How "long" do items take to activate?


A flambeau has enchanted his blade's pommel to teleport him 50 paces in a direction of his choosing. This is triggered by a verbal command and when the index finger is tapped twice on the pommel.

How can this power be used in combat? does it take his turn? I mean technically this takes less than half a second, so do you allow the flambeau to use the ability and swing his blade? Or perhaps cast a spell as well? When does the effect from the talisman actually go off? Immediately? or is there speed/time for when the teleport effect actually happens?

I would (and do) handle it as a fast casting action, meaning he has to meet the ease factor necessary to activate the item in response to an event of some sort. This will still allow him to take action at his normal initiative point.

To make it easier, if the effect hasn't been invested yet, you might want to check out Fast Trigger on page 33 of HoH:Societas. I would definitely allow the +3 on fast casting checks, in addition to Initiative, as that's kind of the point...

Lets take an example:

By RAW, would I be able to activate the item so that I "blink" and then strike the target with my weapon in the same round? How would you treat this mechanically? Lets get a few examples going.

In my opinion, you can't do that, or only do that in special situations... If you blink to an opponent on your initiative point, I'd allow you to defend, but wouldn't necessarily allow you to attack. I'd also allow you to blink to him at a later point than his initiative point so that you can't be successfully attacked, if you won the initiative.

Basically, you can't beat yourself, or your own initiative, by trying to fast cast something first, and then perform some other action later that is only possible because of your fast cast action. I'd let you blink to the opponent, and either defend, or blink to him after his initiative point, so you can't be attacked, and then roll to the next round. I would allow, in situations where you're attacked, and you've already successfully attacked, but you're going to get hit, a chance to blink away, but again, this is a response to an event, which is closer to the RAW.

I would allow it to strike and then instantaneously blink, by simply having the blink trigger action be the strike (possibly when preceded by some command word, so that when you say "hop", the next strike you make moves you).

However, blinking and then immediately striking requires a fast strike, not a fast blink, and so it's completely dependent on your combat skills and those of your opponent, not on the item.

Yeah that wouldn't fly with me or my group unfortunately. There is no physical/functional difference between hitting someone then saying "OogaBooga" vs saying "oogabooga" and then hitting someone you appear beside.

Thanks for the responses gents! I think I will stick to the fact that the item takes "time" to cast just like a magus, even though it may not be speaking latin or gesturing. This means they may still fast cast and use an item, but the item itself can't fast-cast anything. No matter how hard or fast you rub it, it's not going to blink you any-faster.

Well, I think the item can be used to fast cast. I just take a very narrow view that fast casting is a response to an event. It's not an, I want to act at initiative point 12, because my Quickness is 4 and I have a finesse of 6, and the lowest I can roll is a two[1]... If the event is getting hit, then sure, let the item activate, if the fast cast quickness+finesse roll succeeds. That makes sense, and seems mythic, or at least has an interesting narrative, to me.

[1]It is possible to roll a 0, sure, a non-botching zero is possible. But generally, I'm looking at two being the lowest roll on a stress die.

I think the ability to use an item like a Fast Cast effect would require it's own separate enhancement cost for the effect. Since fast Casting is either a tough Spont effect, or a Mastery effect (both with -10 on the roll) this should not be easy; I'd say an additional 10 levels cost. Using it for fast cast would be a Quickness + Finesse, and if you add the Fast Trigger already mentioned, it could add that to the roll as well. One could say though that the Fast Trigger adds to Initiative only, to get it to add to the Fast Cast roll you have to add it separately at the same cost.

Just my 2 cents.

Now then, under normal rules, using an item is based off your Quickess roll anyway, so if you roll well with that, you can likely use it time without Fast Casting it.

Isn't there a difference? Consider a soccer game.
It's very easy to shout "GOAL!" immediately after scoring a goal.
It's very hard to score a goal immediately after shouting "GOAL!".

I guess the difference is that blinking is unopposed, so as long as the trigger is linked to some event, the blink can take place immediately after that event -- literally in a blink of an eye.

On the other hand, the strike is opposed. You might pop up close to someone, but striking them it's not as simple as swinging a sword. You are trying to hit, but also to avoid getting hit, and the opponent is maneuvering against you. This might mean that when you pop up close to your opponent, you still might require a feint, a step back, a block, and two steps forward before making a lunge. It's several heartbeats, not an eye-blink.