Mechanics for Dropping Rocks ?

So, I have a Bjornaer magus with Harnessed Magic, flying around as a giant eagle with miniaturized-boulders in his claws. As he flies over his enemies, he drops a boulder on them, at the same time concentrating to release the miniaturization-spell so that the enemy will be struck by the full-sized boulder. Now - what are the mechanics for this? I'm a bit at a loss, so I'm hoping the community will lend me its wisdom :slight_smile:

I don't want to disallow it, it's fun (for him; less for the target).

  • What Aiming/Attack roll to use? I was thinking either Perception + Finesse or Dexterity + ... Brawl? A new "Rock Dropping" skill?

  • Should there be a penalty to the roll? He's trying to do three things at once here - flying, dropping the thing right on the target, and releasing the spell. It feels like this should incur a penalty somewhere, I'm not sure if it should be on the aiming/targetting roll (or how much penalty to give).

  • What's the Concentration EF for doing all of that?

  • How much damage? If he hits.

Inquiring minds want to know.

HoH:S, page 38, the spell Ominous Levitation of the Weighty Stone(ReTe 15) might provide some ideas?

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Hmm. He's not aiming it via the spell, just using his (eagle) mundane skills. I'd therefore go for a mundane attack skill - "Thrown Weapon" is probably the most suitable.

Cancelling a spell using Harnessed Magic is meant to be treated the same as casting a spell for Concentration purposes. The table on page 82 suggests an ease factor of 3 for casting a spell whilst walking, and 9 whilst running. Assuming the character is used to flying (which for a Bjornaer I would expect to be the case), I'd probably use EF 3 if they're just flying along at a steady pace, but higher if they're trying to fly in fast / using any fancy manoeuvres.

If the timing on the spell cancelation is tight for some reason (e.g. he's dropping it close to the ground, or wants it to only become an obvious big boulder at the last second), I might also require a Finesse roll to time cancelling the spell right.

As Jason72 suggested, Ominous Levitation of the Weighty Stone is probably a good starting point for the damage.

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Hi! One tangential thing to consider that you may have already resolved, as it impacts Bjornaer and shapeshifting particularly hard: Concentration is a General skill, so you do not have access to it in animal form.
So it’s a zero + Int/Sta/whatever, with 3 extra botch dice for added excitement.

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I'd slightly rephrase that to say the Bjornaer doesn't have access to his human-shape concentration score. I would expect him to be able to build up a animal-shape concentration score if he spends enough time practicing in eagle-form.

He'll probably want to build up Thrown Weapon in eagle-form as well, although HoH:S isn't specific about what happens with Martial Abilities when shape-changed.

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I agree. That is explicitly used for throwing stones in the core book. While this is a different version of throwing stones, that does seem the closest.


Ya, they did leave that out, probably figuring animals won't wield weapons even though some in the real world do. Personally, I would probably treat them as needing new animal versions, too, since you're working with totally different shapes of hands/claws/talons, arms, etc.


A suggestion I'll add, if it's not too Newtonian for the Medieval Paradigm:

If the eagle is moving forward when dropping the rocks, you could use the Pythagorean Theorem to ball-park the actual distance travelled by the rock and then possibly base damage on the rules for Falling?

The eagle's altitude when the stone is released is the vertical side of a right triangle while the distance along the ground from that point to the target is the horizontal side of the triangle. The hypotenuse then represents a simplified flat trajectory for the stone.

At least, that's how I might approach a damage figure if I was SG when you tried this for the first time.

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To be fair tool use by animals is mostly observed in animals that occur deep in Africa, the far east, the new world and Oceania (aka not in europe) or in the sea at depths where you need special equipment to observe it. Thus it is entirely possible and in fact quite plausible that animal tool use is not part of the medieval paradigm and might not exist/be possible in mythic Europe.

Not that Bjornaer in heartbeast shape should necessarily be covered by such a rule. But it is possible that tool/weapon use goes against the essential nature of animals in mythic Europe.

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Huh. Consider me completely baffled, but you are right. Concentration is general ability, even though I for one don't really think of it that way. It is not arcane, even thought it may most often be used by magi casting spells. But I've also used it for the night sentry grog in order to stay awake, and a completely non-supernatural moink might also make use of it to keep focus on prayer etc.

That being said, it certainly hampers shafe-shifting magi of any kind.
I get it that many general abilities in animal form should use the animal's inherent skills. When a bookish magus, who has barely ever swatted a fly away, is threatened by ruffians, he shape-shifts into a bear and mauls them. It doesn't matter if the magus can't fight, all bears can maul people. The same goes for awareness for senses and athletics for moving or flying as that animal.

