handle penalty related to pain-affecting spell ?

  1. We come up with a malus or Stamina check.
  2. We handled it like a temporary wound that disappears when the spell ends, thus using the base guideline related to the wound and the malus derived from it.
  3. Other creative solution my fellow Fan-grimoire Crunchers will come with.

My preference goes for (2) when pain is used to torture: it is brutal (in term of magnitude) but it is consistent with the whole body of rule. Also I don't mind having Perdo being more difficult to use when inflincting temporary damage than permanent one - Perdo is efficient at destroying, but a lot more tricky for subtle variation.

When Pain is used to just hamper the target, Base 5 - still functional but with a penalty similar to a flaw, Base 15 to make a member unusable.

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There are some other important things with pain in the core book. The most important would be

  • PeCo Base 4: Cause a person pain, but do no real damage.

There is also Painful Magic's pain as an example of what pain might do.

Outside of the core book I have seen a single use of this Base 4 guideline: Chastise the Unruly AntagonIst (MoH p.131). So we have the lesser Touch of the Goose Feather, which causes a Concentration penalty to spells and a -1 to most activities; and this spell that causes a more general issue with concentration. So it seems quite in line with these spells and with Painful Magic to at least give a -1 to actions or something similar to the Concentration penalty with this Base 4.

My problem with 2 above is that this turns Base 4 into Base 5, which seems to tell us we would be making a mistake. I could see increasing the magnitude from 4 for more pain for greater penalties, akin to Painful Magic causing greater penalties with more pain, but not getting rid of what that Base 4 can do on its own.

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Look at the Enduring Constitution virtue for a feel of how much of a wound penalty is attributable to pain.

Also consider Mentem effects such as from Weight of a Thousand Hells.

IIRC in both cases the maximum contribution of pain to the ease factor is 2.

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Think I was the first to comment on several of these. The worst offender was causing a -6 penalty with Concentration using Base 4, which felt extremely powerful compared to the Base 5.

There is a difference between Base 4 + 1 Mag and Base 5, since the Base 5 can be down by Momentary effect and heals as a light wound.

EDIT: As Callen stated the only cannon Base 4 spell I could find is Chastise the Unruly Antagonist. As the only one, it is our only example of a baseline effect for this Base. It actually has no penalty to actions that do not require concentration.

Suggest we stick to its Concentration against EF 9 for activities that require concentration.

For what it's worth, note that Perdo is a much "narrower" technique than Rego or Muto.
So for game balance issues, I would tend to always "favour" it when in doubt.

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Note that base 3 does better, if we don't allow general penalties for base 4, since the canonical base 3 can give a -1 to most things. So then everyone just redesigns the spells to base 3 rather than 4.

Agreed. Let just limit the penalty from pain to -1 to all actions, and EF 12 for concentration test (like spell casting), based on Touch of the Goose Feather.

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We should go back over the pain spells and apply the decided penalties. Do we have a consensus on base 3 | -1 penalties?

I would say -1 is the upper limit for pain with an EF of 9+ or 12+ for Concentration test without a higher Base/more Mags. Anything lower we don't have to increase but anything higher we cap at those levels.


As clarification to the above post I would like to direct attention to the "Concentration Table" (ArM5, p.82). For 'Damaged this round' (non-ongoing) it gives a Very Hard (EF 15) and for Continuing Situation it gives an EF of 3x the wound penalty (EF 3).

Just pain is less than 'Damaged this round'. Being struck by something tends to knock you about, at least a little. That is why I feel EF 9 (same as Jostled) or 12 (same as Knocked Down) are the most appropriate. For ongoing duration spells, I think we should use the lower EF 9 and for single event spells the slightly higher EF 12.

Humans are very good at adapting to an injury especially in 'life or death situations and thus being able to operate with less impairment than someone experiencing that damage initially (which is supported by the rules). However there is a difference between continuously triggering pain and an injury. Our bodies will numb some of the effects of an injury after the initial "OW!" to allow us to keep functioning. It would try on a repeatedly activating pain but most likely not be as effective (so EF 9 instead of EF 3).

To follow up, do we want to have pain and penalty increase with added magnitude, or there is a cap, and after that, the spell must inflict wound(s) ?

I personally would prefer to have a cap - either there is pain or the target pass out - and then there are wounds. I am not so much in favour of adding pseudo-harmless spell, especially with Perdo. There are plenty of other ways to neutralise an opponent.