I just don't like it for a purely mental general ability. I'd lump Concentration right there with the Languages and Lores where the animal form retains the human form's skills.


Yeah, this edition hasn't been kind to the Bjornaer.

As for the original question:
a) I'd use an ability to hit with the dropped rock (rather than Finesse), because it is not an Aimed spell. To avoid skill bloat I could accept the sue of Brawling (even though it's not the most obvious way for an eagle to fight) or Athletics (since throwing is an athletic manoeuvre).

b) I'd require a Concentration roll, since the magus Bjornaer is both flying (a diving attack really) as well as performing an action equivalent of casting a spell. I'd use EF 9 (as running) or perhaps 12 (dodging, if the opponent is shooing arrows etc. and the eagle rolls for defence).
On a side note, in my own saga we recently after years of sporadic play remembered that we had forgotten about Concentration. Suddenly casting a spell during combat or action was not a sure thing, and was in fact hard. PLayer magi who had neglected to develop Concentration were too often exposed to EFs of 12 or 15. We expanded the concentration table to allow for more varied situations in the middle of the scale (EF 3 to 9)

c) I'd require a Finesse roll to timing the deactivation of the spell, because this is of the esseces in order for the ploy to work. Also, for balance purpuses, the same way spells are (generally, for the most part) either Resisted or Aimed. I'm just not sure whether to use Int or Per to add.

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I dunno
The whole 'use the gereral abilities of the animal form' is an excuse for the magus Bjornaer to not bother learning Awareness, Athletics and Brawl in human form. Just change onto the Heartbeast and start out with scores of 3-5. And if you want to be better at it, then just train in animal form from that starting point. If I were to ever play a magus Bjornaer this is how I'd do it. And if there was a situaiton I couldn't or shouldn't handle as an animal, I'd let someone else do it. That why we play Troupe style. Few magi can handle any challenge, and even fewer would want to.

But the part about not having familiars is harsh. I think 5th ed is the best way of handling Familiars, and woiuld miss is if playing that house.

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I would like here to push a warning on miniaturization effect.
There's one for corpus or animal, but there's none for Terram, only one for increasing size.

I do perfectly understand why this seems surprising and how decreasing doesn't seems that different, but on usage, this has proven to be an extremely powerfull effect.

bag of holding kind of item, holding your whole palace inside your pocket, removing any need for grogs or carriage to retrieve very large objects... and finaly stoping miniaturization of very large object to crush complete rooms or building or large amount of people (without magic resistance as you simply canceled a spell)

The effect isn't described, and evaluating it at same difficulty than the size increase seems realy dubious to me.

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Consider that MuAn and MuCo give you twice the shrinking factor as the growing factor for the same base. So evaluating MuTe shrinking at the same difficulty as increasing actually means you're already making MuTe shrinking much more difficult than the relative equivalent in MuAn and MuCo.

Also, consider that you could use MuAn to shrink a leather cloak and that that would follow the MuAn stuff, which has been demonstrated to do twice as much shrinking as growth for the same base. So, if you can shrink this solid item with MuAn, why not with MuTe? Additionally, MuTe does seem to grow things more easily than MuAn, since the MuT base will get you much more growth than the MuAn base for the same cloak. So should we not expect decent shrinking out of MuTe as well, maybe at the same factor of 8 as growth, which is much closer to the MuAn shrinking than the MuTe growth is to the MuAn growth?

Thanks all. We settled on Athletics for aiming as we viewed this as very-much a flying manauever, with damage based on the impact table.

That's probably wise advice, but too late - we've already committed to miniaturization rules and the player built a character around them, I'm not gonna change things now.

Oh, also, two more points on shrinking:

  1. Canonically MuTe base 4 also shrinks volume by a factor of 8 if you want it to, based on sample spells. See HP p.89.

  2. Be aware that if you make shrinking too difficult, people can just MuTe (maybe with a Form requisite) a large object into a feather, a stick, a gemstone, etc. That MuTe(Fo) base is already in the ballpark of the base to change size. So getting strict on this doesn't change anything as far as game balance; the magus carrying around everything will still do so, just in a very slightly modified fashion.

And just to clarify, that's half-height, half-width, half-length for a factor of one eighth in total mass. Not 1/8 each direction. :smiley:

Rather late, I know, but I've discovered a precedent in Between Sand and Sea (pg 143).

The Egyptian Vulture drops rocks on their prey, using the Brawl ability with a -5 penalty due to the bird having the equivalent of the "No Hands" flaw. A stone half the size of a man's fist inflicts +3 base damage, with an additional +1 damage per two feet of drop height.